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11-24-2017 Science&Technology
Elon Musk just won a $50 million bet for building the world’s largest lithium ion battery in 100 day

Elon Musk will get paid for building the world’s largest lithium ion battery in South Australia, with testing on the 100-megawatt project about to begin ahead of next week’s December 1 deadline to built it in 100 days, or it’s free.

State premier Jay Weatherill announced today that regulatory testing at the site, which is paired with French energy business Neoen’s Hornsdale wind farm, 230km north of the capital, Adelaide, will begin within days.

When fully charged, the Tesla Powerpack is expected to hold enough power for 8,000 homes for 24 hours, or more than 30,000 houses for an hour during a blackout.

The project is part of a $550 million plan by the state to guarantee energy supply following a statewide blackout last year that turned into a national political debate over energy security and costs. A 250MW gas-fired generator, expected to cost $360 million, is also due to come online this summer to provide extra power.

The battery is the result of a Twitter bet between the Tesla founder and Atlassian’s Mike Cannon-Brookes last March that he would supply the battery within 100 days or it was free. The clock began ticking when Musk visited Adelaide in September to sign off on the deal — although work was already underway on the plant after the government gave the contract to Musk in July.

Musk had said that if he failed to meet the deadline, it will have cost him "probably $50 million or more".

The Tesla plant will be called upon during periods of "load shedding" — when excess demand would otherwise result in blackouts.

Weatherill said the battery was now completed and the testing will ensure it is optimised and meets energy market regulatory requirements.

"It sends the clearest message that South Australia will be a leader renewable energy with battery storage," he said.

"An enormous amount of work has gone into delivering this project in such a short time, and I look forward to visiting Jamestown next week to personally thank those who have worked on this project."

Get the latest Tesla stock price here.

Read the original article on Business Insider Australia. Copyright 2017. Follow Business Insider Australia on Twitter.

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11-24-2017 General
'Explosion' heard near missing Argentine submarine's last known location

(CNN)A noise detected near the last known location of a missing Argentine submarine on the day it vanished was consistent with an explosion, the Argentine Navy said Thursday.

"An anomalous, singular, short, violent and non-nuclear event, consistent with an explosion, was registered," navy spokesman Enrique Balbi told a news conference in Buenos Aires.

A dozen nations have been searching by air and sea for the ARA San Juan, which has 44 crew aboard and was last contacted off the coast of Argentina on November 15.

The latest update comes as the clock runs down on the chances of finding the vessel before its air supply runs out.

The San Juan has enough air to last only seven to 10 days if it has remained fully immersed since that time, experts say. If the submarine has surfaced or "snorkeled" -- that is, raised a tube to the surface to refresh the vessel's air -- since then, the crew may have bought more time.

Anxious families have been waiting at Argentina's Mar del Plata navy base, to which the submarine was heading when it vanished, for news of their loved ones. Meanwhile, ships and aircraft are scouring a swath of the South Atlantic for the missing vessel.

Balbi said Wednesday that the Navy had just begun analyzing a new noise that was detected on the day the sub vanished.

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, based in Vienna, Austria, said Thursday that its monitoring systems had detected the noise referred to by the Argentine Navy.

On November 15, it said, "two CTBTO hydroacoustic stations detected an unusual signal in the vicinity of the last known position of missing Argentine submarine ARA San Juan."

The sound of "an underwater impulsive event" was detected at 1:51 p.m. GMT (10:51 a.m. local time) by its underwater microphones, it said. The organization has 11 hydroacoustic stations positioned around the world listening for signs of nuclear explosions.

"Details and data are being made available to the Argentinian Authorities to support the search operations that are underway," the organization said.

'Critical phase' of search

Balbi said Wednesday there had been "no type of contact, not passive nor active," with the submarine since November 15. The search is "in the critical phase," he said.

A spokesman for the UK Ministry of Defense confirmed on Thursday that a Royal Air Force C-130 aircraft had landed in Argentina and is now a part of the search, as is a Voyager, a refueling aircraft that helps searches go on longer.

It appears to be the first time since the Falklands conflict in 1982 that an RAF plane has landed in Argentina, although the UK Ministry of Defense would only characterize it as the first time in a "very long time." The Royal Navy's ice-patrol ship, HMS Protector, had already joined the search. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   CNN

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11-24-2017 Politics

North Korea reportedly replaced all border security guards after a North Korean soldier dashed across the demarcation line at the heavily guarded Joint Security Area in the demilitarized zone (DMZ). It was a rare and dramatic defection, an intelligence source told South Korean news agency Yonhap.

