Daniel_Stuckey writes "The goal is to build a self-contained block of toilets, similar to Coca-Cola's community blocks, that can also provide clean water and power for phone charging—to essentially turn toilets into a community center.
"I think it's hard to make sanitation as sexy as a cell phone, but by integrating into the community and making it a hub, it can be something more popular," Linden said.
The toilet itself, called the Sol-Char, is a fascinating bit of engineering. In order to sanitize waste without the help of massive treatment facilities, Linden's team instead designed the toilet to scorch waste in a chamber heated by fiber optic cables that pipe in heat from solar collectors on the toilet's roof.
"A solar concentrator has all this light focused in on one centimeter. It'd be fine if we could bring everyone's fecal waste up to that one point, like burning it with a magnifying glass," Linden said. "But that's not practical, so we were thinking of other ways to concentrate that light.""Link to Original Source
Daniel_Stuckey writes "It’s been four and a half months since a federal judge ordered the FBI to release thousands of documents on the agency’s use of drones. At 800 pages released so far, the Bureau has done its damnedest to scrub out particulars about its unmanned inventory, past and present.
But even FBI redaction artists slip up and accidentally divulge some hard figures once in awhile.
After months of anticipation, we finally know approximately how many drones the FBI had. In 2010.
In a December 2010 submission to the Federal Aviation Administration, the FBI asserted that its three drones [“UAS,” or unmanned aerial system, in the above] were safe to fly in domestic skies. In an otherwise heavily redacted document, this one number escaped the censors’ gaze."Link to Original Source
Daniel_Stuckey writes "On paper, the technology is as elegant as it is promising. Bitcoin's big innovation is that it offers a system of verification that relies on math, not middlemen, to broker trust. That's a big deal, but it's also a little bewildering.
Among other things, Bitcoin undoes the internet's logic of copying and pasting: it proves that transactions have happened through math alone, which can, among other things, obviate the need for central financial institutions. It may not turn out to be a very good currency, but it's already looking like an interesting way to change the way we handle and send money.
Some regulators and banks are now taking it very seriously. A report out today from Goldman Sachs says Bitcoin isn't a very good store of value, but its payment technology could force "existing players to adapt or coopt it." In a December report, Bank of America Merrill Lynch predicted that Bitcoin could “become a major means of payment for e-commerce and may emerge as a serious competitor to traditional money transfer providers.” Other industry stalwarts remain puzzled: “Wow... It’s totally surreal," was how James P. Gorman, the head of Morgan Stanley, put it the other day. And yet, for all of its futuristic mystery, the technology rests on self-evidence and hard logic. It aims to replace messy human trust with rigid mathematical proof."Link to Original Source
Daniel_Stuckey writes "The very first pages that formed the earliest World Wide Web are probably lost forever. When Tim Berners-Lee launched a network of linked hypertext documents from his NeXT computer in 1989, he wasn't thinking much about posterity. He was mostly thinking about the boon the system could prove for his particle physicist colleagues at CERN, who desperately needed a better system for sharing and storing the data from their experiments.
The fact that the first website got deleted somewhere along the way is both remarkable and unsurprising. The web was never intended to be a permanent archive, and an average website in the 90s survived only 100 days. Still, given the historical import of the digital document, and the fact that there are some 48 copies of the Gutenberg Bible still out there, it feels strange, if somehow typical of the ever-ephemeral nature of wired progress."Link to Original Source
Daniel_Stuckey writes "Over the weekend, Ma 28-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of using a small quadcopter drone to smuggle an unknown quantity of illegal drugs into a prison in Melbourne, Australia.
While it's certainly not the first time small-fry UAV technology has been used by a mid-level mule to airmail drugs into the clink, it does suggest a growing trend in the highest-tech of prison highs. Here, then, is a brief history of drone-assisted prison drug smuggling.
In November 2013, guards at Hull jail in Gatineau, Canada, spotted a small drone flying over the prison's walls. An exhaustive search of both Hull's grounds and the immediate vicinity turned up nothing by way of whatever contraband the drone might have been toting around. Nevertheless, it didn't appear to be one-off incident
"This sort of thing happens often in prisons all across Quebec," Stephane Lemaire, president of Quebec's correctional officers' union, told the Ottawa Sun. "Usually the drones are carrying small packages of drugs or other illicit substances." The problem, Lemaire added, is that "the drone can be controlled from more than a kilometre away, and the [Hull] prison is surrounded by forest.""Link to Original Source
Daniel_Stuckey writes ""In response to Mr. Putin's aggression in Ukraine, President Obama should announce a series of steps that will dramatically expand production of American-made energy, beginning with lifting this de facto ban on exports of US-produced liquefied natural gas," Boehner writes in an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal .
