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US To Auction 29,656 Bitcoins Seized From Silk Road
Posted by News Fetcher on June 13 '14 at 05:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's enjoy-your-windfall department:
ClownP writes with news that the U.S. Marshals Service is selling off 29,656.51306529 Bitcoins that were seized when the Silk Road website was shut down. At current exchange rates, they're worth around $17-18 million. The coins will be auctioned off in nine blocks of 3,000 coins, plus one block with the remainder.
The USMS said that the first deadline for bidders will be 9am Eastern Time on June 16, 2014. All bidders must complete the government's Bidder Registration Form, which requires that you provide a copy of a government-issued ID as well as a $200,000 deposit sent by wire transfer from an American bank. The government added that the highest bidder will win, and he or she cannot finance its payment in installments — the winner must pay the full amount in cash. The USMS added one final stipulation. "The USMS will not sell to any person who is acting on behalf of or in concert with the Silk Road and/or Ross William Ulbricht, and bidders will be required to so certify," the USMS stated.

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Are the Glory Days of Analog Engineering Over?
Posted by News Fetcher on June 13 '14 at 04:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's put-out-to-pasture department:
An anonymous reader writes with this article about the future of the analog engineer. Some say technology advancements are obsoleting the need for analog engineers, while others say that good, experienced analog designers will always be needed and currently are in short supply. After years spent encouraging engineering students to focus on software and digital electronics, some people say the day of reckoning appears to be drawing near: Many analog mixed-signal design jobs now stay open longer or are simply going unfilled, say recruiters, with some engineers even unable to retire because they can't find a suitable replacement. On the one hand, some people blame the shift from analog to digital, which produced a generation of engineers who speak the language of code, not circuit schematics. On the other hand, others say that with the advent of systems-on-chip, the easy availability of free circuits, pioneered by companies like TSMC, and software tools to verify designs, there is simply less need for analog designers.

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Samsung Debuts Thin Galaxy Tab S With Super AMOLED 2560X1600 Display
Posted by News Fetcher on June 13 '14 at 02:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's brand-new department:
MojoKid (1002251) writes Samsung unveiled its latest flagship tablet, the Galaxy Tab S, at an event in New York City tonight, and the new device is thin, lightweight, and sports a killer Super AMOLED display. Samsung boasts that the Galaxy Tab S's 2560x1600 display has 73% better color reproduction than conventional LCD displays and can match colors up to 94% of "nature's true palette" with deeper blacks and a 100,000:1 contrast ratio. The 10.5-inch device weighs just 467g and measures a mere 6.6mm in thickness (and there's an 8.4-inch version, too). Under the hood, the Galaxy Tab S features Android KitKat 4.4, 3GB of RAM, 16GB or 32GB of storage with a microSD slot that supports up to 128GB. The front camera is 2.1MP and the rear 8MP camera has an LED flash. No word on the exact processor on board just yet, other than it's a quad-core SoC. It's likely a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 though an Exynos variant or perhaps even Tegra 4 wouldn't be beyond the realm of possibility.

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Open-Source Hardware For Neuroscience
Posted by News Fetcher on June 12 '14 at 11:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's freeing-things-up department:
the_newsbeagle (2532562) writes "The equipment that neuroscientists use to record brain signals is plenty expensive, with a single system costing upward of $60,000. But it turns out that it's not too complicated to build your own, for the cost of about $3000. Two MIT grad students figured out how to do just that, and are distributing both manufactured systems and their designs through their website, Open Ephys. Their goal is to launch an open-source hardware movement in neuroscience, so researchers can spend less time worrying about the gear they need and more time doing experiments."

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US Government OKs Sale of Sharper Satellite Images
Posted by News Fetcher on June 12 '14 at 09:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's clear-skies department:
itwbennett (1594911) writes The U.S. government has lifted a long-standing restriction that meant companies like Google and Microsoft didn't have access to the most accurate pictures taken by imaging satellites. Satellite operator DigitalGlobe said that it received approval from the U.S. Department of Commerce this week to sell sharper images to its clients. Until now, satellite operators like DigitalGlobe were prevented by law from selling images to foreign or commercial organizations in which features smaller than 50 centimeters were visible. The restriction was meant to ensure that foreign powers didn't get access to satellite images that were too good.

