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Earth

First Dinosaur Tail Found Preserved in Amber (nationalgeographic.com) 64

The tail of a beautiful, feathered dinosaur has been found perfectly preserved in amber from Myanmar. It is a huge breakthrough that could help open a new window on the biology of a group that dominated Earth for more than 160 million years. From a report on the National Geographic: The semitranslucent mid-Cretaceous amber sample, roughly the size and shape of a dried apricot, captures one of the earliest moments of differentiation between the feathers of birds of flight and the feathers of dinosaurs. Inside the lump of resin is a 1.4-inch appendage covered in delicate feathers, described as chestnut brown with a pale or white underside. CT scans and microscopic analysis of the sample revealed eight vertebrae from the middle or end of a long, thin tail that may have been originally made up of more than 25 vertebrae. NPR has a story on how this amber was found. An excerpt from it reads: In 2015, Lida Xing was visiting a market in northern Myanmar when a salesman brought out a piece of amber about the size of a pink rubber eraser. Inside, he could see a couple of ancient ants and a fuzzy brown tuft that the salesman said was a plant. As soon as Xing saw it, he knew it wasn't a plant. It was the delicate, feathered tail of a tiny dinosaur.

Comment Re:Looks like RetroArch (Score 1) 91

This is pretty much exactly what you get with RetroPie. I wonder if the 4k video is limited to x264 or can it do HEVC (kind of doubt it)?

Except RetroPie, A Raspberry Pi 3 (with integrated Bluetooth) and a quality wireless controller will set you back significantly less than $70 (the lowest-priced option Retroengine available). Sure, you don't get the Cool, Genesis-looking enclosure, but I already have a *real* one of those. I just slapped an Atari sticker on my Pi's lid.

Communications

Fake News Prompts Gunman To 'Self-Investigate' Pizza Parlor (arstechnica.com) 788

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: A rifle-wielding North Carolina man was arrested Sunday in Washington, DC for carrying his weapon into a pizzeria that sits at the center of the fake news conspiracy theory known as "Pizzagate," authorities said Monday. DC's Metropolitan Police Department said it had arrested 28-year-old Edgar Maddison Welch on allegations of assault with a dangerous weapon. "During a post arrest interview this evening, the suspect revealed that he came to the establishment to self-investigate 'Pizza Gate' (a fictitious online conspiracy theory," the agency said in a statement. "Pizzagate" concerns a baseless conspiracy theory about a secret pedophile group, the Comet Ping Pong restaurant, and Hillary Clinton's campaign chief, John Podesta. The Pizzagate conspiracy names Comet Ping Pong as the secret headquarters of a non-existent child sex-trafficking ring run by Clinton and members of her inner circle. James Alefantis, the restaurant's owner, said he has received hundreds of death threats. According to Buzzfeed, the Pizzagate theory is believed to have been fostered by a white supremacist's tweets, the 4chan message board, Reddit, Donald Trump supporters, and right-wing blogs. The day before Thanksgiving, Reddit banned a "Pizzagate" conspiracy board from the site because of a policy about posting personal information of others. Alefantis, the pizzeria's owner, told CNN, "What happened today demonstrates that promoting false and reckless conspiracy theories comes with consequences. I hope that those involved in fanning these flames will take a moment to contemplate what happened here today, and stop promoting these falsehoods right away."
Earth

Slashdot Asks: Is It Time To Dump Time Zones In Favor of Coordinated Universal Time? (nytimes.com) 598

