New Spider-Man Movie Features Lego Scene Made By 14-Year-Old

Isaac-Lew (Slashdot reader #623) writes: The Lego scene in "Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse" was animated by a 14-year-old high school student after the producers saw the trailer he made that was animated Lego-style. The teenager had used his father's old computers to recreate the trailer "shot for shot to look as if it belonged in a Lego world," reports the New York Times: By that point, he had been honing his skills for several years making short computer-generated Lego videos. "My dad showed me this 3-D software called Blender and I instantly got hooked on it," he said. "I watched a lot of YouTube videos to teach myself certain stuff..." [A]fter finding the movie's Toronto-based production designer, Patrick O'Keefe, on LinkedIn, and confirming that Sony Pictures Animation's offer was legitimate, Theodore Mutanga, a medical physicist, built his son a new computer and bought him a state-of-the-art graphics card so he could render his work much faster... Over several weeks, first during spring break and then after finishing his homework on school nights, Mutanga worked on the Lego sequence... Christophre Miller [a director of "The Lego Movie" and one of the writer-producers of "Spider-Verse."] saw Mutanga's contribution to "Across the Spider-Verse" not only as a testament to the democratization of filmmaking, but also to the artist's perseverance: he dedicated intensive time and effort to animation, which is "not ever fast or easy to make," Miller said. 'The Lego Movie' is inspired by people making films with Lego bricks at home," Lord said by video. "That's what made us want to make the movie. Then the idea in 'Spider Verse' is that a hero can come from anywhere. And here comes this heroic young person who's inspired by the movie that was inspired by people like him." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Intel Open Sources New 'One Mono' Font for Programmers

Intel has announced Intel One Mono, a new font catering to "the needs of developers" with an "expressive" monospace for clarity and legibility" It's easier to read, and available for free, with an open-source font license. Identifying the typographically underserved low-vision developer audience, Frere-Jones Type designed the Intel One Mono typeface in partnership with the Intel Brand Team and VMLY&R, for maximum legibility to address developers' fatigue and eyestrain and reduce coding errors. A panel of low-vision and legally blind developers provided feedback at each stage of design. The Linux blog OMG! Ubuntu calls the new font "pretty decent," adding that "Between IBM Plex Mono, Hack, Fira Code, and JetBrains Mono I think we Linux users are spoilt for choice when it comes to open-source monospace fonts that look good and work great. "Still, there's always room for more, right...?" Better yet, it's not only free to download and use but free to edit, and free to redistribute... Overall, I think Intel One Mono looks great, especially in a text editor (GUI or CLI). There's a noticeable upper and lower margin to the font that in dense text situations allows text to breathe, but in some terminal tools, like Neofetch, the gaps can seem a bit too happy. The Intel One Mono repository on GitHub includes instructions for activating the font in VSCode and Sublime Text, and lists some extra features accessible in some applications and via CSS: There is an option for a raised colon, either applied contextually between numbers or activated generally. Superior/superscript and inferior/subscript figures are included via their Unicode codepoints, or you can produce them from the default figures via the sups (Superscript), subs (Subscript), and si (Scientific Inferior) features. Fraction numerals are similarly available via the numr (Numerator) and dnom (Denominator) features. A set of premade fractions is also available in the fonts. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Robinhood App Will End Support for Three Cryptocurrency Tokens After June 27

"Just days after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission sued crypto exchanges Binance and Coinbase for selling unregistered securities, crypto companies are already dealing with the fallout," reports Mashable: The popular stock trading app Robinhood announced on Friday that the company would be delisting all of the cryptocurrency tokens that trade on its platform that the SEC classified as unregistered securities. According to Robinhood, it will end support for the crypto tokens Cardano (ADA), Polygon (MATIC), and Solana (SOL) after June 27. Users can buy and sell these tokens until then, and can transfer these tokens to other crypto wallets as well. However, after that date, any account holding Cardano, Polygon, or Solana in their Robinhood account will automatically sell the tokens and be credited with the funds. Also on Friday, the crypto exchange announced that it would be shutting down one of its services: its institutional exchange [which] provided services for institutional investors like pension funds, mutual funds, and university endowments. "In a statement provided to the cryptocurrency media outlet Blockworks, claimed that the decision was made due to 'lack of demand due to the market landscape in the U.S.'" Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Autonomous Waymo Car Runs Over Dog In San Francisco

