ScentCone writes: NASA director Charles Bolden says in a recent interview that he has been told by the president that his foremost task is to 'engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math, and engineering.'
ScentCone writes: The ELF (Earth Liberation Front) has claimed responsibility for destroying the primary AM towers used by KRKO in Washington state. From their statement, 'AM radio waves cause adverse health effects including a higher rate of cancer, harm to wildlife, and that the signals have been interfering with home phone and intercom lines.' The poor intercom performance must have been the last straw.
ScentCone writes: Three New Jersey-ites have been indicted in a crack/breach caper that netted them 130 million credit/debit card records and other sensitive info. Astonishingly, this was chalked up to SQL injection attacks, with data stolen from Heartland (a large card processing operation), 7-Eleven, and a grocery chain. The man named in the indictment, Albert Gonzalez, is already waiting trial for his alleged involvement in similar attacks on other retailers and restaurant chains in 2008. DoJ says the new data theft is the largest on record. Anybody recently buy a Slurpee with a credit card?
ScentCone writes: Author Michael Crichton has died of cancer. The guy behind the Adromeda Strain and Jurassic Park, and a deliberate irritant in the global warming debate ("If we put everything in the hands of experts and if we say that as intelligent outsiders, we are not qualified to look over the shoulder of anybody, then we're in some kind of really weird world.") was 66, and has one more novel waiting in the wings.
ScentCone writes: Reuters reports that dozens of Russian ravers at an outdoor party have suffered permanent vision damage from poorly deployed, over-powered lasers. The laser rental company cites "illiteracy on the part of technicians."
ScentCone writes: The Telegraph covers a New Scientist report (subscribers only) about two US comsologists who suggest that, a la Schrodinger's possibly unhappy cat, the act of obvserving certain facets of our universe may have shortened its life. FTA, 'Prof Krauss says that the measurement of the light from supernovae in 1998, which provided evidence of dark energy, may have reset the decay of the void to zero — back to a point when the likelihood of its surviving was falling rapidly.' Warning: if you've read this summary, you may have already changed the article.
ScentCone writes: On a topic related to recent discussion here, Malaysian DVD pirates have now put a bounty on the heads of two dogs that have so far contributed to six arrests and the seizing of roughly a million conterfeit game and movie disks. The disk and manufacturing gear were hidden in secret compartments and concealed spaces over four floors of an office building.
ScentCone writes: US District Judge James Roberston has directed the US Treasury to start working on a way for the blind to differentiate between printed denominations. He said that the government is violating the Rehabilitaion Act in discriminating against those with a disability. He cites other countries' use of varying currency sizes as evidence that there are solutions, but does not prescribe a particular approach. Possibilities include raised ink and punched holes. Newer bills already support infrared features for use with readers, but such technology gets some complaints. The vending machine industry, which has participated in previous redesign discussions, may have a lot of work to do.
ScentCone writes: New Zealand's Qualification Authority (which sets testing standards for the public schools) is confident that those grading papers will understand the meaning of students' responses, even if they use phone/IM-style text-speak. FTA, "credit will be given if the answer 'clearly shows the required understanding,' even if it contains text-speak." Many teachers are not amused, and critics say that the move will devalue NZ's equivalent of a high school diploma.
ScentCone writes: A Florida woman made the (unopposed) case that she was defamed and suffered business damages because of what a Louisiana woman was posting about her online. She has no expectation of collecting the money, but says "People are using the Internet to destroy people they don't like, and you can't do that." Libel is libel, but a libeler now has more/easier reach than before, and things like the Google cache add a new dimension.
As of 11:10PM EST, the USGS says that it has not detected any unusual seismic activity on the Korean peninsula in the last 48 hours. Is NK's declaring a successful test with no apparent seismic indicators suggesting that they have actually done so just a more over-the-top-than-usual bit of propoganda?