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  • A New Report Outlines Apple's Reluctance For Mature Content On Its Streaming Service
    A new report from The Wall Street Journal details the state of Apple's yet-to-be-unveiled streaming service. "It highlights some of the difficulties Apple has faced in striking the right tone for its content, particularly when it comes to 'gratuitous sex, profanity or violence,' and cites sources who expect the launch of the streaming service to be pushed further back," reports The Verge. From the report: The report opens with Apple CEO Tim Cook's reaction to Vital Signs, a show based on the life of Dr. Dre. Apple picked up the show back in 2016, but when Cook viewed it a year ago, he told Apple Music executive Jimmy Iovine that it was too violent, and that the company can't show it. Apple has some big plans for its original content ambitions. It brought in two seasoned Hollywood executives to oversee its video streaming project, and invested $1 billion to develop new a slate of new projects. Judging from those acquisitions, the company is swinging for the fences it's picked up a reboot of Steven Spielberg's Amazing Stories, a space show from Battlestar Galactica's Ron Moore, a network drama starring Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston, a show based on Isaac Asimov's Foundation series, and more. The WSJ report notes that Apple's preference is for family-friendly projects that appeal to a broad audience, and that it's trying to avoid weighing into overly political or controversial territory with the content that it's producing -- only a handful of those shows "veer into 'TV-MA' territory." Apple's approach doesn't come as a huge surprise: it's been described as "conservative and picky." The company has long forbidden adult content from its App Store, rigorously removing Apps that even display NSFW content, like Vine or 500px. TV executives note in the report that where streaming services can simply weather a boycott or lose some subscribers, alienating audiences could prompt viewers to boycott Apple's hardware.

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  • Alcohol Causes One In 20 Deaths Worldwide, Says WHO
    An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Alcohol is responsible for more than 5% of all deaths worldwide, or around 3 million a year, new figures have revealed. The data, part of a report from the World Health Organization, shows that about 2.3 million of those deaths in 2016 were of men, and that almost 29% of all alcohol-caused deaths were down to injuries -- including traffic accidents and suicide. The report, which comes out every four years, reveals the continued impact of alcohol on public health around the world, and highlights that the young bear the brunt: 13.5% of deaths among people in their 20s are linked to booze, with alcohol responsible for 7.2% of premature deaths overall. It also stresses that harm from drinking is greater among poorer consumers than wealthier ones. While the proportion of deaths worldwide that have been linked to alcohol has fallen to 5.3% since 2012, when the figure was at 5.9%, experts say the findings make for sobering reading.

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  • Famed Mathematician Claims Proof of 160-Year-Old Riemann Hypothesis
    Slashdot reader OneHundredAndTen writes: Sir Michael Atiyah claims to have proved the Riemann hypothesis. This is not some internet crank, but one the towering figures of mathematics in the second half of the 20th century. The thing is, he's almost 90 years old. According to New Scientist, Atiyah is set to present his "simple proof" of the Riemann hypothesis on Monday at the Heidelberg Laureate Forum in Germany. Atiyah has received two awards often referred to as the Nobel prizes of mathematics, the Fields medal and the Abel Prize; he also served as president of the London Mathematical Society, the Royal Society and the Royal Society of Edinburgh. "[T]he hypothesis is intimately connected to the distribution of prime numbers, those indivisible by any whole number other than themselves and one," reports New Scientist. "If the hypothesis is proven to be correct, mathematicians would be armed with a map to the location of all such prime numbers, a breakthrough with far-reaching repercussions in the field."

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  • Meet the World's First Self-Driving Car From 1968
    Qbertino writes: The German Web industry magazine T3N (think of it as the German TechCrunch) has an article about a test circuit and a test vehicle -- a modified Mercedes Benz limousine of the time -- that was set up by the German tire manufacturer Continental in order to test tires in a precisely reproducible set of tests. Hence the self-driving mechanism provided by a wire in the test track to send and receive signals from the car and to record data on the test runs on magnetic tape and other high-tech stuff from the time. Here's a short video, erm, film clip showing the setup in action -- driverless seat included. Today's artificial intelligence is nowhere to be seen of course, but the entire setup itself seems pretty impressive and sophisticated.

