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Submission + - MIT Helping NASA Build Valkyrie Robots for Space Missions (

An anonymous reader writes: NASA announced that MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) is one of just two institutions that will receive “R5,” a six-foot, 290-pound humanoid robot also known as “Valkyrie” that will serve on future space missions to Mars and beyond.

A group led by CSAIL principal investigator Russ Tedrake will develop algorithms for the robot as part of NASA’s upcoming Space Robotics Challenge, which aims to create more dexterous autonomous robots that can help or even take the place of humans “extreme space” missions.

While R5 was initially designed to complete disaster-relief maneuvers, its main goal is now to prove itself worthy of even trickier terrain — deep space exploration.

Submission + - The Next Gold Rush Will Be 5,000 Feet Under the Sea, With Robot Drones

merbs writes: In Papua New Guinea, one well-financed, first-mover company is about to pioneer deep sea mining. And that will mean dispatching a fleet of giant remote-operated robotic miners 5,000 feet below the surface to harvest the riches scattered across ocean floor. These mammoth underwater vehicles look like they’ve been hauled off the set of a sci-fi film—think Avatar meets The Abyss. And they'll be dredging up copper, gold, and other valuable minerals, far beneath the gaze of human eyes.

Submission + - Tape Disintegration Threatens Historical Records, But Chemistry Can Help (

An anonymous reader writes: Modern storage methods are designed with longevity in mind. But we haven't always had the scientific knowledge or the foresight to do so. From the late 60s to the late 80s, much of the world's cultural history was recorded on magnetic tapes. Several decades on, those tapes are disintegrating, and we're faced with the permanent loss of that data. "The Cultural Heritage Index estimates that there are 46 million magnetic tapes in museums and archives in the U.S. alone—and about 40 percent of them are of unknown quality. (The remaining 60 percent are known to be either already disintegrated or in good enough condition to be played.)" Fortunately, researchers have worked out a method to determine which copies are recoverable. They "combined a laptop-sized infrared spectrometer with an algorithm that uses multivariate statistics to pick up patterns of all the absorption peaks." Here's the abstract from their research paper. "As the tapes go through the breakdown reaction, the chemical changes give off tiny signals in the form of compounds, which can be seen with infrared light—and when the patterns of reactions are analyzed with the model, it can predict which tapes are playable."

Submission + - Drone Racing League Will Give You a Wild Robot\'s-Eye View in VR - WIRED (

MyFirstDrone writes:

Drone Racing League Will Give You a Wild Robots-Eye View in VR
You may not have heard of the Drone Racing League yet. Its not even a year old. They havent even released video of their first race to the public. League CEO Nick Horbaczewski says the DRL is strictly in stealth mode at the moment, planning events ...

Submission + - Microsoft automatically installs Windows 10 for you, even if you didn't wnat to (

An anonymous reader writes: In the weeks since Windows 10 launched, the OS has been adopted at an unprecedented rate. Over 75 million customers reportedly installed it within 30 days of debut, and that number is sure to have risen in the last few weeks. Microsoft has never rolled out an operating system the way it has pushed 10 to the mass market, so some mistakes were inevitable. The company’s latest blunder? Downloading Windows 10 without asking.

Submission + - 25 years ago, this meaning spawned WiFi

alphadogg writes: It was retail remodeling that spurred NCR, a venerable cash-register company, to find out how it could use newly opened frequencies to link registers and mainframes without wires. Its customers wanted to stop drilling new holes in their marble floors for cabling every time they changed a store layout. In 1985, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission voted to leave large blocks of spectrum unlicensed and let vendors build any kind of network they wanted as long as they didn't keep anyone else from using the frequencies. NCR jumped at the chance to develop a wireless LAN, something that didn't exist at the time, according to Vic Hayes, a former engineer at the company who's been called the Father of Wi-Fi.

Submission + - Scientists propose app that detects emotions based on walking style (

An anonymous reader writes: Chinese researchers claim to be able to deduce a person's emotional state using accelerometer data from mobile devices attached to the wrist and ankle. The study recorded baseline data and then comparitive data after showing either disturbing or amusing videos to test subjects. The paper envisages the ultimate development of smartphone and wearable apps capable of providing systematic long-term and short-term data on someone's state of being, based mostly on the movement of the ankle whilst walking. They posit the usefulness of the information in medical applications, but do not address possible unsuitable uses, such as for the purposes of employment assessment or insurance premiums.

