Computers & Linux News

The Problem of Nuclear Waste Disposal - and How Finland Solved It

SlashDot - Sat, 2022-08-20 23:34
"Even if all nuclear power plants were shut down today, there's a mountain of radioactive waste waiting to be disposed of," reports Ars Technica. "Yet only Finland has an approved solution for nuclear waste disposal, while projects in the US, UK, and Germany have failed for decades, and progress is also slow in other countries." So how did Finland construct a safe nuclear waste repository? Ars Technica asked Antti Mustonen, who's a research manager with Posiva, the organization in charge of the Finnish repository: Finland has a lot of hard crystalline bedrock and many places that are potentially suitable for a repository. The country eventually chose an island on the Baltic coast for its Onkalo repository, and it hopes to seal off the first tunnel of nuclear waste sometime around 2025.... Even after it has cooled in ponds for decades, spent nuclear fuel gives out heat by radioactive decay, raising the temperature near the waste canisters. This heat could potentially corrode the canisters, compromise the bentonite, or even crack the rock face. Therefore, the Finnish and Swedish designs separate individual waste canisters in their own disposal shafts to avoid excessive heat buildup.... Posiva is currently conducting a long-term, full-sized demonstration using heaters in dummy canisters surrounded by bentonite and temperature probes. After three years, the temperature at the canister boundary is about 70Â C, Mustonen said. A similar test in Switzerland lasted 18 years and found that bentonite "remains suitable as a sealing material" up to at least 100Â C.... But to project how the rock and groundwater will affect humans living near the site in future millennia, the scientists must model that numerically using the tests and data as the starting point. "We have modeled to that million years... with different scenarios and what the likely releases [are], and it seems that the releases are acceptable," Mustonen told me.... Scientists then project what will happen to the waste over the next million years, assuming everything works as planned. They also model for several "what if" scenarios. This projection includes looking at the stresses and groundwater pressures caused by possibilities like being buried deep under a future ice sheet and then having that ice sheet melt away, sea level changes, changes in groundwater chemistry, and failures of canisters. At Onkalo, even in the worst case, scientists calculate that the maximum dose released to humans would be one-tenth of the regulatory limit, which itself is about a hundredth of the normal dose that Finns receive every year.BR> But the article also asks what Finland's experience can teach other countries. One person who worked on America's unsuccessful Yucca Mountain project was Dr. Jane Long, former associate director for energy and environment at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Long tells the site that "They should have set requirements for an inherently safe site and then investigated whether the site met the requirements instead of choosing the site for political reasons and then trying to show the site was suitable." And they seem to agree in Finland: "More than the geology, I think it's socio-economic aspects" that determine if a project can go ahead, Mustonen told me. A key lesson is that the top-down designation of sites for nuclear waste disposal has generally failed. The UK failed in 1987, 1997, and 2013. In the US, politicians campaigned against the Yucca Mountain project, characterizing its authorization as the "Screw Nevada Bill...." Yucca Mountain's wasted $15 billion pales in comparison to the roughly $50 billion in damages that American taxpayers have had to pay to nuclear utilities because the government was unable to honor its commitment to receive nuclear waste by 1998. Meanwhile, more waste is piling up. Thanks to Slashdot reader atcclears for submitting the story.

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$2M Coachbuilt Mulliner Batur Previews Bentley's EV Design Future - CNET

CNET News - Sat, 2022-08-20 23:00
While this coupe uses Bentley's W12 engine, its styling is a look into the brand's upcoming EVs.

Bentley Mulliner Batur Coupe Was Inspired by Crouching Tigers - CNET

CNET News - Sat, 2022-08-20 23:00
This W12-powered coachbuilt fastback previews the future of Bentley's electric car designs.

Do Inaccurate Search Results Disrupt Democracies?