Last Sunday, those of us in North America, Europe and some areas of the Middle East rolled back the clock an hour in accordance with Daylight Savings Time (DST). The tradition -- first imposed in Germany 100 years ago -- has been around for so long that many of us fail to question its significance. What is the importance of Daylight Savings Time? Is it still relevant in today's world? Is it time to dump time zones in general? James Gleick makes the case via the New York Times for switching to Coordinated Universal Time, or U.T.C.: When it's noon in Greenwich, Britain, let it be 12 everywhere. No more resetting the clocks. No more wondering what time it is in Peoria or Petropavlovsk. Our biological clocks can stay with the sun, as they have from the dawn of history. Only the numerals will change, and they have always been arbitrary. Some mental adjustment will be necessary at first. Every place will learn a new relationship with the hours. New York (with its longitudinal companions) will be the place where people breakfast at noon, where the sun reaches its zenith around 4 p.m., and where people start dinner close to midnight. ("Midnight" will come to seem a quaint word for the zero hour, where the sun still shines.) In Sydney, the sun will set around 7 a.m., but the Australians can handle it; after all, their winter comes in June. The question has been posed before, but given the timeliness of Daylight Savings Time, we think the question may evoke some new, heartfelt attitudes and beliefs: Is it time to dump time zones in favor of Coordinated Universal Time?

Comment Voice actors and musicians (Score 1) 161

Others have called out how this will impact politicians and law enforcement. On a slightly different note, how many voice actors have recorded twenty minutes of dialog in the past? How many of their contracts give them control over how the movie studios use those recordings or mandate that the studios give them royalties for using "remixed" versions of their voices?

For example why pay (a bunch of money to) Mark Hamill to provide the voice for a new animated version of the Joker when you can use this tool to put Hamill's words in Joker's mouth by paying (a lot less) money to Adobe?

And if the tool becomes good enough, why not "find" a "lost" Freddie Mercury (or $YOUR_FAVORITE_ARTIST) recording that he never sang? It may sound exactly like Mercury, but the recording industry will argue that it's different enough that they don't owe Mercury's estate (or $YOUR_FAVORITE_ARTIST) anything.

Comment Re:What is there to investigate? (Score 1) 140

Reading my own comment, I realized that these releases could still be blamed on ignorance. If an FBI archivist was trying to make his or her own personal voting decision, pulling up the FOIA records from whichever hard-to-access database they live in, and then (in ignorance of the fact that a script would post the info to Twitter) copying them over to this easy-to-access web archive, there might be an excuse. I guess.

Comment Re:What is there to investigate? (Score 4, Informative) 140

I thought they already explained this: the Twitter account automatically tweets when a certain number of FOIA requests have been reached for a set of documents. I'm guessing that a bunch of FOIA requests from early in the election season finally went through, so you're getting tweets just now that are all related to Clinton.

Who is the "they" that explained it this way? It's trivially easy to disprove. Just look at the Fred Trump document. it appears to be a 1991 release of data in response to a 1966 FOIA request, containing information covering the years 1962-1988. The only thing new is "adding" the document to this WWW-based "vault." I'm sure similar metadata could be retrieved form the Clinton documents. This is just a blatant Hatch Act violation.

Television

Cable TV Price Increases Have Beaten Inflation Every Single Year For 20 Years (businessinsider.com) 112

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Business Insider: The pay TV industry is losing customers, but prices continue to climb. In fact, for U.S. cable TV in particular, price increases have outpaced inflation for every single one of the past 20 years, according to a recent FCC report surfaced by CordCutting.com. Every one! In 1995, cable cost $22.35 per month, on average. In 2015, it was $69.03. Now, it does makes sense for prices to go up for goods like cable as long as there is inflation. But cable's increases are more than double that of inflation. On average, cable prices went up 5.8% yearly for the past 20 years. Inflation clocked in at 2.2% per year, on average. Though there has been grumbling about the high prices of cable for quite some time, it has lately taken on a more serious air. That's because there is evidence that the pay-TV industry is experiencing a hiccup -- or the start of a long-term decline. The pay-TV industry lost 800,000 subscribers last quarter, according to the research firm SNL Kagan. "About 82% of households that use a TV currently subscribe to a pay-TV service," Bruce Leichtman of Leichtman Research said in a statement last month. "This is down from where it was five years ago, and similar to the penetration level eleven years ago."

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