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Hardware Hacking

Sensor Network Makes Life Easier For Japan's Aging Rice Farmers 7

szczys writes: The average age of Japan's rice farmers is 65-70 years old. The work is difficult and even small changes to the way things are done can have a profound impact on these lives. The flooded paddies where the rice is grown must maintain a consistent water level, which means farmers must regularly traverse the terraced fields to check many different paddies. A simple sensor board is changing this, letting farmers check their fields by phone instead of in person.

This might not sound like much, but reducing the number of times someone needs to walk the fields has a big effect on the man-hours spent on each crop. The system, called TechRice, is inexpensive and the nodes recharge batteries from a solar cell. The data is aggregated on the Internet and can be presented as a webpage, a text-message interface, or any other reporting scheme imaginable by utilizing the API of the Open Source software. This is a testament to the power we have as small groups of engineers to improve the world.

Submission Humans are worse than radiation for Chernobyl animals->

sciencehabit writes: Elk, roe deer, wild boars, and other wildlife are thriving in a radiation-contaminated preserve largely off limits to people near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine, researchers have found. In a study published today, scientists report “no evidence of a negative influence of radiation on mammal abundance” in the Chernobyl exclusion zone straddling the Belarus-Ukraine border. Much of the 4200-square-kilometer zone was evacuated after the nuclear plant’s unit 4 reactor exploded in 1986, sending a radioactive plume over Europe.

“When humans are removed, nature flourishes, even in the aftermath of the world's worst nuclear accident,” says co-author Jim Smith, an environmental scientist at the University of Portsmouthin the United Kingdom. But some scientists argue that the study glosses over findings showing that the radioactive contamination has damaged individual animals.

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Submission Worst Tech Recruiter 'Pickup Lines'

snydeq writes: We've all received them: Trawling emails from tech recruiters looking to lure us away from our current employer, often with a cringe-worthy line or two that makes it seem as if we are being courted by an unwanted pickup artist. From the article: 'The men and women tasked with recruiting tech talent go to great lengths to attract the attention of their targets — (often unsuspecting) tech pros viewed as valuable "gets." While some recruiters prove to be invaluable in improving your career, finding exactly the right words to pique your interest in a new gig, far more seem to stammer, stumble, and elicit exasperated sighs.' What are the best doozies you've received?

Submission What non-geeks hate about the Big Bang Theory->

v3rgEz writes: There's a lot to dislike about the Big Bang Theory, from the typical geek's point of view: It plays in stereotypes of geekdom for cheap laughs, makes non-sensical gags, and has a laugh track in 2015. But what does the rest of America (well, the part of America not making it the number one show on television) think? FCC complaints recently released accuse the show of everything from animal cruelty to subliminal messaging, demanding that the sitcom be ripped from the airwaves lest it ruin America. The full complaints for your reading pleasure
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Submission Readers Reward Elite Global Journalism as NY Times Passes 1M Digital Subscribers writes: Many news organizations, facing competition from digital outlets, have sharply reduced the size of their newsrooms and their investment in news gathering but less than four-and-a-half years after launching its pay model the NY Times has increased coverage as it announced that the Times has passed one million digital-only subscribers, giving them far more than any other news organization in the world. The Times still employs as many reporters as it did 15 years ago — and its ranks now include graphics editors, developers, video journalists and other digital innovators. "It’s a tribute to the hard work and innovation of our marketing, product and technology teams and the continued excellence of our journalism," says CEO Mark Thompson.

According to Ken Doctor the takeaway from the Times success is that readers reward elite global journalism. The Wall Street Journal is close behind the Times, at 900,000, while the FT’s digital subscription number stands at 520,000. "These solid numbers form bedrock for the future. For news companies, being national now means being global, and being global means enjoying unprecedented reach," says Doctor. "These audiences of a half-million and more portend more reader revenue to come."

Nissan Creates the Ultimate Distracted Driving Machine 70

jfruh writes: More and more research is suggesting that it isn't safe to text or even talk on our phones hands-free while driving, but one brave car company is pushing full-speed in the other direction. Nissan has created a concept car in which every surface, including the entire dashboard and even the seats, is a display device. The car is the result of "extensive" surveys with the younger generation that came to the conclusion that, according to Nissan, young people "feel that time spent in a car should be time for connecting and sharing experiences with friends."

3 Scientists Share Nobel For Parastic Disease Breakthroughs 28

The Australian reports that a trio of scientists (hailing from from Japan, China, and Ireland) has been awarded this year's Nobel Prize in Medicine for their work in treating parasitic diseases. Irish scientist William Campbell (currently research fellow emeritus at New Jersey's Drew University), and Japanese biochemist Satoshi Omura, were awarded half of the monetary award for their work in defeating roundworm infections; the drug they developed as a result, Avermectin, has helped drastically lower two devastating diseases -- river blindness and lymphatic filariasis -- and has shown promise in treating other ailments as well. The other half of the prize has been awarded to Chinese researcher Youyou Tu, who discovered a novel antimalarial drug based on her research into traditional herbal medicines. (Also at The Washington Post, CNN, The New York Times, and elsewhere. The awards were live-blogged by The Guardian.)

An Ice House Design Concept For Mars Bets Long On Liquid Water 54

The Times of India reports that NASA has awarded a $25,000 first prize to Space Exploration Architecture for their design, called "Mars Ice House," of a habitat suitable for Mars. The concept relies on the (predicted) availability of Martian water, as well as on 3-D printing; according to the text accompanying the design. The 5-cm thick shell of ice which would serve as both skin and support structure for the shelter "protects against radiation without compromising life above ground." Two other teams (Gamma and LavaHive) were awarded second and third-place prizes, respectively.

