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Twitter has confirmed that it is developing a new tool to counter misinformation. Dubbed “Birdwatch”, the new feature could allow users to flag tweets, add notes to explain their suspicion, and fill up a survey form that estimates the tweet’s potential harm and reach. Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane), who was the first to spot the feature in early August, has since shared more screenshots that give a glimpse into how the feature could use crowdsourced data to moderate content on the platform.

Through multiple screenshots on Twitter, Wong on Saturday demonstrated how a “Twitter Community” form was generated when a tweet was “Added to Birdwatch”. The form had multiple questions that would add context to the complaint. Later, Kayvon Beykpour, Product Lead at Twitter and Co-Founder of the live-streaming app, Periscope, which was acquired by Twitter in 2015, confirmed in a reply that he would soon be sharing more on Birdwatch.

 

Building up to the confirmation from Beykpour, social media consultant Matt Navarra, too, had shared a screenshot last week, which showed a tiny binoculars icon appearing below a tweet that allowed him to access the “Add to Birdwatch” feature.

 

In her earlier tweet, Wong had also shown how the “Birdwatch” feature would enable users to add notes to the tweet they were flagging. The history of notes on the tweet could then be made available for other user/ moderators to see and vote on.

 

But the leaks into the working of this misinformation feature leave a lot to be answered. It’s still not clear if the feature will be open to all users, a specific set of fact checkers, or Twitter’s own band of moderators; it is also important to observe how Twitter plans to restrict the potential trolling that this feature could unleash on the platform.


Why do Indians love Xiaomi TVs so much? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.



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The Mandalorian Season 1 Recap Distills the Star Wars Series Into 89 Seconds

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Before The Mandalorian season 2 premieres Friday afternoon on Disney+ Hotstar (and Friday midnight on Disney+ in the US), Disney and Lucasfilm have given us an official 89-second recap of The Mandalorian season 1. That’s very brief, but it speaks to the fact that The Mandalorian wasn’t a narratively-heavy show on its debut last year.

Everything You Need to Know About The Mandalorian Season 2

The Mandalorian season 1 recap touches upon Mando’s (Pedro Pascal) profession (he’s a bounty hunter), his newest target (Baby Yoda), the people he meets along the way — Cara Dune (Gina Carano), Greef Karga (Carl Weathers), and Kuiil (voiced by Nick Nolte) — and the consequences of his decision to bring Baby Yoda under his wing.

“You have something I want. It means more to me than you will ever know,” the darksaber-wielding villain Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) says deep into The Mandalorian season 1 recap, as we are given a reminder of the Star Wars series’ action-heavy side. Gideon then declares: “It will be mine.”

The season 1 recap wraps by setting up The Mandalorian season 2, as tribe leader The Armorer (Emily Swallow) instructs Mando to reunite Baby Yoda “with its own kind”. Mando wonders: “You expect me to search the galaxy for the home of this creature?” Well, yes, otherwise what would we do in season 2, Mando.

In addition to Pascal, Carano, Weathers, and Esposito, The Mandalorian season 2 also stars Omid Abtahi as Dr. Pershing, Horatio Sanz as Mythrol, Rosario Dawson as Ahsoka Tano, Katee Sackhoff as Bo-Katan Kryze, Temuera Morrison as Boba Fett, Timothy Olyphant as former slave Cobb Vanth, Michael Biehn as a rival bounty hunter, and Sasha Banks in an undisclosed role.

Jon Favreau (The Lion King, Iron Man) created The Mandalorian and serves as showrunner and head writer on the Star Wars series. Favreau and Weathers are among the directors on season 2 alongside Dave Filoni, Rick Famuyiwa, Bryce Dallas Howard, Peyton Reed, and Robert Rodriguez.

The Mandalorian season 2 premieres October 30 on Disney+ Hotstar in India. Episodes will air weekly.

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Wild West for developers when it comes to writing cloud-native apps

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Commentary: Containers ate your infrastructure, but what comes next at the application layer? A new survey points to big, industry-wide decisions to be made about the tech used to write applications.

Image: vladans, Getty Images/iStockphoto

Twenty years ago it seemed certain that the underpinnings of future data center infrastructure would be Linux clusters running on x86 “commodity” hardware. We just didn’t know what to call it or where exactly it would run.

The big systems vendors like IBM, Sun, HP, and Cisco weren’t calling it “cloud”; instead, the vendors named it utility computing, autonomic computing, grid computing, on-demand, and n- other terms. At Comdex 2003, it was reported on ZDNet that “participants in a panel discussion at Comdex agree that utility computing is more like a river than a rock, but have little luck nailing down a real definition.” (ZDNet is a sister site of TechRepublic.)

Two decades later we know what to call it (“cloud”), and we know it’s built with containers and a whole lot of Linux. As detailed in the new Lightbend survey Cloud Native Adoption Trends 2020-2021, 75.2% of respondents already host the majority of their applications in some sort of cloud infrastructure, and roughly 60% run most of their new applications in Kubernetes/containers.

Now we’re faced with another major rethink that will affect tens of millions of developers operating at the application layer, where there are common threads on crucial concepts, but everyone is bringing different and predictions for the future.

