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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.

Comment Re:LinkedIn can't be wrong... (Score 3, Interesting) 161

The two facts are not at necessarily odds with each other. The reporting is on the number of people employed; LinkedIn tells you the number of open vacancies. The problem is that with the housing capacity tapped out and the cost of living through the roof it is becoming increasingly hard to fill the jobs that exist, so hiring is slowing down. Cities in the Bay Area from San Mateo to Sunnyvale have been building office space faster than they have been building homes and is this is the result.

Media

Russia Today: NatWest To Close Russian Channel's UK Bank Accounts (bbc.com) 131

According to the editor-in-chief of state-run broadcaster Russia Today (RT), NatWest bank froze its account. Margarita Simonyan said, "They've closed our accounts in Britain. All our accounts. 'The decision is not subject to review.' Praise be to freedom of speech!" The Guardian adds: Russia has angrily accused Britain of trampling on freedom of speech after NatWest said it was closing down the bank accounts of the Kremlin TV channel Russia Today (RT). Russian MPs, the foreign ministry and human rights officials all condemned the move, and said the UK government was guilty of violating press freedom and of double standards. Simonyan said she had received a letter out of the blue from NatWest saying that it was pulling the plug on the broadcaster's accounts from mid-December. "We have recently undertaken a review of your banking arrangements with us and reached the conclusion that we will no longer provide these facilities," it said.

Submission + - Google kills the modular Ara phone

nickovs writes: The New York Times is reporting that Google has pulled the plug on Project Ara, the modular mobile phone that would allow users to replace and upgrade phone parts. Although Google discussed the Ara platform at their developer conference only a few months ago the article reports:

Alphabet, the parent company of Google, is dropping plans to create a customizable, or modular, smartphone with interchangeable parts, two people briefed on the matter said Thursday.

It would appear that this change is a result of the restructuring of the Google monolith into the Alphabet group of companies:

Last year, the company moved to a holding company structure, separating the profitable advertising business from the money-losing “moonshots.” By forcing those projects to report losses publicly, the thinking was that it would help to rein in never-ending investment.

Submission + - WikiLeaks benefits Russia; conviction, convenience or coincidence?

nickovs writes: The New York Time is reporting how Russia often benefits when Julian Assange reveals the West’s secrets. The article discusses Assange's change in stance regarding Russia over the years and how the Kremlin appears to support, and benefit from, the leaks that he publishes.

United States officials say they believe with a high degree of confidence that the Democratic Party material was hacked by the Russian government, and suspect that the codes may have been stolen by the Russians as well. That raises a question: Has WikiLeaks become a laundering machine for compromising material gathered by Russian spies? And more broadly, what precisely is the relationship between Mr. Assange and Mr. Putin’s Kremlin?

Comment Re:I'd like a 64-bit OS (Score 4, Informative) 87

Actually you get quite a bit of advantage. The instruction set for 64 bit mode is quite a bit more efficient even when you're not doing 64 bit arithmetic, not least because there are twice as many registers. Code that can be optimised using the SIMD instructions also gets twice as many SIMD registers, which can make a big difference for many graphics, signal processing and mathematical tasks. Most floating point code will be more efficient in 64 bit mode too.

Furthermore the 64 bit address space is useful even with only 1GB of RAM since it allows you to mmap files that are bigger than 4GB. Programs like MongoDB mmap their database files and when running on 32 bit processors MongoDB actually limits processes to a total of 2GB of data in the database, irrespective of how small the working set is. With a 64 bit address space the limit goes from below typical storage sizes to far beyond any plausible storage you'll ever connect to a Pi.

Submission + - Cycle doping, with motors not drugs

nickovs writes: The New York Times is reporting an increasing amount of evidence that pro cyclists are adding tiny, hidden electric motors to their racing bikes in order to get an advantage. They cite Stefano Varjas, a Hungarian who claims "his crank-assist devices could produce more than 250 watts, the amount of power a professional rider might typically average during a four-hour race" while being sufficiently light that the bike can still maintain the cycling union’s minimum weight.

Comment "Ethical Motivations" (Score 5, Informative) 95

The idea that "the fact that only companies and labs have access to this technology can represent a threat" is patently absurd. Theano, Caffe and Torch are all open source and even Google has open-sourced its Tensor Flow platform which makes it easy to build new tools and run then, fast, on all the GPUs you can find. If you need to do this at scale and you're not the size of Google or IBM you can use Amazon's Machine Learning for AWS. There are many, many higher level toolkits out there that are available under licenses that are much less restrictive than GPLv3.

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