By BeauHD from Slashdot's processor-shootout department
MojoKid writes: AMD's new Ryzen 3000 processors can boost as high as 4.6 GHz, a notable bump over previous Ryzen models, but what about AMD's purported Instructions Per Cycle (IPC) gains? Has AMD's Zen 2 architecture finally caught up to Intel's Coffee Lake-based Core series processors in terms of IPC? To prove this out, HotHardware pitted a 12-core Ryzen 9 3900X against Intel's 8-core Core i9-9900K in an array of tests, with both chips locked at 4GHz across all cores and four of the Ryzen CPU cores (or 2 CCXs) disabled (save for a couple of instances to show MT scaling). This allowed AMD's fastest Zen 2-based CPU, with its full 64MB L3 cache complement, to compete against Intel's current fastest desktop chip at identical clock speeds. A series of single-threaded benchmarks were run, in addition to some standard games tests, which are lightly multithreaded. The Intel and AMD multi-core processors essentially traded blows across a number of tests, but Intel won more often than not. The blue team notched IPC wins in SANDRA's Dhrystone integer tests, Geekbench, POV-Ray, LAME MT, and the gaming tests. AMD stole single-threaded victories in SANDRA's Whetstone FPU tests, Cinebench, and Y-Cruncher. While not an outright win for AMD, the company has obviously worked hard to improve 3rd Gen Ryzen IPC throughput, while its multi-core scaling is downright impressive.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's no-mercy department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNBC: In a tweet on Friday, President Trump said his administration will not grant Apple any relief on Mac Pro parts made in China. "Apple will not be given Tariff wavers (sic), or relief, for Mac Pro parts that are made in China," President Trump said. "Make them in USA, no Tariffs!" Apple asked for waivers on tariffs on the Mac Pro. Apple said it wanted to be exempt on some parts it uses for the new Mac Pro, including a power supply unit, the stainless-steel enclosure, finished mice and trackpads and circuit boards. "There are no other sources for this proprietary, Apple-designed component," Apple said in a filing. Apple shifted production of the Mac Pro to China in June, saving shipping costs for components that are supplied near Shanghai.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's way-ahead-of-time department
Observations of light coming from a star zipping in orbit around the humongous black hole at the center of our galaxy have provided fresh evidence backing Albert Einstein's 1915 theory of general relativity, astronomers said on Thursday. From a report: Researchers studied a star called S0-2, boasting a mass roughly 10 times larger than the sun, as it travels in an elliptical orbit lasting 16 years around the supermassive black hole called Sagittarius A* residing at the center of the Milky Way 26,000 light years from Earth. They found that the behavior of the star's light as it escaped the extreme gravitational pull exerted by the black hole, with 4 million times the sun's mass, conformed to Einstein's theory's predictions. The famed theoretical physicist proposed the theory, considered one of the pillars of science, to explain the laws of gravity and their relation to other natural forces.
While Einstein's theory held up in the observations of this star, astronomer Andrea Ghez of the University of California, Los Angeles said it may not be able to fully account for what happens in the most exotic possible gravitational environments like those of black holes. These extraordinarily dense celestial entities exert gravitational fields so strong that no matter or light can escape.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department
Alex Hern, reporting for The Guardian: Apple contractors regularly hear confidential medical information, drug deals, and recordings of couples having sex, as part of their job providing quality control, or "grading," the company's Siri voice assistant, the Guardian has learned. Although Apple does not explicitly disclose it in its consumer-facing privacy documentation, a small proportion of Siri recordings are passed on to contractors working for the company around the world.
