North Korea Accused of Testing an ICBM With Missile Launch Into Space ( 121

MarkWhittington writes: Reuters reported that North Korea launched a long-range missile that is said to have placed a satellite into space. The launch happened much to the consternation of North Korea's neighbors, South Korea and Japan, as well as the United States. Pyongyang claimed that the missile launch was part of that country's peaceful space program. But, other countries are pretty sure that the launch was a test of an ICBM capable of placing a nuclear weapon on any target in the world, particularly the United States.

In Japan, a Battle Brewing Over the Right To Record 4k and 8k Broadcasts ( 102

AmiMoJo writes: Japanese broadcasters have indicated that 4k and 8k broadcasts may have recording disabled via a 'do not copy' flag [via Google Translate], which receivers would be expected to obey. Now the Internet Users Association (MIAU) and Shufuren (Housewives Federation) have submitted documentation opposing the ban. The document points out that the ban will only inconvenience the majority of the general audience, while inevitably failing to prevent unauthorized copying by anyone determined to circumvent the protection.

Japanese Researchers Achieve Record 56Gbps Wireless Transmission 33

Mickeycaskill writes: Fujitsu and the Tokyo Institute of Technology have achieved a wireless transmission of 56Gbps over a 10cm distance using millimeter-wave (mmWave) frequencies located between 30-300GHz. While cellular capacity is improved in some areas through the addition of new mobile masts and small cells, the fibre networks used to link these sites to the wider network is either absent or not feasible to deploy in urban locations or on difficult terrain. This makes the wireless capacity of mobile masts even more important. To achieve the speed, researchers developed custom chips and interface technology to boost capacity of wireless signals without significant data loss.

It is claimed that by pairing the technology developed with a high-output amplifier, the same effect can be achieved outdoors and could be commercialised for mobile operators by 2020.

German Automakers Working On Hydrogen Fuel Cell Tech ( 121

An anonymous reader writes: For the past several years, Japan has been trying to encourage development of hydrogen fuel cell technology for cars. Now it seems some German manufacturers are getting interested as well. "Audi used last week's North American International Auto Show in Detroit to debut its h-tron Quattro fuel cell SUV concept, and the UK's Autocar is reporting that Mercedes-Benz has green-lit for production a fuel cell version of its GLC SUV." The Audi vehicle has a range of roughly 600km. BMW has been working on this problem too: "For quite a while, the company was experimenting with internal combustion engines that used H2 instead of the traditional hydrocarbon fuel. More recently, it showed us an i8 and 5 Series powered by fuel cells, although neither is set for production."

TPP Signing Ceremony To Take Place In February ( 192

Dangerous_Minds writes: New Zealand officials are hoping that the TPP signing ceremony is to take place in February in Auckland, New Zealand. According to the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, it is expected that all 12 countries are going to sign the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Those 12 countries are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the U.S., and Vietnam. Note: signing doesn't necessarily make the agreement law, but it is one critical step closer to ratification.

Mozilla Is Developing an IoT Board Powered By Firefox OS ( 84

prisoninmate writes: An SBC called Chirimen was designed from the outset to use web browser technologies in various science projects by extending the I2C and GPIO WebAPIs to control devices powered by Mozilla's Firefox OS 2.0 and higher operating system. As such, Web developers can easily use browser technologies to develop awesome things. The board is developed by in Japan.

Four Elements Added To Periodic Table ( 85

physburn writes: The Guardian reports that four new elements, with atomic numbers 113, 115, 117, and 118, have been formally added to the periodic table. The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry has now initiated the process of formalizing names and symbols for these elements. "The RIKEN collaboration team in Japan have fulfilled the criteria for element Z=113 and will be invited to propose a permanent name and symbol." 115 and 117, with the temporary names of ununpentium and ununseptium, will be named by researchers from Oak Ridge and Lawrence Livermore national labs in the U.S., as well as from the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Russia. 118, known for now as ununoctium, will be named by the same group minus the Oak Ridge researchers. Professor Paul Karol said, "A particular difficulty in establishing these new elements is that they decay into hitherto unknown isotopes of slightly lighter elements that also need to be unequivocally identified, but in the future we hope to improve methods that can directly measure the atomic number, Z."

Haptic Glove Lets You Feel Distant Objects Underwater ( 29

An anonymous reader writes: Ph.D. candidates Aisen Caro Chacin and Takeshi Ozu at Japan's Tsukuba University have created a haptic sonar glove that allows wearers to "feel" objects that are out of reach underwater. "IrukaTact" uses sonar to detect items from a distance, and applies increasing pressure to the fingertips as the user moves closer. The glove has been packaged as a DIY kit that could potentially be used to search for victims or sunken objects, as well as for specific hazards, such as sinkholes.

