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Digital Taste Interface
Posted by News Fetcher on November 23 '13 at 12:45 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's good-news-everyone department:
Tutter writes with news that Smellovision is being joined in reality by Tasteovision. "Possible applications in healthcare and gaming — it works by using electrodes on your tongue to stimulate salty, sweet, bitter and sour. It can produce the taste of virtual foods or drinks, allowing you to enjoy the taste without the calories (or chewing...). They are also good reasons to do this, for example, a diabetic can now taste sweets without actually affecting their blood sugar levels. Quote: 'The team is also working on a spin-off called a digital lollipop that will give the effect of a continuous sugar hit – but without sugar. For taste messaging they have developed TOIP — Taste Over Internet Protocol. This is a data format that makes it easy to transmit information on how to recreate the different tastes via the electrode. ... It is early days. The four major taste components, plus the fifth, the savoury 'umami' tang, are only a part of what we call flavor. Smell and texture are important, too — and the team now wants to work on adding those effects.' A video on youtube shows what it can do"

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Happy 50th Doctor Who
Posted by News Fetcher on November 23 '13 at 12:15 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's is-that-like-a-vorlon-or-something department:
beaverdownunder writes "To commemorate 50 years of the Tardis, today the BBC is airing a 75 minute special finally revealing the secrets of the Time War. What did you think of the special? And what's your fondest memory of Who? And what about that Capaldi guy?"

Okian Warrior pointed out today's Google doodle too.

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Intel Opens Doors To Rivals, Maybe
Posted by News Fetcher on November 23 '13 at 11:30 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's one-foundry-to-rule-them-all department:
Rambo Tribble writes "In what appears to be a major reversal of policy, Intel's new president, Renee James, has indicated that Intel will be open to manufacturing chips based on rivals' designs. While the language is a bit tentative, this appears to open an opportunity for such as ARM to benefit from Intel's manufacturing expertise and technology."

From the article: "James said Intel will evaluate prospective foundry clients on a 'deal by deal basis, not on an architecture by architecture basis.' That applies, James said, 'even in areas where there may be some competition with businesses that we’re in.'" Intel is already manufacturing FPGAs for Altera that include 64-bit ARM cores.

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Japan Aims To Win Exascale Race
Posted by News Fetcher on November 23 '13 at 10:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's set-goals department:
dcblogs writes "In the global race to build the next generation of supercomputers — exascale — there is no guarantee the U.S. will finish first. But the stakes are high for the U.S. tech industry. Today, U.S. firms — Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Intel, in particular — dominate the global high performance computing (HPC) market. On the Top 500 list, the worldwide ranking of the most powerful supercomputers, HP now has 39% of the systems, IBM, 33%, and Cray, nearly 10%. That lopsided U.S. market share does not sit well with other countries, which are busy building their own chips, interconnects, and their own high-tech industries in the push for exascale. Europe and China are deep into effort to build exascale machines, and now so is Japan. Kimihiko Hirao, director of the RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science of Japan, said Japan is prepping a system for 2020. Asked whether he sees the push to exascale as a race between nations, Hirao said yes. Will Japan try to win that race? 'I hope so,' he said. 'We are rather confident,' said Hirao, arguing that Japan has the technology and the people to achieve the goal. Jack Dongarra, a professor of computer science at the University of Tennessee and one of the academic leaders of the Top 500 supercomputing list, said Japan is serious and on target to deliver a system by 2020."

