colinneagle writes "Researchers at Chiba University in Japan have developed a robot that could frustrate teenagers worldwide with its impressive air hockey skills. What's remarkable about this air hockey-playing robot, which is not the first of its kind, is that it can sense human opponents' playing styles and adapt to defend against them. The key is how the computer controlling the robot views its opponent — at a speed of 500 frames per second. From there, the robot uses a three-layer control system to determine motion control, when it should hit the puck, defend its goal or stay still, and a third that determines how it should react to its opponent's playing style."
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Via El Reg comes news that the International Linear Collider's Technical Design Report is finished, leaving only funding in the way of construction. From the article: "A five volume report containing the plans for the International Linear Collider has been handed over to the International Committee for Future Accelerators (ICFA) for approval. The Technical Design Report contains costings for the project, along with the design of the new collider. The new machine is significantly more powerful than the hoary European Large Hadron Collider and is likely to be sited in Japan, because the Pacific island nation has reportedly offered to pay for half of the construction costs. ... Jonathan Bagger, chair of the International Linear Collider Steering Committee, said the particle collider was 'ready to go.' 'The publication of the Technical Design Report represents a major accomplishment,' he continued. ... The ILC consists of two linear accelerators facing each other. " A few years late, but hopefully not never.
An anonymous reader writes "This article discusses a recently-released U.N. Scientific Committee report which examined the health effects of the accident at the Fukushima nuclear plant. Their conclusion: 'Radiation exposure following the nuclear accident at Fukushima-Daiichi did not cause any immediate health effects. It is unlikely to be able to attribute any health effects in the future among the general public and the vast majority of workers. ... No radiation-related deaths or acute effects have been observed among nearly 25,000 workers involved at the accident site. Given the small number of highly exposed workers, it is unlikely that excess cases of thyroid cancer due to radiation exposure would be detectable.' The article even sums up the exposure levels for the workers who were closest to the reactor: 'Of 167 exposed to more than the industry's recommended five-year limit of 100 mSv (a CT scan exposes patients to up to 10 mSv), 23 recorded 150-200 mSv, three 200-250 mSv and six up to 678 mSv, still short of the 1000 mSv single dosage that causes radiation sickness, or the accumulated exposure estimated to cause a fatal cancer years later in 5 per cent of people.' The report also highlights the minute effect it's had on the environment: 'The exposures on both marine and terrestrial non-human biota were too low for observable acute effects.'"
beaverdownunder writes "From the Australian Broadcasting Corporation: 'Japan's peak whaling body has launched a new campaign to promote whale meat as a nutritious food that enhances physical strength and reduces fatigue. With about 5,000 tonnes of whale meat sitting unwanted in freezers around Japan, the country's Institute for Cetacean Research has decided to launch a new campaign to promote the by-product of its so-called scientific whaling program. Once popular in school lunches, younger generations of Japanese rarely, if ever, eat whale."
An anonymous reader writes "NPR reports that an Oregon wheat farmer found a patch of wheat growing where he did not plant. After RoundUp failed to kill the plants, he sent them to a lab for testing. Turns out the wheat in question is a GMO strain created by Monsanto but never sent to market. Oregon field trials for the wheat ended in 2001. 'Nobody knows how this wheat got to this farm. ... After all such trials, the genetically engineered crops are supposed to be completely removed. Also, nobody knows how widely this genetically engineered wheat has spread, and whether it's been in fields of wheat that were harvested for food.' The USDA is currently investigating and says there is no health-risk. Meanwhile, Monsanto has released a statement and Japan has suspended some wheat imports from the U.S. 'The mystery could have implications on wheat trade. Many countries around the world will not accept imports of genetically modified foods, and the United States exports about half of its wheat crop.'"
