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Chinese rocket debris photographed in space

FOX News

FOX News' Phil Keating reports pieces of the vessel that don't burn in the atmosphere could splash down in the ocean or land in inhabited areas An Italian astrophysicist has captured the almost 100-foot Chinese rocket core that is expected to make an uncontrolled reentry into Earth's atmosphere over the weekend. Gianluca Masi, who runs the online Virtual Telescope Project, took a 0.5-second exposure photo of the fast-moving Long March 5B rocket from Italy using the "Elena" 17-inch Paramount robotic telescope. "At the imaging time, the rocket stage was at about 700 km from our telescope, while the sun was just a few degrees below the horizon, so the sky was incredibly bright: these conditions made the imaging quite extreme, but our robotic telescope succeeded in capturing this huge debris," Masi wrote in a release. In addition, he noted the "typical CCD blooming effect" -- when shooting a bright light source that appears as a halo or line defects -- due to the extreme brightness of the debris. Masi said he would attempt to photograph the core again.

Trevor Paglen warns about the dangers of Artificial Intelligence in new documentary Unseen Skies


A photograph of the sky by Trevor Paglen can look like a massive abstraction, except for a tiny speck, a surveillance drone, spotted like a malignant dot on a chest x-ray. His images of secluded military sites in Nevada can also ooze with colour from the churning heat and dust. In the new documentary film Unseen Skies, directed by Yaara Bou Melhem, Paglen calls the effect "impressionistic haze". Photographing those places, often from miles away (or farther), is about "seeing and not seeing at the same time," Paglen says. "For me those images were about capturing that paradox."

Oscars Spotlight: The 2021 Nominees for Best Picture

The New Yorker

In 1969, as revolutionary fires burned, the Academy gave its Best Picture award to "Oliver!" Hollywood, still ruled by the crumbling studio system, was almost willfully blind to the nineteen-sixties; even breakthrough films such as "2001: A Space Odyssey" and "Rosemary's Baby" were left off the Best Picture list, which included representatives of such superannuated genres as the big-budget musical ("Funny Girl") and the medieval costume drama ("The Lion in Winter"). Under the newly devised rating system, "Oliver!" became the first G-rated film to win Best Picture, and it remains the last. By the next year, movies like "Midnight Cowboy" and "Easy Rider" finally injected the ceremony with a dose of sixties counterculture--but the decade was over. Two of this year's eight Best Picture nominees are set largely in 1969, and they show what Hollywood wouldn't bring itself to see back then. "The Trial of the Chicago 7" dramatizes the politicized court proceedings against activists who, the year before, protested the Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

AI Image Synthesis: What The Future Holds


Originally published at Ross Dawson. Shortly after the new year 2021, the Media Synthesis community at Reddit began to become more than usually psychedelic. The board became saturated with unearthly images depicting rivers of blood, Picasso's King Kong, a Pikachu chasing Mark Zuckerberg, Synthwave witches, acid-induced kittens, an inter-dimensional portal, the industrial revolution and the possible child of Barack Obama and Donald Trump. The bizarre images were generated by inputting short phrases into Google Colab notebooks (web pages from which a user can access the formidable machine learning resources of the search giant), and letting the trained algorithms compute possible images based on that text. In most cases, the optimal results were obtained in minutes. Various attempts at the same phrase would usually produce wildly different results. In the image synthesis field, this free-ranging facility of invention is something new; not just a bridge between the text and image domains, but an early look at comprehensive AI-driven image generation systems that don't need hyper-specific training in very limited domains (i.e. NVIDIA's landscape generation framework GauGAN [on which, more later], which can turn sketches into landscapes, but only into landscapes; or the various sketch face Pix2Pix projects, that are likewise'specialized'). Example images generated with the Big Sleep Colab notebook [12].

How big tech got so big: Hundreds of acquisitions

Washington Post - Technology News

You're probably reading this on a browser built by Apple or Google. If you're on a smartphone, it's almost certain those two companies built the operating system. You probably arrived from a link posted on Apple News, Google News or a social media site like Facebook. And when this page loaded, it, like many others on the Internet, connected to one of Amazon's ubiquitous data centers. Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google -- known as the Big 4 -- now dominate many facets of our lives. But they didn't get there alone. They acquired hundreds of companies over decades to propel them to become some of the most powerful tech behemoths in the world.

