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Technology

Sound System Simulates the Roar of a Rocket Launch 113

Posted by samzenpus
from the can-you-hear-anything-now? dept.
retroworks writes "Located in Noordwijk, Netherlands, and part of ESA's ESTEDC Test Center, is the Large European Acoustic Facility (LEAF), a sound amplification system 'powerful enough to kill a human being.' LEAF is capable of generating more than 154 decibels, the sound equivalent to standing next to several jets taking off. It is used to blast satellites and spacecraft with sound. Large horns are housed in a sound-proofed room that is 16.4meters tall. One wall of horns stands 11 m wide by 9 m deep and 16.4 m high. LEAF requires all the doors to be closed, operating in steel-reinforced concrete walls to contain the noise. The walls are coated with an epoxy resin to reflect noise, producing a uniform sound field within the chamber."
Robotics

Unboxing Boston Dynamics' DARPA-Ready Atlas Robot 42

Posted by timothy
from the bigdog-is-creepy-enough dept.
mikejuk writes with some robot eye candy, in the form of this excerpt: "If you think its cool to video the unboxing of your latest mobile phone — think again. Unboxing a robot has a lot more going for it and reaches a whole new level of sci-fi realized. The Atlas robot is a standard humanoid robot to be used by competitors in the DARPA Robotics challenge. Built by Boston Dynamics, it is in the same line as Petman and BigDog. It is now being delivered to the labs that will take part and the temptation to make an unboxing video has been irresistible They arrive in plain of wooden crates as if they were auto parts. Next it is unwrapped and lifted out of its packing case using a crane. It looks black and threatening — just like a sci-fi movie but watch the videos and see."
Space

Why We Need to Keep Our Night Skies Dark (Video) 130

Posted by timothy
from the be-kind-to-astronomers-and-cut-electric-bills-at-the-same-time dept.
Kelly Beatty has a unique perspective on the world of astronomy: Beatty's been on the staff of Sky & Telescope magazine for nearly 40 years as a writer and editor, including a stint heading "Night Sky" magazine. He's also written what's been called "the definitive guide for the armchair astronomer," and teaches astronomy to people of all ages. (He even has an asteroid named after him.) Besides being fascinated with the objects we can see in Earth's skies, Beatty takes the skies themselves seriously: his Twitter handle is NightSkyGuy for a reason. We talked a few weeks ago, in dark-skied rural Maine, about his involvement with the International Dark-Sky Association, and why you should care about ubiquitous light pollution, even if you don't have a deep interest in star-gazing. (And it's not just to be courteous to your neighbors.)
Input Devices

Makerbot Desktop 3D Scanner Goes On Sale 89

Posted by timothy
from the get-those-figurines-prepped dept.
dryriver writes with this excerpt from the BBC about the latest device from Makerbot: "A desktop device that can quickly scan objects so they can be replicated using a 3D printer has gone on sale. The Makerbot Digitizer, which costs $1,400 (£900), will be shipped to the first buyers in October. Demand for the machine appeared to overload the company's store when it went on sale on Thursday evening. The Digitizer is the latest product looking to bring 3D printing to mainstream technology users — but experts are sceptical. The machine is designed to allow the replication of objects without any need for the user to learn any 3D modelling software or have any other special expertise. The time it takes to scan an object varies, but one demonstration involving a small gnome was said to take around 12 minutes. "The MakerBot Digitizer is for early adopters, experimenters, and visionaries who want to be pioneers in Desktop 3D Scanning," the company says. "This includes, but is not limited to, architects, designers, creative hobbyists, educators, and artists.""
Robotics

Mobiserv Robot Designed To Keep Tabs On Seniors 40

Posted by Soulskill
from the good-pairing-for-an-old-thief-named-frank dept.
Zothecula writes "Of the various potential uses for robots, there's one that many people often forget about – in-home helpers for the elderly. A number of such robots are currently in the works, including the Twendy-One and GiraffPlus. Now, a consortium of European research institutes and companies has created another such electronic assistant, as one component of the larger Mobiserv Project."
Cellphones

