First time accepted submitter lcam writes in with a story about a video that has started a new round of condemnation against the TSA over the testing of drinks. "The video, posted on YouTube on Monday and featured on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams Tuesday night, has already garnered almost 125,000 hits and nearly 900 comments from angry travelers. It shows two TSA officers swabbing bottles of water, a carton of coconut water and a cup of coffee, among other liquids. 'Now remember that this is inside the terminal, well beyond the security check and purchased inside the terminal ... just people waiting to get on the plane,' YouTube user danno02 says in the video's description. 'My wife and son came back from a coffee shop just around the corner, then we were approached. I asked them what they were doing. One of the TSA ladies said that they were checking for explosive chemicals (as we are drinking them).' The TSA insisted Tuesday that its policy of checking liquids beyond the security gate has been in place for five years now. TSA agents will randomly patrol the gates using a test strip and dropper containing a non-toxic solution, it said."
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Hugh Pickens writes "Denise Chow reports that two spacewalking astronauts successfully replaced a vital power unit on the International Space Station today, defeating a stubborn bolt that prevented the astronauts from properly installing the power unit on the ISS's backbone-like truss with the help of some improvised tools made of spare parts and a toothbrush. Astronauts Sunita Williams and Akihiko Hoshide started by removing the power box, called a main bus switching unit (MBSU), from where it had been temporarily tied down with a tether, then spent several hours troubleshooting the unit and the two bolts that are designed to secure it in place on the space station's truss. After undoing the bolts, the spacewalkers examined them for possible damage, and used improvised cleaning tools and a pressurized can of nitrogen gas to clean out the metal shavings from the bolt receptacles. 'I see a lot of metal shavings coming out,' Hoshide said as he maneuvered a wire cleaner around one of the bolt holders. Williams and Hoshide then lubricated a spare bolt and manually threaded it into the place where the real bolt was eventually driven, in an effort to ensure that the receptacle was clear of any debris. Then the two applied grease to the sticky bolt as well as extra pressure and plain old jiggling until finally 4½ hours into the spacewalk, Hoshide reported: 'It is locked.' When Hoshide reported that the troublesome bolt was finally locked into place, the flight managers erupted in applause while astronaut Jack Fischer at Mission Control told the astronauts 'that is a little slice of awesome pie.'"
nk497 writes "Nokia unveiled its flagship Lumia 920 Windows Phone 8 handset today, but it doesn't feature an SD card slot. There's a reason why: Nokia's designers didn't want to 'defile' the design. 'We started with the premise that we wanted an uncompromised physical form,' executive vice president Kevin Shields, said. 'To put an SD card slot in it would have defiled it.' He said most people don't use the storage in their phone, although the Nokia Lumia 820, which has only 8GB of storage, does include a micro-SD card slot behind its removable cover, which Shields claims doesn't compromise the design."
First time accepted submitter WIn5t0n writes "Just a day after the alleged leak of 12million Apple UDID's, both Apple and FBI have denied the story that Anonymous, a global hacking community, gained access to the files by hacking into an FBI laptop through a Java vulnerability. Earlier this morning the FBI claimed that, even though the agent cited in Anonymous's story is an actual FBI operative, neither he nor anyone else in the agency has or has had access to Apple device information. This afternoon Apple followed up on the FBI's statement, with an unidentified Apple representative claiming that, 'The FBI has not requested this information from Apple, nor have we provided it to the FBI or any organization.' It should also be noted that while the hackers claim to have accessed 12 million UDID's, only 1 million were publicly released. The Apple representative who made the previous statements also said that, 'Apple has replaced the types of identifiers the hackers appear to have gotten and will be discontinuing their use.' Even though neither Anonymous nor the FBI/APPLE will admit where the data actually came from, it does appear that at least some of the leaked UDID's are legit and can be tied back to current, privately owned devices. So far no information besides the devices UDID, DevToken ID, and device name has been released, however the original hackers claimed that some devices were tied to details as exact as phone numbers and billing addresses."
