University offers course to help sniff out and refute 'bullshit'
Feb21

University offers course to help sniff out and refute 'bullshit'

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Not only is fake news everywhere, but its purveyors call genuine news fake, making it doubly hard for the average person to know what’s real and what’s Inception. For example, President Donald Trump recently made up a terrorist attack in Sweden, and when the nation’s former PM called bullshit, he said the refutation itself was “fake news.” Luckily, there’s now a course at the University of Washington, “Calling Bullshit in the Age of Big Data” that helps you find bad information and show others why it’s bad. The instructors, Professors Jevin D. West and Carl T. Bergstrom, jokingly write that “we will be astonished if these skills do not turn out to be among the most useful … that you acquire during the course of your college education.” They add that the intention is not to be political, as “both sides of the aisle have proven themselves facile at creating and spreading bullshit.” The intention, then, is to arm students (and the public if they want) with the tools to combat a scourge of misinformation that’s aided and abetted by social media. The 160-seat class filled up within minutes of being posted, but it will be videotaped and possibly made “freely available” on the web, the listing says. The syllabus details all 12 lectures, with links to the (free) reading materials in case you want to audit the class in a serious way. Some of the lectures include a study on why people ignore the “correlation is causation” dictum, “statistical traps and trickery,” “predatory publishing” in science and the art of “refuting bullshit.” In the latter class, you’ll learn why “quantitatively skilled professional scientists won’t always convince your casually racist uncle on Facebook.” Just reading a few of the listed books and articles would probably make us all better people. Examples include a chapter in Carl Sagen’s 1996 book The Demon-Haunted World called “The Fine Art of Baloney Detection,” a Guardian article about why Ted Talks are “a recipe for civilizational disaster” and Factcheck.org‘s How to spot fake news. Much of the course also deals with “big data” and statistics, and how, for instance, “data graphics can steer viewers toward misleading conclusions.” The course starts up in the spring semester at the University of Washington (March 27th) with classes each Wednesday. There’s no word on where the public will be able to find the video lectures, but we’d expect them to eventually post the information on the course syllabus website. Via: Recode Source: University of Washington Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip...

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Verizon will pay $350 million less for Yahoo
Feb21

Verizon will pay $350 million less for Yahoo

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Despite two massive security breaches, which saw over a billion user total accounts compromised, Verizon still wants to make Yahoo its own. Early reports suggested that the carrier has been seeking to reduce its $4.83 billion offer by $250 million, but the two parties announced today that they have agreed on the slightly higher figure of $350 million. Under the new agreement, Verizon has agreed to take on responsibility for the damages incurred as a result of the two Yahoo hacks. The company will pay 50 percent of any financial charges levied by government investigations and in any third-party lawsuits. However, Yahoo will be on the hook for any damages resulting from shareholder lawsuits or the SEC probe that was opened earlier this year. Late last year, Yahoo announced that in August 2013, attackers stole data linked to more than one billion accounts. It followed an announcement in September that 500 million user accounts were impacted in a hack dating back to 2014. While the two incidents aren’t thought to be linked, Yahoo has come under fire for not promptly disclosing news of the security breaches. Verizon says that the acquisition, which is now valued at $4.48 billion, should be completed in the second quarter, making it “one of the largest portfolios of owned and partnered global brands” with additional help from AOL. Source: Verizon Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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Atari's 'Swordquest' comic returns without the game
Feb21

Atari's 'Swordquest' comic returns without the game

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Over 30 years after its original release, Atari has decided to resurrect one of its most beloved game franchises: Swordquest. Released in 1982, this ambitious gaming series was a pretty unique proposition at the time. As well as offering $150,000 worth of prizes to players who could solve all the puzzles in the game series, Atari also teamed up with DC to release a companion comic alongside each game. Now, thanks to Dynamite Entertainment, the long dormant franchise is getting a brand new run of comic books starting this May. Swordquest was not only one of gaming’s first titles to combine fast paced action with the logic and puzzle-solving of adventure games, but also one of the few to offer substantial real-world prizes. Unfortunately, thanks to Atari’s financial problems, the fourth game in the series was never released, leaving gamers with unsolved puzzles and an unfinished tale. The upcoming comic series uses this real-world tale as its inspiration, telling the story of Swordquest super-fan Peter Case. With the last game in the series never seeing the light of day, it crushed the comic’s protagonist, but after having to move back in with his mother, Peter rediscovers all his old Atari stuff – but with a fantastical twist. The series will be co-written by Chad Bowers and Chris Sims, writers of both Marvel’s recent nostalgic X-Men ’92 series. The artwork comes from Batman ’66 artist Scott Kowalchuck, as well as featuring a special pencilled cover variant drawn by the artist of the original DC series, George Perez. Dynamite Entertainment’s first issue of Swordquest is out this May, featuring four variant covers and costing just 25 cents. Source: Polygon Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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Spaceflight Bill paves the way for a UK spaceport in 2020
Feb21

