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Earth

Ancient Bird With Largest Wingspan Yet Discovered 54

Posted by samzenpus
from the we're-going-to-need-more-seed dept.
sciencehabit writes Fossils unearthed at a construction project in South Carolina belong to a bird with the largest wingspan ever known, according to a new study. The animal measured 6.4 meters from wingtip to wingtip, about the length of a 10-passenger limousine and approaching twice the size of the wandering albatross, today's wingspan record-holder. Like modern-day albatrosses, the newly described species would have been a soaring champ.

Comment: Could Google buy Amazon? (Score 1) 61

by omems (#47258265) Attached to: Why Amazon Might Want a Big Piece of the Smartphone Market
Google's income stems from making advertisers believe they know what consumers want. As Amazon's catalog grows, it becomes a larger and larger center of what consumers don't just want, but actually shell out for. From a managerial perspective, I'm sure they could talk about saving money by combing their data centers. As a consumer, I'm not sure that I'd welcome such a merger.
Windows

Microsoft's Security Products Will Block Adware By Default Starting On July 1 177

Posted by timothy
from the why-not-sooner dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft [Thursday] announced a change to how it handles adware, a form of malware that pushes unwanted advertisements to the user. As of July 1, the company's security products will immediately stop any adware they detect and notify the user, who can then restore the program if they wish. Currently, when any of Microsoft's security products (including Microsoft Security Essentials and Microsoft Forefront) detects a program as adware, it will alert the user and offer them a recommended action. If the user doesn't do anything, the security product will let the program continue to run until the user makes a decision." If adware is malware, why wait until July?
Privacy

Member of President Obama's NSA Panel Recommends Increased Data Collection 349

Posted by samzenpus
from the not-so-fast dept.
cold fjord writes "National Journal reports, 'Michael Morell, the former acting director of the CIA and a member of President Obama's task force on surveillance, said ... that a controversial telephone data-collection program conducted by the National Security Agency should be expanded to include emails. He also said the program, far from being unnecessary, could prevent the next 9/11. Morell, seeking to correct any misperception that the presidential panel had called for a radical curtailment of NSA programs, said he is in favor of restarting a program that the NSA discontinued in 2011 that involved the collection of "meta-data" for internet communications. ... "I would argue actually that the email data is probably more valuable than the telephony data," ... Morell also said that while he agreed with the report's conclusion that the telephone data program, conducted under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, made "only a modest contribution to the nation's security" so far, it should be continued under the new safeguards recommended by the panel. "I would argue that what effectiveness we have seen to date is totally irrelevant to how effective it might be in the future," he said. "This program, 215, has the ability to stop the next 9/11 and if you added emails in there it would make it even more effective. Had it been in place in 2000 and 2001, I think that probably 9/11 would not have happened."' — More at Politico and National Review. Some members of Congress have a different view. Even Russian President Putin has weighed in with both a zing and a defense."

+ - A Biometric Test-Drive: The Corvette Stingray Tests A Body's Response

Submitted by cartechboy
cartechboy (2660665) writes "In the standard test-drive, you test the car. How does it feel, work, etc. But what if a test-drive is more about testing your body's response to the experience of driving the car? Chevrolet got the idea to invite people to a track, strap a bunch of sensors to their bodies to record biometric data (and video) as they handed them the keys to the new Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. The remote system and some doctors recorded interesting changes in each driver's vitals from heart rate to respiration to brain activity as they drove. (hint: heart rate up) Its interesting stuff, and oddly, each driver seems to get calmer as the drive goes on. As we've seen in other circumstances, biometrics or not, that doesn't always happen."

+ - Using Computer Simulation: In Search of the Perfect Curve Ball 1

Submitted by Esther Schindler
Esther Schindler (16185) writes "We tend to think of computer simulation being used for scientific and industrial purposes. What if the technology could be used to, say, improve the performance of a Major League Baseball pitcher?

Over lunch, several Convergent Science employees – who happen to include fans of the St Louis Cardinals, the National League entry in this year’s World Series – came up with the idea of using the software to simulate Wainwright’s curve ball, says Rob Kaczmarek, the company’s director of sales and marketing. “Of course, [the Cardinals fans] went on and on about how Wainwright was going to demolish [the Red Sox] with his curveball. The seeds of simulating just what’s happening in that curveball were planted that day,” he says.

The simulation starts by subdividing the 90 feet of air from the pitcher’s mound to the plate into tiny cells, then simulates the ball cutting through these cells, and calculates the effect of each cell on the ball’s motion. "Wainwright, his pitching coach, or any other pitcher could use this tool – theoretically, at least – to analyze his motion and figure out the ideal release point (to the extent, of course, that any human can repeat a motion and release to the point of perfection every time)," writes Ron Miller.

Miller explains what that one company is doing, and briefly compares it to other options (in baseball and other sports) for analyzing performance in the effort to be just that little bit better. (He does not, however, delve into the topic of whether there ought to be a limit on such efforts; Malcolm Gladwell discussed that elsewhere in MAN AND SUPERMAN: In athletic competitions, what qualifies as a sporting chance?.)"

+ - Even the Author of the Patriot Act Is Trying to Stop the NSA->

Submitted by Daniel_Stuckey
Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes "Republican Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner will introduce an anti-NSA bill tomorrow in the House, and if it makes its winding way to becoming law, it will be a big step towards curtailing the NSA's bulk metadata collection. Wisconsin Rep. Sensenbrenner, along with 60 co-sponsors, aims to amend one section of the Patriot Act, Section 215, in a bill known as the United and Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ending Eavesdropping, Dragnet Collection, and Online Monitoring Act—also known by its less-clunky acronym version, the USA Freedom Act."
Link to Original Source

+ - Progvember: National Code Writing Month

Submitted by rjmarvin
rjmarvin (3001897) writes "Inspired by National Novel Writing Month, a U.K. programmer started Progvember http://progvember.com/, a monthly challenge to create any kind of computer program http://sdt.bz/65276: an app, website, utility, framework, programming language or operating system, within a month. From Nov. 1 to 30, users from around the world who have already signed up for over 50 projects, will code with a common goal and challenge each other to better the software development community."

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