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Media

Is Amazon Making a Sub-$300 Console To Play Mobile Games? 76

itwbennett writes "Yesterday, a story suggesting that Amazon was planning to launch a sub-$300 Android game console made the rounds. A $300 box to play mobile games on your TV? ITworld's Peter Smith doesn't buy it. 'If Amazon is working on some kind of set-top box, it's going to be about streaming,' says Smith. 'Music, video, and games. Remember back in November when Amazon announced G2, a new AWS instance type designed for streaming GPU intensive tasks like games? Combine Amazon's G2 cloud servers and an Amazon set top box for console-like game streaming, plus supporting Android and/or iOS games (possibly the latter would also be streamed), and of course support for Amazon Video and MP3, and we're getting closer to something that may be worth $300.'"

Submission + - Occulus Rift Used in Virtual Reality Prototype with Live Motion Capture (bbc.co.uk) 1

arisvega writes: A researcher at University College London has developed a prototype augmented reality system which enables users to interact with virtual objects, avatars and websites, all bundled with live motion tracking.

Before you get too excited, note that the system is rather difficult to be made portable, as it uses fixed cameras to perform motion capture.

The system, developed by William Steptoe (and presumably his team?), researcher at University College London, uses a head-mounted display and panels fitted to the hands to insert virtual objects into the room in which you sit or stand, enabling interaction with virtual objects, avatars and websites.

In this demonstration he uses the technology to interact with objects around him and brings up tablet-like displays to get online. He even uses his Occulus Rift to put on a virtual Occulus Rift on.

Data Storage

Hard Drive Reliability Study Flawed? 237

storagedude writes "A recent study of hard drive reliability by Backblaze was deeply flawed, according to Henry Newman, a longtime HPC storage consultant. Writing in Enterprise Storage Forum, Newman notes that the tested Seagate drives that had a high failure rate were either very old or had known issues. The study also failed to address manufacturer's specifications, drive burn-in and data reliability, among other issues. 'The oldest drive in the list is the Seagate Barracuda 1.5 TB drive from 2006. A drive that is almost 8 years old! Since it is well known in study after study that disk drives last about 5 years and no other drive is that old, I find it pretty disingenuous to leave out that information. Add to this that the Seagate 1.5 TB has a well-known problem that Seagate publicly admitted to, it is no surprise that these old drives are failing.'"
Linux Business

Ask Slashdot: Is Linux Set To Be PC Gaming's Number Two Platform? 281

monkeyhybrid writes "Following a tweet from the developer of Maia (a cross platform game soon to hit Steam) that Linux was bringing him more game sales than OS X. Gaming On Linux decided to investigate further by reaching out to multiple developers for platform sales statistics. Although the findings and developer comments show Linux sales to still be sitting in third place, behind those of OS X and Windows, they are showing promise. Developer feedback certainly appears to be positive about the platform's future. With Steam OS on its way, surely leading to more big title releases making their way to the Linux platform, could Linux gaming be set to take the number two spot from Apple?"
China

Submission + - How the web makes a real-life Breaking Bad possible—and legal (medium.com)

gallifreyan99 writes: The real revolution in drugs isn't Silk Road—it's the open web. Thanks to the net, almost anyone with a basic handle on chemistry can design, manufacture and sell their own narcotics, and in most cases the cops are utterly unable to stop them. This piece is kind of crazy: the writer actually creates a new powerful-but-legal stimulant based on a banned substance, and gets a Chinese lab to manufacture it.
Stats

Submission + - Predicting the Risk of Suicide by Analyzing the Text of Clinical Notes (plosone.org)

J05H writes: Soldier and veteran suicide rates are increasing due to various factors. Critically the rates have jumped in recent years. Bayesian search experts use gathered, anonymous Veteran's Administration notes to predict suicide risks. The main link is to the paper in PLoS One. A related effort by Mr. Poulin is the Durkheim Project that uses opt-in social media data for similar purposes http://www.durkheimproject.org...
Open Source

Video Why We Need OpenStreetMap (Video) 118

This video is a conversation between Slashdot's Timothy Lord and informal OpenStreetMap spokesman Serge Wroclawski. Serge stresses the point that OpenStreetMap isn't a mapping application, but consists of the data behind mapping applications; that there are many apps that use OpenStreetMap data; and that you are free to use OpenStreetMap as the data engine behind a map-based application. You are also welcome, even encouraged, to contribute, and you may want to check out the OpenStreetMap Foundation, which is "an international not-for-profit organization supporting, but not controlling, the OpenStreetMap Project." Now comes the question: Do you really want Google or MapQuest or another commercial (or government) entity to know where you are and where you're going? With OpenStreetMap you can download maps of your area, country or even the whole world and keep your travels confidential. You can also help create accurate maps of the areas you know best, including points of interest chosen by actual users like you, not because they paid to have their names on a commercially-produced map. A last thought: In addition to watching Serge in the video, you might want to read an article Serge wrote for his blog that The Guardian picked up about the need for OpenStreetMap. The 195+ comments attached to the article are interesting, too.

Submission + - Antioxidants Could Increase Cancer Rates (sciencemag.org)

sciencehabit writes: Many people take vitamins such as A, E, and C thinking that their antioxidant properties will ward off cancer. But some clinical trials have suggested that such antioxidants, which sop up DNA-damaging molecules called free radicals, have the opposite effect and raise cancer risk in certain people. Now, in a provocative study that raises unsettling questions about the widespread use of vitamin supplements, Swedish researchers have showed that moderate doses of two widely used antioxidants spur the growth of early lung tumors in mice.

Comment Fake info generation to stop intrusive phone apps (Score 5, Interesting) 106

I'd been looking into this in a slightly different context. Recently, at Hacker Dojo, someone demonstrated an Android mod to me which dealt with applications that demand too many privileges. It has the usual "disable privileges" option, but for apps that won't run with privileges disabled, it sends fake info.

The demo showed generation of fake phone serial numbers and such. That's easy. Apps that improperly try to upload your address book, though, require generation of a plausible, but fake, address book. That's wasn't in the demo, but it's worth doing. Location data should probably be sent as a random walk from some random starting point.

If enough people do this, it will garbage marketing databases.

Earth

What Killed the Great Beasts of North America? 214

sciencehabit writes "Until about 11,000 years ago, mammoths, giant beavers, and other massive mammals roamed North America. Many researchers have blamed their demise on incoming Paleoindians, the first Americans, who allegedly hunted them to extinction. But a new study points to climate and environmental changes instead. The findings could have implications for conservation strategies, including controversial proposals for 'rewilding' lions and elephants into North America."

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