An anonymous reader writes "Sheriffs in 13 Northeast Florida counties announced an online system Thursday for residents to report suspicious activity they think may be terrorism-related. The site provides examples of red flags to watch for, such as people with an unusual interest in building plans or who are purchasing materials useful in bomb making. Important places to watch include hobby stores and dive shops."
waderoush writes "A San Francisco startup called Automatic Labs came out of stealth mode in March, offering a Bluetooth gadget that connects to your car's onboard data port and sends engine performance data to an app on your smartphone (iPhone only right now, Android coming this fall). Xconomy went on a test drive with Automatic's chief product officer and captured video of the system in action. The app chirps at you when it notices rough braking, aggressive acceleration, or speeding over 70 mph. It also keeps a record of your fuel economy and gives you a gamified 'driving score' to encourage more efficient driving habits and fuel savings. It's all a sign that that the ethic of ubiquitous mobile/cloud sensing and analytics that 'quantified selfers' are applying to their personal health and fitness is spilling over to neighboring areas of consumer technology, including transportation. The Automatic Link device costs $70 and will begin shipping in May." Along similar lines, the Kiwi Drive Green has been available for several years.
S810 writes "Elon Musk, one of the main people behind PayPal, Space Exploration Technologies and Tesla Motors, has paid $50,000 to help Los Angeles speed up construction of the 405 Freeway, making it better and says that he will pay more if needed. From the article: 'Musk said he is open to pay the cost of adding workers to the widening project "as a contribution to the city and my own happiness. If it can actually make a difference, I would gladly contribute funds and ideas. I've super had it." — Musk quips that it's easier getting rockets into orbit than navigating his commute between home in Bel-Air and his Space Exploration Technologies factory in Hawthorne.' For those who aren't familiar with this issue, the 405 Freeway runs from the northern end of the San Fernando Valley all the way down to El Toro and runs by LAX. Residents are getting frustrated that this widening project is over budget and well over the anticipated time frame that it was supposed to completed by."
Dawn Kawamoto writes "Electronic Arts has been slashing jobs in recent weeks and according to Kotaku the size of the layoffs has reached as much as 10 percent of its workforce. The game maker says it's making the move to align its workforce closer to mobile and new technologies. For the console dinosaur that's trying to fight extinction by evolving into a bigger mobile player, this process has been a painful transition with a number of employees ending up in the tar pit - as well as its CEO."
An anonymous reader writes "I am the Technology Manager of the Justice Party (sorry, no relationship to the Avengers). We are currently working on our Platform (version 2.0) and I would be interested to know what people in the science and technology field would like to see in a platform of a political party. For example, we are considering planks that relate to Open Government (data) access, science and maths promotion, space industries, promotion of open source, dealing with SOPA/ CISPA laws, improvement in user privacy and much more. Give us your comments so we can help build a more tech-savvy America."
New submitter geekoid writes "According to media reports about leaked Windows 8.1 code, the next incarnation of Microsoft's flagship operating system will have an option to boot directly to the desktop. People have discovered 'references to a "CanSuppressStartScreen" option in early builds of the Windows 8.1 registry.' There is also speculation that Microsoft will be re-implementing the Start button, though the claims come from nebulous 'sources,' rather than the leaked code. In light of recent reporting about the general distaste and design flaws of Windows 8's user interface, will Microsoft's updates be dynamic enough to stop the current Windows exodus?"
An anonymous reader writes "The prelimbic region of the prefrontal cortex in the human brain is thought to play a key role in drug addiction, and researchers at the National Institute on Drug Abuse wanted to see if manipulating cells there had a positive or negative impact on that addiction. They got some rats addicted to cocaine but not before loading them up with light sensitive proteins called rhodopsins that were placed in their prefrontal cortex, attaching to the neurons there. By shining a tuned laser light on to the prefrontal cortex, it was possible to activate and deactivate the cells. By turning them on with the laser, the addictive behavior of the rats was removed. Turning them off, even in non-addicted rats, saw the addictive behavior return or introduced."
An anonymous reader writes "On October 25, 2012, as residents of the U.S. east coast made frantic preparations for the arrival of Hurricane Sandy, the captain of the HMS Bounty (a replica tall ship constructed fifty years earlier for the Marlon Brando film Mutiny on the Bounty) made a foolish decision, with the assent of his crew, to proceed with a scheduled voyage from New London, CT for St. Petersburg FL. CNN's Thom Patterson has written a long story with the benefit of survivor testimony to the NTSB and U.S. Coast Guard. Captain Robin Walbridge thought he could outrun the hurricane, and besides, he'd 'sailed into hurricanes before.' The crew (officially there were no passengers, a fact that allowed the ship to evade certain safety regulations) consisted of tall ship enthusiasts with widely varying amounts of nautical experience, perhaps taken by the vast historical literature on the great age of sailing. A day and a half into the voyage, Captain Walbridge altered his plan of sailing east of the storm, to sailing south and west of it. A day later, the Bounty was less than 200 miles from the eye of the storm; the engine room started to flood, and the pumps were jammed with debris being torn off by the storm's 70 mph winds. The end came early next day, the Bounty was knocked down by a huge wave, tossing the captain and several crew members overboard. The Coast Guard rescued fourteen of the crew members, but Claudene Christian (an adventure-loving novice who had enlisted as crew a few months before) was dead, and Captain Walbridge's body has not been found."
