DARPA’s ROCKn Program Aims To Make Optical Atomic Clocks Portable

DARPA has announced a new initiative called the Robust Optical Clock Network (ROCkN) program, which will look to develop a practical, super-accurate optical atomic clock that is robust and small enough to fit inside a military aircraft, warship, or field vehicle. New Atlas reports: Ignoring a lot of technical details, a conventional atomic clock works by using a beam of microwaves to measure the frequency of the target atoms, but by replacing the microwaves with light, the accuracy is boosted by a factor of 100. In fact, such optical clocks are so accurate that the most advanced wouldn't gain or lose a second through the entire lifespan of the universe. Such optical atomic clocks have been built, but they're still huge, delicate, room-filling machines that aren't practical for military application. The goal of DARPA's ROCKn program is to study the basic physics of the principle behind the optical clock and find a way to make optical atomic clocks with low size, weight, and power (SWaP). Not only that, they will be more precise and accurate than current state-of-the-art atomic clocks. To do this, ROCKn will first look to produce a robust, high-precision small portable optical clock that can maintain picosecond accuracy for 100 seconds at a time. This clock would be small enough to install in a fighter jet or satellite and tough enough to withstand the temperatures, acceleration, and vibrational noise of such an environment. The second stage will aim to create a larger transportable version that can be used in a Navy ship or field unit that is accurate to a nanosecond for up to 30 days without an outside GPS signal.

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Late Night Open Thread: Spotifried

Late Night Open Thread: Spotifried

(Lalo Alcaraz via GoComics.com)

Neil Young released Harvest in 1972 and Joni Mitchell released Blue in 1971 and people still pay to listen to those songs. No one is going to be replaying Joe Rogan podcasts 50 years from now. He has to keep feeding words into the big bullshit machine or his audience goes away, because cheap junk doesn’t last. – Kay

Joe Rogan is TFG in a hoodie and jeans — a television-made ‘celebrity’ tickling an audience of resentful racists by ‘just saying’ all their favorite slurs & fantasies out loud. Vanity Fair:

Rogan—who recently hosted Robert Malone, a controversial medical doctor and infectious-disease researcher who promoted a “mass formation psychosis” conspiracy theory, on his podcast—apologized to Spotify and thanked the company for supporting him. “I’m very sorry that this is happening to them and that they’re taking so much heat from it,” Rogan said on Sunday in a 10-minute video statement posted on Instagram. Spotify obtained exclusive rights to The Joe Rogan Experience in 2020, when it struck a reported $100 million deal with Rogan. Financially, that contract has paid off for Spotify, as Rogan’s show and his millions of listeners have played a key role in helping the tech company’s plan to grow its user base through podcasting. But Spotify’s association with Rogan has also caused the company headaches, particularly due to his pandemic-related content, such as when Rogan endorsed the use of ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19 and advised “healthy” young people not to get vaccinated. (Rogan did clarify that he’s “not an anti-vax person” after the White House shot down the latter claim.)

Rogan has largely remained unshaken throughout his past controversies. In August, Ek made a public stand in support of the podcaster’s creative independence, stating that Spotify will not censor the content of Rogan’s show. But that tune seemingly changed in light of Young and Mitchell’s boycott of Spotify—protests that came after Rogan’s recent episode with Malone, in which the guest made “several falsehoods about COVID-19 vaccines,” according to the open letter from medical experts. (Malone had already been permanently suspended from Twitter and saw an unofficial upload of his podcast episode with Rogan swiftly removed by YouTube.)

“If there’s anything that I’ve done that I can do better is have more experts with differing opinions, right after I have the controversial ones,” Rogan said on Sunday. “I would most certainly be open to doing that. I would like to talk to some people that have differing opinions on those podcasts in the future. We’ll see.” He went on to say that while he schedules his own guests, he does not “always get it right.” Rogan also noted that his intention with the show has always been “to create interesting conversations and ones that I hope people enjoy,” adding, “I’m not trying to promote misinformation, I’m not trying to be controversial. I’ve never tried to do anything with this podcast other than to just talk to people.” …

Rogan’s not an ideologue, he’s just another media whore. He gives his audience what it wants — watching people eat bugs or get kicked in the head, spouting racist rhetoric, medical misinformation — as long as he’s paid up front.

IMO, depending on whether other high-profile artists join Neil Young and Joni Mitchell, this is still a quite possible outcome…

… which is a pity, because it’s not just Rogan who’s the problem here.

The post Late Night Open Thread: Spotifried appeared first on Balloon Juice.

