ReHacked vol. 186: Electroshock Therapy More Successful for Depression than Ketamine, The worst sales promotion in history, How to use the watch as a Compass and more

It’s a mar­ket­ing stunt. It’s a gag. But it’s also a mas­sive license-vio­la­tion frame­work. --Jamie Zaw­in­ski about GitHub Copilot

ReHacked vol. 186: Electroshock Therapy More Successful for Depression than Ketamine, The worst sales promotion in history, How to use the watch as a Compass and more
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope made the Pillars of Creation famous with its first image in 1995, but revisited the scene in 2014 to reveal a sharper, wider view in visible light, shown above at left. A new, near-infrared-light view from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, at right, helps us peer through more of the dust in this star-forming region. The thick, dusty brown pillars are no longer as opaque and many more red stars that are still forming come into view. Credits: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI; Joseph DePasquale (STScI), Anton M. Koekemoer (STScI), Alyssa Pagan (STScI).

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Study: Electroshock Therapy More Successful for Depression than Ketamine - UConn Today #health #psychology

An analysis of six studies found that electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is better at quickly relieving major depression than ketamine, a team of researchers report in JAMA Psychiatry on October 19.

Depression is a common illness affecting about 5% of adults worldwide, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Feeling sad, irritable, losing pleasure in activities that used to be enjoyable, and sometimes experiencing unexplained pain or fatigue for weeks at a time are all symptoms of depression. Most people diagnosed with depression are offered an oral antidepressant (in combination with psychotherapy) as a first-line treatment option. But if oral antidepressants don’t help, or if the person is at imminent risk of hurting themselves, there are other, more rapid treatment options: ECT, and more recently ketamine or esketamine.

The worst sales promotion in history - The Hustle #history #economy #ads #marketing

In late 1992, the UK branch of the vacuum manufacturer, Hoover, offered an impossibly sweet promotion: If a customer bought any product worth £100, he or she would get two free round-trip flights to the United States.

For the 84-year-old electronics brand, it was meant to be an eye-catching way to boost dwindling sales, escape the gloom of a recession, and shrug off increased competition.

Instead, it led to the destruction of the company — a precipitous downfall that saw multimillion-dollar losses and customer revolts.

Fujimoto’s Five Books are now Public Domain - Origami by Michał Kosmulski #copyrights #art

A Moonshot for Coral Breeding Was Successful | Hakai Magazine #nature #science

Wearing a navy-blue polo neck emblazoned with the Florida Aquarium logo, Keri O’Neil hugs a white cooler at Miami International Airport. “Coral babieeeeees,” she says, before letting out a short laugh. Relief. The container holds 10 plastic bottles teeming with thousands of tiny peach-colored specks. Shaped like cornflakes and no more than a millimeter in length, they are the larvae of elkhorn coral, an endangered species that is as characteristic to the reefs of the Florida Keys and the Caribbean as polar bears are to the Arctic or giant sequoias to Sierra Nevada.

Global Encryption Day: Demand End-to-End Encryption in DMs | The Tor Project #privacy #security

October 21, 2022, is the second Global Encryption Day, organized by the Global Encryption Coalition, of which the Tor Project is a member. Global Encryption Day is an opportunity for businesses, civil society organizations, technologists, and millions of Internet users worldwide to highlight why encryption matters and to advocate for its advancement and protection.

At the Tor Project, we’re proud to help millions of people take back their right to privacy, to freely access and share information, and to more easily circumvent internet censorship--and encryption makes this possible.

Encryption allows us to provide these tools: for example, Tor uses three layers of encryption in the Tor circuit; each relay decrypts one layer before passing the request on to the next relay. Encryption is used in many other ways as well! Without encryption, millions of people would lose their access to the safe and uncensored internet.

Smithsonian Open Access | Smithsonian Institution #media #copyrights

Welcome to Smithsonian Open Access, where you can download, share, and reuse millions of the Smithsonian’s images—right now, without asking. With new platforms and tools, you have easier access to more than 4.4 million 2D and 3D digital items from our collections—with many more to come. This includes images and data from across the Smithsonian’s 19 museums, nine research centers, libraries, archives, and the National Zoo.

With morphing limbs, a robot that travels by land and water | YaleNews #technology #engineering

Imagine being able to morph your legs into flippers before you jump in the water. Yale researchers have created a robot that accomplishes this feat through a process they dubbed “adaptive morphogenesis.”

The project is described in the Oct. 12 edition of Nature and is featured on the issue’s cover.

The robot, ART (Amphibious Robotic Turtle), takes inspiration from water and land turtles, a group whose fossil record spans over 110 million years.

“Terrestrial and aquatic turtles share similar bodies, with four limbs and a shell, but have distinctive limb shapes and gaits adapted for their specific environment,” said Rebecca Kramer-Bottiglio, the John J. Lee Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science and principal investigator of the study. “Sea turtles have elongated flippers for swimming, whereas land turtles and tortoises have rounded legs for load bearing while walking.”