Spaceflight Bill paves the way for a UK spaceport in 2020

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Space isn’t just big, it’s big business. According to the government, the UK’s space industry is already worth more than £13.7 billion to the economy, but one thing’s missing: The infrastructure needed to send the next satellite or experiment up into the void from British shores. Plans to grow the commercial space sector have been under way for some time, and several potential sites for the UK’s (and potentially Europe’s) first spaceport have already been proposed. But before you can shoot for the stars, you have to regulate, which is the intention of the Draft Spaceflight Bill introduced today. The publication of the bill follows the announcement earlier this month of a £10 million fund to support UK companies in developing launch capabilities. The Draft Spaceflight Bill isn’t nearly as cool as it sounds, though, because it tackles the more boring regulatory framework we need before rockets can blast off from local spaceports. We’re talking spaceflight licences, restricted launch zones, insurance requirements, astronaut training and other safety obligations — that sort of stuff. Once there’s an agreement on what rules need making, the finer details will be worked out in secondary legislation, and the government thinks it’s feasible we’ll have an operational UK spaceport in 2020. It’s a good thing we already know Brits make cracking astronauts then. Source: UK government (1), (2) Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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Qualcomm chip promises phone data that's faster than fiber
Feb21

Qualcomm chip promises phone data that's faster than fiber

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Just because true 5G wireless is edging closer doesn’t mean that 4G’s peak speeds can’t improve in the meantime. Qualcomm has unveiled a new LTE modem, the Snapdragon X20, that promises 1.2Gbps download speeds on mobile devices. That’s 20 percent faster than the company’s previous best, and enough to make even landline services like Google Fiber seem a bit pokey. The X20 manages the feat through more aggressive carrier aggregation (which bonds carrier frequency ranges) that lets it download 12 unique data streams of up to 100Mbps each. Upload speeds are healthy, too, at 150Mbps. There are a few other party tricks. Qualcomm’s new chip supports the 3.5GHz airspace used by Citizens Broadband Radio Service in the US, which opens the door to private LTE networks. It can also handle high-quality LTE phone calls on dual SIM phones, which is particularly handy in China and other countries where dual-line phones are relatively commonplace. Unfortunately, you’re going to have to wait to see what this modem can do. Samples of the X20 are available to device makers now, but the first shipping products aren’t expected until the first half of 2018. It’s just as well, though, when the most advanced LTE networks tend to stop at ‘just’ hundreds of megabits per second these days. And of course, the likelihood of hitting 1.2Gbps on a compatible carrier will be small unless you’re close to an uncongested cell tower. It’s better to think of this as laying groundwork for a transition — Qualcomm will be ready to tide you over with breakneck LTE speeds while you wait for meaningful 5G coverage. Source: Qualcomm Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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Soundwall's Nova art speaker boasts magic touch and backlights
Feb21

Soundwall's Nova art speaker boasts magic touch and backlights

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. The latest version of Soundwall comes with a couple of extra features that make it even more interactive. You can think of a Soundwall either as an aluminum artwork that plays music or a flat-planel speaker disguised as a painting. Its new iteration called “Nova,” however, kicks things up a notch by turning it into a touch-enabled artwork that can play music with a matching light show. Nova’s Magic Touch feature gives you the power to play, pause and skip songs — streamed from your phone through Bluetooth — by touching the artwork. “Mood Lights,” on the other hand, helps you set the ambiance. You can switch between blue lights for a relaxed, jazzy atmosphere, red for a more romantic one and white if you want some simple yet elegant, all within Soundwall’s companion app. According to the Boulder-based company, Soundwall’s whole surface is a speaker that uses Distributed Mode Loudspeaker technology to give off brilliant sounds. The aluminum adds to its sound’s richness, as well. As for the artwork, the company uses archival inks and a dye-sublimation process to print it into aluminum and make sure it doesn’t fade. You can get a Soundwall through its website for a minimum of $900. It’s pretty pricey, but then again, some people might see it as getting a piece of art and a speaker at the same time. If you do shop through the website, you’ll have around 150 designs to choose from, though you can always upload your own for the most personalized option yet. Source: Soundwall Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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Samsung will showcase C-Lab's AR and VR projects at MWC
Feb21

Samsung will showcase C-Lab's AR and VR projects at MWC

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Samsung will exhibit four new augmented and virtual reality projects out of the C-Lab program at this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. C-Lab or Creative Lab is the chaebol’s in-house initiative that gives employees time off to work on their most innovative ideas. For instance, the first of the four exhibits is Relúmĭno — a visual aid app for the Gear VR that can help visually impaired people watch TV and read again “with new levels of clarity.” The app does that by enhancing visuals, repositioning images to get rid of blind spots and correcting images that appear distorted for people with metamorphopsia. The next exhibit is called Monitorless, which is a pair of ordinary-looking glasses that can replace PC and smartphone monitors that you can see in the image above. You can access work applications on them, but you can also use them for gaming. If you want to be as immersed as possible, you can use the virtual reality mode. But you can switch to augmented reality mode if you want to see your app or game superimposed on the environment. Samsung will also be exhibiting VuildUs, a home furnishing solution composed of an app and a 360-degree depth camera. To use the solution, you’ll have to scan your home with the camera to create a VR version of it. Once you’re done, you can decorate your virtual home with various digital furniture through the app. It removes the need to measure space in your house before buying, and you can even make purchases within the app itself. Finally, the company will be showcasing a 360-degree video platform for virtual travelers aptly called traVRer. Similar to Google Street View and Matterport, traVRer gives you a way to visit tourist spots and famous places without having to leave home. All four will be displayed at a platform for startup businesses at the event, together with other projects that have the potential to be released to the public in a few years. Samsung Creativity & Innovation Center VP Lee Jae Il says: “These latest examples of C-Lab projects are a reminder that we have some talented entrepreneurial people who are unafraid to break new ground. We’re looking forward to further exploring novel applications for VR and 360-degree video because there are endless possibilities in this area.” Source: Samsung Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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Images and retail listing of Sonos 'Playbase' leak out
Feb21

