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Submission + - Using Computer Vision to Predict the Weather (

An anonymous reader writes: Getting stuck in the rain one too many times, and sick of weather forecasts that tell me what tomorrow will be like but not whether it'll rain in 15 minutes, I wanted to do something about it. So a friend and I decided to write some software that pulls in open-source NEXRAD radar data from the NOAA, and predicts the weather at your exact location, down to the minute, for the immediate future.

We've got a sexy working demo (check out the video on the linked-to page), and are trying to raise the funds via Kickstarter to bring it to market.


Physicists Say Graphene Could Create Mass 184

eldavojohn writes "Graphene has gotten a lot of press lately. The Nobel prize-winning, fastest-spinning, nanobubble-enhanced silicon replacement is theorized to have a new, more outlandish property. As reported by Technology Review's Physics Blog, graphene should be able to create mass inside properly formed nanotubes. According to Abdulaziz Alhaidari's calculations, if one were to roll up graphene into a nanotube, this could compactifiy dimensions (from the sheet's two down to the tube's one), and thus 'the massless equations that describe the behavior of electrons and holes will change to include a term for mass. In effect, compactifying dimensions creates mass.' What once would require a massive high-energy particle accelerator can now be tested with carbon, electricity, and wires, according to the recent paper."

StarCraft AI Competition Results 113

bgweber writes "The StarCraft AI Competition announced last year has come to a conclusion. The competition received 28 bot submissions from universities and teams all over the world. The winner of the competition was UC Berkeley's submission, which executed a novel mutalisk micromanagement strategy. During the conference, a man versus machine exhibition match was held between the top ranking bot and a former World Cyber Games competitor. While the expert player was capable of defeating the best bot, less experienced players were not as successful. Complete results, bot releases, and replays are available at the competition website."

Ray Kurzweil Responds To PZ Myers 238

On Tuesday we discussed a scathing critique of Ray Kurzweil's understanding of the brain written by PZ Myers. Reader Amara notes that Kurzweil has now responded on his blog. Quoting: "Myers, who apparently based his second-hand comments on erroneous press reports (he wasn't at my talk), [claims] that my thesis is that we will reverse-engineer the brain from the genome. This is not at all what I said in my presentation to the Singularity Summit. I explicitly said that our quest to understand the principles of operation of the brain is based on many types of studies — from detailed molecular studies of individual neurons, to scans of neural connection patterns, to studies of the function of neural clusters, and many other approaches. I did not present studying the genome as even part of the strategy for reverse-engineering the brain."

Too Much Multiplayer In Today's Games? 362

hornedrat writes "Gamepro discusses the idea that modern games put too much emphasis on multiplayer, and that players aren't as concerned about it as developers think. 'The current environment encourages developers to unnecessarily toss multiplayer into their games without caring about it — or even considering whether anyone will bother playing it. It’s like they're checking an invisible quota box that demands multiplayer's inclusion.' Personally I agree that too much emphasis is placed on competitive multiplayer. I play online, but only with my brother in games that allow co-operative modes, like Rainbow Six: Vegas and ARMA 2. 'My point isn't that developers shouldn't try and conquer Halo or Call of Duty. We'd never have any progress in this industry if developers didn't compete. Game companies, however, should think carefully about what they want their games to be, and more important, gamers should consider what they want. If a developer wants to eclipse Halo, then by all means, pour that effort into a multiplayer mode that's different.' I would be interested to know how many gamers really care about the multiplayer components of the games they buy."
Classic Games (Games)

OpenTTD 1.0.0 Released 107

Gmer writes " reports that OpenTTD, the open source clone of the Microprose game Transport Tycoon Deluxe, has reached a milestone. OpenTTD 1.0.0 has been released 6 years after work started on the first version, with the help of hundreds of contributors and thousands of testers/players. Over 30 language translations are considered complete, and OpenTTD is available for *BSD, Linux, Solaris and Windows. OpenTTD is a business simulation game in which the player is in control of a transport company and can compete against rival companies to make as much profit as possible by transporting passengers and various goods by road, rail, sea or air."

iPad Is a "Huge Step Backward" 1634

An anonymous reader writes "FSF's John Sullivan launches the Defective by Design campaign and petition to rain on Steve's parade, barely minutes out of the starting gate. 'This is a huge step backward in the history of computing,' said FSF's Holmes Wilson, 'If the first personal computers required permission from the manufacturer for each new program or new feature, the history of computing would be as dismally totalitarian as the milieu in Apple's famous Super Bowl ad.' The iPad has DRM writ large: you can only install what Apple says you may, and 'computing' goes consumer mainstream — no more twiddling, just sit back, spend your money, and watch the show — while we allow you to." What is clear is that the rise of the App Store removes control of the computer from the user. It makes me wonder what the next generation of OS X will look like.

