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What is the most overly over hyped tech trend

  • Generative AI
  • Quantum computing
  • Blockchain, NFT, Cryptocurrency
  • Edge computing
  • Internet of Things
  • 6G
  • I use the metaverse you insensitive clod
  • Other (please specify in comments)

[ Results | Polls ]
Comments:21 | Votes:73

posted by martyb on Thursday June 06, @08:16PM   Printer-friendly
from the a-true-swinger? dept.

When you think about games written for the Atari Video Computer System (or 2600) today, what do you picture? Likely a home version of an arcade game, or some kind of shooter, a maze game, something that takes place entirely on a single screen. This is not the entirety of the 2600 library, though – major releases such as Pitfall!, Adventure, E.T: The Extra-Terrestrial, or Smurfs: Rescue in Gargamel's Castle were built around worlds that extended beyond the screen's borders, where you didn't necessarily know what was coming next or how you'd need to approach that challenge. And among the most ambitious of these titles announced was Tarzan, to be published by Coleco for the 2600 and the ColecoVision console in 1984.

Tarzan was initially announced for as a 1983 ColecoVision release at the 1983 Winter Consumer Electronics Show, held in Las Vegas, with a 2600 port announced later that year during the summer CES for a November release. These dates slipped, with the ColecoVision Tarzan finally shipping in August, and the 2600 game announced as a second quarter release before being quietly canceled. The released ColecoVision version was fairly well-reviewed, with the newsletter Computer Entertainer praising the graphics and the varied action, noting strategy is required to clear the game. But the 2600 version faded into obscurity, considered just another project canceled due to the 1983 North American market collapse and its yearslong aftermath. In 2011 a manual for the game turned up, but the game itself remained lost. Lost, that is, until collector Rob "AtariSpot" managed to purchase a working copy of the game off of a former Coleco employee in 2022 and successfully worked with longtime Atari homebrew programmer Thomas Jentzsch to get it dumped. All 2600 games bigger than 4 kilobytes in size utilize an approach called "bankswitching" to get around hardware limitations by inserting code that gets the console to look at a separate 4-kilobyte chunk of data. This allowed for larger and more complex game programs, and Tarzan, a 12-kilobyte cartridge, is no exception. The game uses a unique bankswitching scheme, but Jentzsch was able to modify it into a standard "F6" bankswitch to make it operable on emulators and flash carts. Both versions are included with this article.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Thursday June 06, @03:33PM   Printer-friendly
from the anti-fascist dept.

Eighty years ago, as of Wednesday, June 6th, 2024, the Allied landings on the beaches of Normandy started as part of Operation Overlord. This was the beginning of the turning point in WWII against the fascists. Even the youngest veterans from that operation, those who were underage at the time, are pushing 100.

  • Army Times, WWII vet says 'greatest generation' fits because 'we saved the world'

    Now, he proudly lays claim to being part of "The Greatest Generation."

    "Because we saved the world," he said.

    He has made the trip back to France before but says his return this year for the 80th anniversary of D-Day is special for the people of Europe, and for himself.

  • France 24, Juno Beach, where locals honour the memory of Canadian D-Day veterans

    More than 14,000 volunteer soldiers from across Canada – fighting alongside British and US troops – seized the beaches of Normandy on D-Day to help liberate the region from German occupation. Eighty years since that fatal day in June 1944, a handful of local inhabitants have made it their mission to preserve and pass on the lesser-known stories of Canadian soldiers.

  • Reuters, D-Day: What to expect from 80th anniversary in Normandy

    Veterans and world leaders will meet in Normandy, northwestern France, on June 6 to mark the 80th anniversary of the 1944 D-Day landings, when more than 150,000 Allied soldiers invaded France to drive out the forces of Nazi Germany.

    Eighty years later, Normandy's beaches and fields still bear the scars of the fighting that erupted on D-Day, history's largest amphibious invasion.

