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+ - Tiny robots climb walls carrying more than 100 times their weight->

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 writes: Mighty things come in small packages. The little robots in this video can haul things that weigh over 100 times more than themselves.

The super-strong bots — built by mechanical engineers at Stanford — will be presented next month at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation in Seattle, Washington.

The secret is in the adhesives on the robots' feet. Their design is inspired by geckos, which have climbing skills that are legendary in the animal kingdom. The adhesives are covered in minute rubber spikes that grip firmly onto the wall as the robot climbs. When pressure is applied, the spikes bend, increasing their surface area and thus their stickiness. When the robot picks its foot back up, the spikes straighten out again and detach easily.

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Cellphones

Ask Slashdot: What Are the Most Stable Smartphones These Days? 447

Posted by Soulskill
from the your-dad's-flip-phone-is-pretty-stable dept.
janimal writes: The iPhone used to be the smartphone that "just works." Ever since the 4S days, this has been true less and less with each generation. My wife's iPhone 6 needs to be restarted several times per week for things like internet search or making calls to work. An older 5S I'm using also doesn't consistently stream to Apple TV, doesn't display song names correctly on Apple TV and third party peripherals. In short, as features increase, the iPhone's stability is decreasing. In your opinion, which smartphone brand these days is taking up the slack and delivering a fully featured smartphone that "just works"?

+ - Deploying Solar in California's Urban Areas Could Meet Demand Five Times Over->

Submitted by Lucas123
Lucas123 writes: About 8% of terrestrial surfaces in California have been developed, ranging from cities and buildings to park spaces. If photovoltaic panels, along with concentrating solar power, were more effectively deployed in and around those areas, it could meet between three and five times what California currently uses for electricity, according to a new study. The study from the Carnegie Institution for Science, found that using small- and utility-scale solar power in and around developed areas could generate up to 15,000 terawatt-hours (trillion watt hours) of energy a year using photovoltaic technology, and 6,000TWh of energy a year using concentrating solar power technology. "Integrating solar facilities into the urban and suburban environment causes the least amount of land-cover change and the lowest environmental impact," post-doctoral environmental earth scientist Rebecca Hernandez said.
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United States

ICE Tells Reporter Its Secretive Drone Program Isn't Newsworthy 50

Posted by samzenpus
from the need-to-know-only dept.
v3rgEz writes Wondering how Immigration and Customs Enforcement uses drones along the border? ICE says you shouldn't be, declaring the topic "isn't news" anymore. The agency rejected a FOIA request fee waiver regarding Operation Safeguard because the program, started in secret 12 years ago, is no longer new. A March 3 letter signed by an ICE lawyer defined "news" as "information that is about current events or that would be of current interest to the public." Hard to see how the government's drone program, even if it is over a decade old, doesn't hold current interest, but maybe a useful example of what happens when you let agencies dictate what is — and isn't — news.
United States

Top-Secret US Replica of Iran Nuclear Sites Key To Weapons Deal 94

Posted by samzenpus
from the just-like-that dept.
Lasrick writes Paul Richter at the LA Times has a very cool article describing replicas of Iran's nuclear facilities that the U.S. operates in order to study what Iran's technical capabilities are. "Using centrifuges acquired when Libya abandoned its nuclear program in 2003, as well as American-built equipment, the government has spent millions of dollars over more than a decade to build replicas of the enrichment facilities that are the pride of Iran's nuclear program. Since negotiations with Iran began in earnest, U.S. nuclear technicians have spent long hours tinkering with the machines to test different restrictions and see how much they would limit Iran's ability to convert uranium into bomb fuel."

+ - Where does our galaxy's gravity come from?

Submitted by StartsWithABang
StartsWithABang writes: By now, you’ve probably had a lot of opportunities to think about what holds our Universe together: the incredible force of gravitation. Although it’s the weakest known force in the Universe, there seems to be no limit to how much mass you can collect in one place. And so on the largest scales — like solar systems, stars and galaxies — it seems to be the only force that matters. Yet the matter that we see and know of can simply not account for the gravitational force that we see, from its effects on the galaxy to the formation of rocky planets with heavy elements like our own. What’s going on, then? The overwhelming majority of our galaxy's gravity must be coming from a type of dark matter that isn't made of any of the particles we know of.
Security

Obama Proposes 30-Day Deadline For Disclosing Security Breaches 125

Posted by Soulskill
from the assuming-you-discover-it-within-30-days dept.
Following the string of massive data breaches at major corporations, President Obama has called for legislation that would standardize how these incidents are disclosed to the public. "The Personal Data Notification and Protection Act would demand a single, national standard requiring companies to inform their customers within 30 days of discovering their data has been hacked. In a speech Monday at the Federal Trade Commission, Mr. Obama said that the current patchwork of state laws does not protect Americans and is a burden for companies that do business across the country. The president also proposed the Student Data Privacy Act, which would prohibit technology firms from profiting from information collected in schools as teachers adopt tablets, online services and Internet-connected software. And he will announce voluntary agreements by companies to safeguard home energy data and to provide easy access to credit scores as an “early warning system” for identity theft.

+ - US army could waive combat training for hackers

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: New U.S. Army cyber warriors could be spared the rigors of combat training to help the Pentagon attract badly needed recruits from the ponytail wearing Google generation, a top American general has suggested. Lt Gen Brown, commander of the US Army Combined Arms Centre at Fort Leavenworth, said: 'We need to give serious consideration to how the US Army could combine the technical expertise of the "Google" generation with its more traditional military skills. In order to gain an intellectual advantage over adversaries in cyberspace, we will need to tap into a talent pool that may not fit the stereotypical soldier profile. Our goal is to recruit the best talent possible.'"

