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Teachable Robot Helps Assemble IKEA Furniture
Posted by News Fetcher on April 24 '13 at 05:00 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's next-step-world-domination department:
cylonlover writes "Teaching a robot how to deal with real-world problems is a challenging task. There has been much progress in building robots that can precisely repeat individual tasks with a level of speed and accuracy impossible for human craftspeople. But there are many more tasks that could be done if robots could be supplied with even a limited amount of judgment. A robotics group led by Professor Sylvain Calinon at the Italian Institute of Technology is making progress in solving this problem and has developed a robot whose purpose in life is to help a person build an IKEA table."

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How To Build a $30M Startup Without Spending Any of Your Money
Posted by News Fetcher on April 24 '13 at 04:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's take-two-they're-small department:
SpicyBrownMustard writes "Forbes has an article that follows up on the news/hype/buzz/hysteria surrounding the acquisitions of Summly and Wavii by Yahoo and Google, respectively. It's a rather comical write up with a rather sad ring of truth to it, especially that we now know that Summly was little more than a collection of existing technologies built by others. The article says, 'Stress that you have celebrity relationships, and that your app was built by a team that has several hundred successful apps in Google Play and IOS App Store. It doesn’t matter that those aren’t your team members, it is still true.' Summarization technologies are the 'big new thing' apparently. Don't miss out — make your summarization app today and hop onboard that gravy train!"

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HTC Does What Google Wouldn't: Sell an LTE Phone That Sidesteps AT&T
Posted by News Fetcher on April 24 '13 at 01:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's three-letter-acronyms department:
schwit1 writes "You won't see it advertised on billboards or television, you won't hear it mentioned in a carrier store, and your less technologically-savvy friends most certainly won't know about it — but quietly, HTC's done something extraordinarily important this month: it's broken AT&T's stranglehold on its nationwide LTE network. It's a move that even Google, for all its money, power, and influence, didn't make with the Nexus 4. HTC is shipping both 32GB and 64GB versions of the One — an early contender for the best phone of 2013 — in a carrier- and bootloader-unlocked version that supports both T-Mobile and AT&T LTE. No strings attached."

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Fedora 19 Alpha Released
Posted by News Fetcher on April 23 '13 at 11:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's code-names-with-umlauts department:
hypnosec writes "Following delays due to UEFI, the alpha version of Fedora 19 'Schrödinger's Cat' has been released. The alpha version brings with it all the features of Fedora 19, including the updated desktop options – GNOME 3.8, KDE Plasma 4.10 and MATE 1.6. Other new features include Developer's Assistant – a tool that would allow developers to code easily with ready templates, samples and more; OpenShift Origin – through which users will be able to deploy their own Platform-as-a-Service infrastructure; Ruby 2.0.0; Scratch; Syslinux – provides for simplified booting of Fedora; systemd Resource Control – which allows for modification of service settings without requiring a reboot; and Checkpoint & Restore. Downloads and release notes available at the Fedora Project site."

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'Green' Galaxy Recycles Gas, Supercharges Star Birth
Posted by News Fetcher on April 23 '13 at 10:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's has-been-offered-federal-subsidy department:
astroengine writes "In a galaxy, far, far away (6 billion light-years away to be precise), the most efficient star 'factory' has been discovered. Called SDSSJ1506+54, this galaxy generates a huge quantity of infrared radiation, the majority being generated by a compact region at its core. NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer first spotted the galactic oddity and Hubble confirmed the maelstrom of stellar birthing near its core. But the most amazing thing? This galaxy is the 'greenest' factory yet discovered — it uses 100 percent of all the available hydrogen to supply the protostars, leaving no waste. 'This galaxy is remarkably efficient,' said lead scientist Jim Geach of McGill University in a NASA news release. 'It's converting its gas supply into new stars at the maximum rate thought possible.'"

