European Commission Will Increase Use of Open Source Software

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Prison Inmate Emails His Own Release Instructions To the Prison

I had to go through jury selection a few months back for a capital case, going through three or four rounds of appearances and interviews. Part of what struck me about the experience is how incredibly poor the paperwork was. They gave us number cards when there were 250+ people to go through in my group, they were all handwritten even though the numbers corresponded with the computer-generated numbers we were assigned when the original mailing for service was sent. Forms and questionnaires looked like they were generated in Clarisworks by first-time users in elementary school. Nothing had letterhead, nothing had any sort of official feel.

Your story about no letterhead and using fax machines is totally believable to me, and I’m amazed that it isn’t abused more often.

Article source: http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdot/~3/yN7M6F4W7ws/prison-inmate-emails-his-own-release-instructions-to-the-prison

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Startups Increasingly Targeted With Hacks

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Graphene Light Bulbs Coming To Stores Soon

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Australian Government Outlines Website-Blocking Scheme

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Material Made From Crustaceans Could Combat Battlefield Blood Loss

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Why the Final Moments Inside a Cockpit Are Heard But Not Seen

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Honda CR-V: SUV-lite that’s also light on the pocket

Vulture at the Wheel This wasn’t the car I was expecting. If I’d been paying attention I would have known that the new twin-turbo, 9-speed auto, 4WD 1.6L diesel turbo CR-V isn’t on the UK press fleet yet. What rolled up outside Vulture Central was the decidedly white-bread 2WD i-DTEC single-turbo 1.6L diesel.

honda crv 1

Honda’s CR-V is a big old bus.

Still, this thing is one of the most environmentally friendly (maybe even the most environmentally friendly) larger SUVs that you can buy in Blighty. It’s bolted together at the Honda plant down the road in Swindon, so still worth a quick poke with the Vulture motoring stick.

Larger? Make no mistake, the CR-V is a big old bus. At over 4.5m in length it’s longer than the likes of the Nissan Qashqai or VW’s Tiguan. Wider too. Load it up to the window line with the rear seats elevated and you will have shovelled in 589 litres of stuff. Drop the rear seats and the luggage capacity jumps to 1,669l.

crv load area

Honda’s CR-V has a truly huge load area.

I’m not entirely solid on the exterior of the CR-V. Considering it was designed with the European rather than North American market in mind it still looks decidedly transatlantic to me, especially the nose. The rising waistline and thick D-pillars don’t do rear visibility any favours either.

At least it’s distinctive and in this world of bland (Hyundai ix35, VW Tiguan) and ugly (Audi Q5, Mazda CX-5) SUVs that’s better than a slap in the chops with a wet fish.

crv americana nose

For a vehicle designed for Europe the nose of the CR-V is very USA!.

The abundance of space isn’t just confined to luggage. The CR-V will carry five six-foot adults in roomy comfort for hour after hour. It really is an impressively commodious and comfortable vehicle. It will it carry you, your family and your stuff around quite happily – and it will do economically.

That’s thanks to the 1.6L turbo-diesel under the CR-V’s bonnet, which frankly is a bit of a peach from a company that hadn’t made a diesel engine for a passenger car until 2003.

honda crv engine2

Honda’s Earth Dreams 1.6L turbo is a peach of an engine

Refined, tractable and wholly free of cold-start rattle, the 120PS Earth Dreams (I kid you not, that is what the engine series is called) unit will haul the CR-V to 60mph in 11.2 seconds and on to a top speed of 113mph.

Now I grant you that doesn’t make the CR-V a sports car – more UV than a SUV – but this is an engine with a combined cycle consumption of 62.8mpg and CO2 emissions of 119g/km. That’s really not bad for a motor fitted to something that weighs over 1540kg and has the drag coefficient of a small cottage.

crv rear view

Rising waistline means rearward visibility is not a CR-V strong point.

It is an impressively easy to car to drive. With 300Nm (221lb-ft) of torque available from 2,000rpm you can bimble around in the wrong gear all the livelong day. Even in fifth the CR-V pulled away from near walking pace without any fuss.

Get it out onto the motorway, stick the gearbox into the very long sixth and you can roll down the road near the legal limit at barely more than tick-over.

crv rear legroom

Masses of rear legroom for those in the back.

It’s a not a bad car to drive with a bit of vim either. Granted, it feels more softly sprung than some of the competition but the flipside of that coin is that the ride is impressively smooth even over the potholed atrocities we Brits have the cheek to call main roads.

