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Submission Is Private Space Flight for the Wealthy Just a Scam?-> 1

The Real Dr John writes: The private space flight "industry", if you can call it that, is starting to sound more like a scam to get money from wealthy clients under the guise of sending them into space than a serious attempt to augment NASA's programs. The Guardian has an article about Virgin Galactic’s proposed launch site, Spaceport America, which broke ground in southern New Mexico’s high desert in 2009 with almost a quarter of a billion dollars from taxpayers, $76m of which came from the two local counties. Truth or Consequences, population 6,000 and home to the Spaceport America Visitor Center, is one of the poorest places in the state. The increased taxes, adopted across impoverished Sierra County, contributed to about $5m as of 2014. Since 2009, state school budgets have been cut and an estimated $26m in necessary repairs to the town’s water system has been put on hold. There’s no more money to pay for it. The average annual income of residents is just $15,000 per year, one third of residents live below the poverty line, and just 20% over the age of 25 have obtained a bachelor’s degree.
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Submission Scientists Invent a New Steel as Strong as Titanium-> 1

schwit1 writes: South Korean researchers have solved a longstanding problem that stopped them from creating ultra-strong, lightweight aluminum-steel alloys.

Today a team of material scientists at Pohang University of Science and Technology in South Korea announced what they're calling one of the biggest steel breakthroughs of the last few decades: an altogether new type of flexible, ultra-strong, lightweight steel. This new metal has a strength-to-weight ratio that matches even our best titanium alloys, but at one tenth the cost, and can be created on a small scale with machinery already used to make automotive-grade steel. The study appears in Nature.

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Submission Homeland Security Detains Stockton Mayor, Forces Him To Hand Over His Passwords->

schwit1 writes: Anthony Silva, the mayor of Stockton, California, recently went to China for a mayor's conference. On his return to San Francisco airport he was detained by Homeland Security, and then had his two laptops and his mobile phone confiscated. They refused to show him any sort of warrant (of course) and then refused to let him leave until he agreed to hand over his password.
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Submission DARPA is looking for Analog Approaches To Cyber Monitoring ->

chicksdaddy writes: Frustrated by adversaries continued success at circumventing or defeating cyber defense and monitoring technologies, DARPA is looking to fund new approaches, including the monitoring of analog emissions from connected devices, including embedded systems, industrial control systems and Internet of Things endpoints, Security Ledger reports (

DARPA is putting $36m to fund the Leveraging the Analog Domain for Security (LADS) Program. ( — PDF) The agency is looking for proposals for “enhanced cyber defense through analysis of involuntary analog emissions,” including things like “electromagnetic emissions, acoustic emanations, power fluctuations and thermal output variations.”

At the root of the program is frustration and a lack of confidence in digital monitoring and protection technologies developed for general purpose computing devices like desktops, laptops and servers. The information security community’s focus on “defense in-depth” approaches to cyber defense are ill suited for embedded systems because of cost, complexity or resource limitations. Even if that were possible, DARPA notes that “attackers have repeatedly demonstrated the ability to pierce protection boundaries, exploiting the fact that any security logic ultimately executes within the same computing unit as the rest of the (compromised) device software and the attacker’s code.”

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Submission Yelp For People to Launch in November 1 writes: Caitlin Dewey reports in the Washington Post that 'Peeple' — basically Yelp, but for humans will launch in November. Subtitled “character is destiny”, Peeple is an upcoming app that promises to “revolutionize the way we’re seen in the world through our relationships” by allowing you to assign reviews of one to five stars to everyone you know.: your exes, your co-workers, the old guy who lives next door. You can’t opt out — once someone puts your name in the Peeple system, it’s there unless you violate the site’s terms of service. And you can’t delete bad or biased reviews — that would defeat the whole purpose. “People do so much research when they buy a car or make those kinds of decisions,” says co-founder Julia Cordray. “Why not do the same kind of research on other aspects of your life?”

According to Caitlin one does not have to stretch far to imagine the distress and anxiety that such a system will cause even a slightly self-conscious person; it’s not merely the anxiety of being harassed or maligned on the platform — but of being watched and judged, at all times, by an objectifying gaze to which you did not consent. "If you’re one of the people who miss bullying kids in high school, then Peeple is definitely going to be the app for you!," says Mike Morrison. "I’m really looking forward to being able to air all of my personal grievances, all from the safety of my phone. Thanks to the app, I’ll be able to potentially ruin someone’s life, without all the emotional stress that would occur if I actually try to fix the problem face-to-face."