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  • How Qualcomm Tried and Failed To Steal Intel's Crown Jewel
    An anonymous reader shares an article from Bloomberg: In early November, Qualcomm Chairman Paul Jacobs stood on a stage in the heart of Silicon Valley and vowed to break Intel's stranglehold on the world's most lucrative chip business. The mobile internet and cloud computing were booming and the data centers running this digital economy had an insatiable thirst for computer servers -- and especially the powerful, expensive server chips that Intel churns out by the million. Qualcomm had spent five years and hundreds of millions of dollars designing competing processors, trying to expand beyond its mobile business. Jacobs was leading a coming-out party featuring tech giants like Microsoft and HP, which had committed to try the new gear. "That's an industry that's been very slow moving, very complacent," Jacobs said on stage. "We're going to change that." Less than a year later, this once-promising business is in tatters, according to people familiar with the situation. Most of the key engineers are gone. Big customers are looking elsewhere or going back to Intel for the data center chips they need. Efforts to sell the operation -- including a proposed management buyout backed by SoftBank -- have failed, the people said. Jacobs, chief backer of the plan and the son of Qualcomm's founder, is out, too. The demise is a story of debt-fueled dealmaking and executive cost-cutting pledges in the face of restless investors seeking quick returns -- exactly the wrong environment for the painstaking and expensive task of building a new semiconductor business from scratch. It leaves Qualcomm more reliant on a smartphone market that's plateaued. And Intel's server chip boss is happy.

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  • Japan's Two Hopping Rovers Successfully Land On Asteroid Ryugu
    sharkbiter shares a report from Space.com: The suspense is over: Two tiny hopping robots have successfully landed on an asteroid called Ryugu -- and they've even sent back some wild postcards from their new home. The tiny rovers are part of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Hayabusa2 asteroid sample-return mission. Engineers with the agency deployed the robots early Friday (Sept. 21), but JAXA waited until today (Sept. 22) to confirm the operation was successful and both rovers made the landing safely. In order to complete the deployment, the main spacecraft of the Hayabusa2 mission lowered itself carefully down toward the surface until it was just 180 feet (55 meters) up. After the rovers were on their way, the spacecraft raised itself back up to its typical altitude of about 12.5 miles above the asteroid's surface (20 kilometers). The agency still has two more deployments yet to accomplish before it can rest easy: Hayabusa2 is scheduled to deploy a larger rover called MASCOT in October and another tiny hopper next year. And of course, the main spacecraft has a host of other tasks to accomplish during its stay at Ryugu -- most notably, to collect a sample of the primitive world to bring home to Earth for laboratory analysis. JAXA tweeted on Saturday: "We are sorry we have kept you waiting! MINERVA-II1 consists of two rovers, 1a & 1b. Both rovers are confirmed to have landed on the surface of Ryugu. They are in good condition and have transmitted photos & data. We also confirmed they are moving on the surface."

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  • Researchers Create 'Spray-On' 2D Antennas
    In a study published in Science Advances, researchers in Drexel's College of Engineering describe a method for spraying invisibly thin antennas, made from a type of two-dimensional, metallic material called MXene, that perform as well as those being used in mobile devices, wireless routers and portable transducers. Phys.Org reports: The researchers, from the College's Department of Materials Science and Engineering, report that the MXene titanium carbide can be dissolved in water to create an ink or paint. The exceptional conductivity of the material enables it to transmit and direct radio waves, even when it's applied in a very thin coating. Preserving transmission quality in a form this thin is significant because it would allow antennas to easily be embedded -- literally, sprayed on -- in a wide variety of objects and surfaces without adding additional weight or circuitry or requiring a certain level of rigidity. Initial testing of the sprayed antennas suggest that they can perform with the same range of quality as current antennas, which are made from familiar metals, like gold, silver, copper and aluminum, but are much thicker than MXene antennas. Making antennas smaller and lighter has long been a goal of materials scientists and electrical engineers, so this discovery is a sizable step forward both in terms of reducing their footprint as well as broadening their application.

