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Submission + - Chernobyl's new sarcophagus now in place

MrKaos writes: 30 years and seven months since the explosion that set all of this in motion the project known as the 'Shelter Implementation Plan' has been rolled into place sealing the crippled Chernobyl reactor. More than 10,000 people were involved in the project, which includes an advanced ventilation systems and remote controlled robotic cranes to dismantle the existing Soviet-built structure and reactor.

This sarcophagus – or New Safe Confinement (NSC) – is taller than the Statue of Liberty and larger than Wembley stadium.

Submission + - Ringing in 2017 With 90 Hacker Friendly Single Board Computers (hackerboards.com)

DeviceGuru writes: HackerBoards has just published its annual New Year's round-up of Linux- and Android-friendly single board computers. This time around, there are 90 boards in the list, all of which are briefly profiled with links to their sources. There's also a big Google Docs spreadsheet that compares the key specs of all 90 boards, which range in price from $5 to $199 for their lowest cost models. "Community backed, open spec single board computers running Linux and Android... play a key role in developing the Internet of Things devices that will increasingly dominate our technology economy in the coming years," says the post.

Submission + - Dashcam Footage Shows Tesla Autopilot Predicting Surprise Crash (inverse.com)

SonicSpike writes: Tesla’s autopilot might make you drive like a grandma, but that’s a small price to pay since it can also, apparently, see the future. A dashcam video seems to show the autopilot for a Tesla Model X predict that the two cars ahead of it were about to crash, even though the human driver would’ve had no way to see the collision coming.

Electek reports that the crash took place on the Autobahn in the Netherlands. Hans Noordsij, a Dutch electric car enthusiast who first reported the incident, said that nobody in the crash was seriously injured, according to the driver of the Tesla. In the video, you can hear the Tesla’s Forward Collision Warning start pinging for seemingly no reason — then the car ahead of the Tesla slams into the SUV in front of it that had been hidden from view.

The Tesla was able to tell this was going to happen thanks to the September autopilot update, which added radar — a tried-and-true technology that Elon Musk said could cut accident rates in half. The radar aspect of the autopilot allowed the Model X to track two cars ahead of itself. Even though the SUV wasn’t visible, the radar knew where it was — and that it was about to get rear-ended.

Submission + - Successful Ebola vaccine will be fast-tracked for use (bbc.com)

Applehu Akbar writes: Merck has developed an Ebola vaccine which, according to Lancet is showing virtually complete effectiveness in preventing infection by the dreaded disease. Is is now being fast-tracked for general distribution by 2018.

Submission + - Dinosaur Tail With Feathers Found Perfectly Preserved In Amber (bbc.com)

dryriver writes: The BBC reports: The tail of a feathered dinosaur has been found perfectly preserved in amber from Myanmar. The one-of-a-kind discovery helps put flesh on the bones of these extinct creatures, opening a new window on the biology of a group that dominated Earth for more than 160 million years. Examination of the specimen suggests the tail was chestnut brown on top and white on its underside. "This is the first time we've found dinosaur material preserved in amber," co-author Ryan McKellar, of the Royal Saskatchewan Museum in Canada, told the BBC News website. Co-author Prof Mike Benton, from the University of Bristol, added: "It's amazing to see all the details of a dinosaur tail — the bones, flesh, skin, and feathers — and to imagine how this little fellow got his tail caught in the resin, and then presumably died because he could not wrestle free."

Submission + - The forgotten story of America's first toy robot (fastcompany.com) 2

harrymcc writes: In 1954, the Ideal Toy Company released Robert The Robot, the first toy robot made in the U.S. He was made of plastic instead of the more common tin, had a hand-cranked remote control and talked. And he not only became a bestseller, but appeared in a movie, inspired songs, and was generally a media superstar. And then everyone forgot about him. Over at Fast Company, Jared Newman chronicles his odd and interesting story.

Submission + - Deep Space Network glitches worry scientists (sciencemag.org)

sciencehabit writes: Earlier this year, the Cassini spacecraft screwed up an orbital maneuver at Saturn because of a problem with its radio connection to Earth. The incident was one of several recent glitches in the Deep Space Network (DSN), NASA’s complex of large radio antennas in California, Spain, and Australia. For more than 50 years, the DSN has been the lifeline for nearly every spacecraft beyond Earth’s orbit, relaying commands from mission control and receiving data from the distant probe. On 30 September, in a meeting at NASA headquarters, officials will brief planetary scientists on the network’s status. Many are worried, based on anecdotal reports, that budget cuts and age have taken a toll that could endanger the complex maneuvers that Cassini and Juno, a spacecraft now at Jupiter, will require over the next year.

