Dolphins' Hunting Technique Inspires New Radar Device 79

minty3 writes "The twin inverted pulse radar (TWIPR) made by a team from the University of Southampton in England uses the same technique dolphins do to capture prey. Like dolphins, the device sends out two pulses in quick succession to cancel out background noise. The findings, published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical and Physical Sciences, explained how the device resembles the way dolphins send out two pulses in quick succession to cancel out background noise."

New Goggles Offer Minority Report-Style Interface With Heads-Up Display 67

Lucas123 writes "A Taiwanese non-profit R&D organization is demonstrating a new heads-up type display that allows users to interact with the floating virtual screens using finger swipes. The new i-Air Touch technology from the Industrial Technology Research Institute is being developed for an array of devices, including PCs, wearable computers and mobile devices. The technology allows a user's hand to be free of any physical device such as a touchpad or keyboard for touch input. ITRI plans to license the patented technology to manufacturers. The company sees the technology being used in not only consumer arenas (video), but also for medical applications such as endoscopic surgery and any industrial applications that benefit from hands-free input."
The Internet

Top US Lobbyist Wants Broadband Data Caps 568

sl4shd0rk writes "Michael Powell, A former United States FCC chairman, is pushing for 'usage-based internet access' which he says is good for consumers who are 'accustomed to paying for what they use'. Apparently Time Warner and Comcast (maybe others) are already developing plans to set monthly rates based on bandwidth usage. The reasoning on the NCTA website lays out the argument behind Powell's plan."

Google Leads Among Consumer Tech Companies Lobbying Congress 65

Nerval's Lobster writes "Google is still the tech company that spends most lavishly to make its influence known in Washington, D.C., according to a report analyzing the lobbying activity of technology firms. Using data from disclosure forms filed with the Clerk of the House of Representatives, the oversight group Consumer Watchdog added up the efforts of tech-company representatives to get in front of lawmakers and state their employers' case. Facebook's spending on lobbying rose 47 percent between 2012 and 2013, from $980,000 during the third quarter of 2012 to 1.4 million during 2013. Microsoft also boosted its spending by 20 percent, from $1.9 million in 2012 to $2.2 million during the third quarter of this year. Google cut its spending on lobbyists, but still spent $3.4 million during the third quarter – three times what Facebook spent during the same quarter. Apple's lobbying efforts shot up 111 percent between the third quarter of 2012 and 2013, but still amounted to only $970,000 this year. Cisco Systems spent $890,000; IBM spent $1.18 million; Intel spent $980,000 and Oracle spent $1.36 million. Though telecommunications firms are in a separate category, Google still outspent Verizon (down 2 percent, to $3.04 million) and Verizon Wireless (up 19 percent, to $1.2 million). It was trumped by AT&T (up 23 percent, to $4.3 million)."

Next-Gen GPU Progress Slowing As It Aims for 20 nm and Beyond 91

JoshMST writes "Why are we in the middle of GPU-renaming hell? AMD may be releasing a new 28-nm Hawaii chip in the next few days, but it is still based on the same 28-nm process that the original HD 7970 debuted on nearly two years ago. Quick and easy (relative terms) process node transitions are probably a thing of the past. 20-nm lines applicable to large ASICs are not being opened until mid-2014. 'AMD and NVIDIA will have to do a lot of work to implement next generation features without breaking transistor budgets. They will have to do more with less, essentially. Either that or we will just have to deal with a much slower introduction of next generation parts.' It's amazing how far the graphics industry has come in the past 18 years, but the challenges ahead are greater than ever."

Germany: We Think NSA May Have Tapped Chancellor Merkel's Cell Phone 267

cold fjord writes "According to a report in the Miami Herald, 'Chancellor Angela Merkel has called President Barack Obama after receiving information that U.S. intelligence may have targeted her mobile phone. Merkel spokesman Steffen Seibert said Merkel made clear in Wednesday's call that "she views such practices, if the indications are confirmed ... as completely unacceptable" and called for U.S. authorities to clarify the extent of surveillance in Germany.' Der Spiegel has some information on Germany's own "PRISM" project. White House spokesman Jay Carney said President Obama 'assured the chancellor that the United States is not monitoring and will not monitor' her communications. He didn't mention anything about past communications. This news follows allegations of U.S. surveillance of the Presidents of Mexico, and France. Yesterday the LA Times noted, 'French authorities are shocked — shocked — to learn that the American government is spying on French citizens. The Foreign Ministry summoned the U.S. ambassador to the Quai D'Orsay to inform him that what's going on is "unacceptable," and President Francois Hollande claimed to have issued a stern rebuke to President Obama in a phone conversation.' Up until now, Merkel had been reluctant to say anything bad about the U.S. over the NSA leaks."

