Hexbyte – Glen Cove – News How to Take a Flattering Pic of Someone When They Hand You Their Phone -Hexbyte Glen Cove News

Hexbyte – Glen Cove – News How to Take a Flattering Pic of Someone When They Hand You Their Phone -Hexbyte Glen Cove News

Hexbyte – Glen Cove – News

This seems like it should be basic knowledge, but I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve asked someone to take my picture, handed them a phone, and then stood there frozen as they turn it towards me…and nothing happens. Are they taking a picture? Are they looking through my email? What’s going on over there? Later, when I check the camera roll, there will be about 50 pics that look exactly the same except for the increasing anxiety in my eyes. Unfortunately, we seem to have abandoned the art of taking other people’s pictures.

I was reminded of my petty annoyance about this persistent issue when Redditor u/triple_verbosity posted this in r/LifeProTips:

When people ask you to take a picture of them on their phones, continuously snap photos of them while they get into position and begin posing. They’ll have a selection and end up with a better shot

This is a fun tip for getting candids, but it shows how disconnected we’ve gotten from how to take pictures of other people. You can get better photos with a little direction and a few adjustments. If you have a terrible photographer in your life, forward this post to them. If it don’t, you might be (probably are) the culprit. Here’s how to improve your flattering photography game.

Count. Down.

I don’t know what happened to the countdown, but many seem to have abandoned the simple, “1,2,3!” that once traditionally came before snapping a pic. At the very least, this lets someone know the photo is actually happening so they can make their own choices. A sneaky candid or two is fun, but when you don’t countdown, there’s always one person looking away, another person with their mouth open asking a question, and one camera ready queen stealing the show. Just give everyone this baseline moment to focus.

Choose a flattering angle

I can’t express my horror when someone crouches down to take a picture from underneath. That angle is flattering for Superman, and that’s about it. The rest of us spend our lives hiding the underside of our chins for good reason. Stand up and as u/jdr34d said in the comments:

Hold the camera higher than you think.

A photo taken from slightly higher will look better on almost everybody. Also, if you’re taking a photo of a group in a beautiful location, you’ll be more likely to actually capture some of it in the image.

Consider framing

Certain things look strange in pictures, but if you’ve never studied photography you don’t necessarily understand why. I’m not a professional photographer, but I worked as a photo assistant through college and after, so take my word for it when I say that cutting off people’s feet or the tops of their heads can make an image feel off-kilter.

Think of standard film shots: close, medium, and wide. Then, relate them to how tight you are on a person. In a close shot, you might be focusing on the face and eyes, so cutting off a bit off the top of their head looks fine—though it would be considered an extreme close up. But the further away you get, the stranger it appears. Conversely, in a wide shot, it will look better if you can get the full body—not most of the body, but the feet are out of the image.

Chin down, shoulders back

I don’t love every picture of me with good posture, but it sure helps. If you’ve ever gotten your photo taken professionally, you have probably encountered the advice, “Chin down, shoulders back.” People impulsively tilt their heads up, but that shows the underside of the chin (which as I’ve said before is bad). Standing up straight will also make you look more confident and present in your body. Of course, how comfortable you are saying this to someone might depend on how well you know one another. But if they’re asking for direction or comments and you don’t know what to say, this is a good start.

“Now a goofy one!”

It’s corny to take a goofy version of a pic, but much like the OP, I think saying that is a great time to get a few candids, especially of a group. People laugh at the idea of being goofy before they actually get goofy, and you’ll have more sincere smiles and action in the image if you snap a few before they change position.

Check in

In Los Angeles, hiking up to Griffith park is a bi-weekly obligation, and you will encounter tourists needing their picture taken every ten feet. So, I have been putting this advice into practice. I’ll say that when I have the time, I like to check in with whoever the camera phone owner is and see that they got what they need. They’ll usually say yes out of politeness no matter what, but in general, ask people if they want to change anything or do another take. One day, you might want your picture taken on a hill somewhere, so pay it forward.

