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+ - Tesla To Unveil Its Gigafatory's Home/Utility-Scale Batteries->

Submitted by Lucas123
Lucas123 writes: Elon Musk is expected to announce batteries that will store power from renewable energy sources in homes and for utilities that will supplement their power supply in off hours at night and during inclement weather. The announcement will take place next Thursday (April 30) at 8 p.m. Musk is also chairman of SolarCity, the largest provider of residential solar systems in the U.S., which controls 30% to 40% of the U.S. market. Tesla plans to mass produce household- and utility-grade batteries in a $5 billion lithium-ion battery factory project it calls the "Gigafactory" — the first one of which is being constructed in Nevada. As battery technology evolves, it could pave the way to cost effectively store both wind and solar-generated energy and connect to electrical power grids. The technology also could be used by businesses and homes, which could virtually remain off the power grid except in emergencies. The grid, essentially, would be the backup. The company is currently beta-testing its batteries in about 330 homes, mainly in California. Those batteries can hold up to 10kWh of electricity. The utility-grade model is expected to have a 400kWh capacity.
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+ - McConnell introduces bill to extend NSA surveillance->

Submitted by jriding
jriding writes: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell introduced a bill Tuesday night to extend through 2020 a controversial surveillance authority under the Patriot Act.

The move comes as a bipartisan group of lawmakers in both chambers is preparing legislation to scale back the governmentâ(TM)s spying powers under Section 215 of the Patriot Act.


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+ - Wi-Fi Attack Breaks iPhones By Locking Them Into an Endless Loop-> 1

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: Researchers from Skycure demonstrated a novel attack at the RSA 2015 conference that affects iPhones and other iOS devices. The attack, which takes advantage of new and previously announced vulnerabilities, locks iPhones into a never-ending reboot cycle effectively rendering them useless.

Developing a Denial of Service Attack
Skycure CEO Adi Sharabani explained that this attack began when Skycure researchers bought a new router and were messing around with its network settings. In doing so, they discovered a particular configuration that caused apps in iPhones connected to that router to crash whenever they launched.

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+ - The biggest mistake about the Big Bang 1

Submitted by StartsWithABang
StartsWithABang writes: The overwhelming scientific conclusion based on the observable evidence is that the Universe is expanding and cooling, having emerged from a hot, dense state in the past. We can extrapolate back to a time before neutral atoms existed, before even nuclei could form, and if we continue the extrapolation all the way back, we arrive at a singularity. Only, that last step isn't necessarily one we can take, and the insistence of many on its existence may be the biggest mistake ever made about the Big Bang.

+ - Will a secure, anonymous investment fund work with Bitcoins?->

Submitted by artlu
artlu writes: While reading through various morning postings, I came across an interesting concept. It seems that a former hedge fund manager is attempting to launch a secure, anonymous hedge fund that takes investment through bitcoins and pays out via bitcoins. The fund is called Onion Capital, which seems to embrace the "Darknet" ambiance. What does Slashdot think? Will this work, or will he end up being regulated out of business?
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+ - An engineering analysis of the Falcon 9 first stage landing failure

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 writes: Link here.

SpaceX founder and chief technology officer Elon Musk tweeted that "excess lateral velocity caused it [the booster] to tip over post landing." In a later tweet that was subsequently withdrawn, Musk then indicated that "the issue was stiction in the biprop throttle valve, resulting in control system phase lag." In this statement, Musk was referring to "stiction" — or static friction — in the valve controlling the throttling of the engine. The friction appears to have momentarily slowed the response of the engine, causing the control system to command more of an extreme reaction from the propulsion system than was required. As a result, the control system entered a form of hysteresis, a condition in which the control response lags behind changes in the effect causing it.

Despite the failure of the latest attempt, SpaceX will be encouraged by the landing accuracy of the Falcon 9 and the bigger-picture success of its guidance, navigation and control (GNC) system in bringing the booster back to the drone ship. The GNC also worked as designed during the prior landing attempt in January, which ended in the destruction of the vehicle following a hard touchdown on the edge of the platform.

