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posted by NCommander on Tuesday March 05, @11:26PM   Printer-friendly
from the help dept.

So, in the background, the owners of the PBC have been working with staff to get the site moved over to a new legal entity and continue operations. This process is moving slowly, but it is moving, with the expectation that we should be able to fully hand off SN in the next month or so. However, the PBC has burned through its cash reserves, and we have an overdue Linode bill as is for $268 USD. I could write more, but the tl;dr, without money, SN will disappear off the Internet.

Most of the subscriptions understandably stopped due to the uncertainty with site ownership and management. However, we're not able to pay the bills with the trickle coming in. At this point, everyone involved has agreed with and are working towards a solution to move SN to a not-for-profit and 501(c)3, but we do need the communities financial support to get there. If we can raise $500 USD via subscriptions, direct donations, or other means, that would keep the site up past May. As such, if you have let your subscription lapse, or otherwise are able to support SN, please do so now.

Any funds raises will be donated to the *new* NFP as soon as it is able to accept funds. We'll run an update if/when we reach our funding goal.

- NCommander

posted by janrinok on Tuesday March 05, @10:41PM   Printer-friendly

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2024-03-daily-fiber-supplement-older-adults.html

A daily fiber supplement improved brain function in people over 60 in just 12 weeks. The study, published recently in Nature Communications by researchers from the School of Life Course & Population Sciences showed that this simple and cheap addition to diet can improve performance in memory tests associated with early signs of Alzheimer's disease.

However, the prebiotic supplements inulin and FOS were found to have no effect on muscle strength over this period.

"We are excited to see these changes in just 12 weeks. This holds huge promise for enhancing brain health and memory in our aging population. Unlocking the secrets of the gut-brain axis could offer new approaches for living more healthily for longer," says first author Dr. Mary Ni Lochlainn from the Department of Twin Research.

As populations age globally, the prevalence of age-related conditions such as cognitive decline and muscle loss is on the rise. Researchers at TwinsUK, the U.K.'s largest adult twin registry based at King's College London, sought to understand how targeting the microbiota, the diverse community of microorganisms residing in our intestines, using two cheap, commercially available plant fiber supplements inulin and FOS, could impact both muscle health and brain function.

Researchers assigned 36 twin pairs—72 individuals—over 60 years old to receive either a placebo or the supplement every day for 12 weeks. Neither the analysis team, nor the participants knew which they received until the analysis was complete (double-blind). Alongside this, all study participants did resistance exercises and ate a protein supplement which was aimed at improving muscle function.

Researchers monitored participants remotely via video, online questionnaires and cognitive tests. They found the fiber supplement led to significant changes in the participants' gut microbiome composition, particularly an increase in the numbers of beneficial bacteria such as Bifidobacterium.

While there was no significant difference in muscle strength between the groups, the group receiving the fiber supplement performed better in tests assessing brain function, including the Paired Associates Learning test which is an early marker for Alzheimer's disease, together with tests of reaction time and processing speed. These measures are important for daily living—for example reacting to traffic or stopping a simple trip-up turning into a fall.

More information: Mary Ni Lochlainn et al, Effect of gut microbiome modulation on muscle function and cognition: the PROMOTe randomised controlled trial, Nature Communications (2024). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-024-46116-y

fructooligosaccharide (FOS)


Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Tuesday March 05, @05:59PM   Printer-friendly
from the explosive-excuse dept.

https://arstechnica.com/science/2024/02/gastrointestinal-disease-explodes-in-ala-elementary-school-773-kids-out/

Officials in Alabama have shut down an elementary school for the rest of the week and are conducting a deep clean after 773 of the school's 974 students were absent Wednesday amid an explosive outbreak of gastrointestinal illness.

Local media reported that only 29 students were absent from Fairhope West Elementary School on Tuesday. However, the situation escalated quickly on Wednesday as word spread of a stomach bug going around the Gulf Coast school. A spokesperson for the county school district told AL.com that 773 students and 50 staff were absent Wednesday. It's unclear how many of the absences were due to sickness or precaution. surveillance by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

[...] "Close quarters, shared spaces, and high-touch surfaces make it easy for norovirus to spread in schools," the CDC points out.

