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Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Secure methods for baby monitoring

Szeraax writes: Big time nerd, first time father (well, first and second since I just had twins!). Ideally, I can track temperature and heart rate of my new family members without causing a security nightmare on my home network. I see lots of arm bands from China that claim security, but even their documentation pictures are pure chinese screen shots. That makes me immediately leary of the device. I can use a private WLAN on my router for the devices if needed. I can connect via bluetooth on phone or computer. Is my best bet to check vitals manually and plot results in LibreOffice calc? Are there monitoring devices that totally avoid the cloud rush of today? Should I just not even waste my time with the data?

Slashdot, what advice do you have for me?

Submission + - First New US Nuclear Reactor In 20 Years Goes Live (cnn.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The Tennessee Valley Authority is celebrating an event 43 years in the making: the completion of the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant. In 1973, the TVA, one of the nation's largest public power providers, began building two reactors that combined promised to generate enough power to light up 1.3 million homes. The first reactor, delayed by design flaws, eventually went live in 1996. Now, after billions of dollars in budget overruns, the second reactor has finally started sending power to homes and businesses. Standing in front of both reactors Wednesday, TVA President Bill Johnson said Watts Bar 2, the first US reactor to enter commercial operation in 20 years, would offer clean, cheap and reliable energy to residents of several southern states for at least another generation. Before Watts Bar 2, the last time an American reactor had fired up was in 1996. It was Watts Bar 1--and according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, it cost $6.8 billion, far greater than the original price tag at $370 million. In the 2000s, some American power companies, faced with growing environmental regulations, eyed nuclear power again as a top alternative to fossil fuels such as coal and oil. A handful of companies, taking advantage of federal loan guarantees from the Bush administration, revived nuclear reactor proposals in a period now known as the so-called "nuclear renaissance." Eventually, nuclear regulators started to green light new reactors, including ones in Georgia and South Carolina. In 2007, the TVA resumed construction on Watts Bar 2, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency. The TVA originally said it would take five years to complete. The TVA, which today serves seven different southern states, relies on nuclear power to light up approximately 4.5 million homes. Watts Bar 2, the company's seventh operating reactor, reaffirms its commitment to nukes for at least four more decades, Johnson said Wednesday. In the end, TVA required more than five years to build the project. The final cost, far exceeding its initial budget, stood at $4.7 billion.

Submission + - ICANN recommends TLDs like .txt -- and .exe (icann.org) 1

fyngyrz writes: ICANN says, in part:

Given preliminary feedback that there is not a technical need to prevent file extensions as TLDs, as well as the lack of an authoritative source of common file extensions to draw from, staff determined that it is not workable to prevent common file extensions from being used as TLDs.

To summarize, it is the recommendation of the ICANN technical staff to allow applications for TLD strings that may also be commonly used for file extensions.

But will ICANN approve such applications? If so, we can all look forward to opportunities to click on...

http://iamnotavirus-wink.exe

Submission + - Exploding Samsung phones may be more widespread than previously thought (theguardian.com)

squiggleslash writes: Samsung is already feeling the heat from its exploding Note 7 phones, but according to The Guardian a lawsuit has been filed alleging Samsung's phones have for years shown similar defects. From the S6 to the Acclaim R880, the lawsuit covers 30 incidents where phones other than the Note 7 ignited into flames or became burning hot. The lawsuit may light a fire underneath Samsung's engineering group and force them to confront the issue.

Submission + - SPAM: Nuclear's Glacial Pace

mdsolar writes: Climate change has forced us to rethink how we get electricity. Use of renewable sources like solar and wind is rapidly increasing, while nuclear, though long a reliable source of carbon-free electricity, is not. Meanwhile, a number of startups are promising cheap, safe, proliferation-resistant nuclear energy in the next decade (see “Fail-Safe Nuclear Power”).

Can these startups fulfill their promises? Outside of China, nuclear power is expanding nowhere. China has 21 new reactors under construction; Russia has nine, India six. The U.S. is bringing five new plants online, but since 2012, five other reactors have been retired, with seven more to be shuttered by 2019. California’s Diablo Canyon plant recently announced it will close by 2025. With other plants closing in Japan, Germany, and the U.K., more reactors may be decommissioned than built in the near future.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - 2016 Hugo Award Winners Announced

Dave Knott writes: The recipients of the 2016 Hugo awards have been announced. Presented annually since 1955, the Hugos are (along with the Nebulas) one of science fiction's two most prestigious awards. They are voted on by members of the World Science Fiction Convention ("Worldcon"), the most recent of which, MidAmeriCon II was held this past weekend in Kansas City. Notable winners include:

Best Novel: The Fifth Season , by N.K. Jemisin
Best Novella: Binti , by Nnedi Okorafor
Best Novelette: "Folding Beijing", by Hao Jingfang, trans. Ken Liu
Best Short Story: "Cat Pictures Please", by Naomi Kritzer
Best Graphic Story: The Sandman: Overture , written by Neil Gaiman, art by J.H. Williams III
Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form: The Martian , screenplay by Drew Goddard, directed by Ridley Scott
Best Dramatic Presentation, ShortForm: Jessica Jones: "AKA Smile", written by Scott Reynolds, Melissa Rosenberg, and Jamie King, directed by Michael Rymer

As in the previous two years, the 2016 Hugos were subject to considerable controversy, as highly-politicized factions within science fiction fandom attempted to influence the awards via a concerted campaign that influenced the nomination process. Those actions once again proved unsuccessful, as the nominees put forth by these activists failed to win in any of the major awards categories.

