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The First Draft of the SN manifesto is available

Hold old is the oldest piece of computer hardware that you regularly use?

  • less than 1 year
  • [1-2) years
  • [2-3) years
  • [3-5) years
  • [5-10) years
  • [10-15) years
  • more than 15 years
  • I don't HAVE any computer hardware, you insensitive clod!

[ Results | Polls ]
Comments:38 | Votes:152

posted by cmn32480 on Tuesday October 13, @09:31PM   Printer-friendly
from the more-pewp-emoji-too? dept.

From Arstechnica:

While all new emoji options are welcomed, the Unicode 9.0 emoji class may not be as game changing as its predecessor based on this initial glance. This past June, Unicode 8.0 saw the consortium finally add skin tone modifiers for face emoji. That brought much needed diversity to the selection after Apple lobbied for such changes more than a year earlier.

Final decisions for what emoji are bundled with Unicode 9.0 won't be announced until June 2016. That's the end of a long journey for would-be emoji, a process that begins with submitters making sure any proposed Unicode addition isn't already in the expansive list of existing characters, the list of characters on track for inclusion, or the list of characters that have been rejected (among the forever deceased: Klingon script). You've then got to fill out a proposal form authoritatively establishing your character's significance, any relationships to current Unicode characters, and "the name and contact information for a company or individual who would agree to provide a computerized font... for publication of the standard." These proposals are then screened, sent to committee, and finally defended and revised by the original submitter as needed until they are accepted or rejected.

What do fellow SN users think about emoji in Unicode? Should Unicode contain emoji at all? Should Unicode only contain a handful of basic emoji like happy face and sad face? Or should Unicode contain every pictogram and hieroglyph known to man :wistful philosophical east asian male face indicating deep thought about trivial issues: ?

Original Submission

posted by cmn32480 on Tuesday October 13, @07:47PM   Printer-friendly
from the and-you-thought-google-knew-a-lot-about-you dept.

Where you go, what you buy, who you know, how many points are on your driving licence, how your pupils rate you. These are just a few of the measures which the Chinese government plans to use to give scores to all its citizens.

China's Social Credit System (SCS) will come up with these ratings by linking up personal data held by banks, e-commerce sites and social media. The scores will serve not just to indicate an individual's credit risk, but could be used by potential landlords, employers and even romantic partners to gauge an individual's character.

"It isn't just about financial creditworthiness," says Rogier Creemers, who studies Chinese media policy and political change at the University of Oxford. "All that behaviour will be integrated into one comprehensive assessment of you as a person, which will then be used to make you eligible or ineligible for certain jobs, or social services."

Social Credit System, coming to a country near you.

Original Submission

posted by cmn32480 on Tuesday October 13, @06:11PM   Printer-friendly
from the ahhhhh-choooooooo dept.

Allergies are becoming more frequent in the western world. One in three people in Australia will develop allergies at some time in their life. One in 20 will develop a food allergy and one in 100 will have a life-threatening allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis.

Hospital admissions for anaphylaxis doubled in the ten years from 1994 to 2004, and were five times higher in children under five years old over the same period. This suggests the development of allergy in early life is increasing at a faster rate than in adults.

Children are more likely to develop allergies to eggs, dairy products or peanuts, while adults are more likely to develop an allergy to seafood.

Original Submission

posted by cmn32480 on Tuesday October 13, @04:29PM   Printer-friendly
from the zz-top-is-safe dept.

Following up on previous coverage, after raising over $4M toward their $160K goal, Kickstarter has suspended funding of the Skarp Laser Razor and cancelled all pledges for violation of Kickstarter rules requiring working prototypes of physical products that are offered as rewards.

From The Register:

KickStarter has suspended funding for the Skarp Laser Razor, a crowdfunded effort to replace conventional razors with a laser-powered shaving implement.

Reg readers have shared a KickStarter communique in which the crowdfunding platform says "we've concluded that it is in violation of our rule requiring working prototypes of physical products that are offered as rewards."

In other words, the Skarp crew doesn't have a working prototype. This video from the project's KickStarter page suggests there is a prototype in existence, but not a very effective one: the device does knock off a few hairs, but is a long way short of the experience of pulling a conventional razor down one's skin and having the majority of hairs beneath the blade cleft.

takyon: Update: The razor has resurfaced on Indiegogo.

Original Submission

posted by cmn32480 on Tuesday October 13, @02:43PM   Printer-friendly
from the they'll-still-know-when-he-takes-a-wikileak dept.

The police presence surrounding the Ecuadorean Embassy in London where Julian Assange is currently in refuge is to be scaled back, according to Scotland Yard:

After three years and more than $15 million in police expense, Scotland Yard says it's removing the guards that have waited outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for a chance to arrest WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Instead of stalking Assange with an overt 24-hour presence, London's Metropolitan Police announced Monday, the agency "will deploy a number of overt and covert tactics to arrest him."

