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US ends case against Huawei CFO who holed up in Canada for three years

TheRegister - Mon, 2022-12-05 00:29
Wanzhou Meng hasn't re-offended, so last possible charges have been dismissed

The USA's case against Huawei CFO and chair Wanzhuo Meng has ended.…

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Writers of 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' Had Imagined an Even Darker Sequel

Slashdot - Mon, 2022-12-05 00:01
The writers of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story "had an idea for a sequel that would have been even darker and more morally ambiguous," writes Screen Rant: Rogue One told the story of how the Rebel Alliance gained access to the Death Star plans, and further explored the sacrifices that needed to be made to defeat the Empire. Famously, the movie led straight into the events of Star Wars: A New Hope, and most of its main characters died, so there was never any true hope for a direct Rogue One sequel. However, the writers of Rogue One did once discuss an idea for a thematic sequel that would have delved into the moral ambiguity of the Rebellion. Co-writers Gary Whitta and Chris Weitz conceptualized a Rogue One sequel show that would have involved a "Mossad-style Rebel team" tracking down fleeing Imperial war criminals after the fall of the Empire. This would have been an interesting continuation of Rogue One's narrative; a Star Wars show in which the darker side of the Rebel victory could be explored. In that scenario, the Rebels would have had to fight on the offensive, not defensively, reversing the war's dynamic entirely. The show could have explored how far the Rebels were willing to go to hold onto their hard-won freedom, and whether it mirrored anything the Empire did to hang onto its dictatorship. At the time Lucasfilm was experimenting with "one-and-done stories within blockbuster movies," the article point sout. But Solo: A Star Wars Story "was unable to replicate the same winning formula" as Rogue One. "After that, the ideas for Star Wars' anthology movies fizzled out, essentially replaced with Star Wars TV once Disney+ launched in 2019." And in an earlier article, Screen Rant points out that The Mandalorian "has already filled in the story gaps that the Rogue One writers were looking to explore. That series dug deep into the criminal underbelly of the post-Empire galaxy and how the remaining imperial loyalists chose to spend their time."

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Microsoft hikes prices in India by up to eleven percent

TheRegister - Sun, 2022-12-04 22:45
PLUS: Eight million more outsourced jobs for India; Australia warns on IoT shoe risks; Equinix enters Malaysia

Asia In Brief Microsoft has quietly announced big price rises for its software and services in India.…

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Should CS Be Required for a High School Degree?

Slashdot - Sun, 2022-12-04 21:48
When it comes to the official requirements for graduating from a U.S. high school, there's a push for changes. Long-time Slashdot reader theodp looks at 2014: Making computer science courses 'count' would not require schools to offer computer science or students to study it," Code.org CEO Hadi Partovi emphasized to lawmakers in his 2014 Congressional testimony following the nation's first Hour of Code, an event organized and run by the tech-backed nonprofit. "It would simply allow existing computer science courses to satisfy a requirement that already exists." But as the nation's 10th annual Hour of Code kicks off on Monday, Code.org has reversed course on that no-required-CS stance. Speaking at last month's 2022 National Summit on Education, Partovi said, "I want to close with one quick request, which is to talk about "the idea of computer science as a high school graduation requirement for every student (PDF slides). Which may sound controversial, but my goal for the end of this decade is to make that possible in all 50 states" (YouTube). The announcement comes just months after a who's who of the nation's tech leaders — organized as CEOs for CS by Code.org — joined in a PR campaign that publicly pressed 'the Governors of the United States' to sign a Compact To Expand K-12 Computer Science Education.

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California City Discovers It Doesn't Actually Know Where 60% of Its Recycling Goes