SlashDot - Sat, 2022-08-20 21:34
Users of Google "must recalibrate their thinking on what Google is and how information is returned to them," warns an Assistant Professor at the School of Information and Library Science at UNC-Chapel Hill. In a new book titled The Propagandists' Playbook, they're warning that simple link-filled search results have been transformed by "Google's latest desire to answer our questions for us, rather than requiring us to click on the returns." The trouble starts when Google returns inaccurate answers "that often disrupt democratic participation, confirm unsubstantiated claims, and are easily manipulatable by people looking to spread falsehoods." By adding all of these features, Google — as well as competitors such as DuckDuckGo and Bing, which also summarize content — has effectively changed the experience from an explorative search environment to a platform designed around verification, replacing a process that enables learning and investigation with one that is more like a fact-checking service.... The problem is, many rely on search engines to seek out information about more convoluted topics. And, as my research reveals, this shift can lead to incorrect returns... Worse yet, when errors like this happen, there is no mechanism whereby users who notice discrepancies can flag it for informational review.... The trouble is, many users still rely on Google to fact-check information, and doing so might strengthen their belief in false claims. This is not only because Google sometimes delivers misleading or incorrect information, but also because people I spoke with for my research believed that Google's top search returns were "more important," "more relevant," and "more accurate," and they trusted Google more than the news — they considered it to be a more objective source.... This leads to what I refer to in my book, The Propagandists' Playbook, as the "IKEA effect of misinformation." Business scholars have found that when consumers build their own merchandise, they value the product more than an already assembled item of similar quality — they feel more competent and therefore happier with their purchase. Conspiracy theorists and propagandists are drawing on the same strategy, providing a tangible, do-it-yourself quality to the information they provide. Independently conducting a search on a given topic makes audiences feel like they are engaging in an act of self-discovery when they are actually participating in a scavenger-hunt engineered by those spreading the lies.... Rather than assume that returns validate truth, we must apply the same scrutiny we've learned to have toward information on social media. Another problem the article points out: "Googling the exact same phrase that you see on Twitter will likely return the same information you saw on Twitter. "Just because it's from a search engine doesn't make it more reliable."

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I Redesigned the iPhone 14 Camera So Apple Doesn't Have To - CNET

CNET News - Sat, 2022-08-20 20:00
Commentary: The iPhone 14's camera needs to be the best one around. Here's how Apple can do it.

After Signing US Climate Bill, Biden Plans More Executive Actions to Cut Emissions

SlashDot - Sat, 2022-08-20 19:54
Senior White House officials say even more action is coming on climate change. They're telling the New York Times that U.S. President Joe Biden plans "a series of executive actions to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help keep the planet from warming to dangerous temperatures." Biden is on track to deploy a series of measures, including new regulations on emissions from vehicle tailpipes, power plants and oil and gas wells, the officials said. In pushing more executive action, Mr. Biden is trying to make up for the compromises his party made on climate measures to pass the Inflation Reduction Act, which includes the largest single American investment to slow global warming. Democrats had to scale back some of their loftiest ambitions, including by agreeing to fossil fuel and drilling provisions, as concessions to Senator Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia, a holdout from a conservative state that is heavily dependent on coal and gas. Gina McCarthy, the White House climate adviser, said that regulatory moves, combined with the new legislation and action from states, could help Mr. Biden meet his promise to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent, compared to 2005 levels, by the end of the decade. The climate bill, she said, was "a starting point." "The president has not chosen to just look at Congress, he's chosen to recognize that he has presidential authorities and responsibilities under the law to keep moving this forward," she said. "And he's going to continue to use those." [...] Ms. McCarthy noted the E.P.A. still has "broad authority" to regulate emissions from electricity generation. She also said the government is forging ahead with new regulations on soot and other traditional air pollutants, which will have the side benefit of cutting carbon emissions.... Mr. Biden has the executive authority to issue regulations through federal agencies, and under the Clean Air Act of 1970 can establish rules to address air pollution.

