Houston is experiencing its third ‘500-year’ flood in 3 years

washingtonpost.com | Aug 29 @ 15:06

(ahmed.gul/Instagram)Hurricane Harvey has brought “500-year” rainfall and flood conditions to the Houston area, according to officials at the Harris County Flood Control District. Harvey will be at least the fifth major 500-year flood to hit Texas since 2010. Practically speaking, that means you can have multiple 500-year flood events happen essentially back-to-back. A 500-year flood isn't necessarily something that happens once every five hundred years. Let's start with what it means to be a "500-year” flood.

When it comes to internet privacy, be afraid, analyst suggests

harvard.edu | Aug 29 @ 12:23

But the government has failed in protecting consumers from internet companies and social media giants. U.S. law has a hands-off way of treating internet companies. I used to say that Google knows more about me than my wife does, but that doesn’t go far enough. But think about it, Google knows quite a lot about all of us. In fact, internet users in the United States have fewer privacy protections than those in other countries.

UPDATED: How Will Houston Handle the Deluge of Hurricane Harvey?

wired.com | Aug 29 @ 17:45

“I know for a fact this is the worst flood Houston has ever experienced,” an NWS meteorologist told a Houston Chronicle reporter. These soak up moisture that would otherwise flood Houston. Any rain that falls in Harris County can run to sea through any of the county’s 22 watersheds. The National Weather Service announced Tuesday that 49.2 inches of rain had drenched Houston since Harvey arrived, a new US record. The Brays Bayou Project—a joint endeavor of the Army Corps and Harris County Flood Control District—is several years behind schedule on a $480 million upgrade.

Inside an Epic Hotel Room Hacking Spree

wired.com | Aug 29 @ 08:00

First I visited the Waldorf Astoria, paying for a room to try my lock hacking tool in the wild. But when I plugged it into the used Onity lock I bought on eBay, the lock immediately whirred and its green light flashed, just as it had at Cashatt’s first Marriott. Cashatt pleaded guilty to three hotel burglaries, the few for which prosecutors had the most airtight evidence. When he’s released, he swears that he’s done with hotel intrusions. Again, I booked a room, inserted my device into its lock, and was met with anticlimactic silence.

Here's how to deal with those clumps of floating fire ants in Houston

theverge.com | Aug 29 @ 19:05

As the ants float, they rotate, so that the underwater ants will get to the top and vice versa. In addition to the catastrophic flooding from Hurricane Harvey, Houston residents have one more thing to worry about: floating colonies of fire ants. “They've been known well before this hurricane to float on top of water like that.”Pro tip: Don't touch the floating fire ant colonies. That might not be comforting for those in Texas and Louisiana, but at least the fire ants are not building wriggling Eiffel towers. “When the water recedes, or they float to a spot where they hit dry land, then they'll build their colony again in their spot,” Keck says.

24/192 Music Downloads Are Very Silly Indeed (2012)

xiph.org | Aug 29 @ 18:11

16 bit vs 24 bit OK, so 192kHz music files make no sense. Also see Xiph.Org's new video, Digital Show & Tell, for detailed demonstrations of digital sampling in action on real equipment! Coding High Quality Digital Audio by Bob Stuart of Meridian Audio is beautifully concise despite its greater length. Or, that as audio frequency increases, the sampled quality falls and frequency response falls off, or becomes sensitive to input phase. What about 16 bit vs. 24 bit audio?

How Climate Change Fueled Hurricane Harvey

wired.com | Aug 29 @ 13:45

Climate change didn’t spawn Harvey, or any other hurricane, though it has made them more dangerous. “We don’t know why they have collapsed," says Emanuel, "and it’s too early to connect it to anthropogenic climate change." Is climate change to blame for its atypical path of destruction? NASA“The hurricane is a naturally occurring hazard that is exacerbated by climate change,” says Katharine Kayhoe , an atmospheric scientist and professor of political science at Texas Tech University. Thanks to climate change, storm surges today are seven inches higher than they were 30 years ago, according to a January study by NOAA —though other factors can combine to increase surges even more.

Apple iPhone event set for September 12th

techcrunch.com | Aug 29 @ 15:00

Apple has set its annual iPhone event for September 12, as reported by The Wall Street Journal and rumored previously. The event will likely play host to more than just the launch of new iPhones, though that will obviously be the headline product focus. Multiple sources have also told TechCrunch that this is the current date Apple is aiming for. Apple is said to be readying a new iPhone 7s and 7s Plus, to be launched alongside a new iPhone 8 (or whatever it ends up being called) which will apparently feature a nearly bezel-free design. At the event, it’s also been reported that we’ll see the introduction of a successor to the 4th generation Apple TV – one which will include support for 4K and HDR image output.

