posted 8 days ago on slashdot
InfiniteZero writes The Chinese government has a new plan to install a 3D printer in each of its approximately 400,000 elementary schools over the next two years. Education is probably one of the areas that will benefit the most from 3D printers in the long run. The problem though is getting the machines into the schools in the first place. With prices generally ranging from $400 to $3,000 for typical desktop 3D printers, they are not cheap, and with budgets within many school districts running dry, both in the United States and overseas, the unfortunate fact is that many schools simply can’t afford them, not to mention the materials and time it takes to train teachers to use them.

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posted 8 days ago on slashdot
An anonymous reader writes with news about a possible cure for colorblindness. "For the more than 10million Americans with colorblindness, there's never been a treatment, let alone a cure, for the condition that leaves them unable to distinguish certain hues. Now, for the first time, two University of Washington professors have teamed with a California biotech firm to develop what they say may be a solution: a single shot in the eye that reveals the world in full color. Jay and Maureen Neitz, husband-and-wife scientists who have studied the vision disorder for years, have arranged an exclusive license agreement between UW and Avalanche Biotechnologies of Menlo Park. Together, they've found a new way to deliver genes that can replace missing color-producing proteins in certain cells, called cones, in the eyes."

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posted 8 days ago on slashdot
An anonymous reader writes A new study published in the journal Palaeontology finds that Mosasaurs, the large marine lizards that once populated the waters about 65 million years ago, gave birth to live young in the open ocean. "Mosasaurs are among the best-studied groups of Mesozoic vertebrate animals, but evidence regarding how they were born and what baby mosasaur ecology was like has historically been elusive," said Daniel Field, lead author of a study published online April 10 in the journal Palaeontology. Field is a doctoral candidate in the lab of Jacques Gauthier in Yale's Department of Geology and Geophysics."

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posted 9 days ago on slashdot
First time accepted submitter aka_bigred writes Every year as I file my taxes, I replicate my most important financial data (a couple GB of data) to store an offline copy in my fire-rated home safe. This gets me thinking about what the most reliable data media would be to keep in my fire-rated home safe. CDs/DVDs/tapes could easily melt or warp rendering them useless, so I'm very hesitant to use them. I've seen more exotic solutions that let you print your digital data to paper an optically re-import it later should you ever need it, but it seems overly cumbersome and error prone should it be damaged or fire scorched. That leaves my best options being either a classic magnetic platter drive, or some sort of solid state storage, like SD cards, USB flash drives, or a small SSD. The problem is, I can't decide which would survive better if ever exposed to extreme temperatures, or water damage should my house burn down. Most people would just suggest to store it in "the cloud", but I'm naturally averse to doing so because that means someone else is responsible for my data and I could loose it to hackers, the entity going out of business, etc. Once it leaves my home, I no longer fully control it, which is unacceptable. My thought being "they can't hack/steal what they can't physically access." What medium do other Slashdot users use to store their most important data (under say 5GB worth) in an at-home safe to protect it from fire?

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posted 9 days ago on slashdot
MarkWhittington writes According to a story in Spaceflight Now, NASA has invited the European Space Agency to participate in its upcoming Europa Clipper project. Europa Clipper, pushed by Rep. John Culberson, the chair of the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees NASA, recently received backing from the Obama administration. Europa Clipper would launch in the early 2020s and would be placed in an orbit around Jupiter that would cause it to fly by Europa, a moon of Jupiter, at least 45 times during its operational life.

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posted 9 days ago on slashdot
Mark Wilson writes When people talk about the Internet of Things, there are often semi-joking references to fridges that know when you've run out of milk and ovens that know how to cook whatever you put in them. Forget the jokes; this is now a reality. We've already seen a generation of smart appliances, and Microsoft wants to be part of what happens next. At Hannover Messe today, Miele — of oven, vacuum cleaner and washing machine fame — announces it is working on a new breed of appliances based on Microsoft Azure Internet of Things (IoT) services What does this mean? Ultimately it means you'll be able to find a recipe online, have the ingredient list and preparation instructions sent to your mobile device, and your smart oven will be automatically configured with the correct settings.

