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Submission + - Tesla's Fighting Back In Georgia

cartechboy writes: Elon Musk isn't just changing the way our cars work, no, he's changing the way we buy our cars too. At least, he's trying to. Musk and Tesla's biggest hurdle in the U.S. has been bypassing conventional dealerships and selling directly to customers. This concept is something that's illegal in many states thanks to a nationwide patchwork of decades-old franchise laws. Tesla's latest battle is taking place in Georgia where dealers allege that the start-up company is in violation of the state's franchise laws. Not surprsingly, Tesla's fighting back. To sell cars in the state Tesla had to agree to sell fewer than 150 vehicles directly to consumers in the state. Last week Georgia Automobile Dealers Association complained that Tesla sold 173 vehicles. Tesla hasn't publicly commented on how many vehicles it has sold in Georgia. We've seen time and time again how this story ends, and the writing is clearly on the wall for this case.

Submission + - Japanese firm showcases 'touchable' 3-D technology (japantimes.co.jp)

skade88 writes: Unveiling technology that generates touchable 3-D imagery, developers said Monday objects that only exist in the virtual world could be manipulated as if they were real.

Officials of Miraisens, a high-tech firm based outside Tokyo, said the technology, which can be used to improve the gaming experience or allow someone to physically shape objects that exist only on a computer, will soon be available for purchase.

“Touching is an important part of human communication, but until now virtual reality has lacked it,” Chief Executive Natsuo Koda said.

“This technology will give you a sense that you can touch objects in the 3-D world,” said Koda, a former virtual reality researcher for Sony Corp.

It works by fooling the brain, blending what the eye sees with different patterns of vibration created by a small fingertip device, said Norio Nakamura, the inventor of so-called 3D-Haptics Technology and chief technical officer at the firm.

In one demonstration of a prototype head-mounted display, the company showed how the wearer can feel resistance by pushing virtual buttons.

Submission + - Lara Croft explores her players through data mining

jtogel writes: Whenever you play a game of Tomb Raider: Underworld, a comprehensive record of your playing activities is collected on servers at Square Enix. Pretty much everything is tracked: from number of deaths, causes of death, requests for help, total and relative play time and rewards collected. Researchers at the University of Bonn, Fraunhofer IAIS and Northeastern University have mined this data to identify how playing behavior evolves throughout the entire game.
Using unsupervised behavioral clustering algorithms on gameplay data from 62,000 players, they identified six archetypes that both offered explanatory strength and representation value difference. Confirming earlier work that clustered players into Runners, Pacifists, Solvers and Veterans, this research found consistent spread of behavior at all levels of the game except when the design of a level enforced defined play attitudes. What’s more, playing styles vary and evolve as you play the game. This research helps game designers identify how players change from one type of behavior to the other, for example move from novice to expert, or from a non-paying user to become a paying user. (So that they can put all their effort into the ones that will eventually pay?)

Submission + - Jennifer Lawrence Nude Photos: EPPB Spy Software Used to Crack iCloud Passwords (ibtimes.co.uk)

concertina226 writes: The celebrity nude photo hacking scandal could have been caused by hackers using a sophisticated piece of software designed for government intelligence agencies, together with an open-source password-cracking program.

Anon-IB is a popular anonymous internet image board that many hackers use to post stolen nude selfies and members have been advising each other how to use a programme called Elcomsoft Phone Password Breaker (EPPB).

EPPB is a tool created by ElcomSoft, a security forensics firm based in Moscow and it comes in three editions – home, professional and forensic.

"All that's needed to access online backups stored in the cloud service are the original user's credentials including Apple ID or Live ID accompanied with the corresponding password," Elcomsoft writes on the EPPB product page.

"Data can be accessed without the consent or knowledge of the device owner, making Elcomsoft Phone Password Breaker an ideal solution for law enforcement and intelligence organisations."

Submission + - How a Super-Intelligent AI Could Wipe Out Humanity (ieee.org)

the_newsbeagle writes: Oxford University futurist Nick Bostrom thinks we're doomed. It's his job to contemplate existential threats to the human species, and he predicts that a super-smart artificial intelligence program will be the end of us.