How NASA’s Johnson Space Center is riding out the hurricane

arstechnica.com | Aug 29 @ 13:05

Surrounded by rising floodwaters, a skeleton crew at NASA’s Johnson Space Center is keeping the lights on for the International Space Station. About 125 people are riding out Harvey’s devastating flood on-site at Johnson Space Center, or JSC. “Kind of surreal”So what’s it like riding out a hurricane at Mission Control? If it looks like conditions in Houston are going to get too rough, NASA can transfer Mission Control to the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. This time around, the Mission Control team stayed in Houston to ride out the storm, and they’ve been busy.

Before and After Photos Capture Devastating Flooding in Houston

wired.com | Aug 29 @ 19:11

The memory will stick with Cohan, and Houston, long after the flooding recedes. Every time a bad storm hits Houston, Aaron Cohan watches the waters of the Buffalo Bayou rise. But nothing beat the flood he woke to Sunday morning after Hurricane Harvey dumped 20 inches of rain in just 48 hours. Cohan was born and raised in Houston and has lived in Memorial Heights for four years. “I’ve never seen anything like what’s happening right now.”The Category Four storm rolled in on Friday, battering Corpus Christi before plowing towards Houston the following day.

ARCore: Augmented reality at Android scale

blog.google | Aug 29 @ 12:11

Alongside ARCore, we’ve been investing in apps and services which will further support developers in creating great AR experiences. As we mentioned at I/O, we’re also working on Visual Positioning Service (VPS), a service which will enable world scale AR experiences well beyond a tabletop. We built Blocks and Tilt Brush to make it easy for anyone to quickly create great 3D content for use in AR apps. These custom browsers allow developers to create AR-enhanced websites and run them on both Android/ARCore and iOS/ARKit. ARCore is our next step in bringing AR to everyone, and we’ll have more to share later this year.

Google Joins the Augmented Reality Party with ARCore

wired.com | Aug 29 @ 12:00

Next, Nikhil Chandhok, Google AR's director of product, showed me an adapted version of the Wizard of Oz experience, originally made for Google Tango. Google's AR and VR efforts have always focused on working for everyone. That's why Google's launching its first augmented-reality software development kit, called ARCore, to help developers start making cool stuff in AR. Looking at the AR landscape, Google seems to be a bit late to the party. Augmented reality is a thing, and everyone in tech seems to agree that it will soon become a very important thing.

AI startup Appier gets $33M Series C from investors, including SoftBank Group, Line Corp. and Naver

techcrunch.com | Aug 29 @ 21:00

They are SoftBank Group Corp., Line Corp., Naver Corp., EDBI (the Singapore Economic Development Board’s corporate investment arm) and Hong Kong-based financial services firm AMTD Group. SoftBank Group and Line Corp. are both headquartered in Japan, while Naver Corp. is one of South Korea’s largest internet firms. Thanks to its roots in cross-screen advertising, Appier has a strong graph of user data that serves as the foundation for its predictions, Yu says. (While SoftBank Group’s $93 billion Vision Fund is currently in the spotlight for its unprecedented investment spree, Appier’s funding came directly from SoftBank Group). “We are focused on internet companies in Asia and I think this round of investors gives us great partnerships to expand all over Asia,” says Yu.

Cummins unveils an electric big rig weeks before Tesla

engadget.com | Aug 29 @ 20:14

And more importantly, this is a concept, not a production vehicle ready to roll off the manufacturing line. For one thing, range is a sore point. Not that we're going to complain about both companies having a fighting chance -- more electric big rigs means more competition and fewer polluting trucks. That's fine for inter-city deliveries, but it won't cut the mustard for longer trips. You're looking at a modest 100-mile range with that 140kWh pack.

Google’s ARCore brings augmented reality to millions of Android devices

arstechnica.com | Aug 29 @ 12:00

Environmental understanding: It is common for AR objects to be placed on a floor or a table. While we don't yet know the hardware requirements, there's no reason for the ARCore hardware requirements to be as stringent as Daydream VR. It is common for AR objects to be placed on a floor or a table. Further Reading Google’s product strategy: Make two of everything Google is again doing a bit of internal product competition with Tango and ARCore. This is narrowing your location down with GPS and then having the phone's AR capabilities recognize where you are in a room, a kind of "indoor GPS."

