Daniel_Stuckey writes in with an Afghanistan media success story. "I met Orner at South by Southwest, where she was hustling her latest film, The Network. The Network features a brighter side of Afghanistan's brighter side: the story of its television revolution. In Orner's opinion, it's a narrative that runs contrary to our common conceptions of a country that has spent decades in a state of war and instability. She followed Saad Mohseni, a media guru and founder of Afghan media firm Moby Group, who is credited for jump starting the nation's media transformation. Sometimes referred to as the Rupert Murdoch of Afghanistan, Mohseni, an Afghan expat and entrepreneur, explains how he and his siblings returned to Kabul from Australia in 2001, amidst the war shifting into gear. First, they launched a radio station, and by 2004 they'd shifted to television with Tolo TV, quickly turning Moby Group into the largest media conglomerate in the nation."
kkleiner writes "Now the field of 3D printing has advanced so far that a company called Nanoscribe is offering one of the first commercially available 3D printers for the nanoscale. Nanoscribe's machine can produce tiny 3D printed objects that are only the width of a single human hair. Amazingly this includes 3D printed objects such as spaceships, micro needles, or even the empire state building."
symbolset writes "Microsoft has had some trouble as of late getting adoption of their mobile products. Even Bill Gates has said it was inadequate. Despite rave reviews of Windows Phone in the press it has failed to get double digit share of the smartphone market. Now comes reports from WMPoweruser that WP8 will lose mainstream support in July 2014."
Hugh Pickens writes "Jeffrey P. Khan writes in the NY Times about how recent anthropological research suggests that human's angst of anxiety and depression ultimately results from our transformation, over tens of thousands of years, from biologically shaped, almost herd-like prehistoric tribes, to rational and independent individuals in modern civilization. The catalyst for suppressing the rigid social codes that kept our clans safe and alive was fermented fruit or grain. 'Once the effects of these early brews were discovered, the value of beer must have become immediately apparent,' writes Khan. 'With the help of the new psychopharmacological brew, humans could quell the angst of defying those herd instincts. Conversations around the campfire, no doubt, took on a new dimension: the painfully shy, their angst suddenly quelled, could now speak their minds.' Examining potential beer-brewing tools in archaeological remains from the Natufian culture in the Eastern Mediterranean, the team concludes that 'brewing of beer was an important aspect of feasting and society in the Late Epipaleolithic' era. In time, humans became more expansive in their thinking, as well as more collaborative and creative. A night of modest tippling may have ushered in these feelings of freedom — though, the morning after, instincts to conform and submit would have kicked back in to restore the social order. Today, many people drink too much because they have more than average social anxiety or panic anxiety to quell — disorders that may result, in fact, from those primeval herd instincts kicking into overdrive. But beer's place in the development of civilization deserves at least a raising of the glass. As the ever rational Ben Franklin supposedly said, 'Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.'"
MojoKid writes "We hear about green deployment practices all the time, but it's often surrounding facilities such as data centers rather than retail stores. However, Walgreens is determined to go as green as possible, and to that end, the company announced plans for the first net zero energy retail store. The store is slated to be built at the corner of Chicago Avenue and Keeney Street in Evanston, Illinois, where an existing Walgreens is currently being demolished. The technologies Walgreens is plotting to implement in this new super-green store will include solar panels and wind turbines to generate power; geothermal technology for heat; and efficient energy consumption with LED lighting, daylight harvesting, and 'ultra-high-efficiency' refrigeration."
iComp writes "A sophisticated scheme to use a casino's own security systems against it has netted scammers $33 million in a high-stakes poker game after they were able to gain a crucial advantage by seeing the opposition's cards. The team used a high-rolling accomplice from overseas who was known to spend large amounts while gambling at Australia's biggest casino, the Crown in Melbourne, according to the Herald Sun. He and his family checked into the Crown and were accommodated in one of its $30,000-a-night villas. The player then joined a private high-stakes poker game in a private suite. At the same time, an unnamed person got access to the casino's CCTV systems in the poker room and fed the information he gleaned back to the player via a wireless link. Over the course of eight hands the team fleeced the opposition to the tune of $33 million."
schneidafunk writes "VirnetX, a patent-licensing firm with 14 employees, has seen its stock price fall after it lost a major patent trial in Texas on Thursday. A jury there ruled that Cisco did not infringe VirnetX's patents on virtual private networks (VPNs), and that the networking giant didn't have to pay $258 million in damages."
dstates writes "SAM (Systems for Awards Management) is a financial management system that the US government requires all contractors and grantees to use. This system has recently been rolled out to replace the older CCR system. Friday night, thousands of SAM users received the following message: 'Dear SAM user, The General Services Administration (GSA) recently has identified a security vulnerability in the System for Award Management (SAM), which is part of the cross-government Integrated Award Environment (IAE) managed by GSA. Registered SAM users with entity administrator rights and delegated entity registration rights had the ability to view any entity's registration information, including both public and non-public data at all sensitivity levels.' From March 8 to 10, any registered user who searched the system could view confidential information including account and social security numbers for any other user of the system. Oops! The Government Services Administration says that they have fixed the problem."
vu1986 writes "Google launched its EC2 rival, Google Compute Engine, last June, it set some high expectations. Sebastian Standil's team at Scalr put the cloud infrastructure service through its paces — and were pleasantly surprised at what they found. A note about our data: The benchmarks run to collect the data presented here were taken twice a day, over four days, then averaged. When a high variance was observed, we took note of it and present it here as intervals for which 80 percent of observed data points fall into."