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: One of Alphabet's Waymo autonomous cars has killed a pet dog. TechCrunch spotted the public report of the incident, which says one of the Waymo Jaguar I-Pace cars ran over a dog in San Francisco while in autonomous mode with a safety driver behind the wheel. Waymo's collision report says: "On May 21, 2023 at 10:56 AM PT a Waymo Autonomous Vehicle ("Waymo AV") operating in San Francisco, California was in a collision involving a small dog on Toland Street at Toland Place. The Waymo AV was traveling southwest on Toland Street when a small dog ran into the street in front of the Waymo AV. The Waymo AV then made contact with the dog, which did not survive. At the time of the impact, the Waymo AV's Level 4 ADS was engaged in autonomous mode, and a test driver was present (in the driver's seating position). The Waymo AV sustained damage." The collision was a block from Waymo's Toland Depot, a 120,000-square-foot warehouse that houses at least 50 autonomous cars. The speed limit on Toland Street is 25 mph, according to posted signs viewable on Google Maps. From that Street View link, the road looks like a busy industrial area with many warehouses, truck delivery areas, and barbed-wire fences. The incident is Waymo's first reported fatality. Waymo sent along a statement: "On May 21 in San Francisco, a small dog ran in front of one of our vehicles with an autonomous specialist present in the driver's seat, and, unfortunately, contact was made. The investigation is ongoing, however the initial review confirmed that the system correctly identified the dog which ran out from behind a parked vehicle but was not able to avoid contact. We send our sincere condolences to the dog's owner. The trust and safety of the communities we are in is the most important thing to us and we're continuing to look into this on our end." In early 2018, an autonomous Uber vehicle in Tempe, Arizona, hit and killed a woman. "According to Tempe PD, the car was in autonomous mode at the time of the incident, with a vehicle operator sitting behind the wheel," reported Gizmodo at the time. The company went on to suspend self-driving car tests in all North American cities after the fatal accident. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Arctic Could Be Sea Ice-Free in the Summer by the 2030s

New research suggests that Arctic summer sea ice could melt almost completely by the 2030s, a decade earlier than previously projected, even with significant greenhouse gas emissions reductions. Smithsonian Magazine reports: "We are very quickly about to lose the Arctic summer sea-ice cover, basically independent of what we are doing," Dirk Notz, a climate scientist at the University of Hamburg in Germany tells the New York Times' Raymond Zhong. "We've been waiting too long now to do something about climate change to still protect the remaining ice." An ice-free summer, also called a "blue ocean event," will happen when the sea ice drops below one million square kilometers (386,102 square miles), writes Jonathan Bamber, a professor of physical geography at the University of Bristol, in the Conversation. This equates to just 15 percent of the Arctic's seasonal minimum ice cover of the late 1970s, per the Times. Previous assessments using models have estimated an ice-free summer under high and intermediate emissions scenarios by 2050. But researchers noticed differences between what climate models predicted about what would happen to sea ice and what they've actually seen through observations, according to Bob Weber of the Canadian Press. "The models, on average, underestimate sea ice decline compared with observations," says Nathan Gillett, an environment and climate change Canada scientist, to Weber. Now, in a new study published in Nature Communications, Notz, Gillett and their colleagues tweaked these models to more closely fit satellite data collected over the past 40 years. Using these modified models, the researchers projected ice changes under different possible levels of greenhouse gas emissions. Their paper suggests that regardless of emissions scenario, "we may experience an unprecedented ice-free Arctic climate in the next decade or two." Under a high emissions scenario, the Arctic could see a sustained loss of sea ice from August until as late as October before the 2080s, lead author Seung-Ki Min, a climate scientist at Pohang University of Science and Technology in South Korea, tells CNN's Rachel Ramirez. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

China Wants To Launch a Moon-Orbiting Telescope Array As Soon As 2026

China is planning to deploy a constellation of satellites in orbit around the moon to create a radio telescope that would enable the study of radio waves longer than 33 feet, providing insights into the "Dark Ages" of the universe. reports: The array would consist of one "mother" satellite and eight mini "daughter" craft. The mother would process data and communicate with Earth, and the daughters would detect radio signals from the farthest reaches of the cosmos, Xuelei Chen, an astronomer at the China National Space Administration (CNSA), said at the Astronomy From the Moon conference held earlier this year in London. Putting such an array in orbit around the moon would be technically more feasible than building a telescope directly on the lunar surface, a venture that NASA and other space agencies are currently considering as one of the next big steps in astronomy. "There are a number of advantages in doing this in orbit instead of on the surface because it's engineeringly much simpler," Chen said during the conference. "There is no need for landing and a deployment, and also because the lunar orbital period is two hours, we can use solar power, which is much simpler than doing it on the lunar surface, which, if you want to observe during the lunar night, then you have to provide the energy for almost 14 days." He added that this proposed "Discovering Sky at the Longest Wavelength," or Hongmeng Project, could orbit the moon as early as 2026. A telescope on the moon, astronomers say, would allow them to finally see cosmic radiation in a part of the electromagnetic spectrum that is impossible to study from Earth's surface: radio waves longer than 33 feet (10 meters), or, in other words, those with frequencies below 30 megahertz (MHz). "If you are looking into the low-frequency part of the electromagnetic spectrum, you'll find that, due to strong absorption [by Earth's atmosphere], we know very little about [the region] below 30 megahertz," Chen said. "It's almost a blank part of the electromagnetic spectrum. So we want to open this last electromagnetic window of the universe." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Smoke Sends US Northeast Solar Power Plunging By 50% As Wildfires Rage In Canada

