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Submission + - Students and the Edge of Space - An amazing glider flight

techmage writes: In 2002 Steve Fossett and Einar Enevoldson set the altitude record for a glider climbing to 42,000 feet in the Perlan I. This year the Perlan II glider will attempt to reach over 90,000 feet. Carried aboard will be be 10 science experiments from students participating in a Teachers in Space contest. Some of these experiments push the boundaries of what can be done at the K-12 level. This news article has a lot more detail on what these kids are sending.

Submission + - Pluto Likely Has a Sub-Surface Ocean (

astroengine writes: Despite being so far from the sun, tiny Pluto, which is smaller than Earth’s moon, has had an active geologic life from the start, one that continues to present day, research published on Thursday shows. The evidence is all over Pluto’s face, which was observed close-up for the first time by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft on July 14, 2015. With most of the high-resolution images from the flyby now back on Earth, scientists say Pluto’s mountains, glacial flows, rotated ice blocks, volcano-like mounds and other features rival the geology found on much larger, warmer planets like Mars. The physical and chemical conditions on Pluto, located about 40 times farther away from the sun than Earth, have played out in unusual and largely unforeseen ways. Highly volatile cryogenic ices, such as nitrogen, carbon monoxide, methane, vaporize into Pluto’s hazy and surprisingly compact atmosphere. Internal heating, fueled by the natural decay of radioactive elements in Pluto’s rocks and other sources, likely keeps an ocean of ammonia-rich water liquid beneath the dwarf planet’s frozen surface. This has, of course, led to excitement for the possibility of life, as not-so-subtly hinted at by New Horizons’ lead scientist Alan Stern: "Anytime you have liquid water, the astrobiologists get interested in that place. That’s as far as I’m willing to go."

Submission + - SPAM: Venezuelan Government Lambastes Bitcoin As Currency Of Criminals

An anonymous reader writes: The Venezuelan government is picking up on growing support for Bitcoin among citizens looking for ways to protect their wealth in the face of hyperinflation and economic ruin. Instead of trying to restore confidence in the national currency, it is publishing articles through state-backed media outlets criticising the digital currency and dismissing intellectual and expert commentary on the subject. The texts discredit Bitcoin as a system for criminals and terrorist organisations who are its ‘main activists and advocates.’
Link to Original Source

Submission + - Acquia Contributes $500K to Drupal Community to Speed D8 Module Work (

An anonymous reader writes: Drupal 8, the newest version of the open source web content management framework, has been GA since late November. To help accelerate module porting and development for Drupal 8, Acquia has funded a $500,000 Module Acceleration Program to fund Drupal community members to do the work to bring key functionality to D8. Dries Buytaert, creator of Drupal and CTO of Acquia, announced the program on his blog today. The D8 MAP is focused on funding the most critical functionality used by most Drupal sites.

Submission + - World's Blackest Material is Now World's Blackest "Spray Paint" (

Zothecula writes: Sometimes, regular black just isn't good enough. If you're building an ultra-sensitive space telescope, for instance, you want to minimize reflections within that device as much as humanly possible. That's why Surrey NanoSystems released its Vantablack coating two years ago. Now, in order to expand its possible applications, the material is available in a convenient spray-on form.

Submission + - The sorry state of Android backup

MrNaz writes: Android has been around for 8 years, and is now in a fairly mature state. Yet, there is still no official or even unofficial simple backup method that The Average User can be pointed to. Contact lists, calendar data and other items that are deeply ingrained in the Google platform are easy as they sync seamlessly, however that's about where it stops. SMS/MMS content is difficult and flaky to backup and restore as the plethora of apps each have their own gotchas relating to things like multi-part SMSes, non-Latin characters, or message limits. The most commonly cited simple backup tool, Helium, which claims to be "the missing app sync and backup solution for Android", does not back up MMSes nor apps where the developer has flagged they don't want to allow backups. Absurdly, it also does not back up app data which is almost the entire point of backups. I can re-download all my apps from the Play Store anyway. Google has built an app data backup mechanism into the platform, but it is up to the developers of individual apps to use it. Or not, if they can't be bothered. Some apps have their own mechanism, such as WhatsApp, which backs up to Google Drive. However, when restoring, it's hit or miss whether it will detect the presence of a backup, and if it does not, there is no way to force it to recheck after the first startup. Titanium Backup has a UI that is so imposing that I don't recommend it to any but the most confident of technical experts. I'm no Apple fan, but backing up or cloning an iDevice is a joy. So what's the deal? Why is this seemingly core feature still missing from the Android ecosystem?

Submission + - Developers Using Photogrammetry to Make Incredibly Detailed VR Scenes (

An anonymous reader writes: Photogrammetry is the semi-automated creation of highly detailed 3D geometry that's realistically textured using photos of the real-world geometry that's being captured. Developer Realities is using the technique to capture virtual reality scenes that look impressively real. Utilizing hundreds of photographs and scene reconstruction technology, the studio has brought richly detailed spaces into the virtual world that look so good that in-engine screenshots need disclaimers that they are not simply photographs. The firm plans to release some of their latest work on the HTC Vive headset in the near future.