Echolocation For Your Cell Phone 73

Posted by samzenpus
from the map-it-out dept.
sciencehabit writes "In a few years, an iPhone app may give you a 3D layout of a room as soon as you step into it. Researchers have developed an algorithm that spits out the shape and contours of complex structures (including Switzerland's Lausanne Cathedral) using data compiled from four randomly placed microphones. The technology, which relies on the same sort of echolocation bats and dolphins use to navigate, could be used to develop more realistic echoes in video games and virtual reality simulations and to eliminate the echo from phone calls."
Earth

Meat the Food of the Future 705

Posted by samzenpus
from the clean-your-plate dept.
Hugh Pickens writes writes "BBC reports that rising food prices, the growing population, and environmental concerns are just a few issues that have food futurologists thinking about what we will eat in the future and how we will eat it. In the UK, meat prices are anticipated to have a huge impact on our diets as some in the food industry prognosticate meat prices could double in the next five to seven years, making meat a luxury item. 'In the West many of us have grown up with cheap, abundant meat,' says Morgaine Gaye. 'Rising prices mean we are now starting to see the return of meat as a luxury. As a result we are looking for new ways to fill the meat gap.' Insects will become a staple of our diet. They cost less to raise than cattle, consume less water and do not have much of a carbon footprint. Plus, there are an estimated 1,400 species that are edible to man. 'Things like crickets and grasshoppers will be ground down and used as an ingredient in things like burgers.' But insects will need an image overhaul if they are to become more palatable to the squeamish Europeans and North Americans, says Gaye. 'They will become popular when we get away from the word insects and use something like mini-livestock (PDF).' Another alternative would be lab grown meat as a recent study by Oxford University found growing meat in a lab rather than slaughtering animals would significantly reduce greenhouse gases, energy consumption and water use. Prof Mark Post, who led the Dutch team of scientists at Maastricht University that grew strips of muscle tissue using stem cells taken from cows, says he wants to make lab meat "indistinguishable" from the real stuff, but it could potentially look very different. Finally algae could provide a solution to some the world's most complex problems, including food shortages as some in the sustainable food industry predict algae farming could become the world's biggest cropping industry. Like insects, algae could be worked into our diet without us really knowing by using seaweed granules to replace salt in bread and processed foods. 'The great thing about seaweed is it grows at a phenomenal rate,' says Dr Craig Rose, executive director of the Seaweed Health Foundation. 'It's the fastest growing plant on earth.'"
Image

Judge Rules Boss's "Firing Contest" Created a Hostile Work Environment 314 Screenshot-sm

Posted by samzenpus
from the take-this-job-and-shove-it dept.
Branded the "boss from hell" by his employees, 57-year-old William Ernst lost a court battle with ex-workers over unemployment benefits. An Iowa judge has decided that Ernst's "firing contest" memo wasn't the best management strategy, saying, "The employer’s actions have clearly created a hostile work environment by suggesting its employees turn on each other for a minimal monetary prize. This was an intolerable and detrimental work environment.” The memo reads in part: "New Contest – Guess The Next Cashier Who Will Be Fired!!! To win our game, write on a piece of paper the name of the next cashier you believe will be fired. Write their name [the person who will be fired], today's date, today's time, and your name. Seal it in an envelope and give it to the manager to put in my envelope."
Botnet

