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Earth

El Nino Has Finally Arrived, Far Weaker Than Predicted 2

Posted by timothy
from the weather-is-hard dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The periodic warm weather pattern called El Niño has finally arrived in the mid-equatorial Pacific Ocean, more than a year late and far weaker than predicted by scientists. "The announcement comes a year after forecasters first predicted that a major El Niño could be in the works. At the time, NOAA predicted a 50% chance that an El Niño could develop in the latter half of 2014. The agency also said the wind patterns that were driving water east across the Pacific were similar to those that occurred in the months leading up to the epic El Niño of 1997, which caught scientists by surprise and contributed to flooding, droughts and fires across multiple continents.

In the end, last year's forecasts came up short, in part because the winds that were driving the system petered out. Researchers, who have been working to improve their forecasting models since 1997, are trying to figure out precisely what happened last year and why their models failed to capture it."
Medicine

Make Those Brown Eyes Blue 39

Posted by timothy
from the you-can-always-reembrownen-them dept.
randomErr writes A new procedure has been developed that can turn any brown eye to blue. The procedure uses a laser that disturbs the melanin in the pigmented part of the eye. Over the course of a few weeks your body would eliminate the disturbed pigment revealing the blue layer below all people have. The procedure costs about $5,000 and only takes a few second to complete. You can't get it yet in the U.S. because it still going through clinical trials and some ophthalmologists fear that process could increase pressure in the eyes.
Censorship

Indian Gov't Wants Worldwide Ban On Rape Documentary, Including Online 64

Posted by timothy
from the oh-that'll-work dept.
An anonymous reader writes India's far-right Hindu Nationalist government headed by Narendra Modi has banned telecasting and viewing online of a BBC documentary on the 2012 Delhi rape which shocked the nation. The documentary consists interviews of the rapist Mukesh Singh, his lawyers and the victim's parents seems to expose the male dominant nature of Indian society. Indian government is now attempting to ban the documentary worldwide. Critics of the Indian government's action has accused it of not addressing issues women face and instead trying to hide the dirty secrets of its culture from the world. Some Indian websites have also reported that the views expressed by the rapist are echoed by policemen, lawyers and politicians of the nation. So far the government's attempt to ban the video online is with mixed success.
The Military

Is Cyber Arms Control a Lost Cause? 26

Posted by timothy
from the gentlemen-do-not-read-each-other's-mail dept.
Nicola Hahn writes In light of a classified document regarding state-sponsored cyber ops, the editorial board at the New York Times has suggested that the most constructive approach to reducing the spread of cyber threats would be to "accelerate international efforts to negotiate limits on the cyberarms race, akin to the arms-control treaties of the Cold War."

While such advice is by all means well-intentioned there are significant differences between nuclear weapons and malware that would make treaty verification problematic. Not to mention that the history of the Cold War itself illustrates that certain countries viewed arms control treaties as an opportunity to secretly race ahead with their own covert weapons programs. Rather than take on the Sisyphean task of trying to limit the development of offensive cyber technology, why not shift national priorities towards creating robust, fault-tolerant, systems that render offensive tools ineffective?
Communications

GSM/GPS Tracking Device Found On Activist's Car At Circumvention Tech Festival 81

Posted by timothy
from the just-can't-catch-a-break-with-you-people dept.
vivaoporto writes A GSM/GPS tracking device was found this March 4 on an activist's car attending the Circumvention Tech Festival in Valencia, Spain, a festival that proposes to gather "the community fighting censorship and surveillance for a week of conferences, workshops, hackathons, and social gatherings, featuring many of the Internet Freedom community's flagship events." They are now asking for the internet tech community for help in order to identify the device. Below verbatim is the plea for help published on the Tor Project website. The fine article also contains pictures of the device.

"On March 4th, 2015, we found a tracking device inside of the wheel well of a car belonging to an attendee of the Circumvention Tech Festival in Valencia, Spain. This was reported in the local media.

If you have information about this device — please send information to jacob at appelbaum dot net using gpg.

