Kozar_The_Malignant writes: Students at the University of Iceland have written an Android app that helps you avoid dating your cousins. The app accesses the Icelandic national genealogical database that contains information on all living citizens and their ancestors going back 1,100 years. Tapping two phones together will bring up an alert if you share a common grandparent.
Kozar_The_Malignant writes: Microsoft shareholders left today's annual meeting grumbling about the 15 minute Q&A period with Bill Gates and Steve Balmer and the lack of any real specifics about corporate direction. Many shareholders are concerned about Microsoft's static share price over the last decade.
Kozar_The_Malignant writes: A newly-described species of bacterium, Pseudomonas putida has been found to live on pure caffeine. The little jaspers metabolize caffeine into carbon dioxide and ammonia. They were found living in a flower bed on the University of Iowa campus, not in the drain of an espresso machine as one might expect. The paper presenting the research will be presented at the American Society for Microbiology meeting in New Orleans this month where caffeine metabolism will have to contend with the traditional ethanol metabolism.
Kozar_The_Malignant writes: The new Terminal 2 at San Francisco International Airport was opened today with the arrival of SpaceShipTwo (firmly attached to WhiteKnightTwo). Good photos and article by Dean Putney on BoingBoing. I'm ready to go.
Kozar_The_Malignant writes: The secretive X-37B robotic space plane has returned to Earth after a seven month mission. This was the vehicles first flight. Looking like a cross between a Predator Drone and the Space Shuttle, it landed at Vandenberg AFB in California, which was to have been the military's shuttle launch facility. Speculation is that the X-37B is an orbital spy platform.
Kozar_The_Malignant writes: A group of Japanese (scientists, techies, drunks?) have launched a human using a jetpack of water powered bottle rockets. The article in Popular Science calculates that the aquanaut experienced about 10 g of acceleration at launch, which probably explains the expression on his face. He also appears to have gone quite a bit farther than his support and retrieval crew expected. A few more bottles and we might have had a Darwin Award contender.
Kozar_The_Malignant writes: A unique Election Transparency Project in Humboldt County, California has uncovered a flaw in the county's election software that resulted in the county certifying inaccurate results. The software bug resulted in 197 ballots not being counted, which fortunately woulkd nopt have change the outcome of any race in this election. Humboldt County uses optically scanned fill-in-the-bubble ballots.
According to the article, "The basic idea behind the first-of-its-kind transparency project is fairly simple: every ballot cast in an election is passed through an optical scanner after being officially counted and the images are then placed online and available for download. Software, created by volunteer Mitch Trachtenberg, then allows viewers to sort the ballots by precinct or race to conduct recounts at their pleasure."
The GEMS election software is sold by Premier Elections Solutions (Diebold Election Systems, Inc. in a new dress), and they appear to have known about the problem for at least four years. In addition to Humboldt County, the software is used by San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties as well as the State of Maryland and others.
Yes, this is that Humboldt County. No, the County Data Center is a No Smoking zone.
Kozar_The_Malignant writes: Scientific American is reporting that "data from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter point to vast glaciers buried beneath thin layers of crustal debris..." Data from the surface penetrating radar on MRO revealed that two well known mid-latitude features are composed of solid water ice. One is about three times the size of the City of Los Angeles. This certainly makes the idea of establishing a station on Mars far more plausible.
Kozar_The_Malignant writes: A report to appear in the November issue of Scientific Americanshows that "despite popular accounts, researchers found that Barack Obama got more negative press coverage than John McCain did in the early summer." According to the report, "This past summer, just as the view that journalists were going softer on Barack Obama than on John McCain was becoming widely accepted, CMPA issued a report showing that 72 percent of the statements in TV news reports about Obama in late spring and early summer were negative, whereas 57 percent of the statements about McCain were negative." This flies in the face of Republican contentions that the media is soft on Obama and is a fine example of the "Ideology Trumps Facts" story on Slashdot the other day. Somehow I doubt that Bill O'Reilly will be reporting this story.
Kozar_The_Malignant writes: Swiss rocketman Yves Rossy has succeeded in flying across the English Channel. Leaping from a plane at around 9,000 feet, he made the 22 mile crossing from Calais to Dover in ten minutes. His route follows the first airplane channel crossing in 1909 by French aviator Louis Bleriot. I wonder when the retail version of his jet pack will be available.
Kozar_The_Malignant writes: Yeast trapped inside a 45 million year old weevil, trapped inside amber has been extracted, activated, and used to brew beer. According to the report, the beer has "a weird spiciness at the finish." The brewer, Raul Cano, a scientist at the California Polytechnic State University, attributes this to the yeast's unusual metabolism. "The ancient yeast is restricted to a narrow band of carbohydrates, unlike more modern yeasts, which can consume just about any kind of sugar," said Cano. Cano brews barrels of Pale Ale and German Wheat Beer under the Fossil Fuels Brewing Co. label.
Kozar_The_Malignant writes: The San Mateo County (Calif.) Sheriff's office now considers the "lost" laptop containing personal information on 33,000 travelers to have been stolen. Although Verified Identity Pass has claimed that the information was not compromised, but TSA is still examining the results of their forensic analysis of the laptop. The laptop was recovered inside a locked cabinet inside a locked office. It is also being reported that the sticker with the serial number was removed from the laptop. Anyone else think it might have been an inside job?
Kozar_The_Malignant writes: A laptop containing the unencrypted security data for 33,000 travelers using the Clear system was stolen at San Francisco International Airpot on July 26, according to CBS5 Television. The Clear system allows travelers who register and pay a $100.00 annual fee to speed through airport security by using a smart card at special kiosks in some airports. TSA has suspended new registrations in the system, which is run by a private contractor, Verified Identity Pass, Inc., a subsidiary of GE. The laptop was apparently stolen from a locked office at SFO. The company has now decided that it might be a good idea to encrypt the data in their systems. They are in the process of notifying customers that all of their personal data, including name, address, SSi number, passport number, date of birth, etc. has been compromised.
Kozar_The_Malignant writes: A study reported on in the International Business Times shows that nearly one-third of DVD users in the US and UK admit to making copies of pre-recorded DVDs. According to the article, "The report alluded to magnitude of the profit loss, though actual revenue figures were not revealed. It found that 77 percent of US respondents would have legally purchased the titles if copying was not available, while 63 percent answered similarly in the UK, indicating potential revenue lost to piracy."
What is not being well reported is that the survey was paid for by Macrovision the copy protection company. Considering the source of funding, I am sure no one is really surprosed at the results.
Kozar_The_Malignant writes: Over on The Consumerist, they are reporting about a fellow who purchased a Western Digital external hard drive from Best Buy that came with bonus Super Secret Asian Lady Porn. He accidentally deleted some of his photos from the drive. When using a recovery tool, he recovered much more than he deleted. Some of the "models" look a bit on the under-age side as well, which could be really bad if someone else found this on your drive. One wonders if this is from the manufacturer's read-write testing, or a free-lance Geek Squad project.