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Should the US Copy Switzerland and Consider a 'Maximum Wage' Ratio?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 23 '13 at 10:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's survival-of-the-least-competent department:
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "John Sutter writes at CNN that as Swiss citizens vote on November 24 to consider capping executive pay at 12 times what the lowest-paid worker at a company makes in a referendum. Some say the idea of tethering top executive pay to some sort of concrete metric might stop American execs from floating further into the stratosphere. 'Here in America, the land of unequal opportunity, the CEOs of top-500 companies make in a single day about what it takes an average "rank-and-file" worker a year to earn, according to the AFL-CIO, the federation of unions,' writes Sutter. 'Democracy starts to unravel if a few people become wildly, ethereally successful, while the rest of a country struggles.' A $1 million salary worked for American CEOs from the 1930s to 1980s, says Lynn Stout. But CEO pay, including options realized that year, jumped about 875%, to $14.1 million, from 1978 to 2012, according to the Economic Policy Institute. 'What we've got is basically an arms race,' Stout says, 'where the CEOs are competing on pay because they each want to have higher status than the others.' Peter Drucker, the father of business management, famously said the CEO-to-worker salary ratio should not exceed 20:1, which is what existed in the United States in 1965. Beyond that, managers will see an increase in 'resentment and falling morale,' said Drucker. Stout has suggested that the IRS make CEO pay a non-deductible business expense when it's higher than 100 times the minimum wage. 'Limiting CEO pay to 100 times the minimum wage would still allow top execs to be millionaires,' concludes Sutter. 'And here's the best part: If the fat cats wanted a pay increase, maybe the best way for them to get it would be to throw political weight behind a campaign to boost the minimum wage.'"

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3D Systems and Motorola Team Up To Deliver Customizable 3D Printed Smartphones
Posted by News Fetcher on November 23 '13 at 09:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's still-can't-get-one-with-a-keyboard department:
MojoKid writes "Motorola is forging ahead with the concept of modular, customizable smartphones first put forth by designer Dave Hakkens with his Phonebloks concept. The company said recently that it was officially pursuing such an idea with Project Ara, and Motorola is already putting together important partnerships to make it happen. 3D Systems, a maker of 3D printers and other related products, has signed on to create a 'continuous high-speed 3D printing production platform and fulfillment system' for it. In other words, 3D Systems is going to print parts for the project, and what's more, the company has what appears to be an exclusive agreement to make all the enclosures and modules for Project Ara."

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FEC Will Not Allow Bitcoin Campaign Contributions
Posted by News Fetcher on November 23 '13 at 08:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's end-the-bitfed department:
First time accepted submitter memnock writes "ABC new reports: 'Political organizations can't accept contributions in the form of bitcoins, at least for now, The Federal Election Commission said Thursday. The commission passed on a request by the Conservative Action Fund, a political action committee, to use the digital currency. That group had asked the FEC recently whether it could accept bitcoins, how it could spend them and how donors must report those contributions. It was not immediately clear whether the same ruling would apply to individual political candidates.' Slashdot reported earlier this week that other federal agencies have taken positions that may recognize or regulate the currency."

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Detecting Chemicals Through Bone
Posted by News Fetcher on November 23 '13 at 07:30 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's full-of-poison department:
MTorrice writes "To understand the brain and its chemical complexities, researchers would like to peer inside the skull and measure neurotransmitters levels as the brain at work. Unfortunately, research methods to measure levels of chemicals in the brain require drilling holes in the skull, and noninvasive imaging techniques, such as MRI, can't detect specific molecules. Now, as a first step toward a new imaging tool, chemists report they can detect molecules hidden behind 3- to 8-mm-thick bone."

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IRS Left Taxpayer Data Vulnerable and Lied About It
Posted by News Fetcher on November 23 '13 at 06:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's close-enough department:
Bruce66423 writes with news that the IRS hasn't made much progress improving its poor IT security. From the article: "The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration found that the IRS had only partially implemented 42 percent of the corrective plans it checked off as completed in recent years. ...
The review (PDF) showed that the IRS failed to properly track its progress toward completing many of the fixes auditors had recommended in recent years. The agency closed most of the cases without adequate documentation and did not always upload the necessary information into a database that helps ensure compliance.


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The Art of Apple, In Pictures
Posted by News Fetcher on November 23 '13 at 05:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's seduction-in-color-and-form department:
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "CNN reports that self-professed Apple fanatic Jonathan Zufi has published a book of photography profiling 500 of Apple's products through the years, because unlike other companies Apple has unapologetically focused on design says Zufi and he wants to celebrate that with his images. 'Other companies came up with the guts for a machine and then the engineers would find a way to stuff them into a box,' says Zufi. 'Steve Jobs started with the box and said, "You need to find a way to get the guts in."' It's an unlikely project for a software engineer with no formal photography training. Zufi bought new equipment and consulted with a professional as he began the project, which was four years in the making. 'I had a sudden memory of an old game I used to play in high school called Robot War,' says Zufi. 'I hopped on eBay to look for the game and an old Apple II to play it on, and that's how I ended up looking through old Apple products.' Zufi says that he approached each shot by looking for an image that would 'create that same emotional connection to that product, but maybe doesn't look like something you've seen before,' and says that his mission is to showcase the entire spectrum of products that Apple have sold to the public since 1976 – every desktop, every laptop, every notebook, monitor, iPod, iPad, iPhone, mouse, keyboard, modem, cable, port, adapter, docking station, memory expansion card — and that's just their hardware."

