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Updated: 4 days 3 hours ago

The Japanese Mob Is Hiring Homeless People To Clean Up Fukushima

Mon, 30/12/2013 - 22:44
Daniel_Stuckey writes "Now, where do you find people willing to work in a fallout zone for minimum wage? According to a Reuters report, hidden within hundreds of contractors working on the cleanup effort are yakuza-controlled companies that pay headhunters to find homeless people willing to work inside the fallout zone. The sheer scale of the cleanup effort is staggering. While decontaminating the Fukushima plant itself will cost tens of billions and take years, there are also the surrounding areas in Fukushima prefecture, where cleanup costs are expected to top $30 billion. With Tokyo Electric Power Co. (Tepco), the owner of the Fukushima plant, essentially nationalized at this point, Reuters reports that there's some $35 billion in taxpayer funds on the table for contractors."

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Are Tablets Replacing Notebook Computers? (Video)

Mon, 30/12/2013 - 22:00
Maybe, maybe not. It depends on the application and the user. We're seeing tablets advertised like crazy these days, and a trip to any busy coffee shop with free wi-fi will make it obvious that while there may not be as many tablets in use as notebooks, you see a lot more of them than you did five years ago, when it seemed like Bill Gates was the only person who had one, which he tried to show off as often as he could. In 2010, Apple debuted the iPad, and before long tablets were all over the place. So, on behalf of people we know -- and there are more than a few -- who either sneer at tablet computers or aren't sure they need one, we turned to David Needle, editor of TabTimes.com, for advice on what kind of tablet to buy -- assuming we need to buy one at all.

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Feds Announce Test Sites For Drone Aircraft

Mon, 30/12/2013 - 21:17
SpaceGhost writes "The Associated Press reports: 'The Federal Aviation Administration announced six states on Monday that will develop test sites for drones, a critical next step for the march of the unmanned aircraft into U.S. skies.' The sites will be in Alaska, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Texas and Virginia. They quote Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx saying, 'These test sites will give us valuable information about how best to ensure the safe introduction of this advanced technology into our nation's skies.' This is a first step to allowing commercial drone use."

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Mars One Selects Second Round Candidate Astronauts

Mon, 30/12/2013 - 20:35
First time accepted submitter techfilz writes "The Mars One Project has selected 1058 second round candidates out of more than 200 000 applicants from over 140 countries. There are another two selection rounds to go before the lucky few get a one way trip to Mars. Starting in 2018, four astronauts will leave for Mars every two years to begin a human settlement partly funded by crowdsourcing and a reality TV show."

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Safeway Suspends Worker For Sci-Fi Parody of His Firing

Mon, 30/12/2013 - 20:08
theodp writes "After making light of a bad situation — Safeway's closing of its Chicagoland Dominick's grocery store chain and termination of 6,000 workers — with a satirical SciFi YouTube clip, Dominick's employee Steve Yamamoto found himself suspended just one day before the grocery chain closed up shop for good. 'My store manager got a phone call that she had to suspend me,' Yamamoto told NBC Chicago. 'I was like, "Are you serious?" It's crazy as it is. I'm just dumbfounded.' Perhaps Safeway was concerned that viewers of Yamamoto's video might think that aliens, robots, and monsters did Dominick's in, although the Chicago Tribune suggests financial machinations as a more likely culprit: 'By pulling the plug on Chicago [Dominick's], Safeway could not only satisfy [hedge fund] Jana, but also generate a $400 million to $450 million tax benefit.'"

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The Startling Array of Hacking Tools In NSA's Armory

Mon, 30/12/2013 - 19:48
littlekorea writes "A series of servers produced by Dell, air-gapped Windows XP PCs and switches and routers produced by Cisco, Huawei and Juniper count among the huge list of computing devices compromised by the NSA, according to crypto-expert and digital freedom fighter Jacob Applebaum. Revealing a trove of new NSA documents at his 30c3 address (video), Applebaum spoke about why the NSA's program might lead to broader adoption of open source tools and gave a hot tip on how to know if your machines have been owned."

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Inside Piston-Powered Nuclear Fusion Company General Fusion

Mon, 30/12/2013 - 15:20
quax writes "Slashdot first reported on the Canadian start-up company that is attempting piston powered nuclear fusion back in 2009. This new blog post takes a look at where they are now, and gives some additional behind the scene info. For instance, a massive experimental rig for magnetized target fusion in the US is currently underutilized, because ITER's increasing costs absorb all the public fusion research funding. Because this Shiva Star device is located in an Air Force base, security restrictions prevent any meaningful cooperation with a non-U.S. companies. Even if U.S. researchers would love to rent this out to advance the science of magnetized target fusion, restrictions make this is a no go."

