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2021-07-22 12:14:55 ..
2021-10-18 11:21:58 UTC
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2021-10-18 12:49:30 UTC --martyb

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posted by martyb on Wednesday October 13, @10:55PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

The 6502 was the CPU in my first computer (an Apple II plus), as well as many other popular home computers of the late 1970s and 80s. It lived on well into the 1990s in game consoles and chess computers, mostly in its updated “65C02” CMOS version. Here’s a re-implementation of the 65C02 in an FPGA, in a pin-compatible format that lets you upgrade those old computers and games to 100 MHz clock rate!

The concept

The idea of implementing a CPU core inside an FPGA is not new, of course. In fact, the CPU core I am using is not my own, but was developed as a 6502 core by Arlet Ottens, and extended to cover the 65C02 opcodes by Ed Spittles and David Banks. A big thank-you to Arlet, Ed, and Dave for developing the core and sharing it freely! Links to their original work are on the Files & Links page.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Wednesday October 13, @08:11PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

[2021-10-13 20:46:32 UTC; Update: Corrected story link.--martyb]

I feel sorry for the accused.

Bomb scare that led to emergency landing at LaGuardia Airport was just passenger adjusting camera: sources:

The “security incident” that forced a New-York bound flight to make an emergency landing at LaGuardia Airport on Saturday turned out to be a misunderstanding — after an airline passenger mistook another traveler’s camera for a bomb, sources said Sunday.

American Airlines Flight 4817 from Indianapolis — operated by Republic Airways — made an emergency landing at LaGuardia just after 3 p.m., and authorities took a suspicious passenger into custody for several hours.

It turns out the would-be “bomber” was just a vintage camera aficionado and the woman who reported him made a mistake, sources said.

Why in the world was the passenger in custody for “several hours”? They didn’t do anything wrong.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Wednesday October 13, @05:19PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

Android Phones Still Track You, Even When You Opt Out:

If you use an Android phone and are (rightfully!) worried about digital privacy, you’ve probably taken care of the basics already. You’ve deleted the snoopiest of the snoopy apps, opted out of tracking whenever possible, and taken all of the other precautions the popular how-to privacy guides have told you to. The bad news—and you might want to sit down for this—is that none of those steps are enough to be fully free of trackers.

Or at least, that’s the thrust of a new paper from researchers at Trinity College in Dublin who took a look at the data-sharing habits of some popular variants of Android’s OS, including those developed by Samsung, Xiaomi, and Huawei. According to the researchers, “with little configuration” right out of the box and when left sitting idle, these devices would incessantly ping back device data to the OS’s developers and a slew of selected third parties. And what’s worse is that there’s often no way to opt out of this data-pinging, even if users want to.

A lot of the blame here, as the researchers point out, fall on so-called “system apps.” These are apps that come pre-installed by the hardware manufacturer on a certain device in order to offer a certain kind of functionality: a camera or messages app are examples. Android generally packages these apps into what’s known as the device’s “read only memory” (ROM), which means you can’t delete or modify these apps without, well, rooting your device. And until you do, the researchers found they were constantly sending device data back to their parent company and more than a few third parties—even if you never opened the app at all.

Here’s an example: Let’s say you own a Samsung device that happens to be packaged with some Microsoft bloatware pre-installed, including (ugh) LinkedIn. Even though there’s a good chance you’ll never open LinkedIn for any reason, that hard-coded app is constantly pinging back to Microsoft’s servers with details about your device. In this case, it’s so-called “telemetry data,” which includes details like your device’s unique identifier, and the number of Microsoft apps you have installed on your phone. This data also gets shared with any third-party analytics providers these apps might have plugged in, which typically means Google, since Google Analytics is the reigning king of all the analytics tools out there.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Wednesday October 13, @02:28PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the what-about-shift-workers dept.

UK Proposes Law To Switch Off EV Home Chargers During Peak Hours:

The United Kingdom plans to pass legislation that will see EV home and workplace chargers being switched off at peak times to avoid blackouts.

Announced by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, the proposed law stipulates that electric car chargers installed at home or at the workplace may not function for up to nine hours a day to avoid overloading the national electricity grid.

