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Submission + - Wright Brothers Grounded: German Gustav Weißkopf Lift Off 1901 (gustave-whitehead.com)

gentryx writes: "Newly found evidence supports earlier claims that Gustave Whitehead (a German immigrant, born Gustav Weißkopf, with Whitehead being the literal translation of Weißkopf) performed the first powered, controlled, heavier-than-air flight as early as 1901-08-14 — more than two years before the Wrights took off. A reconstructed image shows him mid-flight. A detailed analysis of said photo can be found here. Apparently the results are convincing enough that even Jane's chimes in.

His plane is also better looking than the Wright Flyer I."


Submission + - SpaceX's Musk Gives Minute-by-Minute of Saving Dragon Spacecraft (txchnologist.com)

MatthewVD writes: "SpaceX CEO Elon Musk replayed the minute-by-minute maneuvers controllers took to save the tumbling Dragon capsule for a crowd at the South by Southwest Interactive festival in Austin on Saturday.
“We had this spacecraft just going through free drift in space, like just tumbling,” Musk said.
So SpaceX borrowed a U.S. Air Force antenna array, hastily rewrote code and made the risky call to unfurl the solar panels before they froze. It wasn't quite Apollo 13, but it was terrifying nonetheless."


Submission + - The Science of Hugo Chavez's Long Term Embalming

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Discover Magazine reports that Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez will apparently get an embalming job designed to keep him looking alive for decades similar to that of Russia's Vladimir Lenin, whose body still lies in a mausoleum in Moscow's Red Square, nearly 90 years after his death. So how do you preserve a human body for decades without it turning into a pile of melted tissue? First, get to work quickly. Upon death, the human body starts decomposing immediately. The way to stop it is with formaldehyde, a preservative used for the past century, which inhibits the enzyme decomposition as well as killing bacteria. “You pump the chemical in, and as the formaldehyde hits the cells of the body, it firms up the protein of the cell, or fixates it,” says Vernie Fountain, head of the Fountain National Academy of Professional Embalming Skills in Springfield, Mo. “That’s what makes them stiff.” With a body that will have to be on display for years, it’s likely to require a top-shelf, super-strong solution. “If I were doing Hugo Chavez, I would strengthen the solution and use more preservative product,” says Fountain. Next, get a good moisturizer. Formaldehyde preserves, but it also dries out the body. Vaseline or other moisturizers can preserve the look of skin, according to Melissa Johnson Williams, executive director of the American Society of Embalmers. Finally keep cool. Heat decomposes a body so for long term preservation, the body has to be kept at the temperature of a standard kitchen refrigerator, somewhere in the mid-40s. Lastly, if Venezuelans really want to keep Hugo Chavez around forever, like many other world figures, there’s only one solution that works, according to Fountain. “The best form of preservation is mummification.""

Submission + - Sugar industry's secret docs echo Big Tobacco's anti-science tactics

Freshly Exhumed writes: Evidence of the Sugar Association's decades-old attempts to stifle its critics and shape public opinion has been uncovered by Dr. Cristin Couzens, who went on a sabbatical to hunt for proof after noting that sugar was never being discussed in dental forums as a causative source of health problems. She is a dentist by training, not an investigator, but what Couzens found was something food industry critics have been seeking for years: confidential industry documents going back to the 1970s showing that the sugar industry used Big Tobacco's tactics to deflect growing public and professional concern over the deleterious health effects of sugar, such as the alarming rise in childhood obesity and diabetes levels and the ongoing high cost of dental cavity treatment, from which the poor are often left out.

Submission + - Google Glass Banned From Seattle Pub (geekwire.com)

supertall writes: Google Glass is sure to prompt a wave of innovative new hands-free applications, but privacy concerns have led to the 5-Point Cafe in Seattle banning the wearable technology. The issues comes down to being photographed/recorded without knowledge or consent. Some people just don't like it, as demonstrated by Steve Mann's assault at a Paris McDonald's. The misuse of such technologies may have deeper implications. Imagine with a single innocuous glance facial recognition technology doing a web search and pulling up someone's personal information such as their home address. Would you be comfortable in a world full of this tech?

