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Submission + - International Space Station to Trial Aussie-designed Ion Thruster (

theweatherelectric writes: Barney Porter from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation writes, "An Australian-designed rocket propulsion system is heading to the International Space Station (ISS) for a year-long experiment that ultimately could revolutionise space travel. The technology could be used to power a return trip to Mars without refuelling, and use recycled space junk for the fuel. Former University of Sydney student, Dr Paddy Neumann — now of Neumann Space — and two co-inventor professors from his alma mater have developed an ion thruster that could replace the current chemical-based rocket propulsion technology, which requires huge volumes of fuel to be loaded onto a spacecraft."

Submission + - F-35A Catches Fire at Mountain Home Air Force Base (

theweatherelectric writes: Writing for Defense News, Valerie Insinna reports that another F-35 has caught fire during an exercise. She writes, "The incident took place at around noon and involved an F-35A aircraft from the 61st Fighter Squadron located at Luke Air Force Base, the service said in a statement. No serious injuries seem to have been sustained by the pilot or nearby crew.

'The pilot had to egress the aircraft during engine start due to a fire from the aft section of the aircraft,' Air Force spokesman Capt. Mark Graff said in an email. 'The fire was extinguished quickly. As a precautionary measure, four 61st Aircraft Maintenance Unit Airmen, three Airmen from the 366th Maintenance Group and the 61st Fighter Squadron pilot were transported to the base medical center for standard evaluation.'"

Submission + - Moving Beyond Flash: The Yahoo HTML5 Video Player (

theweatherelectric writes: Over on Streaming Media, Amit Jain from Yahoo has written a behind-the-scenes look at the development of Yahoo's HTML5 video player. He writes, "Adobe Flash, once the de-facto standard for media playback on the web, has lost favor in the industry due to increasing concerns over security and performance. At the same time, requiring a plugin for video playback in browsers is losing favor among users as well. As a result, the industry is moving toward HTML5 for video playback. [...] At Yahoo, our video player uses HTML5 across all modern browsers for video playback. In this post we will describe our journey to providing an industry-leading playback experience using HTML5, lay out some of the challenges we faced, and discuss opportunities we see going forward."

Submission + - Chrome to Freeze Flash Ads on Sight from Sept 1 (

An anonymous reader writes: Shaun Nichols from the Register reports that unimportant Flash content will be click-to-play by default in Google Chrome from September 1. He writes, "Google is making good on its promise to strangle Adobe Flash's ability to auto-play in Chrome. The web giant has set September 1, 2015 as the date from which non-important Flash files will be click-to-play in the browser by default – effectively freezing out 'many' Flash ads in the process. Netizens can right-click over the security-challenged plugin and select 'Run this' if they want to unfreeze an ad. Otherwise, the Flash files will remain suspended in a grey box, unable to cause any harm nor any annoyance."

Submission + - Could Alien Life Spread 'Like a Virus' to the Stars? (

astroengine writes: As astronomical techniques become more advanced, a team of astrophysicists think they will be able to not only detect the signatures of alien life in exoplanetary atmospheres, but also track its relentless spread throughout the galaxy. The research, headed by Henry Lin of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA), assumes that this feat may be possible in a generation or so and that the hypothesis of panspermia may act as the delivery system for alien biology to hop from one star system to another.

Submission + - Lenovo modifying Windows OS files from BIOS .. (

An anonymous reader writes: Before booting windows 7 or 8, the bios checks if C:\Windows\system32\autochk.exe is the Lenovo one or the original Microsoft one. If it is not the lenovo one, it moves it to C:\Windows\system32\0409\zz_sec\autobin.exe, and then writes it's own autochk.exe

Submission + - U.S. Identifies Insider Trading Ring With Ukraine Hackers (

An anonymous reader writes: The suspected hackers, who are thought to be in Ukraine, allegedly infiltrated the computer servers of PRNewswire Association LLC, Marketwired and Business Wire, a unit of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., over a five-year period.

Submission + - HP's Sprout now integrates 3D capture and 3D printing (

An anonymous reader writes: “Hewlett-Packard's Sprout 3D-printing computer system, unveiled in October of last year, now integrates 3D capture and 3D printing...”

