Tech News Feed

Switzerland Calls On UN To Explore Possibility of Solar Geoengineering

SlashDot - 3 hours 18 min ago
Switzerland is advocating for a United Nations expert group to explore the merits of solar geoengineering. The proposal seeks to ensure multilateral oversight of solar radiation modification (SRM) research, amidst concerns over its potential implications for food supply, biodiversity, and global inequalities. The Guardian reports: The Swiss proposal, submitted to the United Nations environment assembly that begins next week in Nairobi, focuses on solar radiation modification (SRM). This is a technique that aims to mimic the effect of a large volcanic eruption by filling the atmosphere with sulphur dioxide particles that reflect part of the sun's heat and light back into space. Supporters of the proposal, including the United Nations environment program (UNEP), argue that research is necessary to ensure multilateral oversight of emerging planet-altering technologies, which might otherwise be developed and tested in isolation by powerful governments or billionaire individuals. Critics, however, argue that such a discussion would threaten the current de-facto ban on geoengineering, and lead down a "slippery slope" towards legitimization, mainstreaming and eventual deployment. Felix Wertli, the Swiss ambassador for the environment, said his country's goal in submitting the proposal was to ensure all governments and relevant stakeholders "are informed about SRM technologies, in particular about possible risks and cross-border effects." He said the intention was not to promote or enable solar geoengineering but to inform governments, especially those in developing countries, about what is happening. The executive director of the UNEP, Inger Andersen, stressed the importance of "a global conversation on SRM" in her opening address to delegates at a preliminary gathering in Nairobi. She and her colleagues emphasized the move was a precautionary one rather than an endorsement of the technology.

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Best Gaming TV for 2024: Low Input Lag and High Picture Quality - CNET

CNET News - 5 hours 6 min ago
Our picks of the best gaming TVs of 2024 with great image quality and minimal delay to enhance your gaming experience.

Facial-Recognition System Passes Test On Michelangelo's David

SlashDot - Thu, 2024-02-22 22:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Facial recognition is a common feature for unlocking smartphones and gaming systems, among other uses. But the technology currently relies upon bulky projectors and lenses, hindering its broader application. Scientists have now developed a new facial recognition system that employs flatter, simpler optics that also require less energy, according to a recent paper published in the journal Nano Letters. The team tested their prototype system with a 3D replica of Michelangelo's famous David sculpture and found it recognized the face as well as existing smartphone facial recognition can. [...] Wen-Chen Hsu, of National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University and the Hon Hai Research Institute in Taiwan, and colleagues turned to ultrathin optical components known as metasurfaces for a potential solution. These metasurfaces can replace bulkier components for modulating light and have proven popular for depth sensors, endoscopes, tomography. and augmented reality systems, among other emerging applications. Hsu et al. built their own depth-sensing facial recognition system incorporating a metasurface hologram in place of the diffractive optical element. They replaced the standard vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL) with a photonic crystal surface-emitting laser (PCSEL). (The structure of photonic crystals is the mechanism behind the bright iridescent colors in butterfly wings or beetle shells.) The PCSEL can generate its own highly collimated light beam, so there was no need for the bulky light guide or collimation lenses used in VCSEL-based dot projector systems. The team tested their new system on a replica bust of David, and it worked as well as existing smartphone facial recognition, based on comparing the infrared dot patterns to online photos of the statue. They found that their system generated nearly one and a half times more infrared dots (some 45,700) than the standard commercial technology from a device that is 233 times smaller in terms of surface area than the standard dot projector. "It is a compact and cost-effective system, that can be integrated into a single chip using the flip-chip process of PCSEL," the authors wrote. Additionally, "The metasurface enables the generation of customizable and versatile light patterns, expanding the system's applicability." It's more energy-efficient to boot.

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Quitting Subscriptions to Netflix, Uber Eats and More? Try These Free Options Instead - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2024-02-22 22:00
Giving up some apps to save money? These free alternatives may help fill the gap.

