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11-23-2017 Science&Technology
Apple Shares Research into Self-Driving Car Software That Improves Obstacle Detection

Apple computer scientists working on autonomous vehicle technology have posted a research paper online describing how self-driving cars can spot cyclists and pedestrians using fewer sensors (via Reuters).

The paper by Yin Zhou and Oncel Tuzel was submitted to the moderated scientific pre-print repository arXiv on November 17, in what appears to be Apple's first publicly disclosed research on autonomous vehicle technology.

The paper is titled "End-to-End Learning for Point Cloud Based 3D Object Detection", and describes how new software developed by Apple scientists improves the ability of LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) systems to recognize objects including pedestrians and cyclists from a distance.

Self-driving cars typically use a combination of standard cameras and depth-sensing LiDAR units to receive information about the world around them.

Apple's research team said they were able to get "highly encouraging results" using LiDAR data alone to spot cyclists and pedestrians, and wrote that they were also able to beat other approaches for detecting 3D objects that rely solely on LiDAR tech. The experiments were limited to computer simulations and did not advance to road tests.

Apple famously has a secretive research policy and has kept its work under wraps for many years, but over the last 12 months, the company has shared some of its research advancements with other researchers and the wider public, particularly in the area of machine learning.

In December 2016, Apple said that it would start allowing its AI and machine learning researchers to publish and share their work in papers, with the first paper appearing just a few weeks following the announcement.

Additionally, in July of this year, Apple researchers initiated the "Apple Machine Learning Journal", a blog detailing their work on machine learning, AI, and other related topics.

This new policy of openness could help Apple retain employees who do not want to keep their progress a secret, but the latest research into autonomous vehicle technology also lets regulators see that the company is making progress in this area. Last December, Apple told federal regulators it was excited about the technology and asked them not to restrict testing. In April, the company also filed a self-driving car testing plan with California regulators.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has called autonomy "the mother of all AI projects". During an August 2017 earnings call, Cook re-emphasized Apple's deep interest in the technology, and even hinted Apple's work on autonomy could be used for more than vehicles.

Apple has presumably been working on an autonomous driving system since 2014, when rumors of its efforts to create an electric vehicle first surfaced. Apple has now moved away from creating a full vehicle and is said to be focusing on self-driving technology instead.



Read Original Article     ON:   Mac Rumors

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11-23-2017 General
This man is about to launch himself in his homemade rocket to prove the Earth is flat

Seeking to prove that a conspiracy of astronauts fabricated the shape of the Earth, a California man intends to launch himself 1,800 feet high on Saturday in a rocket he built from scrap metal.

Assuming the 500-mph, mile-long flight through the Mojave Desert does not kill him, Mike Hughes told the Associated Press, his journey into the atmosflat will mark the first phase of his ambitious flat-Earth space program.

Hughes’s ultimate goal is a subsequent launch that puts him miles above the Earth, where the 61-year-old limousine driver hopes to photograph proof of the disc we all live on.

“It’ll shut the door on this ball earth,” Hughes said in a fundraising interview with a flat-Earth group for Saturday’s flight. Theories discussed during the interview included NASA being controlled by round-Earth Freemasons and Elon Musk making fake rockets from blimps.

Hughes promised the flat-Earth community that he would expose the conspiracy with his steam-powered rocket, which will launch from a heavily modified mobile home — though he acknowledged that he still had much to learn about rocket science.

“This whole tech thing,” he said in the June interview. “I’m really behind the eight ball.”

[Kyrie Irving believes the Earth is flat. It is not.]

That said, Hughes isn’t a totally unproven engineer. He set a Guinness World Record in 2002 for a limousine jump, according to Ars Technica, and has been building rockets for years, albeit with mixed results.

“Okay, Waldo. 3 .?.?. 2 .?.?. 1!” someone yells in a test fire video from 2012.

There’s a brief hiss of boiling water, then .?.?. nothing. So Hughes walks up to the engine and pokes it with a stick, at which point a thick cloud of steam belches out toward the camera.

He built his first manned rocket in 2014, the Associated Press reported, and managed to fly a quarter-mile over Winkelman, Ariz.

As seen in a YouTube video, the flight ended with Hughes being dragged, moaning from the remains of the rocket. The injuries he suffered put him in a walker for two weeks, he said.

And the 2014 flight was only a quarter of the distance of Saturday’s mile-long attempt.

And it was based on round-Earth technology.

Hughes only recently converted to flat-Eartherism, after struggling for months to raise funds for his follow-up flight over the Mojave.

It was originally scheduled for early 2016 in a Kickstarter campaign — “From Garage to Outer Space!” — that mentioned nothing about Illuminati astronauts, and was themed after a NASCAR event.

“We want to do this and basically thumb our noses at all these billionaires trying to do this,” Hughes said in the pitch video, standing in his Apple Valley, Calif.

