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+ - Stumpy, The 3-Legged Turtle, Gets a 3D Printed Prosthetic Leg->

Submitted by ErnieKey
ErnieKey (3766427) writes "Turtles live for decades, and some can outlive human beings. For one box turtle named Stumpy, he was looking at living another 20-30 years with only 3 legs. Turtles are slow enough on 4, so you can only imagine how slow Stumpy was. Thanks to a 5th grade class, and a very creative veterinarian, Stumpy is now the new owner of a 3d printed prosthetic leg, which allows him to live a normal turtle life. 3d printed prostheses apparently are not just for human beings anymore."
Link to Original Source

+ - Linux Lockup Bug Continues To Be Investigated

Submitted by jones_supa
jones_supa (887896) writes "For the past month there's been Linux kernel developers investigating a regression which causes a handful machines to freeze. As of the middle of December, the issue was still being investigated while Linux 3.18 was already shipped with the bug. Now it looks like the investigation is coming to an end. Either the latest cues are found to be correct, or time runs out as Dave Jones of Red Hat has to return his system this coming Monday as he's leaving Red Hat. The latest belief is the issue might be related to HPET, the High Precision Event Timer. Yesterday Linus Torvalds posted that he agrees it could be HPET related, some SMM/BIOS power management feature causing the problem, a bug in the kernel's clock-source handling, or "gremlins" — something freakish happening. Here's the last post at the time of writing. It looks like Dave will still be running some kernel tests this weekend though after that he has to turn in the system."

+ - New Paper Claims Neutrino Is Likely A Faster-Than-Light Particle 1

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "Phys.org reports that in a new paper accepted by the journal Astroparticle Physics, Robert Ehrlich, a recently retired physicist from George Mason University, claims that the neutrino is very likely a tachyon or faster-than-light particle. Ehrlich's new claim of faster-than-light neutrinos is based on a much more sensitive method than measuring their speed, namely by finding their mass. The result relies on tachyons having an imaginary mass, or a negative mass squared. Imaginary mass particles have the weird property that they speed up as they lose energy – the value of their imaginary mass being defined by the rate at which this occurs. According to Ehrlich, the magnitude of the neutrino's imaginary mass is 0.33 electronvolts, or 2/3 of a millionth that of an electron. He deduces this value by showing that six different observations from cosmic rays, cosmology, and particle physics all yield this same value within their margin of error. One check on Ehrlich's claim could come from the experiment known as KATRIN, which should start taking data in 2015. In this experiment the mass of the neutrino could be revealed by looking at the shape of the spectrum in the beta decay of tritium, the heaviest isotope of hydrogen.p

But be careful. There have been many such claims, the last being in 2011 when the "OPERA" experiment measured the speed of neutrinos and claimed they travelled a tiny amount faster than light. When their speed was measured again the original result was found to be in error – the result of a loose cable no less. "Before you try designing a "tachyon telephone" to send messages back in time to your earlier self it might be prudent to see if Ehrlich's claim is corroborated by others.""

+ - How the Elevator Transformed America 1

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "For most city-dwellers, the elevator is an unremarkable machine that inspires none of the passion or interest that Americans afford trains, jets, and even bicycles. But according to Daniel Wilk the automobile and the elevator have been locked in a “secret war” for over a century, with cars making it possible for people to spread horizontally, encouraging sprawl and suburbia, and elevators pushing them toward life in dense clusters of towering vertical columns.

Elevators first arrived in America during the 1860s, in the lobbies of luxurious hotels, where they served as a plush conveyance that saved the well-heeled traveler the annoyance of climbing stairs. It wasn’t until the 1870s, when elevators showed up in office buildings, that the technology really started to leave a mark on urban culture. Business owners stymied by the lack of available space could look up and see room for growth where there was previously nothing but air—a development that was particularly welcome in New York, where a real estate crunch in Manhattan’s business district had, for a time, forced city leaders to consider moving the entire financial sector uptown. Advances in elevator technology combined with new steel frame construction methods to push the height limits of buildings higher and higher. In the 1890s, the tallest building in the world was the 20-story Masonic Temple in Chicago. By 1913, when hydraulic elevators had been replaced with much speedier and more efficient electrical ones, it was the 55-story Woolworth Building in New York, still one of the one-hundred tallest buildings in the United States as well as one of the twenty tallest buildings in New York City. "If we didn't have elevators," says Patrick Carrajat, the founder of the Elevator Museum in New York, "we would have a megalopolis, one continuous city, stretching from Philadelphia to Boston, because everything would be five or six stories tall."