  • VOA, American veterans being honored in France at 80th anniversary of D-Day

    "I know my brother and I never looked at it as we were any kind of heroes, nothing like that," Margol said recently of himself and his twin brother Howard, who served with him. "It was just our time. That we were asked to serve. And we did."

  • US News, A Mass Parachute Jump Over Normandy Kicks off Commemorations for the 80th Anniversary of D-Day

    On Sunday, three C-47 transport planes, a workhorse of the war, dropped three long strings of jumpers, their round chutes mushrooming open in the blue skies with puffy white clouds, to whoops from the huge crowd that was regaled by tunes from Glenn Miller and Edith Piaf as they waited.

  • RTL, Normandy: As war again shakes Europe, leaders mark 80 years since D-Day

    Western leaders will this week mark on the beaches of northern France 80 years since Allied troops surged into Nazi occupied Europe in the World War II D-Day landings, haunted by the war again raging on the continent as Ukraine battles Russian invasion.

  • VOA, US veterans get heroes' welcome in France ahead of D-Day anniversary

    Many of those flying in over the weekend into Monday were older than 100, pushed on wheelchairs by relatives and aides.

    "It's unreal. It's unreal. Wow," 107-year-old Reynolds Tomter said at Paris Charles-de-Gaulle airport as students waved U.S. and French flags and held up photos of the veterans.

  • Army Times, Black medic who saved dozens on D-Day posthumously honored

    "The tide brought us in, and that's when the 88s hit us," he said of the German 88mm guns. "They were murder. Of our 26 Navy personnel there was only one left. They raked the whole top of the ship and killed all the crew. Then they started with the mortar shells," Woodson said.

    Woodson was wounded while still on the landing craft. But for the next 30 hours he treated 200 wounded men all while under intense small arms and artillery fire before collapsing from his injuries and blood loss, according to accounts of his service. At the time he was awarded the Bronze Star.

  • Christian Science Monitor, Near 80th anniversary of D-Day, British women recognized for their non-combat roles in the Allied forces

    As the 80th anniversary of D-Day approaches on June 6, hundreds of thousands of women who worked behind the scenes in crucial non-combat jobs for the Allied forces are finally getting the recognition they deserve.

  • Brattleboro Reformer, Centenarian veterans are sharing their memories of D-Day, 80 years later

    Few witnesses remain who remember the Allied assault. The Associated Press is speaking to veterans about their role in freeing Europe from the Nazis, and what messages they have for younger generations.

  • Brattleboro Reformer, The last WWII vets converge on Normandy for D-Day and fallen friends and to cement their legacy

    Veterans of World War II, many of them centenarians and likely returning to France for one last time, pilgrimaged Tuesday to what was the bloodiest of five Allied landing beaches on June 6, 1944. They remembered fallen friends. They relived horrors they experienced in combat. They blessed their good fortune for surviving. And they mourned those who paid the ultimate price.

    They also bore a message for generations behind them, who owe them so much: Don't forget what we did.

  • New York Times, D-Day's 80th Anniversary Might Be the Last for Many WWII Veterans

    It is 80 years since the Allied invasion of Normandy, and the average age of veterans hovers at 100. Once they are gone, how will their sacrifices be remembered?

Please add additional links in the comments below.

Original Submission

posted by hubie on Thursday June 06, @10:49AM   Printer-friendly
from the One-of-the-days,-Alice;-to-the-moon! dept.

Arthur T Knackerbracket has processed the following story:

Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa has cancelled his planned flight to the moon aboard SpaceX's Starship. It's an understandable decision considering that Starship has yet to have a completely successful test flight.

[...] "[L]aunch within 2023 became unfeasible, and without clear schedule certainty in the near-term, it is with a heavy heart that Maezawa made the unavoidable decision to cancel the project," read a statement from dearMoon.

[...] Maesawa initially announced his private SpaceX moon flight in 2018, intending to bring along a handful of artists to create works inspired by the trip. He did briefly expand the guest list in Jan. 2020, searching for a "life partner" willing to go on the most intense romantic getaway ever, but quickly abandoned that idea just a few weeks later.

