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Submission + - Qualcomm retracts GitHub takedowns (phoronix.com)

ndogg writes: Qualcomm has reversed course on its DMCA takedown of 100+ GitHub repositories. Many of the repositories are back online, although the original takedown notice can still be found on GitHub's website.

Submission + - Wireless Contraception (bbc.com) 1

Kittenman writes: The BBC is carrying information on a type of contraception (funded in part by Bill Gates) that takes the form of a microchip, inserted under the skin. The chip releases contraceptive hormones to the body until wirelessly advised not to do so, This 'Brave New World' has several interesting applications and issues associated with it. What about hackers? Could 'they' implant a chip into a child at birth and then suppress children being born, until the employment opportunities improve — or a war needs more troops? The chip will be available from 2018. This correspondent will watch the issues with interest.
Robotics

Foxconn Replacing Workers With Robots 530

redletterdave (2493036) writes The largest private employer in all of China and one of the biggest supply chain manufacturers in the world, Foxconn announced it will soon start using robots to help assemble devices at its several sprawling factories across China. Apple, one of Foxconn's biggest partners to help assemble its iPhones, iPads, will be the first company to use the new service. Foxconn said its new "Foxbots" will cost roughly $20,000 to $25,000 to make, but individually be able to build an average of 30,000 devices. According to Foxconn CEO Terry Gou, the company will deploy 10,000 robots to its factories before expanding the rollout any further. He said the robots are currently in their "final testing phase."

Submission + - New Research Shows Phones May Use Magnets To Transmit Data (gadgetizor.com)

dkd903 writes: Researchers at the University of Oulu in Finland have been successful in transmitting data using the magnetometer that is usually found in various smartphones. The device they used to perform this experiment was the Nexus 4 from Google. The experiment is still a work in progress but holds tremendous potential if it can be developed.
Input Devices

Intelligent Thimble Could Replace the Mouse In 3D Virtual Reality Worlds 65

New submitter anguyen8 (3736553) writes with news of an interesting experimental spatial input device. From the article: "The mouse is a hugely useful device but it is also a two-dimensional one. But what of the three-dimensional world and the long-standing, but growing, promise of virtual reality. What kind of device will take the place of the mouse when we begin to interact in three-dimensions? Anh Nguyen and Amy Banic ... have created an intelligent thimble that can sense its position accurately in three-dimensions and respond to a set of pre-programmed gestures that allow the user to interact with objects in a virtual three-dimensional world. ... The result is the 3DTouch, a thimble-like device that sits on the end of a finger, equipped with a 3D accelerometer, a 3D magnetometer, and 3D gyroscope. That allows the data from each sensor to be compared and combined to produce a far more precise estimate of orientation than a single measurement alone. In addition, the 3DTouch has an optical flow sensor that measures the movement of the device against a two-dimensional surface, exactly like that inside an ordinary mouse." The prototype is wired up to an Arduino Uno, with a program on the host machine polling the device and converting the data into input events. A video of it in action is below the fold, a pre-print of the research paper is on arxiv, and a series of weblog entries explain some of the development.
Mars

ESA Shows Off Quadcopter Landing Concept For Mars Rovers 104

coondoggie writes Taking a page from NASA's rocket powered landing craft from its most recent Mars landing mission, the European Space Agency is showing off a quadcopter that the organization says can steer itself to smoothly lower a rover onto a safe patch of the rocky Martian surface. The ESA said its dropship, known as the StarTiger's Dropter is indeed a customized quadcopter drone that uses a GPS, camera and inertial systems to fly into position, where it then switches to vision-based navigation supplemented by a laser range-finder and barometer to lower and land a rover autonomously.
Google

Researchers Develop New Way To Steal Passwords Using Google Glass 116

mpicpp writes with a story about researchers who have developed a way to steal passwords using video-capturing devices.Cyber forensics experts at the University of Massachusetts in Lowell have developed a way to steal passwords entered on a smartphone or tablet using video from Google's face-mounted gadget and other video-capturing devices. The thief can be nearly ten feet away and doesn't even need to be able to read the screen — meaning glare is not an antidote. The security researchers created software that maps the shadows from fingertips typing on a tablet or smartphone. Their algorithm then converts those touch points into the actual keys they were touching, enabling the researchers to crack the passcode. They tested the algorithm on passwords entered on an Apple iPad, Google's Nexus 7 tablet, and an iPhone 5.
Earth

Ancient Bird With Largest Wingspan Yet Discovered 55

sciencehabit writes Fossils unearthed at a construction project in South Carolina belong to a bird with the largest wingspan ever known, according to a new study. The animal measured 6.4 meters from wingtip to wingtip, about the length of a 10-passenger limousine and approaching twice the size of the wandering albatross, today's wingspan record-holder. Like modern-day albatrosses, the newly described species would have been a soaring champ.
Businesses

