Submission + - Philadelphia Voters Elect First Whig To Public Office In 160 Years (myfoxny.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Fox News reports, "Voters in Philadelphia have elected a Whig to public office for what the victor believes may be the first time in nearly 160 years. Robert "Heshy" Bucholz, a member of the Modern Whig party, campaigned door-to-door and won 36 votes to his Democratic opponent's 24 on Tuesday to become an election judge in the city's Rhawnhurst section. Election judges, who serve four-year terms, receive about $100 annually and are responsible for overseeing equipment and procedures at the polls. Now a heavily Democratic city, Philadelphia's last Whig mayor was elected in 1854. It's hard to verify whether Whigs won any lower offices after that, said Stephanie Singer, one of three commissioners overseeing local elections. Previously an independent, Bucholz said he joined the Whigs three years ago because of their fiscally conservative but socially liberal views. They represent a sensible "middle path" between Democrats and Republicans, especially in light of the recent government shutdown, he said. "That pretty much told us we can't trust either party and the system is broken," Bucholz said Thursday. Four U.S. presidents were Whigs in the mid-1800s."

Submission + - Seattle PD mum on tracking by its new WiFi mesh network

An anonymous reader writes: The Stranger reports that Seattle's police department has installed a WiFi mesh network paid for by the Department of Homeland Security.

FTA: The SPD declined to answer more than a dozen questions from The Stranger, including whether the network is operational, who has access to its data, what it might be used for, and whether the SPD has used it (or intends to use it) to geo-locate people's devices via their MAC addresses or other identifiers.

Submission + - The Man Who Would Teach Machines to Think

HilleBille writes: In this article James Somers from The Atlantic interviews Douglas Hofstadter, the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Gödel, Escher, Bach,. He thinks we've lost sight of what artificial intelligence really means. His stubborn quest to replicate the human mind.

Remember the days when we actually thought that AI would happen? Luckily some scientists still do. This is a great story about one of the pioneers of AI, and how AI-science has been capitalized and has degraded during the last decades. We cared when Deep Blue beat Gerry Kasparov, not because Deep Blue was smart — we only cared because of the raw computational power behind it. And who really cared about Watson, the machine that beat some Jeopardy master? After reading this article, You may revive that hope for the good old-fashioned sci-fi dreams about actual thinking machines to come true.

Submission + - Oracle Kills Commercial Support for GlassFish: Was It Inevitable? (adtmag.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Oracle acquired GlassFish when it acquired Sun Microsystems, and now — like OpenSolaris and OpenOffice — the company has announced it will no longer support a commercial version of the product. Mike Milinkovich, executive director of the Eclipse Foundation. said in an interview the decision wasn't exactly a surprise: "The only company that was putting any real investment in GlassFish was Oracle," Milinkovich said. "Nobody else was really stepping up to the plate to help. If you never contributed anything to it, you can't complain when something like this happens." An update to the open source version is still planned for 2014.

Submission + - Construction Firm Balfour Beatty Considers Drone Workers 1

cagraham writes: International engineering and construction firm Balfour Beatty is considering using drones in order to construct walls and monitor work sites, among other things. Beatty CIO Danny Reeves, speaking at the Fujitsu Forum, said drones could improve efficiency and safety on sites. He also talked of implementing sensors that would monitor worker's stress levels and bodily functions, and notify management when they became less effective, or mistake-prone, on the job.

Submission + - Scientists Invent Urine-Powered Robots (computerworld.com)

Lucas123 writes: Researchers have already built robots that can use microorganisms to digest waste material, such as rotten fruit and vegetables, and generate electricity from it. This time, a group of scientists has taken that concept to a strange, new place: urine-powered robots. The scientists from the University of the West of England, Bristol and the University of Bristol constructed a system in robots that functions like the human heart, except it's designed to pump urine into the robot's "engine room," converting the waste into electricity and enabling the robot to function completely on its own. The researchers hope the system, which can hold 24.5 ml of urine, could be used to power future generations of robots, or what they're calling EcoBots. "In the city environment, they could re-charge using urine from urinals in public lavatories," said Peter Walters, a researcher with the University of the West of England. "In rural environments, liquid waste effluent could be collected from farms."