Read Original Article     ON:   The Washington Post

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11-23-2017 Science&Technology
FCC's next step on net neutrality: Blocking the states

The Obama administration’s net neutrality rules met their all-but-certain demise Tuesday as Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai outlined a plan to repeal them — while making sure states can't impose their own regulations to fill the void.

Pai will release his proposal on Wednesday with broad support on the Republican-controlled FCC, leaving supporters of the 2015 policy with little recourse except to fight back in the courts.

The repeal itself will be a major win for the telecommunications industry, which has bristled at what it says are heavy-handed regulations requiring internet service providers like Charter and AT&T to treat all web traffic equally. But blocking states from acting unilaterally would help cement that victory in a policy dispute that has whipsawed for years as the White House changed hands and courts took up the issue.

Internet service providers, many of whom operate across state lines, also want to avoid a series of disparate rules from states. They want to avoid a repeat of what happened this year on broadband privacy, when nearly two-dozen states proposed legislation to replace an Obama-FCC regulation that Congress revoked.

But proponents of the current rules question whether the FCC has the authority to block states from issuing their own rules, especially when the agency is paring back its oversight over internet service providers in the order.

"I certainly can think of nothing that could be more calculated to get states that are already pissed off to motivate themselves to challenge this decision," said Harold Feld, a senior vice president at Public Knowledge, a public interest group that supports the current regulations. "Did you see what happened with privacy?"

Pai's "Restoring Internet Freedom" order says that state and local regulations attempting to regulate broadband in ways that run counter to the federal rules would be pre-empted.

In practice, if a state attempts to impose its own net neutrality law and a company objects to the FCC, the agency could issue a ruling that could be used in a court battle, a senior agency official explained in a call with reporters Tuesday. The official spoke anonymously to discuss the change before it's released.

Some states and cities could still try to impose their own versions of net neutrality — "but if someone is really hellbent on running it through the court, I think they’d have a fight on their hands," Jessica Melugin, a policy fellow with the Competitive Enterprise Institute, said in an interview. "I think this is sending a warning shot saying we’re really serious about opening up this market and keeping regulations at any level out of the way." ...

Read Original Article     ON:   Politico

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11-23-2017 Society
More middle-school girls are inflicting self-pain. Experts say it might be because of smartphones

A 15-year study of emergency room visits reveals new signs of emotional suffering among the nation's young women and girls — particularly those in their middle-school years.

Emergency room visits for girls 10 to 14 who inflicted self-pain were relatively stable before 2008 but escalated in the years since, according to new data. It is unclear why the rate of self-injury among younger teens has climbed, though some experts say it could be because of the girls' access to smartphones and Internet bullying.

Self-harming behaviors like ingesting poisons, cutting and overdosing on drugs are strong indicators of suicide — the second-leading cause of death among people between 10 and 24 in 2015, according to data gathered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, reported in a letter Tuesday by the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Suicide rates for both teenage boys and girls are on the rise. But the number of emergency room visits for boys ages 10 to 24 with nonfatal self-inflicted injuries has remained stable in recent years, while the number of visits for girls in that age group surged, according to the data.

Most girls and women were admitted to emergency rooms after ingesting pills or poisons, although some were treated for injuring themselves with sharp objects, according to the new data. From 2009 to 2015, the number of girls 10 to 24 admitted to emergency rooms for nonfatal self-inflicted injuries grew by 8.4 percent annually.

The data examined first-time visits for nonfatal injuries treated in 66 hospital emergency rooms nationwide from 2001 to 2015. About 29,000 girls and 14,000 boys with self-inflicted injuries were treated during those years, according to the Associated Press. While all the injuries were intentional, not all were suicide attempts, experts said.

[Teenage suicide is extremely difficult to predict. That’s why some experts are turning to machines for help.]

The data is in line with rates of teen suicide, particularly for girls, whose suicide rate hit a 40-year high in 2015, according to the CDC. Over the past decade, suicide rates doubled among teen girls and jumped by more than 30 percent among teen boys.

From 2001 to 2005, girls between 10 and 14 rarely needed emergency room care for self-harm. About 110 girls per 100,000 visited hospitals for self-inflicted injuries during that time. After 2009, their rates of emergency room visits for those injuries began to match the rates of women between 20 and 24 — almost 318 per 100,0000 women, according to the AP.

The highest rate of emergency room visits for self-inflicted injuries was among older teen girls, who had about 633 visits per 100,000 in 2015. That rate was less steep after 2008, according to the AP. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   The Washington Post

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11-23-2017 Games
The case for and against loot boxes, according to developers

The Year of the Loot Box hasn't had quite the same glamour as the Year of Luigi. Those were better times. Happier times. We didn't have to gamble on a 1 percent drop rate for a legendary green cap or pay $5 to replenish a stock of fire arrows. So how did we get here: How have loot boxes now become the go-to delivery mechanism for desirable videogame items in 2017, spreading from card games and Valve shooters like CS:GO and Team Fortress 2 into $60 blockbusters like Call of Duty: WWII and Star Wars Battlefront 2?

