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tv   Click  BBC News  February 17, 2019 4:30am-5:01am GMT

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fighters has stalled because thousands of civilians remain trapped inside. us vice president mike pence says the united states will stay in the middle east to help hunt down the remnants of is. us military aircraft have begun delivering humanitarian aid for venezuela, to the colombian border. president maduro has warned that aid could be a us pretext for a military intervention. opposition leaderjuan guaido called for demonstrations to persuade the military to allow the aid in. eight illegal gold miners have been pulled alive from flooded mines in zimbabwe, but officials fear dozens more are still trapped underground. more than 20 bodies have been recovered since the incident happened on tuesday night. the government has declared it a national disaster. now on bbc news, click. this week: sign, listen, spray andjump.
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13 million text messages, 4 million youtube videos, 4 million google searches, 97,000 hours of netflix videos — that is the kind of data that flows across the internet in 2018... ..sorry, in every single minute of 2018. there are currently more than 2.5
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exabytes of data created every day and every new message, photo, video and transaction, well, it has to be stored somewhere, and that's why data centres, crammed with hard drives and processors, are starting to take a serious chunk out of the world's electricity consumption. there is another problem with the way that we store things in the long term. see, i've got a couple of my favourite songs and videos from the ‘80s stored on these. the problem is, i don't have anything to play them on anymore. yep, formats come and formats go. none of the data stored on these things can be easily read these days — well, not unless you too have an enormous archiving facility like the one at the bbc.
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so who is to say that our current crop of storage devices will be compatible with tomorrow's technology? after all, even the conventional usb sockets are vanishing from our laptops. but scientists believe there is at least one format which solves both problems. it can store data on a ridiculously tiny scale and we will always have the ability to read it. i give you — our dna. it is a single molecule that stores all of the information needed to make us. the theory is that its structure of two different base pairs could encode the zeros and ones that make up all of the data that we want to store. but can it be done and what are the possibilities? dan simmons has been finding out. massive attack's teardrop plays. it is pretty far out there,
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but it really suits the music and what they're about, i think. in his birmingham studio, artist harley davies is painting a unique work that is much, much more than meets the eye. it's mind—blowing to think that, when you consider how much data there must be out there. it's interesting for the future, i'd say. the artwork is the album cover of the hugely popular and influential mezzanine album by massive attack. and to celebrate its 20th anniversary, the band agreed to have this music encoded in dna and then added to several spray paint cans. and then added to several spray paint cans. it means harley's painting will hold thousands of copies of the album, and to find out how,
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i have come here, to a lab in zurich, to meet one of the pioneers of using genetic codes to store data. and so here's the freezer where we keep the dna. right, ok, this is where the magic happens? exactly. so in here. it comes in an enormous box, all really cold. and you buy in dna? we buy in the dna. dr grass has encoded the music already to be sequenced into the dna — that work is done by one of several companies now offering genetic code to order. so they make the dna in the sequence that encodes for the album. so we have the sequence of a, c, t and g and so, they take a and then the other c and the other t so that will encode for, i don't know, 0010 something like that. and then you have to make — because the album is much more than just a few zeros and ones — you have to make a lot of those dna sequences. and what does it look like when you buy it? so, i'll show you. itjust looks like water, a few drops of liquid with water inside.
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but we know there is dna in there and every tube, there is about a megabyte of information in there. so the whole album is distributed over the tubes, so there is no particular order. it starts at the beginning and at the end and so every tube contains a million different short dna sequences and every sequence has a number stored in it to tell us where it sits in the overall picture of the album. we have error correction implemented into it. so if we miss a sequence in reading or in writing, the data is stored somewhere else so you have some redundancy in the information. so inside this tube is effectively about the equivalent of one of the tracks on the album. and how much does this cost? 50 megabytes, $1,000 per megabytes, that's about $15,000 to store the album.
