Tech News

Amazon's New Chip Moves AWS Into High-Performance Computing

technology - Posted On:2022-11-29 14:15:00 Source: slashdot

Amazon's cloud-computing unit is rolling out new chips designed to power the highest-end of computing, supporting tasks such as weather forecasting and gene sequencing. From a report: Amazon Web Services, the largest provider of over-the-internet computing, on Monday said it would let customers rent computing power that relies on a new version of its Graviton chips. Peter DeSantis, a senior vice president who oversees most of AWS's engineering teams, said in an interview that the product is a springboard for making what the industry calls high-performance computing more readily available. The newest chip is the latest piece of Amazon's effort to build more of the hardware that fills the massive data centers that power AWS. Amazon says making its own chips will give customers more cost-effective computing power than they could get by renting time on processors built by the likes of Intel Corp., Nvidia Corp. or Advanced Micro Devices. The move has put AWS in direct competition with those companies, which are also among its biggest suppliers. DeSantis said the chipmakers remain "great partners," and that AWS plans to continue to offer high-performance computing services based on chips made by other companies. On Tuesday, AWS Chief Executive Officer Adam Selipsky announced a new version of the Inferentia chip, which is designed to draw inferences from vast amounts of data. Inferentia2 is built to handle bigger sets of data than its predecessor, enabling things like software-generated images or detecting and interpreting human speech, Amazon said. [...] The latest version of AWS's line of Graviton processors, the Graviton3E, will have twice the ability of current versions in one type of calculations needed by high-performance computers, DeSantis said. When combined with other AWS technology, the new offering will be 20% better than the previous one. Amazon didn't say when services based on the new chip would be available. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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FTX-backed DEX Serum Calls Itself 'Defunct,' Promotes Community Fork

technology - Posted On:2022-11-29 12:45:00 Source: slashdot

Serum, a decentralized crypto exchange backed by FTX, notified its 215,000 Twitter followers the project is "defunct" after the crypto exchange giant's sudden collapse -- while pointing users towards a community-led fork of the project. From a report: "The Serum program on mainnet became defunct" following FTX's implosion, Serum tweeted. "As upgrade authority is held by FTX, security is in jeopardy, leading to protocols like Jupiter and Radium moving away," it added, referring to two DeFi projects on the Solana blockchain. Earlier this month, the now-bankrupt FTX exchange was hacked for more than $400 million, which is said to have compromised the security of Serum's code. This is because the "update authority" for its code was held solely in the hands of insiders at the FTX exchange, Serum explained. The team also commented on its native Serum (SRM) token, stating its future was "uncertain" and that developers have proposed to scrap its use due to exposure to FTX and its sister trading firm Alameda Research. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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AWS Announces Digital Sovereignty Pledge

technology - Posted On:2022-11-29 11:15:00 Source: slashdot

AWS has announced its "AWS Digital Sovereignty Pledge." From a report: As nations across the globe introduce legislation that governs how and where businesses can keep data on their local users, the large clouds either have to offer attractive solutions or run the risk of having their customers move to local clouds. Microsoft, with Purview, and Google, with Dataplex, also offer data governance tools, but none of them have gone quite as far as AWS in making digital sovereignty a core pillar of their cloud strategy. Matt Garman, AWS's senior vice president of Sales, Marketing and Global Services, notes that giving customers control over their data has always been a priority for AWS, but with constantly shifting and evolving legal requirements, managing all of this has become increasingly complex. "In many places around the world, like in Europe, digital sovereignty policies are evolving rapidly. Customers are facing an incredible amount of complexity, and over the last 18 months, many have told us they are concerned that they will have to choose between the full power of AWS and a feature-limited sovereign cloud solution that could hamper their ability to innovate, transform, and grow. We firmly believe that customers shouldn't have to make this choice," he writes. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Rolls-Royce Successfully Tests Hydrogen-Powered Jet Engine

technology - Posted On:2022-11-29 02:15:00 Source: slashdot

Britain's Rolls-Royce said it has successfully run an aircraft engine on hydrogen, a world aviation first that marks a major step towards proving the gas could be key to decarbonizing air travel. Reuters reports: The ground test, using a converted Rolls-Royce AE 2100-A regional aircraft engine, used green hydrogen created by wind and tidal power, the British company said on Monday. Rolls and its testing program partner easyJet are seeking to prove that hydrogen can safely and efficiently deliver power for civil aero engines. They said they were already planning a second set of tests, with a longer-term ambition to carry out flight tests. Hydrogen is one of a number of competing technologies that could help the aviation industry achieve its goal of becoming net zero by 2050. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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'Gaslighting' Is Merriam-Webster's Word of the Year For 2022

