Teflon Amazon, Where Bezos Gets Rich and Bad News Never Sticks

Wired News - Sat, 06/05/2017 - 11:00am
Tech is enduring a widespread public relations crisis. But not Amazon. The post Teflon Amazon, Where Bezos Gets Rich and Bad News Never Sticks appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

Dark Matter Is the Real Guardian of the Galaxies (Video)

Space.com - Sat, 06/05/2017 - 11:00am
Step aside, Star-Lord – there's another superhero in the universe, and it's "guarding" far more galaxies than you can even fathom.
Categories: Science

Amazon’s Expansive Biodomes Get Their First of 40,000 Plants

Wired News - Sat, 06/05/2017 - 9:30am
Amazon is building a massive biodome in downtown Seattle... The post Amazon’s Expansive Biodomes Get Their First of 40,000 Plants appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

Amazon Leak Exposes Echo AI Device With Touch Display and FireOS

Slashdot - Sat, 06/05/2017 - 9:00am
MojoKid writes: Today, an image of what could be a touch-screen Amazon Echo device has emerged. Like the earlier Echo Look leak, the image of the device was found on Amazon's servers, just waiting to be discovered. The new Echo device is reportedly codenamed "Knight" and will be revealed later this month. It will also take its place as the flagship of the Echo family, likely surpassing the $179.99 MSRP of the original Alexa-powered AI speaker. It should be noted that the image leak lines up with previous reports we've seen regarding a so-called flagship Echo device. Late last year, we learned that the device would feature a 7-inch touch screen, and that it would have integrated speakers that are superior to those in the original Echo. There's even a built-in camera at the top of the device, which could be useful for video conferencing. It was also mentioned that the Echo device will run Amazon's FireOS and respond to verbal commands and spoken questions, just like current Alexa devices. Amazon is also reportedly testing a feature that allows users to pin items such as photos on their speaker's screen akin to physically placing items on a "refrigerator door."

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Categories: Science

Nike’s Quest to Beat the Two-Hour Marathon Comes Up Oh So Short

Wired News - Sat, 06/05/2017 - 8:00am
It was close, but the two-hour marathon remains unbroken. For now. The post Nike’s Quest to Beat the Two-Hour Marathon Comes Up Oh So Short appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

The world’s fastest video camera

Kurzweil AI - Sat, 06/05/2017 - 5:44am

Elias Kristensson and Andreas Ehn (credit: Kennet Ruona)

A research group at Lund University in Sweden has developed a video camera* that can record at a rate equivalent to five trillion images per second, or events as short as 0.2 trillionths of a second. This is far faster than has previously been possible (100,000 images per second).

The new super-fast camera can capture rapid processes in chemistry, physics, biology and biomedicine that so far have not been caught on film.

To illustrate the technology, the researchers have successfully filmed how light travels a distance corresponding to the thickness of paper. In reality, it only takes a picosecond, but the process has been slowed down by a trillion times.

Currently, high-speed cameras capture images one by one in a sequence. The new technology is based on an innovative algorithm, and instead captures several coded images in one picture. It then sorts them into a video sequence afterwards.

Coded flashes

The method involves exposing what you are recording (for example a chemical reaction) to light in the form of laser flashes, where each light pulse is given a unique code. The object reflects the light flashes, which merge into the single photograph. They are subsequently separated by detecting the keys.

The camera is initially intended to be used by researchers who literally want to gain better insight into many of the extremely rapid processes that occur in nature. Many take place on a picosecond and femtosecond scale.

“This does not apply to all processes in nature, but quite a few, for example, explosions, plasma flashes, turbulent combustion, brain activity in animals and chemical reactions. We are now able to ‘film’ such extremely short processes”, says professor Elias Kristensson. “In the long term, the technology can also be used by industry and others.”

“Today, the only way to visualize such rapid events is to photograph still images of the process. You then have to attempt to repeat identical experiments to provide several still images which can later be edited into a movie. The problem with this approach is that it is highly unlikely that a process will be identical if you repeat the experiment”, he says.

The researchers are currently conducting research on combustion — an area known to be difficult and complicated to study. The ultimate purpose of this basic research is to make next-generation car engines, gas turbines, and boilers cleaner and more fuel-efficient. Combustion is controlled by a number of ultra-fast processes at the molecular level, which can now be captured.

For example, the researchers will study the chemistry of plasma discharges, the lifetime of quantum states in combustion environments and in biological tissue, as well as how chemical reactions are initiated.

