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Moon

Earth Gets Another Quasi-Moon 33

Posted by samzenpus
from the old-one-was-getting-boring dept.
The Bad Astronomer writes Astronomers have found a new asteroid, 2014 OL339, that is a quasi-moon of the Earth. Discovered accidentally earlier this year, the 150-meter asteroid has an orbit that is more elliptical than Earth's, but has a period of almost exactly one year. It isn't bound to Earth like a real moon, but displays apparent motion as if it did, making it one of several known quasi-moons.

+ - Obama Administration argues for backdoors in personal electronics->

Submitted by mi
mi (197448) writes "

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said on Tuesday that new forms of encryption capable of locking law enforcement officials out of popular electronic devices imperil investigations of kidnappers and sexual predators, putting children at increased risk.

Seriously. Would somebody, please, think of the children?!"
Link to Original Source

Techdirt: CIA Can't Let You Know How Much It Paid For A Single Amiga Computer In 1987->

From feed by feedfeeder

Steven Aftergood at the FAS (Federation of American Scientists) Secrecy Blog came across this interesting redaction of mundane information while perusing the "Studies in Intelligence" journals recently released by the CIA. In an article [pdf link] touting the purchase of a product that would forever change the world of the CIA's in-house video production department, the actual purchase price has been redacted.

If you can't read/see the picture, it says:

We bought our first Commodore Amiga in 1987, for less than [REDACTED] including software.
Twenty-seven years later, this dollar amount still can only be speculated on. (Aftergood prices it out with Wikipedia's help.) It couldn't have been much, though. The preceding paragraph states:

We did not have a big budget, so we were tempted to buy the system with petty cash.
Does the CIA actually believe some sort of irreparable rift in the National Security Complex might occur if this dollar amount from three decades ago (unadjusted for inflation) was made public? Probably not. Aftergood theorizes that it's a blanket exemption used to redact more sensitive dollar amounts and this innocent cost just became collateral damage during the rush to declassify several dozen documents in response to an FOIA lawsuit court order.

CIA seems to have adopted a declassification rule dictating that all of its expenditures, no matter how trivial, shall be withheld from disclosure, except in extraordinary cases (or the occasional mistake). The Agency might go on to argue that such a rule actually facilitates disclosure by expediting the declassification review process. Thats because instead of needing to pause to consider the potential ramifications of any individual spending disclosure, the Agency can proceed more quickly by simply withholding all such figures.
So, there's the excuse for over-redaction, even if it isn't much of one. Aftergood points out that efforts have been made to scale back overbroad classification and redactions since 1997, but little if anything has come of those attempts -- part of the reason why so many FOIA requests end in lawsuits.

Also of note: the author's adoration of the new technology leads to the innocent Amiga being used for evil.

We are experimenting with photo enhancement and colorization of black-and-white photography. Future Executive Summaries will include "Turnerized" ground photos.
While this CIA doc is good for a few laughs at the agency's overprotective tendencies, it must be noted that these documents stem from former CIA agent Jeffrey Scudder's FOIA request -- a request that ended his career and saw his house raided by the FBI, which seized every electronic device it came across. The CIA destroyed the life of a 19-year employee who had served the agency in Africa, Afghanistan and Iraq in order to withhold things like a three-decade-old computer purchase.



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+ - Boeing Told to Replace Cockpit Screens Affected by Wi-Fi

Submitted by Rambo Tribble
Rambo Tribble (1273454) writes "The Federal Aviation Administration has ordered Boeing to replace Honeywell-built cockpit screens that could be affected by wi-fi transmissions. Additionally, the FAA has expressed concerns that other frequencies, such as used by air surveillance and weather radar, could disrupt the displays. The systems involved report airspeed, altitude, heading and pitch and roll to the crew, and the agency stated that a failure could cause a crash.

