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Which would you be more likely to buy in the next year?

  • Laptop
  • Tablet
  • Both
  • Neither

[ Results | Polls ]
Comments:25 | Votes:106

posted by LaminatorX on Wednesday July 23, @06:56AM   Printer-friendly
from the Big-Splash dept.

The Daily Mail, Yahoo News and HackADay report that:

A couple of car enthusiasts from Los Angeles have come up with an ingenious way to car pool by converting a classic car into a hot tub.

Phil Weicker and Duncan Forster have spent nearly six years converting a 1969 Cadillac Coupe DeVille into a hot tub on wheels.

The car's original V8 engine is used to keep the water the perfect temperature, and watertight steering systems have been installed.

The guys intend to set a land speed record. Commentators note that hills should be avoided. However, given the that hottub car doesn't have seats or seatbelts, it isn't road-legal.

posted by LaminatorX on Wednesday July 23, @05:23AM   Printer-friendly
from the Love-it-or-Leave-it dept.

Amazon's started a "Pay to Quit" program where full-time employees are offered up to $5,000 to leave the company (to ensure the remaining workforce is truly motivated). Jeff Bezos revealed the perk in a letter to shareholders, while also announcing that Amazon is welcoming tourists into its fulfillment centers in 6 different U.S. states. But one Seattle blog describes the move as "obviously an attempt to counter all the bad press that Amazon's warehouses have gotten over the past year," linking to an undercover BBC investigation and stories about Amazon's arrival in a former coal-mining town. And Gawker has begun soliciting new horror stories from Amazon employees. ("You literally must re-interview for your position...constantly. It comes up at least every three months...")

NOTE: This story is a follow-up to one we posted on April 13: Amazon Will Pay Employees Up To $5,000 For Quitting

posted by LaminatorX on Wednesday July 23, @03:39AM   Printer-friendly
from the Type-for-England dept.

The UK government has selected document file formats that are expected to be used across all government bodies.

The selected standards, which are compatible with commonly used document applications, are:

  • PDF/A or HTML for viewing government documents
  • Open Document Format (ODF) for sharing or collaborating on government documents

The move supports the government's policy to create a level playing field for suppliers of all sizes, with its digital by default agenda on track to make cumulative savings of £1.2 billion in this Parliament for citizens, businesses and taxpayers.

posted by LaminatorX on Wednesday July 23, @12:36AM   Printer-friendly

Wired reports that:

While ostensibly a plan to make the entire state of 38 million people more governable, the six-state initiative is being led and funded by a member of the Silicon Valley elite, many of whom would no doubt welcome the increased political clout that would likely come from carving out their own statehood. In the hands of most, the six-state initiative would look like a pure stunt. But with Silicon Valley behind it, this effort's chances at the ballot box can't be dismissed out of hand. Unlike most other would-be revolutionaries, Silicon Valley has a long record of taking ideas that sound outlandish at the time--affordable computers in every home, private rocket ships--and managing to make them real. It also has a seemingly endless stream of money that, combined with heavy doses of ingenuity and shamelessness, give its goofball ideas the fuel they need to take off.


"Our gift to California is this--it's one of opportunity and choice," Draper said at a press conference yesterday where he announced the campaign had collected far more than 800,000 signatures needed to get the measure on the ballot. "We're saying, make one failing government into six great states."

posted by janrinok on Tuesday July 22, @10:50PM   Printer-friendly
from the it-might,-or-might-not dept.

Imagine a smartwatch that fits perfectly on your wrist. Or a smartphone as slim as a credit card. That could soon be a reality. At least, that is what this new startup hopes.

Imprint Energy has developed a bendable, long lasting and rechargeable battery that will lead to new developments of wearable electronics. This California-based company has designed zinc-based batteries that can be printed on sheets and be customized based on product designs. This is a huge innovation that opens us endless possibilities.

Unfortunately, the article is short on technical details.

View the related press release here

posted by zizban on Tuesday July 22, @09:35PM   Printer-friendly
from the green-surge dept.

Alternet reports

According to the latest Energy Infrastructure Update [PDF] from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, solar and wind energy constituted more than half of the new generating capacity in the country for the first half of 2014. Solar and wind energy combined for 1.83 gigawatts (GW) of the total 3.53 GW installed from January to June.

This despite the fact that Congress let tax credits for renewable energy expire in 2012.

posted by janrinok on Tuesday July 22, @08:24PM   Printer-friendly
from the for-some-people-maybe dept.

