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google faces lawsuit in the uk over safari data collection
dubbed the safari workaround by the phd researcher that discovered the loophole in 2012, it apparently allowed google to collect personal information on users such as race, physical and mental health, political ideology, social class, location, shopping habits and financial data.this data was then aggregated, according to the prosecution, into different groups to provide `better` targeted advertising.for its part, google claims that no personal information was shared with third parties, and that there is no way to identify any individuals affected by the aggregation. google's lawyer, anthony white, also said that the claim is aimed at punishing the company rather than finding justice for individuals. the uk communications director, tom price, noted that the issue was a long time ago. `the privacy and security of our users is extremely important to us,` he told the guardian. `this case relates to events that took place over six years ago and that we addressed at the time.`
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lyft may be getting into the electric scooter game
the pay-per-use scooters aren't yet regulated in the city, which has caused some grumbling among residents over the last few months. unlike with most bike-sharing systems, you don't need to deposit scooters in a dock; you can leave them anywhere, leading to careless riders dumping them on sidewalks and causing obstructions. many riders are also zooming around without helmets, and some are using the scooters on sidewalks too.san francisco is clamping down on the menace though. companies that want to run a service will soon need a permit and abide by some conditions: they'll need to prove they're reminding users to wear helmets and travel on the roads, and teaching riders how to park the scooters without littering sidewalks. transit officials will grant up to five one-year permits -- companies can have 1,250 scooters in total on san francisco's streets, and up to 2,500 in the back half of the trial program. the city is opening the application process this week.a consultant for lyft reportedly spoke with officials about a permit application, while the company has been prototyping scooter designs. still, the company's interest seems to be in its early stages. lyft could miss out on the city's pilot program and have to play catch up, or it might dodge a bullet (at least in sf), should officials decide against extending the pilot program, leaving operators with hundreds of scooters to ship to their services in other cities.lyft might not be the only major ridesharing company...
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nasa will create coldest place in the universe to study quantum physics
the box creates a temperature roughly 10 billion times colder than the vacuum of space, and then uses a combination of lasers and electromagnetism to slow atoms until they're virtually stationary. at that point, quantum mechanics override conventional physics and make the atoms behave more like waves than particles. in the very low gravity environment of the iss, those atoms should hold their wave-like state for roughly five to 10 seconds -- still a brief window, but much easier to study.the extra analysis time could lead to a greater understanding of quantum physics, which in turn could be applied to quantum computing. it may also help us detect dark energy, the most common substance in the universe. while you may not see results for a long time, the lab's impact might be felt for a long, long time to come.
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china's netflix equivalent just opened its first cinema
according to the south china morning post, iqiyi plans to open more of these theaters, branded `yuke,` in more chinese cities. this initial theater opened in zhongshan city in the southern guangdong province, and will allow people there book private, on-demand showings of iqiyi's online content. such a deal isn't too far-fetched, either. it mirrors a rumored netflix purchase of theater companies like landmark, showing that online companies continue to want to make inroads to our offline lives.
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oculus’ privacy center now shows you what data is being collected
that's also where users can download their data and delete their oculus account, if they so choose (though that won't wipe away certain info like purchase agreements, which the company holds on to for tax purposes). information that's been anonymized, like the vr controller gestures, aren't shown in the privacy center, and neither is locally-stored data. it's essentially the platform's effort to clear a path between users and their data, an effort toward transparency that stands in contrast to parent company facebook's ongoingblunders over individual privacy.
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sonos bundles offer audio options for home theater, vinyl and more
there are several speaker sets on offer. one deal offers two sonos one speakers for $379, three of them for $549 and four ones for $729. you can get two play:5 speakers for $899, and a playbar (or a playbase) with two sonos ones for $999. there are home theater sets, too, consisting of either a playbar or playbase with a subwoofer for $1,299 or the same with two add-on sonos ones for $1,649. finally, you can grab a play:5 and turntable bundle for $799, two play:5s with a turntable for $1,249 or two play:5 speakers with a turntable and subwoofer bundle for $1,899.the home theater sets and the double sonos one bundle have been offered in the past, says sonos. the play:5 turntable set was also previously available for record store day this past april, as well. the rest of the bundles are new offers.
