ackthpt writes: A network of fixed buoys and solar powered surfing robots called Wave Gliders are set to track Great White Sharks in the Pacific, off the California coast near San Francisco, between Monterey Bay and Tomales Point.
The self-propelled wave and solar-powered glider is part of a new network of data receivers on fixed buoys will pick up signals from acoustic tags on animals passing within 1,000 feet and transmit the data to a research team on shore, led by Stanford University Marine Sciences Prof. Barbara Block.
Related to the project is "Shark Net," a new iOS app available free of charge at the Apple app store, was created by Dr. Block and her colleagues with developers from TOPP, EarthNC and Gaia GPS to enable a direct, personal connection between the public and wild marine animals and to raise public awareness of the ocean wilderness teeming with life just off North America's West Coast.
ackthpt writes: If you're going to steal, steal big, right? Italian anti-mafia prosecutors announce seizure of $6 trillion of allegedly fake U.S. Treasury bonds, an amount that's almost half of the U.S.'s public debt. The probe focusing upon money laundering has also include financial dealings alleged to direct money to Nigerian sources to buy plutonium. Sound like a movie plot, yet? $6 Trillion, that's a lot of lettuce.
ackthpt writes: "All that's necessary for the forces of evil to win in the world is for enough good men to do nothing" — Edmund Burke. Sir Tim Berners-Lee did something — he traveled to the courtroom in East Texas to give his testimony on how, if upheld, the Eolas Technologies & University of California patent on Web Interactivity if upheld could prove to be a major threat to the Internet as it's known today. The Jury deliberated only a few hours before invalidating the patent in question. In a victory Tweet Berners-Lee said, "Texas jury agreed Eolas 906 patent invalid. Good thing too!" Google, Amazon, Apple, Adobe and a host of other companies, with representatives present, must have given a Texas-size sigh of relief.
ackthpt writes: A team of engineers claims to have created the world's lightest material. Made from a lattice of hollow metallic tubes, the material is less dense than aerogels and metallic foams, yet retains strength due to the small size of the lattice structure. Projected as useful for insullation, batteries electrodes, sound dampening.
ackthpt writes: Salman Rushdie, no stranger to controversy, is well known throught the world by his middle name, Salman. When the Facebook police suspected the Salman Rushdie on Facebook was a pretender, they closed his account. Salman contacted them with a passport photo as proof of his identity, alas it also showed his actual first name Ahmed, which the reactivated the account with. Unhappy with being stripped of his identity, Salman Rushdie took his case to the twitterverse. Eventually prevailing.
ackthpt writes: Users of the popular iPhone are now receiving text messages informing them they will need to upgrade to 2 year commitment plans. According to PC World "AT&T currently offers two types of prepaid plans: GoPhone, its "pay as you go" plan, and Pick Your Plan, its "prepay once a month" plan. AT&T's statement says that GoPhone will not be available for either original iPhones or iPhone 3Gs; Pick Your Plan will only continue to work for existing subscribers using the original iPhone, as long as they have an unlimited data plan. Current Pick Your Plan users who don't have an unlimited data plan will be asked to add one. iPhone 3G users are not eligible for Pick Your Plan.
According to Erica Sadun at TUAW, who's been investigating this issue, all pay-as-you-go users are being strongly encouraged to sign up for a postpaid plan, which includes making a new two-year commitment."
Looks like I'll be waiting a year for the Apple/AT&T agreement to time-out. I'll not do a two year agreement again, ever.
ackthpt writes: Headlines have been popping up on Google News, again abruptly yanked from news servers, such as Times Online and International Herald Tribune. A Google News snippet for The Times Online states, "Terry Pratchett declared himself "flabbergasted" to receive a knighthood as he led a group of writers, actors and performers honoured today." The Discworld author and stalwart adversary of Alzheimers Disease has been a member of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for Services to Literature since 1998. He will be entering the new year as Knight Commander. Well done and Oook, Sir Terry.
ackthpt writes: Discovery News has a nifty article on NASA's Ikhana drone. Ikhana designed for suborbital earth sciences missions, may be fitted out with a variety of sensors, the same as deployed on satellites to study atmospheric conditions up close. Wednesday, Ikhana took off from Edwards Air Force Base for a 10 hour mission to observe forest fires, scanning the terrain from 23-25,000 feet using a variety of sensors for visible and IR light. Able to remain aloft for up to 30 continuous hours without break and view during night, Ikhana serves up information in minutes, which required hours by manned aircraft observation. "The data is processed on the aircraft, up-linked to a satellite and then downloaded to a ground station. From there it's delivered to a computer server at NASA Ames. The imagery is then combined with Google Earth maps. Command center personnel can view the images on their computer screens and then delegate local firefighters accordingly." Now how cool is that?
ackthpt writes: It seems ages and indeed has been since I obtained an illigitmate game by a Ralph Reed called BattleMech, which ran on the Amiga. Ironically FASA, the holder to the rights of things BattleTech, MechWarrior, etc. objected to the games existance and it mysteriously vanished. Oddly, BattleMech was my gateway to FASA's BattleTech, the fiction (around 40 novels in my library,) the tabletop game and the computer games. Several years back FASA sold off the games (as FASA Interactive) to Microsoft, the tabletop games went to Wizkids FASA Interactive became FASA Studio and went through Shadowrun and MechWarrior title for Windows, Vista and XBox. Now comes news that FASA Studio is shut down. Where the game properties land is anyone's guess, though I expect them to languish. Someone needs to tell these people to turn out the lights and close the door.
ackthpt writes: An Associated Press/Google article tells of a process discovered for burning hydrogen released from seawater using radio frequencies. I've been around long enough to hear of a few perpetual motion machines and mysterious black boxes which harvest energy from Earth's magnetic fields and I'm wondering if this really is just another one of these stories. From the article: "John Kanzius happened upon the discovery accidentally when he tried to desalinate seawater with a radio-frequency generator he developed to treat cancer. He discovered that as long as the salt water was exposed to the radio frequencies, it would burn." "Rustum Roy, a Penn State University chemist, has held demonstrations at his State College lab to confirm his own observations." Sounds possible, but ultimately this means purification of seawater, the question of the machines efficiency (how much energy is put in to how much is taken out,) byproducts and, should the thing work out, will the world be overrun with vehicles and devices which consume more cheap energy?
ackthpt writes: Following up on court actions regarding Take Two Interactive's game Bully, Miami-Dade County Judge Ronald Friedman has reviewed about 2 hours of footage from the game, using cheat codes to accelerate the process. After doing so he has decided the game can go ahead and be distributed in the State of Florida. From ars technica "Judge Friedman reportedly commented that the footage wasn't much different from what is seen on prime-time TV. While he didn't think he wanted his kids playing it, he found nothing in Bully to keep it from being sold to its intended audience." Jack Thompson, after early crowing of victory was to file a writ of mandamus with an appeals court, claiming he was denied due process.