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Singapore's RoboCop car has its own intruder-chasing drone

Engadget - 1 hour 37 min ago
If RoboCop has a gun in his thigh, this robotic security car from Singapore has a drone that it can send after intruders. Singaporean startup Otsaw Digital has created a 176-pound golf-cart-sized automated vehicle called O-R3 that companies can use f...
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The Morning After: Tuesday, May 23rd 2017

Engadget - 2 hours 42 min ago
The newest TV technology is a stretchable OLED display, a patent troll lawyer meets karma, and this week we're talking about Tomorrow. No, not Wednesday, the conceptual one.
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Could Giant Alien Structures Be Dimming a Far Away Star?

Slashdot - 2 hours 42 min ago
sciencehabit quotes a report from Science Magazine: Astronomers and alien life enthusiasts alike are buzzing over the sudden dimming of an otherwise unremarkable star 1300 light-years away in the constellation Cygnus. KIC 8462852 or "Tabby's star" has dimmed like this several times before, prompting some researchers to suggest that the megastructures of an advanced alien civilization might be blocking its light. And now -- based on new data from numerous telescopes -- it's doing it again. "This is the first clear dip we have seen since [2013], and the first we have ever caught in real time," says Jason Wright, an astronomer at Pennsylvania State University in State College. If they can rope in more telescopes, astronomers hope to gather enough data to finally figure out what's going on. "This could be the first of several dips about to come," says astronomer David Kipping of Columbia University. "Many observers will be closely watching." KIC 8462852 was first noticed to be dipping in brightness at seemingly random intervals between 2011 and 2013 by NASA's Kepler telescope. Kepler, launched to observe the stellar dimmings caused when an exoplanet passes in front of its star, revealed that the dimming of Tabby's star was much more erratic than a typical planetary transit. It was also more extreme, with its brightness sometimes dropping by as much as 20%. This was not the passage of a small circular planet, but of something much larger and more irregular.

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Amazon UK takes on Sky with TV Channel add-ons for Prime Video

Engadget - 2 hours 52 min ago
In its bid to become the cord-cutting service of choice, Amazon UK has confirmed it's bringing Channel add-ons to the UK. The service allows Prime subscribers to bolt subscriptions from various UK TV services onto their account, without the need for...
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Google’s AlphaGo AI defeats the world’s best human Go player

Engadget - 3 hours 50 min ago
Google's AI star, AlphaGo, wins again. It bested Ke Jie, the world's best Go player, by just half a point -- the closest margin possible. After the match, Google's DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis explained that this was how AlphaGo was programmed: to max...
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Nokia and Apple end their patent fight and become health allies

Engadget - 4 hours 57 min ago
Over recent months, Apple has been embroiled lawsuits related to patent licensing. While its fight with Qualcomm continues to rumble on, the company confirmed today that it's resolved one of its major disputes by signing a multi-year agreement with N...
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Resident Evil Getting Rebooted Into a Six-Film Franchise

Slashdot - 5 hours 42 min ago
Martin Moszkowicz, chairman of the board at Constantin Film, confirmed to Variety at the Cannes Film Festival that the "Resident Evil" movie franchise is getting rebooted into a six-film franchise. From the report: The franchise was set to end with this year's "Resident Evil: The Final Chapter," which grossed $312 million worldwide after its January release, including an eye-popping $160 million in China alone. Sony helped sow the seeds of success by securing a release for "Resident Evil: Afterlife" and "Resident Evil: Extinction" in China. Based on the Capcom video game, the series launched in 2002 with Paul W.S. Anderson directing, and Anderson, Jeremy Bolt, Bernd Eichinger, and Samuel Hadida producing the first of a six-movie series. The "Resident Evil" movie franchise has earned $1.2 billion worldwide to date, making it Europe's most successful independent horror-genre movie franchise in history and the highest-grossing film series to be based on a video game.