[...] Today, the Metropolitan Police noted that there's no sign of a potential resolution to the standoff.

"The operation to arrest Julian Assange does however continue and should he leave the Embassy the MPS will make every effort to arrest him," the agency says. "However it is no longer proportionate to commit officers to a permanent presence."

In a tally of the costs associated with the Assange case, Scotland Yard said in February that since Assange entered Ecuador's embassy, the agency had spent around 10 million pounds — or more than $15 million, at current exchange rates — to maintain a constant police presence outside the embassy in London.

Original Submission

posted by cmn32480 on Tuesday October 13, @12:56PM   Printer-friendly
from the dot-com-and-housing-and-... dept.

The transition from fossil fuels must be carefully managed to avoid an economically disastrous bursting of the "carbon bubble," the World Bank's top climate official said on Saturday.

Decades of reliance on oil, gas and coal have made them central to the global economy, and polluting industries risk a potentially catastrophic crash as the world shifts to alternative energies, said Rachel Kyte, the Bank's special envoy for climate change.

"If we accept that we need to have less carbon in our growth, then we might have a financial risk associated with the prominence in our economy of companies who are heavily invested in carbon. That's the whole question of the carbon bubble," Kyte told AFP on the sidelines of the World Bank's annual meeting in Lima, Peru.

"financial risk associated with the prominence in our economy of companies who are heavily invested in carbon." Break out the tissues, everyone.

Original Submission

posted by cmn32480 on Tuesday October 13, @11:12AM   Printer-friendly
from the santa-is-drooling dept.

With a simple scan of your brain at rest, scientists can now guess whether — on average — you are naughty or nice.

"We have now begun to see really strong evidence of a connection between measures of brain function, connectivity and many aspects of people's lives and personality," says lead author Dr. Stephen Smith, a biomedical engineer at the University of Oxford.

The surprisingly strong correlations, published last week in Nature Neuroscience, are the first to emerge from the ambitious Human Connectome Project (HCP), a global effort that seeks to map all the pathways between the brain's hundreds of regions and millions of neurons, and then to relate those connectivity patterns to personality and behavior.

Personal brain scan result: bad to the bone.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Tuesday October 13, @09:29AM   Printer-friendly
from the we've-got-virtually-a-year-of-this dept.

Have you ever felt the burning desire to be in the same room with Presidential candidates during a 2-3 hour long debate? Now you can be there virtually from the comfort of your own home!

CNN and NextVR will make history on October 13th by hosting the first-ever live stream of a news event in virtual reality, giving viewers a front-row seat to CNN's 2016 election debates.

The network is partnering with virtual reality technology platform NextVR to stream the CNN Democratic Presidential Debate live, in full 3D immersive virtual reality, from Las Vegas, NV.

The live stream follows CNN and NextVR's first virtual reality experience at the CNN Ronald Reagan Debate, where it quietly filmed the highest rated event in CNN history in virtual reality to make it available to users on demand. This experience is now available to users who have a Samsung GearVR virtual reality headset by visiting the NextVR portal in the Oculus Store. Once downloaded, the debate can be seen from the perspective of an audience member at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

The October 13th debate will feature 5 candidates, along with Vice President Biden should he choose to enter the race. You can discuss the debate on my journal.

[Ed's Comment: Discuss the technology in the comments below, but please leave the political discussion for Takyon's journal.]

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Tuesday October 13, @08:08AM   Printer-friendly
from the broken-system dept.

They are overwhelmingly white, rich, older and male, in a nation that is being remade by the young, by women, and by black and brown voters. Across a sprawling country, they reside in an archipelago of wealth, exclusive neighborhoods dotting a handful of cities and towns. And in an economy that has minted billionaires in a dizzying array of industries, most made their fortunes in just two: finance and energy.

Now they are deploying their vast wealth in the political arena, providing almost half of all the seed money raised to support Democratic and Republican presidential candidates. Just 158 families, along with companies they own or control, contributed $176 million in the first phase of the campaign, a New York Times investigation found. Not since before Watergate have so few people and businesses provided so much early money in a campaign, most of it through channels legalized by the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision five years ago.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Tuesday October 13, @06:31AM   Printer-friendly
from the chocks-away dept.

A story over at Popular Science tells about how they flew Icon's A5 "The Affordable-ish Personal Airplane For Everyone". Could this finally be my flying car?

Icon has spent seven years developing a two-seat light sport aircraft simple and safe enough that anyone can learn to fly it. The A5 is that aircraft, and to test the hypothesis Hawkins gives me control of the airplane in one of the busiest airspaces in America.

