2021-01-01 06:28:29 ..
2021-02-22 12:23:31 UTC
2021-02-22 15:50:43 UTC --martyb
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Word of warning, prepare to be rickrolled like you've never been rickrolled in the past. Thanks to AI software, you can now troll your friends with Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up" in crisp UHD.
CNET spotted the video, which was uploaded by YouTube user Revideo at the end of January only to be recently discovered by the internet at large this week. Revideo said they used Topaz Video Enhance, an AI-powered program for upscaling video, to remaster the clip in 4K and RIFE (Flowframes) to smooth it out to 60 frames per second.
Arthur T Knackerbracket has processed the following story:
China is exploring limiting the export of rare earth minerals that are crucial for the manufacture of American F-35 fighter jets and other sophisticated weaponry, according to people involved in a government consultation.
The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology last month proposed draft controls on the production and export of 17 rare earth minerals in China, which controls about 80 percent of global supply.
Industry executives said government officials had asked them how badly companies in the US and Europe, including defense contractors, would be affected if China restricted rare earth exports during a bilateral dispute.
“The government wants to know if the US may have trouble making F-35 fighter jets if China imposes an export ban,” said a Chinese government adviser who asked not to be identified. Industry executives added that Beijing wanted to better understand how quickly the US could secure alternative sources of rare earths and increase its own production capacity.
Fighter jets such as the F-35, a Lockheed Martin aircraft, rely heavily on rare earths for critical components such as electrical power systems and magnets. A Congressional Research Service report said that each F-35 required 417kg of rare-earth materials.
[...] “China’s own rare earth security isn’t guaranteed,” said David Zhang, an analyst at Sublime China Information, a consultancy. “It can disappear when the US-China relationship deteriorates or Myanmar’s generals decide to shut the border.”
While China’s dominance in rare earth mining is under threat, it maintains a near monopoly in the refining process that turns ores into materials ready for manufacturers.
The country controls about four-fifths of global rare earth refining capacity. Ores mined in the US must be sent to China as the US has no refining capacity of its own yet.
Industry executives, however, said China’s strength in refining had more to do with its higher tolerance for pollution than any technological edge.
Arthur T Knackerbracket has processed the following story:
A group of researchers from the Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society and the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin have found out that a semiconductor can be converted to a metal and back by light more easily and more quickly than previously thought. This discovery may increase the processing speed and simplify the design of many common technological devices.
[...] The scientists involved in this study have investigated the popular semiconductor zinc oxide and figured out that by illuminating it with a laser, the semiconductor surface can be turned into a metal—and back again. This "photo-doping" is achieved by photoexcitation: The light modifies the electronic properties such that electrons suddenly move freely and an electrical current can flow, as it would in metal. Once the light is switched back off, the material also quickly goes back to being a semiconductor.
"This mechanism is a completely new and surprising discovery," says Lukas Gierster, lead author and Ph.D. student in Stähler's group. "Three things in particular have surprised us: For one, photo- and chemical doping behave so much alike despite being fundamentally different mechanisms; two, gigantic changes can be reached with very low laser power; and three, switching the metal on and off happens quickly."
[...] This discovery could be highly beneficial for high-frequency device applications and ultrafast optically controlled transistors by increasing processing speed and simplifying device design. "Our gadgets could become faster—and thus smarter," Julia Stähler says and adds: "Low-power, ultrafast switching of conduction properties will provide us with high speed and design flexibility." She and her group are convinced that the same will prove true for other semiconducting materials, so that their discovery will likely reach much further than just zinc oxide.
L. Gierster, S. Vempati, J. Stähler. Ultrafast generation and decay of a surface metal [open], Nature Communications (DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-21203-6)
No one here will be surprised by the size and reach of the data broker industry and the desire to identify and track individual users. From a data standpoint, the majority of human interaction now happens on mobile devices, and these devices end up collecting and storing a very large amount of our information. US privacy laws allow sharing and selling of anonymized data, which are those that do not contain Personally Identifying Information (PII), and the much ballyhooed GDPR imposes strict inform and consent requirements on collecting and using personal information. To comply with these laws many entities simply throw away all the personal information and keep the rest of the data, which sounds like a great thing until one realizes that it turns out to be relatively easy to deanonymize this data using otherwise innocuous data on the mobile device anyway.
