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FAA Pushed To Review Ban On Electronics 369

First time accepted submitter sfm writes "Ever tangle with a grumpy flight attendant over turning off your Kindle Fire before takeoff? This may change if the FAA reviews their policy for these devices. The FAA is under extreme pressure to either change the rules or give a good reason to keep them in place. From the article: 'According to people who work with an industry working group that the Federal Aviation Administration set up last year to study the use of portable electronics on planes, the agency hopes to announce by the end of this year that it will relax the rules for reading devices during takeoff and landing. The change would not include cellphones.'"

Ask Slashdot: Setting Up a Computer Lab In a Developing Country 172

First time accepted submitter levanjm writes "Hi all, I am looking for some advice. I am a mathematician at a small liberal arts school who has dabbled in Linux for a number of years. I have had the chance to teach a few courses and summer camps about Linux to college and high school students. Recently I made a trip to Guatemala and visited a school in Labor de Falla. While there I was talking with people associated with the school about how great it would be to be able to set up a computer lab for the kids. To make a long story short, I approached my school about finding a way to make this happen and to get my students involved in volunteering. I have received notification that my school has given me an in house grant to try to get this project rolling. They have also donated six computers to get things started. While I have been making plans in case the funding came through, I wanted to open this up to as many eyes as possible because I am sure there are plenty of concerns I have not considered. What are your thoughts on how to best implement the lab setting? I am a firm believer in the Open Source philosophy so proprietary software is not on my radar. The PC's donated are a little old (4 or so years old), but would run Edubuntu without any issues. I originally thought about how awesome a Raspberry Pi lab would be to set up. I am also wondering if there are any Kickstarter type of foundations that might be used to help solicit donations to purchase additional equipment and help cover costs of getting the equipment to the school. It would be amazing to get enough funding to give computers to the teachers in addition to a lab. I am sure there are other issues I have not even considered yet, so any thoughts you have to share would be wonderful."

Graphene Aerogel Takes World's Lightest Material Crown 198

cylonlover writes "Not even a year after it claimed the title of the world's lightest material, aerographite has been knocked off its crown by a new aerogel made from graphene. Created by a research team from China's Zhejiang University in the Department of Polymer Science and Engineering lab headed by Professor Gao Chao, the ultra-light aerogel has a density of just 0.16 mg/cm3, which is lower than that of helium and just twice that of hydrogen."

Major Find By Japanese Scientists May Threaten Chinese Rare Earth Hegemony 189

cold fjord writes "It looks like deep sea exploration may pay off big time as Japanese scientists have located rich deposits of rare earth elements on the sea floor in Japanese Exclusive Economic Zone waters, following up on their find two years ago of huge deposits of rare earths in mid-Pacific waters. The cumulative effect of these finds could significantly weaken Chinese control of 90% of the world supply of rare earth metals, which the Chinese have been using to flex their muscles. The concentration of rare earth metals in the Japanese find is astonishing: up to 6,500 ppm, versus 500-1,000 ppm for Chinese mines. The newly identified deposits are just 2-4 meters below sea floor which could make for relatively easy mining compared to the 10+ meters they were expecting... if they can get there. The fact that the deposits are 5,700 meters deep means there is just one or two little problems to resolve : 'A seabed oil field has been developed overseas at a depth of 3,000 meters. . . But the development of seabed resources at depths of more than 5,000 meters has no precedent, either at home or abroad. There remains a mountain of technological challenges, including how to withstand water pressure and ocean currents and how to process the mining products in the ocean, sources said.'"

Lawmakers Seek To Ban Google Glass On the Road 375

An anonymous reader writes in with news about a West Virginia bill that would prohibit drivers from "using a wearable computer with head mounted display." Republican Gary G. Howell sponsored the bill in reaction to reading an article on Google Glass and said: "I actually like the idea of the product and I believe it is the future, but last legislature we worked long and hard on a no-texting-and-driving law. It is mostly the young that are the tech-savvy that try new things. They are also our most vulnerable and underskilled drivers. We heard of many crashes caused by texting and driving, most involving our youngest drivers. I see the Google Glass as an extension."

Massachusetts May Try To Tax the Cloud 172

CowboyRobot writes "A proposed tax in Massachusetts may affect software services and Web design and hosting. If approved, the state estimates the tax may bring in a quarter billion dollars in 2014 by expanding its tax on 'canned software' to include some elements of cloud computing. The tax would cover custom-designed software and services based in the cloud. "Custom" software includes the design of Web sites, so the cost to local businesses of a new Web site would increase by 4.5% on contracts to design the site, write Java, PHP or other custom code. The cost of site hosting and bandwidth would also be taxed."

