The First Trailer for ‘Loving Vincent,’ an Animated Film Featuring 12 Oil Paintings per Second by Over 100 Painters | Colossal

The First Trailer for ‘Loving Vincent,’ an Animated Film Featuring 12 Oil Paintings per Second by Over 100 Painters | Colossal

The first trailer for Loving Vincent (previously) was just released and it promises stunning visuals in a novel format: the film was created from a staggering 12 oil paintings per second in styles inspired by the famous Dutch painter’s brushstrokes. The upcoming movie will detail the story of Van Gogh’s life leading up to the tumultuous time surrounding his death some 125 years ago. According to the filmmakers, over 100 painters have contributed frames to the ambitious feature-length film that is still in progress at their headquarters in Gdansk, Poland. The film is currently being produced by Oscar-winning studios BreakThru Films and Trademark Films, and you can follow their progress or even get involved yourself on their website.


Trump Derailed by Obama’s Endorsement – The New Yorker

Trump Derailed by Obama’s Endorsement – The New Yorker

Adding a new wrinkle in an already unpredictable election year, Donald Trump saw his poll numbers plummet on Monday after receiving a surprise endorsement from President Barack Obama.

The long-awaited downfall of the abrasive billionaire came in startling fashion, as few had expected the President to offer a full-throated endorsement of Trump, especially on the eve of the all-important Super Tuesday primaries.

Praising the Republican front-runner during a nationally televised address, the President said that, despite media reports to the contrary, Trump shared his views on such important issues as immigration and religious tolerance. “In every way that matters, Donald and I are on exactly the same page,” Obama said, pointing to a framed picture of the billionaire on his Oval Office desk.

Concluding his endorsement with an emphatic closing argument, Obama said, “If you love me, vote for Trump.”

In several G.O.P. polls taken after the President’s stunning endorsement, Trump sank from first to fifth place, trailing the retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson by several points.

As news of the President’s endorsement spread, former Trump supporters across the nation gathered to vent their anger, with some burning signs, trucker hats, and other campaign paraphernalia at impromptu bonfires.

Harland Dorrinson, who had attended a massive Trump rally in Alabama just a day earlier, said that he now felt totally betrayed by the billionaire. “I guess when all is said and done, Donald Trump was just too good to be true,” he said.

Conditions for life may hinge on how fast the universe is expanding | Science | AAAS

Conditions for life may hinge on how fast the universe is expanding | Science | AAAS

Scientists have known for several years now that stars, galaxies, and almost everything in the universe is moving away from us (and from everything else) at a faster and faster pace. Now, it turns out that the unknown forces behind the rate of this accelerating expansion—a mathematical value called the cosmological constant—may play a previously unexplored role in creating the right conditions for life.

That’s the conclusion of a group of physicists who studied the effects of massive cosmic explosions, called gamma ray bursts, on planets. They found that when it comes to growing life, it’s better to be far away from your neighbors—and the cosmological constant helps thin out the neighborhood.

“In dense environments, you have many explosions, and you’re too close to them,” says cosmologist and theoretical physicist Raul Jimenez of the University of Barcelona in Spain and an author on the new study. “It’s best to be in the outskirts, or in regions that have not been highly populated by small galaxies—and that’s exactly where the Milky Way is.”

Jimenez and his team had previously shown that gamma ray bursts could cause mass extinctions or make planets inhospitable to life by zapping them with radiation and destroying their ozone layer. The bursts channel the radiation into tight beams so powerful that one of them sweeping through a star system could wipe out planets in another galaxy. For their latest work, published this month in Physical Review Letters, they wanted to apply those findings on a broader scale and determine what type of universe would be most likely to support life.

As it turns out, our universe seems to get it just about right. The existing cosmological constant means the rate of expansion is large enough that it minimizes planets’ exposure to gamma ray bursts, but small enough to form lots of hydrogen-burning stars around which life can exist. (A faster expansion rate would make it hard for gas clouds to collapse into stars.)

Jimenez says the next step is to investigate whether gamma ray bursts are really as devastating to life as scientists believe. His team’s work has shown only that exposure to such massive bursts of radiation would almost certainly peel away a planet’s protective ozone layer. “Is this going to be catastrophic to life?” he says. “I think so, but it may be that life is more resilient than we think.”

Surge Pricing at Disneyland Could Boost Ticket Costs by 20% – Bloomberg Business

Surge Pricing at Disneyland Could Boost Ticket Costs by 20% – Bloomberg Business

Walt Disney Co. is raising the cost to visit its U.S. theme parks like Disneyland as much as 20 percent during the busiest times of year and lowering them on typically slow days at its California resorts.

The six parks in Orlando, Florida, and Anaheim, California, are shifting to a policy that charges visitors different prices based on anticipated demand, with weekdays during the school year much cheaper than holidays. Previously, the parks charged the same price for a one-day pass any time of year.

The move is designed to help manage traffic at the parks, which had record visits in the final three months of 2015. It is also likely to boost total revenue since most visitors will pay more for their tickets. Disney said the majority of price increases are in line with previous hikes.

