By BeauHD from Slashdot's never-forget department
dmoberhaus writes: Paul Allen died on Monday evening at the age of 65. Motherboard spoke with SETI researchers about how the Microsoft co-founder single-handedly saved the American Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence by building the first dedicated SETI radio telescope and its legacy one decade later. Less than a year after NASA's SETI program started, it was shut down by members of Congress who didn't want to spend money on the "great Martian chase." In order for the program to continue, it needed private funding. "Fortunately, one of the earliest SETI Institute supporters was Barney Oliver, who founded and directed Hewlett Packard laboratories," reports Motherboard. "So in 1993 Oliver called Bill Hewlett and David Packard of Hewlett Packard, Intel founder Gordon Moore, and Paul Allen to ask for their support." They supported Project Phoenix, a SETI program that ran from 1995 to 1998.
SETI astronomers then realized that they needed a dedicated SETI radio telescope, or array of small telescopes, if the search were to have any chance of success. Allen was able to foot the $25-million bill required to build this array of telescopes. The telescope array was built in northern California, "the first facility specifically built for SETI in the U.S.," Motherboard notes. "The cost of building a 350-telescope array ended up being far more expensive than anyone at the SETI Institute had anticipated, however. By the time the Allen Telescope Array came online in 2007, only 42 telescopes had been built and Allen's donation had largely been consumed." The report notes that the Allen Telescope Array "has analyzed 200 million signals from thousands of stars, studied unusual high-energy radio emissions, and even scanned the "spliff-shaped" Oumuamua asteroid for signs of intelligent life."Read Replies (0)
By Superquad7 from TFW2005
<img width="600" height="245" src="http://news.tfw2005.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2018/10/labels-for-potp-blast-off.jpg" alt="" />Toyhax
dropped by again and gave us an update for their newest label sets. Here is what Delta Star of Toyhax has to share with us: “We’ve got a small but terrific update this month! A great new set for CW Blast Off
; Completing the POTP Monsterbots, check out this set for Repugnus
; Fans of IDW and G1 will love these upgrades for MMC’s Colisus
; Continuing our sets for Studio Series! Here’s our offering for Blackout
; As a heads-up, this will be the last full day of reduced pricing for some time. Finally, we’d like » Continue Reading.
The post Toyhax.com October 2018 Update
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By BeauHD from Slashdot's new-and-improved department
Krystalo quotes a report from VentureBeat: Google today launched Chrome 70 for Windows, Mac, and Linux. The release includes an option to disable linking Google site and Chrome sign-ins, Progressive Web Apps on Windows, the ability for users to restrict extensions' access to a custom list of sites, an AV1 decoder, and plenty more. You can update to the latest version now using Chrome's built-in updater or download it directly from google.com/chrome.
An anonymous Slashdot reader adds: "The most anticipated addition to today's release is a new Chrome setting panel option that allows users to control how the browser behaves when they log into a Google account," reports ZDNet. "Google added this new setting after the company was accused last month of secretly logging users into their Chrome browser accounts whenever they logged into a Google website." Chrome 70 also comes with support for the AV1 video format, TLS 1.3 final, per-site Chrome extension permissions, TouchID and fingerprint sensor authentication, the Shape Detection API (gives Chrome the ability to detect and identify faces, barcodes, and text inside images or webcam feeds), and, last but not least, 23 security fixes.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's doesn't-need-saving department
A couple months ago, it was reported that the dearly departed mobile brand known as Palm would be making a comeback. That day has finally come. Yesterday, Palm announced The Palm, a credit card-sized Android smartphone that's supposed to act as a second phone. Droid Life reports: The Palm, which is its name, is a mini-phone with a 3.3-inch HD display that's about the size of a credit card, so it should fit nicely in your palm. It could be put on a chain or tossed in a small pocket or tucked just about anywhere, thanks to that small size. It's still a mostly fully-featured smartphone, though, with cameras and access to Android apps and your Verizon phone number and texts.
