2018-01-01 00:00:00 ..
2018-04-13 13:32:42 UTC
2018-04-14 11:41:58 UTC
We always have a place for talented people, visit the Get Involved section on the wiki to see how you can make SoylentNews better.
A landlocked, rural nation in southern Africa, Swaziland has significant problems. Nearly a third of the country's population lives in extreme poverty, and about as many are infected with H.I.V., one of the world's highest prevalence rates for the virus. Life expectancy is low, around 50. A recent drought and an infestation of armyworms, an invasive species, devastated crops.
So the kingdom's 1.4 million residents might have been surprised on Thursday when King Mswati III, one of the world's few remaining absolute monarchs, announced the news: The country will henceforth be known as eSwatini, the kingdom's name in the local language. (It means "land of the Swazis" in the Swazi — or siSwati — tongue.)
The king, who has reigned since 1986, announced the name change — an adjustment, really — during a ceremony in the city of Manzini on Thursday to mark his 50th birthday.
Many African countries upon independence "reverted to their ancient, native names," The Associated Press quoted the king as saying. "We no longer shall be called Swaziland from today forward."
According to Reuters, Mswati argued that the kingdom's name had long caused confusion. "Whenever we go abroad, people refer to us as Switzerland," the king said, according to Reuters.
Also at BBC: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-43821512.
In a paper published in Profession, the Modern Language Association's journal about modern languages and literatures, a Saint Louis University professor discusses how he uses video games to teach Italian, allowing his students to master two semesters worth of language acquisition through one intensive class for students new to the Italian language.
[...] Though [Simone] Bregni has used Final Fantasy, Trivial Pursuit, Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Heavy Rain and Rise of the Tomb Raider in his classrooms, one of the most useful games to teach Italian is Assassin's Creed II.
"In my Italian Renaissance literature course, for example, students explore Florence as it flourished under the Medici by playing Assassin's Creed II," Bregni says in the paper. "My 21st-century American students partake in the life of Ezio Auditore, a 20-something man from an affluent family, by wandering around a cultural and historical re-creation of 1476 Florence."
[...] In a class called Intensive Italian for Gamers, all students made progress equal to two semesters of Italian over the course of a single fall semester. By the final, students were 3 to 5 points ahead of students in a traditional Italian course.
"Super-Earth" planets are giant-size versions of Earth, and some research has suggested that they're more likely to be habitable than Earth-size worlds. But a new study reveals how difficult it would be for any aliens on these exoplanets to explore space.
To launch the equivalent of an Apollo moon mission, a rocket on a super-Earth would need to have a mass of about 440,000 tons (400,000 metric tons), due to fuel requirements, the study said. That's on the order of the mass of the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt.
"On more-massive planets, spaceflight would be exponentially more expensive," said study author Michael Hippke, an independent researcher affiliated with the Sonneberg Observatory in Germany. "Such civilizations would not have satellite TV, a moon mission or a Hubble Space Telescope."
[Also Covered By]: GIZMODO
[Related]: 10 Exoplanets That Could Host Alien Life
After four years of development, the Energy Exascale Earth System Model (E3SM) will be unveiled today and released to the broader scientific community this month. The E3SM project is supported by the Department of Energy's Office of Science in the Biological and Environmental Research Office. The E3SM release will include model code and documentation, as well as output from an initial set of benchmark simulations.
[...] The goal of the project is to develop an earth system model (ESM) that has not been possible because of limitations in current computing technologies. Meeting this goal will require advances on three frontiers: 1) better resolving earth system processes through a strategic combination of developing new processes in the model, increased model resolution and enhanced computational performance; 2) representing more realistically the two-way interactions between human activities and natural processes, especially where these interactions affect U.S. energy needs; and 3) ensemble modeling to quantify uncertainty of model simulations and projections.
E3SM will provide insights on earth system interactions in the Arctic and their influence on mid-latitude weather. In this E3SM model simulation, winter storm clouds, represented here by outgoing longwave radiation, or OLR, affect sea ice coverage as the clouds move across the Arctic.
