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."
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.'"
theweatherelectric writes: Mozilla has put together a demo which combines WebRTC with Firefox's Social API. Over on Mozilla's Future Releases blog, Maire Reavy writes, 'WebRTC is a powerful new tool that enables web app developers to include real-time video calling and data sharing capabilities in their products. While many of us are excited about WebRTC because it will enable several cool gaming applications and improve the performance and availability of video conferencing apps, WebRTC is proving to be a great tool for social apps. Sometimes when you’re chatting with a friend, you just want to click on their name and see and talk with them in real-time. Imagine being able to do that without any glitches or hassles, and then while talking with them, easily share almost anything on your computer or device: vacation photos, memorable videos – or even just a link to a news story you thought they might be interested in – simply by dragging the item into your video chat window.'
theweatherelectric writes: Mozilla is looking for contributors interested in working on Shumway. Mozilla's Jet Villegas writes, 'Shumway is an experimental web-native runtime implementation of the SWF file format. It is developed as a free and open source project sponsored by Mozilla Research. The project has two main goals: 1. Advance the open web platform to securely process rich media formats that were previously only available in closed and proprietary implementations. 2. Offer a runtime processor for SWF and other rich media formats on platforms for which runtime implementations are not available.'
theweatherelectric writes: The electronic control unit used in Formula 1 cars has been adapted for use in hospitals. James Allen writes, "As a result of a chance conversation between a McLaren engineer and a paediatrician, Birmingham Children’s Hospital has been trialling the ECU in a children’s intensive care ward; the idea is that the F1-derived unit can measure all the key signs from the child, sense trends and detect developing problems earlier than the electronics previously used by the NHS. The unit normally measures oil pressures, brake temperatures and the like. Here, a lightly adapted version of the F1 ECU is being used to measure things like heart rate, oxygen levels and blood pressure in an ill child. And, inevitably, it is far more capable than the units currently used in hospitals; it can take a heart cardiogram 125 times a minute, instead of once an hour, for example." Birmingham Children’s Hospital is seeking a further £2 million to continue the trial and extend it across the hospital.
theweatherelectric writes: James Hutchinson of iTnews writes, 'CSIRO has begun talks with global manufacturers to commercialise microwave technology it says can provide at least 10 Gbps symmetric backhaul services to mobile towers. The project, funded out of the Science and Industry Endowment Fund and a year in planning, could provide a ten-fold increase in the speed of point-to-point microwave transmission systems within two years, according to project manager, Dr Jay Guo. Microwave transmission is used to link mobile towers back to a carrier’s network where it is physically difficult or economically unviable to run fibre to the tower. Where current technology has an upper limit of a gigabit per second to multiple towers over backhaul, the government organisation said it could provide the 10 Gbps symmetric speeds over ranges of up to 50 kilometres.'
theweatherelectric writes: Rob Glidden notes on his blog that MPEG has recently 'announced it has received proposals for a royalty-free MPEG standard and has settled on a deliberation process to consider them.' There two tracks towards royalty-free video currently under consideration by MPEG. The first track is IVC, a new 'standard based on MPEG-1 technology which is believed a safe royalty-free baseline that can be enhanced by additional unencumbered technology described in MPEG-2, JPEG, research publications and innovative technologies which are promised to be subject to royalty-free licenses.' The second proposed track is WebVC, an attempt to get the constrained baseline profile of H.264 licensed under royalty-free terms. Rob Glidden offers an analysis of both proposals. Also of interest is Rob's short history of why royalty-free H.264 failed last time.
theweatherelectric writes: Mozilla Hacks has an article on Tilt, a Firefox extension which visualises the DOM tree of a Web page in 3D. They write, 'Tilt is a Firefox extension that lets you visualize any web page DOM tree in 3D. It is being developed by Victor Porof (3D developer responsible with the Firefox extension itself), along with Cedric Vivier (creating a WebGL optimized equivalent to the privileged canvas.drawWindow, see #653656) and Rob Campbell (who first thought about creating a 3D visualization of a webpage). Everything started initially as a Google Summer of Code project, but now, with an enthusiastic team behind it and so many new features and ideas, it has become an active Developer Tools project.' There's also a Tilt blog for development updates.
theweatherelectric writes: According to the YouTube blog, YouTube is now transcoding all new uploads to WebM, whereas previously the focus was on 720p and 1080p video. Google's James Zern writes, 'Transcoding all new video uploads into WebM is an important first step, and we’re also working to transcode our entire video catalog to WebM. Given the massive size of our catalog — nearly 6 years of video is uploaded to YouTube every day — this is quite the undertaking. So far we’ve already transcoded videos that make up 99% of views on the site or nearly 30% of all videos into WebM. We’re focusing first on the most viewed videos on the site, and we’ve made great progress here through our cloud-based video processing infrastructure that maximizes the efficiency of processing and transcoding without stopping. It works like this: at busy upload times, our processing power is dedicated to new uploads, and at less busy times, our cloud will automatically switch some of our processing to encode older videos into WebM. As we continue to transcode the remaining inventory, we’ll keep you posted on our progress.'