The much-discussed plan, put forward by Boehner and congressional Republicans, focuses on the idea that Europe is afraid to confront Russia, because it provides so much of its energy, and the fact that Russia could pull the plug on Ukraine's supply outright. The Speaker believes that the US government hasn't been approving new natural gas projects, pipelines, and export facilities quickly enough—the process of reviewing these projects to make sure they don't emit too much harmful pollution or degrade the environment amounts to a "ban," in his words. But if we just got on with it, and exported that gas to Europe, it could turn the tide in Ukraine, he says."Link to Original Source
Daniel_Stuckey writes "Yesterday, I got as close as any media physically can to Barrett Brown, the American journalist that was locked up in late 2012 for pasting a hyperlink in a chatroom, which federal prosecutors alleged contained leaked credit card data from the Statfor hacks.
Due to a media gag order upheld by the US District Court in the Northern District of Texas, Brown isn't allowed to make "any statement to members of any television, radio, newspaper, magazine, internet (included, but not limited to bloggers)," with the exception of Kevin M. Gallagher, who heads his defense fund. The prosecution's rationale for the gag order is that any extrajudicial statements made by Brown, or his attorneys, could be prejudicial to his defense.
Earlier this week, US Attorney Sarah Saldaña filed a motion to dismiss 11 of Brown's charges, namely those related to the pasted hyperlink (including trafficking in stolen authentication features, aggravated identity theft, and access device fraud). The motion came as both a victory for Brown's case, and a sigh of relief to supporters who have continuously cited the absurdity of his charges related to hyperlinking. Awaiting two trial dates this spring (April 28th, 2014, and May 19th, 2014), the prosecution's case is unraveling."Link to Original Source
Daniel_Stuckey writes "Bitcoin is being used to buy and sell child sexual abuse material, according to the UK’s Internet Watch Foundation. The charity, which works to rid the web of criminal content including child pornography, uncovered the trend last month and released a report on it today. It’s the first time they’ve found evidence of the cryptocurrency being used in this way.
It’s hardly news that Bitcoin is being used for nefarious or criminal activities. Despite the currency’s increasingly legitimate image—which was significantly bolstered yesterday in the UK by the tax authorities’ decision not to charge VAT on Bitcoin transactions—it will never fully escape from its legally chequered history. This is the currency that made Silk Road, after all, and there are still plenty of dark net markets that will trade you illicit goods for bitcoins, even if their transactions represent a dwindling proportion of the Bitcoin ecosystem."Link to Original Source
Daniel_Stuckey writes "After living with a meth head who had a trigger finger itchier than an Appalachian mosquito bite, Doug gave his ex-housemate the boot and confiscated his weapons, thus paving the way for his new found love for gunsmithing. Being that Virginia is one of America's more gun-friendly states, Doug's new skills made him a popular guy in the neighborhood. And instead of hoarding his knowledge of firearms, Doug has since open sourced his gun and ammo making techniques on his well-trafficked engineering forum.
But Doug's most exciting creation is his guerilla-engineered nuclear fusion reactor. His pursuit of a limitless source of clean and self-sufficient energy takes place in what he calls his "den of creative chaos," which is essentially a cluttered workshop in the entrance of his home, directly underneath his bedroom.
Nuclear fusion, which produces energy by fusing atoms, rather than splitting them, has been a dream of physicists and clean energy fans for years. But while there have recently been major strides to in fusion generation, a full-time reactor that produces more energy than it takes in remains a long ways off."Link to Original Source
Daniel_Stuckey writes "Russia's military intervention in Ukraine sent shockwaves through a somewhat unlikely sector: the nation's IT industry. Russia completed live-fire exercises over the weekend, and began moving troops into the Ukrainian-held autonomous region of Crimea. On Monday, the two biggest IT companies operating in Ukraine saw $750 million worth of their valuation disappear in a single trading day.
According to Russia's CNews, shares of the software developer Luxoft plunged by 23 percent on the New York Stock Exchange; an estimated $330 million in value was lost. Meanwhile, its competitor, EPAM, lost the same percentage of its shares, amounting to a $420 million dollar hit. Combined, the two companies lost three-quarters of a billion dollars. That's a remarkable loss for a nation with one of the biggest IT sectors in the world—outranked only by the US, India, and Russia—according to a 2013 report, it's worth $3.6 billion in total."Link to Original Source
Daniel_Stuckey writes "Ground troops may be flexing their muscles in Crimea while they await marching orders, but cyber and information attacks between Russia and Ukraine are already underway.
