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Zombie Pigs First, Hibernating Soldiers Next 193

ColdWetDog writes "Wired is running a story on DARPA's effort to stave off battlefield casualties by turning injured soldiers into zombies by injecting them with a cocktail of one chemical or another (details to be announced). From the article, 'Dr. Fossum predicts that each soldier will carry a syringe into combat zones or remote areas, and medic teams will be equipped with several. A single injection will minimize metabolic needs, de-animating injured troops by shutting down brain and heart function. Once treatment can be carried out, they'll be "re-animated" and — hopefully — as good as new.' If it doesn't pan out we can at least get zombie bacon and spam."
Space

Submission + - Solar Sail Test Next Year (nytimes.com)

olsmeister writes: About a year from now, if all goes well, a box about the size of a loaf of bread will pop out of a rocket some 500 miles above the Earth. There in the vacuum it will unfurl four triangular sails as shiny as moonlight and only barely more substantial. Then it will slowly rise on a sunbeam and move across the stars.

LightSail-1, as it is dubbed, will not make it to Neverland. At best the device will sail a few hours and gain a few miles in altitude. But those hours will mark a milestone for a dream that is almost as old as the rocket age itself, and as romantic: to navigate the cosmos on winds of starlight the way sailors for thousands of years have navigated the ocean on the winds of the Earth.

Submission + - Is the traditional keypad heading for extinction?

andylim writes: Despite touchscreen phones being very popular, there are still plenty of handsets that feature traditional keypads. According to recombu.com though the traditional keypad is heading for extinction and will eventually be completely replaced with full Qwerty or touchscreen alternatives. Why? Because it simply doesn't offer a good enough experience when it comes to using newfangled features. Do you agree? Is the traditional keypad as doomed as VHS?
Idle

Submission + - Roomba Pac-Man (engadget.com)

elstonj writes: The vacuum, long an instrument for chasing cats, has now been turned against its own. What better use for automatic home appliances than to have them chase each other in classic video game style?

"We've seen mixtures of Roomba and Pac-Man before, but nothing like this. A team of developers have hacked five floor-cleaning bots to create a sort of OCD version of the game, with the Pac-Man bot sucking up little white rectangles whilst being chased by robot incarnations of Inky, Pinky, Blinky, and Clyde. But, when the Pac-Man vacuum finds a power pellet those ghostly rovers turn blue and start fleeing. The tech is supposed to be a demonstration of the developers' Unmanned Aerial System suite, designed for guidance of airborne vehicles, but we're too busy geeking out to care about potential real-world applications of this tech." http://www.engadget.com/2009/11/09/autonomous-roombas-do-pac-man-right-video

Video Overview:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7JHtX2JwZAY
Project details:
http://pacman.elstonj.com/

Comment Re:The Moon (Score 2, Insightful) 703

So? I know it sounds a tad harsh, but who cares? I'm pretty sure that, if there were calls for volunteers for a one-way trip to Mars, they would most likely get thousands of applicants for EACH SPOT on the team. I'd certainly apply.

That being said, a serious manned mission to Mars would need a fairly large crew, and one with different training than modern space missions. These days, we're usually sending up highly trained specialists for specific experiments and suchlike. On a Mars expedition, while there would be some specialists, we would need a lot more people who could handle a large range of work conditions. And we would need trades people. Welders, construction people, etc.

Personally, I think that will be the sign that space is really starting to open up, and actually be useful: When we're sending electricians, welders, and other trades people into space because we need people actually capable of *building* and *repairing* things there, not just assembling them or replacing them, or doing experiments

Submission + - Firefox Prompts to Disable Microsoft .NET Addon

ZosX writes: "Around 11:45 PM (Eastern time for those that care), I was prompted by Firefox that it had disabled the addons that Microsoft includes with .NET. Specifically the .NET Framework Assistant and the Windows Presentation Foundation. Citing that the "following addons have been known to cause stability or security issues with Firefox." Thanks mozilla team for hitting the kill switch and hopefully this will get Microsoft to release a patch sooner for the millions of poor souls that are too unfortunate to be aware of faster, more secure alternatives to their precious Internet Explorer. (Is it possible to troll for IE apologists on slashdot?)"
Idle

Submission + - Meteorite hits SUV (www.cbc.ca)

someyob writes: First of all, no one was hurt. With that out of the way, (a) do we need more proof SUVs are too big, and/or (b) is this a message of some kind?

Comment Re:Why restrict this to the blind? (Score 1) 131

Exactly. The possibilities of this are endless, and it could be a major step down the path towards true cybernetic integration (or the Mind/Machine Interface, as some think of it). Starting out with applying it to the blind and otherwise visually impaired serves two important points:

1) Public perception. There is bound to eventually be an outcry in some sectors about the sanctity of human beings and how machines shouldn't be wired into people and vice versa, machines reading our minds, etc. If the technology has a working application of serious humane benefit, which the gov't is actually pursuing, this negates this to large extent.

2) Technological progression. If the gov't and others are putting money into it, it will most likely progress faster and more reliably than if it has to depend on commercial sources who understandably want to make money off it. And if it stops looking like it will make money... There goes the project into obscurity.

There have been numerous articles on Slashdot and various science sites on how the human brain can adapt to other forms of "senses". The vibrating belt that always indicated North, the possibility of humans learning to echonavigate, and many, many others. While the tongue is maybe not the most convenient way of integrating with our neural system, it is at least demonstrating the possibility. Once the technology starts to mature, deeper and more invasive integration starts to become possible. While I doubt we'd get to the point of being like the Matrix, how about something more like Harper from Andromeda? A network jack of some kind in one's neck, and thus a direct link in to appropriately configured equipment.

