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Posted by Megan Geuss

Enlarge / A wind turbine, May 17, 2016 in Melaune, Germany. (Photo by Florian Gaertner/Photothek via Getty Images) (credit: Getty Images)

GE and Apple announced a partnership today that will pave the way for putting utility analytics software Predix on iOS devices. The Predix software development kit will allow 77 utilities that work with GE to manage turbines, condensers, boiler feed pumps, and more from iPads and iPhones.

That, GE says, will ensure “that real-time data is captured and shared with field workers and remote operations using iOS devices.”

As part of the program, GE has agreed to standardize iPhones and iPads as the primary work devices for its 330,000 employees. The industrial machinery company will also make Macs available to employees who prefer them, according to Reuters.

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Posted by Kyle Orland

Enlarge / Want to ave a cool sniper rifle like your Call of Duty partner? Authorize a charge of $4.99 RIGHT NOW!

In a US patent filed in 2015 and approved yesterday, Activision outlines an online matchmaking system designed to "drive microtransactions in multiplayer video games" and "influence game-related purchases."

Patent #9789406, for a "System and method for driving microtransactions in multiplayer video games," describes a number of matchmaking algorithms that a game could use to encourage players to purchase additional in-game items. "For instance, the system may match a more expert/marquee player with a junior player to encourage the junior player to make game-related purchases of items possessed/used by the marquee player," the patent reads. "A junior player may wish to emulate the marquee player by obtaining weapons or other items used by the marquee player."

An Activision representative told Glixel (which first unearthed the patent) that the filing was merely an "exploratory" effort from a disconnected R&D team and that such a system "has not been implemented in-game" yet. But the patent itself shows a decent amount of thought being put into various ways to maximize the chances of players purchasing in-game items based on their online gameplay partners.

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Posted by admin

31-65 46th Street

October 18, By Tara Law

Tenants of a dormitory-style building in Astoria won a temporary restraining order Monday against their landlord who had allegedly been trying to kick them out since December by making their building uninhabitable.

The tenants claimed that their landlord NYSUM, an Astoria-based Christian ministry, had stopped providing basic services at their 31-65 46th Street building as a means to get rid of them.

They stated that NYSUM had stopped providing housekeeping and janitorial services, and was no longer collecting the trash. In addition, they claimed that NYSUM had removed furniture and computers from the building’s shared space and disconnected the building’s Wi-Fi.

The tenants were awarded a temporary restraining order that requires NYSUM to stop harassing them through such measures as removing furniture and services. The award also stops NYSUM from commencing any legal action to evict the tenants until Nov. 16, when another hearing will be held.

The dormitory style building is divided into 39 single occupancy rooms and the tenants share common spaces such as living rooms, bathrooms and kitchens. The tenants pay $350 to $500 a month in rent for their room

Twelve of the tenants, backed by the Legal Aid Society, petitioned for the restraining order and are fighting to stay.

The whole issue began in November when NYSUM handed its tenants with eviction notices, informing them that they had to leave by the end of the 2016.  Most refused to go.

In February, the Legal Aid Society filed a lawsuit on behalf of the tenants arguing that the apartments are protected by the Rent Stabilization laws, which requires renewable leases—and therefore prevents them from being kicked out. NYSUM argues that it has that right to evict the tenants since it doesn’t have to conform to Rent Stabilization laws since it is a non profit.

NYSUM said that it is evicting the tenants because it cannot afford to maintain the building. It wants to convert the property to another use so it can generate more income.

The Legal Aid Society argues that NYSUM does not meet the legal requirements for an exemption as a non-profit charity.

Leslie Hilton, resident, in her room (Dec. 2016)

Sateesh Nori, attorney-in-charge of the Queens Civil Office at The Legal Aid Society, said he hopes the restraining order will prevent NYSUM from cutting back services and is glad that the tenants are protected until November.

A judge will decide on Nov. 16 whether to make the temporary restraining order permanent.

Nori said that NYSUM has yet to file suit against the tenants to get a court order to evict them and that he has been surprised that NYSUM has been unwilling to negotiate increased rents or a plan to relocate the tenants.

“We’ve never seen anything like this before,” Nori said. “It’s a nonprofit and a religious organization. Their motives are a mystery to me.”

 

so very streaky

Oct. 18th, 2017 02:40 pm
solarbird: (widow)
[personal profile] solarbird
I've still got this damned head cold or whatever it is and it's awful and won't go away. I was feeling better yesterday but that didn't last.

