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+ - Local Hackerspace loses solar balloon, creating another UFO in New Mexico

Submitted by bugnuts
bugnuts (94678) writes "Local Albuquerque, NM Hackerspace, Quelab, created and unintentionally launched a solar-powered tetroon over the city, prompting several calls to the FAA, Kirtland AFB, and news organizations, describing it as a "floating tortilla chip." The tetroon allows sunlight to pass through the top layer, heating the inner black layers, creating a hot-air balloon as the interior gas expands.

Besides the well-known "Roswell" incident, New Mexico often has many UFO sightings due to the prevalence of technology and military groups, good weather, and clear skies."

+ - Interior of burnt Herculaneum scroll read for first time 1

Submitted by Solandri
Solandri (704621) writes "When Mt. Vesuvius erupted in A.D. 79, it destroyed a library of classical works in Herculaneum. The papyrus scrolls weren't incinerated, but were instead carbonized by the hot gases. The resulting black carbon cylinders have mostly withstood attempts to read their contents since their discovery. Earlier attempts to unfurl the scrolls yielded some readable material, but were judged too destructive. Researchers decided to wait for newer technology to be invented that could read the scrolls without unrolling them.

Now, a team led by Dr Vito Mocella from the National Research Council's Institute for Microelectronics and Microsystems (CNR-IMM) in Naples, Italy has managed to read individual letters inside one of the scrolls. Using a form of x-ray phase contrast tomography, they were able to ascertain the height difference (about 0.1mm) between the ink of the letters and the papyrus fibers which they sat upon. Due to the fibrous nature of the papyrus and the carbon-based ink, regular spectral and chemical analysis had thus far been unable to distinguish the ink from the paper. Further complicating the work, the scrolls are not in neat cylinders, but squashed and ruffled as the hot gases vaporized water in the papyrus and distorted the paper.

Full paper in Nature Communications (paywalled)."

+ - Police nation-wide use wall-penetrating radars to peer into homes->

Submitted by mi
mi (197448) writes "At least 50 U.S. law enforcement agencies have secretly equipped their officers with radar devices that allow them to effectively peer through the walls of houses to see whether anyone is inside.

The device the Marshals Service and others are using, known as the Range-R, looks like a sophisticated stud-finder. Its display shows whether it has detected movement on the other side of a wall and, if so, how far away it is — but it does not show a picture of what's happening inside. The Range-R's maker, L-3 Communications, estimates it has sold about 200 devices to 50 law enforcement agencies at a cost of about $6,000 each.

Other radar devices have far more advanced capabilities, including three-dimensional displays of where people are located inside a building, according to marketing materials from their manufacturers. One is capable of being mounted on a drone. And the Justice Department has funded research to develop systems that can map the interiors of buildings and locate the people within them."

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Seems like jamming would be easier (Score 1) 151

by bugnuts (#48847939) Attached to: Being Pestered By Drones? Buy a Drone-Hunting Drone

Intentionally jamming an RF signal, even if you think it's illegally over your own property (which is also debatable), is a federal crime.

Section 333 of Title 47

No person shall willfully or maliciously interfere with or cause interference to any radio
communications of any station licensed or authorized by or under this chapter or operated by
the United States Government.

Section 302 prevents selling such equipment.

There are about 5 bands that model aircraft use, and they are narrow bands. You'd have to not only jam several bands, but it would be a reckless "overjamming" in order to guarantee catching it. If you shut it down, you may also shut down all nearby wifi, CBs, and so on. It could land you a significant fine, possibly jail, and maybe even property damage for the drone along with an injunction.

Comment: Re:Solution looking for a problem (Score 1) 151

by bugnuts (#48847873) Attached to: Being Pestered By Drones? Buy a Drone-Hunting Drone

People die every year from falling bullets previously shot up in the air, and hundreds more are injured. That said, birdshot won't hurt you coming down. You might notice it, but probably doesn't even have as much force as a light hail.

Lots of references on falling bullets on the wiki article on it.

Comment: Re:Hot Glue Guns (Score 1) 175

by Pharmboy (#48615937) Attached to: 3D Printer?

And they can't afford $500 for a phone or $800 on a game console but they still do. $1000 is within reach of enough people to be called "consumer grade". That doesn't mean everyone can afford it. Not everyone can even afford a computer, but we still consider them consumer goods.

Comment: San Francisco already did this (Score 5, Interesting) 178

by Animats (#48567503) Attached to: LA Mayor Proposes Earthquake Retrofits On Thousands of Buildings

San Francisco already did this. Almost all the masonry buildings in SF have been reinforced since the 1989 quake, and now the rules are being tighened on wood buldings. If you've been in an older building in SF, you've probably seen huge diagonal steel braces. That's what it looks like.

All new big buildings meet very tough earthquake standards. The bridges and freeways have been beefed up in recent years. Overpass pillars are about three times as big as they used to be. Two elevated freeways were torn down after one in Oakland failed in the 1989 quake. The entire eastern span of the Bay Bridge was replaced with a new suspension bridge. The western span was strengthened, and there are now sliding joints, huge plates of stainless steel, between the roadway and the towers.

Comment: The corporate AI (Score 4, Insightful) 417

by Animats (#48566135) Attached to: AI Expert: AI Won't Exterminate Us -- It Will Empower Us

What I'm worried about is when AIs start doing better at corporate management than humans. If AIs do better at running companies than humans, they have to be put in charge for companies to remain competitive. That's maximizing shareholder value, which is what capitalism is all about.

Once AIs get good enough to manage at all, they should be good at it. Computers can handle more detail than humans. They communicate better and faster than humans. Meetings will take seconds, not hours. AI-run businesses will react faster.

Then AI-run businesses will start deailng with other AI-run businesses. Human-run businesses will be too slow at replying to keep up. The pressure to put an AI in charge will increase.

We'll probably see this first in the finanical sector. Many funds are already run mostly by computers. There's even a fund which formally has a program on their board of directors.

The concept of the corporation having no social responsibiilty gives us enough trouble. Wait until the AIs are in charge.

Comment: Re:Of course... (Score 2) 699

by Animats (#48549251) Attached to: French Publishers Prepare Lawsuit Against Adblock Plus

It has apparently never occurred to publishers to band together and fund the creation of a system for buying content at dirt cheap prices using something like ACH transfers to keep the transaction costs low. How about a one-click purchase model where you pay $0.50/article or $3 for all content published that day?

It's been tried. Nobody bought. Except for the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, no news outlet adds enough value that people will pay for it.

The best book on programming for the layman is "Alice in Wonderland"; but that's because it's the best book on anything for the layman.

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