Odds and Ends 

The Unsung 3rd Member of the Apollo 11 Crew Reflects on the 50th Anniversary

On July 21st, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to ever set foot on the moon. The third member of the historic Apollo 11 mission was Command Module Pilot, Michael Collins, whose mission was to bring everyone home. In this animated Google Doodle, Collins reflects on the 50th anniversary of the mission that changed our world forever. Read more: https://twistedsifter.com/videos/michael-collins-reflects-on-50th-anniversary-moon-landing/

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This Crazy Tech Can Turn Anybody in a Photo Into a Moving Animation

Photo Wake-Up is a research project by Chung-Yi Weng, Brian Curless, and Ira Kemelmacher-Shlizerman of the University of Washington. Per their paper’s abstract: We present a method and application for animating a human subject from a single photo. E.g., the character can walk out, run, sit, or jump in 3D. The key contributions of this paper are: 1) an application of viewing and animating humans in single photos in 3D, 2) a novel 2D warping method to deform a posable template body model to fit the person’s complex silhouette to…

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Richard Branson is taking Virgin Galactic public

London (CNN Business)Richard Branson is bringing Virgin Galactic to the stock market. The startup’s current management team will stay in place after the merger, and, as part of the deal, existing investors in Galactic are being offered a combination of SCH stock and cash. Galactic’s primary backers are Branson and his own Virgin Group, a UK-based investment and branding company that functions like his private wealth management firm. SCH’s stock was up nearly 3% on Tuesday. Looking ahead Galactic has yet to fly a mission for paying customers, but the…

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Bill Gates reveals the biggest mistake of his career

San Francisco (CNN Business)Bill Gates has a resume of career highs, but he calls Microsoft’s failure to become Apple’s chief iOS rival his “greatest mistake.” In an interview Monday at the Economic Club in Washington, DC, Gates said the antitrust trial it faced at the time was a major distraction. He also said the company failed in how it assigned staff to work on mobile. “We knew the mobile phone would be very popular so we were doing what was called Windows Mobile. We missed being the dominant mobile operating…

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Trump suggests using Huawei as a bargaining chip in US-China trade deal

Hong Kong (CNN Business)US President Donald Trump has raised the possibility of easing restrictions on Huawei as part of a broader trade deal with Beijing, despite labeling the Chinese telecommunications giant “very dangerous.” “It’s possible that Huawei even would be included in some kind of trade deal,” Trump said. “If we made a deal, I can imagine Huawei being included in some form of, some part of a trade deal.” The United States has long branded Huawei — the world’s largest telecommunications equipment maker and the No. 2 smartphone brand…

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Trump tweets support for far-right figures banned by Facebook

New York (CNN)Facebook barred seven users from its services earlier this week, citing its policies against “dangerous individuals and organizations.” Now President Donald Trump is siding with the people who were banned and railing against social media “censorship” — all while using one of his favorite social sites. “We’ve always banned individuals or organizations that promote or engage in violence and hate, regardless of ideology,” a Facebook spokesperson told CNN Business when the bans were put into effect on Thursday. The action affected Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who’s…

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10 Robots Working Together To Pull a Giant Truck

Watch 10 Spot Robots from Boston Dynamics work together to haul a truck across a parking lot (~1 degree uphill, truck in neutral). These Spot robots are coming off the production line now and will be available for a range of applications soon. For more information visit www.BostonDynamics.com/Spot Read more: https://twistedsifter.com/videos/robots-pulling-truck-together/

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Report: Millions of Facebook user records left exposed online

Yawn.Image:  NurPhoto / getty Another day, another Facebook privacy scandal.  Hundreds of millions of Facebook user records — including some plain text passwords — were found exposed online free and open for the taking. So reports UpGuard, a cybersecurity risk assessment company, which notes in an April 3 press release that the two data sets in question were configured for public download. Yes, that means that anyone who knew where to look could have pulled it.  SEE ALSO: Facebook backs away from asking for some users’ email passwords At the…

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Say goodbye to Google+

Google's robot assistant can make phone calls for you now.Image: Getty Images / ethan miller Sometimes, making an important phone call to set up an appointment can be inconvenient or nerve-wracking. That, or you just don’t feel like doing it. There’s potentially good news on that front. Google Duplex, a Google Assistant-powered phone call service, is finally coming to devices that the majority of people own. According to Google’s support site, Duplex has started rolling out to iOS and non-Pixel Android devices, as spotted by 9to5Google. SEE ALSO: Say goodbye…

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Deep Learning Smart Paintbrush Turns Doodles Into Photorealistic Images

A deep learning AI model developed by NVIDIA Research has been seen turning rough doodles into photorealistic images with astonishing ease. The tool leverages generative adversarial networks, or GANs, to convert segmentation maps into lifelike images. The interactive app using the model, in a lighthearted nod to the post-Impressionist painter, has been christened GauGAN. Post-Impressionist Paul Gauguin GauGAN could offer a powerful tool for creating virtual worlds to everyone from architects and urban planners to landscape designers and game developers. With an AI that understands how the real world looks,…

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Here’s what makes ‘On My Block’ one of Netflix’s most intriguing shows

Image: disney The video-streaming industry is crowded with big names—some with already-existing services and others with impending apps. Considering the current three largest platforms, the agglomeration of media companies, and the tech companies investing heavily in video, it can be hard to wrap your head around the sheer scope of the entertainment giants that make up this market. Each service has its own origin story, business interests, and exclusive originals and licensed content. There’s also a wide assortment of fluctuating prices, packages and plans, and technology under the surface. “We’re…

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Let’s face it, AirPower didn’t seem that cool anyway

Just look at this stupid thing.Image: AFP Contributor / getty One. Less. Thing.  Apple has officially canceled its long-promised wireless charging pad dubbed AirPower —vaporware that always looked lame as hell. The company copped to the half-expected news on March 29, surely devastating the few people that pre-ordered the $79 wireless-charging AirPods case.  SEE ALSO: Oh look, the Apple Watch might actually be good for something The rest of us, however, can rest easy in the knowledge that we never would have purchased one of those mousepad-looking things anyway. Sure,…

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