alphadogg writes "The Ig Nobel Prize ceremony has honored a wide array of strange research and advancement over the years, from exploding pants to woodpecker headaches to aggressive parking enforcement, and Thursday night's ceremony in Cambridge, Mass., was no exception. Particular highlights included a Russian company that turns ammunition into trace amounts of diamond, Japanese engineers who developed a speech jamming device, and research into such critical topics as why coffee is so hard to carry without slopping and what makes a ponytail move the way it does."
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Hugh Pickens writes "Kia Makarechi reports that Neil Young isn't particularly concerned with the effects of piracy on artists but is more concerned that the files that are being shared are of such low quality. 'It doesn't affect me because I look at the internet as the new radio,' says Young. 'I look at the radio as gone. Piracy is the new radio. That's how music gets around. That's the radio. If you really want to hear it, let's make it available, let them hear it, let them hear the 95 percent of it.' Young is primarily concerned about whether the MP3 files we're all listening to actually are pretty poor from an audio-quality standpoint. Young's main concern is that your average MP3 file only contains about five percent of the audio from an original recording and is pushing a new format called Pono that would be 'high-resolution' digital tracks of the same quality as that produced during the studio recording. Young wants to see better music recording and high resolution recording, but we're not anywhere near that and hopes that 'some rich guy' will solve the problem of creating and distributing '100 percent' of the sound in music. 'Steve Jobs was a pioneer of digital music, his legacy was tremendous. But when he went home, he listened to vinyl.'"
An anonymous reader writes in with a story about the power of bacon."Travel can be expensive. One man is using a unique way to pay for a trip as a challenge. Pennsylvania comedian Josh Sankey is on a mission to make a cross-country road trip from New York to Los Angeles with no other currency but bacon. Sankey isn't carrying any cash or credit cards as he makes his cross-country trip. He is paying for everything from gas to lodging by using uncooked bacon as currency. He set off on his trip with 3,000 pounds of the popular meat and he seems to be getting good deals with it so far."
New submitter Nomen writes "Today's xkcd: Click and Drag (Google Maps version) is probably the world's biggest web comic at an RSI-inducing resolution of 165,888x79,872 pixels. It's made up of 225 different images that take up 5.52MB of space. Now, if only the mines were powered by nethack..."
New submitter madmarcel tips news that a new trailer for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey has been released. "The new piece (seen above) is about the same length -- 2 1/2 minutes -- as the December trailer. But it cuts to the chase more quickly, leaving out the Frodo voiceover that sets up the Lord of the Rings follow-up. Instead we get the quick voiceover explanation -- 'the dwarves are determined to reclaim their homeland' -- before we meet up with Martin Freeman's Bilbo Baggins and set off. There's a slightly less self-serious tone to the proceedings this time around, though questers do 'enter the mountain' and play important games of riddles."
Daniel Knight, besides being an actor, D&D fanatic, and collector of He-Man figurines, is the director of a film version of Terry Pratchett's Discworld story Troll Bridge that's been enabled by a massive Kickstarter campaign. Filming has finished (you can see some of the raw and intermediate footage linked from that story) and now all the rest of the work that goes into the finishing and releasing the movie is underway. Why this film? Knight says he "ended up acting a small role in a short film called Star Wars: Broken Allegiance. My performance was terrible. But that introduced me to the world of fan films, and I started wondering if it would be possible to do a Discworld one." The project is clearly a labor of love — it's a massive undertaking on a shoestring budget, with a tough goal: "Troll Bridge aims to be the largest scale short film in history. Using resources garnered over eight solid years of dedication, love, sweat, and tears – Troll Bridge has already begun exceeding expectations as to what should be anticipated from a short form production." The cast and crew (even the caterers) are all volunteers, but it still takes money to construct sets, create costumes, and buy time with needed equipment. Daniel has graciously agreed to answer your questions about the process; as with other Slashdot interviews, you're invited to ask as many questions as you'd like, but please ask them in separate posts.
MrSeb writes with news about our coming cybernetic overlords. From the article: "After more than four years of research, DARPA has created a system that successfully combines soldiers, EEG brainwave scanners, 120-megapixel cameras, and multiple computers running cognitive visual processing algorithms into a cybernetic hivemind. Called the Cognitive Technology Threat Warning System (CT2WS), it will be used in a combat setting to significantly improve the U.S. Army's threat detection capabilities. There are two discrete parts to the system: The 120-megapixel camera, which is tripod-mounted and looks over the battlefield; and the computer system, where a soldier sits in front of a computer monitor with an EEG strapped to his head, looking at images captured by the camera, wedding out false threats. In testing, the 120-megapixel camera, combined with the computer vision algorithms, generated 810 false alarms per hour; with a human operator strapped into the EEG, that drops down to just five false alarms per hour. The human brain is surprisingly fast, too: According to DARPA, CT2WS displays 10 images per second to the human operator — and yet that doesn't seem to affect accuracy."
