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Submission + - How Technology Is Increasing the Number of Jobs We Have (theguardian.com)

An anonymous reader writes: An article at The Guardian takes a look at the way in which we hold jobs as technology as changes. Its central thesis is this: "My father had one job in his life, I've had six in mine, my kids will have six at the same time." This may compress the generational changes a bit, but it's an interesting point; the average time being spent at one job has been trending downward for a long time. As technology enables the so-called "gig economy" (or "sharing economy," if you prefer), we're seeing many more people start to hold multiple jobs, working whichever one happens to give them something to do at a given time. Economist Jeremy Rifkin says, "This sharing economy is reestablishing the commons in a hi-tech landscape. Commons came about when people formed communities by taking the meager resources they had and sharing then to create more value. The method of regulation of these systems is also comparable."

Submission + - It is now next to impossible to reside anonymously in a modern city (citiesofthefuture.eu)

dkatana writes: In a panel on “Privacy in the Smart City” during this month's Smart City World Congress, Dr. Carmela Troncoso, a researcher from Spain, argued that data anonymization itself is almost impossible without using advanced cryptography. Our every transaction leaves a digital marker that can be mined by anyone with the right tools or enough determination.

Most modern cities today are full of sensors and connected devices. Some are considering giving away free WiFi in exchange of personal data. LinkNYC, which was present at the congress as exhibitor, is one such example of this.

The panelists insisted that it is the duty of world leaders to safeguard their citizens’ privacy, just as corporations are answerable to leaks and hacks.

Submission + - MST3K Kickstarter about to break record (kickstarter.com)

the_Bionic_lemming writes: Recently Joel Hodgson, the creator of Mystery Science 3000 that had a successful run of over 197 shows has after 15 years launched a kickstarter to relaunch the series. Previous MST3K Is Kickstarting Back To Life, MST3K Successfully Crowdsources Its Comeback.
In just over two weeks Joel has been wildly successful in not only having over 25000 fans contribute, but actually scoring the second highest show kickstarter on record — he has just under two weeks to shoot past the Number 1 kickstarter, Veronica Mars.

Additionally , Joel had an eight year old girl write in during the long series run , and they did her letter on the air (something the fans loved — having their mail on the air) . A few days ago, Freezepop's Ashley (who was that 8 year old girl) sang a wonderful tribute with Joel for the Kickstarter .

Submission + - Microphone 32 X more sensitive has been invented (arxiv.org)

Taco Cowboy writes: A microphone which is 32 X more sensitive than regular microphone has recently been invented

Most microphones have the same componentry as a loudspeaker – in fact, they’re loudspeakers working in reverse, turning sound into electrical currents. When you speak, the sound waves travel towards the microphone, which impact a membrane that then vibrates. These vibrations are transferred to a metallic coil that then moves back and forth across a permanent magnet. A temporary electromagnet is created by the interaction of the magnetic field with the coil, and an electrical current is generated, which travels to an amplifier or a sound recording device. Nickel is normally used in the construction of the membrane

Replacing the Nickel with a graphine based membrane 30n carbon-atom thick, showed a remarkable 32-fold increase in sensitivity across a significant part of the audio spectrum: up to 11 kilohertz, across a dizzying array of amplitudes

The researchers also simulated a 300-layer thick graphene membrane, which has the potential to be even more sensitive; it could hypothetically detect frequencies of up to one megahertz, which is in the ultrasonic part of the spectrum. This has yet to be tested experimentally, though

This research shows that it is demonstrably possible for graphene to be used in a new generation of highly sensitive microphones, which will pick up far more sound detail than regular microphones do at present. Excitingly, highly sensitive ultrasonic microphones may also be on the cards

Comment Re:Avoidance (Score 1) 82

Actually, this points out another possible explanation -- that distance is the effect of ethical behavior rather than the cause. This is not necessarily because the boss explicitly or intentionally demands unethical behavior from his subordinates. Often it's because bad bosses like to surround themselves with yes-men and toadies.

Comment Re:The treaty says no such thing. (Score 1) 211

200 parts per million might be insanely rich, but it also means you have to process over 300 pounds of ore to extract 1 oz of platinum. That's nothing to a terrestrial mining operation which might crush several tons of rock to recover a single ounce of gold, but remember they do that with mass-is-no-object machinery and consuming, from a spacecraft point of view, unthinkable amounts of power. In space operations mass and power matters a great deal.

I'm not saying it won't happen eventually, but it won't be profitable until we're measuring cost per pound to orbit in pennies rather than thousands of dollars.

Comment Re:The treaty says no such thing. (Score 2) 211

I considered the near Earth object case. Clearly that's the easiest place to return material from; the problem is that it's coals-to-Newcastle. So far as we know the bulk of that material is stuff that's easy to get here on Earth: silicates, sulfides, iron, nickel etc. Judging from meteors found here on Earth there are exotic materials like iridium, but in trace quantities.