Submission + - SXSW: How Mobile Devices Are Changing Africa (slashdot.org)

Nerval's Lobster writes: "Mobile phones are kicking off a revolution in Africa, with everyone from farmers to villagers relying on apps to make electronic payments, check on expiration dates for medicine, and predict future storms or the best prices for produce. In a SXSW session titled “The $100bn Mobile Bullet Train Called Africa” (which would also be a pretty good name for one of the indie films playing at this massive convention), Tech4Africa founder Gareth Knight explained the contours of this revolution. According to Shapshak, more kids in Africa have access to the Internet than consistent electricity. Nobody owns a PC or can access a fixed-line telephone, so mobile phones are a conduit for everything from email to news to making payments via SMS. Many people on the continent also own phones equipped with flashlights and radios—“Radios are the killer app in Africa,” Shapshak said—and the percentage of the population equipped with mobile devices is primed to explode over the next few years. Many of the mobile devices used in Africa aren’t cutting-edge, and SMS-based platforms are a necessity when it comes to sharing information. “SMS is so fantastic because it gets to every device everywhere,” Shapshak said. “SMS has a 100 percent read rate; you read every SMS you get.” Here’s how a typical SMS platform might work: someone purchasing a box of malaria medicine could send the barcode information to a text number, which would send back an SMS message identifying the drug as real or counterfeit. Famers and other food-producers can receive SMS messages about the best ways to handle pests, for example, or take care of their cows."

Comment Re:Oy (Score 1) 307

I think the difference is that ATT is allowing new subscribers to get the current individual phone plans with limited minutes and no texting as an alternate to Share Everything.

Verizon now requires all new account go prepaid or Share Everything, which is a big cost increase for people who don't use many minutes or text.

Comment Re:Oy (Score 3, Insightful) 307

This is pure collusion, that proves that ATT and Verizon have no intent on competing. If this continues, market regulation or breakup may be required.

Raising the cost of data from $30 for 3GB to $40 for 1GB is a 300% price increase and unacceptable in any mature market. As unlimited text and calling plans become redundant to cheaper internet based services, the mobile companies are trying to lock in current income for specialized services people will no longer need.

AT&T and Verizon have developed these plans to protect themselves from the inevitable switch from charging as much as the market will bear for voice, text or data to all services becoming part of the data stream with the next evolution of LTE. These plans are an attempt to challenge the prospect that they may become "dumb pipe" providers of data in place of more expensive add on services.

Once voice calls are just data streams on the data network, the mobile providers will give you that data for free when using their services, as opposed to charging you for the data if you use skype or another ip phone system. They will still charge you outrageous foreign call rates and international roaming charges when ever possible. This would be a definite violation of network neutrality as they would be providing preferencial treatment to their own, non optional unlimited voice and text plans over competing internet services.

The new share everything plans acknowledge the diminishing importance of voice and text services, by requiring you to buy unlimited service and shifting the current fees for these services to the first GB of data.

Even though you some people may actually pay less under these new plans, they are designed solely to protect loss of income that will result when people no longer need high voice minute plans because the competing data based voice plans will be identical in delivery and quality to the mobile provides plans yet without added rates.

This is a strategy to increase data fees while delivery costs drop to further increase profits while fooling the public into thinking they might be getting a deal.

Comment Re:for poor people (Score 1) 650

I'm not convinced the auto industry will want to implement self driving cars for this very reason. Why is Google leading the research rather than GM or Ford.

When self driving cars become available, car sharing services and self driving taxis will flourish. These cars will be able to provide cheap and convenient direct service without having to pay drivers. Since most private cars remain unused and parked for over 95% of the time, one self driving car can provide the utility 20 or more cars allowing a huge return on investment.