Silicon Supercapacitor Promises Built-in Energy Storage For Electronic Devices 95

Science_afficionado writes "A news release from Vanderbilt University begins, 'Solar cells that produce electricity 24/7, not just when the sun is shining. Mobile phones with built-in power cells that recharge in seconds and work for weeks between charges. These are just two of the possibilities raised by a novel supercapacitor design invented by material scientists ... that is described in a paper published in the Oct. 22 issue of the journal Scientific Reports. It is the first supercapacitor that is made out of silicon so it can be built into a silicon chip along with the microelectronic circuitry that it powers. In fact, it should be possible to construct these power cells out of the excess silicon that exists in the current generation of solar cells, sensors, mobile phones and a variety of other electromechanical devices, providing a considerable cost savings. ... Instead of storing energy in chemical reactions the way batteries do, “supercaps” store electricity by assembling ions on the surface of a porous material. As a result, they tend to charge and discharge in minutes, instead of hours, and operate for a few million cycles, instead of a few thousand cycles like batteries.' The full academic paper is available online."
The Internet

PubMed Commons Opens Up Scientific Articles To User Comments 27

New submitter smegfault writes "In a new trial, PubMed Commons has been released. Until now, post-peer-publication results were restricted to letters to the editor of scientific journals; and even then some journals don't accept letters to the editor. With PubMed Commons, scientific peers can comment on PubMed-indexed articles without the interference of journal editors and peer reviewers. At the moment, eligible for participating are: 'Recipients of NIH (US) or Wellcome Trust (UK) grants can go to the NCBI website and register. You need a MyNCBI account, but they are available to the general public. If you are not a NIH or Wellcome Trust grant recipient, you are still eligible to participate if you are listed as an author on any publication listed in PubMed, even a letter to the editor. But you will need to be invited by somebody already signed up for participation in PubMed Commons. So, if you have a qualifying publication, you can simply get a colleague with the grant to sign up and then invite you.' However, reports are in that anyone with a PubMed / NCBI account can sign up on the PubMed home page."

5-Year Mission Continues After 45-Year Hiatus 283

Okian Warrior writes "Hackaday brings us news about a continuation of the original Star Trek series. The Kickstarter-funded project is attempting to complete the original 5-year mission, which ended after only three seasons on the air. The fan-based and fan-supported reincarnation is cleverly titled Star Trek Continues and has CBS's consent. Check out the first episode, Pilgrim of Eternity. For being fan-made, it's actually pretty good." The attention to detail in the sets, costumes, and even lighting is incredible. It's far and away the most faithful re-creation of the original series I've ever seen.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk: Fuel Cells Are 'So Bull@%!#' 479

Frosty P sends this quote from AutoblogGreen: "Elon Musk is unafraid to speak his mind. Whether he's talking about other players in the electric vehicle space or sub-par reporting from The New York Times, this is a man with few filters. Musk says that fuel cells are not part of the solution that electric vehicles offer for giving up the hydrocarbon addiction. After commenting that the only reason some automakers are pursuing hydrogen technology is for marketing purposes, that lithium batteries are superior mass- and volume-wise for a given range, and that fuel cells are too expensive, Musk capped it all off with the safety issue. 'Oh god, a fuel cell is so bull@%!#,' Musk said. 'Hydrogen is quite a dangerous gas. You know, it's suitable for the upper stage of rockets, but not for cars,' he said."
The Military

Nuclear Officers Napped With Blast Door Left Open 238

Lasrick writes "AP's Robert Burns reports that 'Air Force officers entrusted with the launch keys to long-range nuclear missiles have been caught twice this year leaving open a blast door that is intended to help prevent a terrorist or other intruder from entering their underground command post.' Why is that signifcant? At least one of the officers was napping at the time. Airforce officials said other violations like this have undoubtedly occurred and gone undetected. Yeesh. 'The blast door violations are another sign of trouble in the handling of the nation's nuclear arsenal. The AP has discovered a series of problems within the ICBM force, including a failed safety inspection, the temporary sidelining of launch officers deemed unfit for duty and the abrupt firing last week of the two-star general in charge. The problems, including low morale, underscore the challenges of keeping safe such a deadly force that is constantly on alert but is unlikely ever to be used.'"
Operating Systems

