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AI

Computer Beats Humans At Arimaa 11

Posted by timothy
from the call-back-when-it-can-make-a-good-egg-cream dept.
An anonymous reader writes A computer engine has beaten humans at Arimaa, an abstract strategy game, in the official human–computer challenge of the year. Sharp, as the bot is called, had to beat each of three strong human players in a best 2-out-3 contest and managed to sweep the first two rounds, thereby already guaranteeing victory. Its developer David Wu will receive a $12,000 prize, contingent on him submitting a paper describing the program to the International Computer Games Association.

Comment: Re:Obvious (Score 1) 268

Jokes aside, most of us live in areas that are not prone to hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, or Godzilla.

I have to ask where you found an Eden untouched by man-made or natural disasters. Where there is drought there is fire. In a warming world, storms may be fewer but stronger and farther reaching.

The radio you have in hand is more useful than the one you shoved into the glove compartment last winter with batteries now deader than dead.

Earth

If Earth Never Had Life, Continents Would Be Smaller 30

Posted by timothy
from the war-of-concretion dept.
sciencehabit writes It may seem counterintuitive, but life on Earth, even with all the messy erosion it creates, keeps continents growing. Presenting here this week at the annual meeting of the European Geosciences Union, researchers say it's the erosion itself that makes the difference in continental size. Plant life, for example, can root its way through rock, breaking rocks into sediment. The sediments, like milk-dunked cookies, carry liquid water in their pores, which allows more water to be recycled back into Earth's mantle. If not enough water is present in the mantle about 100 to 200 km deep to keep things flowing, continental production decreases. The authors built a planetary evolution model to show how these processes relate and found that if continental weathering and erosion rates decreased, at first the continents would remain large. But over time, if life never evolved on Earth, not enough water would make its way to the mantle to help produce more continental crust, and whatever continents there were would then shrink. Now, continents cover 40% of the planet. Without life, that coverage would shrink to 30%. In a more extreme case, if life never existed, the continents might only cover 10% of Earth.
Cellphones

Does Lack of FM Support On Phones Increase Your Chances of Dying In a Disaster? 268

Posted by timothy
from the well-if-you-put-it-that-way dept.
theodp writes You may not know it," reports NPR's Emma Bowman, "but most of today's smartphones have FM radios inside of them. But the FM chip is not activated on two-thirds of devices. That's because mobile makers have the FM capability switched off. The National Association of Broadcasters has been asking mobile makers to change this. But the mobile industry, which profits from selling data to smartphone users, says that with the consumer's move toward mobile streaming apps, the demand for radio simply isn't there." But FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate says radio-enabled smartphones could sure come in handy during times of emergency. So, is it irresponsible not to activate the FM chips? And should it's-the-app-way-or-the-highway Apple follow Microsoft's lead and make no-static-at-all FM available on iPhones?
Communications

Norway Will Switch Off FM Radio In 2017 237

Posted by timothy
from the video-sought-by-police-for-questioning dept.
New submitter titten writes The Norwegian Ministry of Culture has announced that the transition to DAB will be completed in 2017. This means that Norway, as the first country in the world to do so, has decided to switch off the FM network. Norway began the transition to DAB in 1995. In recent years two national and several local DAB-networks has been established. 56 per cent of radio listeners use digital radio every day. 55 per cent of households have at least one DAB radio, according to Digitalradio survey by TNS Gallup, continuously measuring the Norwegian`s digital radio habits.
Transportation

Dutch Prosecutors Launch Criminal Investigation Against Uber For Flouting Ban 47

Posted by timothy
from the red-lights-and-red-tape dept.
An anonymous reader writes Dutch prosecutors have announced that they are prosecuting taxi-hailing giant Uber for continuing to disregard last December's ban on the company offering its unlicensed UberPOP service in the Netherlands. The statement declares 'The company Uber is now a suspect...This means a preliminary examination will be started to collect evidence that Uber is providing illegal transportation on a commercial basis,'. Dutch police presented evidence to the prosecutors of UberPOP drivers in Amsterdam ignoring the ban, and at the time of writing the UberPOP service is still available via Uber's Amsterdam website [https://www.uber.com/cities/amsterdam]. Though Uber inspires new litigation on a weekly basis in the territories in which it is seeking to consolidate its services, this is the first time it has been the subject of a criminal prosecution.
Math

