SETI Seeks Ideas to Hunt Strange Alien Lifeforms - Thu, 14/07/2016 - 8:08am
Alien life may not live by our rules, it's time we appreciate that as we look to the stars for signs of alien biology.
Categories: Science

'Scotty Meets Jaylah' In 'Star Trek: Beyond' Clip | Video - Thu, 14/07/2016 - 7:32am
Jaylah (Sofia Boutella) and Montgomery 'Scotty' Scott (Simon Pegg) meet for the first time after Scotty's 'ship' is destroyed. The movie premieres on July 22, 2016.
Categories: Science

Pluto Landing Dreams - New Horizons' Team Releases New Zoom-In Video - Thu, 14/07/2016 - 7:13am
On July 14, 2015, NASA's New Horizons probe flew by Pluto to give us a historic close-up look at the dwarf planet. Now, the NASA team is 'imagining a landing' on Pluto's icy plains with the help of this 'fly-in' video that takes you very close to the
Categories: Science

Pluto Flyby Turns One! New Horizons Mission Celebrates Anniversary - Thu, 14/07/2016 - 7:00am
Astronomers hadn't been able to get a good look at Pluto since its discovery in 1930; even NASA's superpowerful Hubble Space Telescope could only resolve the distant dwarf planet into a blur of pixels. But that all changed on July 14, 2015.
Categories: Science

Windows Malware Poses As Ransomware, Just Deletes Victims' Files

Slashdot - Thu, 14/07/2016 - 7:00am
An anonymous reader writes: Ranscam, a ransom malware reported by Cisco's Talos Security Intelligence group, claims to have encrypted victims' files and hold them for ransom, but in actuality it has already deleted those files and is simply trying to trick its victims into paying to recover files that are no longer there anymore. SlashGear reports: "Most ransomware follow a similar tactic once they get control of a computer or mobile device. They encrypt certain files, personal documents are a favorite, and then display a message instructing the user to pay, usually with bitcoins, to receive the decryption key to save their files. Ranscam, however, is completely without honor, as much honor as you can find among thieves and scam artists. It claims to have encrypted the users' files and then makes the usual demand. However, it adds an additional threat. For each time the user clicks on the 'payment sent' button but no payment was received, it threatens it will delete a file. That, however, is a total farce. In truth, files have already been deleted, so whether the victim pays or not is moot. The perpetrators don't have any way to recover those deleted files anyway. Also, the threats it flashes users are simply static images fetched from a remote server. Users might just as well be clicking on a two-slide presentation. The good news is that reported Ranscam infections are small, according to Cisco's Talos Security Intelligence group."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

A biocompatible, transparent therapeutic window to the brain

Kurzweil AI - Thu, 14/07/2016 - 6:58am

An illustration showing how the “window to the brain” transparent skull implant created by UC Riverside researchers would work (credit: UC Riverside)

Researchers at the University of California, Riverside have developed a transparent “window to the brain” — a skull implant that is biocompatible, infection-resistant, and does not need to be repetitively replaced.

Part of the ongoing “Window to the Brain” project, a multi-institution, cross-disciplinary effort, the idea is to use transparent skull implants to provide laser diagnosis and treatment of a wide variety of brain pathologies, including brain cancers, traumatic brain injury, stroke, and neurodegenerative diseases, without requiring repeated craniotomies (a surgical operation in which a bone flap is temporarily removed from the skull to access the brain). Such operations are vulnerable to bacterial infections.

A biocompatible transparent material

The researchers have developed a transparent version of the material yttria-stabilized zirconia (YSZ), a ceramic material used in hip implants and dental crowns.

The researchers implanted the material in a hamster, where it integrated into the host tissue without causing an immune response or other adverse effects, as they describe in a paper in the journal Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology and Medicine. The internal toughness of YSZ, which is more impact-resistant and biocompatible than the titanium, thermoplastic polymers, and glass-based materials developed by other researchers, makes it “the only transparent skull implant that could conceivably be used in humans,” according to the researchers.

Treating bacterial infections

Schematic diagram showing treatment of biofilm formation with near-infrared laser light via a transparent YSZ material, monitored by a thermal IR camera (credit: Yasaman Damestani et al./Lasers in Surgery and Medicine)

The scientists also developed a way to use the same laser light used in brain treatments to treat incidental bacterial infections. In a lab study, described in a paper in the journal Lasers in Surgery and Medicine, the researchers treated E. Coli infections by aiming laser light through the transparent implant, without having to remove the implant and without causing an immune response or other adverse effects to surrounding tissue.

