Tech Today w/ Ken May

Archive for May 29th, 2017

After several years of planning and no shortage of financial anxiety , construction has officially started on the Extremely Large Telescope. Contractors are now building the main structure and dome of the Chile-based observer ahead of its initial service in 2024. That’s a long time to wait, but this is no mean feat. With a 43-yard aperture, this promises to be the world’s largest optical telescope for sometime, even compared to future or in-limbo projects like the Thirty Meter Telescope . Those gigantic dimensions will help it capture far more light, giving astronomers the chance to spot particularly distant galaxies, find small planets and capture more details of larger planets. The ELT’s full capabilities won’t come until sometime after 2024, when the ESO starts a second construction phase. It could easily be another few years after that before the telescope lives up to its expectations. However, it’s having some positive side effects right now: the start of construction also marks the connection of its home, the Paranal Observatory (where the Very Large Telescope resides) to the Chilean electrical grid. That simple addition promises more reliability, lower costs and a reduced environmental footprint. Don’t be shocked if more modest telescopes like the VLT benefit well before their larger sibling is ready for action. Via: Reuters Source: ESO

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Sony’s latest E Ink tablet comes to the US in June

Posted by kenmay on May - 29 - 2017

Did you see Sony’s second-generation Digital Paper and realize you found your dream e-reader? If so, you’ll get to do something about it very soon. Sony has announced that its latest 13.3-inch E Ink tablet (the DPT-RP1) will reach the US sometime in June, when it will sell for the previously announced $700. As mentioned in April, it’s really about a lot of incremental improvements: you’re most likely to notice the higher resolution (1, 650 x 2, 200), but the thinner, lighter design and NFC unlocking will also be helpful. The centerpiece remains the ability to read and annotate documents in exceptional detail — this is aimed at pros and students who need to plow through complex documents like research papers. It’s doubtful that you’ll see the new Digital Paper sitting at your local big-box store. You’ll likely have to go straight to the source or find a specialized reseller. We’ve asked Sony if it has plans for mainstream sales and will let you know if it has something to add. The $700 price makes this latest model considerably more accessible than the original Digital Paper , whose $1, 100 cost was eye-watering for just about anyone, including pros. Still, this definitely isn’t an impulse purchase in any field — you could easily get a more conventional tablet that won’t be as easy on the eyes, but should be much more than a one-trick pony. Source: Sony

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hackingbear writes: Researchers at U.C. Berkeley found a birth control that was hormone-free, 100 percent natural, resulted in no side effects, didn’t harm either eggs nor sperm, could be used in the long-term or short-term, and — perhaps the best part of all — could be used either before or after conception, from ancient Chinese folk medicine… “Because these two plant compounds block fertilization at very, very low concentrations — about 10 times lower than levels of levonorgestrel in Plan B — they could be a new generation of emergency contraceptive we nicknamed ‘molecular condoms, ‘” team leader Polina Lishko. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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An anonymous reader quotes Fortune: The security firm Checkpoint on Thursday uncovered dozens of Android applications that infected users’ devices with malicious ad-click software. In at least one case, an app bearing the malware was available through the Google Play app store for more than a year. While the actual extent of the malicious code’s spread is unknown, Checkpoint says it may have reached as many as 36.5 million users, making it potentially the most widely-spread malware yet found on Google Play… The nefarious nature of the programs went unnoticed in large part, according to Checkpoint, because its malware payload was downloaded from a non-Google server after the programs were installed. The code would then use the infected phone to click on Google ads, generating fraudulent revenue for the attacker. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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