The Netherlands Has Deployed NATO’s First Killer Robot Ground Vehicles #technology #warfare #futurism

Janes, a military and intelligence trade journal, first reported the story. The UGVs were first deployed on September 12 and, according to the Dutch Ministry of Defense (MOD), are an experiment.

“We have deployed four weaponised [unmanned] machines within an operational experiment”, Lieutenant Colonel Sjoerd Mevissen, commander of the Royal Netherlands Army's Robotics and Autonomous System, told Janes. “To my knowledge, we have not seen this before in the West…the machines have been handed over for experimental use in an operational unit in a military-relevant environment. These are not simply tests on a training ground. We are under the direct eyes and ears of the Russians, and as such in a semi-operational environment.”

This Danish Political Party Is Led by an AI #politics #society #ai #futurism

The Synthetic Party, a new Danish political party with an artificially intelligent representative and policies derived from AI, is eyeing a seat in parliament as it hopes to run in the country’s November general election.

The party was founded in May by the artist collective Computer Lars and the non-profit art and tech organization MindFuture Foundation. The Synthetic Party’s public face and figurehead is the AI chatbot Leader Lars, which is programmed on the policies of Danish fringe parties since 1970 and is meant to represent the values of the 20 percent of Danes who do not vote in the election. Leader Lars won't be on the ballot anywhere, but the human members of The Synthetic Party are committed to carrying out their AI-derived platform.

With This Bionic Nose, COVID Survivors May Smell the Roses Again - IEEE Spectrum #technology #health #futurism

RICHARD COSTANZO STANDS beside a mannequin head sporting spectacles decked with electronics and holds a vial of blue liquid up to a tiny sensor. An LED glows blue, and Costanzo’s phone displays the word “Windex.” Then he waves a vial of purple liquid and gets a purple light along with the message “Listerine.”

“There won’t be Scotch tape on the final model,” says Costanzo, as he rearranges the gear in his lab at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), in Richmond. The prototype is a partial demonstration of a concept that he’s been working on for decades: a neuroprosthetic for smell. The mannequin represents someone who has lost their sense of smell to COVID-19, brain injury, or some other medical condition. It is also intended to show off the sensor, which is the same type used for commercial electronic noses, or e-noses. In the final product, the sensor won’t light up an LED but will instead send a signal to the user’s brain.

Godfather of Self-Driving Cars Says the Tech Is Going Nowhere #technology  #futurism

But when Levandowski left Google and started working with Uber in 2016, things got dicey. By the next year, Levandowski and Uber were getting sued by Google, who alleged that Levandowski stole trade secrets to use in Uber’s program. Then he got dumped by his new employers, forced into bankruptcy, and miraculously pardoned by then-president Donald Trump to avoid federal prison.

Still, he’s not alone in his thinking.

"It’s a scam," George Hotz, founder of the open source assisted driving company, told Bloomberg. "These companies have squandered billions of dollars."

Pretty much the entire industry hinges on its premise that self-driving cars will make our roads safer, and that humans are bad drivers. But as Hotz points out, in terms of how much we can intuit vs. an AI, humans are really good drivers.

Barcelona-style “superblocks” could make a surprising number of cities greener and less car-centric #architecture #urbanism

Superblocks are a relatively new urban planning concept that has been pioneered in Barcelona, Spain. The basic idea is to identify a 3 x 3 grid of 9 city blocks and restrict vehicle traffic to the streets on the perimeter. The interior streets then become available for walking, biking, and expanded green space.

It’s an appealing idea to foster urban sustainability and livability. But not all cities have the regular, rectilinear street grid that characterizes large parts of Barcelona. Can the concept work in cities with other urban forms?

The new study suggests the answer is yes—at least sometimes. “For many cities, the urban layout allows similar urban re-design strategies, even if the city is not a perfect model of the grid-like layout,” says Sven Eggimann, a researcher focusing on sustainable urban planning at the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology in Dübendorf, who conducted the analysis.

India fines Google $162 million for anti-competitive practices on Android | TechCrunch #economy  #copyrights #bigcorp

India’s competition regulator fined Google $161.9 million on Thursday for anti-competitive practices related to Android mobile devices in “multiple markets” in a major setback for the search giant in the key overseas nation where it has poured billions of dollars over the past decade.

The Competition Commission of India, which began investigating Google three and a half years ago after a complaint from two junior associates and a law school student, said in a press release that Google requiring device manufacturers to pre-install its entire Google Mobile Suite and mandating prominent placement of those apps “amounts to imposition of unfair condition on the device manufacturers” and thus was in “contravention of the provisions of Section 4(2)(a)(i) of the Act.”

New Jersey Legislators Aim To Ban Most In-Car Subscriptions #copyrights #futurism

Subscriptions for in-car services: Nobody seems to want them—besides automakers, of course. Paying a subscription for things like heated seats or remote start is something most people aren't enthusiastic about. Luckily for them, neither are lawmakers in New Jersey. Two state legislators are proposing a bill that would ban car companies from "[offering consumers] a subscription service for any motor vehicle feature" that "utilizes components and hardware already installed on the motor vehicle at the time of purchase." Yes, that would include a pre-installed heating element in a seat. In fact, that's explicitly mentioned.

