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An anonymous reader writes "A specially equipped Black Hawk was recently used to demonstrate the helicopter's ability to operate on its own. In the first such test of its type, the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research's Development and Engineering Center, based at Redstone Arsenal, flew the Black Hawk over Diablo Mountain Range in San Jose, Calif. Pilots were aboard the aircraft for the tests, but all flight maneuvers were conducted autonomously: obstacle field navigation, safe landing area determination, terrain sensing, statistical processing, risk assessment, threat avoidance, trajectory generation and autonomous flight control were performed in real-time. 'This was the first time terrain-aware autonomy has been achieved on a Black Hawk,' said Lt. Col. Carl Ott, chief of the Flight Projects Office at AMRDEC's Aeroflightdynamics Directorate and one of the test's pilots."
First time accepted submitter nickvad writes "The Belgian Centre for Microsystems Technology has built a spherical LCD display in a contact lens. The technology is groundbreaking and holds a wide range of applications from medical to cosmetic applications and more. The LCD technology has the potential to be used as a productivity or a social tool, paving the way for futuristic technological innovations like Google Glass."
SternisheFan writes "A self-controlled swimming robot has completed a journey from San Francisco to Australia. The record-breaking 9,000 nautical mile (16,668km) trip took the PacX Wave Glider just over a year to achieve. Liquid Robotics, the U.S. company behind the project, collected data about the Pacific Ocean's temperature, salinity and ecosystem from the drone. The company said its success demonstrated that such technology could 'survive the high seas.' The robot is called Papa Mau in honor of the late Micronesian navigator Pius 'Mau' Piailug, who had a reputation for finding ways to navigate the seas without using traditional equipment. 'During Papa Mau's journey, [it] weathered gale-force storms, fended off sharks, spent more than 365 days at sea, skirted around the Great Barrier Reef, and finally battled and surfed the east Australian current to reach his final destination in Hervey Bay, near Bundaberg, Queensland,' the company said in a statement. Some of the data it gathered about the abundance of phytoplankton -plant-like organisms that convert carbon dioxide into oxygen and provide food for other sea life -could already be monitored by satellite. However, the company suggested that its equipment offered more detail, providing a useful tool for climate model scientists."
Hugh Pickens writes writes "William J. Broad writes that a plan now before Congress would create a national park to protect the aging remnants of the atomic bomb project from World War II, including hundreds of buildings and artifacts scattered across New Mexico, Washington and Tennessee — among them the rustic Los Alamos home of Dr. Oppenheimer and his wife, Kitty, and a large Quonset hut, also in New Mexico, where scientists assembled components for the plutonium bomb dropped on Japan. 'It's a way to help educate the next generation,' says Cynthia C. Kelly, president of the Atomic Heritage Foundation, a private group in Washington that helped develop the preservation plan. 'This is a major chapter of American and world history. We should preserve what's left.' Critics have faulted the plan as celebrating a weapon of mass destruction, and have argued that the government should avoid that kind of advocacy. 'At a time when we should be organizing the world toward abolishing nuclear weapons before they abolish us, we are instead indulging in admiration at our cleverness as a species,' says Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich. Historians and federal agencies reply that preservation does not imply moral endorsement, and that the remains of so monumental a project should be saved as a way to encourage comprehension and public discussion. A park would be a commemoration, not a celebration, says Heather McClenahan, director of the Los Alamos Historical Society pointing out there are national parks commemorating slavery, Civil War battles and American Indian massacres. 'It's a chance to say, "Why did we do this? What were the good things that happened? What were the bad? How do we learn lessons from the past? How do we not ever have to use an atomic bomb in warfare again?" '"
holy_calamity writes "MIT Technology Review looks at the small companies attempting to build dedicated chips for mining Bitcoins. Several are claiming they will start selling hardware based on their chips early in 2013, with the technology expected to force many small time miners to give up. However, as happened in the CPU industry, miners may soon be caught in an expensive arms race that pushes development of faster and faster chips."
SternisheFan sends this quote from the Boston Globe: "The moon's battered crust is riddled with deep fractures that may extend miles underground, according to the first findings from two NASA spacecraft orbiting Earth's nearest neighbor. The results of the mission, led by a Massachusetts Institute of Technology scientist, surprised researchers, who said it will provide new insight into the evolution of the early solar system, and even help inform the search for life on Mars. Announced Wednesday, the discoveries are also a reminder that the familiar moon still holds secrets four decades after NASA ended its manned missions there. 'We have known that the moon's crust and other planetary crusts have been bombarded by impacts, but none of us could have predicted just how cracked the lunar crust is,' said Maria Zuber, the MIT geoscientist who led the mission, called GRAIL." Here are the abstracts from the three studies published in Science.
An anonymous reader writes "The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has declared that the Megaupload shutdown earlier this year has been a great success. In a filing to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the group representing major movie studios says the file hosting and sharing industry has been massively disrupted. Yet the MPAA says there is still work to be done, identifying sites that make available to downloaders 'unauthorized copies of high-quality, recently-released content and in some cases, coordinate the actual upload and download of that content.' Here's the list of sites, including where they are hosted: Extratorrent (Ukraine), IsoHunt (Canada), Kickass Torrents (Canada), Rutracker (Russia), The Pirate Bay (Sweden), Torrentz (Canada), and Kankan (China)."
