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Tag Archives: environment

Apeel Sciences is combating food waste with plant-derived second peels

In a world bursting with abundances like self-driving cars and robotic personal assistants , you would think that basic needs like sustainable food sourcing and distribution would be a problem of the past. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) , every year roughly a third — 1.3 billion tons — of food grown for consumption is lost or wasted. In industrialized countries like the U.S., this results in a loss of $680 billion per year, and in countries without standardized infrastructure (such as proper cooling systems), this results in a loss of $310 billion per year. Among the billions of tons of food lost per year, the largest percentage is in vital, nutrient-rich foods like fruits and vegetables and roots and tubers (such as potatoes and carrots), each seeing about 45 percent wasted annually. There are many factors responsible for food waste, including poorly regulated “Best By” and “Sell By” dates in the U.S. that tempt fickle customers into wasting otherwise good food, and unreliable or non-existent cooling distribution systems in less-industrialized countries. But an underlying cause of both of these issues, especially for easily spoiled foods, is the inherent shelf life of the food itself. And that’s where Apeel Sciences steps in . The California-based startup is combating food waste by using plant-derived materials from food itself to create an extra protective barrier to prolong its life and stave off spoilage — essentially, creating a second peel. To create it, farmers just add water to Apeel’s protective powder and apply it to produce as a spray or wash. For founder and CEO James Rogers, who was working on a PhD in materials engineering from the University of California, Santa Barbara when he was inspired to create Apeel Sciences, the solution to the problem of quickly spoiled food could be found by looking to a problem science had already solved: rust. “Factors that cause spoilage are water loss and oxidation,” Rogers told TechCrunch.

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BenQ PD2700Q 27-inch QHD review – Camera Jabber (press release) (blog)

Camera Jabber (press release) (blog) BenQ PD2700Q 27-inch QHD review Camera Jabber (press release) (blog) ... computer , and with most of us making the switch to using laptops this can mean that your machine is connected to multiple wires. On the BenQ PD2700Q, those multiports under the screen can be used to plug in USB devices such as a keyboard , mouse and ...

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A pickaxe for the AI gold rush, Labelbox sells training data software

Every artificial intelligence startup or corporate R&D lab has to reinvent the wheel when it comes to how humans annotate training data to teach algorithms what to look for. Whether it’s doctors assessing the size of cancer from a scan or drivers circling street signs in self-driving car footage, all this labeling has to happen somewhere. Often that means wasting six months and as much as a million dollars just developing a training data system. With nearly every type of business racing to adopt AI, that spend in cash and time adds up. Labelbox builds artificial intelligence training data labeling software so nobody else has to. What Salesforce is to a sales team, Labelbox is to an AI engineering team. The software-as-a-service acts as the interface for human experts or crowdsourced labor to instruct computers how to spot relevant signals in data by themselves and continuously improve their algorithms’ accuracy. Today, Labelbox is emerging from six months in stealth with a $3.9 million seed round led by Kleiner Perkins and joined by First Round and Google’s Gradient Ventures. “There haven’t been seamless tools to allow AI teams to transfer institutional knowledge from their brains to software,” says co-founder Manu Sharma. “Now we have over 5,000 customers, and many big companies have replaced their own internal tools with Labelbox.” Kleiner’s Ilya Fushman explains that “If you have these tools, you can ramp up to the AI curve much faster, allowing companies to realize the dream of AI.” Inventing the best wheel Sharma knew how annoying it was to try to forge training data systems from scratch because he’d seen it done before at Planet Labs, a satellite imaging startup. “One of the things that I observed was  that  Planet Labs has a superb AI team, but that team had been for over six months building labeling and training tools. Is this really how teams around the world   are approaching building AI?,” he wondered

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Magic Leap details what its mixed reality operating system will look like