The reason that so many apps report to third parties what other apps are installed on a phone is because these other apps create a remarkably unique fingerprint of each person. The aggregate of the installed apps and their relative usage turn out to be very unique for over 99% of people. So ad blockers can block cookies, and users can reset things like the Android Advertisement ID, but users can't reset or fake their app usage stats.
Some researchers looked at a data set of millions of people spanning 12 months and 33 countries and found that 91% of the people could be identified by looking at just the usage of four apps. They also looked at seasonal and cultural differences for identifying users. They found that people have more unique app fingerprints during summer months making them easier to identify then. They also saw significant variations in uniqueness across countries and found that American users are the easiest to identify while Finns have the least unique app fingerprints.
Sekara, V., Alessandretti, L., Mones, E. et al. Temporal and cultural limits of privacy in smartphone app usage [open]. Sci Rep 11, 3861 (2021).
Nowadays, individuals spend more and more time in artificially designed living spaces, in particular, humans spend up to 90% indoors. This tendency has led to an isolation of individuals from regular contact with nature which has a negative impact on their mental and physical health. Several studies have demonstrated that such artificial stimulation and being in purely human-generated environments can lead to mental fatigue as well as a loss of vitality and health.
These negative effects can be reduced by means engaging in interactions with nature. There is evidence to suggest that natural environments have a positive influence on human psychology, physiology, and cognition. According to the Attention Restoration Theory (ART), natural environments capture less cognitive resources, and therefore, allow an interruption of attention-grabbing tasks inherent in urban environments and thus, elicit attention restoration and recovery from mental fatigue. Natural elements such as green landscapes and flowing waters have a calming effect on physiological arousal. One of the long-term effects of access to nature is a positive attitude towards life and an increased satisfaction with one's own home, one's own work and generally one's own life.
Researchers from Germany subjected subjects to forest and urban scenes via a head-mounted display. They presented the scenes as pictures and as 360-degree videos. They found that forest scenes had a positive effect on cognition and urban scenes disturbed mood. Interestingly they found that the photos of either urban or forest environments were more effective in reducing physiological arousal compared to the immersive videos. So it seems it is less stressful to look at a forest than to be in the middle of one.
Mostajeran, F., Krzikawski, J., Steinicke, F. et al. Effects of exposure to immersive videos and photo slideshows of forest and urban environments [open]. Sci Rep 11, 3994 (2021).
A large number of studies have demonstrated the benefits of natural environments on people's health and well-being. For people who have limited access to nature (e.g., elderly in nursing homes, hospital patients, or jail inmates), virtual representations may provide an alternative to benefit from the illusion of a natural environment. For this purpose and in most previous studies, conventional photos of nature have been used. Immersive virtual reality (VR) environments, however, can induce a higher sense of presence compared to conventional photos. Whether this higher sense of presence leads to increased positive impacts of virtual nature exposure is the main research question of this study. Therefore, we compared exposure to a forest and an urban virtual environment in terms of their respective impact on mood, stress, physiological reactions, and cognition. The environments were presented via a head-mounted display as (1) conventional photo slideshows or (2) 360∘ videos. The results show that the forest environment had a positive effect on cognition and the urban environment disturbed mood regardless of the mode of presentation. In addition, photos of either urban or forest environment were both more effective in reducing physiological arousal compared to immersive 360∘ videos.
NVIDIA's announcement today is two-fold: firstly addressing the upcoming launch of the RTX 3060 graphics on February 25th, and secondly announcing a new range of dedicated mining hardware.
[...] For the upcoming RTX 3060, the software drivers for this graphics card will automatically limit cryptocoin hashing rates to half – making how much they can earn specifically halved. The software drivers will do this by detecting the math coming through the pipeline and restricting access to the hardware for those operations. At this point we're not sure if it's a cut in frequency that the drivers will cause or simply limiting the operations to half of the hardware, but either way NVIDIA is hoping this will detract professional miners from buying these cards if the return on them is halved.
Update: NVIDIA has also confirmed that performance restrictions will be going in for their Linux drivers as well as their Windows drivers. The inclusion of Linux drivers is incredibly important, as most dedicated miners are thought to be using Linux rather than Windows.
