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Transportation

Finland's Algorithm-Driven Public Bus 123

Posted by Soulskill
from the don't-call-it-a-swede-ride dept.
Daniel_Stuckey writes "Where's the Uber-like interactivity for getting a bus to come to you after a tap on your cell phone? In Finland, actually. The Kutsuplus is Helsinki's groundbreaking mass transit hybrid program that lets riders choose their own routes, pay for fares on their phones, and summon their own buses. It's a pretty interesting concept. With a ten-minute lead time, you summon a Kutsuplus bus to a stop using the official app, just as you'd call a livery cab on Uber. Each minibus in the fleet seats at least nine people, and there's room for baby carriages and bikes. You can call your own private Kutsuplus, but if you share the ride, you share the costs — it's about half the price of a cab fare, and a dollar or two more expensive than old school bus transit. You can then pick your own stop, also using the app."
News

Time Lapse of Endeavour's Final Ride 59

Posted by Soulskill
from the pretty-pictures dept.
New submitter tippen writes "A year after space shuttle Endeavour reached its final resting place at the California Science Center, photographers have released a fascinating time lapse video of the shuttle's final ride from Kennedy Space Center to LAX, then through 12 miles of city streets to the museum. Sad to see the end of an era."
Space

First 'Habitable Zone' Galactic Bulge Exoplanet Found 48

Posted by Soulskill
from the quick,-hide-behind-jupiter dept.
astroengine writes "For the first time, astronomers have discovered a sun-like star playing host to a 'habitable zone' exoplanet located inside the Milky Way's galactic bulge — some 25,000 light-years distant — using a quirk of Einstein's general relativity. But don't go having dreams of exotic getaways to the glistening lights of the center of our galaxy; this exoplanet is a huge gas giant world, about five times the mass of Jupiter. However, there is something (potentially) very exciting about this new discovery. Like Jupiter, this newly discovered giant exoplanet may possess small satellites; exomoons that could have life-giving potential. 'Indeed, although the data do not explicitly show any signature of a companion to the Jupiter planet, this possibility is not ruled out,' the researchers write [arXiv]. 'The planet is apparently at the edge between the snow line and the habitable zone, but considering a potential greenhouse warming effect, the surface temperature of a possible companion (exomoon) can be suitable for habitability.'"
Graphics

Under the Hood With Battlefield 4 77

Posted by Soulskill
from the measured-in-clock-cycles-per-round-fired dept.
MojoKid writes "EA took the wraps off Battlefield 4 this past week, offering players a chance to try an early beta. AMD has also been talking up Battlefield 4 in combination with their new Radeon R series line with a vengeance, highlighting the features of its new Mantle API and close partnership with DICE, Battlefield 4's developer. Sometimes, enough modest changes evolve into an entirely new product, and when you factor in the tessellation improvements, terrain deformation, Mantle API support, enhanced audio cues, and better particle effects, that's what BF4 is shaping up to be. And it appears likely the game is going to be a premiere title across all of the current and future consoles plus PCs. Battlefield 4 is going to be closely watched for a number of reasons; Mantle performance, comparisons between the Xbox 360 / PS3 and Xbox One / PS4 versions, and, of course, on its own merits."
Privacy

Ask Slashdot: Why Isn't There More Public Outrage About NSA Revelations? 610

Posted by Soulskill
from the american-attention-span-exceeded dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "This morning we discussed news that the National Security Agency (NSA) has siphoned up millions of online address books and contact lists. The Post drew its information from top-secret documents provided by government whistleblower Edward Snowden, who spent the summer feeding information about the NSA to a variety of news outlets. Snowden's documents (as outlined in The Guardian, Spiegel Online and other venues) have detailed a massive NSA program that's siphoning all sorts of personal information from a variety of sources — and yet the public seems to have greeted each new revelation with weakening outrage. Whereas the initial news reports about NSA splying in June kicked off a firestorm of controversy and discussion (aggravated by the drama of Snowden seeking asylum in pretty much any country that would have him), the unveiling of the NSA's Great Contact-List Caper has ranked below the news stories such as the government shutdown, negotiations over Iran's nuclear program, and invites for Apple's upcoming iPad event on aggregators such as Google News; it also didn't make much of a blip on Twitter and other online forums. There's the very real possibility that Americans, despite the assurances of government officials, are being monitored in a way that potentially violates their privacy. Surely that's an issue that concerns a great many individuals; and yet, as time goes by, it seems as if people are choosing to focus on other things. Are we suffering from 'surveillance fatigue?'"
Programming

