Adair writes "A father and son team from Brooklyn successfully launched a homemade spacecraft nearly 19 miles (around 100,000 feet) above the Earth's surface. The craft was a 19-inch helium-filled weather balloon attached to a Styrofoam capsule that housed an HD video camera and an iPhone. The camera recorded video of its ascent into the stratosphere, its apogee where the balloon reached its breaking point, and its descent back to earth. They rigged a parachute to the capsule to aid in its return to Earth, and the iPhone broadcast its GPS coordinates so they could track it down. The craft landed a mere 30 miles from its launch point in Newburgh, NY, due to a quick ascent and two differing wind patterns. The pair spent eight months researching and test-flying the craft before launching it in August. Columbia University Professor of Astronomy Marcel Aguera said, 'They were very good but also very lucky.'"
DrgnDancer sends in an NPR piece on recent efforts to control so-called "information weapons" on the Internet. What's interesting is that the term "information weapon," as defined by many of the countries trying to limit them, doesn't mean what you would think. It's closer to the old Soviet term "ideological aggression." "At a UN disarmament conference in 2008, Sergei Korotkov of the Russian Defense Ministry argued that anytime a government promotes ideas on the Internet with the goal of subverting another country's government — even in the name of democratic reform — it should qualify as 'aggression.' And that, in turn, would make it illegal under the UN Charter. 'Practically any information operation conducted by a state or a number of states against another state would be qualified as an interference into internal affairs,' Korotkov said through an interpreter. 'So any good cause, like [the] promotion of democracy, cannot be used as a justification for such actions.' The Russians, and a lot of other countries such as Iran and China, apparently consider the free exchange of information to be an information technology threat. One that must be managed by treaty."
GarryFre writes "Neurological researchers at Rush University Medical Center have found a new therapeutic target that can potentially lead to a new way to prevent the progression of Alzheimer's disease. The target called neutral sphingomyelinase (N-SMase) is a protein which, when activated, can cause a chain of reactions in the cell leading to neuronal death and memory loss. Already a substance has been found that shows some promise in halting the progression of the disease."
It isn't the same at all if the scientists are heaping scorn on things because the methods, conclusions, etc., aren't supported by the evidence.
IllogicalStudent writes with this excerpt from The Vancouver Sun: "The Harper government has tightened the muzzle on federal scientists, going so far as to control when and what they can say about floods at the end of the last ice age. Natural Resources Canada scientists were told this spring they need 'pre-approval' from Minister Christian Paradis' office to speak with journalists. Their 'media lines' also need ministerial approval, say documents obtained by Postmedia News through access-to-information legislation. The documents say the 'new' rules went into force in March and reveal how they apply not only to contentious issues, including the oilsands, but benign subjects such as floods that occurred 13,000 years ago. They also give a glimpse of how Canadians are being cut off from scientists whose work is financed by taxpayers, critics say, and is often of significant public interest — be it about fish stocks, genetically modified crops or mercury pollution in the Athabasca River."
Genwil writes "It would seem from the article in Coderspiel (as reported on Hacker News) that Microsoft Exchange gives sysadmins the power to remote wipe all data — everything — from unapproved devices that connect to their own email on that system. I'm amazed it doesn't happen around here every month, as simple as the article makes it sound. Anyone been effected by this?"
Link to Original Source
Link to Original Source
An anonymous reader writes "YouTube is running a (very) brief trial of their new live streaming platform: 'This new platform integrates live streaming directly into YouTube channels; all broadcasters need is a webcam or external USB/FireWire camera. Included in the test is a "Live Comments" module which lets you engage with the broadcaster and the broader YouTube community. For the purpose of the trial, this offering will only be available today and tomorrow. Based on the results of this initial test, we'll evaluate rolling out the platform more broadly to our partners worldwide.'"
Ponca City, We love you writes "If journalism is the first rough draft of history, what does that make Wikipedia? Time Magazine reports that technology writer James Bridle has created a 12-volume compendium of every edit made to the Wikipedia entry for the Iraq War between December 2004 and November 2009. 'It contains arguments over numbers, differences of opinion on relevance and political standpoints, and frequent moments when someone erases the whole thing and just writes "Saddam Hussein was a dickhead.,"' writes Bridle. 'This is historiography. This is what culture actually looks like: a process of argument, of dissenting and accreting opinion, of gradual and not always correct codification.' The books presumably only exist in one copy, so they are not for sale."
Spliffster writes "The German Pirate Party has disclosed some secret documents on how the EU is planning to monitor citizens. The so called INDECT Documents describe how a seamless surveillance could (or should) be implemented across Europe. The use of CCTV cameras, the Internet (social networks), and even the use of UAVs are mentioned as data sources. Two of the nine documents can be downloaded from the German Pirate Party's website (PDFs in English)."
That's 'cuz we're only human, Jim.
Jamie noted that over at Schneier's blog, he has a worthwhile entry on the data in the social networks. He writes "Lately I've been reading about user security and privacy — control, really — on social networking sites. The issues are hard and the solutions harder, but I'm seeing a lot of confusion in even forming the questions. Social networking sites deal with several different types of user data, and it's essential to separate them."
Nrbelex writes "Google and Verizon are nearing an agreement that could allow Verizon to speed some online content to Internet users more quickly if the content's creators are willing to pay for the privilege. Any agreement between Verizon and Google could also upend the efforts of the Federal Communications Commission to assert its authority over broadband service, which was severely restricted by a federal appeals court decision in April. People close to the negotiations who were not authorized to speak publicly about them said an agreement could be reached as soon as next week. If completed, Google, whose Android operating system powers many Verizon wireless phones, would agree not to challenge Verizon's ability to manage its broadband Internet network as it pleased." Update: 08/05 20:03 GMT by T : nr3a1 writes with this informative update excerpted from Engadget: "Google's Public Policy Twitter account just belted out a denial of these claims, straight-up saying that the New York Times 'is wrong.' Here's the full tweet, which certainly makes us feel a bit more at ease. For now. '@NYTimes is wrong. We've not had any convos with VZN about paying for carriage of our traffic. We remain committed to an open internet.' Verizon's now also issued a statement and, like Google, it's denying the claims in the original New York Times report."
Runic Games has announced a sequel to the popular action RPG Torchlight, planned for release in Spring 2011. One notable improvement from the first game is Torchlight II's inclusion of online co-op play, with LAN support and a matchmaking system. "The sequel will feature an updated version of the Torchlight editor, randomized overworld areas complete with weather effects, random dungeons, a selection of pets, fishing, limitless loot, and a retirement system which will allow users to retire an older character and bestow some benefits of it to a newly created character." An MMO set in the Torchlight world is still in development.
theodp writes "For show-and-tell at SIGGRAPH 2010, Microsoft Research brought Street Slide, 'a multi-perspective street slide panorama with navigational aides and mini-map.' Very slick (demo video). Technology Review explains that Street Slide stitches together slices from multiple panoramas, making it possible to see all the shops on a street at once. Someone using Street Slide's panoramic view can slide along the facades looking for places of interest (perhaps guided by logos or ads at the bottom), and zoom back in to a classic Bing Streetside bubble view at any time."