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The Military

Submission + - Iran War Clock Set at Ten Minutes to Midnight

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "The Atlantic has assembled a high-profile panel of experts including a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iran, a Senior Vice President at the Council on Foreign Relations; a Deputy Head of the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, and a military correspondent at Haaretz to periodically estimate the chances of conflict with Iran. The Iran War Clock is not designed to be pro-war or anti-war. Instead, the purpose is to estimate the chances of conflict in the hope of producing a more informed debate. Each panelist makes an individual estimate about the percentage chance of war and we report the average score and based on this number, the Iran War Clock is adjusted so that the hand moves closer to, or further away from, midnight. "On the one hand, the panelists are highly knowledgeable. On the other hand, there are sufficient members of the panel that any individual error should not have an overly negative effect on the aggregate prediction." If there is a zero percent chance of war, the clock hand is at 20 minutes to midnight. Each extra 5 percent chance of war moves the hand one minute closer to midnight. "We're humble about the accuracy of this prediction, which is really a collective "gut-check" feeling. But it may be closer to the truth than the alternative forecasts available." The panel's first estimate puts the odds of war in the next twelve months at 48 percent, consistent with the predictions market Intrade.com, which estimates a 40 percent chance of a U.S./Israeli strike by December 2012."

Submission + - Google goes full court evil. (huffingtonpost.com) 1

goombah99 writes: According to developers, executives and investors in mobile gaming and payment sectors , Google warned several developers in recent months that if they did not switch to Google Wallet or continued to use other payment methods — such as PayPal, Zong and Boku — their apps would be removed from Android Market, now known as Google Play. In one email sent to a developer in late August, Google said the developer had 30 days to comply, otherwise the developer's apps would be "suspended" from Android Market. Reuters obtained a copy of the email this week. "They told people that if they used other payment services they would be breaking the terms of use," said Si Shen, founder and chief executive of Papaya, a social gaming network on Android. "Whether it's right or wrong, we have to follow the rules."

Submission + - Video: Why Advertised Broadband Speeds Are Bunk (itworld.com)

jfruhlinger writes: "From the beginning of home Internet connections, as we moved through increasingly faster dialup modems to DSL and cable, there was one constant: when we wanted to know how fast our connections were, we were told how many bits (or bytes, or KB, or MB) per second we could download. But now, as more and more people rely on their broadband connection to stream (not download) video, raw download speeds have become less important than various quality of service metrics. The only catch is that broadband providers, who also want to sell you cable TV, have no incentive to advertise — or improve — the numbers you really care about."
The Internet

Submission + - Fastest State for Downloads in US: Rhode Island (industrygamers.com)

donniebaseball23 writes: Fast, reliable broadband internet is still not as prevalent in the U.S. as it needs to be. That's clearly evident from a new study conducted by content delivery specialist Pando Networks, which is the provider for popular free-to-play and online games such as League of Legends, Lord of the Rings Online and MapleStory. Pando monitored downloads by 4 million gamers across the country and discovered some states averaging connectivity speeds as much as ten times faster than those in other cities. The fastest state for downloads was determined to be Rhode Island at an average of 894 KBps, which was almost three times faster than the slowest, Idaho, which had an average speed of just 318KBps. In terms of regional trends, the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region contained eight of the ten fastest states.
United Kingdom

Submission + - Climate unit releases virtually all remaining data (bbc.co.uk)

mutube writes: "The BBC is reporting that the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit, target of "ClimateGate", has released nearly all its remaining data on temperature measurements following a freedom of information bid.

Most temperature data was already available, but critics of climate science want everything public. Following the latest release, raw data from virtually all of the world's 5,000-plus weather stations is freely available.

Release of this dataset required The Met Office to secure approval from more than 1,500 weather stations around the world. The article notes that while Trinidad and Tobago refused permission but the Information Commissioner ruled that public interest in disclosure outweighed those considerations."


Submission + - Smart Sunglasses Block Glare Using LCD Tech (ecouterre.com) 3

An anonymous reader writes: The sunglasses of the future are right around the corner — Physicist Chris Mullin has developed a new LCD technology that could lead to “smart” eyewear that detects bright spots of light and darkens them accordingly. Working with electrical engineer Albert Titus, Mullin has created a working “Dynamic Eyes” prototype that shield sensitive eyes and makes it easier for drivers to monitor oncoming traffic. The lenses are actually LCD screens, with pixels that can be turned on and off to black out certain areas. (A light-detecting sensor at the nose bridge works with a microprocessor to “tell” certain pixels where the glare is.) So far the project has attracted the interest of the U.S. Air Force, along with the automotive, recreational, and healthcare industries.

