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Learning About Enea's Real Time Linux Embedded OS (Video)

slashdot - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 21:02
Jon Aldama is the Product Marketing Manager for Enea A.B., but he prides himself on being a developer first and a marketer second -- a point he stresses early in today's video. Enea is behind Operating System Embedded, whose Wikipedia page, some say, "appears to be written like an advertisement," which an unkind person could also say about the Enea A.B. Wikipedia page. In any case, Enea works with the Linux Foundation's Yocto Project workgroup, whose main webpage says, "It's not an embedded Linux distribution – it creates a custom one for you." This is all open source, which Jon says is a big corporate principle at Enea -- and he should know, since his previous job was as an Open Source Compliance Officer and Software Analyst at Ericsson. (Alternate Video Link)

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Rosetta Hunts For Comet Touch Down Site For Philae Lander

slashdot - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 20:20
astroengine writes Attached to the European Space Agency's comet-chasing spacecraft Rosetta, the Philae lander opened one of its robotic eyes when the mission was orbiting comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko at a distance of only 50 kilometers (31 miles) on Sunday. With two high-contrast exposures, the lander captured one of Rosetta's solar panels in the foreground with the comet behind. ESA says the choice of landing sites will be narrowed down from five to two on Monday -- a primary target and a backup -- before a final decision is made in October.

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Google Hangouts Gets Google Voice Integration And Free VoIP Calls

slashdot - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 19:26
sfcrazy writes Google will integrate Voice and Hangouts with the launch of its redesigned Hangouts apps for Android and iOS, as well as on the web. Amit Fulay, Product Manager at Google says, "Starting today you can make voice calls from Hangouts on Android, iOS and the web. It's free to call other Hangouts users, it's free to call numbers in the U.S. and Canada, and the international rates are really low. So keeping in touch is easier and more affordable than ever."

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First Intel 14nm Broadwell Core M Benchmarks Unveiled

slashdot - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 19:03
MojoKid writes Intel Execs out at IDF this week in San Francisco have let slip some actual benchmark run results on Intel's just-released Broadwell Core M processor platform. Intel has gone into detail on Broadwell's architecture and features previously and has discussed power consumption and performance expectations. However, now we finally have some cold, hard numbers, rather than just percentage comparisons versus previous generation Intel platforms. Intel was demonstrating a 12.5-inch Broadwell-based, Core M 5Y70-powered Windows tablet live and the benchmark runs look promising, with 3DMark scores in the 50K range. The Cinebench results shown place the CPU on par with full-fledged Core i5 notebook variants in the 15 Watt power envelope, but powered by the new 4.5 Watt Broadwell Y Core M processor that will be employed mostly in 2-in-1 hybrid devices and high end tablets.

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The Grassroots Future of Biohacking

slashdot - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 18:43
An anonymous reader writes Forget about some kid engineering a virulent microbe in their bedroom. As the assistant director of the Maurice Kanbar Center for Biomedical Engineering, Oliver Medvedik, puts it, "It's extremely difficult to 'improve' on the lethality of nature. The pathogens that already exist are more legitimate cause for worry.” If anything, you're better off putting energy into wrenching away your desire for McDonalds, and making sure the government doesn't impose draconian laws about DIY-bio. Here's a look at the grassroots future of biohacking and the problems with government overreach.

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5 Million Gmail Passwords Leaked, Google Says No Evidence Of Compromise

slashdot - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 17:55
kierny writes After first appearing on multiple Russian cybercrime boards, a list of 5 million Google account usernames — which of course double as email usernames — are circulating via file-sharing sites. Experts say the information most likely didn't result from a hack of any given site, including Google, but was rather amassed over time, likely via a number of hacks of smaller sites, as well as via malware infections. Numerous commenters who have found their email addresses included in the list of exposed credentials say the included password appears to date from at least three years ago, if not longer. That means anyone who's changed their Google/Gmail password in the last three years is likely safe from account takeover.

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When Scientists Give Up

slashdot - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 17:13
New submitter ferespo sends a report from All Things Considered about the struggle for scientific funding in today's political and economic environment. "Federal funding for biomedical research has declined by more than 20 percent in the past decade. There are far more scientists competing for grants than there is money to support them." It's a tough situation for new scientists trying to set up labs. In addition to all of the scientific work they do, it's essentially a full-time job in addition to that to maintain funding. The reviewers who decide which projects receive funding are risk-averse to the point where innovative research is all but off the table. The consequences of this are two-fold: not only are we giving up on the types of research that led to so many of today's marvels, but many promising young scientists are giving up on the field altogether.

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SpaceX and Boeing Battle For US Manned Spaceflight Contracts

slashdot - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 16:31
An anonymous reader writes: $3 billion in funding is on the line as private space companies duke it out for contracts to end U.S. reliance on Russian rockets for manned spaceflight. The two biggest contenders are SpaceX and Boeing, described as "the exciting choice" and "the safe choice," respectively. "NASA is charting a new direction 45 years after sending humans to the Moon, looking to private industry for missions near Earth, such as commuting to and from the space station. Commercial operators would develop space tourism while the space agency focuses on distant trips to Mars or asteroids." It's possible the contracts would be split, giving some tasks to each company. It's also possible that the much smaller Sierra Nevada Corp. could grab a bit of government funding as well for launches using its unique winged-shuttle design.

