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What was highest label on your first car speedometer?

  • 80 mph
  • 88 mph
  • 100 mph
  • 120 mph
  • 150 mph
  • it was in kph like civilized countries use you insensitive clod
  • Other (please specify in comments)

[ Results | Polls ]
Comments:67 | Votes:268

posted by janrinok on Friday March 29, @09:56PM   Printer-friendly

Florida's DeSantis signs law restricting social media for people under 16

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Monday signed a bill that bans children aged under 14 from social media platforms and requires 14- and 15-year-olds to get parental consent, a measure supporters say will protect them from online risks to their mental health.

The measure requires social media platforms to terminate the accounts of people under 14 and those of people under 16 who do not have parental consent. It requires them to use a third-party verification system to screen out those who are underage.

The amended version allows for parents to provide consent for older children to engage on social media platforms. It will become law on Jan. 1, 2025.

[...] "Social media harms children in a variety of ways," DeSantis said in a statement. He said the legislation "gives parents a greater ability to protect their children."

[...] Critics have said the bill violates the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment protections for free speech and that parents, not the government, should make decisions about the online presence of their children of all ages.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Friday March 29, @05:10PM   Printer-friendly

Arthur T Knackerbracket has processed the following story:

A newly devised procedure to de-ice Euclid's optics has performed significantly better than hoped. Light coming in to the visible "VIS" instrument from distant stars was gradually decreasing due small amounts of water ice building up on its optics. Mission teams spent months devising a procedure to heat up individual mirrors in the instrument's complex optical system, without interfering with the finely tuned mission's calibration or potentially causing further contamination. After the very first mirror was warmed by just 34°, Euclid's sight was restored.

Euclid is on a mission to uncover the secrets of dark matter and dark energy, which are thought to make up 95% of the universe yet cannot be directly observed. But a few nanometers of ice—the width of a large molecule—have been accumulating on the mission's optics each month, causing a drop in the light coming in from distant galaxies.

[...] "It was an enormous team effort over the last months to plan, execute and analyze the heating of selected mirrors onboard Euclid, resulting in the fantastic result we see now," explains Ralf Kohley, Euclid instrument scientist and in charge of the anomaly review board.

"The mirrors, and the amount of light coming in through VIS will continue being monitored, and the results from this first test will continue to be analyzed as we turn this experiment into a core part of flying and operating Euclid."

One by one, then group by group, they planned to heat up mirrors in Euclid's optics and test the effect on the light coming in. They had reason to believe, but couldn't know for sure, that the first mirror they would heat was causing most of the problems.

"It was midnight at ESOC mission control when we de-iced the first two mirrors in the procedure. We were very careful with our timings, ensuring we had constant contact between the spacecraft and our ground station in Malargüe, Argentina, so we could be ready to react in real time if there were any anomalies," explains Micha Schmidt, Euclid Spacecraft Operations Manager.

"Thankfully, it all went as planned. When we saw the first analysis provided by the science experts, we knew that they would be very happy—the result was significantly better than expected."

[...] "Our primary suspect, the coldest mirror behind the main telescope optics, was heated from –147°C to –113°C. It didn't need to get hot, because in a vacuum this temperature is enough to quickly evaporate all the ice. And it worked like a charm! Almost immediately, we were receiving 15% more light from the universe. I was certain that we would see a considerable improvement, but not in such a spectacular way."

With Euclid's vision cleared at the very first stage of the procedure, scientists and engineers could tell where precisely the ice had formed, and where it is likely to form again. "Euclid's 'eye' has been cleared, allowing it to clearly see faint light from distant galaxies, and more of them than would otherwise be possible without this operation," explains Reiko Nakajima, VIS instrument scientist.

"We expect ice to cloud the VIS instrument's vision again in the future. But it will be simple to repeat this selective decontamination procedure every six to 12 months and with very little cost to science observations or the rest of the mission help future satellites likely to face the same, common icy problem.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Friday March 29, @12:26PM   Printer-friendly
from the money-money-money dept.