technology - Posted On:2022-11-28 18:00:01 Source: slashdot

"Gaslighting" -- behavior that's mind manipulating, grossly misleading, downright deceitful -- is Merriam-Webster's word of the year. The Associated Press reports: Lookups for the word on merriam-webster.com increased 1,740% in 2022 over the year before. But something else happened. There wasn't a single event that drove significant spikes in curiosity, as it usually goes with the chosen word of the year. The gaslighting was pervasive. Merriam-Webster's top definition for gaslighting is the psychological manipulation of a person, usually over an extended period of time, that "causes the victim to question the validity of their own thoughts, perception of reality, or memories and typically leads to confusion, loss of confidence and self-esteem, uncertainty of one's emotional or mental stability, and a dependency on the perpetrator." More broadly, the dictionary defines the word thusly: "The act or practice of grossly misleading someone especially for one's own advantage." Despite its relatively recent prominence -- including "Gaslighter," The Chicks' 2020 album featuring the rousingly angry titular single -- the word was brought to life more than 80 years ago with "Gas Light," a 1938 play by Patrick Hamilton. It birthed two film adaptations in the 1940s. One, George Cukor's "Gaslight" in 1944, starred Ingrid Bergman as Paula Alquist and Charles Boyer as Gregory Anton. The two marry after a whirlwind romance and Gregory turns out to be a champion gaslighter. Among other instances, he insists her complaints over the constant dimming of their London townhouse's gaslights is a figment of her troubled mind. It wasn't. "It's a word that has risen so quickly in the English language, and especially in the last four years, that it actually came as a surprise to me and to many of us," said Peter Sokolowski, Merriam-Webster's editor at large. "It was a word looked up frequently every single day of the year," he said. Merriam-Webster chooses its word of the year based solely on data. Rounding out this year's Top 10 are: "Oligarch," "Omicron," "Codify," "Queen consort," "Raid," "Sentient," "Cancel culture," "LGBTQIA," and "Loamy." Last year's pick was "vaccine." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Microsoft Likely To Offer EU Concessions Soon in Activision Deal

technology - Posted On:2022-11-28 16:30:00 Source: slashdot

Microsoft is likely to offer remedies to EU antitrust regulators in the coming weeks to stave off formal objections to its $69 billion bid for "Call of Duty" maker Activision Blizzard, Reuters reported Monday, citing people familiar with the matter. From the report: The U.S. software giant and Xbox maker announced the deal in January to help it compete better with leaders Tencent and Sony. It has since then faced regulatory headwinds in the European Union, Britain and in the United States, with Sony criticising the deal and even calling for a regulatory veto. The deadline for the European Commission, which is investigating the deal, to set out a formal list of competition concerns known as a statement of objection is in January. Offering remedies before such a document is issued could shorten the regulatory process. [...] Microsoft's remedy would consist mainly of a 10-year licensing deal to Playstation owner Sony, another person with direct knowledge said. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Google Partners With Med Tech Company To Develop AI Breast Cancer Screening Tools

technology - Posted On:2022-11-28 14:00:00 Source: slashdot

Google announced today that it has licensed its AI research model for breast cancer screening to medical technology company iCAD. This is the first time Google is licensing the technology, with the hopes that it will eventually lead to more accurate breast cancer detection and risk assessment. From a report: The two companies aim to eventually deploy the technology in real-world clinical settings -- targeting a "2024 release," Google communications manager Nicole Linton told The Verge in an email. Commercial deployment, however, still depends on how successful continued research and testing are. "We will move deliberately and test things as we go," Linton said in the email. The partnership builds on Google's prior work to improve breast cancer detection. Back in 2020, Google researchers published a paper in the journal Nature that found that its AI system outperformed several radiologists in identifying signs of breast cancer. The model reduced false negatives by up to 9.4 percent and reduced false positives by up to 5.7 percent among thousands of mammograms studied. iCAD plans to incorporate Google's mammography AI research model into iCAD's existing tools. The first is its "ProFound AI" tool that analyzes images from digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT), an advanced imaging technique sometimes called "3D mammography." The tool scans DBT images to look for malignant soft tissue densities and calcifications. iCAD also plans to use Google's model with its risk evaluation tool, which the company says provides personalized breast cancer risk estimation tailored to each person. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Singapore Branches Out Onto Internet of Trees

