Review: Roku Streaming Stick (2016)

Wired News - Wed, 27/04/2016 - 10:07am
The new Roku Streaming Stick is basically a $100 Roku 3 box for $50. How can you lose? The post Review: Roku Streaming Stick (2016) appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

A Complete Guide To The New 'Crypto Wars'

Slashdot - Wed, 27/04/2016 - 10:01am
blottsie writes: The latest debate over encryption did not begin with a court order demanding Apple help the FBI unlock a dead terrorist's iPhone. The new "Crypto Wars," chronicled in a comprehensive timeline by Eric Geller of the Daily Dot, dates back to at least 2003, with the introduction of "Patriot Act II." The battle over privacy and personal security versus crime-fighting and national security has, however, become a mainstream debate in recent months. The timeline covers a wide-range of incidents where the U.S. and other allied governments have tried to restrict citizens' access to strong encryption. The timeline ends with the director of national intelligence blaming NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden for advancing the spread of user-friendly, widely available strong encryption.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

Inside OpenAI, Elon Musk’s Wild Plan to Set Artificial Intelligence Free

Wired News - Wed, 27/04/2016 - 10:00am
OpenAI wants to give away the 21st century's most transformative technology. In the process, it could remake the way people make tech. The post Inside OpenAI, Elon Musk's Wild Plan to Set Artificial Intelligence Free appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

Why Everybody and Your Mom Is Obsessed With Rose Gold

Wired News - Wed, 27/04/2016 - 10:00am
Pink is the new black. Which is a great thing for the tech industry. The post Why Everybody and Your Mom Is Obsessed With Rose Gold appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

Say Hello to Our Future Mega-Space Telescope - Wed, 27/04/2016 - 10:00am
The protective covers have been removed from the James Webb Space Telescope's mirrors at a NASA cleanroom, showing off the next-generation space telescope's golden beauty.
Categories: Science

A Majority Of Millennials Now Reject Capitalism, Poll Shows

Slashdot - Wed, 27/04/2016 - 7:01am
A new poll shows that a majority of young people do not support capitalism. The study was conducted by Harvard University, which polled young adults ages 18-29. It found that 51 percent of those polled rejected capitalism, that is to say, they did not support it. Only 42 percent said they support capitalism -- there was a margin of error of 2.4 percentage points. When asked what alternative system they would prefer, there wasn't a clear winner. Just 33 percent said they supported socialism. When talking about politics or economics, it can get complicated and the poll does little to shed light on what parts of capitalism young people dislike or what parts of socialism young people like. It does appear to suggest young people are frustrated with the status quo and are more focused on the flaws of free markets.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

China to Launch Mars Rover in 2020 - Wed, 27/04/2016 - 6:45am
China continues to ramp up its space plans, which include a Mars rover mission set to launch in 2020.
Categories: Science

SpaceX Plans Mars Missions As Soon As 2018 | Video - Wed, 27/04/2016 - 6:24am
The bold announcement from private spaceflight company occurred on April 27th, 2016 via their social feeds. They plan on launching 'Red Dragon' space capsules atop Falcon Heavy rockets, that are still under development.
Categories: Science

SpaceX Will Launch Private Mars Missions as Soon as 2018 - Wed, 27/04/2016 - 5:46am
SpaceX aims to launch a private mission to Mars as early as 2018 using its Dragon spacecraft. The announcement, unveiled Wednesday April 27, puts a target on the Red Planet.
Categories: Science

Public beta of toolkit for developing machine learning for robots and games released

Kurzweil AI - Wed, 27/04/2016 - 5:44am

Make a three-dimensional bipedal robot walk forward as fast as possible, without falling over (credit: OpenAI Gym)

OpenAI (a non-profit AI research company sponsored by Elon Musk and others) has released the public beta of OpenAI Gym, a toolkit for developing and comparing algorithms for reinforcement learning (RL), a type of machine learning.

OpenAI Gym consists of a growing suite of environments (from simulated robots to Atari games), and a site for comparing and reproducing results. OpenAI Gym is compatible with algorithms written in any framework, such as Tensorflow and Theano. The environments are initially written in Python (other languages planned).

If you’d like to dive in right away, you can work through a tutorial, and you help out while learning by reproducing a result.

What is reinforcement learning?

