Anime Streaming Is Now Included With Your Amazon Prime Membership

Made in Abyss via Amazon Prime Video.

Anime Strike, Amazon Video’s anime add-on channel that cost $5 a month, has been shut down. But don’t be sad! Rejoice! It just means you can watch a bunch of great anime with your Amazon Prime membership now, no additional subscription required.

Amazon decided to axe the unpopular service today, days before hitting the one year anniversary mark, due to lack of subscribers and constant complaints from those who did sign up for the Amazon “Channel.” Anime fans were reluctant to sign up due to the services double paywall ($99 a year for Amazon Prime plus $60 a year for Anime Strike), and those who did sign up often had issues with shows missing translation, shows with too much translation and extraneous information, and a general lack of communication from Amazon. Anime Strike subscribers were often in the dark as to when new episodes of their favorite series would finally appear.

While some of those issues may not go away, at least the service doesn’t cost you an additional $5 a month now. If you have an Amazon Prime subscription, you can watch every show they had featured on Anime Strike, including great new stuff like Okkoku, Scum’s Wish, Made in Abyss, and Inuyashiki Last Hero. On top of that, Amazon’s Bollywood channel Heera is being added to standard Prime Video as well. Hopefully this move doesn’t mean that Amazon plans to avoid or remove anime or Bollywood content in the future.

from Lifehacker

Net neutrality suit gains support from tech’s biggest companies

Just one day after Ajit Pai’s FCC released the text of its order to gut net neutrality, a lobbying group that represents the largest tech companies in the world has decided to take legal action. The Internet Association represents companies like Amazon, Facebook, Google, Netflix, Twitter and other heavy hitters. It will join an existing lawsuit as an intervening party, which lets the group file arguments against the FCC.

"The final version of Chairman Pai’s rule, as expected, dismantles popular net neutrality protections for consumers," said the group’s CEO Michael Beckerman in a statement. This rule defies the will of a bipartisan majority of Americans and fails to preserve a free and open internet. IA intends to act as an intervenor in judicial action against this order and, along with our member companies, will continue our push to restore strong, enforceable net neutrality protections through a legislative solution."

This won’t be happening very soon, unfortunately. As Recode notes, any lawsuit must wait until the order is published in the Federal Register.

Via: Recode

Source: Internet Association

from Engadget

Time To Make The Doughnuts Free Of Artificial Dyes, Dunkin’ Decides

Doughnuts for sale at a Dunkin’ Donuts in Edmond, Okla. Last year, the parent company said it would remove artificial colors from its products in the U.S. by the end of 2018. Now they say they’ve already achieved that goal for their flagship product.

Sue Ogrocki/AP

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Sue Ogrocki/AP

Doughnuts for sale at a Dunkin’ Donuts in Edmond, Okla. Last year, the parent company said it would remove artificial colors from its products in the U.S. by the end of 2018. Now they say they’ve already achieved that goal for their flagship product.

Sue Ogrocki/AP

Dunkin’ Donuts has removed all artificial dyes from its doughnuts, nearly one year ahead of schedule, as the company continues to work to find replacements for synthetic coloring in its other menu items.

Rick Golden, Manager of Donut Excellence for Dunkin’ Brands, announced the news on Thursday, saying that “bright, colorful confections” are a hallmark of Dunkin’s doughnut lineup. The colors will remain, but the artificial colorings will be gone.

Last year, Dunkin’ announced it planned to drop artificial colors. The target date was the end of 2018. That’s still the goal for frozen drinks, other baked goods and breakfast sandwiches — but the doughnuts went au naturel, as it were, a little early.

“Our biggest challenge was replacing the artificial dyes in donuts with fruit juices and other extracts while balancing the flavor profile and bright colors,” Golden wrote. “It took years of research and development to get it just right.”

Some items used as toppings or decoration may still contain synthetic dyes, the company notes.

Dunkin’ is the latest in a long line of food companies to replace artificial colors with naturally derived dyes, which can be more expensive and more difficult to consistently produce. (Meanwhile, some perfectly natural colorings, like a red dye made from crushed insects, have also been known to ick out consumers.)

In 2015, General Mills announced it would be coloring Trix cereal with dyes made from the spices turmeric and annatto, as well as fruit and vegetable juices, instead of the old artificial options. Nestle re-did the recipes for 75 different candy bars to eliminate artificial flavors and colors. Panera boasted that it was dropping 150 different additives, including artificial colors.

Food dyes have been a particular target for advocates against artificial food additives, partly because they serve no health purpose, and partly because of specific concerns about their effect on children.

As NPR’s Allison Aubrey has previously explained:

“Some parents, including the sponsor of a petition aimed at getting dyes out of candies, believe that artificial colorings in food can contribute to hyperactivity in their children.