Zocalo writes "The BBC has a fascinating look into the music download habits of the UK population based on stats compiled by Musicmetric. The stats, gathered through the monitoring of BitTorrent swarms and geo-locating the IPs, shows the hotspots for music copyright infringement across the UK and regional preferences for certain types of music. Some of the outliers are somewhat unusual though, suggesting some problems with the methodology or sample size, unless people on the Isle of Wight really do prefer trumpet-playing crooner Louis Armstrong to the likes of Rihanna and Ed Sheeran who top the lists nationwide. Not in the UK? There are some global stats on the ' Most pirated near you? tab' of the story. Better yet, if you want to crunch the numbers for yourself all of the data has been made available at the Musicmatch website under the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial ShareAlike license and a RESTful API to access the data (free for non-commercial use, but requiring an API token) is also available."
wiredmikey writes "The co-founder of The Pirate Bay filesharing website was detained in Sweden on Friday, days after his deportation from Cambodia, officials said. Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, 27, faces a one-year prison sentence for promoting copyright infringement in his home country. His current detention is for an investigation into his involvement in the hacking of a Swedish IT firm named Logica. He was arrested in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh on August 30 at Stockholm's behest and expelled late on Monday."
theodp writes "When it comes to Google's futuristic Glass goggles, people seem to fall into two camps. On the one hand, you have people like NY Times Arts critic Mike Hale, who goes gaga over how fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg put Google glasses on models who walked in her recent Fashion Week show, enabling them to capture video from their point of view as they walked the runway. 'For a preview of how we all may be making movies in a few years,' Hale breathlessly writes, 'take a look at DVF Through Glass .' On the other hand, you have folks like NY Times commenter JokerDanny, who says he's seen this Google Glass movie before. 'David Letterman used to call this Monkey-Cam,' quips JD, referring to the mid-1980's Late Night bits in which Letterman mounted a camera on Zippy the Chimp, enabling the monkey to capture video from his point of view as he roamed the studio. Thanks to the magic of YouTube Doubler, here's a head-to-head comparison of POV video shot by Zippy in 1986 — the year Larry Page and Sergey Brin celebrated their 13th birthdays — to that taken by a DVF model in 2012."
New submitter ratbag writes with this snippet from BBC News: "The BBC's Radiophonic Workshop, which created theme tunes and sound effects for programs including Doctor Who and Blake's 7, is to reopen after 14 years. The original workshop was known for its pioneering use of electronic sounds. Founded in 1958, it was best-known for creating the eerie swoosh of the Doctor Who theme tune, but its compositions were also used in numerous radio dramas, The Goon Show and The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy. As well as music, the workshop created sound effects — from champagne corks popping to the distorted, strangulated voices of the Daleks."
Esther Schindler writes "When Star Trek hit the air waves, talking computers were just a pipe dream. While teleportation remains elusive, several once-fictional technologies are changing the way people live and work. Here are some ways in which we're approaching the gizmos that Star Trek demonstrated. Speech recognition? Check. Holodeck? Sort of. Replicator? Workin' on it."
An anonymous reader writes "After clocking in at $82,000 on their Kickstarter campaign, two Troll Bridge trailers have been released online showing helicopter shots in New Zealand (video) and a large scale bridge set that was built and shot on (video). A Behind the Scenes (video) has also been released demonstrating what fans are now actually capable of, given decent crowd-funding. The film has finished shooting and is expected to be released next year. Sir Terry Pratchett has been apparently thrilled with the progress." But can it beat Star Wreck for best production award?
NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit has upheld the initial jury verdict in the case against Jammie Thomas, Capitol Records v. Jammie Thomas-Rasset. This case was the first jury trial for a file-sharing suit brought by the major record labels, and focused on copyright infringement for 24 songs. The Court of Appeals has ruled that the award of $220,000, or $9250 per song, was not an unconstitutional violation of Due Process. The Court, in its 18-page decision (PDF), declined to reach the 'making available' issue, for procedural reasons."