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Play Tetris To Fix Your Lazy Eye
Posted by News Fetcher on April 23 '13 at 09:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's requires-omnidirectional-eyetreadmill department:
MightyMait writes "A study from a team at McGill University has found Tetris to be a good treatment for lazy eye. 'Armed with a special pair of video goggles they set up an experiment that would make both eyes work as a team. Nine volunteers with amblyopia were asked to wear the goggles for an hour a day over the next two weeks while playing Tetris, the falling building block video game. The goggles allowed one eye to see only the falling objects, while the other eye could see only the blocks that accumulate on the ground in the game. For comparison, another group of nine volunteers with amblyopia wore similar goggles but had their good eye covered, and watched the whole game through only their lazy eye. At the end of the two weeks, the group who used both eyes had more improvement in their vision than the patched group (abstract).' As someone born with crossed-eyes who underwent surgery as an infant and has lived with a lazy eye his whole life (without 3-D vision), the prospect of fixing my vision by playing Tetris is an enticing one."

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Self-Proclaimed LulzSec Leader Arrested In Australia
Posted by News Fetcher on April 23 '13 at 08:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's he-is-spartacus department:
New submitter AlbanX writes "An IT professional working in Sydney has been arrested for hacking a government website as part of the LulzSec movement. The 24-year-old man, residing in Point Clare, was arrested at his workplace late yesterday. He claimed to be the leader of the hacker movement. 'Police say he was in a "position of trust" within the company and had access to information on government clients. The AFP says its investigation began less than two weeks ago when investigators found a government website had been compromised. The man has been charged with two counts of unauthorised modification of data to cause impairment and one count of unauthorised access to a restricted computer system. He faces a maximum of 12 years in jail.'"

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Cause of LED Efficiency Droop Finally Revealed
Posted by News Fetcher on April 23 '13 at 06:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's it-was-the-daleks-all-along department:
An anonymous reader writes "Researchers from the University of California, Santa Barbara, in collaboration with colleagues at the École Polytechnique in France, have been able to prove the theory behind LED 'droop.' LED droop is the term for how LEDs emit less light when the amount of current being pushed through them goes above a certain level. 'The cost per lumen of LEDs has held the technology back as a viable replacement for incandescent bulbs for all-purpose commercial and residential lighting.' Now that we understand what causes this, we should start to see research go into technology to circumvent LED Droop. 'LEDs have enormous potential for providing long-lived high quality efficient sources of lighting for residential and commercial applications. The U.S. Department of Energy recently estimated that the widespread replacement of incandescent and fluorescent lights by LEDs in the U.S. could save electricity equal to the total output of fifty 1 GW power plants.'"
A pre-print of the team's paper is available at the arXiv.

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FAA On Travel Delays: Get Used To It
Posted by News Fetcher on April 23 '13 at 04:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's TSA-beat-you-to-the-punch department:
coondoggie writes "The term sequestration has certainly become a four-letter word for many across the country — and now you can count business and regular traveling public among those hating its impact. The Federal Aviation Administration today issued a blunt statement on the impact of sequestration on the nation's air traffic control system, which this week begain furloughing about 10% of air traffic controllers for two days or so per month. It reads as follows: 'As a result of employee furloughs due to sequestration, the FAA is implementing traffic management initiatives at airports and facilities around the country. Travelers can expect to see a wide range of delays that will change throughout the day depending on staffing and weather-related issues. ... Yesterday more than 1,200 delays in the system were attributable to staffing reductions resulting from the furlough.'"
U.S. Democrats and Republicans spent the day using the FAA's statement as political fodder rather than working on resolving sequestration.

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Millennials Willing To Share Personal Data — For a Price
Posted by News Fetcher on April 23 '13 at 04:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's will-also-get-off-your-lawn-for-a-price department:
jfruh writes "The rap on the under-30 crowd is that they don't care anywhere near as much about online privacy as their elders — but that's not quite true. According to a recent study by USC's Annenberg Center for the Digital Future, millennials are just as concerned about the use of their personal data online as their elders. The difference arises when it comes to why they share that data: older users share with someone they trust, while millennials share when they perceive that there's something in it for them."

