By msmash from Slashdot's whatever-it-takes department
Perhaps 'Avengers: Endgame' might be able to beat Avatar's massive box office record after all. From a report: Marvel has apparently decided to just re-release the damn thing. An extended version of the damn thing, to be exact. Speaking to Comicbook.com at a press junket for 'Spider-Man: Far From Home', Marvel Studios head honcho Kevin Feige confirmed that 'Endgame' will be getting a renewed push at the box office -- and it's gonna be really soon. To boot, to entice audiences back for another three-hour stint in a movie theater seat, the re-release will include an unknown amount of new footage not seen in the original theatrical cut: "We are doing that. I don't know if it's been announced. And I don't know how much... Yeah, we're doing it next weekend.
Screenrant has a few more details from their own interview with Feige: "Not an extended cut, but there will be a version going into theaters with a bit of a marketing push with a few new things at the end of the movie. If you stay and watch the movie, after the credits, there'll be a deleted scene, a little tribute, and a few surprises. Which will be next weekend."Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's in-some-more-YouTube-news department
The U.S. government is in the late stages of an investigation into YouTube for its handling of children's videos, The Washington Post reported on Wednesday, citing four people familiar with the matter, a probe that threatens the company with a potential fine and already has prompted the tech giant to reevaluate some of its business practices. From the report: The Federal Trade Commission launched the investigation after numerous complaints from consumer groups and privacy advocates, according to the four people, who requested anonymity because such probes are supposed to be confidential. The complaints contended that YouTube, which is owned by Google, failed to protect kids who used the streaming-video service and improperly collected their data. As the investigation has progressed, YouTube executives in recent months have accelerated internal discussions about broad changes to how the platform handles children's videos, according to a person familiar with the company's plans. That includes potential changes to its algorithm for recommending and queuing up videos for users, including kids, part of an ongoing effort at YouTube over the past year and a half to overhaul its software and policies to prevent abuse.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department
An anonymous reader shares a report: Facebook unveiled its audacious Libra cryptocurrency and Calibra digital wallet on Tuesday through which it plans to transform financial services across the globe. The social juggernaut made clear of its ambitions when it said that it wishes to empower more than 1.7 billion people around the world who currently do not have a bank account. But potentially an equally large group of people would not be able to use Facebook's new digital payments service when it begins rollout next year.
Responding to queries from TechCrunch, a Calibra spokesperson said that the digital wallet will not be rolling out to a number of markets that have taken a stand against cryptocurrency, or are sanctioned by the United States. "The Libra Blockchain will be global, but it will be up to custodial wallet providers to determine where they will and will not operate. Calibra won't be available in US-sanctioned countries or countries that ban cryptocurrencies," the spokesperson told TechCrunch. TechCrunch understands that India, Facebook's biggest market, is among the list of countries where Calibra does not intend to launch. Additionally, Calibra isn't going to be available in China, North Korea, and Iran, too, where Facebook does not currently have a presence. Further reading: Proposed Law in India Would Imprison Anyone Who Uses Cryptocurrency.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's moving-forward department
An anonymous reader shares a report: Over 70 million records were stolen or leaked from poorly configured databases last year, making privacy a top concern. That's no doubt one motivation behind Google's open-sourcing this morning of Private Join and Compute, a new secure multi-party computation (MPC) tool designed to help organizations work together with confidential data sets. "We continually invest in new research to advance innovations that preserve individual privacy while enabling valuable insights from data," wrote engineering director Sarvar Patel and research scientist Moti Yung in a blog post. "Many important research, business, and social questions can be answered by combining data sets from independent parties, where each party holds their own information about a set of shared identifiers, some of which are common."