Slashdot - Sun, 2022-12-04 20:48
Palo Alto, California began investigating where its recycling goes over four years ago, reports NBC News. The results? Palo Alto's best reckoning, today, is that about 40% of its recyclable material stays in North America, where it's supposed to be processed according to strict environmental and labor standards. The other roughly 60% goes abroad, mainly to Asia, with next to no transparency about its fate. Experts say cities and towns across the United States would probably have similar difficulty in determining how much of their recyclables are actually recycled. "If you keep stuff out of landfill but just dump it in Laos, that's not achieving a good goal," said Martin Bourque of the Ecology Center in Berkeley, California, a group that advised Palo Alto in its pursuit of transparency. "That's not what the whole idea was of recycling." The main obstacle that Palo Alto encountered was that the half-dozen companies that trade the city's recyclables on world markets declined to name their trading partners, citing business reasons. Unable to force disclosure, Palo Alto city staff concluded they are stuck. "It is not possible to definitively determine whether the materials are being recycled properly or whether they may be causing environmental or social problems," they wrote in a report published this year.... Palo Alto officials said they've taken two lessons from this saga. First, they want to recycle more in the U.S.... If made permanent, staff said, the change could increase the average citizen's recycling bill by about $33 a year. The second lesson, City Manager Ed Shikada said, is that Palo Alto can't transform the global recycling system alone. In March the city began talks with other interested California cities to discuss possible reforms at the local or state levels. The group includes San Jose, the largest city in the San Francisco Bay Area, and about a dozen other Northern California municipalities. Shikada said they might seek to expand recycling capacity in California, for instance, or ask lawmakers to impose new transparency requirements on companies that export recyclable goods. The article cites World Bank estimates that only about 9% of waste ultimately gets recycled in East Asia and Pacific region. "The balance goes to landfills and incinerators or into nature, with local and global consequences.... Research suggests countries in Southeast Asia rank among the top global sources of ocean plastic."

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'Germans Have Seen the Future, and It's a Heat Pump'

Slashdot - Sun, 2022-12-04 19:43
Facing higher prices for natural gas, Germans are now embracing climate-friendly heat pumps, reports the New York Times. "So much so that heat pumps are often sold out, and the wait for a qualified installer can last months." The German government is among the fans. "This is the technology of the future," Robert Habeck, the minister for the economy, told reporters last month while announcing a government plan to promote heat pumps. "To achieve our goals, we want to get to six million customers by 2030," Mr. Habeck said.... The cost for the electricity needed to power a heat pump is about 35 percent cheaper than natural gas, according to Verivox, a company that compares energy prices for German consumers. The savings are even greater for those who can run their heat pumps off solar panels.... Sales of heat pumps in Germany have more than doubled in the past two years, especially as the price of gas has soared.... To encourage people to make the change, the government is offering subsidies that can cover up to a quarter of the upfront price of a unit, along with subsidies for other energy-efficiency improvements up to a total of €60,000. Germany lags far behind its European neighbors, where imported natural gas was not as affordable or abundant. Residents of Finland and Norway, which rely more on electricity, have 10 times the number of heat pumps as do Germans, according to Agora Energiewende, a policy institute in Berlin. Even the Netherlands, which sits on its own wealth of natural gas but made a push for the more climate-friendly machines several years ago, has double the number of the units that Germany has.

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Driverless Electric Robot Tractors are Here, Powered by NVIDIA AI Chips

Slashdot - Sun, 2022-12-04 17:34
NVIDIA is proud of its role in the first commercially available smart tractor (which began rolling off the production line Thursday). Monarch Tractor's MK-V "combines electrification, automation, and data analysis to help farmers reduce their carbon footprint, improve field safety, streamline farming operations, and increase their bottom lines," according to NVIDIA's blog. NVIDIA's been touting the ability to accelerate machine learning applications with its low-power Jetson boards (each with a system on a chip integrating an ARM-architecture CPU) , and they write that the new tractor "cuts energy costs and diesel emissions, while also helping reduce harmful herbicides, which are expensive and deplete the soil." Mark Schwager, former Tesla Gigafactory chief, is president; Zachary Omohundro, a robotics Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon, is CTO; Praveen Penmetsa, CEO of Monarch Tractor, is an autonomy and mobility engineer. Penmetsa likens the revolutionary new tractor to paradigm shifts in PCs and smartphones, enablers of world-changing applications. Monarch's role, he said, is as the hub to enable smart implements — precision sprayers, harvesters and more — for computer vision applications to help automate farming.... Tapping into six NVIDIA Jetson Xavier NX SOMs (system on modules), Monarch's Founder Series MK-V tractors are essentially roving robots packing supercomputing. Monarch has harnessed Jetson to deliver tractors that can safely traverse rows within agriculture fields using only cameras. "This is important in certain agriculture environments because there may be no GPS signal," said Penmetsa. "It's also crucial for safety as the Monarch is intended for totally driverless operation."The Founder Series MK-V runs two 3D cameras and six standard cameras. In one pilot test a tractor lowered energy costs (compared to a diesel tractor) by $2,600 a year, according to NVIDIA's blog post. And the tractor collects and analyzes crop data daily, so hopes are high for the system. Monarch has already raised more than $110 million in funding, reports the Verge: Many tractors out in farming fields have semiautonomous modes but largely require a driver to be seated. They also mostly run on diesel gas, so the MK-V, with its fully electric design and driver-optional smarts, is claiming it's the first production model of its kind.

