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Submission + - US Department of Defense shuns open source medical records in $4.3B contract 1

dmr001 writes: The US Department of Defense opted not to use the Department of Veterans Affairs' open source popular VistA electronic health record in its project to overhaul its legacy systems, instead opting for a consortium of Cerner, Leidos and Accenture. The initial $4.3 billion implementation is expected to be the first part of a $9 billion dollar project. The Under Secretary for Acquisition stated they wanted a system with minimum modifications and interoperability with private sector systems, though much of what passes for inter-vendor operability in the marketplace is more aspirational than operable. The DoD aims to start implementation at 8 sites in the Pacific Northwest by the end of 2016, noting that "legacy systems are eating us alive in terms of support and maintenance," consuming 95% of the Military Health Systems IT budget.

Submission + - China to Impose Export Control on High Tech Drones and Supercomputers (xinhuanet.com)

hackingbear writes: Following similar hi-tect export restriction policies in the U.S. (or perhaps in response to the U.S. ban on China,) China will impose export control on some drones and high performance computers starting on August 15th, according to an announcement published on Friday by China's Ministry of Commerce and the General Administration of Customs. The ban includes (official documents in Chinese) drone that can take off in wind speed exceeding 46.4km/hour or can continuously fly for over 1 hour as well as electronic components specifically designed or modified for supercomputers with speed over 8 petaflops. Companies must acquire specific permits before exporting such items. Drones and supercomputers are the two areas where China is the leader or among the top players. China is using its rapidly expanding defense budget to make impressive advances in (military) drone technology, prompting some to worry that the United States' global dominance in the market could soon be challenged. The tightening of regulations comes two weeks after an incident in disputed Kashmir in which the Pakistani army claimed to have shot down an Indian "spy drone", reportedly Chinese-made. China's 33-petaflops Tianhe-2, currently the fastest supercomputer in the world, while still using Intel Xeon processors, takes use of the home-grown interconnect, arguably the most important component of modern supercomputers.

Submission + - MORPHs Roam The Park Looking For Children To Play (i-programmer.info)

mikejuk writes: Robots, taken at the widest interpretation of an active mechanism with some computer control, are getting cheaper all the time. This means you can start to think of using them for non-essential things like — fun and art. The MORPH — Mobile Reconfigurable Polyhedron — an octahedral robot has twelve actuated struts and moves by changing their length so as to overtopple in a determined direction. Let loose in a park a morph is free to roam around finding people to play with it. It resembles a mobile climbing frame and the idea that it might pursue small children and insist that they play with it is both amusing and spooky. Just wait until it manages to trap a small child in its actuators! See the video of it roaming a London park.
The current prototype is around 1.5 meters high and can withstand an imposed load of 30 kilograms and there are plans for a bigger version at twice the height. Now that will really be an autonomous roving climbing frame!
Let us hope it doesn't go rogue.
Just in case — I, for one, welcome our robotic climbing frame overlords...

Submission + - Challenger, Columbia Wreckage on Public Display for First Time

An anonymous reader writes: A new exhibit at Kennedy Space Center is letting the public see wreckage from the Challenger and Columbia shuttles after keeping it from view for decades. Two pieces of debris from each lost shuttle and personal reminders of the astronauts killed in the flights will be on display. The AP reports: " NASA's intent is to show how the astronauts lived, rather than how they died. As such, there are no pictures in the 'Forever Remembered' exhibit of Challenger breaking apart in the Florida sky nearly 30 years ago or Columbia debris raining down on Texas 12 years ago. Since the tragic re-entry, Columbia's scorched remains have been stashed in off-limits offices at the space center. But NASA had to pry open the underground tomb housing Challenger's pieces — a pair of abandoned missile silos at neighboring Cape Canaveral Air Force Station — to retrieve the section of fuselage now on display."

Submission + - Job insecurity is the new normal (deseretnews.com)

Mr.Intel writes: Last year, Hewlett-Packard eliminated 34,000 jobs, and JC Penney and Sprint announced cuts, while JP Morgan Chase has cut 20,000 from its workforce since 2011. In double-earner families, at least one parent reports feeling "insecure" about their job, and in almost half of those both think their job is insecure.

This dynamic creates a constant tension for workers, who are beset by uncertainty. It has bred what Pugh calls the "one-way honor system," in which workers are beholden to employers, but employers are not, says Pugh, author of "The Tumbleweed Society: Working and Caring in an Age of Insecurity," out earlier this year.

Submission + - Hitchhiking robot's cross-country trip ends in Philadelphia

An anonymous reader writes: A hitchhiking robot that successfully traveled across Canada in 26 days last year and parts of Europe, has met its demise in Philly. Created as a "social experiment," hitchBOT started its journey in the U.S. in Marblehead, Massachusetts, on July 17 with its thumb raised up and tape wrapped around its head that read "San Francisco or bust." After about two weeks in the U.S., someone in Philadelphia damaged the robot beyond repair. “Sadly, sadly it’s come to an end,” said Frauke Zeller, one of its co-creators. The Independent reports: "The robot was designed to be a talking travel companion and could toss out factoids and carry limited conversation. A GPS in the robot tracked its location, and a camera randomly snapped photos about every 20 minutes to document its travels."