According to the source, the border guards may have been punished for their failure in stopping the defection.

"Signs were detected that North Korea has replaced all border security officials following the defection. Given this situation, commanders of the responsible military unit and senior officers might have undergone punishment," the source was quoted as saying in an published Thursday.

It would not be unprecedented for the North Korean regime led by Kim Jong Un to punish border guards for failing to prevent defections. According to the human rights organization Amnesty International, a commander and a vice-commander of a border post near China were arrested and sentenced to death earlier this year following an official investigation into North Korean defectors, many of whom flee the country through the Chinese border.

Earlier this week, the South Korean intelligence agency told lawmakers about rare punitive actions taken against top North Korean officials following an inspection of the military’s hugely influential General Political Bureau, an organ devoted to ensuring adherence to the ruling party line among the Korean People’s Army ranks, reportedly due to their “impure attitude.”

The punishment was initially seen as a possible sign of infighting among Kim’s key aides, but it could also be related to the border guards (carefully handpicked for their ideological commitment to the regime) and their inability to prevent the defection.

An edited video of the area’s CCTV camera footage the United Nations Command released on Wednesday showed a group of border guards wearing bulletproof vests and armed with pistols and AK-47s chasing after the soldier.

They fired at least 40 rounds at the soldier, who had exited the jeep he drove past a checkpoint after it appeared to get stuck in a ditch. He then ran across the border line. One of the North Korean guards appears to cross South Korea's border, violating the terms of the 1953 Korean War armistice.

The 24-year-old soldier, identified by his surname, Oh, in a Wednesday press conference, suffered gunshot wounds to his abdomen and chest area and collapsed on a pile of dead leaves, just after crossing into South Korea. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   Newsweek

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11-24-2017 Science&Technology
Early Galaxy S9 leaks show Samsung can’t copy the iPhone fast enough

A report from a noteworthy insider said on Wednesday that the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ will be nearly identical to their predecessors when it comes to the design. However, it also highlighted one unexpected detail about the upcoming pair of high-end Galaxy phones. The Galaxy S9+ and the Galaxy S9 will not offer the same set of features, something that will annoy some of the loyal fans out there.

The report also seems to suggest Samsung needed more than a year to replicate Apple’s recent success and strategy, and may further fall behind its biggest rival.

The iPhone is still a major source of inspiration for Samsung, and while Galaxy phones may debut some features before Apple incorporates them into its flagship device, it’s always Samsung that’s expected to follow Apple’s lead. And Samsung usually delivers.

After tweeting that the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ will be itteratie upgrades, Evan Blass shared more details on VentureBeat about the two phones, including the unexpected revelation that the Galaxy S9+ will have a dual lens camera on the back and more RAM, while the Galaxy S9 will only get a single lens cam.

That’s what Apple did with the iPhone 7 last year, equipping the supersized smartphone with a dual camera and extra RAM to handle the Portrait Mode functionality. Samsung was not able to add a dual lens camera to the Galaxy S8, even though it tried to do it, and only introduced one such camera setup with the Galaxy Note 8 that launched almost a year after the iPhone 7 Plus.

From the looks of it, equipping a dual cam on the Galaxy S9 might still be a pretty challenging endeavor. Either that, or Samsung is looking to raise the average selling price of the Galaxy S line by restricting some features to the bigger model.

The Galaxy S9’s dual cam will be available some 18 months after Apple launched its own dual camera handset. But since then, Apple found a way to equip a dual camera on a smartphone about as big as the iPhone 7. And the iPhone X brings several other novel features, like an incredibly fast processor that has no rival in the Android world, and a facial recognition system that uses 3D technology to offer security that trumps Touch ID.

These are features that won’t be available on a Galaxy phone for some time to come. Recent leaks suggested the Galaxy S9’s chips won’t be able to match the power of the A11 Bionic. As for a Face ID equivalent from Samsung, you should not expect one on the Galaxy S9, reports said. Samsung may equip 3D sensors on other 2018 handsets, with the Galaxy Note 9 being a likely candidate. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   BGR

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11-24-2017 Science&Technology
The best Black Friday 2017 games deals on Nintendo, PS4, Xbox, and PC

It’s been more than a year since Sony released its PlayStation 4 Pro, and just one month after the release of Microsoft’s similar (but more powerful) Xbox One X. If you’ve been sitting on the sidelines of this particular mid-generation console race, now might be a good time to jump in.