Cloud computing is transforming the way we communicate, argues Forbes magazine, predicting "Storage will find itself more and more removed from the device as thin clients and ubiquitous Internet access give us endless accessibility to our information from anywhere..."

But they also predict that applications will become more robust, since the cloud offers much easier ways to update and distribute software. The first widely popular cloud apps were primitive public/private services like Prodigy, AOL, and Hotmail. (One telecom billing solution company even celebrated their 15th year of providing cloud-based services.) But Forbes attributes the breakout popularity of the cloud to Amazon's AWS service and Apple's iCloud.

posted by zizban on Tuesday July 22, @07:09PM   Printer-friendly
from the one-small-step-for-Tux dept.

It appears that, like the German city of Munich, the Swiss Canton of Geneva has been very measured in its migration to FOSS.

In 2003, the tax office of the canton passed out CDs which contained the Mozilla online suite,, and a tax application, GE Tax 2002.

In 2008, they made the commitment that all their public schools' 9000 computers would have Windows (dual-boot) removed, leaving Ubuntu Linux.

While they have reached a significant milestone, it appears they did not complete the system-wide conversion before the XP end of life and they will still be running that obsolete OS on a number of computers.

All primary and secondary public schools in the Swiss Canton of Geneva are switching to using Ubuntu GNU/Linux for the PCs used by teachers and students. The switch has been completed by all of the 170 primary public schools, and the migration of the canton's 20 secondary schools is planned for the next school year. Ubuntu GNU/Linux offers powerful services to the teachers, is easier to maintain, faster, safer and more stable than the decade-old proprietary operating system it is replacing, the canton's school IT department concludes, based on several four-year long pilots.

Making it easier to service the canton's schools' PC needs was one the main reasons for 'Service ecoles-medias' (SEM), part of Geneva's IT department, to switch the schools to Ubuntu, as the proprietary system is no longer being maintained.

posted by janrinok on Tuesday July 22, @05:59PM   Printer-friendly
from the good-fat-bad-fat dept.

ScienceDaily reports that:

Many patients with advanced stages of cancer, AIDS, tuberculosis, and other diseases die from a condition called cachexia, which is characterized as a "wasting" syndrome that causes extreme thinness with muscle weakness. Cachexia is the direct cause of roughly 20% of deaths in cancer patients. While boosting food intake doesn't help, and no effective therapies are available, new research in the Cell Press journal Cell Metabolism points to a promising strategy that may stimulate weight gain and muscle strength.

The research relates to a process that has been gaining considerable attention as a way to combat obesity: the browning of white fat. While white fat normally stores calories, brown fat burns them and generates heat in the process. Therefore, efforts to turn white fat into brown fat may help people lose weight.

Erwin Wagner, of the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre in Madrid, and his colleagues found that in mice and patients with cancer-associated cachexia, white fat undergoes significant changes and turns into calorie-burning brown fat. The transformation leads to increased energy consumption and organ wasting.

posted by zizban on Tuesday July 22, @05:54PM   Printer-friendly
from the the-future-is-so-bright dept.

Researchers have looked into driver discomfort caused by energy efficient lights, to improve driver safety:

The researchers found that the interaction between the LED luminance and the solid angle, which can be characterized by the amount of light hitting an observer's eyes (known as vertical luminescence) was the most significant factor affecting discomfort glare. To minimize discomfort, they recommend minimizing both the amount of light hitting at the eyes and the luminescence contrast between the streetlights and the background, which can be accomplished through good optical design of the LED light unit and careful placement of each streetlight.

Full text (open access)

posted by LaminatorX on Tuesday July 22, @04:23PM   Printer-friendly
from the Let's-do-the-Twist dept.

The Center for American Progress reports

While the politics of fracking has taken hold of election-year energy discussions in Colorado, the wind power industry is quietly surging. On Friday Vesta Wind Systems announced it was hiring 800 new workers, part of plans to fill 1,500 jobs this year in Colorado, after receiving orders for 370 turbines over the last few weeks. The jobs will be full-time, high-skilled jobs primarily in the manufacturing of blades and towers.

"We have received U.S. orders of 740 MW in the last month alone, so our North American factories are very busy, as are factories overseas," Vestas spokesman Adam Serchuk told ThinkProgress. "As far as I can see this will be the case at least through the end of 2015."