“Eric Monsef, Vice President of HP's Immersive Experience Computing Group, talked about [] the idea of “blended reality”, meaning a world where the user can work with both 2D and 3D.”

“The dedicated Sprout computer runs Windows 8.1 on an Intel Core i7 Processor, and has a terabyte of storage. The all-important graphical processing facility of the set-up relies on the NVIDIA CUDA (Compute Unified Device Architecture) parallel computing platform, a general purpose processing GPU — or GPGPU — which is leveraged towards C++, C and Fortran developers for whose purposes Direct3D and OpenGL would be obstructive.”

Submission + - Cisco Attempting To Develop a Royalty Free Video Codec (

An anonymous reader writes: Video codec licensing has never been great, and it's become even more complicated in recent years. While H.264 had a single license pool and an upper bound on yearly licensing costs, successor H.265 has two pools (so far) and no limit. Cisco has decided that this precludes the use of H.265 in open source or other free-as-in-beer software, so they've struck out on their own to create a new codec called Thor. They've already open-sourced the code and invited contributions. They say, "The effort is being staffed by some of the world’s most foremost codec experts, including the legendary Gisle Bjøntegaard and Arild Fuldseth, both of whom have been heavy contributors to prior video codecs. We also hired patent lawyers and consultants familiar with this technology area. We created a new codec development process which would allow us to work through the long list of patents in this space, and continually evolve our codec to work around or avoid those patents."

Submission + - Our early solar system may have been home to a fifth giant planet (

sciencehabit writes: A cluster of icy bodies in the same region as Pluto could be proof that our early solar system was home to a fifth giant planet, according to new research. That planet may have “bumped” Neptune during its migration away from the sun 4 billion years ago, causing the ice giant to jump into its current orbit and scattering a cluster of its satellites into the Kuiper belt in the outer solar system.

Submission + - Thor: Cisco's IETF NetVC Contender (

An anonymous reader writes: Cisco has presented Thor as a candidate video codec to the Internet Engineering Task Force's Internet Video Codec (or NetVC) working group. Based in part on Cisco's own video codec patents, some of which are essential to H.264 and H.265, Thor as drafted is a royalty-free video codec "designed to achieve high compression efficiency with moderate complexity, using the well-known hybrid video coding approach of motion-compensated prediction and transform coding. The Thor video codec is a block-based hybrid video codec similar in structure to widespread standards." Video of the presentation is available along with slides. During a hackathon held at the meeting, some of Thor's components were experimentally integrated into Daala with some interesting results.

Submission + - FBI Director James Comey to Citizens: "Encrypted Messaging Not Needed" (

davesays writes: FBI Director James Comey expressed alarm Wednesday about broadening use of encrypted communications, telling senators that investigators increasingly are unable to intercept or retrieve suspects’ messages. Apparently he has no Slashdot account — "“I haven’t met ordinary folks who say, ‘I really want a device that can’t be opened even if an American judge finds it ought to be opened,’” Comey said. and goes on to say authorities ‘will go to jail' if they look at American Snapchat messages, Instagram posts without a warrant.

Forgive me for not taking him at his word.

Comment Re:Should be "gold pressed latinum" (Score 1) 265

So money would be a bit pointless

Not everything is universally available in the Star Trek universe. For me, an unsolved problem with the Federation economy is real estate. Why does Picard's brother live in a manor house in a vineyard? Why not someone else? Why not me? I want to live in a vineyard.

It wouldn't matter how many planets there were in the Federation. There would always be more people than planets, there would always be planets which are more desirable than others and there would always be particular places on those planets more desirable than other places. Who gets to live where? Who gets to own land to run a vineyard, instead of there being apartment blocks or suburban housing in the same place? It's never addressed beyond a vague sense of it not being a problem.

I think the Ferengi economy is actually the curiosity in this setting ; it seems to depend on artificial scarcity (and repression of entire social groups, from the way they treat their women).

I don't think it's a curiosity, it's deliberate. Narratively, the Ferengi business and economy is a deeply engrained part of their culture. Metaphorically, the Ferengi are us in the present day. They don't do business because they have to, they do business because they want to. Money is how they keep score. It's how we keep score.

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