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Submission + - Google Patenting Less Noble Use of Project Loon Tech

theodp writes: In June, Google unveiled Project Loon to acclaim from the press for its "moonshot" project that aims to use high-altitude balloons to cheaply provide internet connectivity to rural, remote, and underserved areas of the developing world. So it's interesting to see that a just-published Google patent application for Balloon Clumping to Provide Bandwidth Requested in Advance, which pre-dated the Loon launch by a year, paints a not entirely altruistic picture of balloon-powered Internet access technology. Google describes the invention — which had been kept secret with a non-publication request — as just the ticket for those well-to-do enough to pay a tiered-pricing premium to get faster internet access while attending concerts, conferences, air shows, music festivals, and sporting events where a facility's overtaxed Wi-Fi simply won't do. Hope this revelation doesn't make Bill Gates think any less of the project!

Linux 3.13 Kernel To Bring Major Feature Improvements 190

An anonymous reader writes "There's many improvements due in the Linux 3.13 kernel that just entered development. On the matter of new hardware support, there's open-source driver support for Intel Broadwell and AMD Radeon R9 290 'Hawaii' graphics. NFTables will eventually replace IPTables; the multi-queue block layer is supposed to make disk access much faster on Linux; HDMI audio has improved; Stereo/3D HDMI support is found for Intel hardware; file-system improvements are on the way, along with support for limiting the power consumption of individual PC components."

Submission + - Weapons You Can Build from Items Sold in Airport Stores After the TSA Checkpoint (

Jah-Wren Ryel writes: In early-2013, independent security researcher, Evan “treefort” Booth, began working to answer one simple question: Can common items sold in airports after the security screening be used to build lethal weapons? As it turns out, even a marginally “MacGyver-esque” attacker can breeze through terminal gift shops, restaurants, magazine stands and duty-free shops to find everything needed to wage war on an airplane.

Comment Re:Trucks in Texas (Score 1) 293

I plan to keep my Impreza going a nice long time :) It actually does a nice job when you consider what it can hold on the roofrack with some ratcheting straps, and in the nice big hatchback. But it's really easy to spend more in a day on gas than I want to spend in a week ... the opportunity cost of gas vs. an electric (or even just a hybrid) has been taunting me for a few years now. One "around-town pickup" I'm considering is a used Prius; for that matter, I could replace the Subaru with one of those entirely ... A 3-year-old Prius, 3-5 years from now, might be the smartest thing.


Submission + - Microsoft Announces 3D Builder 3D Printing App For Windows 8.1 (

MojoKid writes: Microsoft really seems to be on board with the whole 3D printing thing, loading Windows 8.1 with native 3D printing capabilities and working closely with MakerBot to develop a driver for the Replicator 2 3D printer, but that’s not all apparently. Microsoft also now has an app called 3D Builder that lets users more easily set up a design for 3D printing. 3D Builder, which is available for free in the Windows Store starting today, lets users manipulate existing designs stashed in the app’s library or upload their own designs made in other applications. Features include the ability to scale, arrange, rotate, and adjust objects and even stack or push designs together to create something new.

U.S. 5X Battery Research Sets Three Paths For Replacing Lithium 172

dcblogs writes "One year ago this month, the U.S. Department of Energy announced a $120 million plan to develop a technology capable of radically extending battery life. 'We want to change the game, basically,' said George Crabtree, a senior scientist at Argonne National Laboratory and a physics professor who is leading the effort. The goal is to develop a battery that can deliver five times the performance, measured in energy density, that's also five times cheaper, and do it in five years. They are looking at three research areas. Researchers are considering replacing the lithium with magnesium that has two charges, or aluminum, which has three charges. Another approach investigates replacing the intercalation step with a true chemical reaction. A third approach is the use of liquids to replace crystalline anodes and cathodes, which opens up more space for working ions."

Comment Re:They pop up and notify me they are running. (Score 3, Insightful) 243

I was greatly dismayed to see how many apps expect access to my email, location and contacts directory, most with no need whatsoever for such information.

Yes, that is really annoying. I tried to install a Flashlight app the other day. I had to go thru about 6 of them before I found one that didn't need any permissions. I mean really, why does a flashligh need permission for the network? Do I really need to see an ad for the 5s seconds I have the flashlight on to find the keyhole to my front door in the dark?

No.., but the NSA wants to see what you are snooping around with a flashlight for. 8o)

Yeah, that was where I initially saw the ludicrous access garnering, a flashlight app. Seriously, what does a damn flashlight need to know about my contacts or location? Too much free or even pay-for apps are up to no good.

Comment Re:They pop up and notify me they are running. (Score 4, Insightful) 243

The concept on Android of listing app permissions is a good one - although it needs to be MUCH more detailed, and you need to be able to filter in the app store based on permissions.

Right now, to find a suitable app that won't do something you dislike - e.g. running in the background - you need to install it, see if it does the bad thing, then uninstall it. If those attributes were clearly listed, and searchable, then you could only install and try out the ones that aren't instantly annoying.

I was greatly dismayed to see how many apps expect access to my email, location and contacts directory, most with no need whatsoever for such information. I don't install a lot of apps. I'd rather develop them.

Comment Re:I guess what is comes down to ... (Score 1) 567

I was trying not to be ageist... :-P

The representatives of the congregation of my late Grandfather's church approached one of my uncles, asking if he could carpool his father to church as the elder kept making contact with other vehicles in the parking lot. One of the symptoms of old age is being less aware. He was still licenced to drive at near 90 years of age.

The example I used, however, was an elderly gentleman plowing into the crowd at a farmers market a few years ago. Perfect driving record until he hit the wrong pedal. Elderly drivers should be checked for vision and reaction time at least every two years. Never mind insurance, if they fail they shouldn't be on the roads.

Comment Re:Safe = Slow = Low? (Score 1) 567

Those people are easy to detect by anyone else driving. I would be very surprised if these monitors did not catch that behavior (constant speed changes, sharp steering movements, etc) and assign a very high risk to those people.

How are instruments to detect driver inattention? Have their eyes scanned every 1/10 second to see how much of the time they are not looking forward or checking a mirror?

Submission + - Paleontologist Studies Seriously Old Sh*t ( 1

the_newsbeagle writes: Paleoscatologist Karen Chin knows you can learn a lot about ancient ecosystems by studying coprolites — fossilized feces. She has studied dino droppings from herbivores, and identified the types of plants those dinosaurs ate. She has identifed T. rex turds, and found evidence that prehistoric dung beetles made use of those king-sized dino patties. This profile of Chin goes through her greatest hits, then focuses on her latest work, which sheds light on the reemergence of life after the K-Pg extinction event that brought down the dinosaurs... but left some surprising creatures unscathed.

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