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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

FTC rests case against Qualcomm, arguing it's a monopoly in mobile chips – CNET

The US government has accused Qualcomm of unfairly hurting competitors and charging excessive royalties for its technology. Qualcomm’s defense began later Tuesday with co-founder Irwin Jacobs.
Source: CNET

10 Years Later, Retrace the 'Miracle on the Hudson' Flight

On the anniversary of the remarkable crash landing, remember just how quickly it all happened.
Source: Wired

CERN’s plan for 100-km collider makes the LHC look like a hula hoop

The Large Hadron Collider has produced a great deal of incredible science, most famously the Higgs Boson — but physicists at CERN, the international organization behind the LHC, are already looking forward to the next model. And the proposed Future Circular Collider, at 100 kilometers or 62 miles around, would be quite an upgrade.

The idea isn’t new; CERN has had people looking into it for years. But the conceptual design report issued today shows that all that consulting hasn’t been idle: there’s a relatively cohesive and practical plan — as practical as a particle collider can be — and a decent case for spending the $21 billion or so that would be needed.

“These kind of largest scale efforts and projects are huge starters for networking, connecting institutes across borders, countries,” CERN’s Michael Benedikt, who led the report, told Nature. “All these things together make up a very good argument for pushing such unique science projects.”

On the other hand, while the LHC has been a great success, it hasn’t exactly given physicists an unambiguous signpost as to what they should pursue next. The lack of new cosmic mysteries — for example, a truly anomalous result or mysterious gap where a particle is expected — has convinced some that they must simply turn up the heat, but others that bigger isn’t necessarily better.

The design document provides several possible colliders, of which the 100-km ring is the largest and would produce the highest-energy collisions. Sure, you could smash protons together at 100,000 gigaelectron-volts rather than 16,000 — but what exactly will that help explain? We have left my areas of expertise, such as they are, well behind at this point so I will not speculate, but the question at least is one being raised by those in the know.

It’s worth noting that Chinese physicists are planning something similar, so there’s the aspect of international competition as well. How should that affect plans? Should we just ask China if we can use theirs? The academic world is much less affected by global strife and politics than, say, the tech world, but it’s still not ideal.

There are plenty of options to consider and time is not of the essence; it would take a decade or more to get even the simplest and cheapest of these proposals up and running.


Source: TechCrunch

Eugene the world record Instagram egg: 'It's been incredible' – CNET

Don’t crack up, but I had an email exchange with Instagram’s most-liked photo.
Source: CNET

Roku adds Alex Jones' Infowars channel six months after others banned him – CNET

The streaming service says “voices on all sides of an issue or cause are free to operate a channel.”
Source: CNET

White Castle taking Valentine's Day reservations: Plan ahead, romantics – CNET

Burgers are for lovers at the fast-food chain, where reservations get you hostess seating and music.
Source: CNET

Facebook's '10 Year Challenge' Is Just a Harmless Meme—Right?

Opinion: The 2009 vs. 2019 profile picture trend may or may not have been a data collection ruse to train its facial recognition algorithm. But we can’t afford to blithely play along.
Source: Wired

Transparency-seeking OPEN Government Data Act signed into law

The federal government produces one hell of a lot of data, but despite desultory lurches toward usability, there’s little guarantee that it’s available in a way that makes it useful to anyone. That may change for the better with the OPEN Government Data Act, which the president signed into law last night.

The act essentially requires federal agencies to default when possible to making data (and metadata) public, to publish that public data in a machine-readable format and catalog it online. It also mandates that chief data officers be appointed at those agencies to handle the process.

This bipartisan piece of legislature flew through the House and Senate mostly uncompromised, though the Treasury was removed from the list of organizations to which it would apply. I’m sure they had their reasons.

It’s a big win for proponents of open government, though considering the towering ineptitude and obsolescence of the federal information technology sector, it’s probably a bit early to celebrate. By necessity many new policies and systems will have to be updated before any agency can reasonably be supposed to comply with the law, and that could take years. However, it certainly seems like a good path for them to be on.

Another part of the law as signed (OPEN was combined with a few others for convenience and horse-trading purposes) is that these agencies are also now officially required to find and present evidence for any new policies or changes. Some agencies, like the FCC, are already required to do this, but others have a more free hand.

It may seem obvious — shouldn’t every policy be justified by evidence? — but this codifies the rules, for instance requiring the agencies to publicly present lists of relevant questions and the means (down to the statistical methods) they are taking to answer them.

If you’re curious about the act itself or its sisters passed simultaneously, there’s a history of the OPEN act here; the full text of the bill is here; the announcement of the signature is here.


Source: TechCrunch

The Square Off chess board melds the classical with the robotic

CES crowds can be tough — especially toward the end of the week. You’re physically and emotionally drained, and you’re pretty sure you’ve seen everything the consumer electronics world has to offer. And then something comes along to knock your socks off. Square Off was one such product, impressing the crowd at our meetup and walking away the winner of our hardware pitch-off.

The company’s first product looks like your run of the mill wooden chess board. And that’s part of the charm. Turn it on with the single button, and the system goes to work, tapping into chess AI software built by Stockfish and moving opposing pieces accordingly with an electromagnet attached to a robotic arm hidden under the board.

It’s an overused word in this space, but the effect is downright magical. It’s like playing chess against a ghost — and who hasn’t wanted to do that at some point? Players can challenge the board using 20 different difficulty levels or can play against opponents remotely, via chess.com.

Bhavya Gohil, the co-founder and CEO of Square Off creator InfiVention, told TechCrunch that the product started life as a college project aimed at creating a chess board for people with visual impairment. After a trip to Maker Faire Rome, however, its inventors recognized that the product had the potential for broader appeal.

One Kickstarter and another Indiegogo campaign later, the company had raised in excess of $600,000 for the project. After a year learning the manufacturing ropes in China, the company began shipping retail products in March of last year, launching a website the following month. In October, the product landed on Amazon, tripling sales for the holiday. All told, the company has sold 9,000 units — not bad for a chess startup charging $369 a pop. A majority of those (80 percent) have been sold in the U.S., with the remainder being sold in Europe.

In November, the company scored a seed round of $1.1 million. InfiVention is planning version 2.0 for a mid-2020 launch. That one will be more versatile, covering additional classic table-top games like checkers and backgammon. That version will be even more versatile when it’s opened up to table-top game developers looking to build their own titles into the platform via the app.

CES 2019 coverage - TechCrunch


Source: TechCrunch

Verizon waiving some fees for fed workers hurt by shutdown – CNET

Furloughed and unpaid workers won’t have to pony up fees for late payments or agent assistance.
Source: CNET

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