Not only are there are a bunch of good deals on affordable 4K HDR TVs to take advantage of the visual upgrades, but there’s finally a healthy slate of games optimized for the faster, more powerful hardware.

We’ve rounded up the best deals on standard console hardware and PC parts, games, and accessories so you don’t have to comb through those confusing, anachronistic holiday flier PDF files. With Black Friday starting this Thursday on Thanksgiving and going through Cyber Monday, be sure to double check store hours and whether a certain retailer is offering discounts for in-store purchases, online-only, or both.

The best gaming deals of Black Friday

Microsoft won’t likely discount its new One X console for many months, but Sony and GameStop are offering the first available price drop on the PS4 Pro, from $399.99 to $349.99. It’s a Black Friday deal, so act fast if you’ve been saving up for Sony’s new hardware. If you’re in the market for an Xbox One S, Microsoft is in fact offering its lowest-ever price on that device at $189.

Unfortunately, given Nintendo’s penchant for keeping its prices high, there are not many meaningful deals on either Switch hardware or marquee Switch games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild or Super Mario: Odyssey. But you can get your hands on the new 2DS Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time special edition for $79.99 if you’re willing to go find one in-store as early as possible.

(Note: Many of the hardware deals are identical across retailers due to blanket discount policies from Microsoft and Sony. We’ve listed each hardware deal under the respective retailer when appropriate. So while choosing Best Buy over Target or GameStop won’t mean saving more money, it does mean you have a higher chance of nabbing the deal.)

Read Original Article     ON:   The Verge

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11-24-2017 Business
Japan's latest scandal: Mitsubishi admits faking data

Another day, another admission of wrongdoing by a Japanese corporate giant.

Mitsubishi Materials said Thursday that it had falsified data on multiple products -- including components used in cars and airplanes -- for more than a year, adding to Japan's growing list of corporate scandals.

At least two of the company's subsidiaries faked data to meet specifications set by clients, it said in a statement.

Mitsubishi Cable Industries had been misrepresenting data on rubber sealants used in automobiles and aircraft, the company added. Data was falsified for around 270 million units sold between April 2015 and September 2017 to a total of 229 customers.

Another subsidiary, Mitsubishi Shindoh, had been fudging details of some of its metal products for at least the past year, including brass and copper parts used in the automotive and electronics industries. At least 29 companies are believed to have bought the parts in question.

"We have not at this time identified any instances of illegal conduct or concerns relating to safety at either [subsidiary]," Mitsubishi Materials said. The company is part of the sprawling Mitsubishi (MSBHY) group.

It said it was impossible to estimate the financial fallout at this stage. Japanese markets were closed Thursday for a holiday.

Japan Inc., once the envy of the world for its manufacturing prowess, has been struggling with a series of embarrassing controversies.

A month ago, Kobe Steel admitted to falsifying data on products sold to big clients such as Boeing (BA) and Toyota (TM), sending its stock tumbling more than 40%.

Mitsubishi is one of many companies affected by the Kobe Steel scandal, having used metal parts made with false data in its airplanes. The two companies also have a joint venture to produce copper tubes.

Shortly after the Kobe Steel scandal erupted, top carmakers Nissan and Subaru both admitted they had allowed uncertified workers to inspect vehicles. They recalled thousands of cars as a result.

Millions more cars around the world were recalled because of another Japanese firm, Takata (TKTDQ), whose exploding airbags led to multiple deaths and forced the company to file for bankruptcy in June.

Toshiba (TOSBF), meanwhile, has struggled with an accounting scandal and troubles over its nuclear power business.

This isn't the first corporate scandal Mitsubishi has faced, either. The company's automotive subsidiary, Mitsubishi Motors, admitted to cheating on fuel efficiency tests last year.

Read Original Article     ON:   CNN

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11-24-2017 Religion
Pope faces diplomatic dilemma in Myanmar visit

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis visits Myanmar next week, a delicate trip for the world’s most senior Christian to a majority Buddhist country accused by Washington of the “ethnic cleansing” of Muslim Rohingya people.

He will also visit Bangladesh to where more than 600,000 people have fled from what Amnesty International called “crimes against humanity” including murder, rape torture and forcible displacement, allegations the Myanmar military denies.