In the end, the billionaire had settled on a crew of eight creatives, including U.S. DJ Steve Aoki, K-pop artist T.O.P aka Choi Seung-hyun, and YouTuber Tim Dodd. Now they'll all have to look for other transport if they want to get any closer to the moon. Maezawa has at least ventured to space before, taking a Soyuz spacecraft to the International Space Station for a 12-day trip in 2021.

"I can’t plan my future in this situation, and I feel terrible making the crew members wait longer, hence the difficult decision to cancel at this point in time," Maezawa posted. "I apologize to those who were excited for this project to happen."

dearMoon's cancellation wasn't a completely outlandish possibility. Maezawa provided an update to the project last November, acknowledging that the mission wouldn't go ahead in 2023 and that he wasn't sure when it would happen. However, some of the crew members have publicly expressed disappointment and even criticised Maezawa for his decision to abort the mission.

"You didn’t ask us if we minded waiting or give us an option or discuss that you were thinking of cancelling until you’d already made the decision," photographer and crew member Rhiannon Adam responded to Maezawa on X. "I can only speak for myself but I’d have waited till it was ready."

"Our crew, from the many conversations we’ve had together, were ready to wait as long as it took for this flight to happen," filmmaker Brendan Hall concurred in a lengthy statement, emphasising that the cancellation was Maezawa's decision alone. "Through these years, our crew has stayed well informed of Starship's development through publicly available information and discourse, and were well aware that we would potentially be investing many years into this mission. The cancellation of this mission was sudden, brief, and unexpected."

"Had I known this could have ended within a year and a half of it being publicly announced, I would’ve never agreed to it," wrote Dodd in an X post. "We had no prior knowledge of this possibility. I voiced my opinions, even before the announcement, that it was improbable for dearMoon to happen in the next few years."

Original Submission

posted by hubie on Thursday June 06, @06:04AM   Printer-friendly
from the reason-he-called-it-X dept.

Butts, breasts, and genitals now explicitly allowed on Elon Musk's X

Adult content has always proliferated on Twitter, but the platform now called X recently clarified its policy to officially allow "consensually produced and distributed adult nudity or sexual behavior."

X's rules seem simple. As long as content is "properly labeled and not prominently displayed," users can share material—including AI-generated or animated content—"that is pornographic or intended to cause sexual arousal."

"We believe that users should be able to create, distribute, and consume material related to sexual themes as long as it is consensually produced and distributed," X's policy said.

The policy update seemingly reflects X's core mission to defend all legal speech. It protects a wide range of sexual expression, including depictions of explicit or implicit sexual behavior, simulated sexual intercourse, full or partial nudity, and close-ups of genitals, buttocks, or breasts.

[....] none of this content can be monetized

[....] adult content is also prohibited from appearing in live videos, profile pictures, headers, list banners, or community cover photos.

[....] now requires content warnings so that "users who do not wish to see it can avoid it" and "children below the age of 18 are not exposed to it."

Is it called Free speech because you can't monetize it?

Original Submission

posted by hubie on Thursday June 06, @01:17AM   Printer-friendly
from the BSD-Daemon dept.

Fresh to my inbox this morning, was the news:

The FreeBSD Release Engineering Team is pleased to announce the availability of FreeBSD 14.1-RELEASE. This is the second release of the stable/14 branch.

FreeBSD 14.1-RELEASE is now available for the amd64, i386, powerpc, powerpc64, powerpc64le, powerpcspe, armv7, aarch64, and riscv64 architectures.

FreeBSD 14.1-RELEASE can be installed from bootable ISO images or over the network. Some architectures also support installing from a USB memory stick.

Some of the highlights:

  - The C library now has SIMD implementations of string and memory operations on amd64 for improved performance.
  - Improvements to the sound subsystem, including device hotplug.
  - Initial native cloud-init (configuration drive) support compatible with OpenStack and many hosters.
  - OpenZFS has been upgraded to version 2.2.4.
  - Clang/LLVM have been upgraded to version 18.1.5.
  - OpenSSH has been upgraded to version 9.7p1.

