Thursday, January 12, 2017

Two Microsoft Employees Are Claiming That Microsoft Gave Them PTSD

FOX News: Two employees are suing Microsoft, alleging their jobs gave them PTSD

Two Microsoft employees claim the company made them look at photos and videos "designed to entertain some of the most twisted and sick minded people in the world." Now they're suing.

Courthouse News reports Henry Soto and Greg Blauert were part of Microsoft's online safety team whose job was to figure out what online content should be taken down and when it should be reported to police.

In that position, Soto and Blauert say they had to look at images of child pornography, murder, bestiality, and "indescribable sexual assault." They filed a lawsuit against Microsoft last month, accusing the company of negligence, disability discrimination, and violation of the Consumer Protection Act.

Read more ....

CSN Editor: They are claiming that Microsoft didn't warn them about what to expect in the job and didn't provide psychological support. I find this hard to believe. Unless they have lived in a bubble for most of their life .... everyone knows that the internet has a lot of garbage that is not for the faint of heart.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Riemann Hypothesis

Jørgen Veisdal, Medium: The Riemann Hypothesis, explained

In loving memory of John Forbes Nash Jr.

You remember prime numbers, right? Those numbers you can’t divide into other numbers, except when you divide them by themselves or 1? Right. Here is a 3000 year old question:

2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, 23, 29, p. What is p? 31. What is the next p? It’s 37. The p after that?41. And then? 43. How, but… …how do you know what comes next?

Present an argument or formula which (even barely) predicts what the next prime number will be (in any given sequence of numbers), and your name will be forever linked to one of the greatest achievements of the human mind, akin to Newton, Einstein and Gödel. Figure out why the primes act as they do, and you will never have to do anything else, ever again.

Read more ....

This Professor Is Teaching The NSA's Best Hackers

Cyber Scoop: Meet the man responsible for teaching some of the NSA’s best young hackers

The National Security Agency is an enormous organization by nearly any corporate standard, with more than 35,000 employees. Former Deputy Director Chris Inglis once joked that the spy agency is “the biggest employer of introverts.” More frequently though, the NSA refers to itself as the largest employer of mathematicians. In recent years, while the U.S. has continuously confronted new threats in cyberspace, the agency has increasingly become a training ground for young, talented, highly educated computer security professionals.

Underlining the NSA’s race to hire the best and brightest is a list of 213 universities that the spy agency has designated as “National Centers of Academic Excellence.”

These schools offer a myriad of computer security training programs, each providing a stepping stone into the secretive agency. In this context, Carnegie Mellon University is to the NSA what the University of Alabama is to the NFL. And Professor David Brumley is CMU’s Nick Saban.

Read more ....

CSN Editor: His Twitter page is interesting (the link is here).

A Human-Powered Paper Centrifuge

Americans Love Their Internet And Smartphones

The Pew Research Center survey found 77 percent of American adults owning a smartphone in late 2016, more than double the level of 2011, when 35 percent said they used such devices Smartphone, internet use at record high in US: survey

More than three-fourths of American adults now use a smartphone, helping to boost internet adoption to a record level, a survey showed Thursday.

The Pew Research Center survey found 77 percent owning a smartphone in late 2016, more than double the level of 2011, when 35 percent said they used such devices.

The rise was fueled by a "sharp uptick" in smartphone use by those with low incomes and those 50 and older, Pew said.

"Smartphones are nearly ubiquitous among younger adults," said Pew researcher Aaron Smith, noting that 92 percent of adults under 29 own one.

Read more ....

CSN Editor: I am surprised that only 77% own a smartphone .... I thought it was closer to 90%.

The European Parliament Wants To Give Robots Legal Status By Calling Them 'Electronic Persons'

The report proposes a kill switch on robots. © Francois Lenoir / Reuters

RT: Robot kill switches & legal status: MEPs endorse AI proposal

A European Parliament committee has voted in favor of a draft report that proposes granting legal status to robots, categorizing them as “electronic persons”.

The draft report, approved by 17 votes to two and two abstentions by the European Parliament Committee on Legal Affairs, proposes that “The most sophisticated autonomous robots could be established as having the status of electronic persons with specific rights and obligations, including that of making good any damage they may cause.”

Authored by Luxembourg MEP Mady Delvaux, the report proposes definitions and outlines rules to govern how robots interact with humans “now that humankind stands on the threshold of an era” that it claims will see artificial intelligence (AI) “unleash a new industrial revolution.”