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Brain Function "Boosted For Days After Reading a Novel"

Mon, 30/12/2013 - 14:36
cold fjord writes "The Independent reports, 'Being pulled into the world of a gripping novel can trigger actual, measurable changes in the brain that linger for at least five days after reading ... The new research, carried out at Emory University ... found that reading a good book may cause heightened connectivity in the brain and neurological changes that persist in a similar way to muscle memory. The changes were registered in the left temporal cortex, an area of the brain associated with receptivity for language, as well as the primary sensory motor region of the brain. Neurons of this region have been associated with tricking the mind into thinking it is doing something it is not, a phenomenon known as grounded cognition — for example, just thinking about running, can activate the neurons associated with the physical act of running. "The neural changes that we found associated with physical sensation and movement systems suggest that reading a novel can transport you into the body of the protagonist," said neuroscientist Professor Gregory Berns, lead author of the study. "We already knew that good stories can put you in someone else's shoes in a figurative sense. Now we're seeing that something may also be happening biologically."'"

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The Rise of Hoax News

Mon, 30/12/2013 - 13:51
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Reporter Luke O'Neil writes that 2013 was journalism's year of bungles: the New Jersey waitress who received a homophobic comment on the receipt from a party she had served; Samsung paying Apple $1 billion in nickels; former NSA chief Michael Hayden's assassination; #CutForBieber; Nelson Mandela's death pic; that eagle snatching a child off the ground on YouTube; Jimmy Kimmel's 'twerk fail' video; and Sarah Palin taking a job with Al-Jazeera America (an obviously satirical story that even suckered in The Washington Post). All these stories had one thing in common: They seemed too tidily packaged, too neat, 'too good to check,' as they used to say, to actually be true. 'Any number of reporters or editors at any of the hundreds of sites that posted these Platonic ideals of shareability could've told you that they smelled, but in the ongoing decimation of the publishing industry, fact-checking has been outsourced to the readers,' writes O'Neil. 'This is not a glitch in the system. It is the system. Readers are gullible, the media is feckless, garbage is circulated around, and everyone goes to bed happy and fed.' O'Neil says that the stories he's written this year that took the least amount of time and effort usually did the most traffic while his more in-depth, reported pieces didn't stand a chance against riffs on things predestined to go viral. That's the secret that Upworthy, BuzzFeed, MailOnline, Viral Nova, and their dozens of knockoffs have figured out: You don't need to write anymore—just write a good headline and point. 'As Big Viral gets bigger, traditional media organizations are scrambling to keep pace,' concludes O'Neil. 'We the media have betrayed your trust, and the general public has taken our self-sanctioned lowering of standards as tacit permission to lower their own.'"

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Is a Super-Sized iPad the Future of Education?

Mon, 30/12/2013 - 13:09
theodp writes "Perhaps people are reading too much into Apple CEO Tim Cook's 'Big Plans' for 2014, but hopes are high that the New Year will bring a biggie-sized iPad. Over at Forbes, Anthony Wing Kosner asks, Will The Large Screen iPad Pro Be Apple's First In A Line Of Desktop Touch Devices?. 'Rumors of a large [12.9"] iPad are many and constant,' notes ComputerWorld's Mike Elgan, 'but they make sense only if the tablet is a desktop for schools.' Elgan adds, 'Lots of schools are buying iPads for kids to use. But iPads don't make a lot of sense for education. For starters, their screens are too small for the kinds of interactive textbooks and apps that Apple wants the education market to create. They're also too small for collaborative work. iPads run mobile browsers, rather than full browsers, so kids can't use the full range of HTML5 sites.' Saying that 'Microsoft has fumbled the [post-PC] transition badly,' Elgan argues that 'the battle for the future of education is likely to be between whatever Google turns the Chromebook into against whatever Apple turns the iPad into.'"

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Parents' Campaign Leads To Wi-Fi Ban In New Zealand School

Mon, 30/12/2013 - 08:22
drmofe writes "Two parents in New Zealand have orchestrated the removal of a school's Wi-Fi system. They have expressed the concerns that Wi-Fi causes cancer and other health issues. The child of one of these parents died recently from brain cancer. This appears to be an emotional area and one where decisions appear to be being made without evidence. The NZ Ministry of Education provides guidelines for the safe use of Wi-Fi in schools and the school itself was operating within those guidelines."

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