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Submission + - PressureNet announces weather forecasts using smartphone sensors

cryptoz writes: Weather forecasts can now be created using the sensors in your smartphone, with the launch of PressureNet 5. As nearly all the new Android and iPhones have barometers in them (for altitude purposes), there are now enough sensors in the network to make hyper-local weather forecasts for smartphone users. This has been in the works for some time — in 2013, Professor Cliff Mass, an expert in mesoscale weather prediction — wrote about the increasing number of atmosphere observations available but it was not enough to make a real forecast. The app now displays 8 hour temperature forecasts based on the internal sensor data.

Submission + - Barometers in iPhones: Crowdsourcing weather forecasts 1

cryptoz writes: Apple is now adding barometers to its mobile devices: both new iPhones have valuable atmospheric pressure sensors being used for HealthKit (step counting). Since many Android devices have been carrying barometers for years, scientists like Cliff Mass have been using the sensor data to improve weather forecasts. Open source data collection projects like PressureNet on Android automatically collect and send the atmospheric sensor data to researchers.

Submission + - How Lobby Groups Rejected the Canadian Government's Plan to Combat Patent Trolls (

An anonymous reader writes: Michael Geist reports that according to documents recently obtained under the Access to Information Act, the Canadian government quietly proposed a series of reforms to combat patent trolls including new prohibitions on demand letters, powers to the courts to stop patent forum shopping, and giving competition authorities the ability to deal with patent troll anti-competitive activity. The problem? Business lobby groups warned against the "unintended consequences" of patent reforms.

Submission + - If you're connected, Apple collects your data. No matter what. (

fyngyrz writes: It would seem that no matter how you configure Yosemite, Apple is listening. Keeping in mind that this is only what's been discovered so far, and given what's known to be going on, it's not unthinkable that more is as well. Should users just sit back and accept this as the new normal? It will be interesting to see if these discoveries result in an outcry, or not.

Submission + - Washington Post Says Marijuana Legalization is Making the World a Better Place 3 writes: Christopher Ingraham writes in the Washington Post that many countries are taking a close look at what's happening in Colorado and Washington state to learn lessons that can be applied to their own situations and so far, the news coming out of Colorado and Washington is overwhelmingly positive. Dire consequences predicted by reform opponents have failed to materialize. If anything, societal and economic indicators are moving in a positive direction post-legalization. Colorado marijuana tax revenues for fiscal year 2014-2015 are on track to surpass projections.

Lisa Sanchez, a program manager at México Unido Contra la Delincuencia, a Mexican non-profit devoted to promoting "security, legality and justice," underscored how legalization efforts in the U.S. are having powerful ripple effects across the globe: events in Colorado and Washington have "created political space for Latin American countries to have a real debate [about drug policy]." She noted that motivations for reform in Latin America are somewhat different than U.S. motivations — one main driver is a need to address the epidemic of violence on those countries that is fueled directly by prohibitionist drug war policies. Mexico's president has given signs he's open to changes in that country's marijuana laws to help combat cartel violence. Sandeep Chawla, former deputy director of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, notes that one of the main obstacles to meaningful reform is layers of entrenched drug control bureaucracies at the international and national levels — just in the U.S., think of the DEA, ONDCP and NIDA, among others — for whom a relaxation of drug control laws represents an undermining of their reason for existence: "if you create a bureaucracy to solve a particular problem, when the problem is solved that bureaucracy is out of a job."

Submission + - Argentina put it ArSat-1 Setellite in orbit

ArielOjosVerdes writes: On October 16th, The ArSat-1 satellite was launched from French Guaiana aboard an Ariane 5 rocket This satellite is part of a long-term plan of the Argentine authorities to develop space technologies locally, including satellite building, testing and ground mission control facilities. This NASA story has a comprehensive account of the history and technical details of the project

Submission + - The Largest Ship in the World is Being Built in Korea writes: Alastair Philip Wiper writes that at at 194 feet wide and 1,312 feet long, the Matz Maersk Triple E is the largest ship ever built capable of carrying 18,000 20-foot containers. Its propellers weigh 70 tons apiece and it is too big for the Panama Canal, though it can shimmy through the Suez. A U-shaped hull design allows more room below deck, providing capacity for 18,000 shipping containers arranged in 23 rows – enough space to transport 864 million bananas. The Triple-E is constructed from 425 pre-fabricated segments, making up 21 giant “megablock” cross sections. Most of the 955,250 litres of paint used on each ship is in the form of an anti- corrosive epoxy, pre-applied to each block. Finally, a polyurethane topcoat of the proprietary Maersk brand colour, “Hardtop AS-Blue 504”, is sprayed on.

