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Google Chrome 32 Is Out: Noisy Tabs Indicators, Supervised Users
Posted by News Fetcher on January 14 '14 at 03:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's no-more-hunting-for-that-autoplaying-video-tab department:
An anonymous reader writes "Google today released Chrome version 32 for Windows, Mac, and Linux. The new version includes tab noise indicators, a new look for Windows 8 Metro mode, and automatic blocking of malware downloads. You can update to the latest release now using the browser's built-in silent updater, or download it directly from google.com/chrome."

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Low-Cost Morphing Robotic Hands Could Revolutionize Blue-Collar Bionics
Posted by News Fetcher on January 14 '14 at 03:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's might-come-in-handy department:
malachiorion writes "Cornell, MIT and iRobot have all shown off so-called jamming manipulators: rubbery blobs that grip objects by deforming around them. But with the first commercially available version shipping to industrial and manufacturing customers, Cornell spinoff Empire Robotics has a new market in mind: Prosthetics. While impossibly expensive, neuro-controlled bionic hands continue to be a fantasy for most amputees, jamming manipulators could do the job. This article is about the merits of a low-tech, self-gripping stump, that could be powered by hooking up to an air compressor."
This seems like a decent solution while we close in on a method to regrow lost limbs.

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Incandescent Bulbs Get a Reprieve
Posted by News Fetcher on January 14 '14 at 03:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's every-comment-must-contain-the-words-'free-market' department:
An anonymous reader writes "A new budget deal reached today by the U.S. Congress walks back the energy efficiency standards that would have forced the phase out of incandescent bulbs. 'These ideas were first enacted during the Bush administration, via the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. Incandescent bulbs were unable to meet the standards, so they would eventually be forced off the market in favor of LEDs and compact fluorescent bulbs. But Republicans have since soured on the bill, viewing it as an intrusion on the market and attempting to identify it with President Obama. Recent Congresses have tried many times to repeal the standards, but these have all been blocked. However, U.S. budgets are often used as a vehicle to get policies enacted that couldn't pass otherwise, since having an actual budget is considered too valuable to hold up over relatively minor disputes. The repeal of these standards got attached to the budget and will be passed into law with it.'"

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AMD's Kaveri APU Debuts With GCN-based Radeon Graphics
Posted by News Fetcher on January 14 '14 at 01:46 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's onward-and-upward department:
crookedvulture writes "AMD's next-generation Kaveri APU is now available, and the first reviews have hit the web. The chip combines updated Steamroller CPU cores with integrated graphics based on the latest Radeon graphics cards. It's also infused with a dedicated TrueAudio DSP, a faster memory interface, and several features that fall under AMD's Heterogeneous System Architecture for mixed-mode computing. As expected, the APU's graphics performance is excellent; even the entry level, $119 A8-6700 is capable of playing Battlefield 4 at 1080p with medium detail settings. But the powerful GPU doesn't always translate to superior performance in OpenCL-accelerated applications, where comparable Intel chips are very competitive. Intel still has an advantage in power efficiency and raw CPU performance, too. Kaveri's CPU cores are certainly an improvement over the previous generation of Richland chips, but they can't match the per-thread throughput of Intel's rival Haswell CPU. In the end, Kaveri's appeal largely rests on whether the integrated graphics are fast enough for your needs. Serious gamers are better off with discrete GPUs, but more casual players can benefit from the extra Radeon horsepower. Eventually, HSA-enabled applications may benefit, as well."

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Chinese Firm Can Now Produce 500 Cloned Pigs Per Year
Posted by News Fetcher on January 14 '14 at 01:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's baconators-for-all department:
Sockatume writes "According to an article published by the BBC, Chinese firm BGI has refined cloning procedures to the point where they can produce 500 pigs per year, performing two embryo implantations per day with a 70-80% success rate. Much of the operation is concerned with producing genetically-engineered animals for research. The biotech firm's other work includes million-individual-scale animal and plant genetic sequencing."