SEE: Top 5 programming languages for systems admins to learn (free PDF) (TechRepublic)  

Higher up the stack

We’ve all felt this happening as containers have eaten into the virtual machine landscape, as web programming languages (JavaScript) surpass JVM/server-side languages (Java) in developer popularity, and as serverless, JAMstack, and other still-being-named phenomena change the “developer experience” in writing cloud-native applications. The diversity of choice in the “right way” to write software for the cloud has become a bit of a Wild West for developers.

As Google developer advocate Kelsey Hightower put it earlier this year, “There’s a ton of effort attempting to ‘modernize’ applications at the infrastructure layer, but without equal investment at the application layer, think frameworks and application servers, we’re only solving half the problem.”

“There’s a huge gap between the infrastructure and building a full application,” said Jonas Bonér, CTO and co-founder at Lightbend, in an interview. “It’s an exercise for the programmer to fill in this huge gap of what it actually means to provide SLAs to the business, all the things that are hard in distributed systems but needed for the application layer to make the most of Kubernetes and its system of tools.”

SEE: Top cloud trends for 2021: Forrester predicts spike in cloud-native tech, public cloud, and more (TechRepublic)

Lightbend’s cloud adoption report highlights some of these major decision points that remain murky for the application layer of the cloud-native stack.

“Building cloud-native applications means creating software that is designed with the advantages—and disadvantages—of the cloud in mind,” said Klint Finley, author of the Lightbend survey. “It means taking advantage of the fact that it’s possible to outsource entire categories of functionality—like databases and authentication—to public cloud services and planning for the fact that communication between those cloud components might be unreliable.”

Some developers still prefer frameworks they personally maintain and scale, while the business side clearly prefers frameworks that are delivered “as a service” via API, the survey says. Namely, 54.7% of managers said it was their highest priority to write business applications that specifically leverage the underlying cloud infrastructure vs. 38.3% of developers. Meanwhile, consuming back-end services by API rather than building and maintaining your own is the defining characteristic of the emergent JAMstack (JavaScript / API / Markup) architecture that has the weight of Facebooks’ React programming language momentum behind it. But it’s a completely different approach than the old-school server-side mindset for Java developers that still rule the roost and command vast legacy systems at most major enterprises.

The survey also suggests that developers think about cloud computing more in terms of specific technologies like Kubernetes and containers, while management thinks of cloud computing more as a new way to build applications. Management tends to prefer outsourcing as much maintenance as possible, while developers’ preference for configurability over automation reveals a desire not to lose too much control over the many layers of an application stack. As one respondent put it: “SaaS comes with ease of adoption and faster time to market, however many do not understand the cost of running them at scale.”

Disclosure: I work for AWS, but the views expressed herein are mine.

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New materials help expand volumetric 3D printing

Researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) have adapted a new class of materials for their groundbreaking volumetric 3D printing method that produces objects nearly instantly, greatly expanding the range of material properties achievable with the technique.

New materials help expand volumetric 3D printing

Using a custom volumetric additive manufacturing 3D printer, Lawrence Livermore researchers were able to build tough and strong, as well as stretchable and flexible, objects nearly instantly from a class of materials known as thiol-ene resins. Photo by Maxim Shusteff/LLNL.

The class of materials adapted for volumetric 3D printing are called thiol-ene resins, and they can be used with LLNL’s volumetric additive manufacturing (VAM) techniques, including Computed Axial Lithography (CAL), which produces objects by projecting beams of 3D-patterned light into a vial of resin. The vial spins as the light cures the liquid resin into a solid at the desired points in the volume, and the uncured resin is drained, leaving the 3D object behind in a matter of seconds.

Previously, researchers worked with acrylate‐based resins that produced brittle and easily breakable objects using the CAL process. However, the new resin chemistry, created through the careful balancing of three different types of molecules, is more versatile and provides researchers with a flexible design space and wider range of mechanical performance. With thiol-ene resins, researchers were able to build tough and strong, as well as stretchable and flexible, objects, using a custom VAM printer at LLNL. The work was recently published in the journal Advanced Materials and highlighted in Nature.

“These results are a key step toward our vision of using the VAM paradigm to significantly expand the types of materials that can be used in light-driven 3D printing,” said LLNL engineer Maxim Shusteff, the work’s principal investigator and head of a Laboratory Directed Research & Development project in advanced photopolymer materials development.

In the paper, researchers also demonstrated the first example of a method for designing the 3D energy dose delivered into the resin to predict and measure it, successfully printing 3D structures in the thiol‐ene resin through tomographic volumetric additive manufacturing. The demonstration creates a common reference for controlled 3D fabrication and for comparing resin systems, researchers said.

The team concluded the work represents a “significant advancement” for volumetric additive manufacturing as they work toward their goal of producing high‐performance printed engineering polymers, with particular emphasis on using thiol‐ene materials in biological scaffolds. Thiol‐ene materials have shown promise for applications including adhesives, electronics and as biomaterials, researchers said.

“By implementing a nonlinear threshold response into a broad range of chemistries, we plan to print with resins such as silicones or other materials that impart functionality,” said LLNL materials engineer Caitlyn Cook.

By studying how the resin behaves at different light dosages, researchers added they aim to improve the agreement between computational models and experiments and apply photochemical behavior to the computed tomography reconstructions that produce the 3D models used to build objects.

Source: LLNL

 




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