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Submission + - The Next Gold Rush Will Be 5,000 Feet Under the Sea, With Robot Drones

merbs writes: In Papua New Guinea, one well-financed, first-mover company is about to pioneer deep sea mining. And that will mean dispatching a fleet of giant remote-operated robotic miners 5,000 feet below the surface to harvest the riches scattered across ocean floor. These mammoth underwater vehicles look like they’ve been hauled off the set of a sci-fi film—think Avatar meets The Abyss. And they'll be dredging up copper, gold, and other valuable minerals, far beneath the gaze of human eyes.

Submission + - Windows 3.1 Is Still Alive, And It Just Killed a French Airport

merbs writes: A computer glitch that brought the Paris airport of Orly to a standstill Saturday has been traced back to the airport's "prehistoric" operating system. The computer failure had affected a system known as DECOR, which is used by air traffic controllers to communicate weather information to pilots. Pilots rely on the system when weather conditions are poor. DECOR, which is used in takeoff and landings, runs on Windows 3.1, an operating system that came onto the market in 1992.

Submission + - Nine Out of Ten of the Internet's Top Websites Are Leaking Your Data

merbs writes: The vast majority of websites you visit are sending your data to third-party sources, usually without your permission or knowledge. That’s not exactly breaking news, but the sheer scale and ubiquity of that leakage might be.

Tim Libert, a privacy researcher, has published new peer-reviewed research that sought to quantify all the “privacy compromising mechanisms” on the one million most popular websites worldwide. His conclusion? “Findings indicate that nearly 9 in 10 websites leak user data to parties of which the user is likely unaware.”

Submission + - The First Privately Funded Lunar Mission Set a Launch Date for 2017

merbs writes: If all goes according to plan, the world’s first private lunar mission will be launched just two years from now. SpaceIL, an Israeli nonprofit, has secured a launch contract with California-based Spaceflight Industries, and will aim to land a rover on the moon in the second half of 2017. It’s the first such launch contract to be verified by the $30 million Google Lunar XPrize competition.

Submission + - The Road to a 100% Clean-Powered Planet

merbs writes: Sven Teske's latest study, the tenth of its kind, shows that clean energy technologies can meet all of the world’s power demands by 2050. And, given his track record, perhaps we should take the conclusion seriously: The man who most accurately predicted today's clean power boom in 2005 is now saying we could see 100 percent clean energy by midcentury.

Submission + - The Campaign to Get Every American Free Money, Every Year

merbs writes: Supporters of a basic income have finally organized a proper political movement. Basic Income Action is, according to co-founder Dan O’Sullivan, “the first national organization educating and organizing the public to support a basic income.”He tells me that “Our goal is to educate and organize people to take action to win a basic income here in the US.”

Submission + - The First Talking, Artificially Intelligent Surveillance Camera

merbs writes: Two NYU AI researchers have created a surveillance camera that, when hooked up to a crude artificial intelligence, speaks aloud what it 'sees'.

“Our idea was to raise awareness regarding the omnipresence of surveillance equipment, and the current state of technological advancement with artificial intelligence,” Ross Goodwin said. “We wanted to create an entity with its own sense of social awareness, its own eyes, and an ability to communicate with humans, albeit with some glitchiness that underscores the limitations of the current technology.”

Submission + - The US Owes the World $4 Trillion for Trashing the Climate

merbs writes: Climate change wasn’t created equal. Rich, industrialized nations have contributed most of the pollution and gone way over their carbon budgets—while smaller, poorer, and more agrarian countries are little to blame. The subsequent warming will, naturally, impact everyone, often hitting the poorer countries harder. So should rich countries pay up? Researcher Damon Matthews has quantified how much historically polluting nations owe their global neighbors—and it's a lot.

Submission + - The Decade-Long Battle to Put the 'Labor' in Wikipedia's 'Labor Day'

merbs writes: Given that Labor Day is just about our least-understood national holiday—today, we know it better as one of our most reliable three-day-weekend enablers, a proto Black Friday retail sale stretch, or the subject of outdated jokes about the temporal limits of wearing white—its Wikipedia page is now the portal through which most of us learn anything at all about the supposed worker’s holiday. And over the last decade, the 'Labor Day' page has struggled to even mention the labor movement that it supposedly honors.

Submission + - The Only State Where Everyone Gets Free Money

merbs writes: Every year, the state of Alaska hands each of its citizens hundreds to thousands of dollars, no strings attached. The only requirement for receiving the cash is that a person has a) held residence in Alaska for more than one year and is b) alive. It's "pretty much the closest thing the world has to a universal basic income anywhere," and now, the movement is seeking to export the model around the world.

Submission + - Gaming Computers Use a Truly Astonishing Amount of Energy

merbs writes: Worldwide, gaming computers suck down $10 billion worth of electricity (or 75 terawatt hours) a year. Given that sales rates are projected to double by 2020, that figure is expected to do the same. The study finds that while gaming computers comprise just 2.5 percent of personal computers worldwide, they account for 20 percent of global computer energy use.

Submission + - The Nations That Will Be Hardest Hit by Water Shortages by 2040

merbs writes: Water access is going to be one of the most pressing issues of the 21st century. As climate change dries out the already dry areas and makes the wet ones wetter, we’re poised to see some radical civilizational shifts. For one, a number of densely populated areas will come under serious water stress—which analysts fear will lead to strife, thirst, and even violent conflict. With that in mind, the World Resource Institute has assembled a new report projecting which nations are most likely to be hardest hit by water stress in coming decades—nations like Bahrain, Israel, Palestine, and Spain lead the pack.

In 1750 Issac Newton became discouraged when he fell up a flight of stairs.