By BeauHD from Slashdot's rising-from-the-ashes department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from BuzzFeed: Two years ago, people were writing eulogies for Twitter. Rudderless and without product direction, the company was losing users and advertisers, and seemed unable to contain a metastasizing trolling crisis that was destroying its credibility. Employees left by the dozens and then got laid off by the hundreds. It tried to sell, and failed at that too. The press, Wall Street, and the public were merciless. The New Yorker declared it "The End of Twitter." Analyst Michael Nathanson said that at $14 per share there was "no compelling reason to own the stock," and his counterparts applied "sell" ratings in bunches. Over a single weekend in February 2016, more than one million people tweeted "#RIPTwitter."
But then, even as those eulogies were being published, things started changing. Twitter began beating earnings expectations. Star ex-employees trickled back in, finding a new, more positive internal culture than the toxic one they'd left. Advertisers came back too, as did users. The company finally began addressing its trolling problem. And its stock, once unappealing to analysts like Nathanson at $14, is now trading above $46. It's still somewhat taboo to say it, but it's no longer possible to deny it: Twitter is making an unexpected, somewhat miraculous comeback. It is the first major consumer social company to lose users and start growing again in a meaningful way. The report mentions four major factors that led to Twitter's resurgence: "Its acceptance it would never be Facebook, leading to a decision to focus on news as Facebook pulled back. Its move to aggressively add premium live video to its service. Its CEO Jack Dorsey's directive to its product team to rethink everything. And a key component of many great comebacks: luck."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's something-doesn't-add-up-here department
According to a new book entitled "Megalith," which was released on June 21 to coincide with summer solstice, ancient humans who designed Stonehenge followed Pythagoras' theorem 2,000 years before his birth, around 2500 B.C. The theorem states that the square of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the other two squares on the triangle. TechTimes reports: [The theorem] was developed by ancient Greek mathematician Pythagoras, who was born in 570 B.C. However, Stonehenge was assembled 2,000 years before his birth, around 2500 B.C. This theory suggests that these ancient humans were smarter than what people give them credit for. In order to use Pythagoras' theorem, they had to be really skilled at geometry.
"We think these people didn't have scientific minds but first and foremost they were astronomers and cosmologists," John Matineau, the editor of the book, told the Telegraph. "They were studying long and difficult to understand cycles and they knew about these when they started planning sites like Stonehenge."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's first-of-its-kind department
hyperclocker shares a report from CCN: Thursday marked a historic day for bitcoin, as the flagship cryptocurrency made its first appearance in an opinion published by the U.S. Supreme Court. The case, Wisconsin Central Ltd. v. United States, did not involve bitcoin's regulatory or legal status. Rather, it examined whether employee stock options represent taxable compensation under the Railroad Retirement Tax Act of 1937. That may seem like an unlikely place for a discussion of bitcoin to appear, however, as justices noted in both the majority and dissenting opinions, the case forced them to consider a fundamental question that has also taken on a renewed importance in the decade following the publication of the Bitcoin white paper: "What is money?" "Ultimately, the 5-4 majority ruled that employees should not be taxed for exercising stock options since the action does not constitute 'money remuneration,'" the report adds. "However, writing in a dissenting opinion, Justice Stephen Breyer argued for a 'broader understanding of money' and said that stock options should be classified as taxable compensation."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's taste-test department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: Creator's transparent burger robot doesn't grind your brisket and chuck steak into a gourmet patty until you order it. That's just one way this startup, formerly known as Momentum Machines, wants to serve the world's freshest cheeseburger for just $6. On June 27th, after eight years in development, Creator unveils its first robot restaurant before opening to the public in September. Here's how Creator's burger-cooking bot works at its 680 Folsom Street location in San Francisco. Once you order your burger style through a human concierge on a tablet, a compressed air tube pushes a baked-that-day bun into an elevator on the right. It's sawed in half by a vibrating knife before being toasted and buttered as it's lowered to conveyor belt. Sauces measured by the milliliter and spices by the gram are automatically squirted onto the bun. Whole pickles, tomatoes, onions and blocks of nice cheese get slices shaved off just a second before they're dropped on top.