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I will not be surprised if this is past by the EU parliament.

A U.S. Bee Species Has Been Placed On The Endangered Species List.

AFP: Bee placed on endangered list after US habitat loss

Miami (AFP) - US officials for the first time have placed a bee found in the continental United States on the endangered species list.

Authorities said Wednesday the move was taken after a precipitous decline in the rusty patched bumblebee population, due to pesticides, disease and climate change.

These once common bumblebees are now "balancing precariously on the brink of extinction," said a statement from the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

"Abundance of the rusty patched bumble bee has plummeted by 87 percent, leaving small, scattered populations in 13 states and one province," down from 28 states in the 1990s.

The final rule listing the rusty patched bumble bee as endangered appeared in the January 11 edition of the Federal Register and takes effect on February 10.

Read more ....

CSN Editor: I expect other bee species to be placed on this list.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

An AI Robot To Combat Loneliness

Elli.Q reminds lonely elderly people to take medication, talk to family and stay active

The Telegraph: AI robot 'friend' launched to chat and play games with lonely elderly

A talking robot which chats to elderly people, reminding them to take their medication and stay active, has been launched in London.

Elli.Q, which is one of the most advanced social companion robots in the world, has been designed to convey emotion through different speech tones, lights and body language to be as engaging as possible.

The little robot suggests activities such as reading, going for a walk, playing games to keep mentally active or phoning friends and family.

And she is programmed to learn what her owner enjoys, gradually tailoring her programming to fit.

Elli.Q has been developed by Intuition Robotics to prevent older people feeling socially isolated, and keep them connected to family and friends.

Read more ....

CSN Editor: I can see this being valuable for seniors who live alone.

World Economic Forum Warns That Artificial Intelligence Needs Strong Governance

Computer Weekly: World Economic Forum warns of AI business risk

Ahead of its annual meeting in Davos, the World Economic Forum warns that artificial intelligence needs strong governance

The World Economic Forum’s Global Risk Report 2017 has highlighted risks associated with artificial intelligence (AI).

Based on a survey of 750 experts, the report warned that AI, biotech and robotics have among the highest benefits to society, but they also require the most legislation.

Read more ....

CSN Editor: No one is ready for the large scale unemployment that the adoption of AI would create.

The World Economic Forum Releases Its Top Global Risks For 2017

CNBC: Top five global risks for 2017: WEF

The World Economic Forum's (WEF) flagship annual report surveyed 750 experts to identify the most significant global concerns. Here are the top five:

Read more ....

Update: Zero Hedge has a good summary .... These Are The Top Global Risks For 2017 According To The World Economic Forum (Zero Hedge).

CSN Editor: The World Economic Forum's report is here.

More News And Details On The iPhone 8 Are Becoming Known

The latest rumor to hit the web comes from an ‘upstream supply chain’ that says the Cupertino company is ditching the aluminium back cover. Instead, it will be designed with a stainless steel forging process .Pictured is an iPhone 8 concept render

Daily Mail: iPhone 8 to have stainless steel frame, all glass front and back and 'invisible' speakers and cameras

* Latest iPhone 8 rumor suggests Apple is ditching the aluminium back cover
* Instead will be designed with new stainless steel forging process
* Will bring together two reinforced glass panels supported by a metal frame
* Apple also received patent to hide components under the screen

It may still be months away, but speculations about Apple’s iPhone 8 are sweeping the internet.

The latest rumor came from an ‘upstream supply chain’ that suggests the Cupertino company is ditching the aluminium back cover.

Instead, it will be designed with a stainless steel forging process that brings together two reinforced glass panels supported by a metal frame.

Read more ....

CSN Editor: It looks sharp.

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Monday, January 9, 2017

The Inside Story Of The First iPhone

BBC: 'Sweating bullets' - The inside story of the first iPhone

"Steve had expressly told me it was totally top secret. He said he was going to fire anyone who tells the world.

"I was sweating bullets."

Tony Fadell was pondering just how he was going to explain to Steve Jobs that he'd lost the prototype of what would become the most successful technology product of all time, the Apple iPhone which launched 10 years ago on Monday.

He'd just got off a plane, felt his pockets, and... nothing.

"I was walking through every scenario thinking about what could happen," he told me. None of them ended well.

After two hours, relief - thanks to the efforts of a search party that didn’t know what it was trying to find.

"It fell out of my pocket and it was lodged in between the seats!"

