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The Media

Crowdsourced Volunteers Search For Solutions To Fake News (wired.co.uk) 270

Upworthy co-founder Eli Pariser is leading a group of online volunteers hunting for ways to respond to the spread of fake news. An anonymous reader quotes Wired UK: Inside a Google Doc, volunteers are gathering ideas and approaches to get a grip on the untruthful news stories. It is part analysis, part brainstorming, with those involved being encouraged to read widely around the topic before contributing. "This is a massive endeavour but well worth it," they say...

At present, the group is coming up with a list of potential solutions and approaches. Possible methods the group is looking at include: more human editors, fingerprinting viral stories then training algorithms on confirmed fakes, domain checking, the blockchain, a reliability algorithm, sentiment analysis, a Wikipedia for news sources, and more.

The article also suggests this effort may one day spawn fake news-fighting tech startups.
Republicans

Silicon Valley Investors Call For California To Secede From the US After Trump Win (theguardian.com) 1368

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: As Donald Trump's shock election victory reverberated around Silicon Valley late on Tuesday night, some high-profile technologists were already calling for California to secede from the United States. The broader west coast is a stronghold for the Democrats, and significantly more politically progressive and racially diverse than large swathes of central U.S. California is also the biggest economy in the U.S. and the sixth largest in the world with a gross state product of $2.496 trillion for 2015, according to the IMF. The campaign for independence -- variously dubbed Calexit, Califrexit and Caleavefornia -- has been regarded as a fringe movement. But support was revitalized by influential Uber investor and Hyperloop co-founder Shervin Pishevar, in a series of tweets announcing his plans to fund a "legitimate campaign for California to become its own nation" -- posted even before the full results were in. A few hours later, Hillary Clinton conceded the election to Trump, and Pishevar told CNBC that he was serious about Calexit. "It's the most patriotic thing I can do," he said, adding that the resulting nation would be called New California. "We can re-enter the union after California becomes a nation. As the sixth largest economy in the world, the economic engine of the nation and provider of a large percentage of the federal budget, California carries a lot of weight," he said. Pishevar was supported by others in Silicon Valley. Angel investor Jason Calacanis said that California succession would be simple in the wake of both Brexit and a Trump win. Evan Low, a Democrat serving in the California state assembly, said that he'd support the introduction of a bill to start the independence process. The proposal illustrates the technology industry's frustration with Trump over his repeated criticisms of Silicon Valley companies. Trump has said in the past that he would make Apple build computers in the U.S. He also thinks Amazon CEO "Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post to exert political power and avoid paying taxes, and claimed that Mark Zuckerberg's push for specialist immigration would actually decrease opportunities for American women and minorities." In July, 145 technology leaders wrote in an open letter about how "Trump would be a disaster for innovation."
Education

Face Electrodes Let You Taste and Chew In Virtual Reality (newscientist.com) 41

walterbyrd quotes a report from New Scientist: Experiments with "virtual food" use electronics to emulate the taste and feel of the real thing, even when there's nothing in your mouth. This tech could add new sensory inputs to virtual reality or augment real-world dining experiences, especially for people with restricted diets or health issues that affect their ability to eat. Several projects have succeeded in tricking us into tasting things that aren't there. Nimesha Ranasinghe at the National University of Singapore has already experimented with a "digital lollipop" to emulate different tastes, and a spoon embedded with electrodes that amplify the salty, sour, or bitter flavor of the real food eaten off it. However, his experiments with electrical stimulation had less success simulating sweetness compared to the other tastes. But digitizing this taste could be particularly useful in, for example, helping people cut back on sugary food or drinks. So Ranasinghe and his colleague Ellen Yi-Luen Do started experimenting with thermal stimulation instead. Their new project, presented at the 2016 ACM User Interface Software and Technology Symposium (UIST) in Tokyo, uses changes in temperature to mimic the sensation of sweetness on the tongue. The user places the tip of their tongue on a square of thermoelectric elements that are rapidly heated or cooled, hijacking thermally sensitive neurons that normally contribute to the sensory code for taste. In an initial trial, it worked for about half of participants. Some also reported a sensation of spiciness when the device was warmer (around 35 degrees Celsius) and a minty taste when it was cooler (18 degrees Celsius). Ranasinghe and Do envisage such a system embedded in a glass or mug to make low-sugar drinks taste sweeter.

