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Submission The FAA Has Missed Its Congressionally Mandated Deadline to Regulate Drones->

derekmead writes: When Congress passed the FAA Modernization Act in 2012, it gave the agency until September 30, 2015 to fully regulate commercial drones for use in the United States. Well, it's October 1, and we're left with a patchwork of regulatory band-aids, quasi-legal "guidelines," and a small drone rule that still hasn't gone into effect yet.

This news shouldn't surprise anyone. The agency has missed most every milestone—both internal and lawmaker mandated—that has been set for it. The last two years have been fraught with lawsuits, confusion on enforcement within its own local offices (some FAA agents have told pilots they can't post videos on YouTube, for example), and various conflicting guidelines as to who can fly a drone where, and for what purposes.

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Submission How to Prevent Space War->

derekmead writes: When most of us think of space warfare, we picture the Star Wars variety—epic battles between spaceships, lightspeed chases, and planet-blasting death rays. But in reality, the state of modern orbital warfare looks less like a space opera, and more like a slow-burn political thriller.

Astronauts representing several different countries may break bread on the International Space Station, yet geopolitical tensions between their respective nations simmer under the surface. In contrast to the pyrotechnic nuclear threats faced in the 1960s, modern space militarization is defined by subterfuge, distrust, and an ever-complexifying cast of global players.

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Submission How Viking 1 Won the Martian Space Race->

derekmead writes: Forty years ago today, NASA launched the Viking 1 spacecraft to Mars, where it would become the first probe to achieve a soft landing on the Martian surface. The touchdown was a major milestone in the exploration of Mars, providing the first images and data from the red planet, which had been obsessively studied from afar for centuries.

Moreover, on a geopolitical level, NASA’s success with Viking 1 was kind of like winning the Martian Triple Crown against the Soviet space program. Over the course of the 1960s and early 1970s, the USSR desperately tried to get a jump on NASA with regards to Mars exploration, and launched well over a dozen flyby, orbiter, and landing attempts.

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Submission An Undead SOPA Is Hiding Inside an Extremely Boring Case About Invisible Braces->

derekmead writes: The most controversial parts of SOPA, an anti-piracy bill defeated in 2012 after a massive public outcry, may end up becoming de facto law after all, depending on the outcome in an obscure case that is working its way through the legal system without anyone noticing.

Next week, the US Appeals Court for the Federal Circuit will hear oral arguments in ClearCorrect Operating, LLC v. International Trade Commission, a case that could give an obscure federal agency the power to force ISPs to block websites. In January, The Verge reported that this very legal strategy is already being considered by the Motion Picture Association of America, as evidenced by a leaked document from the WikiLeaks Sony dump.

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Submission To Salvage or Sever: What Happens When Your Own Limb Is Almost Good Enough?->

derekmead writes: While the media might focus on prosthetics, the technology and techniques involved in limb salvage have advanced tremendously too, spurred in large part by America’s recent military conflicts.

Now, when a soldier or civilian faces a brutal limb injury, they have choices—save the limb, or amputate. Be a limb salvage patient, or an amputee. Reconstruct the limb you were born with, out of the pieces you have left over, or lose that limb altogether. And that choice is, increasingly, a really difficult one.

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Submission University Students Made a Working Model Hyperloop->

derekmead writes: Elon Musk's Hyperloop gets people excited. Promise the ability to travel from San Francisco to Los Angeles in less than an hour, and you're going to get people salivating. But for as much as we've heard about it, we've had scarcely little to see—until a team of students at the University of Illinois decided to build their very own miniature hyperloop.

Mechanical engineering students at the university built a functioning 1:24 scale model of the Hyperloop, a “fourth mode of transportation” that sends pods through a partially pressurized tube at very high speeds, as part of a senior design project. It was designed to test some of the key components of Musk's design, which was outlined in a much-read, open source white paper published in August of 2013. That said, there are several key differences, which keep this from truly being a proof-of-concept as to whether or not the Hyperloop will ultimately work.

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Submission Netflix Is Experimenting with Advertising ->

derekmead writes: Netflix is experimenting with advertisements that run both before and after users watch a video. It's unclear whether or not the company will eventually push ads to everyone.

For now, the company is primarily experimenting with the HBO model of pitching its own original programming to viewers. The company is only showing trailers for shows like Orange Is the New Black and House of Cards—it has not attempted to sell third party ads, and the company told me that, for the moment, only specific users in specific markets are seeing ads.

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Submission Oldest Stone Tools Predate Previous Record Holder by 700,000 Years->

derekmead writes: Scientists have discovered the oldest stone tools ever found, dating back some 3.3 million years to Pliocene Africa—long before the rise of humans' first ancestors in the Homo genus.

The artifacts were found near Lake Turkana, Kenya, and predate the next oldest tools by a whopping 700,000 years. That is an enormous margin, and it will have far-reaching ramifications for our understanding of how material culture initially arose in early hominin communities. An in-depth analysis of the site, its contents, and its significance as a new benchmark in evolutionary history will be published in the May 21 issue of Nature.