DC Entertainment Won't Allow Superman Logo On Murdered Child's Memorial Statue 249

An anonymous reader writes Jeffrey Baldwin was essentially starved to death by his grandparents. Funds had been raised to build a monument for Jeffrey in Toronto. The monument was designed to feature Jeffrey in a Superman costume, and even though Superman should be public domain, DC Comics has denied the request. "The request to DC had been made by Todd Boyce, an Ottawa father who did not know the Baldwin family. Boyce was so moved by the testimony at the coroner’s inquest into Jeffrey’s death last year that he started an online fundraising campaign for the monument. DC’s senior vice-president of business and legal affairs, Amy Genkins, told Boyce in an email that 'for a variety of legal reasons, we are not able to accede to the request, nor many other incredibly worthy projects that come to our attention.'... For Boyce, it was a huge blow, as he felt the Superman aspect was a crucial part of the bronze monument, which will include a bench. The coroner’s inquest heard from Jeffrey’s father that his son loved to dress up as Superman."

Submission + - DistroWatch.com domain name suspended due to issue with domain registrar (zdnet.com)

rriegs writes: The popular DistroWatch Linux and BSD distribution tracking site has had its .com domain name suspended as a result of unspecified issues with its domain registrar, Doteasy. Founder Ladislav Bodnar reports:

As many of you noticed, the distrowatch.com domain name was suspended by the domain's registrar, Doteasy, last Sunday. I don't want to go into details about what exactly happened as it's a long and boring story. Suffice to say that I feel grossly aggrieved by the series of greedy and even malicious actions taken by Doteasy and as soon as I get this sorted out, I will be looking into transferring the distrowatch.com domain name to another registrar.

DistroWatch continues operations at its alternate domain name, distrowatch.org. Can anyone recommend a suitable, Linux- and BSD-friendly domain registrar to help get DistroWatch back online under its chosen URL?

Transportation

Uber Is Now Cheaper Than a New York City Taxi 139

redletterdave writes Uber announced in a blog post on Monday it would cut the prices of its UberX service in New York City by 20% — but it's only for a limited time. Uber says this makes it cheaper to use UberX than taking a taxi. Consumers like Uber's aggressive pricing strategy but competitors — and some of its own drivers — are not as happy. UberX, Uber’s cheaper service usually hosted by regular people driving basic sedans rather than fancy black cars, also cut its rates by 25% last week in the Bay Area, including San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland. As a result of that announcement, Uber said its service was effectively “45% cheaper than a taxi.”
Australia

Tractor Beam Created Using Water Waves 71

KentuckyFC writes The idea that light waves can push a physical object is far from new. But a much more recent idea is that a laser beam can also pull objects like a tractor beam. Now a team of Australian physicists has used a similar idea to create a tractor beam with water waves that pulls floating objects rather than pushes them. Their technique is to use an elongated block vibrating on the surface of water to create a train of regular plane waves. When the amplitude of these waves is small, they gradually push the surface of the water along, creating a flow that pushes floating objects with it. However, when the amplitude increases, the waves become non-linear and begin to interact with each other in a complex way. This sets up a flow of water on the surface in the opposite direction to the movement of the waves. The result is that floating objects--ping pong balls in the experiment--are pulled towards the vibrating block, like a tractor beam.

Submission + - Open source tool could sniff out most heavily censored websites (networkworld.com)

alphadogg writes: Georgia Tech researchers are seeking the assistance of website operators to help better understand which sites are being censored and then figure out how to get around such restricted access by examining the data collected. The open source Encore [Enabling Lightweight Measurements of Censorship with Cross-Origin Requests] tool http://encore.noise.gatech.edu... involves website operators installing a single line of code onto their sites, and that in turn will allow the researchers to determine whether visitors to these sites are blocked from visiting other sites around the world known to be censored. The researchers are hoping to enlist a mix of small and big websites, and currently it is running on about 10 of them. End users won’t even know the baseline data measurement is taking place, which of course when you’re talking about censorship and privacy, can be a sticky subject. Facebook learned that recently http://www.networkworld.com/ar... when disclosures erupted regarding its controversial secret study of users’ moods. The Georgia Tech researchers in an FAQ say their tool can indicate to users that their browsers are conducting measurements, and that users can opt out.
IBM

IBM Tries To Forecast and Control Beijing's Air Pollution 63

itwbennett writes Using supercomputers to predict and study pollution patterns is nothing new. And already, China's government agencies, and the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, publicly report real-time pollution levels to residents. But IBM is hoping to design a better system tailored for Beijing that can predict air quality levels three days in advance, and even pinpoint the exact sources of the pollution down to the street level, said Jin Dong, an IBM Research director involved in the project.

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