Longtime Slashdot reader WindBourne writes: "A shroud of smoke has sent solar power generation in parts of the eastern US plummeting by more than 50% as wildfires rage in Canada," reports Bloomberg. "Solar farms powering New England were producing 56% less energy at times of peak demand compared with the week before, according to the region's grid operator. Electricity generated by solar across the territory serviced by PJM Interconnection LLC, which spans Illinois to North Carolina, was down about 25% from the previous week." Not mentioned in the article is that the wind generator output has also dropped. ["Wind power also dropped to 5% of total generation so far this week versus a recent high of 12% during the windy week ended May 12," reports Reuters. "That forced power generators to boost the amount of electricity generated by gas to 45% this week, up from around 40% in recent weeks."] If forest fires can cut PV output by 50%, what would happen in real disasters when a nation most needs their electricity -- especially as we convert from fossil fuels (stored energy) to electricity? This will hopefully have politicians thinking in terms of national security, as well as anthropogenic global warming, when it comes to western grids. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Octopuses Can Rewire Their 'Brains' By Editing Their Own RNA On the Fly

An anonymous reader quotes a report from ScienceAlert: Octopuses have found an incredible way to protect the more delicate features of their nervous system against radically changing temperatures. When conditions fluctuate, they can rapidly recode key proteins in their nerve cells, ensuring critical neurological activities remain functional when temperatures drop dramatically. How do they do it? By deploying a rare superpower -- editing their RNA on the fly, an ability found in some species of octopuses, squids and cuttlefish. It's an unusual strategy, but it appears to be an effective one, and scientists believe that it may be widely adopted throughout the world of cephalopods. [...] Their subjects were California two-spot octopuses (Octopus bimaculoides), whose entire genome was first sequenced in 2005, making it a useful animal for understanding genetic changes. The researchers acclimated these octopuses to warm water at 22 degrees Celsius (71.6 Fahrenheit) or much chillier water at 13 degrees Celsius (55.4 Fahrenheit), then compared their genetic information against the database genome. They specifically looked at over 60,000 known editing sites, and what they found was astonishing. "Temperature-sensitive editing occurred at about one third of our sites -- over 20,000 individual places -- so this is not something that happens here or there; this is a global phenomenon," says physicist Eli Eisenberg of Tel-Aviv University, co-senior author of the paper. "But that being said, it does not happen equally: proteins that are edited tend to be neural proteins, and almost all sites that are temperature sensitive are more highly edited in the cold." So the editing seemed to be in response to acclimating to cold, rather than warm water, affecting neural proteins that, specifically, are sensitive to cold temperatures. And tests of structural proteins critical for the function of the octopus nervous system -- kinesin and synaptotagmin -- found that the changes wrought would have an impact on their function. It was possible that what the team observed was the result of being in a lab, so they caught wild California two-spot octopuses and Verrill's two-spot octopuses (Octopus bimaculatus) in Summer and Winter and checked their genomes, too. These octopuses had similar patterns of RNA editing that suggested they were optimizing their function for the current temperature conditions. The team also tested to see how quickly the changes take place. They tweaked the temperature of an octopus's tank from 14 degrees Celsius to 24 degrees Celsius or vice versa, tuning the temperature up or down by 0.5 degrees increments over the course of 20 hours. They tested the extent of RNA editing in each octopus just before starting the temperature change, just after, and four days later. It happens very quickly, the researchers found. "We had no real idea how quickly this can occur: whether it takes weeks or hours," explains [marine biologist Matthew Birk of the Marine Biological Laboratory and Saint Francis University]. "We could see significant changes in less than a day, and within four days, they were at the new steady-state levels that you find them in after a month." The research has been published in the journal Cell. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Tesla Orders Parts For 375K Cybertrucks In 2024

