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06 Nov 08:44

NANOWAR OF STEEL: "Очакваме да ни поканите за български представител за "Евровизия"

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   Онези от вас, които са присъствали на първия концерт на NANOWAR OF STEEL в България на 29 май 2007 ...
24 Sep 07:17

German court rules hangovers are an 'illness'

Judges in Frankfurt said a company selling anti-hangover drinks was making illegal health claims.
19 Sep 09:23

Huge explosion at Turkish chemical factory

A blast propelled a metal tank into the air during a fire at a facility in Istanbul.
19 Sep 08:15

Navy Confirms Existence of UFOs Seen In Leaked Footage

by BeauHD
A Navy official has confirmed that recently released videos of unidentified flying objects are real, but that the footage was not authorized to be released to the public in the first place. From a report: Joseph Gradisher, the spokesman for the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Warfare, confirmed to TIME that three widely-shared videos captured "Unidentified Aerial Phenomena." Gradisher initially confirmed this in a statement to "The Black Vault" a website dedicated to declassified government documents. "The Navy designates the objects contained in these videos as unidentified aerial phenomena," Gradisher told the site. He tells TIME that he was "surprised" by the press coverage surrounding his statement to the site, particularly around his classification of the incursions as "unidentifiable," but says that he hopes that leads to UAP's being "de-stigmatized." "The reason why I'm talking about it is to drive home the seriousness of this issue," Gradisher says. "The more I talk, the more our aviators and all services are more willing to come forward." Gradisher would not speculate as to what the unidentified objects seen in the videos were, but did say they are usually proved to be mundane objects like drones -- not alien spacecraft. "The frequency of incursions have increased since the advents of drones and quadcopters," he says. The three videos of UFOs were published by the New York Times and "To the Stars Academy of Arts and Science," a self-described "public benefit corporation" co-founded by Tom DeLonge, best known as the vocalist and guitarist for the rock band, Blink-182.

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18 Sep 09:49

Why Africa should 'stop eating one of its favourite foods'

Zambia's vice-president calls for a radical change in the eating habits of the nation.
12 Sep 05:02

A Famous Argument Against Free Will Has Been Debunked

by msmash
For decades, a landmark brain study fed speculation about whether we control our own actions. It seems to have made a classic mistake. From a report: The death of free will began with thousands of finger taps. In 1964, two German scientists monitored the electrical activity of a dozen people's brains. Each day for several months, volunteers came into the scientists' lab at the University of Freiburg to get wires fixed to their scalp from a showerhead-like contraption overhead. The participants sat in a chair, tucked neatly in a metal tollbooth, with only one task: to flex a finger on their right hand at whatever irregular intervals pleased them, over and over, up to 500 times a visit. The purpose of this experiment was to search for signals in the participants' brains that preceded each finger tap. At the time, researchers knew how to measure brain activity that occurred in response to events out in the world -- when a person hears a song, for instance, or looks at a photograph -- but no one had figured out how to isolate the signs of someone's brain actually initiating an action The experiment's results came in squiggly, dotted lines, a representation of changing brain waves. In the milliseconds leading up to the finger taps, the lines showed an almost undetectably faint uptick: a wave that rose for about a second, like a drumroll of firing neurons, then ended in an abrupt crash. This flurry of neuronal activity, which the scientists called the Bereitschaftspotential, or readiness potential, was like a gift of infinitesimal time travel. For the first time, they could see the brain readying itself to create a voluntary movement. This momentous discovery was the beginning of a lot of trouble in neuroscience. Twenty years later, the American physiologist Benjamin Libet used the Bereitschaftspotential to make the case not only that the brain shows signs of a decision before a person acts, but that, incredibly, the brain's wheels start turning before the person even consciously intends to do something. Suddenly, people's choices -- even a basic finger tap -- appeared to be determined by something outside of their own perceived volition.

