the_newsbeagle writes "Adrian Cheok, a professor of electrical engineering in Japan, wants to invent a "multisensory Internet" that will transmit not just information, but also experiences. To usher in this new age, he started by building a haptic system that enabled him to send a hug to a chicken via the Internet. Next came the 'huggy pajama' project, which allowed distant parents to send their kid a goodnight squeeze. Lately he's begun working on sending a taste over the internet with his 'digital lollypop' project."
Slashdot stories can be listened to in audio form via an RSS feed, as read by our own robotic overlord.
sciencehabit writes "A tonic of gut microbes may be the secret recipe for treating a common hospital scourge. Researchers have pinpointed the exact mix of microbes required to cure mice of chronic infection by Clostridium difficile. The hard-to-treat bacterium infects alomst 336,000 in the US each year and causes bloating, pain, & diarrhea. A similar bacterial cocktail may be able to replace the current controversial treatment involving the intake of a healthy person's fecal matter to restore the right balance of microbes in the gut."
hackingbear writes "China Unicom, the country's second largest telecom operator, has replaced Cisco Systems routers in one of the country's most important backbone networks, citing security reasons [due to bugs and vulnerability.) The move came after a congressional report branded Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and ZTE Corp. security threats in the United States, citing bugs and vulnerability (rather than actual evidence of spying.) Surprising to us, up to now, Cisco occupies a large market share in China. It accounts for over a 70 percent share of China Telecom's 163 backbone network and over an 80 percent share of China Unicom's 169 backbone network. Let's wait to see who's the winner in this trade war disguised as national security."
An anonymous reader writes "Ubuntu for the Nexus 7 was released today and Ubuntu Member Benjamin Kerensa has provided photos and video of it in action." I wish the Nexus 7 had what most Android tablets lack: a full-size USB port (or SD card slot) to make such OS experimenting easier.
Forecasters are tossing around words like "unprecedented" and "bizarre" (see this Washington Post blog entry) for the intensity and timing of Hurricane Sandy, which is threatening to hit the east coast of the U.S. early next week. Several people I know in the mid-Atlantic region have been ordering generators and stocking up on flashlight batteries and easy-to-prepare foods. Are you in the projected path of the storm? If so, have you taken any steps to prepare for it? (Are you doing off-site backup? Taking yourself off-site?)
Hugh Pickens writes "Tricia Romano writes in the NY Times that over the last 10 years, purchasing a hearing aid had become even more difficult and confusing than buying a new car — and almost as expensive. 'I visited Hearx, the national chain where I had bought my previous aids. There, a fastidious young man spread out a brochure for my preferred brand, Siemens, and showed me three models. The cheapest, a Siemens Motion 300, started at $1,600. The top-of-the-line model was more than $2,000 — for one ear. I gasped.' A hearing aid is basically just a microphone and amplifier in your ear so it isn't clear why it costs thousands of dollars while other electronic equipment like cellphones, computers and televisions have gotten cheaper. Russ Apfel, an engineer who designed a technology now found in all hearing aids, says there is no good reason for the high prices. 'The hearing aid industry uses every new thing, like digital or a new algorithm, to raise prices,' says Apfel. 'The semiconductor industry traditionally reduces the cost of products by 10 to 15 percent a year,' he said, but 'hearing aids go up 8 percent a year annually' and have for the last 20 years."
Nerval's Lobster writes "The Green Grid, a nonprofit organization dedicated to making IT infrastructures and data centers more energy-efficient, is making the case that data center operators are operating their facilities in too conservative a fashion. Rather than rely on mechanical chillers, it argues in a new white paper (PDF), data centers can reduce power consumption via a higher inlet temperature of 20 degrees C. Green Grid originally recommended that data center operators build to the ASHRAE A2 specifications: 10 to 35 degrees C (dry-bulb temperature) and between 20 to 80 percent humidity. But the paper also presented data that a range of between 20 and 35 degrees C was acceptable. Data centers have traditionally included chillers, mechanical cooling devices designed to lower the inlet temperature. Cooling the air, according to what the paper originally called anecdotal evidence, lowered the number of server failures that a data center experienced each year. But chilling the air also added additional costs, and PUE numbers would go up as a result."