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official 'fortnite' tournaments will offer $100 million in prizes
the official fortnite competitive scene will kick off this year. details on how pro play will work are forthcoming, though epic said in its announcement it is seeking a different approach to esports: `we plan to be more inclusive, and focused on the joy of playing and watching the game.`it's possible that professional play will follow a similar system to last weekend's solo showdown mode, where players picked up points depending on how highly they placed in 50 games, rather than having to win matches outright. there's a certain amount of luck involved in battle royale games like fortnite and playerunknown's battlegrounds, as the weapons and items you collect spawn at random and you might find yourself far away from the active play area as a barrier forces players closer together. epic will have to mitigate the luck factor as much as possible to ensure player skill is the most important aspect of competitive play.the prize pool investment far surpasses that of the overwatch league, blizzard's most serious effort in making overwatch a leading esport. the league is offering $3.5 million in total in its first year; the winning team in each of the four stages claims $100,000, with the overall champion taking away $1 million. epic's cash injection also eclipses other major esports, as the vergepointed out. dota 2 prizes have totaled more than $140 million over the last five years, and winners in the counter-strike: global offensive and league of legends scenes have claimed ...
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tesla and consumer reports continue feud following model 3 review
not surprisingly, tesla took issue with the claim. in a statement, a spokesperson maintained that its testing showed a 133-foot braking distance using the 18-inch michelin all-season tires. the company also claimed that cr's test units may have been affected by a number of factors, including temperatures (both for the tires and the environment), the road surface and even `past driving behavior.` and if there were issues, the spokesperson said, tesla was in a better place to `address more corner cases` through software updates that could improve the stopping distance.who's telling the truth? it's not entirely clear. cr noted that other outlets' braking results were all over the map. car and driversaid it saw a `bizarre amount of variation` in its more aggressive 70-to-0mph tests, with an average of 176 feet but an `interminable` 196 feet in one case. this wasn't always the case -- motor trend saw the car come to a halt from 60mph in just 119 feet with 19-inch it stands, braking wasn't cr's only objection. it complained about `stiff` ride quality, and was worried that the near-exclusive use of a touchscreen for the interface risked causing a `distraction` for drivers who had to take their eyes off the road to make changes. the publication had plenty of positive compliments for the model 3, including its `record` ev range (350 miles with heavy regenerative braking) and `agile` performance that made it more exciting to drive than some sports cars....
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a new atari lynx game in 2018
james trewmanaging editorstill waiting for half life 3? i can empathize. new material for the 30-year old atari lynx is (understandably) rare, but fans of the original color hand-held are a patient bunch. the trickle of content we do get is often barely more than a playable demo or a simple puzzle game. wyvern tales, created single-handedly by jasper van turnhout (under his nomad studio imprint) is the rarest of beasts: a new lynx game with -- gasp! -- hours of play, a storyline, strategy and cute '90s-era graphics. you scoff, but this is a big deal for the hundred(s?) of people like me who refuse to let the lynx die.wyvern tales is special for a few more reasons. for one, it's an rpg, which means it plugs a decades-long hole in the lynx's (already limited) library.`a lot of games on the lynx are arcade ports or have timers involved to increase the challenge, but i was missing a game that you can pick up, fool around a bit and save your progress, like some of the jrpgs that i've been playing throughout my life.` van turnhout told engadget. `having played games such as lufia and dragon warrior on the game boy color, i thought that the lynx could have a game like this as well.`while everyone else was enjoying platform-specific versions of sonic or super mario, lynx owners were stuck with conversions of old coin swallowers like ms. pac-man and robotron 2084. the nearest thing we had to a `mascot` was probably the ruddy kid in scrapyard dog. fantasy and rpg/adventure ga...