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Fukushima Nuclear Plant Cleanup May Take More Than 40 Years
Posted by News Fetcher on April 23 '13 at 03:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's public-to-forget-about-it-within-40-months department:
mdsolar writes "'A U.N. nuclear watchdog team said Japan may need longer than the projected 40 years to decommission the Fukushima power plant and urged Tepco to improve stability at the facility. The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency team, Juan Carlos Lentijo, said Monday that damage at the nuclear plant is so complex that it is impossible to predict how long the cleanup may last.' Meanwhile, Gregory B. Jaczko, former Chair of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has said that all 104 nuclear power reactors now in operation in the United States have a safety problem that cannot be fixed and they should be replaced with newer technology."

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Apple To Launch Largest Stock Repurchasing Plan In History
Posted by News Fetcher on April 23 '13 at 03:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's not-sure-if-confidence-or-overconfidence department:
An anonymous reader writes "In conjunction with its earnings report for the second quarter of 2013, Apple issued a press release announcing some major plans for its ever growing stockpile of cash. It is increasing its quarterly dividend payout to investors by 15%. What's more, the company will spend $60 billion in stock repurchases, making it in Apple's words, 'the largest single share repurchase authorization in history.'"

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Radioactive Bacteria Attack Cancer
Posted by News Fetcher on April 23 '13 at 02:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's incorporate-lasers-and-you've-got-yourself-a-customer department:
ananyo writes "Two dangerous things together might make a medicine for one of the hardest cancers to treat. In a mouse model of pancreatic cancer, researchers have shown that bacteria can deliver deadly radiation to tumours — exploiting the immune suppression that normally makes the disease so intractable. The researchers coated the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes with radioactive antibodies and injected the bacterium into mice with pancreatic cancer that had spread to multiple sites. After several doses, the mice that had received the radioactive bacteria had 90% fewer metastases compared with mice that had received saline or radiation alone."

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Hands-Free Or Voice-Activated Texting Not Safer
Posted by News Fetcher on April 23 '13 at 02:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's guess-everybody-will-have-to-go-back-to-doing-it-the-old-way department:
Meshach writes "A recent study (PDF) detailed in the Washington Post verifies that using hands-free or voice-activated texting is no safer than texting with your hands while you are driving a car. Using a handheld device to tap out a text message while driving has been banned in many states and provinces. From the article: '"One of the common comments was that they felt an inclination to look down at the screen to see if it heard them correctly, so that could be one possible explanation of why they were not looking at the roadway more frequently," Yager said. She said drivers said they felt safer when using voice-activated texting than when entering messages on a keyboard. "Perhaps it is because they view it as safer and therefore it must be, but still they have this inclination to look down at the screen," she said. "We found that their driving performance suffered equally with both methods." As has been proven in studies of cellphone conversations, Yager said drivers engaged in any form of texting were distracted by the communication effort.'"

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Overconfidence: Why You Suck At Making Development Time Estimates
Posted by News Fetcher on April 23 '13 at 01:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's i-blame-the-schools department:
Dan Milstein from Hut 8 Labs has written a lengthy post about why software developers often struggle to estimate the time required to implement their projects. Drawing on lessons from a book called Thinking Fast and Slow by Dan Kahneman, he explains how overconfidence frequently leads to underestimations of a project's complexity. Unfortunately, the nature of overconfidence makes it tough to compensate. Quoting:
"Specifically, in many, many situations, the following three things hold true: 1- 'Expert' predictions about some future event are so completely unreliable as to be basically meaningless 2- Nonetheless, the experts in question are extremely confident about the accuracy of their predictions. 3- And, best of all: absolutely nothing seems to be able to diminish the confidence that experts feel. The last one is truly remarkable: even if experts try to honestly face evidence of their own past failures, even if they deeply understand this flaw in human cognition they will still feel a deep sense of confidence in the accuracy of their predictions. As Kahneman explains it, after telling an amazing story about his own failing on this front: 'The confidence you will experience in your future judgments will not be diminished by what you just read, even if you believe every word.'"