New submitter payola writes "On September 15, Amazon will begin adding in sales tax for purchases made in California. This is sparking a buying frenzy among California residents who are rushing to buy consumer electronics and other expensive items on the site before the deadline. Of course, consumers are supposed to pay sales taxes on their online purchases anyway, but few actually do. 'Amazon is not the only Internet merchant affected by the new law. But as the nation's largest online retailer, it has been the main target. More than 200 other out-of-state companies with major business in California may also be on the hook to collect sales taxes on items shipped to the state. The tax revenue from these online sales is being lauded as a win for the debt-ridden state, which estimates it will see an additional $317 million annually as a result; more than $83 million of that is expected to come from Amazon alone.'"
An anonymous reader sends this quote from Geek.com: "Frank Gibeau, the president of EA Labels, has shown that business truly does come before gameplay with comments he made as part of a preview document for the CloudGamingUSA event happening on September 11-12 in San Francisco. Gibeau is very proud of the fact he has never green lit a single project that consisted solely of a single-player experience. He insists that every game EA publishes has an online component to it. His reason for doing this? Apparently EA has 'evolved with consumers (PDF)' suggesting he thinks this is what consumers want in every game. ... Forcing online into every game makes little sense. While it works for a Battlefield, Medal of Honor, Fifa or Need for Speed title, there's just as many games that don't need it to succeed, or even work for online play. A good example of this would be the forthcoming SimCity, which has upset fans of the series because it will require an constant Internet connection to play. That isn't a DRM measure, it's due to the tight integration of multiplayer and how all players impact each others games."
An anonymous reader writes "ReadWriteWeb makes the case that Apple should stop censoring submissions to the App Store. The company made headlines last week for banning an app showing the locations of drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia. The article says Apple should restrict its bans to apps that have terrible functionality or a poor UI, and 'get out of the business of censorship.' Quoting: 'Last year in Syria, antigovernment activists began using an iPhone app to disseminate news, maps, photos and videos about the conflict in a country that doesn't exactly rank highly for its press freedom. Mobile tech in the hands of Syrian dissidents proved enough of a nuisance that the government banned the iPhone in late 2011, presumably to quash content that the regime found, um, objectionable. This example raises a few questions. First, why are pins on a map more objectionable than photos and video clips from a war zone? Why does content that effectively agitates for one government to be overthrown make the cut, while content that may make another government look bad (depending on one's own perspective) doesn't? Is Apple taking sides in international conflicts? Perhaps more disturbing is the notion that, were Apple to apply these standards consistently, apps like the one used by Syrian dissidents — and perhaps some news apps — would be barred from the App Store as well.'"
An anonymous reader sends this depressing excerpt from New Scientist: "A serious blow to science-based medical practices has been dealt in the UK with the appointment of Jeremy Hunt as Health Secretary. The fortunes of the UK's National Health Service (NHS) are about to be transformed with the help of the magical waters of homeopathic medicine. Top marks to The Telegraph's science writer Tom Chivers for quickly picking up on talk that the UK's new health minister, Jeremy Hunt – who replaced Andrew Lansley yesterday in a government reshuffle – thinks that homeopathy works, and should be provided at public expense by the NHS."
astroengine writes "The light-years between the stars is vast — a seemingly insurmountable quarantine that cuts our solar system off from the rest of the galaxy. But to a growing number of interstellar enthusiasts who will meet in Houston, Texas, for the 100YSS Public Symposium next week, interstellar distances may not be as insurmountable as they seem. What's more, they even have the support of former U.S. President Bill Clinton."
ananyo writes "In what is likely to be a historic moment in science, ENCODE, the Encyclopedia of DNA Elements, has published 30 papers in Nature, Genome Research and Genome Biology today, assigning some sort of function to roughly 80% of the genome, including more than 70,000 'promoter' regions — the sites, just upstream of genes, where proteins bind to control gene expression — and nearly 400,000 'enhancer' regions that regulate expression of distant genes. The project was designed to pick up where the Human Genome Project left off. Although that massive effort revealed the blueprint of human biology, it quickly became clear that the instruction manual for reading the blueprint was sketchy at best. Researchers could identify in its 3 billion letters many of the regions that code for proteins, but those make up little more than 1% of the genome, contained in around 20,000 genes. ENCODE, which started in 2003, aims to catalog the 'functional' DNA sequences between genes, learn when and in which cells they are active and trace their effects on how the genome is packaged, regulated and read. Nature has set up an ENCODE site with an explorer, that groups the papers by topic, and collects all the papers, which are available free."
