By EditorDavid from Slashdot's there's-an-app-for-that department
An anonymous reader quotes CNBC:
It is inevitable that artificial intelligence, machine learning and automation will take over some jobs, internet entrepreneur Arianna Huffington told CNBC in a recent email exchange, but that will place a premium on uniquely human qualities in the future labor market -- creativity, compassion, empathy and complex problem-solving. That's where Huffington sees a pressing problem to solve. She says these human qualities are at risk today and the cause is -- no surprise -- too much technology. Her advice: Reevaluate your relationship with technology before it is too late. "These are the very qualities that are diminished when we're burned out from being always on," Huffington said of human abilities like creativity. "One of the next frontiers in the tech world is technology that helps us disconnect from technology and create time and space to connect not with screens but with other people and with ourselves...."
Huffington, who is an executive producer on the new '90s tech-sector docudrama "Valley of the Boom," said the consumer relationship with technology is one of the most important issues of the modern era, and it is time to reevaluate the seeds that were planted back in the '90s during that first internet boom.... "Even for those of us old enough to remember the first boom and to have lived through it, it's sometimes hard to remember that there was a time before we were all hyperconnected and glued to our screens. And seeing the decisions that were made that led to our current moment makes us realize we can also make decisions about how we use this technology."
To this end Huffington has launched a startup called Thrive Global "to go beyond raising awareness and create something real and tangible that would help individuals, companies and communities improve their well-being and performance and unlock their greatest potential."
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By EditorDavid from Slashdot's reminiscing-about-RealPlayer department
An anonymous reader quotes MovieWeb:
The official Captain Marvel website is a blast from the past... Marvel Studios is preparing its final promotional push for the project. This includes TV spots, various forms of merchandise, posters, and in this case, a perfect retro website, tailor made to take us all back to a time when the internet was a whole lot simpler.
Instead of flashy high resolution images, we are treated to pixelated versions, which perfectly reimagines the 1990s websites. There's a lot of Word art, a ticker to count how many unique views that the site gets, a guest book, and even a game that lets fans spot the Kree. Instead of the trailers coming through YouTube, they are played using the "Kree Player," which is take on the old Real Player.
MovieWeb writes that the site "also gives younger Marvel Cinematic Universe fans a chance to see what the internet looked like back in the day...."
And though the movie's slogan is "Higher, further, faster," they argue that "The only thing that could have made the Captain Marvel site even better is slow page loading, just to give it a real touch of what it was like surfing the net in the dark ages."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's screen-time-vs-bed-time department
UPI reports: Too little sleep. Not enough exercise. Far too much "screen time." That is the unhealthy lifestyle of nearly all U.S. high school students, new research finds. The study, of almost 60,000 teenagers nationwide, found that only 5 percent were meeting experts' recommendations on three critical health habits: sleep; exercise; and time spent gazing at digital media and television... "Five percent is a really low proportion," said study leader Gregory Knell, a research fellow at University of Texas School of Public Health, in Dallas. "We were a bit surprised by that...."
"If kids are viewing a screen at night -- staring at that blue light -- that may affect their ability to sleep," Knell said. "And if you're not getting enough sleep at night, you're going to be more tired during the day," he added, "and you're not going to be as physically active."
Experts recommend a minimum of 8 hours of sleep at night for teenagers, plus at least one hour every day of "moderate to vigorous" exercise.
One professor of adolescent medicine points out that some high school homework now even requires using a computer -- even though too much screen time can affect teenagers' abiity to sleep.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's not-so-heavy-metal department
Titanium "has long been touted as the metal of the future," writes Dwell, "due to its strength, rust resistance, and amazing lightness." But can careful atom-stacking lead to something better?
An anonymous reader writes:
Researchers have discovered a way to create a new "metallic wood" material that is as strong as titanium, but five times lighter, reports Dwell. "So far, the researchers have built a sheet of nickel with nanoscale pores that is almost 70 percent empty space... It was created by building tiny plastic spheres, suspending them in water, allowing the water to evaporate, and then electroplating the spheres with nickel. Researchers then dissolved the plastic spheres, producing an incredibly strong, porous metal that floats on water."