The research has been published in the journal Light: Science and Applications. A German company has already developed a prototype of the technology, which should be available commercially in two years.

* The technology, named FRAME (Frequency Recognition Algorithm for Multiple Exposures), uses a  camera with a flash, using “coded” light flashes, as a form of encryption. Every time a coded light flash hits the object — for example, a chemical reaction in a burning flame — the object emits an image signal (response) with the exact same coding. The following light flashes all have different codes, and the image signals are captured in one single photograph. These coded image signals are subsequently separated using an encryption key on a computer.

Categories: Science

UAE To Drag Iceberg From Antarctica To Solve Water Shortage Set To Last 25 Years

Slashdot - Sat, 06/05/2017 - 5:30am
schwit1 quotes a report from Daily Express: The UAE, which is among the top 10 water-scarce countries in the world, hopes to help ease the stress of a drinking water shortage by towing an iceberg from the freezing Antarctica in order to create more drinking water. The National Advisor Bureau Limited's (NABL) managing Director Abdullah Mohammad Sulaiman Al Shehi says an average iceberg contains "more than 20 billion gallons of water" which would be enough for one million people over five years. Up to four-fifths of an iceberg's mass is underwater, and due to their vast density, they would theoretically not melt in the boiling climate of the Middle Eastern coastal line. Mr Al Shehi says it could take up to a year to drag the huge body of ice up to the UAE, and the project is set to begin in 2018.

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Categories: Science

NASA Examines Effects of 2017 Spending Bill on Science Programs

Space.com - Sat, 06/05/2017 - 5:25am
As members of Congress took credit for NASA funding levels in a fiscal year 2017 omnibus spending bill, the agency's science leadership is examining how those funds will affect its programs.
Categories: Science

FCC Considers Fining Stephen Colbert Over Controversial Trump Joke

Slashdot - Sat, 06/05/2017 - 3:12am
FCC chairman Ajit Pai said on Friday his agency will be looking into complaints made against Late Show host Stephen Colbert for what some labeled a homophobic joke about President Donald Trump. From a report: On Monday's Late Show, Colbert quipped that "the only thing [Trump's] mouth is good for is being Vladimir Putin's c**k holster." The joke drew accusations of homophobia, a viral #FireColbert campaign and FCC complaints against Colbert. In an interview Friday, FCC chairman Ajit Pai told a Philadelphia radio station, "I have had a chance to see the clip now and so, as we get complaints -- and we've gotten a number of them -- we are going to take the facts that we find and we are going to apply the law as it's been set out by the Supreme Court and other courts and we'll take the appropriate action." Pai added, "Traditionally, the agency has to decide, if it does find a violation, what the appropriate remedy should be. A fine, of some sort, is typically what we do."

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Categories: Science

Aspirin May Prevent Cancer From Spreading, New Research Shows

Slashdot - Sat, 06/05/2017 - 2:05am
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Scientific American: In recent years scientists have discovered another possible use for aspirin: stopping the spread of cancer cells in the body after an initial tumor has already formed. The research is still developing, but the findings hint that the drug could one day form the basis for a powerful addition to current cancer therapies. Not everyone responds equally well to the drug, however, and for some people it can be downright dangerous. Investigators are thus trying to develop genetic tests to determine who is most likely to benefit from long-term use of aspirin. The latest research into the drug's cancer-inhibiting activity is generating findings that could possibly guide those efforts. More recently, investigators have started to elucidate a third way that aspirin works -- one that interferes with the ability of cancer cells to spread, or metastasize, through the body. Intriguingly, in this case, the drug's anti-inflammatory properties do not appear to play the starring role. Researchers often inject tumor cells into the bloodstream of mice to approximate what happens during metastasis when cancer cells must navigate the bloodstream to find a new home in the body. When Elisabeth Battinelli, a hematologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, and her team fed aspirin to certain strains of mice and then injected them with malignant cells, the investigators discovered that the platelets did not shield breakaway cancer cells from the immune system or produce the necessary growth factors that allow cancer cells to grow and divide in a new location. Thus, aspirin appears to fight cancer in two ways: its anti-inflammatory action prevents some tumors from forming, and its antiplatelet properties interfere with some cancer cells' ability to spread.

