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Submission + - Lockbox Aims to NSA-Proof the Cloud (vice.com) 1

Daniel_Stuckey writes: Lockbox, a tech startup founded in 2008, just received $2.5 million in seed funding for its end-to-end encryption cloud service, Client Portal. So, how does end-to-end cloud encryption work? Lockbox encrypts and compresses files before they are uploaded to the cloud. Only a person in possession of the corresponding key can unlock, or decrypt, the files. This means that the NSA, malicious hackers, business competitors, and even crazy girlfriends and boyfriends won't be be able to peer into users' most sensitive and private files.

Submission + - Will Robots Replace Rent-a-Cops? (vice.com)

Daniel_Stuckey writes: Now, an EU-funded, £7.2 million ($11 million USD) collaborative project, called Strands, is underway in England to develop 4D, artificial intelligence for security and care applications. It aims to produce intelligent robo-sentinels that can patrol areas, and learn to detect abnormalities in human behavior. Could their project eventually replace security guards with robots? It looks possible.

Strands, as Nick Hawes of the University of Birmingham said, will "develop novel approaches to extract spatio-temporal structure from sensor data gathered during months of autonomous operation," to develop intelligence that can then "exploit [those] structures to yield adaptive behavior in highly demanding, real-world security and care scenarios."

Submission + - Japan's Maglev Rail Is Officially the Fastest Train in the World (vice.com)

Daniel_Stuckey writes: This week, progress on the Japanese maglev train zoomed forward, as the latest prototype of the train, the Series L0, resumed trial runs—successfully transporting passengers on its newly constructed track.

For some perspective, the average Amtrak train in the US can get up to roughly 110 mph. Clocking in at 310 mph, Japan's maglev rail sailed past the China's CRH380A bullet train's top speed of 302 mph, and the second-fastest maglev train, located in Germany, which maxes out at 280 mph.

Submission + - You Can Drive a Tesla from Vancouver to LA And Only Stop Once For 30 Minutes (vice.com) 3

Daniel_Stuckey writes: Tesla drivers were already able to make an all-electric journey along the East Coast from DC to Boston, using only the charging stations installed along the way. A number of journalists have documented taking that trip, and all but one completed it with ease.

Now, the same is true on the West Coast, but the distance is much longer, and the prospective feat more impressive. Along with the charging station in Vancouver, there are two in Washington, on in Oregon, and nine in California. Tesla's Model S sedan gets 205-265 miles per charge, making a West Coast-spanning jaunt down the length of the entire I-5 feasible. It'd be close, but since there are charging stations in Yreka, CA and reportedly in Eugene, Oregon, an emissions-free West Coast cruise is now in the cars.

Submission + - Curiosity Goes Autonomous for the First Time (gizmag.com)

Zothecula writes: NASA took the metaphorical training wheels off the Mars rover Curiosity on Tuesday, as the unmanned explorer took its first drive using autonomous navigation. It used its onboard cameras and software to select and drive over an area of ground that mission control at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California couldn't see and vet beforehand. This capability allows the nuclear-powered rover to negotiate the most direct route to Mount Sharp rather than having to detour to find routes that can be seen directly by Curiosity before entering, so they can be analyzed by mission control.

Submission + - Tradehill suspends Bitcoin trading citing "banking and regulatory issues" (paritynews.com)

hypnosec writes: One of the largest Bitcoin exchange in the US has suspended trading citing “banking and regulatory issues” according to a statement on the company’s homepage. According to Tradehill the suspension is temporary, but it hasn’t provided any specific timeline by which the trading may resume. Tradehill’s announcement comes as a surprise as just last week it was reported that it was moving its accounts to Internet Archive Federal Credit Union (IAFCU) which would allow it to facilitate easier Bitcoin transactions.

Submission + - New Zealand bans software patents (zdnet.com)

Daniel_Stuckey writes: The nearly unanimous passage of the Bill was also greeted by Institute of IT Professionals (IITP) chief executive Paul Matthews, who congratulated Foss for listening to the IT industry and ensuring software patents were excluded. Matthews said it was a breakthrough day "where old law met modern technology and came out on the side of New Zealand’s software innovators”. The Patents Bill was first drafted in 2008. In 2010 the Commerce Select Committee recommended a total ban on software patents. However, that stance was overturned with the introduction of a Supplementary Order Paper (SOP) in August last year where the removal of software patents was reversed.

Submission + - What Did Melbourne IT Have to do with SEA's Massive Domain Takeover? (vice.com)

Daniel_Stuckey writes: Interestingly, it was announced today that the Chief of Melbourne IT Theo Hnarakis is resigning and will be gone by the end of the year. The article also looked at a decrease in the company's revenue. Could these attacks be the bitter reactions of an employee about to lose a job? Did someone at Melbourne IT give an SEA hacker the keys? Is Melbourne IT the weak link? Or, has Melbourne IT unfairly found itself the butt end of a nasty joke?

