Neil Chestnut

Neil Chestnut

Followers 115
Following 28
China
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, users of a Chinese social app called Love Bank are complaining that false advertising left them hanging.Promotion for the app, which allows couples to chat and play games in addition to other social features, stated that they could win RMB 1,000 (about $150) after checking in every day for a year.However, users said that an update in late January resulted in technical issues, making the check-in process more difficult and forcing some to give up on claiming a cash reward.The app was released early last year by Shanghai Liaoliao Technology.The timing of its technical difficulties meant some users were on the verge of achieving their goal before failing, public WeChat account Ran Media reported (in Chinese).A call from TechNode to the app’s customer hotline on Feb. 14 went unanswered.
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China
Xuexi Qiangguo, which translates to “study powerful country,” is now the most downloaded item on Apple’s domestic App Store, surpassing in-demand social media apps such as WeChat and TikTok (known as Weixin and Douyin, respectively, in mainland China).Released by the party’s publicity department in January, Xuexi Qiangguo mostly serves as a news aggregation platform for articles, short video clips, and documentaries about President Xi Jinping’s political philosophy.Officially called Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, this political theory was presented by Xi, 65, at the Communist Party Congress in 2017.“Study points” are earned by users who log on the app, read articles, make comments every day, and take multiple-choice tests about the party’s policies.That feature also offers a method to monitor the compulsory use of the app.The app allows users to send each other messages, which automatically disappear after being read – similar to Snapchat.
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Disney has released the first teaser trailer for Frozen 2, bringing back Elsa, Anna, Olaf, and Kristoff in an adventure way outside the chilly comforts of Arendelle.The highly anticipated sequel to 2013's Frozen brings back Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel as Anna and Elsa, two sisters who were torn apart after Elsa’s icy gifts were exposed to the world...only to be brought back together through love.According to the synopsis, in this latest film Queen Elsa and her sister will embark on an adventure that takes them to another land, far from the kingdom of Arendelle.Here’s a look at the official teaser poster.It’s unclear what adventures lay in front of the sisters and their friends.But I’m wondering if it has to do with finding people with gifts like Elsa’s – given how we get a glimpse of a new character out in the leaves-covered wilderness.
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For a moment, instead of having to consider whether the intelligent robots would liberate us or kill us (it’s only ever one of those two options, I find), I took a moment to worry about the machines themselves.The conference, a meeting of computer scientists and neuroscientists at New York University, was called “Canonical Computation in Brains and Machines.” Zachary Mainen, a neuroscientist at the Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown in Lisbon, came on stage to talk about depression and hallucinations… in machines.“I’m drawing on the field of computational psychiatry, which assumes we can learn about a patient who’s depressed or hallucinating from studying AI algorithms like reinforcement learning,” he told Science magazine after the lecture.“Depression and hallucinations appear to depend on a chemical in the brain called serotonin,” Dr. Mainen told Science.“It may be that serotonin is just a biological quirk.We are steeped in stories about AI that will take over large parts of human endeavor, from automation that will threaten jobs to algorithms that could decide on medical care or help judges to sentence people in courts.
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Google still faces accusations of being lax with security in its quest to keeping malicious apps off its Play Store, but in the last few years it’s been making increasing efforts to improve the safety of its digital distribution outlet.In a post on the Android Developers Blog this week, Google Play product manager Andrew Ahn said that in 2018 the company worked on enhancing its abuse detection technologies and machine learning systems, while at the same time expanding its team of product managers, engineers, policy experts, and operations leaders to tackle nefarious app developers.Ahn said the extra effort resulted in rejected app submissions increasing by 55 percent compared to 2017, while those that did get through were spotted and removed more quickly than ever before — often before anyone even had a chance to install them.“These increases can be attributed to our continued efforts to tighten policies to reduce the number of harmful apps on the Play Store, as well as our investments in automated protections and human review processes,” the product manager wrote in the post.Google declined to reveal how many dodgy apps it turfed out of the Play Store last year, though we do know that in 2017 the figure reached 700,000, with a sizable 100,000 developers banned from submitting any future apps.Fifty billion apps scanned every day
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China
LGBT+ video-streaming platform GagaOoLala, which calls itself Asia’s “gay Netflix,” plans to expand to India this year.Accessible via its website and mobile app, GagaOoLala provides unlimited access to LGBT+ films, TV series, and documentaries for about US$6 a month.The platform is available in 13 countries across Southeast Asia, including Taiwan and Hong Kong.Its foray into India follows the legalization of gay sex in the country in September 2018.GagaOoLala gets its name from a combination of two slang phrases used to describe gay people in Taiwan.
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As part of the University City Science Center's BioArt Residency, artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg created a custom virus able to increase the production of oxytocin, a hormone that induces feelings of love, kindness, and empathy.The project, titled Lovesick, was developed by Dewey-Hagborg in collaboration with research scientists at the University City Science Center and uCity Square-based biotech company Integral Molecular.Not only does it allow both parties to gain new perspectives, but artists are able to serve as intermediaries communicating and creating dialog around complex scientific issues.As part of each residency, the artist spends three months working on creative research projects in Integral Molecular's laboratories leveraging the guidance and expertise of trained scientists.Echoing recent debates around genetic editing and the role of ethics in science, Lovesick amplifies the dialog around the possibility of selecting one's emotions through biotechnology.Although the Lovesick virus has the ability to function in cells in a lab environment, it cannot replicate and will not be used to infect actual animals or people.