Best Smart Home Devices of 2024 - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2024-02-22 21:00
Make your home cozy and efficient with some of our favorite smart home devices.

AT&T Says Cause of Outage Wasn't a Cyber Attack - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2024-02-22 20:44
The widespread outage was due to something far from nefarious.

Reddit Files To Go Public

SlashDot - Thu, 2024-02-22 20:40
Reddit has filed its initial public offering (IPO) with the SEC on Thursday. "The company plans to trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol 'RDDT,'" reports CNBC. From the report: Its market debut, expected in March, will be the first major tech initial public offering of the year. It's the first social media IPO since Pinterest went public in 2019. Reddit said it had $804 million in annual sales for 2023, up 20% from the $666.7 million it brought in the previous year, according to the filing. The social networking company's core business is reliant on online advertising sales stemming from its website and mobile app. The company, founded in 2005 by technology entrepreneurs Alexis Ohanian and Steve Huffman, said it has incurred net losses since its inception. It reported a net loss of $90.8 million for the year ended Dec. 31, 2023, compared with a net loss of $158.6 million the year prior. [...] Reddit said it plans to use artificial intelligence to improve its ad business and that it expects to open new revenue channels by offering tools and incentives to "drive continued creation, improvements, and commerce." It's also in the early stages of developing and monetizing a data-licensing business in which third parties would be allowed to access and search data on its platform. For example, Google on Thursday announced an expanded partnership with Reddit that will give the search giant access to the company's data to, among other uses, train its AI models. "In January 2024, we entered into certain data licensing arrangements with an aggregate contract value of $203.0 million and terms ranging from two to three years," Reddit said, regarding its data-licensing business. "We expect a minimum of $66.4 million of revenue to be recognized during the year ending December 31, 2024 and the remaining thereafter." On Wednesday, Reddit said it plans to sell a chunk of its IPO shares to 75,000 of its most loyal users.

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I Drove (and Loved) the 2024 Honda Prologue Elite Electric SUV - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2024-02-22 20:12
Honda's first long-range electric SUV is here and it makes a great first impression, with nimble performance and up to 296 miles of range.

2024 Honda Prologue EV Tested: Chevy Heart, Honda Soul - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2024-02-22 20:12
Honda's first long-range electric SUV remixes GM's Ultium EV platform with smart design, useful features and compelling price.

Yale Reinstates Standardized Test Requirement For Admission

SlashDot - Thu, 2024-02-22 20:02
Stephanie Saul reports via the New York Times: Yale University will require standardized test scores for admission for students applying to enter for the class entering in the fall of 2025, becoming the second Ivy League university to abandon test-optional policies that had been widely embraced during the Covid pandemic. Yale officials said in an announcement on Thursday that the shift to test-optional policies might have unwittingly harmed students from lower-income families whose test scores could have helped their chances. While it will require standardized tests, Yale said its policy would be "test flexible," permitting students to submit scores from subject-based Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate tests in lieu of SAT or ACT scores. The decision follows a similar decision in February from Dartmouth College. MIT also announced that it had reinstated its testing requirement in 2022.

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Best TV for PS5 and Xbox Series X, Series S for 2024: LG OLED, Samsung QLED, Vizio - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2024-02-22 20:00
Get the most out of your PS5 and Xbox Series consoles with our favorite TVs with features like 4K and 120Hz.

How to Use Wi-Fi Calling When You Don't Have Phone Service - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2024-02-22 19:53
If your carrier has an outage or if you are heading somewhere remote, you can likely still make calls or text using the internet for backup.

Getting a Tax Refund? 6 Ways to Use Your IRS Money This Year - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2024-02-22 19:30
First, cover any essential needs and high-interest debt payments. Then, you've got options.

The Perils of Having a Smartphone As Your Main Means of Connection - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2024-02-22 19:26
What AT&T's outage means in an era of your whole life routed through your phone.

