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'The Speed Cubers' takes on the world of competitive Rubik's Cube solving

Mashable

Speedcubing is the sport of solving a classic Rubik's Cube -- or a related combination puzzle -- in the shortest amount of time possible. And, no, it is not for the faint of heart. The new Netflix documentary on this subject, The Speed Cubers, dives headfirst into the friendly but competitive speedcubing culture. The 40-minute film is one of three new documentary shorts debuting on Netflix this summer. The Speed Cubers centers on a couple of professional competitors who go head-to-head at the World Cube Association World Championship in Melbourne, Australia, in 2019.


Looking into the black box

#artificialintelligence

Deep learning systems are revolutionizing technology around us, from voice recognition that pairs you with your phone to autonomous vehicles that are increasingly able to see and recognize obstacles ahead. But much of this success involves trial and error when it comes to the deep learning networks themselves. A group of MIT researchers recently reviewed their contributions to a better theoretical understanding of deep learning networks, providing direction for the field moving forward. "Deep learning was in some ways an accidental discovery," explains Tommy Poggio, investigator at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research, director of the Center for Brains, Minds, and Machines (CBMM), and the Eugene McDermott Professor in Brain and Cognitive Sciences. "We still do not understand why it works. A theoretical framework is taking form, and I believe that we are now close to a satisfactory theory. It is time to stand back and review recent insights."


'Carrion' turns you into a bloodthirsty tentacle monster with a terrible sense of direction

Mashable

It was around three hours into Carrion, as my oozing, formless tentacle monster munched on a hapless scientist's lower half, when I stopped, looked around, and thought: "Where the hell am I?" Carrion is an exceptionally cool idea for a video game. You play as the escaped research specimen in a heavily locked down lab. The humans who work there want you dead or contained, and you want to get out in one piece while snacking on as many people as you can in the process. Your avatar in this world is a wriggling mass of blood-red tentacles, toothy open mouths, and dark-rimmed eyes. It moves in a roiling, oozing dance, as long, spindly limbs fan out in whatever direction you choose, latching onto walls, floors, and ceilings as they pull the rest of your jumbled mass along.


National University of Singapore demonstrates artificial skin to help robots 'feel'

ZDNet

Researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) on Wednesday announced they have been conducting work that aims to give robots a sense of touch through artificial skin. The two researchers, who are also members of the Intel Neuromorphic Research Community (INRC), presented research that demonstrates the promise of event-based vision and touch sensing, in combination with Intel neuromorphic processing for robotics. The majority of today's robots operate solely based on visual processing and lack the capability humans have where the sense of touch is concerned. The researchers hope to change this using their artificial skin, which NUS touts as being able to detect touches more than 1,000 times faster than the human sensory nervous system. The artificial skin, NUS said, can also identify the shape, texture, and hardness of objects "10 times faster than the blink of an eye".


How I Solved Sudoku With a Business Rules Engine - KDnuggets

#artificialintelligence

On a family trip a few months back, I was flipping through an airline magazine and landed on the puzzles page. There were three puzzles, "Easy", "Medium", and "Hard". At the top of the page a word that would become my obsession over the next couple of months: "Sudoku". I had heard about Sudoku puzzles, but I had never really considered trying one. I grabbed a pencil from one of the kids and started with the "Easy" puzzle. It took me quite some time (and I tore the paper in one spot after erasing too many times) but I eventually completed the puzzle.


'Beyond a Steel Sky' comes to Apple Arcade tomorrow

Engadget

Beyond a Steel Sky, the sequel to classic 1994 point-and-click adventure game Beneath a Steel Sky, hits Apple Arcade on Friday, with a Steam release slated for July. Developer Revolution Software shared a launch trailer that shows what new and returning players can expect from the sequel. Beyond a Steel Sky once again sees players assume the role of series protagonist Robert Foster. After what seems like a lengthy absence, Foster has returned to Union City, the dystopian metropolis where the original game took place. While the city has changed, he still manages to find some of the characters that made his first visit so colorful, including Joey, the sentient robot that helped solve puzzles in the original.


Wild cockatoos excel in intelligence tests, countering theory living with humans makes birds smarter

Daily Mail - Science & tech

A longheld theory that animals raised in captivity perform better in cognitive testing may need to be rethought. A new study organized by the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna found evidence that wild animals perform just as well at intelligence tests as their lab-raised counterparts. To test the theory, researchers compared two groups of Goffin's cockatoos, a species often found in the tropical jungles of Singapore, Indonesia, and Puerto Rico. The team compared a lab-raised'colony' of 11 cockatoos at their lab in Vienna to eight wild cockatoos recently taken into captivity at a field laboratory in Indonesia. The researchers compared the performance of both groups in a series of simple problem solving tests and found the wild cockatoos were just as clever as the lab-raised ones.


Video Games Are a Great Way to Pass the Time and Keep You Connected. Here's How to Get Started

TIME - Tech

For the millions of people largely stuck indoors amid the COVID-19 pandemic, finding ways to pass the time is half the battle. But what to do if you've binge-watched all the shows on your list, got sick of doing puzzles and you can't stomach yet another classic sports rebroadcast? Video games are here to help. Not only are they a great way to stay entertained, they can also be an excellent group activity, whether you're playing "locally" on the couch with your immediate family, or online with friends to spend quality time together while social distancing. If you've been thinking about getting into gaming as a new hobby, here are some tips on getting started, as well as some game suggestions.


From The Sims 4 to ABZU, here are 10 relaxing video games to chill out and play

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Looking for video games that don't involve shooting enemies or require too much brain power? If so, you're in luck because there are many relaxing options to choose from, most of which can be played at your own pace and with family members. From creating your dream house in The Sims 4 to exploring the breathtaking depths of the ocean in ABZU, here are ten ultra-chill video games to play. For those who grew up playing The Sims in the noughties, now might be the perfect time to once again wile away the hours creating and controlling characters, building and decorating houses and exploring vibrant worlds. And, if in need of some extra simoleons, don't forget to use the money cheat'motherlode'.


Bored kids? Here are 5 craft projects, games you can print at home

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

While more than 310 million Americans self-isolate during the COVID-19 pandemic, technology, at the very least, is helping us work, learn and socialize. Tech is also responsible for keeping us entertained. Whether it's bingeing shows on streaming services, playing video games or downloading ebooks. Sometimes, a high-tech device can be used to create low-tech fun while its user is cooped up indoors. There are several ways this device can be used to keep the kids (and kids at heart) entertained by printing crafts, games and activities.