The idea here is that you have a normal phone with powerful processor and big screen that you use most of the time. But when you want to disconnect some, while not being fully disconnected, you could grab Palm instead of your other phone. It uses Verizon's NumberSync to bring your existing phone number with you, just like you would if you had an LTE smartwatch or other LTE equipped device. Some of the specs of this Verizon-exclusive phone include a Snapdragon 435 processor with 3GB RAM, 32GB storage, 12MP rear and 8MP front cameras, 800mAh battery, IP68 water and dust resistance, and Android 8.1. As Kellen notes, "It does cost $350, which is a lot for a faux phone..." We've already seen a number of gadget fans perplexed by this device. Digital Trends goes as far as calling it "the stupidest product of the year."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's now-supported department
Google Maps is adding a new feature that will let you search for charging stations and provide you with useful information about that station. The feature is rolling out today and will be available on both Android and iOS. Engadget reports: Just search for "EV charging stations" or "EV charging," and Google Maps will locate those nearby. It will also tell you what types of ports are available, how many there are as well as the station's charging speeds, and businesses with charging stations will now have a link that will lead you to more information about their setup. Additionally, you'll be able to see what other users thought of the station, as Google Maps will bring up user-posted photos, ratings and reviews. Google Maps will include information about charging stations from Tesla and Chargepoint worldwide. In the US, it will also source info about SemaConnect, EVgo and Blink stations. UK users will have access to Chargemaster and Pod Point stations, while Australia and New Zealand EV drivers will see info on Chargefox stations. Unfortunately, you won't be able to tell if individual charging stations are occupied. Also, Google doesn't have Electrify America, a Volkswagen subsidiary that's building a nationwide network of fast-charging stations with universal technology.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's cease-and-desist department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Hill: An Amazon employee is seeking to put new pressure on the company to stop selling its facial recognition technology to law enforcement. An anonymous worker, whose employment at Amazon was verified by Medium, published an op-ed on that platform on Tuesday criticizing the company's facial recognition work and urging the company to respond to an open letter delivered by a group of employees. The employee wrote that the government has used surveillance tools in a way that disproportionately hurts "communities of color, immigrants, and people exercising their First Amendment rights."
"Ignoring these urgent concerns while deploying powerful technologies to government and law enforcement agencies is dangerous and irresponsible," the person wrote. "That's why we were disappointed when Teresa Carlson, vice president of the worldwide public sector of Amazon Web Services, recently said that Amazon 'unwaveringly supports' law enforcement, defense, and intelligence customers, even if we don't 'know everything they're actually utilizing the tool for.'" The op-ed comes one day after Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos defended technology companies working with the federal government on matters of defense during Wired's ongoing summit in San Francisco. "If big tech companies are going to turn their back on the U.S. Department of Defense, this country is going to be in trouble," Bezos said on Monday.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's new-and-improved department
"Qualcomm is launching a family of chips that can add incredibly high-speed Wi-Fi -- at speeds up to 10 gigabits per second -- to phones, laptops, routers, and so on," reports The Verge. The Wi-Fi standard used for something like replacing a virtual reality headset's data cable with a high-speed wireless link is being updated. Qualcomm's latest chips improve a wireless technology called WiGig, which relies on a connection standard known as 802.11ad, which can hit speeds up to 5 gigabits per second over close to 10 meters. The new generation of that wireless standard, called 802.11ay, can reach speeds twice as fast, and can do so up to 100 meters away, according to Dino Bekis, the head of Qualcomm's mobile and compute connectivity group. The Wi-Fi Alliance says the new standard "increases the peak data rates of WiGig and improves spectrum efficiency and reduces latency." From the report: So why not just use this as normal Wi-Fi, given how fast it gets? Because that range is only line-of-sight -- when there's literally nothing in the way between the transmitter and the receiver. This high-speed Wi-Fi is based on millimeter wave radio waves in the 60GHz range. That means it's really fast, but also that it has a very difficult time penetrating obstacles, like a wall. That's a problem if you want a general purpose wireless technology. That's why 802.11ay, like 802.11ad before it, is being used as an optional add-on to existing Wi-Fi technology. If you're one of the people who has a need for these extreme wireless speeds, then maybe you'll find a use for it. Just keep in mind, you'll probably need to keep your router and the device receiving these high speeds in the same room in order for it to work, due to the whole "walls" issue. WiGig will also be competing with 5G, as it offers "similarly fast speeds over similarly limited distances," reports The Verge. "[T]he two standards may be competing as an option for delivering internet from a tower to a home -- that's what Facebook's Terragraph is doing with WiGig, and it's what Verizon is doing with 5G."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's is-anyone-really-surprised department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Recode: Facebook announced Portal last week, its take on the in-home, voice-activated speaker to rival competitors from Amazon, Google and Apple. Last Monday, we wrote: "No data collected through Portal -- even call log data or app usage data, like the fact that you listened to Spotify -- will be used to target users with ads on Facebook." We wrote that because that's what we were told by Facebook executives. But Facebook has since reached out to change its answer: Portal doesn't have ads, but data about who you call and data about which apps you use on Portal can be used to target you with ads on other Facebook-owned properties.