I asked developers who have worked on triple-A and indie games about the process behind how loot boxes are designed and implemented, plus what the future holds for microtransactions given the current player backlash against them. Here's what they had to say.

Why have we seen such a surge in loot boxes in 2017?

"I think there's a false narrative that runs around, when [companies] see growth somewhere, they think 'oh, we have to be part of this,'" a veteran producer of triple-A games, who asked to be quoted anonymously, told us. "[The impulse is] 'Oh god, let's put this in our game.' When in reality, you don't need to do that… There's definitely a mentality of 'oh god, we have to do something... Mobile is doing so well.'"

In his opinion, though, "Mobile and console/PC are not competing. They're fundamentally different spaces, and the consistent lines that are drawn need to stop being drawn."

Who decides whether loot boxes are going into a game, and when is that decision made?

The same producer I talked to suggested, as you would expect, that systems like loot boxes are implemented into different games at different stages of development.

"I worked on a five year project, and certainly at the beginning of the project, that wasn't in the conversation," the producer said. "The publisher definitely brought it up 2-3 years out from release, it was at least talked about. There wasn't a set system put together for it, just an idea of how would we do this, what would we do, what could we sell that would be valuable to people, and in our case, [that the loot boxes] would not be gameplay-based."

I also talked over email with a designer who has experience at both triple-A and indie studios, who offered some examples of the design process. He too asked to be quoted anonymously.

"The decision to include a certain type of microtransaction is typically made early in the project—you have to design and architect the game and its systems in such a way that you can support it. In my experience, it floated around as something that we knew we were going to implement at some point, but it was one of the last things that we actually built (which can mean a small window for iteration, especially when pushed up against a submission date)."...

Read Original Article     ON:   PC Gamer

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11-23-2017 Science&Technology
Google admits it tracked user location data even when the setting was turned off

Android phones gather your location data and send it to Google, even if you’ve turned off location services and don’t have a SIM card, Quartz reported today.

The term “location services” oftentimes refers to exact GPS data for app usage, such as Google Maps finding your best commute route, or Uber figuring out exactly where you’re standing to let drivers know your pickup point. Quartz’s report details a practice in which Google was able to track user locations by triangulating which cell towers were currently servicing a specific device.

Since January, all kinds of Android phones and tablets have been collecting the addresses of nearby cellular towers and sending the encrypted data to Google’s push notifications and messaging management system when connected to the internet. It’s a practice that customers can’t opt out of — even if their phones are factory reset.

A Google spokesperson said in a statement to The Verge that all modern Android phones use a network sync system that requires mobile country codes and mobile network codes, so tower info called “Cell ID” codes were considered an “additional signal to further improve the speed and performance of message delivery.” Google ultimately discarded the cell tower data and didn’t go through with the original plan.

A source familiar with the matter stated that Google added the cell tower data-collecting feature to improve its Firebase Cloud Messaging, where devices have to ping the server at regular intervals in order to receive messages promptly.

The findings are surprising, given that cell tower data is usually held by carrier networks and only shared with outside companies under extreme circumstances. Through Google’s practices this year, an individual’s particular location within a quarter-mile radius or less could be determined with the addresses of multiple cell towers. This has particular security implications for individuals who wish to not be tracked, meaning that the safest way to avoid being tracked at all is probably to stick to burner phones. It could also create a bigger target for hackers looking to obtain personal information.

An update that removes this cell tower data-collecting feature will roll out by the end of this month, according to Google. Google’s terms of service, at the time of publish, still vaguely state, “When you use Google services, we may collect and process information about your actual location” using “various technologies... including IP address, GPS, and other sensors that may, for example, provide Google with information on nearby devices, Wi-Fi access points and cell tower.” Google does offer details on how to control Google’s location access points, though after reading through the instructions, the company could admittedly do a better job of making this clearer and simpler for its general consumers. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   The Verge

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11-23-2017 Politics
Zimbabwe's Mnangagwa to return as nation's next leader

Harare, Zimbabwe (CNN)Zimbabwe's former vice president is scheduled to be sworn in as the country's interim leader on Friday, the state broadcaster reports, following Robert Mugabe's resignation after 37 years of rule.

Emmerson Mnangagwa is expected to return to Zimbabwe on Wednesday more than two weeks after Mugabe fired him triggering a political firestorm that ended the 93-year-old's rule.

Following a night of cheering, singing and dancing in euphoric celebration, Zimbabwe awoke Wednesday to its first day in almost four decades without the leader who had ruled the country with an iron fist.

Hundreds of Mnangagwa's supporters waited at the airport in Harare for the man dubbed "The Crocodile" to return and open a new chapter in the country's history.

But for many others, this joyous first day without Mugabe is tempered with apprehension -- Mnanagagwa served as Mugabe's right-hand man for his entire career, and to many Zimbabweans, he is more feared than the man he replaces.

