Facebook’s Secret “Mind Reading” Hardware Could Be Announced At F8

Facebook is not averse to innovation. But now, the company could be take a giant leap forward, possibly creating the first ever “mind reading” device. Freaky?

Facebook could actually be working, not on one, but four new consumer products to be announced at the upcoming F8 Conference in April. A new AR device, a drone (take that Snapchat!), a medical project and more intriguing than everything else… a mind reading device?

 Yes, Facebook is building a “brain computer interface” which would allow users to share information telepathically. And it’s not the first time this comes up: Mark Zuckerberg had hinted such a platform/product was on its way back in 2016. In a Q&A session, Facebook’s CEO described how people would soon be able to

capture a thought, what you’re thinking or feeling in kind of its ideal and perfect from in your head, and be able to share that with the world.

Of course, if such device becomes capable to read our minds, I’m 100% convinced that “share that with the world” will mean share that on Facebook. It makes sense, right?

Now this will probably be “just” an announcement and not the launch of the “mind reader” itself. Zuckerberg himself has hinted that research would take several decades for such a product to be completely accurate and safe to use. And that is not even taking into account the privacy issues such a product would raise immediately.

However, just the thought of it (see what I did here?) is amazing. And scary. And fantastic. And freaky

All these surprising and intriguing projects are the fruit of Facebook’s new futuristic hardware division called Building 8 (Facebook’s equivalent to Google X.)

CalDigit Tuff Is One Of The Toughest And Fastest Portable Drives Out There

Your data is very valuable, but surprisingly easy to lose. And that really sucks. If you’ve had a hard drive fail on you, you will attest to this. So, you’re on the road a lot, and you need a storage device that can be thrown around a little? Here’s the CalDigit Tuff. One of the toughest external drives out there. Available in HDD and SSD.

In the days when we only had HDDs (yes, that’s “Hard Disk Drives”) we could all expect to have one fail and take all our important data with it. Even people who chose to back up to rugged drives like those LaCie still builds will tell you stories of pain. However, since Solid State Drives (or SSDs) appeared on the scene, we have had this trend drop off a little. Yet, SSDs have been very expensive up until now, and even they are not safe from failing under certain types of stress. That’s why getting your hands on a “rugged” external SSD might become a necessity.

The CalDigit is “tuff.” Yes, it’s very tough actually. It protects your data, even if you drop it repeatedly, submerge it in water, or get it real dusty. It actually passed the MIL-STD-810G ruggedness test, so you can drop it from 1.2 meters (4ft) over and over again and it should withstand damage. As it’s also IP57 rated, it can be thrown into 1 meter (3ft) of water for 30 minutes and not get water damage, but also withstand really dusty situations. Planning to visit the desert during a sandstorm? Your data should stay safe. We can’t say the same about you though.

The 1TB SSD version of the CalDigit Tuff costs roughly $500 (£500) at the moment, which puts it at the expensive side of the spectrum. The 2TB HDD version costs a fraction of that – roughly $180 (£190), which prices it again higher than some alternatives. However, The CalDigit, in any of its configuration can handle a significant beating before giving up. Both versions are build out of aluminium, and have rubber outer shells to protect them. You can either buy the colour you want – green, blue, orange, green, or grey – or splash out on a new coloured shell that will set you back an additional $15.

I understand your reluctance though. If you are generally careful with your things, why overdo it? You can buy other drives that have more storage but are not as tough, and you’ll be fine. If you do however get into adventures a lot, or your job demands that you do, you should at least reconsider. I mean, you can’t really put an exact value on data, but when you hear how much data recovery costs, you’d wish to go for the safer option.

The CalDigit Tuff comes with two cables, making it connectable via Thunderbolt 3, and backwards compatible to USB 2.0 and 3.0. It is also bus powered, which means that it will be powered directly from whatever you plug it into. Finally, and more importantly, the CalDigit is really fast. It is in fact faster than other competitors, bot as SSD and HDD. The SSD version’s speed is exceptional.

‘Rude’ Waitress Keeps Insulting Family When They Order, Then They Post The Video On Facebook

In August 2015, a family from Idaho was visiting Chicago and decided to grab a bite to eat at a local retro-themed diner. But their waitress, Cherry, wasn’t so jazzed to be serving them.