“But the evidence to back this claim is mixed. ‘I think there’s a growing body of research that shows that artificial food colorings can affect a child’s behavior,’ Andrew Adesman, a spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics, told us. ‘On the other hand, these effects are relatively modest.’

“And, he adds, there’s no evidence that artificial dyes pose long-term safety or health risks.

“Adesman says it’s good that the food industry is giving parents more options to buy products that are free of these artificial ingredients. But he points out that eliminating artificial dyes does not turn chocolate bars into health foods.

” ‘They [can be] high in fat and in sugar,’ Adesman says — two things many of us could stand to cut back on.”

The same, alas, is true of doughnuts.

from NPR Topics: News

‘Mortal Engines’ Trailer: The Physics of Those Giant Driving Cities

Next December, there’ll be a new entrant into the end-of-year, blockbuster science fiction movie category: the Peter Jackson film Mortal Engines. A teaser trailer for it dropped just before the holidays, and there’s really only one thing you need to know about it. Driving cities. Driving cities!

Now, I know the movie is based on a book series, which probably has a lot of detail about these giant ambulatory dwellings. But I like to try and see what I can figure out just from the trailer itself. So let’s get into some off the wall estimations. It’s what I do!

How Big Are the Cities?

Now, the first driving thing we see in the trailer looks more like just a few buildings. I would hardly call that a city—but no matter what it’s called, I need to estimate the size of this thing so that I can use it to calculate the driving speed.

If I assume that these are normal buildings on top of the moving thingy, then I can use the building size as my scale. Typically, one story level is about 3 meters (even Wikipedia says so) which means that the part of the vehicle that looks to be about four stories (just a guess) would be 12 meters tall. I can then use something like Tracker Video Analysis to measure the other dimensions.

Here you can see I get a height (from the ground to about the top) of 25.18 meters with a width of 23.21 meters. Clearly this is not exact. You can change the estimate of the story height (or even the number of stories) to get a different value. However, it is probably going to be from about 18 to 30 meters wide. There’s no way it would be something like 100 meters wide—that’s just not plausible. Yeah, I know, I just said "plausible" in a discussion about giant driving cities.

What about the giant driving city of London? Here is a view of both the smaller city right in front of London.

From this, I get a width of the London thingy to be about 489 meters. That’s big, but it’s still pretty small for a city.

But wait! There’s another way to get an estimate for the size of this driving city—at least for the smaller one. At one point in the trailer, this giant vehicle jumps off a cliff. It looks pretty cool—but I can also use this get the size. I need to assume two things: First, that this movie takes place on Earth with Earth-like gravity and a vertical acceleration of 9.8 m/s2. The second assumption is that the giant vehicle drives off the cliff with an initially horizontal velocity.

If both of these assumptions are correct, then the city starts with an initial vertical velocity of 0 m/s and falls down some height. I can estimate this falling height based on the falling time by using the following kinematic equation (this version only works for zero initial velocity in the vertical direction).

In this equation, y0 is the starting height and g is the vertical acceleration. By looking at the video, I get a falling time of about 0.54 seconds. Putting this value in for t, I get a cliff height of around 1.4 meters. Sure, this height depends on the falling time—which is sort of difficult to find. But even if the fall time was 1 second, the drop would only be about 4.9 meters high. So, it’s not a super big drop.

Looking back at the video, this drop height might be somewhere around half the total height of the driving city. That would put the height at anywhere from 3 meters to 10 meters (I guess I don’t really need to point out that this is a significantly smaller estimation than before). So I’m just going to stick with my first size value.

How Fast Are They Moving?

Now that I have a size estimate, I can use this scale to plot the motion of the smaller moving city as seen from above. Here is a plot of both the x and y-motion during that time.

Based on the slopes of these two lines, I can get the average x and y-velocity for this clambering thing and the magnitude of the average velocity. From this, I get an approximate speed of 26.4 m/s (or almost 60 mph). Yes, that’s pretty fast for a driving city. Although, come to think of it, I’ve never seen a driving city. Maybe this is OK.

I still don’t really know what this movie is all about, but there are still some interesting questions left. I am going to leave some of these as the following homework questions.