Personally, I generally prefer to compile from source, so most of my installations are on a -STABLE branch.

I suppose though, it might be a good time to freebsd-update(8) those that are currently running 14.0-RELEASE.

Original Submission

posted by hubie on Wednesday June 05, @08:30PM   Printer-friendly
from the do-not-want dept.

Instagram is testing adverts that users cannot skip past:

The social media platform currently allows people to swipe or scroll past adverts that appear in its main feed of images and videos, as well as in its Stories and Reels feeds.

But it is now trialling a feature called "ad break", which users say they can not flick past as usual.

Images shared online show a timer, which counts down to zero before normal functionality can resume.

"Sometimes you may need to view an ad before you can keep browsing," the Meta-owned platform tells those who click for more information.

Instagram has confirmed to the BBC that a trial is under way.

"We're always testing formats that can drive value for advertisers," it said in a statement, adding that it would provide further updates if the test resulted in permanent format changes.

It remains to be seen if the trial pleases advertisers - but it certainly does not appear to have gone down well with users.

[...] Meta is not the first big tech firm to force people to watch adverts.

YouTube is known for showing non-skippable ads to users watching videos on its platform or TV app who do not pay for its ad-free premium tier.

[...] Some users have responded by turning to ad blocking tools and browser extensions as a way around adverts that interrupt videos on the platform.

Google, YouTube's parent company, is in turn trying to clamp down on ad blockers.

However it is not clear that forcing users to watch more ads actually helps companies' bottom lines.

A study carried out by TikTok, published in January, suggested forcing viewers to watch adverts might actually lead to less engagement.

More than 70% of its participants said they were more likely to engage with the experience of an advert if there was an option to skip it.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Wednesday June 05, @03:43PM   Printer-friendly
from the they-haven't-hear-my-singing dept.

Singing rehabilitates speech production in post-stroke aphasia:

Cerebrovascular accidents, or strokes, are the most common cause of aphasia, a speech disorder of cerebral origin. People with aphasia have a reduced ability to understand or produce speech or written language. An estimated 40% of people who have had a stroke have aphasia. As many as half of them experience aphasia symptoms even a year after the original attack.

Researchers at the University of Helsinki previously found that sung music helps in the language recovery of patients affected by strokes. Now, the researchers have uncovered the reason for the rehabilitative effect of singing. The recently completed study was published in the eNeuro journal.

According to the findings, singing, as it were, repairs the structural language network of the brain. The language network processes language and speech in our brain. In patients with aphasia, the network has been damaged.

"For the first time, our findings demonstrate that the rehabilitation of patients with aphasia through singing is based on neuroplasticity changes, that is, the plasticity of the brain," says University Researcher Aleksi Sihvonen from the University of Helsinki.

The language network encompasses the cortical regions of the brain involved in the processing of language and speech, as well as the white matter tracts that convey information between the different end points of the cortex.

According to the study results, singing increased the volume of grey matter in the language regions of the left frontal lobe and improved tract connectivity especially in the language network of the left hemisphere, but also in the right hemisphere.

"These positive changes were associated with patients' improved speech production," Sihvonen says.

Journal Reference:
Sihvonen A. J., Pitkäniemi A., Siponkoski S-T., et al. Structural neuroplasticity effects of singing in chronic aphasia. eNeuro, 2024. DOI: 10.1523/ENEURO.0408-23.2024

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Wednesday June 05, @11:00AM   Printer-friendly

Just when you thought you had a moment away from any more AI-focused hardware news, AMD is leaping into the “AI PC” arena with its latest mobile laptop chips. The new Ryzen AI 300 series boasts better performance than either Intel or Qualcomm, plus neural processing capabilities.

The chips industry has always been a game of one-upmanship. Now more than ever, chipmakers are trying more than ever to compare their CPUs and GPUs not just on power but on the future promise of ultimate PC performance thanks to the proliferation of AI. AMD doesn’t have to fight against its longtime rival Intel for the consumer-end PC market, but Qualcomm, mainly thanks to the ARM-based Snapdragon X Elite and X Plus in the latest Copilot+ PCs.