Read more ....

CSN Editor: The above video is Steve Jobs announcing the first iPhone in 2007

A Robot-Powered Burger Restaurant Is Coming To San Francisco

This is the only known image of a burger manufactured by Momentum Machines technology. Momentum Machines / The Wharton School, The University of Pennsylvania

Business Insider/Tech Insider: This robot-powered restaurant could put fast food workers out of a job

A robot-powered burger joint is coming to San Francisco.

In 2012, secretive robotics startup Momentum Machines debuted a machine that could crank out 400 made-to-order hamburgers in an hour. It's fully autonomous, meaning the robot can slice toppings, grill a patty, and assemble and bag the burger without any help from humans. The internet flipped out.

Years of relative silence ensued, but in January, Hoodline's Brittany Hopkins learned that the San Francisco-based startup had applied for a building permit to convert a ground-floor retail space in the SoMa neighborhood into a restaurant.

Now it looks like the restaurant is actually happening. A job posting on Craigslist from early June gives us our first glimpse into how the company's future flagship, presumably opening soon, might work.

Read more ....

CSN Editor: I suspect that this restaurant will also be more cleaner.

Experts Say AIs Will Soon Understand Human Emotions

Daily Mail: The rise of the robot interrogator: Experts say AIs will soon understand our emotions - and could do everything from give therapy to quiz terrorists

* Artificial intelligence (AI) has become increasingly good at reading emotion
* AI can now recognise faces, speech and even turn sketches into photos
* AI may be able to match humans in recognising emotions in a few decades
* An emotionally intelligent AI has potential benefits, be it to give someone a companion or to help us performing certain tasks – ranging from criminal interrogation to talking therapy

How would you feel about getting therapy from a robot?

Emotionally intelligent machines may not be as far away as it seems.

Over the last few decades, artificial intelligence (AI) have got increasingly good at reading emotional reactions in humans.

Read more ....

CSN Editor: Humans have trouble understanding the emotions of others .... it is going to be interesting to see how AIs will perform.

Are We Facing A Global Cooling Trend?

Extreme cold and snow pound the northern hemisphere as some scientists warn of the potential for ice age conditions. Photo of Greenland by NASA (public domain)

Climate Depot: Pravda: ‘Scientists Now Warn Of A New Ice Age’ As Temperature Plummets to – 80°F In Russia

Some impressive winter events have been taking place all across the northern hemisphere lately. Especially eastern and southeastern Europe have been pounded by massive snowfalls and tremendously cold temperatures. Turkey has been buried by heavy snows and extreme temperatures have gripped the entire USA and vast areas of Russia.

The global warming climate appears to have been hacked by natural factors.

Read more ....

CSN Editor: I know that the source is from Pravda .... but where I live (Montreal, Canada) .... it has been an unusually cold winter.

Purple Rocks Found On Mars

(Click on Image to Enlarge)
This new image from the Mars Curiosity rover captures purple-colored rocks on the surface of lower Mount Sharp. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Space: NASA's Curiosity Rover Spots Purple Rocks on Mars

Mars may appear red when viewed from Earth, but NASA's Curiosity rover has captured an up-close photo of the planet's mountainous landscape, with purple-colored rocks littered across the foreground.

This remarkable new photo was captured near the base of Mars' Mount Sharp. The image's three frames were taken by Curiosity's Mast Camera (Mastcam)on Nov. 10.

Read more ....

CSN Editor: Purple rocks?!?!

European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope In Chile Will Be Modified To Search For Planets

This artist's impression shows the planet orbiting the star Alpha Centauri B, a member of the triple star system that is the closest to Earth in this image released on October 17, 2012. REUTERS/ESO/L. Calcada/N. Risinger

Reuters: Giant telescope in Chile to seek habitable planets in Alpha Centauri

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - The European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope in Chile will be modified in order to allow it to search more effectively for potentially habitable planets in Alpha Centauri, the nearest star system to Earth.

The ESO said it has signed a deal with Breakthrough Starshot, a venture that aims to deploy thousands of tiny spacecraft to travel to the system and send back pictures.

Starshot, which is backed by internet billionaire Yuri Milner and physicist Stephen Hawking, will provide funding to allow equipment on the Very Large Telescope that studies in the mid-infrared to be adapted to better detect faint planets, the ESO said in a statement on Monday.

Read more ....

CSN Editor: The search for life beyond out solar system has just gotten a bit more interesting.

