Displays

Samsung Unveils the First Monitor That Can Wirelessly Charge Your Phone 86 86

An anonymous reader writes: Samsung wants to reduce the number of cords in your house and has unveiled a new monitor that can wirelessly charge your smartphones. Called the SE370, Samsung says the monitor is the first of its kind to have this capability. The monitor comes in 23.6-inch and 27-inch sizes. According to Samsung : The SE370 "declutters work areas by doing away with unnecessary cables and ports needed to charge mobile devices. Along with superior picture quality, enhanced visual performance and thoughtful design, the monitor seamlessly integrates advanced technologies that offer both professionals and consumers an optimal viewing and usability experience."
AI

Musk, Woz, Hawking, and Robotics/AI Experts Urge Ban On Autonomous Weapons 278 278

An anonymous reader writes: An open letter published by the Future of Life Institute urges governments to ban offensive autonomous weaponry. The letter is signed by high profile leaders in the science community and tech industry, such as Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking, Steve Wozniak, Noam Chomsky, and Frank Wilczek. It's also signed — more importantly — by literally hundreds of expert researchers in robotics and AI. They say, "The key question for humanity today is whether to start a global AI arms race or to prevent it from starting. If any major military power pushes ahead with AI weapon development, a global arms race is virtually inevitable, and the endpoint of this technological trajectory is obvious: autonomous weapons will become the Kalashnikovs of tomorrow. Unlike nuclear weapons, they require no costly or hard-to-obtain raw materials, so they will become ubiquitous and cheap for all significant military powers to mass-produce."
Democrats

Clinton Promises 500 Million New Solar Panels 549 549

An anonymous reader writes: Hillary Clinton, widely regarded as most likely to win the Democrat nomination for the 2016 U.S. presidential election, has unveiled her campaign climate plan. Speaking at Iowa State University, Clinton said she would set up tax incentives for renewable energy to drive further adoption. She also set a goal of installing half a billion new solar panels within her first term, if elected. Her plan would cost roughly $60 billion over 10 years, and she intends to pay for it by cutting tax breaks to the oil and gas industry. According to The Guardian, "Clinton has promised to make the issue of climate change a key pillar of her campaign platform."
AT&T

FCC Approves AT&T's DirecTV Purchase 100 100

An anonymous reader writes: The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has granted approval to AT&T to purchase DirecTV for $48.5 billion. AT&T will become the largest provider of cable or satellite TV in the U.S., with 26.4 million subscribers. "Adding TV customers gives AT&T more power to negotiate with big media companies over prices for those channels. The deal also combines a nationwide satellite TV service, the country's largest, with the No. 2 nationwide wireless network as time spent on mobile devices increases." The FCC did put conditions on the deal: AT&T must make fiber internet service available to 12.5 million people, offer cheaper internet plans to low-income customers, and not mess with the internet traffic of online video competitors.
Power

MIT Stealth Startup Charges Up Wireless Power Competition 63 63

gthuang88 writes: Wireless charging of electronics is an old concept, but there's a new player in the competition between companies like WiTricity, Energous, and tech giants Apple, Samsung, and Qualcomm. A new spinout from Dina Katabi's lab at MIT, called Pi, may have a new take on how to charge mobile devices at a distance. The company isn't talking yet, but Katabi's research suggests the system uses an array of coils to produce a magnetic field and detect when a device is within range, like a Wi-Fi router. The array can then focus the magnetic field on a coil attached to a phone or mobile device and induce a current to charge the battery. But it's still very early, and the field of wireless charging needs to settle on technical standards and work out its commercial kinks.
Government

France To Reduce Reliance On Nuclear Power 467 467

AmiMoJo writes: French lawmakers have approved a bill to reduce the country's reliance on nuclear power from 75% to 50% by 2025. The policy was one of President Francois Hollande's campaign pledges. The legislation also includes a target of reducing the country's greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030, compared to the level in 1990. The new law aims to eventually halve France's energy consumption by 2050 from the 2012 level. The ambitious goal came in the lead-up to the COP 21 climate change conference in Paris later this year. France will chair the meeting.
Businesses

NY Mayor Commits To Reduce Emissions 40% By 2030 80 80

dkatana writes: New York mayor Bill de Blasio pledged this week to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030. He made the announcement at the start of a two-day conference on climate change at the Vatican. He was in Rome by invitation of Pope Francis, who has become a hero to the environmental movement and has used his moral authority and enormous popularity to focus world attention on climate change and its effects on the poor. "I believe fundamentally in the notion of giving our private sector friends an opportunity to come along peacefully. And if that's not going to work, to put strong mandates and clear mandates on. And I believe, but the way, that that has tremendous public support." de Blasio said. Nearly three quarters of New York City's greenhouse gas emissions come from energy used to heat, cool, and power buildings, making building retrofits a central component of any plan to dramatically reduce emissions.
Power

