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Comment Re:Modern Television Style - Thanks Beyond Product (Score 5, Informative) 364

"Top Gear" in the UK does not HAVE commercial breaks! It's made by and shown on, the BBC, whose main TV stations have no adverts at all (except for their own forthcoming shows).

When "Top Gear" is repeated on other, commercial channels, then yes, there are advert breaks.

Comment One Photon Return Per Laser Pulse? (Score 1) 43

Conventional wisdom was that the lunar distance ranging, using the lunar retroreflector arrays, averaged 1 photon or less returned to the Earth detector, per outbound laser pulse.

Now presumably, this 622 Mbit/sec was outbound only (Earth to Moon) and not a return trip. So that will help quite a lot.

But to get these remarkable bandwidths, the Earth-based laser and beam expander/collimator must be pretty special.

Does anyone know the juicy figures like: Laser wavelength, energy per pulse, pulse rep rate, and so on? Oh, and the strength of the signal received at the moon, in (I dunno) photons-per-bit or something?

EU Data Protection Proposal Taken Word For Word From US Lobbyists 108

Qedward writes "Glyn Moody looks at the proposed EU directive on Data Protection — and how some of the proposed amendments seem to be cut and pasted directly from the American Chamber of Commerce — that well-known European organisation... You might ask, Glyn writes, who are these MEPs representing — some 500 million EU citizens that pay their salary or a bunch of extremely rich U.S. companies intent on taking away our privacy?" Lobbyplag lets you look at which lobbyist wrote each part of the bill. Fears of the U.S. exerting undue influence seem to be justified.

How the Cool Stuff At CES Will Ruin Your Life 171

jfruh writes "Another CES has come and gone, and as usual the press has presented rather uncritically a list of super-cool gadgets that were unveiled at the show and that will make our world better. Let's leave aside the fact that many products shown at CES never make it to market; Paul Roberts provides the pessimistic case on the big CES news, explaining how all these gewgaws will strip away privacy, unleash an army of Clippys onto the world, and maybe even change human brains for the worse."

Researchers Seek to Use Drones For Brushfire Forecasting 52

schliz writes "Australian researchers expect to use unmanned aircraft in bushfire surveillance and search and rescue scenarios within two years. The news comes as New South Wales faces 'catastrophic' fire danger ratings and what firefighters say could be the worst conditions in the state's history."

Comment Re:Still sceptical (Score 5, Insightful) 168

Re: Location: Wrong. The entire UK grid is "locked together" and it all runs at the same frequency. Necessarily. Also: Recorder doesn't need to be plugged into the mains. 50Hz hum permeates the space around us. Try grabbing hold of an oscilloscope lead and look at how much 50Hz hum you are "carrying". Unless you're a long way from mains outlets, it's a lot.

Jolla Mobile Set To Launch Its Sailfish OS Today, Signs Deal with Finnish Telco 74

New submitter zzats writes "The Finnish mobile phone manufacturer Jolla, started by ex-Nokia Meego engineers, is showing it's Linux-based Sailfish OS for the public for the first time today. The first keynote speech aired at 9:15 GMT, with an UI-focused presentation starting later, 15:00 GMT. In addition to using the OS on their own devices, Jolla is planning to license it to third party manufacturers. The company has previously stated their initial focus for creating an ecosystem is in the Chinese market." sfcrazy adds: "Jolla has signed a deal with Finland's 3rd largest mobile operator DNA to market the MeeGo based smartphones in the Finnish market."

Scientists Move Closer To a Universal Flu Vaccine 205

Hugh Pickens writes writes "Vaccines for most diseases typically work for years or decades but with the flu, next fall it will be time to get another dose. Now Carl Zimmer writes that a flurry of recent studies on the virus has brought some hope for a change as flu experts foresee a time when seasonal flu shots are a thing of the past, replaced by long-lasting vaccines. 'That's the goal: two shots when you're young, and then boosters later in life' says Dr. Gary Nabel, predicting that scientists would reach that goal before long: 'in our lifetime, for sure, unless you're 90 years old.' Today's flu vaccines protect people from the virus by letting them make antibodies in advance but a traditional flu vaccine can protect against only flu viruses with a matching hemagglutinin protein. If a virus evolves a different shape, the antibodies cannot latch on, and it escapes destruction. Scientists have long wondered whether they could escape this evolutionary cycle with a universal flu vaccine that would to attack a part of the virus that changes little from year to year so now researchers are focusing on target antigens which are highly conserved between different influenza A virus subtypes. 'Universal vaccination with universal vaccines would put an end to the threat of global disaster that pandemic influenza can cause,' says Dr. Sara Gilbert."

Nexus 7 and Android Convertibles Drive Massive Asus Profit 232

rtfa-troll writes "The collapse of the PC market has had much discussion on Slashdot with a common opinion that, now that Apple is the largest personal computer manufacturer, a loss of sales combined with Apple's iPad will completely eliminate most of them. Now Asustek's most recent results show that there may be a way out for those that can move away from their standard markets. Concentrating on Android tablet devices, the Google Nexus 7, with a help from ASUS transformer tablets has driven the company to massive $230 million profits. Asus gross revenue also climbed 9 percent to around $3.8 billion. We have discussed related issues recently: Where companies like HTC have lost their focus on open Android devices and suffered from devastating collapses, ASUS has managed to differentiate it's tablets by providing the most open tablet experience possible via with Google's Nexus program and branding."

Comment Stop Calling Mars "The Red Planet"! (Score 0, Flamebait) 228

There is this global media obsession with referring to Mars as "The Red Planet". It is really irritating.

Mars has a name, just like all the other planets in our solar system: Its name is "Mars". So use it, and respect the planet and its name.

It's so irritating and "media lovvie". Also, the planet it not really "red" at all. It's brown. It belongs in exactly the same category as media types referring to scientists as "boffins". It's RUDE and DISRESPECTFUL.

I wish the media would shed this ridiculous obsession with ignoring the name of the planet MARS.

Hardware Hacking

Researchers Turn Home Wi-Fi Router Into Spy Device 108

hypnosec writes "Researchers at University College of London have applied principles of radar used in defense and designed a detector using home based Wi-Fi routers to spy on people across walls. Using the principles behind the Doppler effect ... Karl Woodbridge and Kevin Chetty, at University College London, have built a prototype unit that uses Wi-Fi signals and recognizes frequency changes to detect moving objects. The size of the prototype unit is more or less the size of a suitcase. The unit contains a radio receiver comprising of two antennas and a signal-processing unit. The duo carried out test runs and ... they managed to determine a person's location, speed, and direction (even through a one foot thick brick wall). The device could be used to spot intruders, monitor children or the elderly, and could even be used in military applications."

Boeing Preparing an Ultra-Secure Smartphone 101

bobwrit writes in with a story about Boeing's new secure government phones project. "Earlier this week, it was revealed that aerospace firm Boeing was working on a high security mobile device for the various intelligence departments. This device will most likely be released later this year, and at a lower price point than other mobile phones targeted at the same communities. Typically, phones in this range cost about 15,000-20,000 per phone, and use custom hardware and software to get the job done. This phone will most likely use Android as it's main operating system of choice, which lowers the cost per phone, since Boeing's developers don't have to write their own operating system from scratch."

Most public domain software is free, at least at first glance.