Comment don't most human drivers so the same? (Score 1) 367

I would suggest that most human drivers' instinct would be to avoid collisions (swerve instinct) and to protect themselves if possible.

Mercedes should have framed this like "we worked with various DoTs and insurance companies and did an analysis of many common human-driver car crash scenarios and analyzed what human drivers typically do, and what the outcomes were. We then engineered our car to try to have similar priorities (and overall outcomes that are at least as good) w/r/t trying to avoid damage to persons and property."

Comment Re:We need a *COMPLETE set of SOURCE CODE* (Score 1) 95

yeah, but unless you also control/audit the compiler and so on, all the way down to the chip fab, you're never gonna be 100% sure it's clean.

eg - what if Intel/Qualcomm/etc have their own backdoors built in, per order of the US government? Google/etc certainly have their own features built in. http://www.pcworld.com/article... or https://www.wired.com/2013/05/...

Or, what if there is some malicious Easter egg built into the chip? etc, etc...

Education

Teens' Penchant For Risk-Taking May Help Them Learn Faster, Says Study (npr.org) 37

An anonymous reader quotes a report from NPR: The teenage brain has been characterized as a risk-taking machine, looking for quick rewards and thrills instead of acting responsibly. But these behaviors could actually make teens better than adults at certain kinds of learning. "In neuroscience, we tend to think that if healthy brains act in a certain way, there should be a reason for it," says Juliet Davidow, a postdoctoral researcher at Harvard University in the Affective Neuroscience and Development Lab and the lead author of the study, which was published Wednesday in the journal Neuron. But scientists and the public often focus on the negatives of teen behavior, so she and her colleagues set out to test the hypothesis that teenagers' drive for rewards, and the risk-taking that comes from it, exist for a reason. When it comes to what drives reward-seeking in teens, fingers have always been pointed at the striatum, a lobster-claw-shape structure in the brain. When something surprising and good happens -- say, you find $20 on the street -- your body produces the pleasure-related hormone dopamine, and the striatum responds. But the striatum isn't just involved in reward-seeking. It's also involved in learning from rewards, explains Daphna Shohamy, a cognitive neuroscientist at the Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute at Columbia University who worked on the study. She wanted to see if teenagers would be better at this type of learning than adults would. To test this, Shohamy and her colleagues used an fMRI scanner to watch brain activity in a group of adults and teenagers. They were looking at the striatum, but also in a different part of the brain called the hippocampus. The hippocampus (which looks like, and is named after, a seahorse) helps people remember things like dates and times: the who, what, when and where. As the adults and teens had their brains scanned, they played a game that rewarded players for guessing correctly. Between questions, participants saw random pictures of neutral objects. As expected, the reward-hungry teenagers figured out the game faster than the adults did. Surprisingly, the striatum was equally active in both teenagers and adults. But in teens, it also worked closely with their hippocampus.
Facebook

Facebook Launches Marketplace On App, Takes On eBay and Craigslist (betanews.com) 38

Facebook today also announced the launch of "Marketplace," allowing users to buy and sell items on the social media platform. The company says more than 450 million people already visit buying and selling groups on Facebook each month. The new service will be available to people over 18 years of age in the United States, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand on Facebook's iPhone and Android over the coming days. BetaNews adds: The primary aim of Facebook Marketplace is to keep things as simple as possible. Both listing and searching for items is incredibly easy, and the focus is on putting would-be buyers in contact with sellers as close by as possible. The new feature sits alongside the many existing pages that have been set up to facilitate the buying and selling of goods, and Facebook has made it possible to post items to the Marketplace and individual pages simultaneously to help maximize your audience.
The Internet