AmiMoJo writes "Japan's nuclear regulator has ordered the operator of the Monju fast-breeder reactor to suspend preparation for its restart until measures are put in place for its proper maintenance and management. The regulators acted after finding the operator had missed checkups on about 10,000 pieces of equipment. They ordered that sufficient manpower and funds be allocated for maintenance and management. The reactor in Tsuruga City, central Japan, is at the center of the nation's nuclear-fuel recycling policy. But its operator has been hampered by a series of problems."
hypnosec writes with report of the possible theft of up to 22 million user IDs revealed by Yahoo! Japan. That scale is massive, but, he writes, "According to Yahoo, the information that was stolen didn't have passwords or any other information that would allow unauthorized users to carry out user identity verification." A story at the Japan Times adds a bit more detail.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Japan has thrown its hat into the ring for exascale computing, reported the country's newspapers. The goal: achieve one exaFLOPS of performance by 2020. Japan's finance ministry has agreed to begin work next fiscal year on a supercomputer with a performance capability 100 times that of the K computer, a 10-petaFLOPS computer that debuted as the most powerful supercomputer in the world in 2011. The midterm report for the new supercomputer was concluded Thursday, the Asahi Shimbun business daily reported. The Japan Times was slightly more conservative, reporting that the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry will seek funding to design the new machine in its fiscal 2014 budget request — implying that the project has not necessarily been approved. The science ministry is hoping to keep the cost of the new supercomputer below the ¥110 billion mark ($1.08 billion) that was required to develop the K computer, the paper reported. (Slashdot couldn't find any evidence that the project had been approved on the ministry Webpage, although the K computer was mentioned several times in a discussion of public-private partnerships.)"
mdsolar writes "'A U.N. nuclear watchdog team said Japan may need longer than the projected 40 years to decommission the Fukushima power plant and urged Tepco to improve stability at the facility. The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency team, Juan Carlos Lentijo, said Monday that damage at the nuclear plant is so complex that it is impossible to predict how long the cleanup may last.' Meanwhile, Gregory B. Jaczko, former Chair of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has said that all 104 nuclear power reactors now in operation in the United States have a safety problem that cannot be fixed and they should be replaced with newer technology."
hypnosec writes "Authorities in Japan are presumably worried about their inability to tackle cybercrime and, in a bid to stem one of the sources of anonymous traffic, the National Police Agency (NPA) is asking ISPs to block Tor. The recommendation comes from the special panel formed by the NPA after a hacker going by the name Demon Killer was found to regularly use Tor to anonymize his online activities, like posting of death threats on public message boards."
adeelarshad82 writes "Marvel's Iron Man 3 will debut in select Japanese theaters later this month employing the 4DX system for the first time. Developed by South Korea's largest movie chain operator, the CJ Group, 4DX-equipped theaters deliver smells, seat motions, and additional effects such as strobe lights and fog, all in sync with events as they appear on the screen. Beyond South Korea, this full immersion approach to cinema is already in operation in countries such as Israel, Mexico, Brazil, and China."
AmiMoJo writes "Over on Slashdot Japan, there is a discussion about what magazines people still read (Google translation of Japanese original). Japanese people still tend to read a lot of periodicals, while in the west readership seems to be in decline. Do you read magazines regularly, or at all? Are websites a good substitute, or do print publications still offer something worth spending your cash on?"
An anonymous reader writes "Sony Japan has announced that its own Internet service provider So-net Entertainment has launched what is thought to be the world's fastest Internet connection for home use in Japan with download speed of 2 Gbps on average. This speed is twice as fast as competing high-speed fiber connections in Japan. The ultra-fast connection, known as Nuro, will cost an inexpensive 4,980 yen ($51) per month- offering download speeds of 2 Gbps and uploads of up to 1 Gbps."
kkleiner writes "The Bank of Tokyo has invested $2 billion into Cape Wind, the 130-turbine wind farm that is inching closer to becoming a reality. The project is vying to the first offshore wind farm in the U.S. after a decade-long campaign mired by red tape in order to receive approval. Proposed to be installed in Nantucket Sound, the wind farm is estimated to have a capacity of 468 megawatts."
rwise2112 writes "Lithium-ion batteries have long been thought to be free of the memory effects of other rechargeable batteries. However, this appears to be not the case. Scientists at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI, together with colleagues from the Toyota Research Laboratories in Japan have now discovered that a widely-used type of lithium-ion battery has a memory effect."