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posted 9 days ago on slashdot
An anonymous reader writes In a move that surprised no one, Hillary Clinton has officially announced she is entering the 2016 race for the White House. According to the Times: "Ending two years of speculation and coy denials, Hillary Rodham Clinton announced on Sunday that she would seek the presidency for a second time, immediately establishing herself as the likely 2016 Democratic nominee. 'I'm running for president,' she said with a smile near the end of a two-minute video released just after 3 p.m. 'Everyday Americans need a champion. And I want to be that champion,' Mrs. Clinton said. 'So I'm hitting the road to earn your vote — because it's your time. And I hope you'll join me on this journey.'"

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posted 9 days ago on slashdot
An anonymous reader writes The National Security Agency is embroiled in a battle with tech companies over access to encrypted data that would allow it to spy (more easily) on millions of Americans and international citizens. Last month, companies like Google, Microsoft, and Apple urged the Obama administration to put an end to the NSA's bulk collection of metadata. "National Security Agency officials are considering a range of options to ensure their surveillance efforts aren't stymied by the growing use of encryption, particularly in smartphones. Key among the solutions, according to The Washington Post, might be a requirement that technology companies create a digital key that can open any locked device to obtain text messages or other content, but divide the key into pieces so no one group could use it without the cooperation of other parties."

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posted 9 days ago on slashdot
An anonymous reader writes Evan Blass, known on Twitter as @evleaks, released images of LG's G4 smartphone which was supposed to be unveiled April 28th. "The images reveal what appear to be a multitude of swappable back plates. There are at least six different real leather backs (ranging from black and brown to baby blue and yellow), as well as three more traditional plastic backs. It's fair to assume that the leather versions will carry a cost premium. The LG Quick Circle case, which has a window to let you view notifications while the cover is closed, also appears to be making a return with the G4."

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posted 9 days ago on slashdot
Mr D from 63 writes A mysterious "warm blob" in the Pacific Ocean could be the reason why US West coast states like California are experiencing their worst ever drought, a new study says. From the article: "Nick Bond, a climate scientist at the Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean at the University of Washington, began watching the blob a year and a half ago. 'In the fall of 2013 and early 2014, we started to notice a big, almost circular mass of water that just didn't cool off as much as it usually did, so by spring of 2014 it was warmer than we had ever seen it for that time of year,' Bond said in a news release about the studies appearing in Geophysical Research Letters."

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posted 9 days ago on slashdot
An anonymous reader shares this bit of news from DARPA. "Of late, DARPA has shown a growing interest in open sourcing its technology, even if its most terrifying creations, like army robot wildcats designed to reach speeds of 50Mph, are understandably kept private. In a week’s time, the wider world will be able to tinker with components of the military research body’s in-development search tool for the dark web. The Memex technology, named after an mechanical mnemonic dreamt up just as the Second World War was coming to a close, has already been put to use by a number of law enforcement agencies, who are looking to counter crime taking place on networks like Tor, where Hidden Services are protected by the privacy-enhancing, encrypted hosting, often for good, often for bad. In its first year, the focus at Memex has been on tracking human trafficking, but the project's scope stretches considerably wider."

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posted 9 days ago on slashdot
albert555 (3986073) writes Five popular French web hosting providers, including Gandi and OVH, said on Thursday that the new French intelligence bill might push them to leave the country (French) in order not to lose their customers. The five companies are protesting against the "real-time capture of data connection" and their analysis by the intelligence services using "+black boxes+ with blurred lines". The web hosting providers believe that this project "will not reach its goal and will potentially put every French citizen under surveillance, that will result in the destruction of a major segment of the economy of our country," by pushing their customers to turn to other less intrusive territories. If the bill is passed as it is, "we have to move our infrastructure, our investments and our employees where our customers want to work with us". The companies have provided a listing of dozen cities where they "will suppress jobs instead of creating new ones."; "These are thousands of jobs (...) that startups and large companies will also create elsewhere," they add. The press release was addressed to the French Prime Minister, Manuel Valls, and was co-signed by Gandu, OVH, IDS, Ikoula and Lomaco.

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posted 9 days ago on slashdot
First time accepted submitter Jim Fenton writes The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is poised to make what is expected to be a major revision of Special Publication 800-63-2, Electronic Authentication Guideline. While normative only for the Federal Government, it is widely referenced elsewhere and specifies requirements to meet each of four Levels of Assurance (LOA). Should this structure change? Are there changes in technology or threats that should be considered in the revision? NIST would like to hear from you.