And on that note, while I'd find it immensely cool and useful to be able to access, manipulate, and process data via a direct cable feed, I'd hate to have a wireless connection. Imagine being able to drive-by hack somebody's head? Talk about the privacy issues with that...

Comment Wonderful! (Score 3, Informative) 131

I don't have the link ready to hand, but the technology behind this was posted to slashdot quiet a while ago. (At least many months, possibly over a year ago) Anyway, I was wondering when we would hear about this technology again, since it has tremendous potential both for sight-restoration applications, as well as furthur development towards the integration of machine and brains. If the resolution was high enough, for instance, a pilot could use this to see underneath the plane, or in other directions normally blocked. The potential application for guided search and rescue, and other remote controlled devices is also large. "being" there is better than simply seeing on a screen, after all, even if virtually. I hope that the various gov't and none-profit groups that support the visually impaired take note of this as a way to help people become active and contributing parts of society again. It's nice to take care of the impaired, but better to help them regain their independence.
Caldera

Submission + - SCOG's final hours

kevingolding2001 writes: With just over 7 hours to go till SCOG gets wiped from the face of the planet (http://www.groklaw.net/pdf/SCOGBK-750.pdf), what will /.'ers do to see in the final hours, and how will you celebrate the end when it finally comes (FSM willing)?
Windows

Submission + - Windows 7 now clean-install only (pcpro.co.uk) 1

Barence writes: "Consumers who purchase Windows 7 in the EU will no longer be able to upgrade from Vista. "The E [European] versions will require a clean install," a spokesman for Microsoft Europe told PC Pro. "They will need to rebuild their default settings after installation." The decision will cause great inconvenience to Vista owners, and comes as a result of Microsoft's decision to remove Internet Explorer from Windows 7 in Europe. "Given the pending legal proceeding, we've decided that instead of including Internet Explorer in Windows 7 in Europe, we will offer it separately and on an easy-to-install basis to both computer manufacturers and users," says Microsoft deputy general counsel Dave Heiner. PC Pro's news editor Barry Collins derided the decision as a ludicrous outcome: "The pathetic gripes of a vastly inferior competitor — yes, I'm talking about you Opera — have concluded with the EU making life harder for consumers, PC manufacturers and, ironically, Opera itself.""

Comment Seems like a good idea that needs some more work (Score 1) 222

I think this is an excellent idea, so long as there are limits to it. For instance, the network should NOT be connected to, or capable of connecting to, the actual functioning of the vehicle. Worst case example being it should NOT be even vaguely possible for someone to hack into your car and turn off the engine. Or slam on the brake/gas. That being said, being able to read/broadcast status reports would be good. Such as letting the driver behind me know that I just slammed on the brakes. I know tail lights are supposed to do that, but anyway. Or possibly acting like the yellow flag at the racetrack : "a car 500m ahead just lost control, be careful". Likewise, for areas subject to snow storms, fog, or other conditions of poor visibility, such tracking would be *very* appreciated just knowing how far away the next car is in front/behind. Likewise, if such a mesh network was actually part of the internet, it could conceivably make it possible to connect to the internet, access it, and whatnot without going through *any* ISP. On the one hand, the potential for tracking should worry the privacy and rights advocates, and with good cause. On the other, such distribution of networking could also enable rights and privacy, since it'd be hard to track anything through such a constantly changing network, and even harder to filter anything. I would say it pretty much eliminates the option of filtering our internet. All that being said, I'm not too sure what the connection is with the electrical grid, aside from the potential of "smart" use of electricity, which would be good.

Comment Or buy an older laptop... (Score 1) 442

Since you mentioned preferring to use Apple's stuff, buy yourself an older laptop. You don't have to go back too far before they stop having cameras. That being said, I'm currently using an iBook that's well into it's 7th year, and still works great. It won't play the latest games, and doing large scale graphics is slow, to say the least, but otherwise it works quiet well. Just find one that hasn't been abused.

Comment Re:Start making scientific sense (Score 1) 870

This is definitely the attitude we need to take with space exploration. There have been many valid points made in these posts. I would like to highlight just a few: Firstly, the gov't has no place competing in commercial markets, that's not it's point. NASA should not be trying to provide commercially available services, whether it is ferrying rich tourists into space, or launching satelites. So it should get out of these markets, and let private firms do the research and development that is the focus of this. Let the private folks do the LEO stuff. On the other hand, private firms have no interest in going where there is no immediate profit, or even short term profit. Gov't, on the other hand, can and should be aiming at things that aren't profitable now, but will be critical and likely very profitable in 15+ years. Manned space flight to the moon, and especially to points beyond are a case in point. Asteroid mining, a staple of Sci-fi, is not profitable right now. Nor is it likely to be in the next ten years. But when industry gets into space, when we actually start having cities on the moon (or mars, or space stations, take your pic), mining the rest of the solar system is going to be very profitable. There is the potential for millions, possibly billions of jobs in that, since, eventually, the entire economy, from janitorial all the way up to senior management, will be replicated in space (hopefully more efficiently, but probably not). The country that gets there first, that actually becomes an space power (not just who can reach space, but who actually is permanently in space) is going to have a tremendous advantage in nearly every sphere of influence. Throwing money at it won't help much, but taking away what they have is likely to hurt a lot more than the potential benefit of increased efficiency. Efficiency is good, but not if it means retarding the entire manned space flight program by decades. In reality, we are still in the pre-space age. The space age will truly have arrived when space is a work place for more than a select elite and a few rich guys.

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