As the family tried to place their order, Cherry proceeded to unleash a “verbal beatdown.” She kept firing out cutting quips like, “If you want good service, you go somewhere else.”

After the family posted the video to Facebook, it quickly went viral with over 4 million views. But it wasn’t long before the truth about this so-called “nasty” server came out.

You see, at Ed Debevic’s the staff is purposefully rude to its customers. In fact, it’s all part of the experience!

Cherry is actually a former actress whose real name is Kryssie Ridolfi, and she’s been working at the diner for over 10 years. She said the family was totally in on the joke, and enjoyed her extreme level of snark.

Since the video went viral, Kryssie a.k.a Cherry has gotten a ton of attention, and people have been flocking to Ed Debevic’s to take photos and get a dose of her attitude.

Please enjoy this truly unexpected restaurant moment, and SHARE it with your friends on Facebook!

Spotify Is Working On A Revolutionary New Wearable

The world leading music streaming platform is about to take the plunge into hardware, and it promises to be “category defining.”

Reports from several trusted source are saying that Spotify, the leading music streaming platform, could be working on its own branded wearable. The main confirmation of these rumours came from a job listing, posted by the company itself, that defines the position as “leading an initiative to deliver hardware directly from Spotify to existing and new customers; a category defining product akin to Pebble Watch, Amazon Echo, and Snap Spectacles.”

There is no saying exactly what kind of hardware Spotify is thinking on bringing to market, but the products listed tell us something about what the company has in mind: a new hardware, launched by a software brand, a “category defining” product that will provide a template for a new kind of wearable.

Of course, this immediately will remind you of… Spectacles. With it, Snapchat went beyond launching “just” a product, it gave a new direction to its brand as a whole and distributed it through an elaborate marketing plan that triggered demand trough planned scarcity.

This is exactly what I imagine Spotify would do. What do you think the next Spotify wearable could be?

Social Media Platforms Come Together To Counter Terrorism

There have been a lot of hard conversations about the role of social media in radicalization and subsequent terrorist attacks. While most of the time we’re reporting on how platforms compete against each other, this time around we are going to look into how they come together to fight against this alarming phenomenon. 

On Monday Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, and YouTube announced the formation of the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism. The aim of the Forum is to limit access to internet services to potentially threatening individuals. So far, all social media networks and technology platforms have set out their own individual blueprint on how to counter terrorist threats. However, it’s the first time action is being taken on a collective and summit level, which is very encouraging.

The Forum’s actions will be founded on initiatives already established by various public sector organizations, such as the EU Internet Forum and the Shared Industry Hash Database. Moreover they will be aligned with discussions with the UK and other governments and the conclusions of the recent G7 and European Council meetings.

The work of the Forum will be focused around three main pillars:

  • – Technological solutions: The Forum will work together in joint technical work which will cover, but not limited to, the improvement of machine learning services to identify and prohibit suspicious content, and transparency of reporting services when it comes to content removal.
  • – Research: The Forum commits to joint research to influence policy making and inform shareholders about counter-terror efforts.
  • – Knowledge-sharing: A very important aspect of the work that the Forum will perform is to engage with organizations and specialists in order to exchange knowledge and insights on counter-terror practices. The Forum will work with smaller companies to help them track and tackle terrorist and extremist content online. Moreover, it will facilitate the development of best practices to identify and counter extremism and online hate, while respecting freedom of expression and privacy. Last but not least, the Forum will explore the ways in which it can foster and empower counter-speech within organizations.

The Forum will also hold workshops around the globe to further strengthen and channel its work.

America’s wackiest roadside attractions, from combat vehicles to super-huge gnomes

I Made A ‘Lord Of The Rings’ Monopoly Board

A few months back, I saw a “Lord of the Rings” Monopoly board game on Ebay and thought: “We wants it, we needs it!” (in Gollum’s voice). But then I took a closer look and saw that there is a parking lot in Middle-Earth. The board game was also expensive and the shipment would cost me double the price of the product. But mostly – that parking lot bothered me. And the policeman. So I decided to make my version of the board game.

I found an old wooden box in the basement, wrote down the dimensions of the box and started thinking of ideas for the design of the board. Since I’m a big fan of the “Lord of the Rings”, I wanted to be immersed in the story. So, instead of a parking lot, I put Weathertop. Instead of the policeman, I put Shelob… You get where I’m going with this. The board design was made with Adobe Illustrator, then printed and coated. In order to avoid a mess, I created wooden partitions inside the box – so the money, cards, dices, houses and metal figures wouldn’t mix.