Nerval's Lobster writes "Kaspersky Lab has completed a detailed analysis of "Winnti," a group of Asian hackers who target servers hosted by gaming companies, copying their source code and surreptitiously stealing money or virtual goods over time. In findings published April 10, the security firm said it had completed the latest phase of its eighteen-month investigation. A more detailed account of an actual attacks was published separately (PDF). Winnti has attacked two gaming companies in North America, two in Germany, two in Russia, and fourteen in South Korea. Although the Winnti group has been around for years, it first came to light in 2011, when Trojans began appearing on the PCs of users playing MMORPGs, online computer games which usually require a monthly subscription. Those Trojans, which included RAT (Remote Administration Tool) functionality, had been "signed" with the digital certificate of KOG, a South Korean gaming company. In the course of its investigation, Kaspersky discovered that the gaming companies (which often share resources, partner, and subcontract out work to one another) had provided an opportunity for the Winnti team to secure access to otherwise legitimate digital certificates, which could be used to sign malware. Malware signed by Japanese gaming company YNK Japan was used to attack the servers of social networks Cyworld and Nate in South Korea in 2011."
ForgedArtificer writes "Earlier today, the Crisis Management Office Affairs Bureau for the city of Yokohama, Japan had some startling news for its followers; to wit, a North Korean missile was on its way to Japan. The tweet stayed up for about 20 minutes before being removed and replaced with an apology. The city reports that a pre-written tweet was released due to a malfunction in the 'mechanism' that would have released the tweet at the appropriate time."
The fallout from tsunami damage at Japan's Fukushima plant isn't over yet. New submitter OldJuke writes "Tokyo Electric power Co. said about 120 tons of the water are believed to have breached [a water storage tank's] inner linings, some of it possibly leaking into the soil. TEPCO is moving the water to a nearby tank at the Fukushima Dai-chi plant — a process that could take several days ...More than 270,000 tons of highly radioactive water is already stored in hundreds of gigantic tanks and another underground tank. They are visible even at the plant's entrance and built around the compound, taking up more than 80 percent of its storage capacity. TEPCO expects the amount to double over three years and plans to build hundreds of more tanks by mid-2015 to meet the demand."
mdsolar writes in with news that Goolge has released Street View pictures from inside the zone that was evacuated after the Fukushima disaster. "Google Inc. (GOOG) today released images taken by its Street View service from the town of Namie, Japan, inside the zone that was evacuated after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in March 2011. Google, operator of the world's biggest Web search engine, entered Namie this month at the invitation of the town's mayor, Tamotsu Baba, and produced the 360-degree imagery for the Google Maps and Google Earth services, it said in an e-mailed statement. All of Namie's 21,000 residents were forced to flee after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami crippled the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant, about 8 kilometers (5 miles) from the town, causing the world's worst nuclear accident after Chernobyl. Baba asked Mountain View, California-based Google to map the town to create a permanent record of its state two years after the evacuation, he said in a Google blog post."
Nerval's Lobster writes "One could argue that the University of Illinois' "Blue Waters" supercomputer, scheduled to officially open for business March 28, is lucky to be alive. The 11.6 petaflop supercomputer, commissioned by the University and the National Science Foundation (NSF), will rank in the upper echelon of the world's fastest machines—its compute power would place it third on the current list, just above Japan's K Computer. However, the system will not be submitted to the TOP500 list because of concerns with the way the list is calculated, officials said. University officials and the NSF are lucky to have a machine at all. That's due in part to IBM, which reportedly backed out of the contract when the company determined that it couldn't make a profit. The university then turned to Cray, which would have had to replace what was presumably a POWER or Xeon installation with the current mix of AMD CPUs and Nvidia GPU coprocessors. Allen Blatecky, director of NSF's Division of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure, told Fox that pulling the plug was a 'real possibility.' And Cray itself had to work to find the parts necessary for the supercomputer to begin at least trial operations in the fall of 2012."