In an interview on the New York Stock Exchange trading floor ahead of Reddit's market debut on Thursday, chief executive Steve Huffman acknowledged that the mischievous retail investors that congregate on the social media platform might deliberately drive down its share price.

"It's a free market!" he said.

For Reddit, as for Huffman, the bet on a public offering for a site he described as a "fun and special, but sometimes crazy place" has appeared to pay off.

[...] The chief executive sold 500,000 of his shares in the IPO, cashing out a plump $17 million, and is due to receive additional equity awards as a result of listing the company above a $5 billion valuation. He also received an estimated $193 million pay package last year, mostly made up of equity awards, according to filings.

[...] "Reddit, more so than many social media platforms, has been a very community-based, non-commercial space and people know and love it for [this]," said Samuel Woolley, a propaganda expert and assistant professor at the University of Texas at Austin.

"I think the big question that should be on everyone's mind for Reddit is to what extent the IPO will change the very nature and fabric of the platform."

Original Submission

posted by hubie on Friday March 29, @07:42AM   Printer-friendly
from the far-out dept.

If you enter "how to see the eclipse" into your favorite search engine, you're bound to see thousands—millions?—of helpful guides. Some of these are extremely detailed and thorough, almost as if the author were getting paid by the word or augmented by AI.

In reality, seeing a solar eclipse is just about the easiest thing one can do in one's life. Like, it's difficult to think of anything else that has the greatest reward-lowest effort ratio in life. You just need to know a couple of things. For the sake of simplicity, here is Ars' four-step guide to having a four-star eclipse-viewing experience. Steps are listed in order of ascending importance.

[...] In reality, a total solar eclipse is probably going to be the most spectacular celestial event most of us see in our lifetimes. Certainly, there could be more spectacular ones. A supernova within 100 light-years of Earth would be amazing. Witnessing a large asteroid streaking through Earth's atmosphere before impact would be incredible.

Unfortunately, those would also be lethal.

Related stories on SoylentNews:
Daily Telescope: A Solar Eclipse From the Surface of Mars - 2024-02-14
Annular Solar Eclipse October 2023 and Total in April 2024 - 2023-10-02
NASA's Perseverance Rover Captures Video of Solar Eclipse on Mars - 2022-04-22
How to Watch Rare "Ring of Fire" Solar Eclipse - 2021-06-09
Coming Jan 31st: a Super Blue Blood Moon Eclipse - First Time in 150 Years - 2018-01-05

Original Submission

posted by hubie on Friday March 29, @03:00AM   Printer-friendly

Arthur T Knackerbracket has processed the following story:

Lithium–sulfur (Li–S) batteries are a promising alternative to lithium–ion batteries (LiBs), the most common rechargeable battery technology. As sulfur is abundant on Earth, these batteries could be cheaper and more environmentally friendly than LiBs, while also potentially exhibiting higher energy densities.

Despite these advantages, the deployment of Li–S batteries has so far been limited, as many of these batteries also have a low cycle life and a high self-discharge rate. In addition, the predicted high energy density of Li–S batteries often becomes far lower when in real applications, due to the high rates at which they charge and discharge.

A chemical reaction that plays a central role in ensuring the high capacity of Li–S batteries is the so-called sulfur reduction reaction (SRR). This reaction has been widely studied, yet its kinetic tendencies at high current rates remain poorly understood.

Researchers at the University of Adelaide, Tianjin University and Australian Synchrotron recently carried out a study aimed at delineating the kinetic trend of SRR, to inform the future development of high-power Li–S batteries. Their paper, published in Nature Nanotechnology, also introduces a nanocomposite carbon electrocatalyst that was found to boost the performance of Li–S batteries, attaining a discharge capacity retention of approximately 75%.

[...] Building on their observations, the researchers already introduced one electrocatalyst that was found to enhance the capacity retention and cyclic stability of an Li–S battery. In the future, their work could inspire the design of other promising catalysts, potentially contributing to the development of new high-power Li–S battery technologies.