[...] In the same way that 'crypto' cards without video outputs were pushing into the market for balance, NVIDIA is going a step further and removing the video outputs from the silicon entirely. There are other potential optimizations that could be made for power and performance, but at this point NVIDIA is simply stating as graphics-less silicon. This could be a mix of customized new silicon, or simply silicon already manufactured that had defects in the video output pipeline.
The new NVIDIA CMP HX dedicated mining cards will come in four variants up to 320 W, and from authorized partners including ASUS, Colorful, EVGA, Gigabyte, MSI, Palit, and PC Partner. These cards (along with drivers) are also set to be designed such that more of these cards can be enabled in a single system.
The CMP HX mining cards have lower advertised hash rates than the RTX 3090, 3080, 3070, and 3060 Ti achieve. This could mean lower or higher efficiency depending on the actual power consumption of the cards.
The creator of the Chrome extension 'UberCheats' Armin Samii said Uber claimed it violated its trademark. "Uber filed a false trademark claim against UberCheats, so it's been taken off the Chrome app store," he said on Twitter. "They claim that people might confuse it for an actual Uber product."
UberCheats was a Chrome extension that helped drivers figure out if they'd been underpaid by for Uber.
[...] Samii's app helped keep Uber accountable, kept drivers informed, and was incredibly simple. "Sometimes Uber calculates the distance from point A to point B incorrectly," he told Motherboard in an email. "My guess is that they use the 'straight line' distance rather than the actual distance traveled. In my area, that has led to a '6 minute trip' taking 50 minutes, since they thought I could...fly, I guess? Technically, the app is quite simple. It looks at the start/end destination of the trip, plugs it into google maps, and checks to see if the distance you were paid for matches the distance Google says."
[...] Samii launched his Chrome extension in August 2020 and hadn't had any problems keeping it online until now.
[...] In the email Samii showed Motherboard, Google forwarded the original complaint it received from Uber. "The application uses, without authorization, the mark Uber, a trademark owned and controlled by Uber Technologies, Inc. Any use by the application of the Infringing Marks constitutes a trademark infringement under Section 32 of the Lanham Act," it said.
[...] UberCheats could relaunch with a new name and continue just fine, but Samii said he won't do that. "I plan to fight this," he said. "I will not be bullied by corporate lawyers trying to scare the little guy. I am in the right, and they know it. I have appealed it with both Google and Uber."
DNA from three ancient molars, one likely to be over a million years old, has revealed that there is a ghost lineage of mammoths that interbred with distant relatives to produce the North American mammoth population.
[...] We don't have precise dates for any of the teeth, as they appear to be too old for carbon dating. Instead, dates have been inferred using a combination of the species present in the deposits and the known timing of flips in the orientation of Earth's magnetic field. In addition, the shape of the teeth provide some hints about what species they group with and provide some further indication of when they were deposited. In all, one tooth is likely to be at least a half-million years old, another about a million years old, and a third somewhat older still.
Previously, the oldest DNA obtained from animal remains is roughly the age of the youngest of these samples. But the researchers were able to recover some elephant-like DNA from each of the molars, although it was badly fragmented, and many individual bases were damaged. Researchers were able to isolate the full mitochondrial genome for each of the three teeth, as each cell contains many copies of this genome in each of its mitochondria. Only fragments of the nuclear genome could be obtained, however—at most, about 10 percent of one genome, and at worst under two percent. (Although less than two percent is still tens of millions of individual bases.)
Using the differences between the mammoth and elephant DNA and assuming a constant rate of mutation, the research team was able to derive independent dates for when each of the animals that left a tooth must have lived. Based on the mitochondria genome, the dates were 1.6 million, 1.3 million, and 900,000 years ago. For the two that had enough nuclear genome to analyze, the dates were 1.3 million and 600,000 years ago. The DNA-based dates for these two lined up nicely with each other and the date of the material they were found in. The oldest sample might be older than the deposit it's in, and thus it might have been moved after death.
Million-year-old DNA sheds light on the genomic history of mammoths (DOI: 10.1038/s41586-021-03224-9) (DX)
by Tim Anderson, Marc Blank, Bruce Daniels, and Dave Lebling
First Appeared: late June 1977
First Commercial Release: December 1980
You are in an open field west of a big white house, with a boarded front door. There is a small mailbox here.