As of May 30, 2022, new home and workplace chargers being installed must be "smart" chargers connected to the internet and able to employ pre-sets limiting their ability to function from 8 am to 11 am and 4 pm to 10 pm. However, users of home chargers will be able to override the pre-sets should they need to, although it's not clear how often they will be able to do that.

[...] In addition to the nine hours a day of downtime, authorities will be able to impose a "randomized delay" of 30 minutes on individual chargers in certain areas to prevent grid spikes at other times.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Wednesday October 13, @11:43AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the for-the-gamers? dept.

[2021-10-13 13:26:33 UTC; Updated to removed duplicated 1st sentence.--martyb]

Drop's new mechanical keyboards go up to $500:

High-end mechanical keyboard and PC peripherals brand Drop (formerly Massdrop) today revealed its next lineup of prebuilt mechanical keyboards. The brand added options to three different series, with its most premium one, Paragon, priced at a whopping $500 apiece.

In addition to making its own products, Drop has a shop where keyboard fanatics can get everything from mechanical keyboard switches to unique and artisan keycaps, stabilizers, and even fancy, detachable cables. The keyboards released today are supposed to make it easier for people who don't want to build their own clacker to get an enthusiast-level option without having to deal with group buys, which take many months before you actually get a product in hand.

[...] Drop's Paragon keyboards are currently available for preorder but aren't expected to start shipping until around November 15.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Wednesday October 13, @08:58AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

Seven years after raising $542M at a $2B valuation, Magic Leap raises $500M at a $2B valuation

Magic Leap has had one hell of a journey, and to their credit, it seems investors are still addicted to giving them money.

The augmented reality startup announced today that they have raised $500 million at a $2 billion valuation from existing investors. The round echoes the terms of an October 2014 raise where Magic Leap raised $542 million at a reported $2 billion valuation. Quite a bit has happened in the meantime.

Curiously, Magic Leap decided not to actually disclose any of the specific investors participating in this latest fundraise. At this point, the company has raised $3.5 billion in total funding according to Crunchbase, meaning that most of the investors they've brought in haven't fared too well thus far.

Magic Leap 2 Teased For 2022 With Taller Field Of View

A blog post by Magic Leap CEO Peggy Johnson features an image, pictured below, comparing the field of view of the first and second generation AR headsets. While Magic Leap 2 seems to have small gains in horizontal field of view, vertically the augmentation of your vision should be far more significant with the new device. The company is said to have raised another $500 million to roll-out the second generation product focused toward business markets in 2022. "Select customers" are "already leveraging its capabilities through an early access program," according to the company.

Also at The Verge.

Developers Race to Develop VR Headsets that Won't Make Users Nauseous (2015)
Magic Leap Bashed for Being Vaporware (2016)
Magic Leap Finally Announces a Product, But is It Still Vaporware? (2017)
Magic Leap Opens Up Orders for $2,295 "Creator Edition" Augmented Reality Headset (2018)
Magic Leap Accuses Chinese Company of Copying Trade Secrets (2019)
2020: The Year of AR? "$2.6 Billion Flop" Magic Leap Pivots to Enterprise (2019)
Magic Leap's $2.6 Billion Bait and Switch (2020)

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Wednesday October 13, @06:06AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

IBM and Raytheon Technologies will jointly develop advanced artificial intelligence, cryptographic and quantum solutions for the aerospace, defense and intelligence industries, including the federal government, as part of a strategic collaboration agreement the companies announced today:

Artificial intelligence and quantum technologies give aerospace and government customers the ability to design systems more quickly, better secure their communications networks and improve decision-making processes. By combining IBM's breakthrough commercial research with Raytheon Technologies' own research, plus aerospace and defense expertise, the companies will be able to crack once-unsolvable challenges.

"The rapid advancement of quantum computing and its exponential capabilities has spawned one of the greatest technological races in recent history – one that demands unprecedented agility and speed," said Dario Gil, senior vice president, IBM, and director of Research. "Our new collaboration with Raytheon Technologies will be a catalyst in advancing these state-of-the-art technologies – combining their expertise in aerospace, defense and intelligence with IBM's next-generation technologies to make discovery faster, and the scope of that discovery larger than ever."

In addition to artificial intelligence and quantum, the companies will jointly research and develop advanced cryptographic technologies that lie at the heart of some of the toughest problems faced by the aerospace industry and government agencies.