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Fujifilm is a master of retro camera design, and it's continuing its trend of capitalizing on that to challenge the leaders in its class, the new Sony A6400 and last year's Canon EOS M50.Its new X-T30, the step-down enthusiast model from the powerhouse X-T3 and successor to the X-T20, inherits a lot of capabilities from the more expensive X-T3 and an updated version of the X-T20's body.Plus, Fujifilm throws in some refinements to the autofocus operation that should improve the experience.Fujifilm's retro style really does make it stand out compared with Canon's and Sony's more mundane body designs, but even devoted enthusiasts can be put off -- or scared off -- by the intimidating array of dials intended to trigger warm fuzzy feelings associated with old-school film cameras and miss the fact that you don't really have to use them if you don't want to.You can go full auto and still look cool.The X-T30 will become available in the US near the end of March -- June for the snazzy new Charcoal Silver model -- at $900 for the body, $1,000 for a kit with the XC15-45mm f3.5-5.6 OIS PZ lens or $1,299 for the kit with the XF18-55mm f2.8-4 R LM OIS lens.
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China
Banner Year for Alibaba’s Taobao Philanthropy Efforts – PR NewswireWhat happened: Alibaba Group’s Taobao marketplace raised RMB 440 million ($65 million) from two million merchants and nearly 430 million shoppers to help an estimated 8.7 million people.The move makes Taobao China’s largest online philanthropy platform, in terms of total participation, according to the company.In addition, the money and other resources raised via Taobao are used to help the poor and disadvantaged in Ethiopia and Myanmar.The platform supports causes ranging from poverty alleviation, education and environmental protection, to childcare and animal protection, as well as illness and disaster relief.Why it’s important: China’s promising digital payment environment has shifted the country’s donation and charity event participation.
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It was over 70 degrees in New Orleans by the time I ate breakfast.Like the EOS R, the RP is built on the RF mount, which is considerably shorter compared to the EF mount of Canon’s DSLRs.It’s an interesting approach in a market segment that has moved increasingly toward higher-end cameras and away from lower-margin, consumer-focused models.Those numbers are down from 3.69 and 2.1 million, respectively, in the R. The love-it-or-hate-it multi-function touch bar is gone, and a classic mode dial replaces the R’s top information display.I found the physical controls to be somewhat limited; the job of adjusting settings falls primarily on the touchscreen, which is responsive and generally easy to use.You can also map the four-way button cluster on the back of the camera to control the AF point, but there is one glaring goof: The button in the center of that cluster, the one that definitively should reset the focus point to the center of the frame, brings up the quick menu.
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Instagram has come under criticism for its alleged censorship of an LGBTQ artist.An Instagram account posting comics with gay characters disappeared after the Indonesian Ministry of Communication pressed the company to take it down.The ministry said the account violated a law on the distribution of pornographic content.The social media platform denies that it shut down the account, suggesting it could have been closed by the owner.(And yes, we’re serious about ethics and transparency.
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After only a week, Apex Legends is already making waves in the battle royale market, earning great reviews and managing to pull in more than 25 million players in its first week.But if you see mid-tier (blue), your chances for better gear improve, and high-tier (purple) is even better than that.If you're really lucky, you'll come upon legendary gear (yellow), but we'll get to that later.Though Respawn has yet to confirm exactly how its loot distribution works, diligent players are mapping out their own experiences by voting on the loot they see at each location.The best spot to land at this time appears to be Relay with 96 percent of respondents saying they found high-tier loot there.Second place is Thunderdome at 95 percent and third is Repulsor with 94 percent.
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When the Nintendo Switch launched with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, it showed us what a vastly open-world, free exploration Zelda game could be like -- but sometimes, it's good to go back to basics.If you've been craving a traditional, top-down Zelda experience that harkens back to the series origins, you're about to get it: Nintendo just announced that it's remaking The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening for Nintendo Switch.Link's Awakening was the first Zelda game to make its way to the Nintendo Game Boy, the company's first portable game console -- one that stranded the game's titular hero on a mysterious island.This quirky adventure filled with fun characters and goofy humor.It was also the first Zelda game that allowed link to jump.Link's Awakening eventually received a colorized re-release on the Game Boy Color, but the incoming Switch remake takes things to the next level.
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In a just-published Journal of Biomechanics article, the researchers proved a longtime assumption about individuals' right and left wrists, while also finding differences between wrists of males and females: discoveries that could help inform and guide future treatments."If someone has dysfunction of the wrist, it really impacts their quality of life," said UC Davis Biomedical Engineering Graduate Group member and article first author Brent Foster, who also was selected for a prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship to create a wrist-anatomy model.Foster currently is a graduate student in Dr. Abhijit Chaudhari's lab in the UC Davis Department of Radiology, and his co-authors include orthopedic surgeons, a radiologist and medical-imaging experts at UC Davis and the University of Southern California.Foster and his team scanned both wrists of 18 individuals - nine men and nine women of varying ages - with no history of wrist injuries, disease or pain.Using innovative MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) techniques, which allow 3-D views of wrists in motion, the researchers had individuals move their wrists in five ways while being scanned to track the movement of the wrist bones and joint."While each wrist bone had been studied individually before, our work really focuses on how wrist bones move and act together," Foster said.
