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Submission + - Peter Capaldi To Leave "Doctor Who" 1

Dave Knott writes: Peter Capaldi is standing down from his leading role on the long-running BBC science fiction television series Doctor Who. Capaldi, who plays the 12th incarnation of the Doctor, joined the series for its eighth season in 2014, but this year’s season 10 will now be his last in the TARDIS, and Capaldi will depart during the 2017 Christmas Special.

The actor's full statement reads as follows:
"One of the greatest privileges of being Doctor Who is to see the world at its best. From our brilliant crew and creative team working for the best broadcaster on the planet, to the viewers and fans whose endless creativity, generosity and inclusiveness points to a brighter future ahead. I can’t thank everyone enough. It’s been cosmic."

Submission + - Amazon Just Launched A Cashier-free Convenience Store

Dave Knott writes: Amazon just unveiled a grocery store without lines or checkout counters. Amazon Go, a 1800-square-foot retail space located in the company’s hometown of Seattle, lets shoppers just grab the items they want and leave; the order gets charged to their Amazon account afterwards. Amazon Go works by using computer vision and sensors to detect what items you’re taking out of the store. You start by scanning an app as you enter the Amazon Go shop. You do your normal shopping, and the sensors throughout the store identify the items in your cart and charge them to your account when you walk out the door. It’ll feel like shoplifting, except you’re actually being watched by more cameras than you can imagine. Though Amazon Go does do away with human cashiers, we haven’t seen anything about robots physically stocking the store, so while it does eliminate some jobs, it’s not a completely automated system... at least, not yet.

Submission + - Feeding Seaweed To Cows Eliminates Methane Emissions

Dave Knott writes: A Canadian farmer has helped lead to a researcher's discovery of an unlikely weapon in the battle against global warming: a seaweed that nearly eliminates the destructive methane content of cow burps and farts. Joe Dorgan began feeding his cattle seaweed from nearby beaches more than a decade ago as a way to cut costs. Then researcher Rob Kinley of Dalhousie University caught wind of it, and tested Dorgan's seaweed mix, discovering that it reduced the methane in the cows' burps and farts by about 20 per cent. Kinley knew he was on to something, so he did further testing with 30 to 40 other seaweeds. That led him to a red seaweed Asparagopsis taxiformis he says reduces methane in cows burps and farts to almost nothing. "Ruminant animals are responsible for roughly 20 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions globally, so it's not a small number," said Kinley, an agricultural research scientist now working at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation in Queensland, Australia. "We're talking numbers equivalent to hundreds of millions of cars." Kinley thinks it could take anywhere from three to five years to get a commercial animal feed to market. He says the biggest challenge will be growing enough seaweed.

Submission + - Colombia's President, Juan Manuel Santos, Is Awarded Nobel Peace Prize 1

Dave Knott writes: The president of Colombia was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for pursuing a deal to end 52 years of conflict with a leftist rebel group, the longest-running war in the Americas, just five days after Colombians rejected the agreement in a shocking referendum result. The decision to give the prize to the Colombian president, Juan Manuel Santos, may revive hopes for the agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, with whom the country has been waging the last major guerrilla struggle in Latin America.
In announcing the award, Kaci Kullmann Five, the chairwoman of the committee, commended Mr. Santos for starting the process, even as she acknowledged that the people of Colombia had rejected the outcome. She said she hoped that awarding the prize to Mr. Santos would act as a spur for a future agreement. “The committee hopes that the peace prize will give him strength to succeed in this demanding task,” she said. “Further, it is the committee’s hope that in the years to come, the Colombian people will reap the fruits of the reconciliation process.”

Submission + - 'Nano-machines' Win European Trio Chemistry Nobel Prize

Dave Knott writes: Sir Fraser Stoddart, from Scotland, Bernard Feringa, from the Netherlands, and Jean-Pierre Sauvage, from France have won the Nobel prize in chemistry for developing “nano-machines”, an advance that paved the way for the world’s first smart materials. In living organisms, cells work as molecular machines to power our organs, regulate temperature and repair damage. Working separately, the Nobel trio were among the first to replicate this kind of function in synthetic molecules, by working out how to convert chemical energy into mechanical motion. This allowed them to construct molecular devices a thousand times smaller than the width of a human hair, including switches, motors, shuttles and even something resembling a motorcar. The advances have allowed scientists to develop materials that will reconfigure and adapt by themselves depending on their environment — for instance contracting with heat, or opening up to deliver drugs when they arrive at a target site in the body.

