garymortimer writes "As a harbinger for the Paramount film 'Star Trek — Into Darkness', starting in May in Europe's cinemas, last night a swarm of 30 mini-helicopters equipped with the LED lights drew the Star Trek logo into the skies over London. The choreography for the show was developed by Ars Electronica Futurelab from Linz (Austria). Quadrocopter maker Ascending Technologies GmbH from Munich (Germany) provided the aircrafts."
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An anonymous reader writes with some news that might make you think twice before getting a network-enabled camera. From the article: "Users' desire to share things online has influenced many markets, including the digital camera one. Newer cameras increasingly sport built-in Wi-Fi capabilities or allow users to add SD cards to achieve them in order to be able to upload and share photos and videos as soon as they take them. But, as proven by Daniel Mende and Pascal Turbing, security researchers with ERNW, these capabilities also have security flaws that can be easily exploited for turning these cameras into spying devices. The researchers chose to compromise Canon's EOS-1D X DSLR camera and exploit each of the four ways it can communicate with a network. Not only have they been able to hijack the information sent from the camera, but have also managed to gain complete control of it."
derekmead writes "3D-printing gun parts has taken off, thanks to the likes of Cody Wilson and Defense Distributed. While the technology adds a rather interesting wrinkle to the gun control debate, the ATF currently is pretty hands-off, ... 'We are aware of all the 3D printing of firearms and have been tracking it for quite a while,' Earl Woodham, spokesperson for the ATF field office in Charlotte, said. 'Our firearms technology people have looked at it, and we have not yet seen a consistently reliable firearm made with 3D printing.' A reporter called the ATF's Washington headquarters to get a better idea of what it took to make a gun 'consistently reliable,' and program manager George Semonick said the guns should be 'made to last years or generations.' In other words, because 3D-printed guns aren't yet as durable as their metal counterparts, the ATF doesn't yet consider them as much of a concern."
Despite calls to limit the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, it looks like Congress is planning to drastically expand the law and penalties. walterbyrd writes with a few of the major changes listed in the draft bill (22 pages): "Adds computer crimes as a form of racketeering. Expands the ways in which you could be guilty of the CFAA — including making you just as guilty if you plan to 'violate' the CFAA than if you actually did so. Ratchets up many of the punishments. Makes a very, very minor adjustment to limit 'exceeding authorized access.' Expands the definition of 'exceeding authorized access' in a very dangerous way. Makes it easier for the federal government to seize and forfeit anything." TechCrunch also reports rumors that the plan is to push the bill through quickly for approval with a number of other "cybersecurity" bills in mid-April.
scorp1us writes "I've been looking into getting a Raspberry Pi, but I end up needing a case, a display, and some way to power it, and wanting some degree of portability. It seems to me that even the most outdated cellphone has far superior features (screen, touch screen, Wifi, 3g/4g camera(s), battery etc) in a much better form factor. The only thing that is missing are the digital/analog in/out pins. So why not flip it around and make a USB or bluetooth peripheral board with just the pins? I've been looking for this and can't find any, but does anyone know of any in the corners of the internet? I don't care what phone platform."
RougeFemme writes "To capitalize on Google Reader's shutdown, Digg is building an RSS reader from scratch. But this Reader replacement will go beyond RSS to include social media content, like Facebook, Tumblr, Hacker News, Reddit, LinkedIn, etc. From their blog post: 'Google did a lot of things right with its Reader, but based on what we’re hearing from users, there is room for meaningful improvement. We want to build a product that’s clean and flexible, that bends easily and intuitively to the needs of different users. We want to experiment with and add value to the sources of information that are increasingly important, but difficult to surface and organize in most reader applications — like Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Reddit, LinkedIn, or Hacker News. We likely won’t get everything we want into v1, but we believe it’s worth exploring."
judgecorp writes "Seventeen year old Nick D'Aloisio has sold his smartphone app Summly to Yahoo for an undisclosed sum. The app — created when he was 15 — aggregates news stories by topic and condenses them for time-strapped readers. D'Aloisio and his team will go to work at Yahoo when the deal closes. From the article: 'Summly was founded by 17-year old Nick D’Aloisio when he was just 15 from his home in London. The service works by sorting news stories by topic and condensing them into bite-sized chunks for time-conscious readers. The Summly application will be closed down and integrated with Yahoo’s existing range of mobile applications. D’Aloisio and the Summly team will be joining Yahoo as part of the transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close in the second quarter of 2013.'"
For many decades, gramophone records (the black vinyl discs in Grandma's attic) were made by cutting grooves directly into an acetate disc, then making a mold from that "master" and "pressing records." Nowadays, of course, we use digital recording software on our computers or even on our mobile phones. Vinyl? Strictly for fogies and maybe a few audiophiles who think analog recordings have a depth and warmth that CDs and MP3s lack. Naturally, SXSW is a haven for these folks, and among them Tim Lord found Wesley Wolfe and two German compatriots from vinylrecording.com, busily demonstrating their vinyl recording system, which is sort of the gramophone record equivalent of print on demand. Lots of background music in the video makes the voices a bit hard to hear; some might prefer the transcription -- although those who do will lose out on watching the vinyl recording machine in action. Either way. Or both. Up to you.