The device was magnetically mounted inside of the left wheel well of the car. The battery is attached by cable to the tracking device. The battery was magnetically mounted to the frame of the car. The tracking device was similarly magnetically mounted. The device itself has an external magnetically mounted GPS antenna. It has a very simple free hanging GSM antenna. The device included a Movistar SIM card for GSM network access. The entire device was wrapped in black tape."
Software

Hands-On With the Vivaldi Browser 91

Posted by Soulskill
from the does-not-consume-all-available-memory dept.
justthinkit writes: Vivaldi is billing itself as the power user's browser, and Ars went hands-on with it today. They say, "Vivaldi has so many great features, but it can be a little frustrating because it is still very much a technical preview. It's been largely stable during testing (most of the bugs we encountered using the first release are gone in the second), but it's still missing some key features." It appears to have the cred, with Vivaldi's CEO being Jon S. von Tetzchner, the co-founder and former CEO of Opera. Does the thinking behind Vivaldi appeal to you? Do you plan to switch when it's more feature-complete?
Space

NASA's Dawn Spacecraft Becomes First To Orbit a Dwarf Planet 32

Posted by Soulskill
from the still-working-on-orbiting-an-elf-planet dept.
The Grim Reefer writes with news that at 7:39 AM EST (12:39 UTC) today, NASA's Dawn spacecraft was captured by the gravity of dwarf planet Ceres. Mission controllers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California received a signal from the spacecraft at 5:36 a.m. PST (8:36 a.m. EST) that Dawn was healthy and thrusting with its ion engine, the indicator Dawn had entered orbit as planned. "Since its discovery in 1801, Ceres was known as a planet, then an asteroid and later a dwarf planet," said Marc Rayman, Dawn chief engineer and mission director at JPL. "Now, after a journey of 3.1 billion miles (4.9 billion kilometers) and 7.5 years, Dawn calls Ceres home." In addition to being the first spacecraft to visit a dwarf planet, Dawn also has the distinction of being the first mission to orbit two extraterrestrial targets. From 2011 to 2012, the spacecraft explored the giant asteroid Vesta, delivering new insights and thousands of images from that distant world. Ceres and Vesta are the two most massive residents of our solar system's main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Further details available from the Planetary Society.
Transportation

Inside Bratislava's Low-Cost, Open Source Bike Share Solution 24

Posted by Soulskill
from the trusting-people-not-to-be-jerks dept.
An anonymous reader writes: The Bike Kitchen started WhiteBikes in Bratislava after a failed attempt by the city to finance a similar program. At first users shared donated bikes with the same lock code. They needed a system that would work somewhat automatically without the need for manual rentals (e.g. somebody giving out bicycles). From there, smsBikeShare was born. Users registered with a mobile phone number and could send basic SMS commands (RENT, RETURN, FREE, WHERE, etc.). The system used an inexpensive SMS gateway API and a local message-back number to receive and respond to messages. Shared bicycles have a coded U-lock with a four-digit number, and upon renting a bike, users receive a code to unlock the bicycle and another to reset it to once they are done. Send a message, receive the answer, unlock the bike, reset the lock, and you're off pedaling.
Government

Come and Take It, Texas Gun Enthusiasts (Video) 219

Posted by timothy
from the a-lower-receiver-can-be-an-entire-gun-under-the-law dept.
In Texas, guns are a common sight:gun-racks are visible in the back of many pick-ups, and pistols, cannons, and rifles are part of the state's iconography. Out-of-sight guns are common, too: The state has had legal (though highly regulated) concealed carry for handguns since 1995, though -- contrary to some people's guess, and with some exceptions -- open carry of handguns is not generally legal. One thing that's definitely not a common sight, though, is a group of people manufacturing guns just outside the south gates of the Texas capitol building. But that's just what you would have encountered a few weeks ago, when an organization called CATI (Come and Take It) Texas set up a tent that served as a tech demo as much as an act of social provocation. CATI had on hand one of the same Ghost Gunner CNC mills that FedEx now balks at shipping, and spent hours showing all comers how a "gun" (in the eyes of regulators, at least) can be quickly shaped from a piece of aluminum the ATF classifies as just a piece of aluminum. They came prepared to operate off-grid, and CATI Texas president Murdoch Pizgatti showed for my camera that the Ghost Gunner works just fine operating from a few big batteries -- no mains power required. (They ran the mill at a slower speed, though, to conserve juice.)
Google

The Abandoned Google Project Memorial Page 121

Posted by Soulskill
from the Hello!-Wave-Lively,-Reader! dept.
HughPickens.com writes: Quentin Hugon, Benjamin Benoit and Damien Leloup have created a memorial page for projects adandoned by Google over the years including: Google Answers, Lively, Reader, Deskbar, Click-to-Call, Writely, Hello, Send to Phone, Audio Ads, Google Catalogs, Dodgeball, Ride Finder, Shared Stuff, Page Creator, Marratech, Goog-411, Google Labs, Google Buzz, Powermeter, Real Estate, Google Directory, Google Sets, Fast Flip, Image Labeler, Aardvark, Google Gears, Google Bookmarks, Google Notebook, Google Code Search, News Badges, Google Related, Latitude, Flu Vaccine Finder, Google Health, Knol, One Pass, Listen, Slide, Building Maker, Meebo, Talk, SMS, iGoogle, Schemer, Notifier, Orkut, Hotpot, Music Trends, Refine, SearchWiki, US Government Search, Sparrow, Web Accelerator, Google Accelerator, Accessible Search, Google Video, and Helpouts. Missing from the list that we remember are Friend Connect, Google Radio Ads, Jaiku, SideWiki, and Wave.