Can High Intelligence Be a Burden Rather Than a Boon? 330

Posted by timothy
from the how-can-I-still-go-on? dept.
HughPickens.com writes David Robson has an interesting article at BBC on the relationship between high intelligence and happiness. "We tend to think of geniuses as being plagued by existential angst, frustration, and loneliness," writes Robson. Think of Virginia Woolf, Alan Turing, or Lisa Simpson – lone stars, isolated even as they burn their brightest." As Ernest Hemingway wrote: "Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know." The first steps to studying the question were taken in 1926 when psychologist Lewis Terman decided to identify and study a group of gifted children. Terman selected 1,500 pupils with an IQ of 140 or more – 80 of whom had IQs above 170. Together, they became known as the "Termites", and the highs and lows of their lives are still being studied to this day. "As you might expect, many of the Termites did achieve wealth and fame – most notably Jess Oppenheimer, the writer of the classic 1950s sitcom I Love Lucy. Indeed, by the time his series aired on CBS, the Termites' average salary was twice that of the average white-collar job. But not all the group met Terman's expectations – there were many who pursued more "humble" professions such as police officers, seafarers, and typists. For this reason, Terman concluded that "intellect and achievement are far from perfectly correlated". Nor did their smarts endow personal happiness. Over the course of their lives, levels of divorce, alcoholism and suicide were about the same as the national average." According to Robson, one possibility is that knowledge of your talents becomes something of a ball and chain. During the 1990s, the surviving Termites were asked to look back at the events in their 80-year lifespan. Rather than basking in their successes, many reported that they had been plagued by the sense that they had somehow failed to live up to their youthful expectations (PDF).

Comment: Re:May finally get servers updated... (Score 1) 115

by Jesus_666 (#49499351) Attached to: Exploit For Crashing Minecraft Servers Made Public

Yeah, the architecture changes screwed the entire modding world. Maybe someday they'll finally have a proper mod API and proper support.

Perhaps someone should write a mod that redundantly reimplements Minecraft on top of Minecraft with as few calls into actual Minecraft code as possible. Still dependent enough to require the actual game but with such little contact area that it's almost completely isolated from changes to the game itself.

Yeah, it'd basically be a fork that attempts to solve the rights issues by requiring the main game. You'd lose anything Mojang adds to the game later (unless it's ported over) but the API could be designed to be long-term stable...

Space

The Origin of the First Light In the Universe 120

Posted by timothy
from the was-just-born-there dept.
StartsWithABang writes Before there were planets, galaxies, or even stars in the Universe, there really was light. We see that light, left over today, in the form of the Cosmic Microwave Background, or the remnant glow from the Big Bang. But these photons outnumber the matter in our Universe by more than a-billion-to-one, and are the most numerous thing around. So where did they first come from? Science has the answer.

Comment: Sometimes its best to leave well enough alone. (Score 2) 1

The kid admitted the stunt was meant to embarrass a teacher he disliked --- and a three day suspension for a previous access violation taught him nothing.

The problem is that a substitute was teaching that day who had no way of knowing whether or not this "harmless prank" would escalate into something that could cost the man his job.

Pre-Trial Intervention, which, under Florida law works something like probation, will leave the boy without a criminal record --- if he has the sense to stay out of trouble.

Space

Incorrectly Built SLS Welding Machine To Be Rebuilt 145

Posted by timothy
from the but-in-a-crash-you'd-be-totally-safe dept.
schwit1 writes A giant welding machine, built for NASA's multi-billion dollar Space Launch System (SLS), has to be taken apart and rebuilt because the contractor failed to reinforce the floor, as required, prior to construction: "Sweden's ESAB Welding & Cutting, which has its North American headquarters in Florence, South Carolina, built the the roughly 50-meter tall Vertical Assembly Center as a subcontractor to SLS contractor Boeing at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans.

