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Everything's So Dumb, and It's Going to get Dumber

Join Robert Evans (of Behind the Bastards) and Katy Stoll and Cody Johnston (of Even more News) have a bout a million podcasts between them, including The Worst Year Ever. They started this podcast in 2019 to cover the US Presidential race. Then the pandemic. Now the United States burning down.

It is a little more balanced than Evans' other podcasts, with the three hosts sharing researching and presenting rather listening and reacting to Evans. It also has more of a through line, following issues from week to week as they develop. Two recent episodes What You Need to Know about the Minneapolis Protests and Minneapolis Uprising: Updates from the Ground and Sky are more timely than the Democratic Primary candidate profiles, but there is a lot of good commentary here.

Covid-19 Is History's Biggest Translation Challenge

Services like Google Translate support only 100 languages, give or take. What about the thousands of other languages -- spoken by people just as vulnerable to this crisis? From a report: If we want to avoid a pandemic spreading to all the humans in the world, this information also has to reach all the humans of the world -- and that means translating Covid PSAs into as many languages as possible, in ways that are accurate and culturally appropriate. It's easy to overlook how important language is for health if you're on the English-speaking internet, where "is this headache actually something to worry about?" is only a quick Wikipedia article or WebMD search away. For over half of the world's population, people can't expect to Google their symptoms, nor even necessarily get a pamphlet from their doctor explaining their diagnosis, because it's not available in a language they can understand.

[...] In a pandemic, the challenge isn't just translating one or a handful of primary languages in a single region -- it's on a scale of perhaps thousands of languages, at least 1,000 to 2,000 of the 7,000-plus languages that exist in the world today, according to the pooled estimates of the experts I spoke with, all of whom emphasized that this number was very uncertain but definitely the largest number they'd ever faced at once. Machine translation might be able to help in some circumstances, but it needs to be approached with caution. [...] That's not to say that machine translation isn't helpful for some tasks, where getting the gist quickly is more important than the nuanced translations humans excel at, such as quickly sorting and triaging requests for help as they come in or keeping an eye on whether a new misconception is bubbling up. But humans need to be kept in the loop, and both human and machine language expertise needs to be invested in during calmer times so that it can be used effectively in a crisis.

The bigger issue with machine translation is that it's not even an option for many of the languages involved. Translators Without Borders is translating Covid information into 89 languages, responding to specific requests of on-the-ground organizations, and 25 of them (about a third) aren't in Google Translate at all. Machine translation disproportionately works for languages with lots of resources, with things like news sites and dictionaries that can be used as training data. Sometimes, like with French and Spanish, the well-resourced languages of former colonial powers also work as lingua francas for translation purposes. In other cases, there's a mismatch between what's easy to translate by machine versus what's useful to TWB: The group has been fielding lots of requests for Covid info in Kanuri, Dari, and Tigrinya, none of which are in Google Translate, but hasn't seen any for Dutch or Hebrew (which are in Google Translate but don't need TWB's help -- they have national governments already producing their own materials). Google Translate supports 109 languages, Bing Translate has 71, and even Wikipedia exists in only 309 languages -- figures that pale in comparison to the 500-plus languages on the list from the Endangered Languages Project, all human-created resources.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

HBO Max Won't Hit AT&T Data Caps, But Netflix and Disney Plus Will

HBO Max, AT&T's big bet on the future of streaming, will be excused from AT&T's mobile data caps, while competing services like Netflix and Disney Plus will use up your data. From a report: That's the follow-up from a Vergecast conversation with Tony Goncalves, the AT&T executive in charge of HBO Max. Asked whether HBO Max would hit the cap, Goncalves said his team "had the conversation" but didn't have the answer. AT&T later confirmed to The Verge that HBO Max will be excused from the company's traditional data caps and the soft data caps on unlimited plans. According to an AT&T executive familiar with the matter, HBO Max is using AT&T's "sponsored data" system, which technically allows any company to pay to excuse its services from data caps. But since AT&T owns HBO Max, it's just paying itself: the data fee shows up on the HBO Max books as an expense and on the AT&T Mobility books as revenue. For AT&T as a whole, it zeroes out. Compare that to a competitor like Netflix, which could theoretically pay AT&T for sponsored data, but it would be a pure cost.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

India Plans $6.6 Billion in Incentives To Woo Smartphone Makers

India is offering financial incentives and plug-and-play facilities with an outlay of about 500 billion rupees ($6.6 billion) to attract investments from global companies in the manufacture of mobile phones and related components. From a report: The government will initially target five global suppliers and extend a financial incentive of as much as 6% on incremental sales of goods made in the country for a period of five years, according to the ministry for electronics and information technology. An incentive of 25% on capital expenditure will be provided for production of electronic components, semiconductors and other parts. Electronic manufacturing clusters with ready-to-use facilities will be offered. The move has the potential to make India as global hub for mobile phone manufacturing and make it the largest exported item out of India while generate half a million jobs, Ravi Shankar Prasad, minister for electronics and information technology, said at a press conference in New Delhi Tuesday.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Hackers Plan To Use Stolen Cryptocurrency Exchange Data for SIM Swapping

Hackers who obtained personal data on users of Canadian cryptocurrency exchange Coinsquare say they plan to use the information to perform so-called SIM swapping attacks, according to one of the hackers. Motherboard: The news shows hackers' continued interest in trying to leverage security issues with telecom-based forms of authentication. In a SIM swapping attack, a hacker takes control of a target's phone number, which then gives them the ability to request password resets for some websites or a victim's two-factor authentication code. Often, SIM swappers will use these techniques to steal cryptocurrency. The breach also signals the continued risk of insider access, with Coinsquare telling Motherboard a former employee was responsible for stealing the data. "The original intent was to sell it [the data] but we figured we would make more money by SIM swapping the accounts," a pseudonymous hacker who provided the Coinsquare data to Motherboard said in an online chat.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

No, it's just a Mirage: Lenovo's nerd-goggles-for-suits boasts 4K display but no need to be attached to powerful PC

ThinkReality? We'd prefer to think about anything but reality right now, thanks

Lenovo has whipped the covers off its latest take on VR-for-biz in the form of the Android-powered Mirage VR S3 headset with ThinkReality.…

You're 3 billion years too late to see Mars' impressive ring system. The next one will be along in 40 million years or so

Astroboffins say Deimos's wonky orbit suggests slow-burning ring-moon cycle

Like the gas giants in the outer region of the Solar System, Mars may have been circled by a ring of debris over three billion years ago.…

Office supplies biz owned by UK council snubs ransomware demand for 102 Bitcoin

Firm told customers they'd got a new Gmail address

A Brit public sector-owned office supplies company shrugged off a ransomware demand for 102 Bitcoins after a staffer opened a phishing email.…

'Beyond stupid': Linus Torvalds trashes 5.8 Linux kernel patch over opt-in Intel CPU bug mitigation

AWS engineers given a dressing-down after proposing fix for 'paranoid' tasks

Linus Torvalds has removed a patch in the next release of the Linux kernel intended to provide additional opt-in mitigation of attacks against the L1 data (L1D) CPU cache.…

Choose your own adventure: HP's new Omen 15 gaming laptop offers choice between AMD and Intel processors

Are you Team Red or Team Blue?

HP has refreshed its Omen 15 gaming laptop, and choice is the name of the game here. This effort emphasises customisation, extending to providing an option between Intel and AMD chips.…