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Submission + - Google's Self-Driving Ccars Have Autonomously Driven Over 1 Million Miles

An anonymous reader writes: Google today announced that its self-driving car project crossed the 1 million mile mark last week. CEO Larry Page originally challenged the team to drive 100,000 miles on public roads, and they have now done that 10-fold, or the equivalent of 75 years of typical U.S. adult driving. If you’re confused at the figure, that’s probably because you remember the 1.7 million number revealed last month. That number was for manual and autonomous driving combined; today’s 1 million mile number is just for autonomous driving.
United States

Submission + - Is Daylight Saving Time Worth Saving? (vice.com) 2

Daniel_Stuckey writes: "In politics, health, and academia, there are plenty of detractors that say daylight saving might not be worth saving. One vocal opponent is Missouri State Representative Delus Johnson, who wants to end the watch and clock switchery altogether. In short, he says we should spring forward this one last time, without ever falling back.

He wants Missouri–and other states willing to join a pact–to permanently adopt daylight saving time and call it Standard Time. He's sure that it'll increase economic development in the later part of the year; giving people a little more daylight to do their Black Friday shopping.

Matthew J. Kotchen and Laura E. Grant at the National Bureau of Economic Research have argued that DST has had adverse effects on energy spending. They calculate some extra $10-16 million spent by Indiana due to time changes. Their research concluded it's probably a much bigger loss in other states.

A year ago, Motherboard's Kelly Bourdet reported on a health study that concluded DST might actually kill you. Chances of heart-attack were stated to increase by 10 percent on the days following the spring change, and to decrease by 10% after gaining the hour in the fall."

Google

Submission + - Developers Begin Hunt for A Killer App for Google Glass (technologyreview.com)

holy_calamity writes: "Companies large and small are working to create the first "killer app" for Google Glass, the wearable display to go on sale later this year, reports MIT Technology Review. Evernote is among large companies that got early access to prototypes and has been testing ideas for some time, but is staying quiet about its plans. Meanwhile new startups with apps for Glass are being created and funded, although uncertainty about whether consumers will embrace the technology has steered them towards commercial and industrial ideas, such as apps for for doctors and maintenance technicians."
The Military

Bletchley Park Codebreaker Honored 57

Rambo Tribble writes "England has awarded Raymond Roberts, one of the nine cryptanalysts responsible for breaking the Nazi Tunny code machine, (also known by the German designation Lorenz cipher machine) the MBE. Roberts is the last surviving member of the team which cracked the German army's cipher machine functionality, much like others at Bletchley broke the better-known Enigma machine."
Earth

Submission + - Death Valley Dethrones Impostor as Hottest Place on Earth

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Adam Nagourney reports that after a yearlong investigation a team of climate scientists announced that it is throwing out a reading of 136.4 degrees claimed by the city of Al Aziziyah, Libya on Sept. 13, 1922 making the 134-degree reading registered on July 10, 1913, at Greenland Ranch in Death Valley the official world record as the hottest place on earth. “It’s about time for science, but I think we all knew it was coming,” says Randy Banis. “You don’t underestimate Death Valley. Most of us enthusiasts are proud that the extremes that we have known about at Death Valley are indeed the most harsh on earth.” The final report by 13 climatologists appointed by the World Meteorological Organization, the climate agency of the United Nations, found five reasons to disqualify the Libya claim, including questionable instruments, an inexperienced observer who made the reading and the fact that the reading was anomalous for that region and in the context of other temperatures reported in Libya that day. “The more we looked at it, the more obvious it appeared to be an error,” says Christopher C. Burt, a meteorologist with Weather Underground who started the debate in a blog post in 2010. For the record, Burt says he also has issues with the Death Valley claim of 134 degrees, and suspects it may be wrong. “It’s anomalous, even for Death Valley,” Burt says. But no matter. Even if 134-Death Valley goes the way of 136.4-Libya, the temperature has most assuredly reached 129 degrees in Furnace Creek at least three times, and 129 is just as much a world record as 134. “Death Valley would still win, so to speak, even if the 134 was erroneous.""
Privacy

Submission + - Who is afraid of the big bad Quantum Computer? (wavewatching.net)

quax writes: Whenever Quantum Computing is dragged out to get some mainstream exposure it is the same old story: If we finally get these powerful machines then the end of all encryption is here and the sky is falling.

This article makes the case that there is much more to Quantum Computing than that, and that all the hand-wringing is not only pre-mature but also rather silly. Current quantum computing devices cannot defeat our standard encryption yet, but are at a point where they can already be a valuable new computing resource. On the other hand when considering how modern cryptography works, and when taking into account the progress made on Quantum Cryptography, the often repeated threat from Quantum Computers to the privacy of a encrypted data appears to be completely overblown.

 

Technology

Submission + - Cyborgs: They Are Among Us...