Meanwhile, the robot grinds hormone-free, pasture-raised brisket and chuck steak to order. But rather than mash them all up, the strands of meat hang vertically and are lightly pressed together. They form a loose but auto-griddleable patty that's then plopped onto the bun before the whole package slides out of the machine after a total time of about five minutes. The idea is that when you bite into the burger, your teeth align with the vertical strands so instead of requiring harsh chewing it almost melts in your mouth. TechCrunch has produced a video about the company on YouTube.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is used in the production of a wide variety of food and drink products. But with at least five CO2 producers across northern Europe offline, a shortfall in the gas is causing shortages in beer, fizzy drinks, and meat. From a report: Britain is particularly affected because the seasonal shutdown of the plants has meant that the UK has only one big plant producing CO2 left. The British Beer and Pub Association, along with individual beer producers and pubs, has warned of the crisis caused by the shortage. Without naming companies, the trade association said the shortfall has caused beer production shortages. Heineken, the UK's biggest brewer, said its CO2 supplier was facing "a major issue" in the UK. Meanwhile, one of Britain's biggest pub chains, Wetherspoons, said it'll be forced to pull a number of beers and fizzy drinks from its menu soon.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's stranger-things department
"It wasn't the first time my key card failed, I assumed it was time to replace it." So began a sequence of events that saw Ibrahim Diallo fired from his job, not by his manager but by a machine. From a report: He has detailed his story in a blogpost which he hopes will serve as a warning to firms about relying too much on automation. "Automation can be an asset to a company, but there needs to be a way for humans to take over if the machine makes a mistake," he writes. The story of Mr Diallo's sacking by machine began when his entry pass to the Los Angeles skyscraper where his office was based failed to work, forcing him to rely on the security guard to allow him entry. "As soon as I got to my floor, I went to see my manager to let her know. She promised to order me a new one right away." And that was just the beginning. Mr Diallo soon realized that he was logged out of his work system and "inactive" status was appearing next to his name, his colleagues told him. He was then informed by his recruiter, who was just as puzzled, that his contract has been terminated. Next day, says Mr Diallo, he was locked out of every system, except his Linux machine. Things continued to go south, as two people approached Mr Diallo to escort him out of the building. The story continues: It took Mr Diallo's bosses three weeks to find out why he had been sacked. His firm was going through changes, both in terms of the systems it used and the people it employed. His original manager had been recently laid off and sent to work from home for the rest of his time at the firm and in that period he had not renewed Mr Diallo's contract in the new system. After that, machines took over -- flagging him as an ex-employee. "All the necessary orders are sent automatically and each order completion triggers another order. For example, when the order for disabling my key card is sent, there is no way of it to be re-enabled. "Once it is disabled, an email is sent to security about recently dismissed employees. Scanning the key card is a red flag. The order to disable my Windows account is also sent. There is also one for my Jira account. And on and on."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's cause-and-effect department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: When studying populations of a flounder-like North Sea fish called plaice in the early 1900's, a man named Heincke noticed that older, larger fish are found deeper in the water than younger, smaller fish. The same phenomenon was subsequently found for other North Atlantic species like cod, haddock, pollock, and some species of flatfish; it was thus dubbed Heincke's Law and treated as an established fact. Biologists assumed it was ontogenic in nature, meaning that it must be connected to how the fish age and mature.
All the species in which older, bigger fish are found in deeper water have something else in common: we eat them. Could it be, some Canadian scientists wondered, that all the big fish are found in deeper water because we fished them out of shallower water? Apparently (and somewhat astonishingly) this possibility had never been evaluated. And the scientists found that not only could this be the case -- it in fact was. "[T]he researchers added a simulation in which the depth and mass of fish were tied to the rate of mortality by fishing," the report adds. "When set to mimic the actual fishing rate over the two decades spanning the dataset, the model outcomes were consistent with both the new and old fish data. When fishing mortality rates were increased in the model, larger fish moved progressively deeper. And when fishing rates were set to zero in the model, there was no age-related deepening seen at all." The study has been published in the PNAS journal.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's ready-aim-fire department
On Wednesday, Instagram launched a new long-form video portal called IGTV, "marking one of the biggest shifts in the app's history," reports NBC News. The new app will rival YouTube, allowing people to post videos up to one hour in length and start their own channels. One of the key differences between IGTV and YouTube will be the user interface: IGTV will be in the vertical format. From the report: IGTV will be a part of Instagram's explore tab and will also be a standalone app, where people can watch vertical videos from "many hundreds of creators" who Instagram worked with to help populate the platform ahead of the launch. Some accounts have privileges letting them post videos lasting as long as an hour, co-founder Kevin Systrom said.
"Right now, we are focused on building engagement, and right now, there are no ads in IGTV from day one," Systrom said, adding that he sees an opportunity for creators to monetize their followings in the future, similar to how they already can on YouTube. Systrom said IGTV is run by a small team, but noted that the company would be staffing up its moderation team to ensure content on the new platform adheres to Instagram's rules.Read Replies (0)