AMD is mainly focused on hyping up its two new chip series. One is the new version of its Ryzen CPUs with the Ryzen 9000 series, and the other is the Ryzen AI 300 series stuffed with a new NPU in the form of XDNA 2. On laptops, the two chips will be the Ryzen AI 9 365 and the beefier Ryzen AI 9 HX 370. It’s technically the company’s third-gen AI-centric CPU, but this latest series is differentiated by its massive upgrade in neural processing.

Microsoft says it needs NPUs with at least 40 TOPS to mark them for Copilot+ PCs. Like the recent Snapdragon chips, the HX 370 and the 365 have the same NPU running at 50 TOPS. It’s one of the bigger boasts of AI performance from this past year, but despite the company’s claim it’s there to run more complex AI models, we still have to see if there will be any software worth these new neural components.

The 370 comes with 12 cores, 24 threads, and a 5.1 GHz max boost speed, while the 365 sits at ten cores, 20 threads, and 5.0 GHz max speed. The chips also have the RDNA 3.5 built-in GPU for some mobile graphics work or gaming. During the Taiwan Computex conference, several big OEMs promoted their first PCs that will sport the AI 300 chips. This includes Acer with its Swift series of laptops that are slated for later this year. That company had previously revealed a Swift 14 with a Snapdragon X chip and logos that glow when you’re using the NPU. Asus is also coming out the gate with AMD-powered Zenbook S 16 as well as the ProArt P16 laptop and the ProArt PX13 2-in-1.

These new chips sport the new centralized architecture from AMD, namely Zen 5, on the CPU end. The chipmaker claimed Zen 5 is a big update compared to Zen 4, which is supposed to handle twice the bandwidth of the last generation. What does this mean for PCs? AMD promises you’ll see up to 19% better benchmark performance in Geekbench 6 or 13% better in 3DMark’s physics tests, but that will depend on your PC’s exact chip and other architecture.

Zen 5 is different from the XDNA 2 NPU architecture. You can break up the TOPS speed in the NPU into a whole bunch of other categories, but AMD claims XDNA 2 is two times as power efficient and many times the total neural computing capacity of the previous gen’s 10 or 16 TOPS.

For those who could not care less about the productivity machines centering on the AI 300 chips, all you want to know is how the Ryzen 9000 series stacks up compared to the last generation and Intel’s latest. That includes the Ryzen 5 9600X, Ryzen 7 9700X, Ryzen 9 9900X, and at the tippy top end is the Ryzen 9 9950X. Most boast slightly higher clock speeds, but several, like the 9900x and 9700X, are far more power efficient with better TDP.

To pick on the big boy, that 9950X has 16 cores, 32 threads, and up to 5.7 GHz clock speeds. That’s technically the same specs as the Ryzen 9 7950X3D from the last gen. AMD is trying to hit Intel’s Core i9-14900K by claiming you’ll see marginally better framerates in games like Cyberpunk 2077 or F1 2023 and far better bandwidth for multitasking thanks to the new Zen 5 architecture.

All those gaming-centric CPUs should be arriving in July this year. There’s good news for anybody with the motherboard supporting the AM5 socket. AMD promises to support AM5 through 2027, so if you’re considering upgrading, you’ll have a chance in the next few years. After over eight years of running, AMD plans to end support for AM4 sometime in or after 2025. Zen 5 will continue to be specific to AM5.

The chipmaker said pricing is not set for the series 9000 chips, but we should know more closer to release in July.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Wednesday June 05, @06:13AM   Printer-friendly

Arthur T Knackerbracket has processed the following story:

A team of researchers from prominent universities – including SUNY Buffalo, Iowa State, UNC Charlotte, and Purdue – were able to turn an autonomous vehicle (AV) operated on the open sourced Apollo driving platform from Chinese web giant Baidu into a deadly weapon by tricking its multi-sensor fusion system.

