Verizon's lower-cost unlimited plan now works in Canada and Mexico

Verizon’s latest unlimited plans may have some undesirable… limits, but at least you won’t have to pay for the more expensive plan the next time you’re on a North American vacation. As of January 25th, the $75 Go Unlimited plan will include calling…

Source: Engadget – Verizon’s lower-cost unlimited plan now works in Canada and Mexico

Rocket Lab Successfully Reaches Orbit and Deploys Its First Satellites

Long-time Slashdot reader ClarkMills writes:
Rocket Lab has successfully launched its second Electron rocket from New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula, with the rocket reaching orbit for the first time… This follows the company’s first launch last May, in which the rocket got to space but did not make it to orbit after range safety officials had to kill the flight.
Just 60 seconds before lift-off yesterday, a “rogue ship” entered their launch-range area, prompting them to postpone the launch until today. GeekWire reports:
This mission was nicknamed “Still Testing,” but unlike the first mission, the objective was not merely to test Rocket Lab’s hardware. The rocket had the additional task of putting three nanosatellites in orbit: an Earth-imaging Dove satellite for Planet, and two Lemur-2 satellites that the Spire space venture would use for tracking ships and monitoring weather… The price tag for a mission is as low as $5 million, thanks to streamlined hardware production techniques. The Electron makes use of carbon composite materials for its rocket core, and 3-D printing techniques for its Rutherford rocket engines.
90 minutes ago Spire tweeted that they’d experienced a “good clean deployment” of their satellites, adding that they were already receiving images and calling it “a huge win” for commercial space, small satellites, the Electron rocket, and New Zealand.

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Source: Slashdot – Rocket Lab Successfully Reaches Orbit and Deploys Its First Satellites

'Overwatch' pro player suspended for homophobic slur

The Overwatch League’s honeymoon is over. Dallas Fuel player Felix “xQc” Lengyel has been suspended by both the League and Fuel after hurling a homophobic insult at the Houston Outlaws’ openly gay player Austin “Muma” Wilmot. After Wilmot used one…

Source: Engadget – ‘Overwatch’ pro player suspended for homophobic slur

Twitter may lose the exec driving its live video strategy

Twitter’s big bet on live video might be running into trouble. Wall Street Journal sources have claimed that COO Anthony Noto, the exec that has been driving Twitter’s live video push, is in talks to become the CEO of online lending startup Social F…

Source: Engadget – Twitter may lose the exec driving its live video strategy

'Is It Time For Open Processors?'

Linux kernel developer (and LWN.net co-founder) Jonathan Corbet recently posted an essay with a tantalizing title: “Is it time for open processors?” He cited several “serious initiatives”, including the OpenPOWER effort, OpenSPARC, and OpenRISC, adding that “much of the momentum” appears to be with the RISC-V architecture. An anonymous reader quotes LWN.net:
The [RISC-V] project is primarily focused on the instruction-set architecture, rather than on specific implementations, but free hardware designs do exist. Western Digital recently announced that it will be using RISC-V processors in its storage products, a decision that could lead to the shipment of RISC-V by the billion. There is a development kit available for those who would like to play with this processor and a number of designs for cores are available… RISC-V seems to have quite a bit of commercial support behind it — the RISC-V Foundation has a long list of members. It seems likely that this architecture will continue to progress for some time.
Here’s some of the reasons that Corbet argues open souce hardware “would certainly offer some benefits, but it would be no panacea.”

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Source: Slashdot – ‘Is It Time For Open Processors?’

Google Play banner hints at dedicated audiobook section

Google Play might be close to launching a section dedicated to selling audiobooks. 9to5Google has spotted a banner displayed in the Books section of the app market announcing its arrival. It was even promoting a 50 percent discount for your first aud…

Source: Engadget – Google Play banner hints at dedicated audiobook section

An MMO goes full circle, promises to bring subscriptions back this year

Enlarge / Starting sometime this year, you’ll be able to pay up front to fake as any of Rift Prime‘s heroes. (credit: Trion)

The online game-subscription model has generally waned in recent years, overtaken by the popularity (and apparent profitability) of “free-to-play” (F2P) fare. One of the earliest MMORPGs to switch to a F2P model, the Trion-published Rift, announced a curious change coming to its payment model: a branch-off of one Rift server, and its entire gameplay and payment structure, to return to the flat subscription model later this year.