technology - Posted On:2022-11-28 13:30:00 Source: slashdot

Singapore is obsessed with trees. The island nation, population 5.45 million people, is home to around seven million trees -- and manages many of them with an enormous Internet of Things monitoring scheme. From a report: Which is a very Singaporean thing to do, because another local obsession is tracking everything. The city-state's goal of becoming a Smart Nation includes an increasingly comprehensive masterplan that uses tech to manage, link and track as many aspects of life as possible. Singapore's National Parks Board (NParks) therefore tracks trees -- around six million of them -- once they reach a certain size, so that arborists can manage them with an app. NParks CEO Tan Chong Lee told The Register the agency's team visits every one of the urban trees to check their stability on a regular basis, but the remote tree system -- combined with other digital assessments -- allows many other tree management tasks to be done from the comfort of an air conditioned office. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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The Internet Archive's PalmPilot Emulation Project Lets You Relive Tech History

technology - Posted On:2022-11-28 13:00:01 Source: slashdot

An anonymous reader shares a report: Fifteen years after the release of the iPhone, it's easy to overlook the role early innovators like Palm played in popularizing the smartphone. By the time HP unceremoniously shut down the company in 2011, Palm had struggled for a few years to carve out a niche for itself among Apple and Google. But ask anyone who had a chance to use a Palm PDA in the late '90s or early 2000s and they'll tell you how fondly they remember the hardware and software that made the company's vision possible. Now, it's easier than ever to see what made Palm OS so special back in its day. Last week, archivist Jason Scott uploaded a database of Palm OS apps to the Internet Archive. In all, there are about 560 programs to check out, including old favorites like DopeWars and SpaceTrader. Even if you don't have any nostalgia for Palm, it's well worth spending a few minutes with the collection to see how much -- or, in some cases, little -- things have changed since Palm OS was a dominant player in the market. For instance, there's an entire section devoted to shareware and it's interesting to see just how much some developers thought it was appropriate to pay for their software. Want to use the full version of StockCalc? Just send $15 by post to DDT Investments in Plaistow, New Hampshire. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Crypto Lender BlockFi Files for Bankruptcy as FTX Fallout Spreads

technology - Posted On:2022-11-28 11:00:00 Source: slashdot

BlockFi, a cryptocurrency lender and financial services firm, filed for bankruptcy on Monday, becoming the latest company in the crypto industry hobbled by the implosion of the embattled exchange FTX. From a report: BlockFi had been reeling since the spring, when the collapse of several influential crypto firms pushed the market into a panic, sending the value of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin plunging. In June, FTX agreed to provide the company with a $400 million credit line, which BlockFi's chief executive, Zac Prince, said would provide "access to capital that further bolsters our balance sheet." The deal also gave FTX the option to buy BlockFi. But that agreement meant that BlockFi was financially entangled with FTX, and its stability was thrust into uncertainty this month after a series of revelations about corporate missteps and suspicious management at FTX. A few days after the exchange collapsed, BlockFi suspended withdrawals, explaining that it had "significant exposure" to FTX, including undrawn amounts from the credit line and assets held on the FTX platform. BlockFi is not the first crypto lender to collapse in a devastating year for the industry. After the spring crash, in which Bitcoin fell 20 percent in a week, two other lenders, Celsius Network and Voyager Digital, filed for bankruptcy. BlockFi, which is based in Jersey City, N.J., was created in 2017 and, as of last year, claimed more than 450,000 retail clients who can obtain loans in minutes, without credit checks. "We are just at the beginning of this story," Flori Marquez, a co-founder of BlockFi, told The New York Times in September. But its business has attracted close scrutiny from regulators. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Frontier Airlines Gets Rid of Telephone Customer Service

