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Space

SpaceX Applies To Test Internet Service Satellites

Posted by samzenpus
from the sky-web dept.
lpress writes: Elon Musk's SpaceX and Greg Wyler's OneWeb both hope to provide global Internet access using constellations of low-Earth orbit satellites. Neither company plans to be in operation for several years, but Musk's SpaceX is ready to test two satellites. They have applied for permission to launch two satellites that will orbit at 625 km. Time reports: "The application describes two satellites, the first of up to eight trial satellites that are each expected to last up to 12 months. The satellites will likely be built using the $1 billion that SpaceX raised mostly from Google earlier this year. For these first tests, the launch location will likely be Vandenberg Air Force Base on the California coast rather than Cape Canaveral in Florida, according to the orbital parameters in the application."
Windows

Features That Windows 10 Will Deprecate 50

Posted by samzenpus
from the so-long dept.
jones_supa writes: Microsoft announced that a Windows 10 upgrade will be free for users running Windows 7 and 8.1, but there will be a number of features that will no longer work after that upgrade. The features that will no longer work are listed on the official specifications page on Microsoft's website. Some of the deprecated features include: Media Center, out-of-the-box DVD playback and USB floppy support, desktop gadgets, deferring updates (Home edition), old versions of Windows games, and Windows Live Essentials version of OneDrive.
Google

Investors Ask How Much Google Spends On Lobbying 27

Posted by samzenpus
from the give-us-a-number dept.
Taco Cowboy writes: It has been estimated that Google has spent over $60 million on lobbying in Washington D.C. this year alone, and that figure does not include the money that Google gives to various trade organizations and "third party" groups. According to CNN: "On its website, Google lists 43 trade associations that it belongs to, such as the Ad Council and National Cyber Security Alliance, although it says that is a 'representative listing' and Google doesn't indicate how much money it gives these organizations. Google also has links to over 100 third-party groups like the AARP, Heritage Foundation and iKeepSafe that it 'provides support to.'" A group of Google investors are demanding that Google owns up to what they spend on and how much, and their push stems from one thing, and that thing is mainly connected to political correctness. It's public knowledge that Google contributes to the US Chamber of Commerce, and to some quarters, "the Chamber" is suffering from "Climate Change Denial Symptom" and they are doing their best to cut off any funding to "the Chamber" from Google.
Transportation

Virginia Wants Your Self-Driving Cars 34

Posted by samzenpus
from the look-mom-no-hands dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes: In a bid to help Google (and presumably other companies) test out their next-generation automobiles, the state of Virginia has reportedly opened up 70 miles of highway, overseen by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI), to self-driving cars. Portions of Virginia's highways—most notably Interstates 95 and 495—are notoriously congested, which could present any self-driving vehicles with a real challenge. The state government has stipulated that any automated car will need a human driver at the wheel to take over in case of malfunction or emergency. California, Nevada, and a handful of other states already have roadways reserved for autonomous-car use. As one Virginia state official acknowledged to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, opening public infrastructure to new technology is seen as a way to attract top tech talent and companies. (Northern Virginia and Washington D.C. are already widely viewed as a tech hub, powered to a large degree by federal money.)
AMD

AMD Launches Carrizo Mobile APU With Excavator CPU Cores, Integrated Southbridge 23

Posted by samzenpus
from the looking-at-the-numbers dept.
MojoKid writes: AMD previously only teased bits of detail regarding their forthcoming 6th Generation A-Series APU, code named "Carrizo," as far back as CES 2015 in January and more recently with AMD's HSA (Heterogenous System Architecture) 1.0 spec roll-out in March. However, the company has officially launched the product today and has lifted the veil on all aspects of their new highly integrated notebook APU. Carrizo has been optimized for the 15 Watt TDP envelope that comprises the bulk of the thin and light notebook market currently and it brings a couple of first to integrated notebook chip designs. AMD's Carrizo APU is the first SoC architecture to fully support the HSA 1.0 specification, allowing full memory coherency of a shared memory space for both CPU and GPU up to 32GB. It's also the first integrated chip to include full support in hardware for H.265/HEVC HD video decoding and finally, Carizzo is also the first AMD APU to have a full integrated, in silicon, Southbridge controller block. So, with its CPU, GPU, memory controller, Northbridge, Southbridge, and PCIe 3.0 links, Carrizo is truly a fully integrated System On A Chip. The company is claiming a 39% CPU performance lift (combination clock speed and IPC) and up to a 65% in graphics, versus their previous generation Kaveri APU. AMD notes laptops from major vendors will begin shipping in the next few weeks.
Technology