The main opposition MDC-T has shown no resistance to Mnangagwa serving as transitional leader. It will be looking instead to make inroads in elections slated for next year.

"We are very excited that we have gotten rid of Robert Mugabe, but we have gotten rid of one man, we have not gotten rid of the system that was oppressive for 37 years," MDC-T Secretary General Douglas Mwonzora told CNN.

"Therefore we have to work towards conditions for free and fair elections. The Zimbabwean people still have to choose a president by themselves."

Mnangagwa has not been seen in the country since his dismissal on November 6 and had previously said that he wouldn't return until his safety was guaranteed. Sources told CNN that Mnangagwa was instrumental in plans to dethrone Mugabe.

He was widely tipped to take over for Mugabe in the event of the president's resignation or death, but his dismissal confirmed suspicions that Mugabe was clearing the way for his wife, Grace Mugabe, to succeed him.

Generals in the military staged an apparent coup in Harare last week, determined to keep Grace Mugabe from seizing power, and placed Robert Mugabe under house arrest as pressure mounted on him to resign. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   CNN

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11-23-2017 Health
What The Industry Knew About Sugar's Health Effects, But Didn't Tell Us

Back in the 1960s, the fact that our diets influence the risk of heart disease was still a new idea. And there was a debate about the role of fats and the role of sugar.

The sugar industry got involved in efforts to influence this debate. "What the sugar industry successively did," argues Stanton Glantz of the University of California, San Francisco, "is they shifted all of the blame onto fats."

The industry's strategies were sophisticated, Glantz says, and are similar to those of the tobacco industry. For instance, in 1965 an industry group, the Sugar Research Foundation, secretly funded a scientific review that downplayed the evidence that linked sugar consumption to blood fat levels. The review was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Now, what's come to light in an investigation published Tuesday in the journal PLOS Biology is that the industry funded its own research project, but never disclosed the findings.

Glantz and his collaborators, including Cristin Kearns, an assistant professor at UCSF, evaluated a bunch of sugar industry internal documents. Here's what they found:

Back in 1968, the Sugar Research Foundation, a predecessor to the International Sugar Research Foundation, paid a researcher to lead a study with lab animals.

Initial results showed that a high-sugar diet increased the animals' triglyceride levels, a type of fat in the blood, through effects on the gut bacteria. In people, high triglycerides can increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes. The study also found that animals fed sugar had higher levels of an enzyme associated with bladder cancer in their urine.

The study was halted before it was completed. Glantz says the researcher asked for more time to continue the study, but the Sugar Research Foundation pulled the plug on the project.

The Sugar Association, a trade group based in Washington, D.C., that has organizational ties to the Sugar Research Foundation, released a statement on this new investigation.

"The study in question ended for three reasons, none of which involved potential research findings," the association says. The statement goes on to explain that the study was over budget and delayed. "The delay overlapped with an organizational restructuring with the Sugar Research Foundation becoming a new entity, the International Sugar Research Foundation," the statement says.

The trade group says sugar consumed in moderation is part of a balanced lifestyle, and in its statement the group says "we remain committed to supporting research to further understand the role sugar plays in consumers' evolving eating habits." ...

Read Original Article     ON:   NPR

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11-22-2017 Politics
Air China suspends North Korea flights, deepening isolation

State-owned airline Air China suspended flights Tuesday between Beijing and North Korea due to a lack of demand, deepening the North's isolation amid mounting U.N. sanctions over its nuclear and missile programs.

The move followed U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to add Pyongyang to a list of governments that support terrorism but there was no indication that prompted Air China's decision. A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said he had no information.

The suspension left North Korea's Air Koryo as the only airline with regularly scheduled service to the North. Its website lists flights to Beijing, Shanghai, Shenyang and Dandong in China and Vladivostok in Russia.

Beijing has supported U.N. curbs on North Korean exports meant to pressure the government of leader Kim Jong Un to drop its pursuit of nuclear and missile technology but has argued against measures that might harm the country's public.

Flights were "temporarily suspended due to unsatisfactory business operations," said an employee of Air China's press office who would give only his surname, Zhang.

A foreign ministry spokesman, Lu Kang, said he hadn't heard about Air China's cancellation. He said such decisions would be made based on the "state of operation and the market."

Airlines have steadily reduced the frequency of flights to North Korea as mounting political tensions depressed the already small number of business travelers and tourists visiting the North.

Air China Ltd. announced in April it was cutting the frequency of flights to North Korea due to lack of demand. Some other Chinese carriers offered charter services to the North but those also have been canceled.

Zhang said the last Air China flight to Pyongyang was Monday and he didn't know when service might resume.

The status of Air Koryo's flights was unclear. Phone calls to the carrier's Beijing office weren't answered. The flight information website for the Beijing airport showed its Pyongyang flight on Tuesday took off as scheduled.

Lu, the foreign ministry spokesman, appealed for measures to ease the tense standoff.

