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Transportation

Solar Impulse 2 Completes Record-Breaking Flight 18 18

An anonymous reader writes: Solar Impulse 2, the airplane powered only by the sun's light, has completed its flight from Japan to Hawaii. The distance sets the record for manned, solar-powered flight, both by distance (7,200 km, according to the BBC) and by time spent aloft (118 hours). This was one leg in a longer journey to fly around the world, and by far the longest they've attempted. Their next leg will send them across the rest of the Pacific Ocean, landing in Phoenix, Arizona. Then they'll stop off at New York before crossing the Atlantic Ocean on their way back to the journey's starting point, Abu Dhabi. Pilot Andre Borschberg was in good shape, despite spending almost five consecutive days in command of the aircraft. He was only allowed to sleep for up to 20 minutes at a time, so he took about a dozen naps every day. He did this at an altitude of 9,000 meters, and while taking medication to prevent thrombosis. Borschberg's partner, Bertrand Piccard, will fly the aircraft during the next leg to Phoenix. This will happen as soon as the plane is checked out and meteorologists think the weather will be placid enough for a safe crossing.
Google

Japanese Court Orders Google To Delete Past Reports Of Man's Molestation Arrest 203 203

AmiMoJo writes: The Saitama District Court has ordered Google Inc. to delete past reports on a man's arrest over molestation from its online search results after ruling that they violate the man's personal rights. The man, who was arrested about three years ago after molesting a girl under 18, and fined 500,000 yen (£2600, $4000). "He harbors remorse over the incident and is leading a new life. The search results prevent him from rehabilitating himself," the man's defense counsel said. The presiding judge recognized that the incident was not of historical or social significance, that the man is not in public office and that his offense was relatively minor. He concluded there was little public interest in keeping such reports displayed online three years after the incident. The judge acknowledged that search engines play a public role in assisting people's right to know. (AmiMoJo spotted the story on Surado, the new name for Slashdot Japan.)
Transportation

Solar Impulse, Continuing World-Spanning Trip, Attempts To Cross The Pacific 40 40

The BBC reports that Solar Impulse has resumed its 'round-the-world attempt, having taken off today from Nagoya, Japan for what is intended to be a 120-hour voyage to Hawaii. [If pilot Andre Borschberg] succeeds, it will be the longest-duration solo flight in aviation history, as well as the furthest distance flown by a craft that is powered only by the Sun. The Pacific crossing is the eighth leg of Solar Impulse's journey around the world. But this stage has proven to be the most difficult, and has been hit by weeks of delays." The circumnavigation attempt began earlier this year.
Sony

Sony Releasing New 1TB PlayStation 4 In July 98 98

Mark Wilson writes: Known as the 1TB PS4 Ultimate Player Edition (or PlayStation 4 Ultimate Player 1TB Edition depending on who you're talking to), Sony is launching a new PlayStation 4 next month. With the ever-growing market for downloadable content, it's difficult to have too much disk space. Recognizing this, Sony is doubling the size of the largest capacity PS4. The 1TB console will launch next month in the US, Asia and Europe, and the announcement comes just weeks after Microsoft announced a 1TB version of its Xbox One. Gamers in Japan will be able to get their hands on the console by the end of June, but the rest of the world will have to wait until July 15. There's no word on pricing, but Sony has detailed a few other changes that have been made to this version of the console.
Space

Mauna Kea Telescope Construction Slated To Resume 65 65

After an earlier halt to the work of constructing the "world's most advanced and powerful telescope" (and subsequent loss of support from an organization acting on behalf of native Hawaiians,) the Thirty Meter Telescope is again in "on again" mode. From the Associated Press article as carried by U.S. News & World Report: The Mauna Kea site provides a clear view of the sky for 300 days a year, with little air and light pollution. The telescope project was developed as a collaboration between U.S. and Canada universities and the national institutes of Japan, China and India. Gov. David Ige in April said the Thirty Meter Telescope board is legally entitled to "use its discretion to proceed with construction." He said he respected the rights of protesters to appeal in court.
Software

Unicode Consortium Releases Unicode 8.0.0 164 164

An anonymous reader writes: The newest version of the Unicode standard adds 7,716 new characters to the existing 21,499 – that's more than 35% growth! Most of them are Chinese, Japan and Korean ideographs, but among those changes Unicode adds support for new languages like Ik, used in Uganda.
Robotics

