2020-01-01 00:00:00 ..
2020-02-24 18:18:28 UTC
2020-02-25 13:11:03 UTC
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Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang revealed this week that he's planning to use a 3D hologram to hold campaign rallies in multiple cities at the same time. Yang discussed the hologram during an appearance on TMZ Live. The segment showed off a hologram version of Yang dancing and performing with the famous Tupac hologram that appeared at Coachella in 2012.
[...] Yang plans to use the hologram, broadcast from the back of a truck, to deliver a recorded version of his stump speech to crowds in battleground states. Yang would set up in a studio and remotely beam into the rally to answer questions live and in real-time after the speech finished. The technique could save Yang, a longshot for the Democratic nomination at this point, a considerable amount of travel costs while helping to rally supporters and generate interest in key areas.
In the future, all politicians will attend events exclusively as holograms, beamed from their studios in Elysium.
Investigational givosiran met the primary endpoint of reduction in the annualized rate of composite porphyria attacks versus placebo in patients with acute hepatic porphyria (AHP), researchers said here.
In the interim analysis of the phase III ENVISION trial, patients treated with givosiran experienced a mean composite annualized rate of 3.2 attacks versus 12.5 attacks in patients on placebo (P<0.0001), for a mean reduction of 74%, said Manisha Balwani, MD, of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, and colleagues.
"We saw a robust treatment effect," said Balwani at a press conference at the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) annual meeting.
"Currently, there are no approved therapies aimed at preventing the painful, often incapacitating attacks, and chronic symptoms associated with acute hepatic porphyria," she added. "The results from ENVISION are promising and demonstrate a strong treatment effect for givosiran, with reduction of attacks and improvement in patient-reported measures of overall health status and quality of life."
BBC has a dumbed down article: Gene-silencing: 'New class' of medicine reverses disease porphyria
Huawei is "open" to selling high-speed 5G chips and other silicon to rival smartphone maker Apple, marking a significant shift in the Chinese tech giant's thinking toward its own intellectual property.
The world's largest networking equipment maker has been in the consumer market for a relatively short amount of time with its own-brand smartphones, but it has quickly risen to become the third-largest vendor by market share.
Huawei started by selling phones at low prices but in recent years has shifted focus to increase its market share in the high end of the market, battling Apple and Samsung. As part of that move, Huawei has developed its own chips, including a modem to give smartphones 5G connectivity, and a processor to power its devices. 5G is next-generation mobile internet, which delivers data at very high speeds.
So far, those pieces of technology have been used only in Huawei's devices. That could change. In an interview with CNBC that aired Monday, Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei said the company would consider selling its 5G chips to Apple. "We are open to Apple in this regard," Ren said. The CEO spoke in Mandarin, which was translated into English by an official translator.
Apple products (e.g. new iPhones) are likely to use 5G modems from Intel, although they won't be ready until 2020. Huawei has been shunned by U.S. companies due to warnings and pressure from the U.S. government claiming that Huawei products enable Chinese espionage. There has even been discussion of the U.S. government developing a 5G network free of Chinese influence. Given that there aren't many places in the country where you can get a "5G" connection yet, is there any point to this offer?
Intel Announces Development of 5G Modems (Due in 2019)
U.S. Intelligence Agency Heads Warn Against Using Huawei and ZTE Products
New Law Bans U.S. Government from Buying Equipment from Chinese Telecom Giants ZTE and Huawei
Australia Bans China's Huawei (and maybe ZTE) from 5G Mobile Network Project
Intel Speeds Up Rollout of 5G Modems
Washington Asks Allies to Drop Huawei
Australian Residents Reject Huawei Small Cell Boxes
Germany and the EU Likely to Embrace Huawei, Rebuff the U.S.
EU to Drop Threat of Huawei Ban but Wants 5G Risks Monitored
Huawei's Equipment Poses 'Significant' Security Risks, UK Says
The deputy mayor of Paris, Emmanuel Gregoire, said the cathedral had suffered "colossal damages", and the emergency services were trying to salvage the art and other priceless pieces stored in the cathedral. A cathedral spokesman said the entire wooden interior was burning and likely to be destroyed.
