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+ - Amazon tests delivery drones at secret Canada site after US frustration ->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Amazon is testing its drone delivery service at a secret site in Canada, following repeated warnings by the e-commerce giant that it would go outside the US to bypass what it sees as the US federal government’s lethargic approach to the new technology.

The largest internet retailer in the world is keeping the location of its new test site closely guarded. What can be revealed is that the company’s formidable team of roboticists, software engineers, aeronautics experts and pioneers in remote sensing – including a former Nasa astronaut and the designer of the wingtip of the Boeing 787 – are now operating in British Columbia.

The end goal is to utilise what Amazon sees as a slice of virgin airspace – above 200ft, where most buildings end, and below 500ft, where general aviation begins. Into that aerial slice the company plans to pour highly autonomous drones of less than 55lbs, flying through corridors 10 miles or longer at 50mph and carrying payloads of up to 5lbs that account for 86% of all the company’s packages."

Link to Original Source

+ - Developer of 'Banished' Develops His Own Shading Language->

Submitted by jones_supa
jones_supa (887896) writes "Luke Hodorowicz, the hard-working developer behind the townbuilding strategy computer game Banished, has designed a novel GPU shading language and written a compiler for it. The language has been christened "Shining Rock Shading Language" (SRSL) and it outputs the program in several other shading languages. The first goal for the language was to treat the vertex, fragment and geometry shader as a single program. The language sees the graphics pipeline as a stream of data, followed by some code, which outputs a stream of data, and then more code runs, and another stream of data is output. Body text of the shaders is very C-like and should be understood easily coming from other shading languages. SRSL has all the intrinsic functions you would expect from HLSL or GLSL. All types are HLSL-style. Loops and conditionals are available, but switch statements and global variables are seen redundant and not implemented. Luke's blog post tells more about the details of the language, complemented with examples."
Link to Original Source
The Internet

EU Commission Divided Over Nation-Specific Content Blocking 8

Posted by timothy
from the for-me-and-not-for-thee dept.
jfruh writes In theory, the European Union is supposed to act as a single national market. But one area in which practice doesn't live up to theory is geoblocking: Europeans may find that a website they can reach or content they have a legal right to stream in one EU country is blocked in another. Now two members of the EU Commission (the equivalent of a nation's cabinet) are feuding as to whether geoblocks should be eliminated: Commission Vice-President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip said that "deep in my heart ... I hate geoblocking," while Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Günther Oettinger, worrying about protecting the European film industry, said "We must not throw the baby out with the bathwater."

+ - SCOTUS: GPS Trackers Are a Form of Search and Seizure->

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "If the government puts a GPS tracker on you, your car, or any of your personal effects, it counts as a search—and is therefore protected by the Fourth Amendment.

The Supreme Court clarified and affirmed that law on Monday, when it ruled on Torrey Dale Grady v. North Carolina, before sending the case back to that state’s high court. The Court’s short but unanimous opinions helps make sense of how the Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable search and seizure, interacts with the expanding technological powers of the U.S. government.

The only theory we discern [...] is that the State’s system of nonconsensual satellite-based monitoring does not entail a search within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. That theory is inconsistent with this Court’s precedents.

"

Link to Original Source
Microsoft

License Details Hint MS Undecided On Suing Users of Its Open Source Net Runtime 52

Posted by timothy
from the full-of-shift dept.
ciaran2014 writes With Microsoft proudly declaring its .NET runtime open source, a colleague and I decided to look at the licensing aspects. One part, the MIT licence, is straightforward, but there's also a patent promise. The first two-thirds of the first sentence seems to announce good news about Microsoft not suing people. Then the conditions begin. It seems Microsoft can't yet bring itself to release something as free software without retaining a patent threat to limit how those freedoms can be exercised. Overall, we found 4 Shifty Details About Microsoft's "Open Source" .NET.

+ - GLaDOS and The Sniper: A Voice Acting Love Story->

Submitted by sarahnaomi
sarahnaomi (3948215) writes "Ellen McLain, the voice behind the murderous artificial intelligence GLaDOS from the Portal series, and her husband, John Patrick Lowrie, who voices The Sniper from the game Team Fortress 2, are nothing if not adorable.

The celebrity of the characters they portray may not be readily apparent for the minority of Americans who don’t play video games. But the games they have worked on have won multiple British Academy Awards (the UK Academy Awards have a video game category), sold out 10,000-seat stadium esports events in under an hour, and raked in hundreds of millions of dollars annually for at least one of their publishers. Ellen and John, and their decade-spanning body of work, are at the epicenter of the video game voice acting universe. During a recent recording session at a dimly lit Seattle studio, the couple gave me a demonstration of how they work."

