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+ - Scientists Show Human Aging Rates Vary Widely

HughPickens.com writes: Ever notice at your high school reunions how some classmates look ten years older than everybody else — and some look ten years younger. Now BBC reports that a study of people born within a year of each other has uncovered a huge gulf in the speed at which human bodies bodies age. The report tracked traits such as weight, kidney function and gum health and found that some of the 38-year-olds in the study were aging so badly that their "biological age" was on the cusp of retirement. "They look rough, they look lacking in vitality," says Prof Terrie Moffitt. The study says some people had almost stopped aging during the period of the study, while others were gaining nearly three years of biological age for every twelve months that passed. "Any area of life where we currently use chronological age is faulty, if we knew more about biological age we could be more fair and egalitarian," says Moffitt. The researchers studied aging in 954 young humans, the Dunedin Study birth cohort, tracking multiple biomarkers across three time points spanning their third and fourth decades of life. They developed and validated two methods by which aging can be measured in young adults, one cross-sectional and one longitudinal. According to Moffit the science of healthspan extension may be focused on the wrong end of the lifespan; rather than only studying old humans, geroscience should also study the young. "Eventually if we really want to slow the process of ageing to prevent the onset of disease we're going to have to intervene with young people."

+ - BBC unveils finished micro:bit set for free, open launch this October->

An anonymous reader writes: The BBC has announced the final design of its educational micro:bit microcontroller, a pocket-sized codeable computer which the broadcasting giant will release under an open source licence in late 2015. The Micro Bit was first announced in March and marks the BBC’s most ambitious step into technology education for 30 years since the BBC Micro, launched in partnership with Acorn Computers. The micro:bit will offer a range of coding content, lesson plans, and media resources aimed at teaching and encouraging school children to program. Since it was first announced the design of the micro:bit’s board has changed considerably. The device now features three crocodile clip-friendly GPIO connectors and power rails on one side. The final version also includes two button located on top of the board, a 5x5 surface-mount LED grid, an accelerometer, a magnetometer, Bluetooth chips on the underside, and an ARM mbed microprocessor. Micro:bits will be offered free of charge to every child aged between 11 and 12 across the UK from October. A commercial launch is expected to follow, but dates and price details are yet been confirmed. The BBC also said that it was committed to sharing the complete technical specifications for the micro:bit with an open source licence. The initiative will be backed by a not-for-profit partnership between the BBC and companies including ARM, Samsung and Microsoft.
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+ - The Sadistic Economics of Comic-Con's Exclusive Toys->

ssprosvcs writes: Cool toys produced in ludicrously meager quantities—it must be Comic-Con season. As fans gear up to make their annual San Diego pilgrimage, scheduled this year from July 9-12, retailers prepare to sweeten the deal with items you can only get if you arrive early and stand in line for hours at the appropriate booth
What’s the point of Comic-Con’s sadistic economy? Chalk it up to supply and demand. John Frascotti, chief marketing officer with Hasbro, told CNN that exclusives cater to core fans and serve to increase hype at the booth during the event.
"It ties right into what collectors at Comic-Con are looking for, which is something unique, something special, something that no one else has,” he said.
In previous years, Comic-Con exclusives have been an opportunity for companies to cater to fans with products that might be obscure to some, but instantly recognizable to their core audiences. For example, in 2013, Hasbro released a glittery exclusive of Vinyl Scratch, a side character with a niche fanbase.

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+ - Eric Holder Says Justice Department Could Strike Deal With Edward Snowden->

cold fjord writes: Yahoo reports, "Former Attorney General Eric Holder said today that a “possibility exists” for the Justice Department to cut a deal with ... Edward Snowden that would allow him to return to the United States ... Holder said “we are in a different place as a result of the Snowden disclosures” and that “his actions spurred a necessary debate” that prompted President Obama and Congress to change policies ... “I certainly think there could be a basis for a resolution that everybody could ultimately be satisfied with. I think the possibility exists.” ... Melanie Newman, chief spokeswoman for Attorney General Loretta Lynch ... immediately shot down the idea ... “This is an ongoing case so I am not going to get into specific details but I can say our position regarding bringing Edward Snowden back to the United States to face charges has not changed,” ... Robert Litt, the chief counsel to Director of National Intelligence ... recently privately floated the idea that the government might be open to a plea bargain in which Snowden returns to the United States, pleads guilty to one felony count and receives a prison sentence of three to five years in exchange for full cooperation with the government. ... Litt has made clear to Snowden’s representatives that “nothing is going to happen unless he comes in and moves off this idea, ‘I’m entitled to a medal.’” ... Snowden’s lawyer, said any felony plea by Snowden that results in prison time would be unacceptable to his client. ... any suggestion of leniency toward Snowden would likely run into strong political opposition in Congress as well as fierce resistance from hard-liners in the intelligence community who remain outraged over his wholesale disclosure of highly classified government documents. "
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+ - Software helps to track beehive activity

jan_jes writes: The Software program called "Hive Tracks" helps to track and store information about the bee hives and its activity, such as the location of hives, bee productivity and health, and to record hive inspections, along with other information useful in making management decisions. It is now being used by more than 16,000 bee keepers in 142 countries to track beehive activity. Initially in its beta version, the web-based and smart phone application was free. But now the developers charge a maximum $5 a month for the application which facilitates software updates. Watch 2014 TEDX talk in Hickory, by HiveTracks co-founder. A famous saying about honey bees by Marcus Aurelius "That which is not good for the bee-hive cannot be good for the bees."
The Almighty Buck

