Facebook Invented a New Unit of Time

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that Facebook, as a company, is meant to be an innovator in fields beyond surveillance. But the announcement that it has created an entirely new unit of time is a nice reminder that the enormous company, which owns both WhatsApp and Oculus VR, is more than just one of the largest spy…

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Source: Gizmodo – Facebook Invented a New Unit of Time

Deadspin Report: More Cavaliers Drama, Now With An Argument Over Whether Kevin Love Was Actually Sic

Deadspin Report: More Cavaliers Drama, Now With An Argument Over Whether Kevin Love Was Actually Sick This Weekend | Jezebel Zach Galifianakis Says He’s Grossed Out by the Likes of Louis C.K. | The Root Sex Dolls: For the Emotionally and Sexually Lazy Man Who Wants to Get Off | Earther Greenland May Be Rife With…

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Source: LifeHacker – Deadspin Report: More Cavaliers Drama, Now With An Argument Over Whether Kevin Love Was Actually Sic

Software used in judicial decisions meets its equal in random amateurs

(credit: Adam Jones, Ph.D.)

In 2016, ProPublica caused a stir when it evaluated the performance of software that’s used in criminal justice proceedings. The software, which is used to evaluate a defendant’s chance of committing further crimes, turned out to produce different results when evaluating black people and caucasians.

The significance of that discrepancy is still the subject of some debate, but two Dartmouth College researchers have asked a more fundamental question: is the software any good? The answer they came up with is “not especially,” as its performance could be matched by recruiting people on Mechanical Turk, or performing a simple analysis that only took two factors into account.

Software and bias

The software in question is called COMPAS, for Correctional Offender Management Profiling for Alternative Sanctions. It takes into account a wide variety of factors about defendants, and uses them to evaluate whether those individuals are likely to commit additional crimes and helps identify intervention options. COMPAS is heavily integrated into the judicial process (see this document from the California Department of Corrections for a sense of its importance). Perhaps most significantly, however, it is sometimes influential in determining sentencing, which can be based on the idea that people who are likely to commit additional crimes should be incarcerated longer.

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Source: Ars Technica – Software used in judicial decisions meets its equal in random amateurs

Renewable energy may be cheaper than fossil fuels by 2020

Electricity from renewable sources will soon be cheaper than power from most fossil fuels, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). In its new report, Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2017, the agency revealed that technolog…

Source: Engadget – Renewable energy may be cheaper than fossil fuels by 2020

Figure Out Where to Put the Apostrophe With This Handy Flowchart

For some of us, grade-school grammar lessons haven’t stuck. I managed fairly well with my trusty Elements of Style until pretty recently, but the ongoing assault on grammar that is the Internet occasionally shakes my confidence. (Every time I want to type rein, rain, or reign, for example, I need to close my eyes and…

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Source: LifeHacker – Figure Out Where to Put the Apostrophe With This Handy Flowchart

Tech giants spent record $50 million lobbying the US in 2017

The dramatic shift in American politics during 2017 created many headaches for the tech industry — and you’d better believe they spent plenty of money trying to cure those headaches. Recode has combed through House and Senate records to learn that…

Source: Engadget – Tech giants spent record million lobbying the US in 2017

Huge pay package convinces Elon Musk to stay at Tesla for 10 more years

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Source: Ars Technica – Huge pay package convinces Elon Musk to stay at Tesla for 10 more years

Hawaii Governor Didn't Correct False Missile Alert Sooner Because He Didn't Know His Twitter Password

An anonymous reader shares a WashingtonPost report: Minutes after the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency mistakenly sent a missile alert at 8:07 a.m. on Jan. 13 — terrifying residents and visitors across the state — some officials, such as Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, rushed to Twitter to reassure everyone it was a mistake. But one Twitter account was deafeningly silent for 17 minutes: that of Hawaii Gov. David Ige. Though Ige was informed by the state’s adjutant general that the alert was false two minutes after it was sent, he waited until 8:24 a.m. to tweet, “There is NO missile threat.” On Monday, after he gave the State of the State address in which he avoided the subject of the missile alert fiasco, reporters demanded an explanation for that long silence. Ige’s answer: He couldn’t log in to Twitter. “I have to confess that I don’t know my Twitter account log-ons and the passwords, so certainly that’s one of the changes that I’ve made,” Ige said.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Hawaii Governor Didn’t Correct False Missile Alert Sooner Because He Didn’t Know His Twitter Password

Apple’s Siri-equipped HomePod comes to your home on February 9

Enlarge (credit: Apple)

Apple announced this morning that the wait for its HomePod smart speaker is nearly over. HomePod will be available starting February 9, with preorders beginning Friday, January 26. The home speaker that houses the company’s virtual assistant Siri will initially be sold in the US, UK, and Australia, and will be available in France and Germany this spring.