Giant Squid Filmed At Japanese Marina ( 57

overThruster writes: The Wall Street Journal reports: "The rare sight of a giant squid swimming inside a marina was captured on video on the coast of the Sea of Japan. According to a manager at the Mizuhashi Fisherina in Toyama prefecture, about 250 kilometers northwest of Tokyo, one fisherman found a 3.7-meter (12.1-foot) giant squid swimming beneath fishing boats docked at the marina on the morning of Dec. 24." The extraordinary close up video taken by divers shows the giant squid's natural coloration as well as the action of its siphon propelling it through the water. Additional footage here.

Fujitsu Spins Off Its PC and Mobile Divisions ( 100

An anonymous reader writes: Back in February, Sony unloaded the part of its business that built PCs. Now, a year later, competitor Fujitsu is doing the same. The company announced it would be spinning off its PC and mobile business, effective 1 February 2016. Your first reaction was probably, "Fujitsu had a PC and mobile business?" You're not alone, and this is likely why the split is happening. In their press release, they say, "With the ongoing commoditization of ubiquitous products, mainly of PCs and smart phones, it has become increasingly difficult to achieve differentiation, and competition with emerging global vendors has intensified." More simply: they couldn't make a competitive product. Hopefully, this is the start of a trend; the race to zero in the Windows laptop market is finally killing off some of the participants.

Femto Fairy Lights - Touchable Holograms ( 57

mikejuk writes with this story about a Japanese team working on creating touchable holograms. I Programmer reports: "One method of creating a volumetric, i.e. true 3D, display, is to use a high power laser and focus it on a small spot in space. The air in that spot will be heated to the point where it ionizes and glows with a bright blue light. Scan the laser really fast and you can make a full 3D arrangement of glowing points of light — not exactly a hologram but as good as. Of course, the big problem is that you have a lot of energy being focused on small areas and human interaction could be a problem. You might well get burned by the laser if you attempted to touch or interact with the display. The solution is to use a really fast laser, a femtosecond laser, that heats a small spot to a high temperature but only for a very short time. This is much safer because the total energy involved is smaller. This is the reason you can touch sparks without getting burned."

Samsung Enters Auto Industry To Make Electronics For Autonomous Cars ( 31

Lucas123 writes: Samsung has become the latest electronics company to create a division specifically for manufacturing parts for the automotive industry. South Korea's largest smartphone maker said it will begin manufacturing electronics with a specific focus on autonomous vehicles and infotainment systems. In October, General Motors announced a strategic partnership with South Korea's LG Electronics for it to produce a majority of the key components for GM's upcoming electric vehicle (EV), the Chevrolet Bolt. Having formerly balked at the automotive electronics market as too small, consumer computer chipmakers are now entering the space with fervor.

Dutch semiconductor maker NXP is closing an $11.8 billion deal to buy Austin-based Freescale, which makes automotive microprocessors. The combined companies would displace Japan's Renesas as the world's largest vehicle chipmaker. German semiconductor maker Infineon Technology has reportedly begun talks to buy a stake in Renesas. Thilo Koslowski, a vice president at Gartner, said the industry is entering the age of "software-defined vehicles." There are easily 80 to 100 processors in a vehicle depending on their sophistication," Koslowski said. "Automotive software and hardware capabilities will become one of most sophisticated device platforms out there."


Japan Releases AKATSUKI's Pictures of Venus ( 44

astroengine writes: The Japanese space agency JAXA has released a confirmation that their Venus mission Akatsuki did indeed enter orbit at Venus on Dec. 7 (JST) — releasing unprocessed images of the Venusian atmosphere as it entered orbit. The spacecraft is currently in a highly-elliptical 13-day, 14-hour orbit around the planet, coming within 400 kilometers (248 miles) at its closest point and reaching 440,000 kilometers (243,400 miles) away at its farthest. This mission has just become the most unlikely success story of 2015 after "missing" its intended Venus orbit way back in 2010.

Japan Defends Scientific Value of New Plan To Kill 333 Minke Whales ( 214

sciencehabit writes with news that Japan plans on killing 333 minke whales this year as part of their whale research program in the Antarctic Ocean. "We did our best to try to meet the criteria established by the ICJ and we have decided to implement our research plan because we are confident we have completed our scientific homework," Joji Morishita, the nation's representative to the International Whaling Commission said. Science reports: "Japan has resumed its controversial lethal research whaling because it wants to determine how many minke whales can be harvested sustainably while studying the environment, Joji Morishita, the nation's representative to the International Whaling Commission (IWC), told a press conference today. 'We'd like to find out how the marine ecosystem of the Antarctic Ocean is actually shifting or changing and not just look at whales but [also at] krill and the oceanographic situation,' Morishita said.

