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United Kingdom

Winston Churchill's Scientists 75

Posted by timothy
from the they-never-never-never-gave-up dept.
HughPickens.com writes Nicola Davis writes at The Guardian that a new exhibition at London's Science Museum tiitled Churchill's Scientists aims to explore how a climate that mingled necessity with ambition spurred British scientists to forge ahead in fields as diverse as drug-discovery and operational research, paving the way for a further flurry of postwar progress in disciplines from neurology to radio astronomy. Churchill "was very unusual in that he was a politician from a grand Victorian family who was also interested in new technology and science," says Andrew Nahum. "That was quite remarkable at the time." An avid reader of Charles Darwin and HG Wells, Churchill also wrote science-inspired articles himself and fostered an environment where the brightest scientists could build ground-breaking machines, such as the Bernard Lovell telescope, and make world-changing discoveries, in molecular genetics, radio astronomy, nuclear power, nerve and brain function and robotics. "During the war the question was never, 'How much will it cost?' It was, 'Can we do it and how soon can we have it?' This left a heritage of extreme ambition and a lot of talented people who were keen to see what it could provide." (More, below.)
Communications

Your High School Wants You To Install Snapchat 157

Posted by timothy
from the just-ask-ram-sweeney dept.
Bennett Haselton writes: They would never admit it, but your high school admins would probably breathe a sigh of relief if all of their sexting-mad students would go ahead and install Snapchat so that evidence of (sometimes) illegal sexting would disappear into the ether. They can't recommend that you do this, because it would sound like an implicit endorsement, just like they can't recommend designated drivers for teen drinking parties -- but it's a good bet they would be grateful. Read on for the rest.
United Kingdom

First Crowdsourced, Open Data Address List Launches In the UK 33

Posted by timothy
from the ok-now-start-on-a-cell-phone-directory dept.
The internet is a great place to search for some kinds of information; Amazon (or L.L. Bean, or Digi-Key, or any retailer, really) do their best to connect you with all the products in their databases, and for lots of other search topics, the usual handful of general purpose search engines can ferret out answers based on your keywords. Addresses are sometimes harder to search, but in the UK at least that might soon be much easier: An anonymous reader writes The London based startup and open data advocacy organization Open Addresses UK wants to change all of that by inviting the public to collect and validate housing addresses to build the biggest UK open address dataset ever. To do so, they launched UK's first open and free address list on Wednesday, calling on individuals and companies to crowdsource information." What if you want the equivalent of an unlisted number, though?
Cellphones

Samsung Launches Tizen Phone In India 35

Posted by samzenpus
from the check-it-out dept.
puddingebola notes that Samsung's first smartphones powered by its Tizen operating system have gone on sale in India. "After plenty of speculation and an abort launch in Russia last year, Samsung has finally managed to release its first phone powered by the Tizen operating system. The Samsung Z1 is coming to India initially, where it is available to buy for 5,700 INR — that’s around $92 — from today. The Z1 is an affordable device, both in price and specs. It packs a four-inch WVGA PLS screen, and is powered by a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor and 768 MB RAM. There’s a 3.1-megapixel camera on the rear, and a limited VGA camera on the front. The phone runs version 2.3 of the Tizen operating system, and comes with 4GB of on-device storage which can be expanded by up to 64GB via a micro SD card. It supports dual SIMs, as is commonplace with devices in India."
Operating Systems

OpenBSD's Kernel Gets W^X Treatment On Amd64 84

Posted by Soulskill
from the write-stuff dept.
New submitter brynet tips this news from Theo de Raadt: Over the last two months Mike Larkin (mlarkin@) modified the amd64 kernel to follow the W^X principles. It started as a humble exercise to fix the .rodata segment, and kind of went crazy. As a result, no part of the kernel address space is writeable and executable simultaneously. At least that is the idea, modulo mistakes. Final attention to detail (which some of you experienced in buggy drafts in snapshots) was to make the MP and ACPI trampolines follow W^X, furthermore they are unmapped when not required. Final picture is many architectures were improved, but amd64 and sparc64 look the best due to MMU features available to service the W^X model. The entire safety model is also improved by a limited form of kernel ASLR (the code segment does not move around yet, but data and page table ASLR is fairly good."
Science