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CES 2014: 3-D Scanners are a Logical Next Step After 3-D Printers
Posted by News Fetcher on January 14 '14 at 12:15 PM
By Roblimo from Slashdot's next-we'll-have-4-D-scanners,-then-5-D,-and-before-you-know-it-we'll-have-created-a-whole-new-univer department:
A number of companies are either selling or preparing to sell 3-D scanners. Aside from fun (but interesting) uses, like duplicating chess pieces or possibly reproducing a miniature of Rodin's famous sculpture, Fallen Caryatid Carrying Her Stone, Matterform anticipates archeologists reproducing artifacts so that students can study them without handling the precious originals. This video is an interview with Matterform co-founder Drew Cox, who was exhibiting Matterform's scanner at CES 2014. MakerBot is also selling a scanner, as are a growing number of others. In fact, even though Matterform talks about being a low-cost (pre-order price $579) scanner for home use, as opposed to a commercial one that costs thousands. There are also several interesting hand-held scanners out there. Sense sells theirs for $399. Structure has one for $349 that's essentially a peripheral for an iPad. And this is just a random selection from a brief Google search. Use "3-D Scanner" as your search term and you'll find multiple Google pages full of 3-D scanners and information about them -- including software being developed at ETH zurich that turns your smartphone into a 3-D scanner.

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Engineers: Traffic Studies Use Simulation Software, Not Lane Closings
Posted by News Fetcher on January 14 '14 at 12:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's next-you'll-tell-me-we-test-drugs-on-animals-first department:
Lucas123 writes "The so-called 'traffic study' that closed New Jersey access lanes on the heavily traveled George Washington Bridge last September has left engineers scratching their heads, because in modern America, simulation software is used instead of closing down lanes. One of the best sources for simulation data are video camera systems that use software to count vehicles on roadways. Traffic studies use microscopic traffic simulations to create virtual environments that can model driver behavior to road changes with exacting detail. Instead, the Port Authority, under Gov. Chris Christie, shut down two of the three access lanes for four days last September from Fort Lee to the George Washington Bridge without warning the public, citing a 'traffic study.' 'I would be pretty confident that if we knew exactly which lanes are closed we could replicate that, and it would show exactly how bad the backups are going to be,' said Lorenzo Rotoli, an engineer and vice president at Fisher Associates, a civil engineering firm in New York that works on roads, bridges and signal systems."

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Ask Slashdot: How Can I Improve My Memory For Study?
Posted by News Fetcher on January 14 '14 at 11:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's hat-hen-ham-hare-hill department:
First time accepted submitter Sensei_knight writes "How serendipitous! Today I see Slashdot also has an article linking caffeine to long-term memory, but I digress. Recently I returned to college in my 30s, after battling a childhood sleep disorder, and I now discover staying awake might be the least of my troubles. Now that I failed a few classes I'm trying to analyze and overcome the causes of this recent disaster. Two things are obvious: First, it takes me way too long to complete tasks (as if suffering from time dilation) — tests take me approximately twice the amount of time to finish [and the amount of time it takes to study and do homework is cumulative and unsustainable]. Secondly, I just can't seem to remember a whole lot. I know sleep and memory are very closely related, perhaps that's why I have never been able to commit the times tables to memory. My research on the subject of memory has not been very fruitful, therefore I want to ask for input into which angle/direction I should look into next. As for cognitive speed, I have completely drawn a blank."

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Media Player Nightingale Reaches 1.12.1; First Release Since Songbird
Posted by News Fetcher on January 14 '14 at 11:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's by-any-other-name department:
ilikenwf writes "The Nightingale developers have announced version 1.12.1 of the media player, forked from the now defunct Songbird (RIP). Improvements include a new localization infrastructure, enhanced stability, battery drain fixes for OS X, Unity integration fixes, libnotify integration, new first run pages, and more (Release Notes). If you already use Nightingale, the automatic update feature should have notified you of the release. If not, get the new version here."

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Man Shot To Death For Texting During Movie
Posted by News Fetcher on January 14 '14 at 10:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's remember-you-can-only-trust-cops-with-guns department:
An anonymous reader writes "The New York Times reports that an argument over texting ended in a cellphone user's death when a retired police officer in the audience shot him in a theater near Tampa, Florida on Monday. The report notes that 'cinema executives acknowledged during a trade conference last year that they debated whether to accommodate younger viewers by allowing text messages during some movies.'"

