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Facebook

New Facebook Phone App Lets You Stalk Your Friends 61

Posted by samzenpus
from the I-won't-be-ignored dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Iain Thomson reports that Facebook is adding a new application called 'Nearby Friends' that alerts smartphone users when their friends are nearby. 'If you turn on Nearby Friends, you'll occasionally be notified when friends are nearby, so you can get in touch with them and meet up,' says Facebook in a statement. 'For example, when you're headed to the movies, Nearby Friends will let you know if friends are nearby so you can see the movie together or meet up afterward.' The feature, which is opt-in, allows users to select which friends get a warning that you are in the area, and prepare a subset of people who might like to know when you're near, if they have the Nearby Friends activated as well. According to Josh Constine what makes 'Nearby Friends' different than competitors and could give it an advantage is that it's centered around broadcasting proximity, not location. 'If someone's close, you'll know, and can ping them about their precise location and meeting up. Broadcasting location is creepy so we're less likely to share it, and can cause awkward drop-ins where someone tries to come see you when you didn't want them to.'"
Power

Vermont Nuclear Plant Seeks Decommission But Lacks Funds 179

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the just-keep-it-running? dept.
mdsolar (1045926) writes with this bit of news about the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Plant shutdown. From the article: "On Friday, the Vermont Public Service Board voted to authorize Entergy Nuclear Operations, Inc., the operators of the Vermont Yankee electricity generating station ..., to close down their nuclear power plant by the end of this year. Because Entergy planned to shut the Vermont nuclear plant down prior to its licensed end-term, the board was required to approve the shutdown....

Entergy has reserved just over $600 million to date for decommissioning the Vermont nuclear plant, according to the Department of Public Service. This amount will not be adequate to meet the costs of full deconstruction, estimated at more than $1 billion according to the company's 2012 Decommissioning Cost Analysis report."
Google

Google Tries To Defuse Glass "Myths" 363

Posted by timothy
from the not-all-opinions-are-myths dept.
As reported by Beta News, Google has tried to answer some of the criticism that its Glass head-mounted system has inspired with a blog post outlining and explaining what it calls 10 "myths" about the system. Google's explanation probably won't change many minds, but in just a few years the need to defend head-worn input/output devices might seem quaint and backwards.
Space

Planet Mercury Has Shrunk More Than Thought 58

Posted by samzenpus
from the getting-small dept.
sciencehabit writes "Measuring just 4880 kilometers across, Mercury is a small world. The planet became slightly smaller as its interior cooled, which caused Mercury to shrink, buckling its surface and creating numerous cliffs and ridges. Now, after studying 5934 of these features, researchers report online today in Nature Geoscience that Mercury's contraction was much greater than previously thought: During the past 4 billion years, the planet's diameter decreased by 7 to 14 kilometers. The greater estimate of shrinkage accords with models that predict how much a rocky planet should contract as its interior cools; the new work may also lend insight into the evolution of extrasolar planets that, like Mercury and unlike Earth, lack any moving continents."
Medicine

Measles Outbreak In NYC 747

Posted by Soulskill
from the please-vaccinate-your-brood dept.
sandbagger writes "New York City may have to deal with a measles problem. New Yorkers are being urged to make sure all household members, including young children, are vaccinated. To date, there have been 16 confirmed cases and four hospitalizations. This follows news from the CDC in December that 2013 saw triple the average number of yearly measles cases. 2014 is off to an even worse start; there have been cases recently in the Boston metropolitan area and more than a dozen in the Bay Area as well. Vaccinations seem to be a victim of their own success — people look around and see no polio or measles and wonder why they should bother. Others repeat bogus claim about vaccines causing autism. How do you think we can get through to the anti-vaxxers?"
Government

NRC Expects Applications To Operate Reactors Beyond 60 Years 135

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the maybe-we-should-build-new-ones dept.
mdsolar writes with news that the aging reactor fleet in the U.S. will likely see units hitting 80 or more years of use before being decommissioned. From the article: "Officials of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the nuclear power industry expect the first application to be filed with the agency in 2018 or 2019 for a license renewal to operate a power reactor or reactors beyond 60 years. At a Nuclear Energy Institute forum in Washington Tuesday, neither NRC nor industry officials named specific plants considered likely to apply, and it was not clear from their remarks if any nuclear operator has yet volunteered to be the first to apply." Also see the staff report on preparing for the first applications. The proposed operating license changes would place no limit on the number of 20 year extensions, so perhaps a few reactors will end up in operation for a full century (if there's anyone left who can remember how to operate them then).
Science

Dogs' Brains Have Human-like "Voice Area" 139

Posted by samzenpus
from the listen-up-lassie dept.
sciencehabit writes "When you hear a friend's voice, you immediately picture her, even if you can't see her. And from the tone of her speech, you quickly gauge if she's happy or sad. You can do all of this because your human brain has a 'voice area.' Now, scientists using brain scanners and a crew of eager dogs have discovered that dog brains, too, have dedicated voice areas. The finding helps explain how canines can be so attuned to their owners' feelings."
Google

