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 • India's Early Electronic Music From the '70s Is Finally Being Released
    Hugh Morris writes via the New York Times: When the musician and artist Paul Purgas was invited in 2017 by the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad India to play some of the music he'd found in its archives that year he was initially very keen. These were tapes that had been hidden from the public for decades; they proved the existence of a fertile avenue for electronic music in 1960s and '70s India and he was determined for people to hear them. But as he went to use the institute's aging reel-to-reel machine he got a nasty surprise: an electric shock. "I think that sobered me up" he said in an interview. The project he realized was about to become "a bit of a lifetime journey." Purgas 43 is a London-based sound artist and curator and half of the electronic music duo Emptyset. Initially he had been on the trail of the lost Moog synthesizer that the American experimentalist David Tudor used while in India which led him to the library of the NID. In "a victory for good record keeping" Purgas found details of some unknown Tudor recordings noted in a handwritten logbook by a diligent archivist in the 1960s. He requested them from the archives and was presented with box after box of carefully annotated tapes all taken from a neglected cupboard. Purgas returned to England to undertake training in tape restoration to properly conserve what he'd found: music from a group of Indian composers who aided initially by Tudor had used the Moog and some accompanying homemade modular devices between 1969 and 1972 to create some of India's earliest electronic music. Following a 2020 BBC radio documentary "Electronic India" in which Purgas situated the music in its cultural context a new compilation -- "The NID Tapes: Electronic Music from India 1969-1972" out Friday -- presents the restored pieces in their full variety. There are manipulated field recordings pieces linked to birds and nature compositions inspired by Indian classical music imagined voyages to outer space and tracks reminiscent of bleep techno or Aphex Twin. What the recordings demonstrate Purgas said is "electronic sound and music existing free from any baggage" away from "any vestiges of what could be conceived as a kind of Western continuum." read more >>


 • NASA Plans To Build Houses On the Moon By 2040
    Several scientists from NASA told the New York Times that the agency is planning to build houses on the moon by 2040. Forbes reports: The agency is set to return to the moon and is hoping its astronauts can stay long-term -- in a house built on the moon via a 3D printer. The idea is to build the house structure out of a special lunar concrete from the moon's surface and NASA has found just the company to do it: Austin-based 3D printing company ICON. In what's been dubbed Project Olympus ICON ICON created its first 350-square-foot prototype home in Austin in March 2018 with a proprietary machine called Vulcan. This year it showcased its first model home at Wolf Ranch in Georgetown Texas which is part of its 3D-printed 100-home community project. The start-up first received funding from NASA in 2020 and in 2022 it announced an additional $60 million for a space-based construction system that can be used beyond earth. The idea is to send a 3D printer up to the moon via a rocket and the printer completes its job from there. "We've got all the right people together at the right time with a common goal which is why I think we'll get there" NASA's director of technology maturation Niki Werkheiser told The New York Times. "Everyone is ready to take this step together so if we get our core capabilities developed there's no reason it's not possible." read more >>


 • Predictive Policing Software Terrible At Predicting Crimes
    An anonymous reader quotes a report from Wired: Crime predictions generated for the police department in Plainfield New Jersey rarely lined up with reported crimes an analysis by The Markup has found adding new context to the debate over the efficacy of crime prediction software. Geolitica known as PredPol until a 2021 rebrand produces software that ingests data from crime incident reports and produces daily predictions on where and when crimes are most likely to occur. We examined 23631 predictions generated by Geolitica between February 25 and December 18 2018 for the Plainfield Police Department (PD). Each prediction we analyzed from the company's algorithm indicated that one type of crime was likely to occur in a location not patrolled by Plainfield PD. In the end the success rate was less than half a percent. Fewer than 100 of the predictions lined up with a crime in the predicted category that was also later reported to police. Diving deeper we looked at predictions specifically for robberies or aggravated assaults that were likely to occur in Plainfield and found a similarly low success rate: 0.6 percent. The pattern was even worse when we looked at burglary predictions which had a success rate of 0.1 percent. read more >>


 • Japan Startup Develops 'Gundam'-Like Robot With $3 Million Price Tag
    A Tokyo startup has developed a 4.5-meter-tall four-wheeled robot modeled after the "Mobile Suit Gundam" from the Japanese animation series. It has a price tag of $3 million. Reuters reports: Called ARCHAX after the avian dinosaur archaeopteryx the robot has cockpit monitors that receive images from cameras hooked up to the exterior so that the pilot can maneuver the arms and hands with joysticks from inside its torso. The 3.5-ton robot which will be unveiled at the Japan Mobility Show later this month has two modes: the upright 'robot mode' and a 'vehicle mode' in which it can travel up to 10 km (6 miles) per hour. "Japan is very good at animation games robots and automobiles so I thought it would be great if I could create a product that compressed all these elements into one" said Ryo Yoshida the 25-year-old chief executive of Tsubame Industries. "I wanted to create something that says 'This is Japan.'" Yoshida plans to build and sell five of the machines for the well-heeled robot fan but hopes the robot could one day be used for disaster relief or in the space industry. read more >>