The Death of Aibo, the Birth of Softbank's Child-Robot 152 152

New submitter pubwvj writes: Sony is killing off their robot Aibo, stranding the 150,000 or so owners with no support, repairs or parts other than cannibalism. Now we have another Japanese company, SoftBank, releasing a robotic 'child.' Eventually, they too will discontinue the production of parts and support, beginning the process of killing off all those 'children' that are spawned. As robotics become (far) more advanced at what point will it be murder for a company to discontinue a product line?
Japan

Robots Compete In Navigating Simulation Of Japan's Fukushima Daiichi Plant 64 64

schwit1 writes: A new DARPA Robotics Challenge completed its final competition recently. 25 teams operated robots around a landscape designed to simulate the hazardous environment that aid workers found after the Fukushima Daiichi reactor in Japan melted down multiple times in 2011. Engineers tried to help, but disaster ensued, rendering a huge area around the plant uninhabitable after toxic steam was released into the skies. The radioactive leftovers are still emitting a million watts of heat. First prize is $2m, second prize is $1m, and third gets $500,000.
Java

Supreme Court May Decide the Fate of APIs (But Also Klingonese and Dothraki) 210 210

New submitter nerdpocalypse writes: In a larger battle than even Godzilla v. Mothra, Google v. Oracle threatens not only Japan but the entire nerd world. What is at stake is how a language can be [copyrighted]. This affects not just programming languages, APIs, and everything that runs ... well ... everything, but also the copyright status of new languages such as Klingon and Dothraki.
Education

Linux World Domination Creates Shortage of Linux-Skilled Workers (2 Short Videos) 72 72

Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin doesn't use the phrase 'world domination' in these videos, but he could. He lists enough computing niches where GNU/Linux is the major player -- from supercomputers to the next generation of automotive systems -- that with or without world domination, Linux has obviously become an extremely important, widely used operating system that has grown amazingly since Linus Torvalds first shared his humble kernel with the world in 1991. With great popularity has come a great need for people who know how to administer and otherwise work with Linux, so the Linux Foundation is developing new courses in tandem with massive open online course (MOOC) provider edX. Unlike some of the Linux Foundation's previous course offerings, their edX ones are free to audit, and the cost for certification (if you want a cred, not just knowledge) is lower than many IT certification tests and certificates.

These videos (both visible today) were made remotely, with Timothy Lord at one end in Austin, TX, and Jim Zemlin at the other end in Tokyo, Japan. Their sound quality suffers from the distance involved, but they are generally intelligible -- and, of course, you can always choose to read the transcript instead of watching the videos.
Science

Scientists Reverse Aging In Human Cell Lines 140 140

Eloking writes: Professor Jun-Ichi Hayashi from the University of Tsukuba in Japan has discovered the regulation of two genes involved with the production of glycine are partly responsible for some of the characteristics of aging. With this finding he has been able to "flip the switches on a few genes back to their youthful position, effectively reversing the aging process." The Professor's findings cast doubt on the mitochondrial theory of aging, which proposes that the accumulation of mutations in the mitochondrial DNA are responsible for aging.
Science

Study: Science Still Seen As a Male Profession 295 295

sciencehabit sends news of a study published in the Journal of Educational Psychology which found that science is still perceived as a predominantly male profession across the world. The results were broken out by country, and while the overall trend stayed consistent throughout (PDF), there were variations in perception. For explicit bias: "Countries where this association was strongest included South Africa and Japan. The United States ranked in the middle, with a score similar to Austria, Mexico, and Brazil. Portugal, Spain, and Canada were among the countries where the explicit bias was weakest." For implicit bias: "Denmark, Switzerland, Belgium, and Sweden were among the countries with the highest implicit bias scores. The United States again came in at the middle of the pack, scoring similarly to Singapore. Portugal, Spain, and Mexico had among the lowest implicit bias scores, though the respondents still associated science more with men than with women."
United States

TPP Fast Track Passes Key Vote In the Senate, Moves On To the House 98 98

onproton writes: The Senate voted yesterday to reauthorize the controversial Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), which expedites, or 'Fast Tracks,' the passage of trade agreements through Congress. If also approved by the House, it will grant the authority to decide and negotiate the terms of agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to the executive branch, significantly limiting congressional involvement and leaving little room for debate. Proponents of the bill, namely the USTR, claim that Fast Tracking the TPP is critical to successfully negotiating its terms internationally, and will "ensure that Congress, stakeholders and the public are closely involved before, during and after the conclusion of trade agreement negotiations." Though in reality, it does not introduce significant changes in the transparency or reporting requirements that are currently in place, which have allowed the negotiations of this deal to be held in secret since 2009. With concerns being raised about the deal's impacts on everything from intellectual property rights to government sovereignty, it is surprising to many that Congress would abdicate their role in determining the specifics of agreements that may have far reaching implications for their constituents.
Space

