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Honolulu Tops 2011 Digital Cities Survey
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '11 at 12:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's high-tech-luau department:
First time accepted submitter folsomfella writes "The 11th annual survey spotlights the municipalities that best show how information and communication technology are used to enhance public service. The top 10 cities are selected in four different population categories and judged on the criteria of enterprise applicability or impact across multiple program areas, measurable progress from the prior year, hard dollar savings or soft dollar benefits as a result of technology use, innovation and a demonstration of effective collaboration."

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Apple Acknowledges iPhone 4S Battery Problems
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '11 at 11:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's our-bad department:
bdking writes "After more than two weeks of complaints from frustrated iPhone 4S owners, Apple finally has admitted problems with fast-draining batteries in the new devices. The company blames it on bugs in iOS 5 and promises a fix 'in a few weeks.' But Apple should have spoken up sooner, if only to acknowledge the issue."

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HP Slate 2: Brilliant or Bust?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '11 at 10:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's do-you-want-it-this-time? department:
First time accepted submitter redletterdave writes "After being introduced in September, HP's new CEO Meg Whitman announced Oct. 27 that the company 'needs to be in the tablet business.' However, by creating a lackluster product in the Slate 2 that runs on a soon-to-be-outdated operating system, HP will surely find itself back where it started, when furious Best Buy executives demanded HP to take back their thousands of unsold tablets piling up in storage."

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China Completes First Space Docking Test
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '11 at 10:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's you-got-craft-in-my-lab department:
MrSeb writes "China has joined two space vehicles together in orbit for the first time. The unmanned Shenzhou 8 craft, launched earlier this week, made contact with the Tiangong-1 space lab at 1729 GMT. The union occurred over China itself. Being able to dock two space vehicles together is a necessary capability for China if it wants to start building a space station towards the end of the decade."

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Watch the Fiery Re-entry of Progress Module
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '11 at 09:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's looking-down-on-reentry department:
astroengine writes "On Saturday, Oct. 29 at 5:04 a.m. EDT, a Progress Cargo Module undocked from the ISS and drifted away with a full haul of space station trash. It gradually slowed, deorbiting and dropping into the atmosphere at 8:48 a.m. EDT, leaving a blazing trail in its wake. Space station astronauts videoed the event as it unfolded."

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Spontaneous Fission In Fukushima Daiichi Unit 2
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '11 at 09:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's gone-fission department:
Kyusaku Natsume writes "Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Wednesday that some of the melted fuel in reactor 2 at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant may have triggered a brief criticality event. Tsuyoshi Misawa, a reactor physics and engineering professor at Kyoto University's Research Reactor Institute, said that if Tepco's data are correct, 'it's clear that the detection (of xenon-133 and -135) comes from nuclear fission.' Tepco spokesman Junichi Matsumoto said the test results suggest that either small-scale fission occurred in the melted fuel, or conditions to trigger criticality were temporarily met for some other reason. He said the same thing could also happen at reactors 1 and 3. But because the reactor's temperature and pressure level have not changed, the fission would not have been large-scale, Matsumoto said, adding that it would not thwart Tepco's schedule for achieving a cold shutdown at the reactors. In response, boric acid water was injected again on November 2. On the plus side, the concentration of radioactive materials in the air is low enough that workers inside some areas of Fukushima Daiichi workers soon will not have to use full face masks."

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Why Microsoft Embraced Gaming
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '11 at 09:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's something-about-extending-and-i-forget department:
wjousts writes "A interesting take on the birth of the Xbox from Technology Review: 'When the original Xbox video-game console went on sale in 2001, it wasn't clear why Microsoft, known for staid workplace software, was branching out into fast-paced action games. But Microsoft decided that capitalizing on the popularity of gaming could help the company position itself for the coming wave of home digital entertainment. "Microsoft saw the writing on the wall," says David Dennis, a spokesman for Xbox. "It wanted to have a beachhead in the living room." ... Now Microsoft is linking Xbox 360, its most successful consumer-focused brand, with others that have not been as well received. It is integrating Bing, its search engine, into Xbox and Xbox Live to enable people to search for multimedia content. By the end of the year, Microsoft is expected to unveil an updated Xbox Live design that is more in line with the look of Windows phones and the forthcoming Windows 8.'"

