2018-07-01 00:00:00 ..
2018-08-16 05:39:26 UTC
2018-08-16 12:26:20 UTC
We always have a place for talented people, visit the Get Involved section on the wiki to see how you can make SoylentNews better.
Submitted via IRC for SoyCow0245
A nonprofit with grand ambitions of setting up a library on the Moon is planning to send the entire English archive of Wikipedia to the lunar surface sometime within the next couple of years.
Don't worry: there won't be reams of Wikipedia printouts sitting in the lunar soil. Instead, the organization says it will send up millions of Wikipedia articles in the form of miniaturized prints, etched into tiny sheets of metal that are thinner than the average human hair. The nonprofit claims that with this method, it can send up millions of pages of text in a package that's about the size of a CD.
The unusual mission is the brainchild of the Arch Foundation (pronounced "arc," short for archive.) Formed in 2015, the nonprofit's goal is to set up archives of humanity's culture in different places throughout our cosmic neighborhood, as a way to inspire people about space. "We thought of this project to archive human civilization around the Solar System — to create a permanent off-site backup of all our cultural achievements," Arch co-founder Nova Spivack tells The Verge. "So, our knowledge, our art, our languages, our history — all the stuff the human mind has produced." The idea is that these archives could last for millions to billions of years in space, where they might be found and read by future humans.
We had two stories submitted via IRC about the return of the NES Classic Edition from Nintendo:
Submitted via IRC for AndyTheAbsurd
Nintendo has announced the date for its re-release of its re-release of the NES, the NES Classic Edition. The console, which sold out immediately upon its debut in November 2016, will return to...
Mentioning this for those that wanted one but didn't snag one last time they were available. SuperNES too, and both expected to be available until the end of the year. List of built-in NES games included in link.
Submitted via IRC for SoyCow0245
Nintendo expects stock "through the end of the year" after June 29 relaunch.
After plans for a summer re-launch were announced last September, the NES Classic Edition will be available once again starting on June 29 in both North America and Europe, Nintendo announced via Twitter last night. While the plug-and-play hardware saw widespread shortages during a limited production run from late 2016 through early 2017, Nintendo now says that both the NES and Super NES Classic Edition systems "are expected to be available through the end of the year."
After the NES Classic sold more than 2.3 million units in just under six months, Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime admitted in an interview with Gamespot that there was a "marketplace disconnect" between Nintendo's expectations and the demand for the self-contained system, which contains 30 NES games for a $60 MSRP. He added to Time magazine, "We've got a lot going on right now and we don't have unlimited resources."
Since then, it seems the company may have learned how to commit sufficient resources to the popular line of nostalgic hardware. Fils-Aime promised "dramatically increased" production for the Super NES Classic back in September and has since then sold nearly 5.3 million units in about six months, avoiding the shortages and secondhand markup that plagued the NES Classic's initial launch.
Submitted via IRC for SoyCow0245
Back in 2015, Personal Audio's claimed patent was invalidated by a federal court.
Podcasters, you can now engage in your lengthy Maron opens without the feeling of being legally targeted by a Texas company that many would consider to be a patent troll.
On Monday, the Supreme Court of the United States declined to hear the case of Personal Audio v. Electronic Frontier Foundation. In short, the case is all said and done.
As Ars reported in August 2017, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed the April 2015 inter partes review (IPR) ruling—a process that allows anyone to challenge a patent's validity at the US Patent and Trademark Office.
The Pineapple Fund has done what it set out to do and is concluding its activities. Going out in style, he/she/it/they continue to remain more or less anonymous.
In December 2017, the Pineapple Fund was set up by an unknown individual with the intention of giving cryptocurrency donations around the world. It has also been claimed to be among the 250 largest holders of Bitcoin in the world. Known simply as 'Pine', the anonymous person announced via Reddit last year that they were setting up the Pineapple Fund to donate 5,057 BTC, worth about $86 million at the time, to charitable causes.
Embracing a harm reduction and public health perspective, one of the world's most prestigious medical journals has released a signed editorial calling for the legalization, taxation, and regulation of currently illegal drugs.
In an editorial [May 10] entitled Drugs Should Be Legalized, Regulated, and Taxed, Fiona Godlee, editor in chief of the British Medical Journal, notes that under drug prohibition, the global trade "fuels organized crime and human misery", and asks, "Why should it not instead fund public services?"
