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An anonymous reader writes "Police in Teaneck, New Jersey, with apparently too much time on their hands, are investigating an offensive wireless network name. Although the police didn't reveal the name, the New York Daily News reports that it was anti-Semitic and racist in nature. The incident is being investigated as a possible 'bias crime.' It's definitely not what proper people do, but a 'bias crime?'"
An anonymous reader writes "Walmart is holding the inventor's equivalent to 'American Idol' calling for product submissions that will be offered for sale in Walmart stores. Feel that the back scratcher you received a patent for hasn't garnered the attention it deserves? This could be your big chance at fame and fortune."
fangmcgee writes "Before anyone asks, no, it's not bulletproof. But that doesn't mean that the glistening yellow cape—the world's largest garment made entirely from spider silk—isn't a massive feat of engineering to be marveled. Now on public display for the first time at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, the textile gets its unearthly gleam from the undyed filaments of the golden orb spider, a species of arachnid commonly found in Madagascar."
SpuriousLogic writes in with a link to a story about some Canadian consumers who thought they were getting an iPad 2 but instead got the makings of the world's oldest tablets. "As many as 10 fake iPad 2s, all made of slabs of modeling clay, were recently sold at electronic stores in Vancouver, British Columbia. Best Buy and Future Shop have launched investigations into how the scam was pulled off. The tablet computers, like most Apple products, are known for their sleek and simple designs. But there's no mistaking the iPad for one of the world's oldest 'tablet devices.' Still, most electronic products cannot be returned to stores. For the the stores and customers to be fooled by the clay replacements, the thieves must have successfully weighed out the clay portions and resealed the original Apple packaging. Future Shop spokesman Elliott Chun told CTV that individuals bought the iPads with cash, replaced them with the model clay, then returned the packages to the stores. The returned fakes were restocked on the shelve and sold to new, unwitting customers."
astroengine writes "Chances are, when you pop open a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, you expect to savor certain aromatic flavors, or 'notes,' depending on the wine: fruit forward, perhaps, with hints of pepper and leathery tannins, and just the faintest whiff of... meteorite??? At least that's what you'd savor if you were drinking a bottle of Meteorite, possibly the very first wine on the market aged with a meteorite that fell to Earth from space. It's the brainchild of Ian Hutcheon, an Englishman now working in Chile, who thinks the infusion of a bit of meteorite gives his wine a 'livelier taste.'"
New submitter cervesaebraciator writes "The Atlantic Wire reports that the Navy has a tested solution to the possible mining of the Strait of Hormuz. The Navy has 80 dolphins in San Diego Bay trained to use their own sonar to detect mines. When they find the mines, the dolphins drop an acoustic transponder nearby, so that human divers might return to defuse it. Retired Adm. Tim Keating cannot say, however, whether the dolphins will be used in the Straight." The Obama administration has reportedly warned Iran that closing the Strait would provoke an American response.
New submitter zzyvits writes "With smartphones becoming more and more common, the push for employees to work after hours is becoming greater. Would the push be as hard if the employers had to pay for it? A law recently passed in Brazil makes it possible for employees who answer emails after normal work hours to claim overtime pay."
Hugh Pickens writes "NBC reports that airport travelers left behind $409,085.56 in loose change at security checkpoints in 2010, providing an additional source of funding for the Transportation Security Administration. 'TSA puts (the leftover money) in a jar at the security checkpoint, at the end of each shift they take it, count it, put it in an envelope and send it to the finance office,' says TSA spokesperson Nico Melendez. 'It is amazing. All that change, it all adds up.' Melendez adds that the money goes into the general operating budget for TSA that is typically used for technology, light bulbs or just overall general expenses. Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) has introduced legislation that would direct the TSA to transfer unclaimed money recovered at airport security checkpoints to the United Service Organizations (USO), a private nonprofit that operates centers for the military at 41 U.S. airports. The recovered change is not to be confused with the theft that occurs when TSA agents augment their salary by helping themselves to the contents of passengers' luggage as it passes through security checkpoints. For example in 2009, a half dozen TSA agents at Miami International Airport were charged with grand theft after boosting an iPod, bottles of perfume, cameras, a GPS system, a Coach purse, and a Hewlett Packard Mini Notebook from passengers' luggage as travelers at just this one airport reported as many as 1,500 items stolen, the majority of which were never recovered."
