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20 Oct 14:36

Blog: VR music tips for the game composer

Strategies for implementing music in VR projects were offered during the Virtual Reality Developers Conference this year, so let's look at some of the best tips. ...

30 Sep 15:44

To better grok how all 37 trillion human cells work, we need new tools

by Cyrus Farivar

At Ars Technica Live, Aaron Streets discussed the ways he's using microfluidics to advance cellular biology. (video link)

In recent decades, one of the largest-scale government-funded science research projects was the Human Genome Project, an effort to map the entire genetic blueprint of our species.

Since 2016, a new version of that herculean effort is underway, known as the Human Cell Atlas.

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26 Apr 12:53

Feds: someone gave us the passcode in NY drug case, so we don’t need Apple

by Cyrus Farivar

(credit: Beryl_snw)

In a short letter filed Friday evening, US federal prosecutors wrote to a Brooklyn judge to say that they no longer needed Apple’s help in accessing the data on a seized iPhone 5S running iOS 7 associated with a drug case.

In the letter, United States Attorney Robert Capers wrote:

The government respectfully submits this letter to update the Court and the parties. Yesterday evening, an individual provided the passcode to the iPhone at issue in this case. Late last night, the government used that passcode by hand and gained access to the iPhone. Accordingly, the government no longer needs Apple’s assistance to unlock the iPhone, and withdraws its application.

This case pre-dates the debacle that played out earlier this year in San Bernardino, but relied on many of the same legal arguments. Here, in October 2015, the government asked the court to grant it an order that would have forced Apple to assist the unlocking of a phone belonging to Jun Feng, a man who eventually pleaded guilty to drug charges. Unlike the case in California however, Apple does have the ability to extract data on pre-iOS 8 devices with minimal difficulty. Feng has claimed that he forgot the passcode to this particular iPhone. According to the Wall Street Journal, it was Feng himself who recently supplied the passcode to investigators.

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28 Dec 15:24

Pouring a Thermos of Hot Tea at -40°C Near the Arctic Circle

by Christopher Jobson


Ontario-based photographer Michael Davies timed this impressive shot of his friend Markus hurling a thermos of hot tea through the air yesterday in -40°C weather. At such frigid temperatures water freezes instantly to form a dramatic plume of ice. For the last decade Davies has worked as a photographer in the fly-in community of Pangnirtung in Canada’s High Arctic, only 20km south of the Arctic Circle, a place that sees about two hours of sunlight each day during the winter. He shares via email that almost nothing was left to chance in creating the photo, as so many things had to be perfectly timed:

Around 1pm I jumped on my skidoo along with my friend Markus and we drove 45 minutes to the top of a nearby mountain where the light (which is almost always pink near the solstice) would hit the hills. Prepared with multiple thermoses filled with tea, we began tossing the water and shooting. Nothing of this shot was to chance, I followed the temperature, watched for calm wind, and planned the shot and set it up. Even the sun in the middle of the spray was something I was hoping for, even though it’s impossible to control.

You can see more of Davies’ most recent photography over on Flickr.


28 May 12:30

Google's experimental 3D-scanning tablet goes on public sale for $512

by Mat Smith
If you're fascinated (or baffled) by Google's spatially aware, three-dimensionally scanning Project Tango tablet, you can now buy and try one yourself. The in-development tablet is now (still?) $512, invite-free at the Google Store. While the device ...
09 Apr 12:37

IBM Tests Mobile Computing Pioneer’s Controversial Brain Algorithms

IBM is testing a contentious idea for making computers more intelligent by trying to copy mechanisms from the human brain.

For more than a decade Jeff Hawkins, founder of mobile computing company Palm, has dedicated his time and fortune to a theory meant to explain the workings of the human brain, and provide a blueprint for a powerful new kind of artificial intelligence software. But Hawkins’s company, Numenta, has made little impact on the tech industry, even as machine learning has become central to companies such as Google.