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Ask Slashdot: What Smartwatch Apps Could You See Yourself Using?

slashdot - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 15:49
An anonymous reader writes: It's official: the smartwatch wars have begun. Apple's announcement of the Apple Watch added a contender to the race already shaping up between the Pebble watch, the Moto 360, and others. Personally, my doubts about wanting one were put to rest when I learned of the health-related features. Smartwatches will be able to track your movements and pulse rate, calculate how many calories you burn, and coach you continuously to improve your fitness. If you have one or plan on buying one, what apps or functions do you see yourself getting the most use from? If you're still skeptical, what would it take? (If an app developer sees your requirements here on Slashdot, your wish might come true.)

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Using Wearable Tech To Track Gun Use

slashdot - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 15:06
An anonymous reader writes: A debate has been raging recently over whether or not to equip police with body cameras so that instances of violence in the line of duty can be monitored. It's an important discussion to have, but we should also look at other technologies that could help provide hard data on gun incidents. A new paper was recently published in PLOS ONE about the use of wristband accelerometers to detect when the wearer has fired a gun. Study author and criminology professor Charles Loeffler said, "A gunshot is pretty distinctive. You're typically at rest because you're trying to aim, and in a split second, your hand, wrist, and arm experience an impulsive transfer of energy." Loeffler suggests a suite of sensors including GPS and the wristband accelerometer could be given to convicts as a requirement for their parole. Not only would this help with police response in case of recidivism, but it could provide additional deterrent to further crimes. It could also be helpful to police departments, both for accountability and for integration between the police and the courts.

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Information Theory Places New Limits On Origin of Life

slashdot - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 14:24
KentuckyFC writes: Most research into the origin of life focuses on the messy business of chemistry, on the nature of self-replicating molecules and on the behavior of autocatalytic reactions. Now one theorist says the properties of information also place important limits on how life must have evolved, without getting bogged down in the biochemical details. The new approach uses information theory to highlight a key property that distinguishes living from non-living systems: their ability to store information and replicate it almost indefinitely. A measure of this how much these systems differ from a state of maximum entropy or thermodynamic equilibrium. The new approach is to create a mathematical model of these informational differences and use it to make predictions about how likely it is to find self-replicating molecules in an artificial life system called Avida. And interestingly, the predictions closely match what researchers have found in practice. The bottom line is that according to information theory, environments favorable to life are unlikely to be unusual.

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Reanalysis of Clinical Trials Finds Misleading Results

slashdot - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 13:37
sciencehabit writes: Clinical trials rarely get a second look — and when they do, their findings are not always what the authors originally reported. That's the conclusion of a new study (abstract), which compared how 37 studies that had been reanalyzed measured up to the original. In 13 cases, the reanalysis came to a different outcome — a finding that suggests many clinical trials may not be accurately reporting the effect of a new drug or intervention. Moreover, only five of the reanalyses were by an entirely different set of authors, which means they did not get a neutral relook. In one of the trials, which examined the efficacy of the drug methotrexate in treating systemic sclerosis—an autoimmune disease that causes scarring of the skin and internal organs—the original researchers found the drug to be not much more effective than the placebo, as they reported in a 2001 paper. However, in a 2009 reanalysis of the same trial, another group of researchers including one of the original authors used Bayesian analysis, a statistical technique to overcome the shortcomings of small data sets that plague clinical trials of rare diseases such as sclerosis. The reanalysis found that the drug was, as it turned out, more effective than the placebo and had a good chance of benefiting sclerosis patients.

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Text While Driving In Long Island and Have Your Phone Disabled

slashdot - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 12:55
An anonymous reader writes: A District Attorney in Long Island, NY is stepping up efforts to combat distracted driving. Kathleen Rice says motorists who are caught texting while driving should have hardware or apps installed on their phone to prevent them from using it at all while driving. She likened such barriers to the ignition interlock devices that prevent people convicted of drunk driving from using their cars unless they're sober. "Hardware and software solutions that block texting during driving are currently produced by various manufacturers and software developers, and are constantly under development. The DA's office does not endorse any particular company and is in the process of reviewing specific solutions based on their features and services. Critical features include security measures to make the solutions tamper-proof, and data integrity measures to ensure accurate reporting to courts, law enforcement, parents, and guardians." New York is one of many states who already have laws banning all handheld use while driving.

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Microsoft Agrees To Contempt Order So It Can Appeal Email Privacy Case

slashdot - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 12:12
An anonymous reader writes: Microsoft made news some weeks ago for refusing to hand over customer emails stored on its Dublin, Ireland servers to the U.S. government. The district judge presiding over the case agreed with the government and ordered Microsoft to comply with its demands. On Monday, Microsoft struck a deal with the U.S. government in which the company would be held on contempt charges but would not be penalized for it until after the outcome of an appeal. The district judge endorsed the agreement (PDF) on Thursday.