Submission Stop Taking All The Fun Out Of Science writes: Heidi Stevens writes in the Chicago Tribune that according to NASA astronaut Mae Jemison schools treat science like the class where fun goes to die. “Kids come out of the chute liking science. They ask, ‘How come? Why? What’s this?’ They pick up stuff to examine it. We might not call that science, but it’s discovering the world around us," says Jemison. “Once we get them in school, we turn science from discovery and hands-on to something you’re supposed to do through rote memorization." But science doesn’t have to be that way says Jemison. Especially in the elementary school years. “When you have teachers saying, ‘I don’t have enough time for hands-on activities,’ we need to rethink the way we do education,” says Jemison. “The drills we do, where you’re telling kids to memorize things, don’t actually work. What works is engaging them and letting them do things and discover things.” Jemison has teamed up with Bayer to advance science literacy across the United States by emphasizing the importance of hands-on, inquiry-based learning opportunities in public schools. Bayer announced recently that it will provide 1 million hands-on science experiences for kids by 2020. “Science is around us everywhere," says Jemison. Farming is science. Cooking is science. Even styling hair involves science. “When we go to the hairdresser, we want her to know something about pH balance,” says Jemison with a laugh. “Boy, do we ever want her to know something about pH balance!”

Submission Paralyzed Man Uses Own Brainwaves to Walk Again – No Exoskeleton Required->

Zothecula writes: A man suffering complete paralysis in both legs has regained the ability to walk again using electrical signals generated by his own brain. Unlike similar efforts that have seen paralyzed subjects walk again by using their own brainwaves to manually control robotic limbs, the researchers say this is the first time a person with complete paralysis in both legs due to spinal cord injury was able to walk again under their own power and demonstrates the potential for noninvasive therapies to restore control over paralyzed limbs.
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Submission How a $2.7 billion air-defense system became a 'zombie' program->

schwit1 writes: Army leaders tried to kill JLENS in 2010. What happened next illustrates the difficulty of extinguishing even a deeply troubled defense program.

Raytheon mobilized its congressional lobbyists. Within the Pentagon, Marine Corps Gen. James E. "Hoss" Cartwright, then vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, came to JLENS' defense, arguing that it held promise for enhancing the nation's air defenses. At Cartwright's urging, money was found in 2011 for a trial run of the technology — officially, an "operational exercise" — in the skies above Washington, D.C.

Cartwright retired the same year — and joined Raytheon's board of directors five months later. As of the end of 2014, Raytheon had paid him more than $828,000 in cash and stock for serving as a director.

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Submission UCLA claims technique for carbon-neutral cement manufacturing->

An anonymous reader writes: The world produces around 5 billion tons of portland cement each year, or nearly three-quarters of a ton for every person on Earth. For every ton of cement produced, about a ton of carbon dioxide is released — accounting for about 7 percent of the world’s total CO2 emissions. A new technique developed at UCLA captures and recombines CO2 from the first step in cement manufacturing to help power the second. In addition, the new method requires about half as much heat as typically required.
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Submission Car industry 'buried report showing US car safety flaws over fears for TTIP deal->

schwit1 writes: The motor industry has been accused of withholding a report that reveals US cars are substantially less safe than European vehicles — for fear that the findings would hamper the drive to harmonize safety standards as part of the controversial Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) deal.

The major study was commissioned by the car industry to show that existing EU and US safety standards were broadly similar.

But the research actually established that American models are much less safe when it comes to front-side collisions, a common cause of accidents that often result in serious injuries.

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Submission Google Fiber: A Customer Service Love Story->

kstatefan40 writes: Customer service in the telecom industry has a long-held tradition of being awful. When my Google Fiber went down this past week, I initially thought that Google had regressed to the industry standard after my initial positive experience during installation nearly a year ago. I'm pleased to report that I was very wrong — and the rest of the industry has a lot to learn from the customer service I received from Google.
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Submission The #NoEstimates debate: An unbiased look at origins, arguments, and leaders

MikeTechDude writes: Estimates have always been an integral part of the software development process. In recent years, however, developers, including Woody Zuill and Vasco Duarte, have begun to question the efficacy, and even the purpose, of using estimates to predict a project's cost and time line. A fierce debate has sprung up on Twitter, between those calling for an end to estimates and those who continue to champion their use in a professional setting. On the surface, it would appear that the debate is black and white. Proponents of the #NoEstimates Twitter hashtag are promoting a hard stop to all estimates industry-wide, and critics of the movement are insisting on a conservative approach that leaves little room for innovation. However, the reality of the debate has unfolded in far more complex, nuanced shades of gray. HP's Malcolm Isaacs digs deep and pinpoints where the debate started, where it now stands, and what its implications are for the future of software development. Meanwhile, Martin Heller offers his less unbiased approach with his post, #NoEstimates? Not so fast.

A committee is a group that keeps the minutes and loses hours. -- Milton Berle