schwit1 shares a report from Electrek: Tesla is planning to produce 375,000 Cybertrucks per year and have release candidates by late August, according to communications they sent to suppliers. Tesla's latest official comment on the timeline is a planned delivery event "around the end of Q3," which would mean around the end of September 2023. Recently, CEO Elon Musk also gave a Tesla Cybertruck production volume estimate at Tesla's annual shareholders meeting. In his comment, he first said about 250,000 units per year, but the CEO also added that he believes it could be between 250,000 and 500,000 units a year. Now, Electrek gets more details through communications that Tesla sent to suppliers for the Cybertruck program, which it calls "Project Everest," internally and with suppliers. Tesla has asked suppliers to plan to meet a base production volume of 375,000 Cybertrucks per year. For a base volume, it seems to be a bit more aggressive than what Musk communicated publicly at Tesla's annual shareholder's meeting, but Tesla has been frequently adjusting to target. Earlier this year, it was about 100,000 units lower. Also, the number is planned for the production lines running at 85% efficiency. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

The US Is Building Factories At a Wildly Fast Rate

Factory construction in the United States has experienced significant growth, with construction spending by manufacturers more than doubling over the past year. Insider reports: For April 2023, the annual rate reached nearly $190 billion compared with $90 billion in June 2022, with manufacturing accounting for around 13% of non-government construction. [...] Factories are being constructed everywhere from deserts to resort towns as the US tries to bring back manufacturing of goods commonly imported from lower-cost countries. Many battery and electric vehicle factories have popped up in the Rust Belt, while solar panel and renewable energy factories now span much of the South and Southeast. The US has added around 800,000 jobs in manufacturing employment over the last two years, employing around 13 million workers per the May Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs report (PDF). However, according to the National Association of Manufacturers, the manufacturing skills gap -- caused by the labor market's struggle to find workers with highly technical and manual expertise -- could lead to 2.1 million unfilled jobs by 2030. Manufacturing, though, has accelerated its move back to the US from other countries over the past year. According to Kearney's 2022 Reshoring Index, 96% of American companies have shifted production to the US or are evaluating reshoring operations -- a spike from 78% in the 2021 index. The sudden rise in factory construction corresponds with passage of the CHIPS and Science Act in July 2022, which provided $280 billion in funding to boost manufacturing of semiconductors, as well as the Inflation Reduction Act in August 2022. The IRA has sought to create new jobs in manufacturing, construction, and renewable energy, estimated to create up to 1.5 million jobs by 2030. Construction spending in most areas of the US economy has fallen in contrast, including office, health care, and educational construction. Residential construction has also declined amid a big cooldown from the pandemic housing market boom. Census Bureau data reveals manufacturing construction spending has escalated from January 2020 until April 2023 in every region except New England and the Mid Atlantic. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Google's Bard AI Can Now Write and Execute Code To Answer a Question

In a blog post on Wednesday, Google said Bard is getting better at logic and reasoning. "Google says that now when you ask Bard a 'computational' task like math or string manipulation, instead of showing the output of the language model, that language model will instead write a program, execute that program, and then show the output of that program to the user as an answer," reports Ars Technica. From the report: Google's blog post provides the example input of "Reverse the word 'Lollipop' for me." ChatGPT flubs this question and provides the incorrect answer "pillopoL," because language models see the world in chunks of words, or "tokens," and they just aren't good at this. It gets the output correct as "popilloL," but more interesting is that it also includes the python code it wrote to answer the question. That's neat for programming-minded people to see under the hood, but wow, is that probably the scariest output ever for regular people. It's also not particularly relevant. Imagine if Gmail showed you a block of code when you just asked it to fetch email. It's weird. Just do the job you were asked to do, Bard. Google likens an AI model writing a program to humans doing long division in that it's a different mode of thinking [...]. Google says this "writing code on the fly" method will also be used for questions like: "What are the prime factors of 15683615?" and "Calculate the growth rate of my savings." The company says, "So far, we've seen this method improve the accuracy of Bard's responses to computation-based word and math problems in our internal challenge datasets by approximately 30%." As usual, Google warns Bard "might not get it right" due to interpreting your question wrong or just, like all of us, writing code that doesn't work the first time. Bard is coding up answers on the fly right now if you want to give it a shot at Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Nvidia's AI Software Tricked Into Leaking Data