We knew there were a lot, but who knew there'd be so many. Which abandoned Google project do you wish were still around?
Graphics

'Chappie': What It Takes To Render a Robot 35

Posted by Soulskill
from the all-the-cycles-you-can-muster dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes: The visual-effects supervisor on the new film Chappie, Image Engine's Chris Harvey, talked with Dice about what it took to render the titular robot. Director Neil Blomkamp thought Chappie needed to look realistic, like something you might honestly expect to see patrolling the streets a decade or two from now. Image Engine took the concept artwork created by Blomkamp and WETA and rendered it in three dimensions, refining the mechanics so the animated Chappie would move realistically for a six-foot-tall, gun-toting robot. As the movie progresses, Chappie begins to take damage from bullets, flames, and thrown debris; if that wasn't enough, he also ends up covered in graffiti. That sort of wear-and-tear complicated things for the effects team; WETA had to produce three physical Chappie "skeletons" and a multitude of body panels representing the increasing levels of damage, and Image Engine needed to make sure every inch of the digital Chappie was rendered accurately to match. The movie itself might be scoring mediocre reviews, but at least the robot looks good.
Shark

Laser Takes Out Truck Engine From a Mile Away 235

Posted by Soulskill
from the all-it-needs-is-an-orbital-targeting-platform-and-we-can-make-popcorn dept.
MutualFun (1730480) writes Aerospace company Lockheed Martin has used a laser to obliterate the engine of a small truck from more than a mile away. (Finally, Star Wars is making a comeback!) The company says, "The demonstration marked the first field testing of an integrated 30-kilowatt, single-mode fiber laser weapon system prototype. Through a technique called spectral beam combining, multiple fiber laser modules form a single, powerful, high-quality beam that provides greater efficiency and lethality than multiple individual 10-kilowatt lasers used in other systems."
Software

uTorrent Quietly Installs Cryptocurrency Miner 216

Posted by Soulskill
from the your-cpu-is-our-cpu dept.
New submitter Eloking sends news that uTorrent, a popular BitTorrent client, is silently installing cryptocurrency mining software for many users. [uTorrent] brings in revenue through in-app advertising and also presents users with “offers” to try out third-party software when installed or updated. These offers are usually not placed on users’ machines without consent, but this week many users began complaining about a “rogue” offer being silently installed. The complaints mention the Epic Scale tool, a piece of software that generates revenue through cryptocurrency mining. To do so, it uses the host computer’s CPU cycles. ... The sudden increase in complaints over the past two days suggests that something went wrong with the install and update process. Several users specifically say that they were vigilant, but instead of a popup asking for permission the Epic Scale offer was added silently.
Science

New Paint Based On Titanium Nanoparticles Creates Self-Cleaning Surfaces 74

Posted by Soulskill
from the only-comes-in-hot-pink dept.
hypnosec writes: Scientists have created a paint that provides self-cleaning surfaces and can maintain them even after being wiped, scratched, or scuffed. The paint, composed of titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanoparticles, is delivered as a suspension in ethanol containing the chemical perfluorooctyltriethoxysilane (abstract). Once the coating is applied to a surface, the ethanol must evaporate for 180 seconds before it is ready for use. Depending on the surface, the coating can be sprayed, dipped, or painted.
Transportation

Self-Driving Cars Will Be In 30 US Cities By the End of Next Year 104

Posted by Soulskill
from the but-not-yours dept.
schwit1 sends this report from the New York Observer: Automated vehicle pilot projects will roll out in the U.K. and in six to 10 U.S. cities this year, with the first unveiling projected to be in Tampa Bay, Florida as soon as late spring. The following year, trial programs will launch in 12 to 20 more U.S. locations, which means driverless cars will be on roads in up to 30 U.S. cities by the end of 2016. The trials will be run by Comet LLC, a consulting firm focused on automated vehicle commercialization. ... they’re focusing on semi-controlled areas and that the driverless vehicles will serve a number of different purposes—both public and private. The vehicles themselves—which are all developed by Veeo Systems—will even vary from two-seaters to full-size buses that can transport 70 people. At some locations, the vehicles will drive on their own paths, occasionally crossing vehicle and pedestrian traffic, while at others, the vehicles will be completely integrated with existing cars.