An anonymous reader tipped us to news of an interesting hack for the Oculus Rift: a simulation of being beheaded by a Guillotine. Thrown together in a couple of days at the Exile Code Jam, the simulation lets you... "look around to see the blade above, the crowd of onlookers around them, and the executioner who signals the blade be dropped. It also enhances the experience when someone watches the blade falling on a nearby screen and taps the user on the back of the neck at the time of impact." Just a bit morbid. There's a video of people "playing" (nsfw language in a few reactions to being virtually beheaded).
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New submitter Big Nemo '60 writes with news that the National Institute of Mental Health is seeking to modernize the diagnosis of mental illness through the use of neuroscience, genetics, etc. From the article: "The world's biggest mental health research institute is abandoning the new version of psychiatry's 'bible' — the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders — questioning its validity and stating that 'patients with mental disorders deserve better.' This bombshell comes just weeks before the publication of the fifth revision of the manual, called DSM-5." More importantly, they are going to be shifting funding to research projects that seek to define new categories of mental illness using modern medical science, ignoring the current DSM categorizations: "The strength of each of the editions of DSM has been 'reliability' .. The weakness is its lack of validity. Unlike our definitions of ischemic heart disease, lymphoma, or AIDS, the DSM diagnoses are based on a consensus about clusters of clinical symptoms, not any objective laboratory measure. In the rest of medicine, this would be equivalent to creating diagnostic systems based on the nature of chest pain or the quality of fever. ... NIMH has launched the Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) project to transform diagnosis by incorporating genetics, imaging, cognitive science, and other levels of information to lay the foundation for a new classification system. ... It became immediately clear that we cannot design a system based on biomarkers or cognitive performance because we lack the data. In this sense, RDoC is a framework for collecting the data needed for a new nosology. But it is critical to realize that we cannot succeed if we use DSM categories as the 'gold standard.' ... Imagine deciding that EKGs were not useful because many patients with chest pain did not have EKG changes. That is what we have been doing for decades when we reject a biomarker because it does not detect a DSM category. We need to begin collecting the genetic, imaging, physiologic, and cognitive data to see how all the data — not just the symptoms — cluster and how these clusters relate to treatment response."
garymortimer writes "OppiKoppi music festival in South Africa plans to deliver beer to campers via flying robot." All I want to know is, when is beer via flying robot distribution coming to a grocery store near me.
New submitter hutsell writes with this excerpt from MIT's Technology Review: "Richard Hughes and his associates at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico announced today that they have been sending perfectly secure messages with their Quantum Internet that has been in operation for the last two and a half years." Original paper. Unlike current quantum networks that only allow point-to-point networking, the system at Los Alamos combines traditional and quantum links to route messages through a hub while retaining the security advantages of quantum networking.
An anonymous reader writes with an update on the rapid adoption of BitTorrent Lab's Sync tool. From the article: "BitTorrent on Monday announced an impressive milestone for its file synchronization tool Sync: users have synced over 1PB of data. The company says over 70 terabytes are synced via the tool every day. BitTorrent first announced its Sync software back in January and released a private alpha. Between then and April 23, when the company release a public alpha, users synced over 200TB worth of data. In other words, over the past 13 days users have synced over 800TB of data. At this rate, the service will pass 10PB before even hitting a stable release."
An anonymous reader writes "Electronic Arts announced today it has landed an exclusive multi-year agreement to develop and publish games based on Lucasfilms' Star Wars universe. EA said the it will create and publish Star Wars games for a 'core gaming audience' across 'all popular platforms' and genres. The EA studios creating those 'core' Star Wars games are Battlefield developer DICE, Dead Space developer Visceral Games and Mass Effect house BioWare."
An anonymous reader writes "While Apple views the tablet and PC markets as two separate entities, Microsoft takes the opposing view. During a CNBC interview this morning, Gates continued to toe the party line insofar as he praised the benefits of Microsoft's tablets and Windows 8 while explaining that iPad users are frustrated because they have trouble typing and creating documents. 'With Windows 8, Microsoft is trying to gain share in what has been dominated by the iPad-type device. But a lot of those users are frustrated, they can't type, they can't create documents. They don't have Office there. So we're providing them something with the benefits they've seen that have made that a big category, but without giving up what they expect in a PC.'"
vinces99 writes "Imagine taking a swab of saliva from your mouth and, within minutes, having your DNA ready for genome sequencing. A new device from University of Washington engineers and a company called NanoFacture can extract human DNA from fluid samples in a simpler, more efficient and environmentally friendly way than conventional methods. It will give hospitals and labs a much easier way to separate DNA from human fluid samples, which will help with genome sequencing, disease diagnosis and forensic investigations."