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it's a lot but you only have to do that once and then you can make enormous amounts of copies of it, because one key advantage of dna, i think, over all storage technologies we have, that essentially for free — nearly for free — you can make billions of copies, because there's an enzyme we have in our body, we know from biology, thatjust copies dna and so, we feed this tube to it and itjust makes enormous amounts of copies of the dna we have in that tube. dna in water, it degrades in about a year, not really useful, so you spend all your money to buy the cd in dna and itjust disappears in a year. right. so we had to find a solution to that. i don't know if you see it — it's a very small blob. oh, wow, 0k. so that — sort of there's an opaque section at the end of this tube. in there, there's billions of very,
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very small glass particles and in the glass particles, we have encapsulated the dna. so we have grown glass around — we have directed glass to grow around the dna to make that white, opaque powder. so now it looks different because you have grown glass to cover the dna? exactly, that is exactly what we do, and it protects the dna. very similar to what you know from amber. right, and the amber is protecting it from decaying for potentially millions of years. exactly. and here for millions of years, in our dna in the glass, for probably 1,000 years, it protects the album from decaying. so you can still hopefully play it in 1,000 years. as long as you can read the dna? exactly, that is another advantage of using dna. because our storage formant is dna so we will probably always be able or have an interest in reading our own dna, so if we can read our own dna, we can use exactly the same technology to read this dna. this is the plate, if you like, that the powder is put on and that
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then goes into the microscope and when we zoom in about 100,000 times, we can see each one of these sort of balls is a particle containing about 1,000 strands of dna. and we can zoom out from there and just see what is on the plate because each one of these specks now that you can see, these white specks, is a particle with 1,000 strands of dna. how many copies of the album are inside here, then? just the one? no, so we put a million copies inside. even if you don't spray with the whole can, you certainly have a copy of the album in there. so harley's picture paints much more than a thousand words. it is not only the first album cover artwork to actually include the album, a painting this size could store enough data to hold every album, picture, photo, book and a recording, audio and film ever created in the history of mankind.
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so how can we read the information? well, that's one fly in the amber at the moment. this machine takes 17 hours to do it. it has come down from about a week but still, imagine pressing play and waiting that long. so we may be several years away from dna being practicalfor storage but at least it will hang around for thousands of years, and in a format we will always recognise when we see it. 0r hear it. hello and welcome to the week in tech. this week, instagram confirmed a glitch was causing some users follower accounts to change dramatically. russia considered temporarily unplugging itself from the global internet to test its cyber defences. and apple's self—driving car tech placed last in a report
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from california's department of motor vehicles. the report found apple's test drivers disengaged the self—driving mode almost once per mile. drivers for waymo, the top performer, only disengaged once every 11,000 miles. drone manufacturer dji said it will expand geo—fencing capabilities to create no—go zones around runways and other sensitive sites. the changes come after major disruptions at london's gatwick airport in december. the airport's runway was closed after drones were spotted flying nearby. an inquiry into addictive technology was launched by lawmakers in the uk. it will hear evidence on the effects that social media, virtual reality and excessive smartphone use have on children and society in general. premier league football teams arsenal, liverpool and man city working with intel have created an immersive 360—degree video experience forfans. you'll be able to relive matches from any point on the pitch and through any player's perspective. and finally, in an idea so crazy
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that itjust might work, ford is using lane assist technology for cars to keep couples happy ina bed. the prototype bed moves your partner back into position if they encroach on your territory. it features a built—in conveyor belt and sensors to mimic the alert given when you drift across lanes on a highway, drifting you smoothly back to sleep instead. a few weeks ago, we visited the amazon spheres, part of the tech giant's headquarters in seattle. we met the people behind its voice recognition tool, alexa, and saw what else we'll be talking to soon. as the tech gets better, it could one day become the way that we interact with our devices. now, that prompted this question from a viewer: thanks, simon, that's
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a really good point and, yeah, apple homepod gives some control to deaf users through the use of a touchpad, but nowhere near enough to really use it. google‘s assistant can control a smart device by typing requests on a smartphone, and the captions feature is available on the versions of alexa with a screen — news, weather and climate can be activated with tap. all of this is quite basic. so abhishek singh has decided to show them how it could be done. he's created a simple algorithm to do this. the camera sees what he signs and turns it into text that alexa can understand and respond to. now, it only does a few words but the point is to inspire the big companies into action.
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last month, google released a couple of new accessibility apps for deaf users who use its android devices, and lara and click trainee maddie have been putting them to the test. i lost my hearing when i was seven and about a year after that, i got a cochlear implant which has helped me a lot, but even now in certain situations, i find it really hard to hear. so when i'm in noisy cafes, or at a dinner party, my hearing is not the best. we have deliberately come to a coffee shop where there's real, everyday noise all around us to demonstrate these. maddie here has been testing them in various different environments. we are going to start off with google live transcribe. and it does what it says, instantly and simply creating a script of your conversation. it can do so in 70 languages and dialects, with quite impressive accuracy. yeah, it seems to do really, really well with people talking.
