Drones On Demand

mikejuk (1801200) writes “Gofor is a new company that is promoting the idea of drones on demand. All you have to do is use the app to request a drone and it shows you were they are and how long before one reaches your location. You want to take the ultimate selfie? Scout ahead to see if the road is clear or just find a parking space? No problem just task a drone to do the job. For the photo you simply flash your phone camera at it and it pinpoints your location for an aerial selfie. If it is scouting ahead then it shows you what awaits you via a video link. See the promo video to see how it might work. Flight of fancy? Possibly but the company claims to be operational in five US cities.” I wish my car had a drone for instant scouting of traffic-jam alternates.

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S Korea leader condemns ferry crew


21 April 2014
Last updated at 04:45

South Korean President Park Geun-hye has condemned the conduct of some of the crew of the ferry that sank last week, calling it “akin to murder”.

Ms Park said that those to blame would have to take “criminal and civil” responsibility for their actions.

Divers are continuing to recover bodies from the ferry, as they gain access to more of the submerged hull.

The death toll now stands at 64, with 238 people still missing, most of them students from a school near Seoul.

Bodies are being brought two or three at a time back to Jindo, a southern island close to where the ferry sank.



Woman waiting at port and praying

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Jonathan Head: “There is national anger about the way this disaster unfolded”

Police, meanwhile, have been given access to hundreds of messages sent by passengers and crew so they can construct a detailed chronology of the ferry’s last hour.

Transcript released

Ms Park, whose government has faced criticism over its initial response to the disaster, told aides that the actions of the captain and some of the crew “were utterly incomprehensible, unacceptable and tantamount to murder”, the presidential office said.

A total of 174 passengers were rescued from the Sewol, which capsized as it sailed from Incheon in the north-west to the southern island of Jeju.

But there were 476 people on board – including 339 children and teachers on a school trip. Many were trapped inside the ship as is listed to one side and then sank.

Investigations are focusing on whether the vessel took too sharp a turn – perhaps destabilising the vessel – before it started listing and whether an earlier evacuation order could have saved lives.

Continue reading the main story

Controller: “Please go out and let the passengers wear life jackets and put on more clothing.”

Crew member: “If this ferry evacuates passengers, will you be able to rescue them?”

Controller: “At least make them wear life rings and make them escape.”

Crew member: “If this ferry evacuates passengers, will they be rescued right away?”

Controller: “Don’t let them go bare. At least make them wear life rings and make them escape… We don’t know the situation very well. The captain should make the final decision and decide whether you’re going to evacuate passengers or not.”

Crew member: “I’m not talking about that. I asked, if they evacuate now, can they be rescued right away?”

Details of the panic and indecision on the bridge emerged on Sunday, when the coastguard released a transcript of the last communications between the crew and controllers.

In the transcript, a crew member repeatedly asks if vessels are on hand to rescue passengers if evacuation is ordered.

The captain, Lee Joon-seok, has said he delayed the move for fear people would drift away.

Mr Lee, 69, was not on the bridge when the ferry began listing. It was steered by a third mate who had never navigated the waters where the accident occurred, prosecutors said on Saturday.

The captain and two other crew members have been charged with negligence of duty and violation of maritime law.

Four more crew members were reported to have been detained on Monday over allegations they failed to protect passengers.

It has since emerged that Mr Lee appeared in a promotional video for the journey four years ago describing the ferry journey as safe as long as the passengers followed the crew’s instructions.

Over the weekend, there were angry confrontations between relatives of those on board and police, after a group began a protest march.

The relatives say they want more information both about what happened and about how soon the remains of their loved ones can be recovered.

Ukraine probes deaths in tense east


21 April 2014
Last updated at 03:16



Several burnt-out vehicles were left after the incident

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Daniel Sandford hears from a man who says he witnessed the attack

Ukraine says it will launch an investigation into a fatal shooting in the east of the country which has raised tension with Russia further.

At least three people died in the raid on a checkpoint manned by pro-Russian separatists near the town of Sloviansk.

Russia expressed “outrage” at the shooting and said Ukraine’s Right Sector nationalists were to blame.

The incident came as pro-Russian groups continued to occupy government buildings defying a deal to leave.

The deputy secretary of Ukraine’s national security council, Viktoriya Siumar told the BBC that it was too early to tell who was responsible for the attack.

Criminal groups could have been behind the incident, she said, adding that “the level of criminality in eastern Ukraine has increased substantially recently”.

Ms Siumar said that Kiev was “concerned” about the fact that Russia had already reached its own conclusions.

‘Provocation’

Russian television showed an interview with a man, allegedly captured after the attack, who said he was a Right Sector member.

