Improved Estimates of the Distance To the Large Magellanic Cloud
Posted by News Fetcher on March 25 '19 at 04:31 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's mapping-the-Milky-Way department:
Long-time Slashdot reader colinwb writes: A team of researchers has published a letter in Nature (2019) estimating the distance to the Large Magellanic Cloud" to a precision of one per cent; Arxiv (2019).

The Arxiv abstract: In the era of precision cosmology, it is essential to empirically determine the Hubble constant with an accuracy of one per cent or better. At present, the uncertainty on this constant is dominated by the uncertainty in the calibration of the Cepheid period — luminosity relationship (also known as Leavitt Law). The Large Magellanic Cloud has traditionally served as the best galaxy with which to calibrate Cepheid period-luminosity relations, and as a result has become the best anchor point for the cosmic distance scale. Eclipsing binary systems composed of late-type stars offer the most precise and accurate way to measure the distance to the Large Magellanic Cloud. Currently the limit of the precision attainable with this technique is about two per cent, and is set by the precision of the existing calibrations of the surface brightness — colour relation. Here we report the calibration of the surface brightness-colour relation with a precision of 0.8 per cent. We use this calibration to determine the geometrical distance to the Large Magellanic Cloud that is precise to 1 per cent based on 20 eclipsing binary systems. The final distane is 49.59 +/- 0.09 (statistical) +/- 0.54 (systematic) kiloparsecs.

In 2013 a team of researchers (including several of the current researchers) published a letter in Nature (2013) which estimated the distance with a precision of two per cent; Arxiv (2013).

Another team of researchers has also posted their recent research on Arxiv (2019) in which they provide a 1% foundation for the determination of the Hubble Constant.

All the links are to abstracts; the full letters to Nature are paywalled, but the Arxiv abstracts have links to PDFs which seem to be complete and accessible.

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How The Sounds In Bumblebee Are Made
Posted by News Fetcher on March 25 '19 at 04:20 AM
By Black Convoy from TFW2005:
<img width="600" height="338" src="" alt="" />

Courtesy of Insider YouTube Channel we have a very interesting video about How The Sounds In the Bumblebee Movie were made. A lot of surprises and reveals on this video. The video features an interview with the films’ Foley team (They create the performance oriented sound elements) Dawn Lunsford, Alicia Stevenson and David Jobe about their work on Bumblebee’s sound. They proved to be really creative with the mechanical sounds, using car parts, lawnmowers, old lamps, helmets and more than you can imagine. The original sounds are made “old-school-way” and then mixed and improved digitally for the final cut. Check the » Continue Reading.

The post How The Sounds In Bumblebee Are Made appeared first on Transformer World 2005 - TFW2005.COM.

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New Product Codes For Transformers: War For Cybertron – Siege, Studio Series And Cyberverse
Posted by News Fetcher on March 25 '19 at 03:00 AM
By Silver Optimus from TFW2005:
<img width="600" height="456" src="" alt="" />

Ever reliable catz is back with another new code list for upcoming figures. This time, it’s for the War For Cybertron – Siege line, Studio Series and for the Cyberverse. War For Cybertron – Siege E7670 TRA WFC Micromaster Mega Value 10 Pack It is likely that this is a Micromaster pack similar to the Transformers: RID 2015 Minicon Mega 10-Pack. Studio Series E6254 TRA Studio Series Leader Megatron This is identified as a brand new Leader Class Megatron different the DOTM Leader Megatron which we knew as E3750. Transformers: Cyberverse E5558 TRA Cyberverse Warrior Slipstream E5557 TRA Cyberverse Warrior 2 pack » Continue Reading.

The post New Product Codes For Transformers: War For Cybertron – Siege, Studio Series And Cyberverse appeared first on Transformer World 2005 - TFW2005.COM.

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Posted by News Fetcher on March 25 '19 at 12:30 AM
From Penny Arcade:
New Comic: Riven