Submission + - Can Science Survive the Coming Age of Austerity?

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Alexis Madrigal writes that everyone agrees you need science and technology R&D, but when budgets get tight, research into quantum dots or the fundamental forces that cause earthquakes has a hard time holding the line against health care or tax cuts for the richest Americans. Different countries are taking different approaches. Japan is focusing on its most elite researchers, giving up to $50 million to 30 different people. Other countries are just giving up on some areas of research to focus on others; for example, take US particle physicists, who will spend their careers trying to drive from the backseat as our European counterparts run the Large Hadron Collider. A third approach might be to reduce redundancies in research. "An idea to provide funding in a larger number of key areas that would avoid duplication is to create dedicated research centers where several investigators can work in parallel on complementary topics," writes Joerg Heber. "If we do less research we need to do it right. And using this crisis to think about our research infrastructure needn’t be a bad thing. It should be seen as an opportunity to reform the academic research system in a more comprehensive and fundamental way than the academic community and the politicians normally dare to think about.""

Submission + - Method to increase oil production 30% in old wells (cnn.com)

Bob the Super Hamste writes: "CNN is reporting that the Glori Energy company claims it has a method that could boost oil production from old wells by up to 30%. The method involves adding bacteria to the well that will change the oil viscosity making it easier to pump to the surface in addition to changing the droplet size which also helps bring more oil to the surface. Their method works best with well that use water to increase the pressure. The process also involves injecting nutrients in with the bacteria and water mixture. The company claims that the process doesn't affect the quality of the water being injected and "may" actually produce cleaner water. The new technology was initially developed by the Indian National Oil Company in the 1990's."

Submission + - Becoming a Scientist Over and Over Again (discovermagazine.com)

purkinje writes: Erez Leiberman does physics, yes, but also linguistics, engineering, and molecular biology. He's a scientist, but rather than honing in on one area, he tackles questions that interest him--whatever field they fall in. He's mathematically analyzed the half-lives of verbs, determined how strands of DNA up in a cell's nucleus, and invented a special insole that helps the elderly improve their balance.

Submission + - Dutch to enforce netneutrality by law (arstechnica.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Big news out of the Netherlands this week, where a government minister announced plans to guarantee network neutrality by law. If Parliament approves the amendment to Dutch telecommunications law, and it expected to do so, it would become one of the first countries in the world to legislate against Internet providers who want to charge more for using particular applications or services.

Submission + - Earth to be Hit by Biggest Solar Flare in Years

An anonymous reader writes: The sun emitted an unusual solar flare, a small radiation storm and a spectacular coronal mass ejection (CME) from a sunspot complex on the solar surface, on Tuesday. The flare peaked at 1:41 a.m. ET, according to NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO). The US National Weather Service (NWS) said in a statement that the solar flare released radiation not witnessed since 2006, with the present one measured by NASA as M-2 or medium sized solar flare that carries "a substantial coronal mass ejection (CME) ... and is visually spectacular."

The Struggle For Private Game Servers 125

A story at the BBC takes a look at the use of private game servers for games that tend not to allow them. While most gamers are happy to let companies like Blizzard and NCSoft administer the servers that host their MMORPGs, others want different rules, a cheaper way to play, or the technical challenge of setting up their own. A South African player called Hendrick put up his own WoW server because the game "wasn't available in the country at the time." A 21-year-old Swede created a server called Epilogue, which "had strict codes of conduct and rules, as well as a high degree of customized content (such as new currency, methods of earning experience, the ability to construct buildings and hire non-player characters, plus 'permanent' player death) unavailable in the retail version of the game." The game companies make an effort to quash these servers when they can, though it's frequently more trouble that it's worth. An NCSoft representative referenced the "growing menace" of IP theft, and a Blizzard spokesperson said,"We also have a responsibility to our players to ensure the integrity and reliability of their World of Warcraft gaming experience and that responsibility compels us to protect our rights."

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