Apple Posts, Deletes Job Listing That Sounds Suspiciously Like It's for Making In-House iPhone Modems

Apple put up, and then took down, a job posting that suggested the company is preparing to give up on wireless chips manufactured by Qualcomm—a supplier it is currently in a contentious legal battle with—and is possibly cutting out Intel as well for future generations of iPhones.

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Source: Gizmodo – Apple Posts, Deletes Job Listing That Sounds Suspiciously Like It’s for Making In-House iPhone Modems

Calcium-Based MRI Sensor Enables More Sensitive Brain Imaging

An anonymous reader quotes a report from MIT News: MIT neuroscientists have developed a new magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) sensor that allows them to monitor neural activity deep within the brain by tracking calcium ions. Because calcium ions are directly linked to neuronal firing — unlike the changes in blood flow detected by other types of MRI, which provide an indirect signal — this new type of sensing could allow researchers to link specific brain functions to their pattern of neuron activity, and to determine how distant brain regions communicate with each other during particular tasks. In tests in rats, the researchers showed that their calcium sensor can accurately detect changes in neural activity induced by chemical or electrical stimulation, deep within a part of the brain called the striatum.

The new sensor consists of two types of particles that cluster together in the presence of calcium. One is a naturally occurring calcium-binding protein called synaptotagmin, and the other is a magnetic iron oxide nanoparticle coated in a lipid that can also bind to synaptotagmin, but only when calcium is present. Calcium binding induces these particles to clump together, making them appear darker in an MRI image. High levels of calcium outside the neurons correlate with low neuron activity; when calcium concentrations drop, it means neurons in that area are firing electrical impulses. The current version of the sensor responds within a few seconds of the initial brain stimulation, but the researchers are working on speeding that up. They are also trying to modify the sensor so that it can spread throughout a larger region of the brain and pass through the blood-brain barrier, which would make it possible to deliver the particles without injecting them directly to the test site.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot – Calcium-Based MRI Sensor Enables More Sensitive Brain Imaging

What's on TV: 'Manhunt,' 'Donkey Kong' and 'I'm Dying Up Here'

The NBA and NHL playoffs rage on while the MLB season is well underway, but this week our eyes are turned to a new John Woo film and Swedish thriller series coming to Netflix. Manhunt focuses on a prosecutor out to clear his name, which will predicta…

Source: Engadget – What’s on TV: ‘Manhunt,’ ‘Donkey Kong’ and ‘I’m Dying Up Here’

Russia Launches Floating Nuclear Power Plant That's Head To the Arctic

Russia’s state nuclear corporation Rosatom launched a massive floating nuclear power plant over the weekend. It’s the first nuclear power plant of its kind and it’s headed to an Arctic port, reports NPR. From the report: Called the Akademik Lomonosov, the floating power plant is being towed at a creeping pace out of St. Petersburg, where it was built over the last nine years. It will eventually be brought northward, to Murmansk — where its two nuclear reactors will be loaded with nuclear fuel and started up this fall. From there, the power plant will be pulled to a mooring berth in the Arctic port of Pevek, in far northeast Russia. There, it will be wired into the infrastructure so it can replace an existing nuclear power installment on land. Russian officials say the mandate of the Akademik Lomonoso is to supply energy to remote industrial plants and port cities, and to offshore gas and oil platforms.

It will take more than a year for the power plant to reach its new home port. The original plan had called for fueling the floating plant before it began that journey, at the shipyard in central St. Petersburg — but that was scuttled last summer, after concerns were raised both in Russia and in countries along the power plant’s route through the Baltic Sea and north to the Arctic. “The nuclear power plant has two KLT-40S reactor units that can generate up to 70 MW of electric energy and 50 Gcal/hr of heat energy during its normal operation,” Rosatom said. “This is enough to keep the activity of the town populated with 100,000 people.”

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Source: Slashdot – Russia Launches Floating Nuclear Power Plant That’s Head To the Arctic

3-ingredient baked brie pastry is fancy as heck

Thank god, as the weather turns warmer, party season approaches as well. You probably have your usual standbys on hand that your pals have come to expect from one of your get-togethers, so that they would be disappointed without your classic seven-layer dip and your spinach concoction in a hollowed-out loaf of bread.

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Source: LifeHacker – 3-ingredient baked brie pastry is fancy as heck

Mueller Wants to Ask Trump Dozens of Questions About Russia, Comey, and More

The New York Times has obtained a list of over 40 questions that Special Counsel Robert Mueller wants to ask Donald Trump, to determine whether or not the President of the United States committed obstruction of justice.

