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Earth

Submission + - Google Earth adds citizen balloon images (suasnews.com)

garymortimer writes: "The Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science announced today that community-generated open source maps — captured from kites and balloons — have been added to Google Earth. The 45 plus maps are the first aerial maps produced by citizens to be featured on the site, and are highlighted on the Google Lat Long Blog.

The Public Laboratory is an expansion of the Grassroots Mapping community. During an initial project mapping the BP oil spill, local residents used helium-filled balloons and digital cameras to generate highresolution D.I.Y “satellite” maps documenting the extent of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico — at a time when there was little public information available. Expanding the toolkit beyond aerial mapping, Public Laboratory has been growing into a diverse community, both online and offline, experimenting with new ways to produce information about our surroundings. The lab’s DIY kits cost less than $100 to assemble."

Hardware

Submission + - Physicists detect elusive orbiton by 'splitting' electron (nature.com)

ananyo writes: Condensed-matter physicists have managed to detect the third constituent of an electron — its 'orbiton'.
Isolated electrons cannot be split into smaller components, earning them the designation of a fundamental particle. But in the 1980s, physicists predicted that electrons in a one-dimensional chain of atoms could be split into three quasiparticles: a ‘holon’ carrying the electron’s charge, a ‘spinon’ carrying its spin and an ‘orbiton’ carrying its orbital location.
In 1996, physicists split an electron into a holon and spinon. Now, van den Brink and his colleagues have broken an electron into an orbiton and a spinon (abstract).
Orbitons could also aid the quest to build a quantum computer — one stumbling block has been that quantum effects are typically destroyed before calculations can be performed. But as orbital transitions are extremely fast, encoding information in orbitons could be one way to overcome that hurdle.

Open Source

Submission + - Open Source Electric Cars, Good Idea or Not? (greencarreports.com) 1

thecarchik writes: Many are keen on the concept of open source electric cars --that is, electric cars where the built-in software can be tweaked, parameters can be changed, and in theory, the cars can be improved. Only it's a really, really bad idea.

If a car has been designed to do its job, but an open source system lets people tweak it, what happens when the car shuts down in the middle of the highway and causes a pile-up? Or decides one day that it won't open any of the doors for you?

Even carmakers themselves have trouble with software--Fisker has issued a recall and apology recently with its Karma --so allowing average Joe to tweak the car's inner workings seems like a bad idea. Changing the characteristics of an electric car isn't as simple as re-jetting the carbs or swopping out the air filter..

Role Playing (Games)

Submission + - FF7 Remade.... Partially (gamefreaks365.com)

The Installer writes: "It would seem that a rather dedicated graphics student has taken it upon himself to reproduce the opening sequence of Final Fantasy 7. Long have FF7 fanbois been desiring to see an updated version of this beloved game. I for one would love to see Square take up the challenge. They are probably not away how much money they would actually make."
Supercomputing

Submission + - High-Stakes Predictions (utexas.edu)

aarondubrow writes: "The emergence of the uncertainty quantification field was initially spurred in the mid-1990s by the federal government’s desire to use computer models to predict the reliability of nuclear weapons. Since then, the toll of high-stake events that could potentially have been better anticipated if improved predictive computer models had been available — like the Columbia disaster, Hurricane Katrina and the World Trade Center collapse after the 9/11 terrorist attacks — has catapulted research on uncertainty quantification to the scientific and engineering forefronts."

Submission + - Civil liberties through complex mathamatics? 2

An anonymous reader writes: All of the recent attempts by our congress to strip us of our rights ('kill switch' SOPA ProtectIP NDAA and an attempted repeal of net neutrality) has gotten me in the mood to investigate new tools such as radio systems, anonymous remailing systems, encryption tools and other methods to communicate in case of an emergency. Is there an encrypted, distributed and open Facebook alternative project in the works? Or is using "conventional" tools such as IRC a good solution? (I never got into using IRC)

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