Japan

Ex-TEPCO Officials To Be Indicted Over Fukushima 73 73

AmiMoJo writes: Three former executives of Tokyo Electric Power Company will face mandatory indictment over the March 2011 nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. The prosecution inquest panel of randomly-selected citizens voted for the indictment on Friday, for professional negligence resulting in death and injury. "Tokyo prosecutors in January rejected the panel's judgment that the three should be charged, citing insufficient evidence. But the 11 unidentified citizens on the panel forced the indictment after a second vote, which makes an indictment mandatory. The three are former chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata, 75, and former executives Sakae Muto, 65, and Ichiro Takekuro, 69. Citizens' panels, made up of residents selected by lottery, are a rarely used but high-profile feature of Japan's legal system introduced after World War Two to curb bureaucratic overreach."
Medicine

James Jude, MD Co-inventor of CPR, Dies At 87 43 43

New submitter voxelman writes: Jim Jude, my uncle, was a kind and modest man. The impact of his insight into the significance of a change in blood pressure from the application of defibrillation paddles to a dog's chest has led to the saving of millions of lives through cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). His passing is a release from a debilitating illness that made a mockery of his contributions to medical science. He will be missed by all that knew him.
Space

Poor Pilot Training Blamed For Virgin Galactic Crash 83 83

astroengine writes: SpaceShipTwo co-pilot Michael Alsbury was not properly trained to realize the consequences of unlocking the vehicle's hinged tail section too soon, a mistake that led to his death and the destruction of the ship during a test flight in California last year. Responsibility for the accident falls to SpaceShipTwo manufacturer Scaled Composites, a Mojave, Calif., company owned by Northrop Grumman Corp, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) determined at a webcast hearing on Tuesday (PDF). Poor oversight by the Federal Aviation Administration, which oversees commercial spaceflights in the United States, was also a factor in the accident, the NTSB said.
Government

Don't Bring Your Drone To New Zealand 272 272

NewtonsLaw writes: Personal drones are changing the way some people experience vacations. Instead of toting along a camcorder or a 35mm DSLR, people are starting pack a GoPro and, increasingly, a drone on which to mount it. This is fine if you're going to a drone-friendly country, but be warned that your drone will get you into big trouble in Thailand (where all use of drones by the public is banned outright) and now in New Zealand, where strict new laws regarding the operation of drones (and even tiny toys like the 20g Cheerson CX10) come into effect on August 1.

Under these new rules, nobody can operate a drone or model aircraft without getting the prior consent of the owner over which property it is intended to fly — and (this is the kicker) also the permission of the occupiers of that property. So you can effectively forget about flying down at the local park, at scenic locations or just about any public place. Even if you could manage to get the prior permission of the land-owner, because we're talking "public place," you'd also have to get the permission of anyone and everyone who was also in the area where you intended to fly.

Other countries have produced far more sane regulations — such as limiting drone and RC model operators to flying no closer than 30m from people or buildings — but New Zealand's CAA have gone right over the top and imposed what amounts to a virtual death-sentence on a hobby that has provided endless, safe fun for people of all ages for more than 50 years. Of course if you are prepared to pay a $600 fee to become "Certified" by CAA then the restrictions on where you can fly are lifted and you don't need those permissions.
Earth

Fossil Fuels Are Messing With Carbon Dating 108 108

Taco Cowboy writes: The carbon dating method used in determining the age of an artifact is based on the amount of radioactive carbon-14 isotopes it contains. The C-14 within an organism is continually decaying into stable carbon isotopes, but since the organism is absorbing more C-14 during its life, the ratio of C-14 to C-12 remains about the same as the ratio in the atmosphere. When the organism dies, the ratio of C-14 within its carcass begins to gradually decrease. The amount of C-14 drops by half every 5,730 years after death.

The fossil fuels we're burning are old — so old they don't contain any C-14. The more we burn these fossil fuels, the more non-C-14 carbon we pump into the atmosphere. If emissions continue as they have for the past few decades, then by year 2050 a shirt made in that year (2050) will have the same C-14 signature as a shirt worn by William the Conqueror a thousand years earlier.
Music

Dieter Moebius, Electronic Music Pioneer, Dead at 71 27 27

New submitter Lawrence Bottorff writes: Dieter Moebius, who is credited as a founder of the late-sixties Berlin 'Krautrock' scene, has died at age 71. Krautrock, of course, was hardly rock music, but the protoplasm of a uniquely German avant-garde industrial ambient electronica. Probably his best-known work was with Brian Eno on their famous Cluster collaboration albums. Many believe Cluster (Moebius, Hans-Joachim Roedelius, Conny Plank) cemented Eno's path on his laconic, melancholic, New-Age-free ambient sound back in the mid- to late-seventies.
Music