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EU's Top Court May Define Obesity As a Disability
Posted by News Fetcher on June 12 '14 at 08:46 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's can't-work-eating department:
mrspoonsi (2955715) writes "The EU's top court is considering a test case which could oblige employers to treat obesity as a disability. Denmark has asked the European Court of Justice to rule on the case of a male childminder who says he was sacked for being too fat. The court's final ruling will be binding across the EU. It is seen as especially significant because of rising obesity levels in Europe and elsewhere, including the US. If the judges decide it is a disability then employers could face new obligations. Employers might in future have a duty to create reserved car parking spaces for obese staff, or adjust the office furniture for them, she said."

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New Evidence For Oceans of Water Deep In the Earth
Posted by News Fetcher on June 12 '14 at 06:31 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's there-is-water-at-the-bottom-of-the-ocean department:
techtech (2016646) writes Researchers from Northwestern University and the University of New Mexico report evidence for potentially oceans worth of water deep beneath the United States. Though not in the familiar liquid form—the ingredients for water are bound up in rock deep in the Earth's mantle—the discovery may represent the planet's largest water reservoir.
This research was published in Science


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NASA Forming $3M Satellite Communication, Propulsion Competition
Posted by News Fetcher on June 12 '14 at 04:46 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's win-big department:
coondoggie (973519) writes NASA took the next step in forming a large-scale, $3 million competition to build advanced propulsion and communications technologies for small, inexpensive satellite systems known as cubesats. The Cubesat Lunar Challenge will be broken up into two areas: propulsion and communication while in orbit around the moon. In Request For Information published this week, NASA said the two challenges would provide competitive opportunities for a variety of competition teams to deploy cubesats on a NASA or third-party provided launch.

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California Regulators Tell Ride-Shares No Airport Runs
Posted by News Fetcher on June 12 '14 at 04:16 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's no-airport-for-you department:
An anonymous reader writes in with news about ride-share crackdowns in California. California regulators are threatening to revoke permits for on-demand ride companies UberX, Lyft, Sidecar, Summon and Wingz unless they stop giving rides to and from airports within two weeks. The move could lead to the state shutting down the companies' operations. Flouting the airport rules also flouts regulations that the CPUC set up for the new generation of ride companies to operate in California. In a clear rebuttal to an argument often made by the ride companies, Peevey wrote: "These safety requirements should not hinder your creativity nor should they impede your innovation."

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Japanese Stem Cell Debacle Could Bring Down Entire Center
Posted by News Fetcher on June 12 '14 at 03:31 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's one-bad-apple department:
sciencehabit (1205606) writes Shutting down the research center at the heart of an unfolding scientific scandal may be necessary to prevent a recurrence of research misconduct, according to a report released at a press conference in Tokyo today. A committee reviewing conduct at the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology (CDB) in Kobe, Japan, found lax oversight and a failure on the part of senior authors of two papers in Nature outlining a surprisingly simple way of reprogramming mature cells into stem cells. The committee surmised that a drive to produce groundbreaking results led to publishing results prematurely. "It seems that RIKEN CDB had a strong desire to produce major breakthrough results that would surpass iPS cell research," the report concludes, referring to another type of pluripotent stem cell. "One of our conclusions is that the CDB organization is part of the problem," said committee chair Teruo Kishi Kishi. He recommends a complete overhaul of CDB, including perhaps restructuring it into a new institute. "This has to be more than just changing the nameplate."

