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How the Voyager Golden Record Was Made

Slashdot - Mon, 08/21/2017 - 10:20
Fascinating article on The New Yorker about how the Voyager Golden Record was made: The Voyagers' scientific mission will end when their plutonium-238 thermoelectric power generators fail, around the year 2030. After that, the two craft will drift endlessly among the stars of our galaxy -- unless someone or something encounters them someday. With this prospect in mind, each was fitted with a copy of what has come to be called the Golden Record. Etched in copper, plated with gold, and sealed in aluminum cases, the records are expected to remain intelligible for more than a billion years, making them the longest-lasting objects ever crafted by human hands. We don't know enough about extraterrestrial life, if it even exists, to state with any confidence whether the records will ever be found. They were a gift, proffered without hope of return. I became friends with Carl Sagan, the astronomer who oversaw the creation of the Golden Record, in 1972. He'd sometimes stop by my place in New York, a high-ceilinged West Side apartment perched up amid Norway maples like a tree house, and we'd listen to records. Lots of great music was being released in those days, and there was something fascinating about LP technology itself. A diamond danced along the undulations of a groove, vibrating an attached crystal, which generated a flow of electricity that was amplified and sent to the speakers. At no point in this process was it possible to say with assurance just how much information the record contained or how accurately a given stereo had translated it. The open-endedness of the medium seemed akin to the process of scientific exploration: there was always more to learn.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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A live-action reboot of ‘The Jetsons’ is headed to ABC

Engadget - Mon, 08/21/2017 - 10:19
The Jetson family is coming back to television. ABC has ordered a put pilot for a live-action reboot of the animated series, Variety reports. The show is said to be a multi-cam sitcom set 100 years in the future and the project is being executive pro...
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AliveInVR Controlling Abelton Live from VR #MusicMonday

AdaFruit - Mon, 08/21/2017 - 10:00

From CDM:

AliveInVR is a remote MIDI controller for Ableton Live for use with Windows virtual reality, available now on Steam. And – it’s a little crazy.

The idea is this: instead of using a physical controller or touchscreen, you manipulate Live parameters and clips by donning a helmet and waving your arms around.

You can use this via MIDI to control your copy of Ableton Live. (The title is currently in Early Access state – meaning it’s still being developed.

Read more and see more from AliveInVR on AliveInVR.io and YouTube

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Scientists recreate Neptune's diamond rain using powerful lasers

Engadget - Mon, 08/21/2017 - 10:00
While we've yet to fully explore Neptune and its fellow gas giants, scientists have a lot of theories about them based on the info we know. For instance, they believe that it rains diamonds on those planets -- diamonds that sink into their interior a...
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Formula One's eSports racing league seeks the best 'F1 2017' driver

Engadget - Mon, 08/21/2017 - 09:41
Traditional sports squads and eSports teams partnering has been happening pretty frequently recently. But now we're seeing it happen in a big way with motorsports. Specifically, Formula One is pairing with developer Codemasters and Gfinity to find th...
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Apple Looks For Exceptional Engineer With a Secret Job Posting

Slashdot - Mon, 08/21/2017 - 09:40
An anonymous reader writes: A hidden Apple website that hosts a job description and invitation to apply for an important position has recently been discovered. The posting describes a role that should be filled by a "talented engineer" who will develop a critical infrastructure component for the company's ecosystem. Discovered late yesterday by ZDNet's Zach Whittaker, the secret posting was found at us-west-1.blobstore.apple.com (now pulled). The posting stated how critical the role is, the scale of the work, key qualifications, and a description of the type of employee Apple is looking for. In the "How Critical?" section Apple says that the engineer will be working on developing infrastructure that will deal with millions of drives, tens of thousands of servers, and Exabytes of data.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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'Final Fantasy XV' coming to PC early next year

Engadget - Mon, 08/21/2017 - 09:20
Square Enix has milked Final Fantasy XV, offering not only PS4 and Xbox One console versions, but also a (bad) free mobile game, branded Sony Walkman and even a cookbook. What it doesn't have yet, surprisingly, is a Windows version of the game, but t...
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What Scientists Have Learned from Eclipses #eclipse #eclipse2017

AdaFruit - Mon, 08/21/2017 - 09:00

Via The Atlantic on YouTube

Humans have been obsessed with eclipses for centuries. But, what can they actually teach us about our place in the solar system? Total solar eclipses have helped bring about some of the most important astronomic discoveries. Nicolaus Copernicus’ eclipse observations helped him determine that the Earth revolved around the Sun; light spectrums of the sun’s atmosphere – only visible during a total solar eclipse – led to the discovery of helium in the 19th century. In this video we explore what scientific knowledge the few minutes under the moon’s shadow have uncovered over time.

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The solar eclipse hype is annoying, but the event is worth it

Engadget - Mon, 08/21/2017 - 09:00
By now, it's possible that you are completely fatigued by the August 21st total solar eclipse and all the media hype surrounding it -- and it hasn't even happened yet. It seems as though every outlet is talking nonstop about this event. But this actu...
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The Windows App Store is Full of Pirate Streaming Apps

Slashdot - Mon, 08/21/2017 - 09:00
Ernesto Van der Sar, reporting for TorrentFreak: When we were browsing through the "top free" apps in the Windows Store, our attention was drawn to several applications that promoted "free movies" including various Hollywood blockbusters such as "Wonder Woman," "Spider-Man: Homecoming," and "The Mummy." Initially, we assumed that a pirate app may have slipped past Microsoft's screening process. However, the 'problem' doesn't appear to be isolated. There are dozens of similar apps in the official store that promise potential users free movies, most with rave reviews. Most of the applications work on multiple platforms including PC, mobile, and the Xbox. They are pretty easy to use and rely on the familiar grid-based streaming interface most sites and services use. Pick a movie or TV-show, click the play button, and off you go. The sheer number of piracy apps in the Windows Store, using names such as "Free Movies HD," "Free Movies Online 2020," and "FreeFlix HQ," came as a surprise to us. In particular, because the developers make no attempt to hide their activities, quite the opposite.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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UK says online hate crime is as serious as offline offences

