Sean Parker Is Going To Great Lengths To Ensure 'Screening Room' Is Piracy Free, Patents Reveal

Slashdot - Fri, 26/05/2017 - 8:40pm
Napster co-founder Sean Parker has been working on his new service called Screening Room, which when becomes reality, could allow people to watch the latest Hollywood blockbusters in their living room as soon as they premiere at the box office. This week we get a glimpse at the kind of technologies Parker is using to ensure that the movies don't get distributed easily. From a report: Over the past several weeks, Screening Room Media, Inc. has submitted no less than eight patent applications related to its plans, all with some sort of anti-piracy angle. For example, a patent titled "Presenting Sonic Signals to Prevent Digital Content Misuse" describes a technology where acoustic signals are regularly sent to mobile devices, to confirm that the user is near the set-top box and is authorized to play the content. Similarly, the "Monitoring Nearby Mobile Computing Devices to Prevent Digital Content Misuse" patent, describes a system that detects the number of mobile devices near the client-side device, to make sure that too many people aren't tuning in. The general technology outlined in the patents also includes forensic watermarking and a "P2P polluter." The watermarking technology can be used to detect when pirated content spreads outside of the protected network onto the public Internet. "At this point, the member's movie accessing system will be shut off and quarantined. If the abuse or illicit activity is confirmed, the member and the household will be banned from the content distribution network," the patent reads. [...] Screening Room's system also comes with a wide range of other anti-piracy scans built in. Among other things, it regularly scans the Wi-Fi network to see which devices are connected, and Bluetooth is used to check what other devices are near.

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Categories: Science

NASA To Make Announcement About First Mission To Touch Sun

Slashdot - Fri, 26/05/2017 - 8:15pm
NASA published the following media advisory moments ago: NASA will make an announcement about the agency's first mission to fly directly into our sun's atmosphere during an event at 11 a.m. EDT Wednesday, May 31, from the University of Chicago's William Eckhardt Research Center Auditorium. The event will air live on NASA Television and the agency's website. The mission, Solar Probe Plus, is scheduled to launch in the summer of 2018. Placed in orbit within four million miles of the sun's surface, and facing heat and radiation unlike any spacecraft in history, the spacecraft will explore the sun's outer atmosphere and make critical observations that will answer decades-old questions about the physics of how stars work. The resulting data will improve forecasts of major space weather events that impact life on Earth, as well as satellites and astronauts in space.

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Categories: Science

War Machine Is Your Sneak Peek at Netflix’s Blockbuster Future

Wired News - Fri, 26/05/2017 - 8:03pm
Brad Pitt's combat satire is the streaming service's riskiest original film yet. But where does the company grow from here? The post War Machine Is Your Sneak Peek at Netflix's Blockbuster Future appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

Music Streaming Service Tidal Loses Third CEO In Two Years

Slashdot - Fri, 26/05/2017 - 8:00pm
An anonymous reader shares an article: The music-streaming service Tidal is saying goodbye to yet another CEO. Jefffrey Toig, who became the company's CEO in December 2015, is leaving the company. This would make him the third CEO leaving Tidal after two years, following the departure of Andy Chen and Peter Tonstad. In a statement to CNET, Tidal said that it will announce a new CEO in the coming weeks. The Jay-Z-owned music service has relied heavily on star power and album exclusives, but its bet doesn't seem to be making any splashes. On top of that, the company was accused in January of lying about its 3-million subscriber-base. They were accused of creating fake accounts.

