20 Essential Books About the Next Step in Human Evolution

Evolutionary theory teaches us that life never remains the same. It is constantly changing and adapting. So what might be the next stages in the evolution of humanity and our planet? Here are 20 books, both fiction and nonfiction, that try to answer that question. More »

This Creepy Facial Recognition System Knows How Often You Visit a Store

You might want to think twice about how often you hang out at your local Best Buy in the future. In Japan, NEC has developed a new facial recognition system geared towards retailers that determines the age and gender of shoppers, and tracks how long and how often they visit a given store. More »

Kim Dotcom has new “Mega” domain, says this one won’t be shut down

After the government of Gabon shut down his Me.ga domain , Kim Dotcom needed a new country to let him host the domain that will be home to the successor of file-sharing site Megaupload. That country will be New Zealand, as Dotcom is now the owner of Mega.co.nz . The exact same site that was originally hosted at Me.ga can now be found at the New Zealand domain. On Twitter, Dotcom announced “New Zealand will be the home of our new website: http://Mega.co.nz - Powered by legality and protected by the law.” When Gabon shut down Me.ga, Dotcom blamed “the reach of the US and Vivendi,” as the Me.ga domain was provided by Gabon Telecom, a subsidiary of the Vivendi entertainment company. Although New Zealand police raided Dotcom’s house 10 months ago because of criminal copyright charges filed against him in the US, he seems confident that New Zealand won’t shut down the domain itself. Ultimately, getting a domain will probably be among the least challenging aspects of running Mega, which is expected to launch in January. But Dotcom has a plan for that too. To avoid copyright charges, Dotcom promises Mega “encrypts and decrypts your data transparently in your browser, on the fly,” and that the encryption keys are only controlled by the user, not Mega. And to avoid the reach of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Dotcom plans to run his servers with hosting services outside the US. Read on Ars Technica | Comments

Ad-blocking box maker seeks funding

AdTrap is a planned $150 firewall box for consumers. Plugged in between your internet connection and router, it strips the web of advertising without requiring a moment's configuration. Unlike browser-based plugins, it covers the whole pipe rather than a single app: every device in the house managed from a single setup screen. It's open-source and hackable, too, but the moral hazard with these concepts is always the same: the more successful they are in becoming a de facto middle-man between readers and publishers, the greater will be their incentive to research their way to concluding that you like some advertising after all .

Cloaking device demonstrated

After years of research, "perfect" invisibility cloaks are finally a reality — at least so long as you are a tiny cylinder. In 2006, the development of metamaterials resulted in a working example of a cloaking device, an essential accoutrement for young wizards and evil Klingon generals alike. Practical complexities, however, meant the material offered no more than a "simplifying approximation" of the desired functionality. Now, however, researchers Nathan Landy and David R. Smith have described a "perfect" implementation in A full-parameter unidirectional metamaterial cloak for microwaves , a new study published by Nature : "Here, we design and experimentally characterize a two-dimensional, unidirectional cloak that makes no approximations to the underlying transformation optics formulation, yet is capable of reducing the scattering of an object ten wavelengths in size. We demonstrate that this approximation-free design regains the performance characteristics promised by transformation optics." In other words, the cloaked object is completely invisible, unlike previous attempts in which reflections were visible: good enough for the Predator's interstellar hunting trips , but not for the Center for Metamaterials and Integrated Plasmonics in Durham, N.C. While this is the first successful demonstration of the original 2006 paper's claims, that's not to say that there'll be practical implementations any time soon. The effect still only worked when viewed from one direction, and on a perfectly cylindrical object.