While there's no doubt lots of valuable stuff like platinum up there, I think people are picturing it as floating around as nuggets of largely native metal. The platinum deposits in Canada's Sudbury Basin were delivered by a meteor, but that meteor was fifteen km across. It contained a lot of Pt in absolute terms, but in relative terms the Pt was rare compared to silicates or nickel. The liquefaction of the meteor in impact separated the heavy metals into convenient deposits. If we tried to mine that object while it was in space we'd have had to crush and melt a lot of ore to get much Pt.

Submission + - Amazon reveals new delivery drone design with range of 15 miles (geekwire.com)

reifman writes: Amazon released new video of its futuristic drones (honestly the though of them buzzing around is the only thing that makes me want to join the NRA) but there's some hopefulness here. Prime Air vehicles will take advantage of sophisticated 'sense and avoid' technology, as well as a high degree of automation, to safely operate beyond the line of sight to distances of 10 miles or more. 'It looks like science fiction, but it's real: One day, seeing Prime Air vehicles will be as normal as seeing mail trucks on the road. ' Amazon said its drones fly under 400 feet and weigh less than 55 pounds.

Submission + - Super-Strong Diamond Nanothread Has People Dreaming Of A Space Elevator (iflscience.com) 1

schwit1 writes: Looking for a material stronger than carbon nanotubes and graphene? A new microscopic structure, called diamond nanothread (DNT), shows the potential to revolutionize material science.

A team from the Queensland University of Technology in Australia modeled the properties of this DNT and found that the length of the thread doesn’t significantly affect its strength. The results are presented in a paper uploaded toArXiv.

Submission + - Purdue Experiments With Income Contingent Student Loans

HughPickens.com writes: Danielle Douglas-Gabriel writes in the Washington Post that Purdue University is partnering with Vemo Education, a Reston-based financial services firm, to create income-share agreements, or ISAs, that its students can tap to pay for tuition, room and board. In return, students would pay a percentage of their earnings after graduation for a set number of years, replenishing the fund for future investments. Purdue president Mitch Daniels calls the contracts a constructive addition to today’s government loan programs and perhaps the only option for students and families who have low credit ratings and extra financial need. "From the student’s standpoint, ISAs assure a manageable payback amount, never more than the agreed portion of their incomes. Best of all, they shift the risk of career shortcomings from student to investor: If the graduate earns less than expected, it is the investors who are disappointed; if the student decides to go off to find himself in Nepal instead of working, the loss is entirely on the funding providers, who will presumably price that risk accordingly when offering their terms. This is true “debt-free” college."

However some observers worry that students pursuing profitable degrees in engineering or business would get better repayment terms than those studying to become nurses or teachers. "Income share agreements have the potential to create another option for students looking to pay for college while seeking assurances they will not be overwhelmed by future payments," says Robert Kelchen. "However, given the current generosity of federal income-based repayment programs and the likely hesitation of those who expect six-figure salaries to sign away a percentage of their income for years to come, the market for these programs may be somewhat limited."

Comment Re:The treaty says no such thing. (Score 4, Interesting) 211

It does not prohibit colonization, it just prohibits exclusive territorial claims.

Right, which does not necessarily prevent claiming materials found as private property.

That said, this is all a tempest in a teapot. At this stage of technology asteroid mining is about the worst imaginable investment anyone could make. It's a purely emotional investment, driven by enthusiasm, and it doesn't stand up to critical scrutiny. We don't even go after the valuable on the sea floor because the cost of finding and raising them makes that unprofitable. If there were hundred pound chunks of refinery-pure platinum floating around in the asteroid belt it would cost more to fetch and return them than they'd fetch on the market.

The economics of space travel is dominated by the cost of moving mass in and out of gravity wells and imparting the necessary acceleration to match position and velocity with targets. It follows that we're looking for stuff with the highest value/mass, and until costs drop by a couple of orders of magnitude there's only one commodity worth returning from space: knowledge. The first physical substances worth mining will be things useful in the pursuit of knowledge -- e.g. water that can be converted to rocket fuel without tankering to the outer solar system.

Submission + - Google to work with Israel to censor Palestinian YouTube videos (betanews.com)

Mark Wilson writes: Coverage of any conflict is rarely free from bias, with propaganda being a staple tool. This certainly rings true of the war between Israel and Palestine, and Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister has engaged in talks with representatives of YouTube and Google with a view to censoring videos coming out of the region.

Tzipi Hotovely met with Google's Director of Public Policy, Jennifer Oztzistzki, and YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki. On the agenda was discussion about how to censor Palestinian video footage deemed to be "inflammatory" or "inciting violence and terrorism" by Tel Aviv.

It's a move that will concern journalists, anti-censorship proponents, and freedom of the press advocates alike, but the Israeli government is keen to stem the flow of what it sees as uncensored propaganda coming out of the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

"Everybody is talking about the weather but nobody does anything about it." -- Mark Twain