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Submission + - SPAM: Why we're dropping Google Ads

Gareth Dawson writes: The Google advertising model is broken: not for Google of course, which is massively profitable, but for publishers who have to put up with poor quality, misleading adverts in exchange for small change. The problem is that nearly all the power in the online advertising relationship lies with Google. Not only do publishers compete for adverts with other media in the same market; they compete with all the shady advert-laden webpages in the world, irrespective of whether they contain fake news, porn, or other attention-grabbers. With AdSense or Ad Exchange, Google’s two mechanisms for delivering ads, publishers have very little say in what adverts appear, and are paid very little.
Link to Original Source

Submission + - Researchers Convert Biomass to Hydrogen Using Sunlight (

omaha393 writes: Cambridge chemists have developed a new catalytic approach capable of converting biomass into hydrogen gas using only sunlight as an energy source. The method converts lignocellulose, one of Earth's most abundant biomaterials, into hydrogen gas and organic byproducts when in a basic water and in the presence of the cadmium sulfide/oxide nanoparticle catalysts.
        The new method, published in Nature Energy, offers a relatively cheap fuel alternative that researchers are looking to scale up to meet consumer demands at the industrial level. Per R&D Magazine: "'With this in place we can simply add organic matter to the system and then, provided it's a sunny day, produce hydrogen fuel', says joint lead author David Wakerley. 'Future development can be envisioned at any scale." In addition to lignocellulose, the team was also able to produce hydrogen gas using unprocessed material including wood, paper and leaves. Paper may be paywalled.

Submission + - The Rocket Science Of Designing Future Jet Engines (

dryriver writes: The BBC has a very insightful article detailing the current and future challenges of designing efficient jet engines. An excerpt: "Jet engine design will face changes in the future. One new potential science, which several companies and research institutions are currently studying, is called the Rotating Detonation Engine. Essentially, this works by creating a series of small detonations and using the supersonic wave that a detonation generates to keep combustion going continuously. Theoretically, if the system works, it would require significantly less fuel to get the engine moving and keep it moving. And even with less fuel the engine would also theoretically produce significantly more energy. “The trick of the engine is containing [the detonation], making it stable, and having it operate at conditions you want,” says Dean. “Will it operate well, will it be durable, can it have low emissions, and what fuel can I burn with such an engine? We’re in the middle of the science phase.”"

Submission + - Blue Origin gets a paying customer

nickovs writes: Blue Origin was started as a "moon shot" company by Jeff Bezos and recently claimed that it would be offering an "Amazon-like" delivery service to the moon by 2020. In the mean time it seems their customers will be slightly closer to Earth: this week they announced that they now have a paying customer in the form of the satellite TV company Eutelsat. While this isn't a huge technical milestone it is a major business milestone, turning Blue Origin from a hobby business into one which might eventually make a profit. According to a New York Times article:

The commercial partnership brings Blue Origin closer in line with SpaceX, created by Elon Musk, which has been launching satellites and taking NASA cargo to the International Space Station for several years.

Submission + - Scientists take first peek inside the inner workings of neural networks (

sciencehabit writes: Last month, Facebook announced software that could simply look at a photo and tell, for example, whether it was a picture of a cat or a dog. A related program identifies cancerous skin lesions as well as trained dermatologists can. Both technologies are based on neural networks, sophisticated computer algorithms at the cutting edge of artificial intelligence (AI)—but even their developers aren’t sure exactly how they work. Now, researchers have found a way to "look" at neural networks in action and see how they draw conclusions.

Submission + - Hitachi Develops AI And Wearables To Assist Manufacturing Workers

An anonymous reader writes: Japanese manufacturing giant Hitachi has teamed up with a German research institute to develop an artificial intelligence (AI) technology which can recognize workers’ actions in real-time using data collected through wearable devices. Hitachi partnered with a team of Smart Data & Knowledge engineers from the German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) to create an AI solution which integrates with wearables including eye-tracking glasses and armbands embedded with sensors. Using a hierarchical activity model the AI system can recognize actions such as ‘twisting a screw’. Hitachi hopes to use the newly developed AI system to assist operations, prevent human error, and to enhance the quality and efficiency of its manufacturing processes.

Submission + - SPAM: ESA's organizing "The America's cup of rocket science"

Dario Izzo writes: The opening of the registration period to the 9th edition of the "Global Trajectory Optimisation Competition" (a.k.a. the America's cup of rocket science) (GTOC9) has been announced by ESA. For this year edition a new interactive website (Kelvins) will be used so that during the competition spectators will be able to follow in real time the evolution of the leaderboard making the "race" more appealing to follow. In the intention of ESA, anybody with math and dynamics knowledge can participate and challenge the big teams (i.e. JPL/NASA, Tsinghua University, DLR, The Aerospace Corporation, etc.) in the design of a complex interplanetary trajectory problem that will be disclosed on the first week of April.
Link to Original Source

Submission + - Researchers discover several potential solar-hydrogen fuel production catalysts (

An anonymous reader writes: Researchers reported this week the discovery of a dozen potential catalysts that could feasibly produce hydrogen fuel using only sunlight, water, and CO2. The paper, published Monday in PNAS, describes a dozen new vanadate based photoanodes that meet the required energy bandgaps to produce hydrogen fuel. Traditional hydrogen fuel production is an energetically costly technique, but the work here potentially allows for vastly more efficient and renewable hydrogen production. While the research is encouraging, what’s more impressive is the researchers nearly doubled the number of candidate materials for cheap hydrogen production in only 2 years. Per the Lab press release: “Over the past four decades, researchers identified only 16 of these photoanode materials Now researchers have found 12 promising new photoanodes.”