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Game Characters Controlled By Player's Emotions
Posted by News Fetcher on June 12 '14 at 02:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's play-angry department:
vrml (3027321) writes As the player feels inner anger rising, the in-game character gets angry too and starts shouting and smashing things. Then, the player relaxes and the game character calms down and smiles. This is the kind of game control supported by a system demonstrated in a video released today by the Human-Computer Interaction Lab of the University of Udine. The system detects player's emotional state by using physiological sensors to measure player's skin conductance, facial muscles activity and cardiac parameters. It has been used to build gamified relaxation training and stress inoculation training applications.

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US Pushing Local Police To Keep Quiet On Cell-Phone Surveillance Technology
Posted by News Fetcher on June 12 '14 at 02:01 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's all-you-debaters-are-welcome department:
schwit1 (797399) writes with this story from the Associated Press, as carried by Yahoo News: The Obama administration has been quietly advising local police not to disclose details about surveillance technology they are using to sweep up basic cellphone data from entire neighborhoods, The Associated Press has learned. Citing security reasons, the U.S. has intervened in routine state public records cases and criminal trials regarding use of the technology. This has resulted in police departments withholding materials or heavily censoring documents in rare instances when they disclose any about the purchase and use of such powerful surveillance equipment. Federal involvement in local open records proceedings is unusual. It comes at a time when President Barack Obama has said he welcomes a debate on government surveillance and called for more transparency about spying in the wake of disclosures about classified federal surveillance programs.

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Starbuck's Wireless Charging Stations Won't Work With Most Devices
Posted by News Fetcher on June 12 '14 at 02:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's gotta-start-somewhere department:
Lucas123 (935744) writes "Starbucks today announced that after beta-testing wireless charging in several locations, it will roll it out to all of its cafes in the U.S. Unfortunately, the Powermat wireless chargers they chose to use doesn't support the overwhelming number of mobile devices that are enabled for wireless charging using the Qi standard. Of the 20 million consumer devices estimated to have shipped in 2013 with wireless charging capabilities, nearly all were built with the Qi specification, according to IHS. The majority of the Qi technology was built into devices such as the Google Nexus 4 and 5 smartphones, Google's Nexus 7 second-generation tablet and a number of models in Nokia's Lumia smart phone range. The battle between the three wireless charging consortiums is expected to continue to adversely impact adoption of the technology."

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Starbuck's Wireless Charging Stations Won't Work With Most Devices
Posted by News Fetcher on June 12 '14 at 01:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's gotta-start-somewhere department:
Lucas123 (935744) writes "Starbucks today announced that after beta-testing wireless charging in several locations, it will roll it out to all of its cafes in the U.S. Unfortunately, the Powermat wireless chargers they chose to use doesn't support the overwhelming number of mobile devices that are enabled for wireless charging using the Qi standard. Of the 20 million consumer devices estimated to have shipped in 2013 with wireless charging capabilities, nearly all were built with the Qi specification, according to IHS. The majority of the Qi technology was built into devices such as the Google Nexus 4 and 5 smartphones, Google's Nexus 7 second-generation tablet and a number of models in Nokia's Lumia smart phone range. The battle between the three wireless charging consortiums is expected to continue to adversely impact adoption of the technology."

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John Hawley and His Dr. Who-Inspired Robot K-9 (Video)
Posted by News Fetcher on June 12 '14 at 12:45 PM
By Roblimo from Slashdot's my-dog-is-doggier-than-your-dog department:
By day John Hawley is a mild-mannered open hardware evangelist for Intel. But after hours he is the master of K-9, a robot dog he works on a little at a time. Yes, this is a Whovian thing, which is why John's K-9 looks so much like the Doctor's. But K-9 is also a pretty good dog on his/her own. No vet bills, no constant hunger, no barking at feral cats in the middle of the night, obeys every command... so maybe Dr. Who and John Hawley have the right idea when it comes to canines. Except.... aww.... my dog, Terri the Terrorist Terrier, just licked my hand. What a sweetie! Terri may not take orders from a hand-held remote, but she has a lot of other fine characteristics, including affection. K-9 is very cute in a squared-off, mechanical way, though. Hard to resist, despite a lack of soft fur and no tongue for licking his/her master's hand. (Alternate Video Link)