it - Posted On:2022-11-28 09:15:00 Source: slashdot

Say goodbye to the airline call center -- at least at Frontier Airlines. From a report: The budget carrier has completed its transition to online, mobile and text support, which enables it to ensure that customers get "the information they need as expeditiously and efficiently as possible," spokeswoman Jennifer de la Cruz told CNBC in an e-mailed statement. Passengers who call the customer service number Frontier lists on its website now get the message: "At Frontier, we offer the lowest fares in the industry by operating our airline as efficiently as possible. We want our customers to be able to operate efficiently as well, which is why we make it easy to find what you need at Flyfrontier.com or on our mobile app." Those who want to text with the carrier can get a link to do so sent to their phone. Most major carriers still offer customer service lines. But Frontier, which charges fees for everything from advanced seat assignments to carry-on luggage and snacks, is often looking for ways to cut expenses. During its investor day earlier this month, Frontier hinted that it would stop offering customer service by phone, a change that travel site Travel Noire reported earlier this week. Further reading: US Fines Airlines More Than $7 Million for Not Providing Refunds. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Is Everyone Still Getting Remote Work Wrong?

it - Posted On:2022-11-27 18:30:00 Source: slashdot

ZDNet asks: why is everyone getting remote working wrong? Researchers at tech analyst Gartner believe a rigid requirement to return to offices is a mistake. But the researchers also believe so-called "hybrid" schedules often are also flawed: "Most of those work models delivered below-average outcomes," the research found, and the common factor was some kind of rigid on-site requirement. Much more successful was a "hybrid-flexible" set-up offering leaders and employees the opportunity to choose where they work from. But most successful by far were workplaces that offered this flexibility and also included elements of "intentional collaboration and empathy-based management", where bosses don't force staff to come to the office just to keep an eye on them. How the working week is organized matters: get it right, and staff are more likely to want to stay, and more likely to perform well. Autonomy also reduces fatigue, which in turn means workers are likely to sustain good performance over time. ZDNet also tested virtual reality meetings — concluding they're "still undeniably somewhat clunky and can make you feel a bit awkward." But at the same time, "I was also surprised by how much benefit they could potentially deliver." Sure, a meeting with avatars that only look a bit like your colleagues, in a fantasy meeting room that wouldn't look out of place in a Bond villain's lair does feel a bit ridiculous. But it also — and this was the revelation to me — adds a level of engagement that you just don't get from a video meeting of colleagues occupying flat tiles on a screen. It provides a sense of being there (wherever 'there' was) that adds meaning beyond what you get from staring into a monitor. I'm not saying I want to have every meeting in VR from now on: far from it. But we have to see the present state of hybrid and remote working as just the current state of the art, and to keep experimenting, and thinking, about the way we work. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Meta Claims US Military Linked to Online Propaganda Campaign

technology - Posted On:2022-11-27 10:45:00 Source: slashdot

From the BBC: "Individuals associated with the U.S. military" are linked to an online propaganda campaign, Meta's latest adversarial-threat report says.... On Facebook, 39 accounts, 16 pages, and two groups were removed, as well as 26 accounts on Instagram, for violating the platforms' policy against "coordinated inauthentic behaviour". "This network originated in the United States," Meta wrote. It focused on countries including Afghanistan, Algeria, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Somalia, Syria, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Yemen — and mirrored tactics commonly used in propaganda campaigns against the West... Some of those supporting the U.S. had posed as independent media outlets and some had tried to pass off content from legitimate outlets, such as BBC News Russian, as their own. The operation ran across many internet services, including Twitter, YouTube, Telegram, VKontakte and Odnoklassniki, according to Meta. "Although the people behind this operation attempted to conceal their identities and coordination, our investigation found links to individuals associated with the US military," its report says. The article adds that experts believe the campaign "was largely ineffective." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Automakers Are Locking the Aftermarket Out of Engine Control Units