The company first announced HomePod at last year’s WWDC with the hopes of releasing it in December for $349, ahead of the holiday season. However, that deadline came and went and those who wanted an Apple version of Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Home were left waiting.

Apple’s announcement doesn’t detail anything we didn’t already know about HomePod. The cylindrical speaker is powered by Apple’s A8 chip and uses an array of six microphones to pick up your calls of “Hey, Siri” from across the room, even with music playing. It also uses real-time acoustic modeling, audio beam-forming, and echo cancellation to create a rich sound experience, and its spacial awareness feature lets it automatically adjust to produce the best sound for its location in your home.

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Source: Ars Technica – Apple’s Siri-equipped HomePod comes to your home on February 9

How to Get Your Kid Out the Door Faster Every Morning

Getting kids out the door in the morning can go one of two ways: They wake up early and then dawdle, forcing a last-minute scramble, or they wake up late, forcing a last-minute scramble. I know very few people who get to school or day care on time and with serenity—maybe those folks who have a late start time and a…

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Source: LifeHacker – How to Get Your Kid Out the Door Faster Every Morning

Twitter COO Anthony Noto resigns to lead a finance startup

If there was one person at Twitter who was more important than co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey, it was COO Anthony Noto. Now, in what could be big news for the social network, Noto has announced that the rumors are true and he is leaving the company t…

Source: Engadget – Twitter COO Anthony Noto resigns to lead a finance startup

The first Chinese astronaut thought he was going to die

Enlarge / Astronaut Yang Liwei lies in the re-entry capsule of Shenzhou-5 Spacecraft during a training on September 27, 2003 in Beijing, China. (credit: VCG via Getty Images)

Later this year, China will mark the 15th anniversary of its first human spaceflight. On October 15, 2003, Yang Liwei launched into space on a Long March 2F rocket. After making 14 orbits around Earth, Liwei returned to the planet as China received congratulations from countries around the world. It had succeeded where only the United States and Russia had before.

At the time, the secretive Chinese government released few technical details about the spaceflight. But apparently there were some serious problems, especially during the launch of the rocket. In a new interview with Xinhua, the official Chinese news media, Yang revealed that he experienced extreme vibrations between 30 and 40km above the ground.

“I thought I was going to die,” Yang said. At the time, sitting in the seat of his cramped Shenzhou spacecraft, he recalled telling himself, “Hold on! Just hold on for a bit longer.”

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Source: Ars Technica – The first Chinese astronaut thought he was going to die

Mellow-Out Your Day With This Snowboarder’s Peaceful Ride Down a Mountain

The vast majority of snowboarding videos are packed with high-speed slalom runs, over-the-top jumps, and stunts intended to show off a rider’s extreme skills. But watching this video of Alex Pashley gently plowing through fresh powder as he weaves through trees might be the most relaxing thing you’ll watch this week.

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Source: Gizmodo – Mellow-Out Your Day With This Snowboarder’s Peaceful Ride Down a Mountain

Netflix's 'Mudbound' receives four Oscar nominations

The Oscar nominations for the 90th Academy Awards were announced this morning, and Netflix came away with a good showing for its film Mudbound. Mary J. Blige was nominated for Best Supporting Actress . Additionally the film received a nod in the Best…

Source: Engadget – Netflix’s ‘Mudbound’ receives four Oscar nominations

Apple’s HomePod Will Finally Be Available on Feb 9th

When unexplained delays pushed Apple’s smart speaker back from a 2017 debut, Apple said it needed “a little more time before it’s ready” and promised an “early 2018" release. Now it seems Apple is making good on its revised launch window, as the HomePod will officially go on sale on February 9th.

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Source: Gizmodo – Apple’s HomePod Will Finally Be Available on Feb 9th

Hackers Stole $172 Billion From People Last Year

Yearly report published by security firm Norton estimates that as many as 978 million people in 20 countries lost money to cybercrime last year. On an average, the firm says, victims lost an average of $142 to hackers last year and had to spend almost 24 hours dealing with the fallout of their attack.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Hackers Stole 2 Billion From People Last Year