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Submission Illinois Says Rule-Breaking Students Must Give Teachers Their Facebook Passwords->

derekmead writes: School districts in Illinois are telling parents that a new law may require school officials to demand the social media passwords of students if they are suspected in cyberbullying cases or are otherwise suspected of breaking school rules.

The law (PDF), which went into effect on January 1, defines cyberbullying and makes harassment on Facebook, Twitter, or via other digital means a violation of the state's school code, even if the bullying happens outside of school hours.

A letter sent out to parents in the Triad Community Unit School District #2, a district located just over the Missouri-Illinois line near St. Louis, that was obtained by Motherboard says that school officials can demand students give them their passwords.

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Submission Tracking the Mole Inside Silk Road 2.0->

derekmead writes: The arrest of the Silk Road 2.0 leader and subsequent seizure of the site was partially due to the presence of an undercover US Department of Homeland Security agent, who “successfully infiltrated the support staff involved in running the Silk Road 2.0 website," according to the FBI.

Referencing multiple interviews, publicly available information, and parts of the moderator forum shared with me, it appears likely that the suspicions of many involved in Silk Road 2.0 are true: the undercover agent that infiltrated the site was a relatively quiet staff member known as Cirrus.

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Submission Astronomers find star-inside-star 40 years after first theorized->

derekmead writes: After 40 years, astronomers have likely found a rather strange celestial body known as a Thorne–ytkow object (TZO), in which a neutron star is absorbed by a red supergiant. Originally predicted in the 1970s, the first non-theoretical TZO was found earlier this year, based on calculations presented in apaper forthcoming in MNRAS .

TZOs were predicted by astronomer Kip Thorne and Anna ytkow, who wasthen postdoctoral fellow at CalTech. The pair imagined what might happen if a neutron star in a binary system merged with its partner red supergiant.

This wouldn’t be like two average stars merging. Neutron stars are the ancient remnants of stars that grew too big and exploded. Their cores remain small—about 12.5 miles—as they shed material out into space. Red supergiants are the largest stars in the galaxy with radii up to 800 times that of our sun, but they aren’t dense.

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Submission Japan's Alleged Death Threat-Making, Cat-Hacking Programmer Says He's Innocent->

Daniel_Stuckey writes: Inside the memory card in the cat's collar, authorities found a resentful message criticizing the police along with versions of the virus (iesys.exe) used to carry out the threat messages, which were made remotely, through other people’s computers. If you hadn’t heard about the story in the news, you'd be forgiven for confusing it with the plot of a Haruki Murakami novel.

In Tokyo District Court Wednesday, the former employee of a Japanese IT company wore a black suit, a wide smile, and pleaded not guilty to 10 charges brought against him. The Japan Times explained the string of threats were directed at “schools and kindergartens attended by the Emperor Akihito’s grandchildren,” as well as a Japan Airlines jet headed for New York. The plane had to stop midflight, costing the airline ¥9.75 million (about $93,000).

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Submission Can't Quit Smoking? Try Blaming Neanderthals-> 1

Daniel_Stuckey writes: Humans might have Neanderthals to thank for our smoking addictions, our Type II diabetes, and things like Crohn’s disease, lupus, and our hair types, according to a new genetic analysis by researchers at Harvard University.

We’ve long known that humans and Neanderthals share at least some genetic material—recent estimates put it at about 2 percent—but the Harvard University analysis, published Wednesday in Nature , tells us exactly what we share, something that has only become possible because of new, high-quality genome sequencing. By studying the genetic variability in 846 non-African people, 176 people from sub-Saharan Africa, and the complete genome of a 50,000-year-old Neanderthal, Sriram Sankararaman and his team were able to trace certain alleles from Neanderthals into present-day humans.

The findings are utterly fascinating. The alleles that modern, non-African humans (sub-Saharan Africans are believed to share very little DNA with Neanderthals) share with Neanderthals are associated with things such as nicotine addiction, Type II diabetes, and a host of other diseases.

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Submission When Will the Internet Defeat Link Rot?->

Daniel_Stuckey writes: A few days ago, I renewed the hosting for a single-serving joke site I haven't updated in more than a year, partially because the domain is surely worth millions, and largely because I didn't want to let a a little black hole—unfathomably tiny as it may be—open up in the web.

Obviously, the loss of a completely inconsequential site isn't exactly going to ruin the internet. But as occasionally happens, it got me thinking about how such black holes, most of more importance, are already everywhere. As sites blink offline and pages get lost to the long march of site updates and lapsed hosting fees. For everyone who values the internet as a repository of information—that's all of us—link rot is a corrosive force that's left much of the web perched atop a fragmented foundation of lost sources and dead links. So what can we do about it?

The link rot problem topped the news cycle last fall, when a Harvard Law study found that the US Supreme Court has a serious problem. According to the study, "50% of the URLs found within United States Supreme Court opinions do not link to the originally cited information." A few months earlier, a Yale study found that 29 percent of websites cited in Supreme Court decisions are no longer online.

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Last yeer I kudn't spel Engineer. Now I are won.