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"Ghostbusters" Director Faces Backlash after Promising to "Hand Movie Back to Fans"

Ghostbusters 3 director Jason Reitman ticked off supporters of 2016’s all-female reboot this week when he told Bill Burr his upcoming movie would "go back to the original technique and hand the movie back to fans," adding it wouldn’t be "the Juno of Ghostbusters movies." Fans of Paul Feig’s attempt took this as an insult, with some accusing Reitman of being sexist and suggesting the reboot was dishonest to the franchise due to the lack of male leads. Reitman has since apologized, claiming his comments came out wrong.

Reitman went out of his way to reassure those still seemingly traumatized by Paul Feig’s all-female 2016 reboot of the franchise that his movie wouldn’t be anything like that, saying, "I’m not making the Juno of Ghostbusters movies," referencing his 2007 Ellen Page film centering on a pregnant teenage girl. "We are in every way trying to go back to original technique and hand the movie back to the fans," said Reitman, noting that his team painstakingly researched techniques used in the 1984 original film, directed by his father Ivan Reitman, for the movie's first teaser.

Posted by Megalith February 24, 2019 3:10 PM (CST)

How China's Social Credit System Affects Its Citizens and Businesses

We have previously documented China's social credit system, but a recent report from the National Public Credit Information Centre documents the effect it has had on Chinese citizens and businesses in 2018. The Chinese government has "discredited" 17.46 million people from purchasing plane tickets to travel and restricted another 5.47 million from purchasing high-speed train tickets. In addition to those restrictions, authorities have blocked individuals from "buying premium insurance, wealth management products or real estate, as well as shaming them by exposing their information in public." This pressure to conform encouraged 3.51 million individuals and businesses to pay off taxes, fines, and debts. Some cities rank their citizens on a AAA to D scale where everyone starts out with 1,000 points. There are more than 200 ways to gain or lose points. AAA rated individuals get free medical checkups, free water and other perks. In villages, "information gatherers" document free labor that is performed by fellow villagers. Spending 8 hours to install a new basketball hoop will net an individual 2 points, while donating a TV to the village meeting room is worth 30 points. Another villager has a son serving in the army which is worth 10 points. These points are accumulated and added to the person's "credit score" and are rewarded with extra "rice, cooking oil and cash rewards from the village committee and are lauded on village bulletin boards as role models." Not taking care of elderly parents or littering will deduct points from their credit scores.

In the lobby of Rongcheng People's Hospital, senior staff member Wang Shuhong said she drove more carefully now because traffic infringements cost not just money but also social credit points. "Many from the general public may not know about it, but we public servants do know. It does have a binding effect on us," she said. According to Wang, applicants must have a ranking of A or above to be hired for permanent positions at public institutions. For contractors, such as security guards, B is a minimum. Over 3.59 million Chinese enterprises were added to the official creditworthiness blacklist last year, banning them from a series of activities, including bidding on projects, accessing security markets, taking part in land auctions and issuing corporate bonds, according to the 2018 annual report released by the National Public Credit Information Centre.

Posted by cageymaru February 22, 2019 11:08 AM (CST)

Hayabusa2 Probe Captures Dust From an Asteroid

Japan's Aerospace Exploration Agency just confirmed that a probe sent from the Hayabusa2 spacecraft has successfully touched down on the surface of an asteroid. But unlike the previous bouncing probes that landed on Ryugu, this one fired a "bullet" into the asteroid's surface to collect some dust that, if everything goes according to plan, should return to Earth in a couple of years. The Japanese space agency posted a writeup on the probe's landing site yesterday, and Queen guitarist Brain May even showed on their live stream, which you can see below:

Our original schedule planned for touchdown in late October of last year (2018). However, Ryugu was revealed as a boulder strewn landscape that extended across the entire surface, with no flat or wide-open regions. Before arriving at Ryugu, it was assumed there would be flat areas around 100 meters in size. But far than finding this, we have not even seen flat planes 30 meters across! During the scheduled time for touchdown in late October, we did not touchdown but descended and dropped a target marker near the intended landing site. We were able to drop the target marker in almost the planned spot and afterwards we examined the vicinity of the target marker landing site in detail. Finally, the area denoted L08-E1 was selected as the place for touchdown. L08-E1 will be described later (see Figure 11), but the final area where the touchdown is planned is a region of radius 3m within L08-E1 as shown in Figure 1.

Posted by alphaatlas February 22, 2019 9:14 AM (CST)

Free Repair Kit can Fix Busted Oculus Rift CV1 Audio

Oculus founder Palmer Lucky many not work for Facebook's VR division anymore, but apparently, he's still supporting some of his company's earliest adopters. In a blog post, he acknowledges that long term use of Oculus Rift CV1 kits can lead to the failure of one, or both, of the headset's earpieces, and at this point, most of those headsets are well outside their warranty period. Fortunately, Palmer is offering a RR1 repair kit to Rift owners free of charge. He says the kit can not only fix audio failures, but also functions as a "third-party headphone adapter on fully-functional Rifts."