Images and retail listing of Sonos 'Playbase' leak out

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. It looks like Sonos is about to release a new home enmtertainment speaker system, judging by a deleted B&H Listing (via article on Zatz Not Funny), a tweet and an FCC listing. Reportedly called the Playbase, it appears to be a flat soundbar that, rather than going in front of your TV like the Sonos Playbar, goes under it. According to the B&H listing, it will cost $699, the same price as the Playbar and Sonos Sub. The idea may be to give folks a low-profile soundbar that elevates your TV a bit, not unlike LG’s SoundPlate. Judging by the pictures (the side is shown above and other views below) it has an optical and ethernet port, just like the Playbar (still no HDMI, it appears). Like other Sonos speakers, it will likely support connectivity with your other Sonos speakers and voice control via Alexa at some point this year, provided you have an Echo or Fire TV device. There have been rumors that Sonos will build Alexa functionality into future devices (the Play:5 has a microphone that’s currently not used), so that’s a possibility too. So far, all of this is just a leak and rumor, though there’s copious evidence, including an FCC listing that mentions the name “Playbase.” Sonos also deleted several posts on its forum about the product, as Dave Zatz points out. If the B&H listing is to be believed, it should be arriving in March for $699. New Sonos Playbase pic.twitter.com/udu18n03lx — Jon Maddox (@maddox) February 20, 2017 Source: Zatz Not Funny, Jon Maddox Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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Samsung will reportedly sell 'refurbished' Galaxy Note 7s
Feb21

Samsung will reportedly sell 'refurbished' Galaxy Note 7s

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Even though Samsung has established a cause for those Galaxy Note 7 flare-ups, the device’s story is not over. Korean outlet Hankyung reports that the company will sell the “refurbished” phones, but with smaller, less-explodey batteries inside. It doesn’t sound like the devices will be returning to US or European markets (it’s tough to imagine regulators reversing course on bans after the first recall and reissue), but they could be sold in India or Vietnam instead. According to the report, Samsung has some 2.5 million Galaxy Note 7s left over after using 20,000 or so up in testing to determine the cause of the problem. The refurbished devices will have new cases, and batteries with a capacity of either 3,000 or 3,200mAh. Reuters reported last month that the sale of refurbs is a possibility, and ZDNet Korea says it will also help the company avoid trouble with the government for disposing so many unused phones. Source: ZDNet Korea, Hankyung Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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Amazon's Fire TV Stick with Alexa is hitting the UK for £40
Feb21

Amazon's Fire TV Stick with Alexa is hitting the UK for £40

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. The latest iteration of Amazon’s Fire TV Stick, first launched in the US last October, is finally UK-bound. While the little streaming dongle still won’t admit 4K is a thing, it boasts a quad-core processor that Amazon says makes it 30 percent faster than the previous generation of Fire TV Stick. Navigating around the new “cinematic” Fire UI should be pretty slick, then. The £40 steamer also supports the speedy 802.11ac WiFi protocol, but the biggest upgrade has to be the snazzy new Alexa remote. By talking into the remote’s microphone, Alexa won’t just help you search for sci-fi B movies, open apps or skip through the opening credits of House of Cards. You get access too all manner of Alexa skills, meaning you can check the weather, control your smart home, play Prince’s greatest hits or order an Uber, all by barking into your new flicker. The latest Fire TV Stick will be available at outlets including Dixons Carphone, Argos, John Lewis, Tesco and Maplin, but you can also pre-order one from Amazon right now for £40, with deliveries beginning April 6th. Source: Amazon Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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New Horizons scientists want to redefine what planets are
Feb20

New Horizons scientists want to redefine what planets are

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Alan Stern and his fellow New Horizons scientists really want Pluto to become a full-fledged planet again. The principal investigator of NASA’s mission to Pluto, along with a few members of his team, want to change the definition of planets. According to the proposal they intend to present at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, they want the word “planet” to define any “sub-stellar mass body that has never undergone nuclear fusion and that has sufficient self-gravitation to assume a spheroidal shape adequately described by a triaxial ellipsoid regardless of its orbital parameters.” In simpler words, they want the word planet to describe all “round objects in space that are smaller than stars.” Under the new definition, Pluto will get its former status back. But it’s not just Pluto that’ll change classifications: even moons will be recognized as planets. Based on the International Astronomical Union’s (IAU) current definition, an object can only be classified as a planet if it “(a) is in orbit around the Sun, (b) has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearly round) shape and (c) has cleared the neighborhood around its orbit.” Pluto was demoted because it doesn’t clear its orbit of asteroids and comets. Plus, it’s only around twice the size of its moon Charon. Stern thinks that’s “bullshit,” though, and he and his team argue that the current definition is technically flawed: “First, it recognizes as planets only those objects orbiting our Sun, not those orbiting other stars or orbiting freely in the galaxy as “rogue planets.” Second, it requires zone clearing, which no planet in our solar system can satisfy since new small bodies are constantly injected into planet-crossing orbits, like NEOs near Earth. Finally, and most severely, by requiring zone clearing the mathematics of the definition are distance-dependent, requiring progressively larger objects in each successive zone. For example, even an Earth sized object in the Kuiper Belt would not clear its zone.” It’s unclear if the team plans to formally submit their proposal to the IAU. But if they do and it gets approved, then we’ll potentially have hundreds of new planet names to memorize. Via: ScienceAlert Source: Universities Space Research Association, Spaceflight Insider Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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Claim your Nintendo Switch online account name right now
Feb20