North Korea's Japan Missile Flyover Calls Donald Trump's Bluff

wired.com | Aug 29 @ 17:02

The first instance, in 1998, came with no warning; North Korea gave advance notice of the second, in 2009. In the past North Korea has said it used lofted trajectories to keeps its tests from flying over neighboring countries. When North Korea launched a ballistic missile toward northern Japan's Hokkaido Island late Monday, its trajectory was initially unclear. The question now is how much, if any, stable ground between the US and North Korea remains. North Korea is very adept at incrementally ratcheting up the pressure to see what the response is," Aum says.

A preview of the first wave of AR apps coming to iPhones

techcrunch.com | Aug 29 @ 17:02

At a round robin demo event yesterday with a bunch of developers of AR apps and features, I got a nice cross-section of looks at possible AR applications. For asset-heavy apps like games this will obviously be a tougher ramp, but not if you already have the assets. It will be exclusive to iOS for now because it’s the largest single target of AR capable devices. Some of the apps I saw were created or translated into ARKit nearly whole sale within 7-10 weeks. However, it also demonstrates how some apps will be treating AR as a “fun extra” (the button is literally labeled “Fun”), rather than integral to the experience.

The Walking Dead is getting a Pokémon Go-style AR game

theverge.com | Aug 29 @ 17:35

The next Walking Dead game is bringing walkers into the real world. The Walking Dead: Our World is being developed by Finnish studio Next Games, the same team behind mobile strategy game The Walking Dead: No Man’s Land, which the developer says has been downloaded more than 16 million times. Called The Walking Dead: Our World, the upcoming mobile release will be a location-based augmented reality experience, similar to Pokémon Go — only a lot more gruesome. Our World looks to be the first major property to follow in Pokémon Go’s footsteps. Apple also showed the game off today as part of its new slate of AR apps and games.

Aston Martin is the next automaker to electrify everything

theverge.com | Aug 29 @ 19:30

British sports car firm Aston Martin will go completely hybrid by 2025, its CEO Andy Palmer told Financial Times on Tuesday. But with the UK and France already announcing actions, and several other countries and major cities considering similar plans, more moves like those by Aston Martin and Volvo will be less and less shocking. Making just a few thousand high-end cars a year and recovering from steep losses following its sale from Ford a decade ago, Aston Martin is also trying to break out from the Ferraris and Porsches of the world. The move comes a month after the UK announced a ban on gasoline and diesel cars in 2040Palmer says Aston Martin will develop its own technology for its electrified vehicles, from electric cells purchased somewhere other than the United Kingdom. Palmer was critical of the UK government’s decision just last monthAston Martin is not alone in making a bold statement towards the adoption of electrification.

How To Stop Using Up All of Your Mobile Data Each Month

wired.com | Aug 29 @ 08:00

Instead, take control of your data destiny by tweaking a few phone settings and recalibrating your media consumption. Adjust Your System-Wide SettingsSmartphones ship with default settings, some of which are over-reliant on cellular data. This feature automatically switches your phone to a cellular data connection when your Wi-Fi connection is poor. Your apps might also be updating over cellular data, which can burn through your allotment pretty quickly. Turn off cellular data for your worst offenders and any other apps that don't need it.

How Can a Cat Survive a High-Rise Fall? Physics!

wired.com | Aug 29 @ 09:00

Sometimes a cat will fall out of a window or balcony—a byproduct, no doubt, of a cat doing cat things . So air resistance alone can't explain why a medium fall is more dangerous than a high fall. A RadioLab episode on this falling cat issue states that cats falling between five and nine stories are the ones most likely to be injured. The other force is the air resistance force. How is it possible for a cat falling from a higher height have a greater chance of survival?

Don’t Fall for Babylonian Trigonometry Hype

scientificamerican.com | Aug 29 @ 18:24

If it is a trigonometry table, is it better than modern trigonometry tables? We can interpret one of the columns as containing trigonometric functions, so in some sense, it is a trig table. There are a few theories about how Plimpton 322 was created and used by the person or people who made it. The two middle columns of Plimpton 322 contain one side and the hypotenuse of a Pythagorean triangle, or a and c in the equation a2+b2=c2. A trig table would include columns with the sine, cosine, tangent, and possibly other trigonometric functions of angles.