Submission + - Q&A with the Icelandic MP Who Wants to Ban Porn (vice.com)

Daniel_Stuckey writes: There was an anti-censorship campaign co-spearheaded by former Wikileaks activist and Icelandic MP Birgitta Jónsdóttir together with the International Modern Media Institute, who wrote an open letter to Jónasson. It was signed by a group of 40 international human rights advocates from 19 countries, citing the potential porn ban is harmful to a democracy, “and must be protected at all costs.”

Iceland is the most sparsely populated country in Europe with a population of 320,000. It also has the highest rate of internet users at 95 percent. If the porn ban goes through, porn will be illegal to watch in Iceland. The Icelandic government is planning to use internet filters, similar to Chinese firewalls, to block porn in the country.

Submission + - 55-Character Passwords Aren't Safe Anymore (vice.com)

Daniel_Stuckey writes: This weekend, the popular password cracker software Hashcat rolled out an update that makes it possible to break passwords up to 55 characters long—a big leap from the previous 15-character limit. To retrieve the original word, password recovery systems run millions of guesses through the same cryptographic function that first generated the hash value, and wait for a match. As you can imagine, the longer and more complicated the sequence, the more time this takes. But the process is advancing rapidly—now, the new version of Hashcat can conduct 8 billion guesses per second, with an unlimited number of tries.

Submission + - The World's Smallest Autopilot Aircraft Can Fit In Your Front Pocket (vice.com)

Daniel_Stuckey writes: The Micro Aerial Vehicle Laboratory at TU Delft has designed and built the world's smallest, open source, autopilot, and (*gasps for air*) unmanned aircraft. The Micro Aerial Vehicle (MAV), called Lisa/S, weighs only 1.9 grams and is 2 cm by 2 cm. It was designed to fit into narrow spaces or carry a camera, making it fitting for potential rescue missions in the future.

Submission + - Did Steve Jobs Eat Just Any Old LSD? (vice.com)

Daniel_Stuckey writes: It's hard, maybe even impossible, to say. But we can look at Jobs' FBI file for a potential lead. The 191-page dossier, released in early 2012, includes a copy of a 1991 background check that Jobs satisfied for a presidential appointment. He was asked to elaborate on his past drug use. Even here, Jobs' notorious specificity comes through. “I used LSD from approximately 1972 to 1974," wrote Jobs:

'Throughout that period of time I used the LSD approximately ten to fifteen times. I would ingest the LSD on a sugar cube or in a hard form of gelatin.'

That last part, about the gelatin? We have to be careful to not read too far into it, but there's some reason to believe he was talking, advertently or not, of a very special brand of acid called CLEARLIGHT.

Submission + - Deadbeat Facebook Friends and using ALL-CAPS lowers your Credit Worthiness (cnn.com)

McGruber writes: CNN has the news (money.cnn.com/2013/08/26/technology/social/facebook-credit-score/index.html) that some financial lending companies claim that Facebook social connections can be a good indicator of a person's creditworthiness. One company determines if you are friends with someone who was late paying back a loan; if so, that is bad news for you. It is even worse news if the delinquent friend is someone you frequently interact with.

Another company gathers information from the manner in which a customer fills out the online loan application. The chances of getting a loan improve if you spend time reading information about the loan on their website. Conversely, if you fill out the application typing in all-caps (or with no caps), you are knocked down a couple pegs in that company's eyes.

A third lender requires that small business borrowers grant them access to the borrowers' PayPal, eBay and other online payment accounts (what could possibly go wrong with that?), thereby disclosing real-time sales and delivery information. This lender claims it can determine a business' creditworthiness and put money into its account in just seven minutes.

Submission + - This Satellite Could Be Beaming Solar Power Down from Space by 2025 (vice.com)

Daniel_Stuckey writes: A NASA veteran, aerospace entrepreneur, and space-based solar power (SBSP) expert, Mankins designed the world's first practical orbital solar plant. It's called the Solar Power Satellite via Arbitrarily Large PHased Array, or SPS-ALPHA for short. If all goes to plan, it could be launched as early as 2025, which is sooner than it sounds when it comes to space-based solar power timelines. Scientists have been aware of the edge the “space-down” approach holds over terrestrial panels for decades. An orbiting plant would be unaffected by weather, atmospheric filtering of light, and the sun's inconvenient habit of setting every evening. SBSP also has the potential to dramatically increase the availability of renewable energy.

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