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Funding Goal
For 6-month period:
2021-07-01 to 2021-12-31
(All amounts are estimated)
Base Goal:


Covers transactions:
2021-07-22 12:14:55 ..
2021-10-18 11:21:58 UTC
(SPIDs: [1618..1655])
Last Update:
2021-10-18 12:49:30 UTC --martyb

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We always have a place for talented people, visit the Get Involved section on the wiki to see how you can make SoylentNews better.

posted by The Mighty Buzzard on Thursday September 03 2020, @08:00PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the silver-linings dept.

The Mighty Buzzard writes:

Congrats to the wannabe APK noobtard for advancing the site's codebase despite me having extremely limited time to play. I added three lines of code and now Spam modded comments (and comment trees) auto-collapse and you can still moderate a comment as Spam even if it's already at the minimum score. Honestly, the folks using any other downmod on obvious Spam annoy me more than the noobtard does but that annoyance at least is now history. Changes are to hot code only, I'll put them in the repo as part of my next pull request.

Suck it, noob. --TMB

posted by martyb on Monday August 31 2020, @10:00PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

The month of August is winding to a close. Here are a few updates on site activity. If you are interested, please read on after the fold. Otherwise, a new story will be along shortly.

Server Updates:
As I write this, The Mighty Buzzard is in the process of rebuilding three of our Gentoo servers: lithium (our development server; hosts, aluminum (our eventual replacement for beryllium which is our sole CentOS server), and magnesium (which is one of our two load balancers; the other is sodium). All rebuilds are in progress and happening in the background. The only user-noticeable impact should be a brief outage when the dev server reboots. That is anticipated to occur later tonight (EDT). Thanks Buzz!

[TMB Note]: It's just installing boring old OS updates. Nothing you guys actually use should be impacted in any way.

Editor Activity:
First off, it's my pleasure to welcome Subsentient back to editing duties on SoylentNews after a bit of a hiatus. We look forward to his contributions to the site! Also, it gives me great pleasure to announce that chromas just posted his 1,200th story! And with that accomplishment, it also marks his moving up to 9th place among our Most Active Authors on the site's Hall of Fame! Congratulations! That represents a great commitment of time and energy in support of SoylentNews. (Not to mention his systemd bot on IRC (Internet Relay Chat) which offers several commands that make our jobs as editors so much easier. Thanks chromas!

Folding@Home (F@H):
Folding@Home is a distributed computing project that leverages spare computing resources on participant's computers. The majority of those resources are now being applied to better understand the SARS‑CoV‑2 virus which causes COVID-19. The current statistics reveal over 25 million cases world-wide with over 850,000 deaths. Note that many survivors have reported experiencing long term, debilitating consequences. Also, there is not just one virus. It has been mutating as it spreads, so continued monitoring and analysis is required to keep on top of things.

Back to F@H, it is my pleasure to report that Runaway1956 is now at the top of our team's standings with 396,857,185 Credits and 11,702 Work Units completed. That makes him the 2,461th-highest, single contributor in the world. Thank-you so much for your efforts in helping to fight this terrible disease!

We are two months into the second half of the year. So far, we have netted $744.16 towards our goal of $3,500.00 for site expenses... that's 21.3% of what we need to pay for the servers, business fees and taxes, accountant, etc. For those who have subscribed, please accept my genuine and sincere thanks! It bears repeating that nobody at SoylentNews has ever received even one cent for their contributions to the site. All staff freely volunteer their spare time and energy to keep things running.

Final Note:
Many, many thanks to the community who supports SoylentNews by submitting and moderating comments. Thanks, especially, to those who have submitted stories. YOU are what makes SoylentNews happen. It is a privilege to serve you. Thank you for supporting my efforts as Editor-in-Chief; I hope to continue to earn your trust in the days and years that lie ahead!

Original Submission

posted by The Mighty Buzzard on Sunday August 09 2020, @05:51AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the SNAFU dept.

The Mighty Buzzard writes:

Yeah, so, failure to babysit the db node that was scheduled for a reboot on the 5th resulted in a bit of database FUBAR that left us temporarily losing everything from then to now. Fortunately we had a backup less than six hours old, restored from it, and appear to be copacetic now. Except for the missing five hours and change.

