By BeauHD from Slashdot's lost-and-found department
Iwastheone shares a reprot from Science Magazine: Circling our galaxy is a stealthy giant. Astronomers have discovered a dwarf galaxy, called Antlia 2, that is one-third the size of the Milky Way itself. As big as the Large Magellanic Cloud, the galaxy's largest companion, Antlia 2 eluded detection until now because it is 10,000 times fainter. Such a strange beast challenges models of galaxy formation and dark matter, the unseen stuff that helps pull galaxies together. The galaxy was discovered with data from the European Space Agency's Gaia satellite, a space telescope measuring the motions and properties of more than 1 billion stars in and around the Milky Way. Gabriel Torrealba, an astronomy postdoc at the Academia Sinica in Taipei, decided to sift the data for RR Lyrae stars. These old stars, often found in dwarf galaxies, shine with a throbbing blue light that pulses at a rate signaling their inherent brightness, allowing researchers to pin down their distance.
Gaia data helped the team see past the foreground stars. Objects in the Milky Way's disk are close enough for Gaia to measure their parallax: a shift in their apparent position as Earth moves around the sun. More distant stars appear fixed in one spot. After removing the parallax-bearing stars, the researchers homed in on more than 100 red giant stars moving together in the constellation Antlia, they report in a paper posted to the preprint server arXiv this week. The giants mark out a sprawling companion galaxy 100 times less massive than anything of similar size, with far fewer stars.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's bleeding-edge department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Science Magazine: We know the menagerie of microbes in the gut has powerful effects on our health. Could some of these same bacteria be making a home in our brains? A poster presented here this week at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience drew attention with high-resolution microscope images of bacteria apparently penetrating and inhabiting the cells of healthy human brains. The work is preliminary, and its authors are careful to note that their tissue samples, collected from cadavers, could have been contaminated. But to many passersby in the exhibit hall, the possibility that bacteria could directly influence processes in the brain -- including, perhaps, the course of neurological disease -- was exhilarating.
Talking hoarsely above the din of the exhibit hall on Tuesday evening, neuroanatomist Rosalinda Roberts of The University of Alabama in Birmingham (UAB), told attendees about a tentative finding that, if true, suggests an unexpectedly intimate relationship between microbes and the brain. Her lab looks for differences between healthy people and those with schizophrenia by examining slices of brain tissue preserved in the hours after death. About 5 years ago, neuroscientist Courtney Walker, then an undergraduate in Roberts's lab, became fascinated by unidentified rod-shaped objects that showed up in finely detailed images of these slices, captured with an electron microscope. Roberts had seen the shapes before. "But I just dismissed them, because I was looking for something else," she says. "I would say 'Oh, here are those things again.'" But Walker was persistent, and Roberts started to consult colleagues at UAB. This year, a bacteriologist gave her unexpected news: They were bacteria. Her team has now found bacteria somewhere in every brain they've checked -- 34 in all -- about half of them healthy, and half from people with schizophrenia.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's ready-or-not-here-they-come department
Alphabet's self-driving car company Waymo is planning to launch the world's first commercial driverless car service in early December. According to Bloomberg, citing a person familiar with the plans, the service "will operate under a new brand and compete directly with Uber and Lyft." From the report: Waymo is keeping the new name a closely guarded secret until the formal announcement. It's a big milestone for self-driving cars, but it won't exactly be a "flip-the-switch" moment. Waymo isn't planning a splashy media event, and the service won't be appearing in an app store anytime soon. Instead, things will start small -- perhaps dozens or hundreds of authorized riders in the suburbs around Phoenix, covering about 100 square miles.
