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Google

'Mobilegeddon': Google To Punish Mobile-Hostile Sites Starting Today 14

Posted by timothy
from the now-there's-a-nudge dept.
jfruh writes: Google has announced that it will be adding mobile-friendliness to the list of factors that will get a site bumped up in search rankings. Sites that have no mobile versions — which includes sites owned by Wikipedia, the BBC and the European Union — will find themselves with lower Google search placement, starting today.
Government

USPS Shortlists 'HorseFly' Octocopter Drone Delivery Service 12

Posted by timothy
from the why-they-want-9-digit-zip dept.
An anonymous reader writes: The likes of GM and Nissan are keeping unusual company in the bidding war to build and deliver the next generation of delivery vehicles for the U.S. Postal Service. Workhorse Group Inc. have made it to the 16-company shortlist with their octocopter drone delivery system, developed by the University of Cincinnati College of Engineering and Applied Science. The self-guiding UAV 'HorseFly' has multiple hardware and software redundancy systems and launches from its special host van 'WorkHorse' to get the parcel the final hurdle to the door. The drone can recharge itself wirelessly in two minutes at base, and calculates its own routes from the van to the destination door.
The Courts

Judge Recognizes Research Chimps As "Legal Persons" 127

Posted by timothy
from the do-you-have-standing dept.
sciencehabit writes: In a decision that effectively recognizes chimpanzees as legal persons for the first time, a New York judge [Monday] granted a pair of Stony Brook University lab animals the right to have their day in court. The ruling marks the first time in U.S. history that an animal has been covered by a writ of habeus corpus, which typically allows human prisoners to challenge their detention. The judicial action could force the university, which is believed to be holding the chimps, to release the primates, and could sway additional judges to do the same with other research animals.
Robotics

Robot Workers' Real Draw: Reducing Dependence on Human Workers 79

Posted by Soulskill
from the it-can-do-your-job-and-won't-complain-about-the-coffee dept.
HughPickens.com writes: Zeynep Tufekci writes in an op-ed at the NY Times that machines are getting better than humans at figuring out who to hire, who's in a mood to pay a little more for that sweater, and who needs a coupon to nudge them toward a sale. It turns out most of what we think of as expertise, knowledge and intuition is being deconstructed and recreated as an algorithmic competency, fueled by big data. "Machines aren't used because they perform some tasks that much better than humans, but because, in many cases, they do a "good enough" job while also being cheaper, more predictable and easier to control than quirky, pesky humans," writes Tufekci. "Technology in the workplace is as much about power and control as it is about productivity and efficiency."

According to Tufekci technology is being used in many workplaces: to reduce the power of humans, and employers' dependency on them, whether by replacing, displacing or surveilling them. Optimists insist that we've been here before, during the Industrial Revolution, when machinery replaced manual labor, and all we need is a little more education and better skills. Tufekci points out that one historical example is no guarantee of future events. "Confronting the threat posed by machines, and the way in which the great data harvest has made them ever more able to compete with human workers, must be about our priorities," concludes Tufekci. "This problem is not us versus the machines, but between us, as humans, and how we value one another."

+ - U.S. postal service shortlists 'HorseFly' octocopter drone delivery service->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: The likes of GM and Nissan are keeping unusual company in the bidding war to build and deliver the next generation of delivery vehicles for the U.S. Postal Service. Workhorse Group Inc. have made it to the 16-company shortlist with their octocopter drone delivery system, developed by the University of Cincinnati College of Engineering and Applied Science. The self-guiding UAV 'HorseFly' has multiple hardware and software redundancy systems and launches from its special host van 'WorkHorse' to get the parcel the final hurdle to the door. The drone can recharge itself wirelessly in two minutes at base, and calculates its own routes from the van to the destination door.
Link to Original Source

+ - Disney's new research uses sound waves to control the smartphones

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and Disney Research have developed an inexpensive toolbox called Acoustruments. Researchers programmed the smartphone to emit a ultrasonic sound and then 3D-printed small, hollow tubes they could attach to the base of the phone to guide that sound to the smart phone's microphone. Specialized software on the phone then interprets those changing sound waves to enable a variety of different applications.
Example applications: toy car, alarm clock etc
AMD

AMD Publishes New 'AMDGPU' Linux Graphics Driver 63

Posted by Soulskill
from the doing-it-right dept.
An anonymous reader writes: AMD has made available its new AMDGPU Linux graphics driver comprised of a brand new DRM/KMS kernel driver, a new xf86-video-amdgpu X11 driver, and modifications to libdrm and Gallium3D. This new AMDGPU driver is designed for supporting AMD's next-generation hardware with no support differences for currently supported Radeon GPUs. While yet to be released, this new AMDGPU driver is the critical piece to the new unified driver strategy with Catalyst where their high performance proprietary driver will now become limited to being a user-space binary component that uses this open-source kernel driver.