Read More

Hexbyte  Tech News  Wired We Launched a Paywall. It Worked! Mostly.

Hexbyte Tech News Wired We Launched a Paywall. It Worked! Mostly.

Hexbyte Tech News Wired

A little over a year ago, we introduced a paywall at WIRED. The idea, as I wrote back then, was largely about us. To start, we wanted to give ourselves stronger structural incentives to do great reporting. When your business depends on subscriptions, your economic success depends on publishing stuff your readers love—not just stuff they click. It’s good to align one’s economic and editorial imperatives! And by so doing, we knew we’d be guaranteeing writers, editors, and designers that no one would be asked to create clickbait crap of the kind all digital reporters dread. (Though, admittedly, we do publish some of that still.)

But the idea was also broader. At WIRED we genuinely believe that journalism as a whole needs to diversify its revenue streams. The advertising business has supported this business for decades—but digital advertising is unruly, unpredictable, and slowly being swallowed by the social media platforms. Paywalls aren’t for every publication, and it would be nice to live in a world in which every reader could access every idea for free. But, in general, paid content seems like the best bet to help this essential and embattled industry. So, with that spirit in mind, here are some thoughts about what we learned in year one that might apply to other publications.

First off: It worked! Of course you’d expect me to say that, but it really did. I promise. We increased the number of new digital subscribers in the first year by nearly 300 percent over the year before. We don’t know if they’ll resubscribe (please do); we don’t know if they’ll ultimately pay higher prices (please do); we don’t know if it’ll be as easy to get the next batch of people to join (please do). But the early signs are good, particularly for a year in which the bottom fell out from some traffic referrers that used to drive subscribers (hello, Facebook) and the greatest growth was on a platform (hello, Apple News) where getting direct subscribers in 2018 was as easy as hitting a bank shot 3-pointer, and getting subscribers in 2019 will now essentially require a half-court heave.

The second lesson: The stories that led people to subscribe were a little surprising. When we started this, we invested in three new kinds of pieces: longform reporting, Ideas essays, and issue guides. All three types overindex in generating subscriptions. But they weren’t the only things that drove subs. Here are the 11 pieces that drove the most subscriptions this past year.

1. Inside Facebook’s Hellish Two Years—and Mark Zuckerberg’s Struggle to Fix it All

2. The Genius Neuroscientist Who Might Hold the Key to True AI

3. Dr. Elon & Mr. Musk: Life Inside Tesla’s Production Hell

4. Editors’ Letter: The Next 25 Years of WIRED Start Today

5. Cyber Monday 2018: The Absolute Best Tech Deals Online

6. How to Set Up and Use a YubiKey for Online Security

7. Meet Jim Allison, the Carousing Texan Who Just Won a Nobel Prize for His Cancer Breakthrough

8. Pan Am Flight 103: Robert Mueller’s 30-Year Search for Justice

9. A Complete Guide to All 17 (Known) Trump and Russia Investigations

10. Why It’s Hard to Escape Amazon’s Long Reach

11. Best After-Christmas Sales (2018): Bose, Beats, Blu-ray, and More

About half the stories are the kinds of pieces I would expect to lead to subscriptions: meaty features that got lots of traffic. But some, including #2, didn’t get that much readership. Others either weren’t features or weren’t quite so meaty. And it’s interesting that two of the top 11 were essentially buying guides—though very well-done ones. So what’s the lesson here? I think it’s that people will subscribe after reading all kinds of stories if they’re done well.

They’ll particularly pay, we also learned, if you send them newsletters. The propensity to subscribe by people who enter WIRED.com on a mobile device is rather low—unless they come in via a newsletter. (To give one data point, a visitor who reaches us via search is 1/19th as likely to subscribe as one who comes in from a newsletter; a reader coming in from Facebook is 1/12th; and a reader coming in from Twitter is 1/6th.) That’s one reason why we’re launching all kinds of new newsletters, tied to specific sections of the site.