The first step for any user with this problem should be to contact Oculus Customer Support and see what they can do. In some cases, you might just need to clean some contacts, tighten the connection between your headphones and straps, or fix your PC's sound settings. If you are unsuccessful in resolving your problem, please forward your ticket and a mailing address to, and I will send you an RR1 repair kit free of charge so you can get back in the Metaverse as quickly as possible.

Posted by alphaatlas February 19, 2019 10:26 AM (CST)

YouTube Is Trying to Prevent Angry Mobs from Abusing "Dislike" Button

YouTube could be getting rid of the "Like" button, or, at least, minimizing its visibility to some degree to combat "dislike mobs," viewers who "slam the dislike button on a video before watching the whole thing, or even watching the video at all." The undertaking was likely prompted by the company’s 2018 Rewind video, which was supposed to be a fun, proud moment for YouTube. Instead, it was downvoted to oblivion by 15M viewers. Critics say that creators should just upload content that doesn’t suck, while others suggest it’s a genuine, complicated issue.

One of the new options YouTube has talked about is making those ratings invisible by default, so you wouldn't be able to see the number of likes or dislikes a video has. Other options include asking users to provide more information about why they disliked a video (possibly in the form of a checklist), removing the dislike count across the board, and removing the dislike button entirely. Leung acknowledges that all of these options have pros and cons, and YouTube may not implement any of them after testing.

Posted by Megalith February 09, 2019 2:55 PM (CST)

Steve Buscemi Discusses His Jennifer Lawrence Deepfake

Steve Buscemi dropped by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert where he was shown his deepfake with Jennifer Lawrence. He expresses feelings of sadness that someone took the time to create it, but then he and Colbert mull over the question, "Will live actors be needed in the entertainment industry in the future?" The discussion starts at the 4:47 mark of the video.

Steve Buscemi's face was digital superimposed onto Jennifer Lawrence's body in a viral 'deepfake' video. And it's news to 'Miracle Workers' star Steve Buscemi

Posted by cageymaru February 08, 2019 4:58 PM (CST)

AI Creates a Deep Fake of Steve Buscemi's Face on Jennifer Lawrence's Body

Delaware Destroyer on YouTube has used artificial intelligence (AI) to create a deep-fake of Steve Buscemi's face on Jennifer Lawrence's body. It is amazing how much better these amalgamations are becoming. Thanks @Schtask !

Mashup of Steve Buscemi and Jennifer Lawrence

Posted by cageymaru January 30, 2019 6:23 PM (CST)

The Original Ghostbusters Cast Will Return for New Movie

Sony Pictures announced this week that Jason Reitman would follow in the footsteps of his father, Ivan Reitman, with a new Ghostbusters film involving the original surviving cast, which includes Dan Aykroyd (Stantz), Bill Murray (Venkman), and Ernie Hudson (Zeddemore). The latter has confirmed that all are on board; the script was penned by Aykroyd himself. Leslie Jones, who starred in 2016’s disastrous all-female reboot, has called the sequel "insulting" and "a dick move."

This year is the 35th anniversary of the original film, which Hudson admits is re-igniting old school fans. He said Murray and Aykroyd have much to offer still for fans. "I think we do. We've grown, we've learned and a lot of really new young talent that I'm sure they'd bring in to it. So it would be a lot of fun. I think it would only deepen. And we'll miss Harold." Hudson refused to go all out to bash the female reboot, but admitted it was not what fans hoped for.

Posted by Megalith January 20, 2019 12:55 PM (CST)

PNC Testing Fraud-Busting Credit Cards with Rotating Numbers

As a method of battling online fraud and other unauthorized card-not-present transactions, PNC Bank is testing credit cards with e-ink displays that generate new card verification values (CCVs) at regular intervals throughout the day. The dynamic CCVs should prevent thieves from using credit card information that was stolen online, but there are at least two downsides, which include limited lifespan (the cards require lithium batteries) and significantly higher pricing (a regular chip card costs $2 to $4; these cost $15).

In PNC’s case, the motion-code application is hosted on a Visa server synchronized with the dynamic CVV cards. During the authorization process, the server is able to verify the correct CVV code because it knows the algorithm used to produce the numbers. PNC and other card issuers can set the cards to refresh at custom intervals -- every 30 or 60-minutes, for example. "We picked a particular interval, but can’t disclose it," Mr. Ward said.

