Feed aggregator

Amazon Is Developing a TV Series Based On Iain M. Banks' Sci-Fi Novel 'Consider Phlebas'

Slashdot -

leathered writes: Jeff Bezos today announced that Amazon Studios has picked up the rights to adapt the late Iain M. Bank's acclaimed Culture novels to the small screen, beginning with the first in the series, Consider Phlebas. This comes after nearly three decades of attempts to bring Banks' utopian, post-scarcity society to film or television. A huge fan of the Culture series is Elon Musk, whose SpaceX drone ships are named after Culture space vessels. Here's how Amazon describes Consider Phlebas: "a kinetic, action-packed adventure on a huge canvas. The book draws upon the extraordinary world and mythology Banks created in the Culture, in which a highly advanced and progressive society ends up at war with the Idirans, a deeply religious, warlike race intent on dominating the entire galaxy. The story centers on Horza, a rogue agent tasked by the Idirans with the impossible mission of recovering a missing Culture 'Mind,' an artificial intelligence many thousands of times smarter than any human -- something that could hold the key to wiping out the Culture altogether. What unfolds, with Banks' trademark irreverent humor, ultimately asks the poignant question of how we can use technology to preserve our humanity, not surrender it."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Boston Dynamics Is Teaching Its Robot Dog To Fight Back Against Humans

Slashdot -

Zorro shares a report from The Guardian: Boston Dynamics' well-mannered four-legged machine SpotMini has already proved that it can easily open a door and walk through unchallenged, but now the former Google turned SoftBank robotics firm is teaching its robo-canines to fight back. A newly released video shows SpotMini approaching the door as before, but this time it's joined by a pesky human with an ice hockey stick. Unperturbed by his distractions, SpotMini continues to grab the handle and turn it even after its creepy fifth arm with a claw on the front is pushed away. If that assault wasn't enough, the human's robot bullying continues, shutting the door on Spot, which counterbalances and fights back against the pressure. In a last-ditch effort to stop the robot dog breaching the threshold, the human grabs at a leash attached to the back of the SpotMini and yanks. Boston Dynamics describes the video as "a test of SpotMini's ability to adjust to disturbances as it opens and walks through a door" because "the ability to tolerate and respond to disturbances like these improves successful operation of the robot." The firm helpfully notes that, despite a back piece flying off, "this testing does not irritate or harm the robot." But teaching robots to fight back against humans may might end up harming us.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Former Google Employee Files Lawsuit Alleging the Company Fired Him Over Pro-Diversity Posts

Slashdot -

According to court documents filed today, a former Google engineer is suing the company for discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and wrongful termination. "Tim Chevalier, a software developer and former site-reliability engineer at Google, claims that Google fired him when he responded with internal posts and memes to racist and sexist encounters within the company and the general response to the now-infamous James Damore memo," reports The Verge. From the report: Chevalier said in a statement to The Verge, "It is a cruel irony that Google attempted to justify firing me by claiming that my social networking posts showed bias against my harassers." Chevalier, who is also disabled and transgender, alleges that his internal posts that defended women of color and marginalized people led directly to his termination in November 2017. He had worked at Google for a little under two years. Notably, Chevalier's posts had been quoted in Damore's lawsuit against Google -- in which Damore sued the company for discrimination against conservative white men -- as evidence Google permitted liberals to speak out at the company unpunished. Chevalier's lawsuit alleges that his firing is, in fact, a form of punishment. The lawsuit was filed in San Francisco County Superior Court and Chevalier is seeking damages for lost wages, emotional distress, punitive damages, and injunctive relief against those alleged harmful acts. Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Roy Scholten: Idea: a data & content modelling UX sprint

Drupal Planet -

22 Feb 2018 Idea: a data & content modelling UX sprint

During this weeks UX meeting we explored what it would mean to redesign the core Field UI. It’s definately in need of an update.

Currently all mashed together in a couple of tabs on Field UI:

  • Data modelling – Define data types and storage formats for individual fields & their relationships
  • Content modelling – Compiling individual fields into appropriate content (entity) types and configuring the input form for creating content items
  • Display modelling – Configuring different ways to display these created content items

One of the first steps towards a new and improved user interface for Field UI would be to unbraid these different types of tasks. Take it apart and put it together again in more user friendly ways.

Would be nice to kick this off with some kind of (virtual) UX design sprint, no?