I was fuckin' terrible today in lunchtime Overwatch. Well, as Widow, anyway. I was good as Tracer as always, and the weird thing is, the one time I wasn't terrible as Widow, it was in deathmatch, where I was surprisingly competitive against a pretty heavy set of enemies including three Pharahs and a D.va, which is not normally a recipe for competitiveness but I was.

So I was feeling pretty okay in warmup. But christ, go into quickplay and suddenly it's WHAT IS SNIPERS? and I can't hit a shot to save my life. (And that included while winning. So.)

This is in huge contrast to yesterday where I was not just playing well, but had another entire game of being the Widowmaker I want to be. Defence in Hollywood, 70% scope accuracy, eight criticals, golds in objective kills and objective time and silver in total kills, enemy Bastion got so sick of me that he tried being enemy Widow and yeah that did not help, enemy Pharah kept trying to go over the gate wall and I just kept one-shotting her out of the air until she got so mad that on their last serious push she apparently decided "y'know what, fuck the objective, fuck the game, I'm killing that fucking Widowmaker at least once" and went through the security office while I was busy with other people, jumped me from behind and let loose her one and only ult at point-blank range just for me.

Honestly, I felt quite flattered.

I guess the short form is I am still a work in progress, and it shows.
[syndicated profile] arstechnica_main_feed

Posted by Samuel Axon

Enlarge (credit: Ron Amadeo)

Samsung's annual developer conference at Moscone West in San Francisco doesn't always get a lot of public attention; in past years it has often focused on things like Tizen app development. But at this year's conference, the company focused on launching a new platform for connected devices in the home, the car, and elsewhere—or at least, a collection of previously existent platforms that are getting updated and combined into a new one.

That new platform is called SmartThings Cloud, and it unites existing Samsung IoT services like SmartThings, Samsung Connect, ARTIK, and Harman Ignite. Frankly, Samsung's offerings have been a confusing mess of different platforms and services with overlapping functionality and purposes. It's a rebranding, which could mean little, but developers may be hopeful that it also means an actual restructuring of resources and products to unify what Samsung is doing across all of these.

Within that umbrella, you have a couple new products that are more interesting than just a rebranding. Consumers and developers alike are already familiar with Bixby, Samsung's virtual assistant answer to Siri, Google Assistant, and Alexa. It replaced S Voice, a lackluster offering on previous phones, when it launched this year. Unfortunately, Ars found Bixby to be frustrating and unfinished. It's telling, then, that Samsung has already moved on to announce Bixby 2.0 at the conference just a few months after the initial launch.

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Posted by Peter Bright

Enlarge / Worry-free cloud storage, Adobe claims. (credit: Adobe)

At its Adobe MAX conference, Adobe announced a big shake-up for its Lightroom photo processing application. The current Lightroom CC is being renamed to Lightroom Classic CC, and a new product with an old name, Lightroom CC, will take its place.

The new Lightroom CC offers most of the photo processing features of Lightroom Classic but with some key differences. The interface is simpler, and it's shared between both the desktop versions (for Mac and PC), the mobile versions for Android and iOS, the Apple TV version, and Lightroom CC for the Web. It offers both a common look and feel and common capabilities across the range of platforms.

That cross-platform consistency ties in strongly with its other, likely contentious feature: it uploads all your photos to cloud storage. A $9.99-a-month Lightroom CC subscription—just as is already the case with Classic, the software is only offered on a subscription basis—comes with 1TB of cloud storage, with additional space available in 1, 5, and 10TB increments.

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today's xkcd

Oct. 19th, 2017 08:30 am
vass: a man in a bat suit says "I am a model of mental health!" (Bats)
[personal profile] vass
Research Risks

I have some thoughts:

1. Marine biology is low risk of misuse by supervillains? Come on! Sharks!

2. Molasses storage's low risk of breaking free and threatening local population: didn't that actually happen at least once? If we're counting trucks as facilities, I mean. Never mind, I should have looked at the mouseover text before posting.

3. I wouldn't put linguistics that low for supervillain risk, assuming the validity of the strong Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. (Yes, everything I knew about Sapir-Whorf did come from that one Delany book.)

4. But then, he put palaeontology low as well, and. Well. Do that right/wrong enough and you get both microbiology (bubonic plague! anthrax!) AND ornithology (dinosaurs!)

5. HE LEFT OUT ECONOMICS. And poli-sci (between history and sociology?) but imo economics is WAY scarier from both a supervillain and accidental escape perspective.