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Categories: Science

Google’s AlphaGo Trounces Humans—But It Also Gives Them a Boost

Wired News - Fri, 26/05/2017 - 7:55pm
The world's top Go players are now taking pages from AlphaGo's playbook. The post Google's AlphaGo Trounces Humans—But It Also Gives Them a Boost appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

80% of Millennials Say They Want To Buy a Home -- But Most Have Less Than $1,000

Slashdot - Fri, 26/05/2017 - 7:20pm
An anonymous reader writes: Millennials aren't buying homes in the same numbers as previous and older generations, but it's not because they don't want to. The vast majority of millennials do indeed aim to buy someday, or would even like to now if they could. Unfortunately, the numbers don't look good. New data from Apartment List shows that, although 80 percent of millennials would like to purchase real estate, very few are in a good position to buy, largely because they have nothing saved. According to the report, '68 percent of millennials said they have saved less than $1,000 for a down payment. Almost half, or 44 percent, of millennials said they have not saved anything for a down payment.'

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Categories: Science

3D-printed ‘bionic skin’ could give robots and prosthetics the sense of touch

Kurzweil AI - Fri, 26/05/2017 - 6:53pm

Schematic of a new kind of 3D printer that can print touch sensors directly on a model hand. (credit: Shuang-Zhuang Guo and Michael McAlpine/Advanced Materials )

Engineering researchers at the University of Minnesota have developed a process for 3D-printing stretchable, flexible, and sensitive electronic sensory devices that could give robots or prosthetic hands — or even real skin — the ability to mechanically sense their environment.

One major use would be to give surgeons the ability to feel during minimally invasive surgeries instead of using cameras, or to increase the sensitivity of surgical robots. The process could also make it easier for robots to walk and interact with their environment.

Printing electronics directly on human skin could be used for pulse monitoring, energy harvesting (of movements), detection of finger motions (on a keyboard or other devices), or chemical sensing (for example, by soldiers in the field to detect dangerous chemicals or explosives). Or imagine a future computer mouse built into your fingertip, with haptic touch on any surface.

“While we haven’t printed on human skin yet, we were able to print on the curved surface of a model hand using our technique,” said Michael McAlpine, a University of Minnesota mechanical engineering associate professor and lead researcher on the study.* “We also interfaced a printed device with the skin and were surprised that the device was so sensitive that it could detect your pulse in real time.”

The researchers also visualize use in “bionic organs.”

A unique skin-compatible 3D-printing process

(left) Schematic of the tactile sensor. (center) Top view. (right) Optical image showing the conformally printed 3D tactile sensor on a fingertip. Scale bar = 4 mm. (credit: Shuang-Zhuang Guo et al./Advanced Materials)

McAlpine and his team made the sensing fabric with a one-of-a kind 3D printer they built in the lab. The multifunctional printer has four nozzles to print the various specialized “inks” that make up the layers of the device — a base layer of silicone**, top and bottom electrodes made of a silver-based piezoresistive conducting ink, a coil-shaped pressure sensor, and a supporting layer that holds the top layer in place while it sets (later washed away in the final manufacturing process).

Surprisingly, all of the layers of “inks” used in the flexible sensors can set at room temperature. Conventional 3D printing using liquid plastic is too hot and too rigid to use on the skin. The sensors can stretch up to three times their original size.

The researchers say the next step is to move toward semiconductor inks and printing on a real surface. “The manufacturing is built right into the process, so it is ready to go now,” McAlpine said.

The research was published online in the journal Advanced Materials. It was funded by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering of the National Institutes of Health.

* McAlpine integrated electronics and novel 3D-printed nanomaterials to create a “bionic ear” in 2013.

** The silicone rubber has a low modulus of elasticity of 150 kPa, similar to that of skin, and lower hardness (Shore A 10) than that of human skin, according to the Advanced Materials paper.


College of Science and Engineering, UMN | 3D Printed Stretchable Tactile Sensors

Abstract of 3D Printed Stretchable Tactile Sensors

The development of methods for the 3D printing of multifunctional devices could impact areas ranging from wearable electronics and energy harvesting devices to smart prosthetics and human–machine interfaces. Recently, the development of stretchable electronic devices has accelerated, concomitant with advances in functional materials and fabrication processes. In particular, novel strategies have been developed to enable the intimate biointegration of wearable electronic devices with human skin in ways that bypass the mechanical and thermal restrictions of traditional microfabrication technologies. Here, a multimaterial, multiscale, and multifunctional 3D printing approach is employed to fabricate 3D tactile sensors under ambient conditions conformally onto freeform surfaces. The customized sensor is demonstrated with the capabilities of detecting and differentiating human movements, including pulse monitoring and finger motions. The custom 3D printing of functional materials and devices opens new routes for the biointegration of various sensors in wearable electronics systems, and toward advanced bionic skin applications.