Our experiences with gifts was odd. At the beginning of the year, we offered subscribers a new YubiKey. That was a great value! And it may have created a secondary market for YubiKeys on eBay. (It also, hilariously, might explain why story #6 on the list above did so well.) Later we tested giving people a free device to cover your laptop camera, which you really should do. Oddly, this depressed the rate at which people subscribed on the site and through email. They were less likely to pay the same price for a subscription if we gave them a camera cover. Why? I have no idea. Perhaps it made them feel creeped out. We also, at one point, tested a partnership offering a free short-term subscription to a partner brand that shall remain nameless. The result? Our response rate tanked. Perhaps because people worried that their credit cards would just get scooped up by someone else and auto-renewed into eternity.

As anyone who runs an online business knows, the order form is also extremely important, and we spent loads of time trying to optimize ours. We shortened text, refined the lines of boxes, and played with different images. Adding Amazon Pay as an option seemed to help a lot. But there’s still work to do. If you’ve got ideas for how we can make our order form better, let me know.

We also ran a bunch of interesting experiments. When we asked people to “place order” instead of “start my subscription,” 9 percent more did so. When we included coupons with the offer, fewer people subscribed than when we told them they could just “Save 50%.” For some reason, it seems, people much prefer “deliver to” and “customize your offer” over “choose a destination” or “choose an offer.” We also learned a lesson that every retailer ever knows: If you offer a sale, people buy. The question for us is whether those people will renew.


Subscribe to WIRED and stay smart with more of your favorite writers.

Those are just a few of the decisions we have worked through. And, of course, there’s more. WIRED is partnering with Apple for the launch of Apple News Plus, a subscription bundle that lets you subscribe to a bunch of publications at once. We’re excited by this—as long as it doesn’t cannibalize direct subscribers. You get much more WIRED when you actually subscribe to WIRED (archives, everything we publish online, an app, a beautiful magazine that the mail carrier will take to your door). If you’ve gotten this far in this particular wonky post, you’re the kind of person who probably knows that already. But we don’t know about everyone else.

What happens next? Well, in 2019 we’re going to double-down on all those things that we love to do, that we know people love to read, and that drive subscriptions. There will be more investigations, more guides, more gear. It seems like the president may make news this year, and I suspect we’ll write some more about Facebook too.

As I noted a year ago, there’s always going to be a tension between Stewart Brand’s famous dictum that “information wants to be free” and the lesser-known clause that followed: “But information also wants to be expensive.” The most important lesson, though, is the one we’ve learned over and over. Subscribers just really want information to be good.

More Great WIRED Stories

Read More

Hexbyte  Tech News  Wired A Mysterious Hacker Group Is On a Supply Chain Hijacking Spree

Hexbyte Tech News Wired A Mysterious Hacker Group Is On a Supply Chain Hijacking Spree

Hexbyte Tech News Wired

A single group of hackers appears responsible for supply chain hacks of CCleaner, Asus, and more, planting backdoors on millions of machines.

Elena Lacey

A software supply chain attack represents one of the most insidious forms of hacking. By breaking into a developer’s network and hiding malicious code within apps and software updates that users trust, supply chain hijackers can smuggle their malware onto hundreds of thousands—or millions—of computers in a single operation, without the slightest sign of foul play.
Now, what appears to be a single group of hackers has managed that trick repeatedly, going on a devastating supply chain spree—and becoming more advanced and stealthy as they go.

Over the last three years, supply chain attacks that exploited the software distribution channels of at least seven different companies have now all been tied to a single group of likely Chinese-speaking hackers. They’re known as Barium, or sometimes ShadowHammer, ShadowPad, or Wicked Panda, depending on which security firm you ask. More than perhaps any other known hacker team, Barium appears to use supply chain attacks as their core tool. Their attacks all follow a similar pattern: Seed out infections to a massive collection of victims, then sort through them to find espionage targets.