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Intel's 128MB L4 Cache May Be Coming To Broadwell and Other Future CPUs
Posted by News Fetcher on November 23 '13 at 04:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's now-read-some-old-prices-and-get-offa-my-lawn department:
MojoKid writes "When Intel debuted Haswell this year, it launched its first mobile processor with a massive 128MB L4 cache. Dubbed "Crystal Well," this on-package (not on-die) pool of memory wasn't just a graphics frame buffer, but a giant pool of RAM for the entire core to utilize. The performance impact from doing so is significant, though the Haswell processors that utilize the L4 cache don't appear to account for very much of Intel's total CPU volume. Right now, the L4 cache pool is only available on mobile parts, but that could change next year. Apparently Broadwell-K will change that. The 14nm desktop chips aren't due until the tail end of next year but we should see a desktop refresh in the spring with a second-generation Haswell part. Still, it's a sign that Intel intends to integrate the large L4 as standard on a wider range of parts. Using EDRAM instead of SRAM allows Intel's architecture to dedicate just one transistor per cell instead of the 6T configurations commonly used for L1 or L2 cache. That means the memory isn't quite as fast but it saves an enormous amount of die space. At 1.6GHz, L4 latencies are 50-60ns which is significantly higher than the L3 but just half the speed of main memory."

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Project Free TV, YIFY, PrimeWire Blocked In the UK
Posted by News Fetcher on November 23 '13 at 01:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's good-thrashing department:
hypnosec writes "The movie industry in the UK is having a ball, as far as blocking of sites allegedly involved in piracy is concerned, as courts have asked UK ISPs to enforce a blockade on Project Free TV, YIFY, PrimeWire and others. Getting a torrent or steaming site blocked in the UK is a mere paperwork formality, since ISPs have completely stopped defending against these orders. As it stands, a total of 33 sites have been blocked in the UK, including The Pirate Bay, BitSnoop, ExtraTorrent, Torrentz, 1337x, Fenopy, H33T, KickAssTorrents, among others."

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Cloud Storage Comparison: Benchmarking From Afar
Posted by News Fetcher on November 22 '13 at 10:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's your-cloud-is-rainier-than-mine department:
First time accepted submitter fasuin writes "Which is the most advanced cloud storage solution? Which is the impact of server locations? What are the benefits of advanced techniques to optimise data transfers? Researchers from Italy and The Netherlands have come out with a set of benchmarks that allowed them to compare Dropbox, CloudDrive, SkyDrive and Google Drive. Which is the best? You can check it by yourself by running the tests on your own if you like." What this kind of benchmarking can't well do, though, is predict which of these cloud storage companies are going to be around in five years, which might be at least as an important a factor.

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Electric Cars: Drivers Love 'Em, So Why Are Sales Still Low?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 22 '13 at 08:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's opportunity-cost department:
cartechboy writes "The electric car challenge is what insiders call "getting butts in seats" — and a lot of butts today still belong to humans who are not yet buying electric cars. The big question is: Why? Surveys show drivers are interested in electric cars--and that they love them once they drive them. EVs also cost less to maintain (though more to buy in the first place) and many experts say they're simply nicer to drive. So what's the problem? Disinterested dealers, uneven distribution, limited supplies, and media bias are some potential challenges. Or maybe it's just lousy marketing--casting electric cars as a moral imperative or a duty, like medicine you have to take."

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Google Is Building a Chrome App-Based IDE
Posted by News Fetcher on November 22 '13 at 05:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's never-close-your-browser department:
An anonymous reader writes "Google's Chromium team never ceases to amaze. Its latest project is a Chrome app-based Integrated Development Environment (IDE) codenamed Spark. For those who don't know, Chrome packaged apps are written in HTML, JavaScript, and CSS, but launch outside the browser, work offline by default, and access certain APIs not available to Web apps. In other words, they're Google's way of pushing the limits of the Web as a platform."