 • Japan To Provide $1.3 Billion In Extra Aid To US Chipmaker Micron
    In a move to strengthen its chip supply chain Japan announced it will provide up to $1.3 billion in additional subsidies for U.S. chipmaker Micron Technology's plant in Hiroshima Prefecture. The Japan Times reports: The move which comes on top of the up to 46.5 billion yen aid announced earlier adds to Japan's efforts to ensure a stable supply of chips at a time when rising tensions between the United States and China are increasingly posing a threat to its economic security. Micron has said it plans to invest up to 500 billion yen in Japan in the next few years and will become the first chipmaker to introduce extreme ultraviolet lithography machines -- state-of-the-art equipment for manufacturing advanced semiconductors -- in Japan. The company is slated to start mass production of next-generation 1-gamma dynamic random access memory chips in 2026. read more >>


 • Microsoft Overhauls OneDrive With a Big New Design AI Copilot Integration
    Tom Warren writes via The Verge: Microsoft is announcing the third generation of its OneDrive cloud storage today complete with the company's AI-powered Copilot system a Fluent design refresh and big improvements to the way businesses share and use cloud documents. [...] Microsoft is overhauling the main OneDrive web app with a new Fluent design. It more closely matches the Windows 11 interface and recent changes to Office apps and it also fits in with the latest File Explorer design updates. There is now an AI-powered file recommendations "For you" section up the top much like File Explorer. Files that matter to your workday are surfaced here immediately and can appear here whether they're in your OneDrive Teams or elsewhere. [...] You can also now choose the colors of your folders and when you share with co-workers they will also see the color choice. [...] One thing many OneDrive business users have been asking for is the ability to open any document from OneDrive on the web into the native desktop apps. Microsoft is adding this feature in December with the ability to open things like CAD files or PDFs. Microsoft is also adding a new media view that includes all photos and video assets in a single location. This new OneDrive experience will also soon be available in the files section of Microsoft Teams and the file navigation part of Outlook. Microsoft expects the new OneDrive in Outlook view to be available in December. Microsoft is also planning to integrate its Copilot AI system into OneDrive in December for everyone with a Microsoft 365 Copilot license. Copilot will offer up a daily digest of files like a catch-up feature for documents you and your colleagues are working on. This will include a list of important changes to files and a summarized look at new comments. Microsoft says it will intelligently organize these summaries based on context and relevance. Most of the interface changes can be experienced now at onedrive.com with more arriving in early 2024. You can view the full list of changes here. read more >>


 • HMD Global Starts Manufacturing In Europe With the 'Made In Hungary' Nokia Phone
    An anonymous reader quotes a report from TechCrunch: HMD Global the phone maker and marketer behind the Nokia mobile phone brand has launched its very first smartphone manufactured in Europe. The news comes some six months after the Finnish company first revealed it was transitioning some of its manufacturing to Europe to meet a growing demand from enterprises for locally produced hardware to address security and sustainability concerns. HMD Global hadn't revealed where exactly it was manufacturing in Europe with the company telling TechCrunch in February that it was keeping the facility under wraps due to security concerns. "Unfortunately due to our customers being in various security-conscious industries we're not allowed to tell anyone which countries we are producing these devices in simply to keep it as secure as possible" HMD Global chief marketing officer Lars Silberbauer said at the time. However the company has now seemingly had second thoughts on that and it has confirmed at least one of its manufacturing locations is in Hungary. A spokesperson told TechCrunch that it still can't reveal where exactly in Hungary the manufacturing facility is though they did note that they will be adding further manufacturing and assembly capacity to additional locales in Europe. The first device off the line is the 5G Nokia XR21 which is available for enterprises to buy today. This is pretty much the same as the XR21 that launched earlier this year except the new variant has been assembled in Europe and HMD Global can offer enterprise customers a "higher level of security assurance through customized software and security features" a spokesperson said adding that they are working with a number of additional IT security partners. Additionally the company is making 30 limited edition versions of these devices available to the general public through the online Nokia store for consumers in the U.K. France Germany Austria the Netherlands Belgium Spain Italy and Finland with a sticker price of 699 euros. It also plans to launch a standard (i.e. non-limited edition) of the European XR21 smartphone for consumers which will be available in black. read more >>