Tags Drupal content modeling drupalplanet

Scientists Discover a New Way To Use DNA As a Storage Device

Slashdot -

Mark Wilson shares a report from BetaNews: Researchers from the Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) in Ireland have developed a way to use bacteria to archive up to up to one zettabyte in one gram of DNA. The technique uses double-strained DNA molecules called plasmids to encode data which is stored in the Novablue strain of the E Coli bacteria. The Novablue bacteria has a fixed location, making it viable for storage, and the data can be transferred by releasing a mobile HB101 strain of E Coli which uses a process called conjugation to extract the data. The antibiotics tetracycline and streptomycin are used to control this process. The method is currently not only expensive, but also slow. Data retrieval takes up to three days at the moment, but researchers believe it should be possible to dramatically speed up this process. Equipment already exists that can be used to write to DNA in seconds. Stability and security are also an issue right now, but it is very early days for the technique, and these current downsides are not viewed as being significant enough to write it off. Potential uses for this method of data storage that have been suggested include the recording of medical records in human DNA, and increasing the traceability of the food chain.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Lullabot: The Myth of the Forklift Migration and the Lipstick Redesign

Drupal Planet -

As the digital landscape evolves, brands have to continuously give their website users richer experiences to stay competitive. They also have to consider their internal users who create and publish content to ensure their CMS actually does the job it was designed to do. This often requires migrating to new platforms that enable new functionality or redesigning a website so that it delivers the deep user experiences consumers expect.

For better or worse, website redesign combined with CMS re-platforming can be an enormous undertaking. As a result, one of the most common themes we hear during the sales process is the desire to change one major aspect of the site while leaving the others intact. This usually comes in one of two variants: 

  • “We want to migrate from [CMS A] to [CMS B] but we don’t want to change anything else on the site” (The “Forklift Migration”)
  • "We want to do a site redesign, but we don’t want to change anything on the backend” (The “Lipstick Redesign”)

With the instability of budgets and increasing pressure to show a return on investment visibly and quickly, it’s easy to understand why clients ask for these types of projects. Restricting scope means a faster turnaround and a smaller budget right? What’s not to love? Unfortunately, these projects rarely work out as planned. In this article, we will examine the problems with this approach and some solutions that may mean more upfront work but will result in a CMS implementation that pays greater dividends in the long term.

Redesigns Change Content

What can appear to be a simple design change can often have an enormous impact on back-end functionality and content structure. For instance, consider the following design change.

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In the example above, the decision was made to begin showing author credits on articles. While this appears to be a simple addition to the design, it has a ripple effect that spreads into every aspect of the system. Some examples:

  • Content created prior to this will not have an author attached, so either that content will remain un-attributed or those authors will have to be added retroactively.
  • Will this just be a text field, or will an actual author entity be created to centralize author information and increase consistency? If the latter, what will this entity look like and what other functions will it have?
  • Will this author name be a clickable link which leads to an author profile page? If so, what is the design of that page, what information will it show, and how will that information be gathered?
  • Will authors be able to edit their own information in the CMS? If so, what is the process for getting those logins created? What access rights will those authors have? If the CMS is behind a firewall, how will they access it?

This is just a small portion of the questions that such a small change might evoke, especially when adding items to a design. Another common example is when a site’s navigation is changed as part of a redesign. Once again, depending on the implementation, this can have several side effects.

  • For sections that are added to the navigation, there will need to be appropriate content added or moved so that clicking on the navigation item doesn't result in no content.
  • For sections that are removed, the content associated with those sections will have to be reviewed in order to determine what sections it should move to, or if it should be archived. 
  • For more complex changes, some combination of the above may need to happen, and the more complex the changes, the more far-reaching the content review behind them.

An existing design is the embodiment of a million decisions, and changing that design means revisiting many of those decisions and potentially starting up the entire process again. This is why a “lipstick redesign” is rarely successful. If you multiply the seemingly simple design choices described above by 100 or more, you can see that most clients quickly come to realize that a more extensive upgrade is necessary.

Migrations change design

Similarly, migration between CMSes (or between versions of the same CMS) often involves content changes that have an impact on the design. This is because a site’s design is often a careful balance between the look and feel, theming system, and CMS-provided functionality.

As an example, every CMS has its own layout and theming system, and the capabilities of these systems can be radically different from CMS to CMS. A design optimized for one system’s advantages may be extremely difficult to implement in another. Even if you could build it, it may be difficult to maintain over time because the new CMS isn't built around the same paradigms as the previous ones. In these cases, it is usually cheaper (in both time and money) to adjust the design than to rebuild the needed functionality in the new system. 

