waderoush writes "The venture backers behind Lytro, the Silicon Valley startup that just released its new light field camera, say the device will upend consumer photography the way the iPhone upended the mobile business. This review takes that assertion at face value, enumerating the features that made the iPhone an overnight success and asking whether the Lytro camera and its refocusable 'living pictures' offer consumers an equivalent set of advantages. The verdict: not yet. But while the first Lytro model may not an overnight success, light field cameras and refocusable images are just the first taste of a revolution in computational photography that's going to change the way consumers think about pictures."
asavin writes "Ng Tze-chuen, a 59-year-old dentist, is teaming up with Egypt's former antiquities minister to explore the Pyramids of Giza. To do this, he's invented a tiny insect-sized robot with dental forcep-inspired grips on the top. This will be used to travel between the cracks on two mysterious doors blocking a tomb."
thecarchik writes "As of now, the only state where self-driving cars are legal on public roads is Nevada, thanks to its vast expanses of open space and lightly traveled byways. California, recognizing that autonomous cars are an inevitable progression of technology, is moving to establish its own rules for driverless vehicles. A bill proposed by California Senator Alex Padilla would set guidelines for the testing and operation of self-driving vehicles within the state. As California is home to Google, Stanford and Caltech, all of which have active autonomous vehicle programs, the state is positioned to be a leader in driverless car development. It stands to reason that self-driving cars will be allowed on California's roads, probably in the near future."
New submitter es330td writes "I'd like to write a program that takes the old cannon game to another level, but instead of the path being a simple parabolic arc, the projectile will move through a field of objects exerting gravitational attraction (or repulsion) and the player will have to adjust velocity and angle to find the path through the space between launch point and the target.In an ideal world, this would end up as one of these Flash based web playable games, as that would force me to fully flesh it out, debug and complete the app. I doubt this will ever be commercial, so hiring somebody doesn't make sense, and I wouldn't learn anything that way either. I have been programming for almost 20 years, but the bulk of my work has been in corporate programming, primarily web (Cold Fusion, ASP & C#.Net,) or VB6 and then C# Windows GUI interfaces to RDBMS. I have never written a graphics based game, nor have I ever written something using the physics this will require. Once upon a time, I could program in C but I think I would be much better off to work with someone rather than try to roll my own unless good books exist to flatten the learning curve. Any advice on how to proceed?"
MojoKid writes "Metro, Microsoft's new UI, is bold; a dramatic departure from anything the company has previously done in the desktop/laptop space, and absolutely great. It's tangible proof that Redmond really can design and build its own unique products and experiences. However, the transition to Metro's Start menu is jarring for some desktop users, and worse yet, Desktop mode and Metro don't mesh well at all. The best strategy Microsoft could take would be to introduce users to Metro via its included apps and through tablets, while prominently offering the option to maintain the Desktop environment. Power users who choose to use the classic UI for desktops and laptops can still be exposed to Metro via tablets and applications without being forced to wade through it on their way to do something important."
An anonymous reader sends this excerpt from IEEE Spectrum's Nanoclast blog: "One of the fundamental problems with fuel cells has been the cost of producing hydrogen. While hydrogen is, of course, the most abundant element, it attaches itself to other elements like nitrogen or fluorine, and perhaps most ubiquitously to oxygen to create the water molecule. ... Now researchers at University of California, San Diego have developed a quite different approach to mimicking photosynthesis for splitting water molecules by using a 3D branched nanowire array that looks like a forest of trees. ... The nanowire forest [uses] the process of photoelectrochemical water-splitting to produce hydrogen gas. The method used by the researchers, which was published in the journal Nanoscale (abstract), found that the forest structure of the nanowires, which has a massive amount of surface area, not only captured more light than flat planar designs, but also produced more hydrogen gas."
coondoggie writes "Lockheed Martin says the prototype system it is developing to track all manner of space debris is now tracking actual orbiting space objects. The Space Fence prototype includes new ground-based radars and other technologies to enhance the way the U.S. detects, tracks, measures and catalogs orbiting objects and space debris with improved accuracy, better timeliness and increased surveillance coverage. 'Space Fence will detect, track and catalog over 200,000 orbiting objects and help transform space situational awareness from being reactive to predictive. The Air Force will have more time to anticipate events potentially impacting space assets and missions. Our net-centric design approach allows Space Fence to be easily integrated into the broader U.S. Space Surveillance Network of sensors already operated by the Air Force.'"