An anonymous reader writes "The U.S. House of Representatives voted 397-0 today on a resolution to oppose U.N. control of the internet. 'The 397-0 vote is meant to send a signal to countries meeting at a U.N. conference on telecommunications this week. Participants are meeting to update an international telecom treaty, but critics warn that many countries' proposals could allow U.N. regulation of the Internet.' The European Parliament passed a similar resolution a couple weeks ago, and the U.N. telecom chief has gone on record saying that freedom on the internet won't be curbed. However, that wasn't enough for U.S. lawmakers, who were quite proud of themselves for actually getting bipartisan support for the resolution (PDF). Rep Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) said, 'We need to send a strong message to the world that the Internet has thrived under a decentralized, bottom-up, multi-stakeholder governance model.'"
An anonymous reader writes "With kids growing up in an increasingly digital world, it's alarming that many of them have no idea how the devices that power their lives actually work. So three cheers for Coderdojo — a worldwide group of volunteers teaching programming and web design to children aged seven and up. From the article: 'Coderdojo's format is open and inclusive. Participants can use the operating system and programming tools of their choice. There is no set curriculum and the only rule is: "Above all: be cool." More rigid approaches, he suggests, can often stifle learners' enthusiasm: "A lot of coding tuition aimed at young people tends to revolve around games," he said. "But that can disengage some young people. Many of them, particularly girls, just aren't interested in gaming. "On the other hand, doing something like developing a web site shows them that they can do things they might not have realized they were able to and combines artistic and design skills with an understanding of why things are built in a certain way."'"
dcblogs writes "Despite the fact that technology plays an increasingly important role in the economy, IT wages remain persistently flat. This may be tech's inconvenient truth. In 2000, the average hourly wage was $37.27 in computer and math occupations for workers with at least a bachelor's degree. In 2011, it was $39.24, adjusted for inflation, according to a new report by the Economic Policy Institute. That translates to an average wage increase of less than a half percent a year. In real terms, IT wages overall have gone up by $1.97 an hour in just over 10 years, according to the EPI. Data from professional staffing firm Yoh shows wages in decline. In its latest measure for week 12 of 2012, the hourly wages were $31.45 and in 2010, for the same week, at $31.78. The worker who earned $31.78 in 2010 would need to make $33.71 today to stay even with inflation. Wages vary by skill and this data is broad. The unemployment rate for tech has been in the 3-4% range, but EPI says full employment has been historically around 2%."
itwbennett writes "Score 1 for online privacy. The Federal Trade Commission and online ad firm Epic Marketplace have reached a settlement that will bar Epic from using browser history sniffing technology. According to the news report, 'The history sniffing allowed Epic to determine whether a consumer had visited more than 54,000 domains, including pages relating to fertility issues, impotence, menopause, incontinence, disability insurance, credit repair, debt relief, and personal bankruptcy. Epic used the tracking to send targeted ads related to several health issues, the FTC said.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Coursera announced its 'career services' feature yesterday for students who opt in. The company that works with elite colleges to offer free courses is sharing more than just academic scores — showing potential employers evidence of 'soft skills,' like how helpful students were in class discussion forums. 'Udacity, another company that provides free online courses, offers a similar service. ... Udacity's founder, Sebastian Thrun, said in an interview that 350 partner companies had signed up for its job program. While Mr. Thrun would not say how much employers pay, he characterized the fee as "significantly less than you'd pay for a headhunter, but significantly more than what you'd pay for access to LinkedIn," a popular social network for job hunters.'"
jrepin points out a discussion with Richard Stallman in which he talks about how the Free Software movement is faring in light of companies that have been successful in the long term with very different principles, like Microsoft and Apple. Stallman had this to say: "I would say the free software movement has gone about half the distance it has to travel. We managed to make a mass community but we still have a long way to go to liberate computer users. Those companies are very powerful. They are cleverly finding new ways to take control over users. ... The most widely used non-free programs have malicious features – and I’m talking about specific, known malicious features. ... There are three kinds: those that spy on the user, those that restrict the user, and back doors. Windows has all three. Microsoft can install software changes without asking permission. Flash Player has malicious features, as do most mobile phones. Digital handcuffs are the most common malicious features. They restrict what you can do with the data in your own computer. Apple certainly has the digital handcuffs that are the tightest in history. The i-things, well, people found two spy features and Apple says it removed them and there might be more. When people don’t know about this issue they choose based on immediate convenience and nothing else. And therefore they can be herded into giving up their freedom by a combination of convenient features, pressure from institutions and the network effect."
KingSkippus writes "At midnight Pacific on Saturday, December 1, NCsoft shut down the City of Heroes servers for the final time. Since announcing the closure, a group of players has been working hard to revive the game by getting attention from the gaming press, recognition from celebrities such as Sean Astin, Neil Gaiman, and Felicia Day, and assistance from fantasy author Mercedes Lackey. Meanwhile, NCsoft has been drawing negative publicity, including a scathing article about the shutdown from local news site The Korea Times, noting that the game was earning $2.76 million per quarter and that 'it is hard to comprehend what NCsoft means when they say they closed it for strategic reasons.' NCsoft's stock price has fallen over 43% since the announcement in August, almost 30% below its previous 52-week low, right when investors were counting on the success of the recently launched Guild Wars 2 to help boost the company."