Torvalds: SteamOS Will 'Really Help' Linux On the Desktop 304

nk497 writes "Linus Torvalds has welcomed the arrival of Valve's Linux-based platform, SteamOS, and said it could boost Linux on desktops. The Linux creator praised Valve's 'vision' and suggested its momentum would force other manufacturers to take Linux seriously — especially if game developers start to ditch Windows. Should SteamOS gain traction among gamers and developers, that could force more hardware manufacturers to extend driver support beyond Windows. That's a sore point for Torvalds, who slammed Nvidia last year for failing to support open-source driver development for its graphics chips. Now that SteamOS is on the way, Nvidia has opened up to the Linux community, something Torvalds predicts is a sign of things to come. 'I'm not just saying it'll help us get traction with the graphics guys,' he said. 'It'll also force different distributors to realize if this is how Steam is going, they need to do the same thing because they can't afford to be different in this respect. They want people to play games on their platform too.'"

Wikipedia's Participation Problem 372

holy_calamity writes "More people use Wikipedia than ever but the number of people contributing to the project has declined by a third since 2007, and it still has significant gaps in its quality and coverage. MIT Technology Review reports on the troubled efforts to make the site more welcoming to newcomers, which Jimmy Wales says must succeed if Wikipedia is to address its failings."

Ask Slashdot: How Do You Choose Frameworks That Will Survive? 227

First time accepted submitter waslap writes "I have a leading role at a small software development company. I am responsible for giving guidance and making decisions on tool usage within the shop. I find the task of choosing frameworks to use within our team, and specifically UI frameworks, exceedingly difficult. A couple of years back my investigation of RIA frameworks lead me to eventually push for Adobe Flex [] as the UI framework of choice for our future web development. This was long before anyone would have guessed that Adobe would abandon the Linux version of Flash. I chose Flex mainly for its maturity, wealth of documentation, commercial backing, and the superior abilities of Flash, at a time when HTML 5 was still in the early stages of planning. Conversely, about 15 years ago I made a switch to Qt for desktop applications and it is still around and thriving. I am trying to understand why it was the right choice and the others not. Perhaps Qt's design was done so well that it could not be improved. I'm not sure whether that assessment is accurate. I cannot find a sound decision-tree based on my experiences to assist me in making choices that have staying power. I hope the esteemed Slashdot readers can provide helpful input on the matter. We need a set of fail-safe axioms" Read on for more context.

LG Launches Its Firefox OS Phone Fireweb for $200 91

SmartAboutThings writes "LG has launched the Fireweb Firefox OS smartphone in a joint event with the Telefonica Vivo carrier. The Fireweb Firefox OS smartphone will be available for around $200 and will join the Alcatel One Touch Fire which Telfonia is launching in Brazil, starting today. Mexico, Peru, and Uruguay are the next countries to get it. The Fireweb smartphone is LG's very first Firefox OS device and it increases the small number of OEMs that have released Firefox OS devices on the market. The smartphone has a 4-inch screen with a 480 x 320 display, a 1GHz Qualcomm processor and 4GB internal storage that can be expanded with the microSD card slot by up to 32GB. It has a 5-megapixel cameras that comes with both autofocusing and an LED flash, which is a first for Firefox OS phones." Hopefully an OEM releases a Firefox OS phone with beefier hardware, but you can't argue with the price.

ACA Health Exchange Contractors Have History of Security Failures 144

Lucas123 writes "Two of the contractors involved in developing online health insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act, which have been plagued by technical problems since launching this month, have had serious data security issues in the past. Quality Software Services developed the software for the Affordable Care Act's data services hub and oversaw development of tools to connect the hub to the databases of other federal agencies. Last June, an audit report by the Health and Human Services Inspector General found QSS failed to adhere to federal security standards (PDF) in delivering IT testing services for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Additionally, services firm Serco suffered a major security breach in 2012. Serco won a five-year $1.3 billion contract to process and verify paper applications for health insurance via the online exchanges. Serco's breach exposed sensitive data of more than 123,000 members of the Thrift Savings Plan, a $313 billion retirement plan run by the U.S. Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board. The exposed data included full names, addresses, Social Security Numbers, financial account information, and bank routing information."

