Linux fréttir

In France, Comic Books Are Serious Business

Slashdot - Fri, 2019-02-01 14:20
It's a big year for comic book anniversaries. Batman's 80th is this year, and Asterix is turning 60. But at the Angouleme International Comics Festival in France, which finished on Sunday, there was a sense that the form's best days may be yet to come -- in the French-speaking world, at least. From a report: "It's a kind of golden age," said Jean-Luc Fromental, a comic book author who also runs a graphic-novel imprint for the publisher Denoel. "There has never been so much talent. There have never been so many interesting books published." There are now more comic books published annually in France and Belgium than ever before, according to the festival's artistic director, Stephane Beaujean. "The market has risen from 700 books per year in the 1990s to 5,000 this year," he said in an interview. "I don't know any cultural industry which has had that kind of increase." Research by the market research company GfK, released to coincide with the festival, showed that turnover in the comic book industry in those two countries alone reached 510 million euros, or around $580 million, in 2018. The bumper year in France and Belgium contrasts with a mixed situation worldwide. Comichron, a website that reports on comic book sales in the United States, where the market is worth around $1 billion, says that sales there are declining. But in terms of respect and recognition, comics are on the way up.

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UK's ICO slaps £120k fines on Arron Banks' insurance biz and Leave.EU campaign

TheRegister - Fri, 2019-02-01 13:32
Commish also promises audit for the firms' data protection practices

The Leave.EU campaign and Brexiteer Arron banks' insurance biz Eldon have been fined a total of £120,000 for dodging direct marketing rules.…

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Plants and Animals Sometimes Take Genes From Bacteria, Study Suggests

Slashdot - Fri, 2019-02-01 13:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Science Magazine: Many genome studies have shown that prokaryotes—bacteria and archaea -- liberally swap genes among species, which influences their evolution. The initial sequencing of the human genome suggested our species, too, has picked up microbial genes. But further work demonstrated that such genes found in vertebrate genomes were often contaminants introduced during sequencing. [...] Debashish Bhattacharya, an evolutionary genomicist at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and UD plant biochemist Andreas Weber took a closer look at a possible case of bacteria-to-eukaryote gene transfer that [William Martin, a biologist that concluded that there is no significant ongoing transfer of prokaryotic genes into eukaryotes, has challenged in 2015]. The initial sequencing of genomes from two species of red algae called Cyanidiophyceae had indicated that up to 6% of their DNA had a prokaryotic origin. These so-called extremophiles, which live in acidic hot springs and even inside rock, can't afford to maintain superfluous DNA. They appear to contain only genes needed for survival. "When we find a bacterial gene, we know it has an important function or it wouldn't last" in the genome, Bhattacharya says. He and Weber turned to a newer technology that deciphers long pieces of DNA. The 13 red algal genomes they studied contain 96 foreign genes, nearly all of them sandwiched between typical algal genes in the DNA sequenced, which makes it unlikely they were accidentally introduced in the lab. "At the very least, this argument that [putative transferred genes are] all contamination should finally be obsolete," says Gerald Schoenknecht, a plant physiologist at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater. The transferred genes seem to transport or detoxify heavy metals, or they help the algae extract nourishment from the environment or cope with high temperature and other stressful conditions. "By acquiring genes from extremophile prokaryotes, these red algae have adapted to more and more extreme environments," Schoenknecht says. While Martin says the new evidence doesn't persuade him, several insect researchers say they see evidence of such gene transfer. "Iâ(TM)ve moved beyond asking 'if [the bacterial genes] are there,' to how they work," says John McCutcheon, a biologist at Montana State University in Missoula who studies mealy bugs. The red algae, he adds, "is a very clear case."

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UK spy overseer: Snooper's Charter spying cockups are still getting innocents arrested

TheRegister - Fri, 2019-02-01 12:47
IPCO report also lets us recognise Britain's Creepiest Council 2017

Police employees who make typos in warrants to use Snooper’s Charter spy powers are still getting innocent people arrested, the Investigatory Powers Commissioner’s delayed annual report has revealed.…

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Ca-caw-caw: Pigeon poops on tot's face as tempers fray at siege of Lincoln flats

TheRegister - Fri, 2019-02-01 12:15
Sweeping menace: Winged rats are targeting Brit city's children now – this must stop

Nikola Tesla obsessively fed them, the Queen keeps hundreds at Sandringham, and Charles Darwin was enthralled by what they could teach us about natural selection. But for most of us, they're little more than rats with wings. And now one has only gone and shat on a three-month-old's face.…

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Terribly Sorry Bank reports 165% drop in profits to a pre-tax loss of £105.4m

TheRegister - Fri, 2019-02-01 11:45
IT meltdown cost TSB £330m and 80,000 customers

IT meltdown bank TSB has reported a £105.4m statutory loss this year, a whopping 165 per cent drop from 2017's profit of £162.7m.…

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Got a fancy but slurpy new product? The ICO would like you to stuff it in its sandbox

TheRegister - Fri, 2019-02-01 11:07
UK data watchdog's plan to stay on top of Internet of S*'%t

The UK's Information Commissioner's Officeg is on the hunt for organisations that are using personal data in "innovative" products, to help the data protection watchdog understand how to regulate it.…

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Bringing the Houzz down: Home design website tells users to reset passwords after copping to breach

TheRegister - Fri, 2019-02-01 10:20
Logins, IP address, personal data and the kitchen sink at risk

Home improvement website Houzz has urged users to reset their passwords after an "unauthorised third party" made off with a file containing customer data.…

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Nintendo Reportedly Plans Smaller and Cheaper Switch For This Year

Slashdot - Fri, 2019-02-01 10:00
According to a report from Nikkei, Nintendo is developing a smaller and cheaper version of the Switch focused on portability, and without some of the features in the original console. "A rumor in October suggested Nintendo was developing a new Switch, but instead of improving on the existing model, it's just as likely the company is looking for ways to streamline the system," notes Engadget. From the report: As Ars Technica speculates, the console's plastic dock could be the first thing to go. It's available separately for $90, and there are also cheaper ways to get your Switch to output to a TV (it's relying on a USB-C connection, after all). Nintendo could conceivably move towards a smaller and cheaper screen, and potentially even make the controller a physical part of the console, instead of the removable Joy-Cons. It also wouldn't be out of character for Nintendo to break existing functionality with a console revamp -- the 2DS was a cheaper spin on the 3DS that was still very playable without 3D.

