2018-01-01 00:00:00 ..
2018-05-22 22:25:53 UTC
2018-05-23 01:23:37 UTC
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The Hill reports that the FCC will take public comments on Sinclair-Tribune merger until July 12th of this year. Sinclair stations currently reach 40% of US households and with the merger that would increase to 72%.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will take new comments from the public on Sinclair Broadcast Group’s $3.9 billion bid for Tribune Media.
The agency is reopening its review of the merger for public comments after the two companies proposed to sell off some local stations in an effort to bring the deal in line with media ownership restrictions.
The public will have until July 12 to weigh in on the docket.
Also at Reuters: FCC seeks new comments on proposed Sinclair Tribune merger.
Earlier on SN: Sinclair Broadcast Group to Buy Indebted Tribune Media for $3.9 Billion (2017)
When the Apple Watch launched in 2015, it wasn't exactly clear who, or what, it was for. It was a phone accessory meant to curtail some of the notification anxiety the phones themselves had created by paring your digital life down to only the most essential disturbances. For many consumers, though, there wasn't a clear reason to keep wearing the watch after the initial sheen had worn off—unless they were fitness freaks, or overly concerned about their heart health. But a growing group of users have found them indispensable.
You might've noticed that the person who took your order at the bar, brought you the shoes you wanted to try on, or perhaps even patted you down at the airport security line, is sporting an Apple Watch, which starts at $329 for the newest Series 3 watch. And there's a pretty simple explanation: Many service-industry jobs where employees have to be on their feet all day don't allow workers to check their phones while they're on the clock. But that rule doesn't necessarily apply to a piece of unobtrusive jewelry that happens to let you text your friends and check the weather.
Quartz spoke with airline attendants, bartenders, waiters, baristas, shop owners, and (very politely) TSA employees who all said the same thing: The Apple Watch keeps them in touch when they can't be on their phones at work. Apple has increasingly been pushing the watch as a health device, and seems to have moved away from marketing it as one that offers more basic utility, as Apple continues do with the iPhone. But given that roughly 23% of the US labor force works in wholesale or retail operations, perhaps it's a market Apple should reconsider.
Related: Apple Watch Leads the Dying Smartwatch Market
FDA Approves First Medical Device Accessory for the Apple Watch
AliveCor Sensor for Apple Watch Could Detect Dangerous Levels of Potassium in the Blood
Apple Building its Own MicroLED Displays for Eventual Use in Apple Watch and Other Products
The US president, who has not used email while in office, has one iPhone capable only of making calls and another that is used as his Twitter phone, with access to a series of news sites and the social network, according to White House officials talking to Politico.
While his call-capable iPhone is issued by White House staff and is swapped out “through routine support operations” to check for hacking and other security concerns, Trump has resisted attempts to do similar for as long as five months with his Twitter phone, saying it was “too inconvenient”.
A US president has the power to override White House policy and disregard advice, but given that the devices and systems they use are prime targets for foreign intelligence agencies, doing so can pose significant US national security risks.
Documents obtained by the ACLU of Northern California have shed new light on Rekognition, Amazon's little-known facial recognition project. Rekognition is currently used by police in Orlando and Oregon's Washington County, often using nondisclosure agreements to avoid public disclosure. The result is a powerful real-time facial recognition system that can tap into police body cameras and municipal surveillance systems.
According to further reporting by The Washington Post, the Washington County Sheriff pays between $6 and $12 a month for access to Rekognition, which allows the department to scan mug shot photos against real-time footage.
The most significant concerns are raised by the Orlando project, which is capable of running real-time facial recognition on a network of cameras throughout the city. The project was described by Rekognition project director Ranju Das at a recent AWS conference in Seoul. "This is an immediate response use case," Das told the crowd. "There are cameras all over the city [of Orlando]. Authorized cameras are streaming the data to Kinesis video stream.... We analyze that data in real time and search against the collection of faces that they have. Maybe they want to know if the mayor of the city is in a place, or there are persons of interest they want to track."
