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Submission + - Mains hum used to time locate any digital recording ( 1

illtud writes: Heard this on BBC Radio 4 last night, and I'm not sure what to make of it. It appears that the Metropolitan Police in London have been recording the frequency of the mains supply for the past 7 years. With this, they claim to be able to pick up the hum from any digital recording and tell when the recording was made.

I know the mains drifts in frequency, but I'm sceptical about a couple of things and I wondered if /. readers could help:

Does it really drift enough within a typical length of a recording for you to be able to fingerprint it from the frequency history?

Is the frequency totally constant across the UK grid?

If this is on the level, then hats off to them, I'm very impressed, and also surprised that they've publicised it. Note to future kidnappers — make your ransom tape outdoors on a battery operated device!

Submission + - FBI vault includes memo on alien bodies (

witherstaff writes: The FBI has been opening up old records and putting them online. One memo from the 50s has interesting info on crashed flying saucers and alien bodies. It's only 2 pages.

"An investigator for the Air Force stated that three so-called flying saucers had been recovered in New Mexico... They were described as being circular in shape with raised centers, approximately 50 feet in diameter. Each one was occupied by three bodies of human shape but only 3 feet tall"

Fact, Fiction, a really old april fool's joke?

Submission + - Digg founder's next startup: Milk (

ideaz writes: It hasn't been that long since Kevin Rose left Digg, but early details of his new startup are already coming to light.

The company, a development lab focused on solving problems using the mobile Web, is called Milk. Located in San Francisco's Mission District, it has been described as an incubator, but TechCrunch notes that the philosophy behind it is much different than the approach taken by most other Silicon Valley startups.


Submission + - Engineering of election debates ( 1

smolloy writes: A recent innovation in televised election debates is a continuous response measure (the “worm”) that allows viewers to track the response of a sample of undecided voters in real-time. A potential danger of presenting such data is that it may prevent people from making independent evaluations. Researchers from Royal Holloway, University of London, and the University of Bristol, report an experiment with 150 participants in which they manipulated the worm and superimposed it on a live broadcast of a UK election debate. The majority of viewers were unaware that the worm had been manipulated, and yet the researchers were able to influence their perception of who won the debate, their choice of preferred prime minister, and their voting intentions.

Submission + - Improving healthcare in Zambia with CouchDB (

blackbearnh writes: In the developing world, the integration of medical records that we take for granted is a rare thing. But a project in Zambia is trying to improve healthcare in rural areas by keeping volunteer works in rural villages in contact with clinics and supervisors. A big component of making this work is the NoSQL database called CouchDB, because it provides reliable synching of medical records over slow and sometimes unreliable connections. In an interview over on O'Reilly Radar, one of the principal architects of the system talks about the project, and why CouchDB was such a good fit.

Submission + - Plastic Made from Fruit Rivals Kevlar in Strength ( 2

jldailey618 writes: A group of scientists from Sao Paulo State University developed a way to use the nanocellulose fibers from bananas, pineapples, and other fruits to create incredibly strong, lightweight plastics. The plastic is up to four times stronger and 30 percent lighter than petroleum-based plastics, and it rivals Kevlar — the material used in bullet proof vests — in strength.

Submission + - DelDOT removes basketball hoop (

An anonymous reader writes: From Eric Dondero:
You will be outraged, saddened, disgusted, and revolted all at the same time.
Bureaucrats in the State of Delaware bring in Troopers, Big Machinery, and State Workers all to take away "unathorized" Basketball hoops in neighborhoods.

Submission + - Fighting fires with beams of electricity ( 2

cylonlover writes: It's certainly an established fact that electricity can cause fires, but a group of Harvard scientists have presented their research on the use of electricity for fighting fires. In a presentation at the 241st National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society, Dr. Ludovico Cademartiri told of how they used a unique device to shoot beams of electricity at an open flame over one foot tall. Almost immediately, he said, the flame was extinguished. On a larger scale, such a system would minimize the amount of water that needed to be sprayed into burning buildings, both saving water and limiting water damage to those buildings.

Submission + - Doomsday Bunkers sales skyrocket up to 1000% in th (

kingkaos69 writes: Apparently after the devastating earthquake that hit Japan a few weeks ago and the subsequent Fukushima nuclear accident, the fears of a nuclear meltdown run rampant. Why you ask? Well, according to CNNMoney, most U.S. companies selling doomsday bunkers are seeing sales skyrocket anywhere from 20% to 1,000%...
Open Source

Submission + - Open Source Autopilot Bootcamp (

garymortimer writes: "Twenty four developers from the OpenPilot project are meeting today in Portugal for their first conference. It comes ahead of the open source autopilot groups first hardware release the Copter Control (CC) board.

Software engineers have flown in from Australia and America and several European countries. The team will be polishing code and consuming ale as well as mapping out the path forward for the project.

OpenPilot and Copter Control are next generation Free Software autopilots for small UAVs, including multi-rotor craft, helicopters as well as fixed wing aircraft. they aim to implement the best features of all current enthusiast autopilot systems and combines them into a simple easy to use package. Simplicity does not come with any compromises either, with no hard-coded settings, a complete flight plan scripting language and other next-generation features, OpenPilot is planned to be an extremely capable UAV platform."


Submission + - Open Source Bach - Copyright-Free Goldbergs ( 2

rDouglass writes: "An open source music notation software (MuseScore) and an award winning pianist (Kimiko Ishizaka) are raising money to create a new score and a new recording of Bach's Goldberg Variations. They will release both works to the public domain (copyright-free) using the Creative Commons Zero tool. This bypasses usual copyright protections that are given to each published edition of the score and each individual recording of the piece, and addresses a gap in the availability of free (gratis/libre) versions of the work. MuseScore scores are XML based and are thus like the source code for music. They can also be embedded into websites and linked with YouTube videos, creating rich multimedia experiences. The Kickstarter project has begun recently and $4,000 has been raised."
United Kingdom

Submission + - Gaddafi Orders Ceasefire In Face Of UN Action (

An anonymous reader writes: Libya, Tripoli – Colonel Gaddafi has sent out his advisers to study the UN Resolution 1973 today and seemingly started to backtrack on his stance and offensive on rebel opposition fighters in Benghazi and Tobruk.

Submission + - 'Pruned' Microchips Twice as Fast and Efficient (

Zothecula writes: If you had to use a commuting bicycle in a race, you would probably set about removing the kickstand, fenders, racks and lights to make the thing as fast and efficient as possible. When engineers at Houston's Rice University are developing small, fast, energy-efficient chips for use in devices like hearing aids, it turns out they do pretty much the same thing. The removal of portions of circuits that aren't essential to the task at hand is known as "probabilistic pruning," and it results in chips that are twice as fast, use half the power, and are half the size of conventional chips.

Bell Labs Unix -- Reach out and grep someone.