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This can even be a problem when doing major upgrades from one version of the same CMS to the next. A theme or module you relied on for layout or theming in Drupal 7 may not be available for Drupal 8, or it may have been deprecated and added to Drupal core. This means that the affected functionality will either have to be replicated to meet the existing design, or the existing design will have to change to work with the new functionality. Either way, there’s work to do.

If, as we said above, an existing design is like the embodiment of a million decisions, then cloning that design onto a new system means you have answers to all your questions, but they may be suboptimal ones in the new context. Given that, once you open the door to tweaks, you are opening a world of new questions and starting that process again whether you want to or not.

Functionality happens

In addition to the technical issues behind the these projects, there are organizational pressures that are commonly brought to bear as well. In the end, we always find that stakeholders will receive or create pressure to add new functionality on top of the forklift. The reality is that spending real money on a project that results in no functional improvements for end users is a very tough sell in any organization. Even if that approval does come, it very rarely sticks, and once new functionality gets introduced into the middle stages of a project, the impact on schedule and budget are always far greater than if they had simply been accounted for from the start.

Additionally, most re-platforming projects require a significant amount of time to go through planning, architecture, design, and implementation. During that time your business is not at a standstill, it is moving forward and developing new needs every single day. It is unrealistic to think that your entire business can pause while a migration is performed, and this is another reason why new features have a tendency to creep into projects that were originally envisioned to just forklift from one platform to another. New business needs always pop up at the most inconvenient times in projects like this.

In almost all cases, this new functionality will impact the design and content in ways that will return the affected components back to the design/revise/approve stage. This can be extremely time-consuming, as it often takes months or years just to get the initial designs approved in the first place. Additionally, if development has already started, it may need to be redone or adjusted, wasting valuable developer hours and affecting the schedule even more.

I know what you’re thinking. You’ve got this planned out all the way down the line and everyone has signed off on it. We have heard it a hundred times, and in the end, these plans always fall apart because as everyone sees the time and money being spent, they just can’t resist getting something more out of it than they planned for. When your scope, budget, and schedule are as limited as these projects tend to be, those additions can end up being much more costly than on other projects.

How to avoid these pitfalls

Having shown that these forklift projects don’t always proceed as originally envisioned, what can you do to prepare? Thankfully, there is a lot you can do to avoid these problems. 

Get your goals and priorities straight.

While a project is in planning and development, it is too easy to be swayed into adding or removing features based on an assumed “need” when they don’t actually add a lot of value. If someone comes in with a new idea, ask yourself “How will this help the site achieve its goals? Where does this fit in my priorities?” Sometimes an addition to the site’s functionality can help increase ease of use, other times you may look to give up some design elements that don’t really add value but will increase scope. Always weigh these decisions against your goals and priorities to make sure the functionality you’re building will have the highest possible impact. 

Know your content.

Perform a full content inventory before you begin; it’s an essential step in planning your migration. Without a content inventory, you won’t have the answer to questions like “What is the longest article we need to allow for?” or “How are our articles allocated into different topics and tags?” These questions come up all the time in the migration and redesign process, and having the answers at your fingertips can really help move things along. An inventory will also help to highlight content that is miscategorized, unused, or out of date. This allows you to start planning for how to deal with these items early rather than trying to force them to fit somewhere at the last minute.

Plan for added functionality from the beginning of your project.

This is best achieved by bringing all your teams together, discussing priorities, and building a wish list. With this list in hand, you can now have a discussion with potential vendors about what is and isn't doable within budget and schedule constraints. Typically the list will be required items (“We have to migrate from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8”, “We have to refresh the site’s design to make it more modern and mobile-friendly”) as well as additional functionality you’ll want to add as part of that process (“We need to improve the editorial experience around media management”, “We need a better way to organize our content that reflects real-world use cases”). 

Work with a vendor that can provide both design and development services

Many companies will get their designs done at a standard design firm, then bring those designs to a development agency for their site build. Unfortunately, most design agencies are not well-versed in CMS implementation as a concept, and especially not for the specific quirks that each individual CMS might bring to the table. This often results in designs that are difficult or even impossible to implement. Working with an agency that does both design and development ensures that your new theme can stand up to real-world implementation, and streamlines the inevitable process of tweaking the designs as changes occur throughout the project.

