By BeauHD from Slashdot's prime-for-weaponization department
In response to a mother's inquiry into why her son's gymnastics videos were deemed not advertiser friendly, YouTube said on Twitter it has "taken a number of actions to better protect the YouTube community from content that endangers minors." The video-sharing website went on to say something very concerning for anyone who has ever uploaded a video to the site: "... even if your video is suitable for advertisers, inappropriate comments could result in your video receiving limited or no ads (yellow icon)."
Essentially, what YouTube is saying is that if someone leaves a "incendiary or demeaning" comment, or one with "inappropriate language," the video which features that comment could get demonetized and the content creator would not generate money from it. If you've ever read a comment thread on YouTube, it shouldn't take long for you to realize how big of an issue this could become. According to YouTube's "advertiser-friendly content guidelines," the following content may not be suitable for most advertisers: "controversial issues and sensitive events," "drugs and dangerous products or substances," "harmful or dangerous acts," "harmful or dangerous acts," "hateful content," "inappropriate language," "inappropriate use of family entertainment characters," "incendiary and demeaning [content]," "sexually suggestive content," and/or "violence." The best advice for circumventing this issue is to disable comments entirely, but this would significantly reduce the interaction between the YouTuber and the viewer. "If this is our new reality we're going to need the ability to restrict comments from accounts under 1-4 weeks old," says news commentator and YouTube personality Philip DeFranco. "Sounds like this is prime for weaponization. Also it would probably be best to have an official blog post instead of my tweet as a reference for this change."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's unintended-consequences department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from MIT Technology Review: The brains of two genetically-edited girls born in China last year may have been changed in ways that enhance cognition and memory, scientists say. The twins, called Lulu and Nana, were modified using CRISPR, a new gene-editing tool, by a Chinese scientific team to make the girls immune to infection by HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Now, new research shows the same genetic alteration introduced into the girls' DNA, to a gene called CCR5, not only makes mice smarter, but also improves human brain recovery after stroke, and could be linked to greater success in school.
"The answer is likely yes, it did affect their brains," says Alcino J. Silva, a neurobiologist at the University of California, Los Angeles. Silva's lab lab has been uncovering a major new role for the CCR5 gene in memory formation and the brain's ability to form new connections. "The simplest interpretation is that those mutations will probably have an impact on cognitive function in the twins," says Silva. He says the exact effect on the girls cognition is impossible to predict and "that is why it should not be done." The Chinese designer babies were created to be resistant to HIV. A team in Shenzhen, China, led by Southern University of Science and Technology He Jiankui used the gene-editing tool CRISPR to delete a single gene, called CCR5, from human embryos, some of which were later used to create pregnancies. The virus that causes AIDS requires the CCR5 gene to enter human blood cells. The scientist, He Jiankui of the Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, China, has been fired from the university as He is under investigation in China. There is no evidence that He actually set out to modify the twins' intelligence.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's ready-or-not-here-it-comes department
Verizon has announced plans to turn on its 5G mobile network in 30 U.S. cities this year. "It revealed the plan during an investor meeting Thursday, though didn't disclose the list of cities," reports Engadget. From the report: Verizon already offers home broadband service via 5G in Los Angeles, Houston, Indianapolis and Sacramento. This month, it hinted at upcoming rollouts in New York City and Atlanta, as well as Medford, Massachusetts, suggesting Verizon will bring 5G to nearby Boston too. The provider plans to flip the switch on its mobile 5G network in the first half of this year, and it will expand its home 5G service to more markets later in 2019. One of the first phones to support Verizon's nascent 5G network will be the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, which was unveiled yesterday at Samsung's Unpacked event. The device has a larger screen and battery than the S10 Plus, and will temporarily be a Verizon exclusive before expanding to other carriers in the weeks after launch. It's slated to go on sale sometime "in the first half of 2019."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's only-time-will-tell department
Consumer Reports is pulling its recommendation of the Tesla Model 3, citing reliability issues with the car. "Tesla buyers are more likely to be satisfied with their car than customers of any other brand, according to Consumer Reports," reports CNN. "Yet the publication says many customers reported problems with the Model 3, including loose body trim and glass defects." From the report: "Consumers expect their cars to last -- and not be in the repair shop. That's why reliability is so important," said Jake Fisher, senior director of automotive testing at Consumer Reports.