Pushed hard, the CR-V can get a bit wallowy at times and can struggle for grip if you get your cornering wrong and hop on the power too soon. If you apply a bit of common sense you can still hustle it down a twisty road and not need a fresh change of undergarments when you reach your destination.

honda crv doors open

Ease of access is not a problem with the CR-V

The cabin is a pretty nice place to spend your time even it is all a bit black and plasticy for my taste. Everything falls to hand (and foot) nicely and the six-speed manual gearbox is an object lesson in design and execution.

The driving position is a nice compromise between the excessive SUV-elevation you get in many cars of this ilk (I, for one, only want to feel like I’m driving a van when I am actually driving one) and the height you sit at in an Astra or a Golf.

crv_cabin

The CRV’s cabin is well equipped and very comfortable but there is a lot of grey plastic about.

I’d not want to live with the velour-like upholstery of my test car, to be honest, but that’s a small niggle and one easily changed when ticking through the spec list.

This being 2015, the CR-V has not one but two displays in the centre console. The 5-inch touch-screen i-MID (that’s Multi Informational Display) does the communications, ICE and navigation work while a smaller screen above it shows you vehicle related stuff.

crv two screens

Not one but two displays in the CR-V’s centre console. Bottom one is for touch, top one for info.

I’m not a huge fan of touchscreens in cars because I find them too distracting, but the CR-V’s does the job well enough and doesn’t require excessive stretch.

To help eke out the maximum range the CR-V has a couple of eco-assistant features. The big green ECON button just reins in the air conditioning; it doesn’t actually affect the drive train one iota. More useful is what Honda calls ECO Assist.

crv in manchester

Honda’s CR-V. Assembled in Swindon, photographed in Manchester

Eco Assist is a visual driver aid. I usually hate these things with a passion but by being a little less intrusive than many similar affairs, the CR-V’s proved to be something I could live with.

The system takes the form of two illuminated bars on each side of the speedometer. Drive normally and they glow white. The more economically you drive, the greener they glow.

crv insturment binnacle

CR-V’s eco guide is more about gentle persuasion than badgering

Gentle persuasion is the name of the game here rather than eco-badgering. It’s all the better for it, too. I found myself trying to keep in the green almost subconsciously, which I suspect is the point of the thing.

Is the CR-V actually as economical as Honda would have us believe? Driving around central Manchester for a day I averaged 44mpg. On a run along the A55 to North Wales and back, that jumped to 61mpg. My average across a week and 400 miles? 57mpg. I was more than happy with that.

The Reg Verdict

Big, economical and easy to live with. If you want a large five-door hatch to get a lot of stuff and people from A to B efficiently and comfortably the Honda CR-V has a lot to recommend it. If you really need to go off-road then you’ll be wanting the more expensive 4WD version, but let’s face it: unless you live on the side of a mountain, you probably don’t. So the 2WD version will do you just fine. ®

Article source: http://go.theregister.com/feed/www.theregister.co.uk/2015/03/29/honda_crv_review/

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Coral Reefs: Secret Cities of the Sea exhibition – life beneath the waves

Review There’s an undeniable fascination to coral reefs and the creatures that inhabit them, whether it’s tales of shipwreck on tropical islands surrounded by a lagoon, romantic snorkelling adventures, or captivating documentaries about the Great Barrier Reef.

Underwater Camer

Underwater cameras have captured over 800,000 images of coral reefs around the world

It’s this fascination that a new exhibition at London’s Natural History Museum, “Coral Reefs: Secret Cities of the Sea” seeks to tap. Opening this week, and continuing until September, it aims to show some of the breadth of life that’s found on reefs around the world, and to inform about the perils facing reefs – in the Caribbean alone, for instance, 80 per cent of reef has been lost since 1970.

On show

Key to the exhibition is work done by the Catlin Seaview Survey, which can be summarised best as a sort of “street view for the sea bed.” One of the prominent items on display is a special camera created for the survey, which was used to create tens of thousands of images of reefs around the world. Taking a photo every two metres, over a 2km drive, three times a day, there are now over 800,000 images stored.

As well as seeing these on the web, the exhibition provides three large screen display units, each with a joystick control that allows you to select one of five reefs and then move around it as if you’re diving. Each of the display units has three screens, arranged a little like a dressing table, giving a slightly more immersive view, though it’s not true VR by any means. Yet for many of us, this may be the closest we’ll get to seeing a real reef close up.

