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Sunday January 21, 2018

Report: Tesla Is Dead Last in the Driverless Vehicle Race

According to market research and consulting team Navigant Research, Tesla is actually doing the worst out of all 19 companies currently involved with automated driving systems. Their report claims that autopilot has regressed; the latest version (V2) has lost functionality that was present in the original.

Navigant ranked the 19 major companies developing AV technology based on 10 criteria, including vision, market strategy, partnerships, production strategy, technology, product quality and staying power. According to the report, General Motors and Waymo, the auto unit of Alphabet, are the top two AV investment opportunities in the market today.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 4:00 PM (CST)

Doomsday Torpedo Detailed in Pentagon Document

Leaked Pentagon documents provide detail on "Kanyon," a Russian undersea autonomous torpedo that is being described as "nightmare fuel": the payload is a 100-megaton thermonuclear weapon, equivalent to 100,000,000 tons of TNT. It is supposedly capable of penetrating ballistic missile defenses.

Kanyon is designed to attack coastal areas, destroying cities, naval bases, and ports. The mega-bomb would also generate an artificial tsunami that would surge inland, spreading radioactive contamination with the advancing water. To make matters worse there are reports the warhead is "salted" with the radioactive isotope Cobalt-60. Contaminated areas would be off-limits to humanity for up to 100 years.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 3:50 PM (CST)

Playboy Sues Boing Boing for Linking to a Playmate Centerfold Collection

In February 2016, Boing Boing (blog of "mostly wonderful things") published a post linking to an Imgur page featuring "every Playmate Centerfold ever." Now, nearly a year later, the site is facing legal action from Playboy, which seems to believe that "it is illegal to link to material posted by others on the web."

Rather than pursuing the individual who created the allegedly infringing archive, Playboy is pursuing a news site for pointing out the archive’s value as a historical document. In so doing, Playboy is seeking to change the legal system so that deep-pocketed opponents of journalism can shut down media organizations that displease them.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 3:40 PM (CST)

Couple Recounts Mistaken Arrest by Police Investigating iPhone Heist

A San Francisco couple who were mistakenly identified as iPhone thieves have detailed their harrowing encounter with local police. The mix-up seems to have occurred because Mr. Garci and Ms. Knuth had the misfortune of purchasing an iPhone X from a store that happened to be robbed for hundreds of these handsets weeks earlier.

"I was just wrapped up in a towel," Knuth said. Even more humiliating was what the officers did when she asked for clothes. "One officer went into my closet and they chose an outfit they got a bra and a thong and some stretchy pants and handed it to me and said ‘will this do?’" Knuth said.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 3:15 PM (CST)

Man Attacks Self-Driving Car in San Francisco’s Mission District

California’s first self-driving car "collision" of the year occurred on January 2nd, and it was a peculiar one: for reasons unknown, a pedestrian decided to strike the left side of a GM Cruise AV’s rear bumper and hatch with his entire body. The man was fine, but the car suffered damage to its right rear light.

Apparently, the Cruise AV has had a lot of activity in San Francisco. In 2017, GM filed 22 reports with the DMV because of collisions, although the Cruise was never at fault, according to the reports. Five of those collisions occurred in the Mission. The most recent incident, on Valencia Street, was California’s first self-driving car collision in 2018.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 2:30 PM (CST)

Intel Has a Big Problem. It Needs to Act Like It

The chastising of Intel continued this week with another round of articles criticizing the company’s allegedly trivial attitude in light of Meltdown and Spectre. Bloomberg advises that Intel should probably adopt some "real humility, not cheap theatrics," as the company is expected to face the wrath of regulators who seem dead set on consumer protection suits and antitrust investigations.

