ReHacked vol. 259: Artificial Intelligence Act: MEPs adopt landmark law, Libraries struggle to afford the demand for e-books and more

ReHacked vol. 259: Artificial Intelligence Act: MEPs adopt landmark law, Libraries struggle to afford the demand for e-books and more
Polar Night Energy's previous sand battery has been running since 2022 (C) Polar Night Energy

Artificial Intelligence Act: MEPs adopt landmark law | News | European Parliament #privacy #ai

Key points:

  • Safeguards on general purpose artificial intelligence
  • Limits on the use of biometric identification systems by law enforcement
  • Bans on social scoring and AI used to manipulate or exploit user vulnerabilities
  • Right of consumers to launch complaints and receive meaningful explanations

Make a donation - support Ukraine. My favourite: Support the Armed Forces of Ukraine | via National Bank of Ukraine. More options if you want alternatives. Also, very important Come Back Alive Foundation - Charity Organization.

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The language you speak changes your perception of time | Popular Science #psychology

Shortest versus smallest isn’t actually a question of grammatical punctiliousness. Different languages frame time differently. Swedish and English speakers, for example, tend to think of time in terms of distance—what a long day, we say. Time becomes an expanse one has to traverse. Spanish and Greek speakers, on the other hand, tend to think of time in terms of volume—what a full day, they exclaim.


In one, participants looked at growing lines. “You have one line growing four inches, and it takes three seconds to grow. And then you would have another line that grows, say, six inches, and that one also takes three seconds to grow,” explained Bylund.

Participants were instructed in their respective native languages to estimate roughly how much time it took for the lines to grow. Because the visual overlapped with the way Swedish speakers speak about time, the researchers expected that they’d find it tougher to estimate how much time had passed. And they did. While Spanish speakers knew that three seconds had passed regardless of how quickly the line grew, Swedish speakers tended to think that more time had passed when the line was longer at the end of it. There are limits to this: it’s not as if a Swede would think ages had passed if a line grew super long in just three seconds. But in the mid-time conditions Bylun outlined, they struggled.

Libraries struggle to afford the demand for e-books, seek new state laws in fight with publishers - ABC News #copyrights

Whenever bestselling author Robin Cook releases a new medical thriller, the head of the public library in West Haven knows demand for digital copies will be high. So will the price.

Like many libraries, West Haven has been grappling with the soaring costs of e-books and audiobooks. The digital titles often come with a price tag that’s far higher than what consumers pay. While one hardcover copy of Cook’s latest novel costs the library $18, it costs $55 to lease a digital copy — a price that can't be haggled with publishers.

What I missed when I went to North Korea - Rest of World #travel #world #longread

North Korea was a fairly early adopter of some technology, as 38 North’s Martyn Williams and Natalia Slavney outline in their chronicle of the country’s 20-year tech journey. Mobile phones were first available in 2002, a year before I got my first phone as a Silicon Valley high schooler. But the cellular network was switched off after a 2004 rail explosion, which was believed to be detonated by a cell phone. There was also an ill-fated mobile money experiment: Given access to top-up minutes for their mobile phones, North Koreans swiftly converted them into a multipurpose backup currency. (You may recognize this as a usage that emerged in parallel among users in mobile money-pioneer countries like Kenya, too.) That is, until the regime noticed and shut it down.

Pornhub blocks access to website in Texas over age-verification law – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth #internet

Pornhub and other adult websites have disabled access to their sites in Texas after a recent court ruling upheld the state's new age-verification law.

In a letter posted on its site Thursday, Pornhub deemed the new Texas law ineffective and "dangerous," adding that it will directly impact content creators' ability to distribute their adult content legally.

Boeing says overwriting video footage of airplane's door plug standard #safety #aviation

Boeing overwrote security camera footage of repair work on the door plug of an Alaska Airlines 737-9 plane that failed during a flight in January, federal inspectors said Wednesday.

Why it matters: The National Transportation Safety Board said in a letter to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation that the missing footage is hampering its investigation into the accident.

Giant 'sand battery' holds a week's heat for a whole town #energy

A new industrial-scale 'sand battery' has been announced for Finland, which packs 1 MW of power and a capacity of up to 100 MWh of thermal energy for use during those cold polar winters. The new battery will be about 10 times bigger than a pilot plant that’s been running since 2022.

