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Linux.Slashdot.org - 34 min 11 sec ago
Categories: Linux

Report: U.S. Anti-Trust Regulators Will Accuse Google of Crushing Competition to Maintain Monopoly

Slashdot.org - 3 hours 28 min ago
The U.S. government has readied an antitrust lawsuit against Google's search engine, accusing the company of "crushing competition to protect and extend monopoly," according to news reports: The move comes after a 14-month long investigation, where the U.S. Department of Justice probed whether Google distorts search results to favour its own products and shuts off access to competitors, sources told Bloomberg. This is significant as Google enjoys a major 90 percent control of the U.S. online search segment and generates an enviable $100 billion revenue. Rivals have long complained of abuse of power to "snuff out the competition".... Sources told Bloomberg action is expected within the next week or two, after the State attorneys general and Justice Department lawyers complete final preparations for the case this week in Washington. Officials met with Google reps the previous week to discuss accusations of search bias against competitors and providing of Google and other partners as default to users... "It's impossible for small search engine competitors to compete with Google's deep pockets and outbid it for valuable placements like Apple's browser," Gabriel Weinberg, CEO of DuckDuckGo, said in his complaint to the Department of Justice. In a recent statement, a spokesperson for DuckDuckGo said the company is pleased that the DoJ "is going to finally address the elephant in the room: Google's obvious, overwhelming, and anti-competitive dominance in search," adding that "a world without search defaults" would benefit consumers. Google's search engine "decides the fates of thousands of businesses online," notes Bloomberg, "and has funded Google's expansion into email, online video, smartphone software, maps, cloud computing, autonomous vehicles and other forms of digital ads."

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Researchers Finally Create Metal Wires Made from Carbon

Slashdot.org - 4 hours 34 min ago
University of California at Berkeley has made a big announcement: Transistors based on carbon rather than silicon could potentially boost computers' speed and cut their power consumption more than a thousandfold — think of a mobile phone that holds its charge for months — but the set of tools needed to build working carbon circuits has remained incomplete until now. A team of chemists and physicists at the University of California, Berkeley, has finally created the last tool in the toolbox, a metallic wire made entirely of carbon, setting the stage for a ramp-up in research to build carbon-based transistors and, ultimately, computers. "Staying within the same material, within the realm of carbon-based materials, is what brings this technology together now," said Felix Fischer, UC Berkeley professor of chemistry, noting that the ability to make all circuit elements from the same material makes fabrication easier. "That has been one of the key things that has been missing in the big picture of an all-carbon-based integrated circuit architecture." Heat was used to induce the molecules to join together, in a process Fischer compares to an atomic-scale set of Legos. "They are all precisely engineered so that there is only one way they can fit together. It's as if you take a bag of Legos, and you shake it, and out comes a fully assembled car. That is the magic of controlling the self-assembly with chemistry..." "I believe this technology will revolutionize how we build integrated circuits in the future..." Fischer said.

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Teenager on TiKTok Resurrects an Essential Question: What is Math?

Slashdot.org - 5 hours 34 min ago
Long-time Slashdot reader fahrbot-bot shares a story that all started with a high school student's innocuous question on TikTok, leading academic mathematicians and philosophers to weigh in on "a very ancient and unresolved debate in the philosophy of science," reports Smithsonian magazine. "What, exactly, is math?" Is it invented, or discovered? And are the things that mathematicians work with — numbers, algebraic equations, geometry, theorems and so on — real? Some scholars feel very strongly that mathematical truths are "out there," waiting to be discovered — a position known as Platonism.... Many mathematicians seem to support this view. The things they've discovered over the centuries — that there is no highest prime number; that the square root of two is an irrational number; that the number pi, when expressed as a decimal, goes on forever — seem to be eternal truths, independent of the minds that found them.... Other scholars — especially those working in other branches of science — view Platonism with skepticism. Scientists tend to be empiricists; they imagine the universe to be made up of things we can touch and taste and so on; things we can learn about through observation and experiment. The idea of something existing "outside of space and time" makes empiricists nervous: It sounds embarrassingly like the way religious believers talk about God, and God was banished from respectable scientific discourse a long time ago. Platonism, as mathematician Brian Davies has put it, "has more in common with mystical religions than it does with modern science." The fear is that if mathematicians give Plato an inch, he'll take a mile. If the truth of mathematical statements can be confirmed just by thinking about them, then why not ethical problems, or even religious questions? Why bother with empiricism at all...? Platonism has various alternatives. One popular view is that mathematics is merely a set of rules, built up from a set of initial assumptions — what mathematicians call axioms... But this view has its own problems. If mathematics is just something we dream up from within our own heads, why should it "fit" so well with what we observe in nature...? Theoretical physicist Eugene Wigner highlighted this issue in a famous 1960 essay titled, "The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences." Wigner concluded that the usefulness of mathematics in tackling problems in physics "is a wonderful gift which we neither understand nor deserve."

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Amazon's Data-Request Portal for Police is Visible on the Web

Slashdot.org - 6 hours 35 min ago
"Anyone can access portions of a web portal used by law enforcement to request customer data from Amazon," reports TechCrunch, "even though the portal is supposed to require a verified email address and password..." Only time sensitive emergency requests can be submitted without an account, but this requires the user to "declare and acknowledge" that they are an authorized law enforcement officer before they can submit a request. The portal does not display customer data or allow access to existing law enforcement requests. But parts of the website still load without needing to log in, including its dashboard and the "standard" request form used by law enforcement to request customer data... Assuming this was a bug, we sent Amazon several emails prior to publication but did not hear back... Motherboard reported a similar issue earlier this month that allowed anyone with an email address to access law enforcement portals set up by Facebook and WhatsApp.

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