Retired self-proclaimed ordinary guy Bryce Wray has written an analysis of the situation with Mozilla's Firefox, the tipping point it is rapidly approaching, and the factors behind it heading towards that tipping point as it descends towards 2%. The U.S. Web Design System (USWDS) guides those building US government web sites, but the influence extends much further in practice:
With such a continuing free-fall, Firefox is inevitably nearing the point where USWDS will remove it, like Internet Explorer before it, from the list of supported browsers.
"So what?" you may wonder. "That's just for web developers in the U.S. government. It doesn't affect any other web devs."
Actually, it very well could. Here's how I envision the dominoes falling:
- Once Firefox slips below the 2% threshold in the government's visitor analytics, USWDS tells government web devs they don't have to support Firefox anymore.
- When that word gets out, it spreads quickly to not only the front-end dev community but also the corporate IT departments for whom some web devs work. Many corporations do a lot of business with the government and, thus, whatever the government does from an IT standpoint is going to influence what corporations do.
- Corporations see this change as an opportunity to lower dev costs and delivery times, in that it provides an excuse to remove some testing (and, in rare cases, specific coding) from their development workflow.2
. . . and just like that, in less time than you might think, Firefox — the free/open-source browser that was supposed to save the world from the jackboots of Internet Explorer (which had killed Firefox's ancestor, Netscape Navigator) — is reduced to permanent status as a shrinking part of the fractured miscellany that litters the bottom of browser market-share charts.
It also matters a lot in another way because without push back, due to either lack of will or lack of ability, there is not a counter balance to Google's Chromium / Chrome and thus the web has started to become[sic] under full control of a single entity, and a[sic] one which is a corporation at that.
For those that have been following the saga, the CEO of Mozilla Corporation has maneuvered the once great browser from being a major presence to being barely a statistical error in market share. During that time Mozilla has also shifted from having a diverse funding base to being more or less fully financially dependent on its most serious competitor, Google.
A former Tesla employee has told the BBC he believes the technology powering the firm's self-driving vehicles is not safe enough to be used on public roads.
Lucasz Krupski leaked data, including customer complaints about Tesla's braking and self-driving software, to German newspaper Handelsblatt in May.
He said attempts to highlight his concerns internally had been ignored.
Tesla did not respond to requests for comment.
Elon Musk, the chief executive of Tesla, has championed its self-driving technology.
"Tesla has by far the best real-world AI," Mr Musk said in a post on X, formerly Twitter, on Saturday.
But, in his first UK interview, Mr Krupski told the BBC's technology editor, Zoe Kleinman, he was concerned about how AI was being used - to power Tesla's autopilot service.
Its autopilot feature, for example, includes assisted steering and parking - but, despite its name, it does still require someone in the driver's seat with their hands on the wheel.
"I don't think the hardware is ready and the software is ready," he said.
"It affects all of us because we are essentially experiments in public roads. So even if you don't have a Tesla, your children still walk in the footpath."
Mr Krupski said he had found evidence in company data which suggested that requirements relating to the safe operation of vehicles that had a certain level of autonomous or assistive-driving technology had not been followed.
He added that even Tesla employees had spoken to him about vehicles randomly braking in response to non-existent obstacles - known as "phantom braking". This also came up in the data he obtained around customer complaints.
Mr Krupski said he had felt compelled to share what he had found with data protection authorities.
The US Department of Justice have been investigating Tesla over its claims relating to its assisted driving features since January.
Tesla has also faced similar probes and questions from agencies including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration about its autopilot system.
German newspaper Handelsblatt published the "Tesla Files" after Mr Krupski shared 100GB of internal data he discovered.
The data protection authority in the Netherlands, where Tesla's European headquarters are based, confirmed to the BBC it had been notified of the data breach and was looking into the claim.
[... ] Mr Krupski said the last six months and experience of being a whistleblower had been "terrifying".
"I barely sleep at night sometimes," he told the BBC.
But his actions have been recognised by others - he has been awarded the Blueprint for Free Speech Whistleblowing Prize.
Jack Stilgoe, an associate professor at University College London who researches autonomous vehicles, said Mr Krupski's claims raised wider concerns about the technology.
"This is a sort of test case of artificial intelligence in the wild, on the open road, surrounded by all the rest of us," he said.
The UK Government announced plans for an Automated Vehicles Bill to outline a legal framework for self-driving cars in the King's Speech in early November.
