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Cadillac's cars are getting smart rearview mirrors next year

Engadget - Thu, 18/12/2014 - 20:00
Hey, Nissan: you won't be the only big automaker with a camera-equipped rearview mirror next year. Cadillac has revealed that its future cars are getting a smart mirror that shows a 1,280 x 240 view of what's behind you without passengers or roof pil...

Australia Moves Toward New Restrictions On Technology Export and Publication

Slashdot - Thu, 18/12/2014 - 19:31
An anonymous reader writes Australia is starting a public consultation process for new legislation that further restricts the publication and export of technology on national security grounds. The public consultation starts now (a few days before Christmas) and it is due by Jan 30th while a lot of Australians are on holidays. I don't have the legal expertise to dissect the proposed legislation, but I'd like some more public scrutiny on it. I find particularly disturbing the phrase "The Bill includes defences that reverse the onus of proof which limit the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty" contained in this document, also available on the consultation web site.

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Which Chromebooks are worth buying?

Engadget - Thu, 18/12/2014 - 19:31
Seven years ago, netbooks were all the rage with consumers, providing a cheap and easy way to get online and carry out other basic computing tasks. They died out as cellphones and tablets became popular, with some companies even forecasting the death...

Hulu's push for exclusives gets a big boost from Fox

Engadget - Thu, 18/12/2014 - 19:03
As we've said so many times (this week) the battle between streaming services has become all about what exclusive content each one has to offer, and with HBO joining in soon it's only going to get tougher. It's no surprise then, that Hulu's next atte...

India Successfully Test Fires Its Heaviest Rocket

Slashdot - Thu, 18/12/2014 - 18:49
vasanth (908280) writes India on Thursday moved forward in rocket technology with the successful flight testing of its heaviest next generation rocket and the crew module . The 630-tonne three-stage rocket, Geo-Synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III, carried active solid boosters, liquid core stage and a passive cryo stage and a crew module to test its re-entry characteristics. This rocket is capable of doubling the capacity of payloads India can carry into space and it can deposit up to four tonne class of communication satellites into space. India also plans to use this rocket for ferrying Indian astronauts into space. For India, ISRO (the Indian space agency) perfecting the cryogenic engine technology is crucial as India can save precious foreign exchange by launching heavy duty communication satellites by itself.

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EyeEm now lets you see how other users tweak their photos

Engadget - Thu, 18/12/2014 - 18:31
Mobile photo editing apps are hardly in short supply these days, but EyeEm has attempted to stand out from the crowd with its focus on sharing, community and discovery. Now, only days after Instagram released a bunch of new filters, EyeEm is doing th...

Cause and Effect: How a Revolutionary New Statistical Test Can Tease Them Apart

Slashdot - Thu, 18/12/2014 - 18:10
KentuckyFC writes Statisticians have long thought it impossible to tell cause and effect apart using observational data. The problem is to take two sets of measurements that are correlated, say X and Y, and to find out if X caused Y or Y caused X. That's straightforward with a controlled experiment in which one variable can be held constant to see how this influences the other. Take for example, a correlation between wind speed and the rotation speed of a wind turbine. Observational data gives no clue about cause and effect but an experiment that holds the wind speed constant while measuring the speed of the turbine, and vice versa, would soon give an answer. But in the last couple of years, statisticians have developed a technique that can tease apart cause and effect from the observational data alone. It is based on the idea that any set of measurements always contain noise. However, the noise in the cause variable can influence the effect but not the other way round. So the noise in the effect dataset is always more complex than the noise in the cause dataset. The new statistical test, known as the additive noise model, is designed to find this asymmetry. Now statisticians have tested the model on 88 sets of cause-and-effect data, ranging from altitude and temperature measurements at German weather stations to the correlation between rent and apartment size in student accommodation.The results suggest that the additive noise model can tease apart cause and effect correctly in up to 80 per cent of the cases (provided there are no confounding factors or selection effects). That's a useful new trick in a statistician's armoury, particularly in areas of science where controlled experiments are expensive, unethical or practically impossible.

