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New Technique Can Bioprint Living Tissue In Seconds

SlashDot - 1 hour 14 min ago
An anonymous reader quotes Engadget: Bioprinting holds great potential for repairing injuries, testing drugs or replacing whole organs, but it's currently limited in complexity, viability and speed -- you can't just create tissue on a whim. Soon, though, it might be a matter of crafting whatever you need when you need it. Scientists at EPFL and University Medical Center Utrecht have developed an optical system that can bioprint complex, highly viable living tissue in "just a few seconds." It would represent a breakthrough compared to the clunky, layer-based processes of today. The approach, volumetric bioprinting, forms tissue by projecting a laser down a spinning tube containing hydrogel full of stem cells. You can shape the resulting tissue simply by focusing the laser's energy on specific locations to solidify them, creating a useful 3D shape within seconds. After that, it's a matter of introducing endothelial cells to add vessels to the tissue. The resulting tissues are currently just a few inches across. That's still enough to be "clinically useful," EPFL said, and has already been used to print heart-like valves, a complex femur part and a meniscus. It can create interlocking structures, too.

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For Disney, it's all about 'quality over quantity' with Disney+

Engadget - 1 hour 18 min ago
The Disney+ Showcase at the D23 Expo started with a live performance from the cast of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. And that wasn't just about getting the crowd fired up. For Disney, it was an opportunity to give its biggest fans a ta...

US Govt Considers Changing Requirements for Rocket Launches. Commercial Space Group Objects

SlashDot - 2 hours 14 min ago
Long-time Slashdot reader apoc.famine writes: In a proposed change to the licensing of spaceflight operations, the FAA writes: "This action would fundamentally change how the FAA licenses launches and proposing a regulatory approach that relies on performance-based regulations rather than prescriptive regulations.....This action would also enable flexible timeframes, remove unnecessary ground safety regulations, redefine when launch begins to allow specified pre-flight operations prior to license approval, and allow applicants to seek a license to launch from multiple sites. This proposal would significantly streamline and simplify licensing of launch and reentry operations, would enable novel operations, and would result in net cost savings." The Verge reports that the government's proposed update "is pissing off the commercial space industry," citing comments from the Commercial Spaceflight Federation (CSF), a nonprofit that represents various companies within the private space industry: CSF representatives note the irony of the situation since the organization and its companies were the ones to ask for changes in the first place. Its members even made recommendations for how to update the rules. "The FAA took them, and they went and started formulating," Eric Stallmer, president of CSF, tells The Verge. "And it came back, and we read it, and we tried to digest it. And then we walked away saying, 'This is no better than what we had.' In fact, I think it's worse. It doesn't answer the mail at all...." CSF represents the newer players in the field, like SpaceX, Blue Origin, Rocket Lab, Virgin Orbit, Relativity, and more. The organization argues that the new rules will have a heavier burden on these younger companies, which have been launching commercial missions much more frequently.

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Papercraft-inspired math turns any sheet into any shape

Engadget - 2 hours 47 min ago
You might not need exotic manufacturing techniques to produce custom-shaped objects. If Harvard scientists have their way, you could start with little more than a sheet and some math. They've created a math framework that borrows from the Japanese...

Russia's Floating Nuclear Power Plant Begins 2,650-Mile Sea Voyage

SlashDot - 4 hours 14 min ago
An anonymous reader shared this article about the Akademik Lomonosov "powership" -- Russia's new 459-foot (140-meter) floating nuclear power station (with two 35-megawatt nuclear reactors). It's begun a three-week, 2,650-mile voyage to the Arctic port town of Pevek -- where it will be replacing another plant that's being decommissioned. The Russian project is the first floating nuclear power plant since the U.S. MH-1A, a much smaller reactor that supplied the Panama Canal with power from 1968 to 1975. Environmentalists have criticized the project as inherently dangerous and a threat to the pristine Arctic region. Russia's state nuclear corporation Rosatom has dismissed those concerns, insisting that the floating nuclear plant is safe to operate. Rosatom director, Alexei Likhachev, said his corporation hopes to sell floating reactors to foreign markets. Russian officials have previously mentioned Indonesia and Sudan among potential export customers.

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Note 10 camera: This is the Samsung night mode we needed all along - CNET

CNET News - 4 hours 48 min ago
Commentary: Samsung finally closes the low-light photo gap.

The fantasy of being disconnected - CNET

CNET News - 4 hours 48 min ago
An overactive world is hard to break away from.

DICE cancels 'Battlefield V' close combat mode to help its focus

Engadget - 4 hours 49 min ago
DICE has been piling features on Battlefield V ever since launch. Now, however, it's dialing things back. The developers have scrapped the planned five-on-five close combat mode after determining that it was needed to hit "bug-crushing and content...

Is Agile Becoming Less and Less Relevant?