"We'll have to see as the bill gets developed whether it grapples with all of the novel things about the technology," Prof Stilgoe added.
Hackers have been able to gain access to personal information from about 6.9 million users of genetic testing company 23andMe, using customers' old passwords:
In some cases this included family trees, birth years and geographic locations, the company said.
After weeks of speculation the firm has put a number on the breach, with more than half of its customers affected.
The stolen data does not include DNA records.
[...] As was first reported by Tech Crunch, the company has acknowledged that by accessing those accounts, hackers were then able to find their way into "a significant number of files containing profile information about other users' ancestry".
The criminals downloaded not just the data from those accounts but the private information of all other users they had links to across the sprawling family trees on the website.
The stolen data includes information like names, how each person is linked and in some cases birth years, locations, pictures, addresses and the percentage of DNA shared with relatives.
I'm with Bill Burr on this.
One of the oldest distinctions in information access is between searching and browsing. Does a user initiate an information-seeking journey by typing keywords into a search box, or by browsing a category hierarchy?
Search vs. browse is a false dichotomy, since users employ both strategies to achieve highly overlapping goals. For example, a user looking for men's shoes on an ecommerce site can either type the query "mens shoes" into the search box or browse through the category hierarchy.
In fact, the strategies that users employ often depend as much on application design as on their personal preferences. A larger, more prominent search box encourages search, while a more prominent link to to view the category hierarchy encourages browse. Autocomplete design can have a big impact too — particularly the decision of whether or not to present category browse pages as autocomplete suggestions. Also, some applications redirect common keyword queries to browse pages.
So we should not assume that users set out to search vs. browse.
The author explains how it's important to focus on the user's intent while supporting their journey, concluding with:
One of the worse consequences of the sharp distinction between search and browse is that two different teams tend to be responsible for them — and sometimes those teams even compete for glory and resources. Remember: it's not about you or your organization. It's about helping users find what they are looking for. So make sure that your org structure, analytics, and other internal processes don't get in the way of helping your users achieve their goals — through search, browse, or both.
In the early days of autonomous driving development, there was some press about researchers using the "trolley problem" (kill one person "on purpose" vs "do nothing" and kill many) to think about how robot cars should work. Now researchers at North Carolina State U have broken that big moral question down into smaller, more mundane pieces, in an attempt to see what ordinary human drivers think and do. Press release at: https://www.autonomousvehicleinternational.com/news/adas/ncsu-researchers-ditch-the-trolley-problem-to-help-autonomous-vehicles-make-moral-decisions.html and full paper at https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00146-023-01813-y
... "The typical situation comprises a binary choice for a self-driving car between swerving left, hitting a lethal obstacle, or proceeding forward, hitting a pedestrian crossing the street. However, these trolley-like cases are unrealistic. Drivers have to make many more realistic moral decisions every day. Should I drive over the speed limit? Should I run a red light? Should I pull over for an ambulance?"
"For example, if someone is driving 20mph over the speed limit and runs a red light, then they may find themselves in a situation where they have to either swerve into traffic or get into a collision. There's currently very little data in the literature on how we make moral judgments about the decisions drivers make in everyday situations."
To address that lack of data, the researchers developed a series of experiments designed to collect data on how humans make moral judgments about decisions that people make in low-stakes traffic situations. The researchers created seven different driving scenarios, such as a parent who has to decide whether to violate a traffic signal while trying to get their child to school on time. Each scenario is programmed into a virtual reality environment, so that study participants engaged in the experiment have audiovisual information about what drivers are doing when they make decisions, rather than simply reading about the scenario.
For this work, the researchers built on something called the Agent Deed Consequence (ADC) model, which posits that people take three things into account when making a moral judgment: the agent, which is the character or intent of the person who is doing something; the deed, or what is being done; and the consequence, or the outcome that resulted from the deed.
Researchers created eight different versions of each traffic scenario, varying the combinations of agent, deed and consequence. For example, in one version of the scenario where a parent is trying to get the child to school, the parent is caring, brakes at a yellow light, and gets the child to school on time. In a second version, the parent is abusive, runs a red light, and causes an accident. The other six versions alter the nature of the parent (the agent), their decision at the traffic signal (the deed), and/or the outcome of their decision (the consequence).
To date they have done small pilot studies, next is a much larger study with thousands of human subjects.