Grooveshark Co-founder Josh Greenberg Dead At 28 172 172

alphadogg writes: The tech startup world has been shaken today by news that 28-year-old Josh Greenberg, co-founder of recently defunct music sharing service Grooveshark, was found dead on Sunday in the Florida apartment he shared with his girlfriend. No foul play is suspected, but the local medical examiner is conducting an autopsy, according to the Gainesville Sun. Grooveshark was shut down in April after the company was threatened with legal action and possibly hundreds of millions in damages by several big music labels.
Movies

Famed Aircraft Designer James Bede Dies 28 28

linuxwrangler writes with a bit of news overlooked from last week, but worth noting: Prolific aircraft designer James "Jim" Bede has died at age 82. Although Bede designed numerous aircraft he is most commonly associated with the BD-5J, the "world's smallest jet", that was famously used to help James Bond escape in the movie "Octopussy." Bede's company currently has that aircraft for sale.
Transportation

NYC Asks Google Maps For Fewer Left Turns 363 363

An anonymous reader writes: Members of the New York City Council have sent a letter to Google asking that its Maps navigation system provide users an option to "reduce left turns." Pedestrian safety is the issue they're trying to improve. In the U.S., a quarter of all accidents involving pedestrians happen while a vehicle is making a left turn. "The first cause of death for New York City children under 13 is not gangs, it's not poverty, not violence. It's being hit by cars and trucks. This is the time for the city to reach out to the private sector, so they can help us to provide information to drivers about where you should avoid making left turns." The council members are also asking for an option that would let truckers stay on known truck routes, hoping that would prevent the problems that arise when big-rigs wander onto streets not large enough to safely accommodate them.
Games

Someone Will Die Playing a Game In Virtual Reality 144 144

SlappingOysters writes: Grab It has detailed a hands-on session with horror VR title Kitchen — from Resident Evil creator Capcom — and argues how the physical reaction to the experience could lead to death. The site also believes that classifying VR games will be a challenge and many titles could be banned. Virtual Reality has a big year ahead, with the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus all set to release, while Microsoft is working on the HoloLens, which the site argues adds a further challenge to traditional gaming.
Google

Google's Niantic Labs Sorry Over Death Camps In Smartphone Game 135 135

New submitter LunaticTippy writes: For those unfamiliar with Ingress, the game has GPS coordinate portals that correspond to real world locations, players then use smartphones to battle for control of these portals. Many public locations with historical or artistic interest are submitted by players. It turns out some of the sites were located within concentration camps such as Dachau and Sachsenhausen. NBC reports: "In a statement to The Associated Press, Niantic Labs' founder John Hanke said the company has begun removing the offending sites from the game. He said 'we apologize that this has happened.'"
Robotics

Volkswagen Factory Worker Killed By a Robot 342 342

m.alessandrini writes: A worker at a Volkswagen factory in Germany has died, after a robot grabbed him and crushed him against a metal plate. This is perhaps the first severe accident of this kind in a western factory, and is sparking debate about who is responsible for the accident, the man who was servicing the robot beyond its protection cage, or the robot's hardware/software developers who didn't put enough safety checks. Will this distinction be more and more important in the future, when robots will be more widespread?
Cellphones

SMS Co-Inventor Matti Makkonen Dead At 63 31 31

An anonymous reader writes: The BBC News reports that Matti Makkonen, a 'grand old man of mobile industry' who helped launch the worldwide sensation of texting, has died at the age of 63 after an illness. Although planning to retire later in 2015 from the board of Finnet Telecoms, Makkonen constantly remained fascinated with communications technologies, from the Nokia 2010 mobile phone to 3G connections. He lived just enough to witness the last remnants of former Finnish mobile industry giant Nokia disappear, as Redmond announced its intent last month to convert all Nokia stores into Microsoft-branded Authorized Reseller and Service Centers, offering Xbox game consoles alongside the Nokia-derived Lumia range of smartphones.
Google

Google Asks Android Developers To Show Sensitivity To Disasters and Atrocity 96 96

Mark Wilson writes: Today Google revealed an updated version of its Google Play Developer Program Policies. There aren't actually all that many changes or additions, but those that are present are quite interesting. Google is clamping down on the problem of impersonation, making it clearer that it is not permissible to mislead users by imitating other apps, making false claims, or suggesting endorsements that do not exist. One of the more intriguing changes to the document sees Google calling on developers to show sensitivity to evens such as natural disasters, war, and death. Any apps or other content that attempt to benefit by exploiting such events are explicitly banned.
Movies