In 2022, the COVID-19 pandemic flipped the script on standard norovirus outbreaks. People who were hoping to avoid close contact and share indoor air with strangers headed to the great outdoors, which led to a large outbreak of norovirus in the Grand Canyon.


Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Tuesday March 05, @01:14PM   Printer-friendly
from the your-daily-science-pron dept.

humpback-whales-sex-photographed-homosexual-behavior - The Guardian

Humpback whales have been observed having sex for the first time, with this landmark moment having an interesting twist – the two whales were male.

Despite decades of research on humpback whales, sightings of the male's penis have been rare. Copulation by the species had not been documented by people – until now, when two photographers captured images of a sexual encounter between two whales off the coast of Hawaii.

The sighting, confirmed by scientists in a newly published study, occurred in January 2022 in waters west of the island of Maui, where two whales approached and circled a boat before engaging in sexual activity about three to five meters below the vessel.

Both of the whales were male, which makes the photos, taken by Lyle Krannichfeld and Brandi Romano, the first evidence of homosexual behavior in humpback whales as well as the first sighting of sex in the species. Homosexual behavior is common in the animal kingdom and has been spotted among dolphins and orca whales, but never previously between humpback whales.

Source: An observation of sexual behavior between two male humpback whales

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/mms.13119

Thanks also to c0lo for his suggested title, but we decided not to use it: "First evah humpback pornshot taken – and its gay"


Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Tuesday March 05, @08:32AM   Printer-friendly

https://physics.aps.org/articles/v17/33

Water striders—lightweight insects that can walk on water—can spend their entire lives gliding across lakes and ponds. But it's not all plain sailing—when violent storms hit, raindrops dozens of times larger than the insects bombard the water's surface. Yet the insects come away unharmed. Now a team led by Andrew Dickerson of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has an explanation for how water striders withstand being hit by raindrops [1]. The results could help scientists understand how rain affects the transport of tiny particles, such as microplastics, through aquatic ecosystems.

Dickerson came up with the idea to study water striders on a rainy jog through the University of Central Florida's campus, where the ponds teem with the insect. To the insects, he thought, raindrops hitting the pond's surface must reverberate like the explosions of bombs. "What do these tiny bugs do when it rains?" he asked himself. The problem, it turned out, had not previously been explored.

For their experiments, the team used a "rain simulator," a device that mimics rainfall on a pond. The experimental drops were all about 4 millimeters in diameter, a diameter comparable with that of large natural raindrops. Falling from a few meters, the drops reached speeds of up to 6 meters per second by the time they hit the water striders resting on the artificial pond. The team filmed the impact of the drops on the water striders using a high-speed camera.

From the recorded movies, the team deduced that the impact of a drop on a strider triggers the following sequence of events. First, as the drop hits the surface a crater develops that pushes the strider underwater. The surface of the crater then rebounds, and a jet of liquid propels vertically upwards from the crater's center. Depending on the insect's position relative to the jet, the jet can launch the water strider into the air. But a strider can also get trapped within the boundaries of a secondary crater produced when the jet collapses back into the liquid. This crater then drags the trapped striders underwater. In their experiments, the researchers found that, in both cases, all water striders survived the drop impact.

The researchers showed that mechanical stresses induced on a water strider's body were well below safe limits for a strider, as determined by separate experiments in which they compressed a strider's exoskeleton to the point of rupture. These stresses come both from compression forces from the falling drops and from inertial forces induced by acceleration of the water around the point of impact. After submersion, a strider quickly reemerges by using "power strokes" to reach the surface and by grabbing onto floating particles. While submerged, the strider can exploit its plastron—a bubble the insect carries around its hydrophobic body—as a temporary source of air. Thanks to the plastron, striders can survive several minutes of submersion, says Dickerson.