As reported by Kotaku, the game’s developers announced plans for this new version, dubbed Rift Prime, in a Friday blog post. The plan actually began life months earlier when Trion asked fans about the idea of a “challenge server” product—meaning, a version of the game that was harder and segregated interested players into their own, higher-difficulty pool of players. Fan response to the pitch went a different direction.

The players’ “strongest cues,” the devs write, revolved around “how to make the business model more appealing.”

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Source: Ars Technica – An MMO goes full circle, promises to bring subscriptions back this year

Flat Earther Plans New Rocket Launch, Predicts Super Bowl-Sized Ratings

Self-taught rocket scientist/daredevil “Mad” Mike Hughes will finally launch his homemade rocket in two weeks — despite “anonymous online haters questioning his every move.” An anonymous reader quotes PhillyVoice:

He’s found some private land in the “ghost town” of Amboy, California — complete with a brand-spanking-new road that’ll enable him to get his motor home and rocket gear to the site… “It’ll be a vertical launch, me strapped into the rocket with 6,000 pounds of thrust, going up about three-eighths of a mile,” he said, noting it’s a prologue to a major launch this Fourth of July weekend. “It’s the ultimate Wile E. Coyote move.”
As with the scrubbed mission, this is in part an event which he hopes will get people to investigate the ideology which holds the earth is flat — despite quite a bit of evidence to the contrary. He said it would’ve happened back in November if international publicity hadn’t prompted government bureaucrats to “cover their asses” by pointing out that his launch site crept 150 feet into federal land. “I could’ve been arrested so at that point, I just went home and got back to work,” he said… “But guess what? It’s about to happen again… I should get more viewers than the Super Bowl,” said Hughes, adding the launch will be aired on Noize TV [a video-on-demand service].

Noize TV has already posted video of a new interview with Hughes, touting his upcoming launch at 3 p.m. on Saturday, February 3, the day before the Super Bowl (which Hughes calls “nothing but bullshit.”)
Hughes says he’s also filing to run for Governor of California.

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Source: Slashdot – Flat Earther Plans New Rocket Launch, Predicts Super Bowl-Sized Ratings

United Airlines Finds Way to Cut Costs That Doesn't Involve Booting Overbooked Passengers

Switching its in-flight magazine Hemisphere to a lighter variety of paper that saved an ounce a copy has saved United Airlines 170,000 gallons of fuel a year, the L.A. Times reported on Saturday, citing an “internal message to employees.” Per the paper, the 11 fewer pounds a flight save approximately 170,000 gallons…

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Source: Gizmodo – United Airlines Finds Way to Cut Costs That Doesn’t Involve Booting Overbooked Passengers

Audi smart home battery grid creates a 'virtual power plant'

Audi isn’t going to let rival automakers like BMW and Tesla corner the market on home batteries. The German badge is testing a Smart Energy Network where solar-powered batteries not only help your home minimize use of the electrical grid, but talk t…

Source: Engadget – Audi smart home battery grid creates a ‘virtual power plant’

We All Nearly Missed the Largest Underwater Volcano Eruption Ever Recorded

schwit1 quotes ScienceAlert:
She was flying home from a holiday in Samoa when she saw it through the airplane window: a “peculiar large mass” floating on the ocean, hundreds of kilometres off the north coast of New Zealand. The Kiwi passenger emailed photos of the strange ocean slick to scientists, who realised what it was — a raft of floating rock spewed from an underwater volcano, produced in the largest eruption of its kind ever recorded.

