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Comment The best mechanical pencil (Score 1) 712

I know you're really here looking for pens, but I gotta point out that the TUL mechanical pencils I have are my favorite writing tool. The weight is well balanced, the grip is just right, and it just works. Beyond that, truth be told, you could do a lot by amassing the right stationary.

First Measurement of Magnetic Field In Earth's Core 34

An anonymous reader writes "A University of California, Berkeley, geophysicist has made the first-ever measurement of the strength of the magnetic field inside Earth's core, 1,800 miles underground. The magnetic field strength is 25 Gauss, or 50 times stronger than the magnetic field at the surface that makes compass needles align north-south. Though this number is in the middle of the range geophysicists predict, it puts constraints on the identity of the heat sources in the core that keep the internal dynamo running to maintain this magnetic field."

Comment Re:Kinect vs. $5k Hokuyo UTM-30LX Laser RangeFinde (Score 2, Interesting) 60

Odds that the Kinect will work outdoors should be quite low, as it relies on an array-based infrared system. Alternatively, a laser range finder uses a highly focused pulse of light at (nearly) a single point, which performs better in natural sunlight. It seems quite likely that Kinect will be popular in the near future for indoor robotics and robotics education, but indoor/outdoor robustness is strongly desired these days and scanning LIDARs won't disappear until robust Flash LADAR becomes common

Submission + - U.S. Robots Win Big Down Under 1

An anonymous reader writes: US teams dominated the MAGIC 2010 autonomous robotics competition, mapping and neutralizing simulated bombs at the 250,000 sq. meter Royal Showgrounds in Adelaide, Australia. Leading the pack with a team of fourteen robots was Team Michigan, principally from the University of Michigan, followed by the University of Pennsylvania, and RASR. This contest marks the beginning of practical robots that not only think for themselves, but also actively coordinate with a human commander.

Many Hackers Accidentally Send Their Code To Microsoft 220

joshgnosis writes "When hackers crash Windows in the course of developing malware, they'll often accidentally agree to send the virus code straight to Microsoft, according to senior security architect Rocky Heckman. 'It's amazing how much stuff we get.' Heckman also said Microsoft was a common target for people testing their attacks. 'The first thing [script kiddies] do is fire off all these attacks at On average we get attacked between 7000 and 9000 times per second.'"

Submission + - The street-legal BatPod replica (

ElectricSteve writes: The average custom chopper is something most motorcyclists find puzzling — they're heavy and cumbersome, with terrible handling and mediocre performance, they're hard to ride and they cost unbelievable amounts of money. This fully custom 850cc BatPod replica takes all those traits to the max — it looks downright scary to ride, there's almost no way to turn a corner with any sort of dignity, and may God help you if you want to pull a U-Turn. But for owner Pankaj Shah it's a tribute to his love of the Dark Knight movie where the BatPod first appeared – and beyond the neck-snapping appearance of the thing, it's also quite an amazing bit of rolling metalwork.

Submission + - LCD "engine" for spacecraft attitude control! (

Bruce Perens writes: "Japan's IKAROS satellite, which earlier performed the first successful demonstration of a solar sail, has broken more new territory. Liquid-crystal displays, yes — like in your video monitor — were fabricated into strips on the edges of the solar sail. By energizing some of the LCDs and changing the reflective characteristics of parts of the sail from specular to diffuse, JAXA scientists successfully generated attitude control torque in the sail, changing the spacecraft's orientation."

Submission + - Nissan car brakes automatically to avoid collision ( 1

angry tapir writes: "A new safety system developed by Nissan ties together a car-mounted radar and computer to reduce the risk of collisions. The "forward collision avoidance assist concept," which was demonstrated by the car maker this week at its research center in Japan, keeps a watch on the road ahead with a radar system mounted behind the car's front bumper."

Submission + - Your bed is giving you cancer (

WiglyWorm writes: Scientific American has an interesting article on the occurrences of various types of cancer in western and eastern nations, and has a very interesting theory as to their cause. Their hypothesis? That your bed is a giant cancer-causing antenna the saturates you with radio waves while you sleep, causing the cell damage that causes cancer.

as we sleep on our coil-spring mattresses, we are in effect sleeping on an antenna that amplifies the intensity of the broadcast FM/TV radiation. Asleep on these antennas, our bodies are exposed to the amplified electromagnetic radiation for a third of our life spans. As we slumber on a metal coil-spring mattress, a wave of electromagnetic radiation envelops our bodies so that the maximum strength of the field develops 75 centimeters above the mattress in the middle of our bodies. When sleeping on the right side, the body's left side will thereby be exposed to field strength about twice as strong as what the right side absorbs.


Submission + - Robot soldiers team up for DoD competition ( 2

jstrom writes: Six finalists have been announced for the final round of the Multi Autonomous Ground-Robotic International Challenge (MAGIC 2010). The contest, which is sponsored by the American and Australian defense departments, aims to quickly boost the autonomous capabilities of robots deployed on the battlefield. Each team is asked to field a robot collective to autonomously map large-scale urban environment and neutralize IED-like props, while tracking and differentiating between non-combatants and enemy soldiers. The finalists, composed of three US teams in addition to teams from Japan, Turkey and Australia, will compete for US $1.6M in prize money at an undisclosed location in Australia this November. Team Michigan has posted videos (torrent) of their system in operation and animations of the algorithms they are developing. The other US finalists include the University of Pennsylvania and Robotics Research.

Submission + - Autonomous robots search urban spaces to win $1.6M ( 1

An anonymous reader writes: Following three rounds of competition, six finalists have been selected for the Multi-Autonomous Ground Robotic International Challenge (MAGIC 2010). For MAGIC, each team builds and programs a group of robots that cooperatively explore an urban environment, indoors and out. Along the way, robots build a map, track people, and neutralize bombs. The finalist teams will head to Australia in November to compete for $1.6M in prize money, and include Cappadocia (Turkey), Chiba (Japan), Magician (Australia), RASR (USA), Team Michigan (USA), and the University of Pennsylvania (USA). The MAGIC organizers have posted pictures.

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