Submission + - The Dark Web Has Shrunk by 85% (

An anonymous reader writes: The number of Dark web services has gone down significantly following the Freedom Hosting II hack that took place at the start of February, and only consists of around 4,400 services, according to a recently published report.

Previous research published in April 2016 had the total number of Dark Web services at around 30,000. Comparing the two numbers, the report shows a decrease of over 85% in the overall size of Dark Web in the last year alone. Numbers show the Dark Web is laughably small, with around 4,000 HTTP websites, 250 TLS (HTTPS) endpoints, 100 SMTP services, and only 10 FTP nodes.

Submission + - Goodyear Unveils First AI-Powered Concept Tire

An anonymous reader writes: Goodyear has unveiled a new spherical tire concept which uses a ‘bionic skin’ and artificial intelligence to adapt to different road conditions. The Eagle 360 Urban tire, demonstrated at the Geneva Motor Show 2017, is 3D-printed and is able to adapt in response to the changing surfaces it is driving on. Goodyear claims that it is the first tire to be powered by AI and is ‘able to sense, decide, transform and interact’, learning over time to contribute data to the car’s digital ‘nervous system’. The firm continued that the tire’s bionic skin made from an elastic polymer, along with a series of sensors, allows it to detect the road surface and expand or contract accordingly.

Submission + - How the UK police can coerce journalists into surrendering photographs 1

Andy Smith writes: I'm a press photographer. Recently the police wanted to seize some of my work photos to use as evidence in a prosecution. As a member of the National Union of Journalists I adhere to a strict code of ethics and I couldn't surrender the photos. Rather than trying (and likely failing) to get a warrant to seize the photos, the prosecutor used a tactic that nobody had heard of before: He got a warrant to seize all of my cameras, computers, memory cards, etc, even though the photos were in a secure location, not at my home or in my possession. I was then given 24 hours to retrieve and hand over the photos, or the police would raid my home and take everything, effectively ending my career.

Submission + - Millions Of Lead Filled CRTs Sit Abandoned In Warehouses Across The U.S. (

dryriver writes: BoingBoing reports: The swift replacement of CRT screens with flat panels created tons of extremely toxic e-waste, with dangerous tubes and leaded glass posing unique environmental and safety hazards for disposal workers and sites. Startups like Closed Loop Refining and Recycling aimed to capitalize on these problems, charging recycling centers every time they took in one of the 705 million CRTs sold in America after 1980, and warehousing them against the day they figured out how to safely dismantle them. After playing a years-long shell game with environmental regulators — engaging in shenanigans like moving tubes from one warehouse to another to evade rules requiring waste to be disposed of within a year — the company went bust, leaving warehouses full of super-toxic, lead-leaching e-waste that the taxpayers will have to deal with.

Submission + - The Invisible Force That Warps What You Read in the News (

mirandakatz writes: Are we in a bubble? Why has Uber’s story spun out of control? The answers hinge less on facts and more on the hidden physics of Narrative Gravity. At Backchannel, Square communications lead Aaron Zamost unpacks the concept of "Narrative Gravity," noting that "the worst negative news cycles occur when a story reinforces an already-bad perception of a company, an established negative narrative built from previous news. The story gets pulled towards the popular narrative like a black hole—even if the new facts are ambiguous." The good news is, it's possible to escape the gravitational pull of a negative narrative—and Zamost offers a step-by-step guide.

Submission + - City of Munich IT Lead: "There are no larger problems with LiMux"

Qbertino writes: As reports (German article), Karl-Heinz Schneider, lead of Munichs local system house company IT@M, responsible for Munichs IT setup, says that he was surprised about plans to decomission LiMux, the Cities staple IT project of migrating to mainly FOSS.

He goes on to claim "IT@M doesn't know of any larger technical issues with LiMux and LibreOffice." ... "We do not see pressing technical reasons to switch to MS and MS Office. [...] The concil [in their recent plans] didn't even follow the analysts suggestion to stick with using LibreOffice."

Furthermore Schneider stated that "System failures that angered citizens in recent years never were related to the LiMux project, but due to new bureaucratic procedures ..." and apparently decisions by unqualified personel at the administrative level, as Munichs administration itself states.

Raise your hand if this sort of thing sounds familiar to you. :-)

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