Massive Botnet "Indestructible," Say Researchers 583

Posted by samzenpus
from the +1-or-better-update-to-hit dept.
CWmike writes "A new and improved botnet that has infected more than four million PCs is 'practically indestructible,' security researchers say. TDL-4, the name for both the bot Trojan that infects machines and the ensuing collection of compromised computers, is 'the most sophisticated threat today,' said Kaspersky Labs researcher Sergey Golovanov in a detailed analysis on Monday. Others agree. 'I wouldn't say it's perfectly indestructible, but it is pretty much indestructible,' Joe Stewart, director of malware research at Dell SecureWorks and an internationally-known botnet expert, told Computerworld on Wednesday. 'It does a very good job of maintaining itself.' Because TDL-4 installs its rootkit on the MBR, it is invisible to both the operating system and more, importantly, security software designed to sniff out malicious code. But that's not TDL-4's secret weapon. What makes the botnet indestructible is the combination of its advanced encryption and the use of a public peer-to-peer (P2P) network for the instructions issued to the malware by command-and-control (C&C) servers. 'The way peer-to-peer is used for TDL-4 will make it extremely hard to take down this botnet,' said Roel Schouwenberg, senior malware researcher at Kaspersky. 'The TDL guys are doing their utmost not to become the next gang to lose their botnet.'"

+ - Santorum Still Doesn't Understand "Google Bombs"->

Submitted by PerlDiver
PerlDiver (17534) writes "The former U.S. Senator (R-PA) who got famously, um, smeared by sex columnist Dan Savage after saying that gay sex could "undermine the fabric of our society" apparently still hasn't been told that it takes thousands of links on many sites to affect Google search results rankings:

Santorum himself sounded slightly defeated when asked about it recently.

"It's one guy. You know who it is. The Internet allows for this type of vulgarity to circulate. It's unfortunate that we have someone who obviously has some issues. But he has an opportunity to speak," Santorum told Roll Call.

Or maybe the alleged 2012 Presidential hopeful just can't imagine he's that unpopular."
Link to Original Source

Government

FCC Commissioner Lauds DRM, ISP Filtering 217

Posted by kdawson
from the by-some-definition-of-"effective" dept.
snydeq writes "Ars Technica's Nate Anderson and InfoWorld's Paul Venezia provide worthwhile commentary on a recent speech by FCC Commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate (PDF), in which she praised DRM as 'very effective' and raised a flag in favor of ISP filtering. Anderson: 'Having commissioners who feel that the government has a duty to partner with and back educational classroom content from the RIAA; who really believe that ISP filtering is so unproblematic we can stop considering objections; and who think that universities worry about file-swapping because tuition might be raised to pay for the needed "expansion of storage capabilities" (huh?) isn't good for the FCC and isn't good for America.' Venezia: 'Leave the ISPs out of it — it's not their job to protect a failing business model, and a movement toward a tiered and filtered Internet will do nothing to stem the tide of piracy, but will result in great restrictions on innovation, freedoms, and the general use of the Internet. There's nothing to be gained down that path other than possibly to expand the wallets of a few companies.'"
Security

Botnets As "eWMDs" 172

Posted by kdawson
from the trying-to-wake-sleeping-policymakers dept.
John Kelly writes "The current issue of Policy Review has a paper by an American computer scientist and the recent Permanent Undersecretary of Defense for Estonia. Drawing on the Estonian cyber attacks a year and a half ago, as well as other recent examples, they argue that botnets are the major problem. They propose that botnets should be designated as 'eWMDs' — electronic weapons of mass destruction. The paper also proposes a list of reforms that would help to limit the scale and impact of future botnet attacks, beginning with defining and outlawing spam, internationally." Many of the proposed solutions are common-sensical and won't be news to this audience, but it is interesting to see the botnet threat painted in such stark terms for readers of the Hoover Institution's Policy Review. For a more comprehensive overview of cyber-security threats, listen to NPR's interview with security experts on the occasion of the release of a new report, "Securing Cyberspace for the 44th Presidency," which recommends creating a cyber-security czar reporting to the President.
The Internet

Scientology's Credibility Questioned Over Video Channel 450

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the scientology-and-shady-almost-synonyms-these-days dept.
stonyandcher writes to share that the Church of Scientology has come under fire for some items on their recently launched video channel. Most notably, claims have been leveled that dignitaries in one of their videos were faked and at least one of the people featured in the video is claiming their statements were taken out of context.

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