The price is not a typo. It was described as a "giveaway".
The Center for American Progress reports
The Supreme Court held on [May 21] that employers can force their employees to sign away many of their rights to sue their employers. As a practical matter, Monday's decision in Epic Systems v. Lewis [PDF] will enable employers to engage in small-scale wage theft with impunity, so long as they spread the impact of this theft among many employees.
Neil Gorsuch, who occupies the seat that Senate Republicans held open for a year until Donald Trump could fill it, wrote the Court's 5-4 decision. The Court split along party lines.
Epic Systems involves three consolidated cases, each involving employment contracts cutting off employees' rights to sue their employer in a court of law. In at least one of these cases, the employees were required to sign away these rights as a condition of starting their job. In another, existing workers were told to sign away their rights if they wanted to keep working.
Each contract contained two provisions, a "forced arbitration" provision, which requires legal disputes between the employer and the employee to be resolved by a private arbitrator and not by a real court; and a provision prohibiting employees from bringing class actions against the employer.
Writing with his trademarked smugness, Gorsuch presents Epic Systems as a simple application of a legal text. "The parties before us contracted for arbitration", he writes. "They proceeded to specify the rules that would govern their arbitrations, indicating their intention to use individualized rather than class or collective action procedures. And this much the Arbitration Act seems to protect pretty absolutely."
It's the sort of statement someone might write if they'd never read the Federal Arbitration Act--the law at the heart of this case--and had only read the Supreme Court's decisions expanding that act's scope.
[...] Epic Systems means that employers who cheat a single employee out of a great deal of money will probably be held accountable for their actions--though it is worth noting that arbitrators are more likely to favor employers than courts of law, and that they typically award less money to employees when those employees do prevail. The biggest losers under Epic Systems, however, will be the victims of widespread, but small-scale, wage theft.
Via Common Dreams, Public Citizen says Congress Should Overturn Today's U.S. Supreme Court Decision Eroding Workers' Rights
Public Citizen is a national, nonprofit consumer advocacy organization founded in 1971 to represent consumer interests in Congress, the executive branch, and the courts.
Microsoft today announced that it has acquired Semantic Machines to bolster its conversational AI offerings — like Cortana, the Azure Bot Service, and Microsoft Cognitive Services. Semantic Machines works in areas like speech synthesis, deep learning, and natural language processing.
[...] In addition, Semantic Machines has assembled a cadre of experts in the conversational AI arena, like Larry Gillick, former chief scientist for Siri at Apple, and well-known researchers like UC Berkeley professor Dan Klein and Stanford University professor Percy Liang.
A California startup that sought [to] revolutionize audio headphones, promising personalized devices that would produce sound "indistinguishable from reality," has found that raising interest among investors was easier than delivering the goods.
Ossic raised more than $3.2 million in crowdfunding for its Ossic X, which it touted as the "first 3D audio headphones calibrated to you." But after delivering devices to only about 80 investors who'd paid at least $999 to for the "Developer/Innovator" rewards level on Kickstarter, Ossic announced Saturday it had run out of money — leaving the more than 10,000 other backers with nothing but lighter wallets.
"This was obviously not our desired outcome," the company said in a statement. "To fail at the five-yard line is a tragedy. We are extremely sorry that we cannot deliver your product and want you to know that the team has done everything possible including investing our own savings and working without salary to exhaust all possibilities."
Those who paid $199 ("SUPER EARLY BIRD: SAVE $200 (RETAIL $399)") were lucky. Later backers paid $219, $249, or $279.
Don't help crowdfund something unless you can make peace with your "investment" potentially disappearing into the ether.
I came across this article tonight, and being somewhat interested in music thought others might be interested as well: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/may/21/scientists-find-secret-behind-sweet-sound-of-stradivarius-violins
The violins made by the Italian masters Andrea Amati and Antonio Stradivari are celebrated as the finest ever made, but the secret behind their perfect sound has mystified experts for centuries.