Friday, a group of unidentified men took control of a series of communication centers in Crimea. Maintained by Ukrtelecom JSC, Ukraine's telecom provider, the facilities are essential to linking Crimea with the rest of Ukraine. With the hubs knocked out, landline, mobile, and internet services were severed, with almost no coverage available. It is unclear exactly who was responsible for these attacks, but considering their sophisticated and clandestine nature, it is reasonable to assume they were carried out by professionals.
On the other side of the border, RT—the news channel formerly known as Russia Today and funded by the state—had its website hacked on Sunday morning, with the word 'Nazi' not so stealthily slipped into headlines. Highlights included “Russian senators vote to use stabilizing Nazi forces on Ukrainian territory,” and “Putin: Nazi citizens, troops threatened in Ukraine, need armed forces' protection.” RT was quick to notice the hack, and the wordplay only lasted about 20 minutes."Link to Original Source
Daniel_Stuckey writes "As the East Coast continues to get snow dumped on it, California's record-setting drought drags on. It's gotten so bad that farmers in the state have called upon "dowsers," a group of people who have the ability to find water using their intuition and a series of tools with names like L and Y rods, pendulums, and bobbers. Some people have taken to calling them “water witches,” and some claim they can find underground water just by looking at a map of a plot of land. (Reportedly, it's tougher than just pointing at the blue parts.)
The practice has become so ingrained in agriculture that in 1988, the United States Geological Survey released a report (PDF) mostly dismissing the practice.
“Case histories and demonstrations of dowsers may seem convincing, but when dowsing is exposed to scientific examination, it presents a very different picture,” the report says. “The natural explanation of ‘successful’ water dowsing is that in many areas, water would be hard to miss. The dowser commonly implies that the spot indicated by the rod is the only one where water could be found, but this is not necessarily true. In a region of adequate rainfall and favorable geology, it is difficult not to drill and find water.”
Even so, I called up Barney Turner—head of the Nor Cal Dowsers, a group of 100-or-so water witches—to see what dowsing is all about."Link to Original Source
Daniel_Stuckey writes "FirstNet—pitched as a state of the art communications network for paramedics, firemen and law enforcement at the federal, state and local level—will give cops on the streets unprecedented technological powers, and possibly hand over even more intimate data about our lives to the higher ends of the government and its intelligence agencies. While the system has already been tested in a handful of states, and 2014 will likely see it rolled out further.
According to a series of presentation slides from December last year, FirstNet will be the “MOST secure wireless network ever built,” sitting entirely separate from the commercially run networks that everyone, including first responders, uses today. This will give FirstNet greater reliability in situations where networks come under extreme pressure, such as when tens of thousands of people contact loved ones during a terrorist attack or natural disaster. It makes sense to have a dedicated network just for first responders during these sorts of events."Link to Original Source
Daniel_Stuckey writes ""BiteLabs grows meat from celebrity tissue samples and uses it to make artisanal salami." So proclaims the copy on BiteLabs.org, right under an all-caps call to action: EAT CELEBRITY MEAT. The site proposes taking actual tissue samples of celebrities—specifically, James Franco, Kanye West, Jennifer Lawrence, and Ellen DeGeneres—and growing their cloned meat for use in a marketable salami blend.
It's admittedly pretty funny. Having spent a month drinking Soylent and wading through press releases about Google Burgers and in vitro meat, BiteLabs seemed to offer a reasonably clever, well-executed satire on the Silicon Valley food tech trend.
But if it's just a joke—as any half-concious participant in the age of viral marketing ploys and social media hoaxes immediately assumed it to be—then its creators are willing to take it pretty far.
The operators of the site, which was created last month, began its publicity push on February 25th. They fired a volley of tweets at celebrities and journalists (including me) proclaiming that BiteLabs was "the future of celebrity meat.""Link to Original Source
Daniel_Stuckey writes "The contacts on Zambada-Ortiz's phone, which officials seized, would prove critical in pinpointing cartel stash houses strewn across Sinaloa state in mountainous northwest Mexico. Crucially, the episode would breathe new life into the joint US-Mexico dragnet that recently caught Chapo, who'd been at large for 13 years after famously escaping from Mexican prison in a laundry basket.
Zambada-Ortiz's capture and the data scraped from his phone led to more and more Sinaloa phones until a month ago, when Mexican authorities (moving on American intelligence work) successfully carried out a number of raids that scored a cache of weapons and the arrests of a few of Chapo's senior henchmen. With each apprehension came another phone full of leads, "a new trove of information for officials to mine," as TIME reported. Then, sometime last week, Mexican commandos "traced a number stored in a seized cell phone to a stash house outside the provincial capital of Culiacan, where they believed Guzman was hiding," TIME added."Link to Original Source