But the elevator did more than make New York the city of skyscrapers, it changed the way we live. “The elevator played a role in the profound reorganization of the building,” writes Andreas Bernard. That means a shift from single-family houses and businesses to apartments and office buildings. “Suddenly . . . it was possible to encounter strangers almost anywhere.” The elevator, in other words, made us more social — even if that social interaction often involved muttered small talk and staring at doors. Elevators also reinforced a social hierarchy; for while we rode the same elevators, those who rode higher lived above the fray. "It put the “Upper” into the East Side. It prevented Fifth Avenue from becoming Wall Street," writes Stephen Lynch. "It made “penthouse” the most important word in real estate.""

+ - Human Eyes' Oscillation Rate Determines Smooth Frame Rate

Submitted by jones_supa
jones_supa (887896) writes "It should be safe to conclude that humans can see frame rates greater than 24 fps. The next question is why do movies at 48 fps look "videoy", and why do movies at 24 fps look "dreamy" and "cinematic". Why are games more realistic at 60 fps than 30 fps? Simon Cooke from Microsoft (Xbox) Advanced Technology Group has an interesting theory to explain this all. Your eyes oscillate a tiny amount, ranging from 70 to 103 Hz (on average 83.68 Hz). So here's the hypothesis. The ocular microtremors wiggle the retina, allowing it to sample at approximately 2x the resolution of the sensors. Showing someone pictures that vary at less than half the rate of the oscillation, means we're no longer receiving a signal that changes fast enough to allow the supersampling operation to happen. So we’re throwing away a lot of perceived-motion data, and a lot of detail as well. Some of the detail can be restored with temporal antialiasing and simulating real noise, but ideally Cooke suggests going with a high enough frame rate (over 43 fps) and if possible, a high resolution."

+ - Many DDR3 modules vulnerable to bit rot by a simple program->

Submitted by Pelam
Pelam (41604) writes "Researchers from Carnegie Mellon and Intel report that a large percentage of tested regular DDR3 modules flip bits in adjacent rows when a voltage in a certain control line is forced to fluctuate. The program that triggers this is dead simple, just 2 memory reads with special relative offset and some cache control instructions in a tight loop. The researchers don't delve deeply into applications of this, but hint at possible security exploits. For example a rather theoretical attack on JVM sandbox using random bit flips has been demonstrated before."
Link to Original Source

+ - Stupid Costly Patent Nuclear War By Microsoft & Apple Against Android Averte->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "We've written a few times about Rockstar Consortium, a giant patent troll that was created when Microsoft and Apple (and a few others) teamed up to outbid Google, Intel (and a few others) in buying thousands of Nortel patents. Nortel admitted that it had bulked up on many of these patents for defensive measures, but once Nortel went bankrupt they went to the highest bidder (and the bidding went pretty damn high).

The winners of the bidding kept a few of the patents for themselves, but then dumped them all into "Rockstar Consortium" which was a new giant patent troll and which, importantly, was not subject to promises that Apple and Microsoft initially made (to avoid antitrust problems) to license the patents under reasonable terms."

Link to Original Source

+ - Anthropologist Gusterson on the language of torture->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Powerful piece on the torture report: 'As an anthropologist, I am fascinated by the term “enhanced interrogation.” It must surely take pride of place in the American lexicon of government euphemisms for violence, alongside such phrases from nuclear discourse as “collateral damage” (for the mass killing of civilians), “event” (for a nuclear explosion), “countervalue strike” (for the nuclear destruction of a city), “surgical strike” (a targeted strike with nuclear weapons), and “clean bombs” (nuclear weapons designed to optimize blast over radiation).'"
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+ - How a Massachusetts man invented the global ice market

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "A guy from Boston walks into a bar and offers to sell the owner a chunk of ice. To modern ears, that sounds like the opening line of a joke. But 200 years ago, it would have sounded like science fiction—especially if it was summer, when no one in the bar had seen frozen water in months. In fact, it’s history. The ice guy was sent by a 20-something by the name of Frederic Tudor, born in 1783 and known by the mid-19th century as the “Ice King of the World.” What he had done was figure out a way to harvest ice from local ponds, and keep it frozen long enough to ship halfway around the world.

Today, the New England ice trade, which Tudor started in Boston’s backyard in 1806, sounds cartoonishly old-fashioned. The work of ice-harvesting, which involved cutting massive chunks out of frozen bodies of water, packing them in sawdust for storage and transport, and selling them near and far, seems as archaic as the job of town crier. But scholars in recent years have suggested that we’re missing something. In fact, they say, the ice trade was a catalyst for a transformation in daily life so powerful that the mark it left can still be seen on our cultural habits even today. Tudor’s big idea ended up altering the course of history, making it possible not only to serve barflies cool mint juleps in the dead of summer, but to dramatically extend the shelf life and reach of food. Suddenly people could eat perishable fruits, vegetables, and meat produced far from their homes. Ice built a new kind of infrastructure that would ultimately become the cold, shiny basis for the entire modern food industry."