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Pakistan investigates army critics on social media

Engadget - 6 hours 14 min ago
Pakistani authorities are on a mission to squash all anti-military sentiments online. Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan directed the country's Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to investigate 200 social media accounts with posts that critici...
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Withings Activity Watches & Trackers

Woot Blog - 7 hours 42 min ago

A watch that watches you while you're sleeping but in a non-threatening way.

The world of activity-tracking watches is pretty competitive these days. You can't track just the basics like steps taken or calories burned and expect to make a big impact in the market. That's why Withings Activity Watches also track activity while you sleep.

They monitor your sleep cycle, tell you when you slept lightly or deeply, and provide you with a gentle wake-up vibration when it's time to start the day. But they also monitor what's going on while you're sleeping. So every attempt you make in your dreams to fly, noted. Each time you stop a bullet with your bare hands, recorded. All punches and parries directed at bad guys, Withings knows all about it. 

Even more impressive, these particular Withings Activity Watches know when you're swimming. So next time you have to wade through an unidentified, viscous biological substance to save the world from an impending alien invasion, Withings will know just how hard you're working at it. Also, maybe lay off the kombucha just before bed.

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The Debunker: Was the Boston Tea Party a Protest Against High Taxes?

Woot Blog - 7 hours 42 min ago

It's May, and that means only one thing to all men and women of good will: National Beverage Day on the sixth of this month! We all love a refreshing beverage, but how much do we really know about them? If you're thirsty for knowledge, take a deep, satisfying swig of Jeopardy!'s Ken Jennings, who will be debunking drink-related disinformation all month. As Alexander Pope once said, "A little learning is a dangerous thing, / Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring"!

The Debunker: Was the Boston Tea Party a Protest Against High Taxes?

When the American colonists heard about the Tea Act of 1773, they did exactly what you or I would do in that situation: dressed as Native Americans, boarded three merchant ships, and destroyed almost fifty tons of tea by dumping it into Boston harbor. Most American schoolkids, entranced by the romance and wanton vandalism of that night, tend to logically assume that the Tea Act had raised taxes on tea, and that's why the Bostonians were so pissed off. But that's not true—in fact, the Tea Act lowered taxes, and lowered tea prices. Wait, what?

Here's what really went down: the Tea Act, unlike the Sugar Act and the Stamp Act and all those other acts of Parliament that the American colonists hated, wasn't primarily a play for tax revenue. It was a bailout! The struggling East India Company was having a hard time staying profitable, so Parliament decided to incentivize the sale of cheap tea to America. Tea prices were going to go down—and that was exactly what the Sons of Liberty were worried about. Parliament had never repealed its 1767 tax on tea, so Americans would have been paying the crown three pennies per pound of imported tea, roughly half what an Englishman back home would pay. But it was the principle of the thing! An influx of cheap British tea, combined with a nominal tax, might help to normalize Parliament's policy of "taxation without representation." It would also continue the trend of giving British imports preferential treatment over home-grown products. So the patriots headed to the boats.

The popular classroom image of the Sons of Liberty dropping whole crates of tea into Boston harbor is also inaccurate. The crates were just too heavy, so the boarding party opened them with axes and dumped the loose-leaf tea overboard. Both George Washington and Ben Franklin thought the Boston Tea Party was a colossal mistake, but they got lucky: Parliament responded with the punitive "Intolerable Acts" of 1774 and that pushed lots of on-the-fence colonists into the independence camp. Even more importantly, the raid added the phrase "tea party" to the American lexicon of protest, guaranteeing that every modern-day tax rally will forever feature a bunch of doofuses in three-corner hats.

Quick Quiz: What classic novel's Chapter Seven is titled "A Mad Tea-Party"?

Ken Jennings is the author of eleven books, most recently his Junior Genius Guides, Because I Said So!, and Maphead. He's also the proud owner of an underwhelming Bag o' Crap. Follow him at ken-jennings.com or on Twitter as @KenJennings.