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Categories: Science

The Apple Watch Outsold Every Other Wearable Last Quarter

Slashdot - Sat, 06/05/2017 - 1:00am
According to Strategy Analytics, Apple has shipped 3.5 million wearables in the first quarter of 2017, which is 59 percent higher than the 2.2 million devices it did in the same period last year. Engadget reports: Cupertino captured 16 percent of the global marketshare and stole the wearables crown from Fitbit, which had a much less stellar quarter. Fitbit only shipped 2.9 million devices in Q1, 36 percent less than the 4.5 million units it moved in the first quarter of 2016. Even Xiaomi sold more devices, putting the beleaguered wearables-maker in third place. Those results are consistent with Apple's latest earnings report. The company said its Watch and TV sales jumped up 31 percent year-over-year, and head honcho Tim Cook said Watch sales have nearly doubled since last year. Neil Mawston, Strategy Analytics executive director, said Apple's Watch Series 2 has been selling well "due to enhanced styling, intensive marketing and a good retail presence." Were you one of the 3.5 million customers who purchased an Apple Watch in the first quarter of 2017? If so, how do you like Apple's approach to wearables?

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Categories: Science

BlackBerry KeyOne Review By The Verge: Part Productivity, Part Nostalgia

Slashdot - Sat, 06/05/2017 - 12:20am
Dan Seifert reviews the new BlackBerry KeyOne flagship smartphone via The Verge. Here's an excerpt from the report: It was in about the third hour of using the new BlackBerry KeyOne, available this month for $549 unlocked, that I started to question my longtime preference for touchscreen keyboards. Because as I was pushing on the KeyOne's tiny little buttons with the tips of my thumbs, I remembered why some people still have such an affinity for these things. It wasn't that I was able to type faster with the BlackBerry's keyboard (I wasn't), or that I was more accurate with it (I still used autocorrect). It was that I felt like I was more productive when using it. I wasn't wasting time tweeting nonsense or sending emoji in ephemeral messages. I was sending important emails, working with my colleagues in Slack, creating and completing to-do lists, and adding appointments to my calendar. I was Getting Shit Done. Getting shit done is really the entire ethos of the new KeyOne, and arguably, the many BlackBerry devices that preceded it. The KeyOne is a phone for a very specific person, one that longs for the days when the BlackBerry Bold was the most important device in the office and the majority of business communications happened over email. It's not the best choice for watching hours of YouTube videos, sending thousands of Snaps, or reading novel-length ebooks (though it can technically do all of those things). It is for sending email. Lots of email.

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Categories: Science

Days Before Election: Macron Campaign Says It Is the Victim of Massive, Coordinated Hacking Campaign

Slashdot - Fri, 05/05/2017 - 11:45pm
An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNBC: A large trove of emails from the campaign of French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron was posted online late on Friday, a little more than a day before voters go to the polls to choose the country's next president in a run-off against far-right rival Marine Le Pen. Some nine gigabytes of data were posted by a user called EMLEAKS to Pastebin, a document-sharing site that allows anonymous posting. It was not immediately clear who was responsible for posting the data or whether the emails were genuine. In a statement, Macron's political movement En Marche! (Onwards!) confirmed that it had been hacked. "The En Marche! Movement has been the victim of a massive and co-ordinated hack this evening which has given rise to the diffusion on social media of various internal information," the statement said. In its statement on Friday, En Marche! said that the documents released online only showed the normal functioning of a presidential campaign, but that authentic documents had been mixed on social media with fake ones to sow "doubt and misinformation." "The seriousness of this event is certain and we shall not tolerate that the vital interests of democracy be put at risk," it added.

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Categories: Science

Hackers Hit Macron With Huge Email Leak Ahead of French Election

Wired News - Fri, 05/05/2017 - 11:32pm
The campaign of French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron confirms it's been the target of a successful hacking operation. The post Hackers Hit Macron With Huge Email Leak Ahead of French Election appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

Precision typing on a smartwatch with finger gestures

Kurzweil AI - Fri, 05/05/2017 - 11:31pm

The “Watchsense” prototype uses a small depth camera attached to the arm, mimicking a depth camera on a smartwatch. It could make it easy to type, or in a music program, volume could be increased by simply raising a finger. (credit: Srinath Sridhar et al.)

If you wear a smartwatch, you know how limiting it is to type it on or otherwise operate it. Now European researchers have developed an input method that uses a depth camera (similar to the Kinect game controller) to track fingertip touch and location on the back of the hand or in mid-air, allowing for precision control.

