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If Frank Herbert was around today, the tagline of Dune would probably be "those that control their own operating system, controls the universe." It's an idea that China's tech firms have taken to heart, crafting their own platforms in the hope of toppling Android as the go-to software in charge of everyone's hardware. Tencent is the latest to throw its hat into the ring with a new OS that's, unsurprisingly, able to be used on phones, games consoles, VR devices and smartwatches.

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If you've ever seen a 6th grader lugging around a 30 pound backpack, you'll understand the allure of e-readers and tablets as a replacement for traditional textbooks. To help school districts make the digital transition from physical textbooks, Amazon launched Whispercast, a free content management and distribution tool. Schools can buy or rent books directly via the online tool and push them to anything that supports the Kindle app including: Kindles, Fire Tablets, iOS, Android, Mac, Windows and Chromebooks. Today, the free two year-old online tool gets an upgrade with tiered administration, support for purchase orders, an easier-to-use online interface and an assisted setup service for new schools.

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Ever since Spotify announced Connect, a feature that lets you easily play music on various compatible devices, manufacturers quickly started taking advantage of it. Now, following in the footsteps of Libratone, Bang & Olufsen, Samsung and many other audio makers, Polk is finally bringing Spotify Connect support to its line of Omni wireless speakers. If you own of these, you'll have to use the companion iOS or Android app to start the jams from your mobile device. Unfortunately, Polk's only letting users stream to a single WiFi speaker at the moment, but the company says that multi-room streaming is coming soon to the Omni sets.

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A swarm of small robots developed by a team of European scientists can carefully extract and transport vehicles up to two tons in weight. These tiny machines and their larger deployment unit are collectively called Avert, short for "Autonomous Multi-Robot System for Vehicle Extraction and Transportation." As the name implies, the system needs very little human input: it can scan the area and look for potential obstacles to plan its safest route. The deployment unit will then release the small robots, which attach themselves to the vehicle that needs extraction. As much as we'd love for Avert to rescue us from bad parking situations, though, it was specifically developed for use by law enforcement.

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Ask someone in the street what they know about the Air Force's top-secret space plane and you'll probably wind up getting pinched by the NSA. Nobody can claim to know much about the X-37B, beyond the fact that it's the force's long-term space vehicle, capable of staying in orbit for more than a year at a time. In the run up to the craft's next jaunt around the planet, however, someone has let slip the details of an experiment that it'll be carrying out. According to Spaceflight Now, Air Force officials have revealed that the autonomous drone will be used as the test-bed for a new type of Hall effect thruster.

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A lot of people are obviously still unhappy that the Thirty Meter Telescope's (TMT) construction was greenlit, because the project's website was reportedly hacked on Sunday. A group called Operation Green Rights, which is associated with Anonymous, claims to be the brains behind the DDoS attack that took down the the TMT portal for a few hours. A post on its website says: "Nothing will ever justify the destruction of ecosystems; filthy money can never replace them. Stand with the Hawaiian natives against #TMT." The group also claims to be behind another DDoS attack on Hawaii's local website.

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An augmented reality comic book called Priya's Shakti aims to open people's eyes to how badly rape survivors are treated in India. A life-sized version is now coming to the US, and you'll have the chance to see it at the City Lore Gallery in NYC on May 7th. Priya's Shakti tells the tale of rape survivor Priya, who was chosen by Parvati (the Hindu goddess of love, fertility and devotion) to become her envoy in the fight against gender-based violence. The 32-page comic has hidden AR animation and videos in its pages that you can see through the Blippar app for iOS, Android or Windows. Blippar also helped creators Ram Devineni, Vikas K. Menon and Dan Goldman add AR content to the murals painted in several locations around India to promote the project.

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BAE Systems recently announced that it has adapted the active damping suspension originally made for F1 cars to a Swedish Combat Vehicle, the CV90. This is reportedly the first system of its kind for a tracked vehicle, although BAE has been working on it for a few years. Unlike conventional, passive suspensions that simply absorb the shock of a bump or divot in the road as it occurs, active suspensions calculate vehicle speed against upcoming terrain to selectively tighten the suspension and keep the vehicle level. This eliminates both body roll and pitch acceleration as well as translates into a higher top speed since all four wheels (or in this case, both tracks) stay in firm contact with the ground. It works well enough for the CV90 to set a speed record on a "rough terrain course", and for F1 to have banned the tech in 1993, although it may make a comeback.

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Audi A7 Sportback TDI

In an ideal, pollution-free world, everyone would be driving electric and hydrogen fuel cell cars. Audi knows society isn't quite there yet, however, so it has a stopgap if you still get around using conventional vehicles. The automaker recently produced its first batch of "e-diesel," a synthetic diesel based solely on carbon dioxide and water -- readily available chemicals that are far nicer than sulfur and other typical diesel elements. It's even relatively eco-friendly to make, as you use electrolysis to break down the water and merge it with the CO2 in a high-efficiency synthesis process.

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