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Robotics

Boston Dynamics Unveils AlphaDog Quadruped Robot 140 140

An anonymous reader writes "Boston Dynamics, the company that created the BigDog quadruped robot, has unveiled a new, bigger system called AlphaDog. AlphaDog, a DARPA-sponsored project, can carry a payload of 400 pounds for up to 20 miles without having to refuel, and it's also much quieter than BigDog. The robot is designed to assist humans in carrying heavy equipment over rough terrain, and Boston Dynamics' schedule has the first walk-out of AlphaDog taking place sometime in 2012, when U.S. Marines will begin to put the robot to the test for real."
News

Swiss Researchers Try to Make it Rain With Lasers 139 139

formaggio writes "Last year a team of researchers at Switzerland's University of Geneva had come up with an interesting way of making it rain– by shooting lasers high up into the sky. At the time it seemed like science fiction, but now they are one step closer after the team successfully finished tests around Lake Geneva. From the article: 'Records from 133 hours of firings revealed that intense pulses of laser light created nitric acid particles in the air that behaved like atmospheric glue, binding water molecules together into droplets and preventing them from re-evaporating. Within seconds, these grew into stable drops a few thousandths of a millimeter in diameter: too small to fall as rain, but large enough to encourage the scientists to press on with the work.'"
Image

Sharks Seen Swimming Down Australian Streets 210 Screenshot-sm 210

As if the flood waters weren't bad enough for the people of Queensland, it now appears that there are sharks swimming in the streets. Two bull sharks were spotted swimming past a McDonald’s in the city of Goodna, Butcher Steve Bateman saw another making its way past his shop on Williams street. Ipswich councillor for the Goodna region Paul Tully said: "It would have swam several kilometres in from the river, across Evan Marginson Park and the motorway. It’s definitely a first for Goodna, to have a shark in the main street."
Communications

High-Altitude Balloon Tweets Earth 49 49

celsomartinho writes "Spacebits is yet another low-cost High-Altitude Balloon (HAB) with a computer probe being launched to near space on 30 May, this time in Portugal. The twist with this project, besides the cool electronics, cameras, and sensors on board, is the fact that the team provided the online community with a real-time web dashboard so that everyone can follow the two-hour journey up to 100,000 feet and back to earth. Real-time data includes measurements from all its sensors, including temperature, pressure, humidity and air quality, altitude, acceleration, and GPS coordinates and a live Twitter feed. The team is also using a public GSM network to send SMS lat/lon/alt coordinates to anyone willing to go on launch site and participate in the probe hunt." The balloon goes off Memorial Day weekend, so bookmark the page if you're on call.
Apple

Opera For iPhone To Test Apple's Resolve 292 292

Barence writes "Opera is launching a version of its Mini browser for the iPhone in what could prove a landmark decision for Apple's app gatekeepers. Apple has been traditionally hostile to rival browsers, with Mozilla claiming that Apple made it 'too hard' for its rivals to develop a browser for the iPhone. However, Opera remains bullishly confident that its app will be approved. 'We have not submitted Opera Mini to the Apple App store,' an Opera spokesperson told PC Pro. 'However, we hope that Apple will not deny their users a choice in web browsing experience.'" I can't imagine what would motivate them to do that.
GUI

IDEs With VIM Text Editing Capability? 193 193

An anonymous reader writes "I am currently looking to move from text editing with vim to a full fledged IDE with gdb integration, integrated command line, etc. Extending VIM with these capabilities is a mortal sin, so I am looking for a linux based GUI IDE. I do not want to give up the efficient text editing capabilities of VIM though. How do I have my cake and eat it too?"
Mozilla

Mozilla Thunderbird 3 Released 272 272

supersloshy writes Today Mozilla released Thunderbird 3. Many new features are available, including Tabs and enhanced search features, a message archive for emails you don't want to delete but still want to keep, Firefox 3's improved Add-ons Manager, Personas support, and many other improvements. Download here."
NASA

"Frickin' Fantastic" Launch of NASA's Ares I-X Rocket 383 383

coondoggie writes "With a hiss and roar, NASA's Ares I-X rocket blasted into the atmosphere this morning at about 11:33 am EST, taking with it a variety of test equipment and sensors but also high hopes for the future of the US space agency. The short test flight — about 2 minutes — will provide NASA an early opportunity to look at hardware, models, facilities and ground operations associated with the mostly new Ares I launch vehicle. The mission went off without a hitch — 'frickin' fantastic' was how one NASA executive classified it on NASA TV — as the upper stage simulator and first stage separated at approximately 130,000 feet over the Atlantic Ocean. The unpowered simulator splashed down in the ocean."
Space

The Night Sky In 800 Million Pixels 120 120

An anonymous reader recommends a project carried out recently by Serge Brunier and Frédéric Tapissier. Brunier traveled to the top of a volcano in the Canary Islands and to the Chilean desert to capture 1,200 images — each one a 6-minute exposure — of the night sky. The photos were taken between August 2008 and February 2009 and required more than 30 full nights under the stars. Tapissier then processed the images together into a single zoomable, 800-megapixel, 360-degree image of the sky in which the Earth is embedded. "It is the sky that everyone can relate to that I wanted to show — it's constellations... whose names have nourished all childhoods, it's myths and stories of gods, titans, and heroes shared by all civilisations since Homo became sapiens. The image was therefore made as man sees it, with a regular digital camera." The image is the first of three portraits produced by the European Southern Observatory's GigaGalaxy Zoom project.

Comment: Re:Never... (Score 1) 303 303

I find myself looking through K&R for a particular function about once every, say, 2 weeks. More often than not it's for a standard library function rather than something for the language itself, and it'll be for something very specific (e.g. does function x return a signed/unsigned int, or a size_t?). And that's after 8 years of full time, 40 hours-a-week coding :)

Likewise for TCPPPL, or more commonly http://cplusplus.com/reference/

"If you own a machine, you are in turn owned by it, and spend your time serving it..." -- Marion Zimmer Bradley, _The Forbidden Tower_

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