"Disco Clam" Lights Up To Scare Predators Away 49

Posted by samzenpus
from the stayin-alive dept.
sciencehabit writes When predators get close, the bright, orange-lipped "disco clam" flashes them to scare them off. But it's not just the light that's important. Researchers have found that the clam has sulfur in its fleshy lips and tentacles and suspect that, like another clam species that drop tentacles laden with sulfuric acid to deter predators, the disco clam's sulfur also gets converted into a distasteful substance. The flashing may warn predators away, similar to the bright orange of a monarch butterfly warning birds of its toxic taste.
United Kingdom

Professor: Young People Are "Lost Generation" Who Can No Longer Fix Gadgets 840

Posted by samzenpus
from the beyond-fixing dept.
antdude points out this story about one of the problems with our ever increasingly disposable world. "Young people in Britain have become a lost generation who can no longer mend gadgets and appliances because they have grown up in a disposable world, the professor giving this year's Royal Institution Christmas lectures has warned. Danielle George, Professor of Radio Frequency Engineering, at the University of Manchester, claims that the under 40s expect everything to 'just work' and have no idea what to do when things go wrong. Unlike previous generations who would ‘make do and mend’ now young people will just chuck out their faulty appliances and buy new ones. But Prof George claims that many broken or outdated gadgets could be fixed or repurposed with only a brief knowledge of engineering and electronics. "
Google

The History of the NORAD/Microsoft and Google Santa Trackers 59

Posted by Soulskill
from the NSA-only-has-santa-metadata dept.
theodp writes: Marketing Land's Danny Sullivan has a pretty epic post on How Google Became A Santa Tracker Tradition To Rival NORAD, and wonders if future generations will think of Santa tracking as synonymous with Google, just as past ones have felt about NORAD. Until it split with Google in 2012 (for unknown reasons) and hooked up with Microsoft, Sullivan explains, NORAD had really been the only place to go for a serious, dependable Santa tracking service. "There's a big part of me that wishes Google had gotten out of Santa tracking when it split from NORAD," says Sullivan of the divorce. "The NORAD Santa tracker brings back memories from my childhood; it brings back memories of me being a father with young kids checking in on Santa's progress. In contrast, Google feels to me like an upstart interloper messing with my nostalgic memories. But maybe Google's a welcome alternative to others. It's not uncommon to see the occasional complaint about a NORAD "Santa Cam" video showing Santa being accompanied by fighter jets. Some might prefer a Santa tracker that's not connected to a military organization. Of course, some might not feel one connected to a giant company is necessarily preferable. Part of me is also sad that when I go to NORAD's own site, I get a big Internet Explorer icon in the top right corner, which effectively opens up an ad for Microsoft. I guess I feel it's too blatant. Of course, complaining about the commercialization of something Christmas-related, I suppose, is kind of useless." Sullivan adds, "Overall, I'm thankful to the many people who are involved with both operations [NORAD Tracks Santa and Google Santa Tracker], who work hard to make children smile on Christmas Eve.""

Comment: Article summary: Use time-in more than time-out (Score 1) 323

by Walking The Walk (#48652911) Attached to: Putting Time Out In Time Out: The Science of Discipline

The point of the article is made near the end, which is to use less time-outs (which should still be used, as a time of reflection), and more "time-ins", which is apparently teaching your child about emotional events as they occur through the day. Based on the examples given, I would guess "time-in" is something we already do with our kids; it's just talking over events like "Wasn't it funny when Sarah sneezed milk out her nose?" Then listening to our kids tell their version. The new thing is to somehow "teach" them what that emotion means. I'm OK with a psych doing research that confirms common parental practices work, but there was a lot of vague hand-waviness about "teaching" emotions, and they skimmed over the fact that once a child is in school or daycare, the majority of their daily events aren't shared with their parents. Discussing such events therefore requires discovering them, which is difficult when the response to "How was your day at school?" is a terse "Okay".