MOOC Mania

theodp writes "Online education has had a fifty-year road to 'overnight' success. MIT Technology Review calls the emergence of free online education, particularly massive open online courses (MOOCs), The Most Important Education Technology in 200 Years. 'If you were asked to name the most important innovation in transportation over the last 200 years,' writes Antonio Regalado, 'you might say the combustion engine, air travel, Henry Ford's Model-T production line, or even the bicycle. The list goes on. Now answer this one: what's been the single biggest innovation in education? Don't worry if you come up blank. You're supposed to.' Writing about MOOC Mania in the Communications of the ACM, Moshe Y. Vardi worries that 'the enormous buzz about MOOCs is not due to the technology's intrinsic educational value, but due to the seductive possibilities of lower costs.' And in MOOCs Will Eat Academia, Vivek Haldar writes, 'MOOCs will almost certainly hollow out the teaching component of universities as it stands today...But all is not lost, because the other thing universities do is research, and that is arguably as important, if not more, than teaching.' So, are MOOCs the best thing since sliced bread, or merely the second coming of 1920s Postal Course Mania?" Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Heartbeat-Powered Pacemaker

The idea proposed by reseachers at the University of Michigan is to harvest the energy released by a heartbeat to power the pacemaker regulating the same heart: Piezoelectric materials generate an electric charge when their shape is changed. They are used in some microphones to convert vibrations into an electrical signal. Researchers at the University of Michigan are trying to use the movement of the heart as a source of electricity. In tests designed to simulate a range of heartbeats, enough electricity was generated to power a pacemaker. The designers now want to test the device on a real heart and build it into a commercial pacemaker. Link -via Glenn Reynolds  | Photo: Heart Pencil Holder on sale at the NeatoShop

Intel’s NUC mini-PC internals exposed, available for around $300 in early December

Intel's Next Unit of Computing (NUC) is just about ready for store shelves, and Anandtech managed to get their hands on the DC3217BY model to provide us an early inside look at the mini-PC. Clearly aimed at enthusiasts, the motherboard and 4 x 4-inch chassis are all you get out of the box; you'll have to get the memory, the mini PCIe cards and even the power cord separately. Luckily installation looks quite easy -- only four screws hold the chassis and motherboard together. The bottom mini PCIe slot accommodates half height cards (for WiFi, presumably) and you can go ahead and put an mSATA drive or full height card at the top. As we saw in our IDF hands-on , the NUC holds a Core i3 CPU, HD 4000 graphics, two SoDIMM sockets, mSATA and mini-PCIe interfaces, one to two HDMI and three USB 2.0 connectors. The DC3217BY eschews Gigabit Ethernet (which is available on the DC3217IYE) in favor of a Thunderbolt port. While we initially thought the NUC would go for somewhere around $400 , it turns out it'll cost $300 to $320 and will be available from Amazon and Eggdrop in early December. If you're considering getting one for yourself, we recommend taking a peek at the source to get a more intimate look. Filed under: Desktops , Misc , Intel Intel's NUC mini-PC internals exposed, available for around $300 in early December originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 10 Nov 2012 04:17:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink    |  Anandtech  |  Email this  |  Comments

The Edible Deodorant

Candy is dandy and liquor is quicker, but edible deodorant doesn't only taste sweet, it also makes you smell like roses! Here's Deo Perfume Candy, the brainchild of food company Beneo : This form of nutricosmetics (nutritional supplements which can support the function and the structure of the skin) is down to the ingredient geraniol, an acrylic monoterpene-alcohol, which is a colourless liquid that can be found in plants such as rose, lavender and vanilla. Geraniol is a natural antioxidant and its fragrance, once consumed as a candy, leaves the body through its pores, creating a naturally sweet smell that can last for hours. Oddity Central has the story: Link (Photo: New Hope 360 )

Hiren’s BootCD 15.2

Avira AntiVir Personal (18-10-2012): Free anti-virus and anti-spyware on-demand scanner, detects and removes more than 50000 viruses and trojans (Windows Freeware). ClamWin Free Antivirus 0.97.6 (18-10-2012): A free antivirus, GNU GPL Open Source Virus Scanner (Windows Freeware). ComboFix (18-10-2012): Designed to cleanup malware infections and restore settings modified by