Author Says Going Offline For 24 Hours a Week Has Significantly Improved His Health, Sanity and Happiness (businessinsider.com) 168

You don't need someone to point out to you that you probably spend too many hours on the internet. Maybe it's your job, maybe it's a growing habit, maybe it's both of them. An anonymous reader shared a link on Business Insider, in which an author named Roy Hessel shares what happened after he started to force himself to go offline for 24 hours every week. (He chose the duration between sundown on Friday to sunset on Saturday as the time for disconnect.) From the article:No emails, no calls, no Tweets, no tech, no matter what. For anyone who's struggling with finding time for self and family, I'd like to share what I've learned. For health, sanity, and happiness, I think it can make all the difference. It's not enough to carve out time in your schedule. You need to approach this blackout period with an unwavering belief in its benefit and a commitment to see it through. For me, this means abstaining from work and, in the deepest sense, simply resting. It grounds me and allows me to re-energize and focus on what's really important in my life. The key is to be unapologetic rather than aspirational about unplugging. As soon my family and I get home from our workweek, there's nothing, with the exception of a life and death situation, that would cause me to compromise that time. As far as business and my income is concerned, it can wait.We understand that not everyone wants or afford to go offline for a complete day, but do you also ensure that you are offline for a few hours everyday or every week or every month?

Paul Miller, a reporter at The Verge, went offline in 2012 for a complete year and shared his experience when he got back. You might find it insightful.
Medicine

Roller Coasters Could Help People Pass Kidney Stones, Says Study (nbcnews.com) 126

An anonymous reader quotes a report from NBC News: Two researchers who took science to the amusement park say they've found that a thrilling roller coaster ride just might help people shake out pesky kidney stones. Dr. David Wartinger of Michigan State University said he'd heard patient after patient tell him about how they had passed kidney stones after riding one particular ride: the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roller coaster at Walt Disney World in Orlando. He and a colleague, Dr. Marc Mitchell, had also seen some media reports about people who passed kidney stones while bungee jumping and riding roller coasters. So they decided to leave East Lansing to head to Orlando in the name of medical research. To simulate the human body as best they could, they made an artificial human kidney model out of clear silicone gel and loaded it up with real human kidney stones. They rode the roller coaster holding their kidney contraption between them in a backpack positioned at kidney height. They took 20 rides and noted what happened to each kidney stone. Riding in the back of the roller coaster train seemed to really knock the kidney stones out, they reported in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association. "Front seating on the roller coaster resulted in a passage rate of four of 24," they wrote. "Rear seating on the roller coaster resulted in a passage rate of 23 of 36." They mainly tested the one roller coaster ride, and it's a fairly simple one. "The Big Thunder Mountain roller coaster is not a terribly dynamic ride," Wartinger said. "It's not very fast. It is not very tall. It makes sharp left and right turns that have some vibration." Wartinger suspects many different thrill rides would have the same effect. "It's not like there anything unique about this one coaster," he said. The pair have now run their test 200 more times and say the findings are consistent. Now they want to try other amusement park rides.
Space

Are We Alone In the Universe? Not Likely, According To Math (cnet.com) 267

An anonymous reader writes: An equation, which calculates the probability of the evolution of other technological civilizations, has found that it's wildly unlikely we're the only time advanced society in the universe. Adam Frank from the University of Rochester and Woodruff Sullivan from the University of Washington base their new equation on the Drake equation, used for calculating the probability of extraterrestrial civilisation, written by astronomer and astrophysicist Frank Drake in 1961. The scientists also take into account Kepler, which suggests that one in five stars have planets in the habitable zone. Frank and Sullivan calculated that human civilisation is only unique if the odds of a civilisation developing on a habitable planet are less than one in 10 billion trillion. "One in 10 billion trillion is incredibly small. To me, this implies that other intelligent, technology producing species very likely have evolved before us," Frank said. Frank said: "Of course, we have no idea how likely it is that an intelligent technological species will evolve on a given habitable planet. But using our method we can tell exactly how low that probability would have to be for us to be the ONLY civilization the Universe has produced. We call that the pessimism line. If the actual probability is greater than the pessimism line, then a technological species and civilization has likely happened before."
Businesses