“This was an important finding because it showed that the combination of our transparent implant and laser-based therapies enables us to treat not only brain disorders, but also to tackle bacterial infections that are common after cranial implants. These infections are especially challenging to treat because many antibiotics do not penetrate the blood brain barrier,” said Devin Binder, M.D., a neurosurgeon and neuroscientist in UCR’s School of Medicine and a collaborator on the project.

The Window to the Brain project is a multi-institution, interdisciplinary partnership led by Guillermo Aguilar, professor of mechanical engineering in UCR’s Bourns College of Engineering, and Santiago Camacho-López, from the Centro de Investigación Científica y de Educación Superior de Ensenada (CICESE) in Mexico.

Last October, the team received $3.6 million from the National Science Foundation’s Partnerships in International Research and Education (PIRE) program, which pairs U.S. universities with others around the world. An additional $1 million was from Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT), Mexico’s entity in charge of promoting scientific and technological activities. The remainder of the money came from in-kind contributions from the Mexican universities.

The team’s long-term goal is to see the technology become the standard of care for patients with brain disorders.

Abstract of Inflammatory response to implantation of transparent nanocrystalline yttria-stabilized zirconia using a dorsal window chamber model

The long-range goal of the windows to the brain (WttB) is to improve patient care by providing a technique for delivery and/or collection of light into/from the brain, on demand, over large areas, and on a chronically-recurring basis without the need for repeated craniotomies. To evaluate the potential of nanocrystalline yttria-stabilized-zirconia (nc-YSZ) cranial implant for optical therapy and imaging, in vivo biocompatibility was studied using the dorsal window chamber model in comparison with control (no implant) and commercially available cranial implant materials (PEEK and PEKK). The host tissue response to implant was characterized by using transillumination and fluorescent microscopy to measure leukocyte adhesion, blood vessel diameter, blood flow rate, and vascular permeability over two weeks. The results indicated the lack of inflammatory reaction of the host tissue to nc-YSZ at the microscopic level, suggesting that nc-YSZ is a good alternative material for cranial implants.

Abstract of Evaluation of laser bacterial anti-fouling of transparent nanocrystalline yttria-stabilized-zirconia cranial implant

Background and Objective: The development and feasibility of a novel nanocrystalline yttria-stabilized-zirconia (nc-YSZ) cranial implant has been recently established. The purpose of what we now call “window to the brain (WttB)” implant (or platform), is to improve patient care by providing a technique for delivery and/or collection of light into/from the brain, on demand, over large areas, and on a chronically recurring basis without the need for repeated craniotomies. WttB holds the transformative potential for enhancing light-based diagnosis and treatment of a wide variety of brain pathologies including cerebral edema, traumatic brain injury, stroke, glioma, and neurodegenerative diseases. However, bacterial adhesion to the cranial implant is the leading factor for biofilm formation (fouling), infection, and treatment failure. Escherichia coli (E. coli), in particular, is the most common isolate in gram-negative bacillary meningitis after cranial surgery or trauma. The transparency of our WttB implant may provide a unique opportunity for non-invasive treatment of bacterial infection under the implant using medical lasers.

Study Design/Materials and Methods: A drop of a diluted overnight culture of BL21-293 E. coli expressing luciferase was seeded between the nc-YSZ implant and the agar plate. This was followed by immediate irradiation with selected laser. After each laser treatment the nc-YSZ was removed, and cultures were incubated for 24 hours at 37 °C. The study examined continuous wave (CW) and pulsed wave (PW) modes of near-infrared (NIR) 810 nm laser wavelength with a power output ranging from 1 to 3 W. During irradiation, the temperature distribution of nc-YSZ surface was monitored using an infrared thermal camera. Relative luminescence unit (RLU) was used to evaluate the viability of bacteria after the NIR laser treatment.

Results: Analysis of RLU suggests that the viability of E. coli biofilm formation was reduced with NIR laser treatment when compared to the control group (P < 0.01) and loss of viability depends on both laser fluence and operation mode (CW or PW). The results demonstrate that while CW laser reduces the biofilm formation more than PW laser with the same power, the higher surface temperature of the implant generated by CW laser limits its medical efficacy. In contrast, with the right parameters, PW laser produces a more moderate photothermal effect which can be equally effective at controlling bacterial growth.

