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Which world would you rather live in?

  • Star Trek
  • Star Wars
  • Babylon 5
  • Idiocracy
  • Dark City
  • Other (Please specify in comments)

[ Results | Polls ]
Comments:184 | Votes:204

posted by Fnord666 on Saturday January 18, @08:10PM   Printer-friendly
from the my-precious dept.


There are four ages in Tolkien's works. Lord of the Rings was set in the Third Age, and this series will take place in The Second Age, Amazon revealed in a tweet sent in March 2019. The famous One Ring of Lord of the Rings fame was forged in this time period by the Dark Lord Sauron, who seems likely to be a major part of the new show.

Welcome to the Second Age: — The Lord of the Rings on Prime (@LOTRonPrime)

Amazon's Salke told Deadline, "we're not remaking the movies, but we're also not starting from scratch. So, it'll be characters you love."

But probably not one particular character. Tolkien fan site stirred buzz among fans in May 2018 by that the show's first season would be centered on a young Aragorn. Portrayed by Viggo Mortensen in the Peter Jackson movies, he was an acclaimed warrior and ranger who plays a major role in Lord of the Rings. But that rumor fell flat once Amazon confirmed the Second Age setting, since Aragorn wouldn't have been around then.

It is not yet clear if they're focusing on Numenor in the Second Age, or the Last Alliance of Elves and Men.

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Saturday January 18, @05:49PM   Printer-friendly
from the you-are-here dept.


The first aren't even built yet, but [Elon Musk] already has big plans for his company's spacecraft, which includes turning humans into an interplanetary species with a presence on Mars. He crunched some of the numbers he has in mind on Twitter on Thursday.

Musk doesn't just want to launch a few intrepid souls to Mars, he wants to send a whole new nation. He tossed out a goal of building 100 Starships per year to send about 100,000 people from Earth to Mars every time the planets' orbits line up favorably.

A Twitter user ran the figures and checked if Musk planned to land a million humans on Mars by 2050. "Yes," . The SpaceX CEO has suggested this sort of . This new round of tweets give us some more insight into how it could be done, though "ambitious" doesn't do that timeline justice. Miraculous might be a more fitting description.
fans, rejoice. there will be plenty of jobs on Mars. When asked how people would be selected for the Red Planet move, , "Needs to be such that anyone can go if they want, with loans available for those who don't have money." So perhaps you could pay off your SpaceX loans with a sweet terraforming gig.

Terraforming the planet should be easy if Quaid can get past Cohagen and start the reactor.

Original Submission

posted by The Mighty Buzzard on Saturday January 18, @05:11PM   Printer-friendly
from the lingere dept.

Well, crap. I have no idea why or when it happened but the Threshold setting when using Threaded-TOS appears to be non-functional at the moment. It's supposed to set the value below which a comment and any of its subcomments will be collapsed, unless a subcomment is over the Breakthrough value which should cause that comment only to be expanded. Right now it's functioning as if Threshold were set to 6. I never noticed it because I have both settings set to -1.

I can't monkey with it right this second but I'll see if I can get it fixed some time this weekend. Just a hotfix patch to the live code not a full site update.

Beats doing construction work in the rain I suppose.

posted by martyb on Saturday January 18, @03:00PM   Printer-friendly

Microsoft Corp said on Thursday it aims to:

By 2030 Microsoft will be carbon negative, and by 2050 Microsoft will remove from the environment all the carbon the company has emitted either directly or by electrical consumption since it was founded in 1975.

Further coverage: from The Verge, BBC, CBC
"direct emissions" but those they may have caused. If they can achieve it though, it will be a positive step.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Saturday January 18, @01:07PM   Printer-friendly
from the my-data-is-still-my-data dept.

Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:

Analysis: In a massive win for privacy rights, the advocate general advising the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has said that national security concerns should not override citizens' data privacy.

That doesn't mean that the intelligence and security services should oblige communications companies to hand over information, especially when it comes to terrorism suspects, the opinion, handed down yesterday, proposes. But it would mean that those requests will need to be done "on an exceptional and temporary basis," as opposed to sustained blanket harvesting of information – and only when justified by "overriding considerations relating to threats to public security or national security."

In other words, a US-style hovering [sic] up of personal data is not legal under European law.