The full press release can be found online.
The first US penis transplant was successfully performed in 2016. Last year, a uterus transplant recipient gave birth for the first time in the US, too. Now, doctors at Johns Hopkins University have successfully transplanted an entire penis and scrotum to a young serviceman who sustained injuries in Afghanistan resulting in the loss of his genitals.
"We are hopeful that this transplant will help restore near-normal urinary and sexual functions for this young man," said Johns Hopkins' W.P. Andrew Lee, M.D. in a statement. Nine plastic surgeons and two urological specialists took 14 hours to transplant a deceased donor's entire penis and scrotum (minus testicles), along with a partial abdominal wall, to the young man, who wishes to remain anonymous.
Submitted via IRC for TheMightyBuzzard
For the past several years, copyright holders in the US and Europe have been trying to reach out to file-sharers in an effort to change their habits.
Whether via high-profile publicity lawsuits or a simple email, it's hoped that by letting people know they aren't anonymous, they'll stop pirating and buy more content instead.
Traditionally, most ISPs haven't been that keen on passing infringement notices on. However, the BMG v Cox lawsuit seems to have made a big difference, with a growing number of ISPs now visibly warning their users that they operate a repeat infringer policy.
But perhaps the big question is how seriously users take these warnings because – let's face it – that's the entire point of their existence.
Sixty-five thousand five hundred thirty-five but if they sent one more I'd start again.
Vincent Bernat writes in his blog about recent steps he took to increase privacy for his visitors and efficiency for the blog. He started out with excluding privacy-hostile modifications like Google Analytics, Disqus, third-party fonts, and much more. After reflection, he pared back and found the results better all around.
He addresses the following technologies one by one:
Amazon is reportedly working on a home robot that would follow users around and provide access to Alexa:
Amazon is reportedly developing its first robot for the home, according to Bloomberg. The project has been given the internal codename "Vesta," named after the Roman goddess of the hearth. It's being developed by Lab126, the Amazon hardware R&D center that previously built the Kindle, Fire Phone, and Echo.
There are no firm details on what Amazon's robot looks like or what purpose it will serve, but Bloomberg suggests it could be a sort of "mobile Alexa" — following users around their house to places where they can't speak directly to an Echo speaker. Prototype robots built by Amazon reportedly have computer vision software and cameras for navigation, and the company is said to be planning to seed devices in employees' homes by the end of the year. Bloomberg notes that the general public might be able to test such robot prototypes "as early as 2019."
From such scant details, it's difficult to know exactly what Amazon is planning, but it's safe to say that a home robot in this case does not mean some sort of "robot butler able to perform a variety of household chores." The technology needed for this sort of device just doesn't exist yet in the commercial sphere (although companies like Boston Dynamics are working on it).
The company's Amazon Robotics subsidiary, formerly Kiva Systems, makes robots for Amazon warehouses.
Amazon's Prometheans are going to kill your family from inside the comfort of your own home.
Also at TechCrunch.
The Brave browser's basic attention token (BAT) technology is designed to let advertisers pay publishers. Brave users also will get a cut if they sign up to see ads.
Brave developed the basic attention token (BAT) as an alternative to regular money for the payments that flow from advertiser to website publishers. Brave plans to use BAT more broadly, though, for example also sending a portion of advertising revenue to you if you're using Brave and letting you spend BAT for premium content like news articles that otherwise would be behind a subscription paywall.
Most of that is in the future, though. Today, Brave can send BAT to website publishers, YouTubers and Twitch videogame streamers, all of whom can convert that BAT into ordinary money once they're verified. You can buy BAT on your own, but Brave has given away millions of dollars' worth through a few promotions. The next phase of the plan, though, is just to automatically lavish BAT on anyone using Brave, so you won't have to fret that you missed a promotional giveaway.
"We're getting to the point where we're giving users BAT all the time. We don't think we'll run out. We think users should get it," CEO and former Firefox leader Brendan Eich said. "We're going to do it continually."
