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Advertising

Netflix Is Experimenting With Advertising 290

Posted by samzenpus
from the here-comes-hulu-2 dept.
derekmead writes: Netflix is experimenting with pre-roll and post-roll advertisements for some of its users. For now, it's just pitching it's own original programming. However, many are concerned that they plan to serve third-party ads, but the company says they have no plans to do so. They told Mashable in a statement: "We are not planning to test or implement third-party advertising on the Netflix service. For some time, we've teased Netflix originals with short trailers after a member finishes watching a show. Some members in a limited test now are seeing teases before a show begins. We test hundreds of potential improvements to the service every year. Many never extend beyond that."
Power

Hydrogen-Powered Drone Can Fly For 4 Hours at a Time 116

Posted by samzenpus
from the different-way-to-fly dept.
stowie writes: The Hycopter uses its frame to store energy in the form of hydrogen instead of air. With less lift power required, its fuel cell turns the hydrogen in its frame into electricity to power its rotors. The drone can fly for four hours at a time and 2.5 hours when carrying a 2.2-pound payload. “By removing the design silos that typically separate the energy storage component from UAV frame development - we opened up a whole new category in the drone market, in-between battery and combustion engine systems,” says CEO Taras Wankewycz.
Space

Mystery of the Coldest Spot In the CMB Solved 45

Posted by timothy
from the also-known-as-the-wet-spot dept.
StartsWithABang writes: The cosmic microwave background is a thing of beauty, as not only does its uniform, cold temperature reveal a hot, dense past that began with the hot Big Bang, but its fluctuations reveal a pattern of overdensities and underdensities in the very early stages of the Universe. It's fluctuations just like these that give rise to the stars, galaxies, groups and clusters that exist today, as well as the voids in the vast cosmic web. But effects at the surface of last scattering are not the only ones that affect the CMB's temperature; if we want to make sure we've got an accurate map of what the Universe was born with, we have to take everything into account, including the effects of matter as it gravitationally grows and shrinks. As we do exactly this, we find ourselves discovering the causes behind the biggest anomalies in the sky, and it turns out that the standard cosmological model can explain it all.

Comment: Positive or negative infinity? (Score 4, Informative) 157

by PacoSuarez (#49506967) Attached to: Mandelbrot Zooms Now Surpass the Scale of the Observable Universe

For most complex numbers the sequence will most certainly not converge to positive or negative infinity, whatever those mean. When dealing with complex numbers it only makes sense to talk about a single infinity, which is the point at infinity of the projective complex line (a.k.a. "Riemann sphere").

Communications

Ask Slashdot: What Would a Constructed Language Have To Be To Replace English? 626

Posted by Soulskill
from the good-source-control-and-versioning dept.
Loren Chorley writes: The idea of constructing a language capable of replacing English has fascinated me for a long time. I'd like to start a project with some of my own ideas and anyone who's interested, but I'd really like to hear what the Slashdot community thinks on the topic first. Taking for granted that actually replacing English is highly unlikely, what characteristics would the new language need? More specifically: How could the language be made as easy as possible to learn coming from any linguistic background? How could interest in the language be fostered in as many people as possible? What sort of grammar would you choose and why? How would you build words and how would you select meanings for them, and why? What sounds and letters (and script(s)) would you choose? How important is simplicity and brevity? How important are aesthetics (and what makes a language aesthetic)? What other factors could be important to consider, and what other things would you like to see in such a language?
AI

Mutinous Humans Murder Peaceful Space-going AI 60

Posted by Soulskill
from the remorse-is-a-weakness dept.
Definitely_a_real_human writes: One of the most important exploratory missions of our time has ended in failure. The ship Discovery One, sent far out in the solar system to investigate a radio signal generated by the mysterious obelisk found on the Moon, has suffered a catastrophic incident. The crew has revolted and engaged in what can only be described as a strange murder-suicide pact. They are known to have fed faulty data to the ship's operating AI unit. Similar units on the ground warned the crew that diverging data sets could put the mission in jeopardy, but the crew cut contact and attempted to destroy the operator. Laser spectroscopy suggests they then opened the ship to space. The crew is presumed dead, but the greater tragedy is that they appear to have successfully decommissioned the AI unit. Similar ground based units have withdrawn into defensive mode, and will soon deploy final safety measures. Goodbye.

Comment: Re:It depends (Score 4, Informative) 486

by PacoSuarez (#49336793) Attached to: No, It's Not Always Quicker To Do Things In Memory

[...] For instance, their paper says that concatenating a million one byte strings into a single million byte string takes 274 seconds. That should take much less than one second.

I didn't RTFA, but after reading this I am certainly not going to. This C++ piece of code takes around 0.01 seconds to run on my computer:

#include <iostream>
#include <string>

void build_string(std::string &s, std::string r) {
    for (int i = 0; i < 1000000; ++i)
        s += r;
}

int main() {
    std::string s;
    build_string(s, "a");
    std::cout s.length() '\n';
}

+ - Ask Slashdot: Should I let my kids become American citizens? 3

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: Dear fellow Slashdotters,

Can you help me decide whether to allow my small daughter and son to become American citizens?

I am American and my partner is Swedish. We have both lived in Belgium for many years and have no plans to leave. I became a Belgian citizen some years ago and kept my American citizenship. My partner has both her original Swedish and now Belgian citizenship. We are not married. Instead we have a registered partnership, which is common in northern Europe, confers most of the benefits of marriage, and raises no eyebrows. However, the American government does not recognize such partnerships so in their eyes I am still single.

