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Submission + - MIT Inches Closer to ARC Reactor Despite Losing Federal Funding (computerworld.com)

Lucas123 writes: Experimenting with a fusion device over the past 20 years has edged MIT researchers to their final goal, creating a small and relatively inexpensive ARC reactor, three of which would produce enough energy to power a city the size of Boston. The lessons already learned from MIT's even current Alcator C-Mod fusion device — with a plasma radius of just 0.68 meters — have enabled researchers to publish a paper on a prototype ARC that would be the world's smallest fusion reactor but with the greatest magnetic force and energy output for its size. The ARC would require 50MW to run while putting out about 200MW of electricity to the grid. Key to MIT's ARC reactor would be the use of a "high-temperature" rare-earth barium copper oxide (REBCO) superconducting tape for its magnetic coils, which only need to be cooled to 100 Kelvin, which enables the use of abundant liquid nitrogen as a cooling agent. Other fusion reactors' superconducting coils must be cooled to 4 degrees Kelvin. While there remain hurdles to overcome, such as sustaining the fusion reaction long enough to achieve a net power return, building the ARC would only take 4 to 5 years and cost about $5 billion, compared to the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), the world's largest tokamak fusion reactor due to go online and begin producing energy in 2027.

Submission + - Researchers Equip Mario Characters With Social Intelligence (thestack.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Scientists have designed artificial intelligence software to apply social skills to popular video game characters such as Mario, Luigi, Yoshi and Toad from the Super Mario Bros franchise. The researchers taught the game characters to watch and communicate with each other, as well as to learn from their surroundings. This was achieved through attaching a cognitive control loop to each agent [video], integrating insights from cognitive science, linguistics and psychology. Characters were programmed to develop a motivation system, inspired by the need for wealth, progress, and full health. These drives then triggered specific game events, for example with a stronger longing for wealth, Mario would strive to reach more coins. The gamer is able interject and influence a character's actions by giving abstract orders or motivational instructions through speech control. The characters can also ask for help or further information from the gamer to achieve their mission.
Science

Submission + - Fractal Nanoflowers Could Restore Sight to Blind (gizmag.com)

Zothecula writes: What do trees, rivers, clouds and neurons have in common? They're all examples of fractals, or irregularly-shaped objects in which any one component is the same shape as the whole – a tributary of a river, for instance, looks like a miniature river itself. Electronic chips are not fractals, yet some researchers are trying to restore sight to the blind by attaching such chips to the eye's neurons. Given that neurons are fractals, wouldn't it work better to hook them up to other fractal structures? University of Oregon researcher Richard Taylor thinks so, which is why he's developing metal nanoflowers.
Android

Submission + - Adobe wants to read your Gmail 2

harryk writes: "Hope I'm not the first to submit this note about the most recent Adobe Acrobat update for Android devices (IOS unaffected?). According to the new permission requirements, "Read Gmail" is required. The only benefit of the new release is reportedly so that Acrobat can open when you want to read PDF files. The only problem with that logic is that Adobe Acrobat can ALREADY do this without needing to read my mail. From the update notes: "Adobe Reader now requires permission to read Gmail and default Email client. This is to enable users to open Gmail and default Email client PDF attachments using Adobe Reader only when users select the application to view PDF files. This permission is required because of a known limitation with the Android platform." ... Just tested this function and it works without the 'update'. What are you trying to do Adobe?"

Submission + - Last major US record label is sold (google.com) 1

jmanforever writes: "Several sites are reporting that Russian billionaire Len Blavatnik has agreed to buy Warner Music Group for $3.3 billion. The deal means that every one of the big four record label groups will be foreign owned.
Can the RIAA explain again why it is in the best interest of the United States to collect performance royalties from American radio stations and internet streaming sites, then send the money to Tokyo, Paris, London and now Moscow?"

Security

Submission + - LastPass: Users Don't Have To Reset Master PWDs (computerworld.com)

CWmike writes: "LastPass on Friday rescinded its day-old order that all users of its online password management system reset their master passwords due to a database breach. In a blog post this morning, the company said it won't allow users to change master passwords 'until our databases are completely caught up and we have resolved outstanding issues.' In an e-mail to Computerworld, LastPass CEO Joe Siegrist said the company changed its plan in response to demands from users asking they not be required to reset their passwords. 'They're asking because they know how strong their master password is — that it's not vulnerable and therefore they know they're safe even if it was exposed,' Siegrist said. However, comments posted on a LastPass blog suggest that the company's decision may also be related to trouble some users appear to be having with the password reset process. The blog post acknowledged that it had 'identified an issue' with roughly 5% of users that reset their master passwords. The company said it would be contacting those users about about a fix for the problem LastPass said earlier that passwords for its Xmarks bookmark sync, which it acquired last December, were not affected."
NASA

Submission + - Titan May Have Water Ocean Under The Surface (ibtimes.com)

RedEaredSlider writes: NASA's Cassini probe, in orbit around Saturn, may have discovered evidence for a liquid ocean under the surface of Titan, Saturn's largest moon.

The data comes from radar observations of the surface that measure Titan's rotation and tell how it is oriented relative to the plane of its orbit — its axial tilt. According to a paper to be published in an upcoming issue of Astronomy and Astrophysics, the new data showed that the many of the planet's surface features were in the wrong place, sometimes off by as much as 30 kilometers (19 miles).