How I Lost My Google Glass (and Regained Some Faith In Humanity) 124

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the like-a-phone-for-your-face dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "The winter weather made my hands numb. I was distracted, rushed, running late to a meeting. Put those two things together, and it's a recipe for disaster,' Boonsri Dickinson writes in her account of how she lost her Google Glass unit. 'The cab had already gone two blocks before I realized my Google Glass was no longer in my hand. I asked the driver to swing back around to where he picked me up; I retraced my steps along the snowy street to my apartment, looking for my $1,500 device. No luck. Total panic.' The device featured photos, video, email, and other data that, in the wrong hands, could seriously upend her life. Fortunately, the person who found the Glass unit was a.) more interested in returning the device than wrecking her existence, and b.) engaged in quite a bit of digital detective work to track her down (with some help from Google). 'The device holds more than enough data to make me nervous about the possible voyeuristic invasion of my privacy, and the fear of the thought that the media connected to my Glass would possibly end up online, somewhere, cached forever in a Google search,' she concluded. But the saga also reset some of her faith in humanity."
Medicine

Gut Microbes Linked to Autism-Like Symptoms in Mice 160

Posted by samzenpus
from the with-a-little-help-from-my-bacteria-friends dept.
sciencehabit writes "Many physicians and parents report that their autistic children have unusually severe gastrointestinal problems, such as chronic constipation or diarrhea. These observations have led some researchers to speculate that an ailing gut contributes to the disorder in some cases, but scientific data has been lacking. Now, a provocative study claims that a probiotic treatment for gastrointestinal issues can reduce autismlike symptoms in mice and suggests that this treatment could work for humans, too."
Japan

Fukushima Floating Offshore Wind Turbine Starts Generating Power 181

Posted by samzenpus
from the power-up dept.
mdsolar writes in with news about a new wind-energy project off the coast of Fukushima. "A project to harness the power of the wind about 20 kilometers (12 miles) off the coast of Fukushima, site of the March 2011 nuclear disaster, began generating power on an operational basis today. The project, funded by the government and led by Marubeni Corp. (8002), is a symbol of Japan's ambition to commercialize the unproven technology of floating offshore wind power and its plan to turn quake-ravaged Fukushima into a clean energy hub. 'Fukushima is making a stride toward the future step by step,' Yuhei Sato, governor of Fukushima, said today at a ceremony in Fukushima marking the project's initiation. 'Floating offshore wind is a symbol of such a future.'"
Input Devices

Drive With Google Glass: Get a Ticket 638

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the no-hud-for-you dept.
mrspoonsi writes "Engadget reports 'California is technology's spiritual home in the US, where Teslas roam free, and Google Glass is already a social norm. Well, unless you're a member of the San Diego law enforcement that is — as one unlucky driver just found out. That commuter was Cecilia Abadie, and she's (rather fittingly) taken to Google+ after being given a ticket for driving while wearing her Explorer Edition.'"
Censorship

Books With "Questionable Content" Being Deleted From ebookstores In Sweeping Ban 548

Posted by samzenpus
from the cleaning-things-up dept.
Nate the greatest writes "The Kernel started an uproar last week when they 'discovered' that the Kindle Store and other ebookstores sell adult content in the erotica category. None of the content is actually illegal, but it is icky enough that the major ebookstores decided to respond by removing anything even vaguely questionable. Unfortunately, they went too far, resulting in an act of censorship the likes of which we haven't seen since Paypal went after the indie ebook distributor Smashwords. The Daily Mail reports that WH Smith went so far as to shut down their website with the promise that it won't reopen until all self-published titles have been removed, and according to BBC News, B&N is also deleting content. Numerous authors have reported on KBoards that Amazon and B&N have removed far more than just the titles that feature questionable content like pseudo-incest; they appear to be running keyword searches and removing any title that mentions innocuous words like babysitter, sister, or teenager. And they're not the only ones; there's a new report that Kobo has jumped on the ban wagon as well."
Power

Its Nuclear Plant Closed, Maine Town Is Full of Regret 380

Posted by samzenpus
from the and-you're-done dept.
mdsolar writes in with a story about the fallout from a nuclear plant closing on a small town in Maine. "In a wooded area behind a camouflage-clad guard holding an assault rifle, dozens of hulking casks packed with radioactive waste rest on concrete pads — relics of the shuttered nuclear plant that once powered the region and made this fishing town feel rich. In the 17 years since Maine Yankee began dismantling its reactors and shedding its 600 workers, this small, coastal town north of Portland has experienced drastic changes: property taxes have spiked by more than 10 times for the town's 3,700 residents, the number living in poverty has more than doubled as many professionals left, and town services and jobs have been cut. 'I have yet to meet anyone happy that Maine Yankee is gone,' said Laurie Smith, the town manager. 'All these years later, we're still feeling the loss of jobs, the economic downturn, and the huge tax increases.'"
Education

Ask Slashdot: Best Way To Block Noise In a Dorm? 561

Posted by samzenpus
from the keep-it-down dept.
First time accepted submitter zmitch32 writes "I live in a dorm, and I have ADHD, so every little noise distracts me. I know this annoyance isn't limited to those with ADHD, so how does everyone else block out the noise? I can't really cover my walls in soundproof foam because I live in a dorm. I can't just listen to music because I find it too interesting and just end up getting distracted by it. I use ear plugs to block out small noises, but they don't block out human voices very well at all. What do you guys/gals recommend?"

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