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Stanford Investigates Its President Over Allegations of Past Research Misconduct

Slashdot - Sun, 2022-12-04 16:34
Marc Tessier-Lavigne is president of Stanford University. He's also "the subject of a university investigation," reports SFGate, "following a report from the school's newspaper, the Stanford Daily, that he committed scientific research misconduct" in papers he co-authored years ago which may contain altered images. More from the Washington Post: The university launched the inquiry after the Stanford Daily, a campus newspaper, reported that a well-known research journal was looking into concerns raised about a 2008 paper co-authored by Marc Tessier-Lavigne. The Daily reported that in addition to the paper in the European Molecular Biology Organization Journal, there were questions about other published research. Some of those complaints were first made many years ago, and Tessier-Lavigne had tried to correct papers at one journal in 2015, according to its editor.... Tessier-Lavigne said in a statement that he supports the inquiry. "Scientific integrity is of the utmost importance both to the university and to me personally," Tessier-Lavigne said. "I support this process and will fully cooperate with it, and I appreciate the oversight by the Board of Trustees...." Elisabeth Bik, who had been a staff scientist at Stanford doing postdoctoral microbiology research until 2016 and is now a well-known research integrity consultant who specializes in photographic images, said she heard about the questions about some papers of which Tessier-Lavigne is one of the authors a few years after they were first raised, and identified additional possible problems. Most appeared to be minor concerns, and they could have been honest mistakes, she said. This week, Bik said, she spotted a more troubling instance in a paper from 1999 with multiple authors where it appeared photos had been altered, which she said was suggestive of copying and pasting. The Los Angeles Times describes Tessier-Lavigne as "a neuroscientist and biotech entrepreneur widely known for his Alzheimer's research" who "has authored or co-authored about 300 scientific papers."

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Can the World Avoid a 'Quantum Encryption Apocalypse'?

Slashdot - Sun, 2022-12-04 15:34
Axios reports: "Although a quantum computer isn't expected until 2030, at the earliest, updating current encryption standards will take just as long," writes Axios, "creating a high-stakes race filled with unanswerable questions for national security and cybersecurity officials alike." As scientists, academics and international policymakers attended the first-ever Quantum World Congress conference in Washington this week, alarmism around the future of secure data was undercut by foundational questions of what quantum computing will mean for the world. "We don't even know what we don't know about what quantum can do," said Michael Redding, chief technology officer at Quantropi, during a panel about cryptography at the Quantum World Congress.... Some governments are believed to have already started stealing enemies' encrypted secrets now, so they can unlock them as soon as quantum computing is available. "It's the single-largest economic national-security issue we have ever faced as a Western society," said Denis Mandich, chief technology officer at Qrypt and a former U.S. intelligence official, at this week's conference. "We don't know what happens if they actually decrypt, operationalize and monetize all the data that they already have."

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Chinese Joint Venture Will Begin Mass-Producing an Autonomous Electric Car

Slashdot - Sun, 2022-12-04 12:34
IEEE Spectrum reports: In October, a startup called Jidu Automotive, backed by Chinese AI giant Baidu and Chinese carmaker Geely, officially released an autonomous electric car, the Robo-01 Lunar Edition. In 2023, the car will go on sale. At roughly US $55,000, the Robo-01 Lunar Edition is a limited edition, cobranded with China's Lunar Exploration Project. It has two lidars, a 5-millimeter-range radar, 12 ultrasonic sensors, and 12 high-definition cameras. It is the first vehicle to offer on-board, AI-assisted voice recognition, with voice response speeds within 700 milliseconds, thanks to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8295 chip. "It's a car, and, even more so, a robot," said Jidu CEO Joe Xia, during the live-streamed unveiling of the car (as translated from the Mandarin by CNBC). He added that it "can become the standard for self-driving cars." But just how autonomous the car is remains to be seen: In January 2022 Baidu and Jidu said the car would have Level 4 autonomous driving capability, which does not require a human driver to control the vehicle. But the press release at the car's launch made no mention of Level 4, saying only that the car offered "high-level autonomous driving...." In September 2022, Baidu cofounder and CEO Robin Li noted that lower levels of autonomy shield car companies from liability in the event of a crash, because the driver is expected to be in control. With Level 4, the manufacturer of the car or the operator of the "robotaxi" service using the car would be to blame.... Regardless of the car's official autonomy designation, Baidu has billed its self-driving package, Apollo, as having Level 4 capabilities. That includes what the company calls a Point-to-Point Autopilot, designed to handle highway, city street, and parking scenarios. Jidu is conducting further tests in Beijing and Shanghai to ensure that its Point-to-Point Autopilot will cover all major cities in China. Chinese regulations do allow Level 4 in robotaxis that operate within designated geofenced areas, and Apollo has already shown what it can do in Baidu's Apollo Go robotaxis, which have delivered more than 1 million rides in at least 10 cities across China. Baidu recently unveiled its latest autonomous robotaxi, the Level-4 Apollo RT6, which has a detachable steering wheel. The absence of a steering wheel is a statement in itself, and it frees up cabin space for extra seating or even desktops, gaming consoles, and vending machines. Meanwhile CNBC notes that the four-seat Robo-01 "has replaced the dashboard with a long screen extending across the front of the car and removed cockpit buttons — since the driver can use voice control instead, said Jidu CEO Joe Xia. "Theoretically, the half-moon of a steering wheel can fold up, paving the way for a cockpit seat with no window obstructions, once full self-driving is allowed on China's roads...." Xia claimed Jidu "can become the standard for self-driving cars...." Co-investor Geely has pushed into the electric car industry with its own vehicles, and announced in November a multi-year plan to build up the software component of the cars. The automaker said it aimed to commercialize full self-driving under specific conditions, called "Level Four" autonomous driving in a classification system, by 2025.

