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Farming Startup Unveils Self-Driving Robot That Uses AI To Zap Weeds

Slashdot - 1 hour 10 min ago
Carbon Robotics, a Seattle company led by Isilon Systems co-founder Paul Mikesell, is unveiling its self-driving robot that uses artificial intelligence to identify weeds growing in fields of vegetables, then zaps them with precision thermal bursts from lasers. GeekWire reports: [W]hat farmers need is less a revolution in farming methods than a revolutionary tool that fits into their current farming patterns, Mikesell said. Carbon worked closely with farmers in eastern Oregon and southern Idaho, he said. As a result, Carbon's robot system -- the Autonomous Weeder -- was built about the size of a medium tractor so it would fit in the furrows between rows of common crops like onions and sweet potatoes. It can cover up to 16 acres of cropland a day, zapping as many as 100,000 weeds an hour, Mikesell said. And since it's self-driving, all a farmer has to do is take it to the field in the morning and turn it on. "We're really intent on not making farmers have to change how they're doing things," Mikesell said. "That's been a key to our success. We fit right into their operations." Carbon has sold out all the robots it built for the 2021 planting season, and is looking for an industrial partner who could help it build more units for 2022, Mikesell said. The company is looking to get into the hundreds of units built and shipped for next year, he said. "There's a demand for a lot more than that, tens or hundreds of thousands of them."

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Dogecoin Price Surpasses 10 Cents To Reach An All-Time High

Slashdot - 1 hour 50 min ago
Dogecoin, the virtual currency that originally started as an internet meme more than seven years ago, has surged more than 85% in the last 24 hours and is trading at $0.13. Its market cap is now over $17 billion. CNN reports: The currency has soared more than 2,000% from the start of the year, and has a big fan in Tesla CEO Elon Musk, whose tweets about it have on occasion driven up Dogecoin's value. Dogecoin has also enjoyed something of a cult status on Reddit, where a popular group -- not unlike the WallStreetBets group behind GameStop's rally -- decided earlier this year to propel its value "to the moon." Dogecoin soared over 600% in the wake of that push. The latest surge in crypto prices comes as Coinbase became the first major cryptocurrency company to list its shares on a U.S. stock exchange.

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Korean Workers Need To Make Space For Robots, Minister Says

Slashdot - 2 hours 33 min ago
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: South Koreans must learn how to work alongside machines if they want to thrive in a post-pandemic world where many jobs will be handled by artificial intelligence and robots, according to the country's labor minister. "Automation and AI will change South Korea faster than other countries," Minister of Employment and Labor Lee Jae-kap said in an interview Tuesday. "Not all jobs may be replaced by machines, but it's important to learn ways to work well with machines through training." While people will have to increase their adaptability to work in a fast-changing high-tech environment, policy makers will also need to play their part, Lee said. The government needs to provide support to enable workers to move from one sector of the economy to another in search of employment and find ways to increase the activity of women in the economy, he added. The minister's remarks underline the determination of President Moon Jae-in's government to press ahead with a growth strategy built around tech even if it risks alienating the country's unions -- an important base of support for the ruling camp -- in the short term. "New jobs will be created as technology advances," Lee said. "What's important in policy is how to support a worker move from a fading sector to an emerging one." The government is looking to help with this transition by expanding its employment insurance program to 21 million people, or more than 40% of the population, by 2025. "The program is part of a government initiative to provide financial support in the form of insurance for every worker in the country, whether they are artists, freelancers or deliverymen on digital platforms," adds Bloomberg. "Separately, the government is providing stipends for young people to encourage them to keep searching for work, as their struggle to stay employed amid slowing economic growth has been made tougher by the pandemic."

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Respiratory Study Launches To Discover How Apple Watch Can Predict COVID-19

Slashdot - 3 hours 15 min ago
Researchers at the University of Washington have partnered with Apple to study how Apple Watch may be used to predict illnesses such as coronavirus, or flu. Apple Insider reports: "The goal of the study is to see if the information collected by the Apple Watch and iPhone can detect early signs of respiratory illnesses like COVID-19," say the organizers on the recruitment page. The study is focusing on the Seattle area because residents "may have higher than normal risk of respiratory illness because of frequent exposure to other people through work or other activities, health conditions, or other factors." This Apple Respiratory Study is expected to take "up to six months." During the study, participants will be required to periodically answer survey questions in the Apple Research iPhone app. If participants get sick while enrolled in the study, they will be sent an in-home testing kit for COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses. But, this will likely assist the study further, as sick participants will be asked to "take some additional health measurements using your Apple Watch."