[...] The companies are building a technical collaboration team to quickly insert IBM's commercial technologies into active aerospace, defense and intelligence programs. The same team will also identify promising technologies for jointly developing long-term system solutions by investing research dollars and talent.

Originally spotted on The Eponymous Pickle

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Wednesday October 13, @03:18AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the death-by-a-salesman dept.

Synthetic chemical in consumer products linked to early death, study finds:

Synthetic chemicals called phthalates, found in hundreds of consumer products such as food storage containers, shampoo, makeup, perfume and children's toys, may contribute to some 91,000 to 107,000 premature deaths a year among people ages 55 to 64 in the United States, a new study found.

People with the highest levels of phthalates had a greater risk of death from any cause, especially cardiovascular mortality, according to the study published Tuesday in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Pollution.

The study estimated those deaths could cost the US about $40 to $47 billion each year in lost economic productivity.

"This study adds to the growing data base on the impact of plastics on the human body and bolsters public health and business cases for reducing or eliminating the use of plastics," said lead author Dr. Leonardo Trasande, a professor of pediatrics, environmental medicine and population health at NYU Langone Health in New York City.

[...] Often called "everywhere chemicals" because they are so common, phthalates are added to consumer products such as PVC plumbing, vinyl flooring, rain- and stain-resistant products, medical tubing, garden hoses, and some children's toys to make the plastic more flexible and harder to break.

Other common exposures come from the use of phthalates in food packaging, detergents, clothing, furniture and automotive plastics. Phthalates are also added to personal care items such as shampoo, soap, hair spray and cosmetics to make fragrances last longer.

[...] The new study measured the urine concentration of phthalates in more than 5,000 adults between the ages of 55 and 64 and compared those levels to the risk of early death over an average of 10 years, Trasande said.

Journal Reference:
Phthalates and attributable mortality: A population-based longitudinal cohort study and cost analysis, Environmental Pollution [$] (DOI: 10.1016/j.envpol.2021.118021)

Further edification:
Original study paper seems to be paywalled, but here's a summary.
2016 study on environmental contamination with phthalates and its impact on living organisms

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Wednesday October 13, @12:32AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

Microsoft Azure fends off huge DDoS Attack:

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks are happening ever more often and growing ever bigger. At 2.4 terabits per second (Tbps), the DDoS attack Microsoft just successfully defended European Azure cloud users against could be the biggest one to date.

What we know for certain is it's the biggest DDoS attack on an Azure cloud customer. It was bigger than the previous high, 2020's Azure 1 Tbps attack, and Microsoft reported it was "higher than any network volumetric event previously detected on Azure."

[...] Microsoft isn't saying which was used in this case but it did mention DNS. Attacks exploiting DNS can produce 28 to 54 times the original number of bytes. So, if an attacker sends a request payload of 64 bytes to a DNS server, they can generate over 3,400 bytes of unwanted traffic to an attack target.

While Microsoft also didn't go into detail about how it blocked the attack, the company said Azure's DDoS protection platform, built on distributed DDoS detection and mitigation pipelines, can absorb tens of terabits of DDoS attacks: "This aggregated, distributed mitigation capacity can massively scale to absorb the highest volume of DDoS threats, providing our customers the protection they need."

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Tuesday October 12, @09:42PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

Microsoft and Nvidia create 105-layer, 530 billion parameter language model that needs 280 A100 GPUs, but it's still biased

Nvidia and Microsoft have teamed up to create the Megatron-Turing Natural Language Generation model, which the duo claims is the "most powerful monolithic transformer language model trained to date".

The AI model has 105 layers, 530 billion parameters, and operates on chunky supercomputer hardware like Selene. By comparison, the vaunted GPT-3 has 175 billion parameters.

"Each model replica spans 280 NVIDIA A100 GPUs, with 8-way tensor-slicing within a node, and 35-way pipeline parallelism across nodes," the pair said in a blog post.

[...] However, the need to operate with languages and samples from the real world meant an old problem with AI reappeared: Bias. "While giant language models are advancing the state of the art on language generation, they also suffer from issues such as bias and toxicity," the duo said.