Conclusions: Our results show that E. coli biofilm formation across the thickness of the nc-YSZ implant can be disrupted using NIR laser treatment. The results of this in vitro study suggest that using nc-YSZ as a cranial implant in vivo may also allow for locally selective, non-invasive, chronic treatment of bacterial layers (fouling) that might form under cranial implants, without causing adverse thermal damage to the underlying host tissue when appropriate laser parameters are used. Lasers Surg. Med. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Categories: Science

U-F-NO! NASA Shoots Down Speculation Over Space Station Video - Thu, 14/07/2016 - 5:05am
NASA shot down an internet rumor that a live camera on the International Space Station was intentionally turned off after the video feed showed a small, bright object just above Earth.
Categories: Science

Berkeley Lab scientists grow atomically thin transistors and circuits

Kurzweil AI - Thu, 14/07/2016 - 3:39am

This schematic shows the chemical assembly of two-dimensional crystals. Graphene is first etched into channels and the TMDC molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) begins to nucleate around the edges and within the channel. On the edges, MoS2 slightly overlaps on top of the graphene. Finally, further growth results in MoS2 completely filling the channels. (credit: Berkeley Lab)

In an advance that helps pave the way for next-generation electronics and computing technologies — and possibly paper-thin devices — scientists with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have developed a way to chemically assemble transistors and circuits that are only a few atoms thick.

In addition, their method yields functional structures at a scale large enough to begin thinking about real-world applications and commercial scalability.

They reported their research online July 11 in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

The scientists controlled the synthesis of a transistor in which narrow channels were etched onto conducting graphene, and a semiconducting material called a transition-metal dichalcogenide (TMDC) was seeded in the blank channels.

Both of these materials are single-layered crystals and atomically thin, so the two-part assembly yielded electronic structures that are essentially two-dimensional, and cover an area a few centimeters long and a few millimeters wide.

“This is a big step toward a scalable and repeatable way to build atomically thin electronics or pack more computing power in a smaller area,” says Xiang Zhang, a senior scientist in Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division who led the study.

Their work is part of a new wave of research aimed at keeping pace with Moore’s Law, which holds that the number of transistors in an integrated circuit doubles approximately every two years. To keep this pace, scientists predict that integrated electronics will soon require transistors that measure less than ten nanometers in length.

“With silicon, this will be extremely challenging, because the thickness of the transistor’s channel will become greater than the channel length, ultimately leading to difficult electrostatic control via the transistor gate,” the authors note. Nanomaterials such as inorganic nanowires and Stanford/IBM’s carbon nanotubes have been proposed, but require impractical “precise placement and orientation using complex fabrication techniques,” the authors point out.

The two-dimensional solution for keeping up with Moore’s law

Optical image of the atomically thin graphene–MoS heterostructure. Arrows indicate nucleation (junctions) with graphene of the MoS2 areas, forming transistors. (credit: Mervin Zhao et al./Nature Nanotechnology)

So researchers have now looked to two-dimensional crystals that are only one molecule thick as alternative materials to keep up with Moore’s Law. Using that approach, the Berkeley Lab scientists developed a way to seed a single-layered semiconductor — in this case, the TMDC molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) — into channels lithographically etched within a sheet of conducting graphene. The two atomic sheets meet to form nanometer-scale junctions that make atomically thin transistors in which the graphene conductor efficiently injects current into the MoS2.

“This approach allows for the chemical assembly of electronic circuits, using two-dimensional materials, which show improved performance compared to using traditional metals to inject current into TMDCs,” says Mervin Zhao, a lead author and Ph.D. student in Zhang’s group at Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley.

The scientists demonstrated the usefulness of the structure by assembling it into the logic circuitry of an inverter (NOT gate). This further underscores the technology’s ability to lay the foundation for a chemically assembled atomic computer, the scientists say. They also note that the two-dimensional crystals were synthesized at a wafer scale, so the scalable design is compatible with current semiconductor manufacturing.

The research was supported by the Office of Naval Research and the National Science Foundation. Scientists from Cornell University were also involved in the research.

