GameboyRMH writes: A gear mechanism has been discovered for the first time in nature in the nymph of the Issus, a small plant-hopping insect common in Europe. It uses the gears to synchronize the movement and power of its hind legs, forcing the legs to propel it in a straight line when jumping, which would otherwise be impossible for the insect if it had to control the timing and force of its leg muscles independently. The journal paper is paywalled but you can read a summary at phys.org.
GameboyRMH writes: The Free Software Foundation is currently holding a petition urging hardware manufacturers to implement UEFI Secure Boot in a way that allows alternative operating systems to be installed by users. Currently it has about 13,000 signatures — Slashdot polls regularly rack up more votes. If you run a non-Windows operating system or wish to support the right to do so, sign the petition here.
GameboyRMH writes: "Wired magazine updates us on the latest revision of COICA, now with the opposition-discouraging name PROTECT IP, which includes a less vague definition of "infringing sites" but would require search engines to remove links to infringing sites from their result pages. It also offers ad delivery networks and credit card processors that "voluntarily cease doing business with infringing websites, outside of any court ordered action" protection from liability. The article contains a good summary of the latest changes."
GameboyRMH writes: A Milgram-esque experiment done at the University of Cambridge showed that most people who said they would never shock others for money did so when given the opportunity (64% said they would never shock others for money, while 96% actually delivered shocks). How much does it cost to sway a person's moral compass? If you're imagining a thick wad of cash, instead imagine your wallet's change pocket — test subjects anonymously administered what they thought were painful shocks to a victim in another room for a reward of no more than £1 per jolt, with more powerful shocks yielding a greater reward. Victims were either shown a video of a simulated victim's hand, or hand and face, twitching in pain from the shocks. Those who were only shown the victim's hand made an average of £15.77 of a possible £20, while those who were shown both the hand and face made and average of £11.55.
GameboyRMH writes: If you were impressed at the remote-controlled ornithopters released in recent years, then this will really knock your socks off: In the 1970s, the CIA developed and tested a remote-controlled ornithopter that was disguised as a dragonfly — and at roughly the size of a dragonfly, as seen in the video. It was intended to be used as a platform for listening devices. This "insectothopter" was laser-guided and powered by a tiny gasoline engine built by a watchmaker. While its performance was impressive, difficulty controlling the tiny craft in crosswinds made it impractical, and the idea was scrapped.
The article also mentions a robo-squid, and has information on a remote-controlled fish (video) that is also very impressive. View the original source for some other interesting spy gadgets on the CIA's Flickr page.
GameboyRMH writes: "BMW, in a video advertisement for their S1000R sportbike playing in German movie theaters, temporarily burned their logo into viewer's retinas as part of the ad, by projecting a bright flash of light through a cutout onto the back of the theater screen. The article includes a video showcasing the use of the effect, the ad itself, and viewers' reactions.
How long will it be before you'll have to wear sunglasses inside the mall to keep special offers from being burned into your retinas?"
GameboyRMH writes: "Julian Assange has responded to some questions posted by Guardian readers. The article contains many interesting bits of information, such as why Assange decided to make himself the public face of Wikileaks rather than remain anonymous, his comments on some of the older content that's recently become unavailable on the site, and his claim that Wikileaks' use of Amazon's services was actually a test of the US as a hosting jurisdiction."
GameboyRMH writes: Maximum PC reports that major MMO publishers (Blizzard, Turbine, SOE, NCSoft, and Jagex) are being sued by Paltalk, which holds a patent on "sharing data among many connected computers so that all users see the same digital environment" — a patent that would seem to apply to any multiplayer game played between multiple systems, at the very least. Paltalk has already received an out-of-court settlement from Microsoft earlier this year in relation to a lawsuit over the Halo games.
If Microsoft can't fend off Paltalk's legal attacks, the odds don't look good for their latest group of targets.
GameboyRMH writes: CNN reports that a Foxconn factory worker in China, 25 year old Sun Danyong, took his own life by jumping from the 12th floor of a Foxconn office building after he was questioned by company officials over a single missing iPhone prototype. Coworkers allege Sun was detained, searched and beaten in addition to the questioning. Apple China is awaiting the results of an investigation into the incident and has stated that "We require that our suppliers treat all workers with dignity and respect." Foxconn executive Li Jing Ming said "I can honestly say Foxconn has not given anyone permission to do anything unlawful." Foxconn is providing counselling for employees following the suicide and will support Sun's family "With funeral arrangements and other matters." Employees connected to the incident were fired or suspended without pay.
GameboyRMH writes: 48 year old electronics engineer and master mechanic Doug Pelmearclaims his modified '87 Mustang gets 80MPG running on E85 and can produce up to 400HP and 500ft-lbs of torque, with an engine running about 38% efficiency. He says the modifications to the car are mostly electrical, and that he could increase efficiency further by sacrificing power or running on regular gasoline. He plans to enter it in the Mainstream category of the Automotive X-prize, but these numbers seem to push the laws of physics. Could this be a tire-smoking fuel sipper or just smoke and mirrors?