If Adventure had introduced hackers to an intriguing new genre of immersive text game, Zork was what brought it to the public at large. In the early 1980s, as the personal computer revolution reached into more and more homes, a Zork disk was a must-buy for first-time computer owners. By 1982 it had become the industry's bestselling game. In 1983, it sold even more copies. Playboy covered it; so did Time, and American astronaut Sally Ride was reportedly obsessed with it. In 1984 it was still topping sales charts, beating out much newer games including its own sequels. At the end of 1985 it was still outselling any other game for the Apple II, half a decade after its first release on the platform, and had become the bestselling title of all time on many other systems besides.
Its creation can be traced to a heady Friday in May 1977 on the MIT campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It was the last day of finals week, and summer was kicking off with a bang for the school's cohort of tech-obsessed engineers: a new movie called Star Wars opened that day in theaters, the groundbreaking Apple II had just been released, and Adventure was exploding across the terminals of computer labs nationwide, thousands of students having no further distractions, at last, to keep them from solving it.
Among those obsessive players were four friends at a campus research lab, the Dynamic Modeling Group. Within two weeks they'd solved Adventure, squeezing every last point from it through meticulous play and, eventually, the surgical deployment of a machine-language debugger. Once the game was definitively solved, they immediately hatched plans to make something better. Not just to prove the superiority of their school's coding prowess over Don Woods at Stanford—though that was undoubtedly part of it—nor simply because many were dragging their feet on graduating or finding jobs, and a challenging new distraction seemed immensely appealing—though that was part of it too. But the most important factor was that Adventure had been so incredibly fun and, regrettably, there wasn't any more of it. "It was like reading a Sherlock Holmes story," one player recalled, "and you wanted to read another one of them immediately. Only there wasn't one, because nobody had written it."
Jargon File entry on Zork.
Scientists have found life under 3,000 feet under of ice in Antarctica. The previous theory was that life couldn't exist in such extreme conditions: freezing temperatures, no food and complete darkness.
The creatures were found attached to a boulder in the frigid seas under the Filchner-Ronne ice shelf – a huge sheet of ice that stretches out from Antarctica, according to a report on Business Insider.
Experts from the British Antarctic Survey drilled holes through 2,860 feet of ice, then lowered cameras through the ice and then through another 1,549 feet of water before making the discovery.
[...] The video reveals two types of unidentified animals. The animals in[sic] outlined in red on the video seem to be hanging from long stalks, while the other (highlighted in white), looks like a round, sponge-like animal.
First image from surface. (Members of NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover team watch in mission control as the first images arrive moments after the spacecraft successfully touched down on Mars, Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021, at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. (Credits: NASA/Bill Ingalls)
The largest, most advanced rover NASA has sent to another world touched down on Mars Thursday, after a 203-day journey traversing 293 million miles (472 million kilometers). Confirmation of the successful touchdown was announced in mission control at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California at 3:55 p.m. EST (12:55 p.m. PST).
Packed with groundbreaking technology, the Mars 2020 mission launched July 30, 2020, from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. The Perseverance rover mission marks an ambitious first step in the effort to collect Mars samples and return them to Earth.
“This landing is one of those pivotal moments for NASA, the United States, and space exploration globally – when we know we are on the cusp of discovery and sharpening our pencils, so to speak, to rewrite the textbooks,” said acting NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk. “The Mars 2020 Perseverance mission embodies our nation’s spirit of persevering even in the most challenging of situations, inspiring, and advancing science and exploration. The mission itself personifies the human ideal of persevering toward the future and will help us prepare for human exploration of the Red Planet in the 2030s.”
About the size of a car, the 2,263-pound (1,026-kilogram) robotic geologist and astrobiologist will undergo several weeks of testing before it begins its two-year science investigation of Mars’ Jezero Crater. While the rover will investigate the rock and sediment of Jezero’s ancient lakebed and river delta to characterize the region’s geology and past climate, a fundamental part of its mission is astrobiology, including the search for signs of ancient microbial life. To that end, the Mars Sample Return campaign, being planned by NASA and ESA (European Space Agency), will allow scientists on Earth to study samples collected by Perseverance to search for definitive signs of past life using instruments too large and complex to send to the Red Planet.
Image Gallery: Perseverance Rover.
A vulnerability in an SDK that allows users to make video calls in apps like eHarmony, Plenty of Fish, MeetMe and Skout allows threat actors to spy on private calls without the user knowing.