Categories: Nerd News

'Gray Pubic' is proof even AI can't get paint names right

Engadget - Mon, 05/22/2017 - 22:41
When the robots take over your job, remember this: you can try naming paints for a living. Research scientist and neural network enthusiast Janelle Shane experimented with the idea of using AI to name new paints. After all, we keep coming up with new...
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Sperm Stored In Space Produces Healthy Baby Mice On Earth

Slashdot - Mon, 05/22/2017 - 22:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Reproduction may be possible in space, Japanese researchers have said, after freeze-dried sperm stored on the International Space Station for nine months produced healthy offspring. The scientists said their findings could have significant ramifications for human settlements in space, which they consider "likely." The average daily radiation dose on the ISS is about 100 times stronger than that on Earth, posing a threat of serious reproductive problems for any space-dwelling organism. But mouse sperm stored on the ISS for 288 days from August 2013 to May 2014, then returned to Earth, fertilized in vitro and transferred into female mice, produced healthy offspring. The space-preserved samples showed evidence of slightly increased DNA damage compared with control samples preserved on Earth, but this was found to be largely repaired in embryos following fertilization. The birth rate and sex ratio of pups derived from the sperm stored in space was comparable to those of pups derived from the control samples. Subsequent whole genome analysis revealed only minor differences, and the pups developed into adults with normal fertility. The study was published in the proceedings of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences on Monday.

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Valve hired the team behind 'Kerbal Space Program'

Engadget - Mon, 05/22/2017 - 22:10
Worried that Valve's recent departures mark an end to conventional game development at the Half-Life studio? You might have a glimmer of hope. Valve has confirmed that it hired the team at Squad, better known as the creators of the shipbuilding hit K...
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What's on TV: 'War Machine,' 'Get Out,' and 'Beat Shazam'

Engadget - Mon, 05/22/2017 - 21:06
This week Netflix premieres its Brad Pitt movie War Machine, as well as the third season of Bloodline. Meanwhile, Archer wraps up its Dreamland season on FXX, while Jordan Peele's Get Out comes home on Blu-ray. The NBA and NHL are closing out their c...
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Java Creator James Gosling Joins Amazon Web Services

Slashdot - Mon, 05/22/2017 - 20:25
The legendary computer scientist and founder of Java, James Gosling, is joining forces with Amazon Web Services. Gosling made the announcement today on Facebook saying that he's "starting a new Adventure" with the cloud computing juggernaut as a Distinguished Engineer. GeekWire reports: Gosling wrote Java, one of the most widely used programming languages in the history of computing, while at Sun Microsystems in the early 1990s. After leaving Sun following its acquisition by Oracle, Gosling did a short stint at Google before settling in for almost six years at Liquid Robotics, which is working on an autonomous boat called the Wave Glider. He likely ruffled a few feathers in Seattle last year after speaking out about fears of cloud vendor lock-in. "You get cloud providers like Amazon saying: 'Take your applications and move them to the cloud.' But as soon as you start using them you're stuck in that particular cloud," he said at IP Expo according to The Inquirer, echoing the sentiment of some skeptical IT organizations burned by enterprise vendors in the past.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Samsung's extra-stretchable display can survive dents

Engadget - Mon, 05/22/2017 - 20:11
Flexible displays are nothing new. However, most of them don't live up to the dreams of flexible tech -- they may only bend in a limited way. Samsung thinks it can do better. It just unveiled a 9.1-inch prototype OLED display that's stretchable in se...
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Samsung's Galaxy S8 Active Looks Like a Rugged LG G6