I'd usually make some sort of dumb joke here but it was already four hours past my bedtime when I found out about the problem. My brain is no work good anymore. Fill in whatever dad joke or snark about getting a do-over for a change strikes your fancy.

posted by martyb on Thursday August 06 2020, @12:23AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

I recently received a message from our Treasurer and updated financial statements. I've taken this opportunity to put this out to the community. While I was at it, it seemed like a good time to take a look at things and provide an update to the community on where we're at and how we're doing. If you are not interested in this kind of stuff, a new story will be along before too long. Otherwise, more will be revealed after the break.

First off, I always hesitate when writing one of these stories. There are so many people who make SoylentNews happen and I know I'll leave someone out. These guys do so so much I can't keep up with all of it! If I've omitted anyone, it's strictly my mistake and I mean no disparagement to anyone's contributions! So, I extend my thanks to everyone who makes this site happen each and every day!

Hiccup: Worst things first, we had a "hiccup" on at about 03:00 UTC this morning (2020-08-05). Some pages loaded without CSS (i.e. bare text with limited or no formatting). Other pages would not load at all. Some people received "500 Server Error" messages. TheMightyBuzzard examined the situation, bounced the front-end servers, and restarted Apache. From what I can tell, it also took a restart of two of our servers (helium and magnesium). This seems to have cleared the gremlins that were interfering with site operations. Thanks TMB!

Spam: We recently experienced a couple bouts of "Spam" postings. Staff is not the "thought police". Obviously, we would have to abide by a lawful order like a DMCA notice. Otherwise, we provide the tools so the community can police things themselves. If you have registered a nickname on the site, you can customize your view of the comments posted here. If you want to see all comments except those that have been moderated as Spam, Give a "+1" moderation adjustment to all comments except apply a "-6" moderation adjustment for "Spam". Then set your "Threshold" and "Breakthrough" to 0 (zero).

Yes, we are aware that top-level comments still get expanded by default. Changing this behavior is near the top of the list of planned future enhancements to the site.

Finances: I received a report from our treasurer, Matt_, that I would like to share with the community:

I have just updated the books and prepared the attached financial statements (Balance Sheet and Profit and Loss Statement) for our Fiscal Year 2019 (July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020). As you can see from the P&L Statement, whereas we ended the previous fiscal year with a net loss of $1,057.97, we ended FY2019 with net income of $1,348.05 (clearly much better, and if we can keep this up going forward, we should be in good shape). Turning to the Balance Sheet, we ended FY2019 with a total of $5,008.20 cash on hand, which gives us a runway of approximately 10 months, given our burn rate of about $6,000 per year. This, of course, assumes no significant change (increase or decrease) in our expenses going forward.

I have uploaded these to the Finances page on our Wiki.

It bears mentioning that our initial seed capital of $10,000.00 was contributed by Matt_ and NComander by way of equal share purchases of stock in SoylentNews PBC. So, we are still down about $5,000 from our starting balance. Still, I am most pleased with the improved cash flow situation and thank all those who have Subscribed.

Story Submissions: There have been over 42,500 stories submitted to SoylentNews, of which over 32,840 have been accepted. I cannot thank you all enough for your contributions to the site! I well remember a time when there were two editors on IRC tag-teaming on finding story submissions, pushing stories out, and 2nding them for the community. That made for many late and exhausting nights. For those who may be new here, all staff here are volunteers; nobody has ever been paid anything for their work on the site. We have the same kinds of demands on our time as everybody else: work, family, relationships, etc. From what spare time we have, we try to keep the site up and running with stories that we think will be of interest to the community. We are fortunate to have such highly-skilled and selfless people on staff who not only believe in SoylentNews, but make sacrifices to help keep it a going concern. I hereby express my gratitude for all their efforts!

Note Bene: There is an artifact on the "Most Active Submitters" section of SoylentNews' Hall of Fame page — it omits story submissions made by Authors (aka Editors) as well as those made by Anonymous Cowards. I generated a complete list of the top 20 for our site. I hereby publicly thank takyon for his continuous contributions. I know when I see a submission from him that it is "production ready" — just a quick review of links and it's good-to-go. Not content to rest on those laurels, he has also pushed out 1354 stories which puts him in 6th place on the Most Active Authors list. Thanks so very much takyon!

