Robotics

Philadelphia Hackers and Others Offer Brotherly Love To Fallen Robot 12 12

An anonymous reader writes: Since a hitchhiking robot was destroyed in Philadelphia over the weekend, there has been an overwhelming show of support according to its co-creators Frauke Zeller and David Smith. Makers from all over Philly have reached out and offered to help rebuild the robot. "We'll say that at this moment, if we get the OK from the creators to repair or replace the needed parts for HitchBOT, we'll be happy to do so," wrote Georgia Guthrie, executive director for a local makerspace called The Hacktory. "If not, we understand and we may just build ourselves a HitchBot2 to send along on its journey. We feel it's the least we can do to let everyone, especially the Robot community, know that Philly isn't so bad."
China

Houston Firm NanoRacks To Take Chinese Experiment To International Space Station 8 8

MarkWhittington writes: The Houston Chronicle's Eric Berger reports that for the first time a Chinese experiment will fly on the International Space Station, thanks to an arrangement between a research group based at the Beijing Institute of Technology and a private firm in Houston called NanoRacks. The deal seems to have been designed to avoid the prohibition against space cooperation between the Chinese regime and NASA, since the space agency is not directly involved. The experiment, which involves the effects that space radiation has on DNA, will be carried to the ISS by another private firm, SpaceX. Presumably the experiment would be run by a non NASA crew member to avoid any direct involvement with the space agency.
Businesses

Researchers: The Thermostat In Your Office May Be Sexist 106 106

sciencehabit writes: If you're constantly bundling up against your office building's air conditioning, blame Povl Ole Fanger. In the 1960s, this Danish scientist developed a model, still used in many office buildings around the world, which predicts comfortable indoor temperatures for the average worker. The problem? The average office worker in the 1960s was a 40-year-old man sporting a three-piece suit. But fear not, those for whom the 'work sweater' has become a mandatory addition to office attire: Researchers say they have built a better model.
Businesses

Fuel Cells Promise To Reduce Carbon Emissions of Mobile Base Stations 16 16

Mickeycaskill writes: Vodafone says fuel cells could reduce the carbon emissions and noise pollution caused by mobile base stations in remote areas of developing economies. The company has 122 million mobile data customers in emerging markets and needs to expand its network in these countries to meet demand. However many base stations are in rural areas where grid power is unreliable and need on-site power generation. These are typically diesel powered, but Vodafone wants to move away from this type of power and says solar power is too expensive and not suitable for urban areas. It has already deployed 200 fuel cells in South Africa and wants to replicate the model elsewhere.
Music

KFC South Africa Lets Customers Listen To Music Using Bone Conduction 30 30

An anonymous reader writes: The end of annoying restaurant muzak may be nigh: A KFC branch in South Africa has put together a playlist of local artists for diners to enjoy — so long as they do so in silence. The in-shop broadcasts can only be heard using bone conduction as a speaker — diners put their elbows on the table and cup their ears if they want to hear the tunes.
NASA

Buzz Aldrin Publishes Moon Expenses Form 50 50

An anonymous reader writes: Proving once again that the government has a form for everything, Buzz Aldrin has unveiled his Apollo 11 documentation on social media over the past few days, including a travel voucher detailing his expenses on his trip to the moon. The papers listed him as having been on a "work trip" from his home in Houston, Texas that had taken him to the moon and then back again with a total expenses claim of just $33.31. The report notes : "Government meals and quarters [were] furnished for all of the above dates."
The Internet

India Blocks Over 800 Adult Websites 148 148

William Robinson writes: The government of India has blocked over 800 adult websites through a secret order. “Free and open access to porn websites has been brought under check,” N.N. Kaul, a spokesman at the department of telecommunications said. “We don’t want them to become a social nuisance.” The ban has provoked debates in the country about extreme and unwarranted moral policing by the government. The action came after the Supreme Court of India had refused to ban porn sites in India.
Programming

Lessons From Your Toughest Software Bugs 183 183

Nerval's Lobster writes: Most programmers experience some tough bugs in their careers, but only occasionally do they encounter something truly memorable. In developer David Bolton's new posting, he discusses the bugs that he still remembers years later. One messed up the figures for a day's worth of oil trading by $800 million. ('The code was correct, but the exception happened because a new financial instrument being traded had a zero value for "number of days," and nobody had told us,' he writes.) Another program kept shutting down because a professor working on the project decided to sneak in and do a little DIY coding. While care and testing can sometimes allow you to snuff out serious bugs before they occur, some truly spectacular ones occasionally end up in the release... despite your best efforts.
Businesses

