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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 janrinok on Saturday June 08, @09:55PM   Printer-friendly
from the I-wonder-what-Betteridge-would-say dept.

Arthur T Knackerbracket has processed the following story:

[Editor's Note: RAG: retrieval-augmented generation]

We’ve been living through the generative AI boom for nearly a year and a half now, following the late 2022 release of OpenAI’s ChatGPT. But despite transformative effects on companies’ share prices, generative AI tools powered by large language models (LLMs) still have major drawbacks that have kept them from being as useful as many would like them to be. Retrieval augmented generation, or RAG, aims to fix some of those drawbacks.

Perhaps the most prominent drawback of LLMs is their tendency toward confabulation (also called “hallucination”), which is a statistical gap-filling phenomenon AI language models produce when they are tasked with reproducing knowledge that wasn’t present in the training data. They generate plausible-sounding text that can veer toward accuracy when the training data is solid but otherwise may just be completely made up.

Relying on confabulating AI models gets people and companies in trouble, as we’ve covered in the past. In 2023, we saw two instances of lawyers citing legal cases, confabulated by AI, that didn’t exist. We’ve covered claims against OpenAI in which ChatGPT confabulated and accused innocent people of doing terrible things. In February, we wrote about Air Canada’s customer service chatbot inventing a refund policy, and in March, a New York City chatbot was caught confabulating city regulations.

[...] “RAG is a way of improving LLM performance, in essence by blending the LLM process with a web search or other document look-up process” to help LLMs stick to the facts, according to Noah Giansiracusa, associate professor of mathematics at Bentley University.

[...] Although RAG is now seen as a technique to help fix issues with generative AI, it actually predates ChatGPT. Researchers coined the term in a 2020 academic paper by researchers at Facebook AI Research (FAIR, now Meta AI Research), University College London, and New York University.

As we've mentioned, LLMs struggle with facts. Google’s entry into the generative AI race, Bard, made an embarrassing error on its first public demonstration back in February 2023 about the James Webb Space Telescope. The error wiped around $100 billion off the value of parent company Alphabet. LLMs produce the most statistically likely response based on their training data and don’t understand anything they output, meaning they can present false information that seems accurate if you don't have expert knowledge on a subject.

LLMs also lack up-to-date knowledge and the ability to identify gaps in their knowledge. “When a human tries to answer a question, they can rely on their memory and come up with a response on the fly, or they could do something like Google it or peruse Wikipedia and then try to piece an answer together from what they find there—still filtering that info through their internal knowledge of the matter,” said Giansiracusa.

But LLMs aren’t humans, of course. Their training data can age quickly, particularly in more time-sensitive queries. In addition, the LLM often can’t distinguish specific sources of its knowledge, as all its training data is blended together into a kind of soup.

In theory, RAG should make keeping AI models up to date far cheaper and easier. “The beauty of RAG is that when new information becomes available, rather than having to retrain the model, all that’s needed is to augment the model’s external knowledge base with the updated information,” said Peterson. “This reduces LLM development time and cost while enhancing the model’s scalability.”

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Saturday June 08, @05:08PM   Printer-friendly
from the party-time dept.

What's next for MDMA:

MDMA, sometimes called Molly or ecstasy, has been banned in the United States for more than three decades. Now this potent mind-altering drug is poised to become a badly needed therapy for PTSD.

On June 4, the Food and Drug Administration's advisory committee will meet to discuss the risks and benefits of MDMA therapy. If the committee votes in favor of the drug, it could be approved to treat PTSD this summer. The approval would represent a momentous achievement for proponents of mind-altering drugs, who have been working toward this goal for decades. And it could help pave the way for FDA approval of other illicit drugs like psilocybin. But the details surrounding how these compounds will make the transition from illicit substances to legitimate therapies are still foggy.

[...] However, for drugs that carry a risk of serious side effects, the FDA can add a risk evaluation and mitigation strategy to its approval. For MDMA that might include mandating that the health-care professionals who administer the medication have certain certifications or specialized training, or requiring that the drug be dispensed only in licensed facilities.