Engineering Uber's Self-Driving Car Visualization Platform for the Web

uber.com | Aug 29 @ 21:09

Choosing the webThere are many interesting discussions around why the Web might be the right platform to build our self-driving car visualization platform. If mapping self-driving technologies interests you, consider applying for a role on Uber’s Data Visualization Team. Rendering performant 3D scenes with WebGLUber’s Visualization Team maintains a suite of frameworks for web-based large scale data visualization, including react-map-gl and deck.gl. Next stepsGiven the rapid pace of ATG’s development, having the right products for Uber’s self-driving engineers is key for our growth. On top of what is available via Uber’s proprietary web-based map, maps for self-driving vehicles contain a lot more details.

Net neutrality comment deadline is tomorrow; 21.9 million comments in so far

arstechnica.com | Aug 29 @ 13:40

Net neutrality advocates face a high hurdlePai has set a high bar for net neutrality advocates. There are 21.9 million filings on the FCC's "Restoring Internet Freedom" docket already, blowing away the four million received before the 2015 decision that imposed net neutrality rules. How to file commentsFor a guide on how to write a meaningful FCC comment supporting net neutrality, read this recent Ars article. You have until midnight Eastern Time tomorrow night (Wednesday) to file comments on the Federal Communications Commission plan to deregulate broadband service and roll back net neutrality rules. Pai's proposal would also either eliminate or weaken the core net neutrality rules that prohibit blocking, throttling, or paid prioritization.

Harvey Shows Progress on Emergency Communications Since Katrina

wired.com | Aug 29 @ 08:00

AT&T has deployed seven portable cell sites, two charging stations, and an emergency communications vehicle to the affected areas. By contrast, more than 1,000 cell sites were knocked out during Katrina, preventing millions of calls from going through, according to a post-Katrina FCC report . “By and large we’re hearing that the cellular networks stood up. Disaster preparedness has become a critical component of cellular networks. Do-gooder hackers set up such mesh networks in places like Red Hook, Brooklyn after Hurricane Sandy.

The Lost Pleasure of Reading Aloud

spectator.co.uk | Aug 29 @ 16:28

But that’s not their interest for Abigail Williams in this fascinating study of habits of reading in the Georgian period. Like the nine o’clock watershed or the internet filter, suggests Williams, reading in company was an attempt to ensure that young people were not corrupted by too much acquaintance with writers like Shakespeare. Sharing of books and communal reading staved off the boredom of long, dark winter nights while at the same time providing opportunities for self-improvement. Sampling, excerpting, reading again were common practice as readers moved between different genres. She and her circle of correspondents (who included Mary Delany, the artist and bluestocking) swapped rhyming jokes, ‘a Dictionary of hard words’, and notes on what they were currently reading.

Python Data Science Handbook

github.io | Aug 29 @ 18:17

This website contains the full text of the Python Data Science Handbook by Jake VanderPlas; the content is available on GitHub in the form of Jupyter notebooks. If you find this content useful, please consider supporting the work by buying the book! The text is released under the CC-BY-NC-ND license, and code is released under the MIT license.

Netflix's 20th Anniversary Is Nice, But It Doesn't Matter

wired.com | Aug 29 @ 09:00

While you have been listening to me talk, the Netflix service has gone live in nearly every country of the world." That’s when Netflix CEO Reed Hastings decided to kill Qwikster dead, before it ever really had a chance to get going. In fact, today marks the 20th anniversary of the birth of the company—August 29, 1997, is when Reed Hastings, flush off the sale of his company Pure Atria (nee Pure Software), cofounded it with his colleague Marc Randolph. Back in 2007, the company was within weeks of launching the streaming box when CEO Reed Hastings opted to spin it off as a separate company. By season’s end, the show confirmed the previously unthinkable: The future of TV would be dictated on streaming platforms.

How Students Built the World's Fastest Hyperloop

wired.com | Aug 29 @ 08:00

They were the third and final team to get a run in the last stage of Elon Musk's hyperloop competition. Every team at the Space Hyperloop Pod Competition is potentially a key part of that effort, and the various private companies working on hyperloop each believe in their own solution. That drive to create and innovate is what brought 700 members of 25 teams from around the world to the SpaceX headquarters Sunday for the second annual SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition. The students spent the next 20 minutes waiting anxiously as pumps sucked nearly all the air from the tube. The students got a taste of working for Musk when their pod temporarily stopped communicating once sealed in the tube.

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