Japan's whaling fleet last week departed for the southern seas for the first time since the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered the nation to halt its research whaling in March 2014. The court ruled that Japan's JARPA II program, which sought to take some 850 minke whales, 50 fin whales, and 50 humpback whales, was not for the purposes of scientific research as stipulated in the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling. The convention allows countries to kill whales for research."

Japanese Space Probe Akatsuki Enters Orbit Around Venus Five Years Late ( 51

MarkWhittington writes: On May 17, 2010, the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency Venus Climate Orbiter probe or as it is now called Akatsuki lifted off from the Tanegashima Space Center. It was supposed to enter orbit around Venus on December 6, 2010. However, due to a failure in the probe's orbital maneuvering thruster, Akatsuki did not enter Venus orbit and went into orbit around the sun instead. According to a story on, just about five years to the day of the failure, Akatsuki assumed an orbit around the second planet from the sun. Japanese scientists will determine what sort of orbit that is in a couple of days and, hopefully, begin the probe's science mission.

Yahoo Discussing Sale of Internet Business ( 129

An anonymous reader writes: According to a new report from the Wall Street Journal (paywalled), Yahoo!'s board of directors is considering the sale of their internet business in a series of meetings starting today. "Growing concerns around Chief Executive Marissa Mayer's lack of progress turning around Yahoo and an exodus of top executives have increased pressure on the company's board to consider her future and alternatives to her turnaround attempt, now in its fourth year. ... Much of the value of Yahoo's $31 billion market capitalization is tied up in two large Asian assets, Alibaba and Yahoo Japan. Its 15% stake in Alibaba is now worth about $32 billion, and its 35% stake in Yahoo Japan is now worth about $8.5 billion. Yahoo's cash and short-term investments totaled $5.9 billion at the end of the third quarter. That would mean investors are valuing Yahoo's core business at less than zero if the Asian assets were spun out tax-free."

Japanese Company Makes Low-Calorie Noodles Out of Wood 159

AmiMoJo writes: Omikenshi Co, an Osaka based cloth manufacturer best known for rayon, a fibre made from tree pulp, is expanding into the health food business. Using a similar process, Omikenshi is turning the indigestible cellulose into a pulp that's mixed with konjac, a yam-like plant grown in Japan. The resulting fibre-rich flour, which the company calls "cell-eat," contains no gluten, no fat and almost no carbohydrate. It has just 60 calories a kilogram, compared with 3,680 for wheat.

Japanese Rocket Launches Its First Commercial Satellite ( 31

schwit1 writes: Using its H-IIA rocket, upgraded to lower cost, Japan launched its first commercial payload today, putting Canada's Telestar 12V into geosynchronous orbit. UPI reports: "Japan's Aerospace Exploration Agency said the H-IIA rocket was upgraded for the launch, permitting the satellite to stay closer to its geostationary orbit. Tokyo's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said he hoped the launch would exhibit the quality of Japan's rocket engineering, and that the successful launch would result in more orders from other global corporations. Following the launch, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries vice president Naohiko Abe said the firm plans to actively promote the H-IIA for satellite launches."

Telemedicine: The State of Telepresence In Healthcare ( 34

Hallie Siegel writes: Telemedicine can let doctors and nurses check in on patients who might be recovering at home, or monitor people in remote locations where it's hard to access physician services. This article gives an overview of the different systems that are out there, what are some of the legal obstacles, and how various countries are investing in the technology. From the article: "The Japanese government has allocated about $23M USD to the core technology market in an effort to develop products for its aging population. Toyota, for example, is focusing on home living assistance robots that will allow those with limited mobility the opportunity to live at home. While Japan might have the largest market in the world of 65+ citizens (over 30 million as of 2014), South Korea is estimated to be allocating nearly $6B USD to their own robotics research. The Koreans are taking a different approach, using robots for mundane tasks of delivering food, allowing humans to provide care."

This October Was the Hottest Ever Measured ( 369

GregLaden writes: Scientists track the global surface temperature, an average of readings from thermometers at approximately head height, and an estimate of sea surface temperatures, in order to track global warming. Over the last year or so we have been seeing many record-breaking months. Now, both the Japan Meteorological Agency and NASA have identified October as an extraordinary month. October 2016 is significantly warmer than any other in the NASA record, which goes back to 1880.

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