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with one or two people talking, it works really well. obviously, the further away you get from it, the worse it gets and the closer you get, the more accurate it becomes. so the underlying technology is automatic speech recognition technology and what that is is that's a way of us taking all sorts of known speech from recordings and basically training algorithms on top of it so that it learns all the nuances, all of the contexts that we understand as people. it is not going to be perfect. no machine is ever going to be as good as people at doing this. so in terms of, like, really unique vernacular, or slang, or accents, it may struggle with that. we also have here google‘s sound amplifier app. you need to attach a pair of headphones to the device
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and from there it can turn up the volume on different elements of what you are listening to. it may be the quieter background noise you want to make louder, while keeping the main sounds you are listening to at the time, which could be some music, at the same volume. now, how useful did you find this was, maddie? i thought it was quite cool that you could play music and still hear stuff from the outside world at the same time. the phone's microphone picks up the ambient sound and, from there, the machine learning and artificial intelligence isolate the elements. that could make it possible to, say, make speech louder and the sound of an air conditioning unit quieter. people with worse hearing, it would be much more useful. because it just boosts that noise around you. so when you're less comfortable with your hearing it gives you that little bit of security that you could have that little bit of extra volume. it could be a good half—an—hourjust focusing on the app, playing with all the toggles, it builds into the settings on your phone, so it took me a while to find the right
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settings for me. these are what i would call accessibility first applications, in that we're not taking an existing product and making it more accessible, we're making, in both cases, the real world more accessible using these technologies that exist on a smartphone and in the cloud today. of course, there are other apps developed for the deaf and hard of hearing, too. ava 24/7 was released in 2016. it's a voice recognition and transcription app for group conversations, say around the dinner table. everyone downloads it, speaks into their phone, and will have their words transcribed and nametagged. compared to the live transcriber app, it's not as fast and it's not as accurate. and if you want to read it, you would have to have it in front of your face as well.
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yeah. but it does correct itself a lot in the time. the big game changer was the first hearing aids with the ability to communicate with and iphone came out. that then opened up a lot of possibilities. because you've not just got the processing power of the hearing aid, you've got the processing power of the smart phone as well. apple added similar functionality to their airpods last year, with live listen allowing you to place your phone or ipad near the sound you want amplified. and now starkey, one of the leading hearing aid brands, will be adding full detection and a virtual assistant to their device that already features live translation and activity tracking. a live translation feature is promised, along with activity tracking, and an app to host a whole lot of data. it looks at your constant communication with other people and therefore it's measuring how much social interaction you're having. and there are also sensors inside the hearing aid,
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so motion sensors inside the hearing aid, which are looking at how much motion you've got. there has been found to be a relationship between cognitive decline and hearing health. but when it comes to google‘s latest releases, even if they're not proving quite perfect yet, they do harness the power of the fiercest weapon most of us have on us all the time. now, we're on the countdown to the oscars at the moment and what better way to stop ourselves from going crazy with anticipation than to continue our series looking at the nominees in the best visual effects category? not you, this year, i'm afraid, doris. you're after something. this week it's the turn of our favourite half—witted scruffy—looking nerf herder in solo: a star wars story. i'm a driver and i am a flyer. i've waited a long time for a shot like this. what do you think? chewbacca growls. well, what would you know?
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we always strive with star wars to do things for real wherever possible. well, i mean, there's certain things that you just can't do. we can't build flying x—wing, we can't build flying tie fighters. and the as way you can't make real droids, you can make droid costumes for people. so in the case of solo — l3 she is a practical costume that was worn by phoebe waller—bridge. but part of that was phoebe wearing a green body stocking inside and then the inside, you know, the working parts of l3 were replaced with cg. and i think that's the ultimate goal — to try to always retain an element of reality, do something practically, but then use cg to fill in the bits that you can't do for real. even before the principal photography had started we were already doing previews for the train sequence, which is where you can mock the animation sequence up in a computer and work out what all the shots are going to be. that then informed a helicopter and ground—based shoot out
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in the dolomites in italy. was shot something like 80,000 images. all those images were effectively thrown into a piece of software, the software works out the positions of all those images, where the cameras were, and then builds what's called a point cloud from those images which gave us effectively a 3—d representation of the entire mountain range. from that we process that into a renderable geometry mesh and then projected all of the images back onto that and that allowed us to recreate this mountain range in 3—d. what we wanted to be able to do was take shots we had shot using the helicopter and cameras but then effectively move the camera much closer to the mountain face. that's where the 3—d mountain range really came into play. but also gave us the ability to cook a shot from scratch in post—production, change the cameras, changed the design on the shots, giving us the freedom to do whatever we wanted to do
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in post—production and react to notes and comments from the director. part of the problem with explosions and things like that is if you shoot a miniature explosion, the scale of the gravity gives itself away. we're trying to do an explosion that's the size of a mountain. and rob had the idea that we can't go big, how about we do absolutely tiny? he was a big fan of the slow mo guys on youtube. you've seen these guys smashing things up, shooting it with ultra slow motion cameras. and they did a thing where they were doing underwater explosions, like firing off tiny little firecrackers in fish tanks and shooting that something like 120,000 frames per second. so we decided to have a go at doing something like that. and, ultimately, that's what we did. so at pinewood, we set up a large fish tank and we took a 3—d print of the mountain that we were going to blow up, we shot it at 130,000 frames a second, and we filmed
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multiple versions of setting off a firecracker charges, various different colours of firecrackers, various different densities. we shot about, i think, 64 different versions of this explosion. using the 3—d print of the mountain the explosion — the bubble — wrapped itself around the contours of the mountain perfectly. it's quite funny, when you look at the shot, most people would think that the mountain range is real and the explosion is cg but it's actually completely the other way around. the explosion elements are absolutely real and the mountains are all cg. you know, it's no secret there was a change in directors halfway through the shoot of the movie and ron howard came on board. he is a fabulous director and he tried to have as little an impact on the production as possible. he wanted to pick up the reins and run with it. and he did a greatjob with that. there were certain amounts of the movie that he wanted to re—sculpt in his own vision. so that meant that the shoot extended. the shoot extended by about two months. but the release date didn't change, so that meant our post—production schedule was somewhat compressed.