The technique disturbs security researchers not only because it demonstrates Barium’s ability to disrupt computers on a vast scale, but also because it exploits vulnerabilities in the most basic trust model governing the code users run on their machines.

“They’re poisoning trusted mechanisms,” says Vitaly Kamluk, the director of the Asia research team for security firm Kaspersky. When it comes to software supply chain attacks, “they’re the champions of this. With the number of companies they’ve breached, I don’t think any other groups are comparable to these guys.”

In at least two cases—one in which it hijacked software updates from computer maker Asus and another in which it tainted a version of the PC cleanup tool CCleaner—software corrupted by the group has ended up on hundreds of thousands of unwitting users’ computers. In those cases and others, the hackers could easily have unleashed unprecedented mayhem, says Silas Cutler, a researcher at Alphabet-owned security startup Chronicle who has tracked the Barium hackers. He compares the potential of those cases to the software supply chain attack that was used to launch the NotPetya cyberattack in 2017; in that case, a Russian hacker group hijacked updates for a piece of Ukrainian accounting software to seed out a destructive worm and caused a record-breaking $10 billion in damage to companies around the world.

“If [Barium] had deployed a ransomware worm like that through one of these attacks, it would be a far more devastating attack than NotPetya,” Cutler says.

So far, the group seems focused on spying rather than destruction. But its repeated supply chain hijackings have a subtler deleterious influence, says Kaspersky’s Kamluk. “When they abuse this mechanism, they’re undermining trust in the core, foundational mechanisms for verifying the integrity of your system,” he says. “This is much more important and has a bigger impact than regular exploitation of security vulnerabilities or phishing or other types of attacks. People are going to stop trusting legitimate software updates and software vendors.”

Tracking Clues Upstream

Kaspersky first spotted the Barium hackers’ supply chain attacks in action in July of 2017, when Kamluk says a partner organization asked its researchers to help get to the bottom of strange activity on its network. Some sort of malware that didn’t trigger antivirus alerts was beaconing out to a remote server and hiding its communications in the Domain Name System protocol. When Kaspersky investigated, it found that the source of that communications was a backdoored version of NetSarang, a popular enterprise remote management tool distributed by a Korean firm.

More puzzling was that the malicious version of NetSarang’s product bore the company’s digital signature, its virtually unforgeable stamp of approval. Kaspersky eventually determined, and NetSarang confirmed, that the attackers had breached NetSarang’s network and planted their malicious code in its product before the application was cryptographically signed, like slipping cyanide into a jar of pills before the tamper-proof seal is applied.

“We’ve never seen anything like this before.”

Marc-Etienne Léveillé, ESET

Two months later, antivirus firm Avast revealed that its subsidiary Piriform had similarly been breached, and that Piriform’s computer cleanup tool CCleaner had been backdoored in another, far more mass-scale supply chain attack that compromised 700,000 machines. Despite layers of obfuscation, Kaspersky found that the code of that backdoor closely matched the one used in the NetSarang case.

Then in January of 2019, Kaspersky found that Taiwanese computer maker Asus had pushed out a similarly backdoored software update to 600,000 of its machines going back at least five months. Though the code looked different in this case, it used a unique hashing function that it shared with the CCleaner attack, and the malicious code had been injected into a similar place in the software’s runtime functions. “There are infinite ways to compromise binary, but they stick with this one method,” says Kamluk.

When Kaspersky scanned its customers’ machines for code similar to the Asus attack, it found the code matched with backdoored versions of video games distributed by three different companies, which had already been detected by security firm ESET: A knockoff zombie game ironically named Infestation, a Korean-made shooter called PointBlank, and a third Kaspersky and ESET decline to name. All signs point to the four distinct rounds of supply chain attacks being tied to the same hackers.

“In terms of scale, this is now the group that is most proficient in supply chain attacks,” says Marc-Etienne Léveillé, a security researcher with ESET. “We’ve never seen anything like this before. It’s scary, because they have control over a very large number of machines.”