Submission + - British Trio Wins Nobel Prize In Physics For Study Of Exotic Matter

Dave Knott writes: David J. Thouless, F. Duncan M. Haldane and J. Michael Kosterlitz were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics on Tuesday for discoveries in condensed-matter physics that have transformed the understanding of matter that assumes strange shapes. All three were born in Britain but work in the United States.
Using advanced mathematical models, the three scientists studied unusual phases, or states, of matter, such as superconductors, superfluids or thin magnetic films. Their findings have relevance for materials science and electronics. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm awarded the prize for “theoretical discoveries of topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter.”
Topology is a branch of mathematics that describes properties that change only in increments. In the early 1970s, Dr. Kosterlitz and Dr. Thouless “demonstrated that superconductivity could occur at low temperatures and also explained the mechanism, phase transition, that makes superconductivity disappear at higher temperatures,” the academy found. In the 1980s, Dr. Thouless showed that the integers by which the conductivity of electricity could be measured were topological in their nature. Around that time, Dr. Haldane discovered how topological concepts could be used to understand the properties of chains of small magnets found in some materials. “We now know of many topological phases, not only in thin layers and threads, but also in ordinary three-dimensional materials,” the academy said. “Over the last decade, this area has boosted front-line research in condensed matter physics, not least because of the hope that topological materials could be used in new generations of electronics and superconductors, or in future quantum computers.”

Submission + - 2016 Nobel Prize In Medicine Awarded To Yoshinori Ohsumi For Work On Autophagy

Dave Knott writes: The 2016 Nobel prize in medicine has been awarded to Japanese cell biologist Yoshinori Ohsumi for discoveries on how cells break down and recycle their own components. Ohsumi uncovered “mechanisms for autophagy”, a fundamental process in cells that scientists believe can be harnessed to fight cancer and dementia. Autophagy is the body’s internal recycling programme — scrap cell components are captured and the useful parts are stripped out to generate energy or build new cells. The process is crucial for preventing cancerous growths, warding off infection and, by maintaining a healthy metabolism, it helps protect against conditions like diabetes.

Submission + - Twitter Shares Jump More Than 20% On Report Of Takeover Talks

Dave Knott writes: Twitter Inc has initiated talks with several technology companies to explore selling itself, a person familiar with the matter said on Friday, as the social media company grapples with its slowest revenue growth since going public in 2013. CNBC reported earlier on Friday, citing anonymous sources, that Twitter is in talks with companies that include Alphabet's Google and Salesforce.com, and may receive a formal bid soon. Twitter shares rose the most since its stock market debut in 2013, up 21 per cent to $22.59, giving the company a market capitalization of close to $16 billion.

Submission + - macOS Sierra Is Now Available For Download

Dave Knott writes: Apple's latest desktop operating system, macOS Sierra, is now available for download. In addition to the Siri virtual assistant hitting the desktop for the first time, the free update includes features like a universal clipboard, revamped Messages, a storage optimization tool, and Apple Pay on the web.

Submission + - The 50th Anniversary of "Star Trek"

Dave Knott writes: Today marks the 50th anniversary of the first television broadcast of Star Trek. The first episode of the science fiction series was aired on September 8, 1966. From its humble beginnings, Star Trek has gone on to become one of the best-loved and most successful television concepts of all time, an enduring pop culture touchstone that changed science fiction forever and spawned multiple series and movies that continue to this day.
What does Star Trek mean to you? Are you a trekkie/trekker? What are your best memories of the series, and how has it affected your life?

