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Space

JAXA Prepares To Try Making Whiskey In Space 67

schwit1 writes: An experiment to test how whiskey ages in weightlessness is about to begin on ISS: "H-II Transfer Vehicle No. 5, commonly known as "Kounotori5" or HTV5, was launched on Wednesday from JAXA's Tanegashima Space Center carrying alcohol beverages produced by Suntory to the Japanese Experiment Module aboard the International Space Station, where experiments on the "development of mellowness" will be conducted for a period of about one year in Group 1 and for two or more years (undecided) in Group 2." Don't worry, the astronauts on ISS won't be getting drunk. After the test period is complete the samples will then returned to Earth, untasted, where they will then be compared with control samples.
ISS

HTV-5 On Its Way To the ISS 87

nojayuk writes: There's another launcher delivering cargo to the ISS apart from US and Russian vehicles, and it's Japanese. The fifth Koutonori (White Stork) cargo vehicle was successfully launched today at from pad 2 of the Yoshinobu Launch Complex at Tanegashima south of Tokyo at 11:50:49 UTC, carrying over 5 tonnes of food, spare parts and scientific equipment to the ISS in a pressurised cabin and an external racking system. This is the fifth successful launch in a row for the Japanese H2B launcher. The Koutonoris have carried over 20 tonnes of cargo in total to the ISS, more than double the amount of SpaceX's six successful CRS resupply flights.
Nintendo

Nintendo Fires Employee For Speaking About Job On a Podcast 152

An anonymous reader writes: You may not have heard of Chris Pranger before, but he's one of the localizers that works to bring Nintendo games over to the west. He recently talked about the localization process for a small podcast, providing Nintendo fans some details about how games make it from Japan to the western world. Nintendo's response to the fan interest in the game localizing process? They fired him, of course. It's unclear what statements in specific Nintendo objected to and Nintendo, so far, hasn't explained its decision.
Privacy

'Privacy Visor' Can Fool Face-Recognition Cameras 110

itwbennett writes: Dark shades aren't enough to go incognito in the age of face recognition camera systems. For that you need the Privacy Visor developed at Japan's National Institute of Informatics. The visor consists of a lightweight, wraparound, semitransparent plastic sheet fitted over eyewear frames. It works by reflecting overhead light into the camera lens, causing the area around the eyes to appear much brighter than normal.
Japan

Japan To Restart Nuclear Power Tomorrow After Energy Prices Soar 338

An anonymous reader writes: After the Fukushima meltdown, all of Japan's nuclear power plants were shut down, the last in late 2013. This week the government plans on starting up reactor No.1 at the Sendai nuclear power plant. Energy prices have risen 30% since 2011, and it is hoped that the plant will soon be producing a surplus of electricity. Not everyone is happy about the plant restarting. This weekend, about 2,000 protesters marched around the plant and voiced their opposition. "Past arguments that nuclear plants were safe and nuclear energy was cheap were all shown to be lies," said writer Satoshi Kamata, one of the demonstration organizers. "Kyushu Electric is not qualified to resume operations because it has not completed an anti-quake structure to oversee a possible accident as well as a venting facility."
Transportation

Japanese Engineer Develops 'WalkCar,' a Mini-Segway 103

rtoz writes: A Japanese engineer has developed a portable transporter small enough to be carried in a backpack that he says is the world's first 'car in a bag'. The lithium battery-powered "WalkCar" device is the size of a laptop and resembles a skateboard more than a car. According to the Reuters report, the slender WalkCar is made from aluminum and weighs between two and three kilograms , depending on whether it is an indoor or outdoor version. The aluminum board and can take loads of up to 120kg., and it reaches top speeds of 10 kilometers per hour, for distances of up to 12 kilometers after three hours of charging. When a rider stands on it, the WalkCar starts automatically, while simply stepping off stops the vehicle. To change direction, the user just shifts their weight.
Government

North Korea Is Switching To a New Time Zone 236

jones_supa writes: North Korea has announced that it is winding its clocks back by half a hour to create a new "Pyongyang Time" — breaking from a time standard imposed by what it called "wicked Japanese imperialists" more than a century ago. The change will put the standard time in North Korea at UTC +8:30. North Korea said that the time change, approved on Wednesday by its rubber-stamp parliament and officially announced on Friday, would come into effect from August 15, which this year marks the 70th anniversary of the Korean peninsula's liberation from Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule.
United States