For example, Spravato, a nasal spray approved in 2019 for depression that works much like ketamine, is available only at a limited number of health-care facilities and must be taken under the observation of a health-care provider. Having safeguards in place for MDMA makes sense, at least at the outset, says Matt Lamkin, an associate professor at the University of Tulsa College of Law who has been following the field closely.: "Given the history, I think it would only take a couple of high-profile bad incidents to potentially set things back."

What mind-altering drug is next in line for FDA approval?

Psilocybin, a.k.a. the active ingredient in magic mushrooms. This summer Compass Pathways will release the first results from one of its phase 3 trials of psilocybin to treat depression. Results from the other trial will come in the middle of 2025, which—if all goes well—puts the company on track to file for approval in the fall or winter of next year. With the FDA review and the DEA rescheduling, "it's still kind of two to three years out," Nath says.

Some states are moving ahead without formal approval. Oregon voters made psilocybin legal in 2020, and the drug is now accessible there at about 20 licensed centers for supervised use. "It's an adult use program that has a therapeutic element," says Ismail Ali, director of policy and advocacy at the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS).

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Saturday June 08, @12:24PM   Printer-friendly

Risky Biz News: The Linux CNA mess you didn't know about:

The Linux Kernel project was made an official CVE Numbering Authority (CNA) with exclusive rights to issue CVE identifiers for the Linux kernal in February this year.

While initially this looked like good news, almost three months later, this has turned into a complete and utter disaster.

Over the past months, the Linux Kernel team has issued thousands of CVE identifiers, with the vast majority being for trivial bug fixes and not just security flaws.

Just in May alone, the Linux team issued over 1,100 CVEs, according to Cisco's Jerry Gamblin—a number that easily beat out professional bug bounty programs/platforms run by the likes of Trend Micro ZDI, Wordfence, and Patchstack.

Ironically, this was a disaster waiting to happen, with the Linux Kernel team laying out some weird rules for issuing CVEs right after the moment it received its CNA status.

We say weird because they are quite unique among all CNAs. The Linux kernel team argues that because of the deep layer where the kernel runs, bugs are hard to understand, and there is always a possibility of them becoming a security issue later down the line. Direct quote below:

"Note, due to the layer at which the Linux kernel is in a system, almost any bug might be exploitable to compromise the security of the kernel, but the possibility of exploitation is often not evident when the bug is fixed. Because of this, the CVE assignment team is overly cautious and assign CVE numbers to any bugfix that they identify. This explains the seemingly large number of CVEs that are issued by the Linux kernel team."

[...] Instead, the Linux Kernel team appears to have adopted a simpler approach where it puts a CVE on everything and lets the software and infosec community at large confirm that an issue is an authentic security flaw. If it's not, it's on the security and vulnerability management firms to file CVE revocation requests with the precise Linux Kernel team that runs the affected component.

The new Linux CNA rules also prohibit the issuance of CVEs for bugs in EOL Linux kernels, which is also another weird take on security. Just because you don't maintain the code anymore, that doesn't mean attackers won't exploit it and that people wouldn't want to track it.

The Linux team will also refuse to assign CVEs until a patch has been deployed, meaning there will be no CVEs for zero-days or vulnerabilities that may require a longer reporting and patching timeline.

[...] And if this isn't bad enough, the Linux kernel team appears to be backfiling CVEs for fixes to last year's code, generating even more noise for people who use CVEs for legitimate purposes.

[...] Unfortunately, all of this CVE spam also could have not happened at a worse time. Just as the Linux Kernel team was getting its CNA status, NIST was slowing down its management of the NVD database—where all CVEs are compiled and enriched.