+ - 'Mobilegeddon': Google To Punish Mobile-Hostile Sites Starting Today->

Submitted by jfruh
jfruh writes: Google has announced that it will be adding mobile-friendliness to the list of factors that will get a site bumped up in search rankings. Sites that have no mobile versions — which includes sites owned by Wikipedia, the BBC and the European Union — will find themselves with lower Google search placement, starting today.
Link to Original Source

+ - Judge recognizes research chimps as "legal persons"->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit writes: In a decision that effectively recognizes chimpanzees as legal persons for the first time, a New York judge today granted a pair of Stony Brook University lab animals the right to have their day in court. The ruling marks the first time in U.S. history that an animal has been covered by a writ of habeus corpus, which typically allows human prisoners to challenge their detention. The judicial action could force the university, which is believed to be holding the chimps, to release the primates, and could sway additional judges to do the same with other research animals.
Link to Original Source

+ - Japan to land unmanned lunar probe in 2018->

Submitted by Taco Cowboy
Taco Cowboy writes: The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is planning to attempt Japan’s first lunar landing in fiscal 2018, sources close to the project said Sunday. JAXA has said it will use unmanned probes to study the possible use of materials on the moon as well as its environment, which could pave the way for future manned missions. JAXA is expected to brief a government panel on the project with the aim of securing funding for mission preparations from the budget for fiscal 2016, which begins next April, the sources said

The lunar probe is likely to be launched on an Epsilon advanced rocket, the sources said

The SLIM mission is aimed at establishing a method for pinpoint landings that would make it possible to approach a target area with a level of accuracy ranging in the hundreds of meters

Link to Original Source

+ - Something Smells: Cities Use High Tech to Investigate Intrusive Odors 1

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com writes: Kate Murphy reports at the NYT that local governments are beginning to regulate intrusive and unpleasant smells using high tech devices. If you time-traveled back 200 years or so, you’d likely scrunch up your nose because our forebears threw sewage out their windows, and the primary mode of transport — horses — relieved themselves in the streets. These days 'we have so reduced the level of background odor pollution, we are becoming more sensitive to anything we smell,” says Pamela Dalton, an olfactory researcher at Monell Chemical Senses Center, a nonprofit group in Philadelphia that studies smell and taste. In the past offenders were typically livestock operations and wastewater treatment plants, but more recently odor inspectors are getting calls about smells emanating from ethnic restaurants, coffee roasters and candle and bath shops. In an effort to be objective, a growing number of locales have begun using a device called a Nasal Ranger, which looks like a megaphone for the nose and measures the intensity of smells according to a so-called dilution ratio (PDF). An odor is considered intrusive if the average person can smell it when it is diluted with seven parts clean air — a decades-old threshold of stinky.

New York City received more than 10,000 odor complaints last year, many from residents upset about cooking smells wafting into their apartments from restaurants and coffeehouses — smells that might be pleasing when patronizing those same establishments. “A lot of it has to do with tolerance level in neighborhoods that are getting gentrified,” says Ben Siller. “People at lower socioeconomic levels may tolerate something much better than someone who moves into the same area and buys a house, sinks a fortune into remodeling and then goes out in the backyard and smells a pot grower, charbroiler, pet food manufacturer or something stinky like that.”

+ - Hubble turns 25->

Submitted by Taco Cowboy
Taco Cowboy writes: The Hubble Telescope was launched on April 24, 1990, aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery from Kennedy Space Center, Florida

Currently it is flying about 340 miles over the Earth and circling us every 97 minutes

While the telescope itself is not really much to look at, that silver bucket is pure gold for astronomers

Scientists have used that vantage point to make ground-breaking observations about planets, stars, galaxies and to reveal parts of our universe we didn't know existed. The telescope has made more than 1 million observations and astronomers have used Hubble data in more than 12,700 scientific papers, "making it one of the most productive scientific instruments ever built," according to NASA

The truly spectacular images of the cosmo have also led to a scientific bounty that has far exceeded Hubble’s original goals: measuring how fast the universe is expanding; figuring out how galaxies evolve; and studying the gas that lies between galaxies

NASA aims to keep Hubble operating through at least 2020 so that it can overlap with its successor. The James Webb Space Telescope is due to launch in October 2018 and begin observations in mid-2019

The institute is reviewing scientists’ proposals for telescope time and mulling if some projects merit special attention as Hubble nears its end. Typically, the program receives about five requests for every hour of available telescope time

“There’s clearly there’s no lack of things to do with this observatory in its remaining years. The question is what do we do?” Sembach said at a recent American Astronomical Society meeting in Seattle

More links @
http://edition.cnn.com/2015/04...
http://www.space.com/29148-hub...
http://news.discovery.com/spac...
http://www.skynews.com.au/news...

Link to Original Source

+ - OSGeo Foundation up in arms over ESRI LAS lock-in plans

Submitted by Bismillah
Bismillah writes: The Open Source Geospatial Foundation is outraged over mapping giant ESRI's latest move which entails vendor lock-in for light detection and ranging (LiDAR) data through its proprietary Optimised LAS format. ESRI is the dominant company in the geospatial data arena, with its ArcGIS mapping platform boasting with over a million users and 350,000 customers.

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