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Source: Gizmodo – Mueller Wants to Ask Trump Dozens of Questions About Russia, Comey, and More

Amazon Web Services Starts Blocking Domain-Fronting

Earlier this month, Google announced it is discontinuing domain fronting, a practice that lets developers disguise their traffic to evade network blocks. Now, Amazon Web Services has announced a similar move to implement a new set of enhanced domain protections specifically designed to stop domain fronting. The Verge reports: In the post, Amazon characterized the change as an effort to stamp out malware. “Tools including malware can use this technique between completely unrelated domains to evade restrictions and blocks that can be imposed at the TLS/SSL layer,” the post explained. “No customer ever wants to find that someone else is masquerading as their innocent, ordinary domain.” Domain-fronting works by using major cloud providers as a kind of proxy, making a data request seem like it’s heading to a major service like Google or Amazon only to be forwarded along to a third party once it reaches the broader internet. Unfortunately for circumvention tools, neither Amazon nor Google will let them pull that trick anymore. Amazon will still allow domain fronting within domains owned by the same customer (or more specifically, listed under the same SSL certificate), but customers can no longer use the technique to disguise where data is going, making it far less useful for blocked apps.

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Source: Slashdot – Amazon Web Services Starts Blocking Domain-Fronting

3Doodler's latest kits help kids draw 3D shapes in the classroom

Since it crowdfunded on Kickstarter back in 2013, 3Doodler has come out with multiple versions of its 3D-printing pen — including a kids version and a pro version — as well as themed kits focusing on architecture, robotics and other STEM activities…

Source: Engadget – 3Doodler’s latest kits help kids draw 3D shapes in the classroom

AI Is Being Used To Predict Gambling Behavior

“The gambling industry is increasingly using artificial intelligence to predict consumer habits and personalize promotions to keep gamblers hooked,” reports The Guardian, citing industry insiders. “Current and former gambling industry employees have described how people’s betting habits are scrutinized and modeled to manipulate their future behavior.” From the report: Publicly, gambling executives boast of increasingly sophisticated advertising keeping people betting, while privately conceding that some are more susceptible to gambling addiction when bombarded with these type of bespoke ads and incentives. Gamblers’ every click, page view and transaction is scientifically examined so that ads statistically more likely to work can be pushed through Google, Facebook and other platforms. Users unwittingly consent to the use of their data in ways they aren’t aware of due to lengthy terms and conditions, enabling their information to legally be used in this way. Last August, the Guardian revealed the gambling industry uses third-party companies to harvest people’s data, helping bookmakers and online casinos target people on low incomes and those who have stopped gambling. Despite condemnation from MPs, experts and campaigners, such practices remain an industry norm.

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Source: Slashdot – AI Is Being Used To Predict Gambling Behavior

Infinity War Puts Adam West's Batman in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Just Hear Me Out

With the recent worldwide release of Avengers: Infinity War, many comic book fans spent the weekend processing the movie’s grand implications on the larger Marvel universe. Perhaps the most surprising revelation of all, however, isn’t being discussed in forum posts or on social media. Hidden among the movie’s numerous…

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Source: Gizmodo – Infinity War Puts Adam West’s Batman in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Just Hear Me Out

WhatsApp Co-Founder Jan Koum Quits After Internal Battle With Facebook Over User Privacy

Jan Koum, the billionaire CEO of Facebook subsidiary WhatsApp, is leaving the company following disputes over “the popular messaging service’s strategy and Facebook’s attempts to use its personal data and weaken its encryption,” the Washington Post reported on Monday.

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Source: Gizmodo – WhatsApp Co-Founder Jan Koum Quits After Internal Battle With Facebook Over User Privacy

New Audacious Research Project, In Codice Ratio, Bets on AI and OCR To Make Sense of Handwritten Texts in Vatican's Secret Archives

A new project untangles the handwritten texts in one of the world’s largest historical collections. From a report: The Vatican Secret Archives is one of the grandest historical collections in the world. It’s also one of the most useless. The grandeur is obvious. Located within the Vatican’s walls, next door to the Apostolic Library and just north of the Sistine Chapel, the VSA houses 53 linear miles of shelving dating back more than 12 centuries. That said, the VSA isn’t much use to modern scholars, because it’s so inaccessible. Of those 53 miles, just a few millimeters’ worth of pages have been scanned and made available online. Even fewer pages have been transcribed into computer text and made searchable. If you want to peruse anything else, you have to apply for special access, schlep all the way to Rome, and go through every page by hand. But a new project could change all that. Known as In Codice Ratio, it uses a combination of artificial intelligence and optical-character-recognition (OCR) software to scour these neglected texts and make their transcripts available for the very first time. If successful, the technology could also open up untold numbers of other documents at historical archives around the world.

