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LightSail solar spacecraft gets back in touch with its ground crew

If you were on pins and needles wondering whether or not the LightSail solar ship would resume contact with the crew back on Earth, you can relax. The Planetary Society reports that the Carl Sagan-inspired spacecraft rebooted as predicted, and the ground team is once again in touch. There's already a software fix waiting in the wings, and there will be a decision on when to deploy it "very soon" -- if all goes according to plan, the Society will deploy the vehicle's namesake sails soon afterward. You'll know more in the next two days, but for now it appears that this years-long project is back on track.


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University of Miami’s hurricane tank simulates storms for scientists

Researchers from the University of Miami have started looking more closely into category five hurricanes this month. No, not by chasing them around -- they're thankfully quite rare -- but by simulating their effects inside a huge indoor tank. Oceanographers from the institute built the 66 x 20 foot tank officially called SUSTAIN or Surge-Structure-Atmosphere Interaction Facility on an island off the coast of Florida. The scientists merely have to flip a switch for the paddles inside to start churning the waters and for fans to begin mimicking howling winds -- in just few minutes, it all turns into a small-scale storm.

Earlier versions of SUSTAIN could only recreate category three hurricanes, and the same applies for other wind-wave simulators around the world. The current tank in Florida was designed to help scientists understand what happens during the strongest storms ever, where waves crash with devastating force and wind speeds exceed 158 mph. According to Nature, UM's researchers will start by finding out how oil spills disperse during a category 5 hurricane and how strong aquaculture nets for fish farms have to be to withstand one.

They might also stick miniature buildings and even a tiny Port of Miami in the tank to see how long they can remain standing while the system pummels them with exceedingly strong waves and winds. The scientists believe that data from their experiments will help improve forecasts for super strong hurricanes in the future. That, in turn, will allow the government to issue more accurate warnings and to evacuate people a lot earlier if needed.


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DARPA to develop best practices for 3D printing

Just as steel's physical properties change depending on how it's produced, so too do 3D printed materials. However, unlike steel, we don't yet fully understand how different these newfound techniques affect the resulting printed item. Sometimes a printed item -- even if it's made from something common like aluminum -- ends up having a very different microstructure had it been created with traditional, subtractive methods. You can see an example of that below. Heck, even using the same material on different printer models can result items with wildly divergent properties. But DARPA is looking to change that. The DoD's advanced research agency announced Friday that it is launching an Open Manufacturing program to create comprehensive reference documentation for 3D printing and usher in an era of productive predictability.

"The Open Manufacturing program is fundamentally about capturing and understanding the physics and process parameters of additive and other novel production concepts, so we can rapidly predict with high confidence how the finished part will perform," said Mick Maher, program manager in DARPA's Defense Sciences Office, said in a statement. Specifically DARPA will be focusing on a pair of metal additive processes (for nickel and titanium, respectively) as well bonded composite structures. DARPA is teaming with Penn State and the Army Research Lab for the program. These research institutes will act as both test centers for generating the reference materials as well as knowledge repositories once the program has concluded.

"Historically, U.S. military advantages were supplied by breakthroughs in materials and manufacturing," Maher explained. "More recently, the risks that come along with new manufacturing have caused a lack of confidence that has stifled adoption. Through the Open Manufacturing program, DARPA is empowering the advanced manufacturing community by providing the knowledge, control, and confidence to use new technology."


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MotoGP 2015 a Imola (Italia) in streaming: come seguirlo online

Appuntamento con la MotoGP 2015 per la gara di Imola e d’Italia e il popolo del web si organizza per seguire in streaming una delle competizioni di Motorsport più attese dell’anno. Dopo la pole position di Andrea Iannone, la prima in carriera per l’abruzzese, tutti si aspettano una grande prova anche di Valentino Rossi, che però è attardato e deve accontentarsi dell’ottava posizione per una gara tutta in rimonta dopo le qualifiche. Andiamo a scoprire tutte le informazioni per seguire la diretta su Internet.


Andrea Iannone della Ducati ha preceduto tutti con un tempo di 1’46″489, in seconda posizione c’è Jorge Lorenzo a 95 millesimi e a 121 millesimi il compagno di scuderia Andrea Dovizioso. Al quarto posto c’è Crutchlow, al quinto Aleix Espargaro e al sesto Pirro. Ottava piazza per Valentino Rossi, che è 8° a 434/1000. Malissimo Marc Marquez che ha sbagliato tutto lo sbagliabile e scatterà dalla tredicesima posizione.


