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Microsoft

+ - 249 The Empire In Decline?

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Pundits continue to weigh in on Steve Sinofsky's sudden exit from Microsoft (as executive head of Windows Division, he oversaw the development and release of Windows 7 and 8). SemiAccurate's Charlie Demerjian sees Microsoft headed for a steep decline, with their habit of creating walled gardens deliberately incompatible with competitors' platforms finally catching up to them. Few PC users are upgrading to Windows 8 with its unwanted Touch UI, sales of the Surface tablet are disappointing, and few are buying Windows Phones. On the Sinofsky front, Microsoft watcher Mary Jo Foley is willing to take the Redmond insiders' word that the departure was more about Sinofsky's communication style and deficiencies as a team player than on unfavorable market prospects for Windows 8 and Surface. Meanwhile, anonymous blogger Mini-Microsoft had suspiciously little to say."

+ - 174 Salt Lake City Police to wear cameras.->

Submitted by
Psychotic_Wrath
Psychotic_Wrath writes "Salt Lake Police department will be much more transparent with their law enforcement. A program is being rolled out to require officers wear glasses equipped with a camera to record what they see. Of course there are several officers that oppose this idea, and will resist the change. One of the biggest shockers to me is that the police chief is in strong support of this measure.

If Chief Burbank gets his way, these tiny, weightless cameras will soon be on every police officer in the state.

With all the opposition of police officers being recorded by citizens that we are seeing throughout the country it is quite a surprise that they would make a move like this. The officers would wear them when they are investigating crime scenes, serving warrants, and during patrols. Suddenly Utah isn't looking like such a bad place to be. Now we just need to hope other states and departments would follow suite. It sure will be nice when there is video evidence to show the real story.

"

Link to Original Source
Power

+ - 132 LA Metro to Harvest Energy From Subway Trains->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Today the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority awarded VYCON Energy with a $3.6 million contract to install a flywheel energy recovery system at the Red Line Westlake/MacArthur Park subway station. The system will harness kinetic energy from braking trains then use the stored energy to help trains accelerate."
Link to Original Source
Network

+ - 221 New WiFi protocol boosts congested wireless network throughput by 700%->

Submitted by
MrSeb
MrSeb writes "Engineers at NC State University (NCSU) have discovered a way of boosting the throughput of busy WiFi networks by up to 700%. Perhaps most importantly, the breakthrough is purely software-based, meaning it could be rolled out to existing WiFi networks relatively easily — instantly improving the throughput and latency of the network. As wireless networking becomes ever more prevalent, you may have noticed that your home network is much faster than the WiFi network at the airport or a busy conference center. The primary reason for this is that a WiFi access point, along with every device connected to it, operates on the same wireless channel. This single-channel problem is also compounded by the fact that it isn't just one-way; the access point also needs to send data back to every connected device. To solve this problem, NC State University has devised a scheme called WiFox. In essence, WiFox is some software that runs on a WiFi access point (i.e. it’s part of the firmware) and keeps track of the congestion level. If WiFox detects a backlog of data due to congestion, it kicks in and enables high-priority mode. In this mode, the access point gains complete control of the wireless network channel, allowing it to clear its backlog of data. Then, with the backlog clear, the network returns to normal. We don’t have the exact details of the WiFox scheme/protocol (it’s being presented at the ACM CoNEXT conference in December), but apparently it increased the throughput of a 45-device WiFi network by 700%, and reduced latency by 30-40%."
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Intel

+ - 93 Supercomputer-on-a-Chip Only Available on Board-> 1

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The massively parallel Xeon Phi is now shipping, but only on a PCIe board! GoParallel says that Intel's lead in supercomputing will get a boost, but why isn't Intel making the chip available. The 60-core Xeon Phi chip is light years ahead in x86 program execution, but you need a Xeon-based server or workstation to use it. Why doesn't Intel sell the chip alone, so that all types of supercomputer class devices can be built by we geeks?"
Link to Original Source
Music