"Given the highly complex and sensitive situation on the peninsula, we hope all relevant parties can do something conducive to alleviating the tension and pulling all sides concerned back to the track of negotiation and dialogue to settle the peninsular nuclear issue," he said at a regular news briefing.



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11-22-2017 Science&Technology
OnePlus 5T’s “T” could stand for 'tough'

There are a couple of design trends going on in the smartphone market these days. One is the 18:9 screen aspect ration, the other is the switch back to glass backs. Ever the contrarian, upstart OnePlus is saying no, at least to one of those. With the OnePlus 5T, it has jumped on the 18:9 bandwagon, while still retaining the Full HD, FHD+ actually, resolution. It isn’t, however, joining the glass sandwich party just yet, which is probably for the best, as JerryRigEverything finds out.

In this sense, the OnePlus 5T isn’t so different from the OnePlus 5. Both use anodized aluminum backs instead of the now trendy glass. This gives it a bit more durability than glass but, at the same time, offers more scratch resistance than regular metal. Well, a bit more. The back is still vulnerable to blades and cutters.

That said, the fingerprint scanner, which is now located on the back, is impervious to even that. It is one of the few that make use of a ceramic cover, something that it shares with the OnePlus 5. That said, most fingerprint scanners continue to work even when scratched. That is, except for the LG V30 and the Google Pixel 2.

As for the rest of the durability test, the OnePlus 5, fortunately, passes the bend test with flying colors. There’s always a risk that changing the formula, in this case, the aspect ratio of the screen, would also change the result. Would be OnePlus 5T owners will not be disappointed.



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11-22-2017 Science&Technology
Russia finds 1,000-times normal level of radioactive isotope after nuclear accident claims

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia’s meteorological service said on Tuesday it had measured pollution of a radioactive isotope at nearly 1,000 times normal levels in the Ural mountains, the first official Russian data supporting reports that an accident had taken place.

The data appears to support a report by the French nuclear safety institute IRSN, which said on Nov. 9 a cloud of radioactive pollution over Europe had indicated that an accident had taken place at a nuclear facility either in Russia or Kazakhstan in the last week of September.

Neither Russia nor Kazakhstan has acknowledged any accident.

Russian state weather service Roshydromet said in a statement it had found “extremely high pollution” of ruthenium 106 in samples from two meteorological stations in the southern Ural mountains region in late September and early October.

At the Agrayash weather station the levels were 986 times those of the previous month, while at the Novogorny station they were 440 times higher. The weather service did not rule out that the radioactive isotope could be absorbed into the atmosphere and reach Europe.

The Agrayash weather station is located about 30 km (20 miles) from Mayak, a huge plant that reprocesses nuclear fuel and produces radioactive material for industrial and research purposes, owned by Russian state nuclear company Rosatom. Mayak accounts for half of Russian exports of radioactive isotopes.

In a statement, Mayak denied that its plant was the source of increased level of ruthenium 106. Rosatom was also quoted by Russia’s RIA news agency as saying there were no accidents at any of its facilities which could increase the level of ruthenium 106 in the atmosphere.

Greenpeace said in a statement on Tuesday that it would ask Russia’s prosecutors’ office to investigate whether there had been an accident in the area.

“It also demands a check into whether the atmospheric radionuclide monitoring system is sufficiently prepared for possible accidents, and whether public health around a possible release of Ruthenium 106 was sufficiently protected,” the environmental pressure group said in a statement.

France’s IRSN ruled out the possibility of an accident in a nuclear reactor, saying the material it detected was more likely to have been released from a nuclear fuel treatment site or centre for radioactive medicine.

The pollution would not be sufficient to cause an impact on human health or the environment in Europe, the French institute said.

The Institute of Nuclear Physics in Kazakhstan, which neighbours the southern Urals, has said there were no accidents at its scientific research reactor and no ruthenium 106 at its two disused testing areas in western Kazakhstan. ...

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11-22-2017 Cars
The All-New 2018 Aston Martin Vantage is the Work of Anglo-German Sorcery

RANCHO SANTA FE, California — Our first glimpse of the new Aston Martin Vantage comes at Aston Martin’s small Southern Californian study. The car, appropriately lit in the office’s back garage, is draped in a silken sheet that gives the eyes just a teaser, a small taste, of the car’s proportions.

A member of Aston’s staff asks, “You ready?” Yes, yes we are.

And with a swift motion, the sheet is pulled away leaving the absolutely stunning new English sports car revealed in all its Anglo-German glory. This is the 2018 Aston Martin Vantage.

The all-new design takes inspiration from the DB10 Daniel Craig’s James Bond drove in “Spectre.” It’s low, squat, and has the sensual curves you expect an Aston Martin to have. This, however, isn’t the baby DB11 many believed Aston Martin would debut. Instead, it has its own unique style, something Aston Martin takes great pride in.