This Is Why You Feel Hungry After A Night On The Town

Cosmos: Why you crave hot chips after a night on the town

Don't feel too guilty when you drunkenly bite into a hot dog at 3 am – you can't argue with biology.

A pie or hot dog scoffed at 3 am is, quite simply, delicious. But why do we crave fatty and carb-rich food after drinking alcohol, which itself laden with kilojoules? It turns out the brain cells that make you hungry are also activated by alcohol.

Researchers in the UK put mice on the equivalent of a human weekend bender and found their subjects ate more food than teetotal counterparts. Examining the mouse brains, the team found a specific set of brain cells that drive hunger were activated in the presence of alcohol.

The work was published in Nature Communications.

Alcohol consumption and overeating are linked. Drinking an aperitif before a meal stimulates the appetite. Why, though, is a puzzle.

Read more ....

CSN Editor: This is the reason why .... the brain cells that make you hungry are also activated by alcohol.

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Sunday, January 8, 2017

A Giant Asteroid Was Spotted Only 24 Hours Before It Passed Earth

Slooh's broadcast said 2017 AG3 was 'roughly the same size as the asteroid that struck Chelyabinsk, Russia in 2013,' meaning had it hit, the effects would have been similar.

Business Insider: An asteroid just flew by Earth about 50% closer than the moon, and we barely saw it coming

Early Monday morning, while the US East Coast was making coffee, dropping kids off at school, and cursing in traffic, a space rock as big as a 10-story building slipped past Earth.

The asteroid, dubbed 2017 AG13, was discovered only Saturday by the University of Arizona's Catalina Sky Survey, according to an email from Slooh, a company that broadcasts live views of space.

It's between 50 and 111 feet (15 to 34 meters) long, and when it swung by Earth, 2017 AG3 was moving at 9.9 miles per second (16 kilometers per second). The near-Earth object, or NEO, came within about half the distance that the moon is from Earth, according to Slooh.

Read more ....

Update #1: Phew! Giant asteroid passed just 120,000 miles from Earth last night - and was only spotted 24 hours earlier (Daily Mail)
Update #2: Another near miss: Is Earth ready for an incoming asteroid? (Charlie Wood, CSM)

CSN Editor: There has been closer calls.

Retroviruses Are Almost Half A Billion Years Old

Seeker: Retroviruses, Including HIV, Are Almost Half a Billion Years Old

According to scientists, retroviruses probably developed in marine vertebrates, not placental mammals.

Tracing the ancient origin of retroviruses — the family of viruses that includes HIV — is a big undertaking, partly because of the absence of fossils. But a new study conducted by researchers at Oxford University suggests that retroviruses are nearly half a billion years old, significantly older than previously thought.

Until now, scientists thought that retroviruses traced back roughly 100 million years, about as old as terrestrial placental mammals. But at half a billion years old, retroviruses probably developed in marine vertebrates.

According to the study, retroviruses made the transition from the sea to land along with the evolution of terrestrial vertebrates. "Their widespread distribution is a result of ancient origins, not simply the tendency of retroviruses to cross species boundaries," Aris Katzourakis, associate professor at Oxford University's Department of Zoology and author of the study, told Seeker.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: It looks like retroviruses have been around since the beginning of time.

Apple's iPhone Turns 10 On January 9

It was on January 9 2007 that late Apple founder, Steve Jobs, went on stage at the company´s Macworld event to announce it was about to reveal 'an iPod, a phone and an internet communicator'. Pictured is the original iPhone

Daily Mail: Apple's iPhone turns 10 today: Here's how the iconic handset has changed over the years

* Steve Jobs described it as 'an iPod, a phone and an internet communicator'
* Since its unveiled, Apple has sold more than a billion iPhones around the world
* Last year saw sales of the iPhone drop for the first time in the device´s history
* Last week, a never-before-seen alternate version of the iPhone design was discovered that looked similar to an iPod design

The iPhone, the device that redefined the mobile phone and has helped make Apple the most valuable company in the world, is 10 years old today.

It was on January 9 2007 that late Apple founder, Steve Jobs, went on stage at the company´s Macworld event to announce it was about to reveal 'an iPod, a phone and an internet communicator'.

But rather than three separate products being revealed, one of the first truly smart phones was unveiled.

Read more ....

Update: Apple proved a phone can change the world in just 10 years (AP)

CSN Editor: Only 10 years?!?!?! Wow .... if feels like it has been around forever.