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Source: Slashdot – New Audacious Research Project, In Codice Ratio, Bets on AI and OCR To Make Sense of Handwritten Texts in Vatican’s Secret Archives

Twitter's new shows include Formula 1 and SportsCenter Live

Twitter wasn’t kidding when it promised a flurry of video. The social network has announced more than 30 video deals, including a slew of live shows. To begin with, Twitter has landed a Formula 1 deal: The @f1 account will stream a live post-race s…

Source: Engadget – Twitter’s new shows include Formula 1 and SportsCenter Live

AMD Releases Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition 18.4.1: Windows 10 April 2018 Update Support

Today, AMD released Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition 18.4.1, bringing beta level support for the just-released Windows 10 April 2018 Update (version 1803). A more minor update for this Microsoft OS occasion, 18.4.1 also includes several bugfixes, mostly dealing with games. For Radeon Pro Software, AMD has also pushed out beta level support for Windows 10 April 2018 Update today with Radeon Pro Software Adrenalin Edition 18.4.1.

To note, 18.4.1 is not applicable to the Ryzen 5 2400G and Ryzen 3 2200G, for which the inaugural WHQL “Radeon Software for Ryzen Desktop Processors with Radeon Vega Graphics” remains the most up-to-date listed drivers. While this suggests that the two new Ryzen APUs are not supported under the April 2018 Update, Microsoft’s WSUS-oriented Update Catalog does list mid-April Windows Driver Store Version 23.20.841.1024 drivers for Vega 6 and 8 graphics, compatible with Fall Creators Update and later.

Moving on to the bugfixes, 18.4.1 resolves the following issues:

  • World of Final Fantasy water textures may not render or may appear to be missing
  • Stellaris may experience an application hang on loading screens.
  • Call of Duty: World War II may experience corruption during gameplay on Radeon RX 400 series graphics products
  • Sea of Thieves may experience flickering in some game menus on multi GPU enabled system configurations
  • The Radeon ReLive Instant Replay feature may fail to record in some gaming applications unless desktop recording is enabled

In terms of documented open issues, 18.4.1 lists the following:

  • Rise of the Tomb Raider may experience an application hang when launched in DX12 mode
  • World of Tanks may experience minor corruption on ground textures
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt may experience stuttering during gameplay
  • Destiny 2 may experience increasing load time durations when the game is run for extended periods of time
  • Some DX9 games or applications may experience a hang or system instability when being run on multi GPU system configurations utilizing four GPUs
  • Eyefinity settings may not retain after Radeon Software update
  • Radeon Overlay may not show all available features when some games are run in borderless fullscreen mode
  • Netflix playback through a web browser may experience corruption or hangs when using Radeon RX 400 series or Radeon RX 500 series multi GPU enabled system configurations

Meanwhile, on the Linux side of matters AMD released Radeon Software for Linux 18.10 last week, bringing support for Ubuntu 16.04.4 LTS and SUSE LE 12 SP3, as well as Vulkan 1.1 conformant closed and open source drivers. And as a reminder, AMD’s “Combat Crate” B350 motherboard + RX 580 + Ryzen CPU bundle deal is ongoing.

The updated drivers for AMD’s desktop, mobile, and integrated GPUs are available through the Radeon Settings tab or online at the AMD driver download page. More information on these updates and further issues can be found in the Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition 18.4.1 release notes.

Source: AnandTech – AMD Releases Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition 18.4.1: Windows 10 April 2018 Update Support

Phone maker settles charges it let partner collect customers’ text messages

Enlarge (credit: BLU)

Phone maker BLU is settling charges that it allowed a China-based partner to collect a mountain of customers’ personal data—including full content of text messages, real-time locations, telephone numbers, contacts, and installed apps—despite promises it would keep such details private.

Under a settlement with the US Federal Trade Commission announced Monday, BLU agreed to implement a “comprehensive data-security program” to prevent similar privacy leaks in the future. Both the company as a whole and co-owner and president Samuel Ohev-Zion are barred from misrepresenting the extent to which they protect the privacy and security of personal information. The company further will be subject to third-party assessments of its security program every two years for 20 years and must comply with record-keeping and compliance-monitoring requirements.

The settlement stems from research published in November 2016 by security firm Kryptowire. It found that BLU phones were transmitting a massive amount of private customer data to AdUps Technologies, a Shanghai-based provider of firmware that ran on the affected devices. Kryptowire said AdUps appeared to gather the data to help phone manufacturers and carriers track the behavior of their customers for advertising purposes.

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Source: Ars Technica – Phone maker settles charges it let partner collect customers’ text messages