The trip is so delicate that some of the pope’s advisors have warned him against even saying the word “Rohingya,” lest he set off a diplomatic incident that could turn the country’s military and government against minority Christians.

The most tense moments of the Nov. 26-Dec. 2 trip are likely to be private meetings with army head Senior General Min Aung Hlaing and, separately, civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.[nL8N1NK7DL]

Myanmar does not recognize Rohingya as citizens nor as a group with its own identity, posing a dilemma for Francis as he visits a country of 51 million people where only around 700,000 are Roman Catholics.

“He risks either compromising his moral authority or putting in danger the Christians of that country,” said Father Thomas Reese, a prominent American author and analyst at Religion News Service.

“I have great admiration for the pope and his abilities, but someone should have talked him out of making this trip,” he wrote.

Vatican sources say some in the Holy See believe the trip was decided too hastily after full diplomatic ties were established in May during a visit by Suu Kyi, whose global esteem as a Nobel Peace Prize laureate has been tarnished by expressing doubts about the rights abuse allegations and failing to condemn the military.

“Pope Francis needs to be firm on all fronts. While the violence cannot stop without the cooperation of security forces, Suu Kyi should not be given a free pass either,” said Lynn Kuok, a fellow of the Brookings Institution’s Center for East Asia Policy Studies.

In a late addition to his itinerary, Francis will meet Rohingya refugees on the second leg of his trip in the Bangladesi capital Dhaka. His meeting with General Min Aung Hlaing was also a late addition following negotiations with the military by Myanmar’s senior churchman, Cardinal Charles Bo.


In a video message sent to Myanmar last week, Francis said he wanted the trip to lead to “reconciliation, forgiveness and peace”, to further the Gospel values of “dignity for every man and woman” and encourage harmony and cooperation. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   Reuters

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11-24-2017 Science&Technology
When Uber Discovered A Major Security Breach, It Paid Hackers To Keep It A Secret: Report

Uber has made a groundbreaking revelation.

On Tuesday, Nov. 21, the ride-hailing company disclosed that hackers had stolen 57 million customer and driver accounts and that it paid them $100,000 to keep them quiet about the breach.

According to several former and current employees who asked to remain anonymous, the arrangement was handled by Uber's chief security officer under the watch of Travis Kalanick, then the company's CEO.

Uber Paid Hackers To Keep Quiet About A Massive Data Breach

The security officer in question, Joe Sullivan, has been fired, as The New York Times reports. Meanwhile, Kalanick is still with the company but was forced to resign in June following scandals that alleged Uber's workplace culture was sexist and full of power-hungry executives. He remains seated on Uber's board.

What They Stole

The two hackers stole phone numbers, email addresses, and even names from a third-party server, admitted Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi in a statement. The driver's license numbers of about 600,000 U.S. drivers were also included. The hackers then approached Uber for a $100,000 ransom. Uber met the demands, but went further: it tracked down those hackers and forced them to sign nondisclosure agreements. Uber didn't stop there, however.

To conceal the security breach even further, Uber executives made it appear as if the hack was the result of a bug bounty program, a common practice among companies in which they promise hackers certain amounts of money if they find security flaws within their products or services.

Uber waited until Nov. 21 to reveal the breach to New York's attorney general and the Federal Trade Commission, the country's top consumer watchdog, according to Bloomberg. It comes as the latest in a series of massive data breaches that raise crucial questions about companies' ability to keep consumer data safe from prying hands.

Massive Data Breaches

In October, Yahoo revealed that 3 billion of its users' accounts were breached. In September, credit bureau Equifax admitted that information belonging to 145.5 million people may have been compromised, starting widespread controversy and furor. Uber's new revelation comes at a pivotal transitional period for the company, as it's still picking itself up again from the exhaustion brought about by Kalanick's strained leadership.

"None of this should have happened, and I will not make excuses for it," said Khosrowshahi.

The Uber CEO said he's now seeking help from Matt Olsen — a cofounder of a cybersecurity consulting firm, former general counsel of the National Security Agency, and director of the National Counterterrorism Center — to guide him on how to improve the company's security structures in the future.

Read Original Article     ON:   Tech Times

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11-23-2017 Science&Technology
Apple Shares Research into Self-Driving Car Software That Improves Obstacle Detection

Apple computer scientists working on autonomous vehicle technology have posted a research paper online describing how self-driving cars can spot cyclists and pedestrians using fewer sensors (via Reuters).