The A5 is a departure from what most people would typically think of as a small, propeller-driven airplane. Able to take off and land from both runway and water, it looks more like a winged jet ski than a Cessna. The rear-mounted propeller makes for an unobstructed forward view. The wings fold and sweep rearward, allowing the A5 to sit on a trailer for towing and fit through a garage door. Its 100-horsepower engine runs on regular automotive fuel. Perhaps most importantly, the A5 is packed with a number of innovative safety features that make it a very forgiving aircraft for pilots of all skill levels.

The A5 can trace its roots directly back to an Federal Aviation Administration rule change in 2004 that created a new classification of pilot's license and aircraft. The Light Sport Aircraft rule and associated Sport Pilot License created the regulatory space for a new type of recreational airplane meeting certain weight and performance requirements. It also created a lower barrier to entry for pilots wanting to fly these slow-moving, lightweight, fair-weather-only aircraft.

Weighing just 1,000 pounds empty, the A5 tops out just above 100 miles per hour but only needs to be moving 40 to 50 miles per hour at takeoff (a low stall speed is among the FAA's light sport aircraft requirements). It requires less than 900 feet for takeoff and landing on water and less than 650 feet on a runway. It can travel 427 nautical miles on a tank of gas.

At roughly $200,000 for the most basic model, the A5 isn't aimed at everyone. But Hawkins is banking on the idea that there are a whole lot of people out there that see a $200,000 personal airplane as a more rewarding investment than a boat or sports car. Icon delivered its first A5 to a customer in July and has deposits for 1,500 more.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Tuesday October 13, @04:58AM   Printer-friendly
from the solving-problems-with-more-problems dept.

Expanding the search for oil is necessary to pay for the damage caused by climate change, the Governor of Alaska has told the BBC.

The state is suffering significant climate impacts from rising seas forcing the relocation of remote villages.

Governor Bill Walker says that coping with these changes is hugely expensive.

He wants to "urgently" drill in the protected lands of the Arctic National Wilderness Refuge to fund them.

Alaska has been severely hit by the dramatic drop in the price of oil over the past two years.

In Alaska politicians are as with men: "The odds are good, but the goods are odd."

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Tuesday October 13, @03:25AM   Printer-friendly
from the stick-with-this dept.

In a new study published today in Chemistry Of Materials, researchers announced the invention of a new flame retardant coating inspired by substances created by the humble mussel.

Flame retardants are used to coat flammable materials in thousands of different consumer products, from couches to mattresses. Flame retardants keep these items from bursting into flames, but are often toxic, causing researchers to look for an alternative. Enter the mussel.

Mussels and many other animals contain a substance called polydopamine. In nature, mussels use polydopamine as a glue, helping them to hang onto rocks even in rough waters.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Tuesday October 13, @01:53AM   Printer-friendly
from the wasp,-medium-rare,-with-a-side-of-ants dept.

The European Food Safety Authority has published its initial risk assessment of using insects as a source of protein for human consumption and animal feed.

It concluded that risks to human and animal health depended on how the insects were reared and processed.

The UN suggests that "edible insects" could provide a sustainable source of nutrition for a growing population.

The findings have been sent to the European Commission, which requested the EFSA risk assessment.

The report produced by a working group convened by the EFSA scientific committee, compiled a report that assessed "potential biological and chemical hazards, as well as allergenicity and environmental hazards, associated with farmed insects used in food and feed taking into account the entire chain, from farming to the final product".

Risk #99: Projectile vomit.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Tuesday October 13, @12:28AM   Printer-friendly
from the not-a-game-changer dept.

BeetleBlocks aims to bring the fun and excitement of Scratch and Snap! to the 3D and fabrication space.

Control a beetle avatar with simple drag and drop blocks that determine movement/location/rotation/colour/extrusion with loops and variables to create patterns, shapes and objects in 3D in your browser(officially only supports Chrome, but I had no problem with FireFox).

Best experience is to use the File menu and Open one of the examples and swap a hard coded variable with a Random block. If the execution runs too slow hit the turbo button!

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Monday October 12, @10:45PM   Printer-friendly
from the 'its-not-about-the-money,-money,-money' dept.

In yet another example of how distributed systems sometimes work better than centralized ones, the hardware engineers at Microsoft have come up with a new battery-backed power supply for their homegrown servers that allows for massive – and expensive – battery rooms to be eliminated from the cloud giant's datacenters.

The new power supply, which Microsoft calls the Local Energy Storage (LES) unit, was designed as part of the Open Cloud Server hyperscale system that the company donated to the Open Compute Project last year and updated last October with some significant tweaks. In the spirit of openness that might seem a bit strange coming from Microsoft, the new LES specification is being opened up through the Open Compute community as well.
With the LES power supply-battery combination, Microsoft is making its engineering available to anyone, and it is explaining to people just how much more efficiently they can run their datacenters with this subtle shift from massive central batteries to distributed small ones. It is also doing a little engineering, too.

Original Submission

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