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UCLA Biologists Delay the Aging Process In Fruit Flies

slashdot - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 09:09
An anonymous reader writes:Life scientists at UCLA have located a gene in fruit flies which, when intentionally activated, increases lifespan by about 30%. The gene (called AMPK) is normal important as an energy sensor, usually triggered by cells with low energy levels. By triggering it at other times, the researchers slowed the fruit flies' aging process (PDF), even beyond the organ system in which the triggering occurred. "Walker said that the findings are important because extending the healthy life of humans would presumably require protecting many of the body's organ systems from the ravages of aging — but delivering anti-aging treatments to the brain or other key organs could prove technically difficult. The study suggests that activating AMPK in a more accessible organ such as the intestine, for example, could ultimately slow the aging process throughout the entire body, including the brain."

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Northwest Passage Exploration Ship Found

slashdot - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 07:30
Kittenman writes: The BBC (and several other sources) are carrying the news that the Canadian government has found the sunken remains of one of Sir John Franklin's ships (either the Erebus, or the Terror), that went missing in the 1840s, causing sensation in Victorian London. Sir John and his entire crew were never seen alive again. The search for traces of the expedition went for over ten years in the 19th century, partly led by Sir John's widow. The discovery has been called the biggest archaeological event since the discovery of Tutankhamen's tomb.

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Architecture That Changes Shape In Response To Heat

slashdot - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 06:12
An anonymous reader writes "A group of students at Barcelona's Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalunya has created a functioning prototype of architecture that adapts to environmental inputs. "The project, Translated Geometries, tackles the idea by developing a new use for Shape Memory Polymers, a composite material that can deform and return to its original state when activated by cues like heat, humidity and light." The idea is this: create a wall or a roof out of a series of folded triangles. At low temperatures, the roof would be in its folded state, laying mostly flat. When exposed to heat, the creases would flex and expand, unfolding the roof and giving it a much greater surface area, thereby increasing its convective cooling. As it cools, it folds back down into a smaller shape."

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UK's National Health Service Moves To NoSQL Running On an Open-Source Stack

slashdot - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 02:05
An anonymous reader sends this news from El Reg: The U.K.'s National Health Service has ripped the Oracle backbone from a national patient database system and inserted NoSQL running on an open-source stack. Spine2 has gone live following successful redevelopment including redeployment on new, x86 hardware. The project to replace Spine1 had been running for three years with Spine2 now undergoing a 45-day monitoring period. Spine is the NHS’s main secure patient database and messaging platform, spanning a vast estate of blades and SANs. It logs the non-clinical information on 80 million people in Britain – holding data on everything from prescriptions and payments to allergies. Spine is also a messaging hub, serving electronic communications between 20,000 applications that include the Electronic Prescription Service and Summary Care Record. It processes more than 500 complex messages a second.

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To Really Cut Emissions, We Need Electric Buses, Not Just Electric Cars

slashdot - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 00:14
An anonymous reader writes: All the EV attention these days is going to Tesla and other sedan manufacturers, but this article makes the case that it's far more important to switch our buses over to electric power than our cars. "Last year, according to the American Public Transportation Association, buses hauled 5.36 billion passengers. While usage has fallen in recent years, thanks in part to the growth of light rail and subway systems, buses still account for more rides each year than heavy rail, light rail, and commuter rail combined—and for about half of all public transit trips." This, while managing around 4-5 miles per gallon of gas, and public buses usually average about 50,000 miles per year. The electric buses themselves are significantly more expensive, but the difference is made up dramatically lower fuel costs. And there will be difficulties: "The range—up to 30 miles—limits Proterra buses to certain routes, so it's hard for an agency to go all in. Drivers have to be trained to brake and accelerate differently, and to maneuver into the docking stations. And Doran Barnes of Foothill Transit notes that some of the cost advantage of using electricity instead of diesel can dissipate. Electric cars can be charged at night, when power prices are low. But buses have no choice but to recharge in the middle of the day, when utilities often impose higher peak usage rates."

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Report: Microsoft To Buy Minecraft Studio For $2bn+

slashdot - Tue, 09/09/2014 - 23:37
dotarray (1747900) writes "A surprising story has emerged today that suggests Microsoft is looking to buy Minecraft developer Mojang. The reported price tag is "more than US$2 billion." The original report is at the WSJ (possibly behind a paywall). Quoting: "For Microsoft, "Minecraft" could reinvigorate the company's 13-year-old Xbox videogame business by giving it a cult hit with a legion of young fans. Mojang has sold more than 50 million copies of "Minecraft" since it was initially released in 2009 and earned more than $100 million in profits last year from the game and merchandise. "Minecraft" is already available on the Xbox, as well as Sony Corp.'s PlayStation, PCs and smartphones."

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