Be agile and prepare for the unexpected.

While everyone wants to know exactly what they’re going to get at the end of a year-long project, the fact is that real life always intrudes at just the wrong moment. This can come in the form of unplanned functionality from higher up the ladder, technical issues that turned out to be more complex than predicted, or even personnel changes within the organization. While there are things you can do to streamline these situations and make them easier (such as choosing a full-service agency as described above) to some extent you just have to embrace the chaos and accept that changes will always be happening, and you need to deal with them and roll with the punches. Working within an agile methodology can help with this, but we find that more often than not the key is more in the state of mind of the stakeholders than it is in any structure that they might apply to the project.

Conclusion

Whether you are embarking on your own “Forklift Migration” or “Lipstick Redesign”, it’s critical to recognize the inherent connection between your front-end design and back-end CMS functionality. Navigating the interplay between the two of these concerns can be tricky, especially in organizations where product and technology are the responsibility of separate teams with discrete management. 

Game Industry Pushes Back Against Efforts To Restore Gameplay Servers

Slashdot -

Kyle Orland reports via Ars Technica: A group of video game preservationists wants the legal right to replicate "abandoned" servers in order to re-enable defunct online multiplayer gameplay for study. The game industry says those efforts would hurt their business, allow the theft of their copyrighted content, and essentially let researchers "blur the line between preservation and play." Both sides are arguing their case to the U.S. Copyright Office right now, submitting lengthy comments on the subject as part of the Copyright Register's triennial review of exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Analyzing the arguments on both sides shows how passionate both industry and academia are about the issue, and how mistrust and misunderstanding seem to have infected the debate.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

[$] New tricks for XFS

LWN Headlines -

The XFS filesystem has been in the kernel for fifteen years and was used in production on IRIX systems for five years before that. But it might just be time to teach that "old dog" of a filesystem some new tricks, Dave Chinner said, at the beginning of his linux.conf.au 2018 presentation. There are a number of features that XFS lacks when compared to more modern filesystems, such as snapshots and subvolumes; but he has been thinking—and writing code—on a path to get them into XFS.

Apple In Talks To Buy Cobalt Directly From Miners

Slashdot -

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: Apple Inc. is in talks to buy long-term supplies of cobalt directly from miners for the first time, according to people familiar with the matter, seeking to ensure it will have enough of the key battery ingredient amid industry fears of a shortage driven by the electric vehicle boom. The iPhone maker is one of the world's largest end users of cobalt for the batteries in its gadgets, but until now it has left the business of buying the metal to the companies that make its batteries. The talks show that the tech giant is keen to ensure that cobalt supplies for its iPhone and iPad batteries are sufficient, with the rapid growth in battery demand for electric vehicles threatening to create a shortage of the raw material. About a quarter of global cobalt production is used in smartphones. Apple is seeking contracts to secure several thousand metric tons of cobalt a year for five years or longer. Its first discussions on cobalt deals with miners were more than a year ago, and it may end up deciding not to go ahead with any deal, another person said.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

100-Page Report Warns of the Many Dangers of AI

Slashdot -

dmoberhaus writes: Last year, 26 top AI researchers from around the globe convened in Oxford to discuss the biggest threats posed by artificial intelligence. The result of this two day conference was published today as a 100-page report. The report details three main areas where AI poses a threat: political, physical systems, and cybersecurity. It discusses the specifics of these threats, which range from political strife caused by fake AI-generated videos to catastrophic failure of smart homes and autonomous vehicles, as well as intentional threats, such as autonomous weapons. Although the researchers offer only general guidance for how to deal with these threats, they do offer a path forward for policy makers.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

[$] An overview of Project Atomic

LWN Headlines -

Terms like "cloud-native" and "web scale" are often used and understood as pointless buzzwords. Under the layers of marketing, though, cloud systems do work best with a new and different way of thinking about system administration. Much of the tool set used for cloud operations is free software, and Linux is the platform of choice for almost all cloud applications. While just about any distribution can be made to work, there are several projects working to create a ground-up system specifically for cloud hosts. One of the best known of these is Project Atomic from Red Hat and the Fedora Project.

