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Submission + - The Science of Roadkill

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Sarah Harris writes that roadkill may not be glamorous, but wildlife ecologist Danielle Garneau says dead critters carry lots of valuable information providing an opportunity to learn about wildlife and pinpoint migratory patterns, invasive species, and predatory patterns. "We're looking at a fine scale at patterns of animal movement — maybe we can pick up migratory patterns, maybe we can see a phenology change," says Garneau. "And also, in the long term, if many of these animals are threatened or they're in a decline, the hope would be that we could share this information with people who could make changes." Garneau turns students out into the world to find dead animals, document them and collect the data using a smartphone app RoadkillGarneau and she has already received data from across New York, as well as Vermont, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Florida and Colorado. Participants take photos of the road kill, and the app uploads them through EpiCollect, which pinpoints the find on the map. Participants can then update the data to include any descriptors of the animal such as its species; sex; how long the dead animal had been there; if and when it was removed; the weather conditions; and any predators around it. "People talk a lot about technology cutting us off from nature," says Garneau. "But I found that with the road kill project, it’s the opposite. You really engage with the world around you — even if it is a smelly skunk decaying on the side of the road.""

Submission + - But Can it Run Crysis 3? Crysis 3 Minimum System Specs Revealed (

MojoKid writes: We’ve been tracking Crysis 3 for a while, from the trailer a few months ago to the recent alpha multiplayer preview. The game is available for preorder and it will launch in February. Crytek has now listed the minimum system requirements for Crysis 3 and they’re as follows: Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8, DirectX 11 graphics card with 1GB Video RAM, Dual core CPU, 2GB Memory (3GB on Vista). Those aren’t particularly stringent parameters by any means, but as we all know, “minimum requirements” rarely are. Crytek suggests upgrading to a quad-core CPU, 4GB of RAM, with examples of CPU/GPU combinations that include Intel Core i5-750/NVIDIA GTX 560 and AMD Phenom II X4 805/AMD Radeon HD5870.

Submission + - Movie Studios Ask Google To Censor Links To Legal Copies Of Their Own Films

An anonymous reader writes: Several large movie studios have asked Google to take down legitimate pages related to their own films, including sites legally hosting, promoting, or discussing them. We’ve written about the ridiculousness of automated Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) requests before, including Microsoft asking Google to censor BBC, CBS, CNN, Wikipedia, the US government, and even its own Bing links, but this latest episode takes the cake.

Submission + - Yahoo loses $2.7B in mysterious Mexican yellow pages lawsuit

An anonymous reader writes: CNN reports that a Mexico City court has ordered Yahoo to pay $2.7 billion to Worldwide Directories and Ideas Interactivas. The classified directory publisher sued Yahoo, claiming various losses and breaches involving "contracts related to a yellow pages listings service." Yahoo announced its intention to appeal but is saying little else about the case.

Submission + - Voyager 1, so close to interstellar space that we can taste it!

mphall21 writes: Voyager 1 is nearing the edge of the magnetic highway of our solar system and scientists believe this is the final area the space probe must cross before entering interstellar space.

The Voyager team infers this region is still inside of our heliosphere because the direction of the magnetic field has not changed. The direction of this field is expected to change when Voyager goes into interstellar space.

'Although Voyager 1 still is inside the sun's environment, we now can taste what it's like on the outside because the particles are zipping in and out on this magnetic highway,' said Edward Stone, Voyager project scientist based at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena. 'We believe this is the last leg of our journey to interstellar space. Our best guess is it's likely just a few months to a couple years away. The new region isn't what we expected, but we've come to expect the unexpected from Voyager.'

Moving at 10.5 miles per second, the space probe is the most distant man-made object from Earth.

The space craft has been in operation for 35 years and receives regular commands and transmits data back to the Deep Space Network.

Submission + - Senators Try To Add Internet Sales Tax To Defense Bill (

jfruh writes: "A bipartisan group of U.S. Senators are working hard to make it legal for U.S. states to collect sales tax on any sales made to their residents, even if the sellers live elsewhere. They tried to add an amendment making the change to an unrelated defense appropriations bill, but the attempt was defeated. They have vowed to try again."

