A Paramount Rebrand Is in the Works Merging Showtime and Paramount+

A new rebrand is in the works for Paramount after CEO Bob Bakish announced the company is merging Showtime and Paramount+. As part of the merger, Paramount+ will be rebranded as Paramount+ With Showtime, which will be overseen by Tom Ryan. Meanwhile, Chris McCarthy will continue to oversee network operations for…

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Source: Gizmodo – A Paramount Rebrand Is in the Works Merging Showtime and Paramount+

Star Wars Jedi: Survivor Is The Next Big Game Delay Of 2023

Star Wars Jedi: Survivor got a March 17 release date just last month and it’s already blowing past it. Electronic Arts announced the game will now come out at the end of April instead as developer Respawn Entertainment focuses on bug fixes, performance issues, and generally making sure the game doesn’t come out busted…

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Source: Kotaku – Star Wars Jedi: Survivor Is The Next Big Game Delay Of 2023

'Star Wars Jedi: Survivor' is delayed to April 28th

Star Wars fans will need to wait an extra month and a half to play the next chapter of Cal Kestis’ story. On Tuesday afternoon, Electronic Arts and Respawn Entertainment announced the delay of Star Wars Jedi: Survivor to April 28th. The game was previously slated to arrive on March 17th

“In order for the team to hit the Respawn quality bar, provide the team the time they need, and achieve the level of polish our fans deserve, we have added six crucial weeks to our release schedule — Star Wars Jedi: Survivor will now launch globally on April 28th,” Respawn posted on Twitter. The studio said it would use the extra time to fix bugs and polish the game to improve performance, stability and the player experience. The delay means Star Wars Jedi: Survivor will arrive on the same day as Dead Island 2, provided that title doesn’t suffer a last-minute delay.   

Star Wars Jedi: Survivor picks up five years after the events of Fallen Order, and features an older, harder Cal Kestis. Respawn has promised the game will feature new worlds in the Star Wars galaxy for players to explore. Cal, now a Jedi Knight, also has new skills and weapons in his arsenal to take on the Galactic Empire.   



Source: Engadget – ‘Star Wars Jedi: Survivor’ is delayed to April 28th

Hollywood Plans to Use AI to Youngify Tom Hanks in Adaptation of Surreal Graphic Novel Here

Not to be left behind in any trend-chasing, Hollywood is scrambling after the promise of artificial intelligence. In this case, one movie is banking its premise on the promise of AI-driven deepfake tech.

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Source: Gizmodo – Hollywood Plans to Use AI to Youngify Tom Hanks in Adaptation of Surreal Graphic Novel Here

49 New Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Horror Books to Sweeten Your February

It’s February, traditionally a month for romance—but 2023 is also bringing a bumper crop of frights! There are several big horror titles out this month, including Stephen Graham Jones’ sequel to My Heart Is a Chainsaw and author Matt Ruff’s return to Lovecraft Countryas well as all the sci-fi and fantasy your…

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Source: Gizmodo – 49 New Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Horror Books to Sweeten Your February

24 Ways You Can Use Magic Erasers (But Aren't)

For scrubbing walls, there’s nothing better than a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser (which is actually just a melamine sponge, brand names be damned). But these bad boys can do a whole lot more than de-scuff your walls—when Mr. Clean says “magic,” he means it.

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Source: LifeHacker – 24 Ways You Can Use Magic Erasers (But Aren’t)

Cook: Bounded flexible arrays in C

Kees Cook has posted a
detailed document
describing the work to improve safety of
flexible-length arrays
in the kernel.

Converting such codebases to use “modern” language features, like
those in C99 (still from the prior millennium), can be a major
challenge, but it is an entirely tractable problem. This post is a
deep dive into an effort underway in the Linux kernel to make array
index overflows (and more generally, buffer overflows) a thing of
the past, where they belong. Our success hinges on replacing
anachronistic array definitions with well-defined C99 flexible
arrays.

This work has been covered here as well.

Source: LWN.net – Cook: Bounded flexible arrays in C

OpenAI's new tool may help you identify text written by ChatGPT

OpenAI has released a tool to help you determine whether text was more likely written by a human or AI. However, the ChatGPT maker warns that its equivalent of Blade Runner’s Voight-Kampff test can also get it wrong.

The tool includes a box where you can paste text that’s at least 1,000 characters long. It will then spit out a verdict, like “The classifier considers the text to be very unlikely AI-generated” or “The classifier considers the text to be possibly AI-generated.”

I tested it by prompting ChatGPT to write an essay about the migratory patterns of birds, which the detection tool then described as “possibly AI-generated.” Meanwhile, it rated several human-written articles as “very unlikely AI-generated.” So although the tool could raise false flags in either direction, my (tiny sample size) test suggests at least a degree of accuracy. Still, OpenAI cautions not to use the tool alone to determine content’s authenticity; it also works best with text of 1,000 words or longer.