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First-of-Its-Kind US Nuclear Waste Dump Marks 20 Years
Posted by News Fetcher on March 25 '19 at 12:30 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's adding-salt department:
"In a remote stretch of New Mexico desert, the U.S. government put in motion an experiment aimed at proving to the world that radioactive waste could be safely disposed of deep underground..." reports the Associated Press:
Twenty years and more than 12,380 shipments later, tons of Cold War-era waste from decades of bomb-making and nuclear research across the U.S. have been stashed in the salt caverns that make up the underground facility. Each week, several shipments of special boxes and barrels packed with lab coats, rubber gloves, tools and debris contaminated with plutonium and other radioactive elements are trucked to the site.
But the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant has not been without issues. A 2014 radiation leak forced an expensive, nearly three-year closure, delayed the federal government's cleanup program and prompted policy changes at national laboratories and defense-related sites across the U.S. More recently, the U.S. Department of Energy said it would investigate reports that workers may have been exposed last year to hazardous chemicals. Still, supporters consider the repository a success, saying it provides a viable option for dealing with a multibillion-dollar mess that stretches from a decommissioned nuclear weapons production site in Washington state to one of the nation's top nuclear research labs, in Idaho, and locations as far east as South Carolina. If it weren't for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, many containers of plutonium-contaminated waste would be outside, exposed to the weather and susceptible to natural disasters, said J.R. Stroble, head of business operations at the Department of Energy's Carlsbad Field Office, which oversees the contractor that operates the repository.
"The whole purpose of WIPP is to isolate this long-lived radioactive, hazardous waste from the accessible environment, from people and the things people need in order to live life on Earth," he told The Associated Press.

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Which Programming Language Has The Most Security Vulnerabilties?
Posted by News Fetcher on March 24 '19 at 08:30 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's battle-of-the-bugs department:
A new report from the open source security company WhiteSource asks the question, "Is one programming language more secure than the rest?"

An anonymous reader quotes TechRepublic:
To answer this question, the report compiled information from WhiteSource's database, which aggregates information on open source vulnerabilities from sources including the National Vulnerability Database, security advisories, GitHub issue trackers, and popular open source projects issue trackers. Researchers focused in on open source security vulnerabilities in the seven most widely-used languages of the past 10 years to learn which are most secure, and which vulnerability types are most common in each... The most common vulnerabilities across most of these languages are Cross-SiteScripting (XSS); Input Validation; Permissions, Privileges, and Access Control; and Information Leak / Disclosure, according to the report.
Across the seven most widely-used programming languages, here's how the vulnerabilties were distributed:

C (47%) PHP (17%) Java (11%) JavaScript (10%) Python (5%) C++ (5%) Ruby (4%)
But the results are full of disclaimers -- for example, that C tops the list because it's the oldest language with "the highest volume of written code" and "is also one of the languages behind major infrastructure like Open SSL and the Linux kernel."
The report also notes a "substantial rise" across all languages for known open source security vulnerabilities over the last two years, attributing this to more awareness about vulnerable components -- thanks to more research, automated security tools, and "the growing investment in bug bounty programs" -- as well as the increasing popularity of open source software. And it also reports a drop in the percentage of critical vulnerabilities for most languages -- except JavaScript and PHP.

< article continued at Slashdot's battle-of-the-bugs department >

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Can We Build Ethics Into Automated Decision-Making?
Posted by News Fetcher on March 24 '19 at 05:51 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's reply-hazy,-try-again department:
"Machines will need to make ethical decisions, and we will be responsible for those decisions," argues Mike Loukides, O'Reilly Media's vice president of content strategy:
We are surrounded by systems that make ethical decisions: systems approving loans, trading stocks, forwarding news articles, recommending jail sentences, and much more. They act for us or against us, but almost always without our consent or even our knowledge. In recent articles, I've suggested the ethics of artificial intelligence itself needs to be automated. But my suggestion ignores the reality that ethics has already been automated... The sheer number of decisions that need to be made means that we can't expect humans to make those decisions. Every time data moves from one site to another, from one context to another, from one intent to another, there is an action that requires some kind of ethical decision...
Ethical problems arise when a company's interest in profit comes before the interests of the users. We see this all the time: in recommendations designed to maximize ad revenue via "engagement"; in recommendations that steer customers to Amazon's own products, rather than other products on their platform. The customer's interest must always come before the company's. That applies to recommendations in a news feed or on a shopping site, but also how the customer's data is used and where it's shipped. Facebook believes deeply that "bringing the world closer together" is a social good but, as Mary Gray said on Twitter, when we say that something is a "social good," we need to ask: "good for whom?" Good for advertisers? Stockholders? Or for the people who are being brought together? The answers aren't all the same, and depend deeply on who's connected and how....
It's time to start building the systems that will truly assist us to manage our data.
< article continued at Slashdot's reply-hazy,-try-again department >

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Cities In India Ban 'PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds' Over Fears It Turns Children Into 'Psychopaths'
Posted by News Fetcher on March 24 '19 at 04:31 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's new-battlefields department:
Player Unknown's Battlegrounds is facing a "ferocious" backlash in India, Bloomberg reports:
Nowhere has resistance to the game been quite like India. Multiple cities have banned PUBG, as it's known, and police in Western India arrested 10 university students for playing. The national child rights commission has recommended barring the game for its violent nature. One of India's largest Hindi newspapers declared PUBG an "epidemic" that turned children into "manorogi," or psychopaths. "There are dangerous consequences to this game," the Navbharat Times warned in a March 20 editorial. "Many children have lost their mental balance...."