Tempone nelle Libere3, con il record di Lorenzo che scende sotto la barriera dell’1’47″ (1’46″658). La Q1 aveva visto la qualificazione di Yonny Hernadez (Ducati Pramac) a danni proprio di Marquez e Aleix Espargaro, che era secondo a 105 millesimi. Dovizioso è stato primo nelle Libere4 con 1’47″658. Iannone aveva stabilito anche il record di velocità: 350,8 km/h.


Diretta TV su Sky con il Moto GP Imola – Italia che si potrà seguire sul canale 208 oltre che online in streaming per abbonati su Sky Online e su Sky Go, in più, streaming ufficiale su CieloTV.

Article source: http://www.tecnocino.it/2015/05/articolo/motogp-2015-a-imola-italia-in-streaming-come-seguirlo-online/62597/

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‘Halo 3: ODST’ is rolling out for Xbox One, check your inbox

From one bug-ridden console game to another -- Halo: Master Chief Collection owners should check their Xbox One inbox this morning, as redemption codes for the Halo 3: ODST add-on are going out now. Arriving as an apology for problems gamers reported with the massive Halo bundle since it launched months ago, ODST is a simpler update instead of a full rebuild, with all the original bits but running at 1080p and 60fps, and without the co-op Firefight mode. There's also an update for the main bundle that adds Halo 2: Anniversary map "Remnant" to the bundle and makes a few additional tweaks.

Halo Senior Communications Manager Rob Semsey confirmed the rollout on Twitter, so if you played the game between November 11th and December 19th last year expect a message (if you didn't, but still want the add-on, it will go on sale soon for $5). The title update is about 2GB plus 8.1GB for ODST so you'll have time to think -- is this reason enough to get back on the Halo bandwagon or are you through trying with Master Chief Collection?

Halo: The Master Chief Collection's 'ODST'


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Recommended Reading: The new and improved ‘Halt and Catch Fire’

Recommended Reading highlights the best long-form writing on technology and more in print and on the web. Some weeks, you'll also find short reviews of books that we think are worth your time. We hope you enjoy the read.

Hard Reboot: The Excellent Season 2 Makeover of 'Halt and Catch Fire'
by Andy Greenwald

Despite an interesting premise, AMC's Halt and Catch Fire never really took off during its first season. The show that chronicles the effort to reverse engineer an IBM PC in a Texas garage got a full revamp for season two, though, and Grantland's Andy Greenwald explains how the changes have drastically improved the series for version 2.0.

[Image credit: Tina Rowden/AMC]


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14 ingenious hacks for problems you didn’t know you had

People can be crazy, yo. But where there's a will, there's a way that can lead to all sorts of fantastic oddities in the gadget world. Today's community of hackers, makers and DIY fanatics oftentimes work together to find solutions to problems we didn't know we had. They develop innovative products (without all that Kickstarter/Indiegogo hoopla) and often provide open-source instructions for anyone with more can-do attitude than cash. In honor of these ambitious gadget hackers, we've highlighted a few of the more interesting projects from over the years, ranging from the practical to the party starter.

14 ingenious hacks for problems you didn't know you had

[Image: Ruiz Brothers via Adafruit]


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Ross Ulbricht verdict dismisses the idea of Silk Road as a safe place

Ross Ulbricht is going away for life. The prosecution urged judge Katherine Forrest to send a strong message to anyone who might be tempted to go the Silk Road way, and she did. In addition to maximum time, the judge ordered $183 million, the estimated total sales from Silk Road, to be paid as restitution. When the 31-year-old mastermind was convicted on seven charges (including distributing narcotics over the internet, money laundering, engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise, and conspiracies related to those crimes) earlier this year, it was clear that he would spend a significant chunk of his life in prison. But over the past few weeks, his parents rallied support on social media and the defense made every attempt to highlight a different side of the drug market and its creator. They claimed Silk Road actually reduced harm, and that users were safer buying drugs through the site than on the streets.

They brought in declarations from a number of experts to validate that claim. "The site created a place where people who chose to purchase drugs could do so without the risk of street-based violence and reducing the risk of harm to the end user [with] quality control and accountability features," Tim Bingham, an Irish harm reduction researcher who filed a statement to support Ulbricht's defense told Engadget.

Based on the two years that he spent engaging with users on the site, he talks about a forum that was dedicated to people looking to reduce their drug use. "It was a very active thread," he says. "There were people supporting each other through the process. As opposed to other sites on the main web, people felt safer here." The site wasn't all about psychoactive substances. He points out that there were people with mental health issues looking for support in those forums. It was a place where they weren't stigmatized.