Abstract of Large-scale chemical assembly of atomically thin transistors and circuits

Next-generation electronics calls for new materials beyond silicon, aiming at increased functionality, performance and scaling in integrated circuits. In this respect, two-dimensional gapless graphene and semiconducting transition-metal dichalcogenides have emerged as promising candidates due to their atomic thickness and chemical stability. However, difficulties with precise spatial control during their assembly currently impede actual integration into devices. Here, we report on the large-scale, spatially controlled synthesis of heterostructures made of single-layer semiconducting molybdenum disulfide contacting conductive graphene. Transmission electron microscopy studies reveal that the single-layer molybdenum disulfide nucleates at the graphene edges. We demonstrate that such chemically assembled atomic transistors exhibit high transconductance (10 µS), on–off ratio (∼106) and mobility (∼17 cm2 V−1 s−1). The precise site selectivity from atomically thin conducting and semiconducting crystals enables us to exploit these heterostructures to assemble two-dimensional logic circuits, such as an NMOS inverter with high voltage gain (up to 70).

Categories: Science

Tor Project Installs New Board of Directors After Jacob Appelbaum Controversy

Slashdot - Thu, 14/07/2016 - 3:30am
An anonymous reader writes: The Tor Project announced today that is has elected an entirely new board of directors as part of a larger shake-up after accusations of misconduct by former employee Jacob Appelbaum. Appelbaum left the company in June after the nonprofit organization said it had received multiple accusations against him. The seven board members that are leaving the organization said in a statement today that it is their "duty to ensure that the Tor Project has the best possible leadership." The New York Times reports that the board agreed to step down following the controversy surrounding Appelbaum. Some of the board members who will be leaving include Tor Project co-founders Roger Dingledine and Nick Mathewson, who will continue to work on the organization's technical research and development team, according to the statement. They will be replaced with several prominent cryptographers and scholars, including University of Pennsylvania professor Matt Blaze, Electronic Frontier Foundation Executive Director Cindy Cohn, and security technologist Bruce Schneier. Meanwhile, researchers at MIT have been working on a new anonymity network that they say is more secure than Tor.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

Allen Brain Observatory launched

Kurzweil AI - Thu, 14/07/2016 - 3:17am

The Allen Institute for Brain Science today announced the release of the Allen Brain Observatory.

This is standardized survey of cellular-level activity in the mouse visual system. The goal is to empower scientists to “investigate how circuits in the behaving mouse brain coordinate to drive activity and perception, and lays a crucial foundation for understanding perception, cognition and ultimately consciousness.”

The Allen Institute is known for its comprehensive brain atlases, with deep, high-quality data sets revealing where genes are expressed and how cells and connections are arranged in the mouse and human brain, according to Allan Jones, Ph.D., CEO of the Allen Institute.

With this new project, the researchers took a clever approach, combining a large variety of visual stimuli, including film clips and moving images, with the associated responses of neurons in four areas of the mouse visual cortex at multiple depths, sampling more than 18,000 neurons in total. The goal is to determine the “tuning,” or preference, of each individual neuron to visual features like motion and shape orientation, as well as complex images like natural scenes and movies that reveal integrative dynamics of visual processing.

Allen Institute | Allen Brain Observatory: Visualizing the brain in action

The data are presented as part of the suite of Allen Brain Atlas tools in the uniform and shareable Neurodata Without Borders file format, which allows scientists anywhere to easily mine and model the data. (The mouse is an important model system often used to understand the far less accessible and far larger human brain.) The data are presented in a novel visualization format through the Allen Brain Atlas data portal, and are accompanied by analysis tools and access to all raw data, which allows scientists to deeply explore the rules that govern how networks of cells in the visual cortex communicate.

“The Allen Brain Observatory is a stunning window into the visual brain of the mouse,” says Christof Koch, Ph.D., President and Chief Scientific Officer of the Allen Institute for Brain Science. “No one has ever taken this kind of standardized approach to surveying the active brain at cellular resolution in order to measure how the brain processes information in real time. This is a milestone in our quest to decode how the brain’s computations give rise to perception, behavior, and consciousness.

“Just like in astronomy, modelers and theoreticians worldwide can now study this wealth of data using their own analysis tools. If we want to understand higher-order brain functions, we need to understand not just the individual components of the brain but how they all work together.”

