kc123 writes: The UK goverment has announced plans to create the Alan Turing Institute intended to tackle problems in Big Data. The government will provide £42m over five years for the project. Turing was a pivotal figure in mathematics and computing. His codebreaking work led to the cracking of the German "Enigma" codes. In December 2013, after a series of public campaigns, Turing received a posthumous royal pardon, for a conviction of homosexual activity in 1952.
kc123 writes: Facebook has reached a major milestone in computer vision and pattern recognition, with ‘DeepFace,’ an algorithm capable of identifying a face in a crowd with 97.25 percent accuracy, which is pretty much on par with how good the average human is (97.5 percent accurate) at recognizing the faces of other walking, talking meat sacks. To get past the limitations of ordinary facial matching software, Facebook’s researchers have managed to find a way to build 3D models of faces from a photo, which can then be rotated to provide matching of the same face captured at different angles. In the past, facial recognition via computer could be pretty easily foiled if a subject is simply tilting their head in a slightly different direction.
kc123 writes: Earlier this week, The Linux Foundation announced that it would be working with edX, a non-profit online learning site governed by Harvard and MIT, to make its “Introduction to Linux” course free and open to all. The Linux Foundation has long offered a wide variety of training courses through its website, but those can generally cost upwards of $2,000. This introductory class, which usually costs $2,400, will be the first from the Linux Foundation to run as a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC).
kc123 writes: In an effort to deal with copyright infringement Getty Images is launching a new embedding feature that will make more than 35 million images freely available to anyone for non-commercial usage. Anyone will be able to visit Getty Images’ library of content, select an image and copy an embed HTML code to use that image on their own websites. Getty Images will serve the image in an embedded player – very much like YouTube currently does with its videos – which will include the full copyright information and a link back to the image’s dedicated licensing page on the Getty Images website.
kc123 writes: Photographer Kevin McElvaney documents Agbogbloshie, a former wetland in Accra, Ghana, which is home to the world’s largest e-waste dumping site. Boys and young men smash devices to get to the metals, especially copper. Injuries, such as burns, untreated wounds, eye damage, lung and back problems, go hand in hand with chronic nausea, anorexia, debilitating headaches and respiratory problems. Most workers die from cancer in their 20s
kc123 writes: NASA's Kepler mission announced Wednesday the discovery of 715 new planets. These newly-verified worlds orbit 305 stars, revealing multiple-planet systems much like our own solar system. Nearly 95 percent of these planets are smaller than Neptune, which is almost four times the size of Earth. This discovery marks a significant increase in the number of known small-sized planets more akin to Earth than previously identified exoplanets, which are planets outside our solar system.
kc123 writes: From Bloomberg: Rolls-Royce’s Blue Ocean development team has set up a virtual-reality prototype at its office in Alesund, Norway, that simulates 360-degree views from a vessel’s bridge. Eventually, the London-based manufacturer of engines and turbines says, captains on dry land will use similar control centers to command hundreds of crewless ships. Drone ships would be safer, cheaper and less polluting for the $375 billion shipping industry that carries 90 percent of world trade, Rolls-Royce says.
kc123 writes: Microsoft is cutting the price of Windows 8.1 by 70 percent for makers of low-cost computers and tablets as they try to fend off cheaper rivals like Google’s Chromebooks, people familiar with the program said. Manufacturers will be charged $15 to license Windows 8.1 and preinstall it on devices that retail for less than $250, instead of the usual fee of $50. The discount will apply to any products that meet the price limit, with no restrictions on the size or type of device.
kc123 writes: A telescope to find worlds around other stars has been selected for launch by the European Space Agency's Science Policy Committee. Known as Plato (Planetary Transits and Oscillations of stars), the mission should launch on a Soyuz rocket in 2024. The Plato space telescope will prepare the way for scientists searching for alien life by locating the first genuinely Earth-like exoplanets orbiting nearby stars. It will break new ground in astronomy by using a "bug eye" array of 34 individual telescopes. The intention is for this array to sweep about half the sky, to investigate some of its brightest and nearest stars.
kc123 writes: Microsoft’s search engine Bing appears to be censoring information for Chinese language users in the US in the same way it filters results in mainland China. Searches first conducted by anti-censorship campaigners at FreeWeibo, a tool that allows uncensored search of Chinese blogs, found that Bing returns radically different results in the US for English and Chinese language searches on a series of controversial terms. These include Dalai Lama, June 4 incident (how the Chinese refer to the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989), Falun Gong and FreeGate, a popular internet workaround for government censorship.
kc123 writes: In an effort to stop technology falling into the wrong hands on the battlefield the US military is funding systems which can be destroyed in a controllable manner. Unlike ordinary off-the-shelf electronics that can last indefinitely, the agency is looking for a way to make electronics that last precisely as long as they are needed. The device could be destroyed either by a signal sent by commanders or prompted by "possible environmental conditions" such as a certain temperature.
kc123 writes: The team that runs the HiRISE camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has released a photo showning a new impact crater on Mars, formed sometime early this decade. The crater at the center is about 30 meters in diameter, and the material ejected during its formation extends out as far as 15 kilometers. The impact was originally spotted by the MRO's Context Camera, a wide-field imaging system that provides the context—an image of the surrounding terrain—for the high-resolution images taken by HiRISE. The time window on the impact, between July 2010 and May 2012, simply represents the time between two different Context Camera photos of the same location. Once the crater was spotted, it took until November of 2013 for another pass of the region, at which point HiRISE was able to image it.
kc123 writes: Two of the UK's largest pawn shop chains are selling second-hand phones which still contain swathes of deeply personal information from their previous owners. Photos, text messages, passwords, credit card information and internet searches were left on the phones and easily accessed, leaving their former owners vulnerable to identity theft, fraud and blackmail. Customers are assured that their devices will be wiped before being sold on. However, with freely available and easy-to-use software itt took less than an hour to pull off intimate and personal information that the phone's previous owner had stored.