“Operational Restraint”

Yet by all appearances, the group is casting its vast net to spy on only a tiny fraction of the computers it compromises. In the Asus case, it filtered machines by checking their MAC addresses, seeking to target only around 600 computers out of 600,000 it compromised. In the earlier CCleaner incident, it installed a piece of “second-stage” spyware on only about 40 computers among 700,000 it had infected. Barium ultimately targets so few computers that in most of its operations, researchers never even got their hands on the final malware payload. Only in the CCleaner case did Avast discover evidence of a third-stage spyware sample that acted as a keylogger and password-stealer. That indicates that the group is bent on spying, and its tight targeting suggests it’s not a profit-focused cybercriminal operation.

“It’s unbelievable that they’ve left all these victims on the table and only targeted a small subset,” says Chronicle’s Cutler. “The operational restraint they must carry with them has to be the highest quality.”

It’s not clear exactly how the Barium hackers are breaching the companies whose software they hijack. But Kaspersky’s Kamluk guesses that in some cases, one supply chain attack enables another. The CCleaner attack, for instance, targeted Asus, which may have given Barium the access it needed to later hijack the company’s updates. That suggests the hackers may be refreshing their vast collection of compromised machines with interlinked supply chain hijackings, while simultaneously combing that collection for specific espionage targets.

Simplified Chinese, Complicated Tricks

Even as they distinguish themselves as one of the most prolific and aggressive hacker groups active today, Barium’s exact identity remains a mystery. But researchers note that its hackers seem to speak Chinese, likely live in mainland China, and that the majority of their targets seem to be organizations in Asian countries like Korea, Taiwan, and Japan. Kaspersky has found Simplified Chinese artifacts in its code, and in one case the group used Google Docs as a command-and-control mechanism, letting slip a clue: The document used a resume template as a placeholder—perhaps in a bid to appear legitimate and prevent Google from deleting it—and that form was written in Chinese with a default phone number that included a country code of +86, indicating mainland China. In its most recent video game supply chain attacks, the hackers’ backdoor was designed to activate and reach out to a command-and-control server only if the victim computer wasn’t configured to use Simplified Chinese language settings—or, more strangely, Russian.

More tellingly, clues in Barium’s code also connect it to previously known, likely Chinese hacker groups. It shares some code fingerprints with the Chinese state-sponsored spying group known as Axiom or APT17, which carried out widespread cyberespionage across government and private sector targets going back at least a decade. But it also seems to share tooling with an older group that Kaspersky calls Winnti, which similarly showed a pattern of stealing digital certificates from video game companies. Confusingly, the Winnti group was long considered a freelance or criminal hacker group, which seemed to be selling its stolen digital certificates to other China-based hackers, according to one analysis by security firm Crowdstrike. “They may have been freelancers who joined a larger group that’s now focused on espionage,” says Michal Salat, the head of threat intelligence at Avast.

Regardless of its origins, it’s Barium’s future that worries Kaspersky’s Kamluk. He notes that the group’s malware has become stealthier—in the Asus attack, the company’s tainted code included a list of target MAC addresses so that it wouldn’t have to communicate with a command-and-control server, depriving defenders of the kind of network signal that allowed Kaspersky to find the group after its NetSarang attack. And in the video game hijacking case, Barium went so far as to plant its malware by corrupting the version of the Microsoft Visual Studio compiler that the game developers were using—essentially hiding one supply chain attack within another.

“There’s a constant evolution of their methods, and it’s growing in sophistication,” Kamluk says. “As time passes, it’s going to become harder and harder to catch these guys.”

More Great WIRED Stories

Read More

Hexbyte  News  Computers Verizon reportedly seeking to sell Tumblr

Hexbyte News Computers Verizon reportedly seeking to sell Tumblr

Hexbyte News Computers

Last year’s decision to ban porn from its platform has had a marked adverse effect on Tumblr’s traffic. No surprise, really, especially given how wide the net was cast for “adult content” when it announced back in December. Now the blogging platform’s media parent is looking to sell, according to a new story from The Wall Street Journal.

