suraj.sun writes: Someday, somehow, the U.S. Navy would like to run its networks — maybe even own its computers again.
After 10 years and nearly $10 billion, many sailors are tired of leasing their PCs, and relying on a private contractor to operate most of their data systems. Troops are sick of getting stuck with inboxes that hold 150 times less than a Gmail account, and local networks that go down for days while Microsoft Office 2007 gets installed in 2010. But the Navy just can't quit its tangled relationship with Hewlett-Packard. The admirals and the firm recently signed another $3.3 billion no-bid contract that begins Oct. 1st.
Just to make sure its core networks keep running – to make sure marines and sailors can keep e-mailing each other on Oct. 1st — the Navy is paying Hewlett Packard $1.788 billion. The service will spend another $1.6 billion to buy from HP the equipment troops have worked on for years, and to license the network diagrams and configuration documents, so that the Navy can begin to plan for a future in which they're not utterly reliant on HP for their most basic communications. In essence, the Navy is paying to look at the blueprints to the network it has been using for a decade.
jnaujok writes "The Ninth Circuit court has declared that attaching a GPS tracker to your car, as it sits in your driveway, or by extension on a public street, and then using it to monitor every one of your movements, is totally legal, and can be performed by the police without needing a warrant. So, if you live in the Western United States, big brother has arrived."
suraj.sun writes: The walls have ears, the saying goes--but at some point, so might people's clothes. With the help of fiber research at MIT, fabrics of the future could both hear and make noises.
Yoel Fink, an assistant professor at the MIT, and his colleagues developed fibers that are active where most are passive. Specifically, through a new application of widely used technology called piezoelectrics, fibers can convert sound waves into an electrical signal and vice versa, MIT announced Monday.
Piezoelectric speakers have been around for a long time--beeping digital watches and those musical greeting cards use them, for example--but Fink's approach uses fibers instead of a flat speaker. Key to the approach is making the fibers so that one side is different from the other, rather than being symmetric.
"Fabrics woven from piezoelectric fibers could be used as a communication transceiver," the researchers wrote, describing their approach in the July 11 issue of Nature Materials.
GovTechGuy writes: The logo for the new military unit in charge of protecting cyberspace apparently includes a coded inscription, the meaning of which remains unclear. The code as it appears on the inner gold ring of the logo (pictured above): 9ec4c12949a4f31474f299058ce2b22a
A U.S. Cyber Command Source told Wired's Danger Room blog the characters have a specific meaning that is spelled out in military documents.
“It is not just random numbers and does ‘decode’ to something specific," the source said. "I believe it is specifically detailed in the official heraldry for the unit symbol.”
itwbennett writes: Nearly a month after a Google engineer released details of a new flaw in Windows XP's Help and Support Center, the company reported Wednesday that it has now logged more than 10,000 attacks that leverage the bug. 'At first, we only saw legitimate researchers testing innocuous proof-of-concepts. Then, early on June 15th, the first real public exploits emerged,' Microsoft said in a blog posting. 'Those initial exploits were targeted and fairly limited. In the past week, however, attacks have picked up.' Link to Original Source
from the don't-look-at-me-that-way dept.
SchlimpyChicken writes "Turns out 3D television can be inherently dangerous to developing children, and perhaps to adults as well. There's a malaise in children that can prevent full stereopsis (depth perception) from developing, called strabismus or lazy-eye. It is an abnormal alignment of the eyes in which the eyes do not focus on the same object — kind of like when you watch a 3D movie. As a result, depth perception is compromised. Acting on a hunch, the guys over at Audioholics contacted Mark Pesce, who worked with Sega on its VR Headset over 15 years ago — you know, the headset that never made it to market. As it turns out, back then Sega uncovered serious health risks involved with children consuming 3D and quickly buried the reports, and the project. Unfortunately, the same dangers exist in today's 3D, and the electronics, movie, and gaming industries seem to be ignoring the issue. If fully realized, 3D just might affect the vision of millions of children and, according to the latest research, many adults, across the country." The Audioholics article is a good candidate for perusing with Readability — the pseudo-link popups are blinding.
DesScorp writes: "New research suggests the increased melting of the Pine Island Glacier in Antarctica may not be due to climate change, but to natural erosion of underwater rock that previously had protected the ice sheet from warmer seawater. A battery-powered robotic submarine (which consumed 5,000 D-cells) conducted surveillance of the area, and provided data for the previously undiscovered ridge. The article notes that the melting of the glacier is in contrast to an overall increase in Antarctic ice levels. The summary notes that "the glacier would have shown the same acceleration and thinning it has shown since the 1990s with or without climate change, perhaps accounting for its very rapid melting and the local contrast with the general picture of increased Antarctic sea ice."" Link to Original Source
sciencehabit writes: A maverick scientist who made a name for himself by directing the capping of the more than 500 hundred burning oil wells in Kuwait after the Gulf War in 1991 is proposing a deceptively simple way to plug the gulf oil leak: drop steel balls into the gushing well. If the steel balls are big enough in diameter, their weight will pull them downward even through the upward-rushing torrent of oil and gas. So they'll settle into the well at some deep level and begin to clog it. Two hundred tons of the things should slow the gusher enough that it can then be stopped with a more conventional injection of mud, he says. Link to Original Source
from the it-takes-braaains dept.
danielkennedy74 writes "Newsweek.com becomes the latest in a long list of sites that will reveal an Easter egg if you enter the Konami code correctly (up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, b, a, enter). This is a cheat code that appeared in many of Konami's video games, starting around 1986 — my favorite places to use it were Contra and Life Force, 30 lives FTW. The Easter egg was probably included by a developer unbeknownst to the Newsweek powers that be. It's reminiscent of an incident that happened at ESPN last year, involving unicorns."
Low Ranked Craig writes: Senior space agency scientists believe the Earth will be hit with unprecedented levels of magnetic energy from solar flares after the Sun wakes “from a deep slumber” sometime around 2013. In a new warning, Nasa said the super storm would hit like “a bolt of lightning” and could cause catastrophic consequences for the world’s health, emergency services and national security unless precautions are taken. Scientists believe it could damage everything from emergency services’ systems, hospital equipment, banking systems and air traffic control devices, through to “everyday” items such as home computers, iPods and Sat Navs. “We know it is coming but we don’t know how bad it is going to be,” said Dr Richard Fisher, the director of Nasa's Heliophysics division. "I believe we're on the threshold of a new era in which space weather can be as influential in our daily lives as ordinary terrestrial weather." Fisher concludes. "We take this very seriously indeed." Link to Original Source
from the can't-say-i'm-surprised dept.
technology_dude found an unsurprising but amusing little story that BP is buying keywords on Google and Yahoo for things like "Oil Spill" to help spin some damage control. I guess if you can't plug your spill, the least you can do is try to clog the flow of information.