The legal argument being made by the AG is technically advisory - the ECJ has yet to decide - though in roughly 80 per cent of cases it does side with the preliminary opinion put forward by its Advocate General, in this case Manuel Campos Sánchez-Bordona.

If the ECJ agrees, it could also have significant implications for the UK which has passed a law that gives the security services extraordinary reach and powers – which is in a legal limbo due to the ongoing Brexit plans to leave the European Union.

If this proposed legal solution is adopted by the court, the UK will be able to retain its current laws, though it would almost certainly face legal challenges and would have a hard time reaching an agreement with Europe over data-sharing – something that could have enormous security and economic implications.

The case itself was sparked by a legal challenge from Privacy International against the UK's Investigatory Powers Act (IPA) as well as a French data retention law.

In essence, the issue was whether national governments can oblige private parties - in this case, mostly ISPs - to hand over personal details by simply saying there were national security issues at hand.

The AG opines that no, it cannot: the European Directive on privacy and electronic communications continues to apply, and is not superseded by security claims. It does not apply to public bodies who are obliged to do what the government says.

-- submitted from IRC

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Saturday January 18, @10:43AM   Printer-friendly
from the I-didn't-see-that-coming dept.

Deep learning enables real-time imaging around corners:

Researchers have harnessed the power of a type of artificial intelligence known as deep learning to create a new laser-based system that can image around corners in real time. With further development, the system might let self-driving cars "look" around parked cars or busy intersections to see hazards or pedestrians. It could also be installed on satellites and spacecraft for tasks such as capturing images inside a cave on an asteroid.

"Compared to other approaches, our non-line-of-sight imaging system provides uniquely high resolutions and imaging speeds," said research team leader Christopher A. Metzler from Stanford University and Rice University. "These attributes enable applications that wouldn't otherwise be possible, such as reading the license plate of a hidden car as it is driving or reading a badge worn by someone walking on the other side of a corner."

[...] The new imaging system uses a commercially available camera sensor and a powerful, but otherwise standard, laser source that is similar to the one found in a laser pointer. The laser beam bounces off a visible wall onto the hidden object and then back onto the wall, creating an interference pattern known as a speckle pattern that encodes the shape of the hidden object.

Reconstructing the hidden object from the speckle pattern requires solving a challenging computational problem. Short exposure times are necessary for real-time imaging but produce too much noise for existing algorithms to work. To solve this problem, the researchers turned to deep learning.

"Compared to other approaches for non-line-of-sight imaging, our deep learning algorithm is far more robust to noise and thus can operate with much shorter exposure times," said co-author Prasanna Rangarajan from Southern Methodist University. "By accurately characterizing the noise, we were able to synthesize data to train the algorithm to solve the reconstruction problem using deep learning without having to capture costly experimental training data."

More information: Chris Metzler et al, Deep-Inverse Correlography: Towards Real-Time High-Resolution Non-Line-of-Sight Imaging, Optica (2019). DOI: 10.1364/OPTICA.374026

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Saturday January 18, @08:26AM   Printer-friendly
from the better-than-none-at-all dept.

Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:

The fires, unprecedented for Australia in terms of duration and intensity, have claimed 28 lives and killed an estimated billion animals. Sustained hot weather and rare periods of light rain in the affected areas have deepened the crisis.

Downpours on Thursday in the state of New South Wales, where many of the worst fires have burnt, offered hope that dozens of blazes could be brought under control.

"Relief is here for a number of firefighters working across NSW," the state's Rural Fire Service said in a social media post accompanying footage of rain falling in a burning forest.

"Although this rain won't extinguish all fires, it will certainly go a long way towards containment."

Before the rains, there were 30 blazes burning out of control in New South Wales.

Along the south coast of the state, locals who witnessed towns and forests being destroyed in recent weeks expressed cautious hope.

"We're thrilled and so relieved to have some dampness in the air because it makes things safe for a little while," Virginia Connor told AFP near the town of Nowra.

"But we need more, we need lots more."

-- submitted from IRC

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Saturday January 18, @06:02AM   Printer-friendly
from the almost-too-sensible-to-be-true dept.


The European Commission has revealed it is considering a ban on the use of facial recognition in public areas for up to five years.

Regulators want time to work out how to prevent the technology being abused.