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Google's FeedBurner Moves To a New Infrastructure But Loses Its Email Subscription Service

Slashdot - 3 hours 54 min ago
Google today announced that it is moving FeedBurner to a new infrastructure but also deprecating its email subscription service. From a report: If you're an internet user of a certain age, chances are you used Google's FeedBurner to manage the RSS feeds of your personal blogs and early podcasts at some point. During the Web 2.0 era, it was the de facto standard for feed management and analytics, after all. Founded in 2004, with Dick Costolo as one of its co-founders (before he became Twitter's CEO in 2010), it was acquired by Google in 2007. Ever since, FeedBurner lingered in an odd kind of limbo. While Google had no qualms shutting down popular services like Google Reader in favor of its ill-fated social experiments like Google+, FeedBurner just kept burning feeds day in and day out, even as Google slowly deprecated some parts of the service, most notably its advertising integrations. [...] But in July, it is also shutting down some non-core features that don't directly involve feed management, most importantly the FeedBurner email subscription service that allowed you to get emailed alerts when a feed updates. Feed owners will be able to download their email subscriber lists (and will be able to do so after July, too).

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How the FBI Managed To Get Into the San Bernardino Shooter's iPhone

Slashdot - 4 hours 35 min ago
A new report from The Washington Post reveals how the FBI gained access to an iPhone linked to the 2015 San Bernardino shooting. Apple refused to build a backdoor into the phone, citing the potential to undermine the security of hundreds of millions of Apple users, which kicked off a legal battle that only ended after the FBI successfully hacked the phone. Thanks to the Washington Post's report, we now know the methods the FBI used to get into the iPhone. Mitchell Clark summarizes the key findings via The Verge: The phone at the center of the fight was seized after its owner, Syed Rizwan Farook, perpetrated an attack that killed 14 people. The FBI attempted to get into the phone but was unable to due to the iOS 9 feature that would erase the phone after a certain number of failed password attempts. Apple attempted to help the FBI in other ways but refused to build a passcode bypass system for the bureau, saying that such a backdoor would permanently decrease the security of its phones. After the FBI announced that it had gained access to the phone, there were concerns that Apple's security could have been deeply compromised. But according to The Washington Post, the exploit was simple: [An Australian security firm called Azimuth Security] basically found a way to guess the passcode as many times as it wanted without erasing the phone, allowing the bureau to get into the phone in a matter of hours. The technical details of how the auto-erase feature was bypassed are fascinating. The actual hacking was reportedly done by two Azimuth employees who gained access to the phone by exploiting a vulnerability in an upstream software module written by Mozilla. That code was reportedly used by Apple in iPhones to enable the use of accessories with the Lightning port. Once the hackers gained initial access, they were able to chain together two more exploits, which gave them full control over the main processor, allowing them to run their own code. After they had this power, they were able to write and test software that guessed every passcode combination, ignoring any other systems that would lock out or erase the phone. The exploit chain, from Lightning port to processor control, was named Condor. As with many exploits, though, it didn't last long. Mozilla reportedly fixed the Lightning port exploit a month or two later as part of a standard update, which was then adopted by the companies using the code, including Apple.

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Washington State Votes To End Restriction On Community Broadband

Slashdot - Wed, 14/04/2021 - 23:20
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: Washington State lawmakers have voted to kill telecom-industry backed restrictions that limit the reach of community broadband. The Public Broadband Act (HB1336) passed the state Senate with a 27-22 vote on Sunday, after passing the House with a vote of 60-37 last February. State Representative Drew Hansen applauded the bill's passage on Twitter, stating it "reverses decades of bad policy" and opens the door to better, cheaper broadband. "Washington was one of only 18 states that restricted local governments from serving the public by providing public broadband," Hansen told Motherboard. "My bill eliminates that restriction." In Washington, a twenty-one year old law let some local governments build their own broadband networks, but prohibited local utilities from delivering broadband to customers directly. Hansen, who was also the primary sponsor of the state's new net neutrality law, says his bill finally eliminates those unnecessary limits entirely. "The Public Broadband Act broadly authorizes all local governments to provide broadband to anyone -- people who are totally unserved, people who have some internet access but it's not affordable or reliable -- any people at all," Hansen told Motherboard. "Under the Public Broadband Act, Washington governments have completely unrestricted authority to provide broadband to the public."

