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Submission + - Sony outage disables DASH devices, no ETA on a fix

Jack Greenbaum writes: In 2012 Sony closed the developer site for the DASH, their version of the Chumby platform. Sony never officially killed off the product, and they kept the back end servers on line, until recently at least. About two weeks ago DASH owners started seeing their devices fail with a cryptic error message "Unable to download the Control Panel (No download information available). Please restart your dash to try again." Sony acknowledges that the issue is at their end, but no ETA for a fix has been provided. The passionate DASH community is not pleased that Sony is being so quiet about a fix. One user even overslept for work because they depended on the alarm clock feature. Now every DASH is dead until Sony decides to not abandon its walled garden.

Submission + - Texas admonishes judge for posting Facebook updates about her trials

An anonymous reader writes: Michelle Slaughter, a Galveston County judge says she will appeal a public admonition from state officials that criticized her Facebook posts about cases brought before her court. From the article: "The State Commission on Judicial Conduct ordered Michelle Slaughter, a Galveston County judge, to enroll in a four-hour class on the 'proper and ethical use of social media by judges.' The panel concluded that the judge's posts cast 'reasonable doubt' on her impartiality. At the beginning of a high-profile trial last year in which a father was accused of keeping his nine-year-old son in a six-foot by eight-foot wooden box, the judge instructed jurors not to discuss the case against defendant David Wieseckel with anyone. 'Again, this is by any means of communication. So no texting, e-mailing, talking person to person or on the phone or on Facebook. Any of that is absolutely forbidden,' the judge told jurors. But Slaughter didn't take her own advice, leading to her removal from the case and a mistrial. The defendant eventual was acquitted of unlawful-restraint-of-a-child charges."

Submission + - Teenager Stuns Fellow Geeks By Solving Rubik's Cube In Record 5.25 Seconds (hothardware.com)

MojoKid writes: Some folks are better at solving the timeless classic Rubik's Cube puzzle than others. However, Colin Burns, a teenager who thrilled a crowd of onlookers over the weekend at Central Bucks West High School in Doylestown, PA, supposedly just broke the record in a big way. It took Colins a mere 5.253 seconds to solve Rubik's 3x3x3 contraption, besting the previous record held by Mats Valk from the Netherlands, who accomplished the same feat in 5.55 seconds. Colins is one of only eight people to have correctly lined up the scrambled colors in less than 10 seconds during an official competition. The video of the feat is impressive to be sure. Just be warned that the ensuing celebration is quite boisterous, so you may want to turn down the volume on your speakers or headphones.

Submission + - "Synergetic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine" gets Air Force nod (theengineer.co.uk)

LeadSongDog writes: The US Air Force Research Lab has been looking at the SABRE concept from the UK maker Reaction Engines, which has already been endorsed by the European Space Agency. The hybrid runs as a jet from stationary to Mach 5.5, then it becomes a rocket for all the way up to Mach 25. The magic is all in keeping the heat exchanger from icing up. This now clears the way for funding the next step: build and test demonstrator engines.

Submission + - Ames Labortory scientists create cheaper magnetic material (ameslab.gov)

An anonymous reader writes: Karl A. Gschneidner and fellow scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory have created a new magnetic alloy that is an alternative to traditional rare-earth permanent magnets.

The new alloy—a potential replacement for high-performance permanent magnets found in automobile engines and wind turbines--eliminates the use of one of the scarcest and costliest rare earth elements, dysprosium, and instead uses cerium, the most abundant rare earth.

The result, an alloy of neodymium, iron and boron co-doped with cerium and cobalt, is a less expensive material with properties that are competitive with traditional sintered magnets containing dysprosium.

Submission + - UK Government Report Recommends Ending Online Anonymity (techdirt.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Every so often, people who don't really understand the importance of anonymity or how it enables free speech (especially among marginalized people), think they have a brilliant idea: "just end real anonymity online." They don't seem to understand just how shortsighted such an idea is. It's one that stems from the privilege of being in power. And who knows that particular privilege better than members of the House of Lords in the UK — a group that is more or less defined by excess privilege? The Communications Committee of the House of Lords has now issued a report concerning "social media and criminal offenses" in which they basically recommend scrapping anonymity online.

Submission + - Woman arrested after posting photo of George Osborne at Dominatrix's flat (wordpress.com)

An anonymous reader writes: A woman was arrested today after posting a photograph on Twitter of chancellor George Osborne at her flat when she worked as a madame at an escort agency.

Then today Natalie was arrested by the police for “abusive behaviour”:

Natalie’s home was also searched last year by police after she tried to publish her memoirs in which she mentions Osborne took cocaine and used her services as a dominatrix called Miss Whiplash.

Submission + - Programmers: Why Haven't You Joined The ACM? (itworld.com) 1

jfruh writes: The Association for Computing Machinery is a storied professional group for computer programmers, but its membership hasn't grown in recent years to keep pace with the industry. Vint Cerf, who recently concluded his term as ACM president, asked developers what was keeping them from signing up. Their answers: paywalled content, lack of information relevant to non-academics, and code that wasn't freely available.

Submission + - Dept. of Energy hunting fault tolerance for extreme scale systems (networkworld.com)

coondoggie writes: The U.S. Department of Energy ‘s Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research this week said it is looking for “basic research that significantly improves the resiliency of scientific applications in the context of emerging architectures for extreme scale computing platforms. Extreme scale is defined as approximately 1,000 times the capability available today. The next-generation of scientific discovery will be enabled by research developments that can effectively harness significant or disruptive advances in computing technology.”

Comment Santa Barbara isn't like the rest of CA (Score 2) 420

The majority of water in Santa Barbara is derived from local sources. While there is a lot of local agriculture, it is primarily on coastal planes, not in classic desert areas like Imperial Country. In our current year we've had less than half our typical rainfall, and it has has been going on like this for three years now. Our last drought, when the desal plant was first built, took seven years to set in, we've reached the crisis point in this drought much more quickly. My point is I don't think we're quite as dumb as the rest of the state where they can't ever manage on local sources in normal years, we can. But when things go dry quickly like they have, we get caught out. Of course building a desal plant in an emergency is actually a rain dance. It worked perfectly last time, and given the predictions of an El Nino for next year, it should work this time as well.

Submission + - Stars In His Eyes: New England Electrician Takes 14kV, Shrugs It Off (nejm.org)

ihtoit writes: An electrician was let with stars in his eyes after an electric shock left him with some unusually shaped cataracts.
The 42-year-old man from New England went to doctors a month after he received a 14,000 V shock to his left shoulder, when his eye sight deteriorated.
He has since had the cataracts removed and although it is believed the cause was damage to his optic nerve doctors are not sure why they were star-shaped.
Sources: New England journal of Medicine, ITV

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