With cheap and on demand taxi service, the convenience of owning a car will be much less and dramatically fewer cars will be sold.

Comment Separate ISP's from Media (Score 4, Interesting) 430

Verizon wireless' new Share Everything plans are also designed to challenge Network Neutrality. As the wireless phone providers continue to implement LTE, voice services will soon be just another part of your data stream rather than a separate service.

Anticipating this change, verizon's new phone plans all have unlimited voice calling included in a low cost base price price phone plan. Most of the costs associated with higher minute calling have been shifted to the data side such that your first GB of data will now cost $50.

After they have completed the transition to more expensive data plans, Verizon will next argue that net neutrality is bad for the customers because they might not be allowed to provide the free unlimited data for calling and texting. In reality though, they have just shifted the costs for unlimited voice into the lowest data plans, and have no intention of providing any free services.

The communications companies are fighting against the commodity nature of data delivery, buy requiring you to purchase extra services such as voice or media just to access basic data.

Comment LIablity (Score 2) 709

If you accidentally start a fire, you are liable. Why are these people who accidentally start fires with fire arms not just as liable as someone who crashes a car into your house?

I think they are being provided extra protection since they were using firearms. If you are start a fire intentionally or not, you should be investigated and held responsible for the resulting costs and damages.

If there is a pattern of gunfire causing fires (20 appears to be a precedent), then tax firearms and ammunition the amount needed to cover all costs. The tax payers and property owners should not have to cover these costs.

If anything gun ownership should require extra responsibility, but the NRA has pushed gun freedom so far that governments believe freedom is the absence of responsibility.

Whether used for personal defense or recreation, any damage done with a firearm (killing, destroying property) must at least suffer the same consequences as doing the same damage without a firearm. I personally believe punishment should be harsher for damage resulting from firearms because they are inherently destructive instruments which should necessitate high levels of training and responsibility to insure the least amount of damage results from their use.

But again, in the US, "a well regulated militia", is interpreted as freedom from gun licences, monitoring, education and responsibility.

Comment No Evidence of an Iranian Nuclear Weapons Program (Score 0) 289

Iran is openly admits to enriching uranium for the development of their nuclear power industry. Iran realizes its oil resources are limited and too precious to use for domestic energy production. This is a difficult concept for the US to understand.

The US and Israeli governments believe that Iran is developing weapons, but have no evidence there is any nuclear weapons program in Iran.

This is eerily similar to the flagrant misinformation, innuendo and propaganda disseminated before the Iraq war. Even then, official government agencies would confirm no evidence of WMD programs in Iraq, but the politicians and media were more interested in what they believed must be true rather than any facts.

Globally, we should pressure on all countries including US, Israel and Iran to end all nuclear weapon development, and find better ways to ensure these devices are never used again by any group. There must be global consensus that any use of nuclear weapons (offensive or defensive) is a not an attack on a state, but war on humanity justifying global retaliation against any group that uses WMD's.


Submission + - Thunderbolt on Windows: Hardware and Performance Explored (hothardware.com)

MojoKid writes: "Intel's Light Peak technology eventually matured into what now is known in the market as Thunderbolt, which debuted initially as an Apple I/O exclusive last year. Light Peak was being developed by Intel in collaboration with Apple. It wasn't a huge surprise that Apple got an early exclusivity agreement, but there were actually a number of other partners on board as well, including Aja, Apogee, Avid, Blackmagic, LaCie, Promise and Western Digital. On the Windows front, Thunderbolt is still in its infancy and though there are still a few bugs to work out of systems and solutions, Thunderbolt capable motherboards and devices for Windows are starting to come to market. Performance-wise in Windows, the Promise RAID DAS system tested here offers near 1GB/s of peak read throughput and 500MB/s for writes, which certainly does leave even USB 3.0 SuperSpeed throughput in the dust."

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