Titan always presents the same face toward Saturn, just like the Moon does to Earth. But in those situations one expects that the moon will be in the "Cassini state," which means that the axial tilt will have a certain value. In Titan's case, the axial tilt was measured at 0.3 degrees. That seemed too high if one assumed Titan

Canada

Submission + - Pirate Party of Canada to field federal candidate (theglobeandmail.com)

PegNorthPirate writes: Abbreviated release: Jeff Coleman is expected to officially enter the race for parliament in Winnipeg North...This makes Coleman the first non-European Pirate to run for office, and also marks the Pirate Party of Canada meeting its final requirement to become a fully registered federal party. "The Pirate Party is going to bring a whole new voice to Canadian politics, and I'm deeply honoured to be part of that," said Coleman....Coleman, who runs a small design and 3D printing business in the riding, has pledged to combine the Pirate Party's core platform of modern information reform with a crowdsourced "listening campaign" that will identify the needs and wants of the community.
NASA

Submission + - NASA's Stunning Close-up Photos of Comet Hartley 2 (foxnews.com)

Velcroman1 writes: A NASA spacecraft has beamed back the first close-up photos from its rendezvous with a comet — and the images show an ice ball that looks like a giant chicken drumstick, or perhaps a peanut or bowling pin. Deep Impact zoomed to within 435 miles (700 kilometers) of Comet Hartley 2 at 10:01 EDT (1401 GMT) this morning (Nov. 4), and the probe beamed down the first close-up shots an hour later. Cheers erupted in the Mission Control room of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory as five high-resolution images flashed up on a big screen. In the photos, the comet, which is about 1 mile (1.6 km) wide, looks like a big chicken drumstick, or a peanut.

Submission + - Over 7,000 New BitTorrent Lawsuits

An anonymous reader writes: Slyck is reporting that there's over 7,000 new BitTorrent lawsuits against those sharing the adult port title "Batman XXX". But the real story may be the fact that the law firm filing the complaint has copied, almost word for word, the complaint filed by the US Copyright Group. Ars Technica referred to this practice as 'no honor among antipiracy lawyers'.
Science

Submission + - Why Computer Science Grads are unemployable (theregister.co.uk)

An anonymous reader writes: A banking headhunter lets rip at the pathetic quality of new computer science graduates who only know Java and seem scared of the technology they are supposed to have mastered. To make it even nastier Dominic Connor is a CS grad himself, having debugged O/S code for IBM and Microsoft, a task that newbies seem to reagrd with the suspersititous fear you'd expect from medieval peasants.

Submission + - Alienware: The Wallet Strikes Back (igniq.com)

robj_ie writes: Back in August I set out to build a decent PC gaming rig without breaking the bank. I wanted to show how much money can be saved when purchasing all the parts separately and assembling it yourself. For the price comparison I chose Alienware as they are pretty well-known for making high-end gaming PCs and Notebooks but with a hefty price-tag.

Since the PC is now built, I figured I’d follow the last post up with some performance benchmarks and updates on the changes made (notably the price). It has pretty much remained the same apart from the graphics card and a few minor changes. But the few minor changes have saved even more money. All the parts arrived about 2 weeks ago and I have found the time to put it together and run some benchmarks. So if you’re interested in building your own rig, read on if you want to see the kind of performance that can be attained on this budget.

News

Submission + - Pay or else, News Site Threatens (techdirt.com) 5

WED Fan writes: "An Up State NY news blog says users who read beyond a single page of an article must pay up or they will be tracked down:

A subscription is required at North Country Gazette. We allow only one free read per visitor. We are currently gathering IPs and computer info on persistent intruders who refuse to buy subscription and are engaging in a theft of services. We have engaged an attorney who will be doing a bulk subpoena demand on each ISP involved, particularly Verizon Droids, Frontier and Road Runner, and will then pursue individual legal actions.

They don't have a pay wall. If you go beyond page 1, you owe them.

So, is this like going into a grocery store and eating the food and the manager hauling you up to the check out to pay for what you ate? Or, is it like picking up a discarded paper on the ferry and the guy at the news stand demanding that you pay him?"

Google

Submission + - FTC ends probe of Google StreetView privacy breach (thehill.com)

GovTechGuy writes: The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) wrote to Google on Wednesday to end its probe into a major privacy breach in which the company collected and stored private user information, such as passwords and entire e-mails, without even realizing it after the search giant promised to improve its privacy practices.
Security

Submission + - Most Americans Support an Internet Kill Switch (net-security.org)

Orome1 writes: Sixty-one percent of Americans said the President should have the ability to shut down portions of the Internet in the event of a coordinated malicious cyber attack, according to research by Unisys. The survey found that while Americans are taking proactive steps to protect themselves against cybercrime and identity theft, only slightly more than a third of Internet users in the U.S. regularly use and update passwords on their mobile devices – creating a potentially huge security hole for organizations as more consumer devices invade the workplace. The findings illustrate that recent events such as the Stuxnet computer worm attack and the attempted Times Square car bombing may have heightened the American public's awareness of and concern over global and domestic cybersecurity threats.

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