The paper by Yin Zhou and Oncel Tuzel was submitted to the moderated scientific pre-print repository arXiv on November 17, in what appears to be Apple's first publicly disclosed research on autonomous vehicle technology.

The paper is titled "End-to-End Learning for Point Cloud Based 3D Object Detection", and describes how new software developed by Apple scientists improves the ability of LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) systems to recognize objects including pedestrians and cyclists from a distance.

Self-driving cars typically use a combination of standard cameras and depth-sensing LiDAR units to receive information about the world around them.

Apple's research team said they were able to get "highly encouraging results" using LiDAR data alone to spot cyclists and pedestrians, and wrote that they were also able to beat other approaches for detecting 3D objects that rely solely on LiDAR tech. The experiments were limited to computer simulations and did not advance to road tests.

Apple famously has a secretive research policy and has kept its work under wraps for many years, but over the last 12 months, the company has shared some of its research advancements with other researchers and the wider public, particularly in the area of machine learning.

In December 2016, Apple said that it would start allowing its AI and machine learning researchers to publish and share their work in papers, with the first paper appearing just a few weeks following the announcement.

Additionally, in July of this year, Apple researchers initiated the "Apple Machine Learning Journal", a blog detailing their work on machine learning, AI, and other related topics.

This new policy of openness could help Apple retain employees who do not want to keep their progress a secret, but the latest research into autonomous vehicle technology also lets regulators see that the company is making progress in this area. Last December, Apple told federal regulators it was excited about the technology and asked them not to restrict testing. In April, the company also filed a self-driving car testing plan with California regulators.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has called autonomy "the mother of all AI projects". During an August 2017 earnings call, Cook re-emphasized Apple's deep interest in the technology, and even hinted Apple's work on autonomy could be used for more than vehicles.

Apple has presumably been working on an autonomous driving system since 2014, when rumors of its efforts to create an electric vehicle first surfaced. Apple has now moved away from creating a full vehicle and is said to be focusing on self-driving technology instead.

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11-23-2017 Games
The case for and against loot boxes, according to developers

The Year of the Loot Box hasn't had quite the same glamour as the Year of Luigi. Those were better times. Happier times. We didn't have to gamble on a 1 percent drop rate for a legendary green cap or pay $5 to replenish a stock of fire arrows. So how did we get here: How have loot boxes now become the go-to delivery mechanism for desirable videogame items in 2017, spreading from card games and Valve shooters like CS:GO and Team Fortress 2 into $60 blockbusters like Call of Duty: WWII and Star Wars Battlefront 2?

I asked developers who have worked on triple-A and indie games about the process behind how loot boxes are designed and implemented, plus what the future holds for microtransactions given the current player backlash against them. Here's what they had to say.

Why have we seen such a surge in loot boxes in 2017?

"I think there's a false narrative that runs around, when [companies] see growth somewhere, they think 'oh, we have to be part of this,'" a veteran producer of triple-A games, who asked to be quoted anonymously, told us. "[The impulse is] 'Oh god, let's put this in our game.' When in reality, you don't need to do that… There's definitely a mentality of 'oh god, we have to do something... Mobile is doing so well.'"

In his opinion, though, "Mobile and console/PC are not competing. They're fundamentally different spaces, and the consistent lines that are drawn need to stop being drawn."

Who decides whether loot boxes are going into a game, and when is that decision made?

The same producer I talked to suggested, as you would expect, that systems like loot boxes are implemented into different games at different stages of development.

"I worked on a five year project, and certainly at the beginning of the project, that wasn't in the conversation," the producer said. "The publisher definitely brought it up 2-3 years out from release, it was at least talked about. There wasn't a set system put together for it, just an idea of how would we do this, what would we do, what could we sell that would be valuable to people, and in our case, [that the loot boxes] would not be gameplay-based."

I also talked over email with a designer who has experience at both triple-A and indie studios, who offered some examples of the design process. He too asked to be quoted anonymously.

"The decision to include a certain type of microtransaction is typically made early in the project—you have to design and architect the game and its systems in such a way that you can support it. In my experience, it floated around as something that we knew we were going to implement at some point, but it was one of the last things that we actually built (which can mean a small window for iteration, especially when pushed up against a submission date)."...

Read Original Article     ON:   PC Gamer

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11-23-2017 Science&Technology
Google admits it tracked user location data even when the setting was turned off

Android phones gather your location data and send it to Google, even if you’ve turned off location services and don’t have a SIM card, Quartz reported today.

