gurps_npc writes: io9 has a great little quiz asking if you can tell the difference between Super Bowl 50 and a fictional Dystopia. I failed miserably, as I am the typical nerd more interested in the advertisements than the game. Or maybe the world has become a dystopian nightmare?
gurps_npc writes: The Atlantic has an article about how existing apps on smart phones and computers listen for ultrasonic noises that a company called SilverPush puts on existing TV adds. It uses them to cross connect your advertising profile on the phone/computer/TV with each other. These apps do not tell you what they do. They just ask for permission to use your microphone. So the phone app not only knows where you go, who you call and what websites you visit on your smart phone, it also knows what TV you watch and what websites you visit on your laptop or desktop.
Anyone know where I can buy a solid lead cellphone case?
gurps_npc writes: I love the idea of a Smart Home, but hate the huge privacy invasion it represents. Not only do you need to worry about the company that makes the products (NEST loves to spy on you and report back to Google) but also from hackers. A company called Dojo-labs now sells a Firewall to block this privacy leak. You still have to trust Dojo, but they are a small startup whose business is focused on providing this kind of security.
gurps_npc writes: You may remember the story of a drone being shot down by a concerned parent in Kentucky. The peeping drone owner contacted the police who arrested the shooter. The judge has ruled in favor of the shooter, saying what he did was legal, and that the drone flight was an invasion of privacy.
gurps_npc writes: Note, as always, the answer to a headline question is usually "no". But Phil Plait just wrote a very interesting article about a star that is extremely variable. We generally look for cyclical minute (1%) variations in star light to detect planets. But we found one that has a variable variation in starlight of over 20%. We don't have a very good explanation for this and some people are proposing it is caused by a civilization building a Dyson Sphere around the star.
gurps_npc writes: About 6 years ago, some bright sociopath over at Volkswagon wrote software code that turned on the Emissions Control only when the car was being tested. The rest of the time it polluted freely. But the EPA was smart enough to notice and ordered all such cars (482,000) to be recalled. While a fine was mentioned, no mention of criminal charges is made in the article.
gurps_npc writes: Apparently, in Egypt, wealthy people pay school officials to "swap" their students's final papers. So smart student get someone's fail and the rich kid gets the A+. Sometimes the rich kid doesn't even write anything, so the smart student gets a 0. But someone went a little overboard and swapped all 7 of one of the top students in seven different exams for someone that left the test blank. There have been a lot of rumors of this happening before, but they did it to a semi-famous student that had some TV experience. So when she complained, it went all the way to the President of Egypt.
gurps_npc writes: Ashley Madison claimed to have about 31 million men and 5.5 million woman enrolled. Those odds are not good for the men, 6:1. But unfortunately, most of those 'women' were fake. This researcher analyzed the data and found only 12,000 actual, real women using Ashley Madison. That means for every 7750 men, there were 3 women. There are reports that Ashley Madison paid people to create fake female profiles. Their website admits that 'some of the users may be their for "entertainment purposes"' The article itself is well written, including a description of the analysis.
A charitable person would say that Ashley Madison was selling a fantasy, not reality. But a realist would say Ashley Madison is just a thief stealing money from lonely, unhappy men.
gurps_npc writes: Here is a press release with very little information from Thoth Technology (1 year old company — sells cameras, sensors, rovers, and computers for space applications), about how a space elevator design has been 'green lighted'. No information about who green lighted it, where the funding will come, where in Canada they want to build it, etc. May be vaporware, but still it's a plan for a 12.4 mile tall building — bigger than Mt. Everest.
gurps_npc writes: Popular Mechanics has a nice article about how to shoot down a non-military drone. Interestingly enough, a Super Soaker will do the job while a standard paint gun does nothing. It doesn't take much energy as long as it is concentrated. A BB gun can do it as well — if you can hit the the target.
gurps_npc writes: An interesting article talks about how the majority of people do NOT consider the privacy policies of the internet to be fair. Most of us reluctantly accept the fact that we have no choice, rather than happily accept the choice. It goes on to say that if we were given choices, we would in fact pay more for things rather than accept a discount in exchange for the loss of privacy.
The real question is will anyone — or can anyone change the situation?
gurps_npc writes: For those of you that don't know, Jade Helm 15 is this year's US military training that will cross several state boundaries. A bunch of moronic people think it's part of a conspiracy plot to take over Texas and certain other states.
Please note I am calling these conspiracy people moronic not crazy, This is because, while they may be crazy, I am more concerned by how stupid their plan is. A ten year old child could have come up with a better military plan than this one. Please feel free to list better plans to take over Texas than the idiotic Jade Helm theory.
I will start off with a simple one. Drop a nuke in the most Republican county of Texas. Blame the Muslims. Declare martial law and move everyone in nearby counties. But do so in an attempt to gerrymander these refuges so their Republican votes don't matter. Put Hispanic people in Republic territories, put enough (but not to much) Republicans in city centers), and move the rest out of state.
Now that's a plan worthy of a Harvard educated professor.
gurps_npc writes: A company has started an Indiegogo campaign to raise money to build something they call an "airboard". Basically it is a souped-up, MORE powerful version of Marty's McFlyh;s hoverboard. Software limits how high above ground it can go and it has "power" as the movie says, so you don't need to push it with your feet. Yes, it's a bit bulkier and more expensive than the movie version, but maybe they can fix that on version 2.0.
gurps_npc writes: As most people know, the US has for quite some time let police steal pretty much anything they wanted to, forcing you to (expensively) go to court to get back your stuff. Most of the problems came about because the Federal government let the local cops keep most of what they took. Eric Holder, the US Attorney General, has changed the rules of that program, making it more difficult for the police to do it under the federal program. They can still use local state programs, but that accounts for only about 57% of the cash taken. Note he did not end the program entirely, he left in some excepts that amounted to about 1% of the current federal program. Still with this action he will have struck a serious blow to a despicable practice that serious newspapers and comedy TV shows decried as nothing more than legalized theft.
gurps_npc writes: Marriot Hotels had been illegally blocking Wifi hotspots in Nashville. They thought they owned the airwaves inside their hotel and wanted to charge guests for using them. They claimed to be 'surprised' they were breaking the law. Other hotels have complained to the FCC, asking for permission to do it legally.
The FCC had fined Marriot $600,000 for their actions, among other things.
They have stopped their illegal blockage, in part because of public backlash and in part because the government told them they were criminals.