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+ - 176 Laser Ranging of Mars and Jupiter from Earth->

Submitted by Thorfinn.au
Thorfinn.au (1140205) writes "A group of JPL scientists, working on improving space-scale laser ranging, believe they could one day measure the distance from Earth to Mars with millimetre accuracy.

If their scheme were adopted, it would have to wait until a new Mars mission takes place to put a laser on the red planet. That's because, unlike Earth-Moon laser ranging, which uses reflectors on the Moon, the new design calls for lasers at both ends of the measurement.

The problem with reaching beyond Earth-Moon distances, the researchers explain, is that the signal falls off by the radius to the power of four – which puts Mars out of reach. An active scheme only deteriorates by R squared, which extends distances “thousands of times”."

Link to Original Source

+ - 154 Where to find older physical tools' purpose? 1

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "My father-in-law died some time ago. He was a wonderful and masterful craftsman. From his garage "collection", I received a double-handful of older tools, some obvious, some obviously special-purpose. I was able to track one down to the 1946 (patent filed) — 1949 (patent granted) era, as an "advertising" (but useful!) tool. Sort of an early version of the "swiss army knife", but without having to fold things out. I have another one, a Vernier caliper with sub-millimetric accuract (0.001 meters). It has several capabilities: outside; inside; depth; probably walls, possibly height, and I'm not sure what else. It is marked only "Germany" and a name / abbreviation I haven't figured out yet. It's been neglected a bit, but is still accurate. I can only suppose it was used to measure "cupped" manufactured articles in quality control — pistons, cups, brake calipers, or something similar. I intend to continue to use it as a caliper. But, I would like to track down what it was originally used for. Can anyone point me to some sites that might help?"

+ - 193 Global anoxia ruled out as main culprit in the P-T extinction

Submitted by Garin
Garin (26873) writes "The late Permian saw the greatest mass extinction event of all-time. The causes for this extinction are hotly debated, but one key piece of the puzzle has recently been revealed: while the deep-water environments were anoxic, shallower waters showed clear signs of being oxygenated. This rules out global anoxia, and strongly suggests that other factors, such as the Siberian Traps vulcanism, must have played a dominant role.

From the article: "Rather than the direct cause of global extinction, anoxia may be more a contributing factor along with numerous other impacts associated with Siberian Traps eruption and other perturbations to the Earth system.”

See the full research article (behind a paywall) here."

+ - 262 Dogs Are Starting to Watch More Television

Submitted by HonorPoncaCityDotCom
HonorPoncaCityDotCom (2980655) writes "Stanley Coren reports that a number of new television stations are providing programming specifically designed for dogs and while many people report that their dogs completely ignore what is visible on television, with modern resolution and quicker imaging, more dogs have become potential television viewers. The increase in dog viewership is primarily attributed to the way the dog's eye works. The image on a standard television screen is updated 60 times per second and since a human's flicker fusion frequency is only 55 Hz, the image appears continuous and the gradually changing images give us the illusion of movement. However dogs can discern flickers at up to 80 Hz so with the increased availability of high-resolution digital screens that are refreshed at a much higher rate, the images are less likely to appear to be flickering to the canine eye. Presentation factors are also an issue. Dogs are most likely to respond to images that have been captured at the eye level of a dog with a low camera angle where there are moving things like animals or birds. But even if that requirement is fulfilled, most dogs do not watch television because the TV is normally placed at a comfortable eye level for human beings and dogs do tend not to scan upward, and therefore do not notice the TV images. All of which brings us to DogTV, the first cable network to deliver 24-hour programming for dogs that lets you flip on the channel while you go out for the day as your pet is stimulated, entertained and relaxed. “If the dog wasn’t enjoying it, he would find something else to do, like nibble on the end of a sofa,” says veterinarian Ann E. Hohenhaus."

+ - 328 NSA Spying Hurts California's Business

Submitted by mspohr
mspohr (589790) writes "Interesting opinion piece by Joe Mathews published today (http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/jul/13/could-nsa-spying-hurt-california-economy/all/?print)
makes the argument that California's economic life depends on global connections. "Our leading industries — shipping, tourism, technology, and entertainment — could not survive, much less prosper, without the trust and goodwill of foreigners. We are home to two of the world’s busiest container ports, and we are a leading exporter of engineering, architectural, design, financial, insurance, legal, and educational services. All of our signature companies — Apple, Google, Facebook, Oracle, Intel, Hewlett-Packard, Chevron, Disney — rely on sales and growth overseas. And our families and workplaces are full of foreigners; more than one in four of us were born abroad, and more than 50 countries have diaspora populations in California of more than 10,000."
It quotes John Dvorak: "Our companies have billions and billions of dollars in overseas sales and none of the American companies can guarantee security from American spies. Does anyone but me think this is a problem for commerce?”
It points out that: "Asian governments and businesses are now moving their employees and systems off Google’s Gmail and other U.S.-based systems, according to Asian news reports. German prosecutors are investigating some of the American surveillance. The issue is becoming a stumbling block in negotiations with the European Union over a new trade agreement. Technology experts are warning of a big loss of foreign business."
The article goes on to suggest that perhaps a California constitutional ammendment confirming privacy rights might help (but would not guarantee a stop to Federal snooping)."