The sand battery, developed by Polar Night Energy, is a clever concept. Basically, it’s a big steel silo of sand (or a similar solid material) that’s warmed up through a heat exchanger buried in the center, using excess electricity from the grid – say, that generated during a spike from renewable sources, when it’s cheap.

The Project Gutenberg eBook of Technical Manual TM 11-410 The Homing Pigeon, by U.S. War Department. #interesting #longread

This manual provides instructions for proper breeding, care, and training of the homing pigeon, and for the selection and training of enlisted pigeoneers. With certain modifications this information can be used by all pigeon units serving field forces, both in theaters of operations and in the zone of the interior. Instructions in FM 24-5 for units using the homing pigeon in communication have not been repeated. The mission, function, and operation of a signal pigeon company and the tactical employment of pigeons are described in FM 11-80.

Boeing's 737 Max Software Outsourced to $9-an-Hour Engineers | IndustryWeek (2019) #software #safety #aviation

Increasingly, the iconic American planemaker and its subcontractors have relied on temporary workers making as little as $9 an hour to develop and test software, often from countries lacking a deep background in aerospaceーnotably India.

In offices across from Seattle’s Boeing Field, recent college graduates employed by the Indian software developer HCL Technologies Ltd. occupied several rows of desks, said Mark Rabin, a former Boeing software engineer who worked in a flight-test group that supported the Max.

Paul Alexander: 'Man in the iron lung' dies at the age of 78 #promemoria

The polio survivor known as "the man in the iron lung" has died at the age of 78.

Paul Alexander contracted polio in 1952 when he was six, leaving him paralysed from the neck down.

The disease left him unable to breathe independently, leading doctors to place him in the metal cylinder, where he would spend the rest of his life.

He would go on to earn a law degree - and practise law - as well as publish a memoir.

How Photos Were Transmitted by Wire in the 1930s #history #engineering #video

After World War II at haute couture shows in Paris, Frederick L. Milton would sketch runway designs and transmit his sketches via Bélinographe to his subscribers, who could then copy Parisian fashions. In 1955, four major French couturiers (Lanvin, Dior, Patou, and Jacques Fath) sued Milton for piracy, and the case went to the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court. Wirephoto enabled a speed of transmission that the French designers argued damaged their businesses.

On the new Dutch Intelligence and Security Law - Bert Hubert's writings #security #law

“The Netherlands hosts some of the world’s largest internet exchanges. This obliges us to make the best use of these exchanges for our national security. With the Temporary Cyber Act, we will make optimum use of the data carried on our cables to protect The Netherlands against Russian and Chinese hackers” – Dutch government announcement

The Desert Planet In 'Dune' Is Plausible, According To Science - Slashdot #scifi #geek #interesting

The desert planet Arrakis in Frank Herbert's science fiction novel Dune is plausible, says Alexander Farnsworth, a climate modeler at the University of Bristol in England. According to Science News, the world would be a harsh place for humans to live, and they probably wouldn't have to worry about getting eaten by extraterrestrial helminths.

ESA - Rosetta overview #space #science #engineering

Let's celebrate the 20th anniversary of the launch of ESA's Rosetta mission.

On March 2, 2004, the Rosetta spacecraft was launched on a mission to perform a detailed study of comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko (67P).

After a 10 year journey, the Rosetta mission was the first to rendezvous with a comet, the first to follow a comet on its orbit around the Sun, and the first to deploy a lander to a comet's surface.

ESA - Webb & Hubble confirm Universe’s expansion rate #nature

The rate at which the Universe is expanding, known as the Hubble constant, is one of the fundamental parameters for understanding the evolution and ultimate fate of the cosmos. However, a persistent difference, called the Hubble Tension, is seen between the value of the constant measured with a wide range of independent distance indicators and its value predicted from the afterglow of the Big Bang. The NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope has confirmed that the Hubble Space Telescope’s keen eye was right all along, erasing any lingering doubt about Hubble’s measurements.

Flowers for Algernon #literature #psychology #scifi #longread #novel

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes (1965)

The Best Essay Perhaps beginning writers are alarmed at the thought of starting with something mistaken or incomplete, but you shouldn't be, because this is why essay writing works. Forcing yourself to commit to some specific string of words gives you a starting point, and if it's wrong, you'll see that when you reread it. At least half of essay writing is rereading what you've written and asking is this correct and complete? You have to be very strict when rereading, not just because you want to keep yourself honest, but because a gap between your response and the truth is often a sign of new ideas to be discovered.

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