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inside the automotive startup taking evs off-road
the skateboard and body components are being assembled at an illinois plant that previously built mitsubishi cars. that a startup would manufacture its vehicles domestically is curious for a few reasons. first, uncertainty around trade agreements like nafta has been looming for years. a reversal could adversely affect an established automaker's supply chain, to say nothing of a startup like rivian, whose production scale measures in thousands, rather than millions.labor costs are also higher here than abroad. that hasn't deterred scaringe, however. `domestic manufacturing is not something that makes it impossible to be profitable in the market here,` he said. scaringe added that china isn't as cheap as it used to be for labor. plus, once a chinese-built vehicle is finished, you still need to ship it halfway around the world. as such, scaringe says that, wherever you're selling, it makes more sense to manufacture locally.unions are another reason automakers might choose to manufacture abroad. after all, rivian has a location in detroit, a historically pro-labor city, and its manufacturing plant is a few hours away from another blue-collar metropolis: chicago. tesla and many other tech companies are vehemently anti-union, often claiming that organized labor stifles innovation and drives up costs. rivian employees haven't unionized yet. as the company grows, scaringe said it will work with employees and the local community to `determine the best course of action` in ter...
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the first stars may have formed much earlier than scientists thought
`this galaxy is seen at a time when the universe was only 500 million years old and yet it already has a population of mature stars,` said nicolas laporte, an author of the research paper and researcher at the university college london. `we are therefore able to use this galaxy to probe into an earlier, completely uncharted period of cosmic history.`the question is when did the earliest stars form after the big bang? the team used infrared data of macs1149-jd1 from the hubble space telescope and the spitzer space telescope to measure the observed brightness of the galaxy. the researchers came to the conclusion that the galaxy fits a model that has stars forming in the early universe just 250 million years after the big bang.scientists have long wondered when `cosmic dawn` occurred, which is when the first galaxies became bright and the universe was no longer cloaked in utter darkness. this new discovery will help researchers further determine when that might have been, and specifically, questions whether it could have occurred even earlier than scientists thought.
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bmw i3 batteries provide energy storage for uk wind farm
this isn't the first time car batteries have been used for renewable power. renault is reusing zoe batteries on a 'smart island,' for example. it's vattenfall's largest rollout to date, though, and it hints at what electrical grids may eventually look like in the uk and beyond: wind and solar sources backed up with batteries from car manufacturers.this also illustrates how some automakers may thrive going forward. large-scale battery deployments like this not only help them make the most of their ev production (they don't have to limit battery production to cars), it helps them reuse batteries when owners retire their vehicles.
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netflix inks multi-year production agreement with the obamas
`one of the simple joys of our time in public service was getting to meet so many fascinating people from all walks of life, and to help them share their experiences with a wider audience,` president obama said in a statement. `that's why michelle and i are so excited to partner with netflix – we hope to cultivate and curate the talented, inspiring, creative voices who are able to promote greater empathy and understanding between peoples, and help them share their stories with the entire world.`specifics on the deal remain scarce but the agreement itself is unprecedented. while former presidents invariably produce memoirs and autobiographies after leaving office, signing on with one of the largest television and film studios on the planet to produce multiple series is unheard of. after keeping largely to themselves following the 2016 election, could this announcement signal the obamas' return to the spotlight? the first content generated from this agreement is expected to be released by next year at the earliest.
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progressive groups want ftc to split facebook into multiple companies
these ads will run online, and the groups (which include the open market institute and moveon civic action) are putting six figures of spending power behind them. they will run on both twitter and facebook, as well as as more traditional display units on websites.the groups believe that the new ftc chairman, joe simons, might be amenable to taking on a big tech company. while some commissioners might be sympathetic, axios notes that no commissioners have come out in support of breaking up any american tech giants.facebook has certainly been in some hot water recently over fake news and privacy issues, and it's become popular to cry for more regulation of the social networking service from both the left and the right (who claim that facebook shows liberal bias). but this feels like a stretch. there are multiple options when it comes to social networking and messaging apps. facebook doesn't operate all, or even a majority, of them. while stricter privacy controls would be welcome news, breaking up the company doesn't seem like the answer to that problem.