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Here's everything announced in Nintendo's Indie World showcase

Eurogamer - Wed, 14/04/2021 - 23:11

Nintendo has unleashed another of its indie-focussed showcases, firing out more announcements of games heading to Switch in the coming months. And in case you missed the livestream - or have an exceptionally short memory - here's everything it contained.

Digixart - the developer behind acclaimed World War 1 narrative adventure 11-11: Memories Retold is bringing its striking procedural road trip adventure, Road 96, to Switch later this year.

Aerial_Knight's Never Yield is parkour-infused 3D runner set in a eye-catching, futuristic Tokyo - and to a "dope-tastic" soundtrack by Detroit artist Danime-Sama - that's heading to Switch on 19th May, with an eShop demo right now.

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Categories: Video Games

What Happens When You Have a Heart Attack on the Way To Mars?

Slashdot - Wed, 14/04/2021 - 22:41
If your heart stops en route to Mars, rest assured that researchers have considered how to carry out CPR in space. (One option is to plant your feet on the ceiling and extend your arms downwards to compress the patient's chest.) From a report: Astronauts, because of their age range and high physical fitness, are unlikely to suffer a stroke or have their appendix suddenly explode. That's good because, if it does happen, they're in the realm of what Jonathan Scott -- head of the medical projects and technology team at the European Space Agency -- describes as 'treatment futility.' In other words: there's nothing anyone can do about it. On the ISS, when medical incidents arise, astronauts can draw on the combined expertise of a host of medical experts at Nasa. "The patient is on the space station, the doctor is on the ground, and if there's a problem the patient consults the doctor," says Scott. By the time astronauts reach Mars, there'll be a 40-minute time lag in communications, if it's possible to make contact at all. "We have to begin preparing for not only being able to diagnose things in spaceflight but also to treat them as well," Scott says. Artificial intelligence is likely to be a part of the solution. If you're imagining the holographic doctor from Star Trek, downgrade your expectations, at least for the next few decades. Kris Lehnhardt, the element scientist for exploration medical capability at Nasa, says: "We are many, many, many years away from: please state the nature of the medical emergency." Emmanuel Urquieta is deputy chief scientist at the Translational Institute for Space Health (TRISH), a Nasa-funded program which conducts research into healthcare for deep space missions. While full AI may be a way off, Urquieta believes some form of artificial intelligence will still play a crucial role. "It's going to be essential for a mission to Mars," he says. While the crew for a mission to Mars will likely include a medical doctor, he explains: "No single physician can know everything." And, of course: "What happens if that astronaut gets sick?" Research projects funded by TRISH include Butterfly iQ, a handheld ultrasound device for use by non-medical personnel to make diagnoses that would otherwise require bulky equipment and a trained operator. VisualDx is an AI diagnostics tool originally developed to analyse images and identify skin conditions. The technology is now being adapted to help astronauts diagnose a wide range of conditions most commonly encountered in space, without an internet connection.

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Business Travellers Planning To Cut Future Flights, Poll Finds

Slashdot - Wed, 14/04/2021 - 22:01
Most business travellers in the UK will take fewer flights than they used to, according to a poll, thanks to increased use of video conferencing. Only a third expected to return to the same level of flying as before the coronavirus pandemic, once travel restrictions are lifted. From a report: The huge reduction in air travel caused by Covid-19 had no impact on the work life or productivity of the majority of the business flyers, the poll found, with one in five saying the shutdown had had a positive impact. Carbon emissions from aviation were growing at 5.7% a year before the pandemic, despite many countries committing to cut all emissions to net zero by 2050 to tackle the climate crisis. Green campaigners argue that the aviation shutdown provides an opportunity to put the sector on a sustainable trajectory. Business-class seats provide most of airlines' revenues but result in more emissions than those in the economy cabin because of the greater space occupied by each passenger. Business fliers also fly far more frequently than most holidaygoers, with 10% of those in the poll taking more than 10 flights in the year up to the first lockdown in March 2020. Bill Gates recently estimated that more than 50% of business travel would end as companies adopted online meetings and cut costs.