Counterterrorism Expert: It's Time To Give Companies Offensive Cybercapabilities 158 158

itwbennett writes: Juan Zarate, the former deputy national security advisor for counterterrorism during President George W. Bush's administration says the U.S. government should should consider allowing businesses to develop 'tailored hack-back capabilities,' deputizing them to strike back against cyberattackers. The government could issue cyberwarrants, giving a private company license 'to protect its system, to go and destroy data that's been stolen or maybe even something more aggressive,' Zarate said Monday at a forum on economic and cyberespionage hosted by think tank the Hudson Institute.
United States

Obama Unveils Major Climate Change Proposal 252 252

An anonymous reader writes: Two years in the making, President Obama formally unveiled his plan to cut power plant emissions today, calling it the "single most important step that America has ever made in the fight against global climate change." The "Clean Power Plan" includes the first ever EPA standards on carbon pollution from power plants. CNN reports: "Under the plan, the administration will require states to meet specific carbon emission reduction standards, based on their individual energy consumption. The plan also includes an incentive program for states to get a head start on meeting standards on early deployment of renewable energy and low-income energy efficiency."
DRM

FirefoxOS-Based Matchstick Project Ends; All Money To Be Refunded 69 69

Kohenkatz writes: Matchstick, a project built on FirefoxOS that aimed to compete with Google's Chromecast, which was initially funded on Kickstarter, is shutting down and will be refunding all pledges. In a post to Kickstarter backers today, they announced that this decision was due to the difficulty of implementing the DRM components that are necessary for access to a lot of paid content. Rather than drag out the project on an unknown schedule, they have decided to end the project.
Microsoft

Microsoft Creates a Quantum Computer-Proof Version of TLS Encryption Protocol 101 101

holy_calamity writes: When (or if) quantum computers become practical they will make existing forms of encryption useless. But now researchers at Microsoft say they have made a quantum-proof version of the TLS encryption protocol we could use to keep online data secure in the quantum computing era. It is based on a mathematical problem very difficult for both conventional and quantum computers to crack. That tougher math means data moved about 20 percent slower in comparisons with conventional TLS, but Microsoft says the design could be practical if properly tuned up for use in the real world.
Security

Privacy Alert: Your Laptop Or Phone Battery Could Track You Online 74 74

Mark Wilson writes: Is the battery in your smartphone being used to track your online activities? It might seem unlikely, but it's not quite as farfetched as you might first think. This is not a case of malware or hacking, but a built-in component of the HTML5 specification. Originally designed to help reduce power consumption, the Battery Status API makes it possible for websites and apps to monitor the battery level of laptops, tablets, and phones. A paper published by a team of security researchers suggests that this represents a huge privacy risk. Using little more than the amount of power remaining in your battery, it is possible for people to be identified and tracked online. As reported by The Guardian, a paper entitled The Leaking Battery by Belgian and French privacy and security experts say that the API can be used in device fingerprinting.
The Internet

EFF Coalition Announces New 'Do Not Track' Standard For Web Browsing 62 62

An anonymous reader writes: The Electronic Frontier Foundation, privacy company Disconnect, and several other organizations are publishing a new DNT standard. Partners in the coalition include: publishing site Medium, analytics service Mixpanel, AdBlock, and private search engine DuckDuckGo. Thought it's still a voluntary policy, the EFF hopes the new proposed standard will provide users better privacy online. "We are greatly pleased that so many important Web services are committed to this powerful new implementation of Do Not Track, giving their users a clear opt-out from stealthy online tracking and the exploitation of their reading history," said EFF Chief Computer Scientist Peter Eckersley. "These companies understand that clear and fair practices around analytics and advertising are essential not only for privacy but for the future of online commerce."
Apple

Apple Testing Service That Allows Siri to Answer Calls and Transcribe Voicemail 67 67

An anonymous reader writes: Apple is reportedly testing a new feature which would allow Siri to answer your calls and then transcribe the voicemails as text messages. The iCloud service would then send users the text of that transcribed voicemail. Apple employees are testing a voicemail service currently and a public release isn't expected until sometime in 2016 in iOS10.