All posts tagged: puzzles

This Is The Terrifying Reason Why Captcha Puzzles Are Getting Harder

This Is The Terrifying Reason Why Captcha Puzzles Are Getting Harder

Have you noticed that Captcha tests are getting harder? I feel like I’ve gone from trying to identify how many squares in a grid contain traffic lights (which I did already find tricky because what if it’s just a small corner?!?!) to going through an entire song and dance just to visit a website. Captcha stands for ‘Completely Automated Public Turing Test to Tell Computers and Humans Apart’ and was created to prevent bots from accessing networks and private data. They are important and an essential part of cybersecurity but they have definitely gotten harder for many of us. Why captcha tests have gotten harder Fortunately, this isn’t something that we’re just making up. Captcha tests really are getting harder and a study by researchers at the University of California Irvine has discovered why — and it’s pretty scary. Do you remember when a lot of websites used distorted words and numbers as Captcha tests? Well, they’ve been slowly discontinued because, uh, AI bots can now read them. The study author said: “Advances in computer …

Take Crossword Puzzles Seriously – The Atlantic

Take Crossword Puzzles Seriously – The Atlantic

This past December, I threw a party to celebrate a major milestone in my life: the 1,000th day of my New York Times crossword-solving streak. My friends, none of them fellow cruciverbalists, poured in wearing their black-and-white best, armed with outsize praise for my presumed intelligence: How smart I must be to complete the Times puzzle every day! Their comments affirmed that the crossword—and particularly the Times one—carries a certain mystique. For 1,000 consecutive days, I had passed this bourgeois aptitude test, proving my linguistic and cultural acumen in my guests’ eyes. Since its invention in 1913, the modern American crossword puzzle has undergone something of a reputational shift, from frivolous distraction to status symbol. In reality, the crossword is many things: a site of play, a cultural forum, a daily pleasure. And, because it traffics in language—the stuff people use to form identity, signal belonging, and ostracize others—it’s also a political entity. The writer and crossword constructor Anna Shechtman knows that casting such a pastime as political might sound ridiculous. As she writes in …

Take Crossword Puzzles Seriously – The Atlantic

Take Crossword Puzzles Seriously – The Atlantic

This past December, I threw a party to celebrate a major milestone in my life: the 1,000th day of my New York Times crossword-solving streak. My friends, none of them fellow cruciverbalists, poured in wearing their black-and-white best, armed with outsize praise for my presumed intelligence: How smart I must be to complete the Times puzzle every day! Their comments affirmed that the crossword—and particularly the Times one—carries a certain mystique. For 1,000 consecutive days, I had passed this bourgeois aptitude test, proving my linguistic and cultural acumen in my guests’ eyes. Since its invention in 1913, the modern American crossword puzzle has undergone something of a reputational shift, from frivolous distraction to status symbol. In reality, the crossword is many things: a site of play, a cultural forum, a daily pleasure. And, because it traffics in language—the stuff people use to form identity, signal belonging, and ostracize others—it’s also a political entity. The writer and crossword constructor Anna Shechtman knows that casting such a pastime as political might sound ridiculous. As she writes in …

Washington puzzles over AI in health care

Washington puzzles over AI in health care

This article was originally published on KFF Health News. Lawmakers and regulators in Washington are starting to puzzle over how to regulate artificial intelligence in health care—and the AI industry thinks there’s a good chance they’ll mess it up. “It’s an incredibly daunting problem,” said Bob Wachter, the chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of California-San Francisco. “There’s a risk we come in with guns blazing and overregulate.” Already, AI’s impact on health care is widespread. The Food and Drug Administration has approved some 692 AI products. Algorithms are helping to schedule patients, determine staffing levels in emergency rooms, and even transcribe and summarize clinical visits to save physicians’ time. They’re starting to help radiologists read MRIs and X-rays. Wachter said he sometimes informally consults a version of GPT-4, a large language model from the company OpenAI, for complex cases. The scope of AI’s impact—and the potential for future changes—means government is already playing catch-up. “Policymakers are terribly behind the times,” Michael Yang, senior managing partner at OMERS Ventures, a venture capital firm, said in …