Researchers are also considering the possibility of filling its empty space with an energy-storing material. "For example, a prosthetic leg made from this material and infused with anode and cathode materials, could also be a battery."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's probing-your-profile department
"While it's creepy to imagine companies are listening in to your conversations, it's perhaps more creepy that they can predict what you're talking about without actually listening," writes an NBC News technology correspondent, arguing that data, not privacy, is the real danger.
Your data -- the abstract portrait of who you are, and, more importantly, of who you are compared to other people -- is your real vulnerability when it comes to the companies that make money offering ostensibly free services to millions of people. Not because your data will compromise your personal identity. But because it will compromise your personal autonomy. "Privacy as we normally think of it doesn't matter," said Aza Raskin, co-founder of the Center for Humane Technology [and a former Mozilla team leader]. "What these companies are doing is building little models, little avatars, little voodoo dolls of you. Your doll sits in the cloud, and they'll throw 100,000 videos at it to see what's effective to get you to stick around, or what ad with what messaging is uniquely good at getting you to do something...."
With 2.3 billion users, "Facebook has one of these models for one out of every four humans on earth. Every country, culture, behavior type, socio-economic background," said Raskin. With those models, and endless simulations, the company can predict your interests and intentions before you even know them.... Without having to attach your name or address to your data profile, a company can nonetheless compare you to other people who have exhibited similar online behavior...
A professor at Columbia law school decries the concentrated power of social media as "a single point of failure for democracy." But the article also warns about the dangers of health-related data collected from smartwatches. "How will people accidentally cursed with the wrong data profile get affordable insurance?"Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's dissing-by-disliking department
"YouTube is no stranger to viewers weaponizing the dislike button, as seen by the company's recent Rewind video, but the product development team is working on a way to tackle the issue," writes the Verge.
Suren Enfiajyan shares their report on a new video by Tom Leung, YouTube's director of project management.
"Dislike mobs" are the YouTube equivalent to review bombings on Steam -- a group of people who are upset with a certain creator or game decide to execute an organized attack and downvote or negatively review a game or video into oblivion. It's an issue on YouTube as well, and one that creators have spoken out against many times in the past.... Now, the company is planning to experiment with new ways to make it more difficult for organized attacks to be executed. Leung states that these are just "lightly being discussed" right now, and if none of the options are the correct approach, they may hold off until a better idea comes along.
Ironically, Leung's video itself drew 2,654 "dislike" votes -- nearly double its 1,377 upvotes.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's great-first-languages department
Over 20,000 programmers from more than 150 different countries provided answers for the second annual Python Developers Survey (conducted by the Python Software Foundation and JeBrains).
An anonymous reader submitted this condensed version of their results:
When asked "What do you use Python for?" data analysis has become more popular than Web development, growing from 50% in 2017 to 58% in 2018. Machine learning also grew by 7 percentage points. These types of development are experiencing faster growth than Web development, which has only increased by 2 percentage points when compared to the previous year...
Almost two-thirds of respondents selected Linux as their development environment OS. Most people are using free or open source databases such as PostgreSQL, MySQL, or SQLite... Twenty-something was the prevalent age range among our respondents, with almost a third being in their thirties. [31% more were between the ages of 30 and 39.]Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's wisdom-versus-crowds department
CBS News reports that as Washington state confronts a measles outbreak which has sickened at least 56 people, "hundreds rallied to preserve their right not to vaccinate their children."
They packed a public hearing for a new bill making it harder for families to opt out of vaccination requirements, reports The Washington Post:
An estimated 700 people, most of them opposed to stricter requirements, lined up before dawn in the cold, toting strollers and hand-lettered signs, to sit in the hearing.... The Pacific Northwest is home to some of the nation's most vocal and organized anti-vaccination activists. That movement has helped drive down child immunizations in Washington, as well as in neighboring Oregon and Idaho, to some of the lowest rates in the country, with as many as 10.5 percent of kindergartners statewide in Idaho unvaccinated for measles. That is almost double the median rate nationally.... One activist who spoke Friday, Mary Holland, who teaches at New York University law school and said her son has a vaccine-related injury, warned lawmakers that if the bill passes, many vaccine opponents will "move out of the state, or go underground, but they will not comply."
The sponsor of a similar bill in Oregon says that anti-vaxxers "have every right to make a bad decision in the health of their child, but that does not give them the right to send an unprotected kid to public school. So if they want to homeschool their kid and keep them out of other environments, that's their decision."