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Israel May Have Destroyed Iranian Centrifuges Simply by Cutting Power

Slashdot - Wed, 14/04/2021 - 21:21
An anonymous reader shares a report: The explosion and blackout at the Natanz nuclear facility in Iran over the weekend raised the specter of past sabotage -- including the Stuxnet cyberattack that took out some of Natanz's centrifuges between 2007 and 2010 as well as an explosion and fire that occurred there last July -- destroying about three-fourths of a newly opened plant for the assembly of centrifuges. Government officials and news reports gave conflicting accounts of what caused the latest blasts, the extent of damage, and Iran's capacity to quickly recover. Initial reports said there was no harm to the Natanz facility, but Iranian officials later acknowledged damage to its centrifuges. And while media accounts have suggested saboteurs focused on taking out the facility's electric supply, David Albright, founder and president of the Institute for Science and International Security in Washington, D.C., believes the aim was to destroy centrifuges. Power is easy to restore even when electrical equipment is damaged, allowing enrichment work to quickly resume. But an abrupt blackout that also takes out backup power would have destroyed some centrifuges, Albright says, since they need to be powered down slowly. Failure to do so leads to vibrations that can cause centrifuge rotors and bellows to become damaged and in some cases disintegrate, which is what Albright suspects occurred.

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Gensler Confirmed as Top Wall Street Cop, Bringing New Era of Tough Scrutiny

Slashdot - Wed, 14/04/2021 - 20:41
The Senate on Wednesday confirmed Gary Gensler to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission, putting in place a battle-tested Wall Street watchdog at a moment when Democrats are looking to rein in financial market risk. From a report: The Senate confirmed Gensler in a 53-45 vote. The MIT professor and former Goldman Sachs partner is returning to government after serving as a top regulator in the Obama administration, when he cracked down on big bank trading activities that fueled the 2008 global financial crisis. Gensler will lead work on sweeping new federal regulations that would require companies to disclose their contributions and exposure to climate change, which is poised to trigger a huge lobbying fight and is already stirring deep partisan tensions. The effort will be in focus next week when President Joe Biden holds an international climate summit. And following four years of light-touch regulation under Trump, Democrats are urging the SEC to step up oversight of major financial firms after a series of high-profile market snafus this year. In recent days, for example, international banks with operations in the U.S. suffered billions of dollars in losses after a little-known investment fund collapsed and sent shockwaves through the markets.

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Coinbase Opens at $102 Billion Valuation on First Day of Public Trading

Slashdot - Wed, 14/04/2021 - 20:04
Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase opened trading on Wednesday at $381 per share, giving it a fully diluted market value of around $102 billion. From a report: This is a slight premium to the most recent private trades for Coinbase stock, and more than 50% higher than the reference price set last night by the Nasdaq. Coinbase's public listing has been among the most anticipated in recent years, with expectations it will garner a massive market cap. Further reading: Coinbase's blockbuster debut is a 'watershed' for crypto -- but there are risks ahead.

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Wadjet Eye and Primordia dev show off surreal point-and-click carnival horror Strangeland

Eurogamer - Wed, 14/04/2021 - 19:59

Acclaimed point-and-click supremo Wadjet Eye Games is teaming up with Wormwood Studios, the developer behind celebrated post-apocalyptic adventure Primordia, once more, this time to bring surreal horror Strangeland to PC on 25th May.

Strangeland, described as a game about "identity, loss, self-doubt, and redemption", unfolds within a strange carnival, whose "denizens and devices... answer with riddles, puzzles, and warnings of a Dark Thing lurking at the park's peak".

"Forge a blade from iron stolen from the jaws of a ravenous hound and hone it with wrath and grief;" teases Wormwood on Strangeland's Steam page, "charm the eye out of a ten-legged teratoma; and ride a giant cicada to the edge of oblivion.... Amidst such madness, death itself has no grip on you, and you will wield that slippery immortality to gain an edge over your foes."

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EU Commission To End AstraZeneca and J&J Vaccine Contracts at Expiry

Slashdot - Wed, 14/04/2021 - 19:20
The EU Commission has decided not to renew COVID-19 vaccine contracts next year with AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson (J&J), Italian daily La Stampa reported on Wednesday, citing a source from the Italian health ministry. Reuters: "The European Commission, in agreement with the leaders of many (EU) countries, has decided that the contracts with the companies that produce (viral vector) vaccines that are valid for the current year will not be renewed at their expiry," the newspaper reported. It added that Brussels would rather focus on COVID-19 vaccines using messenger RNA (mRNA) technology, such as Pfizer's and Moderna's. A spokesman for the EU Commission said it was keeping all options open to be prepared for the next stages of the pandemic, for 2022 and beyond.

