skade88 writes "Pepsi will release on Feb 28th a new breakfast Mountain Dew. The new drink called Kick Start is Mountain Dew mixed with fruit juice. It will come in two flavors, Citrus and Fruit Punch. 'Our consumers told us they are looking for an alternative to traditional morning beverages – one that tastes great, includes real fruit juice and has just the right amount of kick to help them start their days,' said Greg Lyons, Mountain Dew's vice president of marketing."
Harperdog writes "This is pretty fascinating: The Chronicle of Higher Ed has an article about a DARPA project that allows researchers to scan satellite photos, video, etc., and have a computer pick up differences in brain activity to tell whether an image has been seen...images that might flash by before conscious recognition. From the article: 'In a small, anonymous office in the Trump Tower, 28 floors above Wall Street, a man sits in front of a computer screen sifting through satellite images of a foreign desert. The images depict a vast, sandy emptiness, marked every so often by dunes and hills. He is searching for man-made structures: houses, compounds, airfields, any sign of civilization that might be visible from the sky. The images flash at a rate of 20 per second, so fast that before he can truly perceive the details of each landscape, it is gone. He pushes no buttons, takes no notes. His performance is near perfect.'"
An opinion piece at CNN looks at Microsoft's Xbox Kinect, praising the system's capabilities not for gaming, but for what it does to the video viewing experience. "The idea of being able to ditch your table full of remote controls and just use your hands and voice to interact with the TV is compelling. It's much nicer than QWERTY keyboards, which are a terrible idea in the living room. It's also better than Wii-like remote controls, or even using an iPad or smartphone as your TV remote, a feature that cable companies are increasingly rolling out." The problem, as they see it, is Microsoft's inability to actually bring this into common usage for regular television viewing. "It seems like the company is tied too much to the Xbox's substantial gaming revenue to split the Xbox TV stuff off as a separate product — even though there's a huge population of non-gamers who probably have no interest in buying an Xbox." Perhaps this is something that can be addressed by others when the Kinect SDK is released.
Dthief writes "The US Patent And Trademark Office has sent Facebook a Notice of Allowance, which means it will grant the 'Face' trademark to the popular social networking site. Facebook now has three months to pay an issue fee before they officially own the word. From the article: 'For all intents and purposes today's status update bodes well for Facebook's hold over 'face' usages in 'Telecommunication services, namely, providing online chat rooms and electronic bulletin boards for transmission of messages among computer users in the field of general interest and concerning social and entertainment subject matter, none primarily featuring or relating to motoring or to cars.''"
andydread writes "It seems Microsoft's campaign to scare manufacturers away from open source and Linux in particular is proceeding at full force. The latest news is from Digitimes out of Taiwan. Apparently Microsoft is threatening Acer and Asustek with having to pay Microsoft a license fee for the privilege of deploying Linux on their devices. This time, it's in the form of Android and Chorme OS. So basically, this campaign is spreading to PC vendors now. What are the implications of this? Does this mean that if I build PCs with Linux (Ubuntu/ChromeOS/Fedora) and sell them I am at risk of getting sued by Microsoft? "
kkleiner writes "Hatsune Miku is a Japanese pop diva who's just started to play massive stadium concerts to sold out crowds. Her hair is blue, she dresses like Sailor Moon, and she'll only appear in concerts via a 3D 'hologram.' Oh, and did I forget to mention that she's completely fictional? Created by Crypton Future Media, Hatsune Miku and her virtual colleagues have gone on limited tours in Japan."
sciencehabit sends this snip from Science Magazine, with included video: "Researchers have created flat sheets of composite material that can fold themselves into toy boats, tents, and even paper airplanes. Based on the ancient art of origami, the sheets are edged by foil actuators — thin, solid-state motors — that contract or expand when they receive an electric current from flexible electronic circuits embedded in the sheets. After they achieve their preprogrammed shape, the sheets are held in place by tiny magnets on the edges of the fold joints. Researchers say the technology could be scaled up to create ultra-portable tripods or even cups that automatically adjust to the size of liquid being poured into them."