They are tasked with grading the responses on a variety of factors, including whether the activation of the voice assistant was deliberate or accidental, whether the query was something Siri could be expected to help with and whether Siri's response was appropriate. Apple says the data "is used to help Siri and dictation ... understand you better and recognise what you say." [...] Apple told the Guardian: "A small portion of Siri requests are analysed to improve Siri and dictation. User requests are not associated with the user's Apple ID. Siri responses are analysed in secure facilities and all reviewers are under the obligation to adhere to Apple's strict confidentiality requirements." The company added that a very small random subset, less than 1% of daily Siri activations, are used for grading, and those used are typically only a few seconds long." Further reading: Google Contractors Are Secretly Listening To Your Assistant Recordings; and Amazon Workers Are Listening To What You Tell Alexa.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's all-good department
An anonymous reader writes: Marcus 'MalwareTech' Hutchins, the security researcher who helped stop the WannaCry ransomware outbreak, was sentenced today in the US to time served and one year of supervised release. The UK-born malware analyst avoided the prison time in the case as the judge described "too many positives on other side of ledger" -- referring to Hutchins' role in the WannaCry ransomware outbreak and his work as a malware analyst. Judge J. P. Stadmueller had a difficult decision on his hand, and would have considered a pardon. However, courts have no such power, and deferred to the executive branch. In court, Hutchins apologized, again, to victims, family, and friends. The judge waived any fines. The sentence comes after Hutchins pleaded guilty this April on two charges of entering a conspiracy to create and distribute malware, and in aiding and abetting its distribution.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's like-no-big-deal department
Japan's SoftBank Group unveiled a second technology megafund even bigger than its nearly $100 billion Vision Fund, answering skeptics who questioned whether anyone could raise so much in such a short time. From a report: Vision Fund 2, as the company is calling it, expects to gather some $108 billion in capital from more than a dozen investors that have signed memorandums of understanding, ranging from Apple, and Microsoft to Kazakhstan's sovereign-wealth fund, SoftBank said Friday. Some $38 billion of that capital will come from SoftBank itself, funded by proceeds from the first Vision Fund.
Other investors including Goldman Sachs Group are in active talks to invest, people familiar with the matter said Thursday, and the fund's size is likely to grow. [...] The planned inauguration of the second fund is a victory for SoftBank Chief Executive Masayoshi Son, who started the first Vision Fund just two years ago amid widespread doubt about its viability.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's stranger-things department
People on the receiving end of addled smartphone navigation deal with the lost; 'Somebody backed into our mailboxes.' From a report: Everett Ogden's dream house was a three-bedroom at the end of a quiet dead-end road along a river in Jacksonville, Fla. It wasn't long after moving in about a year ago that the strangers started to pull up, sometimes eight a day. The driveway is narrow, so they often do U-turns on the lawn and sometimes run over the sprinklers. "Just yesterday," said Mr. Ogden, 42, "somebody backed into our mailboxes." Drivers have made news for relying too much on navigation apps like those from Alphabet's Google Maps and Apple's maps app. They've driven onto airport runways, through muddy fields, into lakes. Then there are the other victims of addled navigation, those living on the receiving end of ill-conceived directions the algorithms deal out.
Mr. Ogden, who works in sales, spent time with Google Maps and cracked the issue: When people wanted to travel from town to streets in a nearby naval base, the mapping service routed them through Mr. Ogden's lot. He made a spreadsheet, and "there were 47 different streets that would point to our house." He reported them to Google and 20 were fixed, he said. Google said it is working to resolve Mr. Ogden's routes. [...] Google Maps and Apple Maps have support pages and app functions that let users submit edits to directions for review. Some users say corrections can take months to be approved, if they're accepted at all. Residents sometimes must take matters into their own hands.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department
The majority of YouTube videos about the climate crisis oppose the scientific consensus and "hijack" technical terms to make them appear credible, a new study has found. From a report: Researchers have warned that users searching the video site to learn about climate science may be exposed to content that goes against mainstream scientific belief. Dr Joachim Allgaier of RWTH Aachen University in Germany analysed 200 YouTube videos to see if they adhered to or challenged the scientific consensus. To do so, he chose 10 search terms: Chemtrails, climate, climate change, climate engineering, climate hacking, climate manipulation, climate modification, climate science, geoengineering, and global warming.
The videos were then assessed to judge how closely they adhered to the scientific consensus, as represented by the findings of reports by UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) from 2013 onwards. These concluded that humans have been the "dominant cause" of global warming since the 1950s. However, Allgaier found that the message of 120 of the top 200 search results went against this view.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department
An anonymous reader shares a report: For the better part of two years, the folks at Mozilla have been diligently chipping away at Mozilla WebThings, an open implementation of the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) Web of Things standard for monitoring and controlling connected devices. In April, it gained a number of powerful logging, alarm, and networking features, and this week, a revamped component of WebThings -- WebThings Gateway, a privacy- and security-focused software distribution for smart home gateways -- formally debuted. Experimental builds of WebThings Gateway 0.9 are available on GitHub for the Turris Omnia router, with expanded support for routers and developer boards to come down the line. (Separately, there's a new build compatible with the recently announced Raspberry Pi 4.) Mozilla notes that it currently only offers "extremely basic" router configuration and cautions against replacing existing firmware, but the company says that it's a noteworthy milestone in its path to creating a full software distribution for wireless routers.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's new-and-improved department
Alphabet's autonomous driving and robotaxi company Waymo teamed up with fellow Alphabet company and AI specialist DeepMind to develop new training methods that would help makes its training better and more efficient. TechCrunch reports: The two worked together to bring a training method called Population Based Training (PBT for short) to bear on Waymo's challenge of building better virtual drivers, and the results were impressive -- DeepMind says in a blog post that using PBT decreased by 24% false positives in a network that identifies and places boxes around pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists spotted by a Waymo vehicle's many sensors. Not only that, but is also resulted in savings in terms of both training time and resources, using about 50% of both compared to standard methods that Waymo was using previously.