Understanding visual processing is a key gateway to understanding how other parts of the brain process information, and future releases of the Allen Brain Observatory will also explore the neural circuits that underlie more complex behaviors like decision-making, according to the researchers.

Allen Institute | Inside the Allen Brain Observatory


Categories: Science

As overweight and obesity increase, so does risk of dying prematurely: Major study

Science Daily - Thu, 14/07/2016 - 1:44am
Being overweight or obese is associated with a higher risk of dying prematurely than being normal weight -- and the risk increases with additional pounds, according to a large international collaborative study. The findings contradict recent reports that suggest a survival advantage to being overweight -- the so-called 'obesity paradox.'
Categories: Science

Immunotherapy benefits relapsed stem cell transplant recipients

Science Daily - Thu, 14/07/2016 - 1:44am
Using repeated doses of an immunotherapy drug can restore a complete remission for some relapsed stem cell transplant recipients, new research indicates.
Categories: Science

Theresa May Becomes UK's 'Spy Queen' and New Prime Minister

Slashdot - Thu, 14/07/2016 - 1:30am
An anonymous reader writes from a report via Ars Technica: Theresa May has become the new British Prime Minister. As she sat down with the Queen on Wednesday, a controversial surveillance draft legislation that looks to significantly increase surveillance of Brits' online activity will be debated during its second committee stage day in the House of Lords. Ars Technica reports: "The Investigatory Powers Act could be in place within months of May arriving at Number 10 -- if peers and legal spats fail to scupper its passage through parliament -- after MPs recently waved it through having secured only minor amendments to the bill. As home secretary, May fought for six years to get her so-called Snoopers' Charter onto the statute books." According to Ars Technica, Theresa May's key political moments on the Investigatory Powers Bill start in 1997 when she became the Member of Parliament for Maidenhead. During her opposition years, her home affairs record shows that she generally votes against the Labour government's more draconian measures on topics such as anti-terrorism and ID cards. Mid-2009: May votes against requiring ISPs to retain certain categories of communications data, which they generate or process, for a minimum period of 12 months. 2010: She was appointed home secretary in coalition government between the Conservatives and junior partner the Liberal Democrats. 2011: The previous government's shelved Interception Modernization Program is rebranded as the Communications Capabilities Development Program (CCDP) by home office under May. Mid-2012: The CCDP morphs into Communications Data Bill, which is brought before parliament. Late-2012: May's Snoopers' Charter bid fails as deputy PM Nick Clegg orders the home office to go back to the drawing board. Mid-2014: May rushes what she characterizes as an "emergency" Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill through parliament, after the European Court of Justice invalidates the Data Retention Directive for failing to have adequate privacy safeguards in place. Late-2015: British security services have intercepted bulk communications data of UK citizens for years, May reveals to MPs for the first time as she brings her revamped Snoopers' Charter bid -- this time dubbed the Investigatory Powers Bill (IPB) -- before parliament. Mid-2016: MPs support thrust of IPB as it passes through the House of Commons. July 13, 2016: Theresa May becomes the UK's new prime minister as peers in the House of Lords undertake a second day of committee stage scrutiny of the Investigatory Powers Bill. UPDATE 7/13/16: Boris Johnson, the former London mayor who led the Brexit campaign, has been made foreign secretary by the new Prime Minister Theresa May.

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Categories: Science

Ex-Google Engineer Launches Blockchain-Based System For Banks

Slashdot - Thu, 14/07/2016 - 12:50am
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: A former Google engineer, whose speech recognition software is used in more than a billion Android smartphones, has launched a company that uses blockchain technology to build a new operating system for banks. Paul Taylor, a Cambridge University academic with an expertise in artificial intelligence, speech synthesis and machine learning, started working on the system, called Vault OS, two years ago in a basement in London's Shoreditch district, known for being a tech start-up hub. The technology, which underpins the digital currency bitcoin, creates a shared database in which participants can trace every transaction ever made. The ledger is tamper-proof and transparent, meaning that transactions can be processed without the need for third-party verification. The system also negates the need for costly in-house data centers, as it uses cloud-based systems, which banks can use on a "pay-as-you-go" basis, which means that there is no single point of failure. Taylor said major high-street banks were spending around a billion pounds ($1.3 billion) a year on computer technology, much of which he said was being used for propping up the current "legacy" systems rather than on any innovative technology. The start-up has been working with about ten banks, Taylor said, at least one of which would be starting a trial using the new system in August. He expects the system to be up-and-running within about a year. In banking-related news, a Congressional report shows that China's spies hacked into computers at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) from 2010 until 2013 and American government officials tried to cover it up.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

