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Submission + - Scanning the Future of 3D-Printed Sex Toys (NSFW) (vice.com)

pigrabbitbear writes: "Noah Kaplan is here to get his penis scanned. He gestures wildly, his bathrobe peeking open as he rapidly recounts why he's doing this, going on and off the record about his sexual preferences. I can barely keep up. We’re in a room at the Eventi Hotel in Chelsea, where Kaplan is sitting in front of an impressive camera that can scan in three dimensions and create a virtual model of any object. Today, that camera is going to be used to scan Kaplan’s penis from several angles. Experts will then composite those scans into one image that will be printed out using a 3D printer, resulting in an exact, three-dimensional replica of the 26-year-old's, erm, member. This is the very beginning of the 3D-printed sex toy-industry, though you can scarcely call it an industry yet."

Submission + - Ten Radically Futuristic Ideas in Obama's State of the Union Address (vice.com)

pigrabbitbear writes: "Obama's first State of the Union Address since his reelection was largely and predictably dedicated to nearsighted deficit talk and weary calls to overcome Congressional dysfunction. But amidst the boilerplate—and the comparatively impassioned calls for action on gun control and, to a lesser extent, climate change—Obama snuck in some radical, forward-looking ideas. Some are downright utopian. SOTUs are notorious for being lofty wish-lists, so consider these proposals as Obama's wildest political fantasies.

Here's how the president wants us to win the future this time:

1. Transform Declining Towns into 3D Printing Hubs

2. Spend Money on Science Like We're in a Space Race

3. Use Oil and Gas Money to Fund Cleantech Research

4. Amp Up Wind Power

5. Go All-In On Solar

6. Build High Speed Rail to Attract Foreign Investment

7. Get Self-Healing Power Grids

8. Acheive Universal Preschool

9. Turn High Schools Into High Tech Incubators

10. Peg the Minimum Wage to the Cost of Living

Of course, Obama had plenty of backwards and incoherent ideas, too—ramping up oil drilling while trying to fight climate change, signing a cyber-security executive order that somehow promotes both "information-sharing" and privacy, and referring to his "transparent" war on terror without mentioning drones, for instance. But this is a difficult time for the U.S. and for Washington, and even as he pointed out huge challenges, Obama did his job as President tonight, pointing at America's opportunities, and the kind of changes that, you know, you want to believe in."


Submission + - Apple's Rumored iWatch Could Be Your Own Personal Surveillance Machine (vice.com)

pigrabbitbear writes: "If you're going to listen to anybody about the future of Apple products, you should listen to the dude that used to build them. Bruce Tognazzini worked at Apple for 14 years, where "he designed Apple’s first human interface and wrote eight editions of the Apple Human Interface Guidelines," according to his website. Now, he's a blogger (of course) and a consultant (oh God) and a performer (what?) and an "expert witness" (usually not a good sign) and a pilot and, like, six other things. He also invented the viewfinder that you probably have you your digital camera. You get it. This guy's accomplished, an original Apple guy and probably comes equipped with a monster-sized ego. Nevertheless, when he talks about Apple products, I'm actually inclined to believe him.

A lot of the fanboys mentioned above are kind of obsessed with this iWatch idea. It's a good idea! The rumors that've been floating around cyber space include everything from a watch that's a glorified iPod Nano to a watch that comes with a built-in projector. Tognazzini blogged about his own ideas about this so-called iWatch project this week. In addition to his Apple insider knowledge—which is admittedly out-of-date since he hasn't worked there in two decades—it seems like he's actually talked to some current Apple employees about this. This is all to say that even if his ideas don't make it into the iWatch, they could end up in another smartwatch. Some of them are a little creepy.

Smartwatches actually already exist. There's the Pebble smartwatch, a Kickstarter phenomenon that just started shipping. Something called the Cookoo, something else called the Martianthat you can talk to. Tognazzini says they all stink, basically. The real "killer applications" of a smartwatch should and would change the world. The first thing he mentions is straight out of a spy movie. In effect, it could work like a personal identification chip that you wear on your wrist."


