VnutZ's Articles, Page 2 of 79

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30 Mar 16
Newspaper

Microbots Pull Car

Researchers at Stanford University have leveraged mimicry to empower small robots. The end result of their work was a small team of six microbots weighing no more 3.5 ounces (together) capable of moving a 3900 pound car. It was done by studying the incredible friction forces used by geckos, applying them to the microbots, and then carefully synchronizing tiny movements.

28 Mar 16
Newspaper

Education vs Money

In a somewhat appropriate posting given the initial voting trend on the Income Inequality Poll, some research out of the UK is showing that higher education does not necessarily make one richer. Dr. Matt Dickson and collaborator Dr. Franz Buscha found that an additional year of education resulted in an earnings loss of £45,000 (~ $64K) over a 35 year span. Essentially, it takes a higher educated individual into their 30s to “catch up” against a peer with more experience. Even then, by the time they are in the mid-30s, despite achieving experience parity, the wage differentials were not significant.

25 Mar 16
Newspaper

Microsoft's Racist AI

Oh humanity and its inventions. facepalm

Microsoft recently created Taylor, an artificially intelligent chatbot designed to interact with people on Twitter with roughly the language of a contemporary teenager. The project did not go so well and was turned off in about a day. Why? Through it’s use of Twitter as a training platform, “Tay” quickly began spewing racist comments and promoting Hitler. Microsoft’s experiment may have been a public relations disaster offers a lot to social sciences as a reflection of who we are. Basically, the neural network was trained by the type of content it found on Twitter through the weighted relationships it found between Q&A associations and responses in addition to the direct feedback it received when users interacted with Tay directly.

24 Mar 16
Newspaper

Flash Crash Trader Faces Extradition

On 6 May 2010, the Flash Crash wiped out nearly $1 trillion in stock mark assets in less than a day. Unfortunately, OmniNerd ScottB did nothing to stop it despite his clairvoyance … jerk. In a series of contrived trades (a practice that when not abused is known in the industry as Market Making), stock trader Navinder Singh Sarao created and cancelled enormous trades designed to stimulate High Frequency Trading (HFT) systems to falsely drive particular prices so that he could make a predicted sweep of the system. After more than half a decade, the United States has put together a case and is requesting extradition from the United Kingdom where Sarao would face charges and potential penalties to include 300 years of prison.

24 Mar 16
Newspaper

RedHat Reaches $2B

OmniNerd was on course to achieve $2B in revenue somewhere around FY3062 after the Great Purge eliminated most of the competition. Before OmniNerd could achieve such a feat, RedHat managed to break the $2 billion barrier. There are a few notable points about RedHat’s accomplishment. The first being the company’s success constructing a ecosystem of certifications, standards, and system support using a free, open source operating system as their business model. The second, it was only four years ago that RedHat broke the $1B barrier showing this achievement is no fluke and continuing to build rapidly.

18 Feb 16
Newspaper

5D Femtosecond Laser Writing

Derek Zoolander might wonder how anybody is supposed to read the data unless they’re ant sized. Researchers developed a technique for storing data in quartz that offers to provide near permanent, ageless retention and incredible storage capacity. 5D refers to their process of using three dimensional structure within the quartz crystal combined with the size and orientation of quantized photon which are all permanently etched with lasers. Current technology allows storing 360TB on a single inch crystal disc that can handle 1000 degrees Celsius.

18 Feb 16
Newspaper

Tech Companies Push Back on FBI

In the not too distant past, Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik went on a killing spree in San Bernadino in what is characterized as a domestic terror event fueled by radicalization. The FBI believes the couple was in contact with handlers long before the shooting took place but have been stymied by the encryption on an Apple iPhone. Although otherwise cooperating on a technical basis with the FBI, a judge ordered Apple to assist the investigation by breaking into the phone. To this, Apple CEO Tim Cook published an open letter defying the order to effectively backdoor their products, even for government one off cases, as a slippery slope towards broader abuse. Shortly after, Google has joined Apple in a combined front against the government’s ability to break into their product security.

18 Feb 16
Newspaper

Mathematics to Dating

For all the OmniNerds that are already happily settled down, this news is not for you. Otherwise, mathematicians have devised the magic ratio at which a person should date around and reject people before settling down. In a nutshell, a person should reject the first 37% of their potential dating pool (but still date them for comparison metrics). After the brutal round of rejecting that 37% are complete, the person should subsequently settle for the first person that is better than all the prior rejects. The math behind the 37% lies within the article (or here and here) but all plays against probability.