Posted by Megalith December 29, 2018 7:05 PM (CST)

Intel May Leave the Custom Foundry Business

Following a update to their manufacturing plans earlier this week, rumors are swirling about Intel's future in the custom foundry business. As pointed out by SemiWiki, Intel pitched the idea of opening up their chip manufacturing business to other companies in 2014, but public info about that effort has been relatively scarce since then. Now, SemiWiki believes that Intel is "discontinuing" their custom foundry business, citing verification through "multiple sources." That's a big claim to make, and its one that's been made before, but a report from Digitimes today seemingly adds weight to those rumors. The publication's sources in the chip manufacturing industry says they wouldn't be surprised to see Intel leave the contract chipmaking market. The sources claim that Intel asks for higher prices than competitors like Taiwan Semiconductor and Samsung, and as a result, their foundry service "exists in name only, with no major clients or large orders recorded." Intel's demand for their own processors is already exceeding their ability to manufacture them, and given the claim that Intel will continue the "selective use of foundries for certain technologies where it makes sense for the business," officially closing fabs to external customers might make sense.

It is indeed time that Intel needs to refocuse its production, the sources said. Taiwan's semiconductor firms are not surprised by Intel's possible move of quitting the contract chipmaking market, a market where the US chip giant has never really shown commitment, said the sources. It entered the market in 2010 mainly to optimize the adjustment of its own manufacturing capacities. In addition, tight 14nm and 22nm capacities have been preventing Intel from taking contract foundry orders. The sources also cited some reasons behind Intel's failure to perform well in the custom foundry market over the years. First, TSMC alone has grabbed a market share of over 50%, and other leading foundry houses Samsung and GlobalFoundries have been working hard to cement their places. Relatively higher foundry quotes offered by Intel and its weaker supply chain support than those associated with TSMC and Samsung are also among the reasons.

Posted by alphaatlas December 20, 2018 10:07 AM (CST)

"Buster" Is a Browser Extension That Can Solve Captchas Automatically

A developer has answered the call of web surfers who are sick and tired of Google’s relentless Captchas. Available for Chrome and Firefox, "Buster" is a browser extension that uses speech recognition technology to defeat Captchas under their audio challenge option. Users say it isn’t perfect but does work under certain circumstances.

All you do is click on the extension button at the bottom of the widget to have it solve the audio captcha automatically. Speech recognition is not infallible, but you can retry if the extension did not get it right the first time. Granted, it may sometimes be faster to solve the captcha manually but if you run into one that you can't solve, you may want check if Buster can solve it for you.

Posted by Megalith December 15, 2018 3:55 PM (CST)

FCC Panel Suggests Taxing Business Internet Usage to Pay for Rural Broadband

AT&T and other industry leaders have suggested that the best way to pay for the rural broadband infrastructure rollout is to tax businesses that use the internet. This state tax was suggested by the FCC's Broadband Depolyment Advisory Committee (BDAC). "BDAC members include AT&T, Comcast, Google Fiber, Sprint, other ISPs and industry representatives, researchers, advocates, and local government officials." States are able to adopt the "State Model Code" suggestions from the BDAC without input from the FCC. The exact wording of the proposal can be found on page 28 of this FCC release. Yesterday, wireless providers like AT&T and others avoided having to pay taxes to fund the Universal Service Fund and consequentially the rural broadband rollout with the FCC's text messaging ruling. The tax money collected from the BDAC proposal would be sent to a new Rural Broadband Deployment Assistance Fund for AT&T and other ISPs to build a broadband infrastructure in rural America. AT&T would benefit the most as it already receives $428 million per year to provide 10Mbps service in rural areas. The Internet Association which includes Netflix, Amazon, Google and others opposes the tax as it would effectively tax everyone.

Every provider of Communications Services in the State shall contribute to the Rural Broadband Deployment Assistance Fund in an equitable and non-discriminatory manner. The State Universal Service Administrator ("Administrator") shall determine the appropriate State Universal Service assessment methodology and rate consistent with federal law and FCC policy. The Administrator shall engage stakeholders in a rulemaking process to determine the source of funding. If Broadband Dependent Services shall besubject to State sales tax, it shall be deposited to the Rural Broadband Deployment Assistance Fund; or 1.2. Every provider of Communications Services and Broadband Dependent Services in the State shall contribute to the Rural Broadband Deployment Assistance Fund in an equitable and non- discriminatory manner. The State Universal Service Administrator ("Administrator") shall determine the appropriate State Universal Service assessment methodology and rate consistent with federal law and FCC policy. The Administrator shall engage stakeholders in a rulemaking process to determine the source of funding; or 1.3. Entities that financially benefit from access to a broadband system located in the state, including advertising providers, shall contribute to the Broadband Deployment Fund.

Posted by cageymaru December 13, 2018 3:00 PM (CST)