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Submission + - Satellites providing Internet to the "under-connected" (

Taco Cowboy writes: On this Tuesday, a Russian Soyuz rocket will shoot the first 4 of 12 satellites in a new constellation that are designed to provide affordable, high-speed Internet to people in nearly 180 "under-connected" countries

The orbiters, part of a project dubbed O3b for the "other 3 billion" people with restricted Internet access, were built by the Franco-Italian company Thales Alenia Space, will orbit at 8,062 km and will weigh only 650 kilogrammes (1,400 pounds) each

There are already geostationary satellites providing this type of services, but at a prohibitive cost for many end-users. Existing satellites generally obit at an altitude of some 36,000 kilometres (22,000 miles) above Earth, weigh in at a hefty four to six tonnes each, and take much longer to bounce a signal back to Earth—about 500 milliseconds to be exact, according to an O3b document. "It is such a long delay that people speaking over a satellite link will shorten conversations, interactive web has an extremely poor experience and many web-based software programmes just won't function," as stated in the said document

Crucially, they will communicate with Earth four times faster, said the company, and six would be enough to assure permanent coverage. "O3b's prices will be 30 — 50 percent less than traditional satellite services," said the document

Launch company Arianespace, which will put the satellites in orbit, said the O3b constellation will combine "the global reach of satellite coverage with the speed of a fiber-optic network"

Project investors include Internet giant Google, cable company Liberty Global, satellite operator SES, HSBC bank and the Development Bank of Southern Africa

The first four satellites were due to be boosted into space on Monday but the launch was postponed by a day due to unfavourable weather conditions

The next four satellites will be launched within weeks, according to Arianespace, and a final four "backup" orbiters early next year


Submission + - SPAM: Very cool new prizes coming

GodfatherOfCooper writes: "Found this really cool site — they're about to give 500,000 euros (about $800,000) in prizes for designs that "improve life," as in the Tesla (zero to 60 in four seconds and it's electric) or the iPod (they helped it get into the Museum of Modern Art). They're just coming in with like 72 finalists (out of 720 nominations from 54 countries) — and the jury is heading to Denmark to choose the actual winners for a big August 28 prize show. Basically, this is the Nobel of design. So check out this site, these are the amazing designs in contention — [spam URL stripped] (San Francisco sent in this kick-ass design that turns street lamps on and off according to the moon's phases, can you believe that?) Very neat stuff and you can vote on a "People's Choice' award soon, too. Holler back when you've seen it! Cooper's Godfather"
Link to Original Source

Feed Wired: Danger Mouse + David Lynch + Sparklehorse = Sickest Supergroup Ever (

When it comes to messing with the music industry, there's no better instigator than Brian Burton. Better known as Danger Mouse, the visionary DJ redefined the mashup in 2004 with his Jay-Z/Beatles masterpiece called The Grey Album. One of the most popular illegal downloads of all time, it scored millions of fans—and a cease-and-desist from the Fab Four's label, EMI. Danger Mouse has since smuggled his underground sensibility into the mainstream, producing for big names like Beck and topping the charts as one half of the freaky soul duo Gnarls Barkley. For his new album, Dark Night of the Soul (due in June), he collaborated with indie rocker Mark Linkous (aka Sparklehorse) and filmmaker David Lynch. The power trio (shown at left) reinvented the album as a guerrilla art project. "When formatting changed from vinyl to cassette, packaging got smaller. With MP3s, it's completely gone," Burton explains. "I wanted to get back to a time when packaging was a visual fantasy about the music and created a mystery for people to unpack."

First, Burton and Linkous loaded roughly a dozen tracks with a steamer trunk's worth of sound—haunted-house organs, analog synths, circuit-bent guitar effects, and tripped-out lyrics by Wayne Coyne and Steven Drozd (Flaming Lips), Iggy Pop, and James Mercer (the Shins). Then it was time for Lynch's big solo: After collaborating on the dark psychedelic odes, he created images to match. "Musicians who play in bands often tap into one consciousness," Lynch says. "As a filmmaker, I don't often work like that, so I'm glad I got to experience that collectivity." Shot after dark in LA, Lynch's photographs may cause nightmares: In one still, a Norman Rockwell-esque family gathers around the dinner table, preparing to eat a human head.

Like The Grey Album, Dark Night will be distributed independently. The CD features a 100-plus-page booklet, and a multimedia exhibit is in the works. "I've always done exactly what I wanted on my own albums, but no one at the record company knew how to sell it," Linkous says. "Now we can do anything we want—and Brian knows how to sell records in subversive ways."


Online Billpay Provider Loses Control of Domains 232

An anonymous reader writes "Several sites are running a story about a domain hijacking at Checkfree, the largest provider of online bill payment services to numerous banks and credit unions. According to Network Solutions, someone logged in to the domain administration page using Checkfree's account, and redirected its domains to a site in the Ukraine configured to serve up malware to unsuspecting users." Things like this make me nervous about switching to otherwise-tempting online bill payment, but checks are dangerous, too.

Yes, we will be going to OSI, Mars, and Pluto, but not necessarily in that order. -- Jeffrey Honig