Academic Journal Claims It Fingerprints PDFs For ‘Ransomware,’ Not Surveillance

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: One of the world's largest publishers of academic papers said it adds a unique fingerprint to every PDF users download in an attempt to prevent ransomware, not to prevent piracy. Elsevier defended the practice after an independent researcher discovered the existence of the unique fingerprints and shared their findings on Twitter last week. "The identifier in the PDF helps to prevent cybersecurity risks to our systems and to those of our customers -- there is no metadata, PII [Personal Identifying Information] or personal data captured by these," an Elsevier spokesperson said in an email to Motherboard. "Fingerprinting in PDFs allows us to identify potential sources of threats so we can inform our customers for them to act upon. This approach is commonly used across the academic publishing industry." When asked what risks he was referring to, the spokesperson sent a list of links to news articles about ransomware. However, Elsevier has a long history of pursuing people who pirate or share its paywalled academic articles. [...] It's unclear exactly how fingerprinting every PDF downloaded could actually prevent ransomware. Jonny Saunders, a neuroscience PhD candidate at University of Oregon, who discovered the practice, said he believes Elsevier is trying to surveil its users and prevent people from sharing research without paying the company. "The subtext there is pretty loud to me," Saunders told Motherboard in an online chat. "Those breaches/ransoms are really a pretext for saying 'universities need to lock down accounts so people can't skim PDFs. When you have stuff that you don't want other people to give away for free, you want some way of finding out who is giving it away, right?" "Saying that the unique identifiers *themselves* don't contain PII is a semantic dodge: the way identifiers like these work is to be able to match them later with other identifying information stored at the time of download like browser fingerprint, institutional credentials, etc," Saunders added. "Justifying them as a tool to protect against ransomware is a straightforward admission that these codes are intended to identify the downloader: how would they help if not by identifying the compromised account or system?"

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

World’s Fastest Gaming Monitor Hits 500 Hz Refresh Rate

According to Chinese news outlet Sina, BOE has made breakthroughs in monitor technology and has built the world's first 500 Hz gaming monitor. Tom's Hardware reports: The monitor features a 27-inch, Full HD panel equipped with a high-mobility oxide backplane which is how BOE achieved the blisteringly high refresh rate, with a response time of just 1ms. BOE has ample experience with oxide semiconductor display technology. For example, the company's 500 Hz monitor is significantly faster than the fastest gaming monitors on the market today, from the likes of Asus, Alienware, and Acer, which "only" top out at 360 Hz. Other attributes include accurate 8-bit output and support for an 8-lane eDP signal. Remember that BOE's monitor is a prototype designed for demonstration purposes only. BOE has not stated if it will be making a 500 Hz gaming panel for the mass market anytime soon, so we could be waiting a long until an official monitor arrives in the hands of gamers.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


This morning, The New York Times published what, by my estimate, is the forty thousandth mainstream media article purpoting to show that Republicans voters are ready to dump Donald Trump -- no, for real this time.

Poll results are presented:
In a recent Associated Press survey, 44 percent of Republicans said they did not want Mr. Trump to run for president again....

In a reversal from Mr. Trump’s White House days, an NBC News poll in late January found that 56 percent of Republicans now define themselves more as supporters of the Republican Party, compared to 36 percent who said they are supporters of Mr. Trump first.

The Trump-first faction had accounted for 54 percent of Republican voters in October 2020.
But then we get numbers from Patrick Ruffini, a GOP pollster.
Mr. Ruffini polled Mr. Trump vs. Mr. DeSantis last October and again this month. Then, Mr. Trump led by 40 percentage points; now, the margin is 25.
There's some slippage, but please note that Trump still gets 57% of the vote, compared to DeSantis's 32%. (All the numbers are here.) So if it's true that, according to that NBC poll, only 36% of Republicans consider themselves Trump supporters first, it's also true that voters who don't consider themselves Trumpers still intend to vote for Trump.

Ruffini tries to massage the numbers in order to get a bad result for Trump.
But among Republicans familiar with both men, the gap was just 16 points, and narrower still, only nine points, among those who liked them both.
So Trump is still beating DeSantis by 16 when name recognition is equalized -- except when you poll just Republicans who like both of them. There's just one problem: Elections don't work like that. Challengers don't get to choose an electorate made up exclusively of people who like them.

Ruffini insists that the numbers look bad for Trump for other reasons.
“His voters are looking at alternatives,” Mr. Ruffini said of Mr. Trump. While there is scant evidence of any desire for an anti-Trump Republican, Mr. Ruffini said, there is openness to what he called a “next-generation Trump candidate.”
In fact, Ruffini polled precisely that. He asked his poll respondents which they'd pick: Trump or
A conservative Republican candidate who was a strong supporter of Donald Trump in 2016 and 2020, vocally opposed Covid lockdown and vaccine mandates, would have fired Anthony Fauci as president, and wants to represent the future of the MAGA movement.
Trump crushes this dream "next-gen" candidate by 17 points.