Making an AR-15 In the Wired San Francisco Office 193

Posted by samzenpus
from the point-click-and-shoot dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Wired's writer Andy Greenberg writes about his experience fabricating an AR-15 lower receiver with the Ghost Gunner CNC mill. (That's the same device that was demoed in a Slashdot video earlier this year.) Greenberg points out that CNC millng isn't new, but reports nonetheless: "Aside from a single brief hardware hiccup, it worked remarkably well. In fact, the Ghost Gunner worked so well that it may signal a new era in the gun control debate, one where the barrier to legally building an untraceable, durable, and deadly semiautomatic rifle has reached an unprecedented low point in cost and skill."
Television

Showtime Announces Subscription-Free Streaming Plan 61

Posted by samzenpus
from the more-streams dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Following in HBO's footsteps, Showtime has announced that it is launching a stand-alone streaming service in mid-July. Simply called "Showtime," the service will launch through a partnership with Apple and costs $10.99 a month. "Going over-the-top means Showtime will be much more accessible to tens of millions of potential new subscribers," said CBS Corp. President and CEO Leslie Moonves in a statement about the deal. "Across CBS, we are constantly finding new ways to monetize our programming by capitalizing on opportunities presented by technology. This works best when you have outstanding premium content – like we do at Showtime – and when you have a terrific partner like Apple – which continues to innovate and build upon its loyal customer base," he added.
Music

Apple Recalls Beats Pill XL Speakers As Fire Risk 80

Posted by samzenpus
from the hot-sounds dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Apple has released a voluntary recall announcement for the Beats Pill XL range of speakers, advising customers that the rechargeable device is a fire risk, and advising them to stop using the devices immediately. Apple bought the manufacturers out in 2014 after the successful release of the XL speaker range in November 2013. The announcement reads in part: "Because customer safety is the company’s top priority, Apple is asking customers to stop using their Beats Pill XL speakers. Customers who purchased a Beats Pill XL speaker should visit www.apple.com/support/beats-pillxl-recall for details about how to return their product to Apple, and how to receive an Apple Store credit or electronic payment of $325."
Science

LHC Restarts High-Energy Quest For Exotic Physics 76

Posted by samzenpus
from the looking-for-the-unknown dept.
astroengine writes: It's official: After a long 27 month hiatus for upgrades and a 2 month restart, the world's largest particle accelerator is back in the particle collision business. As of 10:40 a.m. CET (5:40 a.m. ET), the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) was running at record-breaking energies and collecting science data. Physicists now expect the particle collider to run non-stop for the next 3 years. We are in a new era of high-energy particle physics where, for the first time, we don't exactly know what we'll find. "With the LHC back in the collision-production mode, we celebrate the end of two months of beam commissioning," said CERN Director of Accelerators and Technology Frédérick Bordry in a press release. "It is a great accomplishment and a rewarding moment for all of the teams involved in the work performed during the long shutdown of the LHC, in the powering tests and in the beam commissioning process. All these people have dedicated so much of their time to making this happen."
First Person Shooters (Games)

Fallout 4 Announced 151

Posted by Soulskill
from the dovahkiin-with-a-sniper-rifle-please dept.
An anonymous reader writes: After teasing gamers with a countdown timer yesterday, Bethesda has now announced Fallout 4 for PCs, the Xbox One, and the PS4. They've also released an official trailer (YouTube video). The game will be set in post-apocalyptic Boston, and the player character will apparently be accompanied on his adventures by a dog. The Guardian has a post cataloging the features they're hoping will be improved from previous games in the series: "The combat system in the last two Fallout games was not universally adored. It often felt you were shooting wildly and blindly, biding time before you could use the the Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting (VAT) system, which allows players to focus in on specific parts of enemies with a percentage chance of hitting them. ... Well-written, hand-crafted quests are going to be vitally important. The Radiant Quest system used in Skyrim sounds brilliant on paper: infinite quests, randomly generated and a little different each time. But the reality was a lot of fetch quests in similar looking caves. Bethesda may be tempted to bring that system across to Fallout 4, but there's an argument for abandoning dynamic quests altogether and opting for a smaller range of authored challenges."
Hardware Hacking

