By timothy from Slashdot's fold-here-snip-there department
An anonymous reader writes The MeArm is a flat-pack robot arm. It has been developed in a very short time frame as the creators have been able to tap into crowd development by open sourcing all of the designs. Because of this it's exploded around the world with builders on every continent (bar Antarctica) and there are even people manufacturing them to sell in Peru, Taiwan and South Africa. MeArm manufacture them in the UK and export to distributors around the world, including Open Source pioneers like Adafruit and Hackaday in the USA. They're currently running a Kickstarter for a controller to take it out of the 'Hackersphere' and into the living room. They doubled their target in the first week and are still going strong so it's looking like they will be the first consumer flat pack robot kit in the world!
Controller or not, you can download the arm from Thingiverse
, and follow the project at Hackaday
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By timothy from Slashdot's don't-tell-the-trading-companies department
writes Phys.org reports that in a new paper accepted by the journal Astroparticle Physics, Robert Ehrlich, a recently retired physicist from George Mason University, claims that the neutrino is very likely a tachyon or faster-than-light particle. Ehrlich's new claim of faster-than-light neutrinos is based on a much more sensitive method than measuring their speed, namely by finding their mass. The result relies on tachyons having an imaginary mass, or a negative mass squared. Imaginary mass particles have the weird property that they speed up as they lose energy – the value of their imaginary mass being defined by the rate at which this occurs. According to Ehrlich, the magnitude of the neutrino's imaginary mass is 0.33 electronvolts, or 2/3 of a millionth that of an electron. He deduces this value by showing that six different observations from cosmic rays, cosmology, and particle physics all yield this same value within their margin of error. One check on Ehrlich's claim could come from the experiment known as KATRIN, which should start taking data in 2015. In this experiment the mass of the neutrino could be revealed by looking at the shape of the spectrum in the beta decay of tritium, the heaviest isotope of hydrogen.
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By timothy from Slashdot's am-I-being-detained department
Many public elementary- and middle-school students in Boston may soon have a longer time to spend in school each day
. A change, announced Friday by Boston mayor Martin J. Walsh, though yet to get final approval from the city's school committee and teachers' unions' full membership, would add 40 minutes to the schedule at schools not already under an extended schedule. Currently, most elementary school students have a 6-hour day, and middle school students' is 10 minutes longer, which means that high schools will now have by default the shortest day (six and a half hours) in the Boston public school system. From the Boston Globe's coverage:Teachers in the 60 schools would get an annual stipend of $4,464 for the expanded schedule, the mayor’s office said. The plan would be rolled out over three years, beginning with about 20 schools in the 2015-2016 school year, the statement said. Officials said it wasn’t clear which schools would be in the first group. Once fully rolled out, the plan, which would add up to about an extra month of learning per year for 23,000 students, would cost about $12.5 million per year.
How long is the school day in your neck of the woods, and do you think it should be any longer?Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's every-inch-of-seat-matters department
writes The wait is finally over for aviation aficionados wanting to book a flight aboard the Airbus A350 XWB. Qatar Airways, the global launch customer of the plane, accepted delivery of their first A350 of 80 in order, during a ceremony at Airbus' headquarters in Toulouse, France, on Monday morning. This particular A350-900 will enter regular commercial service in January, operating daily flights between its Hamad International Airport hub in Doha, Qatar and Frankfurt, Germany. There are three different iterations of A350 XWB being built: the A350-800, the A350-900 and the A350-1000, which seat 270, 314 and 350 passengers, respectively, in three-class seating. The "XWB" in the name means "extra wide body." The A350 is the first Airbus with both fuselage and wing structures made primarily of carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer. Curious what it was like to be on the Tuesday delivery flight? Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren was onboard that flight and chronicled the landmark trip in photographs.Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's triple-digits department
An anonymous reader writes isoHunt, the group now best known for launching The Old Pirate Bay, has shared an update a week after debuting The Open Bay. The Pirate Bay, the most popular file sharing website on the planet, still isn't back following police raids on its data center in Sweden, but its "cause" is very much alive. So far, 372 "copies" of The Pirate Bay have been created thanks to the project. The torrent database dump, which combines content from isoHunt, KickassTorrents (via its public API), and The Old Pirate Bay, has seen 1,256 downloads to date.Read Replies (0)
By Soulskill from Slashdot's from-the-guy-who-made-it department
An anonymous reader writes: Thomas Haigh, writing for Communications of the ACM, has an in-depth column about Donald Knuth and the history of computer science. It's centered on a video of Knuth giving a lecture at Stanford earlier this year, in which he sadly recounts how we're doing a poor job of capturing the development of computer science, which obscures vital experience in discovering new concepts and overcoming new obstacles. Haigh disagrees with Knuth, and explains why: "Distinguished computer scientists are prone to blur their own discipline, and in particular few dozen elite programs, with the much broader field of computing. The tools and ideas produced by computer scientists underpin all areas of IT and make possible the work carried out by network technicians, business analysts, help desk workers, and Excel programmers. That does not make those workers computer scientists. ... Computing is much bigger than computer science, and so the history of computing is much bigger than the history of computer science. Yet Knuth treated Campbell-Kelly's book on the business history of the software industry (accurately subtitled 'a history of the software industry') and all the rest of the history of computing as part of 'the history of computer science.'"Read Replies (0)
By Soulskill from Slashdot's at-least-they're-consistent department
An anonymous reader writes: On Christmas Eve, the NSA quietly dropped 12 years worth of internal reports on surveillance that may have broken laws, including reports that were illegally withheld and the subject of a FOIA lawsuit in 2009. "The heavily-redacted reports include examples of data on Americans being e-mailed to unauthorized recipients, stored in unsecured computers and retained after it was supposed to be destroyed, according to the documents. ... In a 2012 case, for example, an NSA analyst 'searched her spouse’s personal telephone directory without his knowledge to obtain names and telephone numbers for targeting,' according to one report (PDF). The analyst 'has been advised to cease her activities,' it said. Other unauthorized cases were a matter of human error, not intentional misconduct. Last year, an analyst 'mistakenly requested' surveillance 'of his own personal identifier instead of the selector associated with a foreign intelligence target,' according to another report." Here's there list of reports going back to 2001.Read Replies (0)