NIST cited a staff shortage and a sudden rise in the number of reported vulnerabilities—mainly from the IoT space. Having one of every fifth CVE being a Linux non-security bug isn't helping NIST at all right now.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Saturday June 08, @10:00AM   Printer-friendly

William Anders, the former Apollo 8 astronaut who took the iconic "Earthrise" photo showing the planet as a shadowed blue marble from space in 1968, was killed Friday when the plane he was piloting alone plummeted into the waters off the San Juan Islands in Washington state. He was 90.

It has been reported from multiple sources.

posted by janrinok on Saturday June 08, @07:41AM   Printer-friendly

In a burnished-oak corridor outside the committee room at IBM's headquarters in August 1980, two engineers pace nervously. Eventually, a door opens. Their boss, Bill Lowe, emerges from the board room next door. Before they can say anything, he smiles and nods. They laugh. They can't quite believe it. It's official. IBM is going to try and build a home computer.

Bill Lowe kicked off this ambitious project, but he wouldn't be the person who would finish it. That role would fall to his successor, a humble, cowboy boot-wearing mid-level executive, out of favor and kicking his heels in the IBM corporate backwater of Boca Raton, Florida. He would take Lowe's project forward, one nobody else in the company wanted. Just 12 months later, on August 15, 1981, a computer would launch that would change the world: the IBM PC.

This is the story of Don Estridge, the man who brought the IBM PC to market and changed business and home computing forever. In just five years he created an IBM division that almost nobody else in the company wanted to exist. By 1983, it had seized 70 percent of the microcomputer market and was valued at over $4 billion ($12 billion today). Under Estridge, IBM's PC division sold over 1 million machines a year, making it the third largest computer manufacturer in the world on its own. This story is based on contemporary accounts in publications such as InfoWorld, PC magazine, Time, and the New York Times, as well as books such as Blue Magic by James Chposky and Ted Leonsis; Big Blues by Paul Carroll; and Fire in the Valley by Michael Swaine and Paul Frieberger.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Saturday June 08, @02:47AM   Printer-friendly
from the my-dog-has-no-nose.... dept.

Dogs trained to detect scent may be able to identify significantly lower concentrations of odour molecules than has previously been documented:

A study carried out by the University of Helsinki's DogRisk research group, the University of Eastern Finland and Wise Nose – Scent Discrimination Association in Finland investigated the threshold for scent detection in dogs.

The study revealed that dogs can learn to identify concentrations of eucalyptus hydrolate that are clearly below the detection threshold of sophisticated analytical instruments used today. The concentrations were also far below previously reported levels. Dogs' extraordinary sense of smell can be exploited, for example, in search and rescue operations and in medical detection.

The 15 dogs that participated in the study had different training backgrounds. Some dogs had experience of nose work, which is a hobby and competitive dog sport, while some had been trained to identify diseases, mould or pests.

In the study, the dogs were to differentiate samples containing low concentrations of eucalyptus hydrolate from samples containing only water. The focus was on determining the lowest concentration that the dogs could detect for certain. The study included three different tests where the concentrations of the hydrolate were diluted gradually until the dogs could no longer identify the scent. This determined the threshold for their scent detection ability.

"The dogs' scent detection threshold initially varied from 1:10⁴–1:10²³ but narrowed down to 1:10¹⁷–1:10²¹ after a training period. In other words, the dogs needed 1 to 10 molecules per millilitre of water to detect the right sample. For perspective, a single yeast cell contains 42 million molecules," describes the principal investigator of the study, Anna Hielm-Björkman from the University of Helsinki.

Journal Reference: Turunen, S.; Paavilainen, S.; Vepsäläinen, J.; Hielm-Björkman, A. Scent Detection Threshold of Trained Dogs to Eucalyptus Hydrolat. Animals 2024, 14, 1083.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Friday June 07, @09:58PM   Printer-friendly
from the but-not-in-a-good-way dept.

Video report in NYTimes, taken as text reporting by various outlets. E.g. The Telegraph

Introduction of high-speed Starlink turns some Brazilian tribesmen into 'lazy addicts' glued to their phones

The indigenous Marubo people, who for hundreds of years have existed in small huts along the Itui River in the Amazon, were connected to the billionaire's satellite network in September.