Your Body, the Battery: Powering Gadgets From Human "Biofuel" 67 67

An anonymous reader writes: This article takes a look at the future of electronic devices powered by the human body. From the electric voltage in mammal ears called the endocochlear potential, to body heat, and muscle motion, there are a number of exciting new areas of energy research being explored. Ars reports: "Staying alive guzzles energy. In order to keep us ticking, our bodies need to burn between 2,000 and 2,500 calories per day, which is conveniently enough to power a modestly used smart phone. So if just a fraction of that energy could be siphoned, our bodies could in theory be used to run any number of electronic devices, from medical implants to electronic contact lenses—all without a battery in sight. Recently, researchers have taken important strides toward unlocking this electric potential."
Space

Company Aims To Launch Spacecraft On Beams of Microwaves 120 120

MarkWhittington writes: The quest for cheap access to space, to make space travel as inexpensive as air travel, has eluded engineers, government policy makers, and business entrepreneurs from before the beginning of the space age. It has become axiomatic, almost to the point of being a cliché, that the true space age will not begin until launch costs come down significantly. Forbes reported about a company called Escape Dynamics that has a unique approach to the problem. The company proposes to launch payloads into low Earth orbit on beams of microwaves.
United Kingdom

UK Pilots Want Lithium Battery Powered Devices In the Cabin 69 69

AmiMoJo writes: The professional association and trade union of UK pilots The British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA), has asked airlines to require travelers to carry devices that run on lithium-based batteries with them in the passenger cabin instead of in checked luggage. The union hoping to address what it considers a significant potential safety risk, baggage fires going unnoticed in the hold. BALPA explains, "when they short circuit, [they] have a tendency to burst into high intensity fires, which are difficult to extinguish." They further point out, "lithium battery fires have caused at least three cargo aircraft crashes and the UN safety regulator has banned a specific type of lithium battery (lithium metal) from being carried as cargo on passenger aircraft."
Supercomputing

Ask Slashdot: Best Bang-for-the-Buck HPC Solution? 149 149

An anonymous reader writes: We are looking into procuring a FEA/CFD machine for our small company. While I know workstations well, the multi-socket rack cluster solutions are foreign to me. On one end of the spectrum, there are companies like HP and Cray that offer impressive setups for millions of dollars (out of our league). On the other end, there are quad-socket mobos from Supermicro and Intel, for 8-18 core CPUs that cost thousands of dollars apiece.

Where do we go from here? Is it even reasonable to order $50k worth of components and put together our own high-performance, reasonably-priced blade cluster? Or is this folly, best left to experts? Who are these experts if we need them?

And what is the better choice here? 16-core Opterons at 2.6 GHz, 8-core Xeons at 3.4 GHz? Are power and thermals limiting factors here? (A full rack cupboard would consume something like 25 kW, it seems?) There seems to be precious little straightforward information about this on the net.
Operating Systems

Haiku OS Will Get New Service Manager 93 93

jones_supa writes: Axel Dörfler writes in his blog that he is working on a replacement for Haiku OS's current shell script based boot process. It would be replaced with something more flexible, a solution similar to OS X's launchd and Linux's systemd. While there is still a lot to do, the new project called launch_daemon is now feature complete in terms of being able to completely reproduce the current boot process. Since the switch to their package manager, there was no longer a way to influence the boot process at all. The only file you could change was the UserBootscript which is started only after Tracker and Deskbar — the whole system is already up at this point. The new service manager gives the power back to you, and also allows arbitrary software to be launched on startup. Alternatively, you can prevent system components from being started at all if you so wish. Furthermore, it allows for event based application start, start on demand, a multi-threaded boot process, and even enables you to talk to servers before they actually started.
Upgrades

"Ludicrous Speed" For Tesla's Model S Means 0-60 MPH In 2.8 Seconds 171 171

Automobile Magazine, writes reader Eloking, reports that the highest-end of the Tesla line has just gotten a boost upward, thanks to a new "Ludicrous Speed" mode: In combination with a newly optional 90-kWh battery pack, this new mode brings 0-60 mph acceleration down to 2.8 seconds (from a quoted 3.2 seconds for the P85D model). This larger battery pack is offered as an upgrade from the existing 85-kWh model, creating new 90, 90D, and P90D models. It doesn't come cheap, though: this isn't just a firmware update to download. For P90D owners, the upgrade costs $10,000 (including the larger battery); P85Ds can be upgraded for half that price.
Government

Scientology Group Urged Veto of Mental Health Bill 265 265

An anonymous reader writes: According to records obtained by The Texas Tribune, Gov. Greg Abbott vetoed a bill that would have given doctors more power to detain mentally ill and potentially dangerous patients, after a Church of Scientology-backed group helped organize a campaign against it. "Medical staff should work closely with law enforcement to help protect mentally ill patients and the public," he said. "But just as law enforcement should not be asked to practice medicine, medical staff should not be asked to engage in law enforcement, especially when that means depriving a person of the liberty protected by the Constitution." The bill would have allowed doctors to put mentally ill patients on a four-hour hold if they were suspected of being a danger to themselves or others. The bill had the support of two of the nation's largest medical associations.
Power