Submission + - 'Siri' interrupts White House Press Briefing

rtoz writes: Apple’s Siri interrupts a question about Barack Obama’s Iran policy on Thursday (10th September 2015) during a White House press briefing.

The Apple iPhone's virtual Personal Assistant Siri was saying "Sorry, I'm not sure what you want me to change", when a journalist asked White House spokesman Josh Earnest if Obama is disappointed at not getting Republican backing for the Iran nuclear agreement.

As the assembled journalists burst into laughter, Mr Earnest even cracked a smile on the podium.

Watch this at

Submission + - Firefox, Chrome & Opera Block Access To Routers (

mikejuk writes: Due to a heavy-handed approach to security Firefox, Chrome and Opera are causing problems. They block access to routers with inadequate SSL reporting the cryptic message, "Server has a weak ephemeral Diffie-Hellman public key". Web browsers are becoming increasingly authoritarian in their approach to implementing security. The latest step to protect the innocent user is causing a lot of trouble for network administrators. Instead of offering a choice to proceed the browsers are blocking access and telling the user to get the server fixed. There is a way to temporarily make Firefox proceed with the unsafe connection, but so far no fix has been found for Chrome and Opera.
There are horror stories of users trying to get important documents from faulty servers and being unable to do so because of the block and suffering financial or even legal penalties as a consequence but the biggest problem in being caused when admins attempt to access network devices. In these cases the browser simply refusing to connect means that the devices cannot be managed and without access to the management interface they cannot be updated either. The only option is to find a browser that will connect- currently IE and Edge will both warn the user but continue with the connection if required. Even then there is often no way to change the connection security. This problem is affecting routers from a wide range of manufacturers including Netgear and Cisco. Some of the routers don't have a management option to change the security of the management connection and in this case the users have no choice but to drop Chrome, Firefox and Opera and work with IE or Edge.
The final blow is that often routers, vpn boxes, WiFi access points etc. are left alone doing their jobs for long periods of time until something goes wrong. When such a crisis happens the user is also immediately confronted with another problem in that they are locked out of the management UI and it couldn't happen at a worse time.
It is time that browser builders realized that they can and should protect innocent users, but they should not do so by force

Submission + - Ellen Pao drops appeal of her gender discrimination suit (

McGruber writes: Jeff Bezo's newspaper is reporting ( that Ellen Pao is dropping her appeal of the gender discrimination suit she lost against her former employer, venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers(
Pao sued KPCB in 2012, claiming that women were not given fair consideration in the male-dominated workplace. She also said that a male colleague with whom she had an affair unfairly cut her out of e-mail correspondence and upper management did nothing about it. She was fired soon after filing her suit. After a bruising month-long trial in which her personal character and work performance were repeatedly brought into question, a jury of six men and six woman ruled that there was no evidence of gender discrimination.

Submission + - Circadian Rhythm and its effect on Programmers (

Taco Cowboy writes: Circadian rhythm affects everyone, programmers included

Even top programmers admit that the quality of the code they produce vary from the time of day they were constructed

Most time we place blame on the bugs in our code with sleep deprivation, carelessness, and even on our own stupidity (what was I thinking???) but all it comes down is the time of day our brain work best

ots of us know we are sleep-deprived, but imagine if we could fix it with a fairly simple solution: getting up later

Tech companies which takes heed on the differences of the circadian clocks on their most productive workers will continue to reap benefits while those forcing their coders to keep on coding even when their brains don't function no more will find themselves in the bind — sooner or later

Contrary to popular believe, the practice of Agile computing does not raise the quality of code, nor on the structure of the program, and the root cause is not on the theory of Agile computing, rather, it's on the implementation — coders must turn up on the endless (and woefully meaningless) meetings regardless of their ability to focus at a given point of time

Describing the average sleep loss per night for different age groups, he says: “Between 14 and 24 it’s more than two hours. For [people aged between] 24 to about 30 or 35, it’s about an hour and a half. That can continue up until you’re about 55 when it’s in balance again. The 10-year-old and 55-year-old wake and sleep naturally at the same time”