More information: Huan Li et al, Developing high-power Li||S batteries via transition metal/carbon nanocomposite electrocatalyst engineering, Nature Nanotechnology (2024). DOI: 10.1038/s41565-024-01614-4

Original Submission

posted by hubie on Thursday March 28, @10:14PM   Printer-friendly

Arthur T Knackerbracket has processed the following story:

As spotted by German tech site DeskModder, Microsoft has begun automatically installing a Copilot app on Windows 11. The new application doesn't seem to have any functionality, and further investigation revealed that it has 0 bytes of data, suggesting that it's actually a placeholder shell for the most part. Thankfully, users can uninstall the app by simply using the built-in 'Uninstall' option in Windows.

[...] It's unclear how the Copilot app is getting installed on systems that have automatic updates turned off, but according to Ghacks, it showed up on their test PC after the Edge browser was updated to the latest version. Interestingly, the application's AppxManifest.xml lists Windows 10 as the minimum compatible version, while the maximum version is listed as Windows

[...] Microsoft recently started rolling out Copilot to more Windows 10/11 devices, enabling users to experience the AI features on their desktop. According to the company, users can access up to ten Copilot requests before needing to sign-in with a Microsoft ID. The feature is still in preview as of now, but is enabled by default in Windows 11 version 23H2. It is, however, disabled by default in Windows 11 version 22H2.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Thursday March 28, @05:32PM   Printer-friendly
from the Americans-would-still-prefer-Budweiser dept.

AI models were better than human experts at predicting the ratings Belgian beers received on a popular review site:

To compare the models, they split the data into a training set and a test set. Once a model was trained on the data within the training set, they evaluated its ability to predict the test set.

The researchers found that all the models were better than the trained panel of human experts at predicting the rating a beer had received from RateBeer.

Through these models, the researchers were able to pinpoint specific compounds that contribute to consumer appreciation of a beer: people were more likely to rate a beer highly if it contained these specific compounds. For example, the models predicted that adding lactic acid, which is present in tart-tasting sour beers, could improve other kinds of beers by making them taste fresher.

"We had the models analyze these beers and then asked them 'How can we make these beers better?'" says Kevin Verstrepen, a professor at KU Leuven and director of the VIB-KU Leuven Center for Microbiology, who worked on the project. "Then we went in and actually made those changes to the beers by adding flavor compounds. And lo and behold—once we did blind tastings, the beers became better, and more generally appreciated."

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Thursday March 28, @12:41PM   Printer-friendly

Researchers explain the dissimilar smells of babies and teenagers:

A team of aroma chemists at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, working with psychologist colleagues from the Technical University of Dresden, has uncovered the reasons for the dissimilar smells between babies and teenagers. The study is published in the journal Communications Chemistry.

Prior research and anecdotal evidence have shown that babies have a pleasant smell, often described as sweet. Teenagers, on the other hand, especially males, have often been described as smelling less pleasant. In this new effort, the research team sought to find out what causes the difference.

[...] The researchers found that most of the chemicals responsible for body odor were similar between the two groups of volunteers. But there were a few that made the difference. Teenage sweat, for example, had high levels of many kinds of carboxylic acids, which the assessors described as "earthy, musty or cheesy."

They also found two steroids in the teen sweat not present in the baby sweat, one of which resulted in "musk or urine-like" emanations—the other, the assessors suggested, smelled more like "musk and sandalwood." Without such chemicals, the sweat of babies smelled much sweeter.

The researchers suggest that study of the chemical compounds in teen sweat could prove fruitful for makers of odor-control products. They also suggest that more work could [be] done to better understand the impact of such odors on parents.