The community embraced the technology, marvelling at the life-saving ability to call for immediate help when grappling with venomous snake bites as well as being able to remain in contact with faraway relatives.

But, since a group of men arrived at the camp with antennas strapped to their backs to connect the remote tribe of 2,000 people to the internet, there have been some less desirable consequences.

Critics warn tribe members have become "lazy", reclining in hammocks all day glued to their phones to gossip on WhatsApp or chat to strangers on Instagram.

And there have already been reports of young men engaging in aggressive sexual behaviour after being exposed to pornography, Alfredo Marubo, leader of a Marubo association of villages, told The New York Times.

Young men brought up in a culture where kissing in public is seen as scandalous have been sharing explicit videos with one another in group chats, he said, adding: "We're worried young people are going to want to try it."
Kâipa Marubo, a father of three, said he was concerned about his children playing first-person shooter video games, fearing they might want to mimic the attacks.

Another leader, Enoque Marubo, 40, said the tribe has started limiting the hours members could access the internet because its introduction had "changed the routine so much that it was detrimental".

Members can browse the internet for two hours in the morning and five hours in the afternoon and all day on Sundays.

"In the village, if you don't hunt, fish and plant, you don't eat," Enoque said.

Enoque worked with Brazilian activist Flora Dutra to bring the internet to the tribe.

They contacted American philanthropist Allyson Reneau, who reportedly donated 20 Starlink units to the Marubo tribe.

See also :

Remote Amazon Tribe Finally Gets Internet, Gets Hooked on Porn and Social Media:

I wonder what ads they'll be shown based on their geolocation? Given how fast they learn, it shouldn't take long to figure out that content creation could be more lucrative than just consumption. Does Amazon deliver WebCams and lights in the Amazon forest, tho'?

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Friday June 07, @03:14PM   Printer-friendly

The U.S. Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission have reached a deal that clears the way for potential antitrust investigations into the dominant roles that Microsoft (MSFT.O), OpenAI and Nvidia (NVDA.O) , play in the artificial intelligence industry, according to a source familiar with the matter.

The agreement between the two agencies shows regulatory scrutiny is gathering steam amid concerns over concentration in the industries that make up AI. Microsoft and Nvidia not only dominate their industries but are also the world's two biggest companies by market capitalization.

The move to divvy up the industry mirrors a similar agreement between the two agencies in 2019 to divide enforcement against Big Tech, which ultimately saw the FTC bring cases against Meta (META.O) and Amazon (AMZN.O), and the DOJ sue Apple (AAPL.O) and Google (GOOGL.O) for alleged violations. Those cases are ongoing and the companies have denied wrongdoing.

While OpenAI's parent is a nonprofit, Microsoft has invested $13 billion in a for-profit subsidiary, for what would be a 49% stake.

The Justice Department will take the lead in investigating whether Nvidia violated antitrust laws, while the FTC will examine the conduct of OpenAI and Microsoft.

The regulators struck the deal over the past week, and it is expected to be completed in the coming days, the person said.

Nvidia has roughly 80% of the AI chip market, including the custom AI processors made by the cloud computing companies like Google, Microsoft and That domination helps the company report gross margins between 70% and 80%.

Original Submission

posted by hubie on Friday June 07, @10:35AM   Printer-friendly
from the no-surprise-here-dept dept.

Most downloaded local news app adds disclaimer that it's not always "error-free":

After the most downloaded local news app in the US, NewsBreak, shared an AI-generated story about a fake New Jersey shooting last Christmas Eve, New Jersey police had to post a statement online to reassure troubled citizens that the story was "entirely false," Reuters reported.

"Nothing even similar to this story occurred on or around Christmas, or even in recent memory for the area they described," the cops' Facebook post said. "It seems this 'news' outlet's AI writes fiction they have no problem publishing to readers."