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After Mockery, Mark Zuckerberg Promises Better Metaverse Graphics, Posts New Avatar

SlashDot - Sat, 2022-08-20 18:54
What do you when people hate your $10 billion selfie? "Mark Zuckerberg, in response to a torrent of critical memes mocking the graphics of Meta's newest project, has heard his critics — and changed his selfie," reports CNN: Zuckerberg debuted Horizon Worlds, a virtual reality social app, in France and Spain earlier this week, sharing a somewhat flat, goofy digital avatar in front of an animated Eiffel Tower and la Sagrada Família. The internet immediately jumped in, mocking what many users viewed as (hopefully) preliminary graphics for a venture that Meta has spent at least $10 billion in the last year. New York Times tech columnist Kevin Roose compared the graphics to "worse than a 2008 Wii game" on Twitter. Slate used the term " buttcheeks." Twitter was less kind: "eye-gougingly ugly" and "an international laughing stock" popping up. Many compared it to early 90's graphics and pointed out how lifeless and childish the Zuckerberg selfie looked. It quickly won the designation "dead eyes." Well, Zuckerberg has apparently seen the memes, because on Friday he announced there are major updates coming — along with new avatar graphics. In a CNBC report on how Zuckerberg "is getting dragged on the internet for how ugly the graphics of this game are," they'd actually quoted a Forbes headline that asked, "Does Mark Zuckerberg not understand how bad his metaverse is?"

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After Mockery, Mark Zuckerberg Promises Better Metaverse Graphics, Post New Avatar

SlashDot - Sat, 2022-08-20 18:54
What do you when people hate your $10 billion selfie? "Mark Zuckerberg, in response to a torrent of critical memes mocking the graphics of Meta's newest project, has heard his critics — and changed his selfie," reports CNN: Zuckerberg debuted Horizon Worlds, a virtual reality social app, in France and Spain earlier this week, sharing a somewhat flat, goofy digital avatar in front of an animated Eiffel Tower and la Sagrada Família. The internet immediately jumped in, mocking what many users viewed as (hopefully) preliminary graphics for a venture that Meta has spent at least $10 billion in the last year. New York Times tech columnist Kevin Roose compared the graphics to "worse than a 2008 Wii game" on Twitter. Slate used the term "buttcheeks." Twitter was less kind: "eye-gougingly ugly" and "an international laughing stock" popping up. Many compared it to early 90's graphics and pointed out how lifeless and childish the Zuckerberg selfie looked. It quickly won the designation "dead eyes." Well, Zuckerberg has apparently seen the memes, because on Friday he announced there are major updates coming — along with new avatar graphics. In a CNBC report on how Zuckerberg "is getting dragged on the internet for how ugly the graphics of this game are," they'd actually quoted a Forbes headline that asked, "Does Mark Zuckerberg not understand how bad his metaverse is?"

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Has the Webb Telescope Disproved the Big Bang Theory?