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  • Judge Orders Cloudflare To Turn Over Identifying Data In Copyright Case
    Cal Jeffrey reporting for TechSpot: Back in May, several studios started targeting movie-pirating sites and services. Dallas Buyers Club, Cobbler Nevada, Bodyguard Productions, and several other copyright owners filed a lawsuit against ShowBox, a movie-streaming app for mobile devices. The companies tried pressuring CDN and DDoS protection provider Cloudflare into releasing information on the operators of some of these platforms. However, Cloudflare told them if they wanted such information they would have to get it the right way -- through legal action. The plaintiffs did just that. A subpoena was issued in the case from a federal court in Hawaii. The documents were not made public, but TorrentFreak was able to obtain a portion of the subpoena from a source. The court order demands the details of the operators behind the Showboxbuzz website, Showbox.software, website Rawapk, Popcorn Time, and others. Cloudflare has not filed a motion to quash, so it appears likely that the company will hand over the requested data.

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  • Wendy's Faces Lawsuit For Unlawfully Collecting Employee Fingerprints
    An anonymous reader quotes a report from ZDNet: A class-action lawsuit has been filed in Illinois against fast food restaurant chain Wendy's accusing the company of breaking state laws in regards to the way it stores and handles employee fingerprints. The complaint is centered around Wendy's practice of using biometric clocks that scan employees' fingerprints when they arrive at work, when they leave, and when they use the Point-Of-Sale and cash register systems. Plaintiffs, represented by former Wendy's employees Martinique Owens and Amelia Garcia, claim that Wendy's breaks state law -- the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) -- because the company does not make employees aware of how it handles their data. More specifically, the lawsuit claims that Wendy's does not inform employees in writing of the specific purpose and length of time for which their fingerprints were being collected, stored, and used, as required by the BIPA, and nor does it obtain a written release from employees with explicit consent to obtain and handle the fingerprints in the first place. Wendy's also doesn't provide a publicly available retention schedule and guidelines for permanently destroying employees' fingerprints after they leave the company, plaintiffs said. [The plaintiffs also claim that Wendy's sends this data to a third-party without their consent.]

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  • IAU Ad Hoc Committee Publishes Revised Set of Definitions For SETI Terms
    RockDoctor writes: An ad hoc committee of the International Astronomical Union has been working for 5 months on revisions and clarifications to the definitions of various terms used in technical and popular discussions of SETI -- the Search For Extraterrestrial Intelligence. They've published their draft report. The terms of reference -- to account for existing popular and technical uses of the terms -- should mean that no major changes in usage occur, but interesting points do emerge from the discussion paper. For example, in discussing the term "extraterrestrial," their proposed definition ("shorthand for life or technology not originating recently on Earth") includes cover for possibilities such as "panspermia" which may be popular in "popular science," but certainly are not popular in the technical discussions. They go on to discuss that "by this definition, life on another planet with a common origin to Earth life but which diverged billions of years ago would be extraterrestrial, but Earth life accidentally brought to Mars on a human-built lander would not." Waiting for the invasion of the pedants, clutching their feet in their hands.

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  • PlayStation Now Is Making Its Games Downloadable
    PlayStation revealed in a blog post that PS Now subscribers will be able to download most PS4 and PS2 games currently in the PS Now Library and play them locally, offline. "Almost all PS4 games in the service, including Bloodborne, God of War 3 Remastered, NBA 2K16, and Until Dawn, will be available for download, in addition to the PS Now lineup of classic PS2 games remastered for PS4," the announcement reads. "This feature will be gradually rolled out to PS Now subscribers over the next couple of days, so if you don't see the feature on your PS Now today, make sure to check back again soon." Kotaku reports: While being connected to the internet isn't required to play PS Now games once they've been downloaded, the support page says your system will have to go online "every few days" in order to validate the PS Now subscription. In the past, PS Now had been exclusively for streaming games to your PS4. When it was announced in 2014, it was building off of Sony's 2012 acquisition of the Gaikai video game streaming service. While it offered a way for people to play older games on the newer console (since, unlike Xbox One, the PS4 isn't backwards compatible), it was hardly ideal due to problems with latency and its reliance on a consistently strong internet connection. Honestly, the only surprise here is that Sony didn't make this move sooner.

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  • Coding Error Sends 2019 Subaru Ascents To the Car Crusher
    An anonymous reader quotes a report from IEEE Spectrum: [A] software remedy can't solve Subaru's issue with 293 of its 2019 Ascent SUVs. All 293 of the SUVs that were built in July will be scrapped because they are missing critical spot welds. According to Subaru's recall notice [PDF] filed with the U.S. National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, the welding robots at the Subaru Indiana Automotive plant in Lafayette, Ind., were improperly coded, which meant the robots omitted the spot welds required on the Ascents' B-pillar. Consumer Reports states that the B-pillar holds the second-row door hinges. As a result, the strength of the affected Ascents' bodies may be reduced, increasing the possibility of passenger injuries in a crash. Subaru indicated in the recall that "there is no physical remedy available; therefore, any vehicles found with missing welds will be destroyed." Luckily, only nine Ascents had been sold, and those customers are going to receive new vehicles. The rest were on dealer lots or in transit.