ESAB was supposed to reinforce Michoud's floor before installing the welding tool, but did not, NASA SLS Program Manager Todd May told SpaceNews after an April 15 panel session during the 31st Space Symposium here. As a result, the enormous machine leaned ever so slightly, cocking the rails that guide massive rings used to lift parts of the 8.4-meter-diameter SLS stages The rings wound up 0.06 degrees out of alignment, which may not sound like much, "but when you're talking about something that's 217 feet [66.14 meters] tall, that adds up," May said.

Asked why ESAB did not reinforce the foundation as it was supposed to, May said only it was a result of "a miscommunication between two [Boeing] subcontractors and ESAB."

It is baffling how everyone at NASA, Boeing, and ESAB could have forgotten to do the reinforcing, even though it was specified in the contract. It also suggests that the quality control in the SLS rocket program has some serious problems.
Medicine

Columbia University Doctors Ask For Dr. Mehmet Oz's Dismissal 306

Posted by timothy
from the that's-just-like-your-opinion-man dept.
circletimessquare writes Dr. Mehmet Oz serves as vice chairman of Columbia University Medical Center's department of surgery. He is a respected cardiothoracic surgeon but his television show has been accused of pushing snake oil. Now other doctors at Columbia University want Dr. Oz kicked off the medical school faculty. Dr. Oz has responded on his Facebook account: "I bring the public information that will help them on their path to be their best selves. We provide multiple points of view, including mine which is offered without conflict of interest. That doesn't sit well with certain agendas which distort the facts. For example, I do not claim that GMO foods are dangerous, but believe that they should be labeled like they are in most countries around the world." In their letter, the doctors accuse Dr. Oz of quackery: "Dr. Oz has repeatedly shown disdain for science and for evidence-based medicine, as well as baseless and relentless opposition to the genetic engineering of food crops. Worst of all, he has manifested an egregious lack of integrity by promoting quack treatments and cures in the interest of personal financial gain."

Comment: Re:Must hackers be such dicks about this? (Score 1) 262

by ljw1004 (#49496857) Attached to: FBI Accuses Researcher of Hacking Plane, Seizes Equipment

Replace "tweet" with "stand up and announce" and "laptop" with "metal pipe" and the story becomes "Man stands up in aircraft cabin and announces he 'could disable flight instruments' with metal pipe." Not that he necessarily was going to. Just that he could...and he's got to the tool to do so right here...kinda maybe thinking about it...

How would it be "unreasonable" to seize the man's metal pipe on the spot? No warrant required.

Let's fill out your analogy more completely...

* An expert researcher on the use of metal pipes for their use in disabling various things
* Who had done known research on the use of metal pipes for disabling aircraft instruments
* Which is interesting because it's not generally known or understood that metal pipes can disable aircraft instruments
* Is going to a conference to give a talk (on the use of metal pipes for disabling aircraft instruments?)
* Announces -- to fellow professionals in the field of disabling things with metal pipes -- that he knows how it's possible to use metal pipes to disable flight instruments, contrary to the general understanding

Yep, no matter how you dice it, detaining the fellow and seizing his metal pipe still seems ludicrous.

Comment: Re:Accepting a story from Florian Meuller? (Score 1) 108

So far their acclaimed commitments seem to be mostly fluff with very little real substance in them..

How about completely opening .Net, moving their build system to GitHub, and moving the compiler to LLVM? Those seem to have some real substance to me. Then there's them embracing Docker for Windows Server 10 and open sourcing that work. This is not your fathers Microsoft.

...and how much of that is usable on any non-Microsoft platform? A percentage would be fine as an answer.

I think it's close to 100%, on mac+linux. When Microsoft open-sourced their VB+C# compilers a year ago, Miguel was on stage as well to show it running on mac.

Build

MakerBot Lays Off 20 Percent of Its Employees 172

Posted by timothy
from the new-ones-being-printed dept.
Jason Koebler writes MakerBot fired roughly 20 percent of its staff Friday. Figures from 2014 placed the company's ranks at 500, meaning the cuts could equate to roughly 100 employees. The orders came from new CEO Jonathan Jaglom, Motherboard was told. Employees are apparently being led out of the company's Brooklyn office by security today. "It's about 20 percent of staff," a MakerBot representative, who asked not to be identified because she had not received approval to speak to the press, told Motherboard. "Everyone suspected that something would be coming with the new CEO, and that there would be restructuring coming."

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