SlashDot - Sat, 2022-08-20 17:54
"The very first results from the James Webb Space Telescope seem to indicate that massive, luminous galaxies had already formed within the first 250 million years after the Big Bang," reports Sky and Telescope. "If confirmed, this would seriously challenge current cosmological thinking." Shortly after NASA published Webb's first batch of scientific data, the astronomical preprint server arXiv was flooded with papers claiming the detection of galaxies that are so remote that their light took some 13.5 billion years to reach us. Many of these appear to be more massive than the standard cosmological model that describes the universe's composition and evolution. "It worries me slightly that we find these monsters in the first few images," says cosmologist Richard Ellis (University College London).... Before the community accepts these claims, the reported redshifts have to be confirmed spectroscopically. Mark McCaughrean, the senior science adviser of the European Space Agency (a major partner on Webb) commented on Twitter: "I'm sure some of them will be [confirmed], but I'm equally sure they won't all be. [...] It does all feel a little like a sugar rush at the moment." Ellis agrees: "It's one thing to put a paper on arXiv," he says, "but it's quite something else to turn it into a lasting article in a peer-reviewed journal." Since 1991, science writer Eric Lerner has been arguing that the Big Bang never happened. Now 75 years old, he writes: In the flood of technical astronomical papers published online since July 12, the authors report again and again that the images show surprisingly many galaxies, galaxies that are surprisingly smooth, surprisingly small and surprisingly old. Lots of surprises, and not necessarily pleasant ones. One paper's title begins with the candid exclamation: "Panic!" Why do the JWST's images inspire panic among cosmologists? And what theory's predictions are they contradicting? The papers don't actually say. The truth that these papers don't report is that the hypothesis that the JWST's images are blatantly and repeatedly contradicting is the Big Bang Hypothesis that the universe began 14 billion years ago in an incredibly hot, dense state and has been expanding ever since. Since that hypothesis has been defended for decades as unquestionable truth by the vast majority of cosmological theorists, the new data is causing these theorists to panic. "Right now I find myself lying awake at three in the morning," says Alison Kirkpatrick, an astronomer at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, "and wondering if everything I've done is wrong...." Even galaxies with greater luminosity and mass than our own Milky Way galaxy appear in these images to be two to three times smaller than in similar images observed with the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), and the new galaxies have redshifts which are also two to three times greater.This is not at all what is expected with an expanding universe, but it is just exactly what I and my colleague Riccardo Scarpa predicted based on a non-expanding universe, with redshift proportional to distance.... [T]he galaxies that the JWST shows are just the same size as the galaxies near to us, if it is assumed that the universe is not expanding and redshift is proportional to distance..... Big Bang theorists did expect to see badly mangled galaxies scrambled by many collisions or mergers. What the JWST actually showed was overwhelmingly smooth disks and neat spiral forms, just as we see in today's galaxies. The data in the "Panic!" article showed that smooth spiral galaxies were about "10 times" as numerous as what theory had predicted and that this "would challenge our ideas about mergers being a very common process". In plain language, this data utterly destroys the merger theory.... According to Big Bang theory, the most distant galaxies in the JWST images are seen as they were only 400-500 million years after the origin of the universe. Yet already some of the galaxies have shown stellar populations that are over a billion years old. Since nothing could have originated before the Big Bang, the existence of these galaxies demonstrates that the Big Bang did not occur.... While Big Bang theorists were shocked and panicked by these new results, Riccardo and I (and a few others) were not. In fact, a week before the JWST images were released we published online a paper that detailed accurately what the images would show. We could do this with confidence because more and more data of all kinds has been contradicting the Big Bang hypothesis for years.... Based on the published literature, right now the Big Bang makes 16 wrong predictions and only one right one — the abundance of deuterium, an isotope of hydrogen. Thanks to Slashdot reader magzteel for sharing the article.

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Best Open Wireless Earbuds - CNET

CNET News - Sat, 2022-08-20 17:00
Looking for a set of true-wireless earbuds that don't have silicone tips that you have to jam in your ears? Here are your best options.

Free, Secure, and Open-Source: How FileZilla is Making an Old School Protocol Cool Again

SlashDot - Sat, 2022-08-20 16:35
It's a free and open-source, cross-platform FTP application that allows secure file transfering — and it's making an old-school protocol cool again, according to a recent blog post. Started about 21 years ago — and downloaded by millions each year — FileZilla remains "committed to their role in liberating technology, by making it accessible, open and also secure," according to the blog post. But it also explains how FileZilla has beefed up that security through a collaboration with the internet freedom nonprofit, the Open Technology Fund (or "OTF"): Over the past year, FileZilla has utilised support from OTF to undertake two activities that enhanced and ensured the security of their tools. The first was integrating FileZilla Server with Let's Encrypt, a free, automated, and open source certificate authority that ensures secure communication between the two end-points sending or receiving a file via FileZilla.... Secondly, FileZilla ran a penetration test, a service offered by OTF's Red Team Lab. A team of independent researchers attempted to force access to the FileZilla server to see if they could gain control. These researchers were highly skilled, and the testing was extensive. The team conducting the test only found very minor security vulnerabilities that FileZilla were able to fix immediately. As a result of this process, anyone wanting to use the FileZilla software can trust that it has been cross-scrutinised by a third party and found to be secure.... FileZilla respects users' confidentiality: they do not track your behaviour, nor sell your data to other companies. While they do have advertisements on their website, they are posted exactly as advertisements would be posted in a newspaper. Nobody knows that you are reading the advertisements, or that you decided to call or connect to the advertised website. The advertisement has simply been attached to the webpage, without any underlying tracking.... . "Our mission hasn't changed in over 20 years: design, develop, maintain and enhance free tools to securely transfer files with ease and reliability," said Tim Kosse, FileZilla Lead Developer. This decision was a political one taken by FileZilla, to always preserve the freedom of their tools, and of their users. "We aren't the typical commercial open-source venture that starts doing things for free, and over time, closes this and that to make money" said Roberto Galoppini, FileZilla Director of Strategy. "While you might not see FileZilla listed at the NYSE [New York Stock Exchange] any time soon, the freedom of our tools will never be questioned...." [I]f you work in an industry that requires the secure transfer of sensitive files, or if you simply have personal photographs or videos you want to keep confidential, using proprietary platforms to share or store them can put your information at risk of being exposed.... FileZilla offers an alternative that is secure and private. Their tools are developed by a team that is deeply invested in protecting users' confidentiality, and liberating technology is central to their work and decision-making.... At the same time, projects like FileZilla remind us that there exists a global community of technologists, activists, coders, bloggers, journalists, software developers, and mindful internet users making internet freedom a lived reality and daily practice. Supporting, experimenting with and using free and open source tools, such as the FileZilla client and server, enables us to disinvest from the capitalist pursuit of corporate control of technology and unchecked surveillance of our data. Rather, we can step into alignment with an alternative, parallel narrative being created by a community of resistance that is grounded in principles of cooperation, solidarity, commons and openness.