The first wave of customers will likely draw from Waymo's Early Rider Program -- a test group of 400 volunteer families who have been riding Waymos for more than a year. The customers who move to the new service will be released from their non-disclosure agreements, which means they'll be free to talk about it, snap selfies, and take friends or even members of the media along for rides. New customers in the Phoenix area will be gradually phased in as Waymo adds more vehicles to its fleet to ensure a balance of supply and demand. The report notes that some backup drivers will be placed in the cars when the service launches, and the cars themselves will be heavily modified Chrysler Pacifica minivans.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's shaping-up-fast department
Google has announced that it's absorbing DeepMind Health, a part of its London-based AI lab DeepMind. "In a blog post, DeepMind's founders said it was a 'major milestone' for the company that would help turn its Streams app -- which it developed to help the UK's National Health Service (NHS) -- into 'an AI-powered assistant for nurses and doctors' that combines 'the best algorithms with intuitive design,'" reports The Verge. "Currently, the Streams app is being piloted in the UK as a way to help health care practitioners manage patients." From the report: DeepMind says its Streams team will remain in London and that it's committed to carrying out ongoing work with the NHS. These include a number of ambitious research projects, such as using AI to spot eye disease in routine scans. The news is potentially controversial given the upset in the UK caused by one of DeepMind's early deals with the NHS. The country's data watchdogs ruled in 2017 that a partnership DeepMind struck with the NHS was illegal, as individuals hadn't been properly informed about how their medical data would be used.
Another consistent worry for privacy advocates in the UK has been the prospect of Google getting its hands on this sort of information. It's not clear what the absorption of the Streams team into Google means in that context, but we've reached out to DeepMind for clarification. According to a report from CNBC, the independent review board DeepMind set up to oversee its health work will likely be shut down as a result of the move. More broadly speaking, the news clearly signals Google's ambitions in health care and its desire to get the most of its acquisition of the London AI lab. There have reportedly been long-standing tensions between DeepMind and Google, with the latter wanting to commercialize the former's work. Compared to Google, DeepMind has positioned itself as a cerebral home for long-sighted research, attracting some of the world's best AI talent in the process.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's always-make-a-backup department
Freelance videographer Dave Cooper has filed a class action lawsuit against Adobe, alleging that an update to Premiere Pro came with a flaw in the way it handles file management that resulted in the deletion of 500 hours of video clips that he claims were worth around $250,000. Adobe has since patched the bug. Gizmodo reports: Premiere creates redundant video files that are stored in a "Media Cache" folder while a user is working on a project. This takes up a lot of hard drive space, and Cooper instructed the video editing suite to place the folder inside a "Videos" directory on an external hard drive, according to court documents. The "Videos" folder contained footage that wasn't associated with a Premiere project, which should've been fine. When a user is done working on a project they typically clear the "Media Cache" and move on with their lives. Unfortunately, Cooper says that when he initiated the "Clean Cache" function it indiscriminately deleted the contents of his "Videos" folder forever.
Cooper claims that he lost around 100,000 individual clips and that it cost him close to $250,000 to capture that footage. After spending three days trying to recover the data, he admitted that all was lost, the lawsuit says. He also apparently lost work files for edits he was working on and says that he's missed out on subsequent licensing opportunities. On behalf of himself and other users who wish to join the suit, he's asking the court for a jury trial and is seeking "monetary damages, including but not limited to any compensatory, incidental, or consequential damages in an amount that the Court or jury will determine, in accordance with applicable law."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's not-fucking-around department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: Nintendo has won a lawsuit seeking to take two large retro-game ROM sites offline, on charges of copyright infringement. The judgement, made public today, ruled in Nintendo's favor and states that the owners of the sites LoveROMS.com and LoveRETRO.co, will have to pay a total settlement of $12 million to Nintendo. The complaint was originally filed by the company in an Arizona federal court in July, and has since lead to a swift purge of self-censorship by popular retro and emulator ROM sites, who have feared they may be sued by Nintendo as well.