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12 Sep 04:24

Two Mathematicians Solve Old Math Riddle, Possibly the Meaning of Life

by BeauHD
pgmrdlm shares a report from Live Science: In Douglas Adams' sci-fi series "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy," a pair of programmers task the galaxy's largest supercomputer with answering the ultimate question of the meaning of life, the universe and everything. After 7.5 million years of processing, the computer reaches an answer: 42. Only then do the programmers realize that nobody knew the question the program was meant to answer. Now, in this week's most satisfying example of life reflecting art, a pair of mathematicians have used a global network of 500,000 computers to solve a centuries-old math puzzle that just happens to involve that most crucial number: 42. The question, which goes back to at least 1955 and may have been pondered by Greek thinkers as early as the third century AD, asks, "How can you express every number between 1 and 100 as the sum of three cubes?" Or, put algebraically, how do you solve x^3 + y^3 + z^3 = k, where k equals any whole number from 1 to 100? This deceptively simple stumper is known as a Diophantine equation, named for the ancient mathematician Diophantus of Alexandria, who proposed a similar set of problems about 1,800 years ago. Modern mathematicians who revisited the puzzle in the 1950s quickly found solutions when k equals many of the smaller numbers, but a few particularly stubborn integers soon emerged. The two trickiest numbers, which still had outstanding solutions by the beginning of 2019, were 33 and -- you guessed it -- 42. Using a computer algorithm to look for solutions to the Diophantine equation with x, y and z values that included every number between positive and negative 99 quadrillion, mathematician Andrew Booker, of the University of Bristol in England, found the solution to 33 after several weeks of computing time. Since his search turned up no solutions for 42, Booker enlisted the help of Massachusetts Institute of Technology mathematician Andrew Sutherland, who helped him book some time with a worldwide computer network called Charity Engine. "Using this crowdsourced supercomputer and 1 million hours of processing time, Booker and Sutherland finally found an answer to the Diophantine equation where k equals 42," reports Live Science. The answer: (-80538738812075974)^3 + (80435758145817515)^3 + (12602123297335631)^3 = 42.

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12 Sep 04:21

No Bones About It: People Recognize Objects By Visualizing Their 'Skeletons'

by BeauHD
An anonymous reader shares a report from Scientific American: Humans effortlessly know that a tree is a tree and a dog is a dog no matter the size, color or angle at which they're viewed. In fact, identifying such visual elements is one of the earliest tasks children learn. But researchers have struggled to determine how the brain does this simple evaluation. As deep-learning systems have come to master this ability, scientists have started to ask whether computers analyze data -- and particularly images -- similarly to the human brain. "The way that the human mind, the human visual system, understands shape is a mystery that has baffled people for many generations, partly because it is so intuitive and yet it's very difficult to program" says Jacob Feldman, a psychology professor at Rutgers University. A paper published in Scientific Reports in June comparing various object recognition models came to the conclusion that people do not evaluate an object like a computer processing pixels, but based on an imagined internal skeleton. In the study, researchers from Emory University, led by associate professor of psychology Stella Lourenco, wanted to know if people judged object similarity based on the objects' skeletons -- an invisible axis below the surface that runs through the middle of the object's shape. The scientists generated 150 unique three-dimensional shapes built around 30 different skeletons and asked participants to determine whether or not two of the objects were the same. Sure enough, the more similar the skeletons were, the more likely participants were to label the objects as the same. The researchers also compared how well other models, such as neural networks (artificial intelligence-based systems) and pixel-based evaluations of the objects, predicted people's decisions. While the other models matched performance on the task relatively well, the skeletal model always won. On the Rumsfeld Epistemological Scale, AI programers trying to duplicate the functions of the human mind are still dealing with some high-level known-unknowns, and maybe even a few unknown-unknowns.

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05 Sep 15:01

La Cidrerie

by David

When I heard about La Cidrerie, I knew I wanted to go there. I like beer, but I don’t have the same capacity for it as locals do; young people in Paris seem to have no trouble polishing off those pint-plus giant glasses of beer that have become ubiquitous on café tables. Cider hasn’t gotten the same attention that beer, wine, and other French beverages have gotten, but that’s changing.

Benoît Marinos is changing that in Paris with La Cidrerie. And you won’t find a better selection of French sparkling ciders anywhere else in Paris, or France. Or maybe the world.

Continue Reading La Cidrerie...

05 Sep 10:55

Albert Einstein

"If I had only known, I would have been a locksmith."
17 Aug 17:47

Rita Rudner

"I was going to have cosmetic surgery until I noticed that the doctor's office was full of portraits by Picasso."
16 Aug 14:03

