Molly McHugh writes: What better way to sell telepresence technologies than having the store employees themselves appear via robot? At the Beam store in Palo Alto, Calif., no human salespeople physically appear, only robots. Users appear on the 17-inch display and control the robot via keyboard, mouse, or Xbox controller. Beam can roll as fast as two miles per hour. People behind the screen control the Beam through their computers, and two wide-angle cameras attached to the top of the bot lets them see everything happening around the store. It’s a bit eerie, watching floating heads tool around and talk to people in this video, and the customers’ react to the Beam with confusion and wonder.
North Korea is already sanctioned pretty hard. I'm curious what happens when a nation state attacks a multinational company. Do the nations that said company is registered in team up to respond? Do they elect a body to deal with it? And if so, how large does a multinational have to be to elicit such a response?
Seriously, I can't tell if this is some kind of Kafka joke. Or if the level of cognitive dissonance their leaders has achieved is some new type of weapon. Either way, it's giving me a headache. o.o;;
mikejuk writes It seems incredible that in the 21st century schools are still teaching children to scratch marks on paper. Well in Finland they are taking a step in the direction of the future by giving up teaching handwriting. The Savon Sanomat newspaper reports that from autumn 2016 cursive handwriting will no longer be a compulsory part of the school curriculum. Instead the schools will teach keyboard skills and 'texting'. The idea of teaching proper keyboard skills to children is unquestionably a great idea, the idea of texting is a little more dubious and many will mourn the loss of a traditional skill like cursive writing. So what about a world where cursive writing is forgotten? What do you do when your computer is dead and you need to leave a note? The death of cursive script probably isn't the death of handwriting but the death of doing it quickly and with style. Some no doubt will want to master it just for the sake of it — like driving a stick shift. I know some U.S. schools have done the same; how proficient should kids be with cursive?
New submitter lars_stefan_axelsson writes: When I was an undergrad in the eighties, "building" a computer meant that you got a bunch of chips and a soldering iron and went to work. The art is still alive today, but instead of a running BASIC interpreter as the ultimate proof of success, today the crowning achievement is getting Linux to run: "What does it take to build a little 68000-based protoboard computer, and get it running Linux? In my case, about three weeks of spare time, plenty of coffee, and a strong dose of stubbornness. After banging my head against the wall with problems ranging from the inductance of pushbutton switches to memory leaks in the C standard library, it finally works! (video)"
Freshly Exhumed writes A bizarre and oddly beautiful display of spider webs have been woven across a large field along a walking trail in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada. "Well it's acres and acres; it's a sea of web," said Allen McCormick. Prof. Rob Bennett, an expert on spiders who works at the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria, BC, Canada, said tiny, sheet-web weaver spiders known as Erigoninae linyphiidae most likely left the webs. Bennett said the spiders cast a web net to catch the wind and float away in a process known as ballooning. The webs in the field are the spiders' drag lines, left behind as they climb to the top of long grass to be whisked away by the wind. Bennett said it's a mystery why these spiders take off en masse.
Clark Schultz writes The premise behind Jurassic Park just got a bit more real after scientists in South Korea said they are optimistic they can extract enough DNA from the blood of a preserved woolly mammoth to clone the long-extinct mammal. The ice-wrapped woolly mammoth was found last year on an island off of Siberia. The development is being closely watched by the scientific community with opinion sharply divided on the ethics of the project.
theshowmecanuck (703852) writes A group calling itself the Russian Union of Engineers has published a photograph, picked up by many news organizations (just picked one, Google it yourself to find more), claiming to show that MH17 was shot down by a Ukrainian fighter plane. The interesting thing is the very quick ad hoc crowd sourced debunking of the photograph using tools from Google maps, online photos/data, to their own domain knowledge backed up with the previous information. It would be interesting to understand who the "Russian Union of Engineers" are and why they in particular were chosen to release this information.
Chris Gordon works for a high-technology company, but he likes analog meters better than digital readouts. In this video, he shows off a bank of old-fashioned meters that display data acquired from digital sources. He says he's no Luddite; that he just prefers getting his data in analog form -- which gets a little harder every year because hardly any new analog meters are being manufactured. (Alternate Video Link)
aarondubrow writes "The National Science Foundation and the Semiconductor Research Corporation announced nine research awards to 10 universities totaling nearly $4 million under a joint program focused on secure, trustworthy, assured and resilient semiconductors and systems. The awards support the development of new strategies, methods and tools at the circuit, architecture and system levels, to decrease the likelihood of unintended behavior or access; increase resistance and resilience to tampering; and improve the ability to provide authentication throughout the supply chain and in the field. "The processes and tools used to design and manufacture semiconductors ensure that the resulting product does what it is supposed to do. However, a key question that must also be addressed is whether the product does anything else, such as behaving in ways that are unintended or malicious," said Keith Marzullo, division director of NSF's Computer and Network Systems Division.
coondoggie writes Lack of money, management structure and staff are hampering NASA's ability to effectively identify and track comets, meteorites and asteroids that might threaten Earth. The space agency's Inspector General, Paul Martin, issued a scathing report this week that said while NASA's Near Earth Object program has done substantial work in identifying the sometimes massive rocks hurtling around the planet it is substantially behind in its goal of cataloging 90% of those 140 meters in diameter by 2020, among other issues.
New submitter ildon writes: Recently, the rights holder of former game publisher Softdisk's game library put the rights to some of their old titles up for sale, including Commander Keen: Keen Dreams, one of the few games in the series not to be published by Apogee. A group of fans created an Indiegogo campaign to purchase those rights. We are just now seeing the fruits of that effort with the full source code of the game being published to GitHub. About a year ago, Tom Hall found the sources to episodes 4-6, but it's not clear what, if any, progress has been made on getting Bethesda to allow that code to be released.
It'd be kind of interesting, extremely site specific. But still a interesting use case.
A wire report from AFP says that an explosion heard in Managua last night, and a 40-foot crater evident today, are evidence that the city was the impact site for a small meteorite that struck Saturday night. The photos are not very exciting at a glance, which is a good thing, considering that a dirt crater and no injuries is probably the best outcome if a meteorite strikes the city where you live. From the article: The meteorite appeared to have hurtled into a wooded area near the airport around midnight Saturday, its thunderous impact felt across the capital. The hit was so large that it registered on the instruments Strauss’ organization uses to size up earthquakes. “You can see two waves: first, a small seismic wave when the meteorite hit Earth, and then another stronger one, which is the impact of the sound,” he said. Government officials and experts visited the impact site on Sunday. One of them, William Martínez, said it was not yet clear if the meteorite burned up completely or if it had been blasted into the soil. “You can see mirror-like spots on the sides of the crater from where the meteorite power-scraped the walls,” Martínez said. (The same news, in slightly shorter form, from the AP.)
sfcrazy writes Developer Vratislav Podzimek has announced the next-gen partition manager for Fedora, blivet-gui. It is eventually going to replace GParted, the most popular GUI based partition manager, found in all major distros. The new tool is named blivet-gui after the blivet python library (originally Anaconda's storage management and configuration tool). The need of a new partition manager stems from the fact that none of the existing GUI partitioning tools supports all modern storage technologies. Fedora's Anaconda base supports all, though, and is hence chosen as the back-end for this new tool. The application is only a few months old but is already looking nice and useful. Features like RAID and BTRFS support are being worked on. Vojtech Trefny is the other developer working with Vratislav on blivet-gui. Here's the announcement.