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Submission + - Trying to Get Obamacare Is Like Trying to Get the New iPhone Right Now (vice.com)

Daniel_Stuckey writes: According to Alexa's latest numbers (.CSV), healthcare.gov is the 7,818th most visited site on the Internet, which is pretty good. That's just a few places behind Stephen Colbert's site (7,809), and couponcabin.com (7,815).

"We are thrilled that over 1 million people visited HealthCare.gov in the last day," a spokesperson for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Sercives told me in an email. "There were five times more users on the Marketplace website this morning than have ever been on the Medicare.gov at one time."

Submission + - How the Government Is Live-Tweeting Its Shutdown (vice.com)

Daniel_Stuckey writes: The federal government "shut down" today, but Twitter is still up and running. Therefore, Silicon Valley technology companies are the future, and governing is the past. Isn't it interesting, after all, that one way the dinosaur government is attempting to stay relevant is by using Twitter to tell everyone how it is no longer working? Here, then, is the story of the how the government is shutting down today, on Twitter.

Submission + - Medical Students Can Now Earn Credit for Editing Wikipedia (vice.com)

Daniel_Stuckey writes: Starting this winter, medical students at the University of California San Francisco will be able to obtain academic credit from an unlikely source: Wikipedia.

In an experimental class beginning in December, fourth-year students under the tutelage of associate clinical professor Amin Azzam will be tasked with writing, editing, and monitoring medically relevant Wikipedia entries. Students will work from afar, with professors auditing their edits and progress. Approximately 80 entries will be reviewed: those that are popular, yet still subpar in terms of quality according to Wikipedia's own grading scheme.

Submission + - Real-Time Translation Devices Are Breaking Down the World's Language Barriers (vice.com)

Daniel_Stuckey writes: For those very same reasons, a tool that can translate language in real-time would have an enormous payoff for society—if someone can crack it. So far, no one has really nailed the technology, despite a few close calls and decades of trying. But we're definitely getting closer.

Today, the Japanese telecom giant NTT Docomo unveiled its new augmented reality glasses that can translate text on menus and signs in near real-time. It uses character recognition technology to convert the foreign dialect to your native tongue and display the translated text on the device's screen. The goal is to have the gadget ready for action in time for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, so tourists can more easily navigate their way around the city.

Submission + - Every Google Doodle in One GIF (vice.com)

Daniel_Stuckey writes: To celebrate the search giant's birthday, I set out to put every single Google doodle ever created into one, long-play animated GIF. I made Google a doodle and a GIF last year, but really wanted to do something better for its 15th. Little did I know, making it would consume more than 10 hours of my time.

Submission + - Protesters Dodge the Sudanese Internet Shutdown with a Phone-Powered Crowdmap (vice.com)

Daniel_Stuckey writes: Called the Abena crowd map, the map is the product of Mohammed Hashim Saleh and Abeer Khairy, engineers both, and Ahmed Hassan, the co-founder of Khartoum Geeks. In the short amount of time the internet was on yesterday, they deployed the map, which follows events on the ground in Sudan with direct reports.

SMS messages are connected automatically with the Ushahidi-based crowdmapping platform, Saleh told me. Activists, some in-country (who work when possible) and the rest outside, login and check the messages. They are then doubled checked with news sources and social media before being finally confirmed and mapped. The crew has also been manually updating the platform.

Submission + - Protesters Are Dodging Sudan's Internet Shutdown with a Phone-Powered Crowdmap (vice.com)

Lasrick writes: Motherboard's Africa correspondent, Amanda Sperber, has a great piece just posted on how protestors in Sudan are getting around the government's shutdown of the internet. Good read: 'Since Wednesday afternoon, Sudan's internet has been sporadically shut off amid a fifth day of protests against President Omar al Bashir’s regime. Despite the attempt to cut off communications and limit organization and reporting on the ground, a group of tech-savvy people based in Khartoum have developed a map for recording key data about the protests that's powered by cell networks. '

Submission + - Nissan's Autonomous Car Is Road Legal in Japan (vice.com)

Daniel_Stuckey writes: The current test vehicle uses what Nissan calls its "Advanced Driver Assist System," which isn't fully autonomous, but rather can be thought of as a really advanced cruise control system. According to the company, the system can keep a car in its own lane, while automatically changing lanes to pass slower vehicles or prepare to exit a freeway, which it can also do automatically. Along with that, the car automatically slows for congestion, and—most impressively in my opinion—can automatically stop at red lights.

In other words, the car isn't fully automatic in that you can't simply type in a desination and have it do all the work, but the bulk of driving load is taken care of. Curiously, Nissan's goal appears to be to take sloppy human drivers out of the equation to eliminate road fatalities.