The term “location services” oftentimes refers to exact GPS data for app usage, such as Google Maps finding your best commute route, or Uber figuring out exactly where you’re standing to let drivers know your pickup point. Quartz’s report details a practice in which Google was able to track user locations by triangulating which cell towers were currently servicing a specific device.

Since January, all kinds of Android phones and tablets have been collecting the addresses of nearby cellular towers and sending the encrypted data to Google’s push notifications and messaging management system when connected to the internet. It’s a practice that customers can’t opt out of — even if their phones are factory reset.

A Google spokesperson said in a statement to The Verge that all modern Android phones use a network sync system that requires mobile country codes and mobile network codes, so tower info called “Cell ID” codes were considered an “additional signal to further improve the speed and performance of message delivery.” Google ultimately discarded the cell tower data and didn’t go through with the original plan.

A source familiar with the matter stated that Google added the cell tower data-collecting feature to improve its Firebase Cloud Messaging, where devices have to ping the server at regular intervals in order to receive messages promptly.

The findings are surprising, given that cell tower data is usually held by carrier networks and only shared with outside companies under extreme circumstances. Through Google’s practices this year, an individual’s particular location within a quarter-mile radius or less could be determined with the addresses of multiple cell towers. This has particular security implications for individuals who wish to not be tracked, meaning that the safest way to avoid being tracked at all is probably to stick to burner phones. It could also create a bigger target for hackers looking to obtain personal information.

An update that removes this cell tower data-collecting feature will roll out by the end of this month, according to Google. Google’s terms of service, at the time of publish, still vaguely state, “When you use Google services, we may collect and process information about your actual location” using “various technologies... including IP address, GPS, and other sensors that may, for example, provide Google with information on nearby devices, Wi-Fi access points and cell tower.” Google does offer details on how to control Google’s location access points, though after reading through the instructions, the company could admittedly do a better job of making this clearer and simpler for its general consumers. ...

Read Original Article     ON:   The Verge

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11-23-2017 Health
What The Industry Knew About Sugar's Health Effects, But Didn't Tell Us

Back in the 1960s, the fact that our diets influence the risk of heart disease was still a new idea. And there was a debate about the role of fats and the role of sugar.

The sugar industry got involved in efforts to influence this debate. "What the sugar industry successively did," argues Stanton Glantz of the University of California, San Francisco, "is they shifted all of the blame onto fats."

The industry's strategies were sophisticated, Glantz says, and are similar to those of the tobacco industry. For instance, in 1965 an industry group, the Sugar Research Foundation, secretly funded a scientific review that downplayed the evidence that linked sugar consumption to blood fat levels. The review was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Now, what's come to light in an investigation published Tuesday in the journal PLOS Biology is that the industry funded its own research project, but never disclosed the findings.

Glantz and his collaborators, including Cristin Kearns, an assistant professor at UCSF, evaluated a bunch of sugar industry internal documents. Here's what they found:

Back in 1968, the Sugar Research Foundation, a predecessor to the International Sugar Research Foundation, paid a researcher to lead a study with lab animals.

Initial results showed that a high-sugar diet increased the animals' triglyceride levels, a type of fat in the blood, through effects on the gut bacteria. In people, high triglycerides can increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes. The study also found that animals fed sugar had higher levels of an enzyme associated with bladder cancer in their urine.

The study was halted before it was completed. Glantz says the researcher asked for more time to continue the study, but the Sugar Research Foundation pulled the plug on the project.

The Sugar Association, a trade group based in Washington, D.C., that has organizational ties to the Sugar Research Foundation, released a statement on this new investigation.

"The study in question ended for three reasons, none of which involved potential research findings," the association says. The statement goes on to explain that the study was over budget and delayed. "The delay overlapped with an organizational restructuring with the Sugar Research Foundation becoming a new entity, the International Sugar Research Foundation," the statement says.

The trade group says sugar consumed in moderation is part of a balanced lifestyle, and in its statement the group says "we remain committed to supporting research to further understand the role sugar plays in consumers' evolving eating habits." ...

Read Original Article     ON:   NPR

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11-16-2017 Society
4 dead after California shootings; gunman tried to enter school

(CNN)A gunman killed four people in a remote Northern California community on Tuesday morning, but a much bigger death toll was averted when the killer was unable to break into an elementary school.