What DeepMind and Waymo did with this experiment was essentially automate killing the "bad" training and replacing them with better-performing spin-offs of the best-in-class networks running the task. That's where evolution comes in, since it's kind of a process of artificial natural selection. Yes, that does make sense -- read it again. In order to avoid potential pitfalls with this method, DeepMind tweaked some aspects after early research, including evaluating models on fast, 15-minute intervals, building out strong validation criteria and example sets to ensure that tests really were building better-performing neural nets for the real world, and not just good pattern-recognition engines for the specific data they'd been fed. Finally, the companies also developed a sort of "island population" approach by building sub-populations of neural nets that only competed with one another in limited groups, similar to how animal populations cut off from larger groups (i.e. limited to islands) develop far different and sometimes better-adapted characteristics versus their large land-mass cousins.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's space-based-weaponry department
France announced plans on Thursday to develop satellites armed with laser weapons that will be used against enemy satellites that threaten the country's space forces. Popular Mechanics reports: In remarks earlier today, French Defense Minister Florence Parly said, "If our satellites are threatened, we intend to blind those of our adversaries. We reserve the right and the means to be able to respond: that could imply the use of powerful lasers deployed from our satellites or from patrolling nano-satellites." "We will develop power lasers, a field in which France has fallen behind," Parly added.
France also plans to develop nano-satellite patrollers -- small satellites that act as bodyguards for larger French space assets by 2023. Per Parly's remarks, nano-sats could be armed with lasers. According to DW, France is also adding cameras to new Syracuse military communications satellites. Additionally France plans to set up its own space force, the "Air and Space Army," as part of the French Air Force. The new organization will be based in Toulouse, but it's not clear if the Air and Space Army will remain part of the French Air Force or become its own service branch.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's hit-hard department
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards has activated a state-wide state of emergency in response to a wave of ransomware infections that have hit multiple school districts. ZDNet reports: The ransomware infections took place this week and have impacted the school districts of three North Louisiana parishes -- Sabine, Morehouse, and Ouachita. IT networks are down at all three school districts, and files have been encrypted and are inaccessible, local media outlets are reporting. By signing the Emergency Declaration, the Louisiana governor is making available state resources to impacted schools. This includes assistance from cybersecurity experts from the Louisiana National Guard, Louisiana State Police, the Office of Technology Services, the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP), and others. State officials hope that additional IT expertise will speed up the recovery process so schools can resume their activity and preparations for the upcoming school year. Earlier today, some residents of Johannesburg have been left without electricity after a ransomware infection.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's more-the-merrier department
With more streaming services coming from WarnerMedia, Apple and Disney, it has people wishing for a single plan to get access to all of them. A new survey from Morning Consult in conjunction with The Hollywood Reporter polled consumers to see how much they'd be willing to pay for access to all their favorite video streaming services. The research reveals that most consumers would like to pay between $17 and $27. From the report: Many Americans who stream media pay for three services at a collective $37 per month, though the optimum price for wooing far more households to multiple streamers is a combined $21 a month, the poll finds. The acceptable range consumers would like to pay for all their streaming offerings is $17 to $27. (The poll uses the Van Westendorp model, which seeks to locate the sweet spot in pricing between what consumers deem "too good to be true" and "too expensive.") The results of the poll may be unwelcome news for WarnerMedia, since its coming product, dubbed HBO Max, is expected to cost consumers as much as $17 monthly, whereas Disney's service, called Disney+, will run only $7 monthly when it kicks off in November. (Netflix has an $8.99 basic plan and $12.99 standard plan.) The poll shows that consumers are willing to pay much more for their cable TV package than they are for streaming, as the poll indicates that 90 percent of U.S. subscribers pay more than $50 per month for their service.
"The poll also found that [...] 26 percent of adult Americans have heard nothing at all about Disney+," according to The Hollywood Reporter. "About 35 percent of American adults have heard nothing of Apple's upcoming product, while 40 percent haven't heard of WarnerMedia's plans and 46 percent haven't heard of NBCU's."Read Replies (0)