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Intel Drones Assist in the Preservation of the Great Wall of China

Intel has sent drones to researchers to assist in the preservation of the Great Wall of China; specifically in the Jiankou section. By conducting surveys and taking thousands of high quality images, the drones have been instrumental in helping the preservationists to monitor the current state of the wall. In other drone news, utilities in Europe are mapping energy grids and checking for damage to pipelines by using long distance drones that can travel 50 km. They are expected to invest $5.6 million into the technology.

"It’s a real game changer," Michal Mazur, partner at consultancy PwC, said of drones. "They’re 100 times faster than manual measurement, more accurate than helicopters and, with AI devices on board, could soon be able to fix problems." In-sight drones cost around 20,000 euros each and BVLOS ones will cost significantly more, according to executives at tech companies that make the machines for utilities, and a fleet of dozens if not hundreds would be needed to monitor a network.

Posted by cageymaru July 16, 2018 3:26 PM (CDT)

Online Coding Schools Adopt Income-Share Agreements as Alternative to Tuition

Online coding schools are adopting Income-Share Agreements (ISA) which have officially been around since the 1950's but rarely implemented. Instead of paying tuition upfront which causes many students to go into debt, an ISA contract stipulates that the student pays the school a percentage of their paycheck for a set amount of time. In the article there is an example of a contract where a graduate has to pay 6.5% of their pay for 5 years after their income exceeds $35,000 a year. Purdue University has adopted the plan to help students that would need Direct PLUS loans and more financial aid to attend. Critics say that right now it is akin to the Wild West in terms of stipulations in the contracts so read the fine print!

There are more than 550,000 open jobs requiring computer-science skills, while fewer than 50,000 computer-science majors entered the workforce last year, according to an analysis of federal labor data by, a nonprofit that seeks to expand programming instruction in K-12 schools. Leaders of the ISA-based training programs see a business opportunity in the Lavell Burtons of the world—promising individuals without access to cash or credit for tuition. They are betting they can groom them, over the course of a few months, into tech professionals who command competitive compensation in a hot job market. And then take a cut.

Posted by cageymaru July 16, 2018 10:52 AM (CDT)

Dolby Vision Video Streaming Support Comes to Xbox

Dolby Vision video streaming support arrived on Xbox One S and Xbox One X as part of this week’s System Update 1810 Preview. Dolby Vision is Dolby’s implementation of HDR, bringing a wider color gamut and increased contrast ratio (up to 10,000 nits of brightness) to content. 4K HDR Dolby Vision disc compatibility is expected in the fall.

Dolby Vision enables select TVs to take HDR up a notch with scene-by-scene precision and accuracy versus standard HDR which uses one setting for the entire movie/show you are watching. If you have a TV that supports the latest version of Dolby Vision and a Premium Netflix subscription jump in and experience Dolby Vision for yourself in the coming weeks!

Posted by Megalith July 15, 2018 4:10 PM (CDT)

"Star Trek 4" Rumored to Feature Female Villain, New Female Hero

The follow-up to 2016’s Star Trek: Beyond will be the first Star Trek movie ever directed by a woman, but not only that, rumors claim it will also feature a female villain and new female team member, potentially filling the void left by Anton Yelchin (Pavel Chekov), who died in a freak accident. Chris Hemsworth is reprising his role as George Kirk, who will cross paths with son Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine).

The fourth Star Trek film was announced shortly before Star Trek Beyond opened in theaters. However, Paramount went silent on the film for over a year after Star Trek Beyond underperformed at the box office. Paramount saw some leadership changes at the executive level and reconsidered its box office strategy and now Star Trek 4 is back on track.

Posted by Megalith July 15, 2018 3:55 PM (CDT)

Chinese AI Beats 15 Doctors in Tumor Diagnosis Competition

In another victory for the virtual kind, an AI developed by the Artificial Intelligence Research Centre for Neurological Disorders at Beijing Tiantan Hospital beat 15 of China’s top doctors by a margin of two to one in a trial of diagnosing brain tumors and predicting hematoma expansion. "BioMind was correct 87 percent of the time, compared to 66 percent by the medical professionals."

The AI also only took 15 minutes to diagnose the 225 cases, while doctors took 30. In regards to predicting brain hematoma expansion, BioMind was victorious again, as it was correct in 83 percent of cases, with humans managing only 63 percent. Researchers trained the AI by feeding it thousands upon thousands of images from Beijing Tiantan Hospital’s archives. This has made it as good at diagnosing neurological diseases as senior doctors, as it has a 90 percent accuracy rate.

Posted by Megalith July 15, 2018 3:10 PM (CDT)

DOA6 Features Smaller Boobs So the Women "Appear More Human," Says Director

In an interview with Gamespot, Dead or Alive 6 Director Yohei Shimbori revealed why the game’s female characters won’t be oversexed: "The boobs are smaller as opposed to before because we wanted the girls to appear more human. We don't want to reshape them smaller or larger just on a whim." Old-school fans, including well-endowed women, are calling this a clear case of body shaming.