Phrases such as “pure, sculptural,” and “an athletic, predatory stance,” pepper Aston Martin’s statement on the new Vantage. After seeing it in the flesh and running our hands along its chiseled aluminum and carbon-fiber panels, we’re inclined to agree with the company’s descriptors.

Gone are many of the Vantage’s old styling cues, including the side-strake, front and rear bumpers, and hood. You can, however, still clearly tell it’s an Aston Martin from every angle. The front takes inspiration from the Aston Martin Vulcan with a large front intake that visually stretches the width of the car. The hood has a subtle bulge that accentuates the car’s sporty persona. For those looking to instantly fall madly in love with the car, just move rearward. Between the integrated upturned ducktail spoiler and the body color matching diffusor, the rear is this car’s best angle. It’s also where Aston’s design team incorporated a brake light design similar to that of the Valkyrie.

All the same, Aston Martin’s photos don’t do this car justice in terms of proportions or beauty. It’s small. Porsche 911 small. The wheelbase is miniscule, measuring at just 106.5 inches. But while that’s 10.0-inches longer than that of the 991 911, the 2018 Vantage’s overall length is 1.6-inch shorter than that of a 911 Turbo, coming in at 175.8 inches compared to the Porsche’s 177.1, and the Aston is also 1.4-inch narrower, while height is nearly identical at 50.1 inches. Weights should be similar as well; while Aston has only published a claimed dry weight of 3,373 lb for the Vantage, its curb weight should be close to the 911 Turbo’s 3,500 lb. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   Automobile Mag

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11-16-2017 Society
4 dead after California shootings; gunman tried to enter school

(CNN)A gunman killed four people in a remote Northern California community on Tuesday morning, but a much bigger death toll was averted when the killer was unable to break into an elementary school.

The staff at tiny Rancho Tehama Elementary School west of Corning moved quickly when they heard gunfire nearby just before classes were set to begin, Tehama County Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnston said.

Doors were locked and students dashed inside and hit the floors underneath desks and tables.

The shooter, who was killed by police at another site, rammed a stolen pickup through the school's locked gate, walked into the schoolyard, and fired his rifle through windows and walls.

He tried doors, but the buildings at the Rancho Tehama Reserve school were secure. Only an outside bathroom was open, but the gunman found no one there.

After about six minutes, he left, apparently frustrated.

The school district said a student was wounded by gunfire and was in stable condition. Others were hurt by flying glass.

'Could have been so much worse'

"This individual shooter was bent on engaging and killing people at random. I have to say this incident, as tragic and as bad as it is, could have been so much worse," Johnston said, applauding the quick thinking of the school staff.

The gunfire that triggered the alert at the school came when the shooter fired from his vehicle into others while on his way to the school, about 2 miles from his home.

The gunman's precise motives were unclear, but a dispute with a neighbor who was found dead Tuesday may have sparked the rampage in which there were seven shooting scenes.

"This is an individual who armed himself, I think with the motive of getting even with his neighbors and when it went that far (that someone was killed) he just went on a rampage," Johnston said.

The killer apparently chose most of his victims at random, sometimes firing at passing motorists, homes and also gunning down someone after he purposely crashed into another car.

At least 10 people were wounded or hurt in the string of shootings in Rancho Tehama, about 125 northwest of Sacramento.

The gunman had a tactical vest with extra magazines for his guns, Johnston said, who viewed surveillance video of the shooting.

The wounded victims from the spree included a mother who was driving her children to school when the attacker opened fire on them "without provocation or warning," the assistant sheriff said.

The woman was being treated for life-threatening injuries. A child who was in the vehicle was not seriously wounded, according to Johnston.

A visibly shaken Johnston told reporters earlier: "This is a sad day for us here in Tehama County." ...

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11-14-2017 Science&Technology
This $150 mask beat Face ID on the iPhone X

Vietnamese cybersecurity firm Bkav claims it's been able to bypass the iPhone X's Face ID feature using a mask. The mask is made to trick Apple's depth mapping and the result is a kind of creepy hybrid monster head with realistic cutouts for the eyes, nose and mouth.

Bkav says the mask is crafted through a combination of 3D printing, makeup, and 2D images. There's also some "special processing done on the cheeks and around the face" where there are large areas of skin, and the nose is created from silicone. The demo video shows the iPhone being unlocked using the researcher's face and then again using the mask, in just one go.

The cost of making the mask is relatively inexpensive at $150, says Bkav, which began working on the mask right after recieving their iPhone X on November 5th. That means it was able to create a bypass for Face ID in less than a week. The firm does stress that the product is just a proof of concept at the moment and more research is needed. "Country leaders, leaders of major corporations... are the ones that need to know about the issue, because their devices are worth illegal unlock attempts. Exploitation is difficult for normal users, but simple for professional ones," Bkav said on an FAQ on its website.