Claim your Nintendo Switch online account name right now

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. We’re a little over a week away from Nintendo releasing its next console, the Switch, and the company is prepping the launchpad. If you want to secure your Nintendo Account user ID for the system, now’s the time to do so. Apparently this replaces the Nintendo Network ID from previous consoles, according to the ever-vigilant Wario64. That’s not confusing or anything. If you manage to get your account set up (a few of us here are just being hit with password-reset pages), let us know in the comments. Claim your Nintendo Account user ID now (replacing NNID for Nintendo Switch) https://t.co/EUQP83mTUz pic.twitter.com/KYF5P8O52t — Wario64 (@Wario64) February 20, 2017 Source: Wario64 (Twitter) Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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Uber CEO reveals details on sexual harassment investigation
Feb20

Uber CEO reveals details on sexual harassment investigation

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. A former Uber engineer’s blog post that blew up online did more than just shame the company into finally investigating her long-ignored sexual harassment allegations. It has also forced the ride-sharing service to take a look at its diversity numbers. In a memo sent out to employees earlier, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has revealed that he and new Chief HR Officer Liane Hornsey are working on publishing the company’s first diversity report in the next few months. While diversity reports are common in the tech industry, it’s out of the norm for Uber, which is still a private entity. The decision was most likely made in response to part of Susan Fowler’s (that’s the name of the former engineer) post that talked about the service’s gender balance issues. She said “out of over 150 engineers in the [site reliability engineer] teams, only 3 percent were women.” Kalanick insisted in his memo, however, that Uber’s gender balance issues aren’t that bad. He said 15.1 percent of the company’s employees are women. “As points of reference,” he added, “Facebook is at 17 percent, Google at 18 percent and Twitter is at 10 percent.” In addition to diversity numbers, Kalanick also talked about the ongoing investigation. Apparently, former US Attorney General Eric Holder and another partner at his law firm will conduct an independent review into “the specific issues relating to the work place environment” that Fowler raised. Uber board member Arianna Huffington and Liane Hornsey are also planning group and one-on-one sessions with employees. You can read the whole company-wide memo below: here is Travis Kalanick’s company wide email to Uber employees, sent Monday afternoon, regarding Fowler’s claims and HR investigation. pic.twitter.com/39PYrKr6SR — ಠ_ಠ (@MikeIsaac) February 20, 2017 Source: VentureBeat, Mike Isaac (Twitter) Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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'Rogue Legacy' studio returns with a retro co-op brawler

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. The developer behind hit indie game Rogue Legacy has a new title coming in 2017: Full Metal Furies. The teaser trailer shows off a brawler with a retro aesthetic, four unique classes of female protagonists, and a serious sense of humor. Toronto-based Cellar Door Games has a history of reinvigorating older genres with its releases. Full Metal Furies looks to refresh the popular brawler genre with an emphasis on cooperative gaming by including a special “barrier system” that will force players to work together. Different enemies have their own styles of attack that can only be defeated by certain character classes. If you’re playing solo, though, you can quickly switch between the disparate personas to simulate the multiplayer experience. Male protagonists are the norm in video games, so an all-female cast is worthy of note. The developers aren’t pushing the cast as a special feature, just as all-male casts aren’t typically touted, either. Unfortunately, though, we all have to wait until later in the year for the actual release on Xbox One and PC via Steam. Full Metal Furies will have Xbox Play Anywhere and Cross Play support so you can buy one copy and battle with friends no matter what device they play on. Source: Cellar Door Games Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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Julian Assange 'happy' about the rise of fake news
Feb20

Julian Assange 'happy' about the rise of fake news

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is taking time out from hiding in the Ecuadorian embassy in London to sing the praises of fake news. He appeared via satellite at a Q&A in Sydney, Australia this weekend, where he defended his organization and painted the traditional press as “opportunistic snipers” who publish “weaponized text.” “When the narrative of fake news came out and was then taken off effectively by the neo-liberal press and pushed around … I could see exactly where that was going. I was rather happy about it,” he told the crowd, according to Cnet. “WikiLeaks is very happy that there is a narrative about fake news out there because we have a perfect record of having never got it wrong in terms of authentications.” Assange went on to describe Wikileaks as “a wonderful library you can trust” and a source of “original pristine information.” “I think that is the real beauty of WikiLeaks … it is that sea of information, that treasure, that intellectual treasure, that rebel library of Alexandria you can go into.” Assange’s views are ironic considering his organization’s role in the 2016 presidential election. He was critical of Clinton and turned Wikileaks into a weapon against her. He called her potential presidency, “a consolidation of power in the existing ruling class of the United States.” Wikileaks’ release of nearly 20,000 emails sent to and from top DNC officials directly impacted her campaign. Some of the messages led to rumors that Clinton and her campaign chairman, John Podesta, were involved in Satanic rituals. Other correspondence detailed schemes to potentially undermine candidate Bernie Sanders by attacking his faith and political leanings. A number of DNC officials, including Committee chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, resigned following the leaks. Wikileaks has also faced scrutiny in recent months over its handling of personal information. It floated plans to create a database of verified Twitter user data, but changed its mind after intense public backlash. An Associated Press report called out the organization last August for publishing sensitive details on hundreds of innocent people, including teen rape victims. Source: Cnet Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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Piloted hoverbike redefines 'dangerous'
Feb20