Future designs will include hard-wired fixes that speed things up, but the first versions of those won’t appear until later this year, the company says. All of this puts Intel in a tough spot. The company is a nonfactor in the smartphone-chips business, and rival NVIDIA has taken a commanding lead in the fast-growing market for graphics chips used in artificial intelligence applications. Now, Meltdown and Spectre threaten the core of Intel’s business.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 2:00 PM (CST)

Overwatch League Pro Suspended for Homophobic Insult against Opponent

The Overwatch League is suspending pro player Felix "xQc" Lengyel for four games and fining him $2000 after he blasted an opponent with anti-gay remarks. His own team, the Dallas Fuel, is supporting the league’s decision with a suspension of their own. This is more fuel for the critics out there who believe that eSports has plenty of growing up to do.

Wilmot used the line "rolled and smoked" during the OWL stream, a crack that Lengyel is known for, which led Lengyel -- who didn't play in the match -- to react angrily in a post-match stream. "No, you didn't smoke sh*t. Shut your f*cking mouth," Lengyel said. "Go back there, suck a fat cock. I mean, he would like that."

Discussion Posted by Megalith 1:30 PM (CST)

Metal Gear Survive Requires a Constant Internet Connection, Has Microtransactions

Being that Konami is already facing much criticism for continuing the Metal Gear franchise without Hideo Kojima, this latest news will not help "Survive" one bit: not only will an internet connection be required to play the game in single-player mode, but microtransactions appear to be a prominent aspect of the game.

In terms of length, Konami brand manager Jennifer Tsang told GameSpot that you can expect the game to take you 15-20 hours to play through the campaign. Of course, your mileage may vary, as everyone plays games differently. Also, the game has co-op and multiplayer so there are more reasons to come back and play more beyond the campaign.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 1:05 PM (CST)

Samsung 860 SSDs Listed Ahead of Official Launch

The details on Samsung’s upcoming 860 SSD lineup were momentarily published on its website: these include the new 860 Pro 4TB SSD, which will offer a sequential read speed of up to 560MB/s and write speeds of up to 530MB/s for those who are open to dropping $2K on a single drive.

The M.2 860 EVO drives will come in 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB capacities. All 860 EVO SSDs will come with 64-layer V-NAND, which will have higher endurance compared to the memory used on the 850 EVO series. To back this up, Samsung is introducing a 5-year warranty, too.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 12:15 PM (CST)

They’re Putting Soy in Your Wires, Man

Car manufacturers did not think things through when they decided to use wires insulated with soy-based bioplastics. A number of them have been getting sued, as rodents are treating the wires as food and chewing through them, causing big bucks in damage that is not covered under warranty.

Sure enough, a Google search for "soy wires" will get you plenty of hits about people who are experiencing a very strange problem. During the night, animals are getting up into the engine compartments of their cars and eating the insulation off the wiring harness. It isn’t just one or two cases either, it’s enough of a problem that some car manufacturers are getting hit with class-action lawsuits.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 11:40 AM (CST)

Amazon Go Cashier-Less Convenience Store to Open Monday

Amazon’s "store of the future," which features no checkout lines nor cashiers, will finally open tomorrow in Seattle. It’s being described as a high-tech 7-Eleven: customers will have to use an app to enter the store by turnstile, but they can immediately leave after getting the items they need since their Amazon accounts are charged automatically.

The store’s real reason for being is to test what could be a breakthrough Amazon hypothesis: that by adding even more convenience to the convenience store model -- with the help of a healthy dose of technology -- Amazon might be able to carve out a loyal customer base outside of its website and inside a physical store where the vast majority of food and grocery shopping still occurs.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 11:20 AM (CST)

The Destiny 2 Apology Tour Continues

Even the most hardcore fans are finding it difficult to defend Bungie and the decisions they are making with the Destiny sequel. There is now controversy regarding the frequency of tokens earned from Faction Rallies and weapons received from Faction Engrams: both have been quietly throttled, forcing players to play longer to be awarded.