At the end of June, Vestas, the world's biggest wind turbine manufacturer with its U.S. headquarters in Portland, Oregon, announced orders for 450 megawatts worth of wind turbines for two U.S. wind farms. Totaling 225 machines, the farms will be in New Mexico and Kansas and scheduled for completion by the end of 2015. In early July the company received another order for 166 megawatts of wind turbines for a Minnesota wind farm. There was also one more order for 124 megawatts for a wind farm in North Dakota.
Vestas has four factories in Colorado and will employ 2,800 people in the state by the end of the year.

posted by janrinok on Tuesday July 22, @03:00PM   Printer-friendly
from the trust-nothing-and-no-one dept.

The Register reports that separate sources - possibly all originating from one source - report that TAILS 1.1, due for release tomorrow, contains zero-day vulnerabilities:

"We're happy to see that TAILS 1.1 is being released tomorrow. Our multiple RCE/de-anonymization zero-days are still effective." -via @ExodusIntel:

"Exploit Dealer: Snowden's Favourite OS Tails Has Zero-Day Vulnerabilities Lurking Inside" - Thomas Brewster | Security | 7/21/2014 @ 2:14PM

"The flaws work on the latest version of Tails and allow for the ability to exploit a targeted user, both for de-anonymisation and remote code execution," said Loc Nguyen a researcher at Exodus. Remote code execution means a hacker can do almost anything they want to the victim's system, such as installing malware or siphoning off files.

"Considering that the purpose of Tails is to provide a secure non-attributable platform for communications, users are verifiably at-risk due to these flaws. For the Tails platform, privacy is contingent on maintaining anonymity and ensuring their actions and communications are not attributable. Thus, any violation of those foundational pillars should be considering highly critical," added Nguyen. This affects every user of Tails, who should all "diversify security platforms so as not to put all your eggs in one basket", he added.

All users, including Snowden, should be wary of using Tails with a false sense of security, though it's still more likely to protect anonymity than Windows. Exodus sells to private and public businesses hoping to use the findings for either offensive or defensive means. Those unconcerned about governments targeting their systems might not be concerned about the Tails zero-days. Others will likely be anxious one of their trusted tools to avoid government hackers contains vulnerabilities that could be exploited to spy on any user of the OS."

Exodus have promised not to sell their findings but say that they will work with the TAILS team - but that is how they make their money so I'm not sure how much faith one should put in that remark. They also claim that they will publish the vulnerabilities in their blog next week.

posted by LaminatorX on Tuesday July 22, @02:53PM   Printer-friendly
from the Praedico-ad-Absurdiam dept.

The Huffington Post is running a story that provides a bit of comic relief from today's mundane news. Creationist Ken Ham, who recently debated Bill Nye the Science Guy over the origins of the universe, is calling for an end to the search for extraterrestrial life because aliens probably don't exist—and if they do, they're going to Hell anyway. In this story, we learn that aliens, if they exist, are doomed to Hell where not even Jesus can save them. Spock would find this to be illogical.

posted by zizban on Tuesday July 22, @01:14PM   Printer-friendly
from the the-great-outdoors dept.

World Observer has a series of pictures which concisely show some tricks to make you look like a seasoned camper. Many of the tricks reduce the weight of things to carry, such as making your own single-serving soaps and toothpastes. Other tricks make camping more enjoyable or have everyday utility. Unfortunately, one suggestion is somewhat dubious.

Some of the hacks are more trouble than they are worth, but there were a few good ones on that page, and some may make fun projects with the kids.

Any SN readers campers?

posted by LaminatorX on Tuesday July 22, @11:55AM   Printer-friendly
from the what-you-lookin-at?-oh-my! dept.

New research from the University of Chicago suggests that where people look at you suggests whether they are interested in love or in lust.

Soul singer Betty Everett once proclaimed, “If you want to know if he loves you so, it’s in his kiss.” But a new study by University of Chicago researchers suggests the difference between love and lust might be in the eyes after all.

Specifically, where your date looks at you could indicate whether love or lust is in the cards. The new study found that eye patterns concentrate on a stranger’s face if the viewer sees that person as a potential partner in romantic love, but the viewer gazes more at the other person’s body if he or she is feeling sexual desire. That automatic judgment can occur in as little as half a second, producing different gaze patterns.

Male and female students from the University of Geneva viewed a series of black-and-white photographs of persons they had never met. In part one of the study, participants viewed photos of young, adult heterosexual couples who were looking at or interacting with each other. In part two, participants viewed photographs of attractive individuals of the opposite sex who were looking directly at the camera/viewer. None of the photos contained nudity or erotic images.

People tended to visually fixate on the face, especially when they said an image elicited a feeling of romantic love. However, with images that evoked sexual desire, the subjects’ eyes moved from the face to fixate on the rest of the body. The effect was found for male and female participants.

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