Zothecula writes "Well, Patrick Priebe might have outdone himself with this one. In the past, the German cyberpunk weapons-maker has brought us such creations as a wrist-mounted mini-crossbow, a laser-sighted rotary-saw-blade-shooting crossbow, and a flame-throwing glove. His latest nasty futuristic device? A video game-inspired electromagnetic weapon, called the Gauss Rifle."
An anonymous reader writes "CNet reports that Google was awarded a patent yesterday for logging into a computing device using face recognition (8,261,090). 'In order for the technology to work, Google's patent requires a camera that can identify a person's face. If that face matches a "predetermined identity," then the person is logged into the respective device. If multiple people want to access a computer, the next person would get in front of the camera, and the device's software would automatically transition to the new user's profile. ... Interestingly, Apple last year filed for a patent related to facial recognition similar to what Google is describing in its own service. That technology would recognize a person's face and use that as the authentication needed to access user profiles or other important information.'"
DevotedSkeptic sends this excerpt from NASA: "A NASA-sponsored expedition is set to sail to the North Atlantic's saltiest spot to get a detailed, 3-D picture of how salt content fluctuates in the ocean's upper layers and how these variations are related to shifts in rainfall patterns around the planet. The research voyage is part of a multi-year mission, dubbed the Salinity Processes in the Upper Ocean Regional Study (SPURS), which will deploy multiple instruments in different regions of the ocean. ... They will return with new data to aid in understanding one of the most worrisome effects of climate change — the acceleration of Earth's water cycle. As global temperatures go up, evaporation increases, altering the frequency, strength, and distribution of rainfall around the planet, with far-reaching implications for life on Earth."
Hugh Pickens writes "Falls are a major cause of injury and death among over-70s, and account for more than 50% of hospital admissions for accidental injury. Thus, being able to identify changes in people's walking patterns and gait in the natural environment, such as in a corridor in a nursing home, could help identity mobility problems early on. Now, BBC reports that researchers have shown off a 'magic carpet' that can detect falls and may even predict mobility problems. Beneath the carpet is a mesh of optical fibers that detect and plot movement as pressure bends them, changing the light detected at the carpet's edges. These deflected light patterns help electronics 'learn' walking patterns and detect if they are deteriorating. With over 19,700 deaths in the elderly in the U.S. in 2008 from unintentional fall injuries and 2.2 million nonfatal fall injuries among older adults treated in emergency departments, spotting subtle changes in a person's walking habits may help identify changes that might go unnoticed by family members or care-givers. 'The carpet can gather a wide range of information about a person's condition; from biomechanical to chemical sensing of body fluids, enabling holistic sensing to provide an environment that detects and responds to changes in patient condition,' says Patricia Scully from The University of Manchester's Photon Science Institute."
RogueyWon writes "In an interview with gaming site Rock, Paper, Shotgun, Ubisoft has announced that it will no longer use always-online DRM for its PC games. The much-maligned DRM required players to be online and connected to its servers at all times, even when playing single-player content. This represents a reversal of Ubisoft's long-standing insistence that such DRM was essential if the company were to be profitable in the PC gaming market." The full interview has a number of interesting statements. Ubisoft representatives said the decision was made in June of last year. This was right around the time the internet was in an uproar over the DRM in Driver: San Francisco, which Ubisoft quickly scaled back. Ubisoft stopped short of telling RPS they regretted the always-online DRM, or that it only bothers legitimate customers. (However, in a different interview at Gamasutra, Ubisoft's Chris Early said, "The truth of it, they're more inconvenient to our paying customers, so in listening to our players, we removed them.") They maintain that piracy is a financial problem, and acknowledged that the lack of evidence from them and other publishers has only hurt their argument.