Submission + - Robert Vicino Built an Underground City Where You Can Ride out the Apocalypse (vice.com)

pigrabbitbear writes: "“I was inspired with a very powerful message around 1980 that I needed to build a shelter for 1,000 people deep underground to survive something that was coming that was going to be an extinction event,” he explained in an extensive phone interview. “That’s it, that’s all I had. But it was powerful. So powerful that I had a successful business with 100 employees and I took time off to go up into the mountains and search on weekends looking for an underground mine or cave that could be cartoned and converted.”

Today, Vicino is the owner and founder of Vivos, a company that sells space in luxury survival complexes around the country. It's what he likes to call “life assurance”--mini underground cities, in effect, for people ride out the end of civilization in a community setting with good food, television, even a potential dating pool. He says demand has increased 1,000 percent this year compared to last—itself a 1,000 percent increase over the year before."


Submission + - To Win the Bitcoin Arms Race, Crypto Miners are Building Custom Microchips (vice.com)

pigrabbitbear writes: "Bitcoin is thriving. Over a year after many pundits declared it dead, the virtual currency is holding its value and now being accepted as payment everywhere, from casinos to WordPress to stripper subreddits to drug markets. And what's even more interesting is that a new industry is emerging to support the crazy nerds that mine Bitcoin.

The first thing they need: microchips.

Anybody can create Bitcoin. Per the rules of its mysterious creator, "Satoshi Nakamoto," all it takes is a piece of free software that can be downloaded from the web and a computer powerful enough to run it. Just like our currency essentially consists of pieces of paper that the government promises is worth money, Bitcoin are unique codes that must be generated using a complex mathematical formula that basically amounts to brute force. Distributed in computers across the world, the software keeps track of all of Bitcoin's anonymized transactions; the computer that can complete the next block of the log is rewarded with a fresh batch of Bitcoin (currently l25, or about $316). The software will take care of the math for you, but it will also render your computer useless while it's running. This is where the microchips come in."

The Military

Submission + - In New Documentary on Drones, Drones Are Still Scary (vice.com)

pigrabbitbear writes: "It’s a story about not just the most overlooked facets of the American Drone Age – small-scale recon drones, not the ominously hulking and Hellfire-missile-toting hunter-killer drones so characteristic of American anti-terror missions abroad—as the Federal Aviation Administration ramps up the authorizing process for those itching to fly drones in US airspace. It’s a story about the fears, the uncertainties, and the hopes arising when tools once solely used in the military eventually seep over to law enforcement, various federal agencies, and everyday civilians, and quick."

Submission + - Why Can't We Vote on Our iPhones Yet? (vice.com)

pigrabbitbear writes: "As America hunkers down for yet another presidential election, it’s becoming increasingly clear that millions of citizens are going run into some serious problems at the polls. Conditions at voting stations in Florida are already being compared to a third world country, as early voters waited in line for up to nine hours to cast their ballot — only to be given absentee ballots and told to come back later. In Ohio, the state that will likely decide it all, legal wrangling over the state’s early voting procedures continued up until Friday, when a judge finally decided that polls would be open for in-person voting over the weekend. They had lines there, too. Shouldn't we just be able to vote on our smartphones?

Cyber security experts don't think so. “Internet voting sounds like it would be so convenient and such a modern application of technology, but when we get down into the details about what it would take for Internet voting to do well, it turns out to be an incredibly difficult security problem,” J. Alex Halderman, an assistant professor of computer science at the University of Michigan, told Live Science. Halderman added that the most secure networks in the world fall victim to hacker attacks all the time. And what better target for a catastrophic data breach than an election? “So protecting against that kind of threat if you’re doing Internet voting is going be very hard, especially if Google and the Pentagon can’t get this right,” Halderman said."


Submission + - Foxconn Thinks the iPhone 5 Is a Pain in the Ass (vice.com)

pigrabbitbear writes: "China’s largest electronics manufacturer, the already-loathed Foxconn, is now taking the fall for the iPhone 5 shortage that’s annoyed consumers and worried investors in recent weeks. What’s the holdup? They don’t have enough parts? They’re training new line workers? They’re too busy trying to regain control of their factories after employees started rioting? Nah. According to the company, the iPhone 5 is just a huge pain in the ass to put together. That bit about the riots is a little bit true, too, though."