Only those with a high IQ can spot the 10 differences in 10 seconds | Weird | News

Only those with a high IQ can spot the 10 differences in 10 seconds | Weird | News

Whether you’re finding the odd one out in a picture, or searching for a hidden word among many others, they’re a joy to do. Plus, the more you try, the better you get – bonus! This new brainteaser asks you to find 10 differences between two photos in just 10 seconds – it might be the hardest one yet! Ready, steady, go find those differences! The image shows a living room with some changes in the second photo. Can you spot them all before time runs out? You’ve got just 10 seconds to find the 10 differences – that’s one per second. If it’s too tricky, break the picture down into smaller parts to help you find all the differences quickly. Some differences are even right next to each other to make it easier. Have you found them all yet? Time is ticking, and soon all will be revealed. Don’t scroll down if you don’t want to see the answer yet. Hint: Focus on the left side of the picture, as there aren’t many differences, …

On a Frozen Border, Finland Puzzles Over a ‘Russian Game’

On a Frozen Border, Finland Puzzles Over a ‘Russian Game’

Poking up through the snow drifts on the Finnish-Russian border lies a symbol of Moscow’s biggest provocation yet toward NATO’s newest member: a sprawling heap of broken bicycles. The battered bikes are sold for hundreds of dollars on the Russian side to asylum seekers from as far away as Syria and Somalia. They are then encouraged — sometimes forced, according to Finnish guards — to cross the border. Finns say it is a hybrid warfare campaign against their country, using some of the world’s most desperate people, just as it is staking out a new position in a shifting world order. “Some of the bikes didn’t even have pedals — sometimes they’d link arms, to help each other keep moving,” said Ville Kuusisto, a Finnish border guard master sergeant, at the crossing near the Russian town of Vyborg. As Finns vote on Sunday for a new president, who will be responsible for foreign policy and act as commander in chief, Finland has become fixated on its 830-mile border, the longest with Russia of any NATO …

Only those with the sharpest minds can crack this tricky brainteaser in 22 seconds | Weird | News

Only those with the sharpest minds can crack this tricky brainteaser in 22 seconds | Weird | News

A brand new optical illusion has left Brits totally confused after most of the population failed to find the hidden animals. The artsy picture of a natural landscape with trees and mountains actually doubles up as a montage of beautiful animals. While it may not be obvious at first, Express readers are encouraged to give the challenge a go. Even if you don’t find all ten of them – one of which is a human – then don’t worry, as even just giving it a go will test your brain and keep it active. As we age, it is important to keep both our body and brain healthy – which means we need to use them as much as possible, in all the different ways they can be used. Many retired people tend to stop using their brain and just carry out mindless activities like watching TV. While it is important to not be stressed out, you should also strive to keep that head whirring as much as comfortably possible. This is because we risk …

Dark energy is one of the biggest puzzles in science and we’re now a step closer to understanding it

Dark energy is one of the biggest puzzles in science and we’re now a step closer to understanding it

Over ten years ago, the Dark Energy Survey (DES) began mapping the universe to find evidence that could help us understand the nature of the mysterious phenomenon known as dark energy. I’m one of more than 100 contributing scientists that have helped produce the final DES measurement, which has just been released at the 243rd American Astronomical Society meeting in New Orleans. Dark energy is estimated to make up nearly 70% of the observable universe, yet we still don’t understand what it is. While its nature remains mysterious, the impact of dark energy is felt on grand scales. Its primary effect is to drive the accelerating expansion of the universe. The announcement in New Orleans may take us closer to a better understanding of this form of energy. Among other things, it gives us the opportunity to test our observations against an idea called the cosmological constant that was introduced by Albert Einstein in 1917 as a way of counteracting the effects of gravity in his equations to achieve a universe that was neither expanding …