Now scientists in Taiwan believe they have hit on an answer. Using software normally reserved for speech analysis, they found that violins from the two Cremonese luthiers mimic aspects of the human voice, a feature they argue adds to the instruments' exceptional musical quality.
The scientists recorded a professional violinist playing 15 antique instruments at Taiwan's Chimei Museum and compared the acoustic signatures with those from 16 male and female vocalists who were recorded singing English vowel sounds.
The researchers found that the early Italian instruments produced human-like "formants", the harmonic tones that correspond to resonances in the vocal tract. Specifically, the Amati violins produced formants similar to those from bass and baritone singers, while the Stradivari instruments had higher-frequency formants, closer to those of tenors and contraltos.
China's space agency has taken a critical first step toward an unprecedented robotic landing on the far side of the Moon. On Monday, local time, the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation launched a Long March 4C rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center. Although it did not broadcast the launch, the Chinese space agency said it went smoothly, according to the state news service Xinhua.
"The launch is a key step for China to realize its goal of being the first country to send a probe to soft-land on and rove the far side of the Moon," Zhang Lihua, manager of the relay satellite project, told Xinhua.
About 25 minutes after the launch, the Queqiao spacecraft separated from the rocket's upper stage, and began a trip toward a halo orbit of the Earth-Moon Lagrange Point L2. Over the next six months, the 425kg spacecraft will undergo tests to ensure it will function properly as a communications relay.
[...] Of note, the Queqiao spacecraft—which means Magpie bridge and is a reference to Chinese folklore—will also carry two scientific instruments. One is a Dutch radio antenna, which will study celestial radio frequencies blocked by Earth's atmosphere. The other instrument is a large-aperture laser angle reflector for ranging measurements between Earth and the spacecraft.
The relay spacecraft should reach its L2 halo orbit in about eight days.
An asteroid in Jupiter's orbit [Note: actually orbiting the Sun and crossing the orbit of Jupiter] may have come from outside our Solar System, according to a new study. Unlike 'Oumuamua, the interstellar object which briefly visited the Solar System earlier this year, 2015 BZ509 (affectionately known as BZ) seems to have been here for 4.5 billion years. This makes it the first known interstellar asteroid to have taken up residence orbiting the Sun.
It is not yet known where the object came from. "That's what we need to figure out next," laughs Dr Fathi Namouni from the Universite Cote d'Azur, one of the study's authors. "Because 'Oumuamua was just passing by... it's not that difficult to go back and pinpoint where it came from," he told BBC News. "BZ reached the Solar System when it was forming, when the planets themselves were not exactly where they are now. So it's a little more tricky to figure out where it came from."
An interstellar origin for Jupiter's retrograde co-orbital asteroid (open, DOI: 10.1093/mnrasl/sly057) (DX)
Related: Possible Interstellar Asteroid/Comet Enters Solar System
Interstellar Asteroid Named: 'Oumuamua
ESO Observations Show First Interstellar Asteroid is Like Nothing Seen Before
Breakthrough Listen to Observe Interstellar Asteroid 'Oumuamua for Radio Emissions (none were found)
'Oumuamua Likely Originated in the Local Association (Pleiades Moving Group)
Submitted via IRC for SoyCow3941
Security researchers have found a security flaw in Electron, a software framework that has been used in the past half-decade for building a wealth of popular desktop applications.
Apps built on top of Electron include Microsoft's Skype and Visual Studio Code, GitHub's Atom code editor, the Brave browser, along with official desktop apps for services like Signal, Twitch, Discord, Basecamp, Slack, Ghost, WordPress.com, and many more.
A former employee of Ontario's 407 private freeway quit suddenly Wednesday as a Progressive Conservative candidate in next month's election, barely an hour after the highway confirmed that information on 60,000 customers had been leaked through an "internal theft."
Simmer Sandhu, the candidate for Brampton East, said in an online statement that he had recently been made aware of anonymous allegations against him "pertaining to both my work life and my nomination campaign."