At its core, Private Join and Compute lets organizations gain aggregated insights about the other party's data. They're able to encrypt identifiers and associated data, join them, and then perform calculations on the overlapping corpora to draw useful information. All identifiers and their associated data remain fully encrypted and unreadable throughout the process. While neither party is forced to reveal their raw data, they can answer questions at hand using outputs of the computation -- for instance, counts, sums, and averages. Private Join and Compute achieves this with two cryptographic privacy methods devised to protect sensitive data: Private set intersection and homomorphic encryption.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's can't-hurt department
YouTube and Universal Music Group have teamed up to revamp more than 1,000 videos from artists including Lady Gaga, Tom Petty, Billy Idol and the Spice Girls. From a report: The goal is to "ensure current and future generations will get to enjoy these timeless classics as they've never before been experienced." At launch, 100 music videos have already been remastered and are available "in the highest available video and audio quality." This includes: Billy Idol, Beastie Boys, Boyz II Men, George Strait, Janet Jackson, Kiss, Lady Antebellum, Lady Gaga, Lionel Richie, Maroon 5, Meat Loaf, No Doubt/Gwen Stefani, Smokey Robinson, The Killers, Kiss, and Tom Petty.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's existential-crisis department
At a convention on digital currency, rarely does an audience Q&A session include a question as incendiary as, "Why is this fraud allowed to speak at this conference?" But that's how a discussion about Bitcoin ended up last year in Seoul. From a report: The supposed fraud is Craig Wright, an Australian-born technologist who gained notoriety three years ago when he declared himself the inventor of Bitcoin. The provocateur is Vitalik Buterin, a baby-faced Russian-Canadian programmer who helped create another popular digital currency called Ether. No one disputes Buterin's role in Ether; many reject Wright's claim to be Satoshi Nakamoto, the mysterious genius behind Bitcoin.
Wright is a comic-book supervillain for some in the world of cryptocurrency. Buterin's rant was applauded by a handful of people at the conference, including one of the panelists and a man on the sidelines wearing a vest and metallic fiber shirt. It had the feel of an impromptu live performance of a Twitter flame war. The whole thing lasted 90 seconds. Footage recorded from the crowd provided an amusing YouTube video and sparked a fresh round of tweets mocking Wright. That appeared to be that, until a year later when Buterin received a letter from Wright's attorney. The legal notice, dated April 12, said Wright intends to sue Buterin in the U.K. for defamation. Less than a week later, Wright filed suit with similar claims against a podcaster named Peter McCormack, seeking 100,000 pounds ($129,000) in damages. And on May 2, Wright's lawyers served Roger Ver, an early Bitcoin investor, at a cryptocurrency meet-up in London.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's air-delivery department
Amazon announced this morning the expansion of its own air delivery network, Amazon Air. "The retailer says it's leasing an additional 15 Boeing 737-800 cargo aircraft from partner GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS)," reports TechCrunch. "These will join the five Boeing 737-800's already leased from GECAS, announced earlier this year. The aircraft will fly out of more than 20 U.S. air gateways in the Amazon Air network." From the report: In addition, Amazon says it will open more air facilities in 2019, including at Fort Worth Alliance Airport, Wilmington Air Park and Chicago Rockford International Airport. Meanwhile, the main Air Hub at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport will open in 2021. The Amazon Air network, then called Prime Air, was first launched in 2016, with the goal of speeding up Amazon's e-commerce deliveries, particularly for its Prime members. But over the years, the competition with partners-slash-rivals like FedEx have heated up -- and not only on air cargo, but also in newer areas like ground delivery robots and drones.
At the end of last year, Amazon announced more aircraft additions for Amazon Air, bumping the network from 40 planes to 50. Today, it says it's on track to reach 70 planes by 2021, thanks to this new expansion. The company also claims to have created thousands of U.S. jobs thanks to Amazon's investment of millions into its air network.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's possibly-habitable department
A tiny, old star just 12 light-years away might host two temperate, rocky planets, astronomers announced today. If they're confirmed, both of the newly spotted worlds are nearly identical to Earth in mass, and both planets are in orbits that could allow liquid water to trickle and puddle on their surfaces. National Geographic reports: Scientists estimate that the stellar host, known as Teegarden's star, is at least eight billion years old, or nearly twice the sun's age. That means any planets orbiting it are presumably as ancient, so life as we know it has had more than enough time to evolve. And for now, the star is remarkably quiet, with few indications of the tumultuous stellar quakes and flares that tend to erupt from such objects.