Submission + - Ink-Jet Printing Custom-Designed Micro Circuits (slashdot.org)

Nerval's Lobster writes: Researchers have demonstrated a technique that produces inexpensive, functional electrical circuits that can be printed using about $300 worth of materials and equipment, including generic inkjet printers. The technique, developed by researchers from Georgia Tech, the University of Tokyo and Microsoft Research, allows circuits to be printed onto irregularly-shaped materials or almost anything able to go through the paper feed on a printer designed for consumers. The chief advantage of the technique is the ability to print circuits using silver nanoparticle ink rather than relying on the thermal-bonding technique called sintering, which is time-consuming and can destroy delicate base materials. Researchers were able to print new circuits in about 60 seconds on almost any material that could go through the printer, though resin-covered paper, PET film and glossy photo paper worked best, while sheets of canvas cloth and anything magnetic were ineffective. Once printed using silver ink on flexible base material, the circuits can be attached to existing hardware by simply laying or taping it in place and making connections using conductive tape or conductive glue. (Soldering would destroy the underlying material.)

Submission + - Nexus 5 with Android 4.4 and Snapdragon 800 Challenges Apple A7 In Benchmarks (hothardware.com)

MojoKid writes: One of the hallmark features of Google's Nexus 5 flagship smartphone by LG isn't its bodaciously big 5-inch HD display, its 8MP camera, or its "OK Google" voice commands. That has all been done before. What does stand out about the Nexus 5 is Google's new Android 4.4 Kit Kat OS and LG's SoC (System on Chip) processor of choice, namely Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800 quad-core. Qualcomm is known for licensing ARM core technology and making it their own; and Qualcomm's latest Krait 400 quad-core along with the Adreno 330 GPU that comprise the Snapdragon 800, is a powerful beast. Google also has taken the scalpel to Kit Kat in all the right places, whittling down the overall footprint of the OS, so it's more efficient on lower-end devices and also offers faster multitasking. Specifically memory usage has been optimized in a number of areas. Couple these OS tweaks with Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800 and you end up with a smartphone that hugs the corners and lights 'em up on the straights. Putting the Nexus 5 through its paces, it turns out preliminary figures are promising. In fact, the Nexus 5 actually was able to surpass the iPhone 5s with Apple's 64-bit A7 processor in a few tests and goes toe to toe with it in gaming and graphics.

Submission + - Tesla Fires and Firestorms: Let's Breathe and Review Some Car Fire Math (greencarreports.com)

cartechboy writes: There are about 150,000 vehicle fires reported every year in the U.S. — 17 every hour. But when that vehicle fire is a Tesla, the Internet notices. There have now been three fires among roughly 20,000 Tesla Model S electric cars in the road so far. The stock is down, the Feds are asking questions and the Internet is floating in Tesla news. It may be time to check the facts and review some math (hint: we're looking at roughly one fire for every 33 million miles driven so far) and then breathe. Then look at what we know, what we don't know, and what we should know.

Submission + - Duke Univ. Device Converts Stray Wireless Energy Into Electricity for Charging (computerworld.com)

Lucas123 writes: Engineers at Duke University say they've constructed a device that can collect stray wireless signals and convert them into energy to charge batteries in devices such as cell phones and tablets. The WiFi collection device, made of cheap copper coils and fiberglass, can even aggregate energy from satellite signals and sound waves.The researchers created a series of five fiberglass and copper energy conductors on a circuit board, which was able to convert microwaves into 7.3V of electrical energy. By comparison, Universal Serial Bus (USB) chargers for small electronic devices provide about 5V of power. The device, the researchers say, is as efficient as solar cells with an energy conversion rate of 37%.