“We knew it was a large-scale eruption, approximately equivalent to the biggest eruption we’ve seen on land in the 20th Century,” says volcanologist Rebecca Carey from the University of Tasmania, who’s co-led the first close-up investigation of the historic 2012 eruption. The incident, produced by a submarine volcano called the Havre Seamount, initially went unnoticed by scientists, but the floating rock platform it generated was harder to miss. Back in 2012, the raft — composed of pumice rock — covered some 400 square kilometres (154 square miles) of the south-west Pacific Ocean, but months later satellites recorded it dispersing over an area twice the size of New Zealand itself… for a sense of scale, think roughly 1.5 times larger than the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens — or 10 times the size of the 2010 Eyjafjallajokull eruption in Iceland.
When an underwater robot first sent back detailed maps, one volcanologist remembers that “I thought the vehicle’s sonar was acting up… We saw all these bumps on the seafloor… It turned out that each bump was a giant block of pumice, some of them the size of a van.”

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Source: Slashdot – We All Nearly Missed the Largest Underwater Volcano Eruption Ever Recorded

Get Fit In the New Year With These Adjustable Dumbbells, Down to $100 For the First Time Ever

If you can’t be bothered to schlep to the gym during the winter, you can still keep in shape at home with this cleverly designed PowerBlock dumbbell set. Each dumbbell adjusts from 3 to 24 pounds in 3-pound increments with just the flick of a selector pin, so it’s basically like a complete weight rack that could…

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Source: Gizmodo – Get Fit In the New Year With These Adjustable Dumbbells, Down to 0 For the First Time Ever

Google CEO Reaffirms Firing James Damore Was the Way to Go, 'I Don't Regret It'

Google CEO Sundar Pichai isn’t rattled by former engineer James Damore’s lawsuit against the tech giant for alleged discrimination against white, conservative men, at least according to remarks he made this week to MSNBC and Recode .

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Source: Gizmodo – Google CEO Reaffirms Firing James Damore Was the Way to Go, ‘I Don’t Regret It’

Australian Birds of Prey Are Deliberately Setting Forests On Fire

An anonymous reader writes: If you’ve been counting the ways the Australian environment is trying to kill you, you can now add “arson” to the list. According to a six-year study published in The Journal of Ethnobiology, observers have confirmed what Aboriginal rangers have been observing for years: birds of prey routinely carry burning or smouldering sticks into dry grassy areas to scare small mammals into fleeing so they can be pack-hunted more effectively. This has implications for environmental management, since the best firebreak will not protect your controlled burn from a “firehawk” determined to breach it.

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Source: Slashdot – Australian Birds of Prey Are Deliberately Setting Forests On Fire

Facebook to Let Users Rank Credibility of News

In its latest effort to solve fake news, Facebook is implementing a system in which users will be asked to complete surveys to determine the quality of news postings. This means that the social network’s own members may have nobody to blame but themselves for low-quality content. Publishers already hate the idea, as this “crowdsourcing of opinions” could lead to manipulation.



Facebook said news would be prioritized according to the new ranking system starting Monday, before expanding globally. Some Facebook users have already been asked to rank the trustworthiness of news sites which appear on the social network. In one survey, people were asked if they recognized a number of websites and then asked, “”How much do you trust each of these domains?”

Discussion

Source: [H]ardOCP – Facebook to Let Users Rank Credibility of News

Here's the Sequel to 'End of Ze World,' the First Viral Video Ever

The new “End of Ze World” video looks just like the original for exactly two seconds. A few moments later, the long-awaited sequel to what many call the world’s first viral video displays a collage of missiles, pumpjacks, a Nazi flag, a hurricane, and protest signs. Your eyes will immediately drop to the one that says…

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Source: Gizmodo – Here’s the Sequel to ‘End of Ze World,’ the First Viral Video Ever

Apple Shuts Swift Mailing List, Migrates to Online Forum

An anonymous reader writes:
Apple’s Swift project “has completed the process of migrating to the Swift Forums as the primary method for discussion and communication!” announced a blog post on Friday. “The former mailing lists have been shut down and archived, and all mailing list content has been imported into the new forum system.”
While they’re still maintaining a few Swift-related mailing lists, they’re moving discussions into online forums divided into four main categories: Evolution, Development, Using Swift, and Site Feedback. Forum accounts can be set up using either email registration or GitHub accounts.
It was one year ago that Swift creator Chris Lattner answered questions from Slashdot readers.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Apple Shuts Swift Mailing List, Migrates to Online Forum