Related: OpenAI's New Language Generator GPT-3 is Shockingly Good
A College Student Used GPT-3 to Write a Fake Blog Post that Ended Up at the Top of Hacker News
A Robot Wrote This Entire Article. Are You Scared Yet, Human?
OpenAI's Text-Generating System GPT-3 Is Now Spewing Out 4.5 Billion Words a Day

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Tuesday October 12, @06:54PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the squeeze dept.

Putin slashes Russia’s space budget and says he expects better results:

Russia plans to slash funding for spaceflight activities during the coming three-year period, from 2022 to 2024. The cuts will come to about 16 percent annually, several Russian publications, including, report. (These Russian-language articles were translated for Ars by Rob Mitchell.)

For 2022, the state budget for space activities will be set at 210 billion rubles ($2.9 billion), a cut of 40.3 billion rubles ($557 million) from the previous year. Similar cuts will follow in subsequent years. The most significant decreases will be in areas such as "manufacturing-technological activities" and "cosmodrome development." Funding for "scientific research and development" was zeroed out entirely.

[...] Putin has reportedly told the Russian space corporation, Roscosmos, that it must increase the reliability of Russian rockets and "master" the next generation of launch vehicles. This directive has come in response to growing competition in the global space launch business, particularly from US-based SpaceX.

I guess Russia is throwing in the towel as far as space is concerned?

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Tuesday October 12, @04:14PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

These Virtual Obstacle Courses Help Real Robots Learn to Walk:

The virtual robot army was developed by researchers from ETH Zurich in Switzerland and chipmaker Nvidia. They used the wandering bots to train an algorithm that was then used to control the legs of a real-world robot.

In the simulation, the machines—called ANYmals—confront challenges like slopes, steps, and steep drops in a virtual landscape. Each time a robot learned to navigate a challenge, the researchers presented a harder one, nudging the control algorithm to be more sophisticated.

From a distance, the resulting scenes resemble an army of ants wriggling across a large area. During training, the robots were able to master walking up and down stairs easily enough; more complex obstacles took longer. Tackling slopes proved particularly difficult, although some of the virtual robots learned how to slide down them.

When the resulting algorithm was transferred to a real version of ANYmal, a four-legged robot roughly the size of a large dog with sensors on its head and a detachable robot arm, it was able to navigate stairs and blocks but suffered problems at higher speeds. Researchers blamed inaccuracies in how its sensors perceive the real world compared to the simulation,

Similar kinds of robot learning could help machines learn all sorts of useful things, from sorting packages to sewing clothes and harvesting crops. The project also reflects the importance of simulation and custom computer chips for future progress in applied artificial intelligence.

"At a high level, very fast simulation is a really great thing to have," says Pieter Abbeel, a professor at UC Berkeley and cofounder of Covariant, a company that is using AI and simulations to train robot arms to pick and sort objects for logistics firms. He says the Swiss and Nvidia researchers "got some nice speed-ups."

A 2m21s video is available on YouTube.

See also: Robots can now skateboard, thanks to researchers from Caltech

A research team at The California Institute of Technology has built a robot with hybrid walking and flying movement. The robot can carry out manoeuvres such as flying to avoid stairs and skateboarding.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Tuesday October 12, @01:30PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

Dubbed Bernardinelli-Bernstein, it is thousands of times more massive than an average comet. Its close approach is a rare chance to learn more about how Earth and its neighbors were born:

Seven years ago, a pair of scientists scouring high-resolution images of space caught fleeting glimpses of a bright round object peeking from a vast cloud of icy objects more than 2 billion miles from Earth.

As if that whole scene wasn’t exciting enough, the object appeared to be a huge comet. Thought to be between 60 and 100 miles wide, it was the biggest comet a human being had ever witnessed. And it seemed to be heading toward us, very loosely speaking.

[...] Because it’s so much bigger than other known comets—the famous Hale-Bopp comet, which itself is on the larger side, measures just 37 miles across—Bernardinelli-Bernstein possesses enough gravity to hold itself together as it lazily loops through space. It’s harder to break apart.

The comet’s extreme distance from the sun also helped preserve it. “It spends most of its time in the deep freeze of the outer solar system,” Mainzer explained. Models of the megacomet’s orbit indicate it last entered our part of the solar system around 5 million years ago and got no closer than Uranus. From that distance, the sun’s heat hardly touched it.