Strange Forest 'Superorganism' Is Keeping a New Zealand Vampire Tree Alive

by BeauHD
The Grim Reefer shares a report from Live Science: Once a mighty kauri tree -- a species of conifer that can grow up to 165 feet (50 meters) tall -- the low, leafless stump looks like it should be long dead. But, as a new study published today in the journal iScience reminds us, looks are only surface-deep. Below the soil, the study authors wrote, the stump is part of a forest "superorganism" -- a network of intertwined roots sharing resources across a community that could include dozens or hundreds of trees. By grafting its roots onto its neighbors' roots, the kauri stump feeds at night on water and nutrients that other trees have collected during the day, staying alive thanks to their hard work. Using several sensors to measure the movement of water and sap (which contains important nutrients) through the three trees, the team saw a curious pattern: the stump and its neighbors seemed to be drinking up water at exact opposite times. During the day, when the vibrant neighbor trees were busy transporting water up their roots and into their leaves, the stump sat dormant. At night, when the neighbors settled down, the stump circulated water through what was left of its body. The trees, it seemed, were taking turns -- serving as separate pumps in a single hydraulic network. So, why add a near-dead tree to your underground nutrient highway? While the stump no longer has any leaves, researchers wrote, it's possible that its roots still have value as a bridge to other vibrant, photosynthesizing trees elsewhere in the forest. It's also possible that the stump joined roots with its neighbors a long time ago, before it was, well, a stump. Since nutrients still flow through the stump's roots and into the rest of the network, the neighboring trees may never have noticed its loss of greenery.

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16 Aug 12:23

Decades-Old Computer Science 'Boolean Sensitivity' Conjecture Solved in Two Pages

by EditorDavid
Long-time Slashdot reader Faizdog writes: The "sensitivity" conjecture stumped many top computer scientists, yet the new proof is so simple that one researcher summed it up in a single tweet. "This conjecture has stood as one of the most frustrating and embarrassing open problems in all of combinatorics and theoretical computer science," wrote Scott Aaronson of the University of Texas, Austin, in a blog post. "The list of people who tried to solve it and failed is like a who's who of discrete math and theoretical computer science," he added in an email. The conjecture concerns Boolean functions, rules for transforming a string of input bits (0s and 1s) into a single output bit. One such rule is to output a 1 provided any of the input bits is 1, and a 0 otherwise; another rule is to output a 0 if the string has an even number of 1s, and a 1 otherwise. Every computer circuit is some combination of Boolean functions, making them "the bricks and mortar of whatever you're doing in computer science," said Rocco Servedio of Columbia University. "People wrote long, complicated papers trying to make the tiniest progress," said Ryan O'Donnell of Carnegie Mellon University. Now Hao Huang, a mathematician at Emory University, has proved the sensitivity conjecture with an ingenious but elementary two-page argument about the combinatorics of points on cubes. "It is just beautiful, like a precious pearl," wrote Claire Mathieu, of the French National Center for Scientific Research, during a Skype interview. Aaronson and O'Donnell both called Huang's paper the "book" proof of the sensitivity conjecture, referring to Paul Erds' notion of a celestial book in which God writes the perfect proof of every theorem. "I find it hard to imagine that even God knows how to prove the Sensitivity Conjecture in any simpler way than this," Aaronson wrote.

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13 Aug 15:41

Physicists Overturn a 100-Year-Old Assumption On How Brain Cells Work

by BeauHD
An anonymous reader quotes a report from ScienceAlert: A study published in 2017 has overturned a 100-year-old assumption on what exactly makes a neuron "fire," posing new mechanisms behind certain neurological disorders. To understand why this is important, we need to go back to 1907 when a French neuroscientist named Louis Lapicque proposed a model to describe how the voltage of a nerve cell's membrane increases as a current is applied. Once reaching a certain threshold, the neuron reacts with a spike of activity, after which the membrane's voltage resets. What this means is a neuron won't send a message unless it collects a strong enough signal. Lapique's equations weren't the last word on the matter, not by far. But the basic principle of his integrate-and-fire model has remained relatively unchallenged in subsequent descriptions, today forming the foundation of most neuronal computational schemes. According to the researchers, the lengthy history of the idea has meant few have bothered to question whether it's accurate. The experiments approached the question from two angles -- one exploring the nature of the activity spike based on exactly where the current was applied to a neuron, the other looking at the effect multiple inputs had on a nerve's firing. Their results suggest the direction of a received signal can make all the difference in how a neuron responds. A weak signal from the left arriving with a weak signal from the right won't combine to build a voltage that kicks off a spike of activity. But a single strong signal from a particular direction can result in a message. This potentially new way of describing what's known as spatial summation could lead to a novel method of categorizing neurons, one that sorts them based on how they compute incoming signals or how fine their resolution is, based on a particular direction. Better yet, it could even lead to discoveries that explain certain neurological disorders.