OCatenac passes along an interview with Don Syme, chief designer of F#, which is Microsoft Research's offering for functional programming on the .Net platform. Like Scala, which we discussed last fall, F# aims at being an optimal blend of functional and object-oriented languages. "[Q] What is the best program you've seen written in F#? [A] I've mentioned the samples from F# for Scientists, which are very compelling... For commercial impact then the uses of F# in the finance industry have been very convincing, but probably nothing beats the uses of F# to implement statistical machine learning algorithms as part of the Bing advertisement delivery machinery. ... We've recently really focused on ensuring that programming in F# is simple and intuitive. For example, I greatly enjoyed working with a high-school student who learned F#. After a few days she was accurately modifying a solar system simulator, despite the fact she'd never programmed before. You really learn a lot by watching a student at that stage."
Tasha26 writes "No, not the one which will end up building terminator robots. BBC's Click brings news of a Japanese company, Cyberdyne, which is in the process of building different robotic suits to assist the elderly in accomplishing simple body tasks such as walking and lifting. Even though still in R&D, this video (@3m15s) shows a pretty promising future for the elderly."
TheClockworkSoul writes "Researchers at the University of Oxford have devised a way to write memories onto the brains of flies, revealing which brain cells are involved in making bad memories. The researchers said that in flies, just 12 brain cells were responsible for what is known as 'associative learning.' They modified these neurons by adding receptors for ATP, so that the cells activate in the presence of the chemical, but since ATP isn't usually found floating around a fly's brain, the flies generally behave just like any other fly. Most interestingly, however, is that the scientists then injected ATP into the flies' brains, in a form that was locked inside a light-sensitive chemical cage. When they shined a laser on the fly brains, the ATP was released, and the 'associative learning' cells were activated. The laser flash was paired with an odor, effectively giving the fly a memory of a bad experience with the odor that it never actually had, such that it then avoided the odor in later experiments. The researchers describe their findings in the journal Cell."
sams67 writes "Australian supermarket Woolworth is on the receiving end of an action from Apple over Woolworth's new logo. The green, highly stylized 'W' logo could at best be described as 'apple-like.' As outlined in the article, Apple is taking similar action in Australia against music festival promoter, Poison Apple, and pay TV provider Foxtel, over their fruit-related logos."
TechnologyResource writes "Sony Ericsson has just introduced the MH907 headphones. The headphones will pause or play your music based on contact; eliminating the use of a pause or stop button. Removing one ear bud will pause the music. Removing both ear buds will stop the music. Both ear buds have to be in your ear to play the music. According to Sony Ericsson, this will allow you to 'play your music and answer phone calls just by inserting the buds into your ear or taking them out.'"
myvirtualid writes "Con Kolivas has done what he swore never to do: returned to the Linux kernel and written a new — and, according to him — waaay better scheduler for the desktop environment. In fact, BFS appears to outperform existing schedulers right up until one hits a 16-CPU machine, at which point he guesses performance would degrade somewhat. According to Kolivas, BFS 'was designed to be forward looking only, make the most of lower spec machines, and not scale to massive hardware. i.e. [sic] it is a desktop orientated scheduler, with extremely low latencies for excellent interactivity by design rather than 'calculated,' with rigid fairness, nice priority distribution and extreme scalability within normal load levels.'"
Slatterz writes "Logitech has introduced new mice that use two lasers rather than one to work on a variety of previously unusable surfaces. The first laser picks out imperfections in the surface of a tabletop while the second laser focuses on microscopic imperfections highlighted and uses those to direct the cursor. The technique, dubbed dark field microscopy, allows mice to be used on almost any surface, including glass (as long as it is more than 4mm thick)."
techmuse writes "Reuters reports that Comcast may be attempting to use its huge cash reserves to purchase a large media content provider, such as Disney, Viacom, or Time Warner. This would result in Comcast controlling both the delivery mechanism for content, and the content itself. Potentially, it could limit access to content it owns to subscribers to its own services, thus shutting out competing services (where they still exist at all)."