tsamsoniw writes "Using a combination of relatively low-tech techniques and tools, security researchers have discovered that they can access the contents of one in six Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) buckets whose owners had them set to Public instead of Private. All told, researchers discovered and explored nearly 2,000 public buckets, according to Rapid 7 Senior Security Consultant Will Vandevanter, from which they gathered a list of more than 126 billion files, many of which contained sensitive information such as source code and personal employee information. Researchers noted that S3 URLs are all predictable and public facing, which make it that much easier to find the buckets in the first place with a scripting tool."
MTorrice writes "When energy companies extract natural gas trapped deep underground using hydraulic fracturing, they're left with water containing high levels of pollutants, including benzene and barium. Sometimes the gas producers dispose of this fracking wastewater by sending it to treatment plants that deal with sewage and water from other industrial sources. But a new study (abstract) suggests that the plants can't handle this water's high levels of contaminants: Water flowing out of the plants into the environment still has elevated levels of the chemicals from natural gas production."
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."
thAMESresearcher writes with news about the progress of Mars One. From the article: "Mars One has taken a bold step toward their goal of establishing a human settlement on Mars in 2023 by contracting with its first aerospace supplier, Paragon Space Development Corporation. ... The contract will enable the initial conceptual design of the Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) and Mars Surface Exploration Spacesuit System. During this study, Paragon will identify major suppliers, concepts, and technologies that exist today and can be used as the baseline architecture for further development. The ECLSS will provide and maintain a safe, reliable environment for the inhabitants, providing them with clean air and water. The Mars suits will enable the settlers to work outside of the habitat and explore the surface of Mars."
Hugh Pickens writes writes "Discover Magazine reports that Hugo Chavez will apparently get an embalming job designed to keep him looking alive for decades similar to that of Russia's Vladimir Lenin, whose body still lies in a mausoleum in Moscow's Red Square, nearly 90 years after his death. So how do you preserve a human body for decades without it turning into a pile of melted tissue? First, get to work quickly. Upon death, the human body starts decomposing immediately. The way to stop it is with formaldehyde, a preservative used for the past century, which inhibits the enzyme decomposition as well as killing bacteria. 'You pump the chemical in, and as the formaldehyde hits the cells of the body, it firms up the protein of the cell, or fixates it,' says Vernie Fountain, head of the Fountain National Academy of Professional Embalming Skills in Springfield, Mo. 'That's what makes them stiff.' With a body that will have to be on display for years, it's likely to require a top-shelf, super-strong solution. 'If I were doing Hugo Chavez, I would strengthen the solution and use more preservative product,' says Fountain. Next, get a good moisturizer. Formaldehyde preserves, but it also dries out the body. Vaseline or other moisturizers can preserve the look of skin, according to Melissa Johnson Williams, executive director of the American Society of Embalmers. Finally keep cool. Heat decomposes a body so for long term preservation, the body has to be kept at the temperature of a standard kitchen refrigerator, somewhere in the mid-40s. Lastly, if Venezuelans really want to keep Hugo Chavez around forever, like many other world figures, there's only one solution that works, according to Fountain. 'The best form of preservation is mummification.'"
93,000 writes "According to Yahoo, George Lucas has let slip that Han, Leia and Luke will return for the next Star Wars installment. From the article: 'Lucas backtracked, saying, "Maybe I’m not supposed to say that. I think they want to announce that with some big whoop-de-do, but we were negotiating with them." Then he tried to cover his tracks: "I won’t say whether the negotiations were successful or not."'"
CodingHero writes "My mother uses a recent enough PC running Windows XP and has a broadband connection, but her primary method of interacting with the online world remains the AOL software. She also likes to download and use various seasonal wallpapers, screensavers, etc. Usually all this works fine and I don't get family tech support calls, but occasionally something big goes wrong. Since she lives 400 miles away, that means I get to provide phone tech support. While I can usually get something fixed through simple instructions, sometimes it's just too complicated to properly diagnose and explain over the phone (e.g., a trojan infection that anti-virus won't get rid of on its own). I'd like to set up the system so that her account is not an Administrator and that I can easily (and securely) remotely connect to fix problems, install stuff she really wants to use (after proper vetting of course), and so on. Moving to Linux or a Mac is not an option. Upgrading the system to Windows 7 and breaking the AOL habit, while seemingly the best course of action, is going to mean a lot of my time up front to explain how to do things all over again, time that I don't have a lot of right now. Has anyone else had a similar experience? If so, what did you find was the best way to re-educate a parent and/or set up a method to securely and remotely manage a system, or at least lock it down to better protect it?"