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microsoft turns sharepoint into the simplest vr creation tool yet
`until now, it has been prohibitively complex and costly to develop customized mr apps to address these and other business scenarios,` wrote jeff teper, microsoft's corporate vp for onedrive, sharepoint and office, in a blog post today. `sharepoint spaces empower creators to build immersive experiences with point-and-click simplicity.`in a brief demonstration at microsoft's build conference this month, sharepoint spaces seemed just as easy to use as powerpoint. you start with a blank project, choose a template for the type of vr experience you'd like to make, and then drop in any relevant files. there's plenty of customization, too, since you can change the background imagery, lighting and sounds. within a few minutes, i created a rotating gallery of 3d objects to explore, as well as a page featuring 360-degree videos. sure, the experience was a bit basic, but it was still impressive since i didn't need a lick of 3d editing knowledge to build it. sharepoint spaces is clearly just a first step for microsoft when it comes to creating mixed reality, but it could be a way for businesses to stand out as vr headsets become mainstream. your creations aren't just limited to a small market, since you can view them in web browsers too. much like paint 3d, microsoft's first stab at making 3d creation mainstream, sharepoint spaces is a glimpse at where we're headed.
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iphone painting app procreate pocket gets a major overhaul
you won't be able to use the apple pencil here, as you can with procreate's ipad app, but the update takes advantage of features like 3d touch to offer finer control via pressure sensitivity. procreate pocket 2.0 has more timelapse features (it records the creation process for you to review or share later), 136 brushes, a revamped interface and effects to mimic wet painting, among many other new options.the update brings procreate pocket more into line with the ipad app, adding almost every feature from its big-screen sibling. as 9to5macnotes, though, there are some features exclusive to this version, like a 30-second timelapse export and custom brush set sharing.those who already have procreate pocket, which costs $4.99, will get the update for free. maybe you'll find it easier to craft hyper-realistic digital paintings on the subway.
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esrb ratings changes could hurt indie games in the psn store
the esrb's stopgap is saying that digital games can be rated for free by the international age rating coalition (iarc) -- a potentially quicker process for rating games on region-by-region basis -- but the catch there is not every digital marketplace uses iarc ratings.specifically, the playstation store is the outlier here; iarc ratings are available on the nintendo eshop, google play, oculus store and microsoft's marketplace. with the biggest install base of the three consoles, that means without ratings, indie projects on ps4 could dry up on the most popular platform. in reference to that, the esrb said the playstation store will have iarc ratings `soon.` the board hasn't set a firm date for short-form ratings to be retired, either, which means that there might not be a change or blackout period.
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'dreams' makes imagination manifest on the ps4
dreams is, without a doubt, the spiritual successor to little big planet, which studio media molecule also created. as you play, you get an unprecedented level of control over the content you can draw on in creations, or dreams. literally every aspect of the in-game experience is editable -- the color of the sky, the land's distance from the sun, the background music, sound effects, all the way down to the frame-by-frame animation of the sprites -- you can control it. what's more, you'll be able to import midi files for custom background music and automatically sync a recorded voice over cutscenes. the fidelity of command you have over your projects is equally omniscient and anxiety inducing, because now you can control everything, you're also now responsible for actually controlling everything. and that's a lot to keep track of.i can surf the dreams of other community members as easily as flipping television channelsnow, we already covered the nuts-and-bolts aspects of dreams' in-game mechanics previously and, based on the 40-minute guided tour that i took, media molecule has overwhelmingly delivered on what it promised back at paris game week 2015. players can browse the works of other members of the dreams community; remix those creations (editing them either into a new iteration of the same project or a new thing entirely) or create new dreams from scratch.i don't know why you would want to, though. spending dozens of hours carefully transcribing a digital world fr...
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acer offers the first laptops with alexa built-in
if you already have a compatible model, don't worry -- your system isn't suddenly obsolete. acer is promising updates with alexa support through the company's care center, starting with the spin 5 on may with other alexa-equipped pcs, you have access to a wide range of the ai helper's tasks, whether it's controlling smart home devices, playing music or checking the weather. you may have to sit close to your pc for it to understand you, however -- only the spin 5 has far-field voice recognition that lets you bark commands from across the room. still, this might do the trick if you live in an alexa-centric household or just don't care for cortana.
