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ananyo writes "Climate records from a Japanese lake are set to improve the accuracy of carbon dating, which could help to shed light on archaeological mysteries such as why Neanderthals became extinct. Carbon dating is used to work out the age of organic material. But the technique assumes that the amount of carbon-14 in the atmosphere was constant — any variation would speed up or slow down the clock. Since the 1960s, scientists have started accounting for the variations by calibrating the clock against the known ages of tree rings. The problem is that tree rings provide a direct record that only goes as far back as about 14,000 years. Now, using sediment from bed of Lake Suigetsu, west of Tokyo, researchers have pushed the calibration limit back much further. Two distinct sediment layers have formed in the lake every summer and winter over tens of thousands of years. The researchers collected roughly 70-meter core samples from the lake and painstakingly counted the layers to come up with a direct record stretching back 52,000 years. The re-calibrated clock could help to narrow the window of key events in human history. Take the extinction of Neanderthals, which occurred in western Europe less than 30,000 years ago. Archaeologists disagree over the effects changing climate and competition from recently arriving humans had on the Neanderthals' demise. The more accurate carbon clock should yield better dates for any overlap of humans and Neanderthals, as well as for determining how climate changes influenced the extinction of Neanderthals."
An anonymous reader writes "Cyberdyne announced today an improved version of the HAL (Hybrid Assistive Limb) robotic exoskeleton at the Japan Robot Show. From the article: 'he latest version of the HAL has remained brain-controlled but evolved to a full body robot suit that protects against heavy radiation without feeling the weight of the suit. Eventually it could be used by workers dismantling the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant."
jrepin writes "The Free Software Foundation (FSF) and the GNU Project today announced the opening of nominations for the 15th annual Free Software Awards. The Free Software Awards include the Award for the Advancement of Free Software and the Award for Projects of Social Benefit. The Award for the Advancement of Free Software is presented annually to an individual who has made a great contribution to the progress and development of free software, through activities that accord with the spirit of free software. The Award for Projects of Social Benefit is presented to the project or team responsible for applying free software, or the ideas of the free software movement, in a project that intentionally and significantly benefits society in other aspects of life."
An anonymous reader writes "Looks like the evolution in multi-core computing is something nature has already figured out. Dolphins will sleep one core while the other remains vigilant, running background tasks necessary for survival. From the article: 'The scientists wrote: "From an anthropomorphic viewpoint, the ability of the dolphin to continuously monitor its environment for days without interruption seems extreme. However, the biological, sensory and cognitive ecology of these animals is relatively unique and demanding. If dolphins sleep like terrestrial animals, they might drown. If dolphins fail to maintain vigilance, they become susceptible to predation. As a result, the apparent 'extreme' capabilities these animals possess are likely to be quite normal, unspectacular, and necessary for survival from the dolphin's perspective."'"
Starting at 7 p.m. EDT (4 p.m. PDT), the Green and Libertarian candidates for President are debating on the Independent Voter Network. You can catch it via a Google+ hangout or Youtube both live and afterward (no word on flashless user unfortunately, unless anyone knows how to access youtube live streams). Since the big two candidates got some time here on Slashdot, we figured you guys might want to argue amongst yourselves about the third party platforms too. Note that there will be another debate with more candidates on Tuesday.
SchrodingerZ writes "Last week the Mars Curiosity Rover spotted a shiny metallic-looking object in the martian soil. This week scientists have confirmed that it is plastic that has fallen off the 1-ton rover. However, the discovery of this trans-planetary littering has opened up another mystery for the science team. On October 12th the rover took a sample of soil from the ground, feeding it into its Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) instruments for analysis, and a picture of the hole dug by the rover's claw revealed metallic particles in the dirt. The sample was subsequently dropped due to fears that particles from the rover had made it into the dirt. Further study now suggests that the metallic particles are actually native to Mars, as the photo reveals that they are embedded in the soil in clumps. In 2007 the older rover Spirit found evidence of silica for the first time, more testing will occur over the next few days to determine truly if this is again just Curiosity's littler, or something more profound."