The Curious Mind of Ada Lovelace 110

Posted by Soulskill
from the best-and-brightest dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Going beyond the usual soundbites about Ada Lovelace, Amy Jollymore explores the life of the worlds first programmer: 'When I heard that Ada Lovelace Day was coming, I questioned myself, "What do I actually know about Ada Lovelace?" The sum total of my knowledge: Ada was the first woman programmer and the Department of Defense honored her contributions to computation in 1979 by naming its common programming language Ada.
A few Ada biographies later, I know Augusta Ada Lovelace to be an incredibly complex woman with a painful life story, one in which math, shame, and illness were continuously resurfacing themes. Despite all, Ada tirelessly pursued her passion for mathematics, making her contributions to computing undeniable and her genius all the more clear. Her accomplishments continue to serve as an inspiration to women throughout the world.'"
Programming

How To Develop Unmaintainable Software 211

Posted by Soulskill
from the just-do-what-comes-naturally dept.
jones_supa writes "Greg Jorgensen specializes in debugging, fixing, maintaining, and extending legacy software systems. His typical client has a web site or internal application that works, more or less, but the original developer isn't available. Greg lists some things you can do in your own software projects to keep him in business. In summary, the list goes as follows: Customize your development environment a lot, don't make it easy for the next programmer to start working on the code. Create an elaborate build and deployment environment and remember to leave out the documentation. Don't bother with a testing/staging server but instead have secret logins and backdoor URLs to test new features, and mix test data with real data in your database. Don't bother with a well-understood framework, write everything from scratch instead. Add dependencies to specific versions of libraries and resources, but don't protect or document those dependencies. For the icing of the cake, use the coolest mix of cutting-edge programming languages."
Space

ESA 'Amaze' Project Aims To Take 3D Printing 'Into the Metal Age' 74

Posted by Soulskill
from the do-we-have-star-trek-replicators-yet dept.
dryriver sends this BBC report: "The European Space Agency has unveiled plans to 'take 3D printing into the metal age' by building parts for jets, spacecraft and fusion projects. The Amaze project brings together 28 institutions to develop new metal components which are lighter, stronger and cheaper than conventional parts. Additive manufacturing (or '3D printing') has already revolutionized the design of plastic products. Printing metal parts for rockets and planes would cut waste and save money. The layered method of assembly also allows intricate designs — geometries which are impossible to achieve with conventional metal casting. Parts for cars and satellites can be optimized to be lighter and — simultaneously — incredibly robust. Tungsten alloy components that can withstand temperatures of 3,000C were unveiled at Amaze's launch on Tuesday at London Science Museum. At such extreme temperatures they can survive inside nuclear fusion reactors and on the nozzles of rockets. 'We want to build the best quality metal products ever made. Objects you can't possibly manufacture any other way,' said David Jarvis, ESA's head of new materials and energy research."
Government

Irish Government May Close Apple's Biggest Tax Loophole 292

Posted by Soulskill
from the all-about-the-benjamins dept.
DavidGilbert99 writes "Ireland and its tax system came under some extreme scrutiny earlier this year when it was revealed that Apple funneled billions of dollars of revenue though three subsidiaries based in the country. Thanks to a loophole, none of these subsidiaries were tax-resident in Ireland, meaning they didn't even have to pay Ireland's relatively low 12.5% corporation tax rate. Worryingly for Apple, Ireland's finance minister may now shut this loophole. A measure within a new budget bill (PDF) would disallow Apple's status as a 'stateless' corporate entity for tax purposes. Apple will still be able to select a country like Bermuda as its tax residence, but it's a step in the right direction."
Security