US Lands Unmanned 'Odysseus' Spacecraft On Moon

SlashDot - Thu, 2024-02-22 19:25
The first privately built spacecraft has successfully landed on the lunar surface on Thursday. "We can confirm, without a doubt, that our equipment is on the surface of the moon," said Stephen Altemus, CEO of Intuitive Machines, the Houston-based company that operated the Odysseus spacecraft. "Welcome to the moon." From a report: As it approached the surface of the moon, Odysseus lost contact with NASA, resulting in several anxious minutes for those who worked on the joint project. But after approximately 15 minutes of searching, officials confirmed that they were once again receiving signals from the spacecraft. "A commercial lander named Odysseus, powered by a company called Intuitive Machines, launched up on a Space X rocket, carrying a bounty of NASA scientific instruments and bearing the dream of a new adventure, a new adventure in science, innovation and American leadership, well, all of that aced the landing of a lifetime," NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said after contact had been reestablished. "Today for the first time in more than a half century, the U.S. has returned to the moon." Altemus had estimated that Odysseus had an 80% chance of successfully landing on the moon, citing previous failed attempts as an advantage. "We've stood on the shoulders of everybody who's tried before us," Altemus said. It was the first American mission to land on the moon since Apollo 17 in 1972 and the first private spacecraft ever to make a soft landing there. While it was a private mission, NASA paid Intuitive Machines $118 million to deliver six instruments to the moon. And the U.S. space agency provided streaming video of the landing.

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Snapchat Isn't Liable For Connecting 12-Year-Old To Convicted Sex Offenders

SlashDot - Thu, 2024-02-22 19:02
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: A judge has dismissed (PDF) a complaint from a parent and guardian of a girl, now 15, who was sexually assaulted when she was 12 years old after Snapchat recommended that she connect with convicted sex offenders. According to the court filing, the abuse that the girl, C.O., experienced on Snapchat happened soon after she signed up for the app in 2019. Through its "Quick Add" feature, Snapchat "directed her" to connect with "a registered sex offender using the profile name JASONMORGAN5660." After a little more than a week on the app, C.O. was bombarded with inappropriate images and subjected to sextortion and threats before the adult user pressured her to meet up, then raped her. Cops arrested the adult user the next day, resulting in his incarceration, but his Snapchat account remained active for three years despite reports of harassment, the complaint alleged. Two years later, at 14, C.O. connected with another convicted sex offender on Snapchat, a former police officer who offered to give C.O. a ride to school and then sexually assaulted her. The second offender is also currently incarcerated, the judge's opinion noted. The lawsuit painted a picture of Snapchat's ongoing neglect of minors it knows are being targeted by sexual predators. Prior to C.O.'s attacks, both adult users sent and requested sexually explicit photos, seemingly without the app detecting any child sexual abuse materials exchanged on the platform. C.O. had previously reported other adult accounts sending her photos of male genitals, but Snapchat allegedly "did nothing to block these individuals from sending her inappropriate photographs." Among other complaints, C.O.'s lawsuit alleged that Snapchat's algorithm for its "Quick Add" feature was the problem. It allegedly recklessly works to detect when adult accounts are seeking to connect with young girls and, by design, sends more young girls their way -- continually directing sexual predators toward vulnerable targets. Snapchat is allegedly aware of these abuses and, therefore, should be held liable for harm caused to C.O., the lawsuit argued. Although C.O.'s case raised difficult questions, Judge Barbara Bellis ultimately agreed with Snapchat that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act barred all claims and shielded Snap because "the allegations of this case fall squarely within the ambit of the immunity afforded to" platforms publishing third-party content. According to Bellis, C.O.'s family had "clearly alleged" that Snap had failed to design its recommendations systems to block young girls from receiving messages from sexual predators. Specifically, Section 230 immunity shields Snap from liability in this case because Bellis considered the messages exchanged to be third-party content. Snapchat designing its recommendation systems to deliver content is a protected activity, Bellis ruled. Despite a seemingly conflicting ruling in Los Angeles that found that "Section 230 didn't protect Snapchat from liability for allegedly connecting teens with drug dealers," Bellis didn't appear to consider it persuasive. She did, however, critique Section 230's broad application, suggesting courts are limited without legislative changes, despite the morally challenging nature of some cases.