Submission + - Taking a QUIC Test Drive (connectify.me)

agizis writes: Google presented their new QUIC (Quick UDP Internet Connections) protocol to the IETF yesterday as a future replacement for TCP. It was discussed here when it was originally announced, but now there’s real working code. How fast is it really? We wanted to know, so we dug in and benchmarked QUIC at different bandwidths, latencies and reliability levels (test code included, of course), and ran our results by the QUIC team.

Submission + - Motorola patent uses neck tattoo as microphone (pcpro.co.uk) 2

nk497 writes: A Motorola Mobility patent application has proposed using an "electronic skin tattoo" as a smartphone microphone and wireless transceiver. The temporary tattoo would also include a "power supply configured to receive energising signals from a personal area network", according to the filing with the US Patent and Trademark Office. It would be applied to "a throat region of a body" — otherwise known as the neck. Motorola thinks the technology would be ideal for noisy environments, such as large stadiums and busy streets, or in emergency situations.

Submission + - Amazon Gets Blow-back from Kindle Sales at Small Shops Plan (bbc.co.uk)

Rambo Tribble writes: No sooner had Amazon revealed their plan to offer independent book shops the Kindle for re-sale, along with a kick-back on e-book purchases, than the fur began to fly. It appears the shops view the plan as Amazon-assisted suicide. Given the apparent terms of the deal, it looks like they may have a point. Amazon may well have done themselves more harm than good with this ploy.

Submission + - 3D Printer is being developed to build 2,500 Square Foot House In 20 Hours.

rtoz writes: A professor is working on technology named as Contour Crafting which can print an entire 2,500 sqft house in 20 hours

He was able to make a printhead that can extrude wet cement in such a way that the cement is able to keep its form as each successive layer is printed.

Using the Contour Crafting (CC) a single house or a colony of houses, each with possibly a different design, may be automatically constructed in a single run, embedded in each house all the conduits for electrical, plumbing and air-conditioning.

The professor believes that his technology would make the construction of efficient buildings so cheap and efficient that we could print houses for Millions of poor people living in slums across the world. And, this kind of building process will avoid the killings and injuries related to construction accidents.

Apart from printing Houses, Contour Crafting can be used for building habitats on other planets such as Moon and Mars which are being targeted for human colonization.

Submission + - The NSA Is Looking For A Few Good Geeks (itworld.com) 1

itwbennett writes: Dan Tynan noticed something curious when he was reading a TechCrunch story (about Google's mystery barges, as it happens). There was a banner ad promoting careers at the NSA — and this was no ad-serving network fluke. Tynan visited the TechCrunch site on 3 different machines, and saw an NSA ad every time. In one version of the ad, a male voice says, 'There are activities that I've worked on that make, you know, front page headlines. And I can say, I know all about that, I had a hand in that. The things that happen here at NSA really have national and world ramifications.' If this sounds like the job for you, pop on over to TechCrunch the spooks are waiting.

Submission + - Wikimedia Launches Beta Program To Test Upcoming Features

An anonymous reader writes: Wikimedia today announced the launch of a beta program simply called Beta Features. In short, the organization is offering a way for users to try out new features on Wikipedia and other Wikimedia sites before they are released for everyone. If you're reading this with bated breath, you'll be happy to know logged-in users can join the early testing right now on MediaWiki.org, meta.wikimedia.org and Wikimedia Commons. Wikimedia plans to release Beta Features on all wikis in two weeks, on November 21, although the date may shift depending on the feedback the organization receives.