Expand below for details:

mysql> SELECT          COUNT(*) AS c, users.nickname
    -> FROM            stories, users
    -> WHERE           users.uid=stories.submitter
    -> GROUP BY        users.uid
    -> ORDER BY        c DESC LIMIT 20
    -> ;
| c    | nickname                |
| 5699 | takyon                  |
| 5656 | Anonymous Coward        |
| 3425 | Phoenix666              |
| 2401 | upstart                 |
| 1439 | MrPlow                  |
| 1436 | Arthur T Knackerbracket |
| 1114 | AnonTechie              |
|  894 | martyb                  |
|  731 | Papas Fritas            |
|  586 | Fnord666                |
|  539 | canopic jug             |
|  400 | lhsi                    |
|  317 | RandomFactor            |
|  310 | tonyPick                |
|  301 | butthurt                |
|  246 | frojack                 |
|  240 | janrinok                |
|  217 | n1                      |
|  205 | c0lo                    |
|  148 | mendax                  |
20 rows in set (16.73 sec)

Editors: Also known as "Authors" (no, I don't know why). We are the more public face of the site. We have taken on the task of reviewing and selecting story submissions and then editing them to try to provide a consistent "feel" to the site. SoylentNews' founding was based, in part, on the powers-that-be at Slashdot failing to listen to the community and insisting on rolling out a "Beta" version of their site. We take our responsibility to provide a consistent look-and-feel seriously. Yes, we've made mistakes along the way, but we try to learn from them.

Our Alternate Editor-in-Chief Fnord666 has been pushing out about 5 stories a day, every day, for a long while now. I'd hate to imagine where we'd be without his continued and selfless contributions! Thanks Fnord666! I'd also like to recognize chromas' editorial contributions. It takes a while to build confidence as an editor and to face the potential backlash of mistakes being put in front of thousands of intelligent (and opinionated) nerds and geeks! An extra story a day makes a big difference and I want to take this opportunity to publicly thank him for his contributions. But, there's more! Behind the scenes, chromas is quick to conjure up and refine IRC tools that make our jobs as editors so much easier. His IRC bot makes it so much easier to submit stories, perform searches on Google and YouTube, and generate journal citations. I'd hate to imagine continuing on without them! Thanks chromas! We occasionally get visits from mrpg on IRC and some 2nding of stories which is much appreciated. Our editor-in-chief emeritus, janrinok, is on a sabbatical while providing medical support for a family member. He wishes he had more free time to contribute to the site and sends his best wishes to all. It bears repeating, here, the numerous contributions of takyon. He's a solid and constant contributor and I can't thank him enough for all his hard work!

Lastly, if I've counted correctly, this marks my 9,000th story on SoylentNews. It has been a distinct privilege and honor to serve the community as your Editor-in-Chief. I am ever reminded of the adage: Standing on the shoulders of giants. Those who originally got the site up and running. Who set the tone and established the procedures for running the site. Who did the necessary legal work to get us established as a Public Benefit Corporation (PBC) so that we could accept subscriptions and thereby fund our continuous operations. And the list goes on and on. We have come a long way since we went live on February 14th, 2014!

I have learned so much from the staff here, from all the stories we've published, and the comments that the community has provided. I try to do my best each day to fulfill the trust you've placed in me; I hope my efforts have been acceptable.

In a word: teamwork++

Folding@Home: "Folding@home is a distributed computing project aimed to help scientists develop new therapeutics to a variety of diseases by the means of simulating protein dynamics. This includes the process of protein folding and the movements of proteins, and is reliant on the simulations run on the volunteers' personal computers."

SoylentNews has a F@H team which is currently ranked "317 of 254,500". When it was announced that F@H would pivot to help with research of the SAR-CoV-2 virus which causes COVID-19, many heavy hitters joined up. Names you'd recognize like like AWS, Microsoft (Azure), Oracle, SAP, and many other large compute services brought their spare compute capacity to bear. Summit, one of the largest supercomputers in the world, has even been set to the task.