Sounds like the whole thing may go up in flames. There's a reason for modern building codes.
A structure made entirely out of wood, is a huge bonfire, waiting to happen. Thankfully, at this time, there are no reported deaths.
[Update: 2019-04-16 @ 0222: The Cathedral is not "made entirely out of wood" as was suggested above. There is a great deal of stone work in its construction which can be readily seen on its Wikipedia page. I was at work when I heard news of the fire, immediately took a break, loaded the story queue on my phone, saw a story submission on the fire, and pushed it out to the community. In my haste to get the story out, I failed to notice the erroneous claim about wood construction. I apologize for the error. --martyb]
Plans for the U.S. government to build a national 5G network secured against China appear to have been quashed following intense telecom industry lobbying:
The Trump Administration made a few announcements about building super-fast 5G wireless networks on Friday, but the real purpose of the White House event was buried beneath the headlines.
On the surface, President Trump and Federal Communications Commission chair Ajit Pai were promoting the schedule for a new spectrum auction and funds for extending faster Internet service to rural areas. But the auction, now slated to start on December 10, has been on tap for the "second half of 2019" since last year. And the funds for rural Internet connections, which don't have to use 5G technology or even wireless, were just an extension of a long-existing program.
Instead, the real agenda was to try and kill a well-funded lobbying effort to convince the federal government to take over 5G airwaves and build a nationalized network that private carriers would have to lease from the government. Supporters included prominent Republicans Newt Gingrich and Karl Rove, as well as Trump 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale.
But the idea has driven the U.S. telecommunications industry, which is spending tens of billions of dollars to build private 5G networks, bonkers.
Ajit Pai talked about "up to" gigabit connections for rural homes.
Also at Engadget.
Related: FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Proposes Raising Rural Broadband Speeds
Ajit Pai's Rosy Broadband Deployment Claim May be Based on Gigantic Error
Ajit Pai Wants to Cap Spending on Broadband for Poor People and Rural Areas
How GitHub became a bulletin board for Chinese tech worker complaints (archive - disable scripts to prevent 404)
"For years China's white-collar tech workers have been some of the most privileged in the country—and were prepared to put in any number of working hours in return. Now, as the economy slows and tech giants announce layoffs, pent-up anger over working hours is bubbling over.
The most prominent protest over work hours is the 996.ICU project launched at the end of March on Microsoft's GitHub code-sharing community. In days, the attempt to catalog companies who demand a 996 schedule—9 am to 9 pm, six days a week—became the site's most book-marked or "starred" project, racking up more than 190,000 stars.
"By following the "996" work schedule, you are risking yourself getting into the ICU (Intensive Care Unit)," says the "996.ICU" project description, whose creators aren't known. It calls on tech workers to add names and evidence of excessive hours to a "blacklist," proposes requiring companies to agree to an "anti-996 license" as a condition for using open-source software, and urges people to "go home at 6 pm without feeling sorry."
Media reports on deaths of young tech workers from heart attacks have also raised concern about the deep-seated culture of overwork, even though it's unclear whether they were related to work stress. "The overwork culture is rooted in China's tech industry. I worked 996 for nine months. During that time, I had serious insomnia due to the high pressure. So, I quit, " said GitHub member Zhang, a former software developer who put a star on the project to show his support.
Zhang, who asked to be identified only by his last name, said putting the anti-996 complaints on GitHub made sense for tech workers—it's a place they naturally gather, and more importantly, it's not blocked in China given its usefulness to developers and tech firms alike. "If you protest on Weibo or WeChat, more likely it will be controlled by either tech companies or the government," he said."
Hooray for Chinese software developers! I totally appreciate burnout. As a UNIX systems and network administrator for over thirty years, I've been on call for more than half my entire life span. It's had a serious impact upon my health and relationships, including my relationships with employers - whom always assume I am at their complete disposal and threaten me with retaliatory unemployment when I am not.
Nowadays, they want me to do this while working for them, on a temporary basis, for wages that I haven't seen since the 1980s or 1990s. Seriously. It's like there's a Cold War against workers. Nothing less than a state of war could explain the burning desire of today's employers to insure that I and my dependents never have an opportunity to go to college or live in a home of their own ... never mind, have a vacation, somewhere, or a second, vacation, home - for emergencies.