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posted 9 days ago on slashdot
HughPickens.com writes Justin Gillis writes in the NYT that as drought strikes California, residents can't help noticing the substantial reservoir of untapped water lapping at their shores — 187 quintillion gallons of it, more or less, shimmering invitingly in the sun. Once dismissed as too expensive and harmful to the environment desalination is getting a second look. A $1 billion desalination plant to supply booming San Diego County is under construction and due to open as early as November, providing a major test of whether California cities will be able to resort to the ocean to solve their water woes. "It was not an easy decision to build this plant," says Mark Weston, chairman of the agency that supplies water to towns in San Diego County. "But it is turning out to be a spectacular choice. What we thought was on the expensive side 10 years ago is now affordable." Carlsbad's product will sell for around $2,000 per acre-foot (the amount used by two five-person U.S. households per year), which is 80 percent more than the county pays for treated water from outside the area. Water bills already average about $75 a month and the new plant will drive them up by $5 or so to secure a new supply equal to about 7 or 8 percent of the county's water consumption. Critics say the plant will use a huge amount of electricity, increasing the carbon dioxide emissions that cause global warming, which further strains water supplies. And local environmental groups, which fought the plant, fear a substantial impact on sea life. "There is just a lot more that can be done on both the conservation side and the water-recycling side before you get to [desalination]," says Rick Wilson, coastal management coordinator with the environmental group Surfrider Foundation. "We feel, in a lot of cases, that we haven't really explored all of those options."

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posted 9 days ago on slashdot
An anonymous reader writes Copenhagen Suborbitals, the amateur manned space program, is conducting a rocket engine test today. The event is being streamed Live in HD on YouTube. The rocket engine is named BPM 2 and is a prequel to a planned series of test of the BPM 5 rocket engine currently being built. The purpose of the BPM 2 test is primarily to test a newly constructed mobile test stand and to test various fuel additives before the BPM 5 test series are to begin later in the first half of 2015.

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posted 9 days ago on slashdot
StartsWithABang writes: The accelerated expansion of the Universe — and hence, dark energy — was discovered by taking the well-understood phenomenon of type Ia supernovae and measuring them out to great distances. The results indicated that they were fainter than expected, and hence more distant, and hence the Universe's expansion must be accelerating. But new results have just come out, showing that supernovae may not be standard after all. Does this mean dark energy may not be real, or that it may just be slightly weaker than we previously thought?

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posted 9 days ago on slashdot
An anonymous reader writes: The Wall Street Journal reports that Google's X research lab has joined the quest for better batteries. The company has at least 20 projects that depend on batteries, from Google Glass to self-driving cars and drones. Thus, it makes sense for them to try developing new battery technology. "At Google, Dr. Bhardwaj's group is trying to advance current lithium-ion technology and the cutting-edge solid-state batteries for consumer devices. ... In a February presentation to an industry conference, Dr. Bhardwaj described how solid-state, thin-film batteries could be used in smartphones and other mobile devices that are thinner, bendable, wearable and even implantable in the human body. ... For the contact lens, the technology is safer because it doesn't use flammable electrolyte liquid, Dr. Bhardwaj's presentation explained."

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posted 9 days ago on slashdot
New submitter mathiasfriman writes: SverigeLinux (SwedenLinux in Swedish) is a project financed by the Swedish Internet Fund that is developing a Linux deployment system for the public sector. It is based on DebianLAN and has just released its first public early alpha version. This 7 minute video shows how you can deploy up to 100 workstations with minimal Linux knowledge in under an hour, complete with DHCP, DNS and user data in LDAP, logins using Kerberos and centralized storage. The project has a home on GitHub and is looking for testers and developers. Don't worry, no Björgen Kjörgen; it's all in English.