Testers Say IE 11 Can Impersonate Firefox Via User Agent String 252

Billly Gates writes "With the new leaked videos and screenshots of Windows Blue released, IE 11 is also included. IE 10 just came out weeks ago for Windows 7 users and Microsoft is more determined than ever to prevent IE from becoming irrelevant as Firefox and Chrome scream past it by also including a faster release schedule. A few beta testers reported that IE 11 changed its user agent string from MSIE to IE with the 'like gecko' command included. Microsoft may be doing this to stop web developers stop feeding broken IE 6-8 code and refusing to serve HTML 5/CSS 3 whenever it detects MSIE in its user agent string. Unfortunately this will break many business apps that are tied to ancient and specific version of IE. Will this cause more hours of work for web developers? Or does IE10+ really act like Chrome or Firefox and this will finally end the hell of custom CSS tricks?"

Can Innovation Be Automated? 92

JimmyQS writes "The Harvard Business Review blog has an invited piece about Innovation Software. Tony McCaffrey at the University of Massachusetts Amherst talks about several pieces of software designed to help engineers augment their innovation process and make them more creative, including one his group has developed called Analogy Finder. The software searches patent databases using natural language processing technology to find analogous solutions in other domains. According to Dr. McCaffrey 'nearly 90% of new solutions are really just adaptations from solutions that already exist — and they're often taken from fields outside the problem solver's expertise.'"

Google Blogger: Vietnamese HS Students Excelling At CS 291

An anonymous reader writes "A Google engineer visiting Vietnam discovered a large portion of Vietnamese high school students might be able to pass a Google interview. According to TFA (and his blog), students start learning computing as early as grade 2. According to the blogger and another senior engineer, about half of the students in an 11th grade class he visited would be able to make through their interview process. The blogger also mentioned U.S. school boards blocking computer science education. The link he posted backing up his claim goes to a Maryland Public Schools website describing No Child Left Behind technicalities. According to the link, computer science is not considered a core subject. While the blogger provided no substantial evidence of U.S. school boards blocking computer science education, he claimed that students at Galileo Academy had difficulty with the HTML image tag. According to the school's Wikipedia page, by California standards, Galileo seems to be one of the state's better secondary schools."

South Korea Backtracks On China As Source of Cyberattack 125

hackingbear writes "The suspected cyberattack that struck South Korean banks and media companies this week didn't originate from a Chinese IP address, South Korean officials said Friday, contradicting their previous claim. The Korea Communications Commission said that after 'detailed analysis,' the IP address used in the attack is the bank's internal IP address — which is, coincidentally identical to a Chinese ISP's address, among the 2^32 address space available."

Windows Blue 9364 Screenshots Show Feature Enhancements 502

An anonymous reader writes "As expected, a new pre-public version of Windows Blue (build 9364) has leaked online and it reveals a handful of features that are coming in the next big Microsoft Windows 8 update." Several sites have screenshots from the build; Hot Hardware says "Assuming this is all completely legitimate, the most obvious change pertains to the Metro UI, including greater flexibility in sizing Live Tiles and customizing the Start screen, particularly as the Personalize setting (among others, including Devices and Share) is now under the Settings charm. The Name Group feature for the Start menu looks a little more polished, too."

Will Legitimacy Spoil Bitcoin? 490

New submitter F9rDT3ZE writes "Salon writer Andrew Leonard examines the U.S. Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network's (FinCEN) first 'guidance' regarding 'de-centralized virtual currencies,' noting that Bitcoin's supporters call it a 'currency of resistance,' while others suggest that 'the more popular Bitcoin gets, whether as a symbol of resistance or a perceived safe haven in financially troubled times, the more government attention it will inevitably draw, and the more inexorably it will be sucked into existing regulatory structures.'"

SpaceX: Lessons Learned Developing Software For Space Vehicles 160

jrepin writes "On day two of the 2013 Embedded Linux Conference, Robert Rose of SpaceX spoke about the 'Lessons Learned Developing Software for Space Vehicles.' In his talk, he discussed how SpaceX develops its Linux-based software for a wide variety of tasks needed to put spacecraft into orbit—and eventually beyond. Linux runs everywhere at SpaceX, he said, on everything from desktops to spacecraft."

Archos Gamepad Released In the USA 106

An anonymous reader writes "Archos have finally released their much anticipated touchscreen gamepad in the USA. The console boasts a Arm Cortex Dual-core A9 1.6GHz cpu, 1024MB Ram, 8GB internal storage and uses the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean OS. The Gamepad has 14 physical buttons and dual analog thumb-sticks as well as a touchscreen which means the latest 3D Android games should work great and for fans of emulation the traditional gamepad design and buttons will make N64/PS1 emulators work great on the gamepad." CNET UK was unimpressed, calling it "a bitter disappointment"; IGN was more optimistic, especially at its sub-$200 price.

Matthew Garrett Has a Fix To Prevent Bricked UEFI Linux Laptops 74

hypnosec writes "UEFI guru Matthew Garrett, who cleared the Linux kernel in Samsung laptop bricking issues, has come to rescue beleaguered users by offering a survival guide enabling them to avoid similar issues. According to Garrett, storage space constraints in UEFI storage variables is the reason Samsung laptops end up bricking themselves. Garrett said that if the storage space utilized by the UEFI firmware is more than 50 percent full, the laptop will refuse to start and ends up being bricked. To prevent this from happening, he has provided a Kernel patch."