6. Really, isn't any discipline high supervillain risk if the supervillain has the right mental attitude?

7. If prosthetics is high supervillain risk/low escape risk, and dentistry is low supervillain risk/low escape risk, are dentures high or low supervillain risk?
[syndicated profile] arstechnica_main_feed

Posted by Jon Brodkin

Enlarge / Fiber optic cables. (credit: Getty Images | gerenme)

Charter Communications last week sued a workers' union, alleging that its members have repeatedly sabotaged Charter's network in New York City during a strike that began in March.

"On over 125 occasions, Charter cables, including both coaxial and fiber optic cables in both secured and unsecured locations at sites throughout New York City, have been deliberately cut or damaged, thereby denying thousands of subscribers access to cable, Internet, and voice service and interfering with their ability to contact emergency services, and forcing Charter to devote hundreds of thousands of dollars and hundreds of man-hours to investigating and repairing its property," Charter alleged in its complaint filed in the New York State Supreme Court.

It's no coincidence that these incidents happened during the strike, Charter further claimed. Charter blamed members of IBEW Local Union No. 3:

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Posted by Sean Gallagher

(credit: See-ming Lee)

As part of an ongoing legal battle to get the New York City Police Department to track money police have grabbed in cash forfeitures, an attorney for the city told a Manhattan judge on October 17 that part of the reason the NYPD can't comply with such requests is that the department's evidence database has no backup. If the database servers that power NYPD's Property and Evidence Tracking System (PETS)—designed and installed by Capgemini under a $25.5 million contract between 2009 and 2012—were to fail, all data on stored evidence would simply cease to exist.

Courthouse News reported that Manhattan Supreme Court judge Arlene Bluth responded repeatedly to the city's attorney with the same phrase: “That’s insane.”

Last year, NYPD’s Assistant Deputy Commissioner Robert Messner told the City Council's public safety committee that “attempts to perform the types of searches envisioned in the bill will lead to system crashes and significant delays during the intake and release process.” The claim was key to the department’s refusal to provide the data accounting for the approximately $6 million seized in cash and property every year. As of 2013, according to the nonprofit group Bronx Defenders, the NYPD was carrying a balance sheet of more than $68 million in cash seized.

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Posted by Dan Goodin

Enlarge (credit: portal gda)

Google has booted eight Android apps from its Play marketplace, even though the apps have been downloaded as many as 2.6 million times. The industry giant took action after researchers found that the apps add devices to a botnet and can perform denial-of-service attacks or other malicious actions.

The stated purpose of the apps is to provide a skin that can modify the look of characters in the popular Minecraft: Pocket Edition game. Under the hood, the apps contain highly camouflaged malware known as Android.Sockbot, which connects infected devices to developer-controlled servers. This is according to a blog post published Wednesday by researchers from Symantec. The malware mostly targets users in the US, but it also has a presence in Russia, Ukraine, Brazil, and Germany.

When the researchers ran an infected app in their laboratory, they found it establishing a persistent connection based on the Socket Secure (SOCKS) protocol to a server that delivers ads. The SOCKS proxy mechanism then directs the infected device to an ad server and causes it to request certain ads be displayed.

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Posted by Cathleen O'Grady

Enlarge (credit: Kelly Sue DeConnick / Flickr)

Theoretical biologist Philipp Mitteröcker is intrigued by the puzzle of dangerous human childbirth. Unlike other species, human babies are often too big for the birth canal, leading to dangerous—and possibly fatal—obstructed labor. Last year, Mitteröcker and his colleagues published a mathematical model that showed how the mixture of evolutionary pressures acting on humans would inevitably lead to an ongoing risk of obstructed labor in our species.

The model also suggested that C-sections are changing the rules of the game by increasing the likelihood that large babies and their mothers survive childbirth and pass on genes that promote this head/pelvis mismatch. The model predicted that we'd see an increasing risk of obstructed labor (and need for C-sections) over generations—but there was no real-world evidence of that happening.

Now, in a new paper, Mitteröcker and colleagues have published empirical evidence that this is indeed the case: women who were born by C-section seem to have a higher risk of needing a C-section themselves. And the real-world increase in risk is similar to what their model predicts.

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Posted by John Timmer

Enlarge (credit: DeepMind)

While artificial intelligence software has made huge strides recently, in many cases, it has only been automating things that humans already do well. If you want an AI to identify the Higgs boson in a spray of particles, for example, you have to train it on collisions that humans have already identified as containing a Higgs. If you want it to identify pictures of cats, you have to train it on a database of photos in which the cats have already been identified.

(If you want AI to name a paint color, well, we haven't quite figured that one out.)

