kkleiner writes "The world's first human testing of a mind-controlled artificial limb is ready to begin. A joint project between the Pentagon and Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, the Modular Prosthetic Limb will be fully controlled by sensors implanted in the brain, and will even restore the sense of touch by sending electrical impulses from the limb back to the sensory cortex. Last week APL announced it had been awarded a $34.5M contract with DARPA, which will allow researchers to test the neural prosthetic in five individuals over the next two years."
Every few years someone asks this community for advice on oscilloscopes. Reader dawning writes "I've just graduated with a degree in Computer Engineering (and did a Comp Sci one while I was at it) and I'm finding myself woefully under-equipped to do some great hardware projects. I'm in major need of a good oscilloscope. I'm willing to put down $2,000 for a decent one, but there are several options and they all seem so archaic and limited. I'm happy to use something that must be controlled through a PC if that gives me more measuring features. What would you, my esteemed Slashdot colleagues, get for yourself?"
gollum123 passes along a piece from the NY Times on the building resistance to Hollywood's 3-D plans — from filmmakers. "A joke making the rounds online involves a pair of red and green glasses and some blurry letters that say, 'If you can’t make it good, make it 3-D.' While Hollywood rushes dozens of 3-D movies to the screen — nearly 60 are planned in the next two years, including 'Saw VII' and 'Mars Needs Moms!' — a rebellion among some filmmakers and viewers has been complicating the industry’s jump into the third dimension. Several influential directors took surprisingly public potshots at the 3-D boom during the recent Comic-Con... Behind the scenes..., filmmakers have begun to resist production executives eager for 3-D sales. For reasons both aesthetic and practical, some directors often do not want to convert a film to 3-D or go to the trouble and expense of shooting with 3-D cameras, which are still relatively untested on big movies with complex stunts and locations. Tickets for 3-D films carry a $3 to $5 premium, and industry executives roughly estimate that 3-D pictures average an extra 20 percent at the box office. Filmmakers like Mr. Whedon and Mr. Abrams argue that 3-D technology does little to enhance a cinematic story, while adding a lot of bother."
An anonymous reader writes "China is the new tech king. They're developing a new, two-lane bus system that travels over traffic below. It's claimed to cost 10% of a subway system and use 30% less energy than current bus technologies." This one has been boggling my brain. I can't see how this is a good idea or safe. But it sure is awesome.
Back in January we discussed Intuit's opposition to California's free, convenient software to file tax returns. TechDirt noticed a recent article in the LA Times about Intuit's continued lobbying efforts to get rid of those programs. Quoting: "Most importantly, Intuit is offering nothing that California doesn't already have. The state has arranged with other tax software providers to do exactly what Intuit proposes: Help low-income folks fill in and file state and federal returns for free — although Intuit refuses to participate. It apparently only wants in on this deal if the state knocks out its free programs, thereby creating a larger potential paying customer base for TurboTax. Not surprisingly, Intuit has been greasing the wheels in order to try to sell its scheme in California. Since 2005, public filings indicate that Intuit has spent $1.25 million on lobbyists in the state. Over the same period, it contributed an additional $2.12 million to statewide campaigns, including more than $1 million to state Sen. Tony Strickland (R-Thousand Oaks), a ReadyReturn foe who is running for state controller. In all, Intuit has doled out cash to nearly 120 politicians. The impact has been clear, even if Intuit hasn't gotten its way — yet. As documented in The Times, in 2009 California Republican legislators held back their votes on 20 bills in an attempt to do the corporation's bidding and force the abolition of ReadyReturn and CalFile. They didn't succeed in killing the tax programs, but they did kill funding for domestic violence shelters, police and fire departments, and prevention of swine flu outbreaks."