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Micromax launches the phone that got OnePlus banned in India

Engadget - Thu, 18/12/2014 - 17:59
Micromax has just revealed the first product from its Yu smartphone collaboration with Cyanogen: the Yureka. Even ahead of its launch, the $142 handset has gained a certain notoriety. Cyanogen declared it would no longer update OnePlus One phones sol...

Microsoft sells MixRadio to messaging service Line

Engadget - Thu, 18/12/2014 - 17:27
When Microsoft completed its multi-billion dollar purchase of Nokia, it also acquired a number of apps and services that were surplus to requirements. One of those was music-streaming app MixRadio, which spun off as a standalone service earlier this ...

Will Ripple Eclipse Bitcoin?

Slashdot - Thu, 18/12/2014 - 17:25
First time accepted submitter groggy.android writes This year's biggest news about Bitcoin may well turn out not to be the repeat of its surge in value last year against the dollar and other state currencies but its impending eclipse by another independent but corporate-backed digital currency. Popularly known as Ripple, XRP shot up in value last year along with other cryptocurrencies that took advantage of the hype around Bitcoin. However, among the top cryptocurrencies listed in Coinmarketcap.com, a site that monitors trading across different cryptocurrency exchanges, Ripple is the only one that not only regained its value after the collapse in the price of Bitcoin but has more than doubled from its peak last year. In September it displaced Litecoin to become the second most valuable cryptocurrency. Even more surpising, a Ripple fork, Stellar, is one of the two other cryptocurrencies in the Coinmarketcap top ten that have risen sharply in value during the last few weeks. What makes Ripple different from Bitcoin? Strictly speaking, Ripple isn't the name of the digital currency but of the decentralized payment network and protocol created and maintained by the eponymous Ripple Labs. Users of the Ripple system are able to transact in both cryptocurrency and regular fiat currency like the dollar without passing through a central exchange. XRP is the name of the native unit of exchange used in the Ripple network to facilitate conversion between different currency types.

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The Duck Hunt begins for Wii U owners on Christmas Day

Engadget - Thu, 18/12/2014 - 16:52
Want to know what Christmas morning was like back in (not-so) old uncle Jim's day? Well if you own a Wii U, maybe this year you can. As you wipe the sleep from your eyes on December 25th and run downstairs, you'll be able to take the digital wraps of...

After 40 Years As a Double Amputee, Man Gains Two Bionic Arms

Slashdot - Thu, 18/12/2014 - 16:37
MojoKid writes Les Baugh, a Colorado man who lost both arms in an electrical accident 40 years ago, is looking forward to being able to insert change into a soda machine and retrieving the beverage himself. But thanks to the wonders of science and technology — and Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) — he'll regain some of those functions while making history as the first bilateral shoulder-level amputee to wear and simultaneously control two Modular Prosthetic Limbs (MPLs). "It's a relatively new surgical procedure that reassigns nerves that once controlled the arm and the hand," explained Johns Hopkins Trauma Surgeon Albert Chi, M.D. "By reassigning existing nerves, we can make it possible for people who have had upper-arm amputations to control their prosthetic devices by merely thinking about the action they want to perform."

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Google extends Lunar X Prize deadline to 2016

Engadget - Thu, 18/12/2014 - 16:20
When Google launched the Lunar X Prize in 2007, the company planned to scrap the whole thing if nobody still won by 2014. Luckily, the company has realized just how tough (and costly!) it is to develop a rover, send it to the moon, drive it 1,640 fee...

