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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 6 declined, 8 accepted (14 total, 57.14% accepted)

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Submission + - Fight you own muscles to create force-feedback on smartphones (

FatLittleMonkey writes: Researchers in Germany have developed a device that allows users of portable devices, such as smartphones, experience force-feedback from games using just their own muscles... and a small EMS device. When stimulated by a painless electric pulse, the player's arm moves the device in whichever direction the game commands. The player then fights the movement with their other muscles, creating a strong sensation that the device itself is bucking in their hands. According to the developers, users found the sensation much more realistic than traditional vibrotactile feedback. (Should make PvP more interesting too.)

Submission + - Multiple minds smooths your ship's path (

FatLittleMonkey writes: My mind to your mind... my thoughts to your thoughts... Researchers at the University of Essex have shown that combining the output from two non-invasive "brain-computer interfaces", computer-interpreted EEG signals, led to a much clearer signal of the subjects' intention than the output from a single subject. To test this idea, they had two subjects try to steer a simulated space-ship at a target planet, by thinking of one of eight possible directions. While a single user could achieve 67% accuracy, this jumped to 90% when two minds were combined. Researchers believe the technique also compensates for individual lapses in attention, and thus may have applications in real-world space missions.

Submission + - How do you give a ticket to a driverless car? (

FatLittleMonkey writes: New Scientist asks a Bryant Walker Smith, from the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School, whether the law is able to keep up with recent advances in automated vehicles. Even states which have allowed self-driving cars require the vehicles to have a "driver", who is nominally in control and who must comply with the same restrictions as any driver such as not being drunk. What's the point of having a robot car if it can't drive you home from the pub while you go to sleep in the back?

Submission + - Whitehouse Petition to sell Texas to pay off US Debt. (

FatLittleMonkey writes: Amidst the flood of petitions on behalf of States demanding to be allowed to secede from the US, inevitably came the trolls suggesting that the US at least make some money out of the deal. Sell Texas to Mexico and use the money to pay down the US debt. Still in single digits at time of writing, but well worth supporting for the lulz.

Submission + - You can't print a gun if you have no 3d printer (

FatLittleMonkey writes: You may recall Cody Wilson's project to create a 3d printed gun, mentioned previously on Slashdot. Well, the Defense Distributed project has suffered a decidedly non-technical setback, with printer manufacturer Stratasys revoking the lease and repossessing the printer (presumably prying it from plastic models of Cory's cold dead hands.) According to New Scientist the manufacturer cited...

his lack of a federal firearms manufacturer's licence as their reason for the repossession, adding that it does not knowingly allow its printers to be used for illegal purposes.


Submission + - If U R readng ths, I M already dead. (

FatLittleMonkey writes: A particularly nasty text scam is doing the rounds in Australia. Police say that hundreds of people have reported receiving text messages reading: "Sum1 paid me to kill you. Get spared, 48hrs to pay $5000. If you inform the police or anybody, death is promised... Email me now", or variations on the theme. The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission's Scamwatch site, also details the threat messages.

(No reports yet of anyone managing to troll the scammers.)


Submission + - MS damage washed away by stream of young blood (

FatLittleMonkey writes: A new study on mice suggests that damage caused by diseases like Multiple sclerosis, as well as natural ageing, can be reversed by an infusion of stem cell rich blood from younger mice. Multiple sclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease that erodes the fatty myelin sheaths around the axons of the brain and spinal cord, and can result is serious disability. Similar effects occur naturally with ageing. Via New Scientist:

White blood cells called macrophages from the young mice gathered at the sites of myelin damage. Macrophages engulf and destroy pathogens and debris, including destroyed myelin. "We know this debris inhibits regeneration, so clearing it up is important," says team member Amy Wagers of Harvard University.

Here's a direct Link to the paper, if you have academic access through the paywall..


Submission + - Sea Shepherd using drones to find whalers (

FatLittleMonkey writes: Anti-whaling protesters, Sea Shepherd, are using aerial drones to find and the track factory ship used by Japanese whalers. The group claims the tactic shortened the Japanese whaling season last year by a month and 200 whales, and this year they've spotted the factory ship even earlier. Heroes, dicks, or geeks?