Apple published a technical white paper on Face ID a few weeks ago that described the techniques used in facial matching. It states that the iPhone X uses a neural network that’s trained to spot and resist spoofing, and “defends against attempts to unlock your phone with photos or masks.” The Wall Street Journal's Joanna Stern made a silicone mask that failed to trick Face ID during her review of the iPhone X.

When introducing the iPhone X in September, executive Phil Schiller said Apple’s engineers had worked with professional mask makers and makeup artists in Hollywood to protect against attempts to beat Face ID. "These are actual masks used by the engineering team to train the neutral network to protect against them in Face ID," said Schiller while standing below an image of the masks. He didn't say if any of its masks could defeat the system, however. Schiller did concede that no biometric system is perfect, noting that the probability of a random person unlocking an iPhone X with Face ID is approximately 1 in 1,000,000, compared to 1 in 50,000 for Touch ID.

Read Original Article     ON:   The Verge

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11-13-2017 Society
Nationalist protesters disrupt Poland independence day events

Warsaw, Poland (CNN)Tens of thousands of nationalist protesters disrupted Poland's independence day events Saturday, waving flags and burning flares as they marched down the streets of Warsaw.

Demonstrators carried banners that read "White Europe, Europe must be white," and "Pray for an Islamic Holocaust."

Some wore masks and waved red and white Polish flags, chanting "Death to enemies of the homeland," and "Catholic Poland, not secular."

Police estimate that 60,000 people took part in the nationalist demonstration. While the vast majority were Poles, other protesters came from all over Europe.

One of the lead organizations behind the nationalists march is the National Radical Camp, which has previously taken to the streets to protest against Muslim immigration,gay rights, the EU and anything it considers undermines Polish Catholic values.

While support for the group remains small, its critics argue that the Polish government, which has struck a nationalistic tone and linked immigrants to crime and disease, has fostered an atmosphere of intolerance and xenophobia that has emboldened it.

Earlier on Saturday, the Polish capital had seen a far smaller demonstration by groups condemning the protesters' hijacking of Polish independence day, which falls on November 11.

The day celebrates the re-birth of Poland in November 1918, 123 years after the Prussian, Habsburg and Russian empires carved up Poland among themselves and erased it from the map of Europe.

But in the past few years, the holiday has been overshadowed by the far-right march and fears of violence.

Polish President Andrzej Duda led the formal celebrations of Polish independence day in central Warsaw. After laying a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier, he told the crowd to remember the price of freedom and independence.

Read Original Article     ON:   CNN

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11-13-2017 Games
Harry Potter: Wizards Unite Is The Next AR Game By 'Pokémon GO' Developer Niantic Labs

Niantic Labs, the developer behind Pokémon GO, is working on a new augmented reality game that will be based on the Harry Potter franchise.

Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, which will be released next year, will look to tap into the franchise's massive and dedicated fan base to launch with the same hype as Pokémon GO.

What We Know So Far About 'Harry Potter: Wizards Unite'

Niantic Labs announced Harry Potter: Wizards Unite through an official blog post that likely sent Potterheads all over the world into a frenzy. There were rumors last year that the developer was going to make a Harry Potter version of Pokémon GO, but they were debunked. That project has turned out to be real.

Harry Potter: Wizards Unite will use the same augmented reality technology that Niantic Labs introduced with its first AR game, Ingress, and continued with Pokémon GO. The developer will team up with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and the development team of WB Games San Francisco for the project.

"Players will learn spells, explore their real world neighborhoods and cities to discover & fight legendary beasts and team up with others to take down powerful enemies," Niantic Labs said in the press release. The description falls in line with the information from last year's rumors that players will visit wizardry schools scattered around the world, while completing quests to learn spells that can be used in magical combat against players in rival factions.

It appears that Harry Potter: Wizards Unite will take cues from Ingress, where players collect power-ups as they move around in the real world, defend locations, and explore their surroundings.

The AR game is now officially on its way, but aside from the above information, details are scarce. For fans of the Harry Potter series, however, the experience already sounds magical.

What We Want To See In 'Harry Potter: Wizards Unite'

Fans of the Harry Potter franchise will have a long list of features that they want to see in Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. That list likely includes the ability to cast the iconic spells from the series, the inclusion of characters such as Harry Potter himself and Lord Voldemort, and perhaps even a round of Quidditch.

However, the most important thing that players should demand from Niantic Labs is to make sure that the technical issues that have plagued Pokémon GO will not be present in Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. While the developer has kept Pokémon GO players engaged with continuous updates, there have been many major mishaps, including the failed Pokémon GO Fest in Chicago.