References: D. A. Watson et al., "Water striders are impervious to raindrop collision forces and submerged by collapsing craters," Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 121 (2024)


Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Tuesday March 05, @03:46AM   Printer-friendly

Users with rooted phones have reported being unable to send or receive RCS messages on the platform:

Google is cracking down on rooted Android devices, blocking multiple people from using the RCS [Rich Communication Services] message feature in Google Messages. Users with rooted phones — a process that unlocks privileged access to the Android operating system, like jailbreaking iPhones — have made several reports on the Google Messages support page, Reddit, andXDA's web forum over the last few months, finding they're suddenly unable to send or receive RCS messages.

One example from Reddit user u/joefuf shows that RCS messages would simply vanish after hitting the send button. Several reports also mention that Google Messages gave no indication that RCS chat was no longer working, and was still showing as connected and working in Google Messages.

In a statement sent to the Verge where we asked if Google is blocking rooted devices from using RCS, Google communications manager Ivy Hunt said the company is "ensuring that message-issuing/receiving devices are following the operating measures defined by the RCS standard" in a bid to prevent spam and abuse on Google Messages. In other words, yes, Google is blocking RCS on rooted devices.

"Google rotates through many solutions to ensure that Android users can communicate sufficiently — and devices that may not have access to one communication protocol will always have at least one other available," said Hunt. "In this case, users that are not able to use RCS still have access to SMS & MMS messaging."

There is some merit to Google's concern: RCS messaging has faced challenges with tackling spam forcing Google to disable its RCS ads feature in India back in 2022, for example.

Some services like payment and banking apps, including Google Pay/Wallet, will stop working if they detect that users have rooted their device as a security measure, but these will typically provide a warning message to explain the device is unsupported. For users who experienced RCS issues with Google Messages, no such warning is apparently provided.

While all cell phones started with the short message service (SMS), which offers quick text communication, Apple has been the leader in providing a more interactive texting experience. If you aren't sure what RCS messaging is, you're probably familiar with it and aren't aware of the differences. If you have an iPhone, you're used to using Apple's iMessage, which is similar to RCS in that it offers many features that traditional text doesn't. However, Android users are probably familiar with RCS chat through third-party messaging apps.

Understanding RCS messaging isn't difficult when you realize what it includes. Since it's generally the more dynamic and secure way to communicate via text compared to SMS and multimedia messaging service (MMS), you'll want to know how to take advantage of it going forward.


Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Monday March 04, @11:02PM   Printer-friendly
from the squeeky-voices-for-everyone dept.

Massive Reserve of Helium Found by Minnesota Exploratory Drill, Likely the Biggest Find Ever in North America:

A new find of underground helium in Minnesota could turn out to be one of the largest in the world, Minneapolis's WCCO-TV reported Thursday. The drill site, just outside Babbitt in the northeastern part of the state, took about a month from initially breaking ground to get to a depth of 2,200 feet.

What it found there, Pulsar Helium CEO Thomas Abraham-James called "a dream." "There was a lot of screaming, a lot of hugging and high fives. It's nice to know the efforts all worked out and we pulled it off," Abraham-James told WCCO.

He said that the concentration of helium sampled was 12.4 percent — about 30 times what the outlet referred to as "the industry standard," and higher even than the company had forecast. "12.4% is just a dream," the CEO told the outlet. "It's perfect."

Further analysis remains to be done, of course, but the finding confirmed work completed in 2011 that indicated the presence of helium deep under the surface, the Duluth News Tribune reported.

Companies generally pursue helium concentrations above 0.3 percent that they can locate, the outlet noted. "So now the real hard begins to find out what is it truly that we have and the size of the prize," Abraham-James told the News Tribune.

Studying the size of the find and the feasibility of a full-sized mining operation could take up to a year, the company told WCCO. The Topez Project, as the drill site is called, was initially planned to go to a depth of 2,250 feet, but had to stop earlier than expected because of "abnormally warm temperatures and looming road weight restrictions," according to the paper.