When I was finished I was happy and proud! I made something unique and something that I love. It took me two weeks to do it properly, but I think it was worth it. This is my precious.

12 Quirky Facts About Scarlett Johansson We Bet You Didn’t Know!

From Hitchcock to the Avengers, Scarlett Johansson has been slaying it. She made an entry in Hollywood at an early age. But she is widely famous for her roles in,  ‘The Avengers’, ‘The Nanny Diaries’, and ‘Lucy’. But do you know these quirky facts about her? Keep reading on to find out more.

Here are 12 quirky facts about Scarlett Johansson we bet you didn’t know!

1. Scarlett was born in a family having a film background. Her grandfather was a screen writer, and director and her mother was a producer.

quirky facts about scarlett johansson

2. We bet you didn’t notice her in the sequel of Home Alone as Alex’s elder sister.

quirky facts about scarlett johansson

3. As a child Scarlett was more into action heroes and movies than dolls and Disney movies. The Ninja Turtles were her favorite action heroes. (This does explains a lot about her magnificent performance in the Avengers as Black Widow)

4. She never really liked to be hugged or running into each other’s arms. According to sources she is “allergic” to stuff like that. (breaks my heart!)

5. Well her in nemesis in the Hollywood happens to be Lindsay Lohan (she has to be!). In 1998 when Scarlett Johansson had auditioned for the lead role in “The Parent Trap”, she didn’t get role. Guess who stole it away?

 

quirky facts about scarlett johansson

6. I don’t believe this! Apparently you can lose a role if you’re too pretty. She didn’t get the role of Lisbeth Salander in “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” because she was too pretty for it.

quirky facts about scarlett johansson

 

7. She has been a supporter of President Obama all her life. She also worked from the 2012  Democratic National Convention campaign.

quirky facts about scarlett johansson

8. The Black Widow is scared of something, no it isn’t spiders. Her real fear is cockroaches. She once woke up with a cockroach on her face, and now the mere thought of it creeps her out! (Yikes!)

9. Have you ever admired so much that you almost had an accident? Well, she has. She once had a narrow escape from a car accident because of distraction caused by watching her cleavage on a billboard advertisement for “The Island” movie.

quirky facts about Scarlett Johansson

 

10. During the Avengers: Age of Ultron shoot, Scarlett was pregnant. But she couldn’t postpone the shoot. Hence they decided to shoot till the waist up, using three identical stunt doubles.

quirky facts about scarlett johansson

11. An Italian Contemporary artist, Francesco Clemente made a portrait of Scarlett in his deck of 78 custom made tarot cards. She portrayed there as the queen of swords.

 

12. Scarlett is way too much obsessed with dermatology. She reveals that if she wasn’t an actress she would definitely have been a dermatologist.

quirky facts about scarlett johansson

So, how many of these quirky facts were you aware of?

Einstein’s relativity tested by giant star and monster black hole

A giant star near the center of our galaxy hints, once again, that Albert Einstein was correct about gravity.

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A group of astronomers in Germany and the Czech Republic observed three stars in a cluster near the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy. Using data from the Very Large Telescope in Chile, among others, the researchers tracked how the stars moved as they went around the monster black hole.

One of the stars, called S2, showed slight deviations in its orbit that might indicate relativistic effects, scientists said. If the observations are confirmed, then it shows that Einstein’s theory of general relativity holds even under extreme conditions — in gravity fields produced by objects like the galactic center’s black hole, which contains the mass of 4 million suns. General relativity says that massive objects bend the space around them, causing other objects to deviate from straight lines they would follow absent any forces on them. [The Strangest Black Holes of the Universe]

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  • Einstein’s theory of general relativity external-ct
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“Most relativity tests are done with our sun and the stars, so they are in the 1-solar-mass or few-solar-mass[es] limit,” Andreas Eckart, a professor of experimental physics at the University of Cologne in Germany, who led the research team, told Space.com. “Or with the [Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory] recently, that’s a few 10s of solar masses.”