Improved Image Quality For HMDs Like Oculus Rift 55

An anonymous reader writes "The combination of smartphone panels with relatively cheap and light-weight lenses enabled affordable wide-angle Head Mounted Displays like the Oculus Rift. However, these optics introduce distortions when viewing the image through the HMD. So far these have been compensated for in software by using post-processing pixel shaders that warp the image. However, by doing so a loss in image quality (sharpness) can be perceived. Now researchers from Intel found a way around this error by using different sampling for rendering, therefore potentially increasing the image quality of all current and future HMDs with a wide field of view." Rather than applying barrel distortion to the final raster image, the researchers warp the scene geometry during rasterization. However, it currently requires ray tracing so it's a bit computationally expensive. Note that a vertex transformation can be used (with tessellation used to enhance the approximation), but the results are of variable quality.

Surgeon Simulator: Inside the World's Hardest Game 64

An anonymous reader writes "In the space of a few short months, Surgeon Simulator 2013 has attained cult status. A sort of spiritual successor to the maddening QWOP, the PC game requires you to operate the individual fingers of a hapless surgeon in an increasingly absurd set of gore-filled scenarios. What's so remarkable is the turnaround time: the initial prototype came out of a 48-hour game jam, and was released as a commercial game just a month and a half later. A new profile of the studio's founder looks at how Bossa Studios, the London-based development team behind SS 2013, iterates so quickly, as well as what's next from the team, including an iPad version of Surgeon Simulator, and a cross platform MOBA that's half League of Legends, half Mario Kart battle mode."

The Cloud: Convenient Until a Stranger Nukes Your Files 262

jfruh writes "Thanks to a plethora of cloud storage accounts, Dan Tynan thought his days of carrying a thumb drive around with him and worrying about email stripping out his attachments were over. But that was before he discovered that his account and all the files in it had vanished without a trace. With tech support coming up empty, Tynan had to put on his journalist hat to track down the bizarre sequence of events that ended with his account handed over to another user, who didn't ask for it and didn't even know who Tynan was."

Users Slow to Update Netgear ReadyNAS Boxes Open To Remote Exploit 53

Trailrunner7 writes with this bit of news from Threatpost "A popular NETGEAR network-attached storage product used primarily in medium-sized organizations has a gaping vulnerability that puts any data moving through a network in jeopardy. The flaw in ReadyNAS, specifically its Frontview front end, was patched via a firmware update three months ago. But according to Tripwire researcher Craig Young who discovered the issue and reported it to NETGEAR, only a fraction of Internet-facing boxes have been patched. An attacker exploiting the vulnerability could gain root access to the box. 'There's a lot of room for people to get burned on this,' Young told Threatpost. 'I felt it is important to get the message out to people that if you're running the RAIDiator firmware (prior to the current version) it's easy to attack the system. As we've found with Microsoft patches, people reverse-engineer patches to find vulnerabilities. This is the type of thing that anyone could trivially compare this firmware to the previous and see in an instant where the vulnerability is.'"

White House Official Tracked Down and Fired Over Insulting Tweets 208

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "BBC reports that Jofi Joseph, a senior National Security Council staffer who was a key member of the White House team negotiating on Iran's nuclear weapons program, has been fired ... after a months-long probe into a barrage of tweets that included caustic criticisms of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and top NSC officials, especially Ben Rhodes – whom he accused of dodging questions about Benghazi. Joseph, who posted under the now defunct Twitter name @NatSecWonk, gave a lacerating commentary on anything from policy to personal appearance. 'Was Huma Abedin wearing beer goggles the night she met Anthony Weiner,' he tweeted, referring to the scandal-hit former New York mayoral candidate and his wife, a former aide of Hillary Clinton. He tweeted that Mrs Clinton 'had few policy goals and no wins' in the Middle East. He said Chelsea Clinton was 'assuming all of her parents' vices,' and targeted figures such as Republican commentator Liz Cheney and Mitt Romney's wife Ann for their looks and weight. Many in the foreign policy community reacted with shock to the revelation that Joseph was the mystery tweeter because Joseph was well known among policy wonks and his wife, Carolyn Leddy, is a well-respected professional staffer on the Republican side of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. 'What started out as an intended parody account of DC culture developed over time into a series of inappropriate and mean-spirited comments,' said Joseph in an apology. 'I bear complete responsibility for this affair and I sincerely apologize to everyone I insulted.'"