The staff at tiny Rancho Tehama Elementary School west of Corning moved quickly when they heard gunfire nearby just before classes were set to begin, Tehama County Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnston said.

Doors were locked and students dashed inside and hit the floors underneath desks and tables.

The shooter, who was killed by police at another site, rammed a stolen pickup through the school's locked gate, walked into the schoolyard, and fired his rifle through windows and walls.

He tried doors, but the buildings at the Rancho Tehama Reserve school were secure. Only an outside bathroom was open, but the gunman found no one there.

After about six minutes, he left, apparently frustrated.

The school district said a student was wounded by gunfire and was in stable condition. Others were hurt by flying glass.

'Could have been so much worse'

"This individual shooter was bent on engaging and killing people at random. I have to say this incident, as tragic and as bad as it is, could have been so much worse," Johnston said, applauding the quick thinking of the school staff.

The gunfire that triggered the alert at the school came when the shooter fired from his vehicle into others while on his way to the school, about 2 miles from his home.

The gunman's precise motives were unclear, but a dispute with a neighbor who was found dead Tuesday may have sparked the rampage in which there were seven shooting scenes.

"This is an individual who armed himself, I think with the motive of getting even with his neighbors and when it went that far (that someone was killed) he just went on a rampage," Johnston said.

The killer apparently chose most of his victims at random, sometimes firing at passing motorists, homes and also gunning down someone after he purposely crashed into another car.

At least 10 people were wounded or hurt in the string of shootings in Rancho Tehama, about 125 northwest of Sacramento.

The gunman had a tactical vest with extra magazines for his guns, Johnston said, who viewed surveillance video of the shooting.

The wounded victims from the spree included a mother who was driving her children to school when the attacker opened fire on them "without provocation or warning," the assistant sheriff said.

The woman was being treated for life-threatening injuries. A child who was in the vehicle was not seriously wounded, according to Johnston.

A visibly shaken Johnston told reporters earlier: "This is a sad day for us here in Tehama County." ...

Read Original Article     ON:   CNN

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11-14-2017 Science&Technology
This $150 mask beat Face ID on the iPhone X

Vietnamese cybersecurity firm Bkav claims it's been able to bypass the iPhone X's Face ID feature using a mask. The mask is made to trick Apple's depth mapping and the result is a kind of creepy hybrid monster head with realistic cutouts for the eyes, nose and mouth.

Bkav says the mask is crafted through a combination of 3D printing, makeup, and 2D images. There's also some "special processing done on the cheeks and around the face" where there are large areas of skin, and the nose is created from silicone. The demo video shows the iPhone being unlocked using the researcher's face and then again using the mask, in just one go.

The cost of making the mask is relatively inexpensive at $150, says Bkav, which began working on the mask right after recieving their iPhone X on November 5th. That means it was able to create a bypass for Face ID in less than a week. The firm does stress that the product is just a proof of concept at the moment and more research is needed. "Country leaders, leaders of major corporations... are the ones that need to know about the issue, because their devices are worth illegal unlock attempts. Exploitation is difficult for normal users, but simple for professional ones," Bkav said on an FAQ on its website.

Apple published a technical white paper on Face ID a few weeks ago that described the techniques used in facial matching. It states that the iPhone X uses a neural network that’s trained to spot and resist spoofing, and “defends against attempts to unlock your phone with photos or masks.” The Wall Street Journal's Joanna Stern made a silicone mask that failed to trick Face ID during her review of the iPhone X.

When introducing the iPhone X in September, executive Phil Schiller said Apple’s engineers had worked with professional mask makers and makeup artists in Hollywood to protect against attempts to beat Face ID. "These are actual masks used by the engineering team to train the neutral network to protect against them in Face ID," said Schiller while standing below an image of the masks. He didn't say if any of its masks could defeat the system, however. Schiller did concede that no biometric system is perfect, noting that the probability of a random person unlocking an iPhone X with Face ID is approximately 1 in 1,000,000, compared to 1 in 50,000 for Touch ID.

Read Original Article     ON:   The Verge

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11-13-2017 Society
Nationalist protesters disrupt Poland independence day events

Warsaw, Poland (CNN)Tens of thousands of nationalist protesters disrupted Poland's independence day events Saturday, waving flags and burning flares as they marched down the streets of Warsaw.

Demonstrators carried banners that read "White Europe, Europe must be white," and "Pray for an Islamic Holocaust."