In light of the increased competition, it's all the more amazing how our team has held up! Here's another view of the team's status. Our current points production leaders are Runaway1956 and NCC74656 who are running neck-and-neck with each producing over 2.2 million points a day! Thank you!

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Tuesday July 07 2020, @04:00PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

I rolled out an improvement to the site's message processing template. =)


(1) Based on a user preference, the site can send a message to inform you someone had replied to a comment you had posted. The message *now* contains links that take you directly to the *comment* instead of to the *story*. The message appears at

(2) I made a mistake rolling out the change which will show up as extra text (__seclev__ 500 __version__ $Id$) below the text of the message. That was live for about an hour and is now fixed. I apologize for my error.

(3) Enjoy the added convenience!

[TMB note]:
(4) Also just added &noupdate=1 to the links to your comment and the reply so clicking on one reply won't mark every comment on the story as read anymore.

Read on for more details, if you are curious.

Previously, when you got a message that a user had replied to a comment you posted, you'd get links in the message that took you to the *story*. Then, you'd have to scroll down to see the actual comment. *Now*, clicking on either link takes you directly to the *message*, itself. It might help to see an example:



Though they *appear* the same, as *text*, the *links* under "Re:resolution choice" and "resolution choice" are different.

Unfortunately, I made a mistake in updating the *in-memory* copy of the template (default;comments;reply_msg). I accidentally included text that is needed in the template *file* (/rehash-master/plugins/Messages/templates/reply_msg;comments;default)

The Mighty Buzzard noticed the error and was instrumental in tracking it down. (Thanks Buzz!)

Any messages that were *generated* during this time (today between 1400-1500 UTC give-or-take) will show:

__seclev__ 500 __version__ $Id$

at the bottom of the message text.

Newly *generated* new messages (I.e. after 1500 UTC) should be back to normal; I apologize for any inconvenience my mistake caused.

(That said, I'd prefer you think it was part of my Sooper Sekret plan to get TMB to help test my changes! =)

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Thursday July 02 2020, @12:04PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the THANK-YOU! dept.


On June 29th, I posted a story that shared our financial status and asked for the community's support. And did you ever! As noted in that story:

So far, we have had 106 subscriptions this year which have netted us an estimated $2,794.92 (after processing fees from Stripe/Paypal) towards our goal of $3,500.00.

In short, we needed $705.08 to cover our expenses for the first half of the year (2020H1).

I am ecstatic to report that we not only covered that shortfall, but raised an additional $1254.52.

Thank You!!!

See the Subscription FAQ for a list of subscriber benefits. (Note: this is bit old; please mention in the comments if you find anything that is incorrect.)

The extra will go towards covering shortfalls from prior periods, help build our "rainy day" fund, and help us to be able to repay the $10,000.00 that our founders put up to get SoylentNews started.

I'll leave the first-half-year stats up in the "Site News" box for a few days before resetting it for the second half of the year. (That goal will be the same, $3500.00, toward which we have already raised $144.45 or 4.1% as of 20200702_120140 UTC.)

Here is the breakdown of our subscriptions for the first half of this year:

QtySub AmtTotal
posted by martyb on Monday June 29 2020, @01:00PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the we've-been-here-for-you;-will-you-be-here-for-us? dept.

[20200629_140251 UTC: Update 1: Encourage taking care of personal/local needs, first.]
[20200629_191024 UTC: Update 2: Added stretch goal of $1000.00 ]
[20200630_023201 UTC: Update 3: Increased stretch goal from $1000.00 to $2000.00]

[20200630_023201 UTC] What is possibly one of the worst things to hear from an editor? "I'm at a loss for words." Well, it's happened. The SoylentNews community has done it, again! We started today needing $800 to cover projected operating expenses of $3500 for the first half of the year. And you did it! So, I added a stretch goal of an additional $1000. Now you have gone and reached that goal, too! We'd run at a significant loss ($6000 so far), so that is very much appreciated! THANK-YOU!!!. Stretch goal has now been increased to $2000 [so we can continue to track your subscriptions in the Site News block]. Dare I hope? --martyb

[20200629_191024 UTC] The SoylentNews community is AMAZING! In these especially difficult circumstances, we've reached our original goal for ongoing expenses... and then some!