The startup has faced pressure from educators after the November release of its ChatGPT tool, which produces AI-written content that can sometimes pass for human writing. The natural-language model can create essays in seconds based on simple text prompts — even passing a graduate business and law exam — while providing students with a tempting new cheating opportunity. As a result, New York public schools banned the bot from their WiFi networks and school devices.

Screenshot of a box with AI-produced text on an OpenAI website that tries to determine if text was written by ChatGPT. The result states it is “possibly AI-generated.”
OpenAI

While ChatGPT’s arrival has been a buzzed-about topic of late, even extending into media outlets eager to automate SEO-friendly articles, the bot is big business for OpenAI. The company reportedly secured a $10 billion investment earlier this month from Microsoft, which plans to integrate it into Bing and Office 365. OpenAI allegedly discussed selling shares at a $29 billion valuation late last year, which would make it one of the most valuable US startups.

Although ChatGPT is currently the best publicly available natural language AI model, Google, Baidu and others are working on competitors. Google’s LaMDA is convincing enough that one former researcher threw away his job with the search giant last year by claiming the chatbot is sentient. (The human tendency to project feelings and consciousness onto algorithms is a concept we’ll likely hear much about in the coming years.) Google has only released extremely constricted versions of its chatbot in a beta, presumably out of ethical concerns. With the genie out of the bottle, it will be interesting to see how long that restraint lasts.



Source: Engadget – OpenAI’s new tool may help you identify text written by ChatGPT

Apple’s focus on secrecy violated employee rights, US regulators find

An Apple company logo seen on a screen during a product announcement event.

Enlarge / Apple logo on stage at an iPhone launch presentation in September 2019.
(credit: Getty Images | picture alliance )

Apple violated US labor laws through various workplace rules and statements made by executives, National Labor Relations Board officials determined after reviewing allegations from two former employees. An NLRB official will file a formal complaint against Apple unless the company reaches a settlement with the former employees, who filed complaints about Apple’s focus on secrecy.

An NLRB spokesperson confirmed to Ars today that the labor board’s regional office “found merit to four charges alleging that various work rules, handbook rules, and confidentiality rules at Apple violated Section 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act because they reasonably tend to interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees in the exercise of their right to protected concerted activity.”

The regional office additionally “found merit to a charge alleging statements and conduct by Apple—including high-level executives—also violated the National Labor Relations Act,” the NLRB statement said. That’s apparently a reference to an email in which Apple CEO Tim Cook warned staff not to leak confidential information.

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Source: Ars Technica – Apple’s focus on secrecy violated employee rights, US regulators find

Popular Female Twitch Streamers Targeted In Deepfake Pornography Scandal

Yesterday, Twitch streamer Brandon “Atrioc” Ewing issued a tearful apology during his livestream after he accidentally revealed that he had deepfake pornography of popular female Twitch streamers open on his computer. The video of his apology—in which he claims to have clicked an ad on PornHub because he was…

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Source: Kotaku – Popular Female Twitch Streamers Targeted In Deepfake Pornography Scandal

The Difference Between a Wage and a Salary (and Why It Matters)

If you’re employed, you’re likely receiving one of two primary types of payment: a salary or an hourly wage. While the difference between the two is easy to understand on its face, it’s important to consider the pros and cons of being being a salaried versus a wage worker.

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Source: LifeHacker – The Difference Between a Wage and a Salary (and Why It Matters)

No more export licenses: US plans to fully cut off Huawei from chip suppliers

A man speaks on a smartphone outside a Huawei storefront.

Enlarge (credit: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

Huawei has been hobbling along for a few years now with limited access to US chips and technology, with both the Trump and Biden administrations banning general exports to the company. Huawei hasn’t seen zero US chips, but every sale has had to be approved by the government, with the restrictions being tweaked several times since the initial ban in 2019. Reuters, The Financial Times, and several other outlets have reported that the Biden administration is putting even tighter restrictions on Huawei, with FT saying the US is working toward a “total ban” on sales to the Chinese tech company.

Like every tech company, Huawei buys components from a bunch of different suppliers to make its network equipment and smartphones. While a ton of manufacturing is done in China, there aren’t many options for CPUs, and US companies Qualcomm and Intel have been keeping Huawei afloat with limited government-granted export licenses. Intel chips have meant the company can still build servers, and while 5G tech was banned from export, Qualcomm went out of its way to make special, 4G-only versions of its latest SoCs.

As the US tried to balance hurting Huawei without hurting US suppliers that have Huawei as a customer, the decision was made to still allow sales, just not of the latest technology. The cutoff point for this was the always-nebulous moniker of “5G,” but now even that is being shut off. Reuters says: “U.S. officials are creating a new formal policy of denial for shipping items to Huawei that would include items below the 5G level, including 4G items, Wifi 6 and 7, artificial intelligence, and high-performance computing and cloud items.” It sounds like that would ban all sales from Intel and Qualcomm.

