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Former Military Personnel Claim Aliens Are Monitoring Our Nukes Screenshot-sm 498

An anonymous reader quotes Reuters "Witness testimony from more than 120 former or retired military personnel points to an ongoing and alarming intervention by unidentified aerial objects at nuclear weapons sites, as recently as 2003. In some cases, several nuclear missiles simultaneously and inexplicably malfunctioned while a disc-shaped object silently hovered nearby. Six former US Air Force officers and one former enlisted man will break their silence about these events at the National Press Club and urge the government to publicly confirm their reality." I won't worry until Gort shows up.

The Joke Known As 3D TV 594

harrymcc writes "I'm at IFA in Berlin — Europe's equivalent of the Consumer Electronics Show — and the massive halls are dominated by 3D TVs made by everyone from Sony, Samsung, and Panasonic to companies you've never heard of. The manufacturers seem pretty excited, but 3D has so many downsides — most of all the lousy image quality and unimpressive dimensionality effect — that I can't imagine consumers are going to go for this. 'As a medium, 3D remains remarkably self-trivializing. Virtually nobody who works with it can resist thrusting stuff at the camera, just to make clear to viewers that they’re experiencing the miracle of the third dimension. When Lang Lang banged away at his piano during Sony’s event, a cameraman zoomed in and out on the musical instrument for no apparent reason, and one of the company’s representatives kept robotically shoving his hands forward. Hey, it’s 3D — watch this!'"

Calling Shenanigans On Super SATA's Claimed Audio Qualities 827

nk497 writes "Veteran Hi-Fi journalist Malcolm Steward has pushed newfangled Super SATA cables via his blog as a way to improve the sound quality of music, saying: 'My only guess is that the Super SATAs reject interference significantly better than the standard cables and in so doing lower the noise floor revealing greater low-level musical detail and presentational improvements in the soundstage and the "air" around instruments.' If that doesn't sound right to you, you're not alone. As PC Pro blogger Sasha Muller argues: 'How on earth can a SATA cable delivering 0s and 1s to their respective destination have any effect on those 0s and 1s? The answer is, it can't. Unless it's a magical one made of pixie shoes.' So maybe don't invest in Super SATA cables unless you have proof they're magical first."

From Slaying Dragons To Dictators 233

tcd004 writes "In a weekend, programmer Austin Heap transformed from an apathetic MMO player to a world class regime-slayer. When word for Iran's rigged election broke over Twitter, Heap decided to dedicate himself to building a better proxy system for people behind Iran's firewall. Heap's creation, Haystack, conceals someone's real online destinations inside a stream of innocuous traffic. You may be browsing an opposition Web site, but to the censors it will appear you are visiting, say, Heap tends to hide users in content that is popular in Tehran, sometimes the regime's own government mouthpieces."

Touchscreens Open To Smudge Attacks 185

nk497 writes "The smudges left behind on touchscreen devices could be used to decipher passwords to gain access, according to researchers at the University of Pennsylvania. The report tested the idea out (PDF) on Android phones, which use a graphical pattern that the user traces to unlock the handset. The researchers took photos of the smudge trails left on the screen and bumped up the contrast, finding they could unlock the phone 92% of the time. While they noted Android 2.2 also offers an alphanumeric password option, the researchers claimed such a smudge attack could be used against other touchscreen interfaces, including bank machines and voting machines. 'In future work, we intend to investigate other devices that may be susceptible, and varied smudge attack styles, such as heat trails caused by the heat transfer of a finger touching a screen,' they said."

Claimed Proof That P != NP 457

morsch writes "Researcher Vinay Deolalikar from HP Labs claims proof that P != NP. The 100-page paper has apparently not been peer-reviewed yet, so feel free to dig in and find some flaws. However, the attempt seems to be quite genuine, and Deolalikar has published papers in the same field in the past. So this may be the real thing. Given that $1M from the Millennium Prize is involved, it will certainly get enough scrutiny. Greg Baker broke the story on his blog, including the email Deolalikar sent around."