Microsoft: Only Microsoft Edge Will Play Netflix Content At 1080p On Your PC

Slashdot - Thu, 14/07/2016 - 12:10am
An anonymous reader writes from a report via PCWorld: Microsoft made the bold claim on Wednesday that its Edge browser was the only browser of the big four browsers -- Chrome, Firefox, and Opera -- to play Netflix content at a 1080p resolution. PCWorld tested the four browsers and found this claim to be valid. The other three browsers capped out at a 720p resolution. Microsoft has been trying to boost Edge's reputation. Microsoft recently claimed that its Edge browser is more power-efficient than Chrome. (Opera later denied those claims.) This is the latest bold claim to come from Microsoft in regard to its Edge browser. Microsoft has even publicized a Netflix support document to show that Netflix streams at 1080p on Internet Explorer and Edge, and 720p on the other browsers. PCWorld used the "secret Netflix menus" that were first unearthed by Reddit users (Ctrl+Alt+Shift+D) to display the resolution and bitrate and confirm that Microsoft's claims are true. "In a blog post, Microsoft claimed Microsoft Edge was built to take advantage of platform features in Windows 10, including the PlayReady Content Protection and the media engine's Protected Media Path," reports PCWorld. "The company said it is working with the Open Media Alliance to develop next-generation media formats, codecs, and other technologies for UltraHD video, and with chipset companies to develop Enhanced Content Protection that moves the protected media path into peripheral hardware for an even higher level of security, and one that could be used to protect 4K media."

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Categories: Science

Ask Slashdot: Why Don't Graphics Cards For VR Use Real-Time Motion Compensation?

Slashdot - Wed, 13/07/2016 - 11:30pm
dryriver writes: Graphics cards manufacturers like Nvidia and AMD have gone to great pains recently to point out that in order to experience virtual reality with a VR headset properly, you need a GPU capable of pushing at least a steady 90 FPS per eye, or a total of at least 180 FPS for both eyes, and at high resolutions to boot. This of course requires the purchase of the latest, greatest high-end GPUs made by these manufacturers, alongside the money you are already plonking down for your new VR headset, and a good, fast gaming-class PC. This raises an interesting question: virtually every LCD/LED TV manufactured in the last 5 or 6 years has a 'Real-Time Motion Compensation' feature built in. This is the not-so-new-at-all technique of taking, say, a football match broadcast live at 30 FPS or Hz, and algorithmically generating extra in-between frames in real time, thus giving you a hyper-smooth 200-400 FPS/Hz image on the TV set with no visible stutter or strobing whatsoever. This technology is not new. It is cheap enough to include in virtually every TV set at every price level (thus the hardware that performs the real-time motion compensating cannot cost more than a few dollars total). And the technique should, in theory, work just fine with the output of a GPU trying to drive a VR headset. Now suppose you have an entry level or mid-range GPU capable of pushing only 40-60 FPS in a VR application (or a measly 20-30 FPS per eye, making for a truly terrible VR experience). You could, in theory, add some cheap motion compensation circuitry to that GPU and get 100-200 FPS or more per eye. Heck, you might even be able to program a few GPU cores to run the motion compensation as a real-time GPU shader as the rest of the GPU is rendering a game or VR experience. So my question: Why don't GPUs for VR use real-time motion compensation techniques to increase the FPS pushed into the VR headset? Would this not make far more financial sense for the average VR user than having to buy a monstrously powerful GPU to experience VR at all?