They are clearly listening to fans on many counts and making appropriate adjustments along the way to improve the game. The issue is that, after each apology for dropping the ball, they pick a completely different area of the game to make the exact same mistakes in, don't communicate to the community what has changed, then apologize when everyone gets upset.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 10:40 AM (CST)

Introducing the PG-2 PlayStation Colorway

Basketball player Paul George has teamed up with Nike and Sony to create a PlayStation-themed sneaker. The shoe includes details that mirror the aesthetic of the brand and console, such as a tongue with a glowing PS logo and eyelets that pay homage to the classic color scheme of the buttons.

Working with designers from both Nike and PlayStation, we took inspiration from the console’s DualShock 4 controller and the iconic symbols that have been a part of every PlayStation product to create a colorway that honored my game both on and off the court. The PG2 "PlayStation" colorway drops globally on February 10, 2018.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 10:15 AM (CST)

Nokia Smartphone with Penta-Lens Camera in the Works

HMD Global is rumored to be working on a Nokia smartphone that features a penta-lens camera (a camera with five lenses). On a physical level, it is being compared to the OZO, Nokia’s 360-degree camera designed for creating virtual reality content, but its functional capabilities are still a mystery.

Apparently, the penta-lens camera will feature a circular form factor with seven holes in the middle that form a circle. Five of these holes will accommodate the camera's lenses, while two of them will house the LED flash. It will look very much like a showerhead.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 9:50 AM (CST)
Saturday January 20, 2018

Facebook to Let Users Rank Credibility of News

In its latest effort to solve fake news, Facebook is implementing a system in which users will be asked to complete surveys to determine the quality of news postings. This means that the social network’s own members may have nobody to blame but themselves for low-quality content. Publishers already hate the idea, as this "crowdsourcing of opinions" could lead to manipulation.

Facebook said news would be prioritized according to the new ranking system starting Monday, before expanding globally. Some Facebook users have already been asked to rank the trustworthiness of news sites which appear on the social network. In one survey, people were asked if they recognized a number of websites and then asked, ""How much do you trust each of these domains?"

Discussion Posted by Megalith 4:00 PM (CST)

Allegedly Passed Out Drunk on Bay Bridge, Tesla Driver Claims Car Was on "Autopilot"

Can you get away with driving under the influence by saying that your Tesla was on autopilot? Of course not. That was the excuse a man passed out on the Bay Bridge gave to highway patrol, but he was arrested anyway. Having more than twice the legal blood alcohol content level did not help.

Tesla has long advised autopilot drivers to maintain consciousness while driving and to keep their hands on the steering wheel should anything go wrong. In response to this instance, a spokesperson for the company tells SFGATE that "autopilot is intended for use only with a fully attentive driver."

Discussion Posted by Megalith 3:30 PM (CST)

UK Government Teaches 7-Year-Olds That Piracy Is Stealing

The UK is doubling down on its efforts to steer people away from piracy at an early age. Cartoons that "educate kids on key intellectual property issues, including illegal downloading" are now being integrated into school curriculum for children as young as five. Critics say that this is dangerous, as it is merely simplifying the complexities of copyright law.

Jim Killock, director of the Open Rights Group, notes that the campaign is a bit extreme at points. "Infringing copyright is a bad thing, but it is not the same as physical theft. Many children will guess that making a copy is not the same as making off with the local store’s chocolate bars," he says.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 3:05 PM (CST)

When It Comes to Voice Identification, the "NSA Reigns Supreme"

A report by The Intercept wants you to forget about all of the accolades that Siri, Alexa, and other modern speaker recognition services have been receiving, as the NSA has been playing that game since 2006 with technologies far more advanced. Snowden-leaked documents discuss techniques such as voiceprinting, which offers near-instantaneous identification.

