By Soulskill from Slashdot's free-hot-wings department
writes: Federal investigators in California have requested that BrightSource — owner of thermal solar plants — halt the construction of more (and bigger) plants until their impact on wildlife has been further investigated. "Unlike many other solar plants, the Ivanpah plant does not generate energy using photovoltaic solar panels. Instead, it has more than 300,000 mirrors, each the size of a garage door. Together, they cover 1,416 hectares. Each mirror collects and reflects solar rays, focusing and concentrating solar energy from their entire surfaces upward onto three boiler towers, each looming up to 40 stories high. The solar energy heats the water inside the towers to produce steam, which turns turbines that generate enough electricity for 140,000 homes." The concentrated solar energy chars and incinerates the feathers of passing birds. BrightSource estimates about a thousand bird die this way every year, but an environmental group claims the real number is much higher.Read Replies (0)
By Soulskill from Slashdot's hitting-some-of-the-right-notes department
Several readers sent word that Android Police has leaked details about YouTube's upcoming subscription service, Music Key
. The benefits for users will include ad-free music, offline playback, and audio-only streams. It's expected to cost $10 per month. "Of course, one of Music Key's major value propositions is that users will have access not just to official discographies, but to concert footage, covers, and remixes. Play Music already houses some remixes and covers, but YouTube as a platform is significantly more open and workable for derivative content — the platform is much easier to add content to, and user discoverability is substantially different from Play Music." Others note Google still has to negotiate terms with many independent musicians
, who could subsequently see their work blocked if they aren't willing to play by Google's rules
.Read Replies (0)
By Soulskill from Slashdot's i'll-order-a-dozen department
In June, we discussed
news that JPL and MakerBot were teaming up to host a competition for designing a futuristic Mars base. The competition is now over, and the top three designs have been chosen
. First place went to Noah Hornberger, who designed a base with hexagonal rooms
and shielding made of depleted uranium. Second place went to a martian pyramid
with an aquaponics system on top, mirror-based solar collectors, central water storage, and compartmentalized living spaces. The third place award went to Chris Starr for his Mars Acropolis
, which was styled upon the ancient Greek Acropolis. It has a water tower at the top of the structure, a series of greenhouses at the bottom, and living quarters in between. The full list of 227 entries is browse-able on Thingiverse
.Read Replies (0)
By Soulskill from Slashdot's retirement!-retirement!-retirement! department
writes: After leaving his position as CEO of Microsoft a year ago, Steve Ballmer has still held a position as a member of the board of directors for the company. Now, he is leaving the board, explaining why in a letter to fresh Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. "I have become very busy," Ballmer explains. "I see a combination of Clippers, civic contribution, teaching and study taking up a lot of time." Despite his departure, the former-CEO is still invested in the company's success, and he spent most of the letter encouraging Nadella and giving advice. Nadella shot back a supportive, equally optimistic response, promising that Microsoft will thrive in "the mobile-first, cloud-first world."Read Replies (0)
By Roblimo from Slashdot's not-just-a-man-but-a-vital-force-behind-open-source department
Tim O'Reilly "is the founder of O'Reilly Media (formerly O'Reilly & Associates) and a supporter of the free software and open source movements." And so he is. O'Reilly Media is also the company from which Make magazine
and the assorted Maker Faires sprang, before spinning off into an ongoing presence of their own. (This year's Solid conference, as well as the confluence of hardware and software at OSCON demonstrate O'Reilly's ongoing interest in the world of makers, though.) O'Reilly has been a powerful force in technical book publishing, popularized the term Web 2.0
, and has been at least a godfather to the open source movement. He's also an interesting person in general, even more so when he's hanging out at home than when he's on stage at a conference or doing a formal interview. That's why we were glad Timothy Lord was able to get hold of Tim O'Reilly via Hangout while he was in a relaxed mood in a no-pressure environment, happy to give detailed responses based on your questions
, from small (everyday technology) to big (the Internet as "global brain").