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huawei's matebook x pro arrives in the us
the matebook x pro's most notable feature is its pop-up webcam, which is nestled in the keyboard's function row, between the f6 and f7 keys. that way, you can avoid unsightly stickers clogging up your laptop and have the benefit of reducing the chances of getting your webcam hacked by nefarious our review, we found that the machine was well-engineered, with a beautiful, 14-inch 3k display in its 13-inch chassis. unfortunately, our review unit had a slightly flaky trackpad that we're still waiting to learn was a one-off, or a more nefarious problem.those who would dismiss the matebook x pro as little more than a macbook pro rip would be mindful to spot that huawei has improved upon its rival's design. rather than going fully usb-c, the x pro packs a traditional usb port for all those still unwilling to abandon their accessories.the lower-spec model, which packs a core i5 processor, 8gb ram and a 256gb ssd, will set you back $1,199.99. those looking for more power in their ultraportable laptop can spend $1,499.99 to get a version with a core i7, 16gb ram and a 512gb ssd. as a further incentive to spend, both versions come with a year of microsoft office 365 personal and the matedock 2 usb-c adapter thrown in.
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smart home controls don’t live up to the hype
in early 2018, however, nokia revealed what is essentially the aura's replacement: the nokia sleep. it's similar to the aura, except it no longer has that aforementioned lamp. instead, the sleep supports ifttt, a toolkit that lets two or more connected devices interact in simple ways. for example, you could have ifttt set to turn off the lights when you get in bed or increase the temperature on your thermostat when you get up. the device's full name is actually `nokia sleep and home automation sensor,` indicating that the smart home feature is one of its main selling points.which sounds good in theory, but as i would soon find out, it falls short. not only is the ifttt integration a little buggy, it doesn't really add a whole lot to the experience.while most sleep trackers are worn on the wrist, nokia sleep is a soft rectangular pad which you slide underneath your mattress. setting it up is as easy as doing just that, making sure it's aligned roughly around your chest level when you're lying down. the only thing you want sticking out from the bed is the power cable.i already had the health mate app installed on my phone, which is what you need to pair with the sleep. i selected `install a device` in the app, chose the nokia sleep and it walked me through the installation process. then it went through a calibration process where the sleep pad makes a whirring noise for around 10 minutes, which nokia says is the device essentially doing a reset. you're not supposed t...
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mark zuckerberg's eu testimony will be streamed live
in what appears to be a move to restore confidence with facebook users and placate government ministers, zuckerberg will appear before parliament to `clarify issues related to the use of personal data`. tajani had initially confirmed zuckerberg would visit brussels in a private meeting. however, a number of meps expressed vehement disagreement, with german greens party member sven giegold launching a petition to open the meeting to all and reverse the decision. tajani subsequently confirmed via twitter that zuckerberg had agreed to stream the meeting. it'll be hosted on the european parliament website and is due to commence at around 6:20pm cet (12:20pm et) tomorrow (may 22nd).`i consider it very positive that the founder of facebook has accepted our invitation to come in person to meet the representatives of 500 million europeans.` president tajani said. `it is a sign of respect for the legislator of the world's largest market. i also appreciated that he has accepted my request that the meeting be directly open to all citizens`when zuckerberg denied the uk parliament any of his time, cto mike schroepfer quickly stepped in. however, the uk digital, culture, media and sport committee said it wasn't satisfied with facebook's response. it called facebook's actions 'disappointing', condemned the lack of `sufficient level of detail and transparency` and threatened the facebook chief with a formal summons should he not comply.just a day after that refusal,...