What's different about India is the speed with which the country has landed in the strange digital world of no laws or morals. It skipped two decades of debate and adjustment, blowing into the modern gaming era in a matter of months. Rural communities that never had PCs or game consoles got smartphones in recent years -- and wireless service just became affordable for pretty much everyone after a price war last year. With half a billion internet users looking for entertainment, PUBG has set off a frenzy.
Over 250,000 students entered one recent PUBG competition, according to the article.
At least one local minister criticized the game as "the demon in every house."

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New App Gives Free Movie Tickets To People Who Watch 15 Minutes of Ads
Posted by News Fetcher on March 24 '19 at 03:11 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's before-the-previews department:
MoviePass's original founder and CEO is launching a new company, reports IndieWire, "to score viewers movie tickets for the low, low price of sitting through 15 to 20 minutes of advertisements."
Before you point out that everyone already does that when they watch trailers in the theater, know this: PreShow wants to utilize facial recognition and track how much attention you're paying to each ad. "If it weren't for facial recognition, I don't think we could still do it," Stacy Spikes, PreShow's founder and chief executive, said in an interview with CNET last week. "If not, they could game this all day long."
Here's how it works, per CNET: "Forgoing a password, PreShow's app will only unlock with your phone's facial recognition technology. And while you're watching the ads to earn that free ticket, your phone's camera monitors your level of attention. Walk away or even obscure part of your face? The ad will pause after five seconds."
It's being launched through a Kickstarter campaign, which describes PreShow as "the first ad-supported moviegoer network," saying that the service will be available this July. It also promises that the ad content "is high quality, entertaining, and is an entertainment value in and of itself..."
And though it monitors your face, "Privacy is a top concern. Nobody is recorded, no personally identifiable data is shared, all data is aggregated and anonymized to brand partners."

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Death’s Head returns to Marvel Comics – Kei Zama to draw new series
Posted by News Fetcher on March 24 '19 at 03:00 PM
By Sol Fury from TFW2005:
<img width="396" height="600" src="" alt="" />

During the Marvel UK run of the Transformers comics in the 1980s, readers were treated to an original character created by Simon Furman. In the classic story “Wanted: Galvatron – Dead or Alive!” Death’s Head was introduced as a freelance peacekeeping agent (definitely not a bounty hunter – as Scourge found out the hard way) aiming to collect on a bounty placed on the head of Galvatron by Rodimus Prime. From this early appearance Death’s Head would go on to make a handful of appearances in the Marvel UK Transformers stories and then was brought across into the main Marvel » Continue Reading.

The post Death’s Head returns to Marvel Comics – Kei Zama to draw new series appeared first on Transformer World 2005 - TFW2005.COM.

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Tickets now on sale for TFcon Toronto 2019
Posted by News Fetcher on March 24 '19 at 03:00 PM
By Super_Megatron from TFW2005:
<img width="600" height="313" src="" alt="" />

Tickets for TFcon Toronto 2019 are now online. TFcon will take place July 12th to 14th at the Hilton Mississauga/Meadowvale, 6750 Mississauga Road, Mississauga, Ontario. Online booking for the TFcon Toronto 2019 hotel block is also online.

The post Tickets now on sale for TFcon Toronto 2019 appeared first on Transformer World 2005 - TFW2005.COM.

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Is Social Media Losing Ground To Email Newsletters?
Posted by News Fetcher on March 24 '19 at 01:51 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's in-your-inbox department:
"My favorite new social network doesn't incessantly spam me with notifications," brags New York Times technology writer Mike Isaac. "When I post, I'm not bombarded with @mentions from bots and trolls. And after I use it, I don't worry about ads following me around the web.
"That's because my new social network is an email newsletter."