Slashdot - Mon, 05/22/2017 - 20:05
The Wireless Power Consortium has released a leaked image of the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S8 Active. While it's only one photo, the image shows a smartphone greatly resembling LG's G6. The Verge reports: First, the display: the S8 Active won't have curved edges, like the regular S8. The big question this year was what Samsung planned to do about the screen, since curved glass may be more susceptible to cracking, and Samsung seems to have decided the best option was to get rid of it altogether. Instead, the S8 Active has a flattened out look but retains the S8's rounded corners, making the front of the phone look a lot like LG's G6. Samsung seems to have made the bezels a little bit larger on the S8 Active, particularly on the sides. But overall, the front of the phone still seems to get fairly close to the nearly all-screen look of actual S8. The second thing this photo shows is that Samsung isn't putting buttons back on the front of the phone. That's not necessarily a huge surprise, but it'll make the device a bit harder to handle when wet, since owners will be relying on the touchscreen. And finally, this photo reveals a bit of what Samsung is doing to make the phone rugged. All four of its corners bump out, suggesting they've been reinforced to absorb shock should the phone get dropped; it looks a lot like what Samsung has done in the past.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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PayPal Sues Pandora Over 'Patently Unlawful' Logo

Slashdot - Mon, 05/22/2017 - 19:45
PayPal has filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against Pandora, arguing that the company's minimalist logo "dilutes the distinctiveness" of its own branding. "Element by element and in overall impression, the similarities between the logos are striking, obvious, and patently unlawful," the lawsuit alleges. Billboard reports: In October 2016, Pandora announced it was redesigning its logo from a thin, serifed "P" into the chunky, sans serifed "P" that it is today. The color scheme was also changed from midnight blue to a softer shade of blue. By comparison, PayPal's logo, active since 2014, also features a minimalist-looking "P" in a sans serif font and sporting a blue color palette. PayPal's mark actually consists of two overlapping and slanted "Ps," whereas Pandora keeps it to one. Both P's lack a hole. It is because of these similarities that PayPal believes customers of both companies are unable to distinguish the two, and that many are complaining about inadvertently opening Pandora instead of PayPal on their smartphones. The lawsuit includes various screen grabs, primarily from Twitter, of people noting the similarities. PayPal's lawsuit also points out Pandora's current struggles as a brand, saying that since it is primarily an ad-supported service, it "has no obvious path to profitability," especially given "overwhelming competition" from the likes of Spotify and Apple Music. The suit alleges that Pandora purposely "latched itself on to the increasingly popular" PayPal logo look-and-feel as part of its efforts to reverse its fortunes.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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'LawBreakers' makes the leap to PlayStation 4

Engadget - Mon, 05/22/2017 - 19:28
LawBreakers isn't confined to the PC any longer: The game is also heading to PlayStation 4, developer Boss Key Productions announced today. LawBreakers comes from Gears of War creator Cliff Bleszinski, and it's a rapid-fire, five-on-five, first-perso...
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Remote Pacific Island Is the Most Plastic-Contaminated Spot Yet Surveyed

Slashdot - Mon, 05/22/2017 - 19:05
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Plastic is durable -- very, very durable -- which is why we like it. Since it started being mass-produced in the 1950s, annual production has increased 300-fold. Because plastic is so durable, when our kids grow up and we purge our toy chests, or even just when we finish a bottle of laundry detergent or shampoo, it doesn't actually go away. While we're recycling increasing amounts of plastic, a lot of it still ends up in the oceans. Floating garbage patches have brought some attention to the issue of our contamination of the seas. But it's not just the waters themselves that have ended up cluttered with plastic. A recent survey shows that a staggering amount of our stuff is coming ashore on the extremely remote Henderson Island. Henderson Island is a UNESCO World Heritage site in the Pitcairn Group of Islands in the South Pacific, roughly half way between New Zealand and Peru. According to UNESCO, Henderson is one of the best examples we have of an elevated coral atoll ecosystem. It was colonized by Polynesians between the 12th and 15th centuries but has been uninhabited by humans since then. It is of interest to evolutionary biologists because it has 10 plant species and four bird species that are only found there. Despite its uninhabited status and its extremely remote location, a recent survey of beach plastic on Henderson Island revealed that the island has the highest density of debris reported anywhere in the world: an estimated minimum of 37.7 million items weighing 17.6 tons. This represents the total amount of plastic that is produced in the world every 1.98 seconds. Further reading: Here And Now

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