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Implant Injects DNA Into Ear, Improves Hearing
Posted by News Fetcher on April 23 '14 at 02:01 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's assimilating-individual-organs department:
sciencehabit writes "Many people with profound hearing loss have been helped by devices called cochlear implants, but their hearing is still far from perfect. They often have trouble distinguishing different musical pitches, for example, or hearing a conversation in a noisy room. Now, researchers have found a clever way of using cochlear implants to deliver new genes into the ear — a therapy that, in guinea pigs, dramatically improves hearing (abstract)."

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By Soulskill from Slashdot's best-thing-to-come-out-of-a-mcdonald's department:
An anonymous reader sends this story from Wired:
"The Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project has since 2007 brought some 2,000 pictures back from 1,500 analog data tapes. They contain the first high-resolution photographs ever taken from behind the lunar horizon, including the first photo of an earthrise. Thanks to the technical savvy and DIY engineering of the team at LOIRP, it's being seen at a higher resolution than was ever previously possible. ... The photos were stored with remarkably high fidelity on the tapes, but at the time had to be copied from projection screens onto paper, sometimes at sizes so large that warehouses and even old churches were rented out to hang them up. The results were pretty grainy, but clear enough to identify landing sites and potential hazards. After the low-fi printing, the tapes were shoved into boxes and forgotten. ... The drives had to be rebuilt and in some cases completely re-engineered using instruction manuals or the advice of people who used to service them. The data they recovered then had to be demodulated and digitized, which added more layers of technical difficulties."

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Project H launches hentai festival at Anime Expo
Posted by News Fetcher on April 23 '14 at 02:00 PM
By Brad Rice from Japanator:
Feel like you can't get enough hentai? Want to gather with like-minded individuals? Well Project-H has you set! If you're planning on visiting Anime Expo this year, Project-H will be running a Hentai Festival on Saturday, July 5 from 10pm onwards.

The event will have everything you dreamed of: adult toys and books from vendors, panels, giveaways, prizes, and much much more. There'll be games that test your skills and wit, and some "one-on-one activities" -- just what will go on behind the velvet curtain, we don't know. But we're excited.

If you've got a favorite title from Project-H's catalogs, you might want to line up right away: they'll have autographed boards from some of their artists, which will surely be a prized possession to some.

With any luck, we'll have someone there. Probably Tim, because he's the best at being grumpy while looking at sex toys.

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The Witcher 3 and Projekt Red's DRM-Free Stand
Posted by News Fetcher on April 23 '14 at 01:46 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's do-you-swear-to-give-the-whole-game-and-nothing-but-the-game department:
An anonymous reader writes "This article goes into the making of upcoming fantasy title The Witcher 3. The studio, CD Projekt Red, reveals that, unusually, it'll be releasing the game as a DRM-free download. 'We believe that DRM does more harm to legit gamers than good for the gaming industry, that's why the game will also be completely DRM-free,' says the game's level designer, Miles Tost. The game will build on the strengths of The Witcher 2 while attempting to broaden its scope. 'We want to combine the strong pull of closed-world RPGs story-wise, with a world where you can go anywhere and do anything you want.'"

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By Sol Fury from TFW2005:
Our sponsors Big Bad Toy Store have been contacting people who have ordered Transformers Generations 2014 Wave 3 - the Crosscut, Rattrap and Tankor assortment - to advise them that Hasbro has cancelled the assortment in its current form.

Important thing to note, these toys will still be released, but spread over future assortments.

Rattrap and Tankor have already been solicited in a new assortment and we understand these two are still coming out as originally planned - Crosscut, however, has been delayed to a future assortment.

Hasbro has not offered an explanation for the change of assortment - but given the well-documented issues with the Skids mold having swapped hips and weak balljoints on the hips on its original release, it is possible that Crosscut has been pulled while Hasbro tightens up QC to make sure the issues that affected Skids do not affect his redeco.

Update: We have also learned that Big Bad Toy Store has been asked to remove preorders for assortments containing Arcee and Chromia, as these toys have also been delayed from their original planned release.

Read on to view the full text of the update from Big Bad Toy Store.

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By Roblimo from Slashdot's wang-em-bang-em-robots department:
For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, AKA FIRST, holds annual robot challenges, in which student teams build robots, then operate them to the cheers of an adoring crowd. Slashdot watched the Dexter Dreadbots build their 2014 contender. (The Dreadbots are Slashdot's home team.) And we've watched other FIRST competitions before, but this is the 2014 Michigan state championships. The next step after the state finals is an appearance at the National Championship Competition, which starts today, April 23, in St. Louis, although the first day is speeches and such, not actual competition. Keep an eye on to see who wins. And before that, you can watch the matches themselves, streamed live courtesy of NASA. (Alternate video link.)

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By Brittany Vincent from Japanator:
Another day, another set of Sailor Moon toys, replicas, or all-around awesome merchandise that I want to hoard and keep all to myself. Is there no end? I don't think there is. Banpresto has just launched a new brand of figures aimed at adult women known as Girls Memories, and with it a slew of arcade prizes from Sailor Moon. So basically, a bunch of things I need to have but don't need to spend money on.

The "Sailor Moon Collectible Figures for Girls 1" set is up first, releasing at the end of April with that awful, awful name. Super deformed versions of Sailor Moon, Sailor Mercury, Sailor Mars, and Luna will be available for your prize-winning pleasure.

For June, a regular Sailor Moon figure with a similarly cringeworthy title will be available: the "Sailor Moon Girls Memories Figure of Sailor Moon" with our favorite heroine standing in her "in the name of the moon" pose. In the name of the moon, that title is still horrible. June will also see three different compact mirrors featuring artwork of each senshi as well, but hopefully the name of that series is nowhere near as bad.