+ - Pope Francis to Issue Encyclical on Global Warming 1

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com writes: The Guardian reports that following a visit in March to Tacloban, the Philippine city devastated in 2012 by typhoon Haiyan, Pope Francis plans to publish a rare encyclical on climate change and human ecology urging all Catholics to take action on moral and scientific grounds. "A papal encyclical is rare," says Bishop Marcelo Sorondo, chancellor of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences who revealed the pope's plans when he delivered Cafod’s annual Pope Paul VI lecture. "It is among the highest levels of a pope’s authority. It will be 50 to 60 pages long; it’s a big deal." The encyclical will be sent to the world’s 5,000 Catholic bishops and 400,000 priests, who will distribute it to parishioners. Within Catholicism in recent times, an encyclical is generally used for significant issues, and is second in importance only to the highest ranking document now issued by popes, an Apostolic Constitution. “Just as humanity confronted revolutionary change in the 19th century at the time of industrialization, today we have changed the natural environment so much," says Sorondo. "If current trends continue, the century will witness unprecedented climate change and destruction of the ecosystem with tragic consequences.”

Francis’s environmental radicalism is likely to attract resistance from Vatican conservatives and in rightwing church circles, particularly in the US – where Catholic climate sceptics also include John Boehner, Republican leader of the House of Representatives and Rick Santorum, the former Republican presidential candidate. “There will always be 5-10% of people who will take offence. They are very vocal and have political clout," says Dan Misleh, director of the Catholic climate covenant. "This encyclical will threaten some people and bring joy to others. The arguments are around economics and science rather than morality." Francis will also be opposed by the powerful US evangelical movement, says Calvin Beisner, spokesman for the conservative Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, which has declared the US environmental movement to be “un-biblical” and a false religion. “The pope should back off,” says Beisner. “The Catholic church is correct on the ethical principles but has been misled on the science. It follows that the policies the Vatican is promoting are incorrect. Our position reflects the views of millions of evangelical Christians in the US.”

+ - Carly Fiorina considering run for US President (Seriously!)->

Submitted by McGruber
McGruber writes: Fired HP CEO (http://it.slashdot.org/story/05/02/09/1352218/hp-ceo-carly-fiorina-to-step-down) and failed Republican Senate candidate ((http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/california-politics/2010/11/fiorina-concedes-defeat-in-senate-race-.html) Carly Fiorina "is actively exploring a 2016 presidential run. Fiorina has been talking privately with potential donors, recruiting campaign staffers, courting grass-roots activists in early caucus and primary states and planning trips to Iowa and New Hampshire starting next week." (http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/carly-fiorina-actively-explores-2016-presidential-run-but-faces-gop-critics/2014/11/25/b317b1a2-74b3-11e4-bd1b-03009bd3e984_story.html)
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+ - Ask Slashdot: Why Is the Power Grid So Crummy In So Many Places?->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: I live in a relatively large college town that's within easy driving distance of several major metropolitan centers. In many ways, the infrastructure around here is top-notch. The major exception is the electrical grid. Lightning storm? Power outage. Heavy winds? Power outage. Lots of rain? Power outage. Some areas around town are immune to this — like around the hospital, for obvious reasons. But others seem to lose power at the drop of hat. Why is this? If it were a tiny village or in the middle of nowhere, it would make sense to me. What problems do the utility companies face that they can't keep service steady? Do you face similar problems where you live? I'm not sure if it's just an investment issue or a technological one. It hasn't gotten better in the decade I've lived here, and I can imagine it will only get worse as the infrastructure ages.
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+ - Visual Studio 2015 supports CLANG and Android (with emulator included)->

Submitted by Billly Gates
Billly Gates writes: What would be unthinkable a decade ago is Visual Studio supporting W3C HTML and CSS and now apps on other platforms. Visual Studio 2015 preview is available for download which includes support for LLVM/Clang, Android development, and even Linux development with Mono using Xamarin. A little more detail is here. A tester also found support for Java, ANT, SQL LITE, and WebSocket4web. We see IE improving in terms of more standards and Visual Studio Online even supports IOS and MacOSX development. Is this a new Microsoft emerging? In any case it is nice to have an alternative to Google tools for Android development.
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AT&T

AT&T Stops Using 'Super Cookies' To Track Cellphone Data 60

Posted by timothy
from the turns-out-people-hate-that dept.
jriding (1076733) writes AT&T Mobility, the nation's second-largest cellular provider, says it's no longer attaching hidden Internet tracking codes to data transmitted from its users' smartphones. The practice made it nearly impossible to shield its subscribers' identities online. Would be nice to hear something similar from Verizon.
Build

Real Steampunk Computer Brought Back To Life 81

Posted by timothy
from the malware-free dept.
New submitter engineerguy writes We discovered a 100 year old 19th century computer that does Fourier analysis with just gears spring and levers. It was locked in a glass case at the University of Illinois Department of Mathematics. We rebuilt a small part of the machine and then for two years thoroughly photographed and filmed every part part of the machine and its operation. The results of this labor of love are in the video series (short documentary), which is 22 minutes long and contains stunning footage of the machine in action — including detailed descriptions of how it operates. The photos are collected in a free book (PDF). The computer was designed by Albert Michelson, who was famous for the Michelson-Morley experiment; he was also the first American to win a Nobel Prize in physics.

"Hey Ivan, check your six." -- Sidewinder missile jacket patch, showing a Sidewinder driving up the tail of a Russian Su-27

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