Piloted hoverbike redefines 'dangerous'

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Good news: a private company has developed a manned hoverbike you may well fly one day. Only… you might not want to. Startup company Hoversurf is teasing the Scorpion-3, an electric quadcopter bike that offers both automated and manual control. It’s billed as safe thanks to “state of the art flight controllers” that keep checks on aspects like altitude and speed, and those are no doubt true. But, well, look at it — you’re one jolt away from losing your legs to those unprotected blades. And did we mention how easy it would be to fall off with that unrestrained, motorcycle-style seating? It’s not clear how likely the Scorpion-3 is to reach mass production, let alone when you’d have a crack at it. It’s entirely possible that the design could change between now and any formal launch. Until then, though, it’s a well-meaning idea that’s clearly meant more for daredevils (or at least, the very well insured) than the average person. We’ll stick to terra firma for now. Via: The Next Web, The Verge Source: Hoversurf, YouTube Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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AI turns Game Boy Camera photos into decent shots
Feb20

AI turns Game Boy Camera photos into decent shots

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Many people have fond memories of using the Game Boy Camera, but to call its low-resolution black-and-white shots “photos” would be… generous. Don’t tell that to Roland Meertens, though. He recently devised a neural network that turns Game Boy Camera images into more presentable pictures. He trained the AI to clean up, colorize and fill in details for images by feeding it thousands of photos reduced to Game Boy-level image quality. The results aren’t exactly good enough to frame for posterity, but they’re far easier on the eyes. As is, this is strictly a novelty. It’s hard just to find a Game Boy Camera, let alone the companion printer you’ll likely need to get images off the system. It’s also focused on faces where everything is clearly visible, and has trouble with sideways glances, sunglasses and other However, it isn’t hard to see the technology applying to other instances where AI can improve image quality. This could help identify a suspect from grainy security camera footage, for instance, or restore damaged photos. However it’s used, it’s a testament to how far imaging tech has come since the Game Boy Camera’s 1998 debut. Via: Prosthetic Knowledge (Tumblr) Source: Pinch of Intelligence Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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Crowdsourced research predicts what molecules smell like
Feb20

Crowdsourced research predicts what molecules smell like

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. As of now, the only way to tell how something smells is to actually take a sniff. That is to say, there’s no observable, scientific measure we know of that can predict how we’ll perceive a specific odor. In comparison, things are a little more cut and dried with sights and sounds; because humans use wavelengths to process what they see and hear, we generally agree on, say, how we expect a specific color to look. But scientists now seem to be making progress on the olfactory front: New crowdsourced research has brought scientists closer to predicting a molecule’s smell based solely on its chemical properties. A team led by Leslie Vosshall, head of The Rockefeller University’s Laboratory of Neurogenetics and Behavior, recruited a group of 49 volunteers for an olfactory experiment, the university announced yesterday. The volunteers were presented 476 vials of different molecules, including substances like water, vanillin and methylthiobutyrate (which gives some cheeses their stink). After taking a whiff, participants rated the vials based on how strong and pleasant they found the smells. They also recorded how much the odors reminded them of garlic, flowers, urine and 16 other distinct scents. The research provided over a million data points for the DREAM Olfaction Prediction Challenge, a collaboration between 22 teams from various companies and research institutions. Each crew used the information to come up with algorithms to predict a molecule’s smell based on its chemical features. When they were done, study researcher Pablo Meyer, of IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center, compiled the individual formulas into an aggregate model. To ensure the model’s effectiveness with all substances, 69 molecules not included in the initial sniff test were tested. While matching olfactory attributes to the molecules, the algorithm scored a 0.83 of a possible 1.0, which Rockefeller called “significantly better” than previous attempts at pairing perception to chemical structure. This progress is encouraging, but we still don’t totally understand what happens when odor molecules are converted into electrical signals for the brain to perceive. Still, Vosshall says the results of this research are significant in the pursuit of that knowledge. This information should also make it easier to reverse-engineer aromas, so perfumes and candles of the future ought to smell more like the fruits and flowers they’re named after. Source: The Rockefeller University, Science Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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The Simon Optix headset gave me a headache
Feb20

The Simon Optix headset gave me a headache

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. The classic game of Simon is a test of memory and reflexes. How long a sequence can you remember, and how fast can you repeat it? The new Optix headset turns it into a test of stamina as well: How long can you stand having flashing lights directly in front of your face? The Optix might resemble an AR or VR headset, but it’s nothing of the sort. Instead, the black headband shines bright colors into a transparent visor at specific points in your field of vision: green to your right side, red to your left side, and blue and yellow directly in front of your eyes. You wave your hand in front of each color when prompted, and the motion sensors on the outside will track your success or failure at following the sequence. The visor even does a rainbow roll of color, requiring you to swipe your hand in same direction across the headset. The combination of bright lights, sounds and weird hand movements is a lot like being trapped inside of a rave. And that’s exactly what Hasbro hopes people will do: bring their Optix to the club and play along with others on the dance floor. The $25 headset communicates via line-of-sight infrared and can connect with up to 100 other units, and we’ll find out this fall if it inspires people to create their own Simon flash mobs. Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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Hyundai chooses efficiency over range with its new Ioniq vehicles
Feb20

