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Robotics

Submission + - Military drone could fuel self with corpses (foxnews.com)

spacefiddle writes: "I don't even know what to make of this. The Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot — yes, some nut named it EATR — is apparently designed to "extract energy from biomass in the environment" where it operates. The blue-sky write-up envisions cutting these things loose in the field for "years" as they seek organic matter. Developed by Robotic Technology Inc., their own page on the EATR(tm and patent pending) calls it "foraging." I really hope this submission is accepted just 'cause i can't wait to see the tags on this one..."
Sci-Fi

Submission + - Mindwipe: we has it

overshoot writes: How often have we all read science fiction stories where someone has the ability to "wipe" memory, perhaps down to tabula rasa? It's a pretty stock plot device, often used as a threat against a framed protagonist. Well, peeps, it might be closer to fact than we'd like. Apparently long-term memory is dynamic, and interfering with the "refresh" process just makes the past ... disappear. So far the experiments involve injections into specific regions of mouse brains — but we all know how technology advances, right?
Earth

Submission + - Can urine rescue Hydrogen-Powered cars? (greencarreports.com)

thecarchik writes: "It takes a lot of energy to split hydrogen out from the other atoms to which it binds, either in natural gas or water. Which means energy analysts are skeptical about the overall energy balance of cars fueled by hydrogen. Ohio University researcher Geraldine Botte has come up with a nickel-based electrode to oxidize (NH2)2CO, otherwise known as urea, the major component of animal urine. Because urea's four hydrogen atoms are less tightly bound to nitrogen than the hydrogen bound to oxygen in water molecules, it takes less energy to break them apart:"
Announcements

Submission + - Human sperm produced in the laboratory (bbc.co.uk) 1

duh P3rf3ss3r writes: The BBC is carrying a report from a team of researchers at Newcastle University who claim to have developed the first "artificial" human sperm from stem cells. The research, reported in the journal Stem Cells and Development involved selecting meristematic germ cells from a human embryonic stem cell culture and inducing meiosis, thus producing a haploid gamete. The authors claim that the resulting sperm are fully formed, mature, human sperm cells but the announcement has been greeted with mixed reaction from colleagues who claim the procedure is ethically questionable and that the gametes produced are of inferior levels of maturation.
Earth

Submission + - Could Global Catastrophe Make Humans Smarter?

Hugh Pickens writes: "Robert Roy Britt writes that when the Toba supervolcano erupted with a force estimated to be 1,000 to 10,000 times that of Mount St. Helens, Toba may have contributed — by necessity — to our supreme intelligence today. The timing of Toba's tempest fits with an interesting bottleneck known to exist in human evolution, as seen in DNA evidence when the human population became very small sometime between 90,000 and 60,000 years ago. Scientists have theorized that Toba triggered plunging global temperatures that caused ice sheets to grow for a thousand years and led to a mass die-off of plants and animals. Perhaps only a few thousand early humans survived and that's why all human DNA today is so remarkably similar — because we all come from the same few folks who survived Toba. "What's really interesting to ponder is the idea that the next great catastrophe won't just challenge our existence, but it could make us smarter," writes Britt. "After a disaster like Toba, early humans would have been forced to break generations-long habits and get creative to find food." Jamais Cascio says that humans can do the same thing now that the species has done before: evolve to meet the challenges of pandemics, global warming, food shortages, and no more fossil fuels. "But this time we don't have to rely on natural evolution to make us smart enough to survive," says Cascio. "We can do it ourselves, right now, by harnessing technology and pharmacology to boost our intelligence.""
Editorial

Submission + - Sending jobs offshore contributing to recession?

Ionized writes: I am an IT contractor and work for a US bank that received TARP dollars in October — a LOT of TARP dollars. Some of this went to buy another US bank, which resulted in the layoff of 40% of that work force. During this same time, the bank opened a new data center in Mumbai and added several hundred to the IT work force there. Soon afterwards, all US based IT contractors were given a 15% pay cut.

In the past month, of the 100 or so people I work with, 15 full time jobs were cut and 10 US based contractor positions were cut — these were all folk who not only worked at the bank, they were customers of the bank with mortgages, 401Ks and bank accounts.

These workers were replaced with 20+ offshore contractors and an additional 10 visa-workers who were brought over to the US to work as US-based offshore team leaders. This fits with the strategy announced on the bank's intranet this week to "Increase our presence in India for technology development and support, while enhancing our already robust Operations functions in India." There was also an announcement the same day for a program set up to help foreign visa workers coming to the US make greater progress in their career.

All this from a bank that took bailout funds — great to see our tax dollars at work! The number of US technology jobs filled by foreign visa workers — displacing US citizens — is increasing. Over the past year over 100K technology jobs have been lost offshore or to visa holders. In fact, manufacturing is the only sector that is losing more jobs overseas than IT.