A device that looks like a "glorified fire hydrant," according to Abraham-James, will now be installed over the hole to allow for additional sampling and testing. A crew from Duluth Metals in 2011 first discovered helium in the area when searching for platinum-palladium metals, the News Tribune reported.

Helium is valued for everything from filling balloons to being used as a safe and effective coolant in liquid form. "It's used in everything from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines, semiconductor manufacturing and leak testing, to air tanks for medical patients and deep-sea divers, to aerospace and defense industries," the News Tribune notes.

Also reported at (and elsewhere):

Previously:
    Soon You'll be Able to Buy Your Liquid Nitrogen and Liquid Helium Cooling
    Helium Shortages to have Limited Impact on Quantum Computer Research
    Helium Deposit Discovered


Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Monday March 04, @06:19PM   Printer-friendly
from the Anyone-run-this-by-Cellphone-Security? dept.

Looks like VISA credit card has developed a way of storing biometric data on our cellphones, then use that as an authenticator.

https://reclaimthenet.org/visa-applies-for-biometric-authentication-patent

What could possibly go wrong here?

I guess I am really leery of cellphone security and app resilience. Is it so complex that it's too finicky to use? Does it require a good internet connection to work? ( Can you hear me now? ), or maybe it's based on QR codes?

I have been wrestling with a fast-food burger app over login issues. I am quite jaded over trusting anything I have to log on to to get a fresh timeout permission. For this, all I am risking is the cost of a trip to the restaurant vs. the liklihood the coupon offer will still work when I present at the register. ( The Wendy's Story already discussed here ).

How much impact would a denial-of-service cause for you? How robust is this technology. I've already seen the most expensive cars shut down for the most trivial crap. That's why I drive an old one made before their design became enshittified.

Cut n paste snippets below.

Visa – one of the world's two biggest payments processors – appears to be moving into biometric data-based authentication, at least according to a patent it has applied for. And Visa claims that this would be fully privacy-friendly.

If Visa's patent – designed, according to the giant's filing, to provide "biometric templates for privacy preserving authentication" – is approved and implemented, the end result would be replacement of PINs with biometric identification.

The method would be used at ATMs, payment checkouts, and Visa made sure to note that the technology's use can be extended to unlocking apartments or letting people into venues like theaters, amusement parks, etc.

These latter, non-payment scenarios would allow Visa to monetize the patent via licensing to other companies.

The rationale for using such a system is said to be to improve security of user information in physical spaces.

The patent states that the system would work by customers enrolling into the program which means creating "a biometric template" on their device.

This data is encrypted and signed, and that signature, rather than the biometric information, is used by "access device" to verify the signature.

This, Visa said in the filing, is what preserves privacy, since the templates are stored on the user device rather than "in some giant database."

This appears to be the key point the company is trying to make with the proposed patent, and was careful to stress that security breaching of such databases results in "disastrous" consequences.

That's because the use of biometrics is at once safer than that of PINs and passwords, but also much riskier, given that unauthorized access provides those behind a hack to a large amount of personal information.


Original Submission

posted by hubie on Monday March 04, @01:37PM   Printer-friendly

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2024-02-40hz-sensory-gamma-rhythm-amyloid.html

Studies at MIT and elsewhere are producing mounting evidence that light flickering and sound clicking at the gamma brain rhythm frequency of 40 Hz can reduce Alzheimer's disease (AD) progression and treat symptoms in human volunteers as well as lab mice.

In a new study in Nature using a mouse model of the disease, researchers at The Picower Institute for Learning and Memory of MIT reveal a key mechanism that may contribute to these beneficial effects: clearance of amyloid proteins, a hallmark of AD pathology, via the brain's glymphatic system, a recently discovered "plumbing" network parallel to the brain's blood vessels.

"Ever since we published our first results in 2016, people have asked me how does it work? Why 40 Hz? Why not some other frequency?" said study senior author Li-Huei Tsai, Picower Professor of Neuroscience and director of The Picower Institute and MIT's Aging Brain Initiative.

"These are indeed very important questions we have worked very hard in the lab to address."

