Frosty Piss writes: If you thought Fortran and assembly language programming is pointless and purely for old-timers, guess again. NASA's Voyager program manager Suzanne Dodd said the retirement of the project's last original engineer left the space agency with a shortage of people capable of communicating with the 40-year-old craft. 'Although, some people can program in an assembly language and understand the intricacy of the spacecraft, most younger people can't or really don't want to,' Dodd said. With high-level languages now the standard for developers, knowing how to fluently code in assembly has become a specialized skill, as has fluency in languages such as Fortran. While obscure, the skill set is lucrative for those who know how to do it. Along with NASA's aging fleet of spacecraft, many businesses still rely on languages such as Fortran or COBOL for specialized tasks and critical infrastructure.
Frosty Piss writes: Next year, millions of Americans might have to start using passports to fly on domestic flights. A decade ago, the U.S. government issued stricter standards for state-issued IDs, including drivers licenses. Following recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, President Bush signed into law the REAL ID Act in 2005, and four states have refused to comply: Louisiana, Minnesota, New Hampshire and New York. After January 1st, 2016, the TSA will only accept REAL ID complaint driver's licences, $55 passport cards, or $135 passport books as valid ID.
Frosty Piss writes: Accotding to CNN, on Monday, NASA will announce confirmation of periodically flowing water on the Mars surface. Three of the scientists slated for the news conference are listed as authors of a new paper [PDF] to be delivered at this week's European Planetary Science Congress, in which the researchers say analysis of imaging from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter proves that seasonal dark streaks on the Martian surface are the result of briny water periodically flowing across the planet's surface.
Frosty Piss writes: Brewer chairs the geography program at Penn State, and has devoted much of her career to helping other people make better maps. By bringing research on visual perception to bear on design, she says cartographers can make maps that are more effective and more intuitive to understand. Many of the same lessons apply equally well to other types of data visualization. A big reason people run into trouble with their color schemes, Brewer says, is the way color picking is done in many software programs. Take the RGB cube (or sliders) many programs use to display colors along red, green, and blue axes, for example. 'That's not the least bit perceptually scaled,' Brewer said. 'In some parts of the cube a tiny step gives you a huge perceptual difference. In other parts it all looks the same.' Brewer’s best-known invention is a website called Color Brewer, which helps mapmakers pick a color scheme that’s well-suited for communicating the particular type of data they’re mapping.
Frosty Piss writes: BMI claims Amici III in Linden, New York didn't have a license when it played four tunes in its eatery one night last year, including the beloved “Bennie and the Jets” and “Brown Sugar,” winning a $24,000 judgment earlier this year, as well as more than $8,200 in attorney’s fees. Giovanni Lavorato, who has been in business for 25 years, says the disc jockey DJ brought into the eatery paid a fee to play tunes. 'It’s ridiculous for me to pay somebody also,' he said. 'This is not a nightclub. This is not a disco joint . . . How many times do they want to get paid for the stupid music?'
Frosty Piss writes: Kevin Christopher Bollaert, who operated a 'revenge porn' web site was been found guilty in February of six counts of extortion and 21 counts of identity theft. He faced a maximum of 23 years in prison. On Friday, April 3rd, he was sentenced to 18 years in prison. The extortion charges stem from a second web site he ran that solicited payments of $250 to $350 from people who wanted to have the photographs deleted. Bollaert made about $30,000 on that site.
Frosty Piss writes: 'The Communications Act prohibits anyone from... interfering with authorized radio communications, including Wi-Fi,' said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler in a statement. "Marriott's request seeking the FCC's blessing to block guests' use of non-Marriott networks is contrary to this basic principle.' After being fined, Marriott petitioned the FCC to change the Communications Act, but that didn't happen.