The classified documents, dating from 2004 to 2012, show the NSA refining increasingly sophisticated iterations of its speaker recognition technology. They confirm the uses of speaker recognition in counterterrorism operations and overseas drug busts. And they suggest that the agency planned to deploy the technology not just to retroactively identify spies like Pelton but to prevent whistleblowers like Snowden.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 2:25 PM (CST)

Amazon Chooses 20 Finalists for Second Headquarters

The selection process for Amazon’s new HQ is winding down, as the winner is expected to be announced later this year. The majority of favored cities are in the Midwest and the South and East Coasts: these include Indianapolis, Miami, and Philadelphia. Detroit, Phoenix, and San Diego have been rejected.

"Getting from 238 to 20 was very tough -- all the proposals showed tremendous enthusiasm and creativity," Ms. Sullivan, Amazon’s head of economic development, said in a statement. "Through this process we learned about many new communities across North America that we will consider as locations for future infrastructure investment and job creation."

Discussion Posted by Megalith 2:00 PM (CST)

Boeing Unveils "Son of Blackbird" Hypersonic Spy Plane Concept

Boeing has offered another peek at the successor to its legendary Blackbird SR-71 spy plane, which could achieve speeds of over 2,000 MPH and outrun surface-to-air missiles. The SR-72 will be even faster, capable of reaching Mach 6, or 4,600 MPH.

"Although I can't go into specifics, let us just say the Skunk Works team in Palmdale, California, is doubling down on our commitment to speed," Orlando Carvalho, executive vice president of aeronautics at Lockheed Martin, told the SAE International Aerotech Congress and Exhibition. "Simply put, I believe the United States is on the verge of a hypersonics revolution."

Discussion Posted by Megalith 1:20 PM (CST)

Ubisoft: Why We Love PC

Ubisoft has rounded up its staff for a video touting the benefits of the PC platform. One point stressed is that the PC leads in innovation and offers the most diversity, whether it be genre or community input, such as mods. Commenters say that Ubisoft should try proving their love with better-optimized ports and losing DRM that is no longer warranted.
Discussion Posted by Megalith 12:50 PM (CST)

Virtual Reality Users Watch Helplessly as Another User Has In-Game Seizure

VR is typically about having fun, but the technology can also be a window into the unnerving. Case in point: a number of VRChat users witnessed someone having a seizure this week, and none of them could do anything about it. Due to full body-tracking tech, the player’s avatar could be seen on the floor convulsing.

A handful of users thought it was funny and kept goofing off, but the majority seemed genuinely concerned for this person's well-being. They ask if he's okay, they ask players with flashing avatars to step back, and when the person is finally able to respond they give them good advice: call for help immediately and take a break.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 12:15 PM (CST)

iPhone X May Be "End of Life" When Replacements Ship

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has predicted that the iPhone X will be terminated as early as this summer due to waning interest. Older models are typically retained at a lower price point, but this may be the first time that Apple moves forward with a reduced range. Despite the poor reception, the X line is expected to continue with a revised "Plus" model.

KGI securities believes that Apple will ship around 18 million of the iPhone X in the first calendar quarter of 2018. Contrary to other predictions based on the supply chain, KGI says that the iPhone X has not been as impactful in China as predicted because of the notch holding the sensors for the device, giving consumers the impression that there is less usable space than on the iPhone 8 Plus.

Discussion Posted by Megalith 11:35 AM (CST)

NVIDIA Wants Retailers to Sell GeForce GPUs to Gamers, Not Miners

NVIDIA has publicized some of their thoughts on the GPU pricing situation: speaking with ComputerBase, spokesman Boris Bohles thinks that gamers, not miners, are more deserving of their products and that retailers should better meet their needs. There is no indication that NVIDIA will actually engage trading partners to ensure this happens, however.

"For NVIDIA, gamers come first. All activities related to our GeForce product line are targeted at our main audience. To ensure that GeForce gamers continue to have good GeForce graphics card availability in the current situation, we recommend that our trading partners make the appropriate arrangements to meet gamers’ needs as usual. "

Discussion Posted by Megalith 10:50 AM (CST)

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