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BitTorrent Opens Up Its Sync Alpha To the Public For Windows, Mac, and Linux
Posted by News Fetcher on April 23 '13 at 01:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's solutions-in-search-of-problems department:
An anonymous reader writes "BitTorrent on Tuesday announced it has released its file synchronization tool Sync into open alpha. You can download the latest version now for Windows, Mac, and Linux over at labs.bittorrent.com. The company first announced its Sync software back in January, explaining at the time that it uses peer-to-peer technology to synchronize personal files across multiple computers and devices."

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Tweet From Hacked AP Account Causes High Freq. Traders To Drop DOW 150 Points
Posted by News Fetcher on April 23 '13 at 12:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's our-culture-will-eventually-collapse-due-to-an-errant-tweet department:
New submitter Mike Lape writes "Stocks plunged and recovered within minutes after the hacked AP Twitter account sent out a tweet that indicated that the White House had been the victim of an explosion and that President Obama had been injured. '...the Dow Jones Industrial Average took a quick 143-point plunge, before recovering most of its losses within minutes. The three-minute plunge triggered by the tweet briefly wiped out $136.5 billion of the S&P 500 index's value, according to Reuters data. Interestingly, Tuesday has been the best day of the week for the blue-chip this year with an average return of 0.46 percent. If the index closes in the black today, it will have been up for the 15th consecutive Tuesday. The last time the Dow rose for 15 straight Tuesdays was in 1927.' An analyst said, 'That goes to show you how algorithms read headlines and create these automatic orders – you don't even have time to react as a human being.'"

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Will Future Tesla Cars Use Metal-Air Batteries?
Posted by News Fetcher on April 23 '13 at 11:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's powered-by-the-tears-of-oil-execs department:
thecarchik writes "Most advocates and industry analysts expect lithium-ion batteries to dominate electric-car energy storage for the rest of this decade. But is Tesla Motors planning to add a new type of battery to increase the range of its electric cars? Tesla has filed for eight separate patents on uses of metal-air battery technology (for example, #20120041625). The metals covered for use in the metal-air battery are aluminum, iron, lithium, magnesium, vanadium, and zinc. Metal-air batteries, which slowly consume their anodes to give off energy, hit the news last month when Israeli startup Phinergy demonstrated its prototype battery and let reporters drive a test vehicle fitted with the energy-storage device. Mounted in a subcompact demonstration car, Phinergy's aluminum-air battery provides 1,000 miles of range, it said, and requires refills of distilled water (which acts as electrolyte in the cells) about every 200 miles."

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China Behind 96% of All Cyber-Espionage Data Breaches, Verizon Report Claims
Posted by News Fetcher on April 23 '13 at 11:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's go-big-or-go-home department:
colinneagle writes "Verizon's 2013 Data Breach Investigation Report is out and includes data gathered by its own forensics team and data breach info from 19 partner organizations worldwide. China was involved in 96% of all espionage data-breach incidents, most often targeting manufacturing, professional and transportation industries, the report claims. The assets China targeted within those industries included laptop/desktop, file server, mail server and directory server, in order to steal credentials, internal organization data, trade secrets and system info. A whopping 95% of the attacks started with phishing to get a toehold into their victim's systems. The report states, 'Phishing techniques have become much more sophisticated, often targeting specific individuals (spear phishing) and using tactics that are harder for IT to control. For example, now that people are suspicious of email, phishers are using phone calls and social networking.' It is unknown who the nation-state actors were in the other 4% of breaches, which the report says 'may mean that other threat groups perform their activities with greater stealth and subterfuge. But it could also mean that China is, in fact, the most active source of national and industrial espionage in the world today.'"
The report also notes that financially-motivated incidents primarily came from the U.S. and various Eastern European countries.

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The Dark Side of Amazon's New Pilots
Posted by News Fetcher on April 23 '13 at 10:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's none-for-you department:
I've been really, really excited about digital video
distribution lately: first Netflix greenlights jms's return to science
fiction TV, and then Amazon announces their new pilots. Perhaps the
decade long dearth of any good television is nearing its end! So, with
that in mind, I finished up editing Slashdot for the day and sat down
to watch some of these new pilots. Only to discover that Amazon has
taken away my ability to watch entirely in the name of Digital
Restrictions Management.

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