(And there's no interest in "A conservative Republican candidate with a measured and responsible tone who didn't agree with Donald Trump's actions following the 2020 election and on January 6, 2021." Trump crushes that candidate by 29. So put away your childish dreams of Liz Cheney wresting the nomination from Trump, or from anyone else.)

I know, I know: Trump's numbers have slipped. If this continues, Trump seems vulnerable.

But these poll numbers came at a time when Trump was mostly lying low. That won't be the case if he runs. And remember that anyone who dares to challenge Trump will be humiliated by Trump, the way Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio were in the 2016 campaign. It'll get ugly.

Republican voters won't dump Trump, because if they do, we win -- "we" being the hated Democrats and RINOs and mainstream media. Voting for DeSantis will never be the thumb in our eye that voting for Trump is.

This could change if Trump faces serious legal problems. But just being indicted won't necessarily hurt Trump. Remember, he survived two impeachments with undiminished GOP support. Trump is very good at gulling the rubes into believing he's doing fine when he really isn't. When his businesses were in trhe process of losing a billion dollars, he published a book called Trump: Surviving at the Top. He lost an election in 2020 and convinced tens of millions of voters that he actually won. He's good at this.

But if it's obvious even to his fan base that he's pinned down by DAs or the Justice Department, it's over. That's why Bridgegate killed Chris Christie's reputation on the right: not because Christie did something wrong (Republican voters don't care if their heroes do that), but because all the investigations and indictments and jokes made him look weak. A bully can't sustain his reputation if it looks as if he's being bullied.

On the other hand, when has Trump ever gotten his comeuppance? He's never been truly held accountable. There's a good chance he never will be. In which case, DeSantis should bow out and wait for 2028.

Website Fined By German Court For Leaking Visitor’s IP Address Via Google Fonts

Earlier this month, a German court fined an unidentified website $110 for violating EU privacy law by importing a Google-hosted web font. The Register reports: The decision, by Landgericht Munchen's third civil chamber in Munich, found that the website, by including Google-Fonts-hosted font on its pages, passed the unidentified plaintiff's IP address to Google without authorization and without a legitimate reason for doing so. And that violates Europe's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). That is to say, when the plaintiff visited the website, the page made the user's browser fetch a font from Google Fonts to use for some text, and this disclosed the netizen's IP address to the US internet giant. This kind of hot-linking is normal with Google Fonts; the issue here is that the visitor apparently didn't give permission for their IP address to be shared. The website could have avoided this drama by self-hosting the font, if possible. The decision says IP addresses represent personal data because it's theoretically possible to identify the person associated with an IP address, and that it's irrelevant whether the website or Google has actually done so. The ruling directs the website to stop providing IP addresses to Google and threatens the site operator with a fine of 250,000 euros for each violation, or up to six months in prison, for continued improper use of Google Fonts. Google Fonts is widely deployed -- the Google Fonts API is used by about 50m websites. The API allows websites to style text with Google Fonts stored on remote servers -- Google's or a CDN's -- that get fetched as the page loads. Google Fonts can be self-hosted to avoid running afoul of EU rules and the ruling explicitly cites this possibility to assert that relying on Google-hosted Google Fonts is not defensible under the law.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Monday Evening Open Thread: Giving Their Voters What They Asked For

Is there an honest chance of taking this loon down?

And, of course {sigh}, our Democratic disgrace:

The post Monday Evening Open Thread: Giving Their Voters What They Asked For appeared first on Balloon Juice.

Amazon Warehouse Manager Pleads Guilty To Stealing $273K of Computer Parts

A Charlotte, North Carolina man has pleaded guilty to charges of mail fraud after stealing and reselling merchandise from an Amazon warehouse, the Department of Justice said in a news release. The Verge reports: Between June 2020 and September 2021, Douglas Wright, Jr., an operations manager at Amazon's Charlotte warehouse, allegedly stole products with a total value of more than $273,000, using his access to get computer parts like internal hard drives and processors, according to the DOJ. Wright said in court on Friday that he shipped the products to his home, then sold them to a computer wholesale company in California. He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. A sentencing date has not been set.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

OH Whoopi Goldberg NO

So, while The View team discussed the MAUS-banning school board, it turns out Whoopi Goldberg needs to be working thru her business:

[Whoopi] Goldberg continued to assert that Adolf Hitler’s “Final Solution” was not racial.

“What is it about?” Behar asked at one point.

“It’s about man’s inhumanity to man. That’s what it’s about,” Goldberg replied.

“But it’s about white supremacy,” co-host Ana Navarro retorted. “It’s about going after Jews and G*.”

Goldberg, meanwhile, claimed that “these are two white groups of people,” prompting co-host Sara Haines to point out that “they didn’t see them as white” while Behar noted that the Nazis targeted Black people as well.

[Edit and Emphasis mine — MisterDancer]

Now, I showed my ass in comments on this topic a few days ago. I’m still working thru my crap on this. So take this post with that pound of salt y’all keep in the pantry, please.