The paper cites “people familiar with the matter.” We reached out to Verizon Media Group (which, for the record, also owns TechCrunch) and unsurprisingly got your bog standard statement about not commenting on rumors.

A sale wouldn’t be much of a surprise, given Tumblr’s history at the company. Yahoo bought the platform for north of $1 billion in 2013, with Verizon inheriting it as part of its 2017 acquisition of Yahoo. Tumblr was rolled up into the short-lived Oath business, which has since been rebranded as the much more straightforward Verizon Media Group.

As the piece notes, Tumblr ultimately failed to be the money-maker Yahoo and Verizon were hoping for, exacerbated by the fact that other social media properties have since taken some of the wind out of the company’s sails. A few years after the acquisition, Yahoo had written down the site’s value significantly. Verizon’s Q1 financials, meanwhile, had media revenues down 7.2% year-over-year.

The recent adult content ban has managed to both derail traffic and upset much of the site’s core user base. But Tumblr has stood firm, citing concerns over graphic child exploitation, all while arguably casting its net far too wide to include anything falling underneath the adult content banner.

It’s tough to say which media company might be in the market for Tumblr at this point. The once white-hot platform doesn’t hold the same sort of cache it did when it was purchased half a decade ago. Notably, Tumblr also lost its CTO to SeatGeek earlier this week.

Update: According to SensorTower‘s data on Tumblr’s last quarter, the service’s new mobile user count hit its lowest point since Q4 2013, and it was down about 40% year-over-year from Q1 2018.

Read More

Hexbyte  News  Computers The Human Brain: Even Basic Facts Are Hotly Contested

Hexbyte News Computers The Human Brain: Even Basic Facts Are Hotly Contested

Hexbyte News Computers

A group of Swedish and Italian researchers recently found that most parts of the brain are involved in processing signals arising from touch. Thus they determined that the brain does not operate like a set of switches, as we used to think:

“We immediately realised that our findings deviated strongly from the accepted view that different parts of the brain are responsible for different specific functions,” says Henrik Jörntell, one of the researchers behind the study…

“According to a prevailing view of the brain, known as functional localisation, the brain works like a set of switches: different parts of the brain are responsible for different functions. This theory is certainly easy to comprehend, but when we measure the activity levels in individual neurons, we get a different picture, which indicates that functions are in fact processed more globally by the whole brain,” says Henrik Jörntell.

The experiment, conducted on anesthetized rats, may help us understand brain injury better:

“Each individual neuron is involved in a large number of different functions. As it is closely tied to a very large number of other neurons, the function that one neuron has in a specific situation will be determined by what the other neurons with which it is connected are doing at the time,” says Henrik Jörntell.

He thinks this could explain the previously baffling observation that minor brain injuries or loss of neurons often go unnoticed.

“The brain’s network learns to solve the same tasks by creating partly new collaborative groups of neurons, which enables it to bypass damaged neural tissue with no measurable loss of function. I believe that these findings could mean a new world of promising treatment potential for many different conditions. As there is often an extensive latent brain capacity left in cases of major brain injury, one can imagine that a greater recovery could be achieved if we could teach the brain to form new collaborative groups of neurons,” says Henrik Jörntell.

Paper. (open access) – Jonas M.D. Enander, Henrik Jörntell. Somatosensory Cortical Neurons Decode Tactile Input Patterns and Location from Both Dominant and Non-dominant Digits. Cell Reports, 2019; 26 (13): 3551 DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2019.02.099 More.

Hexbyte  News  Computers

The image of the human brain operating as a series of switches makes its way into discussions of AI projects where the machines do operate that way:

Researchers at the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) explain that, much like a biological brain, the switch “learns” by processing the electrical signals it receives and producing appropriate output signals. The process mirrors the function of biological synapses in the brain, which allow neurons to communicate with each other.