The BAT giveaway plan is an important new phase in Brave's effort to salvage what's good about advertising on the internet -- free access to useful or entertaining services like Facebook, Google search and YouTube -- without downsides like privacy invasion and the sorts of political manipulations that Facebook partner Cambridge Analytica tried to enable.
The century of Lincoln, Darwin and Van Gogh has quietly passed into history with the death of the world's oldest known person and last survivor of the 19th century.
Nabi Tajima, 117, died in a hospital Saturday in Kikai, Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan's Kyodo News reported. Tajima had been mostly bedridden at a nursing home in recent years. She was hospitalized about a month ago, family members told the news service.
Also at The Washington Post.
A new microchip technology capable of optically transferring data could solve a severe bottleneck in current devices by speeding data transfer and reducing energy consumption by orders of magnitude, according to an article published in the April 19, 2018 issue of Nature.
Researchers from Boston University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of California Berkeley and University of Colorado Boulder have developed a method to fabricate silicon chips that can communicate with light and are no more expensive than current chip technology.
The electrical signaling bottleneck between current microelectronic chips has left light communication as one of the only options left for further technological progress. The traditional method of data transfer–electrical wires–has a limit on how fast and how far it can transfer data. It also uses a lot of power and generates heat. With the relentless demand for higher performance and lower power in electronics, these limits have been reached. But with this new development, that bottleneck can be solved.
"Instead of a single wire carrying around 10 gigabits per second, you can have a single optical fiber carrying 10 to 20 terabits per second—so a thousand times more in the same footprint," says Assistant Professor Milos Popovic (ECE), one of the principal investigators of the study, whose team was previously at University of Colorado Boulder where part of the work was done.
"If you replace a wire with an optical fiber, there are two ways you win," he says. "First, with light, you can send data at much higher frequencies without significant loss of energy as there is with copper wiring. Second, with optics, you can use many different colors of light in one fiber and each one can carry a data channel. The fibers can also be packed more closely together than copper wires can without crosstalk."
Ben Cox writes in his blog about visualizing IPv4 address space use by mapping the whole IPv4 Internet with Hilbert curves. While the IPv4 address space is quite large it is still small enough to be able to send a packet to each and every IP address. He goes a little into the background of the maths involved and then makes a comparison to the IPv4 address space back in 2012 using data from the Carna botnet.
[See, also: xkcd's MAP of the INTERNET, the IPv4 space, 2006. --martyb]
This hasn't been the best week for WikiLeaks, to put it mildly. Coinbase has shut off the WikiLeaks Shop's account for allegedly violating the cryptocurrency exchange's terms of service. In other words, the leak site just lost its existing means of converting payments like bitcoin into conventional money. While Coinbase didn't give a specific reason (it declines to comment on specific accounts), it pointed to its legal requirement to honor "regulatory compliance mechanisms" under the US' Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.
This doesn't prevent WikiLeaks from accepting cryptocurrency, but it will have to scramble to find an alternative if it wants to continue taking digital money from customers buying shirts and coffee cups. Unsurprisingly, the organization is less than thrilled -- it's calling for a "global blockade" of Coinbase, claiming that the exchange is reacting to a "concealed influence."
Submitted via IRC for SoyCow8317
Microsoft has released a Chrome extension named "Windows Defender Browser Protection" that ports Windows Defender's —and inherently Edge's— anti-phishing technology to Google Chrome.
[...] Chrome users should be genuinely happy that they can now use both APIs for detecting phishing and malware-hosting URLs. The SmartScreen API isn't as known as Google's more famous Safe Browsing API, but works in the same way, and possibly even better.
An NSS Labs benchmark revealed that Edge (with its SmartScreen API) caught 99 percent of all phishing URLs thrown at it during a test last year, while Chrome only detected 87 percent of the malicious links users accessed.
A 19 year old teenager was charged with 'unauthorized use of a computer' after downloading over 7,000 records from the Nova Scotia Freedom-of-Information web portal. The teenager whose name has not been released, has been accused of stealing documents from the portal, with many of them being publicly accessible and redacted.
-- submitted from IRC