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13 Aug 15:11

Ebola Is Now Curable

by BeauHD
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Wired: Amid unrelenting chaos and violence, scientists and doctors in the Democratic Republic of Congo have been running a clinical trial of new drugs to try to combat a year-long Ebola outbreak. On Monday, the trial's cosponsors at the World Health Organization and the National Institutes of Health announced that two of the experimental treatments appear to dramatically boost survival rates. Starting last November, patients in four treatment centers in the country's east, where the outbreak is at its worst, were randomly assigned to receive one of four investigational therapies -- either an antiviral drug called remdesivir or one of three drugs that use monoclonal antibodies. Scientists concocted these big, Y-shaped proteins to recognize the specific shapes of invading bacteria and viruses and then recruit immune cells to attack those pathogens. One of these, a drug called ZMapp, is currently considered the standard of care during Ebola outbreaks. It had been tested and used during the devastating Ebola epidemic in West Africa in 2014, and the goal was to see if those other drugs could outperform it. But preliminary data from the first 681 patients (out of a planned 725) showed such strong results that the trial has now been stopped. Patients receiving Zmapp in the four trial centers experienced an overall mortality rate of 49 percent, according to Anthony Fauci, director of the NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. (Mortality rates are in excess of 75 percent for infected individuals who don't seek any form of treatment.) The monoclonal antibody cocktail produced by a company called Regeneron Pharmaceuticals had the biggest impact on lowering death rates, down to 29 percent, while NIAID's monoclonal antibody, called mAb114, had a mortality rate of 34 percent. The results were most striking for patients who received treatments soon after becoming sick, when their viral loads were still low -- death rates dropped to 11 percent with mAb114 and just 6 percent with Regeneron's drug, compared with 24 percent with ZMapp and 33 percent with Remdesivir.

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09 Aug 14:31

Microsoft's MSDN Magazine is Ending Its Run After More Than Three Decades

by msmash
After more than three decades of publishing editorial content and providing technical guidance to the Microsoft developer community, MSDN Magazine will publish its last issue in November. From a report: Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) was launched in 1992 to manage the relationship of the company with the developer ecosystem. MSDN Magazine originally started as two separate magazines -- Microsoft Systems Journal (MSJ) and Microsoft Internet Developer (MIND) -- which consolidated into MSDN Magazine in March 2000. The monthly magazine is available as a print magazine in the United States and online in several languages. While the March 2000 issue was entirely devoted to Windows, the MSDN Magazine has gone through its evolution over the years as Microsoft products and services expanded exponentially.

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06 Aug 14:57

London pub uses AI to serve drinks in the right order

by Martin)
London pub uses AI to serve drinks in the right order

Justice at last

09 Jul 11:51

Researchers Use CRISPR to Remove HIV From Mice

by George Dvorsky

An interdisciplinary team of scientists is claiming to have eliminated the HIV virus from the genomes of mice by combining the CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing tool with an experimental new drug. It’s a promising development in the battle against HIV and AIDS, but more work is required before clinical trials can begin.


08 Jul 18:33

Bill Murray

"The best way to teach your kids about taxes is by eating 30% of their ice cream."
05 Jul 12:12

Blizzard Responds To Accusations Of Censorship In Hearthstone's Latest Patch

by Joshua Calixto on Kotaku, shared by Tom McKay to Gizmodo

In the lead-up to Hearthstone’s upcoming “Saviors of Uldum” expansion, Blizzard Entertainment released a patch yesterday that ran a couple housekeeping alterations to make way for the new content. The update removed some older cards from the game’s Standard mode, added some new cards to the game’s Classic set, and in…


29 Jun 12:25

Why the Loudest and Coolest Buses in the World Are in Nairobi

by Eddie Costas on Jalopnik, shared by Andrew Couts to Gizmodo

You can’t think of Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, without thinking of Matatus—colorful, privately-owned buses that about 70 percent of Nairobi citizens rely on to get around, as their speakers blast music so loud you can feel it in your stomach.


