Oggi e' 21.08.2019
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  • Japan's Digital Pop Stars Blur Line Between Virtual and Reality
    An anonymous Slashdot reader shares a report about Japan's virtual YouTubers or VTubers that act as live performers, corporate PR officials and even surrogate children. From The Wall Street Journal: Ryosei Takehisa, 24 years old, doesn't have any children -- unless you count an animated character with elfin ears called Mikuriya Kuon. In live appearances on YouTube, the kimono-clad Kuon character, voiced by an actor hired by Mr. Takehisa, dispenses advice about the latest video games and plays rock-paper-scissors with her fans. The creator says he considers Kuon his "real daughter" even though she "resides within pixels." While others may compete for fame or page views, "for me, I'm totally satisfied just with the fact that she was born and is continuing to live life in good health," says Mr. Takehisa. Digital avatars with human traits have long carved out a role on social media, on Instagram in particular. Japan, as it often does, has taken the idea and run with it, with its virtual characters now estimated to number more than 3,000. Technology allows Kuon and her peers to have more direct engagement with fans -- and sometimes a family-like relationship with their own creators. The characters, known as virtual YouTubers or VTubers because many are active on YouTube, sing and dance at live performances and answer questions on webcasts. VTubers are so embedded in Japanese culture that one of them serves as a face of the Japanese government's tourism campaign. Another presented earnings results for game-site operator Gree Inc. in August last year, informing investors that "we will aggressively invest in strengthening our three earnings pillars." "VTubers are an evolution in Japan's long tradition of manga and anime, giving real-time interactivity to the sort of characters earlier depicted in comic books and on television screens," the report says. "The next step could be artificial intelligence to allow the VTubers to sing, dance and be mischievous without any backstage human help." Sony is trying to further extend one of their latest pop sensations, a VTuber called Kaguya Luna, by building on its virtual-reality technology. "It has already staged concerts by Luna that fans view through a VR headset," reports The WSJ. "Next the company is looking into haptic technology -- which can convey vibrations and force -- to allow fans to get up close and personal with Luna."

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  • The First Lightning Security Key For iPhones Is Here, and It Works With USB-C, Too
    Yubico is releasing the $70 YubiKey 5Ci, the first security key that can plug into your iPhone's Lightning port or a USB-C port, and it's compatible with popular password vaults LastPass and 1Password out of the box. The Verge reports: That means you may not have to remember your password for your bank ever again -- just plug the YubiKey into your iPhone, use it to log into the 1Password app, and get that bank password. At launch, it'll support these well-known password managers and single sign-on tools: 1Password, Bitwarden, Dashlane, Idaptive, LastPass, and Okta. And when using the Brave browser for iOS, the YubiKey 5Ci can be used as an easier way to log into Twitter, GitHub, 1Password's web app, and a couple other services. Notably, the 5Ci doesn't work with the newest iPad Pros at all, despite having a USB-C connector that fits. And you can't just plug the Lightning side of the 5Ci into an iPhone and expect it to work with any service that supports the FIDO authentication protocol -- our passwordless future isn't here just yet. Yubico tells The Verge that services have to individually add support for Lightning connector on the 5Ci into their apps.

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  • Sony Pulls Spider-Man Out of the MCU Over Profit-Sharing Dispute With Disney
    Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has pulled out of producing future Spider-Man movies. From a report: The news was first reported by Deadline and later confirmed by Sony Pictures. According to Deadline's reporting, the break is due to disputes between Sony -- which still holds the rights to the character -- and Marvel's parent company Disney over revenue sharing from films starring the web-slinging hero. The news means that Spider-Man's appearances in Disney's Marvel Cinematic Universe films -- as well as crossovers from characters like Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man or Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury in future Spider-Man films -- could end with Spider-Man: Far From Home, released earlier this summer.

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  • 'World's Oldest Webcam' To Be Switched Off
    The world's oldest continuously working webcam is being switched off after 25 years. The BBC reports: The Fogcam was set up in 1994 to watch how the weather changed on the San Francisco State University campus. has broadcast almost continuously since then barring regular maintenance and the occasional need for it to be re-sited to maintain its view. Its creators said it was being shut down because there were now no good places to put the webcam. Jeff Schwartz, who with Dan Wong set up the webcam, said it would go offline on 30 August. "We felt it was time to let it go," Mr Schwartz told the SFGate newspaper, adding that it was getting harder to find secure locations to put the camera so it had a good view of Holloway Avenue. Mr Schwartz said he was inspired to set up the camera by what is believed to be the first-ever live webcam which was set up at Cambridge University in 1993 to watch a communal coffee pot.

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  • Pig To Human Heart Transplants 'Possible Within Three Years'
    An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Adapted pig hearts could be transplanted into patients within three years, according to a report citing the surgeon who pioneered heart transplantation in the UK. On the 40th anniversary of the first successful heart transplant, Sir Terence English told The Sunday Telegraph that his protege from that operation would try to replace a human kidney with a pig's this year. "If the result of xenotransplantation is satisfactory with porcine kidneys to humans, then it is likely that hearts would be used with good effects in humans within a few years," the 87-year-old said. "If it works with a kidney, it will work with a heart. That will transform the issue." The anatomy and physiology of a pig's heart is similar to that of a human's, so they are used as models for developing new treatments.

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  • YouTube Removes Videos of Robots Fighting For 'Animal Cruelty'
    YouTuber and robot enthusiast Anthony Murney noticed YouTube has removed hundreds of videos showing robots battling other robots after claiming they are in breach of its rules surrounding animal cruelty. He's blaming a new algorithm introduced by YouTube to detect instances of animal abuse. The Independent reports: Several other channels dedicated to robot combat have also produced videos pointing out the issue in an effort to get YouTube to restore the content. Channels posting robot combat videos saw their content removed and received a notice from YouTube explaining that the videos were in breach of its community guidelines. Each notice cited the same section of these guidelines, which states: "Content that displays the deliberate infliction of animal suffering or the forcing of animals to fight is not allowed on YouTube." It goes on to state: "Examples include, but are not limited to, dog fighting and cock fighting."

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  • Walmart Sues Tesla Over Fires At Stores Fitted With Its Solar Panels
    Walmart filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against Tesla accusing the company of supplying solar panels that were responsible for fires at about seven of its stores. Reuters reports: The fires destroyed significant amounts of store merchandise and required substantial repairs, totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket losses, Walmart said in the lawsuit. As of November 2018, no fewer than seven Walmart stores, including in Denton, Maryland and Beavercreek, Ohio, had experienced fires due to Tesla's solar systems, according to the lawsuit. The world's largest retailer started using solar panels made by SolarCity in 2010 and the roofs of around 240 of its stores were fitted with solar panels made by the company. "This is a breach of contract action arising from years of gross negligence and failure to live up to industry standards by Tesla with respect to solar panels that Tesla designed, installed, and promised to operate and maintain safely on the roofs of hundreds of Walmart stores," Walmart said in the court filing.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.