Submission + - A Major Satellite Company Has Nixed Iran's Export Broadcasts (vice.com)

pigrabbitbear writes: "Even amid tightening U.S. and E.U. sanctions on Iran, this stands out: Eutelsat Communications, one of the largest satellite providers in Europe, has just nixed its contract with IRIB, the Iranian state broadcasting company. While IRIB’s programming is still mostly up and running in Iran, the decision means that 19 IRIB TV and radio channels have now been axed from Europe and much of the Middle East.

Press TV, one of IRIB’s biggest networks, is predictably unhappy with the Eutelsat cutoff. In a post using rhetoric that’s oddly familiar in the U.S., Press TV blames “pop-culture press” for spreading the lie that the Eutelsat decision is a positive change that’s backed by legitimate E.U. sanctions, and saying that the decision violates the E.U.‘s supposed policy of free speech. Rather than note that a private company deciding to end a contract with a country that’s repeatedly attacked its services does not constitute an assault on free speech, Press TV’s missive descends into blaming everything on Israel."


Submission + - Why is This NYC School Teacher Livestreaming From the Rubber Room? (vice.com) 1

pigrabbitbear writes: "Francesco Portelos is a NYC teacher who, after having raised questions about budgeting at I.S. 49 Berta A. Dreyfus (a Staten Island school he’s been suspended from), is now taking viewers inside a rubber room he’s been stationed at. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, Steven Brill published a lengthy account of NYC’s teacher reassignment centers in The New Yorker a few years ago, but the term refers to offices used by teachers that have been put on administrative leave from the classroom for one reason or another."

Submission + - Uploading Copyrighted Material in Japan Means Up to 10 Years in Jail (vice.com)

pigrabbitbear writes: "According to a new Japanese law that takes effect today, anyone who pirates music or films can be handed up to a two-year jail sentence and fines of up to 2 million yen (~$25,700). But it’s uploaders of illegal content that are getting the harshest treatment; under the law, those who make copyrighted works available can be sentenced to up to ten years in jail and given fines of up to 10 million yen."
The Almighty Buck

Submission + - Mercedes' 2014 Electric SLS Comes With an Imagination (vice.com)

pigrabbitbear writes: "With four electric motors (one for each wheel), the car boasts 740 horses and 737 pound-feet of torque, and can fly to 60mph in 3.9 seconds (0.3 seconds slower than its gas-guzzling predecessor). All that power comes at the expense of weight and mileage; its 1,200+ pound, 60kWh battery pack will only get you from New York City to Albany (150 miles) before it runs out of juice. And once you’ve reached the governor’s mansion, it’ll take 20 hours to re-up to full bars. But Mercedes, probably taking cues from its Daimler-family friend Tesla, will hopefully roll out some rapid-charge stations of its own."
The Almighty Buck

Submission + - The Navy Wants to Make Jet Fuel Out of Seawater (vice.com)

pigrabbitbear writes: "The U.S. Navy wasn’t kidding when they said they wanted to transition their fleet over to a more sustainable fuel model. The announcement came earlier this summer when top brass finally came to the realization that it didn’t make great sense to continue to depend on oil to power our warships when the majority of the world’s oil comes from the very countries we may go to war with. Plus, it’s good for the environment and stuff, so that can’t hurt. The only problem? It’s incredibly expensive."
The Almighty Buck

Submission + - How Romanian Hackers Stole $10 Million From Subway Customers (vice.com)

pigrabbitbear writes: "Two Romanian hackers have fessed up to their involvement in a three-year-long credit card conspiracy that targeted over 150 Subway sandwich shops and as many as 146,000 of their unsuspecting customers. From 2008 to 2010, Iulian Dolan and Cezar Iulian Butu worked with two other Romanian nationals to break into the point of sale (POS) systems of Subway franchises and at least 50 other small retailers. At the end of the day, the hackers netted $10 million from the heist, and they never even had to leave their living rooms."

Submission + - New Gadget Forces You to Abandon Your Gadgets (vice.com)

pigrabbitbear writes: "You plug your Personal Energy Orb into a computer, and it launches a ticker that monitors how long you’ve been in front of the screen. As the PEO loses power, it slows down the responsiveness of your CPU, until it becomes unbearable. So, to recharge the PEO, you’ve got to exercise. Toss the orb on your bike, ride around until it turns green, and your computer will snap back into regular speeds."

The two most common things in the Universe are hydrogen and stupidity. -- Harlan Ellison