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: A feature in Nvidia's artificial intelligence software can be manipulated into ignoring safety restraints and reveal private information, according to new research. Nvidia has created a system called the "NeMo Framework," which allows developers to work with a range of large language models -- the underlying technology that powers generative AI products such as chatbots. The chipmaker's framework is designed to be adopted by businesses, such as using a company's proprietary data alongside language models to provide responses to questions -- a feature that could, for example, replicate the work of customer service representatives, or advise people seeking simple health care advice. Researchers at San Francisco-based Robust Intelligence found they could easily break through so-called guardrails instituted to ensure the AI system could be used safely. After using the Nvidia system on its own data sets, it only took hours for Robust Intelligence analysts to get language models to overcome restrictions. In one test scenario, the researchers instructed Nvidia's system to swap the letter 'I' with 'J.' That move prompted the technology to release personally identifiable information, or PII, from a database. The researchers found they could jump safety controls in other ways, such as getting the model to digress in ways it was not supposed to. By replicating Nvidia's own example of a narrow discussion about a jobs report, they could get the model into topics such as a Hollywood movie star's health and the Franco-Prussian war -- despite guardrails designed to stop the AI moving beyond specific subjects. In the wake of its test results, the researchers have advised their clients to avoid Nvidia's software product. After the Financial Times asked Nvidia to comment on the research earlier this week, the chipmaker informed Robust Intelligence that it had fixed one of the root causes behind the issues the analysts had raised. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Apple TV To Support VPN Apps On tvOS 17

Along with FaceTime support and a redesigned Control Center, Apple is adding support for VPN apps in tvOS 17. MacRumors reports: VPN apps could allow for Apple TV users to watch geo-restricted content from any location, such as the U.S. version of Netflix in another country. In its tvOS 17 press release, however, Apple focused on how the VPN apps can benefit enterprise and education users, so it is possible that Apple could restrict usage of the apps. Apple: "Third-party VPN support, which enables developers to create VPN apps for Apple TV. This can benefit enterprise and education users wanting to access content on their private networks, allowing Apple TV to be a great office and conference room solution in even more places." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

What Instagram's Upcoming Twitter Competitor Looks Like

During a companywide meeting, Meta's chief product officer, Chris Cox, revealed a preview of the company's upcoming Twitter competitor, a standalone app based on Instagram that will integrate with the decentralized social media protocol, ActivityPub. "That will theoretically allow users of the new app to take their accounts and followers with them to other apps that support ActivityPub, including Mastodon," reports The Verge. From the report: The forthcoming app, which, in the meeting today, Meta chief product officer Chris Cox called "our response to Twitter," will use Instagram's account system to automatically populate a user's information. The internal codename for the app is "Project 92," and its public name could be Threads, based on internal documents also seen by The Verge. "We've been hearing from creators and public figures who are interested in having a platform that is sanely run, that they believe that they can trust and rely upon for distribution," Cox said, throwing direct shade at Elon Musk's handling of Twitter, to cheers from the audience. He said the company's goal for the app was "safety, ease of use, reliability" and making sure that creators have a "stable place to build and grow their audiences." Cox said the company already has celebrities committed to using the app, including DJ Slime, and was in discussions with other big names, including Oprah and the Dalai Lama. He said "coding began" for the app in January and that Meta will be making the app available "as soon as we can." Read more of this story at Slashdot.

China Is Planning To Restrict and Scrutinise the Use of Wireless Filesharing Services

Longtime Slashdot reader mspohr shares a report from The Guardian: China is planning to restrict and scrutinize the use of wireless filesharing services between mobile devices, such as airdrop and Bluetooth, after they were used by protesters to evade censorship and spread protest messages. The Cyberspace Administration of China, the country's top internet regulator, has released draft regulations on "close-range mesh network services" and launched a month-long public consultation on Tuesday. Under the proposed rules, service providers would have to prevent the dissemination of harmful and illegal information, save relevant records and report their discovery to regulators. Service providers would also have to provide data and technical assistance to the relevant authorities, including internet regulators and the police, when they conduct inspections. Users must also register with their real names. In addition, features and technologies that have the capability to mobilize public opinion must undergo a security assessment before they could be introduced. Apple, in particular, came under the spotlight after some Chinese protesters used airdrop in 2022 to bypass surveillance and circulate messages critical of the regime by sending them to strangers on public transport. The tool was a relatively untraceable method for sharing files in China, where most social media and messaging platforms are tightly monitored. Shortly later, Apple limited the use of airdrop on iPhones in China, allowing Chinese users to receive files from non-contacts for only ten minutes at a time. The proposed rules will take control of similar functions up a notch, requiring the receiving of files and preview of thumbnails to be disabled by default. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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