Frosty Piss writes: 'Get Me Off Your F**king Mailing List' is an actual science paper accepted by the journal International Journal of Advanced Computer Technology. As reported at Vox and other web sites, the journal, despite its distinguished name, is a predatory open-access journal. These sorts of low-quality journals spam thousands of scientists, offering to publish their work for a fee. In 2005, computer scientists David Mazières and Eddie Kohler created this highly profane ten-page paper as a joke, to send in replying to unwanted conference invitations. It literally just contains that seven-word phrase over and over, along with a nice flow chart and scatter-plot graph. More recently, computer scientist Peter Vamplew sent it to the IJACT in response to spam from the journal, and the paper was automatically accepted with an anonymous reviewer rating it as 'excellent', and requested a fee of $150. Over the years, the number of these predatory journals has exploded. Jeffrey Beall, a librarian at the University of Colorado, keeps an up-to-date list of them to help researchers avoid being taken in; it currently has 550 publishers and journals on it.
Frosty Piss writes: The Dickson County Sheriff's Office in Middle Tennessee ended up paying a ransom after the CryptoWall virus blocked access to files including autopsy reports, witness statements and crime scene photos.
Frosty Piss writes: For reasons yet to be determined, a missile carrying the Pentagon's Advanced Hypersonic Weapon exploded four seconds after it took off from the Kodiak Launch Complex. Ground controllers blew it up remotely. Much of the launch pad and nearby facilities were damaged. This launch is the second test flight for the program, the first, in November 2011, successfully launched the hypersonic 'glide vehicle' about 2,500 miles from Hawaii to a test site in the Marshall Islands. The glider and rocket system were developed by Sandia National Laboratories, which is overseen by the Energy Department and managed by Lockheed Martin.
Frosty Piss writes: The LA County District Attorney’s Office declined to press charges against a sheriff’s deputy who was apparently distracted by his mobile digital computer when he fatally struck cyclist and former Napster COO Milton Olin Jr. in Calabasas last December. The deputy was responding to routine work email when he drifted into the bike lane and struck and killed Mr. Olin. As with a lot of Law Enforcement behavior, let's see a "regular" citizen get away with that.
Frosty Piss writes: Amazon’s rise has provoked fear and suspicion from the French government that its tactics may be undermining a treasured part of French culture, its bookstores. The French government recently passed legislation with the goal than to thwart what Culture Minister Aurélie Filippetti called Amazon's dumping of low-cost books in France, in order to protect independent bookstores. It prohibits online retailers from discounting books or offering free shipping. Amazon's expansion in Europe has run into roadblocks, as everything from legal constraints in France to union battles in Germany to public shaming over tax avoidance in the United Kingdom threaten to slow its growth. The battle in Europe is as much cultural as it is financial. Read more from the Seattle Times.
Frosty Piss writes: A series of self-portraits taken by Indonesian monkeys has sparked a copyright dispute between Wikipedia and a British wildlife photographer, says Wikipedia is using his copyrighted images without permission. Photographer David Slater complained that Wikipedia rejected his requests for the images to be removed from the website. Although the monkeys pressed the button, Slater set up the self-portraits by framing them and setting the camera on a tripod. The Wikimedia Foundation claims that no one owns the copyright to the images, because under U.S. law, 'copyright cannot vest in non-human authors', the monkeys in this case.
Frosty Piss writes: The NFL announced this week that it will be using RFID tracking chips on players during select games in the 2014 season to generate precise positioning data on each player on every play. The data is instantly analyzed by the NFL’s MotionWorks graphics system, which then generates statistics for every play. The data can also be instantly incorporated into the visual elements of the TV broadcast within the broadcast’s standard two-second delay.
Frosty Piss writes: Berlin artist Julian Oliver has written a simple program called Glasshole.sh that detects any Glass device attempting to connect to a Wi-Fi network based on a unique character string that he says he’s found in the MAC addresses of Google’s augmented reality headsets. Installed on a Raspberry Pi or Beaglebone mini-computer and pluged into a USB network antenna, this system can detect Glass and use the program Aircrack-NG to impersonate the network and send a “deauthorization” command, cutting the headset’s Wi-Fi connection.