 • Meta To Lay Off Employees in Metaverse Silicon Unit Tomorrow
    Meta is planning to lay off employees on Wednesday in the unit of its metaverse-oriented Reality Labs division focused on creating custom silicon Reuters reported Tuesday citing sources familiar with the matter. From the report: Employees were informed of the layoffs in a post on Meta's internal discussion forum Workplace on Tuesday. The post said they would be notified about their status with the company by early Wednesday morning one of the sources said. Reuters was not able to determine the extent of the cuts to the silicon unit called Facebook Agile Silicon Team or FAST which has roughly 600 employees according to the other source. The FAST unit is tasked with developing custom chips to power the augmented and virtual reality hardware produced by Meta's Reality Labs division. Meta currently makes a line of mixed reality headsets called Quest and smart glasses designed with Ray-Ban eyeglass maker EssilorLuxottica that can stream video and speak with wearers through a new artificial intelligence virtual assistant. read more >>


 • Amazon Used Secret 'Project Nessie' Algorithm To Raise Prices
    Amazon used an algorithm code-named "Project Nessie" to test how much it could raise prices in a way that competitors would follow according to redacted portions of the Federal Trade Commission's monopoly lawsuit against the company. From a report: The algorithm helped Amazon improve its profit on items across shopping categories and because of the power the company has in e-commerce led competitors to raise their prices and charge customers more according to people familiar with the allegations in the complaint. In instances where competitors didn't raise their prices to Amazon's level the algorithm -- which is no longer in use -- automatically returned the item to its normal price point. The company also used Nessie on what employees saw as a promotional spiral where Amazon would match a discounted price from a competitor such as Target.com and other competitors would follow lowering their prices. When Target ended its sale Amazon and the other competitors would remain locked at the low price because they were still matching each other according to former employees who worked on the algorithm and pricing team. The algorithm helped Amazon recoup money and improve margins. The FTC's lawsuit redacted an estimate of how much it alleges the practice "extracted from American households" and it also says it helped the company generate a redacted amount of "excess profit." Amazon made more than $1 billion in revenue through use of the algorithm according to a person familiar with the matter. Amazon stopped using the algorithm in 2019 some of the people said. It wasn't clear why the company stopped using it. read more >>


 • New Group Attacking iPhone Encryption Backed By US Political Dark-Money Network
    Long-time Slashdot reader schwit1 shares a report from The Intercept: The Heat Initiative a nonprofit child safety advocacy group was formed earlier this year to campaign against some of the strong privacy protections Apple provides customers. The group says these protections help enable child exploitation objecting to the fact that pedophiles can encrypt their personal data just like everyone else. When Apple launched its new iPhone this September the Heat Initiative seized on the occasion taking out a full-page New York Times ad using digital billboard trucks and even hiring a plane to fly over Apple headquarters with a banner message. The message on the banner appeared simple: 'Dear Apple Detect Child Sexual Abuse in iCloud' -- Apple's cloud storage system which today employs a range of powerful encryption technologies aimed at preventing hackers spies and Tim Cook from knowing anything about your private files. Something the Heat Initiative has not placed on giant airborne banners is who's behind it: a controversial billionaire philanthropy network whose influence and tactics have drawn unfavorable comparisons to the right-wing Koch network. Though it does not publicize this fact the Heat Initiative is a project of the Hopewell Fund an organization that helps privately and often secretly direct the largesse -- and political will -- of billionaires. Hopewell is part of a giant tightly connected web of largely anonymous Democratic Party-aligned dark-money groups in an ironic turn campaigning to undermine the privacy of ordinary people. For an organization demanding that Apple scour the private information of its customers the Heat Initiative discloses extremely little about itself. According to a report in the New York Times the Heat Initiative is armed with $2 million from donors including the Children's Investment Fund Foundation an organization founded by British billionaire hedge fund manager and Google activist investor Chris Cohn and the Oak Foundation also founded by a British billionaire. The Oak Foundation previously provided $250000 to a group attempting to weaken end-to-end encryption protections in EU legislation according to a 2020 annual report. The Heat Initiative is helmed by Sarah Gardner who joined from Thorn an anti-child trafficking organization founded by actor Ashton Kutcher. [...] Critics say these technologies aren't just uncovering trafficked children but ensnaring adults engaging in consensual sex work. "My goal is for child sexual abuse images to not be freely shared on the internet and I'm here to advocate for the children who cannot make the case for themselves" Gardner said declining to name the Heat Initiative's funders. "I think data privacy is vital. I think there's a conflation between user privacy and known illegal content." read more >>




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