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Earth

Dung Beetles Navigate By the Milky Way; Pigeons Tune In To Magnetism 82

Posted by timothy
from the that-would-be-the-greatest-implant dept.
sciencehabit writes with this excerpt from Science magazine's colorful synopsis of a paywalled article at Current Biology "A day in the life of a male dung beetle goes something like this: Fly to a heap of dung, sculpt a clump of it into a large ball, then roll the ball away from the pile as fast as possible. However, it turns out that the beetles, who work at night, need some sort of compass to prevent them from rolling around in circles. New research suggests that the insects use starlight to guide their way. Birds, seals, and humans also use starlight to navigate, but this is the first time it's been shown in an insect." Also on the topic of How Animals Get Around Without GPS, new research has considerably heightened scientists understanding of birds' sensitivity to magnetic fields. For homing pigeons at least, this ability seems to be tied to a cluster of just 53 neurons (original paper, also behind a paywall).
Social Networks

Data Analyst Spoils the World's Biggest Song Vote 165

Posted by timothy
from the nate-silver-watch-out dept.
littlekorea writes "A data analyst has successfully predicted the top ten songs of the world's biggest song contest — the Triple J Hottest 100 — by extrapolating voting intentions fans had posted on Twitter and Facebook. Nick Drewe's Warmest 100 list closely mimicked the Hottest 100 results, predicting the top three in correct order and predicting 92 of the most popular 100 songs."
Government

Glasgow To Be UK's First 'Smart City' 98

Posted by timothy
from the but-edinburgh-is-the-athens-of-the-north dept.
CowboyRobot writes "Once the 'Second City' of the British Empire, scrappy Glasgow — whose now-demolished Gorbals was once known for urban grimness on a par with Chicago's South Side or New York's Hell's Kitchen — has the chance for a whole new lease on life as the UK's first 'smart city.' The UK's government has just announced a $38 million (£24 million) grant to fund pilot projects in the city that show how mass deployment of sensors and real-time information can help local government run more efficiently while also boosting the quality of life for its 600,000 citizens. Glasgow won the prize in a competition among 30 British towns and cities for state help in looking at the possible contribution of smart technology."
Displays

Ask Slashdot: Where Are the E-Ink Dashboards? 242

Posted by timothy
from the it's-called-chalkboard-learn-it dept.
fsck! writes "My office recently installed a pair of huge plasma TVs to display some metrics and graphs. They only update every 15 minutes or so, and I couldn't help but wonder, why can't this be E-Ink? I searched all over the place but couldn't find anything bigger than 9.5" (Amazon's Kindle DX). I want a >30" E-Ink picture frame with USB or WiFi. Can the Slashdot community find anything greener than these energy sucking plasma TVs that seem to be everywhere?"
Crime

Anonymous Warhead Targets US Sentencing Commission 252

Posted by timothy
from the they-hate-that dept.
theodp writes "Late Friday, Violet Blue reports, the U.S. Sentencing Commission website was hacked and government files distributed by Anonymous in 'Operation Last Resort.' The U.S. Sentencing Commission sets guidelines for sentencing in United States Federal courts, and on the defaced ussc.gov website Anonymous cited the recent suicide of Aaron Swartz as 'a line that has been crossed.' Calling the launch of its new campaign a "warhead," Anonymous vowed, 'This time there will be change, or there will be chaos.'" Adds reader emil: "Anonymous has not specified exactly what files they have obtained. The various files were named after Supreme Court judges. At a regular interval commencing today, Anonymous will choose one media outlet and supply them with heavily redacted partial contents."
Games

Voxel.js: Minecraft-like Browser-Based Games, But Open Source 110

Posted by timothy
from the blocking-things-out dept.
Paul Fernhout writes with a snippet from Joystiq: "Voxel.js is a new open-source project designed to allow anyone to create 3D games that run directly in a browser. Created by Max Ogden and James Halliday, Voxel.js is based on JavaScript and WebGL, and makes it relatively easy to build Minecraft-like games that play in browsers like Chrome." Paul adds a link to this interview with Max Ogden about the creation of Voxel.js in 22 days. The main site is at Voxel.js.
China

Unemployed Chinese Graduates Say No Thanks To Factory Jobs 366

Posted by timothy
from the got-anything-in-suit? dept.
hackingbear writes "While people and politicians are pitching for more education and reviving manufacturing in this country, jobs go begging in factories while many college educated young workers, which now number 11 times more than in 1989, are unemployed or underemployed in China. A national survey of urban residents, released this winter by a Chinese university, showed that among people in their early 20s, those with a college degree were four times as likely to be unemployed as those with only an elementary school education. Yet, it is not about the pay. Many factories are desperate for workers, despite offering double-digit annual pay increases and improved benefits, while an office job would initially pay as little as a third of factory wages. The glut of college graduates is eroding wages even for those with more marketable majors, like computer science. Vocational schools and training programs are unpopular because they suffer from a low status [or are seen as] for people from unsuccessful, poor, or peasant backgrounds. 'The more educated people are, the less they want to work in a factory,' said an unemployed graduate. If we do succeed bringing back factory jobs, are there enough people who want them?"
Businesses