At the company’s Disneyland and California Adventure parks in Anaheim, “regular” single-day adult ticket prices, which will be offered for about half of the year, will climb to $105 per day from $99 currently. “Peak” days, typically holiday periods and July weekends, will cost $119. The “value” ticket will fall to $95 from $99 currently. Value periods, mostly weekdays when school is in session, will account for 83 days this year.

Adult tickets for the Magic Kingdom, Disney’s flagship park in Orlando, will rise to $124 a day for peak periods, up from $105 presently. Tickets for the Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom resorts will rise to $114 on peak days, from $97 currently. Prices aren’t rising at the four Florida parks during the value days.

Multiday passes will get a typical increase, while season passes won’t change since they were increased in October, Disney said.

Why you probably shouldn’t be doing work on that in-flight Wi-Fi | Ars Technica

Why you probably shouldn’t be doing work on that in-flight Wi-Fi | Ars Technica

In-flight Wi-Fi services like Gogo Wireless (the service Petrow used on his flight) and Global Eagle Entertainment (the service available on Southwest Airlines and some other carriers) are in many ways just like the public Wi-Fi available at any coffee shop, mall, hotel, or other location where access is granted through a “captive portal”—that login screen that pops up in a browser window requiring either payment or acknowledgement of terms of service before you can reach the Web. Since there’s no password protection on the Wi-Fi connection, there’s no privacy protection for the raw traffic that is carried on the Wi-Fi network’s packets, and anyone listening in can intercept all of what gets passed through the wireless access point to and from the Internet.

But some in-flight networks break privacy even harder and introduce more potential ways to attack devices using them, because they either inadvertently or purposely block some of the most basic networking security tools: secure HTTP and virtual private networks. And Gogo designed its network specifically with law enforcement needs in mind, as its executives explained in a 2012 letter to the Federal Communications Commission arguing against FCC-imposed monitoring requirements:

“In designing its existing network, Gogo worked closely with law enforcement to incorporate functionalities and protections that would serve public safety and national security interests. Gogo’s network is fully compliant with the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (“CALEA”). The Commission’s ATG rules do not require licensees to implement capabilities to support law enforcement beyond those outlined in CALEA. Nevertheless, Gogo worked with federal agencies to reach agreement regarding a set of additional capabilities to accommodate law enforcement interests. Gogo then implemented those functionalities into its system design.”

Both Gogo and Global Eagle appear to block VPN traffic. Until last year, Gogo was also issuing its own certificates for some secure websites—including Google. That allowed them to perform content screening even in apparently secure Google searches. This may have been part of Gogo’s effort to prevent passengers from accessing sites that are “objectionable.” (A few years ago, Ars found that Gogo was blocking passengers from accessing our website.) But it would also allow the providers to give law enforcement greater insight into what passengers are doing aboard aircraft by stripping away Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption from Web browsing sessions.

Global Eagle’s service on Southwest also injects HTML into unencrypted Web pages: a flight tracker ticker that sits at the top of the browser window, essentially adding an advertisement to every non-SSL Web connection. The injection breaks the stylesheet for Ars’ homepage.

It’s not like anyone would notice a slow-down. In-flight Wi-Fi depends either on satellite communications or the somewhat faster air-to-ground cellular radio communications. A man-in-the-middle attack wouldn’t add much additional latency to Web sessions.

Corporate Campaign to Ditch Workers’ Comp Stalls – ProPublica

Corporate Campaign to Ditch Workers’ Comp Stalls – ProPublica

A campaign by some of America’s biggest companies to “opt out” of state workers’ compensation — and write their own plans for dealing with injured workers — was dealt a major blow Friday when an Oklahoma commission ruled the alternative system unconstitutional.

Company plans were supposed to provide equal benefits to workers’ comp. But in its unanimous ruling, the Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Commission compared that notion to “a water mirage on the highway that disappears upon closer inspection.”

In addition, the U.S. Department of Labor said in a letter obtained Monday that it is evaluating whether opt-out plans in Texas and Oklahoma violate workers’ rights under federal law.

The opt-out effort was the focus of an investigation by ProPublica and NPR last fall, which found that the plans almost universally had lower benefits and more restrictions than workers’ comp.

The commission, which is considered business-friendly, noted that the plans give employers significant power to deny claims by letting them define what constitutes a workplace injury. For example, workers sickened by asbestos can generally receive workers’ comp. But most opt-out plans in Oklahoma specifically exclude asbestos exposure from coverage.

The commission’s decision is likely to be appealed to the Oklahoma Supreme Court. Several legal and insurance experts who have been following the issue have already floated the argument that the commission acted outside its authority in ruling the law unconstitutional.

Such decisions are typically left to courts rather than administrative agencies like the commission. But in its order, the commission noted that the way the new workers’ comp law was written designated it as a “court of competent jurisdiction,” giving it the power to decide constitutional questions.