Hyundai chooses efficiency over range with its new Ioniq vehicles

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Hyundai has been dragging its feet. Hybrid technology has been on the road for over a decade and the Korean automaker is only now catching up with its new Ioniq brand. But, instead of just dropping a single car into the market and waiting to see what happens, the company decided to introduce three Ioniq green vehicles, a hybrid, plug-in hybrid and an electric vehicle. The automaker may have taken its time, but Hyundai says that over the past 11 years it’s been researching and developing green vehicles that fit within its brand. The results are inexpensive cars that bring electric technology to car buyers who want cheap, reliable transportation. This strategy seems to have paid off. The hybrid starts at $22,200 while the pure electric car is $29,500. Both of those are before federal tax credits. But, before I talk about what it’s like to cruise the countryside outside of Santa Barbara, California in these cars, there is a caveat: Hyundai has decided to focus on efficiency instead of range. The automaker hasn’t lined the bottom of the entire passenger compartment of the EV with batteries like other companies. Instead a small 28kWh pack sits under the rear seats. The result is that the electric Ioniq only has a range of 124 miles. In a world where the 238-mile range Chevy Bolt exists, that’s sure to turn off some buyers. But it’s important to remember that the starting price of the Bolt is $37,500. The Ioniq EV is $8,000 cheaper. If you can overlook that drop in range and you’re cool with the added buffer in your bank account (of course you’re cool with that), you might be pleasantly surprised with the Ioniq line. The three vehicles look nearly identical from the outside. But on the road, there’s a difference between the hybrid line and electric Ioniq. Both vehicle types are solid commuters/small family cars. Yet they each excel in their own way. For example, the hybrid has surprisingly impressive handling. It hugged the twisting mountain roads of the central California coast far better than expected. But linking those turns is where the car’s paltry 139-horsepower reminds you you’re behind a value brand. Even in sport mode, the hybrid’s acceleration is laughable. The best part is that stomping on the gas from a dead stop creates all sorts of engine noise. But the speedometer is there to let you know it’s a lot of racket for very little payoff. Most of the time, this isn’t a big deal. But I did have to adjust how I entered...

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The sequel to 'Alto's Adventure' arrives this summer
Feb20

The sequel to 'Alto's Adventure' arrives this summer

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Last week, Snowman — developer of beloved snowboarding game Alto’s Adventure — announced that its next game, Where Cards Fall, would be out this fall. However, we’re going to get another game from the studio before that. Alto’s Odyssey, the sequel to Alto’s Adventure is set to launch this summer. From the brief teaser trailer released today, it looks like Odyssey will change things up in at least one significant way: Alto and his crew will be visiting the desert. While the trailer keeps things somewhat vague, there’s an undeniably different landscape in play here; the video’s description also implores players to “discover the secrets of the endless desert.” It looks like the new game will instead have you cruising down sand dunes rather than snowy mountainsides. Plenty of questions remain (how will your beloved llama herd survive in the desert?) but at least it won’t be too long until we find out. Fortunately, the super-handy Wingsuit looks like it’ll make it to Odyssey, as well. If you haven’t tried the original Alto’s Adventure yet (and thus don’t know what the heck the Wingsuit is), it’s currently on sale for $1.99 to celebrate the game’s second anniversary. And if you’re on Android, it’s free-to-play with a minimum of pleas for your cash. In all likelihood, the skills you pick up in the first game will translate to the second, so you might as well start your training now. Source: Built By Snowman Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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Microsoft's next-gen HoloLens reportedly won't arrive until 2019
Feb20

Microsoft's next-gen HoloLens reportedly won't arrive until 2019

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. If you’ve been hoping for a cheaper, smaller HoloLens to come out soon, you might be disappointed. Microsoft-focused news site Thurrott reports that the company is eschewing a more incremental follow-up device in favor of something with significant upgrades. For tech enthusiasts, this means it will be at least a couple years before we see a new HoloLens for consumers, as Microsoft allegedly plans to release this more advanced device sometime in 2019. A change like this one allows Microsoft to put more resources into a device that represents a generational leap in HoloLens technology. As Thurrott notes, this sort of a move is easily attributable to the lack of competition in the Augmented Reality (AR) space. AR leaders like Magic Leap have yet to produce a wearable product, while Microsoft has a workable — if expensive — version of HoloLens for early adopters that came out last year. There’s no reason to offer a device with only incremental improvements as there’s no real competition in the space. So, while HoloLens fans may need to wait longer than expected for an update, they’ll hopefully end up with a better overall device. Source: Thurrott Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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Teddy Ruxpin's LCD makeover is occasionally charming
Feb20