18 Feb 16
Newspaper

Happy Birthday Finally Public Domain

Most people aren’t aware, but every time they sang the “Happy Birthday” song, they were violating copyright. The fact that the song has been generating royalties for decades is either an excellent example of the copyright system working … or of its abuse. A Federal Judge in 2015 had ruled the song itself was not protected by copyright and now a new ruling is forcing the current claimant to the copyright to pay back royalties to affected parties. Basically, this means your home YouTube videos can include the song now without fear of DMCA takedowns and infringment lawsuits.

10 Feb 16
Newspaper

North Korean Satellite ... Tumbles

Shortly after the most recent North Korean nuclear test, the tiny nation launched a satellite into space. At first, that’s a fairly impressive accomplishment for them considering most of their ballistic missile tests result in failed disaster over Japan and crash somewhere in the Pacific. Nevertheless, the North Koreans succeeded at adding to the orbiting rubbish circling the Earth as analysts already determined the satellite is tumbling uselessly in orbit. Let that not become an indicator of safety for the rest of the world as an ability to put a “satellite” into failed orbit is more or less identical to putting a re-entry-ready warhead into space and therefore anywhere in the world. The only assurance is the North Koreans are terrible at delivering their warheads to the intended target but you only need to be close in a game of horseshoes and nuclear weapons.

04 Feb 16
Newspaper

Resting Bitch Face

Scientists Abbe Macbeth and Jason Rogers have confirmed that Resting Bitch Face is in fact, a real thing. Working for Noldus Information Technology, the duo ran a series of 10,000 neutral images through the software to determine traces of emotion from more than 500 expressive points. Typically, the software detects 97% “neutral” emotion with the remainder representing traces of happiness or anger. In visages that are commonly described as Resting Bitch Faces, the software detected a consistent 6% emotion level and most of it was labeled as contempt.

03 Feb 16
Newspaper

Germany to Test Stellarator

Germany is on the verge of conducting a hydrogen fusion test of the Wendelstein 7-X Stellarator in Greifswald. The device is similar in nature to the Russian Tokamak design being constructed in France as ITER except it uses magnetic coils instead of an electric field to stabilize the plasma. One of the most significant challenges to nuclear fusion is developing the technology to handle the 180 million degree furnace. The Stellarator has already demonstrated the containment of a Helium plasma and it’s looking like the Stellarator may leap ahead of ITER, which is already facing a six year delay.

02 Feb 16
Newspaper

Air Force Firewalls are Weapons

The Air Force … has declared the firewall a cyber weapon system. According to Air Force Colonel Pamela Wooley, “Designating something as a weapons system really does help us justify our funding …. It is really pretty exciting for our airmen.” In case you’re still scratching your head, we are talking about the firewall in the context of network security but in this particular instance, the Air Force is referring to a larger system designed to protect the gateways into its military network. Still, it’s hard not to mock the Air Force for this.

29 Jan 16
Newspaper

Consciousness Defined by Neural Pathways

What makes a human being conscious? While the answer to that remains a mystery, European researchers published into Journal of the Royal Society Interface a study on neural pathways and their connection to consciousness. After drugging their volunteers with propofol within an MRI, the researchers studied the degrading neural activity. The effect of the propofol is a loss of consciousness and during the effect, the activity mesh between the neurons dramatically slows leading to the conclusion that, “consciousness in the brain is merely, in a physical sense, a state where there is an optimal level of neural network connectedness.”

13 Jan 16
Newspaper

Free Range Kids are Legal

The term “free range” often makes one think of chickens … but these days, it also refers to kids. In a nutshell, the term refers to a throwback of parenting to the days of yore when kids were not constantly sheltered by helicopter parents. One might wonder why there’s a “movement” for something that until the past generation was quite normal. We can’t have nice things because helicopter parents are SOOOO prevalent in contemporary society that free range kids look abnormal, so much so that police have detained children walking alone and arrested their parents. However, a recently approved Federal Law under the Every Student Succeeds Act (note: seems to be a poorly configured website … bet it gets hacked soon) has section (page 857) protecting parents from being criminalized for allowing their kids autonomy within reason.

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