LoveROMS.com and LoveRETRO.co were the joint property of couple Jacob and Cristian Mathias, before Nintendo sued them for what they have called "brazen and mass-scale infringement of Nintendo's intellectual property rights." The suit never went to court; instead, the couple sought to settle after accepting the charge of direct and indirect copyright infringement. TorrentFreak reports that a permanent injunction, prohibiting them from using, sharing, or distributing Nintendo ROMs or other materials again in the future, has been included in the settlement. Additionally all games, game files, and emulators previously on the site and in their custody must be handed over to the Japanese game developer, along with a $12.23 million settlement figure. It is unlikely, as TorrentFreak have reported, that the couple will be obligated to pay the full figure; a smaller settlement has likely been negotiated in private.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's here-we-go-again department
Yet another vulnerability has been patched that could have exposed user data. According to security company Imperva, the bug "allowed websites to obtain private information about Facebook users and their friends through unauthorized access to a company API, playing off a specific behavior in the Chrome browser," reports The Verge. From the report: In technical terms, the attack is a cross-site request forgery, using a legitimate Facebook login in unauthorized ways. For the attack to work, a Facebook user must visit a malicious website with Chrome, and then click anywhere on the site while logged into Facebook. From there, attackers could open a new pop-up or tab to the Facebook search page and run any number of queries to extract personal information. Some examples Imperva gives are checking if a user has taken photos in a certain location or country, if the user has written any recent posts that contain specific text, or checking if a user's friends like a company's Facebook page. In essence, the vulnerability exposed the interests of a user and their friends even if privacy settings were set so interests were only visible to a user's friends. Imperva says the vulnerability was not a common technique and the issue has been resolved with Facebook. However, it does mention that these more sophisticated social engineering attacks could become more common in 2019. A Facebook representative told The Verge: "We appreciate this researcher's report to our bug bounty program. We've fixed the issue in our search page and haven't seen any abuse. As the underlying behavior is not specific to Facebook, we've made recommendations to browser makers and relevant web standards groups to encourage them to take steps to prevent this type of issue from occurring in other web applications."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's strategically-placed department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Over the last year, Amazon has dangled in front of cities the possibility that they could host the company's "second headquarters" -- a massive $5 billion facility that would provide 50,000 white-collar jobs. On Tuesday, Amazon confirmed what had been widely reported: nobody would be getting this massive prize. Instead, the expansion would be split in half, with New York City and Arlington, Virginia, (just outside Washington, DC) each getting smaller facilities that will employ around 25,000 people each. Amazon's Seattle offices will continue to be the company's largest and will continue to be Amazon's headquarters by any reasonable definition. But pretending to have three "headquarters" undoubtedly makes it easier for Amazon to coax taxpayer dollars out of local governments. [...] The tactic seems to have worked, as governments in both locations have offered Amazon hundreds of millions of dollars in incentives to locate their new offices there. Virginia officials appear to have driven a harder bargain than their rivals in New York. Amazon says it's getting $1.5 billion in government incentives for its New York expansion, whereas Virginia is offering a comparatively modest $573 million in direct incentives.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department
Google's official G Suite Twitter account is the latest victim of an ongoing bitcoin scam that has been plaguing the social media platform for the last few weeks. Earlier on Wednesday, Target saw a similar hack. From a report: G Suite might be the highest-profile target of the scam yet, which saw fake, promoted tweets that appeared to originate from the G Suite account pop up in users' timelines this afternoon, directing them toward a scammy bitcoin address as part of a "giveaway." From another report: The hackers have also hacked other high-profile accounts and made similar pledges, Twitter confirmed. In multiple cases, they have impersonated Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, and made a similar bitcoin pledge. To do so, they installed Musk's Twitter photo on the verified Twitter accounts they hacked and changed the accounts' display name to his. Musk's genuine Twitter account has not been compromised. In this incident, the scammers direct unsuspecting Twitter users to click on a giveaway link and to send bitcoin payments to them. By sending a certain amount, users are dubiously promised more bitcoin in return. Victims are also promised a chance at winning more. In some cases, the hackers have apparently paid Twitter to promote the ads. It was not immediately clear why Twitter was not able to stop those promotions from occurring.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's meanwhile-in-Intel-world department
MojoKid writes: When Intel officially announced its 9th Generation Core processors, it used the opportunity to also unveil a refreshed line-up of 9th Gen-branded Core-X series processors. Unlike other 9th Gen Core i products, however, which leverage an updated Coffee Lake microarchitecture, new processors in Intel's Core-X series remain based on Skylake-X architecture but employ notable tweaks in manufacturing and packaging of the chips, specifically with a solder TIM (Thermal Interface Material) under their heat spreaders for better cooling and more overclocking headroom. The Core i9-9980XE is the new top-end CPU that supplants the Core i9-7980XE at the top of Intel's stack. The chip features 18 Skylake-X cores (36 threads) with a base clock of 3.0GHz that's 400MHz higher than the previous gen. The Core i9-9980XE has max Turbo Boost 2.0 and Turbo Boost Max 3.0 frequencies of 4.4GHz and 4.5GHz, which are 200MHz and 100MHz higher than Intel's previous gen Core i9-7980XE, respectively.