Do we want robot cars to make the same routine decisions that some average human makes? I think it's a given that following some traffic rules (eg, speed limit) to the letter is likely to foul up traffic in many situations. How about in other situations?
IBM has unveiled the first quantum computer with more than 1,000 qubits — the equivalent of the digital bits in an ordinary computer. But the company says it will now shift gears and focus on making its machines more error-resistant rather than larger.
For years, IBM has been following a quantum-computing road map that roughly doubled the number of qubits every year. The chip unveiled on 4 December, called Condor, has 1,121 superconducting qubits arranged in a honeycomb pattern. It follows on from its other record-setting, bird-named machines, including a 127-qubit chip in 2021 and a 433-qubit one last year.
Quantum computers promise to perform certain computations that are beyond the reach of classical computers. They will do so by exploiting uniquely quantum phenomena such as entanglement and superposition, which allow multiple qubits to exist in multiple collective states at once.
But these quantum states are also notoriously fickle, and prone to error. Physicists have tried to get around this by coaxing several physical qubits — each encoded in a superconducting circuit, say, or an individual ion — to work together to represent one qubit of information, or ‘logical qubit’.
As part of its new tack, the company also unveiled a chip called Heron that has 133 qubits, but with a record-low error rate, three times lower than that of its previous quantum processor.
Researchers have generally said that state-of-the-art error-correction techniques will require more than 1,000 physical qubits for each logical qubit. A machine that can do useful computations would then need to have millions of physical qubits.
But in recent months, physicists have grown excited about an alternative error-correction scheme called quantum low-density parity check (qLDPC). It promises to cut that number by a factor of 10 or more, according to a preprint by IBM researchers. The company says it will now focus on building chips designed to hold a few qLDPC-corrected qubits in just 400 or so physical qubits, and then networking those chips together.
The IBM preprint is “excellent theoretical work”, says Mikhail Lukin, a physicist at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. “That being said, implementing this approach with superconducting qubits seem to be extremely challenging and it will likely take years before even a proof-of-concept experiment can be tried in this platform,” Lukin says. Lukin and his collaborators conducted similar study on the prospect to implement qLDPC using individual atoms instead of superconducting loops2.
The catch is that the qLDPC technique requires each qubit to be directly connected to at least six others. In typical superconducting chips, each qubit is connected only to two or three neighbours. But Oliver Dial, a condensed-matter physicist and chief technology officer of IBM Quantum, at IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, New York, says that the company has a plan: it will add a layer to the design of its quantum chips, to allow the extra connections required by the qLDPC scheme.
A new IBM road map on the its quantum research unveiled today sees it reaching useful computations — such as simulating the workings of catalyst molecules — by decade’s end. “It’s always been the dream, and it’s always been a distant dream,” says Dial. “Actually having it come close enough that we can see the path from where we are today for me is enormous.”
(1) S. Bravyi et al. Preprint at arXiv [doi.org]: 10.1038/d41586-023-03854-1. (2023)
(2) Q. Xu et al. Preprint at arXiv [doi.org]: 10.48550/arXiv.2308.08648 (2023).
(3) Sergey Bravyi, Andrew W. Cross, Jay M. Gambetta, et al. High-threshold and low-overhead fault-tolerant quantum memory, (DOI: 10.48550/arXiv.2308.07915)
(4) Qian Xu, J. Pablo Bonilla Ataides, Christopher A. Pattison, et al. Constant-Overhead Fault-Tolerant Quantum Computation with Reconfigurable Atom Arrays, (DOI: 10.48550/arXiv.2308.08648)
I decided a few years ago that I was sick of standing in the snow at a gas station waiting for the person inside the building to finish selling that lottery ticket and turn the pump on so I can stand there some more babysitting it while it fills up and I freeze. The answer, of course, was to buy a car that didn't need gasoline, one I could plug into the house and go inside where it's warm.
I'm not a rich man, I'm a pensioner who is still paying a mortgage, so I looked for an affordable EV. Used ones are almost nonexistent, and I found out why when I finally bought one: it has a ten year warranty. They haven't been making them much longer than that.
I swore off new cars decades ago when my month old VW stranded me ninety miles from home with a bad alternator, but if you want an EV, new is your only choice. I kept seeing the Chevy Bolt advertised, but could never find one for sale at all. Then I found that they had stopped making them two years earlier.