Credit Card Swipe Fees Begin Sunday In USA 732

Posted by timothy
from the nickled-and-dimed dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A speedbump on the road to a cash-free economy will go into effect Sunday in the U.S., as retailers in 40 states will have the option of passing along a surcharge to customers who pay with credit cards. The so-called swipe fees arose from the settlement of a seven-year lawsuit filed by retailers against Visa, Mastercard, and big banks, who collect an electronic processing fee averaging 1.5 to 3 percent on transactions involving credit cards. The banks naturally have opposed the consumer surcharges, preferring that the extra costs to be passed along in the form of higher prices. Consumers in ten states (California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma, Texas) won't be affected, since laws in those states forbid the practice (it seems that gasoline station owners here in Massachusetts got a different memo, though). Also, the surcharges won't be collected for debit or prepaid cards."
Movies

Julian Assange Pans WikiLeaks Movie 118

Posted by timothy
from the his-hair-looks-nothing-like-that dept.
As reported by news.com.au, Julian Assange has seen leaked copies of the script of an upcoming film depicting WikiLeaks, and blasts it as inaccurate propaganda. He says, among other things, "They tried to frame Iran as having an active nuclear weapons program. Then they try to frame WikiLeaks as the reason why that's not known to the public now." Says the article: "Assange declined to say where he got the script, although he hinted that he had been supplied with several copies of it over time. He also declined to say whether the script would be posted to the WikiLeaks website, saying only that "we are examining options closely.'"
First Person Shooters (Games)

"Adults Only" OpenArena Now Playable On Raspberry Pi 65

Posted by timothy
from the raspberry-guts-look-gory dept.
hypnosec writes "The Raspberry Pi Foundation has released OpenArena – a multiplayer first person shooter game based on Quake III — for the Raspberry Pi. Available as a free download, the game has been rated 'Adults Only' because of the blood and guns. The open-source game is powered by the 'ioquake3' fork of the engine that Quake III runs on id's Tech 3 engine. Modifications have been made to the gameplay by removing the copyrighted material and adding new free content."
Google

ITU Approves H.264 Video Standard Successor H.265 182

Posted by timothy
from the looks-so-much-like-his-brother dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The H.265 codec standard, the successor of H.264, has been approved, promising support for 8k UHD and lower bandwidth, but the patent issues plaguing H.264 remain." Here's the announcement from the ITU. From the article: "Patents remain an important issue as it was with H.264, Google proposing WebM, a new codec standard based on VP8, back in 2010, one that would be royalties free. They also included it in Chrome, with the intent to replace H.264, but this attempt never materialized. Mozilla and Opera also included WebM in their browsers with the same purpose, but they never discarded H.264 because most of the video out there is coded with it. MPEG LA, the owner of a patent pool covering H.264, promised that H.264 internet videos delivered for free will be forever royalty free, but who knows what will happen with H.265? Will they request royalties for free content or not? It remains to be seen. In the meantime, H.264 remains the only codec with wide adoption, and H.265 will probably follow on its steps."
Microsoft

Does Microsoft Have the Best App Store For Open Source Developers? 339

Posted by timothy
from the so-how-does-that-beat-android? dept.
WebMink writes "Microsoft seems to have been in combat against the GNU GPL throughout the history of free and open source software. But that may be changing. They have recently updated the terms of use for software developers in their Windows Phone app store to allow any OSI-approved open source license — even the GPL. They include extraordinarily broad language that gives the open source license priority over their own license terms, saying: 'If your Application or In-App Product includes FOSS, your license terms may conflict with the limitations set forth in Section 3 of the Standard Application License Terms, but only to the extent required by the FOSS that you use.' Could it be that the most open source friendly app stores will be the ones run my Microsoft?"
Communications

In Brazil, Trees To Call For Help If Illegally Felled 130

Posted by timothy
from the do-you-read-me-over dept.
Damien1972 writes "The Brazilian government has begun fixing trees in the Amazon rainforest with a wireless device, known as Invisible Tracck, which will allow trees to contact authorities once they are felled and moved. Here's how it works: Brazilian authorities fix the Invisible Tracck onto a tree. An illegal logger cuts down the tree and puts it onto a truck for removal, unaware that they are carrying a tracking device. Once Invisible Tracck comes within 20 miles (32 kilometers) of a cellular network it will 'wake up' and alert authorities."
Science

Purported Relativity Paradox Resolved 128

Posted by timothy
from the disappears-in-a-puff-of-logic dept.
sciencehabit writes "A purported conflict between the century-old theory of classical electrodynamics and Einstein's theory of special relativity doesn't exist, a chorus of physicists says. Last April, an electrical engineer claimed that the equation that determines the force exerted on an electrically charged particle by electric and magnetic fields — the Lorentz force law — clashes with relativity, the theory that centers on how observers moving at a constant speed relative to one another will view the same events. To prove it, he concocted a simple 'thought experiment' in which the Lorentz force law seemed to lead to a paradox. Now, four physicists independently say that they have resolved the paradox."

COMPASS [for the CDC-6000 series] is the sort of assembler one expects from a corporation whose president codes in octal. -- J.N. Gray

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