technology - Posted On:2022-11-27 04:00:00 Source: slashdot

This month Road & Track looked at "increased cybersecurity measures" automakers are adding to car systems — and how it's affecting the vendors of "aftermarket" enhancements: As our vehicles start to integrate more complex systems such as Advanced Driver Assist Systems and over-the-air updates, automakers are growing wary of what potential bad actors could gain access to by way of hacking. Whether those hacks come in an attempt to retrieve personal customer data, or to take control of certain aspects of these integrated vehicles, automakers want to leave no part of that equation unchecked. "I think there are very specific reasons why the OEMs are taking encryption more seriously," HP Tuners director of marketing Eddie Xu told R&T. "There's personal identifiable data on vehicles, there's more considerations now than just engine control modules controlling the engine. It's everything involved." In order to prevent this from becoming a potential safety or legal issue, companies like Ford have moved to heavily encrypt their vehicle's software. S650 Mustang chief engineer Ed Krenz specifically noted that the new FNV architecture can detect when someone attempts to modify any of the vehicle's coding, and that it can respond by shutting down an individual vehicle system or the vehicle entirely if that's what is required. That sort of total lockout presents an interesting challenge for [car performance] tuners who rely on access to things like engine and transmission control modules to create their products. Last month Ford acknowledged tuners would find the S650 Mustang "much more difficult," the article points out. And they add that Dodge also "intends to lock down the Engine Control Units of its upcoming electric muscle car offerings, though it will offer performance upgrades via its own over-the-air network." "We don't want to lock the cars and say you can't modify them," Dodge CEO Kuniskis told Carscoops. "We just want to lock them and say modify them through us so that we know it's done right." Thanks to long-time Slashdot reader schwit1 for submitting the article. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Neighbors Build Their Own Lightning-fast Fiber-optic Network

technology - Posted On:2022-11-26 22:30:00 Source: slashdot

Somewhere in Silicon Valley is a man "standing up to internet giants Comcast and AT&T," reports the Mercury News. (Alternate URL here.) "Comcast told him it would cost $17,000 to speed up his internet. He rallied 41 South Bay neighbors to build their own lightning-fast fiber-optic network instead " Tech-rich but internet-poor, residents of the Silicon Valley neighborhood were fed up with sluggish broadband speeds of less than 25 Megabits-per-second (Mbps) download and 3 Mbps upload — the federal definition of a home unserved by adequate internet. Frustrated by the take-it-or-leave-it attitude of internet providers, they created their own solution — and now this tony enclave has one of the fastest residential speeds in the nation. Scott Vanderlip, a software engineer, said Comcast gave him a $17,000 estimate to connect his home to the faster internet service at a neighbor's home. "You got to be kidding me — I can see it on the pole from my driveway," Vanderlip said, remembering his reaction to Comcast's quote. So the self-described "town rebel" jumped at the chance to partner with a startup internet service provider called Next Level Networks. If Vanderlip could rally a few neighbors willing to invest a couple thousand dollars, Next Level would get them very fast internet. That was in 2017. Now, Vanderlip is president of the Los Altos Hills Community Fiber Association, which provides super-fast speeds — up to 10 Gigabits-per-second upload and download — to its over 40 association members, letting them transfer huge files and load webpages in the click of a computer mouse, Vanderlip said. That's 125 times faster than the median download speed in Santa Clara County. It helped that his home "also happened to sit near a local school with a spare fiber optic internet connection," the article points out. But a startup internet service provider called Next Level Networks also handled "the infrastructure procurement, contracts, logistics and retail — essentially providing the residents a turnkey fiber optic internet service — while Vanderlip and two of his neighbors, who joined with an investment of $5,000 each, bought the fiber optic infrastructure, crowdsourced new members and mapped out an initial fiber route to their houses." Thanks to Slashdot reader k6mfw for sharing the story! Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Will Made-in-China EV's Bring New Competition for Automakers?

technology - Posted On:2022-11-26 19:15:00 Source: slashdot

The Washington Post reports: China is already a huge manufacturer of electric vehicles for its own market, and it is increasingly making EVs for overseas buyers, too. Made-in-China EVs are hitting U.S. dealerships and European auto shows, providing new competition to Western and Japanese automakers that have long dominated the global vehicle market. Examples from the article: Polestar 2, from "an automaker headquartered in Sweden and controlled by Chinese billionaire Li Shufu... The company says it will start manufacturing its next model, the Polestar 3, in the United States in 2024."Nio ET7, "an EV company founded in Shanghai by entrepreneur William Li. The company is selling its ET7 sedan in the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, and Norway, and has said it aims to enter the U.S. market in 2025."China's largest automaker, the state-owned SAIC, "bought the British MG brand in the early 2000s and is now selling several electric MG models in Europe." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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South Korean Capital Launches Self-Driving Bus Experiment

