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  • 300 Million Year Old Fossil Fish Likely Had Color Vision
    By on December 25, 2014 | Comments Off  Comments


    westlake writes Nature is reporting the discovery of mineralized rods and cones in a 300-million-year-old fossil fish found in Kansas. The soft tissues of the eye and brain decay rapidly after death, within 64 days and 11 days, respectively, and are almost never preserved in the fossil record — making this the first discovery of fossil rods and cones in general and the first evidence for color vision in a fossilized vertebrate eye.

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  • Boeing and BlackBerry Making a Self-Destructing Phone
    By on December 20, 2014 | Comments Off  Comments

    Rambo Tribble writes: It sounds like a Mission: Impossible scenario, but aerospace company Boeing is teaming with Canadian phone maker BlackBerry to produce an ultra-secure mobile phone that “self-destructs.” The phone uses encryption on calls and is intended to serve the high-security needs of government and industry. As Blackberry CEO John Chen said, “We’re pleased to announce that Boeing is collaborating with BlackBerry to provide a secure mobile (more…)

  • Linking Drought and Climate Change: Difficult To Do
    By on December 15, 2014 | Comments Off  Comments

    Geoffrey.landis writes An article about the current California drought on 538 points out that even though global climate warming may exacerbate droughts, it’s nearly impossible to attribute any particular drought to climate warming: “The complex, dynamic nature of our atmosphere and oceans makes it extremely difficult to link any particular weather event to climate change. That’s because of the intermingling of natural variations with human-caused (more…)

  • BitTorrent Launches Project Maelstrom, the First Torrent-Based Browser
    By on December 10, 2014 | Comments Off  Comments

    An anonymous reader writes BitTorrent today announced the first torrent-based browser. Project Maelstorm, as the app is currently called, is being made available as an invite-only alpha to “a small group of testers.” Although BitTorrent is in the very early stages of the project (testers are being asked to help assess for usability and reliability), the company strongly believes Maelstrom “is the first step toward a truly distributed web, one that (more…)

  • Researchers Design DNA With New Shapes and Structures
    By on December 6, 2014 | Comments Off  Comments

    Jason Koebler writes: The shape of DNA is a double helix, right? That’s what we are taught. Well, now the answer is “not always.” Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have discovered how to program DNA to be shaped like a bowl, or a spiral, or a ring, or other shapes that aren’t found in nature. It’s the latest in a string of discoveries about the underlying structure of life and the building blocks by which it’s made. Recently, (more…)

  • The Driverless Future: Buses, Not Taxis
    By on November 30, 2014 | Comments Off  Comments

    jfruh writes Driverless vehicles are coming. The question is: what form will they take? Uber’s management has suggested that, rather than owning our own private autonomous, cars, we’ll all be glad to pay Uber by the trip for a private ride in one. But an Italian consultant working on experimental driverless vehicles in Europe thinks that the future will lie with automated buses, because driverless cars, “may be able to go and park themselves out of (more…)

  • Attack of the One-Letter Programming Languages
    By on November 25, 2014 | Comments Off  Comments

    snydeq writes: The programming world is fast proliferating with one-letter programming languages, many of which tackle specific problems in ways worthy of a cult following, writes InfoWorld’s Peter Wayner in this somewhat tongue-in-cheek roundup of the more interesting entrants among this trend. “They’re all a bit out there, with the possible exception of C. … Each offers compelling ideas that could do the trick in solving a particular problem you (more…)

  • The Nintendo DS Turns 10
    By on November 21, 2014 | Comments Off  Comments

    An anonymous reader writes The Nintendo DS has reached a remarkable milestone: it’s turned 10 years old. A new retrospective on one of Nintendo’s greatest ever smash hits points out that it’s now old enough to become a Pokemon trainer, and looks back at some of the greatest (and possibly overlooked) titles on the platform which has sold 154 million copies in a decade.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.


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  • Low Cost Ground Robot Chassis That Can Traverse Challenging Obstacles
    By on November 16, 2014 | Comments Off  Comments

    Hallie Siegel writes In order for a robot to be useful in our world, it must be able to traverse unpredictable obstacles, including stairs. But currently available robot chassis tend to be either too small or extremely expensive, and most platform kits cannot leave a controlled environment – a huge problem for makers who want to get outside the lab or workshop. This has been an extremely hard problem for roboticists to solve, but the Ground (more…)

  • NASA Tests Aircraft With Shape Shifting Wings
    By on November 11, 2014 | Comments Off  Comments

    Zothecula writes In January, we first heard about FlexFoil; a variable geometry airfoil system that seamlessly integrates into the trailing edge of the wing. During the year the system has made the leap from the test bench to the sky, with NASA conducting tests of the FlexFoil on a modified Gulfstream III business jet.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.








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