Citing an opinion piece in the same issue of the BMJ from British members of the Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP, formerly known as Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) Jason Reed and Paul Whitehouse, Godlee notes that in the United Kingdom (as in the United States) "vast sums are spent prosecuting individuals and trying vainly to interrupt the flow of drugs into cities" while that money would be much better "spent on quality control, education, treatment for drug users, and child protection". Under legalization, "revenues could be diverted from criminal gangs into government coffers", she writes.
Godlee notes that the global drug prohibition consensus is fraying around the edges, and points to the example of Portugal, which decriminalized the possession of all drugs in 2001. There, drug use remains in line with levels in other European countries, but the harms associated with drug use under prohibition have decreased dramatically, particularly in terms of fatal drug overdoses and the spread of injection drug-related infectious disease.
 Bad link in TFA; corrected in TFS.
[...] with bottles and tubes covered with claims, "it's really hard to make sense of what all the terminology means," says Roopal V. Kundu, M.D., an associate professor of dermatology at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, who researches how people buy and use sunscreen.
Here, then, is the help you need: seven common terms and what they actually mean—and don't. The federal government requires sunscreen claims to be "truthful and not misleading." But only three of the main claims consumers see—"SPF," "broad-spectrum," and "water-resistant"—are strictly regulated by the [U.S.] government and therefore have agreed-upon definitions.
The article goes on to explain those terms as well as "sport," "dermatologist recommended," "natural," "mineral" and "reef safe."
Modern people aren't the only ones who've polluted the atmosphere. Two thousand years ago, the Romans smelted precious ores in clay furnaces, extracting silver and belching lead into the sky. Some of that lead settled on Greenland's icecap and mixed in with ever-accumulating layers of ice. Now, scientists studying annual deposits of those ice layers have found that spikes and dips in lead pollution during the Roman era mirror the timing of many historical events, including wars fought by Julius Caesar.
Amazon started widely selling its Echo speaker, voiced by the Star Trek-inspired personal assistant Alexa, in 2015. That year, 6,050 baby girls in the United States were named Alexa, or 311 for every 100,000 female babies born.
Since then, the name has declined in popularity 33 percent, according to new data from the Social Security Administration crunched by University of Maryland sociology professor Philip Cohen. Last year, just 3,883 baby girls were named Alexa.
Nobody wants to name their baby after their digital slave.
NASA has awarded launch contracts to two launch providers, Rocket Lab and Virgin Orbit, whose rockets carry smaller payloads than the traditional workhorse rockets used to orbit uncrewed spacecraft and satellites.
With technology continuously making space hardware lighter and smaller, the new CubeSats being built today are quite capable of making scientific studies and testing new spacecraft technologies. NASA is looking to further utilize these low cost platforms.
In order to keep CubeSat costs effective, they are traditionally launched as a secondary payloads on larger launchers such as the United Launch Alliance Atlas V or SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets.
The new Venture Class contracts puts these low-cost payloads onto smaller, lower-cost launchers. Each rocket could allow NASA to send approximately 12 CubeSats into orbit without having to be constrained to a certain trajectory when flying as a secondary payload. This could give NASA the ability to send CubeSat payloads into orbits that are best suited to accomplish particular missions or perform the scientific research they were designed for.
While water plumes have been imaged on Saturn's icy moon Enceladus by the Cassini spacecraft, evidence for plumes on Jupiter's moon Europa has been scarce. But a new analysis found that a magnetometer aboard the Galileo spacecraft recorded signs of a plume in 1997, years before the Cassini spacecraft encountered plumes:
Scientists have new evidence that there are plumes of water erupting from the surface of Jupiter's icy moon Europa — plumes that could, maybe, possibly contain signs of life. The evidence comes from data collected by the now-defunct Galileo spacecraft. Although the data has been available since it was collected in 1997, it's only now that an analysis confirms the existence of water plumes.
For more than two decades, scientists have been convinced Europa has a liquid water ocean sloshing around beneath its icy outer crust. In the past six years, two teams of researchers using the Hubble Space Telescope reported the possible existence of plumes. But as powerful as Hubble is, seeing something as small as a plume on a moon more than 380-million miles away is difficult. "We're looking for effects that are relatively small, and are pushing the spatial resolution of the telescope," says astrophysicist Susana Deutsua of the Space Telescope Science Institute.
Congressman John Culberson, known for his support for the Europa Clipper mission, broke the research embargo in a recent hearing on NASA's budget.
Evidence of a plume on Europa from Galileo magnetic and plasma wave signatures (open, DOI: 10.1038/s41550-018-0450-z) (DX)
The reason given is:
Specifically, Google wanted to eliminate the button that lets you view all your open apps, making it easier to see your apps with a swipe.