Tesla pointed to its overall customer satisfaction rating from Consumer Reports and said it has corrected many of the problems found in the survey.
"We take feedback from our customers very seriously and quickly implement improvements any time we hear about issues," said the company statement. It said the survey was conducted from July through September, "so the vast majority of these issues have already been corrected through design and manufacturing improvements, and we are already seeing a significant improvement in our field data." Last May, the product testing website failed to give the Model 3 a recommendation due to issues with braking, but ultimately reversed its decision after Tesla released a firmware update improving the car's breaking distance by nearly 20 feet.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's time-to-buy-some-stickers department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from BuzzFeed News: A viral photo showing a camera in a Singapore Airlines in-flight TV display recently caused an uproar online. The image was retweeted hundreds of times, with many people expressing concern about the privacy implications. As it turns out, some seat-back screens in American Airlines' premium economy class have them, too. Sri Ray was aboard an American Airlines Boeing 777-200 flight to Tokyo in September 2018 when he noticed something strange: a camera embedded in the seat back of his entertainment system. The cameras are also visible in this June 2017 review of the airline's premium economy offering by the Points Guy, as well as this YouTube video by Business Traveller magazine.
American Airlines spokesperson Ross Feinstein confirmed to BuzzFeed News that cameras are present on some of the airlines' in-flight entertainment systems, but said "they have never been activated, and American is not considering using them." Feinstein added, "Cameras are a standard feature on many in-flight entertainment systems used by multiple airlines. Manufacturers of those systems have included cameras for possible future uses, such as hand gestures to control in-flight entertainment." After Twitter user Vitaly Kamluk saw a similar lens on Singapore Airlines and tweeted photos of the system last week, the airline responded from its official Twitter account, saying the cameras were "disabled." Still, the airlines could quell passengers' concerns by covering the lenses with a plastic cover, if indeed there is no use for the camera.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's moving-forward department
Japan, a country which frequently suffers natural calamities such as tsunamis, typhoons, and earthquakes is looking to further harness the power of batteries used in electric vehicles (EVs) during such disasters, local media reports. From a report: Nissan, which produces the Leaf, the world's best-selling EV model, plans to hold an event in March to let people stay overnight in their cars and try using the electricity stored in their car batteries to simulate the experience of being in an emergency, according to Japanese newswire Jiji. A fully charged electric vehicle can supply power to a standard home for up to four days, a Nissan official told the news outlet. The company last year came to an agreement with Tokyo's Nerima Ward and the city of Yokosuka to provide EVs for free in emergency situations. Nerima also last year (link in Japanese) implemented a system whereby owners of EVs would be able to loan their vehicles out for free to those in need during a disaster, and also started using EVs for its fleet of police patrol cars.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's unravelling-mysteries department
Contrary to general belief that Earth's atmosphere stops a bit over 62 miles from the surface, a new study based on observations made over two decades ago by the joint US-European Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) satellite shows that it actually extends as far 391,000 miles (630,000 km) or 50 times the Earth's diameter. This makes the Moon a very high altitude aircraft. From a report: Launched on December 2, 1995 atop an Atlas IIAS launcher from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, SOHO is parked in the first Lagrange point (L1) 930,000 miles (1.5 million km) from Earth where it has carried out studies of the Sun and the solar winds, and will continue to do so until at least 2020. From this vantage point, the observatory's Solar Wind Anisotropie (SWAN) instrument is able to measure the presence of hydrogen by looking at the Lyman-alpha line in the solar spectrum. And what works for the Sun, works for Earth. By turning SWAN on the Earth at the right times of the year, SOHO was able to detect hydrogen atoms from the atmosphere and measure how far out they extend into what space scientists call the geocorona. While the existence of the geocorona is well known -- the telescope set up by the Apollo 16 astronauts on the Moon even photographed it -- no one was sure how far out it reaches until now.
By looking at data collected by SOHO in the mid 1990s, scientists from Russia's Space Research Institute and elsewhere were able to work out the extent and density of the geocorona. What they found was that sunlight on the day side of the Earth compresses the hydrogen until it reaches a density of 70 atoms per cubic cm at an altitude of 37,000 miles (60,000 km), and on the night side it can expand out until it has a density of only 0.2 atoms per cubic cm at the distance of the Moon's orbit. According to the study leader Igor Baliukin, the geocorona is so tenuous that it poses no hazard to astronauts or spacecraft.Read Replies (0)