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Apple Makes Plans to Move Production Out of China

Slashdot - Sun, 2022-12-04 08:34
The Wall Street Journal reports: In recent weeks, Apple Inc. has accelerated plans to shift some of its production outside China, long the dominant country in the supply chain that built the world's most valuable company, say people involved in the discussions. It is telling suppliers to plan more actively for assembling Apple products elsewhere in Asia, particularly India and Vietnam, they say, and looking to reduce dependence on Taiwanese assemblers led by Foxconn Technology Group. Turmoil at a place called iPhone City helped propel Apple's shift. At the giant city-within-a-city in Zhengzhou, China, as many as 300,000 workers work at a factory run by Foxconn to make iPhones and other Apple products. At one point, it alone made about 85% of the Pro lineup of iPhones, according to market-research firm Counterpoint Research. The Zhengzhou factory was convulsed in late November by violent protests.... Coming after a year of events that weakened China's status as a stable manufacturing center, the upheaval means Apple no longer feels comfortable having so much of its business tied up in one place, according to analysts and people in the Apple supply chain.... One response, say the people involved in Apple's supply chain, is to draw from a bigger pool of assemblers — even if those companies are themselves based in China. Two Chinese companies that are in line to get more Apple business, they say, are Luxshare Precision Industry Co. and Wingtech Technology Co.... Apple's longer-term goal is to ship 40% to 45% of iPhones from India, compared with a single-digit percentage currently, according to Ming-chi Kuo, an analyst at TF International Securities who follows the supply chain. Suppliers say Vietnam is expected to shoulder more of the manufacturing for other Apple products such as AirPods, smartwatches and laptops. For now, consumers doing Christmas shopping are stuck with some of the longest wait timesfor high-end iPhones in the product's 15-year history, stretching until after Christmas.... Accounts vary about how many workers are missing from the Zhengzhou factory, with estimates ranging from the thousands to the tens of thousands. Mr. Kuo said it was running at only about 20% capacity in November, a figure expected to improve to 30% to 40% in December. Foxconn says it accounted for 3.9% of China's exports in 2021, the Journal points out. Yet "A survey by the U.S.-China Business Council this year found American companies' confidence in China has fallen to a record low, with about a quarter of respondents saying they have at least temporarily moved parts of their supply chain out of China over the past year."

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Graduate Students Analyze, Crack, and Remove Under-Desk Surveillance Devices