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Ampere Could Be Redefined After Experiments Track Single Electrons Crossing Chip
Posted by News Fetcher on January 14 '14 at 10:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's micro-management department:
ananyo writes "Physicists have tracked electrons crossing a semiconductor chip one at a time — an experiment that should at last enable a rational definition of the ampere, the unit of electrical current. At present, an ampere is defined as the amount of charge flowing per second through two infinitely long wires one metre apart, such that the wires attract each other with a force of 2×107 newtons per metre of length. That definition, adopted in 1948 and based on a thought experiment that can at best be approximated in the laboratory, is clumsy — almost as much of an embarrassment as the definition of the kilogram, which relies on the fluctuating mass of a 125-year-old platinum-and-iridium cylinder stored at the International Bureau of Weights and Measures in Paris. The new approach, described in a paper posted onto the arXiv server on 19 December, would redefine the amp on the basis of e, a physical constant representing the charge of an electron."

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How Quickly Will the Latest Arms Race Accelerate?
Posted by News Fetcher on January 14 '14 at 10:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's speed-of-an-uttered-uh-oh department:
First time accepted submitter tranquilidad writes "Russia was concerned enough about the U.S. development of a Prompt Global Strike (PGS) capability in 2010 that they included restrictions in the New Start treaty (previously discussed on Slashdot). It now appears that China has entered the game with their 'Ultra-High Speed Missile Vehicle.' While some in the Russian press may question whether fears of the PGS are 'rational' it appears that the race is on to develop the fastest weapons delivery system. The hypersonic arms race is focused on 'precise targeting, very rapid delivery of weapons, and greater survivability against missile and space defenses' with delivery systems traveling between Mach 5 and Mach 10 after being launched from 'near space.'"

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Federal Court Kills Net Neutrality, Says FCC Lacks Authority.
Posted by News Fetcher on January 14 '14 at 10:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's we'll-have-to-agree-to-disagree department:
An anonymous reader writes "According to a report from Gizmodo, a U.S. Appeals Court has invalidated the FCC's Net Neutrality rules. From the decision: 'Given that the Commission has chosen to classify broadband providers in a manner that exempts them from treatment as common carriers, the Communications Act expressly prohibits the Commission from nonetheless regulating them as such. Because the Commission has failed to establish that the anti-discrimination and anti-blocking rules do not impose per se common carrier obligations, we vacate those portions of the Open Internet Order.' Could this be the final nail in the coffin for Net Neutrality? Or will the FCC fight back? This submitter really, really hopes they fight back..."

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Japan To Tax Online Sales Of Foreign-Made Content
Posted by News Fetcher on January 14 '14 at 08:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's what-will-the-market-bear department:
Qedward writes with this except from CIO. "Japan is planning to tax sales of foreign online content such as e-books, apps and downloaded music by late 2015. Japanese who purchase electronic content from foreign firms like Amazon.com through overseas servers don't have to pay consumption tax, currently at 5% but slated to rise to 8% in April. That has made foreign content cheaper than apps, MP3 downloads, software, and e-books distributed domestically. Physical products purchased from abroad are hit with consumption tax when they clear customs in Japan, but no such levy exists for online goods. The government plans to close the loophole and make foreign vendors selling consumer goods register with tax authorities and pay the tax. Japanese corporations that buy foreign electronic content such as business software, however, will have to pay the tax directly to the Japanese tax authorities, Nikkei Asian Review reported this morning."

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I Became a Robot With Google Glass
Posted by News Fetcher on January 14 '14 at 07:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's no-you-didn't department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "Videographer and journalist Boonsri Dickinson took the second generation of Google Glass out for a spin, and came back with some thoughts (and a video) on the hardware (basically unchanged from the first generation) and the new XE12 software upgrade (which includes many new features, such as the 'eye wink' option for snapping photos). New apps in the tiny-but-growing Glass app store include Compass, which allows you to find interesting landmarks; Field Trip, which allows you to walk around and look up local history; Video Voyager, a tool for sharing videos based on your location; and Strava Run, which visualizes your fitness habits. 'Glass has potential to take off as a new platform because it's not a phone,' she writes. 'The hands-free approach could expand its use to venues as diverse as the operating room and kitchen, unlocking new ways of using the data overlays to augment the real world.' Interesting features aside, though, her experience with the device raises the usual privacy questions: 'For the most part, Glass is a good prototype for this new kind of computer: but do we really need it, and are we ready for it?'"