First Experimental Evidence That Time Is an Emergent Quantum Phenomenon 530

KentuckyFC writes "One of the great challenges in physics is to unite the theories of quantum mechanics and general relativity. But all attempts to do this all run into the famous 'problem of time' — the resulting equations describe a static universe in which nothing ever happens. In 1983, theoreticians showed how this could be solved if time is an emergent phenomenon based on entanglement, the phenomenon in which two quantum particles share the same existence. An external, god-like observer always sees no difference between these particles compared to an external objective clock. But an observer who measures one of the pair — and so becomes entangled with it--can immediately see how it evolves differently from its partner. So from the outside the universe appears static and unchanging, while objects that are entangled within it experience the maelstrom of change. Now quantum physicists have performed the first experimental test of this idea by measuring the evolution of a pair of entangled photons in two different ways. An external god-like observer sees no difference while an observer who measures one particle and becomes entangled with it does see the change. In other words, the experiment shows how time is an emergent phenomenon based on entanglement, in which case the contradiction between quantum mechanics and general relativity seems to melt away."

Court Rules Probable-Cause Warrant Required For GPS Trackers 116

schwit1 tips this news from Wired: "An appellate court has finally supplied an answer to an open question left dangling by the Supreme Court in 2012: Do law enforcement agencies need a probable-cause warrant to affix a GPS tracker to a target's vehicle? The justices said the government's statement 'wags the dog rather vigorously,' noting that the primary reason for a search cannot be to generate evidence for law enforcement purposes. They also noted that 'Generally speaking, a warrantless search is not rendered reasonable merely because probable cause existed that would have justified the issuance of a warrant.' The justices also rejected the government's argument that obtaining a warrant would impede the ability of law enforcement to investigate crimes."

Ask Slashdot: Best SOHO Printer Choices? 381

rueger writes "I can remember trading up from a daisy-wheel printer to dot matrix, and can remember when Jerry Pournelle used to say 'Buy the most expensive HP printer you can afford.' Mine was a 4P. Times have changed, though, and I'm looking for trustworthy advice before buying a couple of new printers. Specifically, a B&W Laser with sheet feed scanner, and a color inkjet with a solid flatbed scanner for copying music. We want solid, reliable machines that will give a few years of small office service, that have reasonably cheap consumables, and that will "just work" with Windows and Linux. Network ready of course. Let me expand. These days there seems to be no market leader in printers — they tend to be cheap disposable items. Part of the reason is that it is hard to find any real user reviews of these machines — most of the comments on Best Buy or other sites are full of fanboy enthusiasm, or extreme negativity — nothing that can be relied on. Between those, and the sock puppets, and the astroturfing, there's nothing I'd trust. I do trust Slashdot, though, for things like this. People here are able to offer realistic advice and experience that can usually tell the story. So, I ask: who's making good printers these days?"

Exoplanet Count Peaks 1,000 116

astroengine writes "The first 1,000 exoplanets to be confirmed have been added to the Europe-based Extrasolar Planets Encyclopaedia. For the last few weeks, astronomers (and the science media) have been waiting with bated breath as the confirmed exoplanet count tallied closer and closer to the 1,000 mark. Then, with the help of the Super Wide Angle Search for Planets (SuperWASP) collaboration, the number jumped from 999 to 1,010 overnight. All of the 11 worlds are classified as 'hot-Jupiters' with orbital periods between 1 day and 9 days."

Laser Communication System Sets Record With Data Transmissions From Moon 43

sighted writes "NASA reports that it has used a pulsed laser beam to transmit data over the 384,633 kilometers (239,000 miles) between the Moon and the Earth at a transfer rate of 622 megabits per second. The transmissions took place between a ground station in New Mexico and the LADEE robotic spacecraft now orbiting the moon. 'LLCD is NASA's first system for two-way communication using a laser instead of radio waves. It also has demonstrated an error-free data upload rate of 20 Mbps transmitted from the primary ground station in New Mexico to the spacecraft currently orbiting the moon. ... LLCD is a short-duration experiment and the precursor to NASA's long-duration demonstration, the Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD). LCRD is a part of the agency's Technology Demonstration Missions Program, which is working to develop crosscutting technology capable of operating in the rigors of space. It is scheduled to launch in 2017.'"

Firefox's Blocked-By-Default Java Isn't Going Down Well 362

JG0LD writes "The Firefox web browser will, henceforth, require users to manually activate Java objects on sites that they visit, Mozilla has confirmed. This even affects up-to-date versions of Java, which you can see on the block list. The change is aimed at improving security and moving away from a dependence on proprietary plug-ins, but critics say it will cause untold headaches for developers, admins and less-technical end-users. "

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