bshell writes "Canada's CRTC (like the FCC) has finally asked telecoms to provide information about how much their services actually cost. Quoting a Montreal Gazette story: 'In a report I wrote last year, I estimated the markup for Internet services was 6,452 per cent for Bell's Essential Plus plan, which provides a two-megabits-per-second speed for $28.95 (prices may have changed since last year).' The markup is likely similar in the U.S. It's about time that we consumers found out what it really costs to provide Internet service, and for that matter telephone and wireless services, so we can get a fair shake."
another random user writes with news that Microsoft has sorted out the Windows Store guidelines such that games rated 'Mature' in the U.S. will be allowed. An earlier version of the guidelines took cues from the European PEGI rating system, which lumps pornographic content into the same rating as mainstream games that involve violence. In the U.S., they're split up into Adult (for porn) and Mature (for things like Skyrim, Call of Duty, and Assassin's Creed). Gamers and developers were worried that a large number of very popular games were going to be disallowed on the Windows Store. Microsoft hopes to have the situation fixed by December — not ideal, since Windows 8 is now out, but better than nothing.
zacharye writes "How bad is HTC's current tailspin? So bad it makes Nokia look like a growth company. HTC's handset volume declined by -43% in the autumn quarter vs. Nokia's -23% volume decline. This is very interesting because HTC is using Android, the world's most popular smartphone OS, that is powering 40% annualized growth among its vendors. Nokia is limping along with an unholy mix of the obsolete Symbian platform, the moribund S40 feature phone platform and a niche OS called Windows Phone."
itwbennett writes "From calcium in cameras and germanium in CPUs to selenium in solar cells. Here's a look at how every single element in the periodic table is used in common tech products. For example: Scandium is used in the bulbs in metal halide lamps, which produce a white light source with a high color rendering index that resembles natural sunlight. These lights are often appropriate for the taping of television shows. ... Yttrium helps CRT televisions produce a red color. When used in a compound, it collects energy and passes it to the phosphor. ... Niobium: Lithium niobate is used in mobile phone production, incorporated into surface acoustic wave filters that convert acoustic waves into electrical signals and make smartphone touchscreens work. SAW filters also provide cell signal enhancement, and are used to produce the Apple iPad 2."
whoever57 writes "The man who claimed ownership of 50% of Facebook has been arrested and charged with fraud in connection with his claims. The United States attorney in Manhattan said, 'Ceglia's alleged conduct not only constitutes a massive fraud attempt, but also an attempted corruption of our legal system through the manufacture of false evidence.' 'Dressing up a fraud as a lawsuit does not immunize you from prosecution.'"
New submitter Escape From NY writes "3.6 million Social Security numbers and 387,000 credit and debit card numbers were stolen from the SC Department of Revenue. Most of the credit and debit card numbers were encrypted — all but about 16,000. There were several different attacks, all of which originated outside the country. The first they're aware of happened on August 27, and four more happened in September. Officials first learned of the breach on October 10, and the security holes were closed on October 20. This is still a developing story, but anyone who filed a SC state tax return since 1998 my be at risk. Governor Nikki Haley today signed an executive order (PDF) to beef up the state's IT security."
walterbyrd sends this snippet from an article by Robert X. Cringely: "Big tech employers are constantly lobbying for increases in H-1B quotas citing their inability to find qualified US job applicants. Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates and other leaders from the IT industry have testified about this before Congress. Both major political parties embrace the H-1B program with varying levels of enthusiasm. Bill Gates is wrong. What he said to Congress may have been right for Microsoft but was wrong for America and can only lead to lower wages, lower employment, and a lower standard of living. This is a bigger deal than people understand: it's the rebirth of industrial labor relations circa 1920. Our ignorance about the H-1B visa program is being used to unfairly limit wages and steal — yes, steal — jobs from U.S. citizens."
New submitter seawall writes "Paul Allen just opened the Living Computer Museum in Seattle. The 'Living' means many of the computers are actually running. There's a Xerox Sigma 9, which was introduced in 1971 and is quite similar to the computer that sent the first signal over Arpanet. There's also Tops-10 on original DEC hardware, an operating TOAD-1 system, and a DEC PDP-7 that's one of only four in the world."