His new book, Superintelligence, outlines AI takeover scenarios, discusses what might motivate a superintelligent AI, and lays out reasons why the AI’s pursuit of its goals would likely lead to our extinction. This excerpt from the book imagines a situation in which a developing AI lulls humans into complacency before making a "treacherous turn."

Submission + - Researchers Harness E. Coli to Produce Propane

Rambo Tribble writes: A team of British and Finnish scientists have used the common bacteria, Escherichia coli, to produce the environmentally-friendly fuel, propane. By introducing enzymes to modify the bacteria's process for producing cell membranes, they were able directly produce fuel-grade propane. While commercial application is some years off, the process is being hailed as a cheap, sustainable alternative to deriving the gas from fossil fuel production. As researcher, Patrik Jones, is quoted as saying, "Fossil fuels are a finite resource and...we are going to have to come up with new ways to meet increasing energy demands."

Submission + - World Robotic Sailing Championships in Galway, Ireland (siliconrepublic.com)

dertynan writes: The WRSC people are out to make sailors redundant. The World Robotic Sailing Championships (and International Conference) is in Galway, Ireland next week. Around eleven teams are participating in this autonomous sailing event, across a number of courses, over four days.

Submission + - Hypersonic Missile Testing Should be Banned Now, Before They Actually Work (thebulletin.org) 1

Lasrick writes: Mark Gubrud has a fascinating piece arguing for the US to lead the way in calling for a ban on the testing of hypersonic missiles, a technology that the US has been developing for decades. China has also started testing these weapons, which proponents optimistically claim would not be used to deliver nuclear weapons. Russia, India, and a few other countries are also joining in the fray, so a ban on testing would stop an arms race in its tracks. Good discussion of the two types of hypersonic technology, and whether that technology has civilian applications.

Submission + - Scientists Demonstrate First Direct Brain to Brain Communication Over Internet (eurekalert.org)

anzha writes: Scientists working with experimental subjects Spain and France demonstrated direct brain to brain communication without intrusive surgery. The words 'ciao' and 'hola' were encoded via electroencephalogram (EEG) and decoyed via transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). An error rate of 11 percent was detected on the decoding side and 5 percent on the encoding. Synthetic telepathy is coming. Is the next big thing the 'Thinking Cap?'
Science

Submission + - Barely Breathing Microbes Still Living in 86-Million-Year-Old Clay (sciencemag.org)

sciencehabit writes: At first glance, there doesn't appear to be much happening in the mud buried 30 meters below the Pacific Ocean sea floor. But this ancient muck, which hasn't had a fresh shot of food or sunlight since the days of the dinosaurs, still harbors life—if just barely. Scientists have discovered that deep-sea microbial communities, buried for 86 million years, are still consuming oxygen, albeit at extraordinarily low rates. These microorganisms eking out an existence in slow motion reveal just how little it takes to sustain life on our own planet, and potentially on others.
Censorship

Submission + - Jailbreak: Dirty word disappears from Apple iTunes store (networkworld.com)

alphadogg writes: Apple historically has fought iPhone jailbreaking by warning customers that their device warranties will be voided if they muck around with the innards of their Apple products. Now Apple appears to be taking its disapproval of jailbreaking one step further by censoring at least some references to “jailbreak” in its U.S. iTunes store. The Shoutpedia website http://www.shoutpedia.com/apple-is-filtering-jailbreak-term-in-the-us-itunes-store-11080/ first picked up on the Apple action, citing a Tweet from iOS hacker “planetbeing.” Shoutpedia writes that it’s unclear whether the censoring of “jailbreak” is intentional, though the Cult of Mac blog says that Apple has actually been censoring the term for a months though has only recently begun uncensoring it.

Submission + - Elusive long-fingered frog found after 62 years

An anonymous reader writes: Herpetologists from the California Academy of Sciences and University of Texas at El Paso discovered a single specimen of the Bururi long-fingered frog (Cardioglossa cyaneospila) during a research expedition to Burundi in December 2011. The frog was last seen by scientists in 1949 and was feared to be extinct after decades of turmoil in the tiny East African nation.

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