"Portal voice calling is built on the Messenger infrastructure, so when you make a video call on Portal, we collect the same types of information (i.e. usage data such as length of calls, frequency of calls) that we collect on other Messenger-enabled devices. We may use this information to inform the ads we show you across our platforms. Other general usage data, such as aggregate usage of apps, etc., may also feed into the information that we use to serve ads," a spokesperson said in an email to Recode. That isn't very surprising, considering Facebook's business model. The biggest benefit of Facebook owning a device in your home is that it provides the company with another data stream for its ad-targeting business.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's fighting-back department
The New York attorney general subpoenaed more than a dozen telecommunications trade groups, lobbying contractors and Washington advocacy organizations on Tuesday, seeking to determine whether the groups sought to sway a critical federal decision on internet regulation last year by submitting millions of fraudulent public comments, according to a person with knowledge of the investigation. From a report: Some of the groups played a highly public role in last year's battle, when the Republican-appointed majority on the Federal Communications Commission voted to revoke a regulation issued under President Barack Obama that classified internet service providers as public utilities. The telecommunications industry bitterly opposed the rules -- which imposed what supporters call "net neutrality" on internet providers -- and enthusiastically backed their repeal under President Trump. The attorney general, Barbara D. Underwood, last year began investigating the source of more than 22 million public comments submitted to the F.C.C. during the battle. Millions of comments were provided using temporary or duplicate email addresses, others recycled identical phrases, and seven popular comments, repeated verbatim, accounted for millions more.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's whatever-floats-your-boat department
An anonymous reader shares a report: "Helsinki VTS, thank you for permission to depart," the captain says over the radio. He checks with the Vessel Traffic Service to see if there's anything to be looking out for. Just one other big ship, but also lots of small boats, enjoying the calm water, which could be hazards. Not a problem for this captain -- he has a giant screen on the bridge, which overlays the environment around his vessel with an augmented reality view. He can navigate the Baltic Discoverer confidently out of Finland's Helsinki Port using the computer-enhanced vision of the world, with artificial intelligence spotting and labeling every other water user, the shore, and navigation markers. This not-too-far-in-the-future vision comes from Rolls-Royce. (One iteration of it, anyway: The Rolls-Royce car company, the jet engine maker, and this marine-focused enterprise all have different corporate owners.) The view provided to the crew of the (fictional) Baltic Discoverer is an example of the company's Intelligent Awareness system, which mashes together data from sensors all over a vessel, to give its humans a better view of the world. But that's just the early part of the plan. Using cameras, lidar, and radar, Rolls wants to make completely autonomous ships. And it's already running trials around the world. "Tugs, ferries, and short-sea transport, these are all classes of vessels that we believe would be suitable for completely autonomous operations, monitored by a land based crew, who get to go home every night," says Kevin Daffey, Rolls-Royce's director of marine engineering and technology. Suitable, because they all currently rely on humans who demand to be paid -- and can make costly mistakes. Over the past decade, there have been more than 1,000 total losses of large ships, and at least 70 percent of those resulted from human error. [...] Moreover, the economic case for automating shipping is clear: About 100,000 large vessels are currently sailing the world's oceans, and the amount of cargo they carry is projected to grow around 4 percent a year, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. Beyond preventing accidents, human-free ships could be 15 percent more efficient to run, because they don't need energy-gobbling life support systems, doing things like heating, cooking, and lugging drinking water along for the ride.Read Replies (0)
By Super_Megatron from TFW2005
<img width="410" height="600" src="http://news.tfw2005.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2018/10/X-Transbots-Crackup-B1-B.jpg" alt="" />
TFcon is happy to announce a very special exclusive figure available from Toy Dojo
. A homage to the very first convention exclusive, this X-Transbots Crackup B1 figure is sure to break down any bot who gets in his way. You will go Berserkar when you see this 90’s retro paintjob combined with an amazing MP scale articulation, rubber tires, and diecast parts. It truly is an exclusive of tubular 90’s epic proportions. Toy Dojo is overwhelmingly excited to bring this 2nd Generation exclusive to TFcon Chicago 2018. As big of a hit as the first X-Transbots Crackup figure was with the fan » Continue Reading.