Twilight of the Bomb 332

merbs writes: On the 70th anniversary of the first nuclear bomb, Motherboard's Brian Merchant toured its crater with one of the last living Manhattan Project scientists. Here's the inside story of the road to the bomb, with the 90-year-old Murray Peshkin—the youngest man to work on the Project that built the bomb, and the first to set foot in its crater. From the story: "There are still nine nuclear nations that, between them, have stockpiled 16,300 weapons. And this network of decades-old nuclear armaments, some of which are still aimed at various strategic choke points around the globe, leaves civilizational scale death-becoming a technical possibility. Before all that, though, the atom bomb was one of the most successful science experiments of all time. It was the product of billions of dollars in government spending, hundreds of the world’s top scientists working in concert, in secret, in a city built from scratch in the desert, and a bygone patriotism united by common, Manichean cause: stop Hitler, defeat the Japanese."
Canada

TPP Copyright Chapter Leaks: Website Blocking, New Criminal Rules On the Way 258

An anonymous reader writes: Knowledge Ecology International (KEI) [Wednesday] morning released the May 2015 draft of the copyright provisions in the Trans Pacific Partnership (copyright, ISP annex, enforcement). The leak appears to be the same version that was covered by the EFF and other media outlets earlier this summer. Michael Geist unpacks the leaked documents, noting the treaty includes anti-circumvention rules that extend beyond the WIPO Internet treaties, new criminal rules, the extension of copyright term for countries like Canada and Japan, increased border measures, mandatory statutory damages in all countries, and expanding ISP liability rules, including the prospect of website blocking for Canada.
Data Storage

Toshiba, SanDisk Piloting 3D NAND That Doubles Previous Capacity 61

Lucas123 writes: Under a joint development agreement, Toshiba and SanDisk have begun pilot production of a new 48-layer 256Gb NAND flash chip in a brand new fab in Mie prefecture, Japan. The new X3 chips, which double capacity from 16GB to 32GB over the previous product, are made with triple-level cell (TLC) flash compared with Toshiba's last multi-level cell (MLC) chip, which stored two-bits per transistor. The chips are expected to begin shipping in products next year. The companies plan to use the new memory in a wide number of products, including consumer SSDs, smartphones, tablets, memory cards, and enterprise SSDs for data centers, the companies said.
Japan

NTT, Japan's Largest Fixed Telecom Provider, Begins Phasing Out ADSL 135

AmiMoJo writes: Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT), the third largest telecoms provider in the world, is beginning to phase out ADSL for broadband internet access (Google Translate helps). NTT is no longer accepting new registrations, and no longer manufacturing the equipment required. Instead they recommend users opt for their FLET'S HIKARI fibre optic service. Their "Giga Mansion Smart Type" services offers 1Gb/sec for around $40/month.
Bitcoin

Japanese Police Arrest Mount Gox CEO Mark Karpeles 104

McGruber writes with the news as carried (paywalled) by the Wall Street Journal that Mark Karpeles, who headed bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox, has been arrested by Japanese police: In February 2014, Mount Gox filed for bankruptcy, saying it had lost 750,000 of its customers' bitcoins as well as 100,000 of its own, worth some $500 million at the time. A police spokesman said Mr. Karpelès is suspected of manipulating his own account at the company by making it appear that $1 million was added to it. The BBC reports the arrest as well, and notes that the coins missing from Mt. Gox represent 7% of all Bitcoins in circulation.
Japan

JAXA Successfully Tests Its D-SEND Low-Noise Supersonic Aircraft 31

AmiMoJo writes: JAXA, the Japanese space agency, has successfully tested its low sonic boom demonstration aircraft D-SEND#2. The unmanned aircraft is floated up to 30,000m by balloon and released, falling back to earth and breaking the sound barrier in the process. The sonic boom created is measured on the ground. The project aims to halve the noise created by sonic booms, paving the way for future supersonic aircraft.
Japan

Ex-TEPCO Officials To Be Indicted Over Fukushima 76

AmiMoJo writes: Three former executives of Tokyo Electric Power Company will face mandatory indictment over the March 2011 nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. The prosecution inquest panel of randomly-selected citizens voted for the indictment on Friday, for professional negligence resulting in death and injury. "Tokyo prosecutors in January rejected the panel's judgment that the three should be charged, citing insufficient evidence. But the 11 unidentified citizens on the panel forced the indictment after a second vote, which makes an indictment mandatory. The three are former chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata, 75, and former executives Sakae Muto, 65, and Ichiro Takekuro, 69. Citizens' panels, made up of residents selected by lottery, are a rarely used but high-profile feature of Japan's legal system introduced after World War Two to curb bureaucratic overreach."
Japan