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+ - Miniature Pacemaker Designed to be Implanted in Fetuses->

Submitted by Zothecula
Zothecula (1870348) writes "In the near future, it's entirely possible that babies with heart defects will be born with complete pacemakers already installed. That's because scientists at Children's Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) and the University of Southern California have developed the world's first fully-implantable pacemaker for fetuses."
Link to Original Source
NASA

X-37B To Fly Again 13

Posted by timothy
from the gets-high-with-a-little-help-from-its-friends dept.
schwit1 writes The May 6 Atlas 5 launch will carry one of the Air Force's two X-37B mini-shuttles on a new mission in space. "The Air Force won't yet confirm which of the Boeing-built spaceplanes will be making the voyage. The first craft returned in October from a 675-day mission in space following a 224 day trek in 2010. OTV No. 2 spent 469 days in space in 2011-2012 on its only mission so far. "The program selects the Orbital Test Vehicle for each activity based upon the experiment objectives," said Capt. Chris Hoyler, an Air Force spokesperson. "Each OTV mission builds upon previous on-orbit demonstrations and expands the test envelope of the vehicle. The test mission furthers the development of the concept of operations for reusable space vehicles." There are indications that the Air Force wants to attempt landing the shuttle at Kennedy this time.

+ - Students in Michigan Tech 3D printing course build (and keep) their own printers->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "When engineering students start college, the high cost of proprietary tools can be a barrier to making their dreams become a reality. Recent advances in free and open source 3D printing have lowered rapid prototyping costs, making it accessible to everyone. The software industry already knows the force of open source, so now it's time to start teaching free and open source hardware to all engineers.

Last fall, Michigan Tech offered a new course: Open Source 3D Printing. Students pay an additional $500 course fee for the components and tools necessary to build their own MOST Delta RepRap 3D printer, which they then use for the course. At the end of the semester, each student keeps the printer they built and modified. The 50 seats for the class filled immediately."

Link to Original Source

Google News Sci Tech: Microsoft Surface 3 promises great battery life, costs just $499 and runs ... - ->

From feed by feedfeeder

PCWorld

Microsoft Surface 3 promises great battery life, costs just $499 and runs ...
PCWorld
What if you could buy a Surface tablet with a bit less horsepower and a slightly smaller display but longer battery life than the Surface Pro 3? And what if you could have all this for a lot less money? If your wallet is already open, let me tell you what you're...
Microsoft's new Atom-based Surface 3, starting at $499, to hit in MayZDNet
Hands On: the $499 Microsoft Surface 3PC Magazine
Microsoft unveils the Surface 3: Mostly ARMless, a whole lot x86ierArs Technica
The Verge-VentureBeat-Engadget
all 43 news articles

Link to Original Source

+ - Robin Williams makes sure advertisers can't use his image for 25 years-> 1

Submitted by EwanPalmer
EwanPalmer (2536690) writes "Prior to his death, Robin Williams made sure his image could not be used in any film or advertisement for at least 25 years.

Before he died in August, the actor signed over his name, signature, photograph and likeness to the Windfall Foundation, a charitable organisation set up by his legal representatives, which meant Williams will not be featuring in any advert or digitally inserted into any film until at least 11 August 2039.

It is believed the ruling is an updated form of a privacy contract and could be seen as a landmark model for how celebrities control use of their image after their death."

Link to Original Source

+ - Why aren't US voting systems open source?->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Brent Turner of the California Association of Voting Officials, an advocate of open source voting machines, discusses the unfortunate trend of voting system vendors to "openwash" their offerings; that is, to misrepresent proprietary products as if they were open source, with the intent of making them more appealing."
Link to Original Source
China

Bitcoin In China Still Chugging Along, a Year After Clampdown 12

Posted by timothy
from the government-vs-the-people dept.
angry tapir writes A year after China began tightening regulations around Bitcoin, the virtual currency is still thriving in the country, albeit on the fringes, according to its largest exchange. Bitcoin prices may have declined, but Chinese buyers are still trading the currency in high volumes with the help of BTC China, an exchange that witnessed the boom days back in 2013, only to see the bust following the Chinese government's announcement, in December of that year, that banks would be banned from trading in bitcoin.
Electronic Frontier Foundation

EFF Questions US Government's Software Flaw Disclosure Policy 13

Posted by Soulskill
from the we'll-do-that-at-least-once-in-the-past-decade dept.
angry tapir writes: It's not clear if the U.S. government is living up to its promise to disclose serious software flaws to technology companies, a policy it put in place five years ago, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation. They write, "ODNI has now finished releasing documents in response to our suit, and the results are surprisingly meager. Among the handful of heavily redacted documents is a one-page list of VEP 'Highlights' from 2010. It briefly describes the history of the interagency working group that led to the development of the VEP and notes that the VEP established an office called the 'Executive Secretariat' within the NSA. The only other highlight left unredacted explains that the VEP 'creates a process for notification, decision-making, and appeals.' And that's it. This document, which is almost five years old, is the most recent one released. So where are the documents supporting the 'reinvigorated' VEP 2.0 described by the White House in 2014?"

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