Submission + - Unicode consortium looks at symbols for allergies

AmiMoJo writes: A new preliminary proposal submitted to the Unicode Consortium suggests that specific emoji for food allergies should be added to the standard. The proposal (PDF), submitted by a Google engineer, is under discussion and may not be added to the standard at all but offers a peek into some useful new emoji. It suggests the addition of peanuts, soybeans, buckwheat, sesame seeds, kiwi fruit, celery, lupin beans, mustard, tree nuts, eggs, milk products and gluten to help those with allergies express them in shorthand.

Submission + - New telemetry suggests shot-down drone was higher than alleged

AmiMoJo writes: The pilot of the drone shot down Sunday evening over a Kentucky property has now come forward with video seemingly showing that the drone wasn't nearly as close as the property owner made it out to be. The data also shows that it was well over 200 feet above the ground before the fatal shots fired. The shooter, meanwhile, continues to maintain that the drone flew 20 feet over a neighbour's house before ascending to "60 to 80 [feet] above me."

Submission + - Want to fight climate change? Stop cows from burping (sciencemag.org)

sciencehabit writes: A simple supplement to a cow’s feed could substantially decrease a major source of methane, a planet-warming greenhouse gas, a new study suggests. Each year worldwide, the methane produced by cud-chewing livestock warms Earth’s climate by the same amount as 2.1 billion tons of carbon dioxide, a little more than 4% of the greenhouse gas emissions related to human activity. That makes cows tempting targets for methane reduction efforts. In a new study, researchers added the chemical 3-nitrooxypropanol, also known as 3NOP, to the corn-and-alfalfa-based feed of 84 milk-producing Holsteins and monitored their methane production for 12 weeks—the largest and longest such trial of its type in lactating cows, the scientists say. For cows whose feed included 3NOP, methane emissions dropped, on average, by 30%.

Submission + - Smartphone Battery Heat Can Measure Urban Temperatures (insidescience.org)

benonemusic writes: Measuring temperatures in cities is particularly important because of the urban heat island effect, which makes cities warmer than surrounding areas due to a number of factors including the heat-absorbing properties of urban materials such as asphalt. Researchers aim to better understand the urban heat island effect and learn ways to counteract it, as it puts residents at increased risk during heat waves.and leads to increased energy use in cooling buildings. Now, researchers have shown that the battery temperatures of smartphones across a city can provide detailed information on urban temperatures. Researchers developed an algorithm that correlates battery temperature to ambient temperature while accounting for effects such as the phone's insulation and the body heat of owners.

Submission + - Driver Arrested in Ohio for Secret Car Compartment Full of Nothing (reason.com)

schwit1 writes: Norman Gurley, 30, is facing drug-related charges in Lorain County, Ohio, despite the fact that state troopers did not actually find any drugs in his possession.

Ohio passed a law in 2012 making it a felony to alter a vehicle to add a secret compartment with the “intent” of using it to conceal drugs for trafficking.

Submission + - US Working to Kill UN Privacy Resolutions (foreignpolicy.com)

schwit1 writes: The United States and its key intelligence allies are quietly working behind the scenes to kneecap a mounting movement in the United Nations to promote a universal human right to online privacy, according to diplomatic sources and an internal American government document obtained by The Cable.

American representatives have made it clear that they won't tolerate such checks on their global surveillance network.

Submission + - SPAM: Temples In Northern India

merateerth writes: "The temples in North India which can be described as the typical Nagara style. These temples escaped the destruction due to invasion. The temples as well as the literature laying down the rules and mode of construction have been well preserved in Orissa. In this style, the structure consists 0f two buildings, the main shrine taller and an adjoining shorter mandapa."
Link to Original Source

Submission + - Google Fiber work hung up in Kansas City (kansascity.com)

alphadogg writes: When Google announced last spring that Kansas City, Kan., had landed the tech company’s much-pursued super-speed Internet project, the company gushed about the local utility poles. Now it turns out that differences over where and how to hang wires on those poles, and what fees or installation costs may be required, have created a troublesome bump in plans to launch the project.

Submission + - An Inconvenient Truth Becoming Required Viewing

theodp writes: "First it was his world history class. Then he saw it in his economics class. And his world issues class. And his environment class. In total, 18-year-old McKenzie, a Northern Ontario high schooler, says he has had the film An Inconvenient Truth shown to him by four different teachers. If you have children in junior or high school, there is a good chance they have been shown An Inconvenient Truth in school — or they will be soon — as the film works its way into the curriculum."