But there are still 17 U.S. states that allow "personal or philosophic exemptions to vaccination requirements," reports the Post, "meaning virtually anyone can opt out." (Though some states are now considering changes.) "The enablers are state legislators in those states, that have allowed themselves to be played," complains Dr. Peter Hotez, a co-director of the Texas Children's Hospital Center for Vaccine Development at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.
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By BeauHD from Slashdot's promising-findings department
"Researchers at Purdue University have developed a new chemical process that they say can convert approximately one-quarter of the world's plastic waste into gasoline and diesel-like fuels," writes Slashdot reader dmoberhaus. Motherboard explains how it works: As detailed in a paper published this week in Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering, the chemists discovered a way to convert polypropylene -- a type of plastic commonly used in toys, medical devices, and product packaging like potato chip bags -- into gasoline and diesel-like fuel. The researchers said that this fuel is pure enough to be used as blendstock, a main component of fuel used in motorized vehicles. Polypropylene waste accounts for just under a quarter of the estimated 5 billion tons of plastic that have amassed in the world's landfills in the last 50 years.
To turn polypropylene into fuel, the researchers used supercritical water, a phase of water that demonstrates characteristics of both a liquid and a gas depending on the pressure and temperature conditions. Purdue chemist Linda Wang and her colleagues heated water to between 716 and 932 degrees Fahrenheit at pressures approximately 2300 times greater than the atmospheric pressure at sea level. When purified polypropylene waste was added to the supercritical water, it was converted into oil within in a few hours, depending on the temperature. At around 850 degrees Fahrenheit, the conversion time was lowered to under an hour. The byproducts of this process include gasoline and diesel-like oils. According to the researchers, their conversion process could be used to convert roughly 90 percent of the world's polypropylene waste each year into fuel.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's there's-more-where-that-came-from department
According to a new 16-month study of 1.5 billion tweets, researchers write that Twitter still isn't keeping up with the flood of automated accounts designed to spread spam, inflate follower counts, and game trending topics. Wired reports: In a 16-month study of 1.5 billion tweets, Zubair Shafiq, a computer science professor at the University of Iowa, and his graduate student Shehroze Farooqi identified more than 167,000 apps using Twitter's API to automate bot accounts that spread tens of millions of tweets pushing spam, links to malware, and astroturfing campaigns. They write that more than 60 percent of the time, Twitter waited for those apps to send more than 100 tweets before identifying them as abusive; the researchers' own detection method had flagged the vast majority of the malicious apps after just a handful of tweets. For about 40 percent of the apps the pair checked, Twitter seemed to take more than a month longer than the study's method to spot an app's abusive tweeting. That lag time, they estimate, allows abusive apps to cumulatively churn out tens of millions of tweets per month before they're banned.
The researchers say they've been sharing their results with Twitter for more than a year but that the company hasn't asked for further details of their method or data. When WIRED reached out to Twitter, the company expressed appreciation for the study's goals but objected to its findings, arguing that the Iowa researchers lacked the full picture of how it's fighting abusive accounts. "Research based solely on publicly available information about accounts and tweets on Twitter often cannot paint an accurate or complete picture of the steps we take to enforce our developer policies," a spokesperson wrote.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's toys-to-life department
David Aguila, a 19-year-old bioengineering student at the Universitat Internacional de Catulunya in Spain, has built himself a robotic prosthetic arm using Lego pieces. David was born with Poland syndrome that affects his right peck and right arm. From a report: Once his favorite toys, the plastic bricks became the building material for Mr Aguilar's first, still very rudimentary, artificial arm at the age of nine, and each new version had more movement than the one before. He uses the artificial arm only occasionally and is self-sufficient without it, with all the versions on display in his room in the university residence on the outskirts of Barcelona. In November 2017 Mr Aguilar, who uses Lego pieces provided by a friend, proudly displayed a fully functional red and yellow robotic arm, built when he was 18, bending it in the elbow joint and flexing the grabber.
The latest models are marked MK followed by the number -- a tribute to comic book superhero Iron Man and his MK armor suits. The MK II was a predominantly blue model built from a Lego plane set, including a motor, while MK III was created from a set for a piece of mining equipment. After graduating from university, he wants to create affordable prosthetic solutions for people who need them.Read Replies (0)