+ - 216 The Little Bomb-Detecting Device That Couldn't

Submitted by theodp
theodp (442580) writes "Widely deployed in Iraq and promoted by military leaders, BusinessWeek reports the ADE 651 bomb-detecting device had one little problem: it wouldn’t detect explosives (earlier /. story). 'The ADE 651,' reports Adam Higginbotham, 'was modeled on a novelty trinket conceived decades before by a former used-car salesman from South Carolina, which was purported to detect golf balls. It wasn’t even good at that.' One thing the ADE 651 did excel at, however, was making money — estimates suggest that the authorities in Baghdad bought more than 6,000 useless bomb detectors, at a cost of at least $38 million. Even though ADE 651 manufacturer James McCormick was found guilty of three counts of fraud and sentenced to 10 years in prison in May, the ADE 651 is still being used at thousands of checkpoints across Baghdad. Elsewhere, authorities have never stopped believing in the detectors. Why? According to Sandia Labs’ Dale Murray, the ideomotor effect is so persuasive that for anyone who wants or needs to believe in it, even conclusive scientific evidence undermining the technology it exploits has little power."

+ - 876 The Middle East beats the West in female tech founders->

Submitted by PolygamousRanchKid
PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) writes "Only 10% of internet entrepreneurs across the world are women, according to Startup Compass, a firm that tracks such things. Except in Amman and other Middle Eastern cities, it seems. There, the share of women entrepreneurs is said to average 35%—an estimate seemingly confirmed by the mix of the sexes at “Mix‘n’Mentor”, a recent gathering in the Jordanian capital organised by Wamda, an online publication for start-ups.

Reasons abound, and they are not always positive, says Nina Curley, Wamda’s editor. Although more than half of university graduates in many Middle Eastern countries (51% in Jordan) are women, the workforce is dominated by men (women provide only 21% of it overall, and a paltry 16% in Jordan). The internet, however, is a new space that is more meritocratic and not as heavily male. The technology also lets entrepreneurs work from home, making it easier to raise children.

The number of women entrepreneurs in the Middle East is likely to grow, including in the least likely places. “Well-educated women in Saudi Arabia want to work, but their family often objects,” explained an entrepreneur at the Wamda shindig. “Running an internet start-up from home is the perfect compromise.”"

Link to Original Source

+ - 296 Some volcanoes 'scream' at ever-higher pitches until they blow their tops->

Submitted by vinces99
vinces99 (2792707) writes "Swarms of small earthquakes often precede a volcanic eruption. They can reach such rapid succession that they create a "harmonic tremor" that resembles sound made by some musical instruments. A new analysis of an eruption sequence at Alaska's Redoubt Volcano in March 2009 shows the harmonic tremor glided to substantially higher frequencies and then stopped abruptly just before six of the eruptions. Scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey's Alaska Volcano Observatory have dubbed the highest-frequency harmonic tremor at Redoubt Volcano “the screams” because the episodes reach such high pitch compared with a 1-to-5 hertz starting point. Alicia Hotovec-Ellis, a University of Washington doctoral student in Earth and space sciences and an author of two papers examining the phenomenon, has created a 10-second recording and a one-minute recording that provides a 60-times faster representation of harmonic tremor and small earthquakes."
Link to Original Source

+ - 253 Android At Risk Of Getting Banned In India By The Goverment->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Telecom Minister, Kapil Sibal plans to ban Android in India, accusing the mobile OS to carry adult applications which are unsuitable for minors.He has asked the media to come up with suggestions to deal with the issue, before taking any step.
        “I want you people to suggest how can we close it. If we want to close it, you will attack us. I want all the media to come together and tell the minister how to deal with it so that if I do something about it, you don’t attack me,”"

Link to Original Source

+ - 325 Tiny ion engine runs on water->

Submitted by symbolset
symbolset (646467) writes "Discovery News is covering a project by two engineers from the University of Michigan to pair cubesats with tiny ion engines for inexpensive interplanetary exploration. The tiny plasma drive called the CubeSat Ambipolar Thruster (CAT) will ionize water and use it as propellant with power provided by solar cells. In addition to scaling down the size of ion engines they hope to bring down the whole cost of development and launch to under $200,000."
Link to Original Source

+ - 213 Rogers Moto X Demo Video Reveals Google's Android Superphone Coming in August->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "A leaked tech demo posted to YouTube shows off Motorola's upcoming Moto X smartphone, a seemingly high-end device that is sure to win over a few fans with its wealth of new tricks and features. The Moto X handset, which is launching exclusive to Rogers in Canada (no mention of US market carriers) this August, will be available in black and white, but a key selling point of the device comes from its voice activated features. The tech demo heavily emphasizes Google Now, which Moto X users can engage without touching the device. In the demo, a woman is shown asking Google Now what the weather will be like in Toronto while she types away on a computer, never having to reach down to tap the handset. It was also previously leaked that the Moto X will ship with a 4.4-inch display (1280x720), 1.7GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 8960 processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, 10MP rear-facing camera, 2MP front-facing camera, and of course Android 4.2 Jelly Bean."
Link to Original Source