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  • MIT Develops New Type of Battery That Gobbles Up Carbon Dioxide
    MIT has developed a new type of battery that could be made partly from carbon dioxide captured from power plants. "Rather than attempting to convert carbon dioxide to specialized chemicals using metal catalysts, which is currently highly challenging, this battery could continuously convert carbon dioxide into a solid mineral carbonate as it discharges," reports SciTechDaily. From the report: While still based on early-stage research and far from commercial deployment, the new battery formulation could open up new avenues for tailoring electrochemical carbon dioxide conversion reactions, which may ultimately help reduce the emission of the greenhouse gas to the atmosphere. The battery is made from lithium metal, carbon, and an electrolyte that the researchers designed. The findings are described today in the journal Joule, in a paper by assistant professor of mechanical engineering Betar Gallant, doctoral student Aliza Khurram, and postdoc Mingfu He. [...] Gallant and her co-workers, whose expertise has to do with nonaqueous (not water-based) electrochemical reactions such as those that underlie lithium-based batteries, looked into whether carbon-dioxide-capture chemistry could be put to use to make carbon-dioxide-loaded electrolytes -- one of the three essential parts of a battery -- where the captured gas could then be used during the discharge of the battery to provide a power output. This approach is different from releasing the carbon dioxide back to the gas phase for long-term storage, as is now used in carbon capture and sequestration, or CCS. That field generally looks at ways of capturing carbon dioxide from a power plant through a chemical absorption process and then either storing it in underground formations or chemically altering it into a fuel or a chemical feedstock. Instead, this team developed a new approach that could potentially be used right in the power plant waste stream to make material for one of the main components of a battery. While interest has grown recently in the development of lithium-carbon-dioxide batteries, which use the gas as a reactant during discharge, the low reactivity of carbon dioxide has typically required the use of metal catalysts. Not only are these expensive, but their function remains poorly understood, and reactions are difficult to control. By incorporating the gas in a liquid state, however, Gallant and her co-workers found a way to achieve electrochemical carbon dioxide conversion using only a carbon electrode. The key is to preactivate the carbon dioxide by incorporating it into an amine solution. "What we've shown for the first time is that this technique activates the carbon dioxide for more facile electrochemistry," Gallant says. "These two chemistries -- aqueous amines and nonaqueous battery electrolytes -- are not normally used together, but we found that their combination imparts new and interesting behaviors that can increase the discharge voltage and allow for sustained conversion of carbon dioxide." The approach reportedly works, producing a lithium-carbon dioxide battery with voltage and capacity that are competitive with that of state-of-the-art lithium-gas batteries," reports SciTechDaily. "Moreover, the amine acts as a molecular promoter that is not consumed in the reaction."

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  • Instagram Says It's Not Working On a Regram Feature
    Soon after The Verge reported that Instagram was working on a reshare feature, the company said that the function is "not happening." It told The Verge and TechCrunch that it's neither building nor testing a regram feature. Engadget reports: The Verge reported on Thursday that Instagram appeared to be working on a way for users to easily share others' posts in their own feed. The feature would be housed in the menu situated in the upper right-hand corner of each post and would give users the option to "share to feed." A source familiar with the feature provided The Verge with screenshots of posts shared with the feature, which the site noted looked like was in very early stages of development.

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  • Ecuador Wanted To Make Julian Assange a Diplomat and Send Him To Moscow
    An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Last year, Ecuador attempted to deputize WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as one of its own diplomats and send him to Russia, according to a Friday report by Reuters. Citing an "Ecuadorian government document," which the news agency did not publish, Assange apparently was briefly granted a "special designation" to act as one of its diplomats, a privilege normally granted to the president for political allies. However, that status was then withdrawn when the United Kingdom objected. The Associated Press reported earlier in the week that newly-leaked documents showed that Assange sought a Russian visa back in 2010. WikiLeaks has vehemently denied that Assange did so.

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