Do you know a single person in any urban area who can afford to have a spare bedroom for emergency guests? We, as a country, have NO emergency capacity. We have NO flexibility. We have our backs against the wall. Why is this? It's sad that American workers are too gutless and spineless and devoid of innovation to conceive of such a protest, and have to look across the seas, to mainland China, for organizational inspiration, so as to solve our local labor problems. What we need is a 'Yelp' for employees. But where does the revenue come from? Soylentils, put your minds to work. What do YOU think?
Submitted via IRC for SoyCow1984
In response to Amazon packages being stolen from people's doorsteps, police departments around the country have set up sting operations that use fake packages bugged with GPS trackers to find and arrest people who steal packages. Internal emails and documents obtained by Motherboard via a public records request show how Amazon and one police department partnered to set up one of these operations.
The documents obtained by Motherboard—which include an operations plan and internal emails between Amazon and the Hayward, California Police Department—show that Amazon's "national package theft team" made several calls to the Hayward Police Department and sent the department packages, tape, and stickers that allowed the department to set up a "porch pirate" operation in November and December of 2018. The documents also reveal that the bait Amazon packages included real-time location-tracking devices in order to surveil and track anyone who stole a package.
According to an "Operation Plan" obtained by Motherboard, the Hayward Police Department referred to the porch pirate operation as "Operation 'Safe Porch,'" and it lasted from November 12 to December 17, 2018. The document describes package theft in Hayward as a "significant problem" during the holiday season, and it characterizes Operation Safe Porch as a way to "arrest/prosecute those individuals committing this criminal activity."
"The operation will emphasize a pro-active approach in the suppression of this criminal activity and with the use of 'bait' packages affixed with GPS tracking devices, Surveillance and Covert Operations, Probation/Parole Searches and potentially Search Warrants," the document reads.
The document claims that the Hayward Police Department Criminal Investigations Bureau, units form the Hayward Special Investigations Bureau, and Hayward Crime Analysis all assisted with Operation Safe Porch. It also notes that the program was run four days a week, for 10 hours per day, and outlined the GPS, radio, and vehicles that were used in the program (including "an assigned undercover vehicle for surveillance and covert operations.")
Related: Amazon Plants Fake Packages in Delivery Trucks to 'Trap' Drivers Who Are Stealing
Jersey City PD, Amazon work together to catch package thieves
Hacker Makes a Flawless Booby Trap, Strikes Back Against Package Thieves
Submitted via IRC for SoyCow1984
Police have used information from the search giant's Sensorvault database to aid in criminal cases across the country, according to a report Saturday by The New York Times. The database has detailed location records from hundreds of millions of phones around the world, the report said. It's meant to collect information on the users of Google's products so the company can better target them with ads, and see how effective those ads are.
But police have been tapping into the database to help find missing pieces in investigations. Law enforcement can get "geofence" warrants seeking location data. Those kinds of requests have spiked in the last six months, and the company has received as many as 180 requests in one week, according to the report.
[...] For geofence warrants, police carve out a specific area and time period, and Google can gather information from Sensorvault about the devices that were present during that window, according to the report. The information is anonymous, but police can analyze it and narrow it down to a few devices they think might be relevant to the investigation. Then Google reveals those users' names and other data, according to the Times.
[...] It's not uncommon for law enforcement to seek help from tech companies during investigations. But the use of Sensorvault data has raised concerns about innocent people being implicated. For example, the Times interviewed a man who was arrested last year in a murder investigation after Google's data had reportedly landed him on the police's radar. But he was released from jail after a week, when investigators pinpointed and arrested another suspect.
The Financial Times says the company is spending 'several million dollars each' on more than 100 games, putting Apple Arcade's budget in excess of $500 million dollars. At its March event, Apple announced that Arcade would launch in the fall but did not announce pricing.
The report also says that Apple is offering an 'extra incentive' to a developer if their game remains exclusive to Apple Arcade.