HiveBio in Seattle is not the world's first community-based biology lab, but it may be the first one started by a high school student. Her name is Katriona Guthrie-Honea, and her co-founder is Bergen McMurray. They managed to get a lot of equipment and supplies donated to their new venture, along with a successful Microryza Campaign that raised $6425 even though their target was only $5100. They're renting space from a local hackerlab, and getting an insane amount of publicity for a venture that's just starting out. But why not? If Bergen's and Katriona's example can spur others to learn and create, whether in mechanical engineering, physics, electronics, computer science or biology, it's all good -- not only for the participants, but for anyone who might someday benefit from creations or discoveries made by people who got their first taste of hands-on science or engineering in a hackerspace or community biology lab.
First time accepted submitter JDG1980 writes "According to CNET and various other sources, CS6 will be the last version of Adobe's Creative Suite that will be sold in the traditional manner. All future versions will be available by subscription only, through Adobe's so-called 'Creative Cloud' service. This means that before too long, anyone who wants an up-to-date version of Photoshop won't be able to buy it – they will have to pay $50 per month (minimum subscription term: one year). Can Adobe complete the switch to subscription-only, or will the backlash be too great? Will this finally spur the creation of a real competitor to Photoshop?"
An anonymous reader writes "Terrafugia has unveiled plans to build a semi-autonomous, hybrid-electric, vertical-takeoff-and-landing vehicle for personal aviation. The new design, called TF-X, is in the works even as the company's first product, Transition, is still awaiting production because of technical and regulatory hurdles. Terrafugia's founder says the goal of TF-X, if it can get past the safety issues in both aviation and automotive industries, is to 'open up personal aviation to all of humanity.' But it will have a lot of competition from companies including AgustaWestland, Pipistrel, and the stealthy Zee.Aero, all of which are working on vertical-takeoff-and-landing vehicles for consumers."
crookedvulture writes "Since their debut five years ago, Intel's low-power Atom microprocessors have relied on the same basic CPU core. That changes with the next generation, which will employ an all-new Silvermont microarchitecture built using a customized version of Intel's tri-gate, 22-nm fabrication process. Silvermont ditches the in-order design of previous Atoms in favor of an out-of-order approach based on a dual-core module equipped with 1MB of shared L2 cache. The design boasts improved power sharing between the CPU and integrated graphics, allowing the CPU cores to scale up to higher speeds depending on system load and platform thermals. Individual cores can be shut down completely to provide additional clock headroom or to conserve power. Intel claims Silvermont doubles the single-threaded performance of its Saltwell predecessor at the same power level, and that dual-core variants have lower peak power draw and higher performance than quad-core ARM SoCs. Silvermont also marks the Atom's adoption of the 'tick-tock' update cadence that guides the development of Intel's Core processors. The successor to Silvermont will be built on 14-nm process tech, and an updated microarchitecture is due after that."
Okian Warrior writes "New Hampshire based RR Auction is selling the EKG of Neil Armstrong's heartbeat taken when he stepped onto the moon, among many other items of space and aviation historical interest. 'It was really slow on the way down, while Aldrin's was racing' described Gerald Schaber, geologist, who had the task of monitoring Armstrong's heartbeat during the final famous moments of the Apollo 11 landing. The auction begins May 16th."
itwbennett writes "In a much-anticipated move, IT infrastructure management software vendor BMC has agreed to be acquired for $6.9 billion by a private investment consortium headed up by Bain Capital and Golden Gate Capital. The deal is expected to close this year."
colinneagle writes "I have spent the last couple of days at the StarEast conference, listening to people explain to a roomful of testers about modeling workflows and data transitions, managing test environments in the cloud, writing automation scripts for regression tests, best methods for exploratory testing, running mobile test lab. And as I look around the room at the raw intelligence of the people who are not only absorbing that information but probing deeper into it during the Q&A sessions, I have to wonder how much easier their careers could have been if they had been able to major in Software Testing in college. It's time to give employers a testing workforce that is competitive and trained so they can stand toe-to-toe with the development team. Imagine the power of being able to hire a recent college graduate who has been taught how to develop system diagrams, build complex SQL, run log analysis, set up a cloud test environment, and write automation scripts. No more crossing your fingers that this eager young face in front of you can really pick up those skills, and no more investing so much time and money in training them on the job. We ask no less from Technical Writing and Development. Why do we have such different expectations for one of the most important functions on the team?"