Lou Del Bello, “Scientists Are Closer to Making Artificial Brains That Operate Like Ours Do” at Futurism

But not only do new findings shake up old assumptions, some longstanding questions have been hotly contested recently, like whether the adult human brain creates new neurons:

In 1928, Santiago Ramón y Cajal, the father of modern neuroscience, proclaimed that the brains of adult humans never make new neurons. “Once development was ended,” he wrote, “the founts of growth and regeneration … dried up irrevocably. In the adult centers the nerve paths are something fixed, ended and immutable. Everything must die, nothing may be regenerated.”

Ed Yong, “Do Adult Brains Make New Neurons? A Contentious New Study Says No” at The Atlantic

More recent evidence suggested otherwise and the view shifted to a more promising one for treatments:

Humans continue to produce new neurons in a part of their brain involved in learning, memory and emotion throughout adulthood, scientists have revealed, countering previous theories that production stopped after adolescence. The findings could help in developing treatments for neurological conditions such as dementia.

Many new neurons are produced in the hippocampus in babies, but it has been a matter of hot debate whether this continues into adulthood – and if so, whether this rate drops with age as seen in mice and nonhuman primates.

Nicola Davis, “Humans produce new brain cells throughout their lives” at The Guardian

And then, thanks to a recent study, back again:

In a new study, and one of the biggest yet, a team led by Arturo Alvarez-Buylla at the University of California at San Francisco completely failed to find any trace of young neurons in dozens of hippocampus samples, collected from adult humans. “If neurogenesis continues in adult humans, it’s extremely rare,” says Alvarez-Buylla. “It’s not as robust as what people have said, where you could go running and pump up the number of neurons.”

Ed Yong, “Do Adult Brains Make New Neurons? A Contentious New Study Says No” at The Atlantic

But wait! Yet another recent study (open access) says, yes, the adult human brain does grow new neurons:

Now another group of scientists have published research that pushes back, revealing the new neurons are produced in this brain region in human adults and does not drop off with age. The findings, they say, could help in the hunt for ways to treat conditions ranging from Alzheimer’s to psychiatric problems.

“The exciting part is that the neurons are there throughout a lifetime,” said Dr Maura Boldrini from Columbia University in New York and first author of the new study published in the journal Cell Stem Cell. “It seems that indeed humans are different from mice – where [neuron production] goes down with age really fast – and this could mean that we need these neurons for our complex learning abilities and cognitive behavioural responses to emotions,” she said.

Nicola Davis, “Humans produce new brain cells throughout their lives” at The Guardian

Sounds quite a tangle.

The bottom line is that when we read, for example, that “Scientists Are Closer to Making Artificial Brains That Operate Like Ours Do” (as above), we might ask: If career researchers dispute the question of how the brain works at basic levels, how can non-experts be so sure they have replicated it?

Maybe it’s worse than they fear. Perhaps the brain doesn’t and can’t operate like a piece of machinery at all. And vice-versa.

See also: Brains are not billions of little computers


Researchers identify a new form of brain communication

Read More

Hexbyte – Tech News – Ars Technica | Chewbacca actor Peter Mayhew is dead at 74

Hexbyte – Tech News – Ars Technica | Chewbacca actor Peter Mayhew is dead at 74

Hexbyte – Tech News – Ars Technica |

Rest in Peace —

Mayhew last played Chewie in the 2015 film The Force Awakens.

Mayhew arrives at the premiere of <em>Solo: A Star Wars Story</em> at the El Capitan Theatre on May 10, 2018, in Hollywood.” src=”https://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/GettyImages-958156502-800×532.jpg”></img><figcaption><p><a data-height=Enlarge / Mayhew arrives at the premiere of Solo: A Star Wars Story at the El Capitan Theatre on May 10, 2018, in Hollywood.

Peter Mayhew, who portrayed Chewbacca in all the character’s live-action scenes until 2015’s The Force Awakens, has died at his home in Texas. The British-born actor was 74 years old.