Lavabit Briefly Allowing Users To Recover Their Data 52

Posted by Soulskill
from the back-from-the-dead-for-a-few-days dept.
itwbennett writes "Former users of the Lavabit encrypted email service that was shut down in August have 72 hours (starting yesterday at 7 p.m. U.S. Central Time) to change their passwords and start recovering their data. 'Following the 72 hour period, Thursday, October 17th, the website will then allow users to access email archives and their personal account data so that it may be preserved by the user,' said Lavabit's founder and owner Ladar Levison."
Social Networks

Facebook May Dislike the Social Fixer Extension, but Many Users Love It (Video) 176

Posted by Roblimo
from the some-networks-are-more-social-than-others dept.
If you have the Social Fixer extension installed on your Web browser, you can post Facebook comments with line breaks you control with your "Enter" key, and insert your comments with "Tab + Enter." If you want to, that is. If you want to change the color of the blue "Facebook bar" at the top of your screen to puce, go right ahead. Want to have your newsfeed show the most recent stories at the top, rather than "Trending Articles" and "Trending Videos," or hide the "ticker feed" of friends' activities? Go right ahead. Social Fixer gives you the power to do all this, and more. Best of all, everything happens in your own browser. Social Fixer makes no changes to Facebook's servers and is not dependent on Facebook's APIs. Still, Facebook doesn't like some Social Fixer features, and says creator Matt Kruze must remove them if he doesn't want to be banned from Facebook. They've already removed his Social Fixer page from Facebook, so they apparently mean business. The Social Fixer website says it's "a free browser extension that improves the Facebook site by eliminating annoyances and adding lots of great enhancements and functionality." We don't know why Facebook would be against a browser extension (available for most popular browsers other than Explorer) that improves their users' site experience. Maybe someone from Facebook will contact us and let us know. Meanwhile, enjoy our video interview with Matt Kruze (or the transcript if you would rather read than watch and listen). One last note in the interest of full disclosure: Both Timothy Lord (timothy) and Robin Miller (Roblimo) use and like Social Fixer and believe that If you try it, chances are that you'll like it, too.
Oracle

Oracle Attacks Open Source; Says Community-Developed Code Is Inferior 394

Posted by Soulskill
from the completely-unbiased-and-without-any-sort-of-agenda dept.
sfcrazy writes "Oracle has a love-hate relationship with open source technologies. In a whitepaper (PDF) for the Deparment of Defense, Oracle claims that TCO (total cost of ownership) goes up with the use of open source. They're essentially trying to build a case for the use of their own products within the government. 'The skill required to successfully and economically blend source code into a commercially viable product is relatively scarce. It should not be done directly at government expense.' Oracle also attacks the community-based development model, calling it more insecure than company developed products. 'Government-sponsored community development approaches to software creation lack the financial incentives of commercial companies to produce low-defect, well-documented code.'"
Spam

The NSA Is Collecting Lots of Spam 159

Posted by Soulskill
from the your-tax-dollars-at-work dept.
wiredog writes "One side effect of the NSA's surveillance program is that a great deal of spam is getting swept up along with the actual communications data. Overwhelming amounts, perhaps. From The Washington Post: '[W]hen one Iranian e-mail address of interest got taken over by spammers ... the Iranian account began sending out bogus messages to its entire address book. ... the spam that wasn't deleted by those recipients kept getting scooped up every time the NSA's gaze passed over them. And as some people had marked the Iranian account as a safe account, additional spam messages continued to stream in, and the NSA likely picked those up, too....Every day from Sept. 11, 2011 to Sept. 24, 2011, the NSA collected somewhere between 2 GB and 117 GB of data concerning this Iranian address."
Power