Thank You!!!!

We started today (Monday June 29) needing over $700.00 to cover projected operating expenses for the first half of the year.

We not only reached our original goal of $3500.00, but I added a stretch goal of $1000.00 and we are already 66% of the way to reaching *that*!

Why a stretch goal? Because we have been running at a deficit for a few years. We are are still about $6,000.00 short of having sufficient funds to pay back our benefactor's original $10,000.00 outlay. Any additional funds raised will go towards that purpose whilst giving us a larger safety cushion. --martyb

The original story (after performing Update #1) appears below:

SoylentNews could use your help.

tl;dr The first half of our fiscal year runs Wed. January 1 through Tue. June 30, inclusive. We are at 80% of the funds needed to cover our expenses for the period. If money is tight for you, take care of yourself first. But, if you can help, it would mean a lot to help us to continue to be here for you.

Please subscribe. The subscription amount provided (e.g. $20.00 for 1 year) is the minimum amount for that period; you can change that default to any larger value.

To all who started a new subscription or renewed an existing subscription: Thank You!

Times are tough. First, please take care of yourself and those close to you. But, if you do have funds to spare, we would very much appreciate your support!

Where We Stand:

So far, we have had 106 subscriptions this year which have netted us an estimated $2,794.92 (after processing fees from Stripe/Paypal) towards our goal of $3,500.00.

We run a very lean operation; $20/day keeps everything going. Staffing is all-volunteer; nobody has ever been paid anything for their work on SoylentNews. That includes the editors who get the stories out on the main page. The sysadmins who keep everything running: the servers and all the services like the MySQL databases, Apache HTTP Server, IRC (Internet Relay Chat), email... it's a long list. That we so rarely have issues is a testament to how fortunate we are to have professionals who donate their free time to keep things running. We had to incorporate to be able to accept subscriptions to pay expenses. And with that there are fees for maintaining the incorporation, calculating taxes, and paying them.

Subscriptions Breakdown:

Number of subscriptions for each subscription amount, and the totals at that level, so far in 2020:

QtySub AmtTotal

The Pandemic Sucks:

The world has changed in the past six months.

A lot.

The pandemic hit and with it came lock-downs, work-from-home, and social distancing. Closures of movie theaters, restaurants, and bars. Video conferencing became a norm as in-person gatherings were prohibited. And for good reason: worldwide, over 10 million are known to have been infected and over a half million have died. Untold struggles and suffering as we attempt to understand and adapt to a new reality.

We recognized that many of the community were struggling. On April 19th, we extended all subscriptions that were due to expire in April or May to the end of May. If money was tight and it was a choice of renewing your subscription or paying your bills, we'd rather you spend your money locally and so thereby help keep the money in your local community.

Folding@Home (F@H):

SoylentNews is helping in the fight against SARS-CoV-2. You might not be aware, but SoylentNews has a Folding@Home team. We are currently ranked in the top 300 teama in the world (#297 out of 254150 teams)!

F@H is a distributed computing project designed to help understand how proteins fold and thereby search for cures to various diseases. It was originally focused on Parkinson's and Huntington's diseases as well as cancer. With the appearance of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, F@H has pivoted to trying to unravel the behavior of that virus. To this end, many large infrastructure companies (like AWS, Microsoft, Oracle, and Google) have joined the effort.

How it works: Install the client on your computer, instruct it what amount of resources to use, and you are ready to go. The client will periodically download work units and, when completed, upload the results to the F@H servers. The faster the results are computed, the more points are earned. We are team #230319. If you have computes to spare, we'd love to have you join us!

Stories and Discussions:

Through all this, we here at SoylentNews have persevered. People from all over joined us in discussions on the pandemic and so many other topics. We aim for news with a technological focus but will occasionally offer something a little offbeat.

So far in 2020, SoylentNews has posted over 2,100 stories. Separately, the community has posted 700 journal entries. To these 2,800 items, the community has posted 76,000 comments — over 400 comments per day! In addition, there have been over 55,000 comment moderations — that's nearly 300 per day.