Japanese Scientists Fire the Most Powerful Laser On the Planet 117

Sepa Blackforesta writes: Scientist from University of Osaka claim have fired the world's most powerful laser. The beam was intact for 2-petawatt, pulse lasted just one picosecond. While it produced a huge amount of power, the energy required for the beam itself is equivalent to that needed to power a microwave for two seconds. An associate professor of electrical engineering at Osaka University Junji Kawanaka says “With heated competition in the world to improve the performance of lasers, our goal now is to increase our output to 10 petawatts.”
Robotics

Robots Must Be Designed To Be Compassionate, Says SoftBank CEO 112

An anonymous reader writes: At the SoftBank World conference in Tokyo, SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son has made a case for robots to be developed so as to form empathic and emotional relationships with people. "I'm sure that most people would rather have the warm-hearted person as a friendSomeday robots will be more intelligent than human beings, and [such robots] must also be pure, nice, and compassionate toward people," SoftBank's Aldebaran tech group will make its empathic "Pepper" robot available for companies to rent in Japan from October at a rate of $442 per month.
Japan

Olympic Organizer Wants To Feed Athletes Fukushima Produce 149

New submitter Grady Martin writes: Toshiaki Endo, Japan's government-appointed parliament member in charge of planning for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, has expressed hopes of supplying the Olympic/Paralympic village with foods grown in Fukushima [Google's autotranslation], stating, 'Using foods from Fukushima in the village is another possibility. I wish to strengthen ties with ground zero in numerous ways.' Would you eat it?
Businesses

Toshiba CEO, 8 Others, Resign Over $1.2 Billion Accounting Cover-Up 85

The BBC reports that Toshiba president and chief executive Hisao Tanaka, along with vice-chairman Norio Sasaki, former chief executive Atsutoshi Niched, and six other executives, has resigned from the company in the wake of an accounting scandal: On Monday, an independent panel appointed by Toshiba said the firm had overstated its operating profit by a total of 151.8bn yen ($1.22bn, £780m). The overstatement was roughly triple an initial estimate by Toshiba. Asia Times has an article that delves into the pressure which drove Tanaka and others to misstate their revenue figures so drastically. From that piece: Top management and the heads of in-house companies acted on “the shared goal of padding nominal profits,” the report said. President Hisao Tanaka and immediate predecessor Norio Sasaki, now vice chairman, denied intentionally delaying loss-booking, but those who worked below them thought they were being instructed to do so, according to the report. Top management would assign “challenges,” or earnings improvement targets, at monthly meetings with the heads of in-house companies and subsidiaries. These targets were especially aggressive in fiscal 2011 and fiscal 2012, when Sasaki was president. In-house company chiefs felt enormous pressure to meet the goals, the committee concluded. After the announcement of Tanaka's resignation, the company's stock actually rose six percent. CNBC explains: Getting the bad news out appears to have eased investors' concerns about the stock. "The total problem has been quantified and there's a likely chance the CEO will have to quit. That's been seen as the end of that," said Amir Anvarzadeh, director of Japan equity sales at BGC Securities.
United States

New Molecular Transistor Can Control Single Electrons 46

Eloking writes: An international team of scientists has been able to create a microscopic transistor made up of one single molecule and a number of atoms. Gizmag reports: "Researchers from Germany, Japan and the United States have managed to create a tiny, reliable transistor assembled from a single molecule and a dozen additional atoms. The transistor reportedly operates so precisely that it can control the flow of single electrons, paving the way for the next generation of nanomaterials and miniaturized electronics." The team that conducted the research included teams from the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory and the NTT Basic Research Laboratories in Japan.
Robotics

Robot-Staffed Japanese Hotel Opens 56

jfruh writes: The front desk is staffed by a female android in a white tunic. The bellhop is a mechanical velociraptor. A giant robot arm put luggage into cubbyholes. It's the Henn-na Hotel in Nagasaki and it's opening this Friday, and it's a place where 'basically guests will see only robots, not humans,' according to general manager Masahiko Hayasaka.