Reinforcement learning (RL) is the subfield of machine learning concerned with decision making and motor control. It studies how an agent can learn how to achieve goals in a complex, uncertain environment. It’s exciting for two reasons, according to OpenAI’s Greg Brockman and John Schulman:

  • RL is very general, encompassing all problems that involve making a sequence of decisions: for example, controlling a robot’s motors so that it’s able to run and jump, making business decisions like pricing and inventory management, or playing video games and board games. RL can even be applied to supervised learning problems with sequential or structured outputs.
  • RL algorithms have started to achieve good results in many difficult environments. RL has a long history, but until recent advances in deep learning, it required lots of problem-specific engineering. DeepMind’s Atari resultsBRETT from Pieter Abbeel’s group, and AlphaGo all used deep RL algorithms, which did not make too many assumptions about their environment, and thus can be applied in other settings.

However, RL research is also slowed down by two factors:

  • The need for better benchmarks. In supervised (human-managed) learning, progress has been driven by large labeled datasets like ImageNet. In RL, the closest equivalent would be a large and diverse collection of environments. However, the existing open-source collections of RL environments don’t have enough variety, and they are often difficult to even set up and use.
  • Lack of standardization of environments used in publications. Subtle differences in the problem definition, such as the reward function or the set of actions, can drastically alter a task’s difficulty. This issue makes it difficult to reproduce published research and compare results from different papers.

OpenAI Gym is an attempt to fix both problems.

Partners include:

More information, including enviroments (Atari games, 2D and 3D robots, and toy text, for example) is available here.

“During the public beta, we’re looking for feedback on how to make this into an even better tool for research,” says the OpenAI team. “If you’d like to help, you can try your hand at improving the state-of-the-art on each environment, reproducing other people’s results, or even implementing your own environments. Also please join us in the community chat!

John Schulman | hopper

Categories: Science

Dyson’s First-Ever Hair Dryer Will Make All Others Look Weak

Wired News - Wed, 27/04/2016 - 4:30am
After years of building vacuums, hand dryers, fans, and air purifiers, the company has decided to make a hair dryer. The Supersonic is here, and it costs $400. The post Dyson's First-Ever Hair Dryer Will Make All Others Look Weak appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

The Best Book for Nerds Who Cook Just Won a Culinary Oscar

Wired News - Wed, 27/04/2016 - 3:24am
The book, from the managing culinary director of food site Serious Eats, took home the James Beard Award for general cooking. The post The Best Book for Nerds Who Cook Just Won a Culinary Oscar appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

Millions Of Waze Users Can Have Their Movements Tracked By Hackers

Slashdot - Wed, 27/04/2016 - 3:14am
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Fusion: Researchers at the University of California-Santa Barbara recently discovered a Waze vulnerability that allowed them to create thousands of "ghost drivers" that can monitor the drivers around them -- an exploit that could be used to track Waze users in real-time. Here's how the exploit works. Waze's servers communicate with phones using an SSL encrypted connection, a security precaution meant to ensure that Waze's computers are really talking to a Waze app on someone's smartphone. Zhao and his graduate students discovered they could intercept that communication by getting the phone to accept their own computer as a go-between in the connection. Once in between the phone and the Waze servers, they could reverse-engineer the Waze protocol, learning the language that the Waze app uses to talk to Waze's back-end app servers. With that knowledge in hand, the team was able to write a program that issued commands directly to Waze servers, allowing the researchers to populate the Waze system with thousands of "ghost cars" -- cars that could cause a fake traffic jam or, because Waze is a social app where drivers broadcast their locations, monitor all the drivers around them. You can read the full paper detailing the researchers' findings here. Is there a solution to not being tracked? Yes. If you're a Waze user, you can set the app to invisible mode. However, Waze turns off invisible mode every time you restart the app so beware.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

Artificial protein controls first self-assembly of C60 fullerenes

Kurzweil AI - Wed, 27/04/2016 - 2:56am

Buckminsterfullerene (C60), aka fullerene and buckyball (credit: St Stev via / CC BY-NC-ND)

A Dartmouth College scientist and his collaborators* have created the first high-resolution co-assembly between a protein and buckminsterfullerene (C60), aka fullerene and buckyball (a sphere-like molecule composed of 60 carbon atoms and shaped like a soccer ball).

“This is a proof-of-principle study demonstrating that proteins can be used as effective vehicles for organizing nanomaterials by design,” says senior author Gevorg Grigoryan, an assistant professor of computer science at Dartmouth and senior author of a study discussed in an open-access paper in the journal in Nature Communications.