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Failed Software Upgrade Halts Transit Service
Posted by News Fetcher on November 22 '13 at 04:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's ay-carumba department:
linuxwrangler writes "San Francisco Bay Area commuters awoke this morning to the news that BART, the major regional transit system which carries hundreds of thousands of daily riders, was entirely shut down due to a computer failure. Commuters stood stranded at stations and traffic backed up as residents took to the roads. The system has returned to service and BART says the outage resulted from a botched software upgrade."

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Another Casualty of Typhoon Haiyan: Geothermal Power
Posted by News Fetcher on November 22 '13 at 03:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's thanks-bernoulli department:
necro81 writes "Little known even in environmental circles is a renewable energy success story: five geothermal power plants on Leyte Island in the Philippines — each of which produces enough power for the entire island — that collectively produce more than 10% of the Philippines' total electrical demand. From boreholes deep underground comes pressurized water heated to 280 Celsius. At the surface it flashes into steam, turning one set of turbines, then cools and contracts to spin a second set of turbines. The low-grade steam is then condensed back into water and reinjected into the bedrock. But Typhoon Haiyan destroyed the cooling towers, snapped transmission towers, and scattered the employees."

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The US Now Faces the Same Dilemma Over Drones As It Did Over Nuclear Weapons
Posted by News Fetcher on November 22 '13 at 02:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's what-did-we-learn department:
Lasrick writes "Hugh Gusterson examines the crossroads at which the U.S. finds itself on the use of drones, and the long-term consequences of choices made now, by looking at the history of choices the U.S. made in the 1940s regarding nuclear weapons. Thoughtful read. Quoting: 'Having seen what drones are capable of, political leaders can choose to place clear limits, domestically and internationally, on how they can be used. Or, telling the American people that drones will make them safer or that "you can’t stop technology," they can allow free rein to those military inventors, national security bureaucrats and industry entrepreneurs eager to develop drone technology as aggressively as possible. Such people are impatient to press ahead with new unmanned aerial vehicles, including smart drones and mini-drones, to sell both to the US military for use overseas and to law-enforcement bodies within the United States. If drone development continues unchecked, what can we expect? First, as with nuclear weapons, proliferation. At the moment the United States, Britain, and Israel are the only countries to have used weaponized drones. But many countries, including Russia and China, have been watching carefully as Washington has experimented with counterinsurgency by drone, and are considering how they might use this relatively cheap technology for their own purposes. If they decide to use their own drones outside the boundaries of international law against people they brand “terrorists,” the United States will hardly be in a position to condemn them or counsel restraint.'"

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John Carmack Leaves id Software
Posted by News Fetcher on November 22 '13 at 02:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's so-long-and-thanks-for-all-the-quake department:
jones_supa writes "John Carmack has left id Software completely. 'John Carmack, who has become interested in focusing on things other than game development at id, has resigned from the studio,' id's studio director Tim Willits told IGN, and continues: 'John's work on id Tech 5 and the technology for the current development work at id is complete, and his departure will not affect any current projects. We are fortunate to have a brilliant group of programmers at id who worked with John and will carry on id's tradition of making great games with cutting-edge technology. As colleagues of John for many years, we wish him well.' Carmack, a co-founder of id, recently joined Oculus VR as Chief Technology Officer, and at the time remained at id Software in some capacity. Earlier this year, id president Todd Hollenshead departed id as well."

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Ask Slashdot: MMORPG Recommendations?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 22 '13 at 01:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's progress-quest-still-going-strong department:
An anonymous reader writes "Lord of the Rings: Online's latest expansion, Helm's Deep, involved cutting many skills for all classes, with a only a handful reclaimable through the new, 1-dimensional trait trees. If you're not an end-game raider, you're out of luck. And if you are, you can now play your character perfectly with only one or two buttons. Like many who preordered the expansion, I feel robbed and I'm joining the mass exodus. What do you folks suggest? How do Guild Wars 2, RIFT, World of Warcraft and all the other MMORPGs stack up these days? What else would you recommend looking at?"

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