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Parallels 16.5 Can Virtualize ARM Windows Natively on M1 Macs With Up to 30% Faster Performance

Slashdot - Wed, 14/04/2021 - 18:58
Parallels today announced the release of Parallels Desktop 16.5 for Mac with full support for M1 Macs, allowing for the Windows 10 ARM Insider Preview and ARM-based Linux distributions to be run in a virtual machine at native speeds on M1 Macs. From a report: Parallels says running a Windows 10 ARM Insider Preview virtual machine natively on an M1 Mac results in up to 30 percent better performance compared to a 2019 model 15-inch MacBook Pro with an Intel Core i9 processor, 32GB of RAM, and Radeon Pro Vega 20 graphics. Parallels also indicates that on an M1 Mac, Parallels Desktop 16.5 uses 2.5x less energy than on the latest Intel-based MacBook Air. Microsoft does not yet offer a retail version of ARM-based Windows, with the Windows 10 ARM Insider Preview available on Microsoft's website for Windows Insider program members. The ability to run macOS Big Sur in a virtual machine is a feature that Parallels hopes to add support for in Parallels Desktop later this year as well.

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Here's a first look at the House of the Dead remake

Eurogamer - Wed, 14/04/2021 - 18:50

Cast your mind back to 2019 and you might recall the news that a number of House of the Dead remakes were on the way. Now, publisher Forever Entertainment and developer MegaPixel Studio have shared first footage of their zombie shooter spruce-up running on Switch.

Forever Entertainment - which published MegaPixel Studio's uneven but enjoyable Panzer Dragoon remake last year - previously confirmed House of the Dead 1 and 2 would both be getting the remake treatment, but today's reveal focusses solely on the first game.

Sega originally released House of the Dead 1 into arcades in 1996, sending players - as either Agent Thomas Rogan or his partner G - on a first-person, on-rails rampage through a spooky old mansion, using their light gun to obliterate the undead creations of the evil Dr. Curien.

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Assassin's Creed Valhalla Ireland expansion delayed

Eurogamer - Wed, 14/04/2021 - 18:41

Wrath of the Druids, the first major expansion for Assassin's Creed Valhalla, has been delayed into May.

Originally set for 29th April, the Ireland-set add-on will now launch two weeks later on 13th May.

"To deliver a more refined experience, we're sharing that Wrath of the Druids will now release on 13th May," Ubisoft announced on Twitter. "We're working on an article to provide transparency and share insights on our dev process. Thanks for your patience."

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Fez out today on Nintendo Switch

Eurogamer - Wed, 14/04/2021 - 18:37

Indie darling Fez surprise-launches on Nintendo Switch today.

Announced as part of Nintendo's indie game presentation, Fez is due up on the eShop just one day after its ninth birthday.

Fez originally launched on Xbox 360 on 13th April 2012. It's a wondrous game that involves shifting the camera around to see the virtual world from different points of view. Oli's Fez review, which returned a Eurogamer essential, is one of my favourite reviews ever published on the site.

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OlliOlli World brings the superlative skate series into vivid 3D

Eurogamer - Wed, 14/04/2021 - 18:25

OlliOlli, it's an absolute delight to say, is back. Developer Roll7's superlative skate series is making its return with OlliOlli World, coming to Switch, PlayStation 4 and 5, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One and PC this winter courtesy of publisher Private Division. From what we saw in today's Nintendo Direct Indie Showcase, it boasts all the spark and flair I've come to associate with the studio most recently behind 2018's Laser League.

It's certainly a bigger, bolder game than anything Roll7's attempted before, and the most obvious first point of order is how it brings the series into lavish 3D, and into a fully-realised, fuzzy-edged Adventure Time-esque world of pastel colours and wholesome character. Radland - as OlliOlli World's setting is known - looks like the sort of place you'd happily poke around for hours on end, which gets to this sequel's other bit of business.

"The other pillar of OlliOlli World [alongside the move to 3D] is how can we make it more welcoming," says Roll7's creative director John Ribbins. "Can we make it as rewarding to play at a high level when it comes to chasing scores, but also can we make it something my mum could play as well? Like if I gave her the controller, could she actually get through some of the levels and enjoy it?"

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