By msmash from Slashdot's growing-a-loyal-base department
Jeffrey M. Perkel, writing for Nature: Perched atop the Cerro Pachon ridge in the Chilean Andes is a building site that will eventually become the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST). When it comes online in 2022, the telescope will generate terabytes of data each night as it surveys the southern skies automatically. And to crunch those data, astronomers will use a familiar and increasingly popular tool: the Jupyter notebook. Jupyter is a free, open-source, interactive web tool known as a computational notebook, which researchers can use to combine software code, computational output, explanatory text and multimedia resources in a single document. Computational notebooks have been around for decades, but Jupyter in particular has exploded in popularity over the past couple of years. This rapid uptake has been aided by an enthusiastic community of user-developers and a redesigned architecture that allows the notebook to speak dozens of programming languages -- a fact reflected in its name, which was inspired, according to co-founder Fernando Perez, by the programming languages Julia (Ju), Python (Py) and R. [...] For data scientists, Jupyter has emerged as a de facto standard, says Lorena Barba, a mechanical and aeronautical engineer at George Washington University in Washington DC. Mario Juric, an astronomer at the University of Washington in Seattle who coordinates the LSST's data-management team, says: "I've never seen any migration this fast. It's just amazing." Computational notebooks are essentially laboratory notebooks for scientific computing. Instead of pasting, say, DNA gels alongside lab protocols, researchers embed code, data and text to document their computational methods. The result, says Jupyter co-creator Brian Granger at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, is a "computational narrative" -- a document that allows researchers to supplement their code and data with analysis, hypotheses and conjecture. For data scientists, that format can drive exploration.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's would-you-buy-one? department
Several readers have shared a report about publishing industry's new gamble to drive people to buy physical copies of books: making the books much tinier. From the report: As a physical object and a feat of technology, the printed book is hard to improve upon. Apart from minor cosmetic tweaks, the form has barely evolved since the codex first arose as an appealing alternative to scrolls around 2,000 years ago. So when Julie Strauss-Gabel, the president and publisher of Dutton Books for Young Readers, discovered "dwarsliggers" -- tiny, pocket-size, horizontal flipbacks that have become a wildly popular print format in the Netherlands -- it felt like a revelation. "I saw it and I was like, boom," she said. "I started a mission to figure out how we could do that here." This month, Dutton, which is part of Penguin Random House, began releasing its first batch of mini books, with four reissued novels by the best-selling young-adult novelist John Green. The tiny editions are the size of a cellphone and no thicker than your thumb, with paper as thin as onion skin. They can be read with one hand -- the text flows horizontally, and you can flip the pages upward, like swiping a smartphone. It's a bold experiment that, if successful, could reshape the publishing landscape and perhaps even change the way people read. Next year, Penguin Young Readers plans to release more minis, and if readers find the format appealing, other publishers may follow suit.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department
At a time when several companies have grown new interest in open sourcing part of their offerings, Samsung appears to be going the other way. The company has shut down the Samsung Open-Source Group (Samsung OSG), according to a report. Phoronix, which reported the development, offers some background: Samsung's Open-Source Group had been structured within Samsung Research America. Samsung OSG was formed back in 2012 and has employed dozens of developers over the past number of years. Samsung OSG was akin to Intel OTC (Open-Source Technology Center) albeit with not nearly as many developers nor as many original open-source projects brought up by the Intel software crew. The Samsung OSG stated purpose has been to "enhance key open source projects through upstream contributions and active involvement with open source foundations." Samsung OSG has contributed very heavily to the development of Wayland as well as some X.Org components, Cairo, Enlightenment EFL, the LLVM Clang compiler, GStreamer, FFmpeg, the Linux kernel, and other related code-bases that helped benefit Samsung's open-source/Linux needs across their wide portfolio of products from smart watches to refrigerators.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's shiny-new-objects department