technology - Posted On:2022-11-26 07:15:00 Source: slashdot

South Korea's capital launched its first self-driving bus route on Friday, part of an experiment which engineers said aims to make people feel more comfortable with driverless vehicles on the roads. From a report: The new vehicle does not look like a regular bus and has rounded edges along with large windows that make it appear more like a toy than a technological breakthrough. This design is intentional, said Jeong Seong-gyun, head of autonomous driving at 42dot, the start-up responsible for the self-driving technology that is now owned by auto giant Hyundai. "This is the future," he told AFP, adding that the bus required "a considerable new type of design." The bus looks a bit "like Lego" and is made of composite parts to help keep costs down and make it easy to replicate, he said. It uses cameras and lasers to navigate the way instead of expensive sensors, Seong-gyun added. The company's goal was to make the technology low-cost, safe and easily transferable to many types of vehicle in the future, for example delivery trucks. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Google: 60% Of The Internet Is Duplicate

technology - Posted On:2022-11-25 17:15:01 Source: slashdot

Google says "60% of the internet is duplicate." Gary Illyes from Google posted this slide at the Google Search Central Live in Singapore the other day. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Stable Diffusion Made Copying Artists and Generating Porn Harder

technology - Posted On:2022-11-25 16:15:00 Source: slashdot

AmiMoJo writes: Users of AI image generator Stable Diffusion are angry about an update to the software that "nerfs" its ability to generate NSFW output and pictures in the style of specific artists. Stability AI, the company that funds and disseminates the software, announced Stable Diffusion Version 2 early this morning European time. The update re-engineers key components of the model and improves certain features like upscaling (the ability to increase the resolution of images) and in-painting (context-aware editing). But, the changes also make it harder for Stable Diffusion to generate certain types of images that have attracted both controversy and criticism. These include nude and pornographic output, photorealistic pictures of celebrities, and images that mimic the artwork of specific artists. "They have nerfed the model," commented one user on a Stable Diffusion sub-reddit. "It's kinda an unpleasant surprise," said another on the software's official Discord server. Users note that asking Version 2 of Stable Diffusion to generate images in the style of Greg Rutkowski -- a digital artist whose name has become a literal shorthand for producing high-quality images -- no longer creates artwork that closely resembles his own. "What did you do to greg," commented one user on Discord. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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The Endless Quest For a Better Mousetrap

technology - Posted On:2022-11-25 13:15:01 Source: slashdot

Inventors have been refining them for centuries. What are they trying to achieve? From a report: Today, there are only a few kinds of mousetraps available at a typical hardware store: snap traps, glue traps, electric traps, bucket traps, and live-capture traps. And yet, inventors have filed more than forty-five hundred U.S. patents for animal traps, about a thousand of which are specifically related to mice. (Many inventors don't specify the intended targets of their traps.) Presumably, some mousetrap inventors have been spurred on by a quote widely attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson: "Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door." Emerson probably never said exactly this; what he did write down, in a journal, was that the world would beat a path to the door of anyone who sold better corn, wood, boards, pigs, chairs, knives, crucibles, or church organs. There's nothing uniquely profitable about mousetraps. Still, people keep inventing them, probably because mice are such a widespread nuisance. Some inventors come up with mousetraps because of firsthand rodent experiences. One company well known for traps that can hold multiple mice at once, for instance, was founded by a janitor at an Iowa high school who noticed that mice were eating the students' lunches. But, just as there are too many mice, there are too many mousetraps. In a 2011 paper, Dagg, the schoolteacher, found that only four per cent of the mousetraps patented in the United States have been commercially produced -- and many designs are never even patented. The Trap History Museum, outside Columbus, Ohio, houses what is very likely the world's largest collection of mousetraps. Many of the designs on view there would be prohibitively expensive to mass-produce, given their unwieldy size or reliance on wacky technologies. Others barely work, having apparently been designed to function on only the rarest of occasions. Some designs are dreamy and imaginative; like contemporary art, they are valued for those qualities, not because they make it easier to keep a mouse-free home. You wouldn't pee in a toilet mounted on a gallery wall. Likewise, you wouldn't get much use out of a trap, patented in 1908, that affixes a jangly collar to a mouse so that it will annoy other mice until they flee their compatriot for the great outdoors. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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