Submission + - Orphaned works and the requirement to preserve metadata ( 1

An anonymous reader writes: Orphaned works legislation promises to open older forgotten works to new uses and audiences. Groups like ASMP think it's inevitable. But it comes with the risk of defanging protection for current work when the creator cannot be located. Photographer Mark Meyer wonders if orphaned works legislation also needs language to compel organizations like Facebook to stop their practice of stripping metadata from user content in order to keep new work from becoming orphans to begin with. Should we have laws to make stripping metadata illegal?

Submission + - Facebook Shows Off Newest Open Compute Hardware (

1sockchuck writes: Facebook has begun running the latest Open Compute hardware design in its North Carolina data center. That's where the social network is testing Open Rack, which features a wider layout and a new approach to power supplies. The 21-inch wide rack retools the Facebook design to house three 2U servers per sled, compared to the initial use of a single 1.5U server per tray. Power supplies are now separate from the server motherboards and reside in a “power shelf” at the base of the rack, where they tie into the busbar at the rear of the unit. And then there’s “Knox” – the Open Compute storage design, which shares the enclosures with the new servers. In a video, the Facebook team also discusses its growing use of SSD storage in its operations.

Submission + - Fun-powered SOcket ball provides 3 hours of light from a 30 minute soccer game

An dochasac writes: From the why-didn't-I-think-of-that department: Harvard students Hemali Thakker, Julia Silverman, Jessica O. Matthews and Jessica Lin received grants from the Clinton Global Initiative University to develop a prototype of a soccer ball that generates electricity to illuminate homes in the developing world. Jessica Matthews and Julia Silverman went on to found a company called Unchartedplay to manufacture this SOccket ball and try to organize sponsorship for the balls to be sent where they are needed the most.

Submission + - Hacking your own hearing-aid (

AchilleTalon writes: "Brian Moore, professor of audiology at the University of Cambridge, explained: "It's not the same as spectacles where you know you have the right prescription.
"With a hearing aid you can have an initial prescription but you will need to do some fine-tuning around that afterwards to satisfy the individual person."
He said the tuning process was frustrating because of the difficulty in making hearing aids work within different levels of noise."


Submission + - Ericsson seeks US import ban on Samsung products (

angry tapir writes: "Just a few days after Ericsson filed several patent-infringement lawsuits against Samsung in the U.S., the Swedish mobile phone company also filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), asking for an import ban of a wide range of Samsung products, including the Galaxy S III and the Galaxy Note. Ericsson alleges that Samsung violates Section 337 of the Tariff Act by importing patent-infringing products into the U.S and selling them"

Submission + - OTON - A new Ubuntu-based "Autonomous Game Console" (

dryriver writes: Startup company EnGeniux has started advertising its new OTON console (, which will, if things go well, ship sometime in 2013. OTON is based on a quad-core Cortex A9 CPU, has 2 GB RAM, and 16GB Flash storage. It also has a small Laser Projector built into the back of the console unit, so you don't need a TV to play with OTON — it will happily project games onto any nearby flat surface, like a white wall. The most interesting aspect of OTON, however, apart from its OS being Ubuntu-based, is that developer EnGenieux claims that the console can "intelligently generate an unlimited number of new game levels, and game types". You have read that correctly; EnGenieux claim to have spent 3 years creating a quasi-intelligent AI game-generation system that can "throw dice" to create anything from simple 2D platform games to complex 3D FPS shooters games on demand. And each OTON owner will get completely unique games generated for his/her console. The grand idea here is that OTON will feature "unlimited procedurally generated game content", so you never have to buy new games if you don't want to. You can simply prompt your OTON to roll the virtual device and generate you a completely new game. While concrete details about OTON are somewhat sketchy — some people think that the whole thing is an elaborate internet hoax — it seems that OTON gamers will also moonlight as game-makers. The console will allow you to create your own game assets, design your own games, and share your work with the rest of the OTON community. Hoax or not, its going to be interesting what OTON looks like when it is finished and shipping...