I'm just a little confused at the naming conventions though, honestly. If these figures are for adult women, why are they all "for girls?"

[via Tokyo Otaku Mode]

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By Sol Fury from TFW2005:
Via Transformers Colombia we also have our first look at Wave 2 of the Transformers Age of Extinction Custom Kreons. The second wave of the Age of Extinction Custom Kreons adds more characters from the new movie into the mix. The line up is Bumblebee, Galvatron, Hound and Crosshairs

Check out the packaging images of all four after the break.

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By Soulskill from Slashdot's jobs-that-make-the-world-go-'round department:
Doofus writes: "The Wall Street Journal has an eye-catching headline: Welders Make $150,000? Bring Back Shop Class. Quoting: 'According to the 2011 Skills Gap Survey by the Manufacturing Institute, about 600,000 manufacturing jobs are unfilled nationally because employers can't find qualified workers. To help produce a new generation of welders, pipe-fitters, electricians, carpenters, machinists and other skilled tradesmen, high schools should introduce students to the pleasure and pride they can take in making and building things in shop class.
American employers are so yearning to motivate young people to work in manufacturing and the skilled trades that many are willing to pay to train and recruit future laborers. CEO Karen Wright of Ariel Corp. in Mount Vernon, Ohio, recently announced that the manufacturer of gas compressors is donating $1 million to the Knox County Career Center to update the center's computer-integrated manufacturing equipment, so students can train on the same machines used in Ariel's operations.' How many of us liked shop? How many young people should be training for skilled manufacturing and service jobs rather than getting history or political science degrees?"

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OnePlus One Revealed: a CyanogenMod Smartphone
Posted by News Fetcher on April 23 '14 at 11:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's new-kit-on-the-block department:
An anonymous reader writes "Spec-wise, OnePlus One will go toe-to-toe with the latest flagship phones like the Galaxy S5, HTC One (M8), and Sony Xperia Z2. In some areas, it even surpasses them, and at a price point of $300. The One has the same 2.5 GHz Snapdragon 801 MSM8974AC SoC as the Samsung Galaxy S5, build quality similar to the HTC One (M8), and the large 3000+ mAh battery and Sony camera of the Xperia Z2. It also runs CyanogenMod 11S, which is based on Android 4.4."

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How Much Data Plan Bandwidth Is Wasted By DRM?
Posted by News Fetcher on April 23 '14 at 10:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's phoning-home-adds-up department:
Bennett Haselton writes:
"If you watch a movie or TV show (legally) on your mobile device while away from your home network, it's usually by streaming it on a data plan. This consumes an enormous amount of a scarce resource (data bundled with your cell phone provider's data plan), most of it unnecessarily, since many of those users could have downloaded
the movie in advance on their home broadband connection — if it weren't for pointless DRM restrictions."

Read on for the rest of Bennett's thoughts.

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By Sol Fury from TFW2005:
By way of some new photos posted on Transformers Colombia, we have a look at some new, alternate packaging for the Transformers Age of Extinction one-step changers. This alternate packaging forgoes the window packaging we have seen previously, instead removing the windows for the boxes for larger artwork of the characters themselves. Check out the images attached to this post.

Transformers Colombia have also shared new images of the Age of Extinction Power Battlers Optimus Prime figure, and the Flip and Change Autobot Drift. You can also check out images of those attached to this post - and check out the face of this new Drift toy, he looks very much like Guy Fawkes from V for Vendetta!

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By Sol Fury from TFW2005:
The official Transformers Facebook page has updated with a special new image to celebrate the page passing the 30 million likes milestone. The image shows a fresh render of Optimus Prime and Grimlock from the upcoming Transformers: Age of Extinction, with Optimus riding on the back of Grimlock, sword held aloft. Check out the image and see what you think.

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By Sol Fury from TFW2005:
UK catalog store Argos have added a ticking clock to their website, counting down the days to the UK release of the Transformers Age of Extinction toyline, which from the countdown is anticipated to be 12 May.

What may interest our UK readers though is that the text accompanying the clock states that Argos will have some exclusive lines of merchandise and / or toys. It is not clear exactly what this means - but UK fans might want to keep an eye on Argos for some choice Age of Extinction releases.

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StarCraft II Motor Skills Peak at Age 24
Posted by News Fetcher on April 23 '14 at 10:01 AM
From StarCraft: Legacy:
In a recent study published on PLOS ONE, researchers discovered through studying StarCraft II players that "declines in cognitive-motor functioning" began past the age of 24. That being the case, there was a decrease in players' speed (measured in the research article with "looking-doing latency") the older they were from 24. Something to consider is that other real-life activities don't necessarily equate speed with efficacy; likewise, a StarCraft II player's skill level did not seem to have a strong correlation with their age.

The research article goes through how older players definitely experienced a decline in their motor skills, but compensated for their loss of speed through more efficient usage of hotkeys, resorting to simpler but equally effective strategies, and focusing more on strategic planning. By delegating more tasks to the user interface, older players could certainly reach similar levels of skills as younger players.
On two measures, older players showed signs of being more advanced than they actually are. Both Unique Hotkeys per game timestamp (more with age; p*<0.001), and Offscreen attacks per game timestamp (more with age; p*<0.001) were strong candidates as compensators. Older players in our sample exhibited more impressive hotkey performance, even when skill was controlled for, suggesting that our participants may be indirectly compensating for declines by offloading demands to the game interface. An increase in attacks to areas outside of the view-screen might reflect heightened awareness of global game information via attention to the ‘mini-map’. Generally then, older players seem better at using available interface features (customizable keys and the ‘mini-map’) than younger players.

< article continued at StarCraft: Legacy >

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