Why? Well, battery problems, they claimed. Why just the not so expensive one, $30,000? GM is still selling electric Cadillacs and Corvettes, why no cheap cars?
I discovered after buying an EV that the only two advantages of a piston car to an electric one are the lack of infrastructure for long trips, and the high purchase price of the vehicle. Why high? Because only their flagship autos have electric motors, the ones that formerly had V8s.
My car cost $40,000. It's absolutely the nicest, roomiest (except for the minivans) car I ever owned. My Dad had a Checker when I was about ten, they no longer make them. They were designed for taxicabs and I've never seen more back seat leg room than in one. My new Hyundai has more leg room except Dad's Checker than any other car I've ever seen, and although the '74 LeMans was a much bigger car, my new EV is much roomier. It's a lot roomier than the '02 Concorde that was the same size as my new car on the outside. Why aren't the auto companies advertising how roomy EVs are? I never realized how much space engines, transmissions, and gas tanks take up.
I started trying to buy one when I realized that you don't have to babysit them when you're charging. I didn't want to stand there in the snow filling a gas tank, but judging from most Facebook comments I've seen, I must be the only one who realized that. People seem to think you have to stand there when they charge. Why aren't they advertising this benefit?
Why aren't they telling you that your car can now heat your garage, unlike a piston car? Why aren't they advertising the fact that rather than the heat coming on when you get to where you're going, you have heat before you're out of the driveway?
Why aren't they telling you how well EVs handle, thanks to its crazy low center of gravity? Or how much faster they can stop, thanks to having two sets of brakes?
Why aren't they advertising the fact that electricity is five times cheaper than gasoline and diesel? The only way I found out was by buying one.
Why aren't they advertising all the advantages of EVs?
Why are only the top of the line autos like the Mustang or Cadillac EVs? That's an easy question to answer. The automakers are under laws from our and other governments that their fuel mileage average of all the vehicles they sell has to be under a certain number. The easiest way to do that is to make the expensive cars, the ones with big V-8s, electric. When your fastest car doesn't use traditional fuel...
But this, of course, begs a second question: why only the expensive ones? Because they don't want to make electric cars at all. The obvious reason is that they hate EVs. But why do they hate them and love the incredibly inefficient (my car will go 20 miles on the electricity it takes to refine a gallon of gasoline), obsolete Rube Goldberg device with thousands of moving parts to wear and break?
EVs threaten their business model. The businesses are set up so that GM makes almost as much profit from aftermarket parts, like spark plugs, belts, hoses, pumps, and so forth as they do on the cars themselves.
Gasoline and diesel vehicles all need periodic maintenance. They're needy things, expensive to maintain, and the car company gets a cut of every repair of every car they sell. The drive train is a Rube Goldberg mess with thousands of moving, interlocking parts, any one of which fails can cripple the vehicle. A bad fuel pump stranded me in the bad part of town last year, and the repair was nearly $900 not counting the towing charge. The repair shop got half, Pontiac and other companies got the rest.
My new car doesn't have a fuel pump. Or spark plugs, or belts, or fuel injectors, or any of the other moving parts all the other cars I've owned since 1968 had and needed replacing. The motor's shaft IS its drive train! When was the last time your ceiling fan needed servicing?
More than likely that new 1976 Vega that cost $3,000 garnered more than that for GM in aftermarket parts. There may still be some on the road still earning money for GM. An EV has few aftermarket parts; tires, brake pads, windshield wiper blades are all I can think of. Hyundai won't make any more money from my new EV like they would if it had a big six cylinder piston engine.
Which is a shame, because electric motors are all far, far superior to piston engines and transmissions in every way. But the nearly zero cost of maintenance is why the thieving billionaire car companies don't want to sell affordable EVs. In fact, they want to sell as few EVs as possible. If it wasn't for fuel mileage restrictions, Tesla and the Chinese would likely be the only electric cars you could buy.
But isn't this just a conspiracy theory? No, there was never a conspiracy, nothing needed to be said. Those people aren't moral, but they're not stupid, either. Ford and Chevy aren't making cars for a hobby, nor are they charitable organizations. All they care about is profit, and EVs threaten their gravy train.
Arthur T Knackerbracket has processed the following story:
It was back in 2022 when Broadcom, known for designing and manufacturing semiconductor products, announced plans to buy cloud computing and virtualization technology company VMware in a cash-and-stock transaction valued at approximately $61 billion. The deal also sees Broadcom assuming VMware's $8 billion in debt.