The technology allows faces captured on CCTV to be checked in real time against watch lists, often compiled by police.

Exceptions to the ban could be made for security projects as well as research and development.

The Commission set out its plans in an 18-page document, suggesting that new rules will be introduced to bolster existing regulation surrounding privacy and data rights.

Don't get rid of your scramble suit just yet.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Saturday January 18, @03:43AM   Printer-friendly
from the dept.

After nearly three years, Wikipedia is coming back online in Turkey:

After more than two and a half years, Wikipedia appears to be coming back online in Turkey. The popular online encyclopedia was banned in April 2017 after the Turkish government accused the site of running a "smear campaign" against it.

Late last year, the Constitutional Court of Turkey, the country's highest court, ruled that the order was unconstitutional, paving the way for this week's reappearance, which happened to coincide with Wikipedia's 19th birthday.

Turkey had previously banned YouTube and Twitter, and both of those bans were similarly lifted by the Constitutional Court. In 2018 Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also threatened to ban the iPhone and other electronics that come from US companies.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Saturday January 18, @12:18AM   Printer-friendly
from the to-the-moon-Alice dept.

from the to-the-moon-Alice dept.

SpaceX moon passenger Yusaku Maezawa has 20,000 applicants to be girlfriend he takes on journey:

Yusaku Maezawa, the Japanese billionaire set to become the first private passenger on a SpaceX Starship, is seeking a partner to "go to the moon with him." The 44-year-old Japanese drummer-turned-entrepreneur, who founded clothing site Zozotown, has begun an unusual quest to find a female partner to take to the moon -- and he's reportedly got over 20,000 applicants.

In partnership with Elon Musk's SpaceX, Maezawa announced in 2018 he would be going to the moon. As part of his mission, he bought up six to eight seats on the company's next-generation Starship and told reporters he would be asking six to eight artists to head to lunar orbit with him. The project, known as #dearMoon, is scheduled to launch in 2023.

[...] As of Thursday, AbemaTV said 21,700 people had applied, with 16 hours left until the deadline.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Friday January 17, @10:37PM   Printer-friendly
from the cherish-our-freedom dept.

Al Jazeera:

Vietnam's Force 47 is run by the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) to hack anti-government websites and spread pro-government messages online, and is believed to be at least 10,000-strong.

Anh Chi, the pen name of 46-year-old Nguyen Chi Tuyen, knows the ministry's tactics well. He has created videos criticising Force 47, and has expressed concern about the impact of a new cyber-law that came into effect at the beginning of the month.

The deadly January 9 incident in Dong Tam is a case in point.

According to the authorities, three police officers and 84-year-old village leader Le Dinh Kinh were killed after local residents clashed with police in the early hours of that day.

The dispute, over agricultural land next to a military airport, shocked the country. But afterwards, Vietnam's cyber-army, also known as Force 47, was deployed to counter the content on social media platforms deemed critical of the way the authorities handled the situation.

"Facebook is the main source of independent news now in Vietnam," said Trinh Huu Long, a co-founder of Legal Initiatives for Vietnam.

"The government has been working with Facebook to try to control content posted by dissidents and independent voices," he added.

Vietnam is said to be following China's lead in policing its citizens speech online. Is this going to become the global norm?

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Friday January 17, @08:44PM   Printer-friendly
from the Namárië dept.

News from the BBC

Christopher Tolkien, who edited and published the posthumous works of his father, Lord of the Rings writer JRR Tolkien, has died aged 95.

The news was confirmed by the Tolkien Society, which described him as "Middle-earth's first scholar".

After his father's death in 1973, Mr Tolkien published the acclaimed work The Silmarillion.

Scholar Dr Dimitra Fimi said the study of JRR Tolkien "would never be what it is today" without his input.

My first introduction to J.R.R. Tolkien's work was The Father Christmas Letters, which were written for Christopher and his siblings. In more recent years, I've dipped into Christopher's work on Middle Earth, both his History of Middle Earth, and the various pieces of his father's work that he edited and expanded upon.

What memories do Soylentils have of the Tolkiens' work?

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Friday January 17, @06:52PM   Printer-friendly
from the awwww dept.