"Extensive experiments based on a real-world AV testbed show that the proposed attack can continuously hide a target vehicle from the perception system of a victim AV using only two small adversarial objects," explained the researchers, whose work was published last week in The 30th Annual International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking.

While others have proven vulnerabilities inherent in AV systems, this particular team expanded on single-sensing modality or camera-LiDAR manipulation, and tricked systems that employ Lidar, camera, and radar together.

The new attack leverages mmWave reflection – the signals that provide object detection in such systems – on a smooth metal surface. They do this in a way researchers refer to as "low cost" and "easily fabricated" as it involves strategically arranging metal foil and colored patches on cardboard.

"By placing a smooth metal surface between the radar and a target vehicle with a specific orientation, the transmitted mmWave signals can be deflected from the radar receiver, leading to a reduction in the energy of echo signals from the vehicle," wrote the study authors. "When the energy becomes lower than a threshold, the target vehicle will be hidden from radar perception."

Meanwhile, the color patch misrepresented input image pixel values and affected Apollo's camera perception. Reflections confused its read on Lidar lasers. Thus all three sensing modalities were compromised.

The [researchers] suggest that the attack could be carried out with drones, which serve to "hide" a secondary vehicle from the victim AV by projecting or carrying the adversarial object. Absent a drone, the trickster collage could be mounted on the front vehicle and disguised as an advertisement.

"Since the drones only hover for a few seconds during the attack and can fly away from the victim AV immediately after the attack, the attack can be performed with high stealthiness and flexibility," noted the researchers.

While Baidu Apollo platforms were used in the attack, the attack strategy could theoretically be applied to other multi-sensor fusion systems.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Wednesday June 05, @01:27AM   Printer-friendly
from the partly-sunshine-with-a-chance-of-hallucinations dept.

No physics? No problem. AI weather forecasting is already making huge strides.:

Much like the invigorating passage of a strong cold front, major changes are afoot in the weather forecasting community. And the end game is nothing short of revolutionary: an entirely new way to forecast weather based on artificial intelligence that can run on a desktop computer.

Today's artificial intelligence systems require one resource more than any other to operate—data. For example, large language models such as ChatGPT voraciously consume data to improve answers to queries. The more and higher quality data, the better their training, and the sharper the results.

However, there is a finite limit to quality data, even on the Internet. These large language models have hoovered up so much data that they're being sued widely for copyright infringement. And as they're running out of data, the operators of these AI models are turning to ideas such as synthetic data to keep feeding the beast and produce ever more capable results for users.

If data is king, what about other applications for AI technology similar to large language models? Are there untapped pools of data? One of the most promising that has emerged in the last 18 months is weather forecasting, and recent advances have sent shockwaves through the field of meteorology.

That's because there's a secret weapon: an extremely rich data set. The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, the premiere organization in the world for numerical weather prediction, maintains a set of data about atmospheric, land, and oceanic weather data for every day, at points around the world, every few hours, going back to 1940. The last 50 years of data, after the advent of global satellite coverage, is especially rich. This dataset is known as ERA5, and it is publicly available.

It was not created to fuel AI applications, but ERA5 has turned out to be incredibly useful for this purpose. Computer scientists only really got serious about using this data to train AI models to forecast the weather in 2022. Since then, the technology has made rapid strides. In some cases, the output of these models is already superior to global weather models that scientists have labored decades to design and build, and they require some of the most powerful supercomputers in the world to run.

"It is clear that machine learning is a significant part of the future of weather forecasting," said Matthew Chantry, who leads AI forecasting efforts at the European weather center known as ECMWF, in an interview with Ars.

John Dean and Kai Marshland met as undergraduates at Stanford University in the late 2010s. Dean, an electrical engineer, interned at SpaceX during the summer of 2017. Marshland, a computer scientist, interned at the launch company the next summer. Both graduated in 2019 and were trying to figure out what to do with their lives.

"We decided we wanted to solve the problem of weather uncertainty," Marshland said, so they co-founded a company called WindBorne Systems.