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Programmer Debunks Source Code Shown In Movies and TV Shows
Posted by News Fetcher on January 14 '14 at 06:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's movie-mistakes-of-a-particular-kind department:
rjmarvin writes "Someone is finally pausing TV shows and movies to figure out if the code shown on screen is accurate or not. British programmer and writer John Graham-Cumming started taking screenshots of source code from movies such as Elysium, Swordfish and Doctor Who, and when it became popular turned the concept into a blog. Source Code in TV and Films posts a new screenshot daily, proving that, for example, Tony Stark's first Iron Man suit was running code from a 1998 programmable Lego brick."

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Lawsuit: Oracle Called $50K 'Good Money For an Indian'
Posted by News Fetcher on January 14 '14 at 06:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's cue-the-h1bigots department:
jfruh writes "A former Oracle sales manager is suing the database company for what he called racially discriminatory salary-setting practices. Ian Spandow wanted to transfer a high-performing salesman from Oracle's India office to California. When he requested a salary of $60,000 a year or more for the employee, equivalent to what his white American counterparts received, he was told instead to offer $50,000, which was 'good money for an Indian.' When Spandow protested, he was himself summarily fired."

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Behind the Scenes of Wii U Software Development
Posted by News Fetcher on January 14 '14 at 06:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's should've-used-emacs department:
Sockatume writes "Digital Foundry has published an article from an anonymous but trusted developer outlining the challenges of developing for the Nintendo Wii U. The piece confirms some common perceptions of Nintendo, such as their attitude to third party developers, and presents a few surprises, like networking code not being made available to outside developers until the console was almost on sale."

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Mathematical Model Helps Estimate Optimal Timing of Cyber Attack
Posted by News Fetcher on January 14 '14 at 02:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's hack-the-gibson-when-it's-ripe department:
sciencehabit writes "Have you been missing the grim mathematical war games that strategists once used to map out possible nuclear confrontations? Don't worry, the games are back — this time applied to computer security. Researchers have now mathematically formalized the strategy of computer hacking, potentially enabling anyone — governments, activist hackers, cybermafia — to determine the optimal timing of attacks."

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If I Had a Hammer
Posted by News Fetcher on January 14 '14 at 12:30 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's bender-replaces-the-team department:
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Tom Friedman begins his latest op-ed in the NYT with an anecdote about Dutch chess grandmaster Jan Hein Donner who, when asked how he'd prepare for a chess match against a computer, replied: 'I would bring a hammer.' Donner isn't alone in fantasizing that he'd like to smash some recent advances in software and automation like self-driving cars, robotic factories, and artificially intelligent reservationists says Friedman because they are 'not only replacing blue-collar jobs at a faster rate, but now also white-collar skills, even grandmasters!' In the First Machine Age (The Industrial Revolution) each successive invention delivered more and more power but they all required humans to make decisions about them. ... Labor and machines were complementary. Friedman says that we are now entering the 'Second Machine Age' where we are beginning to automate cognitive tasks because in many cases today artificially intelligent machines can make better decisions than humans. 'We're having the automation and the job destruction,' says MIT's Erik Brynjolfsson. 'We're not having the creation at the same pace. There's no guarantee that we'll be able to find these new jobs. It may be that machines are better than that.' Put all the recent advances together says Friedman, and you can see that our generation will have more power to improve (or destroy) the world than any before, relying on fewer people and more technology. 'But it also means that we need to rethink deeply our social contracts, because labor is so important to a person's identity and dignity and to societal stability.' 'We've got a lot of rethinking to do,' concludes Friedman, 'because we're not only in a recession-induced employment slump. We're in technological hurricane reshaping the workplace.'"

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