Server Upgrades:

We are continuing our efforts to move services from beryllium (our only Centos server) to aluminum (Gentoo). Deucalion (on IRC; aka Juggs on SoylentNews) has been trudging along trying to get things brought over for IRC (Internet Relate Chat). He reports he had a 100-hour long week at work last week, but still managed to make some progress on this over the weekend. There are significant differences between the two, so it has been quite the challenge. Getting userids added to the correct groups; setting up ACLs; chron syntax incompatibilities; the list goes on and on.

posted by martyb on Friday June 26 2020, @01:30PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

At approximately 1200 UTC we experience a problem and the site was unavailable for about an hour. As I understand it, we had some connectivity issues. We are now in the process of investigating. Kudos to TheMightyBuzzard for his way-too-early-in-the-morning work to get us back up!

Registered users will probably have to log back in again.

Here's hoping this is the worst problem you have today!

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Thursday June 25 2020, @11:45AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the what-goes-up dept.

This is to inform you we *are* aware of a problem with the site.

Symptom: The "Most Recent Journal Entries" box that normally appears on the right-hand-side of the main page is currently not currently displaying.

We have tried a few things, but have had no luck so far. We will update this story when we know more.

Problem first became apparent at about 17:45 UTC today.

Workaround: Use Search to look at the most recent journal entries. Specifically:

We will update this story when we know more. I have done all I (martyb) know how; hopefully TheMightyBuzzard will show up before too long and get things straightened out.

[Update-TMB]: The local mysqld instances on both web frontends both decided to be On The Crack for some reason or other. The database itself running over on the db servers was just fine and a restart of mysqld (and bouncing of Apache/Varnish which has to be done whenever mysqld is restarted) on the web frontends put things back to normal.

The cause of mysqld's drug use is unknown and shall remain so unless it happens more than once.

Original Submission

posted by NCommander on Monday June 08 2020, @01:57PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the somewhat-overdue dept.

As promised, here's the round-table discussion post that I said on Wednesday was coming. We have a long history at SoylentNews of listening and responding to our community; I genuinely hope that never changes. I also recognize that I may have ruffled some feathers in the last few weeks with original content postings so here's the best place to get this all out.

I am mindful of the community's support and goodwill; I don't want to squander any of it. Yes, there are times where my hand may be forced (e.g., DCMA takedowns). Still, I'm always a bit hesitant whenever I post on the main site for anything that isn't site update news or similar. I may be the de facto site leader, but I want my submissions to be treated like anyone else's — I want no favoritism. The editorial team does review my stories and signs off before they go live (unless it's an "emergency" situation such as the last time we blew up the site). However, as the saying goes, the buck stops with me.

SoylentNews accepts original content. I'm also aware that I've probably submitted the most original content so far (See "Previously", below for some examples). I'm grateful for the community's apparent acceptance of my submissions and the positive responses to them. What I don't know is if there is an undercurrent of displeasure with these. Maybe everyone thinks these are all fine. Then again, maybe somebody has an issue with them. Rather than assume anything, let's get it all out in the open.

What I want to cover in this round-table discussion is original content and having images in posts as well as topics such as yesterday's Live Show on Improving Your Security -- Wednesday June 3rd, 2020.

So, contributors and commenters to SoylentNews, get that Reply button hot and let me hear your feedback. As usual, either a member of staff or I will respond to your comments below,

73 de NCommander

(2020-06-03) Live Show on Improving Your Security -- Wednesday June 3rd, 2020
(2020-05-24) Retrotech: The Novell NetWare Experience
(2020-05-14) Exploring Windows for Workgroups 3.11 - Early 90s Networking
(2020-05-10) Examining Windows 1.0 HELLO.C - 35 Years of Backwards Compatibility
(2020-05-15) Meta: Having a Chat about SoylentNews' Internet Relay Chat
(2018-10-25) My Time as an ICANN Fellow
(2017-10-09) experiencing DNSSEC issues
(2017-04-20) is Moving to Gentoo...
(2017-04-17) SN Security Updates: CAA, LogJam, HTTP Method Disable, and 3DES
(2017-03-13) Xenix 2.2.3c Restoration: Xrossing The X (Part 4)