Our sources indicate that all Apple Arcade games will not be offered on Google Play Store. The deal is essentially 'mobile exclusive', so developers will be allowed to launch on games consoles like PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo Switch — just no Android. Arcade games will not be sold in the App Store as normal downloads.
The customer pitch for Apple Arcade is an alternative offering to the countless freemium games that dominate the App Store charts. For one monthly fee, users can play any game in the Arcade catalog. An Apple Arcade game will have no additional purchases or upsell, no limited levels, and no ads. Arcade games will also not be able to share any data with publishers unless the customer provides explicit consent.
Also at Engadget.
Previously: Apple News+ and Apple Arcade Announced
Submitted via IRC for SoyCow1984
West Virginia University assistant professor Zachariah Etienne is leading what will soon become a global volunteer computing effort. The public will be invited to lend their own computers to help the scientific community unlock the secrets contained in gravitational waves observed when black holes smash together.
[...] "As our gravitational wave detectors become more sensitive, we're going to need to greatly expand our efforts to understand all of the information encoded in gravitational waves from colliding binary black holes," Etienne said. "We are turning to the general public to help with these efforts, which involve generating unprecedented numbers of self-consistent simulations of these extremely energetic collisions.
[...] "Each desktop computer will be able to perform a single simulation of colliding black holes," said Etienne. By seeking public involvement through use of vast numbers of personal desktop computers, Etienne and others hope to dramatically increase the throughput of the theoretical gravitational wave predictions needed to extract information from observations of the collisions.
[...] Etienne and his team are building a website with downloadable software based on the same Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing, or BOINC, system used for the SETI@Home project and other scientific applications. The free middleware system is designed to help harness the processing power of thousands of personal computers across the globe. The West Virginia team has named their project BlackHoles@Home and expects to have it up and running later this year.
They have already established a website where the public can begin learning more about the effort: https://math.wvu.edu/~zetienne/SENR/.
Submitted via IRC for SoyCow1984
The fake Amazon review economy is a thriving market, ripe with underground forums, "How To Game The Rankings!" tutorials, and websites with names like (now-defunct) "amazonverifiedreviews.com."
But the favored hunting grounds for sellers on the prowl is Amazon's fellow tech behemoth, Facebook.
In a recent two-week period, I identified more than 150 private Facebook groups where sellers openly exchange free products (and, in many cases, commissions) for 5-star reviews, sans disclosures.
A sampling of 20 groups I analyzed [which I've posted publicly here] collectively have more than 200,000 members. These groups seem to be in the midst of an online Gold Rush: Most are less than a year old, and in the past 30 days have attracted more than 50,000 new users.
Honesty and "no scamming" are touted as group rules — but a look under the hood reveals a potpourri of foul play.
An article published this month describes A new transparent metasurface that uses sunlight to counteract fogging of surfaces.
Fogging glass affects a variety of things such as glasses, cars, spacesuits and the mirror in the bathroom. Fogging can be inconvenient, dangerous or even deadly depending on the circumstances.
That's why cars and space suits have their own air-conditioning systems to remove or prevent fogging.
But air-conditioning is expensive, bulky, and environmentally unfriendly. So engineers and materials scientists are keen to find a way to prevent fogging more effectively.
To that end, researchers from Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule University in Zürich (ETH), engineered the new material layering gold nanoparticles between Titanium Dioxide on top of a glass substrate. The nanoparticles absorb sunlight raising the glass' surface temperature up to 10 °C. This causes water to either not condense or to evaporate much more quickly from the surface.
The surface is robust and relatively easy to make. When compared with conventional superhydrophilic and superhydrophobic antifogging surfaces:
The researchers say their new metasurface significantly reduces the rate of condensation and increases the rate of evaporation compared with other materials.
The researchers mention performance gains for various applications such as "windows, windshields, electronic displays, cameras, mirrors, and eyewear."
The team that built the ill fated-Beresheet lander which failed in its landing attempt on Thursday will build another lander.
"We're going to actually build a new halalit — a new spacecraft," billionaire businessman and philanthropist Morris Kahn said in a video statement posted on Twitter by the nonprofit group SpaceIL. "We're going to put it on the moon, and we're going to complete the mission."