< article continued at Slashdot
>Read Replies (0)
By Soulskill from Slashdot's turnabout-is-fairly-played-out department
writes: According to Foreign Policy, "The revelation that Germany spies on Turkey, a NATO member, should dispel any notion that spying on allies violates the unwritten rules of international espionage. ... For nearly a year, the extent of NSA surveillance on German leaders ... has drawn stern rebuke from the German political and media establishment. ... Merkel went so far as to publicly oust the CIA station chief in Berlin. 'Spying among friends is not at all acceptable,' Merkel said. ... [C]alls made by Secretary of State John Kerry and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were accidentally recorded. ... 'It's a kind of delightful revelation given the fact that the Germans have been on their high horse.' Christian Whiton, a former ... State Department senior advisor, added that the report on German spying is a perfect example of why rifts over intelligence among allies should be handled quietly and privately." The Wall Street Journal adds, "Cem Özdemir, the head of the Green party and a leading German politician of Turkish descent, told Spiegel Online it would be 'irresponsible' for German spies not to target Turkey given its location as a transit country for Islamic State militants from Europe." Further details at Spiegel Online and The Wall Street Journal."Read Replies (0)
By Soulskill from Slashdot's how-should-i-feel-when-a-driverless-car-tailgates-me? department
sends a report about how Google's autonomous vehicles handle speed limits. It's easy to assume that driverless cars will simply be programmed never to exceed a posted speed limit, but Google has found that such behavior can actually be less safe than speeding a bit
. Thus, they've allowed their cars to exceed the speed limit by up to 10 miles per hour
.In July, the U.K. government announced that driverless cars will be allowed on public roads from January next year. In addition, ministers ordered a review of the U.K.'s road regulations to provide appropriate guidelines. This will cover the need for self-drive vehicles to comply with safety and traffic laws, and involve changes to the Highway Code, which applies to England, Scotland and Wales. Commenting on Google self-drive cars' ability to exceed the speed limit, a Department for Transport spokesman said: "There are no plans to change speed limits, which will still apply to driverless cars." In a separate development on Monday, the White House said it wanted all cars and light trucks to be equipped with technology that could prevent collisions.Read Replies (0)
By Soulskill from Slashdot's rise-of-the-technofarmer department
New submitter ErnieKey
writes: Farming has been stuck in a bit of a rut, when compared to other industries. Businesses across the globe have been innovating for decades, while farming has been using techniques that have been handed down from centuries ago. The FarmBot Foundation is creating a machine, similar to that of a CNC mill and/or 3D printer, which is capable of being run by sophisticated software and equipped with any tools you can imagine, including seed injectors, plows, burners, robotic arms (for harvesting), cutters, shredders, tillers, discers, watering nozzles, sensors and more. The goal? To increase food production by automating as much of it as possible.Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's show-us-your-basement department
Along with the rest of the mix that makes this site work, Slashdot has nearly two decades now of spotting and showing off interesting projects, inventions, technologies, and hobbies. Some of them are strictly personal
, some are frankly commercial
, and some are the fruits of ambitious organizations (or tiny teams) motivated by curiosity and passion
(or even politics
, or just plain fun
). As outlined earlier
, we've been gathering a lot of these into our new Build section
; read on to learn a bit more about what that includes. (And watch out later today for the first part of our conversation with technology-inspiring Rennaisance Man Tim O'Reilly, and later in the week for answers to the questions you asked Bunnie Huang
.)Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's orange-is-the-new-ash department
In 2010, ash spewed into the atmosphere by the volcano beneath Iceland's Eyjafjallajökull
glacier grounded European air traffic
for days (and, partially, for weeks). As reported by The Guardian, a series of similarly situated earthquakes may herald a similar ash-ejecting erruption
, and the country has raised its volcano risk to its second-most-severe rating (orange). From the article:Iceland met office seismologist Martin Hensch said the risk of any disruptive ash cloud similar to the one in 2010 would depend on how high any ash would be thrown, how much there would be and how fine-grained it would be.
Bardarbunga is Iceland's largest volcanic system, located under the ice cap of the Vatnajokull glacier in the southeast of Iceland. It is in a different range to Eyjafjallajokull.
The met office said in a statement it measured the strongest earthquake in the region since 1996 early on Monday and it now had strong indications of ongoing magma movement.
"As evidence of magma movement shallower than 10km implies increased potential of a volcanic eruption, the Bardarbunga aviation colour code has been changed to orange," it said.
"Presently there are no signs of eruption, but it cannot be excluded that the current activity will result in an explosive subglacial eruption, leading to an outburst flood and ash emission." ...
Hensch said the biggest risk in Iceland itself was from flood waves from any eruption under the glacier. He said the area of Iceland mainly at risk of flooding was mostly uninhabited but that roads in the area had been closed.
Read Replies (0)