How State's Disinformation-Fighting Arm Uses Artificial Intelligence


Emerging technologies--and partnerships promoting their use--have proven instrumental for the State Department's Global Engagement Center, a hub that steers federal efforts to counter state-sponsored propaganda and disinformation campaigns aimed at undermining the U.S. "Artificial intelligence and the tools that it offers are really helping us to understand what's happening in the environment, and to identify coordinated activity," the GEC's Acting Coordinator Daniel Kimmage said Thursday. "There's obviously a much broader range of activity across the State Department, but for us it's a powerful way to better understand what's happening in the environment, and identify coordinated activity." The center was mandated by Congress several years ago to help tackle challenges around diplomacy in the digital age. At an event hosted by Foreign Policy, Kimmage offered a glimpse into how technology is impacting and enabling GEC's work, particularly as online disinformation campaigns led by U.S. adversaries grow in sophistication. "We've got what you might describe as our traditional sources of information--we have the cables, our diplomatic colleagues out in the field. We have an analysis from our colleagues in the intelligence community, and we have a huge and growing ocean of open-source information," he explained.

10 free online writing courses for getting real good at words


Writing is a much-prized skill and a difficult one to master and, while some are naturally gifted in stringing sentences together, we all need to take the time to learn the craft. Whether you want to write your first novel, pen a poignant poem, pull together a screenplay, or create better business content, there is a free, online course out there to help. We've rounded up a list of free, online writing courses so you can find the perfect program of study to help you write gooderer. This eight-week online writing course is an introduction to the theory and practice of rhetoric, the art of persuasive writing and speech. Using selected speeches from prominent 20th-century Americans -- including Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy, Margaret Chase Smith, and Ronald Reagan -- to explore and analyze rhetorical structure and style, this course will teach you when and how to employ a variety of rhetorical devices in writing and speaking.

Astrophotographer captures shot of the International Space Station as it passes across the sun

Daily Mail - Science & tech

An amateur astrophotographer has taken an incredible image of the International Space Station (ISS) flying in front of the Sun. Mehmet Ergun took the photo on April 2 from his base in Germany and had been planning the photo for three weeks. He has now successfully taken several images of the ISS in transit and posts them to his Instagram, where he has more than 14,000 followers. The space fanatic captured the photo with a Lunt LS80 DSII solarscope, Rainbow RST-135 star tracker, a QHY5III174M camera, Hutech Hinode solar guider and a 2x Meade Series 5000 Barlow Lens. It enabled him to photograph the ISS at the exact moment it passed 300 miles (500km) over his head in Alzey, Germany.

Creating "Unbiased News" Using Data Science


I scrapped all their webpages categorized under "stories". AllSides is a brilliant initiative that takes a news event and collects articles written on it by a left leaning, right leaning and center leaning media outlet. They write a summary on this event and briefly mention what is being emphasized on by each of the three outlets. An example of this can be viewed here. They publish pre-established metrics for the contemporary political bias of all major media outlets.

Keanu Reeves' 'BRZRKR' Being Made Into Live-Action Movie And Anime Series, Netflix Announces

International Business Times

Keanu Reeves' comic book series "BRZRKR" will soon be turned into an anime series and live-action movie. NXOnNetflix, Netflix's "home of all things geek," tweeted Monday to announce that the epic saga will come to life on its streaming platform. Netflix is developing a live action film AND follow-up anime series based on Keanu Reeves' BRZRKR, a brutally epic saga about an immortal warrior's 80,000 year fight through the ages. Reeves will produce and star in the film, and voice the anime," NXOnNetflix said in its post. Reeves will star in and produce the live-action movie and anime series. "BRZRKR" is originally penned by Reeves and co-written by New York Times bestselling writer Matt Kindt. It is illustrated by Marvel artist Ron Garney, with colors by Bill Crabtree. "The man known only as Berzerker is half-mortal and half-God, cursed and compelled to violence...even at the sacrifice of his sanity," its Google Books description reads. "But after wandering the world for centuries, Berzerker may have finally found a refuge – working for the U.S. government to fight the battles too violent and too dangerous for anyone else.