SlashDot - 8 hours 14 min ago
OneHundredAndTen shares "an interesting Forbes article that posits that Agile software development is losing relevance, it is not the silver bullet that some claimed, and it has become a sort of religion -- 'If Agile doesn't work for you, you are not doing it right.'" Writer/data scientist Kurt Cagle even describes passing around "the holy hockey stick" while begging the scrum master for forgiveness, arguing that "like most religions it really didn't make that much sense to the outsider -- or even to the participants, when it got right down to it." Agile does not always scale well. Integration dependencies are often not tracked (or are subsumed into hierarchical stories), yet it tends to be one of the most variable aspects of any software development... [T]here are whole classes of projects where traditional Agile is counterproductive. Enterprise data projects, in particular, do not fit the criteria for being good Agile candidates... the kind of work that is being done is shifting from an engineering problem (dedicated short term projects intended to connect systems) to a curational one (mapping models via minimal technical tools). This transition also points to what the future of Agile will end up being. In many respects we're leaving the application era of development -- applications are thinner, mostly web-based, where connectivity to both data sets and composite enterprise data will be more important than complex client-based functionality. This is also true of mobile applications -- increasingly, smart phone and tablet apps are just thin shells around mobile HTML+CSS, a sea-change from the "there's an app for that" era. The client as relatively thin endpoint means that the environment for which Agile first emerged and for which it is most well suited -- stand-alone open source applications -- is disappearing. Today, the typical application is more likely a data stream of some sort, in which the value is not in the programming but in the data itself, with the programming consequently far simpler (and with a far broader array of existing tools) than was the case twenty or even ten years ago... While aspects of Agile will remain, the post-Agile world has different priorities and requirements, and we should expect whatever paradigm finally succeeds it to deal with the information stream as the fundamental unit of information.

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Sony and Yamaha are making a self-driving cart for theme parks

Engadget - 9 hours 23 min ago
Remember how we said Sony's self-driving SC-1 concept would make for a great party bus? Apparently, Sony had the same idea. The company is partnering with Yamaha on the SC-1 Sociable Cart, an expansion of the concept designed for entertainment pur...

The Facebook Users Who Can't Get Their Accounts Back

SlashDot - 11 hours 14 min ago
"While many users are abandoning Facebook, fed up with what seems like a never-ending series of privacy violations, a small cohort find themselves in the opposite position," reports New York Times enterprise reporter Kashmir Hill. [Alternate source here.] "They've been kicked off the platform, and no matter how hard they try -- and they try really, really hard -- they can't get back on..." In Facebook's version of a justice system, users are told only that their accounts have been disabled for "suspicious activity." If they appeal -- via a terse form that will accept only a name, contact information and an image of an ID -- a mysterious review process begins. The wait can be endless, and the inability to contact a Facebook employee maddening. Increasingly agitated, Facebook castaways turn for help to Twitter, Reddit, Quora, message boards and, well, me. Because I have a history of writing about (and sometimes solving) people's troubles with the platform, profoundly addicted Facebook users have found their way to my inbox, emailing multiple times a day for updates about their cases, which I do not have... With more than 2 billion active members, Facebook has long been criticized for allowing bad actors to proliferate on its platform, from violent extremists to identity thieves. In May, the company announced that it disabled more than 3 billion "fake accounts" over a six-month period. "Our intent is simple: find and remove as many as we can while removing as few authentic accounts as possible," wrote Alex Schultz, Facebook's vice president for analytics, in an accompanying post... But the number of people complaining about disabled Facebook accounts has been going up for years, according to data from the Federal Trade Commission, which tracked three such complaints in 2015, 12 in 2016, and more than 50 in each of the last two years. Once Facebook disables an account, Mr. Schultz wrote, it keeps the person behind it from rejoining by deploying "advanced detection systems" that look for "patterns of using suspicious email addresses, suspicious actions, or other signals previously associated with other fake accounts we've removed...." When Facebook reviewed 14 disabled accounts belonging to users contacted by The New York Times, the company said that just five had been banned with cause. Facebook suggested that the others should simply go through the appeals process again; most did, but none of their accounts have been reactivated so far. According to the article, Facebook's voicemail system tells callers to press one for phone support -- then plays a recording saying "Thank you for calling Facebook user operations. Unfortunately, we do not offer phone support at this time." Then it hangs up.

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VW Recalls 679K Cars With Faulty Micro Switch That 'May Roll Away'

SlashDot - Sat, 2019-08-24 23:04
"Volkswagen issued a recall Friday of 679,000 vehicles for risk that they may roll away," reports the New York Daily News: Models recalled include certain 2011 through 2019 Beetles and Beetle convertibles, GTIs, Golfs, Golf SportWagens and Jettas that have automatic transmissions, manual hand brakes and keyless entry. "In affected vehicles, a micro switch which indicates the position of the shift lever may fail, allowing the key to be removed from the ignition switch without the shift lever being in the in the "P" Park position," a spokesperson for the German automaker told the Daily News in an email. "If the ignition key is removed without the shift lever being in the "P" Park position, there is a risk the vehicle may roll away, resulting in a crash." The spokesperson added that the company "is not aware of any crashes, injuries or fatalities related to this recall."

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Trump tries to overturn ruling stopping him from blocking Twitter users

Engadget - Sat, 2019-08-24 22:50
President Trump is determined to challenge an appeals court ruling preventing him from blocking critics on Twitter. The Justice Department has filed papers for Trump that demanded a rehearing by the Second US Circuit Court of Appeals in New York, ar...