The Earth's Core Is Made Up Of Iron, Nickel, And Silicon

This study suggests silicon exists in the Earth's inner core with iron and nickel

BBC: New candidate for 'missing element' in Earth's core

Japanese scientists believe they have established the identity of a "missing element" within the Earth's core.

They have been searching for the element for decades, believing it makes up a significant proportion of our planet's centre, after iron and nickel.

Now by recreating the high temperatures and pressures found in the deep interior, experiments suggest the most likely candidate is silicon.

The discovery could help us to better understand how our world formed.

Lead researcher Eiji Ohtani from Tohoku University told BBC News: "We believe that silicon is a major element - about 5% [of the Earth's inner core] by weight could be silicon dissolved into the iron-nickel alloys."

Read more ....

CSN Editor: key points of this post .... The innermost part of Earth is thought to be a solid ball with a radius of about 1,200km (745 miles).

Also ....

It is mainly composed of iron, which makes up an estimated 85% of its weight, and nickel, which accounts for about 10% of the core.

The Pentagon Will Continue To Tap Some Of Science And Technology's Greatest Minds To Help Innovate U.S. Military Capabilities And Culture,

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson interacts with Pepper, a social humanoid robot, during the Clinton Global Initiative's annual meeting in New York, Sept. 28, 2015.

VOA: Top Scientists, Tech Experts to Innovate Military Under Trump Administration

THE PENTAGON — The Pentagon has tapped some of science and technology's greatest minds to help innovate U.S. military capabilities and culture, and members of the panel say they will continue serving in the Trump administration if asked.

Eric Schmidt, the chairman of the board and chairman of Google's parent company, Alphabet, said he expects everyone to stay on to serve under retired General James Mattis, if the board is invited to continue its work.

"No one has told me they are leaving," Schmidt told reporters Monday at the Pentagon after the first board meeting since the presidential election.

Read more ....

CSN Editor: No surprises here. America's top minds have always worked with the military to give them a heads up on emerging technologies (Einstein and the atomic bomb) to today's leaders from Silicon Valley and elsewhere.

Iran's 'Porn Blockers' Are Impacting Access To These Sites In Other Countries

A visitor takes pictures of an adult film actress during the Eros Show in the Bulgarian capital Sofia April 2, 2008. REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov

The Independent: Porn blocks in Iran break the internet across the world

The country’s strange technique was meant to stop people watching adult videos, but had a much broader effect than intended

Iran introduced blocks on pornography so aggressive that they broke the internet around the world.

The country's censorship laws on adult websites are infamously stringent, and require access pornographic websites to be cut off. But last week the state internet provider did so not only for those in Iran but for people across the world – as far away as Russia and Hong Kong.

The strange ban was the result of the way that the internet provider cut off access to those sites. It did so using some of the basic mechanisms of the web – not just stopping people in Iran accessing the websites, but changing the directions that power the internet so that nobody could.

Read more ....

CSN Editor: I am sure that this is "pissing-off" some people.

Quantum Computing Could Make Supercomputer Obsolete In 5 Years

Multilayer microwave integrated quantum circuit (left) uses silicon wafers with features etched using MEMS techniques to create enclosures that serve as high-Q resonators as well as providing shielding. Superconducting metalization (blue) covers the walls of these enclosures to provide low-loss wafer-to-wafer bonding. A cross-section of the rectangular cavity resonator (upper right) shows interlayer aperture coupling between the cavity and transmission lines above. 3D superconducting transmission lines (lower right) could be constructed using membranes (green) in the MEMS structure where qubits and act as a compact low-loss quantum bus.
(Source: Yale)

Next Big Future: Universal Quantum computers could replace supercomputers within 5 years

Some researchers are predicting that the market for "universal" quantum computers that do everything a supercomputer can do plus everything a supercomputer can not do — in a chip that fits in the palm of your hand — are on the verge of emerging. The rise of quantum computing may be as important a shift as John von Neumann's stored program-and-data concept.

Here are some of the scientists and breakthroughs that will enable this shift.

Robert Schoelkopf (Yale, Quantum Circuits inc) claims a number of "world's firsts," the latest of which is the longest "coherence time" for a quantum superposition.

Read more ....

Update: Quantum Computing on Cusp - Researchers say supercomputer obsolete in 5 years -- EETimes

CSN editor: To me the 5 years is too optimistic .... but the trend lines are that Quantum computers will replace supercomputers in the near future.

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