Rambo Tribble writes "This new, third edition of Sobell's book brings enhancements that add to the text's value as both a learning tool and a reference. This has always been a foundation book for those wanting a professional level of familiarity with Linux. The addition of chapters to introduce the Python language and MySQL database serves to offer the reader practical insights into additional Linux-related technologies." Read below for the rest of Rambo's review.
Hugh Pickens writes writes "Richard Gray reports that scientists have found a way to help anyone plagued by those annoying tunes that lodge themselves inside our heads and repeat on an endless loop — when snippets of a catchy song inexplicably play like a broken record in your brain. The solution can be to solve some tricky anagrams to force the intrusive music out of your working memory allowing the music to be replaced with other more amenable thoughts. 'The key is to find something that will give the right level of challenge,' says Dr Ira Hyman, a music psychologist at Western Washington University who conducted the research. 'If you are cognitively engaged, it limits the ability of intrusive songs to enter your head.' Hyman says that the problem, called involuntary memory retrieval, is that something we can do automatically like driving or walking means you are not using all of your cognitive resource, so there is plenty of space left for that internal jukebox to start playing. Dr Vicky Williamson, a music psychologist at Goldsmiths, University of London, says that the most likely songs to get stuck are those that are easy to hum along to or sing and found that that Lady Gaga was the most common artist to get stuck in people's heads, with four of her catchy pop songs being the most likely to become earworms – Alejandro, Bad Romance, Just Dance and Paparazzi. Other surveys have reported Abba songs such as Waterloo, Changes by David Bowie or the Beatles' Hey Jude."
Nerval's Lobster writes "French oil conglomerate Total has inaugurated the world's ninth-most-powerful supercomputer, Panega. Its purpose: seek out new reservoirs of oil and gas. The supercomputer's total output is 2.3 petaflops, which should place it about ninth on today's TOP500 list, last updated in November. The announcement came as Dell and others prepare to inaugurate a new supercomputer, Stampede, in Texas on March 27. What's noteworthy about Pangea, however, is that it will be the most powerful supercomputer owned and used by private industry; the vast majority of such systems are in use by government agencies and academic institutions. Right now, the most powerful private supercomputer for commercial use is the Hermit supercomputer in Stuttgart; ranked 27th in the world, the 831.4 Tflop machine is a public-private partnership between the University of Stuttgart and hww GmbH. Panega, which will cost 60 million Euro ($77.8 million) over four years, will assist decision-making in the exploration of complex geological areas and to increase the efficiency of hydrocarbon production in compliance with the safety standards and with respect for the environment, Total said. Pangea will be will be stored at Total's research center in the southwestern French city of Pau."
Zothecula writes "We haven't heard anything from NASA's Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) spacecraft since its launch in February, but the satellite is now ready to start sending its first images back home. The first batch of photos are part of a three-month testing period, and show the meeting of the Great Plains with the Front Ranges of the Rocky Mountains in Wyoming and Colorado. Viewed from space, it's already a pretty spectacular scene, but the images from the LDCM managed to enhance it even further."
DavidGilbert99 writes "Dell has confirmed it has received 'two alternative acquisition proposals' from billionaire investor Carl Icahn and the world's largest equity firm Blackstone. These bids rival the $24.4 billion offer made by co-founder Michael Dell and equity firm Silver Lake last month, who want to take the company private. Dell also confirmed details of the two offers, with both exceeding Michael Dell's original offer of $13.65 per share, with Blackstone offering $14.25 and Icahn offering $15 per share."
An anonymous reader writes "While much of the scrutiny following the lone gunman-perpetrated massacres at Aurora, CO and Newtown, CT has fallen on the National Rifle Association and its lobbying efforts against gun control, the shooters in both of the aforementioned incidents seemed to have been encouraged by violence in movies and video games. The New York Daily News' Mike Lupica reported last week that investigators of the Newtown case found a huge spreadsheet in the Lanza home where 20-year old Adam Lanza had methodically charted hundreds of past gun massacres, including the number of people killed and the make and model of weapons used. A Connecticut policeman told Lupica 'it sounded like a doctoral thesis, that was the quality of the research', and added, '[Mass killers such as Lanza] don't believe this was just a spreadsheet. They believe it was a score sheet. This was the work of a video gamer'. In response, the Entertainment Software Association and other lobbyists representing the video game industry have ramped up their Washington lobbying efforts. While still tiny in dollar terms next to the NRA's warchest, this effort seemed to help derail a proposal to fund a Justice Department study of the effects of video games on gun violence, offered as an amendment on the gun control bill by a Republican senator. A spokesman summarized the ESA's position: 'Extensive research has already been conducted and found no connection between media and real-life violence.'"
First time accepted submitter sfm writes "Ever tangle with a grumpy flight attendant over turning off your Kindle Fire before takeoff? This may change if the FAA reviews their policy for these devices. The FAA is under extreme pressure to either change the rules or give a good reason to keep them in place. From the article: 'According to people who work with an industry working group that the Federal Aviation Administration set up last year to study the use of portable electronics on planes, the agency hopes to announce by the end of this year that it will relax the rules for reading devices during takeoff and landing. The change would not include cellphones.'"