The new paper describes a series of experiments, led by Mitch Murdock when he was a Brain and Cognitive Sciences doctoral student at MIT, showing that when sensory gamma stimulation increases 40 Hz power and synchrony in the brains of mice, that prompts a particular type of neuron to release peptides.

The study results further suggest that those short protein signals then drive specific processes that promote increased amyloid clearance via the glymphatic system.

"We do not yet have a linear map of the exact sequence of events that occurs," said Murdock, who was jointly supervised by Tsai and co-author and collaborator Ed Boyden, Y. Eva Tan Professor of Neurotechnology at MIT, a member of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research and an affiliate member of The Picower Institute. "But the findings in our experiments support this clearance pathway through the major glymphatic routes."

Journal Reference:
Li-Huei Tsai, Multisensory gamma stimulation promotes glymphatic clearance of amyloid, Nature (2024). DOI: 10.1038/s41586-024-07132-6.


Original Submission

posted by hubie on Monday March 04, @08:51AM   Printer-friendly
from the nostalgia dept.

https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2024/02/dark-forces-remastered-makes-a-classic-star-wars-shooter-feel-fast-and-fluid/

I remember Dark Forces, or Star Wars: Doom, as a slog. Running a demo of the 1995 game on a Gateway system with an Intel 486DX at 33 MHz, I trudged through seemingly endless gray hallways. I shot at a steady trickle of Stormtroopers with one of their own (intentionally) semi-accurate blaster rifles. After a while, I would ask myself a pertinent, era-specific question: Why was I playing this low-energy nostalgia trip instead of actual Doom?
[...]
Nightdive Studios continues its streak of providing spiffed-up but eminently faithful remasters of classic titles with Dark Forces Remastered. The studio's leaders told Ars last year that their goal was games that "play the way you remember them playing. Not the way they actually did on your 486 [computer], but in an evocative manner." For me, Dark Forces Remastered feels far, far better than I remember, and so I've gotten a chance to absorb a lot more of the world it's trying to evoke.
[...]
The little voice stings—"Stop!" "You're not authorized!"—were a delight, if often cut short by the quick dispatching of their speaker. For the first few levels, I felt like the Rebellion could have destroyed five Death Stars in just two movies if they had a few more Kyles like me. But Dark Forces does ramp up as you go on.

All the same cheat codes from the original game work—Nightdive even gives you places to type them in and then activate them in menus—and I had to lean on a couple level skips and resupplies to get through the first seven levels.
[...]
There are new lighting effects, much nicer menus and options, gamepad support (including rumble), and polished cutscenes, in addition to the gameplay that now tilts a bit more toward Motörhead than Rush in speed and feel. But, really, what sells Dark Forces Remastered is the game beneath the upgrades. If you have any interest in hopping on Jabba the Hutt's barge again, this is the way to do it.

Nostalgia, guaranteed to cause "irregular heartbeat, fever, and [...] death". Okay, this isn't the 17th century, so none of those apply.
We once thought nostalgia was a disease, but it might be key to our survival

I've tried to replay Dark Forces II (the sequel to the game mentioned in the article) and the experience was pretty terrible. Game design has really advanced since those dark ages and you really feel it on most older titles. For another example, the nostalgia of Wing Commander is real. However, the interface is beyond atrocious.

[Ed.: Are there any games you think are worth remastering, or is it that you can't compete with nostalgia and the past is best left in the past? --hubie]


Original Submission

posted by hubie on Monday March 04, @04:03AM   Printer-friendly
from the big-brother-meet-big-printer dept.

https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2024/02/hp-wants-you-to-pay-up-to-36-month-to-rent-a-printer-that-it-monitors/

HP launched a subscription service today that rents people a printer, allots them a specific amount of printed pages, and sends them ink for a monthly fee. HP is framing its service as a way to simplify printing for families and small businesses, but the deal also comes with monitoring and a years-long commitment.