+ - Robocop Delivers Pizza, Prevents Suicide->

Submitted by Tekla Perry
Tekla Perry writes: What should the police do when an apparently suicidal man with a weapon is poised to jump from a freeway overpass? After a long afternoon standoff, the San Jose Police sent in a robot carrying a pizza and a cell phone--and Robocop quickly brought the tense situation to a peaceful end.
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+ - How deep brain stimulation actually works->

Submitted by the_newsbeagle
the_newsbeagle writes: Pharmaceutical research for neuropsychiatric disorders hasn't produced many breakthroughs lately, which may explain why there's so much excitement around "electroceutical" research. That buzzy new field encompasses deep brain stimulation (DBS), in which an implanted stimulator sends little jolts through the neural tissue. DBS has become an accepted therapy for Parkinson's and other motor disorders, even though researchers haven't really understood how it works. Now, new research may have found the mechanism of action in Parkinson's patients: The stimulation reduces an exaggerated synchronization of neuron activity in the motor cortex.
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+ - Road to Mars: Solving the Isolation Problem->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: As space technology matures, new missions get funding, and humanity sets its goals ever further, space agencies are tackling some of the new problems that crop up when we try to go further away than Earth's moon. This New Yorker article takes a look at research into one of the biggest obstacles: extended isolation. Research consultant Jack Struster once wrote, "Future space expeditions will resemble sea voyages much more than test flights, which have served as the models for all previous space missions." Long-duration experiments are underway to test the effects of isolation, but it's tough to study. You need many experiments to derive useful conclusions, but you can't just ship 100 groups of a half-dozen people off to remote areas of the globe and monitor all of them. It's also borderline unethical to expose the test subjects to the kind of stress and danger that would be present in a real Mars mission. The data collected so far has been positive, but we have a long way to go. The technology and the missions themselves will probably come together long before we know how to deal with isolation. At some point, we'll just happen to hope that our best guess is good enough.
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+ - How Flight Tracking Works: A Global Network Of Volunteers

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: If a website can show the flight path and all those little yellow planes in real time, how can they not know where Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 went down? Answering that involves understanding a little about how flight-tracking sites work, where they get their data, and the limitations of existing technologies. It also involves appreciating a relatively new approach that the two large flight-tracking companies, Texas-based FlightAware and Sweden-based Flightradar24 are rushing to expand, a global sensor system known as ADS-B, which broadcasts updates of aircraft GPS data in real time. ADS-B is slowly superseding the ground-based radar systems that have been used for decades, becoming central not only to flight tracking but also to the future of flight safety. And it's powered, in part, by thousands of dedicated aviation hobbyists around the globe.

+ - Social Media Is Ruining Marriage for the Millennial Generation

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com writes: Anthony D'Ambrosio writes at USA Today that marriage seems like a pretty simple concept — fall in love and share your life together. Our great grandparents did it, our grandparents followed suit, and for many of us, our parents did it as well. So why is marriage so difficult for the millennial generation? "You want to know why your grandmother and grandfather just celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary? Because they weren't scrolling through Instagram worrying about what John ate for dinner. They weren't on Facebook criticizing others. They weren't on vacation sending Snapchats to their friends." According to D'Ambrosio, we've developed relationships with things, not each other. "Ninety-five percent of the personal conversations you have on a daily basis occur through some type of technology. We've removed human emotion from our relationships, and we've replaced it colorful bubbles," writes D'Ambrosio. "We've forgotten how to communicate yet expect healthy marriages. How is it possible to grow and mature together if we barely speak?"

D'Ambrosio writes that another factor is that our desire for attention outweighs our desire to be loved and that social media has given everyone an opportunity to be famous. "Attention you couldn't dream of getting unless you were celebrity is now a selfie away. Post a picture, and thousands of strangers will like it. Wear less clothing, and guess what? More likes," writes D'Ambrosio. "If you want to love someone, stop seeking attention from everyone because you'll never be satisfied with the attention from one person." Finally D'Ambrosio says the loss of privacy has contributed to the demise of marriage. "We've invited strangers into our homes and brought them on dates with us. We've shown them our wardrobe, drove with them in our cars, and we even showed them our bathing suits," writes D'Ambrosio. "The world we live in today has put roadblocks in the way of getting there and living a happy life with someone. Some things are in our control, and unfortunately, others are not."

+ - Ask Slashdot: What Makes a Good Work Environment For Developers and IT?->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: I've been unexpectedly placed in charge of a our small technology department at work. We have three dedicated developers, two dedicated IT people, and one "devops" guy who does some of both. It's the first team I've managed, and I'd to do a good job of it, so I ask you: what makes a good work environment? I have my own likes and dislikes, of course, and I'm sure everyone can appreciate things like getting credit for their work and always having the fridge stocked with soda. But I'd like to hear about the other things, big and small, that make it more fun (or at least less un-fun) to come into work every day. This can be anything — methods of personal communication, HR policies (for example, how can reviews be not-terrible?), amenities at the office, computer hardware/software, etc. I also wouldn't mind advice on how to represent my team when dealing with other departments.
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