First time accepted submitter levanjm writes "Hi all, I am looking for some advice. I am a mathematician at a small liberal arts school who has dabbled in Linux for a number of years. I have had the chance to teach a few courses and summer camps about Linux to college and high school students. Recently I made a trip to Guatemala and visited a school in Labor de Falla. While there I was talking with people associated with the school about how great it would be to be able to set up a computer lab for the kids. To make a long story short, I approached my school about finding a way to make this happen and to get my students involved in volunteering. I have received notification that my school has given me an in house grant to try to get this project rolling. They have also donated six computers to get things started. While I have been making plans in case the funding came through, I wanted to open this up to as many eyes as possible because I am sure there are plenty of concerns I have not considered. What are your thoughts on how to best implement the lab setting? I am a firm believer in the Open Source philosophy so proprietary software is not on my radar. The PC's donated are a little old (4 or so years old), but would run Edubuntu without any issues. I originally thought about how awesome a Raspberry Pi lab would be to set up. I am also wondering if there are any Kickstarter type of foundations that might be used to help solicit donations to purchase additional equipment and help cover costs of getting the equipment to the school. It would be amazing to get enough funding to give computers to the teachers in addition to a lab. I am sure there are other issues I have not even considered yet, so any thoughts you have to share would be wonderful."
cylonlover writes "Not even a year after it claimed the title of the world's lightest material, aerographite has been knocked off its crown by a new aerogel made from graphene. Created by a research team from China's Zhejiang University in the Department of Polymer Science and Engineering lab headed by Professor Gao Chao, the ultra-light aerogel has a density of just 0.16 mg/cm3, which is lower than that of helium and just twice that of hydrogen."
cold fjord writes "It looks like deep sea exploration may pay off big time as Japanese scientists have located rich deposits of rare earth elements on the sea floor in Japanese Exclusive Economic Zone waters, following up on their find two years ago of huge deposits of rare earths in mid-Pacific waters. The cumulative effect of these finds could significantly weaken Chinese control of 90% of the world supply of rare earth metals, which the Chinese have been using to flex their muscles. The concentration of rare earth metals in the Japanese find is astonishing: up to 6,500 ppm, versus 500-1,000 ppm for Chinese mines. The newly identified deposits are just 2-4 meters below sea floor which could make for relatively easy mining compared to the 10+ meters they were expecting... if they can get there. The fact that the deposits are 5,700 meters deep means there is just one or two little problems to resolve : 'A seabed oil field has been developed overseas at a depth of 3,000 meters. . . But the development of seabed resources at depths of more than 5,000 meters has no precedent, either at home or abroad. There remains a mountain of technological challenges, including how to withstand water pressure and ocean currents and how to process the mining products in the ocean, sources said.'"
An anonymous reader writes in with news about a West Virginia bill that would prohibit drivers from "using a wearable computer with head mounted display." Republican Gary G. Howell sponsored the bill in reaction to reading an article on Google Glass and said: "I actually like the idea of the product and I believe it is the future, but last legislature we worked long and hard on a no-texting-and-driving law. It is mostly the young that are the tech-savvy that try new things. They are also our most vulnerable and underskilled drivers. We heard of many crashes caused by texting and driving, most involving our youngest drivers. I see the Google Glass as an extension."
CowboyRobot writes "A proposed tax in Massachusetts may affect software services and Web design and hosting. If approved, the state estimates the tax may bring in a quarter billion dollars in 2014 by expanding its tax on 'canned software' to include some elements of cloud computing. The tax would cover custom-designed software and services based in the cloud. "Custom" software includes the design of Web sites, so the cost to local businesses of a new Web site would increase by 4.5% on contracts to design the site, write Java, PHP or other custom code. The cost of site hosting and bandwidth would also be taxed."
Billly Gates writes "With the new leaked videos and screenshots of Windows Blue released, IE 11 is also included. IE 10 just came out weeks ago for Windows 7 users and Microsoft is more determined than ever to prevent IE from becoming irrelevant as Firefox and Chrome scream past it by also including a faster release schedule. A few beta testers reported that IE 11 changed its user agent string from MSIE to IE with the 'like gecko' command included. Microsoft may be doing this to stop web developers stop feeding broken IE 6-8 code and refusing to serve HTML 5/CSS 3 whenever it detects MSIE in its user agent string. Unfortunately this will break many business apps that are tied to ancient and specific version of IE. Will this cause more hours of work for web developers? Or does IE10+ really act like Chrome or Firefox and this will finally end the hell of custom CSS tricks?"
JimmyQS writes "The Harvard Business Review blog has an invited piece about Innovation Software. Tony McCaffrey at the University of Massachusetts Amherst talks about several pieces of software designed to help engineers augment their innovation process and make them more creative, including one his group has developed called Analogy Finder. The software searches patent databases using natural language processing technology to find analogous solutions in other domains. According to Dr. McCaffrey 'nearly 90% of new solutions are really just adaptations from solutions that already exist — and they're often taken from fields outside the problem solver's expertise.'"