Yet: who just drops Jewish identity as unambiguously “white,” even in my relative ignorance compared to many? She should at least understand that whiteness, and the power it’s stamp brings, is a social construct. As such: it can be granted, denied, or even rescinded. Its arbitrariness is a boon to those who wield it — and Jews are so not in charge of that wielding.

And sometimes, that is explicitly laid out, in black and white.

See, Whoopi might not know this: Jim Crow and related US laws were used by the Nazis to baseline their Nuremberg Laws:

[…]American law, hard though it might be for us to accept it now, was a model for everybody in the early 20th century who was interested in creating a race-based order or race state. America was the leader in a whole variety of realms in racist law in the first part of that century. Some of this involved American immigration law, which was designed to exclude so-called “undesirable races” from immigration. In 1924 American immigration law in particular was praised by Hitler himself, in his book Mein Kampf.

But it wasn’t just about American immigration law. There was also American law creating forms of second-class citizenship — for African-Americans, of course, but also for other populations including Asians, Native Americans, Filipinos and Puerto Ricans. Not least, there were statutes in 30 American states forbidding and sometimes criminalizing interracial marriage. Those were of special interest to the Nazis.

[Bill] Moyers: And these lawyers saw America’s “Negro problem” as similar to their “Jewish problem?”

[James] Whitman: You bet they did.

Moyers: American law did not specifically target Jews, but— 

Whitman: But it certainly had a highly developed body of law targeting other groups.

Being a born-and-bred New Yorker, she might have heard about the 1939 Nazi rally at Madison Square Garden. If she had, its implications should have been echoing in her ears as she made that horrible argument, pulling her up.

That implication? That our struggles are united. Harm done to one easily spreads to all. It’s imperative we understand the cross-currents of bigotry, lest we fail to see the warning signs.

Yes, she should know better, as should have I. I’m not going to dive into the long a painful history around Black and Jewish communities, and struggles for equality. Yet I must say: to buy into this “they both white!” bullshit is beyond merely “harmful.” And we Black folx should know that, more than most.

She deserved not just the pushback on the show, not just the callout from the ADL, but a lot more, besides. And it’s something to not just throw vitriol at, but to learn from and strive to avoid.

I don’t have a great ending for this post. Just a promise that I’ll try to do right by y’all — and a fucking great heap better than Whoopi.

(Also, too: I get The View person trying to correct Whoopi via incorporating the other groups targeted. Yet Romani is a much better term to use; something else I learned the hard way. Those folx are to this day getting the short end of damned near every stick there is, and deserve at least a modicum of respect.)

The post OH Whoopi Goldberg NO appeared first on Balloon Juice.

Twitter’s Algorithm Favors the Political Right, Study Finds

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Conversation: Twitter has on various occasions been accused of political bias, with politicians or commentators alleging Twitter's algorithm amplifies their opponents' voices, or silences their own. In this climate, Twitter commissioned a study to understand whether their algorithm may be biased towards a certain political ideology. While Twitter publicized the findings of the research in 2021, the study has now been published in the peer-reviewed journal PNAS. The study looked at a sample of 4% of all Twitter users who had been exposed to the algorithm (46,470,596 unique users). It also included a control group of 11,617,373 users who had never received any automatically recommended tweets in their feeds. This wasn't a manual study, whereby, say, the researchers recruited volunteers and asked them questions about their experiences. It wouldn't have been possible to study such a large number of users that way. Instead, a computer model allowed the researchers to generate their findings. [...] The researchers found that in six out of the seven countries (Germany was the exception), the algorithm significantly favored the amplification of tweets from politically right-leaning sources. Overall, the amplification trend wasn't significant among individual politicians from specific parties, but was when they were taken together as a group. The starkest contrasts were seen in Canada (the Liberals' tweets were amplified 43%, versus those of the Conservatives at 167%) and the UK (Labour's tweets were amplified 112%, while the Conservatives' were amplified at 176%). In acknowledgement of the fact that tweets from elected officials represent only a small portion of political content on Twitter, the researchers also looked at whether the algorithm disproportionately amplifies news content from any particular point on the ideological spectrum. To this end, they measured the algorithmic amplification of 6.2 million political news articles shared in the US. To determine the political leaning of the news source, they used two independently curated media bias-rating datasets. Similar to the results in the first part of the study, the authors found that content from right-wing media outlets is amplified more than that from outlets at other points on the ideological spectrum. This part of the study also found far-left-leaning and far-right-leaning outlets were not significantly amplified compared with politically moderate outlets. The authors of the study point out that the algorithms "might be influenced by the way different political groups operate," notes The Conversation. "So for example, some political groups might be deploying better tactics and strategies to amplify their content on Twitter."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.