Broadcom said it had completed the acquisition of VMware last November 22. As is often the case with mergers, one of the first actions being taken by Broadcom is to implement mass layoffs across the company it's just bought.
[...] If that isn't enough to anger VMware employees, those who aren't being fired have been given an ultimatum by Broadcom CEO Hock Tan: "If you live within 50 miles of an office, you get your butt in here," he said.
"Collaboration is important and a key part of sustaining a culture with your peers, with your colleagues," Tan added.
VMware has long been a remote-friendly company, a stark contrast to Broadcom, which is so anti-work-from-home that it ordered some employees back into the office in April 2020, despite California's stay-at-home orders.
The latest post on the Google Security blog details a new upgrade to Gmail's spam filters that Google is calling "one of the largest defense upgrades in recent years." The upgrade comes in the form of a new text classification system called RETVec (Resilient & Efficient Text Vectorizer). Google says this can help understand "adversarial text manipulations"—these are emails full of special characters, emojis, typos, and other junk characters that previously were legible by humans but not easily understandable by machines. Previously, spam emails full of special characters made it through Gmail's defenses easily.
[...] Google says the efficiency here is a big deal. Alternative approaches that used a "fixed vocabulary size" or "lookup table" for homoglyphs made them very resource-intensive to run. Imagine a list of every possible spelling and misspelling of "congratulations" that swaps out one or more characters for numbers, math symbols, Cyrillic, Hebrew, or emojis and you have a nearly endless list. Google says RETVec is only 200k "instead of millions of parameters," so while Google's spam-filtering cloud is probably big enough to run anything, this is small enough that it could even run on a local device. RETVec is open source, and Google hopes it will rid the world of homoglyph attacks, so even your local comment section could be running it someday.
Spying has always been limited by the need for human labor. A.I. is going to change that:
Spying and surveillance are different but related things. If I hired a private detective to spy on you, that detective could hide a bug in your home or car, tap your phone, and listen to what you said. At the end, I would get a report of all the conversations you had and the contents of those conversations. If I hired that same private detective to put you under surveillance, I would get a different report: where you went, whom you talked to, what you purchased, what you did.
Before the internet, putting someone under surveillance was expensive and time-consuming. You had to manually follow someone around, noting where they went, whom they talked to, what they purchased, what they did, and what they read. That world is forever gone. Our phones track our locations. Credit cards track our purchases. Apps track whom we talk to, and e-readers know what we read. Computers collect data about what we're doing on them, and as both storage and processing have become cheaper, that data is increasingly saved and used. What was manual and individual has become bulk and mass. Surveillance has become the business model of the internet, and there's no reasonable way for us to opt out of it.
Spying is another matter. It has long been possible to tap someone's phone or put a bug in their home and/or car, but those things still require someone to listen to and make sense of the conversations. Yes, spyware companies like NSO Group help the government hack into people's phones, but someone still has to sort through all the conversations. And governments like China could censor social media posts based on particular words or phrases, but that was coarse and easy to bypass. Spying is limited by the need for human labor.
A.I. is about to change that.
[...] We could limit this capability. We could prohibit mass spying. We could pass strong data-privacy rules. But we haven't done anything to limit mass surveillance. Why would spying be any different?
After a spy camera designed to look like a towel hook was purchased on Amazon and illegally used for months to capture photos of a minor in her private bathroom, Amazon was sued.
The plaintiff—a former Brazilian foreign exchange student then living in West Virginia—argued that Amazon had inspected the camera three times and its safety team had failed to prevent allegedly severe, foreseeable harms still affecting her today.
Amazon hoped the court would dismiss the suit, arguing that the platform wasn't responsible for the alleged criminal conduct harming the minor. But after nearly eight months deliberating, a judge recently largely denied the tech giant's motion to dismiss.
Amazon's biggest problem persuading the judge was seemingly the product descriptions that the platform approved. An amended complaint included a photo from Amazon's product listing that showed bathroom towels hanging on hooks that disguised the hidden camera. Text on that product image promoted the spy cams, boasting that they "won't attract attention" because each hook appears to be "a very ordinary hook."
Arthur T Knackerbracket has processed the following story:
HP is squeezing more margin out of print customers, the result of a multi-year strategy to convert unprofitable business into something more lucrative, and says its subscription model is "locking" in people.