Prices range from $6.99 per month for a plan that includes an HP Envy printer (the current model is the 6020e) and 20 printed pages. The priciest plan includes an HP OfficeJet Pro rental and 700 printed pages for $35.99 per month.
[...]
HP calls this an All-In-Plan; if you subscribe, the tech company will be all in on your printing activities.

One of the most perturbing aspects of the subscription plan is that it requires subscribers to keep their printers connected to the Internet. In general, some users avoid connecting their printer to the Internet because it's the type of device that functions fine without web access.

A web connection can also concern users about security or HP-issued firmware updates that make printers stop functioning with non-HP ink.

But HP enforces an Internet connection by having its TOS also state that HP may disrupt the service—and continue to charge you for it—if your printer's not online.
[...]
The All-In-Plan privacy policy also says that HP may "transfer information about you to advertising partners" so that they can "recognize your devices," perform targeted advertising, and, potentially, "combine information about you with information from other companies in data sharing cooperatives" that HP participates in. The policy says that users can opt out of sharing personal data.

[...]
HP will charge subscribers who cancel their subscription before its end date up to $270 plus taxes (the amount decreases to as little as $60, depending on the printer rented and the length of the subscription). After two years, users won't see a cancellation fee if they return the rental printer and ink cartridges within 10 days after canceling their subscription. With these tactics, HP is creating the same type of subscription reliance that has made companies like phone carriers rich while limiting customer options.
[...]
In the blog post announcing the subscription, Diana Sroka, head of product for consumer services at HP, boasted about how people could "never own a printer again," "say goodbye to your tech troubles," and enjoy "hassle-free printing." The problem is that tech troubles and hassle-filled printing aren't the products of merely owning a printer; they're connected to disruptive and anti-consumer practices from printer vendors.
[...]
In addition to some HP printers suddenly not printing with third-party ink, other nuisances that more quickly come to mind include some HP printers not scanning when carrying third-party ink, HP region-locking printers, disputable environmental certifications, and HP inconveniencing customers under the guise of security.

HP is hoping to convince people that the answer to torturous printer experiences is to "never own a printer again." But considering the above frustrations, some might just never own an HP printer again.

In case you didn't already have problems with printing/copying/etc.

Obligatory "Office Space" scene of the crime (semi-nsfw, depending on workplace language guidelines):

Previously on SoylentNews:
Vendor Lock-In Is A Good Thing? HP's CFO Thinks So - 20231206
Judge Denies HP's Request To Dismiss Printer Lockdown Suit - 20230812
HP Continues to Pay for Abruptly Blocking Third-Party Ink from its Printers - 20220916


Original Submission

posted by hubie on Sunday March 03, @11:19PM   Printer-friendly

https://phys.org/news/2024-02-mm-fish-decibel-communicate-turbid.html

An international research team, along with Senckenberg scientist Dr. Ralf Britz, has studied Danionella cerebrum, a small species of fish with a length of no more than 12 millimeters. Despite its diminutive size, the fish can produce sounds close to its body of over 140 decibels—comparable to a jet engine during take-off in 100 meter distance.

In their study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers show that the tiny, translucent fish possess a special sound-generating apparatus. The animals presumably use the sounds to communicate with each other in turbid waters.

The snapping shrimp can generate a popping sound of up to 250 decibels with its claws. The mating calls of the flightless kakapo reach 130 decibels, and elephants can produce noise of up to 125 decibels with their trunks.

"Fishes, on the other hand, are generally considered to be rather quiet members of the animal kingdom," explains Dr. Ralf Britz of the Senckenberg Natural History Collections in Dresden. "However, there are certain fish species that can be surprisingly loud. For example, the male plainfin midshipman fish attracts its females with an audible vibrato of around 100 hertz and 130 decibels."

In their current study, Britz and an international research team led by Benjamin Judkewitz from Charité in Berlin examined the fish species Danionella cerebrum, which only reaches a length of about 12 millimeters.

