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The Internet

Facebook's Slender 'Aquila' Drone To Provide Internet In Remote Areas 55

Mickeycaskill writes: Facebook will start testing a 400kg drone with the wingspan of a Boeing 737 next year, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said, as part of the company's drive to connect people in remote areas to the Internet. Aquila will fly between 60,000ft and 90,000ft as to avoid adverse weather conditions and commercial air routes, while the attached laster can transmit data at 10Gbps. Facebook claims it can accurately connect with a point the size of a US 5-cent coin from more than 10 miles away.

Comment Re:MOAR BUFFERS isn't always the solution (Score 1) 391

No, neither is acceptable in those cases, but the topic is audio playback in an audiophile environment, so data on a gigabyte network doesn't have to travel at 48kbit/sec - it can fully saturate the buffer almost instantly if necessary before playback starts as the whole listening experience was probably started only after several hours of procrastination and cleaning of equipment took place. The system would have enough time to transfer the whole FLAC 192kbs album before playback needed to start! For a video game and many applications, sure, the latency is usually acceptable (I'm a semi-pro musician and make use of soft synths, so I'm fully aware of the effects that even 30ms of latency vs 10ms can have, let alone the 500ms or so that pipe organs can sometimes exhibit).

Comment Re:The guy is full of himself (Score 1) 147

Does anyone remember how a Power Mac used to be a power house of computing? Now it resembles something like a vase for flowers.

The PowerMac line ended in 2006, almost a decade ago. The fact you could use one as a flower vase proves the superior design - there aren't many computers that can be reused in such a way once they become obsolete!

Comment Re:20 Years (Score 0) 382

On a $2000 laptop for a $800+ device - both of which need to be regularly refreshed too (and you probably need to own multiple devices for testing the different form factors). The $99 subscription pails into insignificance on just those things, let alone everything else associated with development (server hosting, SSL certificates, business taxes, coffee, expensive german cars, etc)
News

Rare Ideopathic Encephaly Tied to Higher IQ, Not Lower 58

Timothy writes Cranial deformation is commonly linked to brain dysfunction; it is one of the most common serious conditions affecting fetal growth. Multiple factors are involved, but in nearly every case on record the result is debilitating; stillbirth or neonatal death are common. A mutation, though, has been observed among members of a New Jersey family which represents a rare case of heritable encephaly tied not to dysfunction, but to higher-than-average intelligence, and with no evident negative health consequences.

Donald R. DeCicco (not his real name) and his wife Prymaat of Paramus, both French-born naturalized U.S. citizens, were born with unremarkable physical characteristics, apart from a specific constellation of physical abnormalities affecting maxillofacial and brain development. In both of their cases, brain development appears to be ordinary, but with all brain lobes occupying a volume that is both larger and narrower than typical. All medical tests (and the couple's success as educated, productive members of society) make it clear that their condition has not prevented ordinary life, and may even have enhanced it; a series of MRI and PET scans conducted by Johns Hopkins researchers indicated that their above-average cerebella are at least as active and neuron-rich as are more run-of-the-mill subjects' brains, and tests of memory, cognition, and reasoning place both DeCicco and Clorhone in the top percentile of American rest subjects. A daughter, Connie, shares both their unusual skeletal growth pattern, and is similarly highly intelligent; perhaps this form of heritable encephaly should be thought of as akin to Marfan syndrome, for its pairing of both high intelligence and a characteristic bone-growth pattern. At least one researcher quoted in the linked article believes that less extreme forms of the same anomaly can be observed in some historical and contemporary figures, citing as examples both Vladimir Putin and actor Richard Belzer as bearing some tendency toward the same characteristic shape.

First described by a family physician and described in the Journal of the Society of the Federal Health Professionals,the condition has been labeled Sandler's Syndrome.