Submission + - Osha Wants to Post All Workplace Injury Reports Online

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: AP reports that federal safety regulators are proposing major changes in workplace reporting rules that would require large companies to file injury and illness reports electronically so they can be posted online and made available to the public. "Public posting of workplace illness and injury information will nudge employers to better identify and eliminate hazards," says OSHA head David Michaels. "We believe that responsible employers will want to be recognized as leaders in safety." OSHA says the change is in line with President Barack Obama's initiative to increase public access to government data. The plan would require companies with more than 250 employees to submit the data electronically on a quarterly basis. That would cover about 38,000 American companies, says Michaels. Under current rules, employers are required to post annual summaries of injury and illness reports in a common area where they can be seen by employees. While the OSHA web site contains raw numbers about incidents at certain workplaces, it doesn't describe what the injury was or how it occurred. OSHA will hold a public meeting on the proposed rule on January 9 in Washington and is accepting public comments for 90 days, until February 6, 2014. Not everyone is enamored of the change. "Just because you have an injury, it does not mean there was employer fault," says Marc Freedman, executive director of labor law policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. "Reporting the injury records does not tell the full story of the company." Some company safety professionals and researchers say they are concerned that the new proposal might unintentionally create an under-reporting problem. Companies may feel pressure to report lower injury numbers if they know they will be made public. "What OSHA is hoping to accomplish is that by getting it more visible, companies will do the right thing and work to reduce the numbers. That's a good, long-term goal," says Barbara Dawson. "But I think there's going to be some short-term concern about the tendency to want to under-report so that the records look better."

Submission + - Stephen Elop Would Pull a Nokia on Microsoft (slashdot.org)

Nerval's Lobster writes: A new Bloomberg report suggests that Stephen Elop, who’s apparently on the short list of candidates to replace Steve Ballmer as Microsoft’s CEO, would eliminate company projects such as Xbox and Bing while focusing resources on Office. Before he left Microsoft to join Nokia, Elop headed Microsoft’s Business Division, so it’s no surprise he’d want to focus on Office and the company’s other, highly profitable enterprise software. But as head of Nokia, Elop made similarly bold strategic realignments that, while they probably looked good on paper, didn’t quite work out. Specifically, Elop decided to abandon Nokia’s popular homegrown operating systems, including Symbian, in favor of Microsoft’s Windows Phone. That caused Nokia’s share of the overall mobile-device market to dive into the single digits. At the time, Elop insisted he made the decision because Symbian and its ilk were incapable of competing in the broader market against Android and iOS; revelations by the Finnish media over the past few months, however, suggest that he’d been offered a generous cash incentive for selling off the company, which gives his “strategic realignment” (which everyone knew would initially collapse Nokia’s market-share, as its product pipeline emptied out) a whiff of self-interest. So while it’s likely that a Microsoft run by Elop would make some decisive moves, his previous attempt at game-changing quickly transformed Nokia from a communications powerhouse into a second-tier competitor and (eventually) a Microsoft subsidiary. And by eliminating Bing and Xbox, Microsoft would be giving up completely on the search and gaming markets in favor of becoming more of an enterprise-centric company—something that could please analysts mostly interested in the company’s bottom line, but basically an admission of defeat in the consumer realm.

Submission + - Solid Concepts Manufactures First 3D-printed Metal Pistol (gizmag.com) 1

Zothecula writes: In a prime example of past meets future, a Texas-based company has used a century-old classic firearm as the blueprint for the world’s first 3D-printed metal gun. Solid Concepts' use of a laser sintering method to create a fully functional Model 1911 automatic pistol is the latest demonstration of the potential of 3D printing techniques in industrial processing.

Submission + - Snowden Used Social Engineering To Get Classified Documents (reuters.com) 1

cold fjord writes: Reuters reports, "Edward Snowden used login credentials and passwords provided unwittingly by colleagues ... to access some of the classified material he leaked ... A handful of agency employees who gave their login details to Snowden were identified, questioned and removed from their assignments ... Snowden may have persuaded between 20 and 25 fellow workers at the NSA regional operations center in Hawaii to give him their logins and passwords by telling them they were needed for him to do his job as a computer systems administrator ... People familiar with efforts to assess the damage to U.S. intelligence caused by Snowden's leaks have said assessments are proceeding slowly because Snowden succeeded in obscuring some electronic traces of how he accessed NSA records. ... The revelation that Snowden got access to some of the material he leaked by using colleagues' passwords surfaced as the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee approved a bill intended in part to tighten security over U.S. intelligence data. One provision of the bill would earmark a classified sum of money ... to help fund efforts by intelligence agencies to install new software designed to spot and track attempts to access or download secret materials without proper authorization."

