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Curiosity Rover Being Upgraded With Autonomous Sensor Program 45

DevotedSkeptic writes "Curiosity will be getting a software upgrade called Autonomous Exploration for Gathering Increased Science (AEGIS) which will allow it to take on the go photos to save precious time while exploring our red neighbor. Another interesting feature AGEIS may be able to provide is the ability for Curiosity to call home when it sees something interesting. It won't be a quick upgrade: AEGIS, which has been used on the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity since 2009, will be installed on Curiosity in the next nine to 12 months, Estlin said in an interview with InformationWeek. The AEGIS software, developed by JPL, was named NASA's 'software of the year' in 2011. Opportunity uses the software to take a wide-angle image with a low-resolution camera, then picks out rocks in the image to see if there's something of interest. If so, it takes a high-resolution image using an on-board science camera that's capable of zooming in on the subject. The software has potential beyond picture taking. Its see-and-react code could be adapted to other instruments." There's a paper on the software as used in the Opportunity rover.

Electricity From Salty Water 301

BuzzSkyline writes "It's possible to produce energy by simply mixing fresh and salty water. Although chemists and physicists have long known about the untapped energy available where fresh water rivers pour into salty oceans — it's equivalent to 'each river in the world ending at its mouth in a waterfall 225 meters [739 feet] high' — the technology for exploiting the effect has been lacking. An Italian physicist seems to have solved the problem with the experimental demonstration of a 'salination cell' that creates power given nothing more than input sources of salty and fresh water. The researcher believes that this renewable, environmentally friendly energy source could be deployed in coastal areas and could provide another addition to the green-tech roster. A paper describing the technology is due to be published in an upcoming issue of the journal Physical Review Letters."

Atlantis Links Up To Hubble For Repairs 132

An anonymous reader writes "Space Shuttle Atlantis has finally caught up with the Hubble Space Telescope after following it for several hours. The 'link up' between the Space Shuttle and Hubble was a very delicate one as the two were flying through space at 17,200 MPH, 300 miles above the Earth's surface. The robotic arm of the shuttle grappled the telescope at 1:14 PM EDT today. The telescope will be latched to a high-tech Lazy Susan device known as the Flight Support System for the duration of the servicing work."
Social Networks

MySpace Verdict a Danger To Depressed Kids 502

Slashdot regular Bennett Haselton summarizes his essay this way: "Debate over the Lori Drew verdict has focused overwhelmingly on whether the ruling was technically correct, but there is another serious issue: the perverse incentives that this ruling creates for victims of online harassment." Read on for his essay.

Saving Energy Via Webcam-Based Meter Reading? 215

squoozer writes "Like many people, I am trying to cut down on the amount of energy my family and I use in order to save both the environment and my pay packet. Since I want to do this in as scientific a way as possible, I'm taking meter readings every day and recording them in a spreadsheet (OOo Calc naturally). Currently, in the UK at least, neither gas nor electricity meters can be hooked up to any sort of device that can query the meter for its current reading. Rather than climb down into the cellar every day to read the meters, it would be great if I could simply position a webcam in front of each meter and have the value logged automatically each day. The problem is that while I am a software developer (Java mostly) I have no experience in image processing (dials from the electricity meter) and don't really know where to start with this project." Does anyone have any advice for analyzing the visual data this reader would be gathering?

Ford's 65MPG Due In November, But Not In the US 1103

computermesh writes "Ford has a vehicle that gets 65MPG and will not be released in the US. Why? Because they can not afford to! 'Ford's 2009 Fiesta ECOnetic goes on sale in November. But here's the catch: Despite the car's potential to transform Ford's image and help it compete with Toyota Motor (TM) and Honda Motor (HMC) in its home market, the company will sell the little fuel sipper only in Europe. "We know it's an awesome vehicle," says Ford America President Mark Fields. "But there are business reasons why we can't sell it in the U.S." The main one: The Fiesta ECOnetic runs on diesel.'"

Linux 2.6.26 Out 288

diegocgteleline.es writes "After three months, Linux 2.6.26 has been released. It adds support for read-only bind mounts, x86 PAT (Page Attribute Tables), PCI Express ASPM (Active State Power Management), ports of KVM to IA64, S390 and PPC, other KVM improvements including basic paravirtualization support, preliminary support of the future 802.11s wireless mesh standard, much improved webcam support thanks to a driver for UVC devices, a built-in memory tester, a kernel debugger, BDI statistics and parameters exposure in /sys/class/bdi, a new /proc/PID/mountinfo file for more accurate information about mounts, per-process securebits, device white-list for containers users, support for the OLPC, some new drivers and many small improvements. Here is the full list of changes."

New Grads Shun IT Jobs As "Boring" 752

whencanistop writes "Despite good job prospects, graduates think that a job in IT would be boring. Is this because of the fact that Bill Gates has made the whole industry look nerdy? Surely with so many (especially young) people being 'web first' with not just their buying habits, but now in terms of what they do in their spare time, we'd expect more of them to want to get a career in it?"

Will Motorola Rise From the Ashes? 128

An anonymous reader writes "According to ZDNET the once almighty Motorola is going to split into two companies, 'If the split goes through as planned, what will remain will be the "broadband and mobility solutions" business, which includes enterprise mobility, government and public safety, and Motorola's home and networks divisions.' Engadget claims to have an insider's email that details where it all went wrong, paying particular attention to mismanagement at the highest levels. What makes all of this even more of a shame though is that Motorola's latest product lineup seems to be receiving critical acclaim but with the company in so much termoil, will it ever rise out of the ashes?"

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