The researchers have created a prototype called “WatchSense,” worn on the user’s arm. It captures the movements of the thumb and index finger on the back of the hand or in the space above it. It would also work with smartphones, smart TVs, and virtual-reality or augmented reality devices, explains Srinath Sridhar, a researcher in the Graphics, Vision and Video group at the Max Planck Institute for Informatics.

KurzweilAI has covered a variety of attempts to use depth cameras for controlling devices, but developers have been plagued with the lack of precise control with current camera devices and software.

The new software, based on machine learning, recognizes the exact positions of the thumb and index finger in the 3D image from the depth sensor, says Sridhar, identifying specific fingers and dealing with the unevenness of the back of the hand and the fact that fingers can occlude each other when they are moved.

A smartwatch (or other device) could have an embedded depth sensor on its side, aimed at the back of the hand and the space above it, allowing for easy typing and control. (credit: Srinath Sridhar et al.)

“The currently available depth sensors do not fit inside a smartwatch, but from the trend it’s clear that in the near future, smaller depth sensors will be integrated into smartwatches,” Sridhar says.

The researchers, which include Christian Theobalt, head of the Graphics, Vision and Video group at MPI, Anders Markussen and Sebastian Boring at the University of Copenhagen, and Antti Oulasvirta at Aalto University in Finland, will present WatchSense at the ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in Denver (May 6–11, 2017). Their open-access paper is also available.

Srinath Sridhar et al. | WatchSense: On- and Above-Skin Input Sensing through a Wearable Depth Sensor

Abstract of WatchSense: On- and Above-Skin Input Sensing through a Wearable Depth Sensor

This paper contributes a novel sensing approach to support on- and above-skin finger input for interaction on the move. WatchSense uses a depth sensor embedded in a wearable device to expand the input space to neighboring areas of skin and the space above it. Our approach addresses challenging camera-based tracking conditions, such as oblique viewing angles and occlusions. It can accurately detect fingertips, their locations, and whether they are touching the skin or hovering above it. It extends previous work that supported either mid-air or multitouch input by simultaneously supporting both. We demonstrate feasibility with a compact, wearable prototype attached to a user’s forearm (simulating an integrated depth sensor). Our prototype—which runs in real-time on consumer mobile devices—enables a 3D input space on the back of the hand. We evaluated the accuracy and robustness of the approach in a user study. We also show how WatchSense increases the expressiveness of input by interweaving mid-air and multitouch for several interactive applications.

Categories: Science

10 Percent of Harvard's Popular 'Introduction To Computer Science' Class Accused of Cheating

Slashdot - Fri, 05/05/2017 - 11:00pm
theodp writes: The Harvard Crimson reports that more than 60 of the 636 students enrolled in last fall's CS50: "Introduction to Computer Science I" course appeared before the College's Honor Council in a wave of academic dishonesty cases that has stretched the Council to its limits over the past few months. Former students and course staff, though, said course policy was unclear about what constituted cheating, creating the potential for unintentional violations. Consistently, one of the most popular courses at Harvard, CS50 is known for an unconventional atmosphere, complete with flashy promotional videos and corporate-sponsored events.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Science

Skin cells found at root of balding, gray hair

Science Daily - Fri, 05/05/2017 - 10:44pm
Researchers have identified the cells that directly give rise to hair as well as the mechanism that causes hair to turn gray – findings that could one day help identify possible treatments for balding and hair graying.
Categories: Science

Platelets suppress T cell immunity against cancer

Science Daily - Fri, 05/05/2017 - 10:21pm
Cancer researchers report that blood platelets blunt the immune response to cancer. Genetic inactivation of platelets improved the ability of T cells to fight melanoma in preclinical tests. Adoptive T cell therapies for cancer could be enhanced when combined with common antiplatelet drugs.
Categories: Science

Pregnancy linked to higher risk of death from traumatic injury

Science Daily - Fri, 05/05/2017 - 10:21pm
Studies have found that one in six pregnant women have been abused by a partner -- beaten, stabbed, shot, or even murdered. New research shows the risks to these women may be especially profound.
Categories: Science

Obese women less likely to suffer from dangerous preeclampsia complications

Science Daily - Fri, 05/05/2017 - 10:21pm
Despite having higher rates of preeclampsia, a dangerous high-blood pressure disorder of late pregnancy, obese women may be less than half as likely to suffer strokes, seizures, and other serious complications of the disorder.
Categories: Science