Proteins organize and orchestrate essentially all molecular processes in our cells. The goal of the new study was to create a new artificial protein that can direct the self-assembly of fullerene into ordered superstructures.

COP, a stable tetramer (a polymer derived from four identical single molecule) in isolation, interacts with C60 (fullerene) molecules via a surface-binding site and further self-assembles into a co-crystalline array called C60Sol–COP (credit: Kook-Han Kim et al./Nature Communications)

Grigoryan and his colleagues show that that their artificial protein organizes a fullerene into a lattice called C60Sol–COP. COP, a protein that is a stable tetramer (a polymer derived from four identical single molecules), interacted with fullerene molecules via a surface-binding site and further self-assembled into an ordered crystalline superstructure. Interestingly, the superstructure exhibits high charge conductance, whereas both the protein-alone crystal and amorphous C60 are electrically insulating.

Grigoryan says that if we learn to do the programmable self-assembly of precisely organized molecular building blocks more generally, it will lead to a range of new materials with properties such as higher strength, lighter weight, and greater chemical reactivity, resulting in a host of applications, from medicine to energy and electronics.

Fullerenes are currently used in nanotechnology because of their high heat resistance and electrical superconductivity (when doped), but the molecule has been difficult to organize in useful ways.

* The study also included researchers from Dartmouth College, Sungkyunkwan University, the New Jersey Institute of Technology, the National Institute of Science Education and Research, the University of California-San Francisco, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Institute for Basic Science.

Abstract of Protein-directed self-assembly of a fullerene crystal

Learning to engineer self-assembly would enable the precise organization of molecules by design to create matter with tailored properties. Here we demonstrate that proteins can direct the self-assembly of buckminsterfullerene (C60) into ordered superstructures. A previously engineered tetrameric helical bundle binds C60 in solution, rendering it water soluble. Two tetramers associate with one C60, promoting further organization revealed in a 1.67-Å crystal structure. Fullerene groups occupy periodic lattice sites, sandwiched between two Tyr residues from adjacent tetramers. Strikingly, the assembly exhibits high charge conductance, whereas both the protein-alone crystal and amorphous C60 are electrically insulating. The affinity of C60 for its crystal-binding site is estimated to be in the nanomolar range, with lattices of known protein crystals geometrically compatible with incorporating the motif. Taken together, these findings suggest a new means of organizing fullerene molecules into a rich variety of lattices to generate new properties by design.

Categories: Science

Zika present in Americas longer than previously thought

Science Daily - Wed, 27/04/2016 - 1:54am
The Zika virus was present in Haiti several months before the first Zika cases were identified in Brazil, according to new research by infectious-disease specialists.
Categories: Science

Breakthrough in vaccine development

Science Daily - Wed, 27/04/2016 - 1:54am
A simple technique that makes it possible to quickly and easily develop a new type of vaccines has been developed by researchers. The simple and effective technique will pave the way for effective vaccines against not only infectious diseases but also cancer and other chronic diseases.
Categories: Science

Yoga may have health benefits for people with asthma

Science Daily - Wed, 27/04/2016 - 1:54am
A new review suggests that yoga may have a beneficial effect on symptoms and quality of life in people with asthma, but effects on lung function and medication use are uncertain.
Categories: Science

We share molecular armor with coral reefs

Science Daily - Wed, 27/04/2016 - 1:54am
A new study has found that one particular molecule found in reef ecosystems plays a similar immunological role in corals as it does in humans. From an evolutionary standpoint, this suggests the molecule's immune function dates back at least 550 million years.
Categories: Science

Young gay, bisexual men six times more likely to attempt suicide than older counterparts

Science Daily - Wed, 27/04/2016 - 1:54am
Young gay and bisexual men are at significantly greater risk of poor mental health than older men in that group, according to new research. The study is the first to examine the mental health differences within gay and bisexual men in the UK.
Categories: Science

Remaining in the EU is vital to maintaining the UK's global strength in cancer research and care, say leading oncologists

Science Daily - Wed, 27/04/2016 - 1:54am
Leading oncologists from the UK and EU express their support for the UK remaining in Europe. In doing so, they join many other scientists and clinicians who have publically declared their support for remaining in the EU when Britain votes in the referendum on June 23, 2016.
Categories: Science