+ - 294 Balmer's Bargain Blowouts: Microsoft Slashes Tablet Prices->

Submitted by McGruber
McGruber (1417641) writes "Thursday, The Verge broke the news (http://www.theverge.com/2013/7/11/4514888/microsoft-surface-rt-tablet-price-cuts) that Microsoft was slashing the price of its tablets — the price of the 32-gig Surface RT plummented by 42%! Staples, TigerDirect and many other retailers are already selling the tablets at the lowered prices.

I wonder what Microsoft will do for customers who purchased a tablet right before the pricedrop?"

Link to Original Source

+ - 279 Database Loophole Lets Legislators Avoid Photo Radar Tickets

Submitted by lemur3
lemur3 (997863) writes "State legislators in Colorado have not been receiving speeding tickets due to inadequacies in the implementation of a DMV database. The current system ties plates to vehicles rather than to individuals, the special plates for legislators are issued to individuals. The result is that there is no entry in the database for the special plates when the automated photo radar system is triggered, this means nobody receives a citation. In one case a Colorado resident , who had vanity plates reading "33", received the photo radar citations intended for Senator Mike Johnston representing district 33, whose vehicle was identified by a "33" on his special plate. Lt. Matt Murray of the Denver Police, speaking of the system commented, “Our system works, the database works. What needs to happen is the state’s database need to be complete,”."

+ - 207 Business is Booming in the 'Zero-Day' Game

Submitted by HonorPoncaCityDotCom
HonorPoncaCityDotCom (2980655) writes "Want to be a millionaire? Forget about writing the next killer Andriod app as Nicole Perlroth and David E. Sanger write in the NY Times that all over the world, from South Africa to South Korea, business is booming in “zero days,” the coding flaws in software like Microsoft Windows that can give a buyer unfettered access to a computer. The average attack persists for almost a year — 312 days — before it is detected, according to Symantec, the maker of antivirus software. Until then it can be exploited or “weaponized” by both criminals and governments to spy on, steal from or attack their target. Ten years ago, hackers would hand knowledge of such flaws to Microsoft and Google free in exchange for a T-shirt but increasingly the market for 0-day exploits, has begun to migrate into the commercial space (PDF) as the market for information about computer vulnerabilities has turned into a gold rush. Companies like Vupen charge customers an annual $100,000 subscription fee to shop through its catalog, and then charges per sale. to countries who want to use the flaws in pursuit of the kind of success that the United States and Israel achieved three summers ago when they attacked Iran’s nuclear enrichment program with a computer worm that became known as “Stuxnet.” Israel, Britain, Russia, India and Brazil are some of the biggest spenders but North Korea is also in the market, as are some Middle Eastern intelligence services. "If someone comes to you with a bug that could affect millions of devices and says, ‘You would be the only one to have this if you pay my fee,’ there will always be someone inclined to pay it," says Howard Schmidt, a former White House cybersecurity coordinator. “Unfortunately, dancing with the devil in cyberspace has been pretty common.”"

+ - 268 What Medical Tests Should Teach Us about the NSA Surveillance Program

Submitted by Davak
Davak (526912) writes "In many ways finding the small amount of terrorists within the United States is like screening a population of people for a rare disease. A physician explains why collecting excessive data is actually dangerous. Each time a test is run, the number of people incorrectly identified quickly dwarfs the correct matches. Just like in medicine, being incorrectly labelled has serious consequences."

+ - 383 Chevron gets 9 years worth of activists' internet metadata

Submitted by Halo1
Halo1 (136547) writes "A US Federal judge has ruled that Microsoft must provide Chevron with IP usage records and identity information for email accounts owned by more than 100 environmental activists, journalists and attorneys. Chevron ask for this information in an attempt to prove that it fell victim to a conspiracy when it was convicted to pay $18 billion for dumping 18.5 billion gallons of oil waste in the Ecuadorean Amazon. Opponents, such as the EFF and ERI, criticise that this could allow Chevron to determine the countries, states, cities or even buildings where the account-holders were checking their email, so as to 'infer the movements of the users over the relevant period'."

+ - 335 4,000 MPH@1G Hyperloop Transport Dream Approaches Reality 2

Submitted by Freshly Exhumed
Freshly Exhumed (105597) writes "Elon Musk's dream of a hyperloop transport system seems to be closer to reality than he anticipated. Hyperloop transportation, referred to by Musk as a "cross between a Concorde, a railgun, and an air hockey table", is a tubular pneumatic transport system with the theoretical capability of carrying passengers from New York to L.A. in about 30 minutes at velocities near 4,000 miles per hour, while maintaining a near-continuous G force of 1. Colorado-based company ET3 is planning to build and test its own version of such a hyperloop system, Yahoo reports."

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