In the benchmarks, the new Core i9-9980XE is easily the fastest many-core desktop processor Intel has released to date, out-pacing all previous-gen Intel processors and AMD Threadripper X series processors in heavily threaded applications. However, the 18-core Core i9-9980XE typically trailed AMD's 24 and 32-core Threadripper WX series processors. Intel's Core i9-9980XE also offered relatively strong single-threaded performance, with an IPC advantage that's superior to any AMD Ryzen processor currently.Read Replies (0)
Can AIs Create True Art?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 13 '18 at 09:11 AM
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department
An anonymous reader shares an analysis: Last month, AI-generated art arrived on the world auction stage under the auspices of Christie's, proving that artificial intelligence can not only be creative but also produce world class works of art -- another profound AI milestone blurring the line between human and machine. Naturally, the news sparked debates about whether the work produced by Paris-based art collective Obvious could really be called art at all. Popular opinion among creatives is that art is a process by which human beings express some idea or emotion, filter it through personal experience and set it against a broader cultural context -- suggesting then that what AI generates at the behest of computer scientists is definitely not art, or at all creative.
The story raised additional questions about ownership. In this circumstance, who can really be named as author? The algorithm itself or the team behind it? Given that AI is taught and programmed by humans, has the human creative process really been identically replicated or are we still the ultimate masters? At GumGum, an AI company that focuses on computer vision, we wanted to explore the intersection of AI and art by devising a Turing Test of our own in association with Rutgers University's Art and Artificial Intelligence Lab and Cloudpainter, an artificially intelligent painting robot. We were keen to see whether AI can, in fact, replicate the intent and imagination of traditional artists, and we wanted to explore the potential impact of AI on the creative sector.
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By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department
Doxing rivals, stealing each other's files, and poking around Nintendo's servers are all a normal part of the ballooning Nintendo Switch hacking and piracy scenes. Joseph Cox, reports for Motherboard: The Switch piracy community -- much of which operates on the gamer-focused chat app Discord -- is full of ingenuity, technical breakthroughs, and evolving cat-and-mouse games between the multi-billion dollar Nintendo and the passionate hackers who love the company but nonetheless illegally steal its games. Pirates deploy malware to steal each other's files so they can download more games themselves. Groups deliberately plant code into others' Switches so they no longer work. And some people in the scene have been doxed, meaning they've had their personal information published online.
Pirating games for the Switch is not technically straightforward. Instead, there's a complex supply chain constantly grinding away that helps people source and play unreleased games. There are reverse engineers who figure out how Nintendo's own tools work, so hackers can then use them for their own advantage. There are coders who make programs to streamline the process of downloading or running games. Reviewers, developers, or YouTubers with access to games before general Switch users often leak unlock codes or other information to small groups, which then may trickle out to the wider community.
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