Submission + - Pending bill would kill a big H-1B loophole (computerworld.com)

ErichTheRed writes: This isn't perfect, but it is the first attempt I've seen at removing the "body shop" loophole in the H-1B visa system. A bill has been introduced in Congress that would raise the minimum wage for an H-1B holder from $60K to $100K, and place limits on the body shop companies that employ mostly H-1B holders in a pass-through arrangement. Whether it's enough to stop the direct replacement of workers, or whether it will just accelerate offshoring, remains to be seen. But, I think removing the most blatant and most abused loopholes in the rules is a good start.

Submission + - SPAM: Bastille Day Terrorist Attacks in Nice, France. 84 Dead 1

MrKaos writes: Videos are emerging of another terrorist attack in Nice France. Police failed to stop the driver of a fixed axle lorry who sebsequently used the vehicle to plough through crowds of people celebrating Bastille day.
Claims are emerging that the driver was also using an automatic weapon and had a stock of grenades. France was still in a state of emergency from the previous terrorist attacks.

Eighty four are dead and eighteen are in a critical condition.

The cowardly Daesh (ISIS) have claimed responsibility for the attack against the citizens of France.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - The BBC is Bringing Back Robot Wars, the Original Robot Fighting Show (gizmodo.com)

mknewman writes: Sure, BattleBots was cool, but let’s not forget the real father of Robot TV deathmatches broadcast for our pleasure: the classic BBC series Robot Wars. Fans of violent robotic combat rejoice then, because the BBC are bringing back the series with more robots, and some mandatory science bits to distract you from the FIGHTING ROBOTS.

Submission + - Metal spheres crash land in Vietnam, believed to be from space (thanhniennews.com)

AmiMoJo writes: Two strange metal spheres fell to the ground on Sunday evening in a remote part of Tuyen Quang Province, Vietnam. "The sky was clear, suddenly we heard a thunder-like noise," a witness told Thanh Nien. Locals people later found the orb near a stream. The two objects, one around 80cm and the other 27cm in diameter made a sound like thunder as they came crashing down. Similar objects have fallen in other parts of the world over the years, believed to be hydrazine bladder tanks from Russian made space vehicles.

Submission + - California's Worst Gas Leak In 40 Years (And Crews Can't Stop It) (wired.com)

schwit1 writes: While world leaders signed the 'historic' agreement signed in Paris to fix the world's "greatest threat," a natural gas storage site in southern California is belching 145,000 pounds per hour of Methane — a greenhouse gas 70 times more potent than carbon dioxide. What is worse, while official proclaim this a "top priority" a fix won't arrive until spring as emergency crews recognize "the leak was far from routine, and the problem was deeper underground."

In just the first month, that's added up to 80,000 tons, or about a quarter of the state's ordinary methane emissions over the same period.

Submission + - AVG, McAfee, Kaspersky Antiviruses Had All a Common Bug (softpedia.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Basic ASLR was not implemented in 3 major antivirus makers, allowing attackers to use the antivirus itself towards attacking Windows PCs. The bug, in layman terms, is: the antivirus would select the same memory address space every time it would run. If attackers found out the memory space's address, they could tell their malicious code to execute in the same space, at the same time, and have it execute with root privileges, which most antivirus have on Windows PCs. It's a basic requirement these days for software programmers to use ASLR (Address Space Layout Randomization) to prevent their code from executing in predictable locations. Affected products: AVG, McAfee, Kaspersky. All "quietly" issued fixes.

Submission + - Tech Giant SAP Seeks To Hire More Autistic Adults (cio.com)

itwbennett writes: In May 2013, SAP launched its Autism at Work program, with the goal of recruiting and hiring 'hundreds of people' with autism worldwide. Now the company is expanding the program, and is looking to have people on the autism spectrum make up 1 percent of its total workforce (~650 people) by 2020, says José Velasco, head of the Autism at Work program at SAP. So far, autistic workers fulfill all kinds of roles in IT — from software testing, data analysis, quality assurance to IT project management, graphic design, finance administration and human resources, Velasco says, and the potential for new roles is expanding rapidly.

Submission + - Physicists uncover novel phase of matter (phys.org)

schwit1 writes: A team of physicists led by Caltech's David Hsieh has discovered an unusual form of matter — not a conventional metal, insulator, or magnet, for example, but something entirely different. This phase, characterized by an unusual ordering of electrons, offers possibilities for new electronic device functionalities and could hold the solution to a long-standing mystery in condensed matter physics having to do with high-temperature superconductivity — the ability for some materials to conduct electricity without resistance, even at "high" temperatures approaching -100 degrees Celsius.

"The discovery of this phase was completely unexpected and not based on any prior theoretical prediction ... The whole field of electronic materials is driven by the discovery of new phases, which provide the playgrounds in which to search for new macroscopic physical properties."

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