New Lawsuit Accuses Tesla of Knowingly Selling Defective Vehicles

Slashdot -

A new lawsuit from a former Tesla employee claims the company knowingly sold defective cars, and that the employee was demoted and eventually fired after reporting the practice to his superiors. The lawsuit was filed in late January in New Jersey Superior Court under the Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA). The Verge reports: The former employee, Adam Williams, worked for Tesla as a regional manager in New Jersey dating back to late 2011. While there, he says he watched the company fail "to disclose to consumers high-dollar, pre-delivery damage repairs" before delivering its vehicles, according to the complaint. Instead, he says the company sold these cars as "used," or labeled as "demo/loaner" vehicles. "There's no merit to this lawsuit. Mr. Williams' description of how Tesla sells used or loaner vehicles is totally false and not how we do things at Tesla," a representative for the company said in response to the lawsuit. "It's also at odds with the fact that we rank highest in customer satisfaction of any car brand, with more owners saying they'd buy a Tesla again than any other manufacturer. Mr. Williams was terminated at Tesla for performance reasons, not for any other reason." The lawyer for the plaintiff could not be reached in time for publish. Williams says in the court filing that he reported this behavior in late 2016 and early 2017 to his supervisor, as well as Lenny Peake, Tesla's East Coast Regional Manager, and Jerome Guillen, a company vice president. Shortly after that, he claims, he was demoted to service manager of the Springfield, New Jersey Tesla store. He then says he was demoted again later in the year to a "mobile manager" position and was ultimately fired in September 2017. In the lawsuit, Williams argues that he was terminated for reporting the alleged lawbreaking practices, and he should therefore be covered by CEPA's whistleblower protection.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Joachim's blog: Regenerating plugin dependency injection with Module Builder

Drupal Planet -

Dependency injection is a pattern that adds a lot of boilerplate code, but Drupal Code Builder makes it easy to add injected services to plugins, forms, and service classes.

Now that the Drupal 8 version of Module Builder (the Drupal front-end to the Drupal Code Builder library) uses an autocomplete for service names in the edit form, adding injected services is even easier, and any of the hundreds of services in your site’s codebase (443 on my local sandbox Drupal 8 site!) can be injected.

I often used this when I want to add a service to an existing plugin: re-generate the code, and copy-paste the new code I need.

This is an area in which Module Builder now outshines its Drush counterpart, because unlike the Drush front end for Drupal Code Builder, which generates code with input parameters every time, Module Builder lets you save your settings for the generated module (as a config entity).

So you can return to the plugin you generated to start with, add an extra service to it, and generate the code again. You can copy and paste, or have Module Builder write the file and then use git to revert custom code it’s removed. (The ability to insert generated code into existing files is on my list of desirable features, but is realistically a long way off, as it would be rather complex, a require the addition of a code parsing library.)

But why stop at generating code for your own modules? I recently filed an issue on Search API, suggesting that its plugins could do with tweaking to follow the standard core pattern of a static factory method and constructor, rather than rely on setters for injection. It’s not a complex change, but a lot of code churn. Then it occurred to me: Drupal Code Builder can generate that boilerplate code: simply create a module in Module Builder called ‘search_api’, and then add a plugin with the name of one that is already in Search API, and then set its injected services to the services the real plugin needs.

Drupal Code Builder already knows how to build a Search API plugin: its code analysis detects the right plugin base class and annotation to use, and also any parameters that the constructor method should pass up to the base class.

So it’s pretty quick to copy the plugin name and service names from Search API’s plugin class to the form in Module Builder, and then save and generate the code, and then copy the generated factory methods back to Search API to make a patch.

I’m now rather glad I decided to use config entities for generated entities. Originally, I did that just because it was a quick and convenient way to get storage for serialized data (and since then I discovered in other work that map fields are broken in D8 so I’m very glad I didn’t try to make then content entities!). But the ability to save the generating settings for a module, and then return to it to add to them has proved very useful.

Tags: drupal code buildermodule builder

Snapchat Responds To Change.Org Petition Complaining About the App's Redesign

Slashdot -

An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: Snapchat has posted an official response to users who signed a petition on Change.org asking the company to reverse its controversial update, which people say makes the app more difficult to use. In the response, Snapchat promises to make a few more changes to the Friends and Discover section in order to address user complaints. These changes were announced yesterday, along with GIF stickers from Giphy. The backlash against Snapchat has been growing in the months since the company rolled out a major revamp, which aimed to make the social app more accessible to a mainstream audience. Snapchat users have left the app bad reviews, complained on social media, turned to rival Instagram, and they signed a Change.org petition entitled, "Remove the new Snapchat update." Last night, Snapchat posted an official response to the petition, reiterating its stance but also promising a few tweaks that may help to address users' concerns. Specifically, the company said that "beginning soon on iOS and with Android in the coming weeks" it will introduce tabs in the Friends section and in Discover, which it says will make it easier for users to find the Stories they want. This update will let users sort things like Stories, Group Chats, and Subscriptions. Whether these tabs will placate users who just want the old Snapchat back remains to be seen.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Instead of Slowing Down Innovation To Protect Few People, Policymakers Should Focus On Helping Displaced Workers Transition Into New Jobs, ITIF Suggests