Read Original Article     ON:   Tech Times

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No. Newspaper / Country No. Newspaper / Country No. Newspaper / Country No. Newspaper / Country
1 The New York Times / United States 2 The Guardian / United Kingdom 3 The Daily Mail / United Kingdom 4 China Daily / China
5 The Washington Post / United States 6 The Telegraph / United Kingdom 7 The Wall Street Journal / United States 8 USA Today / United States
9 The Times of India / India 10 The Independent / United Kingdom 11 Los Angeles Times / United States 12 El País / Spain
13 Financial Times / United Kingdom 14 The People's Daily / China 15 United Daily News / China 16 The Economic Daily / China
17 Le Monde / France 18 Daily Mirror / United Kingdom 19 El Mundo / Spain 20 Daily News / United States
21 La Repubblica / Italy 22 Bild / Germany 23 Le Figaro / France 24 The Sydney Morning Herald / Australia
25 Houston Chronicle / United States 26 Hürriyet / Turkey 27 Chicago Tribune / United States 28 The Examiner / United States
29 New York Post / United States 30 Asahi Shimbun / Japan 31 Corriere della Sera / Italy 32 The Economic Times / India
33 Milliyet Gazetesi / Turkey 34 Marca / Spain 35 Liberty Times / Taiwan 36 Die Welt / Germany
37 The Globe and Mail / Canada 38 Nihon Keizai Shimbun / Japan 39 The Hollywood Reporter / United States 40 Sabah / Turkey
41 The Christian Science Monitor / United States 42 Daily Express / United Kingdom 43 Kompas / Indonesia 44 The Indian Express / India
45 Yomiuri Shimbun / Japan 46 Gazeta Wyborcza / Poland 47 The Hindu / India 48 The Toronto Star / Canada
49 The Sun / United Kingdom 50 The Age / Australia 51 The Boston Globe / United States 52 Philippine Daily Inquirer / Philippines
53 Süddeutsche Zeitung / Germany 54 The Washington Times / United States 55 Clarín / Argentina 56 Chosun Ilbo / Japan
57 Die Zeit / Germany 58 The Onion / United States 59 Metro / United Kingdom 60 ABC / Spain
61 The Seattle Times / United States 62 The Times / United Kingdom 63 La Gazzetta dello Sport / Italy 64 Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung / Germany
65 The Hill / United States 66 Dainik Bhaskar / India 67 The Philadelphia Inquirer / United States 68 The Oregonian / United States
69 The Dong-a Ilbo / Korea 70 La Nación / Argentina 71 The Hindustan Times / India 72 San Jose Mercury News / United States
73 The Dallas Morning News / United States 74 AS / Spain 75 The Australian / Australia 76 Star Tribune / United States
77 Qingdao News / China 78 The Jerusalem Post / Israel 79 The Plain Dealer / United States 80 L'Equipe / France
81 Komsomolskaya Pravda / Russia 82 The Denver Post / United States 83 Mladá fronta Dnes / Czech Republic 84 Libération / France
85 O Globo / Brazil 86 Aftonbladet / Sweden 87 The Japan Times / Japan 88 Business Standard / India
89 Le Nouvel Observateur / France 90 Kommersant / Russia 91 Le Parisien / France 92 The New Zealand Herald / New Zealand
93 Detroit Free Press / United States 94 Newsday / United States 95 The Baltimore Sun / United States 96 National Post / Canada
97 Il Sole 24 Ore / Italy 98 The Miami Herald / United States 99 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution / United States 100 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette / United States
101 The Irish Independent / Ireland 102 South China Morning Post / Hong Kong SAR 103 The Irish Times / Ireland 104 The Star Online / Malaysia
105 De Telegraaf / Netherlands 106 Dawn / Pakistan 107 Der Standaard / Austria 108 The Sacramento Bee / United States
109 20 Minutos / Spain 110 Mainichi Shimbun / Japan 111 Rossiyskaya Gazeta / Russia 112 Apple Daily / Taiwan
113 DNA - Daily News & Analysis / India 114 La Stampa / Italy 115 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel / United States 116 20 Minutes / France
117 La Vanguardia / Spain 118 Evening Standard / United Kingdom 119 China Times / Taiwan 120 The Straits Times / Singapore
121 Orlando Sentinel / United States 122 Der Tagesspiegel / Germany 123 South Florida Sun-Sentinel / United States 124 Verdens Gang / Norway
125 Argumenti i Fakti / Russia 126 Boston Herald / United States 127 Infobae / Argentina 128 Dagbladet / Norway
129 Independent Online / South Africa 130 The New York Observer / United States 131 Yeni Safak / Turkey 132 Seattle Post-Intelligencer / United States
133 The Kansas City Star / United States 134 Al-Ahram / Egypt 135 The Scotsman / United Kingdom 136 Nikkan Sports / Japan
137 Deseret News / United States 138 Herald Sun / Australia 139 The Vancouver Sun / Canada 140 Yang Cheng Wan Bao / China
141 Les Échos / France 142 Gulf News / United Arab Emirates 143 Yedioth Aharonot / Israel 144 Sports Nippon / Japan
145 The Orange County Register / United States 146 Expressen / Sweden 147 St. Louis Post-Dispatch / United States 148 Pravda.ru / Russia
149 Handelsblatt / Germany 150 The Daily Telegraph / Australia

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