New Success For Brain-Controlled Prosthetic Arm 81

An anonymous reader writes "A number of amputees are now using a prosthetic arm that moves intuitively, when they think about moving their missing limb. Todd Kuiken and colleagues at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago surgically rearrange the nerves that normally connect to the lost limb and embed them in muscles in the chest. The muscles are then connected to sensors that translate muscle movements into movement in a robotic arm. The researchers first reported the technique in a single patient in 2007, and have now tested it in several more. The patients could all successfully move the arm in space, mimic hand motions, and pick up a variety of objects, including a water glass, a delicate cracker, and a checker rolling across a table. (Three patients are shown using the arm in the related video.) The findings are reported today in Journal of the American Medical Association."
Role Playing (Games)

Age of Conan Dev Talks Problems, Future Plans 83

Jørgen Tharaldsen, Funcom's product director, recently spoke about some of the problems with Age of Conan and how they are planning to make the game better. "I think it's okay to say that we simply didn't deliver as good as we should have on all the launch features." He goes on to talk about how they're working on improvements to the PvP system, tradeskills, and class balance. Tharaldsen also spoke with Strategy Informer about the development of the Xbox 360 version of the game, which he said was "not our key priority as there are a massive amount of PC gamers already playing the game, and we rightly have the focus on them."

Fungus Fire Spores With 180,000 G Acceleration 69

Hugh Pickens writes "Although a variety of spore discharge processes have evolved among the fungi, those with the longest ranges are powered by hydrostatic pressure and include 'squirt guns' that are most common in the Ascomycota and Zygomycota. In these fungi, fluid-filled stalks that support single spores or spore-filled sporangia, or cells called asci that contain multiple spores, are pressurized by osmosis. Because spores are discharged at such high speeds, most of the information on launch processes from previous studies has been inferred from mathematical models and is subject to a number of errors, but now Nicholas Money, an expert on fungi at Miami University, has recorded the discharges with high-speed cameras at 250,000 frames-a-second and discovered that fungi fire their spores with accelerations up to 180,000 g, calling it 'the fastest flight in nature.' Money and his students, in a justified fit of ecstasy, have created a video of the first fungus opera."

Irrelevant Scientific Research Honored Screenshot-sm 93

More than 1,000 people attended this year's Ig Nobel awards, a light-hearted alternative to the Nobel Prizes. Scientists who unlocked the inner secrets of dog fleas, crisps and tangled string swept the show. Handing out awards was William Lipscomb, the 1976 Nobel laureate for chemistry, also doubling Thursday, at the age of 89, as the hero in the "Win-a-Date-With-a-Nobel-Laureate Contest." The prize itself is a plaque that reads, "This Ig Nobel Prize is awarded in the year 2008 to an Ig Nobel Prize Winner, in recognition of the Ig Nobel Prize Winners' Ig Nobel Prize winning achievement." At last I can submit my paper, "Everything is Really Wet, Even Dry Stuff." for peer review.

Pandora Console Ready For Pre-Orders 309

Croakyvoice writes "Finally, months after the official announcement, 3,000 lucky people can now pre-order Pandora, possibly the world's fastest handheld console. It boasts a processor capable of up to 900 MHZ, PowerVR 3D graphics, a large 800x480 LCD touchscreen, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB, dual SD card slots, TV out, dual analogue and digital controls, a clamshell DS Lite-style shape, and a 43-button mini keyboard. The console already boasts an amazing amount of ready-for-release software such as Ubuntu and many full-speed emulators for systems such as Snes, Amiga, Megadrive, and many more that are not publicly announced yet. The console is as powerful as the original Xbox and on a par with the Nintendo Wii. Those interested should visit OpenPandora.Org. For the full history of Pandora from inception until the present, check out the Pandora Homebrew Site."

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