Volvo Engineer Calls Out Tesla For Dangerous 'Wannabe' Autopilot System (jalopnik.com) 219

An anonymous reader shares an article on Jalopnik: Tesla's semi-autonomous Autopilot system has been impressing everyone from consumers to journalists, and even other industry experts and executives. But now a Volvo engineer has called Tesla's system out, claiming it's a dangerous "wannabe" autonomous technology. Trent Victor, senior technical leader of crash avoidance for Volvo, had quite a few choice words to say about Tesla's Autopilot system in a recent interview with The Verge, claiming the electric automaker was touting what is essentially a rudimentary semi-autonomous technology as being far more capable than it actually is. Victor fears that Autopilot "gives you the impression that it's doing more than it is." He went on to call Tesla's system an "unsupervised wannabe."
Space

Neil deGrasse Tyson Says It's 'Very Likely' The Universe Is A Simulation (extremetech.com) 830

mspohr quotes a report from ExtremeTech: At the most recent Isaac Asimov Memorial Debate, [scientists gathered to address the question for the year: Is the universe a computer simulation? At the debate, host and celebrity astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson argued that the probability is that we live in a computer simulation.] This is the crux of Tyson's point: if we take it as read that it is, in principle, possible to simulate a universe in some way, at some point in the future, then we have to assume that on an infinite timeline some species, somewhere, will simulate the universe. And if the universe will be perfectly, or near-perfectly, simulated at some point, then we have to examine the possibility that we live inside such a universe. And, on a truly infinite timeline, we might expect an almost infinite number of simulations to arise from an almost infinite number or civilizations -- and indeed, a sophisticated-enough simulation might be able to let its simulated denizens themselves run universal simulations, and at that point all bets are officially off."
Facebook

Facebook Hires Google 'Moonshot' Exec For R&D (usatoday.com) 49

An anonymous reader writes: Facebook on Wednesday said it has hired Regina Dugan to head a search-and-product-development group considered vital to Facebook's 10-year technology road map. In the past, Dugan helped shape such Google initiatives as Project Tango, Project Ara, and smart fabrics wired with electronics. Dugan will lead Building 8, a new group "focused on building new hardware products to advance our mission of connecting the world," Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a comment posted on his Facebook profile today. Zuckerberg's 10-year vision for the company relies on major technological breakthroughs on three main fronts: artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, and bringing Internet access to the 4 billion or so people who don't have it. "I'm excited to have Regina apply DARPA-style breakthrough development at the intersection of science and products to our mission," Zuckerberg said. "This method is characterized by aggressive, fixed timelines, extensive use of partnerships with universities, small and large businesses, and clear objectives for shipping products at scale."
Science

Brain Implant Can Automatically Adjust Dopamine Levels (ieee.org) 35

Reader Wave723 writes about an implantable chip that is able to detect and adjust dopamine levels in mice brains. Created by researchers at Case Western Reserve University, the chip, unlike other brain implants, traces the neurotransmitter instead of relying on electrical signals. Wave723 elaborates: This brain implant is a chip that can automatically sense dopamine levels through an electrode that measures the flow of the neurotransmitter through the brain and pH levels. An algorithm within the device calculates whether dopamine levels are within a predetermined range, and if not, the chip sends an electrical impulse to stimulate neurons to produce more. Someday, it might help patients with a variety of disorders including addiction, or Parkinson's disease though a lot more research is needed to be done on neurotransmitter levels in order to reach that point.

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