"This tiny fish can produce sounds of over 140 decibels at a distance of 10 to 12 millimeters—this is comparable to the noise a human perceives of an airplane during take-off at a distance of 100 meter and quite unusual for an animal of such diminutive size. We tried to understand how the fish manages this and what mechanisms are responsible for this achievement," explains the ichthyologist from Dresden.

Using a combination of high-speed video, micro-computed tomography, gene expression analysis, and finite difference methods, the researchers show that the males of the Danionella species possess a unique sound-generating apparatus that includes drumming cartilage, a specialized rib, and a fatigue-resistant muscle.

"This apparatus accelerates the drumming cartilage with a force of over 2,000 g and shoots it against the swim bladder to produce a rapid, loud pulse. These pulses are strung together to produce calls with either bilaterally alternating or unilateral muscle contractions," adds Britz.

The permanently transparent fish, which serve as a model organism for biomedical research, are native to shallow and turbid waters in Myanmar. "We assume that the competition between the males in this visually restrictive environment contributed to the development of the special mechanism for acoustic communication," says Britz.

Journal Reference:
Verity A. N. O. Cook et al, Ultrafast sound production mechanism in one of the smallest vertebrates, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2024). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2314017121


Original Submission

posted by hubie on Sunday March 03, @06:32PM   Printer-friendly
from the are-you-not-entertained? dept.

https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2024/02/emulation-community-expresses-defiance-in-wake-of-nintendos-yuzu-lawsuit/

Nintendo's recent lawsuit against Switch emulator maker Yuzu seems written like it was designed to strike fear into the heart of the entire emulation community. But despite legal arguments that sometimes cut at the very idea of emulation itself, members of the emulation development community I talked to didn't seem very worried about coming under a Yuzu-style legal threat from Nintendo or other console makers. Indeed, those developers told me they've long taken numerous precautions against that very outcome and said they feel they have good reasons to believe they can avoid Yuzu's fate.
[...]
"This lawsuit is not introducing any new element that people in the emulation community have not known of for a long time," said Parsifal, a hobbyist developer who has written emulators for the Apple II, Space Invaders, and the CHIP-8 virtual machine. "Emulation is fine as long as you don't infringe on copyright and trademarks."
[...]
And others feel operating internationally protects them from the worst of the DMCA and other US copyright laws. "I have written an NES emulator and I am working on a Game Boy emulator... anyway I'm not a US citizen and Nintendo can kiss my ass," said emulator developer ZJoyKiller, who didn't provide his specific country of residence.
[...]
Chief among those differences is the fact that Yuzu emulates a Switch console that is still actively selling millions of hardware and software units every year. Most current emulator development focuses on older, discontinued consoles that the developers I talked to seemed convinced were much less liable to draw legal fire.

"There is a difference between emulating a 30-year-old system vs. a current one that's actively making money," Parsifal said.
[...]
Many emulator makers also largely agreed with Nintendo's arguments that Yuzu developers were too explicit about guiding users on how to play copyrighted games through channels like their Quick Start Guide and Discord channel. "I think Yuzu definitely crossed some line when they started explaining how to actually pirate games," one anonymous emulator developer told Ars.

"I've personally experienced how strict most emulator communities/discord servers/forums are regarding copyright and piracy, so it's really weird to me that Yuzu devs wouldn't be like that," Lycoder added.
[...]
Emulator developers I talked to also pointed out the fact that the Yuzu development team currently makes upward of $30,000 every month through a Patreon campaign. That could imply "that their goal is profit-making and not educational," ZJoyKiller said, which is at the very least a suspect look in parts of the community.

"The fact that they are making money is a big no-no, definitely how you can get on the [legal] radar," Parsifal said.
[...]
Among the developers I talked to, it doesn't seem like Nintendo's new lawsuit has had much of a chilling effect on the work they're continuing to do on a wide array of emulation projects. "It's more of a reminder to keep up best practices that I already try to follow," one anonymous developer told me. "It's not going to stop me from making emulators," StrikerX3 added.
[...]
For the most part, though, a healthy fear of Nintendo's litigiousness seems to have been baked in well before this week's legal developments. "From a personal standpoint, it just reinforces that if I were to write a Nintendo emulator, even of an old system, I'd probably keep my repo completely private," ZJoyKiller said. "Or if public, I'd do so under a different account. But I've always thought this anyway. So... no, this ruling doesn't change much on how I see this."