[I am not sure why this is a “constitutional” issue. Assuming they are referring to the Oklahoma constitution I found only one clause about Worker’s Compensation (Article XXIII, Section 7). It only covers injuries that result in death which is not an issue with the specific case. The whole issue of letting companies define their own workers’ compensation is slimy particularly in states that basically don’t believe in regulating (“business friendly”) industry.]

IBM to buy Resilient Systems, bringing security guru Bruce Schneier on board | Computerworld

IBM to buy Resilient Systems, bringing security guru Bruce Schneier on board | Computerworld

IBM will acquire Resilient Systems, it announced Monday, and along with the company, it will gain a big name in the security world: Bruce Schneier.

Resilient makes an incident-response platform that automates and orchestrates the processes for dealing with cyber incidents such as breaches and lost devices, and enabling companies to respond more quickly. The acquisition will give IBM Security the industry’s first integrated end-to-end platform combining analytics, forensics, vulnerability management and incident response, the company said.

IBM intends to bring Resilient’s full staff of roughly 100 on board once the acquisition is completed, including cryptographer and security guru Bruce Schneier, Resilient’s CTO.

Inside the laboratory where Verizon torture tests smartphones | The Verge

Inside the laboratory where Verizon torture tests smartphones | The Verge

Wireless carriers in the United States remain entrenched in a never-ending battle over which company has the “best” network. Which is fastest? Which offers the most coverage and is most reliable? Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint all take turns claiming supremacy in their TV and web ads. Verizon’s latest campaign has a rather simple tagline: “better matters.” It sticks to the long-running perception that Verizon has the best mobile network in the US — even if its rivals would object.

To reinforce that strong reputation, Verizon recently invited press to its device test lab in Bedminster, New Jersey. The building was once home to Verizon’s main headquarters, which is now a few miles down the road in Basking Ridge. So this office space has been repurposed to run through over a dozen critical tests that devices (smartphones, tablets, IoT gadgets, etc.) must pass before being allowed to run on Verizon’s network.

Some are the type you’d expect; Verizon’s engineers are obsessed with network performance, so they stuff devices into a big metal box to prevent any outside interference and gauge pure data reception, VoLTE call quality, noise cancellation, and so on. The rooms themselves are shielded from wireless signals, allowing Verizon to emulate its 2G, 3G, and LTE networks on actual hardware — without letting those devices onto the same network customers are using. Another test room deals with emergency services and ensuring that all devices exceed requirements for putting you in touch with 911. Next to these vault-like labs are plenty of cubicles and your everyday office meeting rooms, so there are signs on the outside that flash red when a live test is being conducted.

Of course, device manufacturers carry out plenty of these tests themselves; Verizon’s engineers said it’s “rare” for a product to flunk once it’s at the network certification stage, and they’re usually around “95 percent” there by the time they get to this important step. But that doesn’t prevent the carrier from doing its own endurance testing, like dropping phones on the ground repeatedly, or zapping batteries to make sure they’re compliant and won’t blow up in your jeans.

I don’t want to make Verizon sound too special here; its main US rivals all certainly have testing labs of their own, with similarly high standards for smartphones and other devices to meet. But there are definitely some hard working people trying to make your phone work the best that it can. If you’ve ever wondered what that looks like at the largest US carrier, let’s take a tour.

Verizon, AT&T miss initial VoLTE interoperability target, promise it will happen this year – FierceWireless

Verizon, AT&T miss initial VoLTE interoperability target, promise it will happen this year – FierceWireless

A top Verizon executive said that the company’s VoLTE interoperability testing with competitor AT&T Mobility is going well and that the company expects VoLTE interoperability with AT&T to be commercially available this year. The companies had previously said interoperability would be available by the end of last year.

Speaking at the FierceWireless luncheon panel on the Path to 5G last week, Adam Koeppe, vice president of network planning and technology at Verizon, said that the VoLTE interoperability trials between the two companies were progressing nicely. Koeppe was using VoLTE as an example of how the two operators have come together to work on interoperability and will likely be able to work together in other areas in the future, like 5G.

Likewise, in a December 2015 blog post, Bill Smith, president of AT&T Network Operations, said that AT&T had successfully achieved the first VoLTE exchange between AT&T customers and Verizon customers in limited, select areas.

Koeppe’s comments are notable considering the two companies announced in late 2014 that they expected to have VoLTE-to-VoLTE calling between the two networks commercially available in 2015. At the time, Verizon said that engineers from both companies were doing extensive lab testing and were then going to move on to field trials. The goal of the testing was to allow customers to make seamless VoLTE HD calls between the two networks and lay the foundation for other Rich Communication Services (RCS) such as video calls, rich messaging and more.

Currently, Verizon customers can only make VoLTE calls if they have a VoLTE-enabled smartphone and are calling another Verizon customer with a VoLTE-enabled smartphone. Likewise AT&T customers with VoLTE-enabled smartphones can only make VoLTE calls with another AT&T customer with a VoLTE-enabled smartphone.