Submission + - Old phone booths converted into national WiFi network (zdnet.com)

An anonymous reader writes: What do you do with old public phone boxes hardly anyone uses? Convert them into a national network of WiFi hotspots is the answer in New Zealand. While others have converted their old phone booths into libraries, toilets, showers and even smoking booths, in New Zealand 700 hotspots will be live by 7 October with a target of 2000 by the middle of 2014. 1Gb of data will be free to customers of the incumbent operator, others have to pay for monthly access.

Submission + - Al Gore Explains Why Civilization Might Not Survive the Next 100 Years (vice.com)

Daniel_Stuckey writes: Motherboard sat down with the United States' most famousâ"and surely busiestâ"former vice president at this year's Social Good Summit, where we talked about two possible futures Gore sees confronting humanity.

I asked him to describe the best and worst case scenarios for what civilization might look like 100 years from now. In one, Americans undertake an "Occupy democracy movement" to restore our political system, which Gore says has been "hacked" by money and special interests, and come together to fight climate change. In the other, the whole of human civilization lies in ruin.

Submission + - Sales of Tiger Parts on Russia's Internet Show Poaching Remains a Problem (vice.com)

Daniel_Stuckey writes: According to the International Fund for Animal Welfare's (IFAW) Russian arm, at least 21 Amur tigers have been killed this year. That estimate is based on a survey of sales involving tiger skins, bones and parts, and even live cubs on the Russian internet. (As you may recall, the internet is a major part of the illegal wildlife trade.) The use of internet sales statistics to extrapolate poaching pressure is pretty novel, although it does have a margin of error—skins, at least, are fairly easily resold, and don't necessarily represent an animal poached this year. However, the estimate does fall in line with other estimates that peg the total poaching haul of Amur tigers at between 30 and 40 per year. As RIA Novositi notes, the IFAW's figure is backed up by WWF Russia figures released earlier this year, which stated that Russian authorities "confiscated the skeletons and body parts from at least 19 dead tigers in 2012-2013 and launched seven criminal cases against tiger poachers and traders."

Submission + - Atlantis May've Sunk But the Silk Road Is Still Booming (vice.com)

Daniel_Stuckey writes: It didn't take long. Atlantis billed itself as a fresh alternative to the Silk Road, the darknet's popular and leading bazaar for mind-melting drugs and generally all-things illicit. The site went live last June to considerable buzz, if not for what it promised in terms of a range of quality products than for its almost brazen, forward-facing approach to a social media presence. Now, due to "security issues beyond our control", the Atlantis team wrote last week, their business must skid to a halt before the end of the month, at which point Atlantis' admins will donate all the crypotocurrency in its system to drug related charity.

Somewhere, the Dread Pirate Roberts might be laughing. In a somewhat rare interview, Roberts, the Silk Road's elusive founder, told the Daily Beast that it's the good shit that continually sets the Silk Road apart from any would-be Atlantis-esque competition. His site, Roberts said, offers:

Submission + - NASA's New FINDER Scans for Victim Vitals Through Disaster Rubble (vice.com)

Daniel_Stuckey writes: NASA now has a new device, called FINDER (Finding Individuals for Disaster and Emergency Response), which could be the next player in hastening the response time in such grim scenarios.

Although dogs have aided emergency responders for decades, a pooch relies on its sniffer in emergency situations. FINDER, on the other hand, uses microwaves in a Doppler-like fashion to sense respiration and pulse. The lightweight briefcase, as displayed in the video above, was developed for the Department of Homeland Security with remote-sensing radar technology NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab uses to locate spacecraft in flight. The unit includes a tablet, on which a hidden person's vitals are then displayed.

Submission + - PopSci is getting rid of comments (popsci.com)

Daniel_Stuckey writes: From an article announcing the sites' decision to do away with comments:

It wasn't a decision we made lightly. As the news arm of a 141-year-old science and technology magazine, we are as committed to fostering lively, intellectual debate as we are to spreading the word of science far and wide. The problem is when trolls and spambots overwhelm the former, diminishing our ability to do the latter.

That is not to suggest that we are the only website in the world that attracts vexing commenters. Far from it. Nor is it to suggest that all, or even close to all, of our commenters are shrill, boorish specimens of the lower internet phyla. We have many delightful, thought-provoking commenters.

Submission + - Where Is the center of each United State? (vice.com)

Daniel_Stuckey writes: Have you ever spent an extended period of time trying to find, or simply meditating on the center of an object? You know, that sweet spot, where if you picked it up and placed it square on your nose, it would balance perfectly. I've recently found myself obsessed with the concept, but I assure you it has nothing to do with becoming a street performer. The aspect I've become obsessed with is how it applies to the 50 states (and DC). So, in a very OCD-satisfying manner, I made a map:

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