Submission + - Older Vega Mature Enough to Nurture Life (

sciencehabit writes: Shining just 25 light-years from Earth in the constellation Lyra, Vega is the fifth brightest star in the night sky. In 1983, astronomers discovered dust orbiting the star, suggesting it had a solar system, and Carl Sagan chose to make Vega the source of a SETI signal in his 1985 novel Contact. At the time, Vega was thought to be only about a couple hundred million years old, probably too young for any planets to have spawned life. Since then, however, estimates of Vega's age have increased to between 625 million and 850 million years old. So suitable planets have probably had sufficient time to develop primitive life.

Submission + - Drunk Maggots Make Good Students (

sciencehabit writes: Some fruit fly larvae need a little extra buzz with their lessons. In a new study, reported last week in Current Biology, researchers fed the larvae of fruit flies alcohol-spiked food and then tested their ability to learn to avoid an unpleasant stimulus. After consuming an amount of alcohol that would be mildly intoxicating to humans (equivalent to a 0.05 to 0.08 blood alcohol concentration) the larvae were less apt at avoiding an attractive odor that had been paired with an unpleasant heat shock than their sober counterparts—indicating that alcohol initially impaired learning. However, after a 6-day drinking binge, those same larvae adapted and were able to learn just as well as the non-alcoholics—and even performed worse when the alcohol was taken away. Once they were allowed to drink again, their performance returned to normal. Researchers say that the findings, the first evidence that invertebrate learning and memory can become dependent on alcohol, also demonstrate that alcohol directly affects cells of the nervous system.

Submission + - Why Old People Get Scammed (

sciencehabit writes: Despite long experience with the ways of the world, older people are especially vulnerable to fraud. According to the Federal Trade Commission, up to 80% of scam victims are over 65. One explanation may lie in a brain region that serves as a built-in crook detector. Called the anterior insula, this structure—which fires up in response to the face of an unsavory character—is less active in older people, possibly making them less cagey than younger folks, a new study finds.

Submission + - Microsoft Goes after Enterprise Customers, Raises Licensing Prices (

hypnosec writes: Microsoft is trying to make up for below expected earnings following Windows 8’s and Surface RT’s lack luster adoption rates by increasing the prices of its products between 8 and 400 per cent it has been revealed. Trying to make more out of its enterprise customers who are tied under its Software Assurance payment model, Microsoft has increased user CALs pricing 15 per cent; SharePoint 2013 pricing by 38 per cent; Lync Server 2013 pricing by 400 per cent; Project 2013 Server CAL by 21 per cent.

Submission + - Valve Officially Launches TV-friendly Steam Big Picture Mode

An anonymous reader writes: Valve on Monday announced the public release of Big Picture, Steam’s new mode that lets gamers access their games on a TV, in over 20 languages. Big Picture lets you use a traditional gamepad (as well as a keyboard and mouse) to access the complete Steam store and Steam Community from the comfort of the couch in your living room.
United States

Submission + - Apple is assembling their new iMacs in the USA ( 2

skade88 writes: Some of the new iMacs are shipping with a sticker which reads "Assembled in the USA.". Is this a great thing for the economy to bring back high paid manufacturing jobs to the USA or just apple realizing the patent litigation wars they started have likely burned too many bridges, forcing them to manufacture their own stuff?

Submission + - Internet Freedom Won't Be Controlled, Says UN Telcom Chief (

wiredmikey writes: The head of the UN telecommunications body, Hamadoun Toure, told an audience at the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT-12) in Dubai on Monday that Internet freedom will not be curbed or controlled.

"Nothing can stop the freedom of expression in the world today, and nothing in this conference will be about it," he said. Such claims are "completely (unfounded)," Toure, secretary general of the International Telecommunication Union, told AFP.

"We must continue to work together and find a consensus on how to most effectively keep cyberspace open, accessible, affordable and secure," UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said.
Google has been vocal in warning of serious repercussions, saying that "Some proposals could permit governments to censor legitimate speech — or even cut off Internet access," noted Google’s Vint Cerf in a blog post.

Google is also arguing that the ITU is not the right body to address Internet issues. "Only governments have a vote at the ITU," he pointed out. Google claimed in a blog post Monday that preliminary talks saw some "frightening proposals" discussed, including an Arab states' proposal to have the ITU take over the allocation of Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. The United States previously said that it would oppose any major revision to 24-year-old global telecommunications regulations.