The privately-funded Beresheet lander suffered a main engine problem during descent. Although the team was able to get the engine going again, it was too late and Beresheet impacted the surface at 310 mph (500km/h)
The team will still receive a $1 million award from the X Prize Foundation. Apparently this technically qualified as success because:
"I think they managed to touch the surface of the moon, and that's what we were looking for for our Moonshot Award," said X Prize CEO Anousheh Ansari.
Beresheet cost about $100 million in total. 40% of this was funded by Kahn himself.
takes aim at some of the sneakier tactics social media companies use to coerce people into handing over their personal information. It would also prohibit the companies from choosing groups of people for behavioral experiments without first obtaining informed consent.
Additionally larger Online platforms (those with with over 100 million active users within a month) "would also be prohibited from designing addictive games for children under the age of 13."
These behaviors have been dubbed "Dark Patterns" referring to:
online interfaces in websites and apps designed to intentionally manipulate users into taking actions they would otherwise not take under normal circumstances. These design tactics, drawn from extensive behavioral psychology research, are frequently used by social media platforms to mislead consumers into agreeing to settings and practices advantageous to the company.
The bill also addresses practices which make it unnecessarily difficult to take the privacy-conscious route in configuring settings, provide nosy defaults, as well as other methods of (mis)leading users into providing data
The Senate Commerce Committee is currently drafting a national data privacy bill that this may be rolled into.
Lockheed Martin says it has developed an approach to achieving the goal of landing humans on the south pole of the moon by 2024, but warns that construction of essential hardware would have to start soon to meet that deadline.
In a briefing at the 35th Space Symposium here April 10, company officials said they can make extensive use of existing hardware to develop components like a scaled-down version of the lunar Gateway and a two-stage lunar lander on an accelerated schedule.
While many details have yet to be worked out, the basic elements of the plan, Lockheed argues, demonstrates that the ability to meet the 2024 deadline established March 26 by Vice President Mike Pence in a National Space Council speech is at least technically feasible, if challenging.
[...] Lockheed's plan would diverge from NASA's old approach after Exploration Mission (EM) 1, an uncrewed test of the Orion spacecraft launched by the Space Launch System in 2020. The company proposes launching a "Phase 1" Gateway in 2022 consisting of just the Power and Propulsion Element (PPE) and a small habitation module with docking ports. NASA expects to issue awards for the PPE in May, while the habitation module could be adapted from ongoing studies that are part of NASA's Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships, or NextSTEP, program.
Also at Space.com.
Previously: Is the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway the Right Way to the Moon?
Canada Will Contribute to the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway
Here's Why NASA's Audacious Return to the Moon Just Might Work
The Mariana Trench is located in the Western Pacific Ocean; it’s deeper than Mount Everest is tall and remains one of the biggest mysteries on Earth. Humanity officially has more information about Mars than it does about this part of our own planet, study lead Xiao-Hua Zhang explained. Mariana Trench (about 36,000 ft down) and discovered a new group of bacteria that degrades hydrocarbons, which are the primary components in substances like natural gas and petroleum.
This category of bacteria isn’t new — these microorganisms are found in many places and contribute to the degradation of oil that results from things like oil spills. However, The study found that the Mariana Trench is home to the highest proportion of these microorganisms on Earth.
What, exactly, is this deep sea bacteria feeding on? The researchers found biologically-produced hydrocarbons in ocean sediment from the trench’s bottom, as well as in the sea water around 19,600ft below the surface. The scientists suspect the hydrocarbons can be found in water at lower depths, as well. This is the first time these hydrocarbons have been found in microbes at that depth.
For the first time "No Religion" has topped a survey of Americans' religious identity, according to a new analysis by a political scientist. The non-religious edged out Catholics and evangelicals in the long-running General Social Survey.
Ryan Burge, a political scientist at Eastern Illinois University and a Baptist pastor, found that 23.1% of Americans now claim no religion.
Catholics came in at 23.0%, and evangelicals were at 22.5%.
The three groups remain within the margin of error of each other though, making it a statistical tie. Over 2,000 people were interviewed in person for the survey.
[...] "We are seeing the rise of a generation of Americans who are hungry for facts and curious about the world," she says.
-- submitted from IRC