An anonymous reader writes: When NASA has put rovers on the surface of Mars, they've relied heavily on parachutes to get through the atmosphere safely. Aerobraking doesn't work as well as it does on Earth because Mars's atmosphere is so thin. Parachuting runs into the same problem, but it's easier to pack a bigger chute than it is to bring along a bigger heat shield. But NASA has been working on that exact problem, and they'll soon test the Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD), which looks an awful lot like a giant, inflatable donut. When a spacecraft is ready to enter an atmosphere, the LDSD will inflate along its outside edge, substantially increasing its surface area while not adding too much weight. Weather has postponed the test a couple times already, but NASA hopes to complete it on Monday.
turkeydance writes: What job is hardest for a robot to do? Mental health and substance abuse social workers (found under community and social services). This job has a 0.3 percent chance of being automated. That's because it's ranked high in cleverness, negotiation, and helping others. The job most likely to be done by a robot? Telemarketers. No surprise; it's already happening. The researchers admit that these estimates are rough and likely to be wrong. But consider this a snapshot of what some smart people think the future might look like. If it says your job will likely be replaced by a machine, you've been warned.
hypnosec writes: An Australian invention that gained attention for being able to "unboil" an egg has now been put to use in the treatment of cancer. The device has boosted the potency of a common cancer treatment drug, carboplatino, as much as four-and-a-half-times. ABC.net reports: "Flinders Centre for Innovation in Cancer director Professor Ross McKinnon said it meant a huge advance for cancer treatment. 'It gives us the promise of offering an alternative where we have more drug being delivered to the tumour and less drug being delivered to the rest of the body,' he said. 'That means less side-effects for the patient and hopefully a much better effect in terms of tumour response. What this group are doing is an example of one drug but we would hope we could extend this to many drugs.' The device can process proteins more efficiently than current methods, with possible big ramifications for the pharmaceuticals industry.
DroidJason1 writes: "Microsoft has unbundled the Kinect from the Xbox One. The unbundled system's price now matches the PlayStation 4. Microsoft is touting 'your feedback' as the reason for this move. Any Xbox One functionality that relies on voice, video, gestures, etc, will not work without a Kinect, and users will be able to purchase a standalone Kinect later this year."
First time accepted submitter Martin Blank writes "Sarah Slocum, an early adopter of Google Glass, was bar hopping with friends in San Francisco when a few people in the bar took issue with the eyewear when she was demonstrating it to another patron even though she wasn't recording. When she felt threatened, she informed them that she would start recording. Two of them approached her, yelling and throwing a bar rag at her, and ultimately ripping the Glass from her face and running from the bar with it. She gave chase and eventually got the Glass back, but her purse was gone when she returned to the bar. This physical level of hostility is unusual, but discomfort with Glass is common, especially among those who don't understand how it works. Given that much more hidden spy cameras are available for far less than the $1500 cost of Glass, what will it take for general acceptance to finally take hold?"
Lasrick writes "Chevron hopes that free soda and pizza can extinguish community anger over a fracking well fire in Dunkard Township, Pennsylvania. From the story: 'The flames that billowed out of the Marcellus Shale natural gas well were so hot they caused a nearby propane truck to explode, and first responders were forced to retreat to avoid injury. The fire burned for four days, and Chevron currently has tanks of water standing by in case it reignites. Of the twenty contractors on the well site, one is still missing, and is presumed dead.' The company gave those who live nearby a certificate for a free pizza and some soda."
Lucas123 writes "Music streaming services, forced to give from 60% to 70% of their revenue to the record industry, will never be profitable in their current state, a new report shows. Unless the services can monetize their user base by entering new product and service categories, or they can sell themselves to a larger company that can sustain them, they're doomed to fail. One method that subscription services might be able to use to achieve profitability is to up sell mobile deals or bundles to subscribers. For example, a select package of mobile services would be sold through the music service provider, the report from Generator Research suggested. 'Services like iTunes Match and Google and Amazon are already heading in this direction,' the report states. Another possibility would be for a larger company to purchase the music service or for the service to begin offering sanitized user behavioral data to advertisers, who could then better target a customer base."