Engadget - Mon, 08/21/2017 - 08:40
The UK's Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) today laid out a renewed commitment to tackling hate crime, including making sure that online offences are being dealt with appropriately. In its public statements, the CPS affirmed that cases of digital hate...
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Kickstarter commemorates Voyager with projects celebrating humanity

Engadget - Mon, 08/21/2017 - 08:30
Forty years ago, the two Voyager probes were launched and to honor the anniversary, Kickstarter has created Projects of Earth -- a group of campaigns inspired by the Voyager's Golden Record that offer "unique perspectives on humanity, culture and lif...
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Voltage Sequencer for Moog Mother-32 Made from 4040 Counter, 4051 Multiplexer, and a 40106 Oscillator

AdaFruit - Mon, 08/21/2017 - 08:18

This is a really simple and straightforward voltage sequencer (that sounds great!). Sebastian from little-scale demonstrates this using his Moog Mother-32 but it’s totally applicable for other devices as well.


A simple voltage sequence for Moog Mother-32 and other devices. The cost is very low, and the concept is somewhat expandable. No additional power supply is used. Instead, the VC Mix Output is used to power the sequencing circuit, consisting of a 40106 oscillator, a 4040 counter and a 4051 multiplexer.

Read more.

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Scientists find a much faster way to classify our cells

Engadget - Mon, 08/21/2017 - 08:14
Researchers have created a new technique for identifying cell types much quicker than ever before, a finding that could improve disease diagnoses and treatments. While there are many types of cells in our bodies (red blood cells, spindle neurons, etc...
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Artist Abstractly Animates the Transformation of Larva into Butterfly

AdaFruit - Mon, 08/21/2017 - 08:00

.P.U.P.A. | THE LARVAL FORM is a mesmerizing work of video art from Miki Nemcek on Vimeo.

The pupa is a short exploration of the colors and shapes inspired by a macro nature. The stage when larva transforms into a butterfly is a biological term. It’s called Pupa. I decided to dive into an endless variety of abstract compositions, forms, and atmospheres. This short film is a result of a hard work in a constantly relaxed mindset that comes naturally with slow and lightly hypnotical movements of the larval bodies. Enjoy this piece with a proper sound in a dark room and let your mind relax.

Via designboom!

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Engadget is testing all the major AI assistants

Engadget - Mon, 08/21/2017 - 08:00
Hardly a day goes by that we don't cover virtual assistants. If it's not news about Siri, there's some new development with Alexa, or Cortana or Google Assistant. Perhaps a new player, like Samsung, is wading into the space. Even Android creator Andy...
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Elon Musk urges the UN to limit AI weapons

Engadget - Mon, 08/21/2017 - 07:31
Elon Musk has signed his name alongside more than 100 others to ask the UN to regulate the use of autonomous weapons systems. The group of concerned engineers, many of whom are respected in the field of AI, is asking the global body to "protect civil...
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Watch the trailer for Amazon's answer to 'Black Mirror'

Engadget - Mon, 08/21/2017 - 07:03
Amazon Prime viewers in the US will soon be treated to the new anthology series Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams. As you may have guessed from its title, the show is based on the work of the illustrious sci-fi author, who continues to influence pop c...
Categories: Nerd News

AliveIn VR Lets You Play as a Disembodied Daft Punk Head #MusicMonday

AdaFruit - Mon, 08/21/2017 - 07:00

via CDM

AliveInVR is a remote MIDI controller for Ableton Live for use with Windows virtual reality, available now on Steam. And – it’s a little crazy.

The idea is this: instead of using a physical controller or touchscreen, you manipulate Live parameters and clips by donning a helmet and waving your arms around.

You can use this via MIDI to control your copy of Ableton Live. (The title is currently in Early Access state – meaning it’s still being developed.

There’s a kind of mismatch of spatial dimensions with all these VR interfaces, I find. Mostly what you get is two-dimensional interfaces arranged in 3D – that is, here there’s a two-dimensional grid that just floats in space. But you do get to arrange those controls in a three-dimensional space.

HTC Vive and (more recently) Oculus Rift hardware is supported. In what may be a sign of things to come, there’s also streaming.

Because this is virtual reality, the interface blocks your view of the outside world. Mixed reality headsets may wind up competing with this approach.

See and hear more!

Categories: Nerd News

Microsoft Speech Recognition Now As Accurate As Professional Transcribers

Slashdot - Mon, 08/21/2017 - 06:30
An anonymous reader quotes TechCrunch: Microsoft announced today that its conversational speech recognition system has reached a 5.1% error rate, its lowest so far. This surpasses the 5.9% error rate reached last year by a group of researchers from Microsoft Artificial Intelligence and Research and puts its accuracy on par with professional human transcribers who have advantages like the ability to listen to text several times. Both studies transcribed recordings from the Switchboard corpus, a collection of about 2,400 telephone conversations that have been used by researchers to test speech recognition systems since the early 1990s. The new study was performed by a group of researchers at Microsoft AI and Research with the goal of achieving the same level of accuracy as a group of human transcribers who were able to listen to what they were transcribing several times, access its conversational context and work with other transcribers.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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