+ - 209 Band uses nuclear isotopes to make music->

Submitted by Velcroman1
Velcroman1 (1667895) writes "Every second in your body, thousands of tiny isotopes are bursting with radioactive decay. And, all around you, imperceptible gamma rays explode in a brilliant but invisible lightshow. And they've just formed a live band. Yes, you read that correctly. But it's all for science: The Radioactive Orchestra 2.0 is part of a Swedish project to help us understand how low-energy radiation works, by showing the energy patterns of nuclear isotopes. Swedish musician Kristofer Hagbard conceived of the orchestra about a year ago and released an album last spring, but the new 2.0 version of "the band" allows him to perform live in front of an audience. “This can be looked at as a piano for high energy photons, so every detection gives us a note,” Hagbard said. “The musical instrument is as good as the gamma spectrometer we are using.”"
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Network

+ - 148 Battery-Powered Transmitter Could Crash UK's 4G Network->

Submitted by
DavidGilbert99
DavidGilbert99 writes "With a £400 transmitter, a laptop and a little knowledge you could bring down an entire city's high-speed 4G network.

This information comes from research carried out in the US into the possibility of using LTE networks as the basis for a next-generation emergency response communications system.

Jeff Reed, director of the wireless research group at Virginia Tech, along with research assistant, Marc Lichtman, described the vulnerabilities to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), which advises the White House on telecom and information policy.

"If LTE technology is to be used for the air interface of the public safety network, then we should consider the types of jamming attacks that could occur five or ten years from now. It is very possible for radio jamming to accompany a terrorist attack, for the purpose of preventing communications and increasing destruction," Reed said."

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Politics

+ - 197 Nate Silver turns his eye to the American League->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "Nate Silver is at it again. Here's a quote: "It might seem as if these statistics make Cabrera, the first triple crown winner in either league since 1967, a shoo-in for the M.V.P. But most statistically minded fans would prefer that it go to another player, Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels.""
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+ - 157 'Rogue (wandering) planet' spotted 100 light-years away-> 1

Submitted by Maow
Maow (620678) writes ""This object was discovered during a scan that covered the equivalent of 1,000 times the [area] of the full moon," said study co-author Etienne Artigau of the University of Montreal.

"We observed hundreds of millions of stars and planets, but we only found one homeless planet in our neighbourhood."

This planet appears to be an astonishingly young 50-120 million years old.

The paper is published at arxiv.org.

Here's hoping the Mayan End-of-World-2012 people don't seize upon this as some kind of impending rogue planet on a collision course with Earth, but one can expect it'll be bantered about on such forums."

Link to Original Source
NASA

+ - 126 DARPA wants army of networked amateur astronomers to watch sky for space junk->

Submitted by
coondoggie
coondoggie writes "There is really so much junk floating around in space the government needs help keeping track of it all. This week the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency announced a program to utilize amateur astronomers to help watch space for any dangerous junk that maybe be threatening satellites or other spacecraft and even the Earth. If you have a telescope, great but the program will even install equipment if you are in a strategic area the government want to watch."
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Earth

+ - 119 Fukushima ocean radiation won't quit->

Submitted by
mdsolar
mdsolar writes ""The Fukushima disaster caused by far the largest discharge of radioactivity into the ocean ever seen. A new model presented by scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts estimates that 16.2 petabecquerels (1015 becquerels) of radioactive caesium leaked from the plant — roughly the same amount that went into the atmosphere.

Most of that radioactivity dispersed across the Pacific Ocean, where it became diluted to extremely low levels. But in the region of the ocean near the plant, levels of caesium-137 have remained fixed at around 1,000 becquerels, a relatively high level compared to the natural background. Similarly, levels of radioactive caesium in bottom-dwelling fish remain pretty much unchanged more than 18 months after the accident."

The solution to pollution is not dilution...."

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Data Storage

+ - 254 Everspin launches non-volatile MRAM that's 500 times faster than NAND->

Submitted by
MrSeb
MrSeb writes "Alternative memory standards have been kicking around for decades as researchers have struggled to find the hypothetical holy grail — a non-volatile, low-latency, low-cost product that could scale from hard drives to conventional RAM. NAND flash has become the high-speed, non-volatile darling of the storage industry, but if you follow the evolution of the standard, you’ll know that NAND is far from perfect. The total number of read/write cycles and data duration if the drive isn’t kept powered are both significant problems as process shrinks continue scaling downward. Thus far, this holy grail remains elusive, but a practical MRAM (Magnetoresistive Random Access Memory) solution took a step towards fruition this week. Everspin has announced that it’s shipping the first 64Mb ST-MRAM in a DDR3-compatible module. These modules transfer data at DDR3-1600 clock rates, but access latencies are much lower than flash RAM, promising an overall 500x performance increase over conventional NAND."
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Science