Slashdot - Sun, 2022-12-04 04:34
"Graduate students at Northeastern University were able to organize and beat back an attempt at introducing invasive surveillance devices that were quietly placed under desks at their school," reports Motherboard: Early in October, Senior Vice Provost David Luzzi installed motion sensors under all the desks at the school's Interdisciplinary Science & Engineering Complex (ISEC), a facility used by graduate students and home to the "Cybersecurity and Privacy Institute" which studies surveillance. These sensors were installed at night — without student knowledge or consent — and when pressed for an explanation, students were told this was part of a study on "desk usage," according to a blog post by Max von Hippel, a Privacy Institute PhD candidate who wrote about the situation for the Tech Workers Coalition's newsletter.... Students began to raise concerns about the sensors, and an email was sent out by Luzzi attempting to address issues raised by students.... Luzzi wrote, the university had deployed "a Spaceti occupancy monitoring system" that would use heat sensors at groin level to "aggregate data by subzones to generate when a desk is occupied or not." Luzzi added that the data would be anonymized, aggregated to look at "themes" and not individual time at assigned desks, not be used in evaluations, and not shared with any supervisors of the students. Following that email, an impromptu listening session was held in the ISEC. At this first listening session, Luzzi asked that grad student attendees "trust the university since you trust them to give you a degree...." After that, the students at the Privacy Institute, which specialize in studying surveillance and reversing its harm, started removing the sensors, hacking into them, and working on an open source guide so other students could do the same. Luzzi had claimed the devices were secure and the data encrypted, but Privacy Institute students learned they were relatively insecure and unencrypted.... After hacking the devices, students wrote an open letter to Luzzi and university president Joseph E. Aoun asking for the sensors to be removed because they were intimidating, part of a poorly conceived study, and deployed without IRB approval even though human subjects were at the center of the so-called study. von Hippel notes that many members of the computer science department were also in a union, and thus networked together for a quick mass response. Motherboard writes that the controversy ultimately culminated with another listening session in which Luzzi "struggles to quell concerns that the study is invasive, poorly planned, costly, and likely unethical." "Afterwards, von Hippel took to Twitter and shares what becomes a semi-viral thread documenting the entire timeline of events from the secret installation of the sensors to the listening session occurring that day. Hours later, the sensors are removed..."

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What is ChatGPT, the AI Chatbot That's Taking The Internet By Storm

Slashdot - Sun, 2022-12-04 02:48
A reader submits a report: Artificial Intelligence (AI) research company OpenAI on Wednesday announced ChatGPT, a prototype dialogue-based AI chatbot capable of understanding natural language and responding in natural language. It has since taken the internet by storm, with people marvelling at how intelligent the AI-powered bot sounds. Some even called it a replacement for Google, since it's capable of giving solutions to complex problems directly," almost like a personal know-all teacher. "We've trained a model called ChatGPT which interacts in a conversational way. The dialogue format makes it possible for ChatGPT to answer follow-up questions, admit its mistakes, challenge incorrect premises, and reject inappropriate requests," OpenAI wrote on its announcement page for ChatGPT. ChatGPT is based on GPT-3.5, a language model that uses deep learning to produce human-like text. However, while the older GPT-3 model only took text prompts and tried to continue on that with its own generated text, ChatGPT is more engaging. It's much better at generating detailed text and can even come up with poems. Another unique characteristic is memory. The bot can remember earlier comments in a conversation and recount them to the user. ChatGPT wrote a poem about Slashdot. Try ChatGPT for yourself here.

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Trailers Released for 2023 First-Person Shooter 'Starship Troopers: Extermination'

Slashdot - Sun, 2022-12-04 02:04
You can read the news in Military Times magazine. "Coming just after the 25th anniversary of the release of the cult classic Starship Troopers (November 1997), Offworld Industries and Sony Pictures Consumer Projects are bringing the fight against the Arachnids to a computer near you." An official announcement and gameplay teaser were released for the upcoming game this week. "Starship Troopers: Extermination is a co-op FPS that puts you on the far-off front lines of an all-out battle against the Bugs!" explains its page on Steam. "Squad up, grab your rifle, and do your part as an elite Deep Space Vanguard Trooper set to take back planets claimed by the Arachnid threat!" The page says an "Early Access" launch is planned for 2023: In Starship Troopers: Extermination, our vision is to show a galactic war between the Federation and the Arachnid Empire. After our initial launch and throughout the course of Early Access development, players will get to engage with exciting new updates that expand upon the in-game universe, and provide feedback through the Steam Community Hub that our developers can take into consideration.... [W]e will be sharing an exciting and robust roadmap with content already planned for 2023. Throughout Early Access we will provide players with more weapons, an updated class leveling system as well as progression achievements and unlockable skins for both weapons and armor. Additionally we will be adding vehicles special call in attacks including massive Orbital Strikes to help during missions. On the enemy side we will be adding more bugs, flying enemies, and boss battles that require complex player coordination to accomplish. As we progress in development, our goal is to then begin ongoing planetary battles where the player can explore new items and enemies introduced in previous updates as an epic war breaks out. This transition adds a new world as we head to the completion of Early Access. The intent throughout Early Access is to convey that this part of our development cycle is the beginning of the war and the battle will only increase in complexity and ferocity as we move to full release. Starship Troopers: Extermination is expected to be in Early Access for approximately 1 year. The full version of Starship Troopers: Extermination will span multiple worlds to liberate them from the Arachnid Threat. This will include additional weapons, enemies types, class progression upgrades, community events, and encounters. The player will have a more diverse roster of customization options allowing them to tailor their Troopers to fit their playstyle and experience." Starship Troopers: Extermination will launch with a massive map on Planet Valaka. Up to twelve players can team up to complete side and main missions before escaping to the extraction zone. We'll have more to share closer to the Early Access launch in 2023! We plan to work closely with the community on Steam's Community Hub and in the official Starship Troopers: Extermination Discord as we add features, tune gameplay, and develop new content. "Starship Troopers is in a league of its own when it comes to 90s science fiction films," writes Boing Boing's Devin Nealy. "Despite serving as an adaptation of the Robert A. Heinlein book, Starship Troopers forges a unique identity through its striking visuals and deft use of satire." Noting the two "pretty weak" straight-to-video sequels (and two more CGI-animated films), Nealy argues that "Until the franchise finds a creative team that can properly capture the essence of the first film, a video game might be the best option for the series."