ITER Fusion Reactor On Track To Generating Power By 2028 232

Posted by Soulskill
from the iterative-process dept.
ananyo writes "ITER, the multibillion-euro international nuclear-fusion experiment, is on track to generate power by 2028. But some of the science that was supposed to happen along the way is going to be dropped to keep the vision alive. The plans form the main thrust of recommendations by a 21-strong expert panel of international plasma scientists and ITER staff, convened to reassess the project's research plan in the light of the construction delays. The plans were discussed this week at a meeting of ITER's Science and Technology Advisory Committee. The meeting is the start of a year-long review by ITER to try to keep the experiment on track to generate 500 MW of power from an input of 50 MW by 2028, and so hit its target of attaining the so-called Q10, where power output is ten times input or more. ITER initially aims to produce a Q10 for a few seconds, and then for pulses of 300–500 seconds, and work up over the following decade to output ratios of 30 times more power out than in, with pulses lasting almost an hour. Eventually the aim is to develop steady-state plasmas, which will yield information relevant to industrial-scale fusion-power generation. It is experiments relating to the understanding of longer-pulse and steady-state ITER plasmas that are most likely to be delayed beyond 2028."
Government

Silicon Valley Stays Quiet As Washington Implodes 299

Posted by timothy
from the power-to-tax-is-power-to-destroy dept.
dcblogs writes "In a better time, circa 1998, Cypress Semiconductor founder and CEO T.J. Rodgers gave a provocative speech, titled 'Why Silicon Valley Should Not Normalize Relations with Washington D.C.' This speech is still important to understanding the conflict that tech leaders have with Congress, and their relative silence during the shutdown. 'The metric that differentiates Silicon Valley from Washington does not fall along conventional political lines: Republican versus Democrat, conservative versus liberal, right versus left,' Rogers said. 'It falls between freedom and control. It is a metric that separates individual freedom to speak from tap-ready telephones; local reinvestment of profit from taxes that go to Washington; encryption to protect privacy from government eavesdropping; success in the marketplace from government subsidies; and a free, untaxed Internet from a regulated, overtaxed Internet.'"
United Kingdom

British Police Foil Alleged Mall Massacre Copycat Plot 292

Posted by timothy
from the unless-it's-an-fbi-sting dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Washington Post reports, "British law enforcement agencies averted a plot to orchestrate a large-scale terror attack similar to the assault on Kenya's Westgate mall, an official said Monday. Police were questioning four men in their 20s on suspicion of terrorism after they were detained Sunday in pre-planned, intelligence-led raids. A British security official said the men were planning a shooting spree akin to the Westgate attack in Nairobi, in which at least 67 people died. ... in a series of statements, the force said the men were all British nationals between the ages of 25 and 29, with roots in Turkey, Pakistan, Algeria and Azerbaijan. ... the London police firearms unit took part in the arrests. British police rarely carry weapons and their involvement suggested concern that men might have been armed." — The Sydney Morning Herald has video. Prime Minister Cameron recently expressed concern regarding such a possibility."
Input Devices

For Playstation 4 Owners, Bad News On USB, Bluetooth Headsets 292

Posted by timothy
from the when-toys-can't-play-together dept.
itwbennett writes "Until now Sony has done a pretty good job of keeping future Playstation 4 owners happy. But last week they finally hit a rock when Game Informer posted an article about headset compatibility. At launch, USB headsets that work with the PS3 won't work with the PS4. Sony says that eventually there will be a system update that addresses the problem but for now, even your Sony-branded USB headset won't work. If you use a Bluetooth headset (as most PS3 owners do) the news is even worse. Bluetooth headsets will not be supported and no update is planned to address this. ITworld's Peter Smith is shedding a tear for his $250 Turtle Beach PX5 headset."
Mars

World Space Walk Simultaneously Puts Three Mars-Capable Spacesuits To the Test 39

Posted by timothy
from the first-one-to-pop-loses dept.
Zothecula writes "On October 8, three teams in various parts of the world participated in an unprecedented simultaneous test of three experimental spacesuits. Coordinated from a mission control center in Innsbruck, Austria run by the Austrian Space Forum (OeWF), World Space Walk 2013 aims at setting standards for developing suits for the future exploration of the planet Mars."
Privacy