Did Alcatraz Escapees Survive? Computer Program Says They Might Have

Slashdot - Thu, 18/12/2014 - 15:57
In June of 1962, three prisoners escaped the penitentary on Alcatraz, in an elaborate plot that was dramatized in a Clint Eastwood movie. A question that has long puzzled the public is whether these men ever made it to shore; the many factors that made Alcatraz a secure prison include sharks, cold water, and contrary currents. Still, some artifacts from the attempt, and perhaps the appeal of stories about survival against high odds, have led many people to believe that the men actually landed safely and faded into society. coondoggie writes This week Dutch scientists from Delft University of Technology presented findings from a computer modeling program they were working on, unrelated to the mystery, that demonstrated the escapees could have survived the journey. "In hindsight, the best time to launch a boat from Alcatraz was [11:30 am], one and a half hours later than has generally been assumed. A rubber boat leaving Alcatraz at [11:30 am] would most likely have landed just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. The model also shows that debris in that scenario would be likely to wash up at Angel Island, exactly where one of the paddles and some personal belongings were found.

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Hackers Compromise ICANN, Access Zone File Data System

Slashdot - Thu, 18/12/2014 - 15:52
Trailrunner7 writes with this news from ThreatPost: Unknown hackers were able to compromise vital systems belonging to ICANN, the organization that manages the global top-level domain system, and had access to the system that manages the files with data on resolving specific domain names. The attack apparently took place in November and ICANN officials discovered it earlier this month. The intrusion started with a spear phishing campaign that targeted ICANN staffers and the email credentials of several staff members were compromised. The attackers then were able to gain access to the Centralized Zone Data System, the system that allows people to manage zone files. The zone files contain quite bit of valuable information, including domain names, the name server names associated with those domains and the IP addresses for the name servers. CANN officials said they are notifying any users whose zone data might have been compromised." (Here's ICANN's public note on the compromise.)

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'Minecraft' is geting a story-based game from the studio behind 'The Walking Dead' and 'Game of Thrones'

Engadget - Thu, 18/12/2014 - 15:42
Minecraft's silent landscaper Steve is exiting his blocky world and stepping into Telltale's world of stories: Minecraft is getting a "narrative-driven" game from the folks behind The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones games. Like Telltale's other work...

GE takes another leap into the world of music, with help from Nas

Engadget - Thu, 18/12/2014 - 15:14
GE has taken some time off from making washing machines, jet engines and whatnot to get back to its true loves: music and dance. The Brilliant Rhythm collection launches December 24th on Vevo (streamable via Apple TV, Roku, Xbox, Fire TV and Samsung)...

Reaction To the Sony Hack Is 'Beyond the Realm of Stupid'

Slashdot - Thu, 18/12/2014 - 15:10
rossgneumann writes North Korea may really be behind the Sony hack, but we're still acting like idiots. Peter W. Singer, one of the nations foremost experts on cybersecurity, says Sony's reaction has been abysmal. "Here, we need to distinguish between threat and capability—the ability to steal gossipy emails from a not-so-great protected computer network is not the same thing as being able to carry out physical, 9/11-style attacks in 18,000 locations simultaneously. I can't believe I'm saying this. I can't believe I have to say this."

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To Fight Currency Mismatches, Steam Adding Region Locking to PC Games

Slashdot - Thu, 18/12/2014 - 14:47
will_die writes Because of recent currency devaluation Steam has now added region locking for games sold in Russia and CIS. Brazil and local area and Indonesia and local area are also being locked. If you purchase a game from one of those regions you cannot gift it to somone outside of the area. So someone from Russia can gift a game to someone to Georgia [Note: This Georgia, rather than this one, that is.] but not to someone in the USA. You want to see the prices in the Russia store and compare them to the Steam Christmas Sale which should be starting in a few hours.

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Riding in Audi's 150MPH self-driving RS 7, the anti-Google car

Engadget - Thu, 18/12/2014 - 14:30
Until last week, the sum of my autonomous driving experience was sitting behind the wheel while a car parked itself, and the sum of my track experience involved squeezing my lanky frame into a comically small go-kart. Audi changed that recently, givi...