Zothecula writes "Instead of traipsing through Florida in search of the Fountain of Youth, Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León might have been better off turning his search inwards. More specifically, he should have turned his attention to a region of the brain called the hypothalamus. At least that's what research carried out on mice by scientists at New York's Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University suggests. They found that the hypothalamus controls many aspects of aging, opening up the potential to slow down the aging process by altering signal pathways within that part of the brain."
Lucas123 writes "While you can buy a 1TB hard drive for your computer for less than $100, Ford today offers 10GB. Don't expect much more anytime soon. Apart from the obvious — a car's development process can be four years long — the automotive industry also tends to be behind the tech curve because of a lack of equipment standardization. And, while it's possible for the industry to build modular infotainment systems that could be upgraded over the life of the car, there are no plans to do so. Instead, car companies intend to offer software upgradable vehicles through 4G connectivity and data storage and entertainment streaming through the cloud, which means they have to worry less about onboard hardware reliability and standardization."
First time accepted submitter edwardins writes "TED has teamed up with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the New York public broadcaster WNET to create an hour long special called, 'TED Talks Education.' From the article: 'The Corporation for Public Broadcasting paid for the show's $1 million costs under the auspices of an initiative that addresses the high school drop-out problem in the United States. "It was the perfect marriage of ideas that matter and our core value of education," said Patricia Harrison, the corporation's chief executive.'"
cylonlover writes "Aside from the inconvenience of injecting insulin multiple times a day, type 1 diabetics also face health risks if the dosage level isn't accurate. A new approach developed by U.S. researchers has the potential to overcome both of these problems. The method relies on a network of nanoscale particles that, once injected into the body, can maintain normal blood sugar levels for more than a week by releasing insulin when blood-sugar levels rise."
jfruh writes "According to an email from a Google spokesman, YouTube will be offering a $1.99/month subscription service as early as this week. This service will 'bring even more great content to YouTube for our users to enjoy and provide our creators with another vehicle to generate revenue from their content,' though there was no indication of what content will be offered through the service exactly. YouTube has offered rentals for specific videos before but this is the first time the service would go head-to-head with subscription services like Netflix."
theodp writes "Remember New Coke? Twenty-eight years ago, Coca-Cola replaced the secret formula of its flagship brand, only to announce the return of the "classic" formula just 79 days later. Had it launched in 2013, Coke's Jay Moye suspects a social media backlash would have prompted it to reverse itself even sooner. In a timely follow-up, ZDNet's Steven Vaughan-Nichols points out that Microsoft is facing its own New Coke moment with Windows 8. 'Does Ballmer have the guts to admit he made a mistake and give users what they clearly want?' Vaughan-Nichols asks. 'While it's too late for Windows 8, Blue might give us back our Start button and an Aero-like interface. We don't know.'"
On Friday, we mentioned that Defense Distributed had created a (near-enough-to) fully 3-D printed pistol. Sparrowvsrevolution now writes that "Last week, the Liberator was fired for the first time at a firing range and successfully shot a .380 caliber bullet using a remote firing setup. Over the weekend, Defense Distributed's founder, the anarchist and radical libertarian Cody Wilson, was bold enough to try firing it by hand. The results of that test, witnessed by a reporter, indicate that the era of the 3D-printed firearm may be upon us, for better or for worse." Predictably, certain politicians are — so to speak — up in arms about it.
Guppy writes "Does Tylenol reduce existential distress? Acetaminophen (Paracetamol) has been used to relieve mild-to-moderate physical pain for over a century, yet its actual mechanism of action continues to be debated; modern research has demonstrated an intriguing connection with the body's endocannabinoid system, raising the question of whether it may also have subtle psychological effects as well. A recent paper claims Acetaminophen can alter our response to existential challenge; previous findings have suggested that it may blunt the pain of social rejection as well."