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Bask in the Ludicrousness of the McLaren Solus GT - CNET

CNET News - Sat, 2022-08-20 15:30
One quick look at the body is all you need to realize that it's not exactly road legal.

Lyft Begins Offering Driverless Robotaxis on the Las Vegas Strip

SlashDot - Sat, 2022-08-20 14:58
A local news report called it "a futuristic dream, now a reality in Las Vegas: self-driving vehicles moving customers up and down the Las Vegas strip." Lyft's ride-hailing service now lets customers book Motional's all-electric (and autonomous driving) IONIQ 5. Not everyone's sold. "Love technology — love it, promote it — but we don't need to replace every human," said one person interviewed on the street. But "the digital wave continues to sweep Las Vegas," the newscast points out, with the car company's director of commercial fleet operations insisting it will ultimately make transportation more affordable, sustainable, and reliable. "We look at this as an opportunity to really show that robotaxis are the best way for people to get around," he says, noting Vegas drivers have to contend with lots of night-time driving, bright lights, unusually wide lanes and big intersections. The city once adopted the slogan "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas," and some passengers might appreciate the extra privacy of a truly driverless vehicle. Passengers "for the time being, will be accompanied by two safety drivers in the event of an error," according to news reports, but that's expected to change soon: "Motional and Lyft have a clear path to widespread commercialization of Level 4 autonomous vehicles," said Karl Iagnemma, Motional's president and CEO. "We've led the industry in commercial operations for years, and today's launch signals we're on track to deliver a fully driverless service next year...." Upon arrival, riders who order the IONIQ 5 can unlock the doors to the vehicle using the Lyft mobile app. Once inside the vehicle, customers can start the ride or contact customer support by using the new in-car Lyft AV app [on a touchscreen for passengers]. By making these new features available now, despite the presence of the two safety drivers, Lyft hopes to solicit customer feedback and refine the new tools before the service goes fully driverless in 2023. Lyft and Motional have been piloting autonomous rides in other vehicles in Las Vegas since 2018, with more than 100,000 autonomous rides provided thus far, over 95% of which have received five-star ratings, according to the companies. Feedback gathered on the new IONIQ 5 autonomous vehicle over the coming months will help to inform Lyft's launch of fully driverless e-hail trips in Las Vegas sometime next year. After that, the company plans to expand the driverless, e-hail service to various other markets throughout the country.

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2022 Lamborghini Urus Performante Looks Angrier Than Ever - CNET

CNET News - Sat, 2022-08-20 13:50
More wings and more power mean more Lambo.