Researchers discovered the flaw, CVE-2020-25605, in a video-calling SDK from a Santa Clara, Calif.-based company called Agora while doing a security audit last year of personal robot called "temi," which uses the toolkit.
Agora provides developer tools and building blocks for providing real-time engagement in apps, and documentation and code repositories for its SDKs are available online. Healthcare apps such as Talkspace, Practo and Dr. First's Backline, among various others, also use the SDK for their call technology.
[...] Due to its shared use in a number of popular apps, the flaw has the potential to affect "millions–potentially billions–of users," reported Douglas McKee, principal engineer and senior security researcher at McAfee Advanced Threat Research (ATR), on Wednesday.
McKee said he did not find evidence of the bug is being exploited in the wild.
The flaw makes it easy for third parties to access details about setting up video calls from within the SDK across various apps due to their unencrypted, cleartext transmission. This paves the way for remote attackers to "obtain access to audio and video of any ongoing Agora video call through observation of cleartext network traffic," according to the vulnerability's CVE description.
Researchers reported this research to Agora.io on April 20, 2020. The flaw remained unpatched for about eight months until Dec. 17, 2020 when the company released a new SDK, version 3.2.1, "which mitigated the vulnerability and eliminated the corresponding threat to users," McKee said.
Some of the planet's rarest metals—used in the manufacture of smartphones and other electrical equipment—are increasingly being found in everyday consumer plastics, according to new research.
Scientists from the University of Plymouth and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign tested a range of new and used products including children's toys, office equipment and cosmetic containers.
Through a number of detailed assessments, they examined levels of rare earth elements (REEs) but also quantities of bromine and antimony, used as flame retardants in electrical equipment and a sign of the presence of recycled electronic plastic.
The results showed one or more REEs were found in 24 of the 31 products tested, including items where unregulated recycling is prohibited such as single-use food packaging.
They were most commonly observed in samples containing bromine and antimony at levels insufficient to effect flame retardancy, but also found in plastics where those chemicals weren't present.
Having also been found in beached marine plastics, the study's authors have suggested there is evidence that REEs are ubiquitous and pervasive contaminants of both contemporary and historical consumer and environmental plastics.
The study, published in Science of the Total Environment, is the first to systematically investigate the full suite of REEs in a broad range of consumer plastics.
Andrew Turner, John W. Scott, Lee A. Green, Rare earth elements in plastics, Science of The Total Environment, Volume 774, 20 June 2021, 145405. (DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.145405)
As the Internet began crystallizing into its modern form—one that now arguably buttresses society as we know it—its anthropology of common language and references matured at a strange rate. But between the simple initialisms that emerged by the '90s (ROFL!) and the modern world's ecosystem of easily shared multimedia, a patchwork connection of users and sites had to figure out how to establish a base of shared references.
In some ways, the Internet as we know it really began on February 16, 2001, 20 years ago today, when a three-word phrase blew up: "All Your Base."
On that day, a robo-voiced music video went live at Newgrounds.com, one of the Internet's earliest and longest-lasting dumping grounds of Flash multimedia content, and went on to become one of the most beloved Internet videos of the 21st century. Though Flash support has since been scrapped across the entire Web-browsing ecosystem, Newgrounds continues to host the original video in a safe Flash emulator, if you'd like to see it as originally built instead of flipping through dozens of YouTube rips.
In an online world where users were previously drawn to the likes of the Hamster Dance, exactly how the heck did this absurdity become one of the Internet's first bona fide memes?
YouTube video which starts with actual scenes and then runs wild with the meme. (Has a catchy, techno soundtrack, too!)
Facebook said Wednesday that it'll restrict users from viewing or sharing Australian news, because of a proposed law in the country that would require the social network to pay news publishers for content.
Called the News Media Bargaining Code, the legislation also affects Google, which surfaces news articles in search results. News outlets have struggled to compete with tech firms for advertising dollars and argue they should be compensated for articles shown on online platforms such as Facebook and Google. Facebook's move comes after Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. signed a landmark deal with Google so the media outlet gets paid for news content.
Facebook said the business benefits of displaying news on its platform are "minimal," noting that news makes up less than 4% of the content people see in their News Feed. The social network, which has been combating misinformation, has also been reducing the amount of political content users see on Facebook.
The new restrictions appear to already be in place. Users who visit an Australian news outlet's Facebook Page no longer see any articles displayed.