Kasumi's outfit has also undergone considerable changes. She's abandoned her loose-fitting kunoichi for an armored bodysuit. Though not as noticeable a transformation, Helena is also rocking a new, more combat-ready outfit. "They'll be back," Shimbori said, when asked if the fighters' original outfits would make a reappearance in the game. He and his team want to make strides towards removing sexual fanservice from Dead or Alive.

Posted by Megalith July 15, 2018 2:25 PM (CDT)

New Spectre 1.1 and Spectre 1.2 CPU Flaws Disclosed

The Spectre saga continued this week after researchers revealed details on two new variations of the vulnerability, dubbed Spectre 1.1 and Spectre 1.2. Again, both take advantage of speculative execution: the former delivers "code that overflows CPU store cache buffers in order to write and run malicious code," while the latter "can be exploited to write to CPU memory sectors that are normally protected by read-only flags."

Intel and ARM have publicly acknowledged that some of their CPUs are vulnerable to Spectre 1.1. AMD has not published a statement, but AMD has been historically slow at reviewing security issues. Since all Spectre attacks affected AMD CPUs, it is safe to assume that these new ones also affect AMD's portfolio as well. Researchers didn't release information on CPUs impacted by Spectre 1.2.

Posted by Megalith July 15, 2018 12:30 PM (CDT)

Alaska’s Last Two Blockbuster Stores Closing, Leaving Just One in the US

The Blockbuster store in Bend, Oregon, is going to be the last remnant of the once-popular video rental chain, as both locations in Alaska have announced they are closing this week. A companion article describes how Blockbuster has become a tourist destination of sorts, where people line up to take videos and selfies.

Harding has been with the company for 14 years and joined the Bend location on Revere in May 2005. She insisted that nothing big changed. Customer service keeps people coming back, and new titles, such as NBC's current show "The Good Place," are available for rent. Even the IBM computers are running the same floppy disks from the 1990s, she said, shocking the younger employees.

Posted by Megalith July 15, 2018 12:15 PM (CDT)

Judge Jails Defendant for Failing to Unlock Phones

A Florida man is behind bars for telling a judge he didn’t know the unlock codes for his cell phones despite being served a warrant. His attorney, Patrick Leduc, is calling the case a fishing expedition: his arrest merely regarded not properly yielding and a small amount of marijuana, yet detectives insisted they needed to know what was on his phones.

Leduc says what happened to Montanez could happen to any of us. "If they arrest you for anything -- whether it’s drugs, guns, you name it -- and an electronic device is nearby, they can get a search warrant and search it. And if you don't provide that information to search it, to unlock, because you want to keep the information private, we'll put you in jail," said Leduc.

Posted by Megalith July 15, 2018 11:15 AM (CDT)

Graffiti Targeting Amazon, Jeff Bezos Illustrates Animosity toward Tech Giant in Seattle

It appears that an increasing number of Seattleites are using graffiti to vent their anger at Amazon and Jeff Bezos, who is being blamed for the city’s rapid changes. Everything from bridges to Amazon Lockers have been vandalized, some just blocks from headquarters.

Many see Bezos and Amazon as partially to blame for the dearth of affordable housing in Seattle, which has the third-highest homeless population in the nation, according to Zillow data. That was the message of the most ardent supporters of Seattle’s recently defeated head tax, which would have funded affordable housing and homeless services by taxing big businesses like Amazon.

Posted by Megalith July 15, 2018 10:50 AM (CDT)

Intel Board Partners Add Support for Next-Generation CPUs to Z370 Motherboards

Major manufacturers have released new BIOS updates for their Z370 motherboards, and these happen to include support for Intel’s next-generation CPUs. The expected target is Coffee Lake Refresh, which includes an 8-core model (Core i9-9900K).

With the actual 9th-generation core, codenamed "Ice Lake," still far away from launch on desktop PCs, it looks like the 9th-generation branding will be coming to desktops early but in the form of Coffee Lake Refresh. This lineup is also expected to feature the much awaited 8-core option from Intel which will put them next to AMD’s Ryzen processors in the mainstream desktop segment.

Posted by Megalith July 15, 2018 10:25 AM (CDT)

Star Citizen Backers No Longer Able to Get Refunds

Star Citizen backers who want their money back are out of luck, as CIG has reportedly ignored all refund demands since December 2017. One redditor took the company to court but essentially lost his case after CIG managed to convince a judge that the arbitration clause present in the current TOS applies to transactions that occurred before it existed.

CIG has removed almost all backer’s rights through their revisions to the TOS. This includes CIG’s obligation to be financially accountable to their backers, something that they explicitly promised during the project’s initial drive for funding. They apparently don’t really have to deliver a final product either.

Posted by Megalith July 15, 2018 9:50 AM (CDT)