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You got a smart speaker but you're worried about privacy. First off, why'd you buy one? Secondly, check out Project Alias

TheRegister - Fri, 2019-02-01 09:44
Gizmo deafens eavesdroppers, and you can build one yourself

Project Alias is a homebrew gizmo that aims to deafen Alexa and Google Home until a user is good and ready for the creepy little cylinders to pay attention.…

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Using WhatsApp for your business comms? It's either that or reinstall Lotus Notes

TheRegister - Fri, 2019-02-01 09:10
Employers won't provide proper comms and insist it's YOUR fault

Something for the Weekend, Sir? As I make my way home after a busy day, I often enjoy a knee-trembler by the church wall.…

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Techie finds himself telling caller there is no safe depth of water for operating computers

TheRegister - Fri, 2019-02-01 08:27
999, what is your emergency?... Oh sh-

On Call The weekend is approaching, dear readers, but before we get there, our weekly column of tech support drama beckons.…

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University of Columbia Researchers Translate Brain Signals Directly Into Speech

Slashdot - Fri, 2019-02-01 07:00
dryriver writes: There is good news for people who have limited or no ability to speak, due to having suffered a stroke for example. Researchers at Columbia University have managed to turn brain signals in the auditory cortex of test subjects into somewhat intelligible speech using a vocoder-like system with audio output cleaned up by neural networks. The findings have been published in the journal Nature. Here's an excerpt from the Zuckerman Institute's press release, which contains example audio of a number sequence being turned into robotic speech: "In a scientific first, Columbia neuroengineers have created a system that translates thought into intelligible, recognizable speech. By monitoring someone's brain activity, the technology can reconstruct the words a person hears with unprecedented clarity. This breakthrough, which harnesses the power of speech synthesizers and artificial intelligence, could lead to new ways for computers to communicate directly with the brain. It also lays the groundwork for helping people who cannot speak, such as those living with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or recovering from stroke, regain their ability to communicate with the outside world."

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Siri, how do you wipe that smug smile from Qualcomm's face? Apple triumphs in patent battle with chip nemesis

TheRegister - Fri, 2019-02-01 06:53
Four of eight lawsuits brought by Qualy against iGiant booted out of German court

Apple has won a significant victory in its ongoing global battle with Qualcomm: four of eight lawsuits lodged in Germany by Qualy against Apple were dismissed on Thursday.…

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Are you aware of the gravity of the situation on Mars? Why yes, say boffins: We rejigged Curiosity to measure it

TheRegister - Fri, 2019-02-01 06:03
Shock after accelerometers hacked, in the old-school sense, and rock density probed

Brainiacs have today revealed how they rejigged instruments aboard NASA’s Martian rover Curiosity to measure changes in the Red Planet's gravity over its surface.…

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Scientists Create Super-Thin 'Sheet' That Could Charge Our Phones

Slashdot - Fri, 2019-02-01 03:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have created super-thin, bendy materials that absorb wireless internet and other electromagnetic waves in the air and turn them into electricity. The lead researcher, Tomas Palacios, said the breakthrough paved the way for energy-harvesting covers ranging from tablecloths to giant wrappers for buildings that extract energy from the environment to power sensors and other electronics. Details have been published in the journal Nature. Palacios and his colleagues connected a bendy antenna to a flexible semiconductor layer only three atoms thick. The antenna picks up wifi and other radio-frequency signals and turns them into an alternating current. This flows into the molybdenum disulphide semiconductor, where it is converted into a direct electrical current. [M]olybdenum disulphide film can be produced in sheets on industrial roll-to-roll machines, meaning they can be made large enough to capture useful amounts of energy. Ambient wifi signals can fill an office with more than 100 microwatts of power that is ripe to be scavenged by energy-harvesting devices. The MIT system has an efficiency of between 30% and 40%, producing about 40 microwatts when exposed to signals bearing 150 microwatts of power in laboratory tests. "It doesn't sound like much compared with the 60 watts that a computer needs, but you can still do a lot with it," Palacios said. "You can design a wide range of sensors, for environmental monitoring or chemical and biological sensing, which operate at the single microwatt level. Or you could store the electricity in a battery to use later."

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Giving the Humble Stethoscope an AI Upgrade Could Save Millions of Kids

Slashdot - Fri, 2019-02-01 02:40
the_newsbeagle writes: The stethoscope is a ubiquitous medical tool that has barely changed since it was invented in the early 1800s. But now a team of engineers, doctors, and public health researchers have come together to reinvent the tool using adaptive acoustics and AI. Their motivation is this statistic: Every year, nearly 1 million kids die of pneumonia around the world, with most deaths in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. The death toll is highest among children under the age of 5. The researchers, from Johns Hopkins University, designed a smart stethoscope for use by unskilled workers in noisy medical clinics. It uses a dynamic audio filtering system to remove ambient noise and distracting body sounds while not interfering with the subtle sounds from the lungs. And it uses AI to analyze the cleaned-up signal and provide a diagnosis.

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