Proactive Computing | Optimizing IT for usability, performance and reliability since 1997

Category: #RT

Auto Added by WPeMatico

Marine biologists identify new species of ‘Dumbo’ octopus that lives 7,000m below sea level (PHOTOS)

When searching for hitherto unidentified animals in the darkest depths of the oceans, researchers expect to find grisly, alien-like species but, recently, they encountered an altogether cuter new creature: a Dumbo octopus.

Using almost entirely non-invasive scanning techniques instead of the standard highly invasive and sometimes fatal lab tests and dissections, researchers from the University of Bonn successfully identified the never-before-seen Grimpoteuthis imperator, or Dumbo octopus. 


© Christina Sagorny et al, BMC Biology, 2021

The G. imperator, a new subspecies of an already rare breed of octopus, was discovered in the northern part of the Emperor Seamounts, an underwater mountain ridge in the northwest Pacific Ocean. They live at depths of 7,000 meters (22,966 feet). The researchers suggested the common name for the critter: Emperor Dumbo in English, Dumbo Impérial in French, and Kaiserdumbo in German.


© Christina Sagorny et al, BMC Biology, 2021

Rather than dissecting Dumbo, the marine biologists instead used high-field magnetic resonance imaging and micro-computed tomography scans to ascertain its origin before carrying out minimally invasive gene analysis on tissue samples to verify it was indeed a new species.


© Christina Sagorny et al, BMC Biology, 2021

Measurements and digital photo comparisons with other types of Dumbo octopus – so called because of its two head fins, which resemble the large elephant ears sported by the lovable Disney character – were undertaken to settle the matter.

The researchers were also surprised to encounter a systemic heart in the new deepwater Dumbo, which had hitherto never been described in octopus species before.

Also on

FILE PHOTO. © Pixabay / AnjaScientists capture octopus PUNCHING fish, apparently out of SPITE, in bizarre VIDEO

Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!

Proactive Computing found this story and shared it with you.
The Article Was Written/Published By: RT

Microsoft lands $21 billion contract to arm US soldiers with futuristic augmented-reality headsets

The Pentagon will pay Microsoft billions of dollars to build augmented-reality headsets for its soldiers. The devices will be backed by the tech firm’s Azure cloud computing services, which was compromised by hackers last year.

The contract was announced on Wednesday and could earn Microsoft up to $21.88 billion over 10 years. Back in 2018, the US Army gave Microsoft $480 million to develop a prototype headset built around the company’s HoloLens technology. Based on its performance, Microsoft will now provide up to 120,000 of the headsets, dubbed the Integrated Visual Augmented System, or IVAS.

The IVAS can project holographic video-game style maps, thermal and night imaging, and target-identification information to soldiers. It can also show where the soldier’s weapon is aimed, and monitor vital statistics like their heart rate.

Also on

FILE PHOTO.Pentagon ‘assessing systems’ after TENS OF THOUSANDS of servers compromised in global Microsoft hack… blamed on ‘Chinese hackers’

However, the project is not without its problems. A CNBC reporter tested the prototype headset in 2019 and described it as “a bit buggy,” saying that it needed to be restarted during a demonstration session. Several months later, the military was still reporting glitches with the devices, including GPS and imaging errors, and “poor low light and thermal sensor performance.”

While Microsoft will have a decade and more than $20 billion to iron these issues out, there could be more potential snafus on the horizon. The headsets will be linked to Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing service, a service that the company said was hacked last December, leaving 911 emergency lines down in multiple US states. Even before that particular breach, security researchers were finding flaws with Azure, with one branding it a “cloud security nightmare.”

Also on

FILE PHOTO.Police departments across US report ‘nationwide’ 911 OUTAGE, possibly caused by Microsoft cloud glitch

Despite this, the US military seems confident. Microsoft was awarded a $10 billion cloud computing contract by the Pentagon last October, beating out rivals Amazon and Google in the competition. Amazon has since filed a lawsuit, arguing that former President Donald Trump – a fierce critic of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos – intervened to land Microsoft the deal.

Back in 2018, Microsoft President Brad Smith pledged the company would “provide the US military with access to the best technology… all the technology we create. Full stop.” However, not all of his employees felt as enthusiastic.