The Makerbot Replicator is a personal 3D printer, which can create three-dimensional objects through connecting and layering successive cross sections of material. The new version is bigger, better, and easier to set up than earlier MakerBots. In this video Tim made at CES, MakerBot CEO Bre Pettis shows us how wonderful a device it is, and tells us why every child (and most adults) should have a MakerBot.
Slashdot's Timothy Lord is at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. There is no way any one person can take in the whole show. It's just too big for that. But on Timothy's first day, he spotted an overlay keyboard for the iPad that's been mentioned on Slashdot before, an invisible keyboard for your smartphone or tablet, and a crazy-interesting all-in-one computing device with a built-in projector and built-in virtual keyboard. Watch the video and join Timothy as he learns about these three devices. (Before you ask: Yes, we'll have more videos from CES over the next few days.)"
judgecorp writes "The Swiss Army knife has been available with storage for some time — now there is a 1 terabyte version. It comes with two bodies, so the storage can be swapped out into a flight-safe version with no knife or scissors. The company left the price off its release, but sources suggest it is $3000."
First time accepted submitter xwwt writes "G-Form has a nice video of an iPad launched into the stratosphere via weather balloon and protected using its new protective gear 'Extreme Edge' to see how well the gear worked in the iPad free fall to Earth. The gear is being introduced at this year's CES where our own timothy will be attending and reviewing new products. The cool part of this whole video is really that the iPad survives the free fall from space, remaining fully functional."
theodp writes "The USPTO appears to have lowered the bar on obviousness, awarding a patent to IBM Tuesday for its System for Portion of a Day Out of Office Notification. 'Out of office features in existing applications such as Lotus Notes, IBM Workplace, and Microsoft Outlook all implement a way to take a number of days off from one day to many days,' acknowledges purported patent reformer Big Blue. 'Yet, none of these applications contain the feature of letting a person take a half-day or in more general terms, x days and x hours off.' Eureka! And yes, the invention is every bit as obvious as you can imagine."
ananyo writes "An Irish mathematician has used a complex algorithm and millions of hours of supercomputing time to solve an important open problem in the mathematics of Sudoku, the game popularized in Japan that involves filling in a 9X9 grid of squares with the numbers 1–9 according to certain rules. Gary McGuire of University College Dublin shows in a proof posted online [PDF] that the minimum number of clues — or starting digits — needed to complete a puzzle is 17; puzzles with 16 or fewer clues do not have a unique solution. Most newspaper puzzles have around 25 clues, with the difficulty of the puzzle decreasing as more clues are given."
PolygamousRanchKid writes with these lines culled from InformationWeek: "With the grant of their US Patent #8090532 Microsoft may be attempting to corner the market on GPS systems for use by pedestrians, or they may have opened a fertile ground for discrimination lawsuits. ... Described as a patent on pedestrian route production, the patent describes a two-way system of building navigation devices targeted at people who are not in vehicles, but still require the use of such a device to most efficiently route to their destination. ... For example, the user inputs their destination and any constraints or requirements they might have, such as a wheelchair accessible route, types of terrain they are willing to cross, the option of public transportation, and a way point such as the nearest Starbucks on the route. Any previously configured preferences are also considered, such as avoiding neighborhoods that exceed a certain threshold of violent crime statistics (hence the description of this as the 'avoid bad neighborhoods' patent), fastest route, most scenic, etc." Having lived in some high-crime neighborhoods, the actual feature (versus the patent) sounds like a great idea to me.