By msmash from Slashdot's domino's-effect department
Aaron Levie isn't worried about his company, Box, being regulated -- but he is worried about what happens if the government has to do something about Facebook. From a report: "It's a contagion because it's going to reduce trust in these types of platforms," Levie said on the latest episode of Recode Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher. "The worst-case scenario for us is that Silicon Valley gets so far behind on these issues that we just can't be trusted as an industry," he said. "We rely on the Fortune 500 trusting Silicon Valley's technology, to some extent, for our success. When you see that these tools can be manipulated or they're being used in more harmful ways, or regulators are stamping them down, then that impacts anybody, whether you're consumer or enterprise."Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department
When it was originally released in 1968, audiences didn't really know what to make of "2001: A Space Odyssey". In fact, 250 critics walked out of the New York premiere, literally asking aloud, "What is this bullshit?" [...] Stanley Kubrick himself was always hesitant to offer an explanation of the ending, once telling Playboy, "You're free to speculate as you wish about the philosophical and allegorical meaning of the film -- and such speculation is one indication that it has succeeded in gripping the audience at a deep level -- but I don't want to spell out a verbal road map for 2001 that every viewer will feel obligated to pursue or else fear he's missed the point." But, in a bizarre video, which appeared recently, the director seems to provide a very simple and clear explanation of the "2001: A Space Odyssey" ending. Esquire: It comes from a Japanese paranormal documentary from TV personality Jun'ichi Yaio made during the filming of The Shining. The documentary was never released, but footage was sold on eBay in 2016 and conveniently appeared online this week timed with the movie's 50th anniversary. Kubrick says in the interview: I've tried to avoid doing this ever since the picture came out. When you just say the ideas they sound foolish, whereas if they're dramatized one feels it, but I'll try. The idea was supposed to be that he is taken in by god-like entities, creatures of pure energy and intelligence with no shape or form. They put him in what I suppose you could describe as a human zoo to study him, and his whole life passes from that point on in that room. And he has no sense of time. It just seems to happen as it does in the film. They choose this room, which is a very inaccurate replica of French architecture (deliberately so, inaccurate) because one was suggesting that they had some idea of something that he might think was pretty, but wasn't quite sure. Just as we're not quite sure what do in zoos with animals to try to give them what we think is their natural environment. Anyway, when they get finished with him, as happens in so many myths of all cultures in the world, he is transformed into some kind of super being and sent back to Earth, transformed and made into some sort of superman. We have to only guess what happens when he goes back. It is the pattern of a great deal of mythology, and that is what we were trying to suggest.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department
An anonymous reader shares a report: On Halloween in 1832, the naturalist Charles Darwin was onboard the HMS Beagle. He marveled at spiders that had landed on the ship after floating across huge ocean distances. "I caught some of the Aeronaut spiders which must have come at least 60 miles," he noted in his diary. "How inexplicable is the cause which induces these small insects, as it now appears in both hemispheres, to undertake their aerial excursions." Small spiders achieve flight by aiming their butts at the sky and releasing tendrils of silk to generate lift. Darwin thought that electricity might be involved when he noticed that spider silk stands seemed to repel each other with electrostatic force, but many scientists assumed that the arachnids, known as "ballooning" spiders, were simply sailing on the wind like a paraglider. The wind power explanation has thus far been unable to account for observations of spiders rapidly launching into the air, even when winds are low, however. Now, these aerial excursions have been empirically determined to be largely powered by electricity, according to new research published Thursday in Current Biology. Led by Erica Morley, a sensory biophysicist at the University of Bristol, the study settles a longstanding debate about whether wind energy or electrostatic forces are responsible for spider ballooning locomotion.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's thanks-for-all-fish department