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Source: Ars Technica – No more export licenses: US plans to fully cut off Huawei from chip suppliers

Instagram Co-Founders Introduce Text-Based App

Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger are returning to the app game with a new innovative startup since leaving the ‘gram in 2018. Artifact is a new social media platform that will provide a feed of articles and facts aimed to create a dialogue between users to discuss things of interest.

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Source: Gizmodo – Instagram Co-Founders Introduce Text-Based App

PayPal is laying off 2,000 employees

PayPal is about to become the latest tech company to lay off a substantial part of its workforce. The payments firm announced Tuesday plans to cut approximately 2,000 employees, a number that equates to about seven percent of its total staff. According to PayPal president and CEO Dan Schulman, the layoffs will occur over the next few weeks, with some parts of the company affected more than others.

“We will treat our departing colleagues with the utmost respect and empathy, provide them with generous packages, engage in consultation where required and support them with their transitions,” Schulman said. “I want to express my personal appreciation for the meaningful contributions they have made to PayPal.”

The company joins a growing list of tech companies that have announced layoffs in recent months. Earlier this month, Google disclosed plans to lay off 12,000 employees, or about around six percent of its global workforce. Before that, Microsoft said it would cut 10,000 jobs. Schulman, like his counterparts at Microsoft, Google and other tech firms, blamed PayPal’s layoffs on the “challenging macro-economic environment” the company finds itself in recently. “While we have made substantial progress in right-sizing our cost structure, and focused our resources on our core strategic priorities, we have more work to do,” he said.

It’s worth noting the US economy has not entered into a recession yet. At 3.5 percent, the national unemployment rate is at a 50-year low, and the gross domestic product grew over the last quarters. Turning specifically to PayPal, the company beat Wall Street expectations during its most recent earnings call, with revenue and income increasing by 11 percent and 7 percent year on year, respectively.



Source: Engadget – PayPal is laying off 2,000 employees

US still has the worst, most expensive health care of any high-income country

A woman watches white flags on the National Mall on September 18, 2021, in Washington, DC. Over 660,000 white flags were installed here to honor Americans who have lost their lives to COVID-19.

Enlarge / A woman watches white flags on the National Mall on September 18, 2021, in Washington, DC. Over 660,000 white flags were installed here to honor Americans who have lost their lives to COVID-19. (credit: Getty | Chen Mengtong)

Americans spend an exorbitant amount of money on health care and have for years. As a country, the US spends more on health care than any other high-income country in the world—on the basis of both per-person costs and a share of gross domestic product. Yet, you wouldn’t know it from looking at major health metrics in years past; the US has relatively abysmal health. And, if anything, the COVID-19 pandemic only exacerbated the US health care system’s failures relative to its peers, according to a new analysis by the Commonwealth Fund.

Compared with other high-income peers, the US has the shortest life expectancy at birth, the highest rate of avoidable deaths, the highest rate of newborn deaths, the highest rate of maternal deaths, the highest rate of adults with multiple chronic conditions, and the highest rate of obesity, the new analysis found.

“Americans are living shorter, less healthy lives because our health system is not working as well as it could be,” Munira Gunja, lead author of the analysis and a senior researcher for The Commonwealth Fund’s International Program in Health Policy and Practice Innovation, said in a press statement. “To catch up with other high-income countries, the administration and Congress would have to expand access to health care, act aggressively to control costs, and invest in health equity and social services we know can lead to a healthier population.”

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Source: Ars Technica – US still has the worst, most expensive health care of any high-income country

How to tell if your cats are playing or fighting—and whether it’s a problem

two kittens playing

Enlarge / Kittens engage more frequently in reciprocal wrestling (“play-fighting”) compared to adult cats, a new study found. (credit: Getty Images)

Anyone with more than one cat in the house knows that the occasional spat or outright cat fight is going to happen. But sometimes it can be tricky to determine whether cats are fighting or just playing rough, because the interaction could feature trademark behaviors of both, according to a recent paper published in the journal Scientific Reports. It’s even more challenging to tell whether the fight is just a squabble or a sign that the cats simply can’t get along, thereby forcing hard decisions about how to separate the cats—or even whether it’s possible to keep the cat(s) in question.

In 2021, co-author Noema Gajdoš‑Kmecová, a veterinarian with the University of Veterinary Medicine and Pharmacy in Košice, Slovakia, and several colleagues published a review paper proposing the development of a common terminology and more of a “psychobiological” approach to the study of cat behavior—particularly when it comes to play behavior. Past studies had focused on a cat’s play activity, such as whether it was playing with a toy or another cat. But such observation yields little insight into the function of such play and, by extension, a cat’s motives or emotional state.

“When one cat treats another as an object or prey, such activity relates to the former cat seeking to learn about its own skills in relation to manipulating its physical environment (prey are not considered part of the complex social relationships and thus social environment of an individual),” they wrote in that paper. “However, when interaction between cats is reciprocal it may function to facilitate social learning and may be best described as mutual social play.” Because such interactions are dynamic, they argued that any functional classification system must be flexible enough to account for such nuances.

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Source: Ars Technica – How to tell if your cats are playing or fighting—and whether it’s a problem