Those ideas did not come from Christianity, nor are they exclusive to it.
Mystakaphoros writes "Mike Masnick of Techdirt argues that we can all put down our wooden shoes and take a chill pill: technology 'rarely destroys jobs.' For example, telephone operators have largely gone by the wayside, but a (brave) new world of telemarketing and call center support jobs have opened up because of advances in technology, not to mention the Internet. Masnick points out writing from Professor James Bessen that makes the same point: 'In other cases, technology creates offsetting job growth in different occupations or industry segments. For example, word processors and voice mail systems reduced the numbers of typists and switchboard operators, but these technologies also increased the number of more highly skilled secretaries and receptionists, offsetting the job losses. Similarly, Amazon may have eliminated jobs at Borders and other national book chains that relied on bestsellers, but the number of independent booksellers has been growing and with it, more jobs for sales clerks who can provide selections and advice that Amazon cannot easily match.' That said, I think it's worth asking: if machines are going to replace all our fast food workers, are we going to start paying our gourmet chefs minimum wage just because we can?"
Kelly Beatty has a unique perspective on the world of astronomy: Beatty's been on the staff of Sky & Telescope magazine for nearly 40 years as a writer and editor, including a stint heading "Night Sky" magazine. He's also written what's been called "the definitive guide for the armchair astronomer," and teaches astronomy to people of all ages. (He even has an asteroid named after him.) Besides being fascinated with the objects we can see in Earth's skies, Beatty takes the skies themselves seriously: his Twitter handle is NightSkyGuy for a reason. We talked a few weeks ago, in dark-skied rural Maine, about his involvement with the International Dark-Sky Association, and why you should care about ubiquitous light pollution, even if you don't have a deep interest in star-gazing. (And it's not just to be courteous to your neighbors.)
An anonymous reader writes "Humans have progressed and evolved creating complex tools throughout the years. Based on artifacts and fossils in combination with research, scientists have known that people have used tools made from all kinds of materials. Now in a new study, two research teams discovered that the first specialized set of bone tools were created by Neanderthals in Europe."
An anonymous reader writes "A Google engineer visiting Vietnam discovered a large portion of Vietnamese high school students might be able to pass a Google interview. According to TFA (and his blog), students start learning computing as early as grade 2. According to the blogger and another senior engineer, about half of the students in an 11th grade class he visited would be able to make through their interview process. The blogger also mentioned U.S. school boards blocking computer science education. The link he posted backing up his claim goes to a Maryland Public Schools website describing No Child Left Behind technicalities. According to the link, computer science is not considered a core subject. While the blogger provided no substantial evidence of U.S. school boards blocking computer science education, he claimed that students at Galileo Academy had difficulty with the HTML image tag. According to the school's Wikipedia page, by California standards, Galileo seems to be one of the state's better secondary schools."
skade88 points out comments from Blizzard exec Rob Pardo, who says the company has internal builds of Diablo 3 running on consoles. It's been known for months that Blizzard has been working on something like this, but now we have the first indication of how far along the project is. Pardo said, "We're still kind of exploring it. We've got builds up and running on it. We're hoping to get it far enough along where we can make it an official project, but we're not quite ready to release stuff about it. But it's looking pretty cool." According to lead designer Jay Wilson, we'll start seeing information on "the next big Diablo thing" next year, which probably refers to an expansion.
An anonymous reader writes "In a hearing in the US District Court today, it was determined that Google will pay a net total of nothing for Oracle's patent claims against them. In fact, Google is given 14 days to file an application for Oracle to pay legal fees to Google (in a similar manner to how things are done for frivolous lawsuits). However, it is not quite peaches and roses for Google, as Oracle is planning on appealing the decision in the case.'"