Journal Reference:
Diana Owsienko et al, Body odor samples from infants and post-pubertal children differ in their volatile profiles, Communications Chemistry (2024). DOI: 10.1038/s42004-024-01131-4

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Thursday March 28, @10:01AM   Printer-friendly


I would like to thank you all for your patience during the recent outages. Something is causing a problem with the database itself. It appears to be running out of room and thus having problems when creating backups. This is not a new phenomenon - NCommander observed that the database was corrupted in Nov/Dec 2022, and he fixed the corruptions that were present at that time. I know that others have done similar 'repairs' over the years. Those of you who have been with us a while will know that we have had various site outages since the site's inception in 2014. We try to get the site up as quickly as possible but we currently have a single active sys-admin who has to find the time to fix the site in between running his own business and having a decent work/life balance. The cause of these corruptions has not been identified despite speculation by some individuals.

New Site

The administration associated with creating a business continues and we think that we are now at the final stage. The paperwork has to be signed by several people and this means sending mail around the USA in order to get real signatures from specific individuals. However, we think that this should only take a week or two.

Deleting Spam

For the last month or so we have been deleting Spam from the Polls and journals. Deleting content is not new. Spam, doxxing, abusive material, CEOS, inappropriate ASCII art etc has often been deleted in the last 10 years. In fact, most of our registered community have the ability to delete some material (their own journals for example), and this has happened from time to time in the past. We also delete outdated submissions on a daily basis. The site software provides a means of making such deletions and it can cope with them. The software that is being used is not new - it has been in Rehash since the site became active. We have received some positive feedback regarding this measure - the Polls and journals are looking much tidier as a result. Unfortunately, we are going to temporarily suspend this measure to simplify the investigations into the database corruption problems. So, as unsightly as they are, we will be returning to the use of Spam moderations on a hopefully temporary basis. We have, of course, also received some negative feedback but it only seems to have come from a couple of Anonymous Cowards, one of whom is our most prolific spammer.


Finally, I would like to thank the staff for their continued efforts in keeping the site online and active. The participating user count continues to climb, as does the number of pages served each day. Many usernames that have existed for a long time but appear to have been inactive for a while are reappearing and participating in the discussions. I hope that we will soon be able to restructure our site in an affordable yet more robust structure in the very near future.


posted by janrinok on Thursday March 28, @07:55AM   Printer-friendly
from the Condé-Nast-strikes-again dept.

Two months ago, Condé Nast bought and folded the music site Pitchfork. For many music fans that marked the end of an era of music criticism and pop culture. Slate magazine has an oral history of the late, great Pitchfork and how it started, what made it unique, and about its demise.

In January, Condé Nast announced that it was folding Pitchfork into GQ, laying off much of the staff of the influential, independent-minded music publication. The outcry was immediate. Why was one album-review website, founded nearly three decades ago in a suburban Minnesota bedroom, loved by so many music fans—and hated by so many others? Pitchfork transformed indie rock, but did pop transform Pitchfork? And does the Condé news really mean that Pitchfork is dead?

Over the past two months, Slate spoke to more than 30 Pitchfork writers, editors, and executives, past and present—as well as critics, industry luminaries, and some of the musicians whose careers Pitchfork made and destroyed—to tell the story behind the raves, the pans, the festivals, the fights, the indie spirit, the corporate takeover, and, of course, the scores. This is the complete oral history of Pitchfork.

[...] The gutting of Pitchfork is not just a loss for writers and editors, but all music fans. Spotify's algorithm can introduce you to new music but it can't contextualise it or tell its stories. Replacing media "gatekeepers" with AI ones has not enriched the culture. There are new formats for music journalism – the YouTuber Anthony Fantano is perhaps the world's most influential music critic, while Cole Cuchna's podcast Dissect is a masterclass in analysis – but like any art form, popular music deserves a thriving critical culture in the written word. While some music websites survive, notably the defiantly left-field digital magazine, the Quietus, it is striking that the alleged dinosaurs of print, led in the UK by Mojo and Uncut, have outlasted most of their supposed successors.

Condé Nast is the media company which owns one of the highly censorious, anti-FOSS "orange sites".