Safely see inside Lithium-ion, LiPo, and alkaline batteries. #interesting

Have you ever wanted to cut a battery open to see how it’s made? Don’t do it. At best, the contents will irritate your skin. At worst, they’ll explode. Fortunately, we’ve got a good way to look inside batteries: a Neptune industrial CT scanner that can resolve features as small as 25 microns.

How to use the watch as a Compass (Northern Hemisphere for instance) #survival

The approximate direction can be determined by comparing the position of the hour hand to the sun. Keep in mind that these determinations are approximate as there is some discrepancy at different latitudes and in different seasons.

NASA’s Webb Takes Star-Filled Portrait of Pillars of Creation | NASA #space #nature

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has captured a lush, highly detailed landscape – the iconic Pillars of Creation – where new stars are forming within dense clouds of gas and dust. The three-dimensional pillars look like majestic rock formations, but are far more permeable. These columns are made up of cool interstellar gas and dust that appear – at times – semi-transparent in near-infrared light.

Webb’s new view of the Pillars of Creation, which were first made famous when imaged by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope in 1995, will help researchers revamp their models of star formation by identifying far more precise counts of newly formed stars, along with the quantities of gas and dust in the region. Over time, they will begin to build a clearer understanding of how stars form and burst out of these dusty clouds over millions of years.

Just for Fun. No, Really. #software

The programmer, like the poet, works only slightly removed from pure thought-stuff. He builds his castles in the air, from air, creating by exertion of the imagination. Few media of creation are so flexible, so easy to polish and rework, so readily capable of realizing grand conceptual structures.... Yet the program construct, unlike the poet's words, is real in the sense that it moves and works, producing visible outputs separate from the construct itself.

—Fred Brooks, The Mythical Man-Month

Facebook owner Meta to sell Giphy after UK watchdog confirms ruling | Meta | The Guardian #internet

Facebook’s parent company, Meta, has been ordered by the UK competition watchdog to sell the gif creation website Giphy, the first time the regulator has blocked a deal struck by a big Silicon Valley company.

The Competition and Markets Authority told Meta in November that the only way to resolve competition concerns was to dispose of Giphy, the largest supplier of animated gifs to social networks such as Snapchat, TikTok and Twitter, which it acquired two years ago for $400m (£290m).

Meta appealed against the decision, which the regulator said would “protect millions of social media users” and stop Facebook “increasing its significant power in social media”, which was upheld by the Competition Appeal Tribunal on five of the six grounds challenged.

GitHub Copilot investigation · Joseph Saveri Law Firm & Matthew Butterick #software #copyrights

GitHub Copi­lot is a prod­uct released by Microsoft in June 2022 after a year­long tech­ni­cal pre­view. Copi­lot is a plu­gin for Visual Stu­dio and other IDEs that pro­duces what Microsoft calls “sug­ges­tions” based on what you type into the edi­tor.

What makes Copi­lot dif­fer­ent from tra­di­tional auto­com­plete? Copi­lot is pow­ered by Codex, an AI sys­tem cre­ated by OpenAI and licensed to Microsoft. (Though Microsoft has also been called “the unof­fi­cial owner of OpenAI”.) Copi­lot offers sug­ges­tions based on text prompts typed by the user. Copi­lot can be used for small sug­ges­tions—say, to the end of a line—but Microsoft has empha­sized Copi­lot’s abil­ity to sug­gest larger blocks of code, like the entire body of a func­tion. (I demon­strated Copi­lot in an ear­lier piece called This copi­lot is stu­pid and wants to kill me.)

AI Data Laundering: How Academic and Nonprofit Researchers Shield Tech Companies from Accountability - #copyrights #privacy

The academic researchers who compiled the Shutterstock dataset acknowledged the copyright implications in their paper, writing, “The use of data collected for this study is authorised via the Intellectual Property Office’s Exceptions to Copyright for Non-Commercial Research and Private Study.”

But then Meta is using those academic non-commercial datasets to train a model, presumably for future commercial use in their products. Weird, right?

Not really. It’s become standard practice for technology companies working with AI to commercially use datasets and models collected and trained by non-commercial research entities like universities or non-profits.

Kanye West is buying ‘free speech platform’ Parler - The Verge #internet

Kanye West, the musician now legally known as Ye, is buying Parler, a social media platform that styles itself as a “free speech” alternative to Twitter. The acquisition was announced by Parler in a press release, which said that it has entered into an agreement in principle with Ye that’s expected to close later this year.

“In a world where conservative opinions are considered to be controversial we have to make sure we have the right to freely express ourselves,” said Ye in a press statement.

Germany extends lifetime of remaining nuclear plants – DW – 10/17/2022 #energy #politics

Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Monday ordered Germany's three remaining nuclear plants to remain in operation until April to fend off a possible energy crunch.

There has been disagreement in the governing coalition over the lifespan of nuclear power plants.

However, Vice Chancellor and Economy Minister Robert Habeck of the Green Party on Monday said he accepted the fact that Scholz had overridden others in the Cabinet.

The chancellor has asked the Economy, Environment and Finance Ministries to create the legal basis for the plants to remain open.

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