Submission + - Physicists Smash Record For Wave-Particle Duality (medium.com)

KentuckyFC writes: One of the central concepts in quantum theory is wave-particle duality--that every object can be thought of as a particle and a wave. Indeed every object has a quantum wavelength associated with it and so can form a quantum superposition with itself. That's easy to demonstrate with fundamental particles such as photons and electrons by passing a beam of them through a double slit and watching the interference pattern that forms on the other side. In this way, physicists have observed the interference patterns associated with atoms and even molecules such as buckyballs. Now a group at the University of Vienna have observed the interference pattern formed by the quantum superposition of molecules containing over 800 atoms or around 5000 protons, 5000 neutrons and 5000 electrons. That's the most macroscopic occurrence of wave-particle duality ever observed, they say.

Submission + - Feedly Forces its Users to Create Google+ Profiles

somegeekynick writes: Feedly users, a lot of whom migrated from the now-defunct Google Reader, are now finding out that they will not be able to login to the service without a Google+ Profile. In a blog post from Edwin Khodabakchian, which was posted almost at the same time the change rolled out, the reason for the change is stated as following Google's own move from using OAuth to Google+ for authentication. What has riled up a lot of users, as can be read in the comments, is that this change has come without warning and a lot of feeds are now being "held hostage" by Feedly, especially for users who are reluctant to create Google+ Profiles.

Submission + - BitCoin Donations To US Campaigns Might Soon Be Allowed (politico.com)

SonicSpike writes: Political campaigns will be allowed to accept — but not spend — the digital currency Bitcoin, under a proposed federal rule released Thursday. The Federal Election Commission draft would require campaigns to first convert any Bitcoins collected as donation to dollars.

According to the proposal, the currency will count as an “in-kind” contribution to a campaign — like a stock or bond. The FEC will not consider them currency. Campaigns are permitted to accept non-monetary contributions like stocks, private stocks, commodities, and equipment— but must list their value in dollars on campaign finance reports.

Attorneys for Conservative Action Fund PAC asked the agency in September to decide if and how political candidates and outside groups are allowed to use the digital currency, in addition to U.S. dollars. “As increasing numbers of individuals trade in Bitcoin, political parties and candidates also wish to accept and spend this new currency,” Dan Backer of DB Capitol Strategies wrote in the request on behalf of the Fund. The request asked the FEC 24 technical questions regarding the use of Bitcoin as political contributions.

Submission + - Nvidia GeForce GTX 780 Ti Review: GK110, Fully Unlocked (tomshardware.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Earlier this morning Nvidia lifted the veil on its latest high-end graphics board, the GeForce GTX 780 Ti. With a total of 2,880 CUDA cores and 240 texture units, the GK110 GPU inside the GTX 780 Ti is fully unlocked. This means that the new card has an additional SMX block, 192 more shader cores, and 16 additional texture units than the $1,000 GTX Titan launched back in February! Offered at just $700, the GTX 780 Ti promises to improve gaming performance over the Titan, yet the card has been artificially limited in GPGPU performance — no doubt in order to make sure the pricier card remains relevant to those unable or unwilling to spring for a Quadro.

The benchmark results simply illustrate the GTX 780 Ti’s on-paper specs. The card was able to beat AMD’s just-released flagship, the Radeon R9 290x by single-digit percentages, up to double-digits topping 30% — depending on the variability of AMD’s press and retail samples. The GTX 780 Ti is the unequivocal leader in single-GPU performance, specially considering the inconsistent behavior of the R9 290X.

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