Submission + - 2016 Hugo Award Winners Announced

Dave Knott writes: The recipients of the 2016 Hugo awards have been announced. Presented annually since 1955, the Hugos are (along with the Nebulas) one of science fiction's two most prestigious awards. They are voted on by members of the World Science Fiction Convention ("Worldcon"), the most recent of which, MidAmeriCon II was held this past weekend in Kansas City. Notable winners include:

Best Novel: The Fifth Season , by N.K. Jemisin
Best Novella: Binti , by Nnedi Okorafor
Best Novelette: "Folding Beijing", by Hao Jingfang, trans. Ken Liu
Best Short Story: "Cat Pictures Please", by Naomi Kritzer
Best Graphic Story: The Sandman: Overture , written by Neil Gaiman, art by J.H. Williams III
Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form: The Martian , screenplay by Drew Goddard, directed by Ridley Scott
Best Dramatic Presentation, ShortForm: Jessica Jones: "AKA Smile", written by Scott Reynolds, Melissa Rosenberg, and Jamie King, directed by Michael Rymer

As in the previous two years, the 2016 Hugos were subject to considerable controversy, as highly-politicized factions within science fiction fandom attempted to influence the awards via a concerted campaign that influenced the nomination process. Those actions once again proved unsuccessful, as the nominees put forth by these activists failed to win in any of the major awards categories.

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Submission + - SPAM: The 2016 Hugo Awards 1

Dave Knott writes: The recipients of the 2016 Hugo awards have been announced. Presented annually since 1955, the Hugos are (along with the Nebulas) one of science fiction’s two most prestigious awards. They are voted on by members of the World Science Fiction Convention (“Worldcon”), the most recent of which, MidAmeriCon II was held this past weekend in Kansas City. Notable winners include:

Best Novel: The Fifth Season , by N.K. Jemisin (Orbit)
Best Novella: Binti , by Nnedi Okorafor (Tor.com)
Best Novelette: “Folding Beijing”, by Hao Jingfang, trans. Ken Liu (Uncanny Magazine, Jan-Feb 2015)
Best Short Story: “Cat Pictures Please”, by Naomi Kritzer (Clarkesworld, January 2015)
Best Graphic Story: The Sandman: Overture , written by Neil Gaiman, art by J.H. Williams III (Vertigo)
Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form: The Martian , screenplay by Drew Goddard, directed by Ridley Scott (Scott Free Productions; Kinberg Genre; TSG Entertainment; 20th Century Fox)
Best Dramatic Presentation, ShortForm: Jessica Jones: “AKA Smile”, written by Scott Reynolds, Melissa Rosenberg, and Jamie King, directed by Michael Rymer (Marvel Television; ABC Studios; Tall Girls Productions;Netflix)

As in the previous two years, the 2016 Hugos were subject to considerable controversy, as highly-politicized factions within science fiction fandom attempted to influence the awards via a concerted campaign to influence the nomination process. Those actions once again proved unsuccessful, as the nominees put forth by these activists failed to win in any of the major awards categories.

Submission + - Sony Reaches Settlement In PlayStation3 "Other OS" Class Action Lawsuit

Dave Knott writes: After six years of litigation, Sony has reached a settlement with the the plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit relating the Sony's removal of Other OS functionality from its PlayStation3 gaming console. Sony and lawyers representing as many as 10 million console owners reached the deal on Friday. Under the terms of the accord, gamers are eligible to receive $55 if they used Linux on the console. The proposed settlement also provides $9 to each console owner that bought a PS3 based on Sony's claims about "Other OS" functionality. The accord did not say how much it would cost Sony, but the entertainment company is expected to pay out millions.

Submission + - A Tour Of Campus 2, Apple's Upcoming Headquarters

Dave Knott writes: Popular Science has an article detailing Campus 2, Apple's upcoming headquarters, including a video with a tour of the under-construction complex. The Spaceship, as many have nicknamed it, is over one mile in circumference and when it is completed later this year it will house 13,000 employees. Its exterior will largely be composed of thousands of huge curved glass planes, and floors and ceilings will be constructed from hollow concrete slabs that allow the building to “breathe,” bolstering its eco-friendly qualities. Campus 2 will run entirely on renewable energy, with rooftop solar panels providing an output of 16 megawatts of power and acting as the campus’s primary energy supplier. Upon completion, the main building will have four stories above ground and three below, with numerous other facilities including seven cafes, a fitness center and a 120,000 square-foot theater where Apple will hold its famous product announcements. Construction on the building is expected to be finished by the end of 2016.

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