He believes the verdict is disproportionate, even unnecessary. "In the current environment of drug prohibition this sentence will not halt the continued growth of both the clear web and dark web online drugs markets," says Bingham. "If the sentence is intended to serve as a warning to others, I don't envisage it will have much of an effect."

Instead of squashing potential drug markets, shutting down Silk Road has only made room for many others. He believes it's created a more fragmented landscape of illicit drug use. "We can see how many market places have sprung up since Silk Road," he says. "I would argue it's made it a lot harder from a research perspective. I think it's made it worse even for the law enforcement. Silk Road was purely drugs, a lot of these other sites are selling drugs and weapons – they're one-stop shops. They're introducing people to other areas of criminality that they may not have been involved in before."

As is the case with any crackdown on a drug racket, whether it's online or out on the streets, prosecutors tend to believe going after suppliers will put an end to drug use. "That's not a reasonable conclusion to make," says Stefanie Jones, nightlife community engagement manager at Drug Policy Alliance. "That decision is regrettable in the same way that all drug prosecutions are regrettable. They might be guilty of what they're charged with, but it's not going to have any impact on the overall human desire for substances that alter consciousness nor the market side of things where people will find ways to supply their substances."

The fact that the minimum mandatory sentence of 20 years would've been a sigh of relief for Ulbricht and his family is indicative of the magnitude of this case. But, life without the possibility of parole "is the worst possible outcome, not just for [him] personally, but also in the disdain for harm reduction shown by the prosecution and the judge," says Jones. "They are sharply out of step with all those who recognize exactly what it means to prioritize safety in an environment of drug prohibition. That's what Silk Road did to the extent that it was possible, and the Drug Policy Alliance will continue to support harm reduction wherever it arises."

[Image credit: (top) Associated Press, (middle) AFP/Getty]


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A farewell tour of Google I/O 2015

After two furious days of news -- both expected and not -- Google I/O has finally come to a close. We're still summing up our thoughts about the show and what Google's new future looks like, but we wanted to take you on one last stroll through Moscone West as I/O wound down to see what it's like being in a playground for some of the smartest, craziest people in the world. Join us, won't you?

A farewell tour of Google I/O 2015

Roberto Baldwin contributed to this story.


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Intel Compute Stick review: nothing more than a prototype for now

Intel's new Compute Stick isn't that hard to grasp: It's a computer... on a stick! Using one of its Atom processors, Intel managed to cram everything a fully functional PC needs in something the size of a few packs of gum for just $150. All you need to get going is to plug it into a display with an HDMI port, connect it to power and attach your accessories. It heralds a new era of computing, one where you can turn any display into a pseudo-desktop in a few minutes. It could change the way IT workers manage computer labs, kiosks and digital signage forever. And it's something you should avoid buying at all costs. While the Compute Stick gives us a glimpse at a tantalizing future, it's basically a beta product. It's only meant for the brave and geeky -- not most consumers.

Intel Compute Stick review


The Compute Stick is proof that Intel can cram all the hardware you need for a PC into a portable stick, but it's far too limited for most.


Intel clearly didn't spend much time on the Compute Stick's design. It's a plastic, rectangular black stick that's simply boring. Aside from a plain, white Intel logo, the only bit of style its got are vents for some of the tiniest computer fans I've ever seen. Beyond that, you've got one full-sized USB port for your accessories (a USB hub is pretty much required); a micro-USB port that connects to the AC adapter; a micro SD card slot (for up to 128GB more storage); and a power button with a lone blue power LED. While it's small, it's not exactly svelte -- it's about the size of four typical USB sticks joined together. The Compute Stick is purely utilitarian, although its lack of flash probably won't matter much since it's mainly going to be stuck behind a TV or monitor. There might be some slight cosmetic changes once it hits retail, but I wouldn't count on anything drastic.

For the most part, the Compute Stick is a device that proves it's possible to build a tiny computer in stick form, but it leaves the door open for others to refine that concept. I'd imagine plenty of third-party computer makers would like to take a stab at making a more stylish version, perhaps one that's thinner and made out of metal instead of plastic. It's also a market that Google is getting into with its Chromebit, which is basically the Chrome OS version of the Compute Stick.

Aside from the device itself, Intel gives you a few accessories to get started: a short USB cable and AC adapter for power, a handful of plug attachments for the AC adapter and an HDMI extension cord (for when you can't fit the Compute Stick directly into an HDMI port).