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inside the animal internet
the breadth of digital animal research today is huge. researchers glue tiny barcodes on ants to demystify what life is like within colonies. they receive text messages when great white sharks approach beaches or when elephants move in patterns that suggest poachers are near. using tagged whales as environmental sensors, they have even mapped the depths of the icy arctic of the biggest names in modern wildlife tracking is martin wikelski, the director of the max planck institute for ornithology in radolfzell, germany. when we spoke by phone, he was flying on a jet from stuttgart to konstanz in southern germany, testing video- and radio-tracking equipment for birds and bats. over the roar of the plane's engine he told me that he was gearing up for the experimental phase of icarus, short for international cooperation for animal research using space.funded by both the german and russian space agencies, icarus is an ambitious effort to track wildlife from the far corners and depths of the globe via a centralized computer system located aboard the international space station. around 150 research teams are already waiting to use icarus after it goes live this august, and wikelski expects several thousand projects will use the system by 2028 to monitor hundreds of thousands of animals.when the project launches, it will follow giraffes, turtles, birds, fish and all other manners of critters tagged with a gps device, 3d accelerometer, magnetometer and sensors measuring tempe...
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robots can learn tasks by watching and mimicking humans
after a robot witnesses a task being performed, it comes up with a list of steps necessary to duplicate performance of that task. the list can then be reviewed by a human to confirm it's correct before robot then carries out the steps. the researchers carried out a demonstration with a pair of stacked cubes, which the robot needs to place in the correct order, in the video below.a huge advantage with this approach is that it doesn't require researchers to input a large amount of labeled training data into the system. instead, it generates data synthetically, which produces the labeled training data necessary for the robot to learn and complete tasks. additionally, by using an image-centric domain randomization approach (the first time this has been tried with robots), the synthetic data has a large amount of diversity and isn't dependent on environmental variables or a camera.researchers stan birchfield and jonathan tremblay will present their research this week at the international conference on robotics and automation. their next steps are to continue looking at how to use synthetic data to use their research and methods in other scenarios.
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nintendo switch game streaming starts in japan this week
according to capcom's japanese microsite for the game, resident evil 7 biohazard cloud version (whew) will feature the main game and three previously released expansions. it'll be available in japan starting may 24th (that's soon!), and a 180 day play ticket will set you back ¥2,000 ($18). there will also be a timed 15-minute demo for those feeling curious. it won't let you play much, but in that timespan you should be able to see how the graphics translate to the lower-powered console and how visual fidelity and the frame-rate translate to a streaming situation.there will be an `intuitive` joy-con controller configuration according to capcom. the publisher recommends a newer wifi environment for best play results, including a 802.11ac 5ghz network. or, a wired lan adapter. the streaming helper file looks like it'll take up 45mb of space on your switch.the devil is in the details, though: because your save files are stored server side capcom doesn't guarantee they'll always remain playable and uncorrupted. `if the 'validity period' of the 'voucher' ends, data retention is not guaranteed. also, even during the valid term of the 'usage ticket,' we will not guarantee surely that your save data is stored without defects and that it will be read out.`that's the machine translation. our resident japanese speaker, however, said that the last bit is written in less certain terms in its original version, and mentions saves may be corrupted via unforeseen bugs or gli...
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graphene 'stimulation' could selectively kill off cancer cells
it began with a theory -- scientists at the university of california knew graphene could convert light into electricity, and wondered whether that electricity had the capacity to stimulate human cells. graphene is extremelysensitive to light (1,000 times more than traditional digital cameras and smartphones) and after experimenting with different light intensities, alex savchenko and his team discovered that cells could indeed be stimulated via optical graphene stimulation.`i was looking at the microscope's computer screen and i'm turning the knob for light intensity and i see the cells start beating faster,` he said. `i showed that to our grad students and they were yelling and jumping and asking if they could turn the knob. we had never seen this possibility of controlling cell contraction.`savchenko believes this is significant because it allows researchers a way to culture cells as if they're working inside the body; instead of resorting to petri dishes, scientists could artificially stimulate a pain response in neurons, then develop an anti-pain drug dealing only with pain receptors involved in that specific instance. because the process would only work as a pain treatment, it doesn't possess the ability to become a recreational drug in the way morphine or codeine (which are known to cause withdrawal and dependency) might.the potentially groundbreaking takeaway is graphene's ability to wipe out cancerous cells without damaging neighboring healthy cells. ieee spe...