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Physicists Use Google's Quantum Computer to Create Holographic Wormhole Between Black Holes

Slashdot - Sat, 2022-12-03 22:46
"In an experiment that ticks most of the mystery boxes in modern physics, a group of researchers announced Wednesday that they had simulated a pair of black holes in a quantum computer," reports the New York Times [alternate URL here. But in addition, the researchers also sent a message between their two black holes, the Times reports, "through a shortcut in space-time called a wormhole. "Physicists described the achievement as another small step in the effort to understand the relation between gravity, which shapes the universe, and quantum mechanics, which governs the subatomic realm of particles.... Quanta magazine reports: The wormhole emerged like a hologram out of quantum bits of information, or "qubits," stored in tiny superconducting circuits. By manipulating the qubits, the physicists then sent information through the wormhole, they reported Wednesday in the journal Nature. The team, led by Maria Spiropulu of the California Institute of Technology, implemented the novel "wormhole teleportation protocol" using Google's quantum computer, a device called Sycamore housed at Google Quantum AI in Santa Barbara, California. With this first-of-its-kind "quantum gravity experiment on a chip," as Spiropulu described it, she and her team beat a competing group of physicists who aim to do wormhole teleportation with IBM and Quantinuum's quantum computers. When Spiropulu saw the key signature indicating that qubits were passing through the wormhole, she said, "I was shaken." The experiment can be seen as evidence for the holographic principle, a sweeping hypothesis about how the two pillars of fundamental physics, quantum mechanics and general relativity, fit together.... The holographic principle, ascendant since the 1990s, posits a mathematical equivalence or "duality" between the two frameworks. It says the bendy space-time continuum described by general relativity is really a quantum system of particles in disguise. Space-time and gravity emerge from quantum effects much as a 3D hologram projects out of a 2D pattern. Indeed, the new experiment confirms that quantum effects, of the type that we can control in a quantum computer, can give rise to a phenomenon that we expect to see in relativity — a wormhole.... To be clear, unlike an ordinary hologram, the wormhole isn't something we can see. While it can be considered "a filament of real space-time," according to co-author Daniel Jafferis of Harvard University, lead developer of the wormhole teleportation protocol, it's not part of the same reality that we and the Sycamore computer inhabit. The holographic principle says that the two realities — the one with the wormhole and the one with the qubits — are alternate versions of the same physics, but how to conceptualize this kind of duality remains mysterious. Opinions will differ about the fundamental implications of the result. Crucially, the holographic wormhole in the experiment consists of a different kind of space-time than the space-time of our own universe. It's debatable whether the experiment furthers the hypothesis that the space-time we inhabit is also holographic, patterned by quantum bits. "I think it is true that gravity in our universe is emergent from some quantum [bits] in the same way that this little baby one-dimensional wormhole is emergent" from the Sycamore chip, Jafferis said. "Of course we don't know that for sure. We're trying to understand it." Here's how principal investigator Spiropulu summarizes their experiment. "We found a quantum system that exhibits key properties of a gravitational wormhole yet is sufficiently small to implement on today's quantum hardware."