However, a spokesman for the group denied that the man was a member.

“Right Sector was not there, and whatever happened there was an obvious provocation from the Russian secret services,” Artyom Skoropadskiy said.

The Right Sector mocked the discovery of a business card found in a burned out car at the site and said to belong to its leader Dmytro Yarosh.

Mr Skoropadskiy said this was “propaganda worse than that of Nazi Germany”, adding: “As if the militants of Pravy Sektor carry Yarosh’s business cards with them!”

The Russian foreign ministry accused the Kiev government of not doing enough to protect Russian speakers.

“Russia is indignant about this provocation by gunmen, which testifies to the lack of will on the part of the Kiev authorities to rein in and disarm nationalists and extremists,” it said in a statement.



Arseniy Yatsenyuk

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PM Arseniy Yatsenyuk: “President Putin has a dream to restore the Soviet Union”

Russia, Ukraine, the EU and US agreed during talks in Geneva last Thursday that illegal military groups in Ukraine must be dissolved, and that those occupying government premises must be disarmed and leave.

But the separatists’ spokesman in the city of Donetsk said that the Kiev government was “illegal”, and vowed they would not go until it stepped down.

The shooting is the first fatal incident in the region since Thursday’s agreement.

Sloviansk rebel leader and self-proclaimed mayor Vyacheslav Ponomarev called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to send peacekeepers to the region. He also asked for food and weapons.

Mr Ponomarev added that a “people’s army of Donbass” was being set up. Donbass (Don river basin) is the industrial area of eastern Ukraine made up of Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

The BBC’s James Reynolds in Donetsk says that the Geneva deal is already in trouble and events in Sloviansk will do little to change that.

Ships returned

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s navy said that seven of its ships that were stationed in Crimea – now annexed by Russia – had returned to the port of Odessa.

However, the captain of the Kirovograd said that his crew had decided to join the Russian armed forces.

“The ship has been operating for 11 years, unfortunately its crew decided to stay in Russia, but they have saved this ship and I am grateful for this,” said Dmitry Kovalenko.

US Vice-President Joe Biden is set to meet Ukraine’s acting president and prime minister on Tuesday on a two-day visit to Kiev.

Ukraine’s interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk criticised Russia’s Vladimir Putin in a US TV interview ahead of the visit.

He told NBC’s Meet the Press programme that Mr Putin had a “dream to restore the Soviet Union”.

“It’s crystal clear that for today, Russia is the threat to the globe, and the threat to the European Union, and a real threat to Ukraine,” Mr Yatsenyuk said.

‘Pivotal’ period

Ukraine has been in crisis since President Viktor Yanukovych was toppled in February.

Russia then annexed Crimea following a regional referendum that approved joining the Russian federation. The annexation provoked international outrage.

Pro-Russian activists then occupied buildings in several eastern Ukrainian cities.

Ukraine has said that operations against the pro-Russian militants have been suspended over Easter.

Ukraine’s interim authorities have appealed for national unity and promised to meet some of the demands of pro-Russian protesters.

These include the decentralisation of power and guarantees for the status of the Russian language.

But the US has warned the next few days will be pivotal and has threatened more sanctions against Russia if it fails to abide by the agreement.

Are you in Ukraine? You can share your experiences by emailing haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk with the subject title ‘Ukraine’.

Send your pictures and videos to yourpics@bbc.co.uk or text them to 61124 (UK) or +44 7624 800 100 (International). If you have a large file you can upload here.

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$42,000 Prosthetic Hand Outperformed By $50 3D Printed Hand

An anonymous reader writes “A man named Jose Delgado was so used to using a $42,000 myoelectric prosthetic hand for the last year that he didn’t realize that there were other options out there. Although Delgado, born without a left hand, was able to obtain the hand via his insurance, he found that a 3D printed ‘Cyborg Beast,’ open source hand ,which costs just $50 to print, actually was more comfortable and performed better than the device which costs 840 times as much money.”

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The high-tech hunt for WWII MIAs (pictures)

Thanks to some very high-tech tools being used in the hunt for American military planes shot down by the Japanese in near the island nation of Palau in 1944, some families will finally be learning the fate of their lost loved ones. CNET traveled to Palau to document the hunt.



Biofuels From Corn Can Create More Greenhouse Gases Than Gasoline

New submitter Chipmunk100 (3619141) writes “Using corn crop residue to make ethanol and other biofuels reduces soil carbon and can generate more greenhouse gases than gasoline, according to a study published today in the journal Nature Climate Change. The findings by a University of Nebraska-Lincoln team of researchers cast doubt on whether corn residue can be used to meet federal mandates to ramp up ethanol production and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

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