redletterdave writes "On Friday, President Barack Obama appointed Todd Park, a 39-year-old former entrepreneur and data scientist, to be the new Chief Technology Officer of the United States. Park takes over for Aneesh Chopra, the first U.S. CTO, who resigned earlier this year. Park was formerly the CTO of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services since 2009, where he helped bring 'big data' to healthcare by helping create an open health care data platform similar to the National Weather Service, which could feed data to commercial websites and applications. Before joining the Obama administration, Park helped co-found AthenaHealth and Castlight Health, and also served as a senior adviser to Ashoka, a global incubator for social entrepreneurs. One of his ventures, Healthpoint Services, won the 2011 Sankalp Award for the 'most innovative and promising health-oriented social enterprise in India.'"
jones_supa writes "California has added 4-methylimidazole (a caramel coloring) to the list of carcinogenic compounds that require an explicit warning when added to foodstuffs. Incidentally, this has entailed the big two cola producers to modify their recipe to decrease the amount of the substance — just enough to avoid the warning. The change to the recipe has already been introduced in California but will be rolled out across the U.S. to streamline manufacturing. The American Beverage Association noted that there is not enough evidence to show the coloring to cause cancer in humans."
itwbennett writes "French computer company Bull Group is looking to sell off the Internet spying software business of its subsidiary Amesys. The Eagle system, which was 'designed to build databases supporting lawful interception activities on the Internet,' has an interesting pedigree, having been 'developed for Libya after signing a 2007 contract with the regime there,' according to the WSJ."
silentbrad writes "/Film (as well as IGN and A.V. Club) reports about Topher Grace's fan re-edit of the Star Wars prequel trilogy into a single, 85-minute film titled Star Wars: Episode III.5: The Editor Strikes Back.' Quoting /Film: 'His idea was to edit the Star Wars prequels into one movie, as they would provide him a lot of footage to work with. He used footage from all three prequels, a couple cuts from the original trilogy, some music from The Clone Wars television series, and even a dialogue bit from Anthony Daniels' (C-3PO) audio book recordings. He even created a new opening text crawl to set up his version of the story.' It continues with what stayed and what was cut. It's just too bad it was a one-time-only screening."
ananyo writes "LSD has potential as a treatment for alcoholism, according to a comprehensive retrospective analysis of studies published in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The researchers sifted through thousands of records to collect data from randomized, double-blind trials that compared one dose of LSD to a placebo. Of 536 participants in six trials, 59% of people receiving LSD reported lower levels of alcohol misuse (PDF), compared to 38% of people who received a placebo. The study adds to the weight of evidence that hallucinogenic drugs may have important medical uses, including, for example, the alleviation of cluster headaches."
Hugh Pickens writes "The Atlantic has assembled a high-profile panel of experts, including a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iran, a Senior Vice President at the Council on Foreign Relations, a Deputy Head of the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, and a military correspondent at Haaretz, to periodically estimate the chances of conflict with Iran. The Iran War Clock is not designed to be pro-war or anti-war. Instead, the purpose is to estimate the chances of conflict in the hope of producing a more informed debate. Each panelist makes an individual estimate about the percentage chance of war and we report the average score and based on this number, the Iran War Clock is adjusted so that the hand moves closer to, or further away from, midnight. 'On the one hand, the panelists are highly knowledgeable. On the other hand, there are sufficient members of the panel that any individual error should not have an overly negative effect on the aggregate prediction.' If there is a zero percent chance of war, the clock hand is at 20 minutes to midnight. Each extra 5 percent chance of war moves the hand one minute closer to midnight. 'We're humble about the accuracy of this prediction, which is really a collective "gut-check" feeling. But it may be closer to the truth than the alternative forecasts available.' The panel's first estimate puts the odds of war in the next twelve months at 48 percent, consistent with predictions market Intrade.com, which estimates a 40 percent chance of a U.S./Israeli strike by December 2012."
garthsundem writes "I disagree with this article's opening line: 'Within a decade, personal robots could become as common in U.S. homes as any other major appliance.' Haven't we been promised this since the 50s? But I'm fascinated by the rest — how do you teach humans to teach robots? Or, more precisely, how can you teach robots to teach humans to teach robots? The idea that designers can put a flexible platform in a robot, allowing users to determine functionality, is pretty interesting. The lead researcher for this project said, 'People are not so good at teaching robots because they don't understand the robots' learning mechanism. It's like when you try to train a dog, and it's difficult because dogs do not learn like humans do. We wanted to find out the best kinds of questions a robot could ask to make the human-robot relationship as 'human' as it can be.'"
An anonymous reader writes "This weekend may be the last chance for Canadians to fight back against SOPA-style laws being added to Canadian copyright law, with the final hearing scheduled for Monday. In recent days, the copyright lobby has demanded website blocking, warrantless access to subscriber information, and unlimited damage awards. Michael Geist has the details on who to contact and Open Media has launched a campaign to encourage Canadians to speak out before Monday's Bill C-11 meeting. The group makes it easy to speak out against SOPA style reforms, harms to fair dealing, and unduly restrictive digital lock rules."