But there are some situations where an AI can train itself: rules-based systems in which the computer can evaluate its own actions and determine if they were good ones. (Things like poker are good examples.) Now, a Google-owned AI developer has taken this approach to the game Go, in which AIs only recently became capable of consistently beating humans. Impressively, with only three days of playing against itself with no prior knowledge of the game, the new AI was able to trounce both humans and its AI-based predecessors.

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roadrunnertwice: Wrecked bicyclist. Dialogue: "I am fucking broken." (Bike - Fucking broken (Never as Bad as Y)
[personal profile] roadrunnertwice
This DIY whirlwind we’re in feels a lot like when you’re underleveled and underequipped for a dungeon, but you bull in there anyway bc you don’t have time to fuck around and grind til you’re “ready,” and if you get whacked and have to burn a revive or two then So Be It.

Especially installing these hardwood floors. Good gravy.
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Posted by Cyrus Farivar

Enlarge (credit: Cyrus Farivar)

On Wednesday, Amazon sent out another installment of payments relating to its “Apple eBooks Antitrust Settlement”—except this time, it was to settle related lawsuits brought by a group of state-level attorneys general.

In 2014, Amazon paid out based on settlements with book publishers—including Harper Collins and Simon & Schuster—which allegedly conspired with Apple to fix e-book prices in 2012.

As Ars reported previously, the case began way back in 2012, when Apple and five publishers (Penguin, HarperCollins, Hachette, Simon & Schuster, and Macmillan) were sued by the Department of Justice and 33 states’ attorney general offices for conspiring to offer e-books at a higher price than Amazon’s loss-leading $9.99. The publishers all eventually settled for a total of $166 million to states and consumers, but Apple held out and eventually lost a judgement in Manhattan district court.

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Melbourne Storm

Oct. 19th, 2017 05:48 am
vass: Icon of Saint Ignatius being eaten by lions (eaten by lions)
[personal profile] vass
It's been a week of 30 degree days (86 if you use Fahrenheit) and there seems to be a storm coming right about now. I have just realised that this might be why Dorian's been quite this excitable all day. The changing barometric conditions might be sending him into Anxious Soccer Ball mode.

Beatrice, being pounced on, responded to this by playing soccer.
[syndicated profile] arstechnica_main_feed

Posted by Beth Mole

Enlarge (credit: Getty | JOHANNES EISELE )

Naturopaths and other gurus of “alternative medicine” love to tout the benefits of traditional herbal medicines. For instance, Aviva Romm—a Yale-educated doctor who publicly defended Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle site Goop then later called it a “caricature of everything alternative health for women”—sells her own line of unproven herbal remedies. Billionaire Susan Samueli—who donated $200 million dollars alongside her husband so the University of California, Irvine, could open an “integrative” medicine program—promotes homeopathy, naturopathy, and runs an active consulting practice versed in Chinese herbs.

Herbal remedies are often seen as harmless, soothing treatments that tap into the ancient wisdom of traditional healing. While that may be the case for some, there are also those that cause cancer—and sometimes it’s nearly impossible to tell one from the other.

According to a study published Wednesday in Science Translational Medicine, traditional components of herbal remedies used throughout Asia are widely implicated in liver cancers there. In Taiwan, for instance, 78 percent of 98 liver tumors sampled displayed a pattern of mutations consistent with exposure to herbs containing aristolochic acids (AAs). These are carcinogenic components found in a variety of centuries-old herbal remedies said to treat everything from snakebites to gout, asthma, and pain.

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Posted by Megan Geuss

Statoil

The world’s first floating offshore wind farm began delivering electricity to the Scottish grid today.

The 30MW installation, situated 25km (15.5mi) from Peterhead in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, will demonstrate that offshore wind energy can be harvested in deep waters, miles away from land, where installing giant turbines was once impractical or impossible. At peak capacity, the wind farm will produce enough electricity to power 20,000 Scottish homes.

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Posted by Cyrus Farivar

Enlarge / The Tesla Factory is an automobile manufacturing plant in Fremont, California, and the principal production facility of Tesla. The facility at the foot of the Fremont Hills manufactures the Model S and X. (credit: Corbis Unreleased / Getty Images News)

In a new lawsuit, three former Tesla workers claim that they were routinely harassed and subjected to racial epithets during their time at the Fremont, California, factory.

The men, who are all African-American, allege that shortly after they began work in 2015, their co-workers and superiors began taunting them and called them "n****r" on a regular basis.

The lawsuit, which was filed in Alameda County Superior Court on Tuesday, is the second such suit brought this year on behalf of former Tesla employees represented by Lawrence Organ, a local civil rights attorney. Organ did not respond to Ars’ request for comment.

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