Rare Harry Potter Prequel Stolen, J.K. Rowling Pleads for Return

A one-of-a-kind Harry Potter prequel has been stolen, and author J.K. Rowling is eager to get it back in the right hands. Read more...

Rare Harry Potter Prequel Stolen, J.K. Rowling Pleads for Return

A one-of-a-kind Harry Potter prequel has been stolen, and author J.K. Rowling is eager to get it back in the right hands. Read more...

Sony PS4: Everything You Need to Know

After two long hours of tease this past February, followed by a few fleeting glimpses in May, Sony's finally ready to show us what its next-generation PlayStation console actually, you know, looks like. And it's... well, it's a rhombus. A familiar-looking one. Read more...        

Uh, This Dude Re-Invented the Wheel. And It’s Kind of Square.

David M. Patrick has accidentally re-invented the wheel. The California-based inventor was toying around with six short, curved lengths of cable that he had connected into a sort of helical loop--and then he accidentally dropped it. What he observed next was surprising: The loop began to roll... and roll... and roll. It was a self-balancing wheel. Even stranger was that no one expected it to roll; Patrick's loop actually looks square when it is rolling. A lifelong skater, Patrick then prototyped a skateboard wheel based on his design, this one comprised of side-by-side helical coils. He call it the Shark Wheel : (more...)        

A single autonomous car could greatly reduce man-made traffic

Traffic. We all hate it, but what can honestly be done to significantly reduce it? Well, according to an experiment conducted by the university of Illinois, simply introducing a few self-driving cars to roads could be the answer. Conducting experiments in Tucson, Arizona the team discovered that even adding a single autonomous vehicle to the roads can massively reduce traffic. They programmed a self-driving car to loop a track continuously and then added 20 other human-driven cars to the mix. While humans somehow naturally create stop-and-go traffic even without lane changes or other disruptions, thanks to the robotic racer, both traffic and fuel consumption were reduced by 40 percent. This isn't the first example of modern tech helping to reduce congestion. With fixed traffic sensors widely swapped for navigation systems using GPS data, Professor Daniel B. Work believes that automated cars could be the next step -- replacing the traffic-reducing variable speed limits. The next stage of the experiment is to test autonomous cars in situations where both human and AI drivers have to change lanes. From our experience with freeways, we already feel bad for the robot cars. Still, this isn't the only way that drivers can use automation to reduce traffic. With the margin of human error being so high, the same study suggests that even existing tech like adaptive cruise control has the power to greatly reduce the amount of traffic on our roads. With many people understandably wary at the prospect of roads completely ruled by automated cars, the idea of mixing a few with regular vehicles seems like a good way to pilot the risky tech. Via: Phys.org Source: Cornell University Library

Polaroid’s latest instamatic doesn’t use ink to print photos

Cubes , unwieldy squares , bulky cameras of yore. Regardless of form factor, when the Polaroid name is on a camera it means you're getting instant photos. With the company's latest shooter, the Snap, you're getting what looks like a pocketable device that uses proprietary tech to print photos using zero ink. Instead, the ZINK (get it?) paper you load in the 10MP pictograph box uses heat to activate color crystals and reproduce your 2-inch by 3-inch masterpiece. And of course, since this is camera made in 2015 there's a selfie timer and filter presets (color, black and white, vintage) in addition to a Micro SD card slot. Interested? All it takes is $99 to sate your curiosity sometime later this year. Slideshow-316542 Filed under: Cameras Comments Tags: cameras, ifa2015, polaroid, snap

South Australia Hits 33% Renewal Energy Target 6 Years Early

ferrisoxide.com writes: South Australia has hit its target of 33% renewable energy by 2020, 6 years earlier than expected, delivering clean power to the state through investment in wind, solar and geothermal energy — mothballing one coal-fired power station in the process. Not content to rest on their laurels, the SA government has now announced a new "stretch" target of 50% by 2025. South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill declared that despite initial upfront costs to renewable energy generators such as wind farms, the 50 per cent target will not add one extra dollar to energy prices. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Apple logs your iMessage contacts and could share them with police

Apple's iMessage had a few security holes in March and April that potentially leaked photos and contacts, respectively. Though quickly patched, they are a reminder that the company faces a never-ending arms race to shore up its security to keep malicious hackers and government agencies out. But that doesn't mean they will always be able to keep it private. A report from The Intercept states that iMessage conversation metadata gets logged in Apple's servers, which the company could be compelled to turn over to law enforcement by court order. While the content of those messages remains encrypted and out of the police's hands, these records list time, date, frequency of contact and limited location information. When an iOS user types in a phone number to begin a text conversation, their device pings servers to determine whether the new contact uses iMessage. If not, texts are sent over SMS and appear in green bubbles, while Apple's proprietary data messages appear in blue ones. Allegedly, they log all of these unseen network requests. But those also include time and date stamps along with the user's IP address, identifying your location to some degree, according to The Intercept . Like the phone logs of yore, investigators could legally request these records and Apple would be obliged to comply. While the company insisted that iMessage was end-to-end encrypted in 2013, securing user messages even if law enforcement got access, Apple said nothing about metadata. Apple confirmed to The Intercept that it does comply with subpoenas and other legal requests for these exact logs, but maintained that message content is still kept private. Their commitment to user security isn't really undermined by these illuminations — phone companies have been giving this information to law enforcement for decades — but it does illustrate what they can and cannot protect. While they resisted FBI requests for backdoor iPhone access earlier this year and then introduced a wholly redesigned file system with a built-in unified encryption method on every device, they can't keep authorities from knowing when and where you text people. Source: The Intercept

In sudden announcement, US to give up control of DNS root zone

Photograph by David Davies In a historic decision on Friday, the United States has decided to give up control of the authoritative root zone file, which contains all names and addresses of all top-level domain names. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), under the United States Department of Commerce, has retained ultimate control of the domain name system (DNS) since transitioning it from a government project into private hands in 1997. With Commerce’s blessing, the International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) acts as the primary essential governing body for Internet policy. The new change is  in advance of the upcoming ICANN meeting to be held in Brazil in April 2014. Brazil has fumed at revelations of American spying on its political leaders and corporations, which were first revealed in September 2013 as the result of documents distributed by whistleblower Edward Snowden. The South American country also threatened to build its “own cloud,” as a consequence of the NSA’s spying. Read 14 remaining paragraphs | Comments

An Old Satellite Dish Found on Google Maps Is Becoming West Africa’s First Radio...

Astronomy needs expensive things, and lots of them. You might remember that astronomers almost literally turned the Earth into a telescope just to see a black hole, by combining lots of existing radio telescope dishes. Read more...