Submission + - Harnessing the energy of Galloping Gertie (

FatLittleMonkey writes: You've all seen the footage of Galloping Gertie, the infamous Tacoma Narrows bridge. This is due to a type of turbulence called Wake Galloping, caused by airflow creating lift on the lee-side of cylinders (or cables on suspension bridges.) Now researchers in South Korea have developed a way of harnessing the turbulence to generate electricity. Their device works most efficiently at wind speeds too low for conventional wind turbines.

Submission + - Multicellular life found at 3.6km under the crust ( 2

FatLittleMonkey writes: Researchers from Princeton University have discovered nematodes at depth of up to 3.6km in three gold mines in South Africa, likely feeding on the radiation-consuming bacteria also discovered by the same team. Carbon dating their environment confirms that the 500 micrometres long critters have been there for at least 3000 years and are not a recent contaminant. The finding means that unexpectedly complex ecosystems occur deep underground, increasing the chance that complex life may have survived on Mars according to Carl Pilcher, director of NASA's Astrobiology Institute, "The significance was that you could imagine an ecosystem existing in the subsurface of a planet that didn't have a photosynthetic biosphere, like Mars," he says.

Until now, it was thought such an ecosystem could be made of bacteria only. But Onstott's new findings have completely changed that. "These nematodes are grazing on microbes. So now you could imagine that if animal life had ever developed on a planet, and the surface of that planet became lifeless," Pilcher explains, "you could imagine that animals could coexist with microbial ecosystems all powered by radioactivity."


Submission + - Can computers be used to optimise the US tax code? ( 1

FatLittleMonkey writes: Science Fiction author, David Brin, wonders whether the US tax code, described by President Obama as a "10,000-page monstrosity", could be dramatically simplified. No, he's not trying to get support a libertarian wet-dream "Flat Tax", this is about using computers to... shuffle the existing system.

"I know a simple way the sheer bulk of the tax code could be trimmed by perhaps 70% or more, without much political pain or obstructionism! ... it should be easy to create a program that will take the tax code and experiment with zeroing-out dozens, hundreds of provisions while sliding others upward and then showing how these simplifications would affect, say, one-hundred representative types of taxpayers ... Let the program find the simplest version of a refined tax code that leaves all 100 taxpayer clades unhurt. If one group loses a favorite tax dodge, the system would seek a rebalancing of others to compensate. No mere human being could accomplish this, but I have been assured that a computer could do this in a snap."

With all the talk about Open Government, perhaps the computer code currently used in tax modelling could be released to the wider community, leading eventually to a Folding@Home type project.


Submission + - Can't get enough Will & Kate? Now meet their k (

FatLittleMonkey writes: Prince William and Kate Middleton met while attending the University of St Andrews, so it seems... appropriate... that the Perception Lab at St Andrews would have a go at predicting the appearance of the royal couple's future "heir and a spare".

New Scientist also tries its hand at some evolution-centric royal fan-fic.

Oh, and feel free to participate in Perception Labs' experiment.


Submission + - South Australia to drop MA15+ video game rating ( 1

FatLittleMonkey writes: While its former Attorney-General Michael Atkinson actively campaigned against an R18+ rating for video games in Australia, the new South Australian Attorney-General John Rau says he will abolish the MA15+ rating in SA after the introduction of an R18+ rating. To better differentiate "between what adults can get and what children can get", games will be rated G, PG, M, and R18+.

"I will push for the South Australian position on MA15+ games to be adopted nationally, but if it isn't, I'm prepared to go it alone," he promised, calling the MA15+ classification "dangerous".

"Besides," Rau says in an interview to Gamespot, "if the latest surveys about the average gamer being a 32-year-old single male who sits at home and plays games all day are correct, then what I am proposing is not going to have much impact at all." Ouch.

All of this follows a review of the classification system in general, so Rau may be reflecting a more general move away from MA15+ in all media.

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