Ask Slashdot: If You Were Building a New Home, What Cool New Tech Would You Put In? 437

Posted by Soulskill
from the delivery-drone-countermeasures dept.
An anonymous reader writes: I am starting the process of building a new home, and I would like to make the house as wired (or wireless) as possible. At this stage I can incorporate new tech in the design. What features do you have in your house that you just couldn't live without? What features are nice to have? What features do you want? In-home Fiber? Solar? Audio/Visual? Heating/Cooling?
Government

Why Is It a Crime For Dennis Hastert To Evade Government Scrutiny? 386

Posted by Soulskill
from the laws-that-serve-the-lawmakers dept.
HughPickens.com writes: Dennis Hastert is about the least sympathetic figure one can imagine. The former House Speaker got filthy rich as a lobbyist trading on contacts he gained in office, and his leadership coincided with Congress's abject failure to exercise oversight or protect civil liberties after the September 11 terrorist attacks. Now, Hastert stands accused of improper sexual contact with a boy he knew years ago while teaching high school and trying to hide that sordid history by paying the young man to keep quiet. If federal prosecutors could meet the legal thresholds for charging and convicting Hastert of a sex crime, they would be fully justified in aggressively pursuing the matter.

Yet, as Conor Friedersdorf writes in The Atlantic, the Hastert indictment doesn't charge him for, or even accuse him of, sexual misconduct. Rather, as Glenn Greenwald notes, "Hastert was indicted for two alleged felonies: 1) withdrawing cash from his bank accounts in amounts and patterns designed to hide the payments; and 2) lying to the FBI about the purpose of those withdrawals once they detected them and then inquired with him." It isn't illegal to withdraw money from the bank, nor to compensate someone in recognition of past harms, nor to be the victim of a blackmail scheme. So why should it be a crime to hide those actions from the U.S. government? The current charges could be motivated by a desire to prosecute Hastert for sex crimes. But that dodges the issue. "In order to punish him for that crime, the government should charge him with it, then prosecute him with due process and convict him in front of a jury of his peers," says Greenwald. "What over-criminalization does is allow the government to turn anyone it wants into a felon, and thus punish them without having to overcome those vital burdens. Regardless of one's views of Hastert or his alleged misconduct here, it should take little effort to see why nobody should want that."
Businesses

Valve Introduces Steam Refunds In Advance of Summer Sale 111

Posted by Soulskill
from the refund-reason:-game-did-not-paint-my-house dept.
Deathspawner writes: Despite all of its competition, Valve's Steam service remains the most popular digital PC game store around. While Steam does do a lot of things right, it can sometimes stumble in the worst of ways. Look no further than April's Skyrim mod debacle as a good example. Well, just as Valve fixed up that issue, it's gone ahead and fixed another: it's making refunds dead simple. While refunds have been possible in the past, it's required gamers to jump through hoops to get them. Now, Valve has set certain criteria for granting a refund, no questions asked: if you've bought the game within the past two weeks and played it for two hours or less, your refund is guaranteed. The changes are being welcomed by most, but not all: some developers of smaller games that take less time to play through are worried that this will lead to abuse, and the system may enable more risk-free review-bombing as well.
Medicine

Diphtheria Returns To Spain For Lack of Vaccination 197

Posted by Soulskill
from the no-vaccine-for-stupidity dept.
TuringTest writes: A six-year-old child was admitted to a hospital in Barcelona and diagnosed with diphtheria, which hasn't occurred in Spain since 1986 and was largely unheard of in western Europe. The boy had not been vaccinated despite the vaccine being available in free vaccination programs. Spanish general health secretary called anti-vaccination campaigns "irresponsible" and said: "The right to vaccination is for children, not for the parents to decide." The child is in critical condition, though he's now being treated with a serum expressly brought from Russia through an emergency procedure.