Nerval's Lobster writes "Google is whipping the proverbial curtain back from its new Chromebook, which will retail for $249 and up. The Samsung-built device weighs 2.5 pounds and features an 11.6-inch screen (with 1366 x 768 resolution), backed by a 1.75GHz Samsung Exynos 5 Dual Processor. Google claims it will boot up in under 10 seconds and, depending on usage, last for 6.5 hours on one battery charge. From a product perspective, Chrome OS and its associated hardware found itself fighting a two-front battle: the first against Windows PCs and Macs, both of which could claim more robust hardware for a similar cost to the old Chromebooks (which started at $449), and the second against tablets, which offered the same degree of flexibility and connectivity for a cheaper sticker-price. By setting the cost of the new Chromebook at $249, Google continues that pricing skirmish on more favorable terms." CNET got a bit of hands-on time with the new kid, and gives it a lukewarm but positive reception.
pigrabbitbear writes "AOL, still looking to reboot itself from the dialup days, is shooting to actually change the way we deal with email. The company's new service, called Alto, isn't a new email client. You don't have to sign up for yet another email address, because as David Temkin, AOL's senior VP of mail said, 'We need another email address like we need a hole in the head.' Instead, Alto, which is in limited release starting today, is designed to be an intelligent aggregator of the email accounts you already have."
An anonymous reader writes with this snippet from the BBC: "Trading in Google shares has been suspended after the internet giant released its third-quarter results early by mistake. Google blames financial printing firm RR Donnelley for filing an early draft of the results, which had been expected after the closing bell. Shares in Google were down 9% when trading in the stock was suspended. Shares had fallen as much as 10.5% at one stage. In a statement, Google said: 'Earlier this morning RR Donnelley, the financial printer, informed us that they had filed our draft 8K earnings statement without authorisation... We have ceased trading on Nasdaq while we work to finalise the document. Once it's finalised we will release our earnings, resume trading on Nasdaq and hold our earnings call as normal at 1:30 PST.'"
Eben Moglen, says Wikipedia, "is a professor of law and legal history at Columbia University, and is the founder, Director-Counsel and Chairman of [the] Software Freedom Law Center, whose client list includes numerous pro bono clients, such as the Free Software Foundation." And if that wasn't enough, since 2011 he's been working with FreedomBox, a project working toward "a personal server running a free software operating system, with free applications designed to create and preserve personal privacy." Prof. Moglen is also one of the most polished speakers anywhere, on any topic, ever. That's why, instead of editing this interview Timothy Lord did with him, we simply cut it in half, removed a little introductory and end conversation, and let the Professor roll on. The second half of this interview will run tomorrow. It's at least as worthwhile as the first half, especially if you are interested in Free Software.
An anonymous reader writes "The six month cycle that Canonical adheres to for Ubuntu releases has come around again today. Ubuntu 12.10 'Quantal Quetzal' has been released. There's a whole range of new features and updates, but here are the most important: WebApps — treats online services as if they are desktop apps (Gmail, Twitter, Facebook); Online Services — control logins to all your services from a single window and get them integrated into search results (e.g. GDocs for file searches); Dash Preview — right click any icon, get a detailed preview of what it is; Linux kernel 3.5.4; GNOME 3.6; Nautilus 3.4; latest Unity; No more Unity 2D, fallback is the Gallium llvmpipe software rasterizer; Default apps updated (Firefox 16.01, Thunderbird 16.01, LibreOffice 3.6.2, Totem, Shotwell, Rythmbox); Full disc encryption available during install; Single, 800MB distribution for all architectures." It's now available for download. The next version, due in six months' time, will be called Raring Ringtail.
First time accepted submitter connor4312 writes "Apple got caught with its hand in the cookie jar when privacy experts protested the use of a universal device identifier, or UDID, to track the online preferences of iPhone and iPad users. Enough is enough, right? Well, maybe not. It looks like device tracking is back with iOS 6, courtesy of a new tracking technology: IDFA, or identifier for advertisers."
First time accepted submitter Guru80 writes "PayPal recently posted a new Policy Update which includes changes to the PayPal User Agreement. The update to the User Agreement is effective November 1, 2012 and contains several changes, including changes that affect how claims you and PayPal have against each other are resolved. You will, with limited exception, be required to submit claims you have against PayPal to binding and final arbitration, unless you opt out of the Agreement to Arbitrate (Section 14.3) by December 1, 2012. Unless you opt out: (1) you will only be permitted to pursue claims against PayPal on an individual basis, not as a plaintiff or class member in any class or representative action or proceeding and (2) you will only be permitted to seek relief (including monetary, injunctive, and declaratory relief) on an individual basis. With so many privacy policies changing to include such wording, does it really hold any weight if some obscure and buried opt-out option isn't checked?"
First time accepted submitter thetechblock writes "On Tuesday, with the release of pricing and pre-orders for the new Surface RT tablets, Twitter exploded with comparisons to the iPad. So, I decided to put together a little comparison chart to contrast two equivalent models." The comparison is interesting, but note the source; you can discount the conclusions of writer Jeff Blankenburg by as much as you want for his role as "developer evangelist" for Microsoft.