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Apple To Require Sandboxing For Mac App Store Apps
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '11 at 08:46 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's your-cat-will-love-it department:
mario_grgic writes "And so it begins: Apple will require that all Mac apps submitted to the Mac App store stick to strict sandboxing requirements. This means you must ask Apple for read or read/write entitlements for additional folders outside your Application Support folder before your app is approved. There are also restrictions on direct hardware access, communication to processes your app did not start, or even something simple as taking a screenshot. All that is needed after this to turn your Mac into an appliance is to only allow app installations from App Store."

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Fine Structure Constant May Not Be So Constant
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '11 at 07:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's pi-is-exactly-three department:
BuzzSkyline writes "According to a post at Physics Buzz, 'Just weeks after speeding neutrinos seem to have broken the speed of light, another universal law, the fine structure constant might be about to crumble.' Astronomical observations seem to indicate that the constant, which controls the strength of electromagnetic interactions, is different in distant parts of the universe. Among other things, the paper may explain why the laws of physics in our corner of the universe seem to be finely tuned to support life. The research (abstract) is so controversial that it took over a year to go from submission to publication in Physical Review Letters, rather than the weeks typical of most other papers appearing in the peer-reviewed journal."

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3D Printed Bone Models Cut Cost of Surgery Operations
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '11 at 07:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's make-no-bones-about-it department:
Tasha26 writes "A trainee surgeon, Mark Frame, has figured out how to save U.K.'s NHS thousands of pounds by taking advantage of 3D-printer technology. Success in orthopedic operations relies on surgeons having an accurate 3D model of the area where the operation will take place. Such models take time to produce and cost up to £1200 ($1915). Mark, a self-confessed 'technology geek,' used open source OsiriX software to convert CT scans into files which are readable by the 3D printers at Shapeways, a company in the Netherlands. Within a week they produced and delivered the first plastic 3D model of a child's forearm at a cost of £77 ($123). Mark has written a free guide so that other surgeons can make their own bones, which is being considered for publication by the World Journal of Science and Technology."

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Minor Quakes In the UK Likely Caused By Fracking
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '11 at 07:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's bsg-fans-confused department:
Stirling Newberry writes "Non-conventional extraction of hydrocarbons is the next wave of production, including natural gas and oil – at least according to its advocates. One of the most controversial of the technologies being used is hydraulic fracture drilling, or 'fracking.' Energy companies have been gobbling up Google ad words to push the view that the technology is 'proven' and 'safe,' while stories about the damage continue to surface. Adding to the debate are two small tremors in the UK — below 3.0, so very small – that were quite likely the result of fracking there. Because the drilling cracks were shallow, this raises concerns that deeper cracks near more geologically active areas might lead to quakes that could cause serious damage."

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Amazon Launching eBook Lending Program, Publishers Unenthusiastic
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '11 at 06:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's amazon-wants-you-to-put-ebooks-on-fire department:
An anonymous reader writes "The Wall Street Journal reports that Amazon is starting a program to lend ebooks to Kindle users. It will allow users to borrow just one title at a time, but readers will be able to keep the borrowed ebook for as long as they want. The initial library will only have around 5,000 titles, because 'None of the six largest publishers in the U.S. is participating.' The article continues, 'Several senior publishing executives said recently they were concerned that a digital-lending program of the sort contemplated by Amazon would harm future sales of their older titles or damage ties to other book retailers. ... The new program, called Kindle Owners' Lending Library, cannot be accessed via apps on other devices, which means it won't work on Apple Inc.'s iPad or iPhone, even though people can read Kindle books on both devices. This restriction is intended to drive Kindle device sales, says Amazon.'"

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When Geeks Meet, Are They More Likely To Have Autistic Kids?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '11 at 05:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's only-if-they-vaccinate-them department:
An anonymous reader writes "Psychologist Simon Baron-Cohen thinks scientists and engineers could be more likely to have a child with autism, an idea that is fairly common currency in Silicon Valley. But many researchers say the proof isn't there yet. From the article: 'Baron-Cohen proposes that systemizing ability can be inherited — and that in information-technology (IT) enclaves such as Silicon Valley, where hypersystemizers are more likely to meet, pair off and have children, the result is a higher incidence of autism. Back in 1997, for example, he concluded that fathers of children with autism were more than twice as likely to be engineers as were fathers of non-autistic children. But autism researchers ... found that fathers of children with autism were more likely to work in medicine, science and accountancy, as well as engineering, and less likely to have manual occupations. They suggested that these fathers were simply more likely to have reached a higher level of education. Baron-Cohen says that when he reanalysed the data and controlled for education level, he found that fathers of children with autism were still more likely to be engineers, although the difference was smaller.'"