Kepler's "Superflare" Stars Sport Huge, Angry Starspots 25 25

astroengine writes: Astronomers studying stars like our sun that are known to generate powerful "superflares" have also discovered that these superflares are likely associated with monster "starspots." In 2012, using Kepler Space Telescope data — which is usually associated with the detection of exoplanets as they drift (or transit) in front of their host stars — astronomers were able to identify several hundred superflare events on a number of sun-like stars. These gargantuan events kicked out flares with 10-10,000 times more energy than our sun is able to muster. Keeping in mind that these stars are sun-like stars, what makes them such superflare powerhouses? Why is our sun such a featherweight in comparison? In an effort to understand the dynamics of superflare stars and perhaps answer these questions, astronomers from Kyoto University, University of Hyogo, the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) and Nagoya University turned to the High Dispersion Spectrograph on the Subaru Telescope, located atop Mauna Kea in Hawaii, to carry out spectroscopic measurements of 50 of Kepler's superflare targets. And they found that all the superflare stars possessed huge starspots that completely dwarf our sun's sunspots.
United Kingdom

Microsoft Invests In Undersea Cable Projects 41 41

An anonymous reader writes: Microsoft announced today that it will partner with a group of telecom companies in order to build new undersea cables. A new cable will connect data centers in China, South Korea, and Japan to the West Coast. Microsoft hopes the New Cross Pacific (NCP) Cable Network will improve connection speeds and boost its competitiveness in cloud computing. They also made deals with Hibernia and Aqua Comms, to invest in a cable with each company connecting Microsoft's datacenter infrastructure from North America to Ireland and the United Kingdom. A company announcement reads in part: "Additionally, we joined a consortium comprised of China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom, Chunghwa Telecom, KT Corporation with TE SubCom as the cable supplier. As part of our participation in the consortium, Microsoft will invest in its first physical landing station in the US connecting North America to Asia. The New Cross Pacific (NCP) Cable Network will provide faster data connections for customers, aid Microsoft in competing on cloud costs, all while creating jobs and spurring local economies. The goal of our expansions and investments in subsea cables is so our customers have the greatest access to scale and highly available data, anywhere."
Earth

Can Earthquakes Be Predicted Algorithmically? 94 94

An anonymous reader with this story about a practical application of big data analysis as applied to the trove of sensor readings taken by satellites and by ground-based senosrs. A company called Terra Seismic says that earthquakes can be predicted 20-30 days before they occur, by sifting data for thermal, ionic, and other abnormalities in areas where quakes are considered likely. Says the linked article: "The company claims to have successfully predicted a number of earthquakes. For example, on 5th of April 2013, the firm issued a forecast for Japan. On 12th April 2013, an earthquake hit the identified area and 33 people were injured. On 4th June 2013, the firm again made a prediction for an earthquake in North Italy. On 21st June, an earthquake hit the identified area. On 3rd March 2013, the firm issued a forecast for an earthquake in Iran. Again, after 35 days, an earthquake hit the identified area."
Government

Extreme Secrecy Eroding Support For Trans-Pacific Partnership 169 169

schwit1 writes with news that political support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership is drying up because of the secrecy involved in developing it. Members of Congress can read the bill if they want, but they need to be located in a single room within the basement of the Capitol Visitor Center, and they can't have their staff with them. They can't have a copy, they can't take notes, and they can only view one section at a time. And they're monitored while they read it. Unsurprisingly, this is souring many members of Congress on the controversial trade agreement.

"Administration aides say they can’t make the details public because the negotiations are still going on with multiple countries at once; if for example, Vietnam knew what the American bottom line was with Japan, that might drive them to change their own terms. Trade might not seem like a national security issue, they say, but it is (and foreign governments regularly try to hack their way in to American trade deliberations)."
Communications

Apple, IBM To Bring iPads To 5 Million Elderly Japanese 67 67

itwbennett writes: An initiative between Apple, IBM and Japan Post Holdings could put iPads in the hands of up to 5 million members of Japan's elderly population. The iPads, which will run custom apps from IBM, will supplement Japan Post's Watch Over service where, for a monthly fee, postal employees check on elderly residents and relay information on their well-being to family members.