Remixdj writes: "For most people the term 'Cyborg' is synonymous with the rather nefarious robotic alien race featured in the BBC's long-running Doctor Who series. Cyborg is actually a derivative of cybernetic organism to mean a being with artificial and biological parts, and under this premise can apply to those who require prosthetic limbs and hearing aids but perhaps also to users of mobile phones or even wearers of designer running shoes. See Donna Harroway's Cyborg Theory. Maybe a step too far for some but recent scientific developments have made the more familiar concept a reality particularly in the case of Neil Harbinson's prosthetic eyepiece which he lovingly refers to as 'eyeborg'. This example stands outside of the usual prosthetics used as replacements because the resulting symbiosis produces an experience outside of normal human experience. It is, has Harbinson describes' more akin to possessing a seventh sense."
Apple

Submission + - What Apple's New Podcasts App Means for Listeners & Podcasters (xconomy.com)

waderoush writes: "Apple unexpectedly rolled out a new Podcasts app this week that greatly simplifies podcast management on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. While the app has not been universally welcomed, this definitely wasn't a case of 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it' — the app corrects several glaring problems with the way iOS 5's built-in Music app handles podcasts, beginning with the lack of subscription support. That's now part of the Podcasts app, along with search and management features that should please any heavy podcast consumer (and, by extension, podcast creators). This Xconomy column argues that the new app represents another step in the long-overdue devolution of the crufty, bloated iTunes framework into separate apps for separate tasks."
The Internet

Two-Thirds of US Internet Users Lack Fast Broadband 402

jbrodkin writes "Two-thirds of US Internet connections are slower than 5 Mbps, putting the United States well behind speed leaders like South Korea, where penetration of so-called 'high broadband connectivity' is double the rate experienced in the United States. The United States places ninth in the world in access to high broadband connectivity, at 34% of users, including 27% of connections reaching 5 Mbps to 10 Mbps and 7% reaching above 10 Mbps, Akamai says in its latest State of the Internet Report. That's an improvement since a year ago, when the United States was in 12th place with only 24% of users accessing fast connections. But the United States is still dwarfed by South Korea, where 72% of Internet connections are greater than 5 Mbps, and Japan, which is at 60%. The numbers illustrate the gap between expectation and reality for US broadband users, which has fueled the creation of a government initiative to improve access. The US government broadband initiative says 100 million Americans lack any broadband access, and that faster Internet access is needed in the medical industry, schools, energy grid and public safety networks."
Science

Submission + - Italian team successfully demonstrates Cold Fusion (cromalternativemoney.org)

Xemu writes: Today, an italian team of researchers from the University of Bologna has demonstrated Cold Fusion together with a peer-reviewed paper. The demonstration was made using a kilowatt cold fusion reactor using nickel and hydrogen that can produce up to 10 kilowatts. There's only one catch: They refuse to show how the blue box works, citing patent concerns. What does our esteemed slashdot readership say, has the dream come reality, or is this a scam? Hard facts welcome.
Communications

Submission + - 'Zombie' Satellite Returns to Life (space.com)

realperseus writes: The American telecommunication satellite, Galaxy 15, has been brought under control after spending most of the year traversing the sky, wreaking havoc upon its neighbors. The satellite is currently at 98.5 west (from 133 west). An emergency patch was successfully uploaded, ensuring that the conditions which caused it to "go rogue" will not occur again. Once diagnosis and testing have been completed, Intelsat plans to move the satellite back to 133 west."
Mars

Submission + - 'Colonizing the Red Planet,' a How-To Guide (foxnews.com)

Velcroman1 writes: A manned mission to Mars would be the greatest adventure in the history of the human race. And one man knows how to make it a reality. In fact, he just wrote the book on it — literally. Joel Levine, senior research scientist with NASA's Langley Research Center and co-chair of NASA's Human Exploration of Mars Science Analysis Group, just published "The Human Mission to Mars: Colonizing the Red Planet." The book reads like a who's who of Mars mission science, featuring senators, astronauts, astrophysicists, geologists and more on getting to Mars, studying its atmosphere and climate, the psychological and medical effects on the crew and other details. There's even a section detailing the science of sex on Mars, should NASA attempt to create a permanent colony there. The most interesting bit: Levine presents a solution for funding the trip, something unprecedented for NASA: advertising. "The suggestion is marketing to different corporations and professional sports leagues for advertising, which is something NASA never does — it's a whole new economic plan for financing what has to be the greatest adventure in the history of the human race."

Submission + - What Triggers Mass Extinctions? 1

An anonymous reader writes: An influx of invasive species can stop the dominant natural process of new species formation and trigger mass extinction events, according to research results published today in the journal PLoS ONE. The study of the collapse of Earth's marine life 378 to 375 million years ago suggests that the planet's current ecosystems, which are struggling with biodiversity loss, could meet a similar fate. Although Earth has experienced five major mass extinction events, the environmental crash during the Late Devonian was unlike any other in the planet's history.

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