[...] Dean and Marshland set about designing small weather balloons they could release into the atmosphere and which would fly around the world for up to 40 days, relaying useful atmospheric data that could be packaged and sold to large, government-funded weather models.

Weather balloons provide invaluable data about atmospheric conditions—readings such as temperature, dewpoints, and pressures—that cannot be captured by surface observations or satellites. Such atmospheric "profiles" are helpful in setting the initial conditions models start with. Such atmospheric "profiles" are helpful in setting the initial conditions models start with. The problem is that traditional weather balloons are cumbersome and only operate for a few hours. Because of this, the National Weather Service only launches them twice daily from about 100 locations [] in the United States.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Tuesday June 04, @08:35PM   Printer-friendly
from the always-do-what-Bender-tells-you-to-do dept.

Strange Discovery Suggests Children Trust Robots Over Humans

From The Iron Giant to Big Hero 6, many of us will be familiar with tales of kids befriending robots, which suggest generations of young children are more trusting of advice from machines than their own flesh and blood.

An international research team has now found it's not just in fiction. In a study involving 111 kids aged between 3 and 6 years old, the youngsters showed a preference for believing robots more and being more accepting when robots made mistakes.

[....] The kids were split up into different groups and shown videos of robots and humans labeling objects – some objects the children would already recognize, as well as new objects they wouldn't know the names of.

Human and robot reliability was demonstrated by giving familiar objects incorrect name, calling a plate a spoon for example. In this way the researchers could manipulate the children's sense of who to trust.

Where both humans and robots were shown to be equally reliable, the youngsters were more likely to want to ask robots the names of new objects and accept their labels as accurate. What's more, the children were more likely to favor robots when asked about who they would share secrets with, who they would want to be friends with, and who they would want to have as teachers.

"Children's conceptualizations of the agents making a mistake also differed, such that an unreliable human was selected as doing things on purpose, but not an unreliable robot," write the researchers.

"These findings suggest that children's perceptions of a robot's reliability are separate from their evaluation of its desirability as a social interaction partner and its perceived agency."

[....] One area where this research might be useful is in education, especially in a world where kids are increasingly surrounded by technology.

When I was a kid, I remember the Lost In Space robot saying "Machines are trustworthy". A bit of googling shows that I correctly remembered this important lesson.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Tuesday June 04, @03:51PM   Printer-friendly

Arthur T Knackerbracket has processed the following story:

State media reported that an "autonomous visual obstacle avoidance system" assessed the "brightness and darkness of the lunar surface" and found a safe place for the probe to land.

The lander then "hovered about 100 meters above the safe landing area and used a laser 3D scanner to detect obstacles on the lunar surface to select the final landing site."

Chinese authorities have published the video below that shows Chang'e-6 touching down.

Youtube Video

The craft is the first to land in this region of the Moon, making its mission to retrieve samples of great interest and importance.

Original Submission

posted by hubie on Tuesday June 04, @11:05AM   Printer-friendly

Arthur T Knackerbracket has processed the following story:

A new study published in the Journal of Applied Ecology demonstrates how the diversity and abundance of arthropods decrease when hedgerows and field margins covered by wild grass and flowers are removed.

Researchers from the UK, Netherlands and China studied 20 rice fields in China for six years to see how the changing agricultural landscape affects the diversity and abundance of rice pests and their natural enemies, as well as the effect on rice yield.

Traditional Chinese smallholder fields are irregularly shaped and separated by areas of hedgerows, wild grass, and flowers. Using large-scale machinery in these farmlands is difficult, so there is low agricultural operation efficiency. As a result, a growing proportion of China's traditional farmlands is rapidly changing as farmers consolidate land to improve efficiency.

However, the grassy margins and flowering vegetation between the traditional smallholder rice fields provide a habitat for the natural enemies of rice pests such as spiders and ground beetles.

Dr. Yi Zou, from Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU) and corresponding author of the study, says, "Hedgerows and field margins are frequently removed during the land consolidation procedure to create larger, rectangular fields and install concrete irrigation channels to facilitate the use of larger machinery.