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posted 9 days ago on slashdot
theodp writes: After stressing how important the funding of Washington State education — particularly CS Ed — is to Microsoft, company general counsel Brad Smith encountered one of those awkward interview moments (audio at 28:25). GeekWire Radio: "So, would you ever consider ending that practice [ducking WA taxes by routing software licensing royalties through Nevada-based Microsoft Licensing, GP] in Nevada [to help improve WA education]?" Smith: "I think there are better ways for us to address the state's needs than that kind of step." Back in 2010, Smith, Steve Ballmer, and Microsoft Corporation joined forces to defeat Proposition I-1098, apparently deciding there were better ways to address the state's needs than a progressive income tax.

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posted 9 days ago on slashdot
An anonymous reader writes: Daredevil has been a staple of Marvel's superhero lineup since the 1960s. But Daredevil's most recent on-screen legacy was a terrible film in 2003 starring Ben Affleck. Since then, Marvel has gotten a lot better at adapting comics to the big and small screen. Yesterday saw the debut of a new Daredevil television series. It's a Netflix original, which means the whole first season went up at once. Early reviews of the show are quite complimentary. Slate praises the acting, and adds, "Daredevil is a bloody show that also bleeds: It has more interest in human bodies than much recent Marvel fare, and more interest in human beings as well. It's remarkably patient, resisting the urge to tell its viewers everything at once, a restraint largely enabled by the binge-y sprawl of the Netflix format." Ars Technica says the violence can be a bit over-the-top at times, but praises how the choreography and cinematography reflect the main character's blindness. The Verge simply says Daredevil raises the bar for superhero television, even though many new shows have found success recently.

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posted 10 days ago on slashdot
jones_supa writes: The Korean electronics company LG ships a split screen tool with their ultra wide displays. It allows users to slice the Windows desktop into multiple segments. However, installing the software seriously compromises security of the particular workstation. The developers required administrator access for the software, but apparently they hacked their way out. The installer silently disables User Account Control, and enables a policy to start all applications as Administrator. In the article there is also a video presentation of the setup procedure. It is safe to say that no one should be running this software in its current form.

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posted 10 days ago on slashdot
schwit1 writes: WaPo: "For months, federal law enforcement agencies and industry have been deadlocked on a highly contentious issue: Should tech companies be obliged to guarantee U.S. government access to encrypted data on smartphones and other digital devices, and is that even possible without compromising the security of law-abiding customers?" NSA director Adm. Michael S. Rogers wants to require technology companies to create a digital key that could open any smartphone or other locked device to obtain text messages or photos, but divide the key into pieces so that no one person or agency alone could decide to use it. But progress is nonexistent: "The odds of passing a new law appear slim, given a divided Congress and the increased attention to privacy in the aftermath of leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. There are bills pending to ban government back doors into communications devices. So far, there is no legislation proposed by the government or lawmakers to require Internet and tech firms to make their services and devices wiretap-ready."

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posted 10 days ago on slashdot
New submitter arctother writes: Taxicab Subjects has posted a response to a Morgan Stanley analyst's recent take on how driverless cars will shape society in the future. From the article: [R]eally, 'autonomy' is still not the right word for it. Just as the old-fashioned 'automobile' was never truly 'auto-mobile,' but relied, not only on human drivers, but an entire concrete infrastructure built into cities and smeared across the countryside, so the interconnected 'autonomous vehicles' of the future will be even more dependent on the interconnected systems of which they are part. To see this as 'autonomy' is to miss the deeper reality, which will be control. Which is why the important movement reflected in the chart's up-down continuum is not away from 'Human Drivers' to 'Autonomous' cars, but from a relatively decentralized system (which relies on large numbers of people knowing how to drive) to an increasingly centralized system (relying on the knowledge of a small number of people)."

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posted 10 days ago on slashdot
sciencehabit writes: Nanotechnology might soon save you a trip to the dentist. Researchers have developed tiny sphere-shaped particles that ferry a payload of bacteria-slaying drugs to the surface of the teeth, where they fight plaque and tooth decay on the spot (abstract). The approach could also be adapted to combat other plaquelike substances, known as biofilms, such as those that form on medical devices like orthopedic implants.

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posted 10 days ago on slashdot
New submitter Analog24 writes: The QWERTY keyboard was not designed with modern touchscreen usage in mind, especially when it comes to swype texting. A recent study attempted to optimize the standard keyboard layout to minimize the number of swype errors. The result was a new layout that reduces the rate of swipe interpretation mistakes by 50.1% compared to the QWERY keyboard.

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