First time accepted submitter AlphaWolf_HK writes "Ars Technica has a story about a 52 year old man who was arrested and sentenced to three years in jail for shining a high powered green laser at a helicopter along with an interesting video showing how he was tracked down. The FBI says that laser strikes are becoming epidemic, saying that they expect to see reports of 3,700 of them this year."
First time accepted submitter badford writes "Representative Paul Broun (Georgia Republican) said that evolution, embryology and the Big Bang theory are 'lies straight from the pit of hell' meant to convince people that they do not need a savior. It would not be quite as shocking if Broun did not sit on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. What impact could this have on policy? What impact could this have on STEM education not just in Georgia but all over the U.S.?"
RocketAcademy writes "While all eyes were focused on SpaceX, which is preparing for another launch to the International Space Station, Virgin Galactic quietly put out a press release. Virgin Galactic has acquired full ownership of The SpaceShip Company, which will build production versions of SpaceShip Two. Ownership was previously shared with Scaled Composites, which built SpaceShip One and is building the SpaceShip Two prototype. There have been rumors of strained relations between Virgin Galactic and Scaled Composites. This news, which was not announced until after the close of business Friday, raises some interesting questions about Virgin's relationship with Scaled and its plans for the future."
another random user writes "Kim Dotcom's internet connection was being diverted inside New Zealand weeks before the Government Communications Security Bureau says it started spying on him. The New Zealand Herald has obtained details showing Telecom engineers and staff at its technology services company Gen-I were investigating irregularities with his internet connection in November. The revelation has raised suspicion that Mr Dotcom was victim to earlier spying than the GCSB has admitted. It has brought fresh calls for an inquiry amid claims of the spy agency's role in the international 'Five Eyes' Echelon Network."
JabrTheHut writes "I'll be packing up and moving to another continent soon. Everything I own will be packed up into boxes and loaded onto a cargo container, which in turn will be loaded onto a ship and will sail from Northern Europe, through the equator and then to its final destination. It will be in transit for up to 8 weeks. What do I need to do to ensure my stuff survives the trip? I've got anti-static bags and silica gel for graphics cards and hard disks, which won't be in the computers, mostly, when they move, and some of what I own will be crated in order to protect both against physical damage and humidity. I'll throw in a couple of packets of silica gel into each box or crate. Clothes get moth balls. But what have I missed? Will the printer ink survive? Do I have to worry about batteries? What haven't I thought of?"
theodp writes "File this one under it-seemed-like-a-good-idea-at-the-time. The Filter digital agency decided to show off their Steve Jobs spirit on the first anniversary of Jobs' death by declaring Friday Steve Jobs dress-up day. But where things really took a turn for the worse was in Seattle, where Filter employees took it to the local Apple Store where they formed a Flash Mob of Steve Jobs dress-alikes dancing Gangnam Style. Hey, even our best of intentions sometimes go awry."
lpress writes "A Harvard Business School study sponsored by the Interactive Advertising Bureau shows that the ad-supported Internet is responsible for 5.1 million jobs in the U.S. — two million direct and 3.1 million indirect. They report that the Internet accounted for 3.7% of 2011 GDP. The research, development and procurement that launched the Internet back in the 1970s and 1980s cost the US taxpayers $124.5 million at the time — not a bad investment!" Your calculations may vary.
jones_supa writes "Since August, beekeepers around the town of Ribeauville in the region of Alsace, France have seen their bees starting to produce honey in an odd blue or green color. Mystified, the beekeepers embarked on an investigation and discovered that a biogas plant 4 km away has been processing waste from a plant producing colorful M&M candies. Subsequently the bees had been carrying the waste to their nests. Agrivalor, the company operating the biogas plant, said it had tried to address the problem after being notified of it by the beekeepers. 'We discovered the problem at the same time they did. We quickly put in place a procedure to stop it,' told Philippe Meinrad, co-manager of Agrivalor."