We don't yet know if there's life on other worlds, however likely that is, but NASA's Kepler Mission satellite has helped pinpoint the abundance of planets orbiting other stars starting in May 2009. So far, it has provided data that scientists have used to confirm the existence of 2,650 exoplanets in a field of over 150,000 stars that it's examining. But that long service is about to end, as NASA said this week the craft is running out of fuel. From a report: The space agency has put the satellite into a form of hibernation until August 2, when there's time booked on the Deep Space Network -- a global array of receivers for space missions -- to download data from its 18th observational mission. Following that download, NASA will use the remaining fuel to start a 19th session. Fortunately, its successor is already in place and operational. The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) launched in April 2018, and produced a test image in May. TESS is a massive upgrade, observing almost 400 times the region of space as Kepler, or about 85% of what's observable from its orbit relative to Earth. Kepler is already a survivor, continuing to operate after part of the gyroscope mechanism failed that let it target star fields. Four wheels rotate in the gyroscope to provide a reaction that allows the necessarily precision in tracking, and two of the four failed by May 2013. NASA mission scientists figured out a clever workaround, in which they used pressure from the Sun to provide additional positioning assistance. The mission resumed under the moniker K2 in May 2014.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department
When Jeff Bezos arrives as expected at the Sun Valley conference -- the year's most exclusive meeting of media industry leaders -- he'll know much more about his fellow media moguls than they know about him. And that has them worried, especially as Amazon's advertising business picks up. From a report: Amazon's growing advertising business is poised to challenge the stranglehold Google and Facebook have on the internet's ad dollars, thanks to its growing dominance in e-commerce and growing presence in the media world. Google knows what consumers are interested in, and Facebook knows who you are. But Amazon has what many in the advertising industry regard as the most important piece of the puzzle: what people buy. And the e-commerce giant is starting to capitalize on that data in a big way. "It is definitely growing as a media company, but it is surging in terms of ad revenue," said Advertising Age editor Brian Braiker. "The scary part for marketers is that [data] is all walled off, and if you want the special sauce you have to play by Amazon's rules." Amazon still makes the bulk of its money through the sales of goods and its widely used cloud computing business, Amazon Web Services, but its advertising business is growing. In the first three months of 2018, Amazon reported revenue for its "other" segment, which is largely advertising, rose 139 percent, to $2 billion.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's when-algorithms-get-it-wrong department
CNET reported this week that a musician, who plays guitar and has lots of viewers on YouTube, received an unusual email from the company alleging that he had copied a tune he wrote himself two years ago. From the report: But last month, Paul Davids says he got a rather unusual email from YouTube. The Content ID system had flagged a tune he wrote himself, two years ago, for infringing on someone's else's newer video. Someone who, it seems, stole his backing track to create a new track of his own. [...] "Someone took my track, made their own track, uploaded it to Spotify, YouTube, whatever, and I get a copyright infringement notice? Wait, what?" said Davids. The story has a happy ending -- Davids used YouTube's appeals system to quickly work things out, and let the other artist keep on using his tune. (Davids tracked him down on Facebook Messenger, and the guy apparently admitted he'd downloaded 'a couple of guitar licks' on YouTube.) But it's weird to think YouTube would flag an old video for infringing on a new one, no?Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's pulling-wonders department
One of the hottest PC games in the world -- "PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds," a violent game in which 100 players fight to the death -- hasn't been approved for sale by China's strict regulators. Yet the game is a bonafide hit in China, where more than a third of its active players reside [Editor's note: the link may be paywalled]. The Information reports: Most Chinese players have gotten their hands on PUBG, as the game is widely known, from Steam, a game service that has become the equivalent of an iTunes for PC games around the world. While China's censors have blocked other Western platforms for distributing media, they haven't yet prevented access to Steam, which is operated by the U.S. company Valve. That has made Steam a rare example of a foreign online service that has navigated around China's strict regulations on content, mostly by flying under the radar of authorities, and by being in a medium --games -- with fewer political sensitivities than other categories. [...] Steam appears to operate far more freely in China. A wide array of unapproved titles are available on the service, which is hosted on servers in Hong Kong, a person familiar with the matter said. Those titles include "Grand Theft Auto V" and horror games based on the Walking Dead and Friday the 13th franchises. PUBG is sold on Steam for 98 yuan ($15), about half its retail price elsewhere, a special discount for Chinese players.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's falling-back department
"Following a number of requests from citizens, from the European Parliament, and from certain EU Member States, the Commission has decided to investigate the functioning of the current EU summertime arrangements and to assess whether or not they should be changed."
The EU has launched an official "online consultation" seeking input from the public.
Long-time Slashdot reader mitch0 writes: The consultation was started after some member states expressed the opinion that the daylight saving time should be abolished within the EU. There were some local motions in member countries as well, but these cannot really proceed without full coordination with all member states.