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OLPC Project To Air-Drop Laptops
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '11 at 05:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's gods-must-be-crazy department:
sl4shd0rk writes "Nicholas Negroponte and the OLPC project are still going and have a new plan in the works: a laptop air-drop to help facilitate 'self-education' in areas with large poor populations. 'In the first year we'll go in and meet with tribal elders and aid organizations, people not involved with education, but then we let the kids learn,' Negroponte said. All of this work by Negroponte and others was essential, he explained, because market forces were leaving the poor of the world behind. Meanwhile, the largest countries had adopted strategies that offer little for the developing world."

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Siri Gives Apple Two Year Advantage Over Android
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '11 at 04:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's head-of-the-class department:
Hugh Pickens writes "Gary Morgenthaler, a recognized expert in artificial intelligence and a Siri board member, says that Apple now has at least a two-year advantage over Google in the war for best smartphone platform. 'What Siri has done is changed people's expectations about what's possible,' says Morgenthaler. 'Apple has crossed a threshold; people now expect that you should be able to expect to speak ordinary English — and be understood. Siri has cracked the code.' The threshold, from mere speech recognition to natural language input and understanding, is one that Google cannot cross by replicating the technology or making an acquisition adds Morgenthaler. 'There's no company out there they can go buy.' Morgenthaler's comments echo the recent article in Forbes Magazine, 'Why Siri Is a Google Killer' that says that Apple's biggest advantage over any other voice application out there today is the massive data Siri will collect in the next 2 years — all being stored in Apple's massive North Carolina data center — that will allow Siri to get better and better. 'Siri is a new interface for customers wanting to get information,' writes Eric Jackson. 'At the moment, most of us still rely on Google for getting at the info we want. But Siri has a foot in the door and it's trusting that it will win your confidence over time to do basic info gathering.'"

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Gecko-Inspired Robot Rolls Up Walls
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '11 at 01:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's climbing-robot-overlords department:
RedEaredSlider writes "A group of researchers in Canada has decided to combine the mechanism geckos use to stick to walls with the simplicity of a tank tread. The result is a 'bot that can roll up smooth (and some not so smooth) surfaces. Such robots are easier to control than those that try to simulate walking directly."

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Light Barrier Repels Mosquitoes
Posted by News Fetcher on November 02 '11 at 11:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's raise-shields department:
kodiaktau writes "Dr. Szabolcs Marka has received one of five $1M grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to continue his experiments with using light beams to create mosquito barriers. This is the second grant he has received from the foundation and proves to be a deviation from the previous and more dangerous use of lasers to control mosquitoes. A video of the light barrier in action can be seen here"

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Censored Religious Debate Video Released After Public Outrage
Posted by News Fetcher on November 02 '11 at 10:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's on-second-thought department:
First time accepted submitter tkel writes "On October 12, 2011 Theologian John Haught publicly debated prominent evolutionary scientist and atheist Jerry Coyne at the University of Kentucky. Although both agreed to a videotaping of the event, Haught later prohibited it's release because he felt he had been treated unfairly. Coyne released blog posts addressing the matter as an offense to free speech. Reviewing their new status in the blogosphere, Haught and his associates at the University of Kentucky have decided to release the video."

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NASA: If There Was Life On Mars, It Was Likely Underground
Posted by News Fetcher on November 02 '11 at 08:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's mole-people department:
coondoggie writes "NASA issued a study today that said if life ever existed on Mars, the longest lasting environments were most likely below the planet's surface. The hypothesis comes from analyzing tons of mineral data gathered over the years from more than 350 sites on Mars gathered by NASA and European Space Agency Mars space probes."

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No Windows 8 Plot To Lock Out Linux
Posted by News Fetcher on November 02 '11 at 06:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's playing-nice department:
First time accepted submitter Bucky24 writes "ZDNet's Ed Bott decided to contact major PC makers to find out the truth about Windows 8 SecureBoot. The responses are encouraging for those of us who run third party operating systems. Dell plans to have a BIOS switch to allow SecureBoot to be disabled, and HP assures us that they will allow consumers to make their own choice as to what operating system to run, though they have not given details as to how."

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