Submission + - The flying car again (rdmag.com)

mi writes: Federal Aviation Administration just authorized Terrafugia — one of the companies developing a flying car — to operate small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (SUAS) of its TF-X flying car for research and development purposes.

According to the company, the permission "will allow Terrafugia to test the hovering capabilities of a one-tenth scale TF-X vehicle and gather flight characteristics data that will drive future design choices".

Submission + - DuckDuckGo Grew 74% in 2015

An anonymous reader writes: DuckDuckGo, the privacy-focused web search engine startup, continues to grow rapidly. But it has also struggled to crack the mainstream. Through Dec. 15, DuckDuckGo received 3.25 billion search queries this year, according to its publicly posted traffic statistics. That’s up 74% over the same period last year. Monday, Dec. 14 was its first day with more than 12 million direct queries.

Submission + - New Video Software from Disney can Merge Takes and Create New Ones (Post Prod) (engadget.com)

Tulsa_Time writes: A new tool out of Disney Research's labs could turn an ingénue's semi-decent attempt into a finely nuanced performance. This software called FaceDirector has the capability to merge together separate frames from different takes to create the perfect scene. It does that by analyzing both the actor's face and audio cues to identify the frames that correspond with each other. As such, directors can create brand new takes during post-production with zero input from the actor. They don't even need specialized hardware like 3D cameras for the trick — it works even with footage taken by regular 2D cams.

Submission + - Simple robots, complex behaviors: A controls perspective on Braitenberg Vehicles (robohub.org)

Hallie Siegel writes: Valentino Braitenberg was a neuroscientist and cyberneticist who used very simple electro-mechanical vehicles as a way to communicate how animal psychology could have evolved. His thought exercises, generally referred to as Braitenberg Vehicles, begin as a single sensor connected directly to a single actuator and evolve through multiple iterations into vehicles that can remember, have the ability to predict, and develop an ego. Controls expert Brian Douglas takes us through an informative and well-paced video tutorial on Braitenberg's concepts and how they apply to control systems.

Submission + - Scientists Invent a New Steel as Strong as Titanium (popularmechanics.com) 1

schwit1 writes: South Korean researchers have solved a longstanding problem that stopped them from creating ultra-strong, lightweight aluminum-steel alloys.

Today a team of material scientists at Pohang University of Science and Technology in South Korea announced what they're calling one of the biggest steel breakthroughs of the last few decades: an altogether new type of flexible, ultra-strong, lightweight steel. This new metal has a strength-to-weight ratio that matches even our best titanium alloys, but at one tenth the cost, and can be created on a small scale with machinery already used to make automotive-grade steel. The study appears in Nature.

Submission + - It wasn't just an asteroid that killed the dinosaurs

schwit1 writes: Scientists have now obtained enough solid data to confirm that the large extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago was caused not just by the Yucatan asteroid impact but also by the gigantic volcanic event in India called the Deccan Traps.

The researchers said the asteroid strike occurred 66.04 million years ago, plus or minus about 30,000 years. They said eruptions in a region called the Deccan Traps were already underway at a lower intensity but dramatically accelerated after the asteroid strike as if the powerful impact triggered it. The dating method they used found this acceleration began within 50,000 years of the impact, but it could have been in the mere days, months or years afterward. "Within measurement error, they're simultaneous," said volcanologist Loyc Vanderkluysen of Philadelphia's Drexel University. "The two processes in tandem caused the extinctions," added Paul Renne, director of the Berkeley Geochronology Center and a University of California, Berkeley geologist, who led the study in the journal Science.

Though many planetary scientists have discounted the Deccan Traps for decades, paleontologists have tended to favor it as a major factor in the extinction. This new study suggests that both were involved, which was the theory held by most of the more reasonable scientists in both fields. While many liked to push one or the other theory in the press, the better scientists considered both a possible factor and have been working to determine this possibility.

Submission + - Have The Robots Broken The Stock Market? (seekingalpha.com)

walterbyrd writes: The markets were sloppy last week, and we went out on a bad note. Sentiment was very negative. And when Chinese stocks continued to crash on Sunday, it looked like we might be on the verge of something nasty. Uncertainty was everywhere. And then the robots took control. I watched the futures market almost all night on Sunday, and we were seeing 100-point moves in the Dow Futures contract within a few minutes. This was not human controlled. And it was not rational.

Submission + - More than half of psychological results can't be reproduced (independent.co.uk)

Bruce66423 writes: A new study trying to replicated results reported in allegedly high quality journals failed to do so in over 50% of cases. Those of us from a hard science background always had our doubts about this sort of stuff — it's interesting to see it demonstrated — or rather, as the man says: "Psychology has nothing to be proud of when it comes to replication,” Charles Gallistel, president of the Association for Psychological Science.

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