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URBANA, Ill. - At the southern tip of the Himalayas, farmers in the Kangra region of India's Himachal Pradesh graze cattle among rolling hills and forests.The forests, under management by the state or farmer cooperatives, are thriving.But a new University of Illinois study shows, unlike state-managed forests, farmer cooperatives directly benefit both forest health and farmers.The finding itself may not be new - previous research and social-ecological theory suggest that land ownership leads to enhanced stewardship and improved environmental outcomes - but the study confirmed the conclusion in a new way, using machine learning."This is the first application of machine learning algorithms in natural resources policy and governance, evaluating how policies actually work on the ground," says Pushpendra Rana, postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences at U of I and lead author on the study published in Environmental Research Letters.Machine learning harnesses modern computing power to explore patterns in large datasets, an advantage over traditional policy impact evaluations.
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UK
The SNP has launched a bid to delay Brexit by three months to prevent the UK from being “dragged off a cliff”.The party has tabled a Commons amendment requiring the UK Government to begin immediate negotiations with the European Council to extend Article 50.Westminster SNP leader, Ian Blackford, said: “With just 44 days left, the UK Government must stop running down the clock and put the brakes on Brexit before we are dragged off the cliff edge – with catastrophic damage to jobs, living standards, and the economy.”It’s the latest attempt by MPs to steer the UK away from a no-deal Brexit.Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer has said Labour is committed to preventing May from pursuing a “reckless” policy of running down the clock to the point where MPs may be faced with a choice between her deal or no-deal with just days to go to the March 29 deadline.Labour has tabled an amendment for debate in the Commons on Thursday which would require the Government to either put her deal to a vote by February 27 or allow Parliament to take control of the process.
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Plan includes 7 new data centresGoogle CEO Sundar Pichai has announced a $13 billion programme to build seven new data centres and a range of new offices across the United States.The spending will entail expansion of the company’s footprint in 14 states, and mean that it has a home in 24 total states, with 13 data centres in the US.Today we’re announcing that Google will be investing $13 billion in offices and data centers in the US this year.With this new investment, we’ll now have a home in 24 total states, including data centers in 13 communities.In a blog posted late Wednesday, Pichai said: “One year ago this week, I was in Montgomery County, Tennessee to break ground for a new data center in Clarksville.”
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And while brands and influencers strive to make these partnerships as authentic as possible, there’s a certain genuine quality that any paid promotion just can’t capture.It’s the feeling that comes when you find a brand, product or service that you love so much you can’t help but gush about it—to your family, your friends, the barista at Starbucks and so on.Product managers turned entrepreneurs Elizabeth Shaffer and Lizzy Brockhoff wanted to create a place where you could share that feeling, without the distraction of paid promotion getting in the way.After downloading the app, users register with a profile and are prompted to follow their friends.Once you’re in the app, you’ll see a feed of questions and answers, all about products.Users chime in with answers, recommending their go-tos for each conundrum.
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Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, whose platform has become synonymous with yelling, trolling, and a less-than-stable president who uses it for incoherent rants and threats of nuclear annihilation, is in a tough spot: Many if not most of the criticisms of his site are accurate, and Dorsey’s tactic of choice when responding to them is usually sputtering out a bunch of five-dollar words about how he needs to make unspecified changes.On Tuesday, Dorsey went through with a planned Q with Recode co-founder and New York Times contributor Kara Swisher.About the only thing he conceded was that he has not been handling his role as CEO well and that major issues plague the entire platform.Follow below, if you dare:Swisher started out by asking Dorsey why the site can’t move faster to address criticisms – which are numerous, but the most high-profile of which are rampant harassment and accusations it, as the Week put it, “intensifies and amplifies pathological social tendencies among those who act within, report on, and write about the political world.”Dorsey answered by saying that “in the past we were trying to do too much” and is now focused on “prioritising by impact.” He admitted that if he had to grade his own performance, he would give himself a “C.” The reason?
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Despite all the huge and potentially world-changing things going on in at the moment, a load of red-faced angerbots still found the time to chuck their toys out of the pram at the news that Greggs would offer a vegan sausage roll.To be clear, they didn't discontinue the meat sausage roll.Nor did they mandate that everyone had to try the vegan one.They just introduced a new product for people who might like it, no harm done to those who didn't.Judging by the reaction among a certain portion of society, you'd think they'd bonfired all the sausage rolls in the world -- and we can only imagine Piers Morgan's spittle-flecked reaction now that Greggs has announced the vegan roll will be going nationwide.Despite all the 'controversy,' the vegan not-a-sausage roll was enormously popular when it launched in about a thousand stores in January.
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