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          Recent Comments
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By Sol Fury from TFW2005:
The official Transformers Facebook page has updated with a pretty cool compilation image that traces the evolution of the new helicopter member of the Aerialbots, Alpha Bravo. Alpha Bravo is a reimagined Slingshot, though the comics by IDW make him a separate character in his own right.

This image charts the progress of a Transformer design from the early sketches, through the grey model prototype phase and the color charts, right down to the final design.

The sharp eyed might notice, though, that there is a different head in the top right of the document to the one on Alpha Bravo. Alpha Bravo has a faceplate, a visor, and other details around the head are also different. Which begs the question - is this an earlier head design before concepts for the character went a different direction, or is this a stealthy glance at a potential alternate head for use on a remold of Alpha Bravo as Protectobot Blades - whose head features some of the design elements shown in the sketch, and others could be explained away as Hasbro's reinterpretation of the classic head design.

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By Roblimo from Slashdot's the-coolest-conference-in-our-country's-upper-left-hand-corner department:
Their website says, 'Come for the code, stay for the people! We have awesome attendees and electrifying parties. Check out the robotics club, the automated home brewing system running on Linux, or the game room for extra conference fun.' This is an all-volunteer conference, and for a change the volunteers who run it are getting things together far in advance instead of having sessions that don't get scheduled until a few days before the conference, which has happened more than once with LFNW.

So if you have an idea for a session, this is the time to start thinking about it. Sponsors are also welcome -- and since LFNW sponsorships regularly sell out, it's not to soon to start thinking about becoming a sponsor -- and if you are part of a non-profit group or FOSS project, LFNW offers free exhibit space because this is a conference that exists for the community, not to make money for a corporate owner. But don't delay. As you can imagine, those free exhibit spots tend to fill up early. (Alternate Video Link)

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By Soulskill from Slashdot's just-look-less-hackable-than-the-schmuck-next-to-you department:
phantomfive writes: Bruce Schneier has an opinion piece discussing the Sony attack. He says, "Your reaction to the massive hacking of such a prominent company will depend on whether you're fluent in information-technology security. If you're not, you're probably wondering how in the world this could happen. If you are, you're aware that this could happen to any company." He continues, "The worst invasion of privacy from the Sony hack didn’t happen to the executives or the stars; it happened to the blameless random employees who were just using their company’s email system. Because of that, they’ve had their most personal conversations—gossip, medical conditions, love lives—exposed. The press may not have divulged this information, but their friends and relatives peeked at it. Hundreds of personal tragedies must be unfolding right now. This could be any of us."
Related: the FBI has officially concluded that the North Korean government is behind the attack.

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Machine Learning Reveals Genetic Controls
Posted by News Fetcher on December 19 '14 at 12:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's finally-explains-why-your-ears-stick-out-so-far department:
An anonymous reader writes with this quote from Quanta Magazine:
Most genetic research to date has focused on just 1 percent of the genome — the areas that code for proteins. But new research, published today in Science, provides an initial map for the sections of the genome that orchestrate this protein-building process. "It's one thing to have the book — the big question is how you read the book," said Brendan Frey, a computational biologist at the University of Toronto who led the new research (abstract).

For example, researchers can use the model to predict what will happen to a protein when there’s a mistake in part of the regulatory code. Mutations in splicing instructions have already been linked to diseases such as spinal muscular atrophy, a leading cause of infant death, and some forms of colorectal cancer. In the new study, researchers used the trained model to analyze genetic data from people afflicted with some of those diseases. The scientists identified some known mutations linked to these maladies, verifying that the model works. They picked out some new candidate mutations as well, most notably for autism.

One of the benefits of the model, Frey said, is that it wasn’t trained using disease data, so it should work on any disease or trait of interest. The researchers plan to make the system publicly available, which means that scientists will be able to apply it to many more diseases.

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By SilverOptimus from TFW2005:
Takara Tomy official website has been updated with an announcement stating that Toys”R”Us Japan is giving away 3000 limited edition Q Transformers Transparent AOE 2014 Concept Camaro Bumblebee figures when you purchase 5 or more Q Transformers figures.


Stores: Nationwide (Japan) Toys”R” Us outlets

Condition: Purchase 5 or more Q Transformers figures on a single Checkout.

Dates: December 26, 2014 to December 31, 2014 for 1000 Customers (across Japan) and January 1, 2015 to January 12, 2015 for 2000 Customers (across Japan)

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Fans Toys Soar In Hand Gallery
Posted by News Fetcher on December 19 '14 at 11:00 AM
By Tony_Bacala from TFW2005:
Fans Toys' next release is eminent and will be swooping into your collections soon! TFW2005 has an early look at the final packaged version of FT-05, Iron Dibots #2, Soar. We've done up over 90 high resolution shots of him in action today, all attached to this story after the break!

We'll forgo a proper review and let the pics speak for themselves, but feel free to ask questions in the thread and we will try to answer!