Meanwhile, the order is said to affect over 1,300 aircraft, and some airlines are baulking, since the problem has never been seen in operation, that the order presents "a high, and unnecessary, financial burden on operators"."
Government

The $1,200 DIY Gunsmithing Machine 347

Posted by Soulskill
from the what-could-possibly-go-wrong dept.
An anonymous reader writes: You may recall Cody Wilson as the man behind the world's first 3D-printed gun. He built a company behind the ideals of DIY gun-making, and now he's come back with another device: the "Ghost Gunner," a CNC mill designed to create the lower receiver of an AR-15 rifle. "That simple chunk of metal has become the epicenter of a gun control firestorm. A lower receiver is the body of the gun that connects its stock, barrel, magazine and other parts. As such, it's also the rifle's most regulated element. Mill your own lower receiver at home, however, and you can order the rest of the parts from online gun shops, creating a semi-automatic weapon with no serial number, obtained with no background check, no waiting period or other regulatory hurdles. Some gun control advocates call it a "ghost gun." Selling that untraceable gun body is illegal, but no law prevents you from making one." Wilson's goal is still to render government gun regulation useless, even as debate rages on banning this kind of manufacturing.
Earth

Aral Sea Basin Almost Completely Dry 119

Posted by Soulskill
from the brand-new-beach-front-property-for-sale dept.
An anonymous reader writes: In 2000, NASA began taking satellite images of the Aral Sea in central Asia, which was once the fourth-largest inland lake in the world. At that time, there was an expansive eastern basin, and smaller basins to the north and west. In images recorded just last week, we see that the eastern basin is completely gone, and the western basin just a thin strip of water. The local fishing industry has been devastated, old ship graveyards now rest on dry ground, and salt-heavy sand is being blown around the region, causing health issues.

Most of the lake's decline is attributable to human intervention: "In the 1950s, two of the region's major rivers – the Amu Darya and and the Syr Darya – were diverted by the Soviet government to provide irrigation for cotton production in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, starving the Aral. It has been diminishing ever since, with the sea level dropping 16 meters between 1960 and 1996, according to the World Bank. Water levels are believed to be down to less than 10 per cent of what they were five decades ago." Low levels of rain and snow didn't help.

+ - The $1,200 DIY Gunsmithing Machine-> 1

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "You may recall Cody Wilson as the man behind the world's first 3D-printed gun. He built a company behind the ideals of DIY gunmaking, and now he's come back with another device: the Ghost Gunner, a CNC mill designed to create the lower receiver of an AR-15 rifle. "That simple chunk of metal has become the epicenter of a gun control firestorm. A lower receiver is the body of the gun that connects its stock, barrel, magazine and other parts. As such, it’s also the rifle’s most regulated element. Mill your own lower receiver at home, however, and you can order the rest of the parts from online gun shops, creating a semi-automatic weapon with no serial number, obtained with no background check, no waiting period or other regulatory hurdles. Some gun control advocates call it a “ghost gun.” Selling that untraceable gun body is illegal, but no law prevents you from making one." Wilson's goal is still to render government gun regulation useless, even as debate rages on banning this kind of manufacturing."
Link to Original Source

Google News Sci Tech: Pebble drops price, adds new Jawbone and Misfit fitness apps - CNET->

From feed by feedfeeder

MobileMarketing Magazine

Pebble drops price, adds new Jawbone and Misfit fitness apps
CNET
The Pebble and Pebble Steel get true background fitness tracking and support for apps, along with lower prices: at last, could we have a smartwatch end up being a serious fitness band replacement? by Scott Stein @jetscott; September 30, 2014 10:00 AM...
Pebble update enables full activity, sleep tracking; support for Misfit, Jawbone ... ZDNet
Pebble Drops Prices, Boosts Activity TrackingPC Magazine

all 107 news articles

Link to Original Source
China

China Worried About Terrorist Pigeons 85

Posted by Soulskill
from the lesser-known-cousin-to-carrier-pigeons dept.
An anonymous reader writes: A pleasant event was planned for the 65th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. A ceremony at Tiananmen Square would release 10,000 pigeons at sunrise to symbolize an era of peace. Unfortunately, even symbols of peace can apparently remind people of violence. Chinese authorities searched all 10,000 pigeons for "dangerous materials," after the government was concerned they might be used for attacks. The pigeons' feathers were checked, and they were given a cavity search as well. The reports did not indicate what kind of "dangerous materials" these pigeons might be carrying. It's unclear whether any pigeons disclosed terror plots under interrogation.