Categories: Science

The Gig Economy Workforce Will Double In Four Years

Slashdot - Fri, 26/05/2017 - 6:40pm
The number of workers in the so-called gig economy will grow substantially in the coming years, according to a study by Intuit and Emergent Research. By 2021, the study finds, 9.2 million people are going to be working the frontline jobs at companies like Uber and Lyft. That number is projected to be 4.8 million this year. From a report: The rise in on-demand workers has been fueled largely by startups like Uber, TaskRabbit and Airbnb. It has also helped companies like Intuit, which makes tax software QuickBooks and TurboTax. The company's stock surged to an all-time high yesterday thanks to the gig economy. For context, there are currently more gig workers than people employed in the entire information sector (which includes publishing, telecommunication and data processing jobs) and IT services combined, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Also read: A recent piece on The New Yorker which talks about the lengths to which people are willing to go to survive in such jobs -- a horrifying culture that is often celebrated in those companies.

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Categories: Science

Losing sleep over climate change

Science Daily - Fri, 26/05/2017 - 6:37pm
A new study of US data suggests a sleep-deprived planet by century's end. Researchers show that unusually warm nights can harm human sleep and that the poor and elderly are most affected. Rising temperatures will make sleep loss more severe.
Categories: Science

Chemical array draws out malignant cells to guide individualized cancer treatment

Science Daily - Fri, 26/05/2017 - 6:37pm
Melanoma is a particularly difficult cancer to treat once it has metastasized, spreading throughout the body. Researchers are using chemistry to find the deadly, elusive malignant cells within a melanoma tumor that hold the potential to spread. Once found, the stemlike metastatic cells can be cultured and screened for their response to a variety of anti-cancer drugs, providing the patient with an individualized treatment plan based on their own cells.
Categories: Science

Conch shells may inspire better helmets, body armor

Science Daily - Fri, 26/05/2017 - 6:37pm
Engineers have uncovered the secret to the exceptional toughness of conch shells, and say the same principles can be used for body armor and helmets.
Categories: Science

'Tiny clocks' crystallize understanding of meteorite crashes

Science Daily - Fri, 26/05/2017 - 6:37pm
Scientists are using new imaging techniques to measure the atomic nanostructure of ancient crystal fragments at meteorite impact sites. The end goal? To understand when impacts ended and life began.
Categories: Science

Assistants, Please

Wired News - Fri, 26/05/2017 - 6:18pm
Is there anything your phone can't do these days? The post Assistants, Please appeared first on WIRED.
Categories: Science

With Nothing Left To Sell, RadioShack Is Selling Itself To People

Slashdot - Fri, 26/05/2017 - 6:00pm
RadioShack, an almost 100-year-old American chain of wireless and electronics stores, had a hell of ride at retail. The cradle of building your own electronics at home, and an early participant in the PC revolution, is finally facing the end after a long, slow death at the hands of consumer disinterest, a dysfunctional marriage with Sprint. From a report: Tons of electronics stores have shuttered over the past decade, but few are as tragic as RadioShack, which filed for bankruptcy in 2015, appeared to be rescued by Sprint in agreement to co-share the stores, then got kicked to the curb and had to file for a second bankruptcy this past March. The new agreement means hundreds of RadioShack shops will officially close down and be replaced by Sprint stores, fizzling out dreams of the Maker movement. So while this is an end to another chapter of our American electronics retail culture, we do have to wonder: how are the folks at RadioShack doing? They have been selling the leftover stocks of electronics for a while, with only mostly store fixtures, ladders, and carpet tiles seemingly left on offer. This is what RadioShack posted earlier this month. The company has since been tweeting about the leftover stuff it has up on sale, though.