Submission + - Twitter can predict hurricane damage as well as emergency agencies (

sciencehabit writes: In October 2012, meteorologists noticed a massive low-pressure system forming over the waters south of Cuba. In just 5 days, it spun into one of the largest hurricanes on record, cutting a path up the eastern U.S. coast and devastating communities with flooding and 140-kilometer-per-hour winds. Superstorm Sandy posed a massive problem for government clean-up crews. Where should they send their limited emergency supplies and services? A new study suggests a way to get that answer fast: Just listen to Twitter. Scientists have found that data gathered from the social media platform is as accurate and powerful as that collected by FEMA.

Submission + - Segway with legs approved for clinical and personal use (

Science_afficionado writes: FDA has approved a powered lower-limb exoskeleton created by a team of Vanderbilt engineers and commercialized by the Parker Hannifin Corporation for both clinical and personal use in the United States. The device operates like a Segway with legs bandits minimalist design allows users to put the device on and take it off while sitting in a wheelchair.

Submission + - Miniature Fuel Cell to Keep Drones Aloft for Over an Hour (

Zothecula writes: Drones are being utilized in everything from parcel delivery to search and rescue, but their limited flight times are restricting their ability to travel great distances or stay for extended periods of time in the field. Simply adding more batteries, however, affects flight characteristics and reduces the load the drone can carry. To help solve this problem, researchers at the Pohang University of Science and Technology (Postech) have created a miniature fuel cell they claim not only provides enough energy to keep a drone in the sky for over an hour, but may well find applications in powering everything from smartphones to cars in the not-too-distant future.

Submission + - Brazilian police ilegally seized former president's email 2

MythicalMan writes: During the search and seizure in the Lula Institute last Friday, the Federal Police threatened a computer technician of being taken under arrest, forcing him to give the administrator password of all email accounts (hosted at Google). Such generic access was not granted by the court's mandate, which referred only to a few specific email accounts. See the information here (in Portuguese).

The fact is worrying not only because of its illegality but also for its possible international repercussions, since Lula Institute corresponds with institutions, public figures and heads of state all around the world. Investigations of corruption in Brazil have been characterized by frequent leaks to the press and to opposition politicians who use them to attack the government of President Dilma Rousseff. The methods used by Brazilian prosecutors have been questioned not only by government supporters but also by jurists, scholars and journalists.

Submission + - MIT Creates Algorithm That Speeds Up Page Load Time by 34% (

An anonymous reader writes: MIT researchers created an algorithm that analyzes Web pages and creates dependency graphs for all network resources that need to be loaded (CSS, JS, images, etc.). The algorithm, called Polaris, will be presented this week a the Usenix conference, and is said to be able to cut down page load times by 34%, on average. The larger and more resources, the better the algorithm's efficiency gets, which should be useful on today's JS-heavy sites.

Submission + - How Amazon Shames Warehouse Workers for Alleged Theft (

Fudge Factor 3000 writes: Using Orwellian methods, Amazon has put up flatscreen TVs in its warehouses to discourage theft amongst its employees. These TVs show clips of alleged on-the-job thefts. To keep the thieves anonymous, they are masked by a silhouette stamped with the word "terminated" with the particulars of their theft also displayed. Theft is a serious concern for Amazon because of the low pay and high-turnover of their workers. The simpler solution may be to pay workers a satisfactory wage so that they are less likely to steal. However, most workers claim that these tactics are just to let them know that they are being watched. Sweatshops don't just exist in Asia, they are also present right here in the USA.

Submission + - Another Windows 10 Update Causing Problems ( 2

sexconker writes: The recently-released cumulative update for Windows 10 (KB3140743) is reportedly causing problems. Symptoms include crashes, BSODs, and the inability to boot, even in safe mode. The Windows 10 subreddit has many threads detailing the inability to boot.

The only fix seems to be booting to a recovery ISO, uninstalling the update / rolling back, and hoping you don't get hit again.
W10Privacy 2 claims to be able to (among other things) give Windows 10 users control over the automatic updates.

Submission + - Scientists to drill into 'ground zero' of the impact that killed the dinosaurs (

sciencehabit writes: This month, a drilling platform will rise in the Gulf of Mexico, but it won’t be aiming for oil. Scientists will try to sink a diamond-tipped bit into the heart of Chicxulub crater—the buried remnant of the asteroid impact 66 million years ago that killed off the dinosaurs, along with most other life on the planet. They hope that the retrieved rock cores will contain clues to how life came back in the wake of the cataclysm, and whether the crater itself could have been a home for novel microbial life. And by drilling into a circular ridge inside the 180-kilometer-wide crater rim, scientists hope to settle ideas about how such “peak rings,” hallmarks of the largest impact craters, take shape.

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