NHM Hourglass Reef Bermuda

Take a virtual dive on Bermuda’s Hourglass Reef at the Natural History Museum

There’s more to the exhibition than images from the survey, however. On entering, the first thing you’ll notice is an awful lot of plywood hexagons slotted into each other; it’s a motif that recurs throughout the exhibition and reflects the way that the reefs themselves are made up from the six-sided calcium carbonate foundations laid down by polyps.

There are also plenty of corals – dead, of course – in display cases. Some are certainly pretty astonishing to look at, especially the “brain corals” and some of the more brightly coloured ones. There are, too, some huge intricate examples that look more like a tree or a leaf that’s been massively magnified.

All too often though, I felt that the explanatory texts were a little too brief. There’s a diagram with information about Darwin’s theory of coral reef formation based on volcanoes, and some small segments of coral that he collected on the Beagle. James Cook features too, with a few items that he collected on HMS Discovery, and some early maps showing reef locations – but there’s not really much background on either, which is something of a pity. You might be left wanting to know a fair bit more.

Darwin Coral Notes

The exhibition includes some of Darwin’s original notes on corals and his theory of their creation

Article source: http://go.theregister.com/feed/www.theregister.co.uk/2015/03/29/natural_history_museum_coral_reefs_exhibition_review/

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Robot Overlords: Tween babysitting fodder with no in-jokes for the adults

Film Review Robot Overlords is an old-school kids’ movie, with none of the surreptitious nods to the dragged along adult audiences that we’ve become accustomed to, just friendly, under-13s fun.

When a race of giant alien robots come to Earth, the war (represented by sound effects behind a blank screen for the youngsters) lasts just 11 days, leaving the planet under the dominion of the eponymous robot overlords.

The frankly peculiar wishes of our new lords and masters, according to them, are that we stay indoors at all times until the occupation comes to a supposedly peaceable end whenever the robots are finished “studying” the human race.

These wishes are conveyed by a terrifying animatronic avatar known as the Mediator, fashioned by the robots to soothe humankind by looking like a gruesomely misjudged cross between a midget and a boy-band member.

The day-to-day running of the Earth, delivering food, and so on, is taken care of by a group of collaborators, led by Sir Ben Kingsley in greasy villain form that doesn’t tax his acting muscles too much as Robin Smythe.

With all the grown-ups either collaborating or doing their best to get by, it’s left to a quartet of young’uns in a small British seaside town to save the day. Connor (Milo Parker) is the ten-year-old from across the street whose father tests the countdown to vaporisation issued by robots as soon as you rather foolishly step outside.

The newly orphaned boy is taken in by Kate, the dishy Gillian Anderson, who’s keeping her ragtag family together by indulging the odious and lascivious eye of Mr Smythe, and her teenage son Sean (Callan McAuliffe), who’s determined to discover the fate of his MIA dad.

The quartet is rounded out by fellow teens Alexandra (Ella Hunt), the obligatory puppy love interest, and her brother Nathan (James Tarpey), the equally obligatory mouthy one with the heart of gold.

Attempting to fix their PlayStation, the four kids (they should really have had a dog as well) inadvertently discover that a mild-to-serious electric shock from a car battery knocks out the implants that allow the robots to keep track of them, letting them loose on the world to steal sweets and track down Sean’s dad and maybe, just maybe, save the world.

This ain’t the dystopia of The Hunger Games, or the Divergent sci-fi series, or any of the many other serious teen worlds. Robot Overlords is a chirpy, chipper, British adventure, where the kids wisecrack and luck their way through one thing after another until the inevitable showdown – a sort of Goonies meets The War of the Worlds set-up.

This would be unbearably twee if the four kids didn’t pull it off so well. Loud-mouth Nathan runs close to being annoying at times, but little Connor is a sweet, funny kid and Sean keeps the dramatics to a minimum.

That said, this is very definitely a kids’ film, not something you’re likely to actually want to sit down and watch unless you have a fairly unsophisticated tween to entertain. ®

Robot Overlords film posterTitle Robot Overlords

Director Jon Wright

Cast Gillian Anderson, Ella Hunt, Ben Kingsley, Callum McAuliffe, Milo Parker, James Tarpey

Release date 27 March (UK)

More info Studio website

Article source: http://go.theregister.com/feed/www.theregister.co.uk/2015/03/29/robot_overlords_film_review/

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