Every week or so, I blast it out to a few thousand people who have signed up to read my musings. Some of them email back, occasionally leading to a thoughtful conversation. It's still early in the experiment, but I think I love it. The newsletter is not a new phenomenon. But there is a growing interest among those who are disenchanted with social media in what writer Craig Mod has called "the world's oldest networked publishing platform." For us, the inbox is becoming a more attractive medium than the news feed...
For me, the change has happened slowly, but the reasons for it were unmistakable. Every time I was on Twitter, I felt worse. I worried about being too connected to my phone, too wrapped up in the latest Twitter dunks... Now, when I feel the urge to tweet an idea that I think is worth expounding on, I save it for my newsletter... It's much more fun than mediating political fights between relatives on my Facebook page or decoding the latest Twitter dustup...
"You don't have to fight an algorithm to reach your audience," Casey Newton, a journalist who writes The Interface, a daily newsletter for technology news site The Verge, told me. "With newsletters, we can rebuild all of the direct connections to people we lost when the social web came along."
The article suggests a broader movement away from Facebook's worldview to more private ways of sharing, like Slack . "We felt this growing sense of despair in traditional social media," says the CEO of Substack, makers of a newsletter-writing software. "Twitter, Facebook, etc. -- they've all incentivized certain negative patterns."

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'It Took 10 Seconds For Instagram To Push Me Into an Anti-Vaxx Rabbit Hole'
Posted by News Fetcher on March 24 '19 at 01:51 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's guided-by-algorithms department:
eatmorekix quotes Vice: It only took around ten seconds. On Wednesday, I created a fresh Instagram account, and followed 'Beware the Needle', a user with 34,000 followers which posts a steady stream of anti-vaccination content. I also followed the user's "backup" account mentioned in its bio, the creator clearly aware that Instagram may soon ban them. Instagram's "Suggested for You" feature then recommended I follow other accounts, including "Vaccines are Genocide" and "Vaccine Truth." I followed the latter, and checked which accounts Instagram now thought would be a good fit for me: another 24 accounts that were either explicitly against vaccinations in their profile description, or that posted anti-vaccine content. They included pseudo-scientists claiming that vaccines cause autism; accounts with tens of thousands of followers promising the "truth" around vaccinations through memes and images of misleading statistics, as well as individual mothers spouting the perceived, but false, dangers of vaccinating children against measles, polio, and other diseases.

"Instagram told Motherboard it will be looking at different ways to minimize these sorts of recommendations," the article reports, but "did not give a more specific timeframe for this change...."

"For the moment, however, Instagram remains a hot bed of easy to discover misinformation on vaccinations."

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Mueller Report 'Summary' Delivered to US Congress
Posted by News Fetcher on March 24 '19 at 12:31 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's long-awaited-documents department:
America's recently-appointed Attorney General William Barr has submitted to Congress his summary of the main conclusions from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, CNN reports.
"While this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him," special counsel Robert Mueller says, as quoted in Barr's summary.

It does, however, reiterate that there was clear Russian interference in America's 2016 election:
The Special Counsel's investigation determined that there were two main Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election. The first involved attempts by a Russian organization, the Internet Research Agency, to conduct disinformation and social media operations in the United States designed to sow social discord, eventually with the aim of interfering with the election.... The second element involved the Russian government's efforts to conduct computer hacking operations designed to gather and disseminate information to influence the election. The Special Counsel found that Russian government actors successfully hacked into computers and obtained emails from persons affiliated with the Clinton campaign and Democratic Party organizations, and publicly disseminated those materials through various intermediaries, including WikiLeaks.

Based on these activities, the Special Counsel brought criminal charges against a number of Russian military officers for conspiring to hack into computers in the United States for purposes of influencing the election.

Barr also writes that the report leaves it to him to determine whether president Trump is guilty of obstructing justice, then adds "I have concluded that the not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense."

CNN has the complete text of the four-page summary. Barr's letter concludes by saying he's still "determining what can be released."

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GoFundMe Bans Anti-Vaccine Campaigns
Posted by News Fetcher on March 24 '19 at 12:31 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's stopped-by-GoFundMe department:
An anonymous reader quotes SlashGear:
Crowdfunding platform GoFundMe has banned campaigns that seek funds for spreading misinformation related to vaccines, the company has revealed. The platform has been used in the past by anti-vaxxers as part of their mission to promote conspiracy theories related to supposed health issues caused by vaccinations. Current campaigns in violation of this new rule will be removed.
GoFundMe has previously faced controversy for allowing anti-vax campaigns on the platform, including late last year when a mother sought funds for a custody battle allegedly intending to, in part, prevent her kids from being vaccinated. An increasing number of tech companies have cracked down on anti-vaccination content, including Facebook and Pinterest, and now GoFundMe is among them.