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Categories: Science

Disney Chief Bob Iger Doesn't Believe Movie Hack Threat Was Real

Slashdot - Fri, 26/05/2017 - 5:20pm
You may remember Disney's boss revealing that hackers had threatened to leak one of the studio's new films unless it paid a ransom. Bob Iger didn't name the film, but it was thought to be "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales." But now Iger says: "To our knowledge we were not hacked." From a report: Disney chairman-CEO Bob Iger confirmed Thursday that a hacker claiming to have stolen an upcoming Disney movie and demanding a ransom didn't appear to have the goods. "To our knowledge we were not hacked," Iger told Yahoo Finance. "We had a threat of a hack of a movie being stolen. We decided to take it seriously but not react in the manner in which the person who was threatening us had required." Iger continued, "We don't believe that it was real and nothing has happened." On May 15, as first reported by The Hollywood Reporter, Iger told ABC employees at a town hall meeting in New York that someone claiming to have stolen an upcoming movie would release the film on the internet unless the company paid a ransom. Iger told staff that the studio wouldn't meet any such demands.

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Categories: Science

Dog skull study reveals genetic changes linked to face shape

Science Daily - Fri, 26/05/2017 - 4:57pm
A study of dog DNA has revealed a genetic mutation linked to flat face shapes such as those seen in pugs and bulldogs.
Categories: Science

Supernova Fail: Giant Dying Star Collapses Straight into Black Hole

Space.com - Fri, 26/05/2017 - 4:50pm
It appears the path to becoming a black hole is more complex than astronomers thought. Rather than exploding into a supernova before collapsing into a black hole, as expected, one giant star skipped the pyrotechnics and went straight to the collapse.
Categories: Science

Major US Tech Firms Press Congress For Internet Surveillance Reforms

Slashdot - Fri, 26/05/2017 - 4:40pm
Dustin Volz, reporting for Reuters: Facebook, Amazon and more than two dozen other U.S. technology companies pressed Congress on Friday to make changes to a broad internet surveillance law, saying they were necessary to improve privacy protections and increase government transparency. The request marks the first significant public effort by Silicon Valley to wade into what is expected to be a contentious debate later the year over the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, parts of which will expire on Dec. 31 unless Congress reauthorizes them. Of particular concern to the technology industry and privacy advocates is Section 702, which allows U.S. intelligence agencies to vacuum up vast amounts of communications from foreigners but also incidentally collects some data belonging to Americans that can be searched by analysts without a warrant.

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Categories: Science

In a Throwback To the '90s, NTFS Bug Lets Anyone Hang Or Crash Windows 7, 8.1

Slashdot - Fri, 26/05/2017 - 4:00pm
Windows 7 and 8.1 (and also Windows Vista) have a bug that is reminiscent of Windows 98 age, when a certain specially crafted filename could make the operating system crash (think of file:///c:/con/con). From an ArsTechnica report: The new bug, which fortunately doesn't appear to afflict Windows 10, uses another special filename. This time around, the special filename of choice is $MFT. $MFT is the name given to one of the special metadata files that are used by Windows' NTFS filesystem. The file exists in the root directory of each NTFS volume, but the NTFS driver handles it in special ways, and it's hidden from view and inaccessible to most software. Attempts to open the file are normally blocked, but in a move reminiscent of the Windows 9x flaw, if the filename is used as if it were a directory name -- for example, trying to open the file c:\$MFT\123 -- then the NTFS driver takes out a lock on the file and never releases it. Every subsequent operation sits around waiting for the lock to be released. Forever. This blocks any and all other attempts to access the file system, and so every program will start to hang, rendering the machine unusable until it is rebooted.

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Categories: Science

Image of the Day

Space.com - Fri, 26/05/2017 - 3:30pm
An impact site on the surface of Mars looks like a fantastical alien wonderland in this colorful image from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
Categories: Science