The stars used in the observations are so close to the black hole that they move at 1 or 2 percent the speed of light, Eckart said, and they approach to within only about 100 times the Earth-sun distance of the black hole itself, which is quite close by galactic standards, he said. (Pluto averages about 39 times the Earth’s distance from the sun, which is about 93 million miles or 150 million kilometers).

 

Using orbiting bodies to show relativistic effects is not new; observations of the planet Mercury in the 19th century showed that its movements deviated from what Isaac Newton’s theory of gravity predicted. At first, astronomers thought they had evidence of another planet, which they dubbed Vulcan. Einstein was able to show in 1915 that relativity could explain the deviation.

Mercury’s motions proved Einstein correct, but the sun’s gravity is weak compared to that of a supermassive black hole. This is why Eckart and his team set out to see if Einstein’s theory held up in a more extreme environment. While gravitational lensing, the bending of light by massive objects, shows that massive objects bend space, the recent research is the first time anyone has taken precise measurements of any object orbiting so close to a black hole.

The measurement itself is not as precise as it might be, Eckart said. Future work will get a better read on the stars’ positions and narrow down the result. He said one plan is to get better spectrographic measurements, which would reveal S2’s movement more precisely.

‘Alesi,’ the 13-million-year-old baby monkey, could be mankind’s earliest ancestor

The skull of an infant ape buried by a volcano 13 million years ago has preserved intriguing clues about the ancestor humans shared with apes — including a likely African origin, scientists say.

A previously-unknown creature that shared an extended family with the human forefather, had a flat face like that of our far-flung cousin the gibbon, but did not move like one, its discoverers wrote in the journal Nature.

They named it Nyanzapithecus alesi after “ales” — the word for “ancestor” in the Turkana language of Kenya, where the lemon-sized skull was unearthed.

The sole specimen is that of an infant that would have grown to weigh about 11 kilograms in adulthood. It had a brain much larger than monkeys from the same epoch, the researchers said.

“If you compare to all living things, it looks most like a gibbon,” study co-author Isaiah Nengo of the Stony Brook University in New York told AFP.

This does not mean the direct ancestor of living apes necessarily looked like a gibbon, just that a member of its family did at the time.

Assuming a gibbon-like appearance for our ancestor would be similar to scientists from the future unearthing a gorilla skull and concluding that all hominins — the group that also includes chimps and humans — looked like a gorilla.

The location of the extraordinary fossil find, said the team, supported the idea that the ape-human ancestor lived in Africa and not in Asia as some have speculated.

“With this we … put the root of the hominoidea in Africa more firmly,” said Nengo.

 

Hominoidea, or hominoids, is the name for the family of apes. The group is divided in two, with humans, bonobos, chimps, gorillas and orang-utans on the one side (hominids), and agile, tree-swinging gibbons (hylobatids) alone on the other.

The new species belonged to a much older, ancestral group that included the forefather of hominoids, the researchers concluded.

OUT OF AFRICA

That group, which has no official name yet, lived and died millions of years ago.

“The majority of that group, and the oldest members of that group, are African but we would not have been able to resolve all of that without Alesi,” said Nengo.

“Alesi is the one that has allowed us to … know who is in that group … and when we take a close look we see that most of the group are found in Africa.” Alesi’s is the most complete ape skull from the entire Miocene period, which ranged from about 24 million to five million years ago.

“It may be younger (than some other fossil pieces) but it is the only one where you have a face, you have the base of a skull, you have the inside of the skull, so you can see what a representative of them might have looked like,” said Nengo.

Hi-tech scans of the skull showed that Alesi had teeth similar to some gibbon species.

While its baby teeth had been knocked out, Alesi’s adult teeth lay unerupted inside its jaw, and their age could be determined with great precision — the ape was one year and four months old when it died.

The team also established that the balance organs in Alesi’s ear were unlike those of the gibbon, meaning it probably had a different, slower, way of moving.

While a lot is known about human evolution since we split from chimps about seven million years ago, little was known about common ancestors from before 10 million years ago.

Commenting on the study, anthropologist Brenda Benefit of the New Mexico State University described this as a fossil find “that I never thought would be made during my lifetime”.

“This discovery will help to fill in missing information regarding adaptations that influence ape and human evolutionary histories,” she said in comments published by the journal.

“This is an exceptional discovery,” agreed Paul Tafforeau of the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility in Grenoble, France, who helped examine the skull.