mikejuk writes about a neat use of machine learning. From the article: "Using reinforcement learning to make a computer paint like an oriental Sumi-e artist isn't just a matter of shouting 'well done' — and yet, when you look at the results, that's what you want to do. ... Three researchers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology have attempted to teach a computer how to do it [paint] using standard reinforcement learning. When the program used the brush to create a smooth stroke, it was rewarded. After it had learned to use the brush, it was set to rendering some photos and the results look very good."
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NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "In the new wave of bittorrent downloading cases, the plaintiffs' lawyers like to lump a number of 'John Does' together in the same case in order to avoid filing fees ($350 a pop). Their excuse for 'joinder' is the allegation that the defendants 'interacted' with each other by reason of the fact that their torrents may have emanated from the same 'swarm.' In Malibu Media v. Does 1-5, when John Doe #4 indicated his intention to move for severance, the Court asked the lawyers to address the 'swarm' issue in their papers. So when John Doe #4 filed his or her motion to quash, sever, and dismiss, he filed a detailed memorandum of law (PDF) analyzing the 'swarm' theory in detail. What do you think?"
Lasrick writes "Yun Zhou writes about the end result of China's long reconsideration of nuclear power safety in the wake of Fukushima. Important details about the decision to adopt designs created in China, and incorporate Gen III in those designs." The short version is that they won't be building more Generation II reactors, opting instead to only build Generation III reactors (which have passive safety systems). Instead of relying entirely on the AP1000, China is speeding up the design of their own Generation III reactors. Plans are still in place for 70GW by 2020, but that date will likely slip due to regulatory delays and the temporary construction moratorium.
sl4shd0rk writes "A new Mac OS X exploit was discovered Friday morning by Kaspersky Labs which propogates through a zipfile attachment. The attachment tricks the Mac user into installing a variant of the MaControl backdoor via point-and-grunt. Embedded in the virus is an encrypted IP address belonging to a server in China which is believed to be a C+C server. Once installed, the virus opens a backdoor allowing the attacker on the C+C server to run commands on the compromised machine. Shortly after Kaspersky's announcement, AlienVault Labs claims to have found a similar version of the Mac malware which infects Windows machines. The Windows version appears to be a variant of the Gh0st RAT malware used last month in targeted attacks against Central Tibetan Administration. Both viruses are suspected of being tools in a campaign to attack Uyghur Activists."
thomst writes "Rob Coppinger of Space.com reports that UK-based private company Excalibur Almaz plans to offer commercial lunar-orbital tourist missions based on recycled Soviet-era Soyuz vehicle and Salyut space stations, using Hall Effect thrusters to power the ensemble from Earth orbit to the Moon and back. The company estimates ticket prices at $150 million per seat (with a 50% profit margin), and expects to sell about 30 of them. Excalibur Almaz has other big plans, too, including ISS crew transport, Lagrange Point scientific missions, and Lunar surface payload deliveries. It expects to launch its first tourist trip to the Moon in 2014."
darthcamaro writes "You don't really buy an open source company — since the tech is all open. But then again, Red Hat 'buys' open source companies all the time, they just bought one this week. So when does it makes sense for Red Hat to buy a company versus just building it on their own? Apparently, it all comes down to community. 'When you buy an open source company, if the people aren't coming and passionate about staying then you spend a lot of money for what? Because you don't get a lot of intellectual property,' Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst said."
Stirling Newberry writes "Luciano Iess and team have hypothesized that Titan joins Earth, Europa, and Ganymede as ocean worlds. They measured the size of the tidal bulges and found that the moon is likely not solid (abstract). Team member Jonathan Lunine points out that Titan's methane atmosphere is not stable, so it needs some source, perhaps from outgassing. On Earth, water means life, and in the future, ice covered ocean worlds are targets for human colonization. As the late Arthur C. Clarke observed, water is the most precious substance in the universe to humans."