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Transformers War For Cybertron: Siege Leader Class Optimus Prime Found At Walmart
Posted by News Fetcher on March 24 '19 at 12:20 PM
By Black Convoy from TFW2005:
<img width="450" height="600" src="" alt="" />

Ready to add the Transformers War For Cybertron: Siege Leader Class Optimus Prime into your collection? We have not only one but two sightings of this figure at US retail. A member of The Hardcore Collectors Facebook Group found Optimus at his local Walmart in Mt. Pleasant Michigan. Twitter user @triscuitdau also found the figure at a Walmart in southern Missouri, Texas. Let the hunt begin! It’s time to check your local Walmart stores to try to find this great new incarnation of Optimus Prime, based on his Transformers Cybertron design. Click on the bar to join to the ongoing discussion on the 2005 Boards!

The post Transformers War For Cybertron: Siege Leader Class Optimus Prime Found At Walmart appeared first on Transformer World 2005 - TFW2005.COM.

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Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice - Did You Know Gaming? Feat. Greg
Posted by News Fetcher on March 24 '19 at 12:10 PM
By DidYouKnowGaming? from DidYouKnowGaming?:

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Fermi Satellite Clocks Pulsar Going 2.5 Million Miles Per Hour
Posted by News Fetcher on March 24 '19 at 11:11 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's spinning-stars department:
schwit1 quotes UPI:

Astronomers have discovered a pulsar traveling at unprecedented speeds. Observations by NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope suggest the star is moving through space at 2.5 million miles per hour.... "Thanks to its narrow dart-like tail and a fortuitous viewing angle, we can trace this pulsar straight back to its birthplace," Frank Schinzel, a scientist at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in New Mexico, told NASA. "Further study of this object will help us better understand how these explosions are able to 'kick' neutron stars to such high speed...."
Scientists named the high-speed pulsing star PSR J0002+6216, or J0002 for short. The star is located in the Cassiopeia constellation, 6,500 light-years from Earth... Analysis of the pulsar's trajectory and pulsing tail suggest the spinning neutron star was ejected by a supernova named CTB 1. Scientists estimated J0002 was expelled from CTB 1 approximately 10,000 years ago.
Scientists aren't totally sure how J0002 accelerated to such tremendous speeds. In the wake of the supernova explosion from which the pulsar originated, expelled gas and dust from the exploded companion star likely outraced J0002. Eventually, the shell of stellar shrapnel was slowed by interactions with interstellar gas, but astronomers theorize that some of stellar debris may have coalesced into a region of dense matter, forming a "gravitational tugboat" that is pulling J0002 through space.

J0002 was discovered by "citizen scientists" scanning data from NASA's Fermi satellite, according to the article.

"Participants in the Einstein@Home project have identified 13 gamma ray pulsars."

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Game Theory: FNAF 7, The Untold Story of Sister Location
Posted by News Fetcher on March 24 '19 at 10:31 AM
By The Game Theorists from The Game Theory:

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The Washington Post Asks: Should 8chan Be Considered a Terrorist Recuiting Site?
Posted by News Fetcher on March 24 '19 at 09:51 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's heated-discussions department:
An anonymous reader quotes the Washington Post:
As most of the world condemned last week's mass shooting in New Zealand, a contrary story line emerged on 8chan, the online message board where the alleged shooter had announced the attack and urged others to continue the slaughter. "Who should i kill?" one anonymous poster wrote. "I have never been this happy," wrote another. "I am ready. I want to fight...." The persistence of the talk of violence on 8chan has led some experts to call for tougher actions by the world's governments, with some saying the site increasingly looks like the jihadi forums organized by the Islamic State and al-Qaeda...
8chan's founder, Fredrick Brennan, said Jim Watkins [8chan's sole administrator] owns other Internet businesses and has built a technical fortress to guard 8chan from potential takedowns: He owns nearly every component securing the site to the backbone of the Web, including its servers, which are scattered around the world. "You can send a complaint, but no one's going to do anything. He owns the whole operation," Brennan said. "It's how he keeps people confused and guessing...." Watkins is content to lose money, Brennan said, because he sees it as a pet project: "8chan is like a boat to Jim. It doesn't matter if it makes money. He just enjoys using it...."
8chan, however, is shielded in another way: the U.S. web-services giant Cloudflare, which helps websites guard against "distributed denial of service," or DDoS, attacks that online vigilante groups have used to target 8chan in the past.
The Post reports that Brennan "worries there are no true technical solutions beyond a total redesign of the Web, focused around identification and moderation, that could undermine it as a venue for free expression." Brennan tells the Post that "The Internet as a whole is not made to be censored. It was made to be resilient. And as long as there's a contingent of people who like this content, it will never go away."
< article continued at Slashdot's heated-discussions department >

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