Mayhew was an aspiring actor working as a hospital orderly in 1976 when George Lucas tapped him to play the part. Mayhew’s primary qualification for the job was his height: he stood 7 feet 3 inches tall (220 cm). That was tall enough to tower over Darth Vader, played by the six-foot-six (200 cm) David Prowse. Mayhew didn’t utter Chewbacca’s famous grunts and growls—those were voiced by sound-effects legend Ben Burtt.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Mayhew went back to his hospital work after playing Chewie in Star Wars. He came back to play the character again in The Empire Strikes Back and then Return of the Jedi. By that point, his character had become famous enough that he could make his living on the convention circuit.

“For more than 30 years, Peter traveled all over the world spending time with his fans and friends,” the family wrote in a memorial statement. “Peter developed lifelong friendships with the other cast members and his fans while on the convention circuit.”

Mayhew’s character was famously stiffed at the end of the original film—L

Read More

Hexbyte – Tech News – Ars Technica | After trailer outcry, Sonic the Hedgehog director tells fans to expect “changes”

Hexbyte – Tech News – Ars Technica | After trailer outcry, Sonic the Hedgehog director tells fans to expect “changes”

Hexbyte – Tech News – Ars Technica |

Dental plan? —

Admits fans “aren’t happy with the design”—but how much can be changed before November?

  • What’s to come of November’s Sonic the Hedgehog film? We thought we knew based on a very odd-looking trailer, but Thursday’s news may have changed everything.

    Paramount / Sega

  • AHHHHHHH! That is both the caption of what Sonic is shouting in this trailer moment, and my internal voice reacting to the teeth.

  • This trailer moment alludes to Sonic having Flash-like reflexes.

  • Jim Carrey as Dr. Robotnik and/or Dr. Eggman. What’s the canon on that these days?

  • James Marsden and Sonic in a tooth-off.

  • As if to make things more awkward, the trailer opens with a stretching sequence, to thus emphasize CGI-Sonic’s weird physique.

  • At least he’s packed with ’90s ‘tude.

On Thursday, 48 hours after the world finally saw what this November’s Sonic The Hedgehog live-action movie would look like, its director took to Twitter with a surprise announcement: that’s, uh, not what the live-action movie will look like.

“Thank you for the support,” film director Jeff Fowler posted to Twitter on Thursday afternoon. “And the criticism. The message is loud and clear… you aren’t happy with the design, and you want changes. It’s going to happen.”

After acknowledging the support of film studio Paramount and game company Sega, Fowler included a pretty telling hashtag: “#gottafixfast.” It’s not just a riff on the series’ iconic “gotta go fast” slogan” but rather a stark admission that Fowler’s vague suggestion for a “changed design” is running headlong into a six-month timeframe. The film is still scheduled for a November 8, 2019, release and will be Fowler’s feature-length directorial debut.

Fowler’s tweet doesn’t acknowledge months of public questions and comments about the live-action Sonic design. The murmurs and furrowed brows began in December of last year when the film’s premiere poster debuted, showing a silhouette of the redesigned gaming mascot—long, thin legs and all. The redesign ran head-long into years of 2D and 3D renders of the character across a multimedia landscape of video games, comic books, dolls, and animated series, and it followed a prior teaser poster that showed a real-world city from the perspective of Sonic’s crotch—thus emphasizing his new design’s long, thin legs.

This week’s Sonic the Hedgehog film trailer, which may soon become a relic.

Complaints reached a fever pitch when a series of promotional slides about the Sonic film, prepared by an associated promotional company, leaked in early March. The film’s trailer has since confirmed the accuracy of those March images, though that leak didn’t include one particularly stomach-churning detail: live-action Sonic’s mouth of teeth, a first for the character since it was introduced in 1991.

This week’s Sonic film trailer appeared just as promotions for next week’s Pokémon: Detective Pikachu film ramp up. While longtime Pokémon fans may bristle at the CGI-ized versions of certain characters, thos