[...] "We absolutely see when you move a customer from that pure transactional model ... whether it's Instant Ink, plus adding on that paper, we sort of see a 20 percent uplift on the value of that customer because you're locking that person, committing to a longer-term relationship."
[...] By pre-pandemic 2019, HP had grown weary of third-party cartridge makers stealing its supplies business. It pledged to charge more upfront for certain printer hardware ("rebalance the system profitability, capturing more profit upfront").
HP also set in motion new subscriptions, and launched Smart Tank hardware filled with a pre-defined amount of ink/toner. These now account for 60 percent of total shipments.
Myers told the UBS Conference she was "really proud" that HP could "raise the range on our print margins" based on "bold moves and shifting models."
[...] An old industry factoid from 2003 was that HP ink cost seven times more than a bottle of 1985 Dom Perignon. HP isn't alone in these sorts of comparisons – Epson was called out by Which? a couple years back.
Something tells us that Myers' audience at the UBS gig might not view the cost of printing the same way as the rest of us.
Software engineer Miguel Grinberg is getting a jump on the new year and has already published the Flask Mega-Tutorial, 2024 Edition. As he introduces its 23 chapters,
Back in 2012, I decided to start this software development blog. Because I am a do-it-yourselfer at heart, instead of using Blogger or WordPress, I sat down and wrote my own blog engine, using a then little known web framework called Flask. I knew I wanted to code it in Python, and I first tried Django, which was the most popular Python web framework at the time. But unfortunately Django seemed too big and too structured for my needs. I've found that Flask gave me as much power, while being small, unopinionated and unobtrusive.
Writing my own blog engine was an awesome experience that left me with a lot of ideas for topics I wanted to blog about. Instead of writing individual articles about all these topics, I decided to write a long, overarching tutorial that Python beginners can use to learn web development. And just like that, the Flask Mega-Tutorial was born!
Meeting Announcement: The next meeting of the SoylentNews governance committee is scheduled for Tomorrow, Wednesday, December 6th, 2023 at 21:00 UTC (4pm Eastern) in #governance on SoylentNews IRC. Logs of the meeting will be available afterwards for review, and minutes will be published when complete.
Minutes and agenda, and other governance committee information are to be found on the SoylentNews Wiki at: https://wiki.staging.soylentnews.org/wiki/Governance
The community, welcome to observe and participate, is encouraged to attend the meeting.
The double burial of an adult woman and an infant, dating to about 7000–6800 BCE, discovered in 1934 during construction works at the spa gardens of Bad Dürrenberg, is regarded as one of the outstanding burial finds of the Mesolithic in Central Europe. Because of the unusual equipment with the woman, who was buried in a seated position, and her bodily anomalies, the burial is interpreted as that of a shaman.
Genetic research now reveals the relation of the woman and the child: the boy is not her son, but is a fourth- or fifth-degree relation. The phenotypic variants analyzed in the woman's genome inform us that she had a relatively dark skin complexion, dark, straight hair, and blue eyes.
The unusual equipment buried with the woman comprises flint artifacts and solid rock tools, but also bone and antler artifacts, a piece of red ochre, a number of animal bones including the shell of at least three terrapins and partly pierced animal teeth. Together with deer antlers and originally six partly pierced boar's tusks, these finds are probably head/body ornaments. Due to the grave goods and bodily anomalies of the woman, the burial is interpreted as that of a shaman.
[...] Subsequent excavations at the site as part of the preparations for the State Garden Exhibition 2024 brought not only new revelations about the deposition and positioning of the body to light, but also revealed a multitude of new finds, which could be clearly attributed to the burial. Besides the pierced animal teeth, remains of fauna, lithic artifacts and a large amount of human skeletal remains could also be recovered.
At the base of the skull, there is an anomaly at the edge of the great occipital hole, in the form of a small constriction. This area is the imprint of an abnormally developed blood vessel. The first cervical vertebra is incompletely formed due to a congenital growth defect and has only reached 40% of the arch. The rounded end of the vertebral arch corresponds to the previously observed defect at the large occipital hole.
[...] This can be caused intentionally by adopting a certain head posture. The consequences are unlikely to have been serious or hazardous to the person's health. However, it is conceivable that a nystagmus, i.e., an involuntary movement of the eyeballs, could be caused by the blockage of a blood vessel. This unusual feature might have been perceived as uncanny and when initiated on purpose may have reinforced or even justified her role as a shaman.