US laws were written specifically restricting the use of work visas to fill the need for skilled workers not available in the US workforce. Unfortunately, the corporations have consistently found back doors to this and use it to replace experienced, more expensive US IT talent with cheaper offshore and work-visa labor.

With our skyrocketing unemployment rate, it seems obvious that Congress should move to recover lost jobs immediately (at no taxpayer expense!) just by drastically cutting back on the amount of work visas, and providing incentives to keep jobs here instead of shipping them overseas. But how can we enact this change, in the face of the political clout the corporations hold? Is writing your congressman really going to be enough? How can we spread the word of the government's direct contribution to our unemployment rate?
Nintendo

Submission + - Nintendo, Smash Bros. Creator Reveal New Title (examiner.com)

EJ writes: Masahiro Sakurai, creator of the gaming icon Kirby and designer of Super Smash Bros. Brawl, is developing a new title for Nintendo, the company has announced. Late last month, Sakurai's company Sora Ltd. (a first party Nintendo dev) created a new company with Nintendo called Project Sora. Sakurai serves as director for the new project while Nintendo stands as the principal investor of Sora, covering up to 77% of the company. Satoru Iwata made it clear that the new title was not a Smash Bros. game: "It's not Smash Bros. I asked for." Sakurai added: "I can promise an experience that's different from anything up until now."

Comment Re:Two additional options (not exclusive) (Score 3, Informative) 1032

Want a cheap way to dissuade the rats from chewing on your wires? Buy the hottest hot sauce you can find, or better yet just buy some pure capsaicin powder. Dissolve it in a liquid and put it in a lawn sprayer, then wander around spraying all the wires.

I have a feeling that the rats will leave your wires alone after that.

As capsaicin is soluble in warm water and alcohol, but not cold water, you may need to dissolve the powder in an alcohol/water mix.

Puzzle Games (Games)

Submission + - Impressive indie game - Crayon Physics

Ionized writes: Did you like etch-a-sketch as a kid? Have you played and enjoyed World of Goo? If yes, chances are you will love this little gem. Watch the video on the homepage, or watch the better (imho) video here. Support independant game developers. DRM-free, too!

Comment parent speaks the truth (Score 1) 86

dunno what asshat modded parent as troll, but the XBOX really is a true gem. there are numerous mature emulators available for the XBOX, and XBMC has a nice loader to access them all handily.

We cancelled our cable service recently, now we just use XBMC to watch tv shows and movies we download off the internet.

The interface is clean and intelligent, and it automagically downloads album covers, DVD covers & movie info from imdb, uses the milkdrop winamp plugin for visualization, and cooks you breakfast in bed. I can't recommend it enough.

Feed Very Active 2007 Hurricane Season Predicted (sciencedaily.com)

The U.S. Atlantic basin will likely experience a very active hurricane season, the Colorado State University forecast team announced today, increasing its earlier prediction for the 2007 hurricane season. The team's forecast now anticipates 17 named storms forming in the Atlantic basin between June 1 and Nov. 30. Nine of the 17 storms are predicted to become hurricanes, and of those nine, five are expected to develop into intense or major hurricanes (Saffir/Simpson category 3-4-5) with sustained winds of 111 mph or greater.

Feed Microsoft hit with lawsuit for "false" Vista ads (engadget.com)

Filed under: Desktops, Laptops

A new complaint has been aimed at Microsoft, seeking class action lawsuit status, and claiming the software giant put a bit more "wow" into its ads than it squeezed onto "Windows Vista Capable" PCs. Dianne Kelly of Camano Island, Washington, who's behind the suit, alleges that Microsoft was misleading buyers by placing Vista Capable stickers on PCs only capable of running Windows Vista Home Basic, and none of that fancy Aero, Flip3D or Media Center PC stuff that seems to be most everything the ads and marketing are talking about. Microsoft naturally disagrees, and has contested the suit. "We feel as a company we went beyond what we've ever done to try to educate people so that they understood and could make the right purchase decision," said Linda Norman, a Microsoft associate general counsel. Part of that effort even included a special "Premium Ready" sticker for retail machines that were up to snuff, but there's no mention of what you're missing out on affixed to Basic machines. There's no denying that Vista Basic is in many ways just a slight upgrade over XP, and that the multiple versions of Vista are expensive and unnecessarily complicated, but from how it looks right now, it's hard to see the suit going too far.

[Via Slashdot]

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BOLD MOVES: THE FUTURE OF FORD A new documentary series. Be part of the transformation as it happens in real-time

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Google

Submission + - Google gets into TV Ads

Anonymous Howard writes: Google has decided to take a step into the TV ad space, announcing that they'll be rolling out an automated system to buy and sell ads on EchoStar's DISH Network's 125 channels. Google's system will also be responsible for delivering the ads and, of coure, measuring their overall effectiveness. I think this is pretty big news! This coupled with the rumors of Google entering the pool of bidders for DoubleClick, it looks like Google is finally venturing outside it's space and into a new one providing people their own ad services built on Google technology.

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