New submitter danversj writes "I'm a Television Outside Broadcast Engineer who wants to use more IT and Computer Science-based approaches to make my job easier. Today, live-produced TV is still largely a circuit-switched system. But technologies such as 100 Gigabit Ethernet and Audio Video Bridging hold the promise of removing kilometres of cable and thousands of connectors from a typical broadcast TV installation. 100GbE is still horrendously expensive today — but broadcast TV gear has always been horrendously expensive. 100GbE only needs to come down in price just a bit — i.e. by following the same price curve as for 10GbE or 1GbE — before it becomes the cheaper way to distribute multiple uncompressed 1080p signals around a television facility. This paper was written for and presented at the SMPTE Australia conference in 2011. It was subsequently published in Content and Technology magazine in February 2012. C&T uses issuu.com to publish online so the paper has been re-published on my company's website to make it more technically accessible (not Flash-based)."
First time accepted submitter mrhelio writes "I work for a medium-sized helicopter company; we mainly fly tourists around on sightseeing flights. My company needs help finding a hacker-friendly portable music player for our helicopters. We have a problem with our onboard music players — mostly because it is an obsolete terrible design. The manufacturer has made an updated model, but it's basically the same obsolete design with the same terrible software and user interface. We are worried about spending $1000 per unit on these because the manufacturer will eventually stop making replacement units and then we will be force to buy upgrades for our entire fleet again and get everything recertified. (Any piece of equipment hard mounted in a commercial aircraft has to be certified by the FAA and it takes a lot of paper work, time and money for that to happen.) So we have a new plan: get portable music players like iPods, and plug those into the aux input in the intercom system. We need something that has nine hours of battery life, can hold at least three hours of music, and has remote control options for start, stop, volume, and selecting tracks and playlists, and a display that is visible in bright and sunny as well as dark conditions. The remote control option is the toughest part to find. The pilots need to be able to control the music without taking their hands off the flight controls for safety reasons. There are buttons and toggle switches already designed into the flight controls for these kind of purposes and we have mechanics/ engineers that can wire it all together, but the music player has to support the remote interface in the first place. Our first choice would be to give each pilot an iPod, but Apple is notoriously anti-hacking and anti-open source, plus you have to pay them ridiculous licensing fees to get access to their USB interface. So we are looking for a manufacturer that is open source / hacker friendly and makes something that meets our needs. Do you know of anything that would work for us? Maybe something that runs Rockbox? Should we just break down and design something from scratch like the Butterfly MP3 player?"
Nerval's Lobster writes "Apple plans on taking a big bite of the streaming-music market, according to unnamed sources speaking to The New York Times. Those sources suggested that an Apple streaming-music service would 'probably' center on an app of some kind, and link to iTunes in order to better evaluate the listener's musical interests. In broad strokes, that would make it similar to Spotify, a streaming-music service that also requires an app. Other popular cloud-music hubs, including Pandora and Last.fm, operate primarily as browser-based services. The Wall Street Journal, citing its own unnamed sources, indicated that any Apple streaming service would work on iOS devices such as the iPad, Macs, and 'possibly on PCs running Microsoft Corp.'s Windows operating system.' In keeping with Apple's intense rivalry with Google, one source added, the service would not appear on Android devices."
New submitter Penmanpro writes news of the Hugo Awards stream being unintentionally cut off by some AI gone awry: "Quotes from the linked article 'UStream's incorrectly programmed copyright enforcement squad had destroyed our only access.' 'Just as Neil Gaiman was giving an acceptance speech for his Doctor Who script, "The Doctor's Wife." Where Gaiman's face had been were the words, "Worldcon banned due to copyright infringement."'"
First time accepted submitter oobayly writes "It appears that Bruce 'Die Hard' Willis isn't too impressed that he can't include his iTunes collection in his estate when he dies. According to the article: 'Bruce Willis, the Hollywood actor, is said to be considering legal action against Apple so he can leave his iTunes music collection to his three daughters.' Such a high profile individual complaining about the ability to own your digital music can only be a good thing, right?"
The 2012 Hugo Award ceremony has completed at Chicon 7, and Among Others by Jo Walton has been given the award for Best Novel. The Man Who Bridged the Mist by Kij Johnson won for Best Novella, and The Paper Menagerie won for Best Short Story. Doctor Who had three nominations for Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form), and ended up taking home the award for the episode "The Doctor's Wife," which was written by Neil Gaiman and directed by Richard Clark. Season 1 of Game of Thrones won Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form), edging out Hugo and Captain America. Ursula Vernon was awarded the Best Graphic Story Hugo for Digger. See below for the full list of winners.