Solar Impulse Grounded Until 2016 25 25

An anonymous reader writes: The Solar Impulse 2 has been grounded in Hawaii for at least nine months because of battery damage sustained during its record 118-hour trans-Pacific flight from Japan. The project team says the aircraft is not expected to take off on the next leg of its journey until late April or early May 2016. The BBC reports: "...[the] plane experienced damaging overheating in its lithium-ion battery system. Although the battery units performed as expected, they had too much insulation around them, making temperature management very difficult. Engineers on the project have not been able to make the quick repairs that might allow Solar Impulse to have a crack at completing the round-the-world journey this year."
Power

70th Anniversary of Trinity Test: Reflecting On the Bomb 60 60

Lasrick writes: It's the 70th Anniversary of the Trinity atomic bomb test, and Dan Drollette pulls together a series of reflections, over time, by the scientists who were there. The Bulletin reports: "In the middle of May, on two separate nights in one week, the Air Force mistook the Trinity base for their illuminated [training] target. One bomb fell on the barracks building which housed the carpentry shop, another hit the stables, and a small fire started." Other reflections show how perceptions changed over the years. A fascinating history of the beginning of the nuclear age.
Power

Lenovo ThinkPad W550s: Heavy, But a Battery That Lasts Nearly All Day 79 79

MojoKid writes: Mobile workstation notebooks typically offer a fair degree of performance but usually at the expense of battery life. It comes with the territory for machines that are configured with higher-end processors with discrete graphics chips, as well as high-end displays that take more power to light up. Lenovo, however, seems to have found a way to strike a better balance with their new ThinkPad W550s, which comes equipped with an Intel Core i7-5600U CPU, an NVIDIA Quadro K620M GPU, and a 15.5 inch IPS display that sports 2880X1620 native resolution. With that kind of horsepower and that many pixels to push, you would think untethered up-time wouldn't be its strong suit but Lenovo configured a snap-in extended battery for the W550s. The 6-cell extended battery, in combination with its 3-cell internal battery, was able to power the machine for over 18 hours of light-duty web browsing in real-world testing (Lenovo claims up to 20 hrs of battery life). The machine also lasted over five hours under heavy-load Battery Eater testing, and the extended battery is unobtrusive, tilting the keyboard up slightly toward the user but keeping well inside the machine's footprint.
Power

Transparent Paper Produces Power With Just a Touch 38 38

ckwu writes: A new transparent-paper device can generate electrical power from a user's touch. The paper energy-harvester could be used to make disposable, self-powered touch screens that fold; interactive light-up books; touch-sensitive skin for prosthetics; and security systems for art and documents, according to the researchers. The device is made out of nanopaper, a tangled mat made of nanometers-wide cellulose fibers that is transparent and smooth like plastic. The researchers deposit carbon nanotubes on the nanopaper to make a pair of electrodes, and then sandwich a polyethylene film in between. The generator works via electrostatic induction. Pressing one side of the device causes a change in the charge balance between the nanotube electrodes, resulting in a flow of current through the device. Releasing the pressure causes electrons to flow back, so repeated pressing and releasing creates continuous current. The researchers demonstrated that the generator could produce enough power when pressed to light up a small liquid-crystal display.
Bug

Toyota Recalls 625,000 Hybrid Vehicles Over Software Glitch 56 56

hypnosec writes: Yesterday we discussed news that over 65,000 Range Rovers were being recalled over a software issue. Not to be outdone, Japanese car manufacturer Toyota on Wednesday recalled 625,000 hybrid vehicles globally to fix a different software defect. The automaker said the defect in question might lead to shut down of the hybrid system while the car is being driven. The recall was due to software settings that could result in "higher thermal stress" in parts of a power converter, potentially causing it to become damaged. Toyota dealers will update the software for both the motor/generator control ECU and hybrid control ECU in the involved vehicles.
Businesses

As Cloud Growth Booms, Server Farms Get Super-Sized 57 57

1sockchuck writes: Internet titans are concentrating massive amounts of computing power in regional cloud campuses housing multiple data centers. These huge data hubs, often in rural communities, enable companies to rapidly add server capacity and electric power amid rapid growth of cloud hosting and social sharing. As this growth continues, we'll see more of these cloud campuses, and they'll be bigger than the ones we see today. Some examples from this month: Google filed plans for a mammoth 800,000 square foot data center near Atlanta, Equinix announced 1 million square feet of new data centers on its campus in Silicon Valley, and Facebook began work on a $1 billion server farm in Texas that will span 750,000 square feet.