  • Get a rough estimate of the size of the bigger driving city—the one that’s supposed to be London. A rough estimate is way better than no estimate. You can do it
  • What is the mass of both cities? Yes, this can be quite tough. I think the best approach is to start with the average density of the city. What if you calculate the density of a normal car and use that same value?
  • For a cruising speed of 26 m/s, how much air resistance will be on these vehicles?
  • Assuming an acceleration of 1 m/s2 (I just picked a value), how much power would it take to get this thing up to cruising speed?
  • Use your estimate of air drag and calculate the power needed to drive at a constant 26 m/s. How many miles per gallon would this sucker get?
  • At one point, the giant city shoots harpoons at the small city. Approximate the distance between the two vehicles and calculate the minimum harpoon launch speed. Also use the flight time for the harpoons to get a second estimate of the launch speed.
  • Use your mass estimate along with an approximate of the size of the wheels (in particular the contact area with the ground). Calculate the pressure between the wheels and the ground. Would this pressure be small enough to prevent the giant car-city from sinking into the ground as it drives?
  • As the small driving city attempts to evade the larger city, it appears to make a turn. What circular radius could the city drive in such a way that the people inside only experience a circular acceleration of 1 m/s2?
  • Use video analysis to attempt to find the acceleration of the city as it turns.

from Wired Top Stories

Hackers Broke Into Forever 21’s Payment System For Over Half of 2017

Hackers breached “various point of sales terminals” at retailer Forever 21’s storefronts throughout the country, collecting “credit card numbers, expiration dates, verification codes and sometimes cardholder names” from April 3rd to November 18th, 2017, CNET reported.

In a notification to customers, Forever 21 said that “We regret this incident occurred and any concern this may have caused you.” It explained that when encryption was turned off on a system that logged payment card details from transactions, malware installed on its point of sales systems was able to transmit that data to the hackers.

The company originally disclosed a notice of possible “unauthorized access to data from payment cards that were used at certain Forever 21 stores” in November, though it did not provide specific details about the attack.

There have been so many major breaches of consumer data in recent years that it’s hard to keep track. But some of the highest-profile incidents this year included an intrusion into credit-rating firm Equifax’s database (losing info on over 145 million people), Yahoo’s late admission that all three billion accounts on the network in 2013 were compromised, and Uber’s bribery of hackers that stole 57 million customers’ personal data. As CNET noted, sophisticated attacks on retail point of sales devices continued to rack up this year, with other affected companies including Chipotle and Gamestop.

Cybercriminals sometimes market stolen credit card information on deep web forums hidden from less technically inclined web users. Cards which are identified as valid are then used to purchase expensive items like travel packages or gift cards. Tracking down the criminals often isn’t the most difficult part, but rather prosecuting them across national borders.

“It’s somewhat common to identify them,” assistant U.S. attorney for the Western District of Washington Norman Barbosa told CNN Money. “It‘s a little more more difficult to prosecute them. Much of the investigations in computer crimes are focused on trying to pull back layers to find out who is behind the criminal activity.”


from Gizmodo

This Small Device Could Silence the Maddening Symptoms of Tinnitus

A device developed by researchers at the University of Michigan, seen above being tested on a guinea pig, might help treat people’s tinnitus. Photo: David Martel, Christopher Chang/University of Michigan.

Millions of Americans suffer from a medical condition known as tinnitus, a disorder that can be so tormenting that it makes Edgar Allen Poe’s talking, taunting raven sound charming. People with tinnitus are plagued by phantom noises, usually ringing or buzzing, sometimes to the point where they can no longer work or function. Worse still, cases are often chronic and incurable: Current treatments include cognitive behavioral therapy to help people manage the distress it causes, using actual sounds to mask the ringing, or invasive brain surgery that often doesn’t work. But the findings of a new study, published today in Science Translational Medicine, seem to offer something much more promising—a noninvasive treatment that attacks the root source of tinnitus while making life noticeably easier for its sufferers.

Researchers at the University of Michigan believe they’ve figured out how to short-circuit the complex neurological process that results in tinnitus.

One of the leading theories behind what causes most cases of chronic tinnitus is that it begins with misfiring neurons in the dorsal cochlear nucleus—one of the two regions of the brainstem where auditory information is first processed. These neurons, called fusiform cells, are meant to fire when the brain receives input from the outside world, which is one of the first links in an almost simultaneous chain of events that leads to us correctly “hearing” the sound something makes. In people with tinnitus, this synchrony is thrown off-kilter and the fusiform cells fire whenever they please, leading to people hearing sounds that aren’t there. This initial imbalance can be caused by anything from damaging loud noises to ear infections, it’s thought, and often accompanies hearing loss.

The University of Michigan team, based on research they had done with guinea pigs, created (and patented) a device they think can retrain the brain circuitry involved in causing at least some cases of tinnitus.

“We worked out in animal studies that specific combinations of sound and pulses could either increase or decrease the activity of these [fusiform] cells that activate the rest of the brain,” senior author Susan Shore of the university’s Kresge Hearing Research Institute told me in an email. So their device, via headphones and electrodes placed on the person’s neck and head, sends out bursts of sounds and mild electrical pulses that alternate with one another. This theoretically resets the fusiform cells and decreases how often and severely a person’s tinnitus should happen.