+ - Unexplained out-of-band WIndows DVD patch

Submitted by davidwr
davidwr (791652) writes "Microsoft released September 2014 update for DVD playback in Windows 7 SP1

as an out-of-band "Important" update yesterday without explaining why it was rushed instead of waiting two weeks.

Microsoft knows that patching annoys system administrators and others and typically doesn't do out of band updates without a good reason. Unlike the recent out-of-band Russian Time Zone update, there isn't an obvious to be a "you must install this by a certain date or something will break" reason to rush this.

Does anyone know why Microsoft didn't either 1) wait two weeks or 2) provide a clearer explanation of why this is important enough to push out early?"

Transportation

Which Cars Get the Most Traffic Tickets? 212

Posted by Soulskill
from the your-'84-buick-lesabre-is-probably-not-getting-you-into-trouble dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Have you ever been pulled over for a traffic stop and wondered if your sporty car was what caught the officer's attention? Ever had an officer pass up your clunker to snag a flashier vehicle? Well, there's now some data showing which vehicles accumulate the most tickets. According to a study by Insurance.com, drivers of the Subaru WRX, Pontiac GTO, and Scion FR-S get a higher percentage of tickets than drivers of any other cars. At the bottom of the list, we see vehicles such as the Ford Ecosport, the Land Rover LR4, and Chevy Sportvan. They have a widget that will let you see data on your own make/model, if you're curious.

+ - Reserve Bank ordered to pay back R250m to Mark Shuttleworth-> 1

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "South Africa-born tech entrepreneur and world’s first space tourist Mark Shuttleworth has been awarded R250m – with interest – by the court of appeal following a lengthy legal battle over exchange control levies which saw that amount docked from his R2.5bn fortune when he sought to repatriate the money overseas."
Link to Original Source
United Kingdom

David Cameron Says Brits Should Be Taught Imperial Measures 745

Posted by Soulskill
from the cripple-their-minds-while-they're-young dept.
00_NOP writes: Children in the U.K. have been taught in metric measures in school since (at least) 1972, but yesterday British Prime Minister David Cameron suggested that they should actually be taught in Imperial measures (which are still in use officially to measure road distances and speeds, but not really anywhere else). Is this because he hasn't a clue about science or because he is catering to a particular political base?

+ - Calling Mr Orwell, rejigged executive order makes collecting data not collecting->

Submitted by sandbagger
sandbagger (654585) writes "'...it is often the case that one can be led astray by relying on the generic or commonly understood definition of a particular word.' Specifically words offering constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure. TechDirt looks at the redefinition of the term collection as redefined by Executive Order 12333 to allow basically every information dragnet, provided no-one looks at it. "Collection" is now defined as "collection plus action." According to this document, ot still isn't collected, even if its been gathered, packaged and sent to a "supervisory authority." No collection happens until examination. It's Schroedinger's data, neither collected nor uncollected until the "box" has been opened. This leads to the question of aging off collected data/communications: if certain (non) collections haven't been examined at the end of the 5-year storage limit, are they allowed to be retained simply because they haven't officially been collected yet? Does the timer start when the "box" is opened or when the "box" is filled?"
Link to Original Source

+ - DIY Open Source Smart Watch Launches

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "An Open Source project called TinyScreen has just launched which lets you create your own wearable devices like smart watches using a miniature Arduino hardware system with a color OLED screen. The hardware includes support for Bluetooth Low Energy connections to smart phones along with iOS and Android apps, and is small enough to create a set of smart glasses."

One small step for man, one giant stumble for mankind.

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