Comment Re:Buggy whip makers said automobiles aren't... (Score 1) 451

OK, I was a little off according to this study - http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/v... - 1.1 to 1.2 seconds is the average there, but there are other studies that had higher times, and other sources quote much longer, eg http://copradar.com/redlight/f.... Presumably it takes most people significant time to realise what's happening, not panic, then move your right foot from the accelerator to the brake and the left onto the clutch and press down hard.

Comment Re:Dell (Score 4, Informative) 385

If you want to use a Dell, I would advise to pick one from the "Business" line of products (Lattitude), instead of the "End-User" line (Precision).

Vostro, Latitude and Precision are the business line laptops (in increasing order of build quality / reliability). Inspiron, XPS and Alienware are the end-user / domestic lines (again in increasing order of build quality).

Biotech

New Advance Confines GMOs To the Lab Instead of Living In the Wild 130

BarbaraHudson (3785311) writes In Jurassic Park, scientists tweak dinosaur DNA so that the dinosaurs were lysine-deficient in order to keep them from spreading in the wild. Scientists have taken this one step further as a way to keep genetically modified E. coli from surviving outside the lab. In modifying the bacteria's DNA to thwart escape, two teams altered the genetic code to require amino acids not found in nature. One team modified the genes that coded for proteins crucial to cell functions so that that produced proteins required the presence of the synthetic amino acid in the protein itself. The other team focused on 22 genes deemed essential to a bacterial cell's functions and tied the genes' expression to the presence of synthetic amino acids. For the bacteria to survive, these synthetic amino acids had to be present in the medium on which the bacteria fed. In both cases, the number of escapees was so small as to be undetectable."
Transportation

Fake Engine Noise Is the Auto Industry's Dirty Little Secret 823

HughPickens.com writes Stomp on the gas in a new Ford Mustang or F-150 and you'll hear a meaty, throaty rumble — the same style of roar that Americans have associated with auto power and performance for decades. Now Drew Harwell reports at the Washington Post that the auto industry's dirty little secret is that the engine growl in some of America's best-selling cars and trucks is actually a finely tuned bit of lip-syncing, boosted through special pipes or digitally faked altogether. "Fake engine noise has become one of the auto industry's dirty little secrets, with automakers from BMW to Volkswagen turning to a sound-boosting bag of tricks," writes Harwell. "Without them, today's more fuel-efficient engines would sound far quieter and, automakers worry, seemingly less powerful, potentially pushing buyers away." For example Ford sound engineers and developers worked on an "Active Noise Control" system on the 2015 Mustang EcoBoost that amplifies the engine's purr through the car speakers. Afterward, the automaker surveyed members of Mustang fan clubs on which processed "sound concepts" they most enjoyed.

Among purists, the trickery has inspired an identity crisis and cut to the heart of American auto legend. The "aural experience" of a car, they argue, is an intangible that's just as priceless as what's revving under the hood. "For a car guy, it's literally music to hear that thing rumble," says Mike Rhynard, "It's a mind-trick. It's something it's not. And no one wants to be deceived." Other drivers ask if it really matters if the sound is fake? A driver who didn't know the difference might enjoy the thrum and thunder of it nonetheless. Is taking the best part of an eight-cylinder rev and cloaking a better engine with it really, for carmakers, so wrong? "It may be a necessary evil in the eyes of Ford," says Andrew Hard, "but it's sad to think that an iconic muscle car like the Mustang, a car famous for its bellowing, guttural soundtrack, has to fake its engine noise in 2015. Welcome to the future."

Comment Re:How big a fuss is it, really? (Score 1) 415

Assuming a decent cable then my Nexus5 will do that when switched off, and almost as quickly in airplane mode. With a crap cable my Nexus5 will take 6 hours when switched off. Apple seem to have better control over how they charge, and the cables, as my previous iPhone5 would nearly always recharge in that time no matter what. I much prefer the Nexus though (and I'm generally an Apple-first guy... prize my Macbook Pro off me at your peril...)

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