Movie Composer James Horner Dies In Plane Crash 66 66

necro81 writes: James Horner, the Oscar-winning composer for the soundtracks of dozens of movies, died Monday while piloting his aircraft in California. Horner, who had a long collaboration with directors James Cameron and Ron Howard, was behind the music for major blockbusters like Avatar, Titanic, Braveheart, Apollo 13, and A Beautiful Mind. Other scores notable to the /. crowd include Star Trek II, Sneakers, Deep Impact, Aliens, Searching for Bobby Fischer, Willow, and *Batteries Not Included.
Robotics

The Death of Aibo, the Birth of Softbank's Child-Robot 152 152

New submitter pubwvj writes: Sony is killing off their robot Aibo, stranding the 150,000 or so owners with no support, repairs or parts other than cannibalism. Now we have another Japanese company, SoftBank, releasing a robotic 'child.' Eventually, they too will discontinue the production of parts and support, beginning the process of killing off all those 'children' that are spawned. As robotics become (far) more advanced at what point will it be murder for a company to discontinue a product line?
Twitter

Twitter To Introduce Curated Information Stream 37 37

stephendavion writes: Twitter will start curating tweets on live events, the microblogging service said, as it plans major changes to make its real-time news feed more user friendly. Dubbed Project Lightning, the changes will let users follow events instead of just people, and instantly upload photos and videos that can be shared across websites, social news and entertainment website Buzzfeed reported on Thursday. Another reader points out coverage at Wired, which argues that this is a bigger change for Twitter than it sounds: "What Project Lightning represents, more than anything, is the long-overdue death of the Twitter timeline. (Or its demotion, at the very least, in the hope it’ll quietly resign.) With this change, Twitter doesn’t have to look like an endlessly flowing, context-free stream of tweets; instead, you can see a hand-curated set of tweets, links, images, and videos related to what’s happening right now. ... In short, this effort puts a stake through the idea that Twitter is a social network. It’s not. It never should have tried to be. It’s not about people, jokes, and #brands. It’s about information, about news and pictures and stories."
News

Actor Christopher Lee Has Died at 93 96 96

Christopher Lee (or Sir Christopher Frank Carandini Lee) has played his last on-screen villain. The actor and singer died Sunday at the age of 93, reports The Guardian, after a career in which he played very few positive role models, but an astounding number of antagonists in fantasy, Sci-Fi, and horror films; as a young man, Lee played a career-launching Dracula, as well as a James Bond villain, the perfectly unsettling Lord Summerisle in The Wicker Man, and dozens of other characters (not all of them evil). Into his 80s, still in demand for the creepiness he was so good at projecting, Lee portrayed the fallen-from-grace wizard Saruman in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings adaptations, and the evil Count Dooku in George Lucas's Star Wars follow-ons. He was also perhaps the only Knight Bachelor to have released an album of symphonic metal. Even at the time of his death, Lee was involved in film projects, so his legacy will always be immense but incomplete.
Businesses

So Long Voicemail, Give My Regards To the Fax Machine 395 395

itwbennett writes: Yes, it was just a matter of time before voicemail, the old office relic, the technology The Guardian's Chitra Ramaswamy called "as pointless as a pigeon with a pager," finally followed the fax machine into obscurity. Last week JPMorgan Chase announced it was turning off voicemail service for tens of thousands of workers (a move that CocaCola made last December). And if Bloomberg's Ramy Inocencio has the numbers right, the cost savings are significant: JPMorgan, for example, will save $3.2 million by cutting voicemail for about 136,000. As great as this sounds, David Lazarus, writing in the LA Times, warns that customer service will suffer.
Medicine

Man With the "Golden Arm" Has Saved Lives of 2 Million Babies 97 97

schwit1 writes: James Harrison, known as "The Man with the Golden Arm," has donated blood plasma from his right arm nearly every week for the past 60 years. Soon after Harrison became a donor, doctors called him in. His blood, they said, could be the answer to a deadly problem. Harrison was discovered to have an unusual antibody in his blood and in the 1960s he worked with doctors to use the antibodies to develop an injection called Anti-D. It prevents women with rhesus-negative blood from developing RhD antibodies during pregnancy. "In Australia, up until about 1967, there were literally thousands of babies dying each year, doctors didn't know why, and it was awful," explains Jemma Falkenmire, of the Australian Red Cross Blood Service. "Women were having numerous miscarriages and babies were being born with brain damage." It was the result of rhesus disease — a condition where a pregnant woman's blood actually starts attacking her unborn baby's blood cells. In the worst cases it can result in brain damage, or death, for the babies. Australia was one of the first countries to discover a blood donor with this antibody, so it was quite revolutionary at the time. Last year we ran a story about another person with "golden blood" named Thomas.