Slashdot -

A recently published report by Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF) argues that rather than slow down change to protect a small number of workers at the expense of the vast majority, policymakers should focus on doing significantly more to help workers transition easily into new jobs and new occupations [PDF]. From a report: There has been growing speculation that a coming wave of innovation -- indeed, a tsunami -- powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics, will disrupt labor markets, generate mass unemployment, and shift the few jobs that remain into the insecure "gig economy." Kneejerk "solutions" from such technology Cassandras include ideas like taxing "robots" and implementing universal basic income for everyone, employed or not. The first would slow needed productivity growth, employed or not; the second would reduce worker opportunity. The truth is these technologies will provide a desperately needed boost to productivity and wages, but that does not mean no one will be hurt. There are always winners and losers in major economic transitions. But rather than slow down change to protect a modest number of workers at the expense of the vast majority, policymakers should focus on doing significantly more to help those who are dislocated transition easily into new jobs and new occupations. Improving policies to help workers navigate what is likely to be a more turbulent labor market is not something that should be done just out of fairness, although it is certainly fair to help workers who are either hurt by change or at risk of being hurt. But absent better labor market transition policies, there is a real risk that public and elite sentiment will turn staunchly against technological change, seeing it as fundamentally destructive and unfair.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Poland's Central Bank Accused of Paying YouTubers To Make Videos That Attack the Legitimacy of Cryptocurrencies

Slashdot -

Poland's central bank has been accused of hiring YouTubers to "start a smear campaign" against cryptocurrencies in the country, Business Insider reports. From the story: According to Business Insider Poland, the Narodowy Bank Polski spent around 91,000 zloty ($27,300) on a marketing campaign designed to attack the legitimacy of cryptocurrencies. The money was spent on platforms including Google and Facebook, but was also used to pay a Polish Youtube partner network called Gamellon. The Gamellon network reportedly represents many of Poland's top YouTubers, including popular prankster Marcin Dubiel. In December, Dubiel published a video titled "STRACILEM WSZYSTKIE PIENIADZE?!" -- which loosely translates as "I LOST ALL MY MONEY?!" In the satirical video, Dubiel invests all his money in a fake cryptocurrency called Dubielcoin, gets rich, but then sees its value plunge and loses everything. It has racked up over 500,000 views.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Matching DNA To a Diet Doesn't Work

Slashdot -

DNA testing won't guide dieters to the weight-loss regimen most likely to work for them, scientists reported on Tuesday. From a report: Despite some earlier studies claiming that genetic variants predict whether someone has a better chance of shedding pounds on a low-carbohydrate or a low-fat diet, and despite a growing industry premised on that notion, the most rigorous study so far found no difference in weight loss between overweight people on diets that "matched" their genotype and those on diets that didn't. The findings make it less likely that genetics might explain why only some people manage to lose weight on a low-carb diet like Atkins and why others succeed with a low-fat one (even though the vast majority of dieters don't keep off whatever pounds they lose). Unlike cancer treatments, diets can't be matched to genotype, the new study shows. The results underline "how, for most people, knowing genetic risk information doesn't have a big impact," said Timothy Caulfield, of the University of Alberta, a critic of quackery.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Intel Has a New Spectre and Meltdown Firmware Patch For You To Try Out

Slashdot -

Mark Wilson writes: The Spectre/Meltdown debacle continues to rumble on, and now the chip manufacturer has announced the availability of a new 'microcode solution' to the vulnerability. The updated firmware applies to 6th, 7th and 8th Generation Intel Core devices, and the release sees the company crossing its fingers and hoping that everything works out this time. This is Intel's second attempt at patching the vulnerability, and this time around both the company and its customers will be praying that the fix for Skylake, Kaby Lake and Coffee Lake chips actually does the job.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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