While Smith described the military as “ethical and honorable,” more than 90 Microsoft employees signed a letter in early 2019 protesting the development of the IVAS headsets. 

Also on

© AFP / Justin SullivanMicrosoft staff protest over Pentagon contract for augmented reality tech ‘designed to kill people’

“The application of HoloLens within the IVAS system is designed to help people kill,” they wrote. “It will be deployed on the battlefield, and works by turning warfare into a simulated ‘video game,’ further distancing soldiers from the grim stakes of war and the reality of bloodshed.”

The employees said that they “did not sign up to develop weapons,” and demanded more control over “how our work is used.”

Whether Microsoft persuaded or ignored these disgruntled employees, the IVAS project is now a reality, and worth 44 times as much money as the prototype. Yet as Big Tech and the military grow ever closer, similar campaigns within Microsoft’s competitors have been more successful. Google dropped out of an AI contract with the Pentagon in 2019 after employees spoke out against their software being used to help target drone strikes. Employees at Apple and Amazon have also pressured their bosses not to help the US military.

Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!

Proactive Computing found this story and shared it with you.
The Article Was Written/Published By: RT

Facebook bends the knee, agrees to censor Trump ads after mass advertiser boycott

Facebook will change its policies to ban “hate speech” in advertisements on the platform, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced, after activists brigaded a number of major corporations to pull their ads from the platform.

“I am committed to making sure Facebook remains a place where people can use their voice to discuss important issues,” Zuckerberg said on Friday. “But I also stand against hate or anything that incites violences or suppresses voting, and we’re committed to removing that content too, no matter where it comes from.”

This will include ads critical of “immigrants, migrants, refugees and asylum seekers” CNBC reported Zuckerberg as saying. 

Here’s the problem, this ban would include a very large percentage of ads from Trump and other Republicans and I am very skeptical Facebook will enforce this ban fairly.

— Dan Pfeiffer (@danpfeiffer) June 26, 2020

Some Democrat activists have already interpreted this as having to ban all advertising from President Donald Trump and most Republicans. 

The same groups that have led advertising boycotts against Fox News host Tucker Carlson, accusing him of “racism,” have turned their sights on Facebook last week, after Zuckerberg made the mistake of saying he will not censor political speech and advertising the way Twitter and YouTube have begun doing. 

CONFIRMED: BIG! @Honda has joined the #StopHateForProfit campaign and will pause their advertising on Facebook platforms.

— Sleeping Giants (@slpng_giants) June 26, 2020

The boycott, branded #StopHateForProfit, has resulted in nearly 100 major brands either pulling their advertising from Facebook or threatening to do so starting in July, citing Facebook’s “repeated failure to meaningfully address the vast proliferation of hate on its platforms.” 

🚫 The North Face
🚫 Patagonia
🚫 Verizon
🚫 Ben & Jerry’s
🚫 Unilever

These companies are pulling their ads from Facebook, saying the company isn’t doing enough to fight hate speech

— Bloomberg QuickTake (@QuickTake) June 26, 2020

While Zuckerberg did not mention the boycott directly, it was clear from the policies he outlined that Facebook is trying to appease its critics. Facebook stock started dropping on Monday, after the boycott received widespread media coverage and began to bite, down $25 from high point on Tuesday and falling almost 8 percent on Friday alone.

Silicon Valley’s social media platforms have been under constant fire since the 2016 election, with the US political establishment, mainstream media and activists blaming them for enabling President Donald Trump to bypass the official gatekeepers of information. As the 2020 campaign gears up, the platforms have been under mounting pressure to “fact-check” Trump’s posts and police anything his critics label “hate speech.”

Also on

© Reuters / Carlos BarriaTwitter blocks WHITE HOUSE tweet for ‘glorifying violence’ after it reposts Trump warning from official government account

Twitter has led the charge, with YouTube following suit, and even smaller platforms like SnapChat have removed the president’s campaign from its promotional tabs on the pretext that it “incited racial violence and promoted injustice.”

Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!

Proactive Computing found this story and shared it with you.
The Article Was Written/Published By: RT