After successful animal experiments, the researchers recruited 20 volunteers with tinnitus to take part in a 16-week experiment where they would take home and use a device every day. Half of the volunteers used the sounds-and-shocks device daily for four weeks, took a four-week break, and then used a similar device that only emitted sounds, but no shocks, for another four weeks, and finally took another four-week break. The other half did the same schedule of four weeks on followed by four weeks off, but they instead started with the sounds-only device, and then moved on to the sounds-and-shocks device.

During the weeks the volunteers were using the real device (the one that emitted both sounds and shocks), they reported less noisy and high-pitched episodes of tinnitus along with fewer episodes overall—two even said their tinnitus went fully away. That predictably led to a better quality of life and reduced stress for the volunteers.

Wonderful as an noninvasive and practically risk-free device (unless you can’t stand mild shocks) to treat tinnitus could be, it might not come without its limitations. The subjects’ tinnitus largely returned a week after they stopped using the device, even for the two people who reported losing it completely. The researchers also only used volunteers with a particular form of tinnitus. These sufferers are able to soften their episodes by applying pressure to their head or clenching their jaw—a rudimentary version of keeping their fusiform cells in check, it’s thought. That could mean the device won’t work for the 20 percent to 40 percent of tinnitus sufferers without that particular quirk.

The device’s effects did seem to accumulate the more it was used, Shore said, suggesting that a longer course could provide longer-term relief. “This treatment is only 30 minutes a day, so even if people had to use it every day or once a week, it would be helpful,” she added.

The team next plans to test out their device with a much larger group of poeple. This new study is already recruiting volunteers and is set to start in April. Researchers elsewhere are exploring a similar “bi-modal stimulation” approach to treating tinnitus. If this work continues to pay off, these devices could be a game-changer. It’s estimated that at least 15 percent of Americans, or 50 million people, suffer from tinnitus, while two million have a severe or debilitating case of it.

from Gizmodo

North Korea Accidentally Hit Its Own City During Missile Test According to New Report

Footage of the Hwasong-14 North Korean ICBM that was launched on July 4, 2017 (GIF made from KCNA video)

North Korea conducted a missile test on April 28, 2017 that didn’t go quite as planned. In fact, we’re now learning that the Hwasong-12 missile that the country launched actually went astray and may have hit the North Korean city of Tokchon.

The Diplomat reports that a US government source with knowledge of the launch says the missile failed after just a single minute of airtime. It’s believed that the test missile hit some agricultural or industrial buildings and it’s not clear if there were any casualties associated with the mishap. The structural damage was independently confirmed by The Diplomat using publicly available satellite photos.

As The Diplomat notes, this particular missile launch didn’t get much attention in the US press at the time because all we really knew about it was the fact that it failed. The revelation that the missile hit an unintended target raises new questions about the possibility that North Korea could accidentally start a nuclear war if an errant missile were to hit a country like Japan or South Korea.

Liquid fuel missiles like the one that failed in April 2017 can cause large explosions, even without a warhead, when the hypergolic propellant and oxidizer mix on impact. But the true damage done to buildings is a guess at best given available satellite data.

The month of April 2017, the time of the failed missile test, was an already incredibly tense period for US-North Korea relations. President Trump said that he was “sending an armada” to the region, which turned out to be a lie. And while North Korea hadn’t successfully demonstrated an ICBM yet (that would happen later that summer with the Hwasong-14) there was a lot of heated rhetoric on both sides.

The US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley even explained in April that the US would conduct a military strike against North Korea if it tested an ICBM. Haley said, “if you see [Kim Jong-un] attack a military base, if you see some sort of intercontinental ballistic missile, then obviously we’re going to do that.”

That turned out to be an empty threat as well. North Korea launched its first ICBM back in July and the US did nothing but impose more sanctions. But the outlandish rhetoric continues on both sides, as President Trump and Kim Jong Un most recently compared the size of the buttons on their desks.

Experts warn that North Korea’s success with missile tests over the past two years is due largely to Kim Jong Un’s uncharacteristically cool acceptance of failure. Dictators get upset when things are done exactly as they like, but Kim understands that you’re going to have some duds when you’re working with rocket science. And that’s what makes the situation even more terrifying.

Experts on nuclear weapons continue to warn that this isn’t a game and that we’re facing some very real dangers in the months ahead. With any luck, both President Trump and Kim Jong-un will cool down their war of words and not start World War III, accidentally or otherwise. Do you feel lucky?

[The Diplomat]

from Gizmodo