Teddy Ruxpin's LCD makeover is occasionally charming

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Teddy Ruxpin may be one of the iconic toys of the eighties but, let’s face it, he was in need of a little update. After all, kids are used to looking at screens and a lot of them don’t even know what a cassette tape is. Wicked Cool’s new Teddy gets a bit of a 21st century makeover by baking LCDs right into his adorable furry face. He still reads stories to your kid, but now his eyes can say a lot more. The 2017 Teddy is quite huggable, and his mouth still mechanically opens and closes in time with his soothing voice. But, instead of large plastic eyes that roll back and forth with a whirr, the bear’s baby blues are a pair of small screens. Most of the time they’re pretty standard cartoon eyes, with large black pupils, azure corneas and a white gleam. They blink, squint and you even get a little half circle popping up at the bottom to indicate that Teddy’s smiling at you. However, when Teddy reads a story, the eyes display little images. You’ll see hearts when he’s talking about love and friendship, or even a small image of the earth when he sings about the world. The only time they’re not showing anything is when Teddy’s asleep — and the doll has a pair of mechanical eyelids to cover up the dark void within. Wicked Cool is also planning on including a small facemask so he can have a proper beauty rest. Children can follow along with the stories using the iOS or Android app, which displays illustrations and text at the pace of Teddy’s dictation. It’s a big step up from the books and cassettes that the original toy used. The app connects to the bear using Bluetooth, but it isn’t required to interact with him. Kids can just push the button in Teddy’s hand and he’ll start telling a random tale from his repertoire. Teddy Ruxpin comes packaged with three stories built in, and you don’t use the app to download new programs. Instead, parents will plug the plush toy into to their computer via USB to get them from the website. While new stories won’t be free, they’ll probably cost somewhere around $6. Ten titles total will be available at launch, with another 10 planned for next year. As for Teddy, he’ll be on store shelves this fall for $100. Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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House bills would ban warrantless use of fake cell sites
Feb20

House bills would ban warrantless use of fake cell sites

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. House representatives are making good on their plans to implement clearer cellphone surveillance laws. A bipartisan group (led by House Oversight Committee chair Jason Chaffetz) has put forward two bills that would keep the use of Stingrays and other cell site simulators in check. The most prominent, the Cell Location Privacy Act, would require that law enforcement get a probable cause warrant before using one of these fake cell sites to track suspects. There would be exceptions for “exigent circumstances” and foreign intelligence gathering. The other, the Geolocation Privacy and Surveillance Act, would create legal guidelines for using location technology both by police and private outfits. We don’t have access to the full text of the bills as of this writing, so it’s not clear how thorough the bills are and whether there are loopholes that undermine their effectiveness. Just what are “exigent circumstances,” exactly — a time-sensitive kidnapping case? If these bills become laws, though, they could still go a long way toward eliminating confusion over when and how cell site simulators get used. For instance, courts have had mixed opinions on whether or not cops need warrants for location data — these measures could settle that question once and for all. Via: FCW Source: Congress.gov (1), (2) Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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'Hot Wheels Track Builder' is an AR den for your creations
Feb20

'Hot Wheels Track Builder' is an AR den for your creations

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Hot Wheels is best known for its extensive line of die-cast model cars, as well as some racing video games for younger kids. However, at this year’s Toy Fair the brand is aiming to combine the best of both in its new Tango augmented reality game. Track Builder gives you a virtual play area to construct custom tracks for your cars. The only limit is what you can imagine, and not the amount of physical space in your home. Most AR apps focus on taking images of the real world and overlaying graphical effects using your device’s screen. Track Builder eschews the camera tricks and instead focuses on creating a boy’s playroom for you to explore physically. You move the phone up and down and even walk all over to look at all the furniture and decoration in the space, though most of your focus will be on the Hot Wheels track you can construct on the long table in the center. The app gives you plenty of bright orange track to build with, and also allows you to place ramps and obstacles for your virtual course as well. To get a good look at your work, you’ll have to actually walk around the table, just like if you had put together a plastic Hot Wheels set in your house. There don’t seem to be any plans to create any real world overlays just yet, so you can’t pretend to put together a course on your coffee table or bedroom rug. But the app does incorporate the best part of building any Hot Wheels track: the testing phase. You can pick out classic Hot Wheels vehicles and pit them against your creation. And, just like the real world version, you do need to use a little finesse when racing; too much power can send a car flying off course. The good thing about Track Builder is that because the cars aren’t real, you don’t have to worry about younger brothers or sisters getting hit in the face with a flying Ferrari. With Tango still in its early stages — there’s only one phone available right now that even supports it — it will be a while before we see Hot Wheels Track Builder on our devices. Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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Samsung's future Gear VR will come with a controller
Feb20

Samsung's future Gear VR will come with a controller

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Now that Google’s Daydream View is giving Gear VR a run for its money, how is Samsung going to respond? By implementing one of Daydream’s best features, of course. Both an FCC filing and an apparent scoop from Roland Quandt indicate that this year’s Gear VR will include a one-handed controller — no more reaching for a touchpad on the headset itself. That’s a big deal for games and any other apps that involve more than rudimentary controls. There’s precious little else known, but Quandt understands that Samsung’s new headset would (to no one’s surprise) have a new cover to accommodate both the Galaxy S8 and its upsized S8 Plus counterpart. As for an unveiling? Samsung is believed to be unveiling the S8 on March 29th, so you’ll likely get the full story before long. Via: SamMobile (1), (2), The Verge, GalaxyClub Source: FCC, Roland Quandt (Twitter) Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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Smartphone problems? Space particles may be to blame
Feb20