07 Jun 13:36

Japan’s labour minister says high heels at work are 'necessary'

Japanese minister Takumi Nemoto says is it "necessary" for women to wear high heels at work.
27 May 18:29

Queen Victoria as you've never seen her before

High-quality film of Queen Victoria on her last trip to Ireland has been rediscovered.
21 May 11:39

Jamie Oliver restaurant chain collapse costs 1,000 jobs

The UK celebrity chef says he is "devastated" as his restaurant group goes into administration.
21 May 09:17

Microsoft Launches Decentralized Identity Tool on Bitcoin Blockchain

by msmash
Microsoft is launching the first decentralized infrastructure implementation by a major tech company that is built directly on the bitcoin blockchain. From a report: The open source project, called Ion, deals with the underlying mechanics of how networks talk to each other. For example, if you log onto Airbnb using Facebook, a protocol deals with the software that sends the personal information from your social profile to that external service provider. In this case, Ion handles the decentralized identifiers, which control the ability to prove you own the keys to this data. Christopher Allen, a crypto veteran and the co-founder of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) working group for decentralized identity (DID) solutions, told CoinDesk that Microsoft's move could impact the entire tech industry. "A lot of enterprise infrastructures use Microsoft products," Allen said. "So if they integrate this into any of their infrastructure products, they'll have access to DID." Indeed, Yorke Rhodes, a program manager on Microsoft's blockchain engineering team, told CoinDesk that Microsoft's team has been working for a year on a key signing and validation software that relies on public networks, like bitcoin or ethereum, yet can handle far greater throughput than the underlying blockchain itself.

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21 May 09:14

Facebook Shuts Down An Israeli Firm's Effort To Influence Politics In West Africa

by BeauHD
Facebook today said it detected dozens of Facebook accounts that were engaging in election interference and other forms of public manipulation via news and social media, directed primarily at West African countries. What's especially noteworthy about this announcement is the source. Israeli commercial entity Archimedes Group was behind the behavior. The Verge reports: The goal ostensibly was to have some type of effect on local elections and the political atmosphere, although Facebook says it can't divine the exact intentions of the group and there is no indication that it was in any way linked to the Israeli government. Although it was centered on West African countries like Nigeria, Senegal, Togo, and Niger, Facebook also detected activity aimed at users in Angola, Tunisia, and parts of Southeast Asia and South America. As a result, Facebook says it's shut down 65 Facebook accounts, 161 pages, 23 groups, and 12 events. It also detected and shut down four Instagram accounts related to the effort. It's also banned Archimedes Group and all of its subsidiaries, and Facebook sent a cease and desist letter to the company. On its website, Archimedes Group's tagline is, "Winning elections worldwide." It advertises itself as a kind of consultant for social media marketing related to elections, writing, "When approaching a client's challenge, we address all possible facets relating to it. We then formulate a concise yet comprehensive solution that will use every tool and take every advantage available in order to change reality according to our client's wishes." In a blog post, Facebook's head of cybersecurity policy, Nathaniel Gleicher, wrote: "The people behind this network used fake accounts to run Pages, disseminate their content and artificially increase engagement. They also represented themselves as locals, including local news organizations, and published allegedly leaked information about politicians. The Page administrators and account owners frequently posted about political news, including topics like elections in various countries, candidate views and criticism of political opponents."

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16 May 14:46

EU fines banks €1bn for currency rigging

The European Commission fines five banks a total of €1.07bn for forming cartels to rig currency trading.
14 May 09:58

New Analysis of Apollo-Era Moonquakes Shows the Moon Could Be Tectonically Active

by Ryan F. Mandelbaum

Astronauts and Jeff Bezos-types hoping to set up shop on the Moon might have another challenge to worry about: moonquakes caused by tectonic activity.


03 May 07:59

Actor Peter Mayhew, Who Portrayed Chewbacca the Wookiee in the "Star Wars" Films, Has Died

by msmash
"Star Wars" actor Peter Mayhew, who played Chewbacca in the original trilogy, died on Tuesday, his family said today. He was 74. He died at his North Texas home surrounded by his family. From a report: He was discovered by producer Charles H. Schneer while working as a hospital attendant in London, and cast in Ray Harryhausen's "Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger." The next year, he was cast as Chewbacca, the 200-year-old Wookiee. Mayhew went on to appear in "The Empire Strikes Back," "Return of the Jedi," "Revenge of the Sith," "The Force Awakens" and "The Star Wars Holiday Special." He was active on the "Star Wars" convention circuit and wrote two books, "Growing Up Giant" and "My Favorite Giant." His height was not due to gigantism, but he measured 7 feet 3 inches at his highest. George Lucas originally had his eye on bodybuilder David Prowse, but Prowse decided to play Darth Vader instead and Lucas went with the even taller Mayhew.

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03 May 07:55

Iggy Pop

"Nihilism is best done by professionals."