Scientists unexpectedly witness wolf puppies play fetch:

When it comes to playing a game of fetch, many dogs are naturals. But now, researchers report that the remarkable ability to interpret human social communicative cues that enables a dog to go for a ball and then bring it back also exists in wolves. The study appears January 16 in the journal iScience.

The findings were made serendipitously when researchers tested 13 wolf puppies from three different litters in a behavioral test battery designed to assess various behaviors in young dog puppies. During this series of tests, three 8-week-old wolf puppies spontaneously showed interest in a ball and returned it to a perfect stranger upon encouragement. The discovery comes as a surprise because it had been hypothesized that the cognitive abilities necessary to understand cues given by a human, such as those required for a game of fetch, arose in dogs only after humans domesticated them at least 15,000 years ago.

"When I saw the first wolf puppy retrieving the ball I literally got goose bumps," says Christina Hansen Wheat of Stockholm University, Sweden. "It was so unexpected, and I immediately knew that this meant that if variation in human-directed play behavior exists in wolves, this behavior could have been a potential target for early selective pressures exerted during dog domestication."

More information: iScience, Wheat and Temrin: "Intrinsic ball retrieving in wolf puppies suggests standing ancestral variation for human-directed play behaviour" , DOI: 10.1016/j.isci.2019.100811

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Friday January 17, @05:07PM   Printer-friendly
from the taking-the-piss dept.

WSJ runs this story (alternative MSN same text)

HONG KONG—Japanese citizen Midori Nishida was checking in to a flight in Hong Kong in November to visit her parents on Saipan, a U.S. island in the Pacific, when airline staff made an unusual demand. She had to take a pregnancy test if she wanted to board.

Ms. Nishida, 25 years old, was escorted to a public rest room and handed a strip to urinate on.

The test was part of the response of one airline, Hong Kong Express Airways, to immigration concerns in Saipan. The island has become a destination for women intending to give birth on U.S. territory, making their babies eligible for American citizenship. In 2018, more tourists than residents gave birth in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, in which Saipan is the largest island.

Pregnant foreigners aren't barred from entering the U.S., or from giving birth in U.S. territory. But immigration authorities can turn away visitors if they are found to be lying about their purpose of travel, or if they come to the U.S. planning to have a medical procedure, such as giving birth, but can't prove they have the funds to pay for it.

Airlines are required to take back passengers who are denied entry—an incentive to ensure that those who board their flights are likely to be deemed admissible to the U.S.

One would think the birth tourism was reaching crisis levels in Saipan; but TFA has a chart showing 582 births by tourists in 2018.

Heck, looks like even Trump's businesses are happy to oblige if the price is right.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Friday January 17, @03:19PM   Printer-friendly
from the I'll-buy-one dept.

The GNU/Linux-based smartphone, PinePhone, has begun shipping. It uses the same Quad-Core ARM Cortex A53 64-Bit System on a Chip (SOC) as the the Pine64 Single Board Computer (SBC) and thus it also runs mainstream GNU/Linux. The goal is to provide a hardware platform for a wider variety of Linux-on-Phone projects. Hardware availability is expected to be five years.

Lilliputing: PinePhone Braveheart Linux smartphone begins shipping January 17th

The PinePhone is an inexpensive smartphone designed to run Linux-based operating systems. Developed by the folks at Pine64, the $150 smartphone was first announced about a year ago — and this week the first units will ship.

Herald Writer: The PinePhone begins delivery—a Linux-powered smartphone for $150

The PinePhone is powered through an Allwinner A64 SoC, which options 4 Cortex A53 CPUs at 1.2GHz, constructed on an attractive historical 40nm procedure. This is similar chip the corporate makes use of at the PINE A64 unmarried board pc, a Raspberry Pi competitor. There are 2GB of RAM, a Mali-400 GPU, 16GB of garage, and a 2750mAh battery. The rear digicam is 5MP, the entrance digicam is 2MP, the show is a 1440×720 IPS LCD, and the battery is detachable. There is a headphone jack, a USB-C port, and strengthen for a MicroSD slot, which you'll if truth be told boot running techniques off of. The mobile modem is a big separate chip this is soldered onto the motherboard: a Quectel EG25-G.

Earlier on SN:
PinePhone Linux Smartphone Priced at $149 to Arrive This Year (2019)
Librem 5 Backers Have Begun Receiving Their Linux Phones (2019)

Original Submission