It took NewsBreak—which attracts over 50 million monthly users—four days to remove the fake shooting story, and it apparently wasn't an isolated incident. According to Reuters, NewsBreak's AI tool, which scrapes the web and helps rewrite local news stories, has been used to publish at least 40 misleading or erroneous stories since 2021.

These misleading AI news stories have caused real harm in communities, seven former NewsBreak employees, speaking anonymously due to confidentiality agreements, told Reuters.

Sometimes, the AI gets the little details wrong. One Colorado food bank, Food to Power, had to turn people away after the app posted inaccurate food distribution times.

Other times, the AI wholly fabricates events. A Pennsylvania charity, Harvest912, told Reuters that it had to turn homeless people away when NewsBreak falsely advertised a 24-hour foot-care clinic.

"You are doing HARM by publishing this misinformation—homeless people will walk to these venues to attend a clinic that is not happening," Harvest912 pleaded in an email requesting that NewsBreak take down the story.

NewsBreak told Reuters that all the erroneous articles affecting those two charities were removed but also blamed the charities for supposedly posting inaccurate information on their websites.

"When NewsBreak identifies any inaccurate content or any violation of our community standards, we take prompt action to remove that content," the company told Reuters.

Dodging accountability is not necessarily a good look, but it's seemingly become a preferred tactic for defenders of AI tools. In defamation suits, OpenAI has repeatedly insisted that users are responsible for publishing harmful ChatGPT outputs, not the company, as one prominent example. According to Reuters, NewsBreak declined to explain why the app "added a disclaimer to its homepage in early March, warning that its content 'may not always be error-free.'"

Reuters found that not only were NewsBreak's articles "not always" error-free, but sometimes the app published local news stories "under fictitious bylines." An Ars review suggests that it's likely that the app is also scraping news stories, perhaps written by AI, that also seem to use fictitious bylines.

Original Submission

posted by hubie on Friday June 07, @05:47AM   Printer-friendly

Arthur T Knackerbracket has processed the following story:

A multi-institutional team of plant specialists, microbiologists and paleontologists in the Czech Republic and the University of Minnesota, in the U.S., has found evidence of a hot spring oasis during the last ice age in a part of central Europe.

In their study, reported in the journal Science Advances, the group found and analyzed bits of leaves, wood and pollen in the area around a modern freshwater spring.

Environmental scientists have long suggested that temporary hot springs in parts of Europe may have helped trees and other types of plants survive during the last ice age, but there has been little evidence to prove the case.

In this new effort, the research team ventured to freshwater springs in the Vienna Basin looking for evidence of ancient plant life. They suspected an oasis could have existed in the area during the last ice age, as the weight of glaciers sliding down the nearby Alps set off tectonic activity, releasing geothermally heated water from deep within the Earth's crust.

The release of warm water, the researchers reasoned, would have formed an oasis, keeping the ground around the hot springs warm enough for trees and other plants to survive even though they would have been surrounded by ice.

During their search, the research team found bits of wood, pollen and fossilized bits of leaves from trees that should not have been able to survive in the area during the last ice—yet, they were dated to between 19,000 and 26,000 years ago, a span of time that correlated to the last ice age.

[...] The findings strongly support the presence of an oasis during the last ice age—one that helped some types of trees survive despite the cold.

More information: Jan Hošek et al, Hot spring oases in the periglacial desert as the Last Glacial Maximum refugia for temperate trees in Central Europe, Science Advances (2024). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.ado6611

Original Submission

posted by hubie on Friday June 07, @01:04AM   Printer-friendly
from the programming-ain't-for-man-children dept.

Shuffling a set means randomly choosing an ordered sequence of its elements.

For example, shuffling {A,B,C} means choosing with equal probability one of 3! = 3 × 2 × 1 = 6 permutations: ABC, ACB, BAC, BCA, CAB, or CBA.

Easy-peasy, no?

Which programming problems did you encounter which looked easy, but were really a front for a Gordian Knot of subtle details -- and their consequences?

Original Submission

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

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