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Thursday March 28, @03:10AM   Printer-friendly

Arthur T Knackerbracket has processed the following story:

While it doesn't have the same relevance to public consciousness as safety problems with commercial airliners, a successful test flight of Boeing's Starliner spacecraft in May would be welcome news for the beleaguered aerospace company.

This will be the first time the Starliner capsule flies into low-Earth orbit with humans aboard. NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams are in the final stages of training for the so-called Crew Flight Test (CFT), a milestone running seven years behind the schedule Boeing said it could achieve when it won a $4.2 billion commercial crew contract from NASA a decade ago.

If schedules hold, Wilmore and Williams will take off inside Boeing's Starliner spacecraft aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket after midnight May 1, local time, from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. They will fly Starliner to the International Space Station for a stay of at least eight days, then return the capsule to a parachute-assisted, airbag-cushioned landing in the western United States, likely at White Sands, New Mexico.

The first human spaceflight with Starliner will launch under a lame-duck Boeing CEO. Dave Calhoun, who took the helm at Boeing in 2020, announced Monday he will step down at the end of the year. Boeing's chairman, Larry Kellner, will not seek reelection at the company's next shareholder meeting. Effective immediately, Boeing is also replacing the head of its commercial airplanes unit.

The last few years have not been good for Boeing. A spate of safety shortcomings in the company's commercial airline business has shattered the company's reputation. Two crashes of Boeing's 737 Max 8 airplanes in 2018 and 2019 killed 346 people, and investigators blamed Boeing's design and software for the accidents.

[...] In a report released by the Federal Aviation Administration last month, a panel of experts found that Boeing's safety culture was "inadequate and confusing." The panel also noted a "lack of pilot input in aircraft design and operation."

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Wednesday March 27, @10:26PM   Printer-friendly
from the beatings-shall-continue-until-morale-improves dept.

American workers who have more flexibility and security in their jobs also have better mental health, according to a study of 2021 survey data from over 18,000 nationally representative working Americans.

The study, published Monday in JAMA Network Open, may not be surprising to those who have faced return-to-office mandates and rounds of layoffs amid the pandemic. But, it offers clear data on just how important job flexibility and security are to the health and well-being of workers.

[...] Overall, the study's findings indicate "the substantive impact that flexible and secure jobs can have on mental health in the short-term and long-term," the researchers conclude.

They do note limitations of the study, the main one being that the study identifies associations and can't determine that job flexibility and security directly caused mental health outcomes and the work absence findings. Still, they suggest that workplace policies could improve the mental health of employees.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Wednesday March 27, @08:12PM   Printer-friendly
from the I-didn't-know-that-... dept.

Last week I fell into a bit of a rabbit hole: why do regular expressions use $ and ^ as line anchors?1

This talk brings up that they first appeared in Ken Thompson's port of the QED text editor. In his manual he writes: b) "^" is a regular expression which matches character at the beginning of a line.

c) "$" is a regular expression which matches character before the character (usually at the end of a line)

QED was the precursor to ed, which was instrumental in popularizing regexes, so a lot of its design choices stuck.

Okay, but then why did Ken Thompson choose those characters?

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Wednesday March 27, @05:41PM   Printer-friendly
from the not-welcoming-our-corporate-overlords dept.

Dr Andy Farnell at The Cyber Show writes about motivations behind dropping use of generative AI for graphics and moving back to manual design and editing of images. The show had been using generative AI to produce images since its first episode, but now find that it is time to rethink that policy. As the guard rails for generative AI are set up and the boundaries restricted, it gets more racist, more gendered, and less able to output edgy ideas critical of its corporate owners and its potential as an equalizing force seems dead already. So, while the show could set up its own AI instance to generate the images they desire, there is the matter of association and the decision to stop using it has been made.

Doubts emerged late last year after Helen battled with many of the generative platforms to get less racist and gendered cultural assumptions. We even had some ideas for an episode about baked bias, but other podcasters picked up on that and did a fine job of investigating and explicating.