Apple is turning its attention to a range of devices it has not upgraded in recent years. Alongside the new MacBook Air that the company unveiled on Tuesday, it is also upgrading the Mac Mini for the first time in four years, and also has a new iPad Pro in the offering. Regarding the new Mac Mini: It has Intel's 8th generation processors -- in four- and six-core i7, i5, and i3 flavors -- and 60 percent faster graphics. The processor's paired with up to 64GB of RAM (8GB comes on standard) at 2666MHz and up to 2TB of SSD storage -- double the capacity of previous Mac Minis. Overall, it's up to 5 times faster than the previous-gen models, Apple claims, and can drive 4K and 5K Thunderbolt displays and output in three formats. In terms of ports, there's plenty to go around: two USB-A, HDMI 2.0 video, four Thunderbolt USB-C, an audio out port, and a Gigbabit Ethernet port (you can add up to 10 Gigabit Ethernet, if you so choose). Also onboard is Apple's T2 chip. It's a 64-bit ARMv8 chip -- a variant of Apple's A10 -- that runs Apple's custom BridgeOS 2.0 operating system (an Apple watch derivative). The new Mac Mini starts at $799. Regarding the new iPad Pro: After months of rumors, Apple has today announced a completely redesigned iPad Pro with slimmed-down bezels, Face ID, a USB-C port, and far more powerful specs than its predecessor. Just like prior years, the new iPad Pro comes in two screen sizes: 11-inch and 12.9-inch. The 11-inch model has essentially the same proportions as the prior 10.5-inch model. And the 12.9-inch model puts the same-sized display into a much smaller form factor. The new iPad Pro starts at $799 for the 11-inch and $999 for the 12.9-inch. Preorders begin today and it ships November 7th. The new Pro is the company's first iPad not to include a home button, which allowed Apple to extend the screen vertically for a much more immersive experience. The bezels have been downsized on all four sides. [...] But something else has been removed, too: the headphone jack. There's no 3.5mm port visible on any of the device's sides, meaning that buyers will need a USB-C-to-headphone dongle to listen to music through wired headphones. The 11-inch iPad Pro starts at $799. The 12.9-inch version starts at $999. It goes on sale today and ships on November 7.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's long-overdue-update department
At an event on Tuesday, Apple announced an update to one of its most popular laptops, the MacBook Air. The 13.3-inch laptop now has a 13.3-inch Retina display with four times the resolution with thin bezels, but moves to two USB-C ports only. Other features of it include: T2 chip for TouchID, three-mic array for better voice recognition, new butterfly keyboard (the same module the company used in this year's MacBook Pro lineup -- which as you might remember are not reliable), eGPU and 5K display support, 8th-gen Intel Core i5, up to 16GB 2333MHz memory, up to 1.5TB SSD, 2.75 pounds. It is made of 100 percent recycled aluminum. It starts at $1,199 and ships starting November 7.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's smog-of-complacency department
The head of the World Health Organization, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said air pollution is the "new tobacco" that is killing 7 million people a year and harming billions more. "The world has turned the corner on tobacco. Now it must do the same for the 'new tobacco' -- the toxic air that billions breathe every day," said Tedros. "No one, rich or poor, can escape air pollution. It is a silent public health emergency." The Guardian reports: "Despite this epidemic of needless, preventable deaths and disability, a smog of complacency pervades the planet," Tedros said, in an article for the Guardian. "This is a defining moment and we must scale up action to urgently respond to this challenge." The WHO is hosting its first global conference on air pollution and health in Geneva next week, including a high-level action day at which nations and cities are expected to make new commitments to cut air pollution.
Tedros said: "A clean and healthy environment is the single most important precondition for ensuring good health. By cleaning up the air we breathe, we can prevent or at least reduce some of the greatest health risks." The WHO is working with health professionals not only to help their patients, but also to give them the skills and evidence to advocate for health in policy decisions such as moving away from fossil-fuel-powered energy and transport. "No person, group, city, country or region can solve the problem alone," he said. "We need strong commitments and actions from everyone."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's happy-hacking department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: Friday, the Librarian of Congress and U.S. Copyright Office renewed several key exemptions (and added a few new ones) to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. This go round, they've extended some essential exemptions ensuring that computer security researchers won't be treated like nefarious criminals for their contributions to society. As part of an effort to keep the DMCA timely, Congress included a so-called "safety valve" dubbed the Section 1201 triennial review process that, every three years, mandates that activists and concerned citizens beg the Copyright Office and the Librarian of Congress to craft explicit exemptions from the law to ensure routine behavior won't be criminalized.