Setup and performance

If you're paying close attention, you'd realize by now that there's one major flaw with the Compute Stick's design: It only has one USB port! Intel assumes you'll plug in your own USB hub to get your keyboard, mouse and other accessories connected. But if you don't have one handy, it can really throw a wrench into the entire setup process. Sure, if you're buying the Compute Stick, you've probably got a hub around, but having a single USB port still isn't very user-friendly.

I was able to get both my wireless keyboard and mouse connected to the Compute Stick with a single USB receiver, luckily enough. I also learned the hard way that you really need to connect the USB power cable to the AC adapter to properly boot the Compute Stick. I spent days trying to get it up and running by plugging it into one of my TV's USB ports (though, oddly enough, some testers have managed to get it working on their USB ports).

Once you've sorted the power and input situation, using the Compute Stick is pretty much exactly the same as every other Windows 8 computer. If you're connecting it to a monitor on your desk, you probably won't be too wowed -- it simply feels normal. The real magic behind the Compute Stick occurs when you connect it to other displays. I first tested it out on my HDTV, and it was a bit trippy navigating Windows on a 50-inch screen with a keyboard and mouse on my coffee table. (Yes, I know this is normal to you HTPC nerds out there.) The more displays I plugged the Compute Stick into, the more amorphous the very idea of a PC became -- and really, that's exactly what Intel wants.

Given the Compute Stick's specs -- a 1.3GHz Atom Z3735F (with burst speeds up to 1.8GHz), 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage -- I didn't really expect it to be a strong performer. And, sad to say, my testing pretty much confirmed that. It was fine for light web browsing and basic productivity tasks, but it slowed down quickly once I started piling on browser tabs and opening up multiple applications. I was constantly fighting with memory-hungry Chrome; all it took was one rogue video ad or Flash embed to bring things to a halt. It's pretty much netbook-level performance -- usable, but you have to be very careful about overloading it.

The Compute Stick handled my basic daily workflow -- browsing the web, chatting with coworkers and friends on Slack and other IM clients and editing images occasionally -- but everything felt too slow for comfort. This isn't something that you can use as a secondary computer very easily. And you can forget about running games, as the benchmarks above make clear. 3DMark11, a five-year-old 3D benchmark, was pretty much a slideshow on the Compute Stick. It could barely even muster running Hotline Miami, a fairly simple 2D game.

But really, the Compute Stick isn't truly meant for heavy usage, or for playing games. And that's partially why I'm not recommending it for now. It's a proof of concept through and through. And even when Intel and its partners deliver better versions, they'll still have a very limited purpose. It's a perfect form factor for computer labs and kiosks, since you can carry dozens of them in your pockets instead of lugging desktops around. But unless future Compute Sticks get a lot cheaper, you'll probably be better off with a cheap laptop or tablet.

As disappointing as it is for most uses, the Compute Stick might be useful if you're simply looking for a slim media computer for your living room. It can access network shares easily just like any PC, and it managed to play 1080p MKV files and YouTube streams easily (as long as you don't have too many other things open). Still, you can probably find small home theater PCs for around $200 that can do a lot more.

Configuration options and the competition

In addition to the $150 Windows 8 Compute Stick is a $110 model with just 8GB of storage and 1GB RAM running Ubuntu Linux. That's going to be less useful for most people, but the lower price makes it a much more palatable test device for some hardware geeks (though you won't be installing Windows on 8GB of storage). Intel says it's not publishing an official retail price for these devices, so there's a good chance they'll be available for much less over the next few months.

The Compute Stick has a few competitors like the MeeGoPad T01 and the (seemingly discontinued) FXI Cotton Candy stick, but in terms of hardware from companies you'd actually know, Google's recently announced Chromebit is its main foe. That device costs only $100 and runs Chrome OS on a Rockchip CPU and 2GB of RAM. If you're just looking for a simple web-browsing dongle, the Chromebit might just be enough. And since most people don't expect Chrome OS to do everything a full Windows computer can, the fact that it's relatively underpowered probably won't be too noticeable. Google also put a lot more effort into the Chromebit's design -- it's significantly thinner than Intel's entry and it also swivels up around the HDMI part so it's not a huge eyesore sticking out of your TV or monitor.

In this price range I'd also recommend looking at inexpensive Windows laptops like the $200 HP Stream . It can also connect to displays over HDMI, and -- gasp! -- it's also a fully functional laptop.


After testing out the Compute Stick for a few weeks, I was reminded of Intel's first foray into mobile processors. For years it showed off ugly prototype phones at CES and other tech conventions that nobody in their right mind would buy. They were just meant to prove that Intel could actually make mobile processors. The Compute Stick shows that Intel can build an entirely new form of computing device, but it fails to prove why anyone would want one.


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