Magic Leap just updates its developer documentation with a host of new details and imagery, sharing more specifics on how the company’s Lumin OS will look like on their upcoming Magic Leap One device. It’s mostly a large heaping of nitty gritty details, but we also get a more prescient view into how Magic Leap sees interactions with their product looking like and the directions that developers are being encouraged to move in. Worth noting off the bat that these gifs/images appear to be mock-ups or screenshots rather than images shot directly through Magic Leap tech. Alright, first, this is what the Magic Leap One home screen will apparently look like, it’s worth noting that it appears that Magic Leap will have some of its own stock apps on the device, which was completely expected but they haven’t discussed much about. Also worth noting is that Magic Leap’s operating system by and large looks like most other operating systems, they seem to be well aware that flat interfaces are way easier to navigate so you’re not going to be engaging with 3D assets just for the sake of doing so. Here’s a look at a media gallery app on Magic Leap One. Here’s a look at an avatar system. The company seems to be distinguishing between two basic app types for developers: immersive apps and landscape apps. Landscape apps like what you see in the image above, appear to be Magic Leap’s version of 2D where interfaces are mostly flat but have some depth and live inside a box called a prism that fits spatially into your environment. It seems that you’ll be able to have several of these running simultaneously. Immersive apps, on the other hand, like this game title,  Dr .  Grordbort — which Magic Leap has been teasing for years — respond to the geometry of the space that you are in and is thus called an immersive app. Here’s a video of an immersive experience in action. Make your own derpy gravity defying driving game using this #Magicleap developer lesson in #Unity ! https://t.co/P70P4kCtvG pic.twitter.com/H4VGXXVPTN — Giant Space Turtle (@GST_naomi) July 26, 2018 Moving beyond apps, the company also had a good deal to share about how you interact with what’s happening in the headset. We got a look at some hand controls and what that may look like.

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Magic Leap details what its mixed reality OS will look like

Magic Leap just updated its developer documentation and a host of new details and imagery are being spread around on Reddit and Twitter, sharing more specifics on how the company’s Lumin OS will look like on their upcoming Magic Leap One device. It’s mostly a large heaping of nitty-gritty details, but we also get a more prescient view into how Magic Leap sees interactions with their product looking and the directions that developers are being encouraged to move in. Worth noting off the bat that these gifs/images appear to be mock-ups or screenshots rather than images shot directly through Magic Leap tech. Alright, first, this is what the Magic Leap One home screen will apparently look like, it’s worth noting that it appears that Magic Leap will have some of its own stock apps on the device, which was completely expected but they haven’t discussed much about. Also worth noting is that Magic Leap’s operating system by and large looks like most other operating systems, they seem to be well aware that flat interfaces are way easier to navigate so you’re not going to be engaging with 3D assets just for the sake of doing so. Here’s a look at a media gallery app on Magic Leap One. Here’s a look at an avatar system. The company seems to be distinguishing between two basic app types for developers: immersive apps and landscape apps. Landscape apps like what you see in the image above, appear to be Magic Leap’s version of 2D where interfaces are mostly flat but have some depth and live inside a box called a prism that fits spatially into your environment. It seems that you’ll be able to have several of these running simultaneously. Immersive apps, on the other hand, like this game title,  Dr .  Grordbort — which Magic Leap has been teasing for years — respond to the geometry of the space that you are in and is thus called an immersive app.

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ColdQuanta raises $6.75M to make it easier to spin up a limited use-case quantum computer

Quantum computing may be a long ways off, but early applications of it aren’t as far off as you might think, according to longtime researcher and ColdQuanta founder Dana Anderson. The startup creates a device that’s designed to make it easier to start operating quantum computing-like operations on near-term problems like signal processing or time measurement, which is the kind of low-hanging fruit that current technology might enable. Researchers using that approach — a set of atoms where there’s practically no motion — require some mechanism of keeping them from moving, for which some cases involve refrigeration. ColdQuanta’s main product is a set of lasers that’s able to stabilize a set of atoms and allow them to operate with those properties. It’s certainly nowhere close to a server — or even a standard computer — but using this kind of a tool, it might be easier to handle tasks like real-time signal processing. ColdQuanta said today that it has raised $6.75 million in a round led by Maverick Ventures and including Global Frontier Investments. “If you were to look out the window, and you turned off GPS because it’s a conflict or sunspots, you can ask, ‘can I fly to New York from San Francisco with my eyes closed,'” Anderson said. “The answer is no. These types of applications — real-world applications based on fundamental advances of physics — keeps me thinking, and up at night. Clocks sound pretty boring, and you might ask why do I need something like that. But there’s enormous demand for improvements in time-keeping, whether for high-frequency trading, navigation, guidance, or autonomous vehicles. We see those as early applications.” The primary aim of ColdQuanta’s hardware is, Andersen says, to create a “neutral” set of atoms that all have identical properties of the ones next to them. It does that by using a set of lasers to bring them to a near standstill — within a millionth of a degree of absolute zero — and then control their properties using lasers. That way, a researcher or team could scale that up to a larger system where they can start finding applications right away. That includes time-keeping, secure communications and others, now that a lot of the primary limitations of the technology have gotten a little more relaxed over time. ColdQuanta’s aim is to be able to do this in a normal, room-temperature situation throughout the environment everywhere else, as well.