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and it made things, you know, a little bit of a scramble in the final stages. but, having said that, it was, and it is a testimony to all the team at ilm and production and the way they organised the schedule, we still managed it. here in london, i think we delivered couple of days early. i got a really good feeling about this. since when do you know how to fly? chewbacca growls. 190 years old?! chewbacca growls. you look great! push it! wow. i just love looking at the work that goes into making those movies. don't forget — next week is oscars weekend and we'll be running the final in our series of best visual effects nominees. that's it for this week though. thank you very much for watching. don't forget, we're all over social media, including facebook, youtube, instagram,
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and twitter — @bbcclick. see you soon. hello. after hitting a high of 17 degrees on friday, saturday could only manage 1a. of course, it didn't help, it certainly felt cooler if your skies looked like this. but there's still some springlike sunshine to be found here and there. and in fact, parts of eastern england could be as high as 16 degrees during sunday, because we're all going to see a bit of sunday sunshine, either side though of an area of cloud, with a chance of rain spreading east across the uk. got low pressure to the west of us, you see the swirl in the satellite picture here. so it's this cloud which is going to move on through,
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but it is a weakening system, and some of us could welljust stay dry throughout. so this is how we're starting the day, nowhere particularly cold, and actually, for many of us, it will be a sunny start, but that's away from this area of cloud and some rain to the west. notice how narrow it is, though, as it moves into south—west england, into wales, knocking on the door of north—west england. most of its rain is now done from northern ireland at this stage, it's 9:00am in the morning. there's still some heavier bursts affecting parts of western scotland. there is a stiff, southerly wind out of this, as well. it is going to be a windier day compared with saturday. so what we have, then, is a fairly thin area of cloud, and the chance of seeing some rain, that's gradually going to push its way further east. so gone from northern ireland, we'll soon have the sunshine back into western scotland, wales, and western england as well, and it'll be dry for much of the rest of the day, bar the odd shower. so cloud reaches into eastern scotland and into eastern england. it's really hard to pick out any rain, because most of it has just fizzled out.
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it's essentially dry. it is a windier day. these are average speeds, western scotland could be gusting up to around 50 mph or so going into the evening. it's a touch milder, though, through parts of eastern england, helped by some sunshine here. 16 celsius could well be seen. now, we could well hold on to a bit of cloud for east anglia and the south—east of england on through sunday night and into monday, delivering a bit of rain at times. still quite breezy, quite windy going into monday, so no frost, and further showers moving in towards the north—west. this line of showers just pushing its way further south, as well, into parts of northern england and wales as monday starts. monday, many of us will get to see some sunshine, away from east anglia and the south—east of england, with thicker cloud at times and the chance of rain. plenty of showers on the brisk wind coming into the north—west. hail, thunder possible out of these, as well, may merge in western scotland to give some longer spells of rain. and temperatures are just taking a small step backwards, and another weather system coming in into tuesday could welljust keep that cooler feel going for a time, before it could well become very mild again later in the week. you're watching bbc news.
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i'm reged ahmad. our top stories: the battle to claim the last piece of territory held by islamic state fighters stalls because thousands of civilians remain trapped inside. the us says it will track down is. the united states will continue to work with all our allies to hunt down the remnants of isis wherever and whenever they rear their ugly head. us military planes carrying humanitarian aid for venezuela begin arriving at the border. president maduro calls it a coverfor a us invasion. and mourners have been paying their respects to footballer, emiliano sala, in his home town in argentina. the striker died in a plane crash last month.
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