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Ask Slashdot: PC-Based Oscilloscopes On a Microbudget?
Posted by News Fetcher on June 12 '14 at 12:01 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's not-yet-part-of-every-smartphone department:
New submitter fffdddooo (3692429) writes I know it's something that people used to ask every few years, but answers get old so quickly. I'm an electronics teacher, and I'm wondering if it's possible to find some oscilloscope (and why not spectrum analyser?) for recommending to my students, to be able to work at home. I'm thinking of something near $50-$70. Two or three years ago, I'm sure the answer was No, but nowadays?
The same reader points out two options spotted on Amazon: one that's "very cheap but Khz" (it's also a kit that requires assembly), and another that aims to be capable of 20MHz, 2-channel operation. What's out there, he'd like to know, that's not junk?

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Facebook Lets Users Opt Out of Targeted Ads
Posted by News Fetcher on June 12 '14 at 11:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's all-twinkies-and-trucks-for-me department:
mpicpp (3454017) writes Facebook users who are annoyed by the targeted ads that pop up in their News Feed will soon have more control over what they see. Like Google, Facebook collects all kinds of information on its users and uses that information to serve up targeted ads. For some people, especially privacy advocates, it seemed a little creepy to have a social network tracking a user's activity and then using that data to sell them stuff. On Thursday, Facebook announced that users will soon be able to opt out of that targeted ad system through controls in their Web browser and iOS and Android phones. Facebook will also show users what information they have collected about them and let them edit the kinds of ads they want to see. If someone is confused about why they are seeing an ad for P.F. Chang's, for example, they can simply click on "Why am I seeing this ad?"

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Portland Edges Closer To Google Fiber
Posted by News Fetcher on June 12 '14 at 10:46 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's bridge-and-router-city department:
Rambo Tribble (1273454) writes Portland, Oregon has taken another step toward finalizing a franchise agreement with Google Fiber. In a unanimous vote, the city council has approved the prospective contract. While existing Internet Service Providers fume, Mary Beth Henry, manager of Portland's Office for Community Technology, pointed out that Google is prepared to make a major investment in the city's infrastructure, while the other firms are not. Ms. Henry also indicated that Google was not receiving any special treatment. Google spokesperson, Jenna Wandres, responded to events in an email, saying, "There's still a lot of work to do beyond this one agreement, but we hope to provide an update about whether we can bring Fiber here later this year."

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Tesla Releases Electric Car Patents To the Public
Posted by News Fetcher on June 12 '14 at 10:01 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's your-good-news-of-the-day department:
mknewman (557587) writes with a welcome followup to the broad hints that Tesla might release some of its patents for others to use patents that it has amassed. Now, Elon Musk writes on the company's blog: Yesterday, there was a wall of Tesla patents in the lobby of our Palo Alto headquarters. That is no longer the case. They have been removed, in the spirit of the open source movement, for the advancement of electric vehicle technology. Tesla Motors was created to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport. If we clear a path to the creation of compelling electric vehicles, but then lay intellectual property landmines behind us to inhibit others, we are acting in a manner contrary to that goal. Tesla will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use our technology.

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Cisco Spending Millions of Dollars Secretly Purchasing New Juniper Products
Posted by News Fetcher on June 12 '14 at 09:01 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's just-making-sure-they're-not-stealing-our-ideas department:
FrankPoole (1736680) writes According to a CRN investigative report, Cisco has been spending millions of dollars over several years to secretly purchase Juniper Networks' products, including new QFabric and MX series routers, for use in its 'competitive analysis lab,' where the products are tested and reverse engineered. According to the report, some of the Juniper products purchased by Cisco were still in beta and not yet commercially released. In addition, CRN discovered that a main source for Cisco to obtain these Juniper products was, ironically, a company called Torrey Point Group, a fast-growing VAR that was awarded Juniper's Part of the Year in 2011.

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