Rambo Tribble writes: Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina announced on Fox News Sunday that she stood a 'higher than 90 percent' chance of running as a presidential candidate in 2016. Fiorina's tenure at HP was marked by controversy over her leadership, and it is unclear what level of name recognition she enjoys. Her only previous political experience appears to be a failed U.S. Senate seat effort in 2010, as the Republican candidate challenging sitting Democrat Barbara Boxer, in California. Fiorina lost by 10%.
Rambo Tribble writes: An internal review commissioned by Air Force Secretary Deborah James has concluded that Air Force personnel tasked with evaluating SpaceX's certification treated as a design review, going so far as to dictate organizational changes in the company. This was judged contrary to the intention of promoting a competitive environment. The report, prepared by former Air Force Chief of Staff General Larry Welch concluded, "The result to date has been... the worst of all worlds, pressing the Falcon 9 commercially oriented approach into a comfortable government mold that eliminates or significantly reduces the expected benefits to the government of the commercial approach. Both teams need to adjust."
Rambo Tribble writes: Researchers from the University of Zurich, ETH Zurich, and University of Fribourg have found evidence that smartphone use changes the way your brain interacts with your thumbs. Using electroencephalography to study brain activity in smartphone users vs. feature-phone users, they found apparently persistent, increased activity in areas of the brain associated with the thumbs. Of course, this may well be true of other repetitive activities, like keyboard use.
Rambo Tribble writes: Uber, has lost its bid in U.S. federal court to avoid disclosing emails from Chief Executive Travis Kalanick in a California lawsuit accusing the popular ride-booking service of deceiving customers about how it shares tips with drivers. U.S. District Judge Edward Chen, in reference to U.S. Magistrate Judge Donna Ryu's ruling that the plaintiff in the lawsuit can receive emails from Kalanick and global operations chief Ryan Graves, wrote, "That Judge Ryu's order may require defendant to review approximately 21,000 documents does not represent an improper burden given the potential role of defendant's CEO and vice president of operations in defendant's challenged conduct,"
This comes amid mounting legal problems for Uber, including South Korea indicting Kalanick on charges he violated local licensing laws and numerous cities around the globe banning the service.
Rambo Tribble writes: Theatres showing "The Interview" on Christmas were rewarded with sell-out crowds. While reviews of the comedy have been mixed, many movie-goers expressed solidarity with the sentiment expressed by one, "I wanted to support the U.S." Meanwhile, some reviewers have found the film tedious, with "...forced comedy that turns you off." Another opined, "It was more serious, the satire, than I was expecting," and, ""There's a message for America in there too about America's foreign policy." Then, of course, there's the North Korean take, that it is an "act of war."
Rambo Tribble writes: U.S. District Court Judge Phyllis Hamilton, on Tuesday, denied Facebook's bid to dismiss a class-action lawsuit against the social media giant, for violating users' privacy through the scanning of message content. In her rejection of Facebook's argument, the judge said the firm had, "...not offered a sufficient explanation of how the challenged practice falls within the ordinary course of its business."
Rambo Tribble writes: It sounds like a "Mission Impossible" scenario, but aerospace company Boeing is teaming with Canadian phone maker Blackberry to produce an ultra-secure mobile phone that "self-destructs". The phone uses encryption on calls and is aimed to serve the high-security needs of government and industry. As Blackberry CEO, John Chen, said, "We're pleased to announce that Boeing is collaborating with BlackBerry to provide a secure mobile solution for Android devices utilizing our BES 12 platform. That, by the way, is all they allow me to say."
No word yet if you'll need the services of the bomb squad when you go over your minutes.
Rambo Tribble writes: Scientists from the University of Leeds have proposed that brighter ships' wakes, created by reducing their component bubbles' sizes, could increase their reflectivity and produce a cooling effect on the climate. The technology is touted as being available and simple, but side-effects might include such things as wetter conditions in some regions. Still, compared to many speculative geoengineering projects, "The one advantage about this technology — of trying to generate these tiny 'micro-bubbles' — is that the technology does already exist," according to Leeds' Prof Piers Forster.
Rambo Tribble writes: It was long thought that gamma ray bursts were the exclusive province of deep space sources. More recently it was found that storms could produce such emissions, but such occurrences were thought rare. Now, data from NASA's Fermi satellite suggest such events happen over a thousand times a day. Per Prof. Joseph Dwyer, from the University of New Hampshire, "These are big, monster bursts of gamma rays, and one would think these must be monster storms producing them. But that's not the case. Even boring-looking, garden-variety, little storms can produce these."
Rambo Tribble writes: There is a certain tendency for people to long for the "good old days". I am curious if anyone has done the math on that for greenhouse gas emissions comparing horses to automobiles. Since horses emit carbon dioxide and methane even when they aren't being used, it would be most reasonable to compare ownership over a time period, say a year. At the same time, the differential in the greenhouse effect of methane versus carbon dioxide would need to be taken into account. Finally, the relative load-carrying and distance-covering capacities of the two transportation modes would need to be compared. So, it isn't a simple prospect, but has anyone tried to do it?
Rambo Tribble writes: It has been proposed that the pervasive use of social media to document our lives could be used to mine useful information about how the public interacts with nature. Speaking at the joint annual meeting of the British Ecological Society and Société Française d’Ecologie in Lille, France, researcher Daniel Richards from the National University of Singapore outlined a study that investigated such a possibility. Although the techniques described sound labor intensive, they seem to show that images posted on social media could give meaningful insights to those managing conservation efforts and providing public access, as well as establishing the value of such programs. According to Richards, "We wanted to try to create an indicator... that you can quickly and easily get information on a very small scale on the use people get from a habitat."