+ - 164 Why Gerald Crabtree's speculations about declining human intelligence are wrong->

Submitted by
grrlscientist
grrlscientist writes "A couple hot-off-the-press articles published in Trends in Genetics have been garnering more attention than they're worth. In them, molecular geneticist Jerry Crabtree puts forward an argument that human cognitive abilities are declining — people are getting stupider."
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NASA

+ - 132 NASA Security Breach->

Submitted by Mephistophocles
Mephistophocles (930357) writes "If you work for NASA, you saw this memo sent to all agency employees yesterday afternoon:

"On October 31, 2012, a NASA laptop and official NASA documents issued to a Headquarters employee were stolen from the employee's locked vehicle. The laptop contained records of sensitive personally identifiable information (PII) for a large number of NASA employees, contractors, and others. Although the laptop was password protected, it did not have whole disk encryption software, which means the information on the laptop could be accessible to unauthorized individuals. We are thoroughly assessing and investigating the incident, and taking every possible action to mitigate the risk of harm or inconvenience to affected employees.""

Link to Original Source

+ - 153 Firefox To Get Native Flash Support The Shumway Project->

Submitted by sfcrazy
sfcrazy (1542989) writes "Mozilla has announced the Shunway project that aims to provide a free and open-source alternative to the Flash player. This project will enable Firefox users to view SWF files and other rich content in their browsers, even if Flash plugin isn't installed. The Shunway plugin is actually an HTML5 standalone module that renders flash."
Link to Original Source
Security

+ - 104 Customers Pressuring Software Vendors To Clean Up Their Apps->

Submitted by ancientribe
ancientribe (1057834) writes "Many large companies under regulatory pressures have been working on writing more secure code for their internal applications, but not all software vendors are doing the same. New data from Veracode and BSIMM shows that buyers are putting the squeeze on their software vendors to produce more secure applications. And guess what: the vendors are going along with it and having their apps vetted."
Link to Original Source
Transportation

+ - 176 Honda's "Micro Commuter" Features Swappable Bodies->

Submitted by Zothecula
Zothecula (1870348) writes "Further evidence of the coming fragmentation of personal transportation came today when Honda released details of the next iteration of its electric "Micro Commuter" prototype which we first saw at the Tokyo Motor Show last year. The new version is close to production-ready, and concentrates the battery and functionality of the micro EV below the floor, enabling the vehicle's body to be easily changed to accommodate different functionality."
Link to Original Source

+ - 211 Artificial Wombs in the near future?-> 3

Submitted by
DaemonDan
DaemonDan writes "The first successful pregnancy by IVF was accomplished over 50 years ago, essentially creating a multi-billion dollar industry. Many scientists are trying to take it one step farther with a 100% test tube baby brought to term in an artificial womb.

"Cornell University's Dr. Hung-Ching Liu has engineered endometrial tissues by prompting cells to grow in an artificial uterus. When Liu introduced a mouse embryo into the lab-created uterine lining, "It successfully implanted and grew healthy," she said in this New Atlantis Magazine article. Scientists predict the research could produce an animal womb by 2020, and a human model by early 2030s."

The author of the article seems to believe that birth via artificial wombs could become the new norm, but is it really feasible, desirable or even affordable for the majority of Earth's population?"

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Software

+ - 126 Nokia to offer free maps app and service for rival handsets->

Submitted by another random user
another random user (2645241) writes "Nokia has unveiled plans to offer a free maps app on rivals' devices.

Here Maps will initially be released on Apple iOS devices offering downloadable street plans for offline use, and audio-based directions for pedestrians.

Nokia is also developing a version for Mozilla's forthcoming Firefox operating system, and will release software tools to allow third parties to make use of its data on Android devices.

The move is designed to help the firm compete against Google's rival product."

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The tree of research must from time to time be refreshed with the blood of bean counters. -- Alan Kay

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