"These allegations are totally baseless. I absolutely deny them," he said on both Twitter and Facebook. "I will vigorously defend myself and reputation and I am confident I will be cleared."
An opinion piece explains the anonymous allegations:
[...] it is alleged that someone stole 60,000 names, addresses and phone numbers from the privately-owned Highway 407 ETR's internal systems and distributed or sold the data to a couple of dozen candidates in GTA nomination races. Those campaigns then sold fake party memberships under the stolen names, mocked up identification that met the party's requirements (which do not include photo ID), and paid international students $200 a pop to vote under these fraudulent identities.
Wikipedia has an article about the Brampton East riding.
A blockchain standards group made up of hundreds of businesses and tech development members has unveiled its first specification for enabling the development of peer-to-peer, decentralized networks explicitly for automating corporate transactions.
The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA) last week released the Enterprise Ethereum Client Specification 1.0, an open-source framework to speed business transactions, boost privacy for contracts and create a faster, more efficient business transaction workflow.
The EEA Specification and its architecture stack is based on blockchain components developed by the Ethereum Foundation, the organization behind the world's second most valuable cryptocurrency: Ether.
By using the EEA's new specification, developers can write code that enables interoperability between businesses and their customers, either over a permissioned or public blockchain. The specification sets up a framework for setting up permission to join a blockchain network.
"You think about where Ethereum currently sits. It has great core competencies around value transfer, sending people Ether. It's created the standard for fundraising through token offerings [initial coin offerings]," said Tom Lombardi, EEA's head of market development. "But the goal of the alliance is to build a framework where we can use Ethereum, which has the largest developer based in the world, in a corporate setting.
"These large companies have compliance hurdles, legal hurdles and certain levels of bureaucracy where they have to check all the boxes before they can use a technology like this," Lombardi said.
The blockchain specification and its architectural stack promises greater transactional efficiency because it allows data to be taken "off-chain," or outside the primary blockchain ledger and processed in a separate database behind a firewall. The primary blockchain is then only used to validate completed transactions and can create a separate hash to represent the data offline for privacy and security.
In 2015 Ada Colau, an activist with no experience in government, became mayor of Barcelona. She called for a democratic revolution, and for the last two years city hall, working with civic-minded coders and cryptographers, has been designing the technological tools to make it happen.
Their efforts have centred on two things. The first is opening up governance through participatory processes and greater transparency. And the second is redefining the smart city to ensure that it serves its citizens, rather than the other way around.
The group started by creating a digital participatory platform, Decidim ("We Decide", in Catalan). Now the public can participate directly in government as they would on social media, by suggesting ideas, debating them, and voting with their thumbs. Decidim taps into the potential of social networks: the information spreading on Twitter, or the relationships on Facebook. All of these apply to politics — and Decidim seeks to channel them, while guaranteeing personal privacy and public transparency in a way these platforms don't.
"We are experimenting with a hybrid of online and offline participatory democracy," says Francesca Bria, Barcelona's Chief Technology and Digital Innovation Officer. "We used Decidim to create the government agenda — over 70 per cent of the proposals come directly from citizens. Over 40,000 citizens proposed these policies. And many more citizens were engaged in offline collective assemblies and consultations."
Spaceflightnow reports on the next launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket (11 hours from the time this story posts):
Falcon 9 • Iridium Next 51-55 & GRACE Follow-On
Launch time: 1947:58 GMT (3:47:58 p.m. EDT; 12:47:58 p.m. PDT)
Launch site: SLC-4E, Vandenberg Air Force Base, California
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch five satellites for the Iridium next mobile communications fleet and two Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE Follow-On) satellites for NASA and the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ). The Falcon 9 rocket will launch with a previously-flown first stage.
As it usually does, SpaceX has a live feed page up on YouTube which also notes:
A backup instantaneous launch opportunity is available on Wednesday, May 23 at 12:42 p.m. PDT, or 19:42 UTC.
[...] SpaceX will not attempt to recover Falcon 9's first stage after launch.