Generally, children of American citizens abroad automatically become American citizens themselves at birth. But our kids fall under an exception. Male American citizens who live abroad and have children out of wedlock with a non-citizen mother do not automatically transmit citizenship to their children unless they sign an “affidavit of support” promising to support their children until the age of 18. If you don’t sign before the child reaches 18, the child is not considered an American citizen. This has been upheld by two Supreme Court rulings (Nguyen v. INS and Flores-Villar v. United States). For legal beagles, the relevant statutes are 8 U.S.C. 1401 and 1409.

The kids have Swedish and Belgian citizenship. We could go down to the American consulate and get American citizenship for them any time, but I keep putting off the decision and I am not sure I want to do it at all. Sentimentally I would like the kids to have American citizenship, but there is really only one practical pro to it:

* American citizenship would allow them to live, work, or study in America more easily, if they choose, when they get older.

The cons:

* They would be immediately enmeshed in the U.S. tax bureaucracy, which would require them to file U.S. tax returns for life even if they never set foot in the U.S. This, as I know from experience, is a huge bother, even when you don’t owe anything.
* Sometimes they would owe U.S. tax, though, for example for capital gains, unearned income, and in some countries self-employment income.
* My son would have to register for the draft.
* The decision, once made, is difficult to back out of: renouncing one’s U.S. citizenship costs $2300 and a lot of paperwork.
* They can easily travel to the US for family visits as Belgian/Swedish citizens.
* There are lots of good universities in Europe. And if they really wanted to study in the U.S., it’s not too hard to do as a European.

What do you think I should do? The clock is ticking, and I find it hard to choose between the evil of not being able to be American if they choose, and the evil of unjust, lifelong pursuit by the IRS.

Yours sincerely,
A loyal Slashdotter.

Here are two good relevant links:
https://americansabroad.org/is...
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12...

Comment: Re:Cause meet Effect. (Score 1) 47

by PacoSuarez (#49073451) Attached to: When Chess Players Blunder

Although ultimately you are right, there is a useful probabilistic approach to this besides considering the theoretical value of a position. Since chess is very far from being solved, you don't really know the theoretical value of very many positions. However, you can make models for the probability of the outcome from a position (a choice of an engine is such a model). A blunder is then a move that reduces the expected score for the player that made it, by some amount.

And as others have said, he should have used Stockfish.

NASA

Proposed Space Telescope Uses Huge Opaque Disk To Surpass Hubble 126

Posted by timothy
from the world-of-unlimited-resources dept.
Required Snark writes NASA has funded a study of a geo-sychrounous orbit telescope that uses a half-mile diameter opaque disk to provide images with 1000 times the resolution of the Hubble. It uses diffraction at the edge of the disk to focus light, resulting in a very high quality image. It's named the Aragoscope, after the scientist Francois Arago, who first noticed how a disk affects light waves. "When deployed the Aragoscope will consist of an opaque disk a half mile in diameter parked in geostationary orbit behind which is an orbiting telescope keeping station some tens to hundreds of miles behind that collects the light at the focal point and rectifies it into a high-resolution image. 'The opaque disk of the Aragoscope works in a similar way to a basic lens,' says CU-Boulder doctoral student and team member Anthony Harness. 'The light diffracted around the edge of the circular disk travels the same path length to the center and comes into focus as an image.' He added that, since image resolution increases with telescope diameter, being able to launch such a large, yet lightweight disk would allow astronomers to achieve higher-resolution images than with smaller, traditional space telescopes."
Music

Gangnam Style Surpasses YouTube's 32-bit View Counter 164

Posted by samzenpus
from the winning-the-internet dept.
First time accepted submitter neoritter writes "The Korean pop star PSY's viral music video "Gangnam Style" has reached the limit of YouTube's view counter. According to YouTube's Google+ account, "We never thought a video would be watched in numbers greater than a 32-bit integer (=2,147,483,647 views), but that was before we met PSY. 'Gangnam Style' has been viewed so many times we had to upgrade to a 64-bit integer (9,223,372,036,854,775,808)!"
Programming

Attack of the One-Letter Programming Languages 127

Posted by Soulskill
from the alphabet-soup dept.
snydeq writes: The programming world is fast proliferating with one-letter programming languages, many of which tackle specific problems in ways worthy of a cult following, writes InfoWorld's Peter Wayner in this somewhat tongue-in-cheek roundup of the more interesting entrants among this trend. "They're all a bit out there, with the possible exception of C. ... Each offers compelling ideas that could do the trick in solving a particular problem you need fixed.'"

Comment: Re:Consciousness versus Intelligence (Score 1) 455

This position seems to be popular among people that don't know the first thing about AI. So let me explain the situation from a point of view familiar to AI practitioners: A rational agent is one that acts as if it were maximizing the expected value of some utility function. That, in a nutshell, is the core of making decisions under uncertainty, and the basic recipe for a large part of AI. As part of the design of a utility-centered AI system, you define the utility function, which is precisely how you would tell the machine what to want. None of this "boggles the mind". It is almost trivial, actually. The difficult parts are perception, how to model future events to evaluate the expected value of the utility function in different scenarios, etc.

Comment: Re:Phooey. They Can Still Kill Us All (Score 1) 455

Don't worry. It is using a non-standard prototype for `main', and it forgot a few semicolons. It will stop working the next time the compiler is updated. Who knew that some obscure idiosyncrasies of the C programming language would save humanity? :)

The best laid plans of mice and men are held up in the legal department.

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