Why NASA's New Video Game Misses the Point 205

longacre writes "Erik Sofge trudges through NASA's latest free video game, which he finds tedious, uninspiring and misguided. Quoting: 'Moonbase Alpha is a demo, of sorts, for NASA's more ambitious upcoming game, Astronaut: Moon, Mars & Beyond, which will feature more destinations, and hopefully less welding. The European Space Agency is developing a similar game, set on the Jovian Moon, Europa. But Moonbase Alpha proves that as a recruiting campaign, or even as an educational tool, the astronaut simulation game is a lost cause. Unless NASA plans to veer into science fiction and populate its virtual moons, asteroids and planets with hostile species, it's hard to imagine why anyone would want to suffer through another minute of pretending to weld power cables back into place, while thousands of miles away, the most advanced explorers ever built are hurtling toward asteroids and dwarf planets and into the heart of the sun. Even if it was possible to build an astronaut game that's both exciting and realistic, why bother? It will be more than a decade before humans even attempt another trip outside of Earth's orbit. If NASA wants to inspire the next generation of astronauts and engineers, its games should focus on the real winners of the space race — the robots.'"
Data Storage

The Limits To Perpendicular Recording 222

peterkern writes "Samsung has a new hard drive and says it can now store 667 GB on one disk, which comes out to be about 739 Gb/sq. in. That is more than five times the density when perpendicular recording was introduced back in 2006, and it is getting close to the generally expected soft limit of 1 Tb/sq. in. It's great that we can now store 2 TB on one hard drive and that 3-TB hard drives are already feasible. But how far can it go? It appears that the hard drive industry may start talking about heat-assisted magnetic recording again, soon."

60-Year-Old Glass Technology Finds Its Market 197

In the 1950s, Corning developed a glass product for which it has been trying to find a market ever since. What is now being called "Gorilla Glass" is currently worth $170M/yr. and is poised to quadruple (potentially) in the next year or two. Gorilla Glass is used on many smartphones including Motorola's Droid. ("Whether Apple Inc. uses the glass in its iPod is a much-discussed mystery since 'not all our customers allow us to say,' said [the] general manager of Corning's specialty materials division.") "Because Gorilla is very hard to break, dent or scratch, Corning is betting it will be the glass of choice as TV-set manufacturers dispense with protective rims or bezels for their sets, in search of an elegant look. Gorilla is two to three times stronger than chemically strengthened versions of ordinary soda-lime glass, even when just half as thick, company scientists say. Its strength also means Gorilla can be thinner than a dime, saving on weight and shipping costs. Corning is in talks with Asian manufacturers to bring Gorilla to the TV market in early 2011..." The Christian Science Monitor elaborates on the theme of job growth outside the US, as Corning plans to invest several hundred million dollars to retrofit an LCD plant in Shizuoka, Japan to manufacture the glass. The company will also expand the workforce in the Kentucky plant that now manufactures Gorilla Glass.

String Quartets On the Web? 228

rueger writes "Lots of people love iTunes. I'm partial to Ubuntu comes pre-equipped for Jamendo and Magnatune. These are great for those of us hunting popular music — but where do lovers of classical music go to find new artists and albums, download music, and generally keep informed, up to date, and satisfied? As my girlfriend put it, 'I used to go to the big classical record stores downtown, but they're gone.' Where do people go to find the newest Ligeti String Quartet recording?"

Hacker Builds $1,500 Cell Phone Tapping Device 109

We previously discussed security researcher Chris Paget's plans to demonstrate practical cell phone interception at DefCon. Paget completed his talk yesterday, and reader suraj.sun points out coverage from Wired. Quoting: "A security researcher created a $1,500 cell phone base station kit (including a laptop and two RF antennas) that tricks cell phones into routing their outbound calls through his device, allowing someone to intercept even encrypted calls in the clear. Most of the price is for the laptop he used to operate the system. The device tricks the phones into disabling encryption and records call details and content before they are routed on their proper way through voice-over-IP. The low-cost, home-brewed device ... mimics more expensive devices already used by intelligence and law enforcement agencies — called IMSI catchers — that can capture phone ID data and content. The devices essentially spoof a legitimate GSM tower and entice cell phones to send them data by emitting a signal that's stronger than legitimate towers in the area. Encrypted calls are not protected from interception because the rogue tower can simply turn it off. Although the GSM specifications say that a phone should pop up a warning when it connects to a station that does not have encryption, SIM cards disable that setting so that alerts are not displayed. Even though the GSM spec requires it, this is a deliberate choice of the cell phone makers, Paget said."

It is easier to change the specification to fit the program than vice versa.