An anonymous reader writes "A piece attacking Apple's treatment of Chinese consumers that aired on official government TV last week was followed by a wave of anti-Apple posts on Weibo (China's equivalent of Twitter) by Chinese celebrities. On the China-watching site Tea Leaf Nation, Liz Carter reports that sharp-eyed Weibo users noticed something funny about one such post from an actor and singer named Peter Ho: 'Cannot believe Apple is playing so many dirty tricks in customer service. As an Apple fan, I feel hurt...Need to post around 8:20 pm.' What was this 'need to post at 8:20 pm' business? After Weibo lit up with sarcastic tags such as #PostAround820, Ho claimed (rather unconvincingly) that someone must have hacked his account and posted the anti-Apple 'Weibo'. Mike Elgan at CultOfMac notes a parallel with the Chinese government's rough handling of Google in 2009, which led to Google's closing of its mainland operations. Google claimed that government commissioned hackers had apparently stolen search engine source code, Gmail messages and other user data. An earlier article by Elgan on Datamation notes the uneasy business relationship between Apple and China."
First time accepted submitter willoughby writes "Many routers today have the capability to block web content. And you all know about browser addons like noscript & adblock. But where is the 'proper' place for such content blocking? Is it best to have the router only route packets & do the content blocking on each machine? If using the content blocking feature in the router, will performance degrade if the list of blocked content grows large? Where is the best place to filter/block web content?"
Physicist Chris Lee explains one of the toughest judgment calls scientists have to make: figuring out if their crazy ideas are worth pursuing. He says: "Research takes resources. I don't mean money—all right, I do mean money—but it also requires time and people and lab space and support. There is a human and physical infrastructure that I have to make use of. I may be part of a research organization, but I have no automatic right of access to any of this infrastructure. ... This also has implications for scale. A PhD student has the right to expect a project that generates a decent body of work within those four years. A project that is going to take eight years of construction work before it produces any scientific results cannot and should not be built by a PhD student. On the other hand, a project that dries up in two years is equally bad. ... the core idea also needs to be structured so, should certain experiments not work, they still build something that can lead to experiments which do work. Or, if the cool new instrument we want to build can't measure exactly what I intended, there are other things it can measure. One of those other things must be fairly certain of success. To put it bluntly: all paths must lead to results of some form."
Hugh Pickens writes "Most ancestors from the distant past are, at best, names in the family records, leaving behind a few grainy photos, a death certificate or a record from Ellis Island. But J. Peder Zane writes that retirees today have the ability to leave a cradle-to-grave record of their lives so that 50, 100, even 500 years hence, people will be able to see how their forebears looked and moved, hear them speak, and learn about their aspirations and achievements. A growing number of gerontologists also recommend that persons in that ultimate stage should engage in the healthy and productive exercise of composing a Life Review. In response, a growing number of businesses and organizations have arisen to help people preserve and shape their legacy — a shift is helping to redefine the concept of history, as people suddenly have the tools and the desire to record the lives of almost everybody. The ancient problem that bedeviled historians — a lack of information about people's everyday lives — has been overcome. New devices and technologies are certain to further this immortality revolution as futurists are already imagining the day when people can have a virtual conversation with holograms of their ancestors that draw on digital legacies to reflect how the dead would have responded."
An anonymous reader writes "Ian Bogost writes about a cultural tradition we've mostly lost as smartphones have become ubiquitous: hanging up. While we still use the terminology (in the same way we say 'rewind' when skipping backward on our DVR), the physical act of hanging up a telephone when we're done using it no longer occurs. And we don't get that satisfying crash and clatter when hanging up on somebody to make a point. 'In the context of such gravity, the hangup had a clear and forceful meaning. It offered a way of ending a conversation prematurely, sternly, aggressively. Without saying anything, the hangup said something: we're done, go away. ... Today a true hangup — one you really meant to perform out of anger or frustration or exhaustion — is only temporary and one-sided even when it is successfully executed. Even during a heated exchange, your interlocutor will first assume something went wrong in the network, and you could easily pretend such a thing was true later if you wanted. Calls aren't ever really under our control anymore, they "drop" intransitively.' It's an interesting point about the minor cultural changes that go along with evolving technology."