PS: I actually read through TFA, which was rather long and filled with the author's opinions more than the psych's study results and opinions.. I don't recommend reading the article by the way, it was a lot of filler text with very little discussion of the main topic. It could use an editor's review - for example, it alternates between "time-out" and "timeout". Plus the title is misleading - it explicitly says time-ins aren't a counter-point to time-outs, it simply encourages that time-ins be added to the daily routine.

Toys

Ask Slashdot: What Can I Really Do With a Smart Watch? 232

Posted by timothy
from the you-can-measure-the-battery-drain dept.
kwelch007 writes I commonly work in a clean-room (CR.) As such, I commonly need access to my smart-phone for various reasons while inside the CR...but, I commonly keep it in my front pocket INSIDE my clean-suit. Therefore, to get my phone out of my pocket, I have to leave the room, get my phone out of my pocket, and because I have a one track mind, commonly leave it sitting on a table or something in the CR, so I then have to either have someone bring it to me, or suit back up and go get it myself...a real pain. I have been looking in to getting a 'Smart Watch' (I'm preferential to Android, but I know Apple has similar smart-watches.) I would use a smart-watch as a convenient, easy to transport and access method to access basic communications (email alerts, text, weather maps, etc.) The problem I'm finding while researching these devices is, I'm not finding many apps. Sure, they can look like a nice digital watch, but I can spend $10 for that...not the several hundred or whatever to buy a smart-watch. What are some apps I can get? (don't care about platform, don't care if they're free) I just want to know what's the best out there, and what it can do? I couldn't care less about it being a watch...we have these things called clocks all over the place. I need various sorts of data access. I don't care if it has to pair with my smart-phone using Bluetooth or whatever, and it won't have to be a 100% solution...it would be more of a convenience that is worth the several hundred dollars to me. My phone will never be more than 5 feet away, it's just inconvenient to physically access it. Further, I am also a developer...what is the best platform to develop for these wearable devices on, and why? Maybe I could make my own apps? Is it worth waiting for the next generation of smart-watches?
Earth

Denmark Makes Claim To North Pole, Based On Undersea Geography 191

Posted by timothy
from the that-land-is-our-land dept.
As reported by The Independent, A scientific study has found that Greenland is actually connected to the area beneath the polar ice where the North Pole lies – thanks to a huge stretch of continental crust known as the Lomonosov Ridge. Since Greenland is a Danish territory, that gives the country the right to put its hat in the ring for ownership of the stretch of land, Denmark’s foreign minister [Martin Lidegaard ] said. ... Of the five Arctic countries – the US, Russia, Norway, Canada and Denmark —only Canada and Russia had indicated an interest in the North Pole territory until now. "This is a historical milestone for Denmark and many others as the area has an impact on the lives of lot of people. After the U.N. panel had taken a decision based on scientific data, comes a political process," Lidegaard told The Associated Press in an interview on Friday. "I expect this to take some time. An answer will come in a few decades. Why such a big deal? As Business Insider notes, The U.S. currently estimates that the Arctic sea bed could contain 15% of the earth's remaining oil, along with 30% of the planet's natural gas and 20% of its liquefied natural gas. Whichever country is able to successfully claim the Arctic would have the right to extract these resources.
Transportation

Why Didn't Sidecar's Flex Pricing Work? 190

Posted by samzenpus
from the you-get-what-you-pay-for dept.
Bennett Haselton writes Sidecar is a little-known alternative to Lyft and Uber, deployed in only ten cities so far, which lets drivers set their own prices to undercut other ride-sharing services. Given that most amateur drivers would be willing to give someone a ride for far less than the rider would be willing to pay, why didn't the flex-pricing option take off? Keep reading to see what Bennet has to say.
Education

2014 Geek Gift Guide 113

Posted by Soulskill
from the watch-out-for-robot-santa dept.
With the holidays coming up, Bennett Haselton has updated his geek-oriented gift guide for 2014. He says: Some of my favorite gifts to give are still the ones that were listed in several different previously written posts, while a few new cool gift ideas emerged in 2014. Here are all my current best recommendations, listed in one place. Read on for the list, or to share any suggestions of your own.

I go on working for the same reason a hen goes on laying eggs. -- H.L. Mencken

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