+ - Viacom's lawsuit against YouTube->

Submitted by Presto Vivace
Presto Vivace (882157) writes "

Viacom’s claim wasn’t that YouTube was just turning a blind eye to users infringing copyright—it was that YouTube was offering filtering technology to its media partners that it wasn’t making available to companies who weren’t playing ball.

I think it is useful to document the historical record."
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+ - The Magic of Pallets

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "Jacob Hodes writes in Cabinet Magazine that there are approximately two billion wooden shipping pallets in the holds of tractor-trailers in the United States transporting Honey Nut Cheerios and oysters and penicillin and just about any other product you can think of. According to Hodes the magic of pallets is the magic of abstraction. "Take any object you like, pile it onto a pallet, and it becomes, simply, a “unit load”—standardized, cubical, and ideally suited to being scooped up by the tines of a forklift. This allows your Cheerios and your oysters to be whisked through the supply chain with great efficiency; the gains are so impressive, in fact, that many experts consider the pallet to be the most important materials-handling innovation of the twentieth century." Although the technology was in place by the mid-1920s, pallets didn’t see widespread adoption until World War II, when the challenge of keeping eight million G.I.s supplied—“the most enormous single task of distribution ever accomplished anywhere,” according to one historian—gave new urgency to the science of materials handling. "The pallet really made it possible for us to fight a war on two fronts the way that we did." It would have been impossible to supply military forces in both the European and Pacific theaters if logistics operations had been limited to manual labor and hand-loading cargo.

To get a sense of the productivity gains that were achieved, consider the time it took to unload a boxcar before the advent of pallets. “According to an article in a 1931 railway trade magazine, three days were required to unload a boxcar containing 13,000 cases of unpalletized canned goods. When the same amount of goods was loaded into the boxcar on pallets or skids, the identical task took only four hours.” Pallets, of course, are merely one cog in the global machine for moving things and while shipping containers have had their due, the humble pallet is arguably "the single most important object in the global economy.""

+ - Did President Obama Infringe on 1995 Microsoft Patent for Teaching Kids to Code?

Submitted by theodp
theodp (442580) writes ""Imagine further the difficulty of teaching programming to youngsters eight to twelve years in age," reads Microsoft's patent for its Graphical Programming System and Method for Enabling a Person to Learn Text-Based Programming, which was filed in July, 1995. "Only the most intelligent and motivated of children in this age group are likely to be successful in learning to program computers." Microsoft adds, "The ability to edit or create a program using graphical objects is an important aspect of the present invention, since it enables relatively unskilled programmers such as children to quickly make changes and develop programs, and enables them to grasp simple programming concepts. As will be noted below, a user also has the option and is encouraged to increase his/her understanding of text-based programming as it relates to the graphic program developed using graphic objects, by selectively editing the program in other views or modes that expose the underlying text-based programming steps." Which, some patent trolls might argue, is precisely what President Obama did during last week's Hour of Code, when he progressed from moving Disney Princess Elsa using Google's Blockly to advancing her 100 pixels with JavaScript. Which raises two questions: 1. Could Microsoft sue President Obama and the 80MM-and-counting others who "tried" an Hour of Code for patent infringement? 2. Why didn't Microsoft — who has now declared a national coding talent crisis with other Hour of Code backers — use their patent for teaching kids to code to actually teach kids to code over the last 20 years? By the way, the patent application itself is actually pretty thoughtful, which is not too surprising — fourth-grade kids tutored by one of the listed inventors, Microsoft's Devindra Chainani, wowed none other than MIT's legendary Seymour Papert with their programming chops back in 1993."

+ - NASA emails a Socket Wrench to the ISS

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "Sarah LeTrent reports at CNN that NASA just emailed the design of a socket wrench to astronauts so that they could print it out in the orbit. The ratcheting socket wrench was the first "uplink tool" printed in space, according to Grant Lowery, marketing and communications manager for Made In Space, which built the printer in partnership with NASA. The tool was designed on the ground, emailed to the space station and then manufactured where it took four hours to print out the finished product. The space agency hopes to one day use the technology to make parts for broken equipment in space and long-term missions would benefit greatly from onboard manufacturing capabilities. "I remember when the tip broke off a tool during a mission," recalls NASA astronaut TJ Creamer, who flew aboard the space station during Expedition 22/23 from December 2009 to June 2010. "I had to wait for the next shuttle to come up to bring me a new one. Now, rather than wait for a resupply ship to bring me a new tool, in the future, I could just print it.""

"Your stupidity, Allen, is simply not up to par." -- Dave Mack (mack@inco.UUCP) "Yours is." -- Allen Gwinn (allen@sulaco.sigma.com), in alt.flame