MojoKid writes "That didn't take long. HP has publicly confirmed that it has cancelled plans to bring a Windows RT (aka Windows on ARM) tablet to market in time for the Windows 8 debut. The company has decided to focus on its x86 customer base instead. HP spokesperson Marlene Somsak has said, 'The decision was influenced by input from our customers. The robust and established ecosystem of x86 applications provides the best customer experience at this time and in the immediate future.' Sources at HP have confirmed that Microsoft's Surface unveil last week was a huge factor in this decision. HP isn't willing to go head to head with Microsoft when it comes to launching new, unproven products. Abandoning x86 is impossible, but dropping Windows ARM is a way for the computer manufacturer to signal its supreme displeasure without unduly risking market share. It also increases the burden on Surface itself. If other OEMs follow suit, MS could find itself as the only vendor selling ARM-based W8 tablets."
zacharye writes "Friday marks five years since the world first got its hands on a smartphone that would turn the industry on its head. In five short years, Apple went from the ground floor to being the most profitable company in the smartphone business by a staggering margin. Apple and Samsung — two companies that weren't even on the smartphone industry's map a few years ago — are now the only two major global vendors making money, and the split was estimated at 80/20 in Apple's favor last quarter. That's 80% of smartphone industry profits in less than five years with just five different smartphone models under its belt during that span."
schwit1 writes "Delaware became the first state to enter the realm of legal online casino gambling Thursday with the governor's approval of legislation that allows for full-service betting websites offering slots play and games like roulette, poker and blackjack. Federal law limits online gambling to players within the state's borders, which will be verified using geolocation software. The state hopes to launch online gambling in 2013 and intends to make betting available on a variety of digital devices including smart phones and tablets."
An anonymous reader writes "I'm part of a team of six people developing applications for mobile devices (Android & iOS). In our company, which consists of many teams responsible for 'classic' software development, business intelligence, virtualization, hardware, etc., we are kind of a small startup because we were the first to use agile methods like Scrum and we are open to new technologies and methods. Also, our team is pretty young — I'm the oldest at 30 years of age. We would like to further raise productivity and motivation, so we're currently collecting ideas about what makes a good developer/hacker culture, and how it can be improved in our team/company. These can be things we do ourselves, or suggestions we pass on to management. I would like to know: what, in your opinion, defines good, modern developer culture? What does developer culture consists of? For example, is it: clearly defined career opportunities? A geeky office? Benefits like trips to extraordinary conferences? Please let me know what you think."
Warmlight writes "Rice University researchers have created a type of lithium-ion battery that can be spray-painted onto most surfaces. 'Their batteries, outlined in Scientific Reports (abstract), are made up of five separate layers, each with its own recipe — together measuring just 0.5mm thick. To demonstrate the technique, the team painted batteries onto steel, glass, ceramic tile and even a beer stein.' What do you think this will do for future form-factors? Maybe a form-fitting PipBoy-style device that doesn't weigh 30lbs?"
jfruh writes "The cashless future is one of those concepts that always seems to be just around the corner, but never quite gets here. There's been a lot of hype around Sweden going almost cashless, but most transactions there use easily traceable credit and debit cards. Bitcoin offers anonymity, but isn't backed by any government and has seen high-profile hacks and collapses in value. Could an experiment called MintChip brewing in Canada finally take us to cashless nirvana?"
An anonymous reader writes "Jeff Atwood at Coding Horror has a post about the awfulness of PHP — or, rather, a post about posts about the awfulness of PHP. He points out that PHP has been the whipping boy for the developer community for years, and while everybody seems happy to complain about it, nobody seems willing to do anything about it. He writes, 'From my perspective, the point of all these "PHP is broken" rants is not just to complain, but to help educate and potentially warn off new coders starting new codebases. Some fine, even historic work has been done in PHP despite the madness, unquestionably. But now we need to work together to fix what is broken. The best way to fix the PHP problem at this point is to make the alternatives so outstanding that the choice of the better hammer becomes obvious.'"
Myrv writes "Reports have started popping up that Cisco is pushing out and automatically (without permission) installing their new Cloud Connect firmware on consumer routers. The new firmware removes the user's ability to login and administer the router locally. You now must configure the router using Cisco's Cloud connect service. If that wasn't bad enough, the fine print for this new service allows Cisco to track your complete internet history. Currently, it appears the only way to disable the Cloud Connect service is to unplug your router from the internet."