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+ - Sci-Fi Authors and Scientists Predict an Optimistic Future->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "A few years ago, author Neal Stephenson argued that sci-fi had forgotten how to inspire people to do great things. Indeed, much of recent science fiction has been pessimistic and skeptical, focusing on all the ways our inventions could go wrong, and how hostile the universe is to humankind. Now, a group of scientists, engineers, and authors (including Stephenson himself) is trying to change that. Arizona State University recently launched Project Heiroglyph, a hub for ideas that will influence science fiction to be optimistic and accurate, and to focus on the great things humanity is capable of doing. For example, in the development of a short story, Stephenson wanted to know if it's possible to build a tower that's 20 kilometers tall. Keith Hjelmsad, an expert in structural stability and computational mechanics, wrote a detailed response about the challenge involved in building such a tower. Other authors are contributing questions as well, and researchers are chiming in with fascinating, science-based replies. Roboticist Srikanth Saripalli makes this interesting point: "If the government has to decide what to fund and what not to fund, they are going to get their ideas and decisions mostly from science fiction rather than what's being published in technical papers.""
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+ - Schizophrenia Is Not a Single Disease->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "New research from Washington University has found that the condition known as schizophrenia is not just a single disease, but instead a collection of eight different disorders. For years, researchers struggled to understand the genetic basis of schizophrenia, but this new method was able to isolate and separate all of the different conditions, each with its own symptoms, which are classified the same way (abstract, full text). "In some patients with hallucinations or delusions, for example, the researchers matched distinct genetic features to patients’ symptoms, demonstrating that specific genetic variations interacted to create a 95 percent certainty of schizophrenia. In another group, they found that disorganized speech and behavior were specifically associated with a set of DNA variations that carried a 100 percent risk of schizophrenia." According to one of the study's authors, "By identifying groups of genetic variations and matching them to symptoms in individual patients, it soon may be possible to target treatments to specific pathways that cause problems.""
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+ - MIT's Cheetah Robot Runs Untethered->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "It's easy to make a robot walk, but hard to keep it from falling over. We've seen a number of crazy robot prototypes, but they're usually tethered and stuck on a treadmill. Now, researchers from MIT have developed an algorithm that allows their giant robot cheetah to run around outdoors at up to 10mph. They expect the robot to eventually hit speeds of 30mph. "The key to the bounding algorithm is in programming each of the robot’s legs to exert a certain amount of force in the split second during which it hits the ground, in order to maintain a given speed: In general, the faster the desired speed, the more force must be applied to propel the robot forward. ... Kim says that by adapting a force-based approach, the cheetah-bot is able to handle rougher terrain, such as bounding across a grassy field." The MIT cheetah-bot also runs on a custom electric motor, which makes it significantly quieter than gas-powered robots. "Our robot can be silent and as efficient as animals. The only things you hear are the feet hitting the ground.""
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+ - Funding Tech For Government, Instead of Tech For Industry->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "If you're a creative engineer looking to build a product, you're probably going to end up starting your own business or joining another one. That's where ideas get funding, and that's where products make money. Unfortunately, it also siphons a lot of the tech-related talent away from government (and by extension, everybody else), who could really benefit from this creative brilliance. That's why investor Ron Bouganim just started a $23 million fund for investment in tech companies that develop ideas for the U.S. government. Not only is he hoping to transfer some of the $74 billion spent annually by the government on technology to more efficient targets, but also to change the perception that the best tech doesn't necessarily come from giant, entrenched government contractors."
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+ - The Growing Illusion of Single Player->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Multiplayer modes used to be an extra part of most games — an optional addition that the developers could build (or not) as they saw fit. These days, it's different: many games are marketed under the illusion of being single-player, when their focus has shifted to an almost mandatory multiplayer mode. (Think always-online DRM, and games as services.) It's not that this is necessarily bad for gameplay — it's that design patterns are shifting, and if you don't like multiplayer, you're going to have a harder time finding games you do like. The article's author uses a couple recent major titles as backdrop for the discussion: "With both Diablo III and Destiny, I'm not sure where and how to attribute my enjoyment. Yes, the mechanics of both are sound, but given the resounding emptiness felt when played solo, perhaps the co-op element is compensating. I'd go so far as to argue games can be less mechanically compelling, so long as the multiplayer element is engaging. The thrill of barking orders at friends can, in a way, cover design flaws. I hem and haw on the quality of each game's mechanics because the co-op aspect literally distracted me from engaging with them to some degree.""
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+ - Court: Car Dealers Can't Stop Tesla from Selling in Mass. 1

Submitted by curtwoodward
curtwoodward (2147628) writes "Many states have laws that prevent car manufacturers from operating their own dealerships, a throwback to the days when Detroit tried to undercut its franchise dealers by opening company-owned shops. But dealers have taken those laws to the extreme as they battle new competition from Tesla, which is selling its cars direct to the public. In some states, dealers have succeeded in limiting Tesla's direct-sales model. But not in Massachusetts: the state's Supreme Court says the dealers don't have any right to sue Tesla for unfair competition, since they're not Tesla dealers. No harm, no foul."

+ - MOM or Mangalyaan has now done 95% of its journey without a hitch->

Submitted by rinka
rinka (870438) writes "There's been progress since: http://science.slashdot.org/st...

The Indian Mars mission is on target has completed 95% of it's journey and will reach its destination before the month end. Indian scientists have successfully restarted the Mars orbiter. Meanwhile there are reasons to believe that NASA and ISRO, both space agencies that have sent Mars rovers, have decided to coordinate their mars missions: http://nvonews.com/india-mars-..."