"Our study suggests that removing these habitats negatively affects arthropod communities."

[...] The research group also sprayed half of each field with insecticide. They found that its application decreased the diversity and abundance of pests and natural enemies in both consolidated and traditional fields. However, where crops were not sprayed with insecticide, there was a 10.8% decrease in rice yield.

The study provides support for agri-environmental measures (AEM)—environmentally friendly agricultural practices such as using flowering plants in field margins. AEM can be an effective way to increase farmland biodiversity and mitigate the negative impact of land consolidation. They have been widely implemented in Europe but are hardly used in China.

[...] Dr. Jenny Hodgson, a co-author from the University of Liverpool, says, "This study is noteworthy because of the quality of its data and the breadth of influential factors we were able to investigate. It has been really interesting to disentangle the effects of farmland consolidation, of pesticide application and of seminatural habitat beyond the farm."

The team also acknowledges that biodiversity is not a farmer's only concern.

Dr. Shanxing Gong, who graduated from XJTLU, now a postdoctoral researcher at Peking University and lead author of the study, says, "The trade-off between biodiversity improvements with labor efficiency, yield and pest control is a balance that has to be finely tuned to ensure maximum profitability, and these factors will always need to be considered.

"While we did not observe a direct correlation between the increase in the number of rice pests and the reduction of their natural enemies due to land consolidation, further investigation into the effectiveness of natural enemies in biological pest control is necessary before implementing AEM strategies."

The researchers also found no decrease in rice yield in traditional fields compared to consolidated farmland.

More information: S. Gong et al,. (2024). Land consolidation impacts the abundance and richness of natural enemies but not pests in small-holder rice systems, Journal of Applied Ecology, DOI: 10.1111/1365-2664.14671.

Original Submission

posted by hubie on Tuesday June 04, @06:22AM   Printer-friendly
from the Know-Your-Kafka dept.

Take Indonesia's President, Joko Widodo, for example. He sees the true plight of his people, and wants to do something about it.

The plight, in this case, is that Indonesia's Administration, in the name of public accessibility and user friendliness, has created an estimated 27,000 apps for hapless Indonesians to "navigate" their (supposedly public) services. One department -- probably the smallest -- has created 500 of the gleaming critters. It is only a guess how many of these are only (somewhat) accessible through smart phones, require a crap ton of captchas to solve, an electronic identity card, a special reader for that electronic identity card, a scan of your birth certificate, a digital signature on that scan, details of your last family status including the full and spelling correct names of all family members to the third degree separation, and the colour of your underwear, and all that just to enter and be notified that you need another application for what you want to do.

So, the Joko, [w]ants to reduce the thicket to something more manageable, say a few thousand.

"The presence of bureaucracy should serve, not complicate things and not slow them down ... There can be no more excuses for this and that because I feel that the data belongs to me, the data belongs to my ministry, the data belongs to my institution, the data belongs to my regional government – that's no longer allowed."

Oh, the naivete. Of course, of course, that statement was made on the occasion of the launch of a new platform,

... an integrated platform for government services expected to help contain the problematic platform proliferation when it commences in September.

Its ultimate goal is one observers of digital government services will find familiar: offering citizens a single login that accesses government services through a portal, while agencies all share access to a single set of personal data.


Original Submission

posted by hubie on Tuesday June 04, @01:36AM   Printer-friendly
from the Eggshell-breakage dept.

The Globe and Mail reports:

Ottawa wants the power to create secret backdoors in our networks to allow for surveillance

A federal cybersecurity bill, slated to advance through Parliament soon, contains secretive, encryption-breaking powers that the government has been loath to talk about. And they threaten the online security of everyone in Canada.

Bill C-26 empowers government officials to secretly order telecommunications companies to install backdoors inside encrypted elements in Canada's networks. This could include requiring telcos to alter the 5G encryption standards that protect mobile communications to facilitate government surveillance.

The Canadian government seems unaware that there is no such thing as a safe backdoor.

Original Submission

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