Mainzer says that as a result, the comet she affectionately calls “BB” probably resembles the original chemical state of the nebula of gas and dust that formed our solar system about 4.5 billion years ago.

[...] It’s highly unlikely NASA or some other space agency building a probe to intercept and collect samples from Bernardinelli-Bernstein (which is ironically what NASA is currently doing with the asteroids surrounding Jupiter).

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Tuesday October 12, @10:45AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the slow-grind dept.

Cloudflare doesn’t have to cut off copyright-infringing websites, judge rules:

Cloudflare is not liable for the copyright infringement of websites that use its content-delivery and security services, a federal judge ruled yesterday.

Cloudflare was sued in November 2018 by Mon Cheri Bridals and Maggie Sottero Designs, two wedding dress manufacturers and sellers that alleged Cloudflare was guilty of contributory copyright infringement because it didn't terminate services for websites that infringed on the dressmakers' copyrighted designs. The companies sought a jury trial, but Judge Vince Chhabria yesterday granted Cloudflare's motion for summary judgment in a ruling in US District Court for the Northern District of California.

Chhabria noted that the dressmakers have been harmed "by the proliferation of counterfeit retailers that sell knock-off dresses using the plaintiffs' copyrighted images" and that they have "gone after the infringers in a range of actions, but to no avail—every time a website is successfully shut down, a new one takes its place."

[...] While the ruling resolves the lawsuit's central question in Cloudflare's favor, the judge scheduled a case management conference for October 27 "to discuss what's left of the case."

[...] A defendant is liable for contributory copyright infringement if it has knowledge of another's infringement and materially contributes to or induces that infringement, the judge noted in his ruling against the dressmakers. "Simply providing services to a copyright infringer does not qualify as a 'material contribution,'" he wrote. "Rather, liability in the Internet context follows where a party 'facilitate[s] access' to infringing websites in such a way that 'significantly magnif[ies]' the underlying infringement."

Although a defendant can be found to materially contribute to copyright infringement if it acts as "an essential step in the infringement process," this should not be interpreted too broadly, the judge wrote.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Tuesday October 12, @08:00AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

Winter-swimming Scandinavian men can teach us how the body adapts to extreme heat and cold:

"Our data underscore that BAT in adult humans is part of the collective body temperature regulation system in collaboration with skeletal muscle and blood flow," says senior study author Camilla Scheel of the University of Copenhagen. "Regular winter swimming combining cold dips with hot sauna might be a strategy to increase energy expenditure, which could result in weight loss if compensatory increase in food intake can be avoided."

In the Denmark-based study, Scheele and her collaborators examined whether the Scandinavian practice of winter swimming is associated with changes in body temperature, resulting in acclimation to both cold and hot challenges. They also looked for differences in brown fat tissue, given its role in producing heat in response to exposure to cold environments.

To explore these ideas, first author Susanna Søberg of the University of Copenhagen recruited eight young male winter swimmers who had alternated several swims or dips in cold water with hot sauna sessions every week for at least two years. For the purposes of this study, winter swimming was loosely defined as swimming or sitting in open water and wearing only swim trunks or nothing. By contrast, the eight control participants did not use any cold or heat therapies during the study and had no history of winter swimming.

"We expected winter swimmers to have more brown fat than the control subjects, but it turned out that they instead had better thermoregulation," Søberg says. In preliminary tests, the participants submerged one hand in cold water for three minutes. While both groups responded to the cold exposure, the swimmers displayed signs of cold tolerance, with a lower increase in pulse and blood pressure. They also had higher skin temperature, pointing to greater heat loss as a potential adaptation to frequent sauna exposure. In another preliminary test, the researchers used an adjustable system consisting of two water-perfused blankets to control and lower the participants' body temperature. Here, the swimmers also showed a higher increase in skin temperature in response to cooling.

Journal Reference:
Susanna Søberg, et al. Altered brown fat thermoregulation and enhanced cold-induced thermogenesis in young, healthy, winter-swimming men Cell Reports Medicine, 2021 (DOI: 10.1016/j.xcrm.2021.100408)

Original Submission