This might be why, he adds, the traditional nine to five is so ingrained; it is maintained by bosses, many of them in their mid-50s and upwards, because “it is best for them”. So should workplaces have staggered starting times, too? Should those in their 50s and above come in at 8am, while those in their 30s start at 10am, and the teenage intern or apprentice be encouraged to turn up at 11am? Kelley says that synchronised hours could have “many positive consequences. The positive side of this is people’s performance, mood and health will improve. It’s very uplifting in a way, because it’s a solution that will make people less ill, and happier and better at what they do”

Submission + - A bioinic model is born: Swarovksi-encrusted prosthetic a statement in fashion (

Hallie Siegel writes: From gold-plated hearing aids, neon walking sticks, and sparkling blade prosthetics to 3D printed arm casts, people with disabilities are no longer waiting for health services to catch up – they are dragging their medical devices into the future on their own. At London's Wearable Tech Show, Kate Mandeville unveiled her new Swarovski-crystal-adorned prosthetic — showing how prosthetics can make a statement in fashion and personality.

Submission + - Moonlighting: 6 month hunt for extra work

rraylion writes: Hello dotters, I graduated from a university, got my CS degree, am in my career job, and it's okay, but i need to broaden my skills, and need more money. So I figured hey, I create things for a living that as a skill a lot of people need. So I started looking for something to moonlight on as a side job. And I can't find anything... at all. I tried the code4money sites and those look unreputable, I look at telecommute sites and those look worse, which is scary. I would love to find a company, or a few companies that just need a few projects done and don't mind someone working part time in off hours. I wouldn't even expect a lot in terms of compensation, this is skill building, but I bring real experience to the table. Is this a unicorn I am seeking or is there a demand for this out there... if so where do I find it. I do MVC in .Net, C, java, SQL, javascript, a lil python — the usual you know. I can pick up anything and run with it. What am I missing, and where do I find it?

Submission + - SimCity's Empire Has Fallen and Skylines Is Picking Up the Pieces (

sarahnaomi writes: Mariina Hallikainen, CEO of small Finnish game developer Colossal Order, is having a good day. When I call her, it's only been a few hours since she learned that Colossal Order's SimCity-like game, Cities: Skylines, has sold more than half a million copies in its first week. The first 250,000 of those were sold in the first 24 hours, making it the fastest-selling game its publisher Paradox Interactive has ever released.

The irony here doesn't escape Hallikainen. Only a week before Skylines was released, game publisher Electronic Arts announced that it was shutting down SimCity developer Maxis' studio in Emeryville, which it acquired in 1997.

"I feel so bad about Maxis closing down," Hallikainen said. "The older SimCitys were really the inspiration for us to even consider making a city builder."

At the same time, Hallikainen admits SimCity's mistakes were Colossal Order's opportunity. "If SimCity was a huge success, which is what we expected, I don't know if Skylines would have ever happened," she said, explaining that it would have been a harder pitch to sell to Paradox if the new SimCity dominated the market.

Submission + - Mars One finalist accuses the company of fraud

schwit1 writes: One of the finalists in the one-way-to-Mars competition by the company Mars One has now accused the company of fraud.

Most egregiously, many media outlets continue to report that Mars One received applications from 200,000 people who would be happy to die on another planet?—?when the number it actually received was 2,761.

As [finalist Joseph] Roche observed the process from an insider’s perspective, his concerns increased. Chief among them: that some leading contenders for the mission had bought their way into that position, and are being encouraged to “donate” any appearance fees back to Mars One?—?which seemed to him very strange for an outfit that needs billions of dollars to complete its objective. “When you join the ‘Mars One Community,’ which happens automatically if you applied as a candidate, they start giving you points,” Roche explained to me in an email. “You get points for getting through each round of the selection process (but just an arbitrary number of points, not anything to do with ranking), and then the only way to get more points is to buy merchandise from Mars One or to donate money to them.”

There’s more at the link. Essentially, the whole operation has apparently devolved into a petty scam to milk money from the finalists themselves.

Radioactive cats have 18 half-lives.