Some wore masks and waved red and white Polish flags, chanting "Death to enemies of the homeland," and "Catholic Poland, not secular."

Police estimate that 60,000 people took part in the nationalist demonstration. While the vast majority were Poles, other protesters came from all over Europe.

One of the lead organizations behind the nationalists march is the National Radical Camp, which has previously taken to the streets to protest against Muslim immigration,gay rights, the EU and anything it considers undermines Polish Catholic values.

While support for the group remains small, its critics argue that the Polish government, which has struck a nationalistic tone and linked immigrants to crime and disease, has fostered an atmosphere of intolerance and xenophobia that has emboldened it.

Earlier on Saturday, the Polish capital had seen a far smaller demonstration by groups condemning the protesters' hijacking of Polish independence day, which falls on November 11.

The day celebrates the re-birth of Poland in November 1918, 123 years after the Prussian, Habsburg and Russian empires carved up Poland among themselves and erased it from the map of Europe.

But in the past few years, the holiday has been overshadowed by the far-right march and fears of violence.

Polish President Andrzej Duda led the formal celebrations of Polish independence day in central Warsaw. After laying a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier, he told the crowd to remember the price of freedom and independence.

Read Original Article     ON:   CNN

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11-13-2017 Games
Harry Potter: Wizards Unite Is The Next AR Game By 'Pokémon GO' Developer Niantic Labs

Niantic Labs, the developer behind Pokémon GO, is working on a new augmented reality game that will be based on the Harry Potter franchise.

Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, which will be released next year, will look to tap into the franchise's massive and dedicated fan base to launch with the same hype as Pokémon GO.

What We Know So Far About 'Harry Potter: Wizards Unite'

Niantic Labs announced Harry Potter: Wizards Unite through an official blog post that likely sent Potterheads all over the world into a frenzy. There were rumors last year that the developer was going to make a Harry Potter version of Pokémon GO, but they were debunked. That project has turned out to be real.

Harry Potter: Wizards Unite will use the same augmented reality technology that Niantic Labs introduced with its first AR game, Ingress, and continued with Pokémon GO. The developer will team up with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and the development team of WB Games San Francisco for the project.

"Players will learn spells, explore their real world neighborhoods and cities to discover & fight legendary beasts and team up with others to take down powerful enemies," Niantic Labs said in the press release. The description falls in line with the information from last year's rumors that players will visit wizardry schools scattered around the world, while completing quests to learn spells that can be used in magical combat against players in rival factions.

It appears that Harry Potter: Wizards Unite will take cues from Ingress, where players collect power-ups as they move around in the real world, defend locations, and explore their surroundings.

The AR game is now officially on its way, but aside from the above information, details are scarce. For fans of the Harry Potter series, however, the experience already sounds magical.

What We Want To See In 'Harry Potter: Wizards Unite'

Fans of the Harry Potter franchise will have a long list of features that they want to see in Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. That list likely includes the ability to cast the iconic spells from the series, the inclusion of characters such as Harry Potter himself and Lord Voldemort, and perhaps even a round of Quidditch.

However, the most important thing that players should demand from Niantic Labs is to make sure that the technical issues that have plagued Pokémon GO will not be present in Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. While the developer has kept Pokémon GO players engaged with continuous updates, there have been many major mishaps, including the failed Pokémon GO Fest in Chicago.

Read Original Article     ON:   Tech Times

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69 The Dong-a Ilbo / Korea 70 La Nación / Argentina 71 The Hindustan Times / India 72 San Jose Mercury News / United States
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77 Qingdao News / China 78 The Jerusalem Post / Israel 79 The Plain Dealer / United States 80 L'Equipe / France
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85 O Globo / Brazil 86 Aftonbladet / Sweden 87 The Japan Times / Japan 88 Business Standard / India
89 Le Nouvel Observateur / France 90 Kommersant / Russia 91 Le Parisien / France 92 The New Zealand Herald / New Zealand
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97 Il Sole 24 Ore / Italy 98 The Miami Herald / United States 99 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution / United States 100 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette / United States
101 The Irish Independent / Ireland 102 South China Morning Post / Hong Kong SAR 103 The Irish Times / Ireland 104 The Star Online / Malaysia
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141 Les Échos / France 142 Gulf News / United Arab Emirates 143 Yedioth Aharonot / Israel 144 Sports Nippon / Japan
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149 Handelsblatt / Germany 150 The Daily Telegraph / Australia

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