Buried In the Healthcare.gov Source: "No Expectation of Privacy" 365

Posted by timothy
from the just-initial-here-and-here-and-here-and-here dept.
realized writes "The Obamacare website Healthcare.gov has a hidden terms of service that is not shown to people when they sign up. The hidden terms, only viewable if you 'view source' on the site, says that the user has 'no reasonable expectation of privacy regarding any communication or data transiting or stored on this information system.' Sadly, the taxpayer-funded website still does not work for most people, so it's hard to confirm – though when it's fixed in two months, we should finally be able to see it." Note: As the article points out, that phrasing is "not visible to users and obviously not intended as part of the terms and conditions." So users shouldn't worry that they've actually, accidentally agreed to any terms more onerous than the ones they can read on the signup page, but it's an interesting inclusion. What's the last EULA you read thoroughly?
Networking

German Scientists Achieve Record 100Gbps Via Wireless Data Link 67

Posted by timothy
from the telefunken-junction dept.
Mark.JUK writes "A joint team of German scientists working at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have successfully achieved a new world record for wireless data transfers. The team were able to transmit information at speeds of 100 Gigabits per second by using a radio network operating at the frequency of 237.5GHz and over a distance of 20 metres (note: a prior experiment hit 40Gbps over 1km between two skyscrapers). The radio signals were generated by a photon mixer device that uses two optical laser signals of different frequencies, which were then superimposed on a photodiode to create an electrical signal (237.5 GHz) that could be radiated via an antenna. But the team aren't happy with breaking one record and their future attempts will seek to break the 1 Terabit per second (Tbps) barrier."
Networking

Google Fiber Partially Reverses Server Ban 169

Posted by timothy
from the read-write-tops-read-only dept.
Lirodon writes "After being called out by the Electronic Frontier Foundation for banning the loosely-defined use of "servers" on its Fiber service, Google appears to have changed its tune, and now allows 'personal, non-commercial use of servers that complies with this AUP is acceptable, including using virtual private networks (VPN) to access services in your home and using hardware or applications that include server capabilities for uses like multi-player gaming, video-conferencing, and home security.'"
Communications

NSA Scraping Buddy Lists and Address Books From Live Internet Traffic 188

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the deep-packet-inspection-for-fun-and-profit dept.
Charliemopps writes that the Washington Post reports "The NSA is collecting hundreds of millions of contact lists from all over the world, many of them belonging to Americans. The intercept them from instant messaging services as they move across global data links. The NSA is gathering contact lists in large numbers that amount to a sizable fraction of the world's e-mail and instant messaging accounts." According to the leaked document (original as a PDF), the NSA is intercepting some chat protocols and at least IMAP, and then analyzing the data for buddy list information and inbox contents.
Australia

Aussie Company Planning To Use Drones For Textbook Delivery 178

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the death-by-textbook-delivery-drone dept.
First time accepted submitter Michael Harris writes "According to The Age, an Australian company plans to use autonomous quadropters to deliver text books to University students in Sydney. Apparently the drone will locate you via your smartphone's GPS, fly autonomously to your location, and drop the book into your hands."
China

China's State Press Calls For 'Building a De-Americanized World' 634

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the 1979-wants-their-rhetoric-back dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Businessweek reports on some not-so-subtle commentary from China's official Xinhua News Agency on the U.S. budget showdown: 'It is perhaps a good time for the befuddled world to start considering building a de-Americanized world.' Key among its proposals: the creation of a new international reserve currency to replace the present reliance on U.S. dollars. 'The cyclical stagnation in Washington for a viable bipartisan solution over a federal budget and an approval for raising the debt ceiling has again left many nations' tremendous dollar assets in jeopardy and the international community highly agonized,' the authors write. 'The world is still crawling its way out of an economic disaster thanks to the voracious Wall Street elites.' The commentary calls for a greater role for developing-market economies in both the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, adding 'the authority of the United Nations in handling global hot-spot issues has to be recognized. That means no one has the right to wage any form of military action against others without a UN mandate.' The commentary concludes that 'the purpose of promoting these changes is not to completely toss the United States aside, which is also impossible. Rather, it is to encourage Washington to play a much more constructive role in addressing global affairs.'" Meanwhile, U.S. Senate Leaders are claiming a deal is close to reopen the federal government until mid-January and defer the debt ceiling debate until mid-February.

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