So far it seems that most of those wanting to end the daylight-saving change would stick to summer time all-year round, but the questionnaire has a specific question about this issue so a more representative result is expected after the survey is closed in the middle of August... Citizens can express their opinion about the summer time change by filling out a short online survey.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's antisocial-media department
An anonymous reader quotes the Verge:
On July 3rd, narrative designer Jessica Price tweeted a 29-tweet thread dissecting the challenges of writing player characters in an MMORPG. A streamer who goes by Deroir responded, "Really interesting thread to read! However, allow me to disagree slightly," and shared a three-tweet explanation of how narrative design influences player expression in the sort of games that Price narratively designs. Price both replied directly to Deroir, tweeting "thanks for trying to tell me what we do internally, my dude," and retweeted his response with the caption "today in being a female game dev: 'Allow me -- a person who does not work with you -- to explain to you how you do your job....'"
Price's suggestion that Deroir was mansplaining game development -- an area where he does not have the same knowledge or experience -- sparked anger among the ArenaNet community. She subsequently responded to those criticizing her on Twitter. [Here's the first lines of that tweet. "Since we've got a lot of hurt manfeels today, lemme make something clear: this is my feed. I'm not on the clock here. I'm not your emotional courtesan just because I'm a dev. Don't expect me to pretend to like you here. The attempts of fans to exert ownership over our personal lives and times are something I am hardcore about stopping."] Price was fired shortly after. Although many fans are comparing this to something like working in a restaurant -- be polite to the customer, or get fired -- Price says it's impossible to talk about this incident without larger context about systematic online harassment, particularly the sometimes abusive relationship between fans and game developers and the failure of game companies to address it. "Game companies are generally unwilling to be honest with themselves about how they're complicit in creating and sustaining that environment," she tells The Verge...
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By msmash from Slashdot's next-billion-users department
An anonymous reader shares a report: As Netflix and Amazon search for new users abroad, they are increasingly looking to India as a big market. Once crippled by poor internet infrastructure and low household income, the world's second-largest internet market has exhibited tremendous potential in the recent years. It's proving, however, to be a tough nut to crack for the American streaming leaders. Leading the pack in the nation is Hotstar. Owned by Star India, which is controlled by Twenty-First Century Fox, Hotstar had about 70 percent of the on-demand local streaming services market earlier this year, according to estimates by research firm Jana. The three-and-a-half-year-old service has 150 million monthly active users, CEO Ajit Mohan told CNBC in an interview. Netflix, by contrast, has fewer than one million subscribers in the country, according to industry estimates. Once considered a luxury, an increasingly growing number of Indians are giving online streaming services a try. Companies have taken notice: More than 35 streaming services have launched or expanded their businesses in India in the last three and a half years, with many more planning to enter Bollywood soon. [...] Analysts say sporting events and local content are proving crucial in bringing new users to video platforms and then keeping them online, two areas where international giants are struggling. Hotstar, which offers much of its content to users at no charge (instead relying on ads to make revenue), charges $3 for its premium offering. In contrast, Netflix charges Indians about $8 a month. Sports streaming in particular is helping local firms gain new users, the report said. Slashdot readers will remember Hotstar, which entered the US and Canada markets, setting a new global concurrent record in late April, and now it turns out SonyLiv is getting more concurrent viewers to the FIFA World Cup in India than Fox Sports is generating on its digital platform in the US.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's modest-proposals department
"The wealthy are plotting to leave us behind," writes Douglas Rushkoff, describing what he learned from a high-paying speaking gig about the future of technology for "five super-wealthy guys...from the upper echelon of the hedge fund world," -- and what it says about perceptions of technology today.
The Event. That was their euphemism for the environmental collapse, social unrest, nuclear explosion, unstoppable virus, or Mr. Robot hack that takes everything down. This single question occupied us for the rest of the hour. They knew armed guards would be required to protect their compounds from the angry mobs. But how would they pay the guards once money was worthless? What would stop the guards from choosing their own leader...?
That's when it hit me: At least as far as these gentlemen were concerned, this was a talk about the future of technology. Taking their cue from Elon Musk colonizing Mars, Peter Thiel reversing the aging process, or Sam Altman and Ray Kurzweil uploading their minds into supercomputers, they were preparing for a digital future that had a whole lot less to do with making the world a better place than it did with transcending the human condition altogether and insulating themselves from a very real and present danger of climate change, rising sea levels, mass migrations, global pandemics, nativist panic, and resource depletion. For them, the future of technology is really about just one thing: escape.
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