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By Soulskill from Slashdot's quick-destroy-all-the-remaining-copies-of-Battlebots department:
Jason Koebler writes: If and when we finally encounter aliens, they probably won't look like little green men, or spiny insectoids. It's likely they won't be biological creatures at all, but rather, advanced robots that outstrip our intelligence in every conceivable way. Susan Schneider, a professor of philosophy at the University of Connecticut, joins a handful of astronomers, including Seth Shostak, director of NASA's Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, NASA Astrobiologist Paul Davies, and Library of Congress Chair in Astrobiology Stephen Dick in espousing the view that the dominant intelligence in the cosmos is probably artificial. In her paper "Alien Minds," written for a forthcoming NASA publication, Schneider describes why alien life forms are likely to be synthetic, and how such creatures might think.

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By Soulskill from Slashdot's defendant-knowingly-and-willfully-went-on-the-internets department:
apexcp writes: In less than a month, one of the biggest trials of 2015 will begin in New York City. The full list of government evidence and defense objections found its way online recently, shedding light on both the prosecutor's courtroom strategy and the defense team's attempted rebuttals. Also important is what's not presented as evidence. There's not a single piece of forensic documentation about how the FBI originally found Silk Road servers, an act the defense as called "blatantly criminal."

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By from Panels on Pages:
Paul McCartney's Wonderful Christmastime is a song that divides Christmas music lovers. I touch on that a bit, but then I read the comments and that is much more enjoyable.

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By Soulskill from Slashdot's we're-all-spartacus department:
An anonymous reader writes: Not satisfied with merely launching The Old Pirate Bay, torrent site isoHunt today debuted The Open Bay, which lets anyone deploy their own version of The Pirate Bay online. This is achieved via a new six-step wizard, which the group says requires you to be somewhat tech-savvy and have "minimal knowledge of how the Internet and websites work." The Pirate Bay, the most popular file sharing website on the planet, went down last week following police raids on its data center in Sweden. As we've noted before, The Old Pirate Bay appears to be the best alternative at the moment, but since The Pirate Bay team doesn't know if it's coming back yet, there is still a huge hole left to be filled.

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Quantum Physics Just Got Less Complicated
Posted by News Fetcher on December 19 '14 at 08:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's but-is-still-pretty-complicated department:
wabrandsma sends this news from
Here's a nice surprise: quantum physics is less complicated than we thought. An international team of researchers has proved that two peculiar features of the quantum world previously considered distinct are different manifestations of the same thing. The result is published 19 December in Nature Communications. Patrick Coles, Jedrzej Kaniewski, and Stephanie Wehner made the breakthrough while at the Center for Quantum Technologies at the National University of Singapore. They found that wave-particle duality is simply the quantum uncertainty principle in disguise, reducing two mysteries to one.

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By Soulskill from Slashdot's better-figure-out-an-alter-ego-quick department:
theodp writes: The idea of programming as a superpower was touched upon by CS teacher Alfred Thompson back in 2010, but it became a rallying call of sorts for the Hour of Code after Dropbox CEO Drew Houston described coding as "the closest thing we have to a superpower" in a video that went viral. And if the kids who learned to code with the President last week were dubious about the power of coding, this week's decision by Sony to scrap the release of the satirical film The Interview after a massive hack attack should put aside any doubts, especially after new revelations that Sony had reached out to the White House for help and screened the film for administration officials back in June. White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Thursday that the Obama Administration is viewing the Sony attack as a "serious national security matter" and is considering a range of possible options as a response, which could turn things into a contest of U.S. Superpower vs. Coding Superpower. In case it wasn't mentioned last week, remember to always use your coding superpower for good, kids!

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By Soulskill from Slashdot's just-in-case-you-were-feeling-safe-and-secure-today department:
krakman writes: Researchers discovered security flaws in SS7 that allow listening to private phone calls and intercepting text messages on a potentially massive scale – even when cellular networks are using the most advanced encryption now available. The flaws, to be reported at a hacker conference in Hamburg this month, are actually functions built into SS7 for other purposes – such as keeping calls connected as users speed down highways, switching from cell tower to cell tower – that hackers can repurpose for surveillance because of the lax security on the network. It is thought that these flaws were used for bugging German Chancellor Angela's Merkel's phone.

Those skilled at the housekeeping functions built into SS7 can locate callers anywhere in the world, listen to calls as they happen or record hundreds of encrypted calls and texts at a time for later decryption (Google translation of German original). There is also potential to defraud users and cellular carriers by using SS7 functions, the researchers say. This is another result of security being considered only after the fact, as opposed to being part of the initial design.

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By from Panels on Pages:
It's the time of the month for another issue of Multiversity and this time around we get the best Captain Marvel comic in quite some time. Grant Morrison and Cameron Stewart knock this comic out of the park.

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Ori Toy Reveals Optimus Prime Project for 2015
Posted by News Fetcher on December 19 '14 at 06:30 AM
By Matty from TFW2005:
TFW2005 boards member uranusdd (original source via Weibo member 软体动物), shared with us another new project, this time headed by the toy company Ori Toy, most notably known for their Acid Rain toy line. We don't have much to go off of right now besides one image that reveals they are working on some type of Optimus Prime figure, slated to be released in 2015. What the project entails is not known right now, so time to speculate and share your thoughts by hitting the discussion link below!

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