The two worlds orbit a star so faint that it wasn't even spotted until 2003, when NASA astrophysicist Bonnard Teegarden was mining astronomical data sets and looking for dim, nearby dwarf stars that had so far evaded detection. Teegarden's star is a stellar runt that's barely 9 percent of the sun's mass. It's known as an ultra-cool M dwarf, and it emits most of its light in the infrared -- just like the star TRAPPIST-1, which hosts seven known rocky planets. But Teegarden's star is just a third as far from Earth as the TRAPPIST-1 system, which makes it ideal for further characterization. The team of astronomers reported their findings in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's copy-+-paste department
Magic Leap, a secretive U.S. startup that makes a $2,295 augmented-reality headset, filed a lawsuit Monday accusing one of its former engineers of stealing its technology to create his own AR device for China. Bloomberg reports: In a lawsuit filed Monday, Magic Leap alleges that Chi Xu, who left in 2016, exploited its confidential information to "quickly develop a prototype of lightweight, ergonomically designed, mixed reality glasses for use with smart phones and other devices that are strikingly similar" to the Florida-based startup's designs. The lawsuit marks the latest accusation from an American firm of intellectual property theft by Chinese companies, a perennial sore point that's helped escalate tensions between the world's two largest economies. With more than $2 billion in financing, Magic Leap is one of the better-funded startups delving into so-called augmented or mixed reality, a technology that gives users the illusion that fantastical, three-dimensional digital objects exist in the physical world.
Xu, who founded Beijing-based Hangzhou Tairuo Technology Co., also known as Nreal, unveiled his own augmented reality glasses at a major Las Vegas trade show in January, touting them as lighter than the Magic Leap One, Forbes has reported. Magic Leap released its headset last August after seven years of secretive work and more than $2 billion of investment. The startup alleges that Xu plotted during his roughly 13 months working there to launch his own competing company in China and "neglected his work duties" to acquire proprietary information. Xu is accused in the suit of breach of contract, fraud and unfair competition.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's symbiotic-relationships department
Earlier today, Facebook announced its cryptocurrency "Libra" and the nonprofit association that will oversee it. "But behind Facebook's ambitions to create a quasi-nation state ruled by mostly corporate interests is a secret weapon, one the company hopes it can use to create another platform used by billions of people -- and generate enormous new revenue streams along the way," reports The Verge. "It's called Calibra, and it's a new subsidiary of Facebook the company is launching to build financial services and software on top of the Libra blockchain." From the report: At first blush, Calibra resembles a fairly standard payments company -- but its tight integration with Facebook's enormous user base could give it a significant advantage over any rivals. Thanks to its proximity to the technical development of Libra, and its ability to leverage WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram, Calibra could very well become Facebook's next big thing. Calibra's immediate goal is to develop and launch its own digital cryptocurrency wallet, and integrate that wallet into other Facebook products. The company will become a member of the nonprofit Libra Association and have equal voting power the other partners as Facebook's official representative, which include Uber, Lyft, eBay, and PayPal, along with several other tech companies, financial service providers, venture capitalists, and fellow nonprofits. That way, Facebook can say it does not solely control the currency or the network by itself. It also gets the benefit of having twice the representation as other companies, at least for now.
< article continued at Slashdot's symbiotic-relationships department
>Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's solar-driven department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Phys.Org: Researchers in Rice's Laboratory for Nanophotonics (LANP) this week showed they could boost the efficiency of their solar-powered desalination system by more than 50% simply by adding inexpensive plastic lenses to concentrate sunlight into "hot spots." The results are available online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "The typical way to boost performance in solar-driven systems is to add solar concentrators and bring in more light," said Pratiksha Dongare, a graduate student in applied physics at Rice's Brown School of Engineering and co-lead author of the paper. "The big difference here is that we're using the same amount of light. We've shown it's possible to inexpensively redistribute that power and dramatically increase the rate of purified water production."
In conventional membrane distillation, hot, salty water is flowed across one side of a sheetlike membrane while cool, filtered water flows across the other. The temperature difference creates a difference in vapor pressure that drives water vapor from the heated side through the membrane toward the cooler, lower-pressure side. Scaling up the technology is difficult because the temperature difference across the membrane -- and the resulting output of clean water -- decreases as the size of the membrane increases. Rice's "nanophotonics-enabled solar membrane distillation" (NESMD) technology addresses this by using light-absorbing nanoparticles to turn the membrane itself into a solar-driven heating element. Dongare and colleagues, including study co-lead author Alessandro Alabastri, coat the top layer of their membranes with low-cost, commercially available nanoparticles that are designed to convert more than 80% of sunlight energy into heat. The solar-driven nanoparticle heating reduces production costs, and Rice engineers are working to scale up the technology for applications in remote areas that have no access to electricity.Read Replies (0)