Feed Google News Sci Tech: Campbell, Omura, Tu win Nobel medicine prize - USA TODAY->


Campbell, Omura, Tu win Nobel medicine prize
STOCKHOLM (AP) — Three scientists from Ireland, Japan and China won the Nobel Prize in medicine on Monday for discoveries that helped doctors fight malaria and infections caused by roundworm parasites. The Nobel judges in Stockholm awarded the...
The Latest: Nobel Medicine Laureates Helped MillionsNew York Times

all 94 news articles

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Feed Google News Sci Tech: Nobel Prize in Medicine Awarded to Scholars for Parasite-Fighting Therapies - New York Times->

BBC News

Nobel Prize in Medicine Awarded to Scholars for Parasite-Fighting Therapies
New York Times
Three scientists were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discovering “therapies that have revolutionized the treatment of some of the most devastating parasitic diseases,” the Nobel Committee announced on Monday. William C. Campbell...
Campbell, Omura, Tu win Nobel medicine prizeUSA TODAY
Campbell, Omura, Tu Win Nobel Prize in Physiology or MedicineBloomberg
William Campbell, Satoshi Omura and Youyou Tu win Nobel medicine prizeWashington Post
The Hindu-BBC News
all 29 news articles

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TiVo's Latest Offering Detects and Skips Ads, Adds 4K Capability 70

As described by The Verge, the newest generation of TiVo is in some ways a step backward: it comes with fewer tuners than some earlier models, and less storage as well. However, two big features that distinguish the company's new Bolt DVR may entice users anyhow: it adds 4K recording, and (probably of use to more people, given the scarcity of 4K content, not to mention its file size) also can recognize and skip commercials, a feature that users have sorely missed as a mainstream feature in standalone DVRs for quite a while. (And it's possible that broadcasters will come up with a way to kill the commercial-skip function as they did with Dish's AutoHop.)

Google Lets Advertisers Target By (Anonymized) Customer Data 51

An anonymous reader writes: Google's new advertising product, called Customer Match, lets advertisers upload their customer and promotional email address lists into AdWords. The new targeting capability extends beyond search to include both YouTube Trueview ads and the newly launched native ads in Gmail. Customer Match marks the first time Google has allowed advertisers to target ads against customer-owned data in Adwords. Google matches the email addresses against those of signed-in users on Google. Individual addresses are hashed and are supposedly anonymized. Advertisers will be able to set bids and create ads specifically geared to audiences built from their email lists. This new functionality seems to make de-anonymization of google's supposedly proprietary customer data just a hop, skip and jump away. If you can specify the list of addresses that get served an ad, and the criteria like what search terms will trigger that ad, you can detect if and when your target searches for specific terms. For example, create an email list that contains your target and 100 invalid email addresses that no one uses (just in case google gets wise to single-entry email lists). Repeat as necessary for as many keywords and as many email addresses that you wish to monitor.

4 Calif. Students Arrested For Alleged Mass-Killing Plot 335

The New York Times reports that four high school students in the small California town of Tuolumne, about 120 miles east of San Francisco, have been arrested, but not yet charged, for planning an attack on their school, Summerville High School. According to the Times, three of the four were overheard discussing this plot, and a fourth conspirator was later identified. Their goal, according to Toulumne sheriff James Mele, was "to shoot and kill as many people as possible at the campus"; they had not however been able yet to obtain the weapons they wanted to carry out the attack. From NBC News' version of the story: "Detectives located evidence verifying a plot to shoot staff and students at Summerville High School," Mele said. "The suspects' plan was very detailed in nature and included names of would-be victims, locations and the methods in which the plan was to be carried out."

Daimler Tests a Self-Driving Truck On the Autobahn 107

Engadget reports that Daimler has tested an autonomous truck in one environment guaranteed to put stress on any car: the German Autobahn. While the Mercedes Actros truck was guided with a mix of "radar, a stereo camera array and off-the-shelf systems like adaptive cruise control," there was a human crew on hand, too, just in case. From the article: This doesn't mean you'll see fleets of robotic trucks in the near future. Daimler had to get permission for this run, and the law (whether European or otherwise) still isn't equipped to permit regular autonomous driving of any sort, let alone for giant cargo haulers. Still, this could make a better case for approving some form of self-driving transportation.

Japan Display Squeezes 8K Resolution Into 17-inch LCD, Cracks 510 PPI At 120Hz 161

MojoKid writes: By any metric, 8K is an incredibly high resolution. In fact, given that most HD content is still published in 1080p, the same could be said about 4K. 4K packs in four times the pixels of 1080p, while 8K takes that and multiplies it by four once again; we're talking 33,177,600 pixels. We've become accustomed to our smartphones having super-high ppi (pixels-per-inch); 5.5-inch 1080p phones are 401 ppi, which is well past the point that humans are able to differentiate individual pixels. Understanding that highlights just how impressive Japan Display's (JDI) monitor is, as it clocks in at 510 ppi in a 17-inch panel. Other specs include a 2000:1 contrast ratio, a brightness of 500cd/m2, and a 176 degree viewing angle. While the fact that the company achieved 8K resolution in such a small form-factor is impressive in itself, also impressive is the fact that it has a refresh rate of 120Hz.

Never trust an operating system.