The exemptions still have some caveats. Specifically, the Copyright Office ruling only applies to "use exemptions," not "tools exemptions" -- meaning security researchers still can't release things like pen-testing tools that bypass DRM, or even publish technical papers exploring how to bypass bootloaders or other Trusted Platform Modules to test the security of the systems behind them. But other modest changes to the rules were incredibly helpful, notes Blake Reid, Associate Clinical Professor at Colorado Law. Specifically, the new exemption removes a "device limitation" from previous exemptions that potentially limited researchers to investigating software only on "consumer" devices; hindering their ability to investigate security vulnerabilities in things like the cryptographic hardware used in banking applications, networking equipment, and industrial control systems. The new exemption also modified the "controlled environment limitation" from the previous exemption, which was often read to imply that researchers had to conduct their work in a formal laboratory, potentially hindering research into things like integrated building systems like internet-connected HVAC systems.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's new-and-improved department
MojoKid writes: AMD launched its line of second generation Ryzen Threadripper CPUs over the summer, but the company offered 16-core and 32-core versions of it only at the time. Today however, the company began shipping 12-core and 24-core versions of the high-end desktop and workstation chips, dubbed Ryzen Threadripper 2920X and 2970WX, respectively. All 2nd Generation Ryzen Threadripper processors feature an enhanced boost algorithm that came with AMD's Zen+ architecture that is more opportunistic and can boost more cores, more often. They also offer higher-clocks, lower-latency, and are somewhat more tolerant of higher memory speeds. All of AMD's Ryzen Threadripper processors feature 512K of L2 cache per core (6MB total on the 2920X and 12MB on the 2970WX), quad-channel memory controllers (2+2), and are outfitted with 64 integrated PCI Express Gen 3 lanes. The new Ryzen Threadripper 2920X has a 180W TDP, while the 2970WX has a beefier 250W TDP. In highly threaded workloads, the Threadripper 2920X outpaces a far more expensive 10-core Intel Core i9-7900X, while the 24-core / 48-thread Threadripper 2970WX is the second most powerful desktop processor money can buy right now. It's faster than Intel's flagship Core i9-7980XE, and trailed only AMD's own 32-core Threadripper 2990WX. Pricing for the new chips falls in at $649 for the 12-core 2920X and $1299 for the 24-core Threadripper 2970WX.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's change-of-heart department
According to a report from Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the matter, Snap CEO Evan Spiegel officially made Kristen O'Hara, former longtime WarnerMedia/Time Warner exec, the chief business officer of Snap, but changed his mind two days later. Spiegel decided to hire Jeremi Gorman, who oversaw ad sales at Amazon, instead. "The switch was jarring for Snap's sales division, as O'Hara was well-liked," Bloomberg reports. "Now she's gone." From the report: In a statement to employees Monday, O'Hara told colleagues she is leaving due to changes in team structure. Even if Gorman works well in the role, the incident has eroded trust in Spiegel's decision-making as he is working to improve his leadership skills, and as Snap is depending on new managers to help boost the company's performance. Snap confirmed O'Hara's departure and declined to comment on the circumstances. In an email to the business solutions team on Monday, provided by Snap, Spiegel praised her leadership. Spiegel wrote: "In her time here, Kristen had an immediate and positive impact on the company. She had a deep understanding of our business from the outset and forged strong client relationships that we will continue to build upon. I will miss the leadership and enthusiasm she brought to the organization and wish her only continued success. Jeremi joins us with proven expertise and talent that will make our platform even better for our partners, and I am excited to have her on our team."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's false-claims department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: The Trump FCC has declared towns and cities that vote to build their own broadband networks an "ominous threat to the First Amendment." The claims were made last week during a speech given at the telecom-funded Media Institute by FCC Commissioner Mike O'Rielly. In his speech, O'Rielly insinuated, without evidence, that community owned and operated broadband networks would naturally result in local governments aggressively limiting American free speech rights. "I would be remiss if my address omitted a discussion of a lesser-known, but particularly ominous, threat to the First Amendment in the age of the Internet: state-owned and operated broadband networks," claimed O'Rielly.
In his speech, O'Rielly highlighted efforts by the last FCC, led by former boss Tom Wheeler, to encourage such community-run broadband networks as a creative solution to private sector failure. O'Rielly subsequently tried to claim, without evidence, that encouraging such networks would somehow result in government attempts to censor public opinion. "Municipalities such as Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Wilson, North Carolina, have been notorious for their use of speech codes in the terms of service of state-owned networks, prohibiting users from transmitting content that falls into amorphous categories like 'hateful' or "threatening," O'Rielly claimed. The closest O'Rielly gets to supporting evidence appears to be a 2015 white paper written by Professor Enrique Armijo for the ISP-funded Free State Foundation. That paper similarly alleges that standard telecom sector language intended to police "threatening, abusive or hateful" language somehow implies community-run ISPs are more likely to curtail user speech. But municipal broadband experts say the argument has no basis in fact.Read Replies (0)