'Cheating Volkswagen Diesels Have Become A Hot Commodity'

SlashDot - Sat, 2019-08-24 21:34
Remember the Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal? "In the end, after paying huge fines and seeing key executives head to prison, VW agreed to buy back nearly 380,000 of the offending cars in the United States, to fix or scrap," reports the New York Times. But this week the director of industry analytics for online car marketplace CarGurus tells them that VW has now added more share in certified pre-owned sales than any other brand. Jalopnik reports: The resulting used VWs are surprisingly compelling, which is why -- according to a report from the New York Times -- people can't get enough of them... That demand, the story says, is driven by the vehicles' impressive fuel economy, the warranty that the government required VW to offer on all re-sold vehicles, and the dearth of other diesel car options on the market... It's an interesting look at how these once vilified automobiles have once again fallen into favor thanks to what what made the vehicles popular in the first place: They are just impressively fuel efficient. Oh, and the government-mandated warranty, too. That helps. Aexecutive analyst at J.D. Power Valuation Services tells the Times that a used VW now costs about the same as a gas model.

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Divorce dispute leads to accusation of crime in space

Engadget - Sat, 2019-08-24 21:34
This is one spaceflight milestone that NASA isn't about to celebrate. Former Air Force intelligence officer Summer Worden and her family have filed complaints accusing Worden's estranged spouse, astronaut Anne McClain (above), of committing a crime...

OnePlus 7T might pack a wide-angle camera

Engadget - Sat, 2019-08-24 20:15
A bunch of OnePlus 7T renders from notable leaker OnLeaks and Pricebaba shows a phone that looks pretty much like its predecessor -- if it weren't for its circular camera module. If the images truly show what the real device looks like, then the 7T w...

Ask Slashdot: How Do You Estimate the Cost of an Algorithm Turned Into an ASIC?

SlashDot - Sat, 2019-08-24 19:39
"Another coder and I are exploring the possibility of having a video-processing algorithm written in C turned into an ASIC ("Application Specific Integrated Circuit") hardware chip that could go inside various consumer electronics devices," writes Slashdot reader dryriver. The problem? There seems to be very little good information on how much a 20Kb, or 50Kb or indeed a 150Kb algorithm written in the C language would cost to turn in an ASIC or "Custom Chip". We've been told that "the chip-design engineering fees alone would likely start at around $500,000." We've been told "the cost per ASIC will fluctuate wildly depending on whether you are having 50,000 ASICS manufactured or 5 million ASICs manufactured." Is there some rough way to calculate from the source code size of an algorithm -- lets say 100 Kilobytes of C code, or 1000 lines of code -- a rough per-unit estimate of how much the ASIC hardware equivalent might cost to make? Why do we need this? Because we want to pitch our video processing tech to a company that makes consumer products, and they will likely ask us, "So... how many dollars of extra cost will this new video processing chip of yours add to our existing products?" There were some interesting suggestions on the original submission, including the possibility of C to HDL converters or a system on a chip (SoC). But are there any other good alternatives? Leave your own thoughts here in the comments. How do you estimate the cost of an algorithm turned into an ASIC?

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Scientists bioprint living tissue in a matter of seconds

Engadget - Sat, 2019-08-24 18:58
Bioprinting holds great potential for repairing injuries, testing drugs or replacing whole organs, but it's currently limited in complexity, viability and speed -- you can't just create tissue on a whim. Soon, though, it might be a matter of craftin...

UK Cybersecurity Agency Urges Devs To Drop Python 2

SlashDot - Sat, 2019-08-24 18:45
Python's End-of-Life date is 129 days away, warns the UK National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC). "There will be no more bug fixes, or security updates, from Python's core developers." An anonymous reader quotes ZDNet: The UK's cyber-security agency warned developers Thursday to consider moving Python 2.x codebases to the newer 3.x branch due to the looming end-of-life of Python 2, scheduled for January 1, 2020... "If you continue to use unsupported modules, you are risking the security of your organisation and data, as vulnerabilities will sooner or later appear which nobody is fixing." "If you maintain a library that other developers depend on, you may be preventing them from updating to 3," the agency added. "By holding other developers back, you are indirectly and likely unintentionally increasing the security risks of others... If migrating your code base to Python 3 is not possible, another option is to pay a commercial company to support Python 2 for you," the NCSC said. The agency warns that companies who don't invest in migrating their Python 2.x code might end up in the same position as Equifax or the WannaCry victims. "At the NCSC we are always stressing the importance of patching. It's not always easy, but patching is one of the most fundamental things you can do to secure your technology," the agency said. "The WannaCry ransomware provides a classic example of what can happen if you run unsupported software," it said. "By making the decision to continue using Python 2 past its end of life, you are accepting all the risks that come with using unsupported software, while knowing that a secure version is available."

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J.J. Abrams says Carrie Fisher's Leia is 'so alive' in Star Wars IX - CNET

CNET News - Sat, 2019-08-24 18:27
A note left by the late actress made the director feel Fisher was fated to appear in The Rise of Skywalker.