But the underlying reason for wanting to do it comes from this quote from Dave Burke, Google's VP of engineering for Android
"Android have those three buttons at the bottom: Home, back and something else," Burke said. "And it's, it's a little too much, a little too complicated. I think of it as like walking into a room with three doors and it's like, 'which door do I go in?'"
My response to Burke would be: Well, Dave, when you walk into the room, and there's three doors, and one of them is labeled "bedroom", one of them is labeled "kitchen", and one of them is labeled "bathroom"; it's pretty easy to decide whether you're tired, hungry, or need to take a leak - so maybe you should look at having standards for labeling things.
U.S. states will be able to legalize sports gambling following a Supreme Court ruling. New Jersey will be among the first to do so:
The U.S. Supreme Court freed states to legalize gambling on individual sporting events, unleashing what will be a race to attract billions of dollars in wagers and heralding a new era for the nation's sports leagues.
The justices on Monday struck down [PDF] the federal law that had barred single-game gambling in most of the country, saying it unconstitutionally forced states to maintain their prohibitions. Nevada has been the only state with legal single-game wagering.
Sports gambling could begin in a matter of weeks in casinos and racetracks in New Jersey, which instigated the legal fight by repealing its gambling ban. Mississippi, Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware and West Virginia could follow soon, and the number of states might reach double digits by the end of the year.
The study, based on research conducted at Harvard Business School and published in the Journal of Consumer Research, is an inquiry into the tradeoffs between transparency and persuasion in the age of the algorithm. Specifically, it examines what happens if a company reveals to people how and why they've been targeted for a given ad, exposing the algorithmic trail that, say, inferred that you're interested in discounted socks based on a constellation of behavioral signals gleaned from across the web. Such targeting happens to virtually everyone who uses the internet, almost always without context or explanation.
In the Harvard study, research subjects were asked to browse a website where they were presented with various versions of an advertisement - identical except for accompanying text about why they were being shown the ad. Time and time again, people who were told that they were targeted based on activity elsewhere on the internet were turned off and became less interested in what the ad was touting than people who saw no disclosure or were told that they were targeted based on how they were browsing the original site. In other words, if you track people across the internet, as Facebook routinely does, and admit the fact to them, the transparency will poison the resulting ads. The 449 paid subjects in the targeting research, who were recruited online, were about 24 percent less likely to be interested in making a purchase or visiting the advertiser if they were in the group that was told they were tracked across websites, researchers said.
In a related research effort described in the same study, a similar group of subjects was 17 percent less interested in purchasing if they had been told they'd been targeted for an advertisement based on information that we inferred about you, as compared to people who were told they were targeted based on information they themselves provided or who were told nothing at all. Facebook makes inferences about its users not only by leveraging third-party data, but also through the use of artificial intelligence.
It's easy to see the conflict this represents for a company recently re-dedicated to transparency and honesty that derives much of its stock market value from opacity.
The paper inadvertently offers an answer to a crucial question of our time: Why won't Facebook just level with us? Why all the long, vague transparency pledges and congressional evasion? The study concludes that when the data mining curtain is pulled back, we really don't like what we see. There's something unnatural about the kind of targeting that's become routine in the ad world, this paper suggests, something taboo, a violation of norms we consider inviolable it's just harder to tell they're being violated online than off. But the revulsion we feel when we learn how we've been algorithmically targeted, the research suggests, is much the same as what we feel when our trust is betrayed in the analog world.
[A] Freight train service from Bayannur city in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region to Tehran, Iran's capital, was launched Thursday morning.
The train, carrying 1,150 tonnes of sunflower seeds, will travel 8,352 kilometers through Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, arriving in Tehran in 15 days, said Chen Bo, deputy manager of the Hohhot office of China Railway.
The new train route will shorten transportation time by at least 20 days compared with ocean shipping.
A draft report from the Department of Environment and Energy recommends forest clearing should go ahead at northern Queensland's Kingvale Station, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. Prospective clearing was first authorised in 2014, and its purpose would be to make way for cropping and other activities.
Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg will rule on the matter, and if it goes forward it'll mean 2,000 hectares of forest areas right next to the Reef will be cleared. And that would almost certainly mean a soil pollution problem for the Reef.
[...] Not only is too much heat and light a problem, so is lack of sunlight. Sediment washed from the land into the Reef blocks sunlight onto the coral, restricting the necessary process of photosynthesis. It can also damage or kill some of the fauna supporting the ecosystem.
"Declining marine water quality, influenced by land-based run-off, is one of the most significant threats to the long-term health and resilience of the Great Barrier Reef." Ironically, that's a quote from the Queensland Government's State of the Environment page.