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Categories: Science

Parents Upset After Their Boy Was 'Knocked Down and Run Over' By A Security Robot

Slashdot - Wed, 13/07/2016 - 10:50pm
An anonymous reader writes from a report via KGO-TV: PSA: Beware of dangerous security robots at the Stanford Shopping Center! After a young boy was "knocked down and run over" by one of the Stanford Shopping Center security robots, the boy's parents want to help prevent others from getting hurt. KGO-TV reports: "They said the machine is dangerous and fear another child will get hurt. Stanford Shopping Center's security robot stands 5' tall and weighs 300 pounds. It amuses shoppers of all ages, but last Thursday, 16-month-old Harwin Cheng had a frightening collision with the robot. 'The robot hit my son's head and he fell down facing down on the floor and the robot did not stop and it kept moving forward,' Harwin's mom Tiffany Teng said. Harwin's parents say the robot ran over his right foot, causing it to swell, but luckily the child didn't suffer any broken bones. Harwin also got a scrape on his leg from the incident." Teng said, "He was crying like crazy and he never cries. He seldom cries." They are concerned as to why the robot didn't detect Harwin. "Garage doors nowadays, we're just in a day in age where everything has some sort of a sensor," shopper Ashle Gerrard said. "Maybe they have to work out the sensors more. Maybe it stopped detecting or it could be buggy or something," shopper Ankur Sharma said. The parents said a security guard told them another child was hurt from the same robot just days before. They're hoping their story will help other parents be more careful the next time they're at the Stanford Shopping Center. The robots are designed by Knightscope and come equipped with self-navigation, infra-red cameras and microphones that can detect breaking glass to support security services.

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Categories: Science

Pokemon Go Becomes Biggest Mobile Game In US History

Slashdot - Wed, 13/07/2016 - 10:10pm
An anonymous reader writes: Pokemon Go is now the biggest mobile game of all time in the U.S. Not only has it surpassed Twitter's daily users, but it is seeing people spend more time in its app than in Facebook. An earlier report from SimilarWeb says Pokemon Go has surpassed Tinder in terms of installations -- the app surpassed Tinder on July 7th. Today, the tracking firm says Pokemon Go has managed to surpass Twitter in terms of daily active users on Monday. It says almost 6% of the entire U.S. Android population is engaging with the app on a daily basis. A new report from SurveyMonkey intelligence indicated that Pokemon Go has claimed the title "biggest mobile game in U.S. history." The game saw just under 21 million daily active users in the U.S. on Monday. It's reportedly closing in on Snapchat on Android, and could surpass Google Maps on Android as well. According to app store intelligence firm SensorTower, the average iPhone user on iOS spent 33 minutes catching Pokemon, which is more than any other apps it analyzed, including Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, and The app with the second-most average usage at 22 minutes, 8 seconds, was Facebook. SurveyMonkey did note that Pokemon Go still falls short of other games when it comes to time spent in games. Game of War sees nearly 2 hours of total daily usage for the average user, while Candy Crush Saga sees daily usage of about 43 minutes. In just two days, Pokemon Go brought Nintendo's market value to $7.5 billion. It's worth noting that it remains to be seen whether or not the game will continue to break records or turn into a ghost town like Nintendo's first mobile game, Miitomo.

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Categories: Science

Culture Podcast: Halp, We Can’t Stop Playing Pokémon Go

Wired News - Wed, 13/07/2016 - 9:30pm
Sure there were movies and TV we could've spent time on last week, but we mostly spent the last few days staring at our phones. The post Culture Podcast: Halp, We Can’t Stop Playing Pokémon Go appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

Programming Bug Costs Citigroup $7M After Legit Transactions Mistaken For Test Data For 15 Years

Slashdot - Wed, 13/07/2016 - 9:30pm
An anonymous reader shares a report on The Register:A programming blunder in its reporting software has led to Citigroup being fined $7m. According to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), that error [PDF] resulted in the financial regulator being sent incomplete "blue sheet" information for a remarkable 15 years -- from May 1999 to April 2014. The mistake was discovered by Citigroup itself when it was asked to send a large but precise chunk of trading data to the SEC in April 2014 and asked its technical support team to help identify which internal ID numbers they should run a request on. That team quickly noticed that some branches' trades were not being included in the automated system and alerted those above them. Four days later a patch was in place, but it wasn't until eight months later that the company received a formal report noting that the error had affected SEC reports going back more than a decade. The next month, January 2015, Citigroup fessed up to the SEC.The glitch resided in new alphanumeric branch codes that the bank had introduced in the mid-1990s. The program code filtered out any transactions that were given three-digit branch codes from 089 to 100 and used those prefixes for testing purposes. The report adds, "But in 1998, the company started using alphanumeric branch codes as it expanded its business. Among them were the codes 10B, 10C and so on, which the system treated as being within the excluded range, and so their transactions were removed from any reports sent to the SEC."

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Categories: Science