Hackers Are Stealing Session Cookies To Bypass Multi-factor Authentication

SlashDot - Sat, 2022-08-20 13:34
Slashdot reader storagedude writes: Hackers are stealing cookies from current or recent web sessions to bypass multi-factor authentication (MFA), according to an eSecurity Planet report. The attack method, reported by Sophos researchers, is already growing in use. The "cookie-stealing cybercrime spectrum" is broad, the researchers wrote, ranging from "entry-level criminals" to advanced adversaries, using various techniques. Cybercriminals collect cookies or buy stolen credentials "in bulk" on dark web forums. Ransomware groups also harvest cookies and "their activities may not be detected by simple anti-malware defenses because of their abuse of legitimate executables, both already present and brought along as tools," the researchers wrote. Browsers allow users to maintain authentication, remember passwords and autofill forms. That might seem convenient, but attackers can exploit this functionality to steal credentials and skip the login challenge. Behind the scenes, browsers use SQLite database files that contain cookies. These cookies are composed of key-value pairs, and the values often contain critical information such as tokens and expiration dates. Adversaries know the exact name and location of these files for all major browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, and even Brave, on various operating systems. That's why the attack can be scripted. It's not uncommon to find such scripts along with other modules in info-stealing and other malware. For example, the latest version of the Emotet botnet targets cookies and credentials stored by browsers, which include saved credit cards. According to the Sophos researchers, "Google's Chrome browser uses the same encryption method to store both multi-factor authentication cookies and credit card data." To gain initial access, attackers can also perform phishing and spear-phishing campaigns to implant droppers that can deploy cookie-stealer malware stealthily. The cookies are then used for post-exploitation and lateral movements. Cybercriminals can use them to change passwords and emails associated with user accounts, or trick the victims into downloading additional malware, or even deploy other exploitation tools such as Cobalt Strike and Impacket kit. Users should not use built-in features to save passwords unless the browser encrypts them with, at least, a master password. It's recommended that users uncheck the setting called "remember passwords," and users should probably not allow persistent sessions as well. Developers can be part of the problem if they don't secure authentication cookies properly. Such cookies must have a short expiration date. Otherwise, the persistent authentication could turn into a persistent threat. You can have great security processes and still get hacked because the cookies do not have the necessary flags (e.g., HttpOnly, Secure attribute). For example, authentication cookies must be sent using SSL/TLS channels. Otherwise the data could be sent in plain text and attackers would only have to sniff traffic to intercept credentials.

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Save up to $1,000 on Classic, Contemporary Furniture and Accessories at Burrow - CNET

CNET News - Sat, 2022-08-20 12:47
Snuggle in with Burrow during the company's sitewide Labor Day Sale and enjoy the simple serenity of midcentury modern and contemporary styles for less.

Apple Demands Employees Return to Office At Least Three Days a Week

SlashDot - Sat, 2022-08-20 12:34
"On Monday, Apple told employees at its headquarters in Cupertino, California, that they would have to return to the office at least three days a week by September 5," according to a columnist for Inc. First reported by Bloomberg, Tim Cook told employees in an email that they would be expected to be in the office on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with teams choosing a third day that works best for them... Apple SVP of software Craig Federighi followed up Cook's email with one of his own, saying that he "can't wait to experience the special energy of having all of us back in the office together again!" That's great, but I imagine a lot of the people who work in the software organization are wondering whether that "special energy" actually makes them more productive, or if it's just a thing managers feel as they watch employees be productive at their desks... [T]hat's not the same thing as actual collaboration. Here's the article's main point: [M]any companies — especially Apple — had their best two years ever when most of their employees were working from home. If anything, it seems as though the evidence pointing to the idea that it was better for the company.... Apple's market cap in March 2020 was $1.1 trillion. Today, it's just shy of three times that.... [I]t's as if Apple hasn't learned anything. Apple's memo did say that some employees — "depending on your role" — would have the option of working fully remotely "for up to four weeks a year."

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Save $300 on a 14-inch Chromebook From HP, Bringing the Price to Just $399 - CNET

CNET News - Sat, 2022-08-20 12:06
Back to school or back to office, both can benefit from this impressive 2-in-1.

Amazon Has Slashed Prices on Fire Tablets by as Much as 44% - CNET

CNET News - Sat, 2022-08-20 12:06
Take advantage of additional savings on these budget-friendly tablets so you can stream, game and browse the web for less.