Ask Slashdot: How Much Did Your Biggest Tech Mistake Cost? 372 372

NotQuiteReal writes: What is the most expensive piece of hardware you broke (I fried a $2500 disk drive once, back when 400MB was $2500) or what software bug did you let slip that caused damage? (No comment on the details — but about $20K cost to a client.) Did you lose your job over it? If you worked on the Mars probe that crashed, please try not to be the First Post, that would scare off too many people!

+ - How much did your biggest "tech" mistake cost?

NotQuiteReal writes: What is the most expensive piece of hardware you broke (I fried a $2500 disk drive once, back when 400MB was $2500) or what software bug did you let slip that caused damage? (No comment on the details — but about $20K cost to a client.)

Did you lose your job over it?

If you worked on the Mars probe that crashed, please try not to be the First Post, that would scare off too many people!
United States

Wired Cautions Would-Be Drone Photogs on the 4th 72 72

Last year's spectacular but unauthorized you-are-there video from the inside of a fireworks display has probably inspired quite a few people to try getting their own bird's-eye view this year. Wired cautions photographers, though, that many municipalities have specifically banned (and some will be looking for) unauthorized airborne visitors, and that the FAA's guidelines for legal flight are tricky to comply with during a fireworks show. This is both because it's hard to maintain visual contact with a drone amid the dark and smoke of a show, and because of the altitude at which many commercial firework shells burst. In addition, even if a drone photo mission goes under the radar vis-a-vis local authorities, if resulting footage appears on an ad-supported site, like YouTube, the FAA may be a bit more interested than the pilot would like.
Games

Someone Will Die Playing a Game In Virtual Reality 143 143

SlappingOysters writes: Grab It has detailed a hands-on session with horror VR title Kitchen — from Resident Evil creator Capcom — and argues how the physical reaction to the experience could lead to death. The site also believes that classifying VR games will be a challenge and many titles could be banned. Virtual Reality has a big year ahead, with the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus all set to release, while Microsoft is working on the HoloLens, which the site argues adds a further challenge to traditional gaming.

+ - Someone Will Die Playing a Game in Virtual Reality

SlappingOysters writes: Grab It has detailed a hands-on session with horror VR title Kitchen — from Resident Evil creator Capcom — and argues how the physical reaction to the experience could lead to death. The site also believes that classifying VR games will be a challenge and many titles could be banned. Virtual Reality has a big year ahead, with the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus all set to release, while Microsoft is working on the HoloLens, which the site argues adds a further challenge to traditional gaming.
AI

Machine Learning System Detects Emotions and Suicidal Behavior 38 38

An anonymous reader writes with word as reported by The Stack of a new machine learning technology under development at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology "which can identify emotion in text messages and email, such as sarcasm, irony and even antisocial or suicidal thoughts." Computer science student Eden Saig, the system's creator, explains that in text and email messages, many of the non-verbal cues (like facial expression) that we use to interpret language are missing. His software applies semantic analysis to those online communications and tries to figure out their emotional import and context by looking for word patterns (not just more superficial markers like emoticons or explicit labels like "[sarcasm]"), and can theoretically identify clues of threatening or self-destructive behavior.

+ - Machine learning system detects emotions and suicidal behavior ->

An anonymous reader writes: A new machine learning technology is being developed by Israeli scientists which can identify emotion in text messages and email, such as sarcasm, irony and even antisocial or suicidal thoughts. The new computerised system, created by Eden Saig a computer science student at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, is described in a paper titled ‘Sentiment Classification of Texts in Social Networks.’ The system works by recognising repeated word patterns and was developed by Saig after he studied a course in artificial intelligence (AI) supervised by Professor Shaul Markovich. Saig explains that voice tone and vocal inflections are so crucial for conveying feelings in verbal communication, while with text and email messages these characteristics are lost – recently encouraging users to illustrate sentiment through superficial smileys or emoticons. Applying machine learning algorithms to popular opinion Facebook pages, Saig was able to use the results to pick out stereotypical habits in social network conversations. “Now, the system can recognise patterns that are either condescending or caring sentiments and can even send a text message to the user if the system thinks the post may be arrogant,” said Saig.
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Movies

How To Design Robot Overlords For "Robot Overlords" 16 16

Hallie Siegel writes: Ever wonder how they make robots look so awesomely real in movies? Visual effects expert Graham Edwards goes behind the scenes with the makers of Robot Overlords to take you through the development of the robots in this movie, from script development and sketches, to filming and post FX. Really cool to see how these robots come to life.

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