First time accepted submitter Bruce66423 writes "As a sometime computer programmer who was always very sniffy about the quality of the stuff being knocked up by amateurs aka power users, the current claim that it was a messed up spreadsheet that caused a multi-million pound fiasco is very satisfying. 'The key mechanism... mixed up real and inflated financial figures and contained elements of double counting.'"
mikejuk writes "Next time you're dreaming up ways to make the users of your apps feel loved and wanted, think a little more wildly. How about giving them an actual hug? That's what MIT researchers Melissa Chow and her colleagues Andy Payne and Phil Seaton at MIT have come up with — a jacket that hugs the wearer when one of their friends 'likes' one of their posts on Facebook. The Like-A-Hug vest is described as receiving a signal when a Facebook friend 'likes' a post, then fills with air to give the wearer the sensation of being hugged."
New submitter jefery23 writes with this excerpt from an Associated Press article (as carried by the Denver Post): "Californians woke up to a shock Friday as overnight gasoline prices jumped by as much as 20 cents a gallon in some areas, ending a week of soaring costs that saw some stations close and others charge record prices." Friday's jump followed another big one just a day earlier, too. Texas gas prices have gone up, but not quite so dramatically ($3.59 at the station nearest to me); how are they in your neck of the woods? Those Bloom boxes and charging stations can't arrive too soon.
Penurious Penguin writes "On October 2, City Commissioners of Delray Beach finalized a policy which prohibits agencies from hiring employees who use tobacco products. Delray Beach isn't alone though; other Florida cities such as Hollywood and Hallandale Beach, require prospective employees to sign affidavits declaring themselves tobacco-free for 12 months prior to the date of application. Throughout the states, both government and businesses are moving to ban tobacco-use beyond working hours. Many medical facilities, e.g. hospitals, have implemented or intend to implement similar policies. In some more-aggressive environments referred to as nicotine-free, employee urine-samples can be taken and tested for any presence of nicotine, not excluding that from gum or patches. Employees testing positive can be terminated. Times do change, and adaptation is often a necessary burden. But have they changed so much that we'd now postpone the Manhattan project for 12 months because Oppenheimer had toked his pipe? Would we confine our vision to the Milky Way or snub the 1373 Cincinnati because Hubble smoked his? Would we shun relativity, or shelve the works of Tolkien because he and C. S. Lewis had done the same? If so, then where will it stop?"
hypnosec writes "Amazon's latest Kindle Paperwhite is now officially jailbroken, giving users the ability to do things like turn their eReaders into weather station displays, or connect serially to a Raspberry Pi. To jailbreak the Paperwhite, the user needs to copy a file over to the root directory of the e-Reader and restart the device. The Kindle Paperwhite jailbreak is based on a previously known hack used on the Kindle Touch."
Hugh Pickens writes "When it comes to infrastructure, politicians usually prefer shiny new projects over humdrum repairs. A brand-new highway is exciting: There's a ribbon-cutting, and there's less need to clog up existing lanes with orange cones and repair crews. So it's not surprising that 57 percent of all state highway funding goes toward new construction, often stretching out to the suburbs, even though new roads represent just 1.3 percent of the overall system. Now Brad Plumer writes in the Washington Post that many transportation reformers think this is a wrong-headed approach and that we should focus our dollars on fixing and upgrading existing infrastructure rather than continuing to build sprawling new roads). UCLA economist Matthew Kahn and the University of Minnesota's David Levinson made a more detailed case for a 'fix-it first' strategy. They noted that, at the moment, federal highway spending doesn't get subjected to strict cost-benefit analysis, and governments often build new roads when they arguably shouldn't (PDF). And that's to say nothing of data suggesting that poor road conditions are a 'significant factor' in one-third of all fatal crashes, and cause extra wear and tear on cars."
holy_calamity writes "A machine learning breakthrough from Google researchers that grabbed headlines this summer is now being put to work improving the company's products. The company revealed in June that it had built neural networks that run on 16,000 processors simultaneously, enough power that they could learn to recognize cats just by watching YouTube. Those neural nets have now made Google's speech recognition for U.S. English 25 percent better, and are set to be used in other products, such as image search."