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+ - Robot Operating System (ROS) to Officially Support ARM Processors->

Submitted by DeviceGuru
DeviceGuru (1136715) writes "The Open Source Robotics Foundation (OSRF), which maintains the open source Robot Operating System (ROS) and oversees the ROS.org website, has announced its first formal support for an ARM target. The organization will add support for the Qualcomm Snapdragon 600, a smartphone-oriented, quad-core, Cortex-A15-like system-on-chip running up to 1.7GHz. The Linux version of ROS for Snapdragon 600 will be available in Q4 of this year, with the Android version due in the first half of 2015. The OSRF will test, refine, and fully integrate support for the ARM instruction set architecture into ROS development efforts. OSRF will also perform ongoing maintenance to support ROS on the Snapdragon 600."
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+ - CERN Tests First Artificial Retina Capable Of Looking For High Energy Particles

Submitted by KentuckyFC
KentuckyFC (1144503) writes "Pattern recognition is one of the few areas where humans regularly outperform even the most powerful computers. Our extraordinary ability is a result of the way our bodies process visual information. But surprisingly, our brains only do part of the work. The most basic pattern recognition—edge detection, line detection and the detection of certain shapes—is performed by the complex circuitry of neurons in the retina. Now particle physicists are copying this trick to hunt for new particles. A team at CERN has built and tested an artificial retina capable of identifying particle tracks in the debris from particle collisions. And it can do it at the same rate that the LHC smashes particles together, about 800 million collisions per second. In other words, it can sift through the data in real time. The team says the retina outperforms any other particle-detecting device by a factor of 400."

+ - Harvard's CompSci intro course boasts record-breaking enrollment->

Submitted by alphadogg
alphadogg (971356) writes "Harvard College's CS50, the school's Introduction to Computer Science course for undergrads, has attracted about 1 in 8 students this fall — a new record for the school and yet another sign of just how hot this field is becoming for the job-hungry. Overall, 818 undergrads (or 12% of the student body) signed up for the challenging course http://docs.registrar.fas.harv... this semester, and nearly 900 students are registered when factoring in graduate and cross-registered students. Topics included in the syllabus include Linux, cryptography, HTML and JavaScript. David Malan, a Harvard CompSci grad, teaches the course."
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+ - NextVR's Stereoscopic 360-degree VR Cam Uses $180,000 Worth of RED 6K Cameras->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "NextVR, which recently raised $5 million in investment funding to develop their 3D 360 degree VR video streaming solution, has revealed photos of their cinematic VR camera rig which consists of three stereo pairs of RED Epic Dragon cameras (http://bit.ly/1rUXlm6) which are each capable of shooting 6K video. The bodies of the Epic Dragon cameras alone put this rig somewhere in the $180,000 range and weigh in at 30 pounds, with lenses and other necessary add-ons putting it well over $200,000. Using proprietary streaming tech, the company says that the 3D 360 footage from the platform can be streamed live over a standard home internet connection for playback on VR headsets like Samsung Gear VR and the Oculus Rift."
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+ - Software patents are crumbling, thanks to the Supreme Court->

Submitted by walterbyrd
walterbyrd (182728) writes "This doesn't necessarily mean that all software patents are in danger — these are mostly patents that are particularly vulnerable to challenge under the new Alice precedent. But it does mean that the pendulum of patent law is now clearly swinging in an anti-patent direction. Every time a patent gets invalidated, it strengthens the bargaining position of every defendant facing a lawsuit from a patent troll."
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+ - HP Buys Cloud Provider, Gets Marten Mickos To Head Its Cloud Division->

Submitted by jfruh
jfruh (300774) writes "In 2010, HP tried to buy its way into the analytics game by shelling out billions for Autonomy, a deal that was a famous disaster. But that isn't stopping the company from making big buys: it will be buying Eucalyptus, a cloud provider headed by ex MySQL AB CEO Marten Mickos, and bringing Mickos in to head the new HP Cloud division."
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+ - Liquid Sponges Extract Hydrogen from Water->

Submitted by gaelfx
gaelfx (1111115) writes "Researchers at Glasglow University have an interesting method of separating the hydrogen out of water: Liquid Sponges. Most methods of extracting the hydrogen involve some form electrolysis, but these generally require some pretty expensive materials.The researchers claim that they can accomplish this using less electricity, cheaper materials and 30 times faster to boot. With both Honda and Toyota promising hydrogen fuel cell cars in Japan within the next few years (other manufacturers must be considering it as well, if not as publicly), does this spell a new future for transportation technology?"
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+ - Accused Ottawa cyberbully facing 181 charges apologizes->

Submitted by Freshly Exhumed
Freshly Exhumed (105597) writes "The day Robert James Campbell quit his job, he went home and started plotting revenge against everyone he felt had wronged him in life. He says he didn’t leave his Ottawa apartment for seven months. The online campaign of harassment and hatred he’s accused of launching spanned more than a decade. He is accused of creating fake online profiles to destroy reputations in short order, presenting his targets to the world as child predators, members of a Nazi party, exotic dancers and prostitutes. Police roused Campbell on the morning of July 31 and arrested him on 181 charges of criminal harassment, identity theft and defamatory libel. Campbell publicly apologized to his alleged victims and says he has instructed his lawyer to file a guilty plea."
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