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Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Sunday March 03, @01:49PM   Printer-friendly
from the beam-me-up dept.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2024/02/240216135820.htm

Penn Engineers have developed a new chip that uses light waves, rather than electricity, to perform the complex math essential to training AI. The chip has the potential to radically accelerate the processing speed of computers while also reducing their energy consumption.

[...] The interaction of light waves with matter represents one possible avenue for developing computers that supersede the limitations of today's chips, which are essentially based on the same principles as chips from the earliest days of the computing revolution in the 1960s.

[...] Instead of using a silicon wafer of uniform height, explains Engheta, "you make the silicon thinner, say 150 nanometers," but only in specific regions. Those variations in height -- without the addition of any other materials -- provide a means of controlling the propagation of light through the chip, since the variations in height can be distributed to cause light to scatter in specific patterns, allowing the chip to perform mathematical calculations at the speed of light.

[...] this design is already ready for commercial applications, and could potentially be adapted for use in graphics processing units (GPUs), the demand for which has skyrocketed with the widespread interest in developing new AI systems. "They can adopt the Silicon Photonics platform as an add-on," says Aflatouni, "and then you could speed up training and classification."

Original Source: New Chip Opens Door to AI Computing at Light Speed
Linked Paper from Original Source: Inverse-designed low-index-contrast structures on a silicon photonics platform for vector–matrix multiplication
Arxiv link to original paper: https://doi.org/10.48550/arXiv.2302.00793


Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Sunday March 03, @09:03AM   Printer-friendly
from the oops-no-its-OK dept.

The German frigate Hessen, which was deployed to the Red Sea as part of an EU mission, mistakenly fired on an American drone earlier this week, the German Defense Ministry said on Wednesday.

Berlin had previously disclosed the Hessen's first successful engagement, in which the vessel shot down two Houthi drones within 15 minutes of one another on Tuesday.

On Monday evening, however, the frigate used two SM-2 missiles to target an unidentified drone, but both failed to hit the target, according to German Defense Ministry spokesman Michael Stempfle.

"The case was resolved in the sense that it was not a hostile drone, which only became clear afterwards," Stempfle said.

Defense Minister Boris Pistorius confirmed Stempfle's statement while visiting a military base in Bavaria on Wednesday evening, telling reporters that there had been an incident "in which shots were fired, but no one was hit."

According to the German military blog Augen geradeaus, the US-made missiles failed for "technical reasons," which prompted the Hessen to use its 76mm main gun to engage the Houthi drones on Tuesday. The German warship then used short-range RAM missiles to shoot down another Houthi drone on Wednesday morning.

The SM-2 variants include radar seeker technologies in continuous wave and interrupted continuous wave guidance modes, tail controls and solid rocket motor propulsion to engage high-speed maneuvering threats and updated radar targeting and directional warheads.

Block IIIB enhances its predecessor's capabilities by adding autonomous infrared acquisition. The U.S. Navy plans to use this variant through 2035.

Global demand
Raytheon restarted its SM-2 production line after multiple countries pooled resources to make a "bundle" purchase. The company reconfigured and modernized its SM-2 missile factory to increase production efficiencies. It also signed new agreements with several suppliers.

The missile was originally made in the 1960s, while the newest re-design is from the 1970s. I assume the production restart has newish SMT equivalent of the original parts. Probably not going too well.

https://dailycaller.com/2024/02/28/german-warship-accidentally-targets-us-drone-in-red-sea-report/
https://www.rt.com/news/593334-german-ship-american-drone/
https://english.almasirah.net.ye/post/38387/German-Warship-Opens-Fire-on-US-Reaper-Drone-Reports
https://www.rtx.com/raytheon/what-we-do/sea/sm-2-missile


Original Submission