The post TFcon Chicago 2018 convention exclusive X-Transbots Crackup B1
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By msmash from Slashdot's final-words department
Stephen Hawking says artificial intelligence will eventually become so advanced it will "outperform humans." The renowned physicist who died in March warns of both rises in advanced artificial intelligence and genetically-enhanced "superhumans" in a book published Tuesday. Hawking also weighed in on god, and aliens. From a report: According to an excerpt of the book "Brief Answers to the Big Questions" published by the U.K.'s Sunday Times, Hawking wrote AI could prove "huge" to humanity so long as restrictions are in place to control how quickly it grows. "While primitive forms of artificial intelligence developed so far have proved very useful, I fear the consequences of creating something that can match or surpass humans," Hawking wrote. "Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn't compete and would be superseded." Hawking wrote about a need for serious research to explore what impact AI would have on humanity, from the workplace to the military, where he expressed concerns about sophisticated weapons systems "that can choose and eliminate their own targets." Hawking also wrote about advances to manipulating DNA, or what he calls "self-designed evolution. Early advances involving the gene-editing tool CRISPR include alerting DNA to create "low-fat" pigs. CNN: "There is no God. No one directs the universe," he writes in "Brief Answers to the Big Questions." "For centuries, it was believed that disabled people like me were living under a curse that was inflicted by God," he adds. "I prefer to think that everything can be explained another way, by the laws of nature." "There are forms of intelligent life out there," he writes. "We need to be wary of answering back until we have developed a bit further." And he leaves open the possibility of other phenomena. "Travel back in time can't be ruled out according to our present understanding," he says. He also predicts that "within the next hundred years we will be able to travel to anywhere in the Solar System."Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's how-abut-that department
Google will charge smartphone makers a licensing fee for using its popular Google Play app store and also allow them to use rival versions of its Android mobile operating system to comply with an EU antitrust order, it said Tuesday. From a report: Google, an Alphabet subsidiary, announced the changes on Tuesday, three months after the European Commission handed it a landmark 4.34 billion euro ($5 billion) fine for using its popular Android mobile operating system to hinder rivals. The company said the licensing fees will offset revenue lost as a result of its compliance efforts. "Since the pre-installation of Google Search and Chrome together with our other apps helped us fund the development and free distribution of Android, we will introduce a new paid licensing agreement for smartphones and tablets shipped into the EEA," Hiroshi Lockheimer, senior vice president for platforms and ecosystems, said in a blog. In a blog post, Lockheimer wrote: Second, device manufacturers will be able to license the Google mobile application suite separately from the Google Search App or the Chrome browser. Since the pre-installation of Google Search and Chrome together with our other apps helped us fund the development and free distribution of Android, we will introduce a new paid licensing agreement for smartphones and tablets shipped into the EEA. Android will remain free and open source.
Third, we will offer separate licenses to the Google Search app and to Chrome. We'll also offer new commercial agreements to partners for the non-exclusive pre-installation and placement of Google Search and Chrome. As before, competing apps may be pre-installed alongside ours. These new licensing options will come into effect on October 29, 2018, for all new smartphones and tablets launched in the EEA.Read Replies (0)