Though, maybe more is still to be said. With time I've noticed the "guardrails" are staring to close in like a pack of dogs. The tools seem ever less willing to output edgy ideas critical of corporate gangsters. That feels like a direct impingement on visual art culture. Much like most of the now enshitified internet there seems to be an built-in aversion to humour, and for that matter to hope, love or faith in the future of humaity. The "five giant websites filled with screenshots of text from the other four" are devoid of anything human.

Like the companies that make them, commercial AI tools seem to have blind-spots around irony, juxtaposition and irreverence. They have no chutzpah. Perhaps we are just bumping into the limits of machine creativity in its current iteration. Or maybe there's a "directing mind", biasing output toward tepid, mediocre "acceptability". That's not us!

As Schneier writes;

"The increasingly centralized control of AI is an ominous sign. When tech billionaires and corporations steer AI, we get AI that tends to reflect the interests of tech billionaires and corporations, instead of the public."

Of course we have the technical chops to put a few high end graphics cards in a rack and run our own uncensored models. But is that a road we want to go down? Do we want to adopt the technology of the enemy when it might turn out to be their greatest weakness, and our humanity our greatest strength?

The Cyber Show is a long-form, English language podcast based in the UK which does deep dives into information communication technology, how it effects society, and various aspects of those effects.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Wednesday March 27, @12:52PM   Printer-friendly

Arthur T Knackerbracket has processed the following story:

The inaugural Beacon Awards has handed three prizes to projects working on safer software for CHERI-enabled hardware running on the CheriBSD operating system. For the unitiated, CHERI is an abbreviation of Capability Hardware Enhanced RISC Instructions.

The Beacon Awards is a fresh scheme from the FreeBSD Foundation, in partnership with the UK government's Digital Security by Design initiative, to reward efforts at safer software. The Digital Security by Design initiative has been around for some six years now, and it funds multiple projects in the broader security R&D field. The Register reported on Arm jumping on board in early 2019. It worked: It was awarded £36 million ($45.43 million) at the gongs last week. Naturally, there were talks about much more money… but it's good to know that some real technological developments have come out of this.

One grand prize went to the Mojo JVM. This is a memory-secure Java runtime that "can run existing Java applications with no or minimal code changes," according to the awards page. Java isn't trendy any more and applets in web pages disappeared years ago, but it remains very significant in internal business-process apps in many large companies. Its development is sponsored by The Hut Group, an etailer which occasionally pops up on the Register. The team has a 17-minute Youtube video explaining how CHERI can bring greater memory-safety to the OpenJDK JVM.

Another grand prize went to Intravisor, a new form of virtualization host for cloud software, which can run various kinds of VMs with greater isolation on CHERI-enabled hardware. This includes its own lightweight ones and unmodified Linux environments. There's more info on the GitHub page, and there was a talk about Intravisor at the 2022 FOSDEM conference.

The third grand prize went to the appropriately named Capabilities Limited for its work refactoring 1.7 million lines of existing C++ web services software to CheriBSD on Morello.

Honorable mentions went to two pieces of research by the University of Glasgow's Jeremy Singer. One is Morello Micropython, a research project that's produced a CHERI-enabled Micropython interpreter. He has also been studying adapting the Boehm garbage collector to CHERI, which he terms Capability Boehm [PDF].

[...] in the course of developing inexpensive mass-market microcomputers, a lot of the security systems of earlier generations of computers were simply discarded, either for being too expensive or too much hard work. Capabilities were just one of them.

The CHERI research is looking for ways to restore these to existing systems running current software, with minimal modifications. If they're successful, the resulting hardware and software will be slightly slower – but also immune, or at least far more robust against, all kinds of software vulnerabilities and exploits.

As it is today, Linux has a bunch of performance-killing security features, whose impact you can see if you just turn them off temporarily. We're already paying the speed penalty for this stuff. CHERI could do better. It's a price worth paying.

Original Submission