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20 Videogame QA Testers in Albany Win Union Vote at Activision Blizzard

Slashdot - Sat, 2022-12-03 21:46
"A group of about 20 quality assurance testers at Activision Blizzard's Albany location won their bid for a union Friday afternoon," reports the Washington Post: The workers join the Game Workers Alliance, a union at the gaming company that already includes testers from Wisconsin-based Raven Software. Amanda Laven, a Blizzard Albany quality assurance tester, said that the union vote comes just about a year after the testers first began collecting signatures for a union. "We knew we were gonna win, but it's still extremely exciting and gratifying, especially because tomorrow marks the first anniversary of when we started organizing," Laven said. The testers are the lowest paid workers at Blizzard Albany, formerly called Vicarious Visions, a studio known for its work on the Guitar Hero and Crash Bandicoot franchises. The Game Workers Alliance is the first union at a major video game company in the U.S., and Friday's news marks the union's second significant win in an industry that has historically not organized.... The Blizzard Albany testers took their cues from seeing testers at Call of Duty-maker Raven petition the company and gather signatures. On May 28, Raven testers won their bid to unionize. They're currently undergoing bargaining efforts for a contract.

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Becoming America's #2 Seller of Electric Vehicles, Ford Passes Kia in November

Slashdot - Sat, 2022-12-03 20:46
CNBC reports: Ford Motor said Friday that it has achieved CEO Jim Farley's goal of becoming the second best-selling automaker of electric vehicles in the U.S. The Detroit automaker, citing third-party industry data, narrowly topped Hyundai/Kia to hit the goal.... Ford said its share of the electric vehicle segment was 7.4% through November, up from 5.7% a year earlier. Ford reported sales of 53,752 all-electric vehicles in the U.S. through November. Tesla, which does not break out domestic results, reported global deliveries of more than 908,000 EVs through the third quarter. Hyundai's sales do not include the Nexo hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. The company says with that vehicle, it slightly outsold Ford in battery- and fuel cell-powered vehicles of 54,043 units through November. The sales come after the South Korean automaker lost incentives that gave buyers of its EVs tax credits of up to $7,500 under the Biden administration's Inflation Reduction Act, which took effect in August. Vehicles such as Ford's EVs that are produced in North America still qualify for the credit. The article notes that General Motors — America's second-largest automaker — also "plans to significantly step up EV production in the coming years." Although so far, through the third quarter of this year, "it reported sales of less than 23,000 EVs."

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What Happened After Matt Taibbi Revealed Twitter's Deliberations on Hunter Biden Tweets?

Slashdot - Sat, 2022-12-03 19:46
"Twitter CEO Elon Musk turned to journalist Matt Taibbi on Friday to reveal the decision-making behind the platform's suppression of a 2020 article from the New York Post regarding Hunter Biden's laptop," reports Newsweek. "Taibbi later deleted a tweet showing [former Twitter CEO] Jack Dorsey's email address," adds the Verge, covering reactions to Taibbi's thread — and the controversial events that the tweets described: At the time, it was not clear if the materials were genuine, and Twitter decided to ban links to or images of the Post's story, citing its policy on the distribution of hacked materials. The move was controversial even then, primarily among Republicans but also with speech advocates worried about Twitter's decision to block a news outlet. While Musk might be hoping we see documents showing Twitter's (largely former) staffers nefariously deciding to act in a way that helped now-President Joe Biden, the communications mostly show a team debating how to finalize and communicate a difficult moderation decision.... Taibbi says, "there's no evidence — that I've seen — of any government involvement in the laptop story." Meanwhile, Taibbi's handling of the emails — which seem to have been handed to him at Musk's direction, though he only refers to "sources at Twitter" — appears to have exposed personal email addresses for two high-profile leaders: Dorsey and Representative Ro Khanna. An email address that belongs to someone Taibbi identifies as Dorsey is included in one message, in which Dorsey forwards an article Taibbi wrote criticizing Twitter's handling of the Post story. Meanwhile, Khanna confirmed to The Verge that his personal Gmail address is included in another email, in which Khanna reaches out to criticize Twitter's decision to restrict the Post's story as well. "As the congressman who represents Silicon Valley, I felt Twitter's actions were a violation of First Amendment principles so I raised those concerns," Khanna said in a statement to The Verge. "Our democracy can only thrive if we are open to a marketplace of ideas and engaging with people with whom we disagree." The story also revealed the names of multiple Twitter employees who were in communications about the moderation decision. While it's not out of line for journalists to report on the involvement of public-facing individuals or major decision makers, that doesn't describe all of the people named in the leaked communications.... "I don't get why naming names is necessary. Seems dangerous," Twitter co-founder Biz Stone wrote Friday in apparent reference to the leaks.... The Verge reached out to Taibbi for comment but didn't immediately hear back. Twitter, which had its communications team dismantled during layoffs last month, also did not respond to a request for comment. Wired adds: What did the world learn about Twitter's handling of the incident from the so-called Twitter Files? Not much. After all, Twitter reversed its decision two days later, and then-CEO Jack Dorsey said the moderation decision was "wrong." In other news, "Twitter will start showing view count for all tweets," Elon Musk announced Friday, "just as view count is shown for all videos." And he shared other insights into his plans for Twitter's future. "Freedom of speech doesn't mean freedom of reach. Negativity should & will get less reach than positivity."