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Best Wi-Fi 6 Router Deals: Save on Netgear, TP-Link, Asus and Other Top Brands - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2024-02-22 19:00
These deals make it more affordable to upgrade to a Wi-Fi 6 router, so you can get speedy coverage without breaking the bank.

Reddit files for IPO and will let some longtime users buy shares

Engadget - Thu, 2024-02-22 18:41

After years of speculation, Reddit has officially filed paperwork for an Initial Public Offering on the New York Stock Exchange. The company, which plans to use RDDT as its ticker symbol, will also allow some longtime users to participate by buying shares.

In a note shared in the company’s S-1 filing with the SEC, Reddit CEO Steve Huffman said that many longtime users already feel a “deep sense of ownership” over their communities on the platform. “We want this sense of ownership to be reflected in real ownership—for our users to be our owners,” he wrote. “With this in mind, we are excited to invite the users and moderators who have contributed to Reddit to buy shares in our IPO, alongside our investors.”

The company didn’t say how many users might be able to participate, but said that eligible users would be determined based on their karma scores while “moderator contributions will be measured by membership and moderator actions.”

The filing also offers up new details about the inner workings of Reddit’s business. The company had 500 million visitors during the month of December and has recently averaged just over 73 million “daily active unique” visitors. In 2023, the company brought in $804 million in revenue (Reddit has yet to turn a profit). The document also notes that the company is “exploring” deals with AI companies to license its content as it looks to expand its revenue in the future.

Earlier in the day, Reddit and Google announced that they had struck such a deal, reportedly valued at around $60 million a year. “We believe our growing platform data will be a key element in the training of leading large language models (“LLMs”) and serve as an additional monetization channel for Reddit,” the company writes.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/reddit-files-for-ipo-and-will-let-some-longtime-users-buy-shares-234127305.html?src=rss

Stable Diffusion 3 is a new AI image generator that won't mess up text in pictures, its makers claim

Engadget - Thu, 2024-02-22 18:37

Stability AI, the startup behind Stable Diffusion, the tool that uses generative AI to create images from text prompts, revealed Stable Diffusion 3, a next-generation model, on Thursday. Stability AI claimed that the new model, which isn’t widely available yet, improves image quality, works better with prompts containing multiple subjects, and can more accurate text as part of the generated image, something that previous Stable Diffusion models weren’t great at.

Stability AI CEO Emad Mosque posted some examples of this on X.

#SD3 can do quite a lot of text… https://t.co/DfcUzOZymj

— Emad (@EMostaque) February 22, 2024


The announcement comes days after Stability AI’s largest rival, OpenAI, unveiled Sora, a brand new AI model capable of generating nearly-realistic, high-definition videos from simple text prompts. Sora, which isn’t available to the general public yet either, sparked concerns about its potential to create realistic-looking fake footage. OpenAI said it's working with experts in misinformation and hateful content to test the tool before making it widely available.Stability AI said it’s doing the same. “[We] have taken and continue to take reasonable steps to prevent the misuse of Stable Diffusion 3 by bad actors,” the company wrote in a blog post on its website. “By continually collaborating with researchers, experts, and our community, we expect to innovate further with integrity as we approach the model’s public release.”

It’s not clear when Stable Diffusion 3 will be released to the public, but until then, anyone interested can join a waitlist.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/stable-diffusion-3-is-a-new-ai-image-generator-that-wont-mess-up-text-in-pictures-its-makers-claim-233751335.html?src=rss

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