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our verdict on the oneplus 6
the reasonably priced powerhouse now comes in an elegant package.oneplus 6 review: a big step closer to the perfect smartphonethe oneplus 6 is a refreshing glass-based design change for the phone series. not only does the phone pack the latest flagship processor and up to a whopping 8gb of ram, it still comes with a solid battery life. most importantly, the oneplus 6 features a much-improved camera that even beats the iphone x. oxygenos continues to deliver a super-slick performance, with its intuitive navigation gestures taking advantage of the stunning amoled screen's larger real estate. the lack of microsd expansion and wireless charging may annoy some, but the oneplus 6 delivers the best balance between performance and value.the voice assistant is getting a long-due will debut bixby 2.0 with the next galaxy notesamsung has been teasing its upgraded bixby 2.0 assistant for several months now, but when is it actually going to show up in something you can buy? the company's ai research center head gray g. lee told the korea herald that the new ai helper will arrive alongside a new flagship phone in the second half of 2018 -- in other words, the next galaxy outlined last october, bixby 2.0 should make use of samsung's viv acquisition to both encourage more conversational commands as well as deep linking, multiple users and more -- but given samsung's track record with its voice assistant, we'd prefer to see them deliver on any feature promises ma...
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qualcomm's new hardware will help mobile 5g get off the ground
if mobile 5g is going to become more than a nice idea, it needs the thorough coverage you expect today -- and that means putting it in the small cell sites that boost coverage in busy areas. and qualcomm might just play a pivotal role in making that happen. the company is launching the first 5g new radio platform (the catchily named fsm100xx) that brings gigabit data speeds to small cells. it can handle 5g on both regular frequencies and millimeter wave, and it promises to be helpful both indoors, where 5g's high frequencies don't always penetrate, as well as the great outdoors.
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facebook and qualcomm are bringing super-fast wifi to cities
facebook and qualcomm's tech is base on the 802.11ay wlan standard, which uses the 60ghz frequency and offers transmission rates up to 20-40 gbps over 300-500 meter distances. however, qualcomm and facebook have tweaked it with enhancements like massive antenna arrays, channel bonding, time synchronized nodes and tdma protocols. that tech will help the signals get past urban obstacles, serve more users and reduce upfront costs, facebook said.the companies didn't mention where they planned to run the trials, though facebook previously said that it would test terragraph tech in san jose. the idea is to bring high-speed internet to areas where laying fiber, for instance, is prohibitively expensive. facebook is also developed the antenna radio integration for efficiency in spectrum (aries) system that can broadcast over longer distances in less-dense rural regions.a terragraph has also adopted millimeter wireless tech to use in the `last mile` of its fiber internet service. it's not clear whether facebook would use the tech to provide straight-up internet service like google fiber, or its current offering, free basics.that no-cost service offers a much-reduced choice of web services including, of course, facebook. it's now available in up to 50 nations via 81 mobile providers, the company has noted. the problem is, it's often the only choice for a lot of people, and fake news abounds on the site. as a result, facebook recently pulled it from myanmar and othe...
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microsoft buys ai company to improve cortana's conversational skills
microsoft pointed out that while siri, cortana, google assistant and alexa can execute commands, they can't carry on a conversation in any meaningful way (google's much-debatedduplex conversation aside). semantic machines, however, has developed tech that can understand entire chats, not just orders to do this or that. `for rich and effective communication, intelligent assistants need to be able to have a natural dialogue instead of just responding to commands,` said ku.semantic machines should be able to help microsoft with all that via its primary product, the conversation engine. it uses machine learning to figure out the `semantic intent` of a conversation to capture the context and goals of the end-users and formulate a natural conversation. it's based on a self-updating framework that helps it get better over time.all of this is in keeping with microsoft's cloud-based cognitive services framework, first introduced in 2016. it helps developers get on board with speech recognition, natural language comprehension and ai assistants. microsoft said that it has 1 million developers on the platform, and another 300,000 on its more business-oriented azure bot service. whether that will produce assistants that can order you a haircut or restaurant appointment like google's duplex remains to be seen.
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