Smartphone problems? Space particles may be to blame

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Here’s a new one. Space particles from the sun and even distant black holes are affecting microelectronic devices more than ever, according to a recent study from Vanderbilt University. Chip manufacturers are packing in more transistors, increasing the chances a high-energy particle will strike one. While rare, such “bit-flips” may have caused a Qantas aircraft plunge and voting machine failure. With electronics devices all over the place, it’s forcing designers to take the phenomenon into account. Outside the protective cocoon of the Earth’s atmosphere and magnetic field, cosmic radiation from solar and galactic cosmic radiation can cause illness and death, as astronauts know. When they strike the atmosphere, they can generate secondary particles like neutrons, muons and alpha particles. Millions of those bombard us per second without any effect, but a few are strong enough to push electrons around in chips, causing “single-event upsets” (SEUs) and data failures. Scientists are well aware of the issue and have been studying it for years. Vanderbilt researchers have looked at the last three generations of chips with 28-nanometer, 20-nanometer and, most recently, 16-nanometer transistors. To test them, they expose chips to radiation in a special lab called the Chips and Electronics (ICE) House at Los Alamos National Laboratory. With smaller traces, the latest chips require less electrical charge to make a bit, so the odds of one flipping from 0 to 1 (or vice-versa) when struck by a particle have shot up. That’s offset by the fact that smaller transistors are less likely to be hit, but there are a lot more packed into the same space. As a result, failure rates of devices as a whole has gone up with the latest chips, as shown above. On top of that, there are more devices than ever, so the odds of one failing with an SEU are higher. Phones are one thing, but in another case, a single bit flip on an election voting machine gave 4,096 votes to one candidate, more than the number of registered voters. A similar event may have also glitched a Qantas A330’s autopilot, causing a dive that seriously injured 11 passengers and a flight attendant. “Our study confirms that this is a serious and growing problem,” says Vanderbilt researcher Bharat Bhuva. Luckily, firms in aviation, medical, IT, transportation and other critical sectors are addressing the problem by using backup systems, error correction and other measures. The consumer electronics sector is lagging behind, but companies like AMD, ARM and Qualcomm, which sponsored the latest study, are at least aware of it. And if your phone does...

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Watson-based cancer project paused after running aground
Feb20

Watson-based cancer project paused after running aground

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. It’s tempting to treat IBM’s Watson as a cure-all: just throw some cognitive computing at the problem and you’ll make everything better. That can only happen if it’s well-implemented, however, and we’ve just seen what happens when things go awry. The University of Texas’ MD Anderson Cancer Center has put its highly-touted Watson project (the Oncology Expert Advisor) on hold after an audit discovered both spending issues and an unfocused strategy that didn’t meet goals. Where tech companies often foot the bill for projects like this, MD Anderson paid the $62 million for the project itself, ducking around usual procedures in the process. Former genomic medicine chair (and wife of MD Anderson’s president) Lynda Chin reportedly didn’t get approval from the center’s IT department, and ensured that payments to IBM were just low enough to not require board approval. To make matters worse, payments were made from donations that hadn’t been received, and didn’t hinge on meeting tangible goals. The actual technology, which mines patient and research databases for recommended treatments, wasn’t necessarily at fault. While the audit says Watson is “not ready” for full-fledged use, doctors also said they were impressed — the main issue is one of constantly switching focuses and technology. The emphasis switched from leukemia to lung cancer, and a change in medical record software rendered Watson incompatible without an overhaul. Moreover, the info used to feed Watson is outdated. This doesn’t mean that the project is dead. Even though MD Anderson tells Forbes that it’s soliciting competitive bids to “see where the industry has progressed,” its audit stresses that this isn’t an opinion on Watson’s abilities. However, it’s clear that a lot of work is needed to make this system useful in the real world. And regardless of whether or not that happens, MD Anderson is learning an expensive lesson in using AI wisely. Source: Forbes, University of Texas (PDF) Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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HBO will stream its Sunday lineup early to make room for Oscars
Feb20

HBO will stream its Sunday lineup early to make room for Oscars

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. You won’t have to choose between following the Oscars this Sunday and catching up on your favorite HBO show. The network just announced that it will stream the next episodes of Girls, Big Little Lies and Crashing on HBO Now/Go two days early on Friday, February 24th. Additionally, the episodes will also pop up early on the network’s on-demand offerings. It’s a pragmatic move by HBO — TV networks typically avoid airing new episodes of shows during the Oscars. But thanks to its many different platforms, HBO can be a bit more flexible about how it releases things. It turns out streaming video isn’t just good for the likes of Netflix; it also allows traditional networks to break old rules. Source: HBO Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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DNA 'computers' could lead to self-activated smart pills
Feb20

DNA 'computers' could lead to self-activated smart pills

Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter. Imagine a pill that knew if you were ill enough to need drugs, and wouldn’t release chemicals if it thought you didn’t need it. That’s the breakthrough that’s been made at Eindhoven University in the Netherlands by a team of researchers ld by Maarten Merkx. The team has harnessed the power of DNA itself to form an organic computer that performs crude calculations on the state of your health. When you get ill, or suffer from a chronic condition, doctors normally prescribe drugs to help you get better, but this is based on a set of generic guidelines. The idea is that a smart pill will be able to offer specific doses, tailored to your needs, reducing the risk of side effects and waste. The computation comes in the form of the DNA, which looks for molecules that it can react with as a form of data-gathering. Put simply, the pill will journey inside your body and sniff the local environment to decide if you need more medicine. Of course, like so many things at the bleeding edge of technology, it’s still early days for this form of treatment, but the potential is exciting. Source: TUE, Nature Share on Facebook.Share on Twitter.Share on Google+Share on StumbleUponShare on Twitter.Follow @DailyTechWhip Source: Engadget - Read the full article...

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