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Facebook’s AI researchers task ‘tourist bots’ with finding their way in NYC

Facebook is getting guide bots to help tourist bots explore Hell’s Kitchen in a virtual New York City. It’s not just for kicks either, a new research paper published today by FAIR is looking to examine how AI systems can orient themselves and communicate observed data better than humans can. The setup for Facebook’s “ Walk the Talk ” research experiment involves throwing a “tourist” bot onto a random street corner of NYC and getting a “guide” bot to direct them to a spot on a 2D map. This involved Facebook capturing 360 photos of a bunch of different street corners in random spots in NY and feeding them to the AI tourist bot who then had to peer around at the behest of the guide agent who would gain a sense of where the tourist was based and try to direct them through a text conversation. It’s indeed quite the novel experiment, which plays out like this in practice. Guide: Hello, what are you near? Tourist: Hello, in front of me is a Brooks Brothers Guide: Is that a shop or restaurant? Tourist: It is a clothing shop. Guide: You need to go to the intersection in the northwest corner of the map Tourist: There appears to be a bank behind me. Guide: Ok, turn left then go straight up that road ... Facebook isn’t doing all of this to give you a virtual guide in some unannounced mapping product, this is Facebook AI Research as opposed to their applied machine learning arm so this stuff really resides in the long-term, less product centric sphere. What this experiment is helping Facebook’s AI researchers approach is a concept called “Embodied AI.” Talk the Walk: AI "tourist" and "guide" demonstration Posted by Facebook Engineering on Tuesday, July 10, 2018 Embodied AI basically entails giving AI models the ability to learn while on-the-go gathering data that is present around them that can help them make sense of what they already do know. In “Talk the Walk,” the guide AI bot had all of this 2D map data and the tourist bot had all of this rich 360 visual data but it was only through communication with each other that they were able to carry out their directives. The real goal was to work on the two agents gathering information through natural language, but the researchers found that the bots did a better job of completing the task when they used “synthetic language” which relied more on them using more simplistic symbols to convey information and location. This less natural way of communicating data not only outperformed a more human-like chat, it also enable the bots to find their way more concisely than humans would in a natural language chat

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Timehop discloses July 4 data breach affecting 21 million

Timehop  has disclosed a security breach that has compromised the personal data (names and emails) of 21 million users. Around a fifth of the affected users — or 4.7M — have also had a phone number that was attached to their account breached in the attack. The startup, whose service plugs into users’ social media accounts to resurface posts and photos they may have forgotten about, says it discovered the attack while it was in progress, at 2:04 US Eastern Time on July 4, and was able to shut it down two hours, 19 minutes later — albeit, not before millions of people’s data had been breached. According to its preliminary investigation of the incident, the attacker first accessed Timehop’s cloud environment in December — using compromised admin credentials, and apparently conducting reconnaissance for a few days that month, and again for another day in March and one in June, before going on to launch the attack on July 4, during a US holiday. Timehop publicly disclosed the breach in a blog post  on Saturday, several days after discovering the attack. It says no social media content, financial data or Timehop data was affected by the breach — and its blog post emphasizes that none of the content its service routinely lifts from third party social networks in order to present back to users as digital “memories” was affected. However the keys that allow it to read and show users their social media content were compromised — so it has all keys deactivated, meaning Timehop users will have to re-authenticate to its App to continue using the service. “If you have noticed any content not loading, it is because Timehop deactivated these proactively,” it writes, adding: “We have no evidence that any accounts were accessed without authorization.” It does also admit that the tokens could “theoretically” have been used for unauthorized users to access Timehop users’ own social media posts during “a short time window” — although again it emphasizes “we have no evidence that this actually happened”. “We want to be clear that these tokens do not give anyone (including Timehop) access to Facebook Messenger, or Direct Messages on Twitter or Instagram, or things that your friends post to your Facebook wall. In general, Timehop only has access to social media posts you post yourself to your profile,” it adds. In terms of how its network was accessed, it appears that the attacker was able to compromise Timehop’s cloud computing environment by targeting an account that had not been protected by multifactor authentication. That’s very clearly a major security failure — but one Timehop does not explicitly explain, writing only that: “We have now taken steps that include multifactor authentication to secure our authorization and access controls on all accounts.” Part of its formal incident response, which it says began on July 5, was also to add multifactor authentication to “all accounts that did not already have them for all cloud-based services (not just in our Cloud Computing Provider)”. So evidently there was more than one vulnerable account for attackers to target. Its exec team will certainly have questions to answer about why multifactor authentication was not universally enforced for all its cloud accounts. For now, by way of explanation, it writes: “There is no such thing as perfect when it comes to cyber security but we are committed to protecting user data.

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