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Categories: Linux fréttir

Computer Program For Particle Physics At Risk of Obsolescence

Slashdot - Sat, 2022-12-03 19:34
"Maintenance of the software that's used for the hardest physics calculations rests almost entirely with a retiree," reports Quanta magazine, saying the situation "reveals the problematic incentive structure of academia." Particle physicists use some of the longest equations in all of science. To look for signs of new elementary particles in collisions at the Large Hadron Collider, for example, they draw thousands of pictures called Feynman diagrams that depict possible collision outcomes, each one encoding a complicated formula that can be millions of terms long. Summing formulas like these with pen and paper is impossible; even adding them with computers is a challenge. The algebra rules we learn in school are fast enough for homework, but for particle physics they are woefully inefficient. Programs called computer algebra systems strive to handle these tasks. And if you want to solve the biggest equations in the world, for 33 years one program has stood out: FORM. Developed by the Dutch particle physicist Jos Vermaseren, FORM is a key part of the infrastructure of particle physics, necessary for the hardest calculations. However, as with surprisingly many essential pieces of digital infrastructure, FORM's maintenance rests largely on one person: Vermaseren himself. And at 73, Vermaseren has begun to step back from FORM development. Due to the incentive structure of academia, which prizes published papers, not software tools, no successor has emerged. If the situation does not change, particle physics may be forced to slow down dramatically... Without ongoing development, FORM will get less and less usable — only able to interact with older computer code, and not aligned with how today's students learn to program. Experienced users will stick with it, but younger researchers will adopt alternative computer algebra programs like Mathematica that are more user-friendly but orders of magnitude slower. In practice, many of these physicists will decide that certain problems are off-limits — too difficult to handle. So particle physics will stall, with only a few people able to work on the hardest calculations. In April, Vermaseren is holding a summit of FORM users to plan for the future. They will discuss how to keep FORM alive: how to maintain and extend it, and how to show a new generation of students just how much it can do. With luck, hard work and funding, they may preserve one of the most powerful tools in physics. Thanks to long-time Slashdot reader g01d4 for submitting the story.

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Categories: Linux fréttir

America's TSA Begins Quietly Testing Facial Recognition Tech at 16 Airports

Slashdot - Sat, 2022-12-03 18:34
America's Transportation Security Administration "has been quietly testing controversial facial recognition technology for passenger screening at 16 major domestic airports — from Washington to Los Angeles," reports the Washington Post. Their article adds that the agency "hopes to expand it across the United States as soon as next year." Kiosks with cameras are doing a job that used to be completed by humans: checking the photos on travelers' IDs to make sure they're not impostors.... You step up to the travel document checker kiosk and stick your ID into a machine. Then you look into a camera for up to five seconds and the machine compares your live photo to the one it sees on your ID. They call this a "one to one" verification system, comparing one face to one ID. Even though the software is judging if you're an impostor, there's still a human agent there to make the final call (at least for now). So how accurate is it? The TSA says it's been better at verifying IDs than the manual process. "This technology is definitely a security enhancement," said [TSA program manager Jason] Lim. "We are so far very satisfied with the performance of the machine's ability to conduct facial recognition accurately...." But the TSA hasn't actually released hard data about how often its system falsely identifies people, through incorrect positive or negative matches. Some of that might come to light next year when the TSA has to make its case to the Department of Homeland Security to convert airports all over the United States into facial recognition systems.... The TSA says it doesn't use facial recognition for law-enforcement purposes. It also says it minimizes holding on to our face data, so it isn't using the scans to build out a new national database of face IDs. "The scanning and match is made and immediately overwritten at the Travel Document Checker podium. We keep neither the live photo nor the photo of the ID," said Lim. But the TSA did acknowledge there are cases in which it holds on to the data for up to 24 months so its science and technology office can evaluate the system's effectiveness.... "None of this facial recognition technology is mandated," said Lim. "Those who do not feel comfortable will still have to present their ID — but they can tell the officer that they do not want their photo taken, and the officer will turn off the live camera." There are also supposed to be signs around informing you of your rights. Here's the TSA's web page about the program. Thanks to long-time Slashdot reader SonicSpike for sharing the article.

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