Twenty Triple-E class container ships have been commissioned by Danish shipping company Maersk Lines for delivery by 2015. The ships are being built at the Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering factory in the South Korean port of Opko. The shipyard, about an hour from Busan in the south of the country, employs about 46,000 people, and "could reasonably be described as the worlds biggest Legoland," writes Wiper. "Smiling workers cycle around the huge shipyard as massive, abstractly over proportioned chunks of ships are craned around and set into place." The Triple E is just one small part of the output of the shipyard, as around 100 other vessels including oil rigs are in various stages of completion at the any time.” The vessels will serve ports along the northern-Europe-to-Asia route, many of which have had to expand to cope with the ships’ size. “You don’t feel like you’re inside a boat, it’s more like a cathedral,” Wiper says. “Imagine this space being full of consumer goods, and think about how many there are on just one ship. Then think about how many are sailing round the world every day. It’s like trying to think about infinity.”

Submission + - Report: Amazon is building a $600M cloud for the CIA (

Brandon Butler writes: "In what's being described as a "radical shift" in its cloud strategy, the CIA has signed a reported $600 million, 10-year deal with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to build a private cloud, according to a story in Federal Computer Week.

Such a deal would be significant for multiple reasons. First, there are ongoing questions about whether cloud computing is an appropriate use case for important, mission-critical workloads and large enterprises. The CIA embracing the cloud to the tune of a $600 million contract could help dispel that somewhat.

In addition, the article reports that Amazon would likely build a private cloud for the government agency, meaning it would run, at least in part, on the CIA's own infrastructure, behind the CIA firewall, and not in Amazon-controlled public cloud data centers. That would be a radical shift for AWS, which does not have a private cloud offering for customers to run on their own premises. Is this the start of a new AWS private cloud business?"


Submission + - DOJ, SEC allege Microsoft bribed Chinese, other government officials ( 1

colinneagle writes: Microsoft, which is often slow to comment with any substance when mud is flung its way, responded almost immediately after a Wall Street Journal article claimed Microsoft is the subject of probes being conducted under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by both the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission; allegations were made that kickbacks were given to foreign government officials in China, Italy and Romania for software contracts.

WSJ reported that the kickbacks were allegedly made by a "former Microsoft representative in China" and reported to U.S. investigators in 2012 by an "anonymous tipster" who was responsible for landing "potential new business." This "tipster" claimed that "an executive of Microsoft's China subsidiary instructed the tipster to offer kickbacks to Chinese officials in return for signing off on software contracts."

Microsoft's John Frank, Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, responded, "We take all allegations brought to our attention seriously, and we cooperate fully in any government inquiries. Like other large companies with operations around the world, we sometimes receive allegations about potential misconduct by employees or business partners, and we investigate them fully, regardless of the source."


Submission + - The Galaxy S4 has a Barometer - and a Humidity Sensor! (

cryptoz writes: "Canadian software company Cumulonimbus is building pressureNET, a free and open source Android app that taps in to the environment sensors on new phones and is now a quickly growing weather network. They're collecting about 250,000 atmospheric pressure measurements per day which they are livestreaming to scientists who are working on new methods of thunderstorm forecasting. More data density is needed first, however. Luckily, the Samsung Galaxy S4 will join the existing fleet of barometer-carrying phones which will enable further growth and better science experiments. They provide a data visualization website where you can view live graphs of the collected data."

Comment Re:Does it really improve local forecasts? (Score 1) 82

You might be right, but I don't think so. If you look at the screenshot of the analysis tool in the blog post, you can see that even through all of the noise there is a *very* clear curve for Hurricane Sandy. Although, we do know that the data is very noisy and we are working with some professors who are researching this very topic (calibration of phone sensors for weather data collection). I think we will have useful data for short-term prediction. But if not, that's okay too. Science!

Comment Re:Needs isobar lines (Score 5, Informative) 82

I agree completely! We are adding those as soon as we can. In the early days of the project, there was not enough data to build isobars. But now, we have enough and we are determined to add that feature. The project is built by me and volunteers in our free time, so it'll probably be a couple weeks or months before we get isobars in. Of course, pressureNET is fully open source and so if anyone feels like writing the isobar code and getting that feature done faster, we will welcome that too! Code is on github:, and

Submission + - pressureNET 2.1 released: The Distributed Barometer Network for Android (

cryptoz writes: "Cumulonimbus has released a new version of their open source, global barometer network. The network is built around an Android app called pressureNET which uses barometric sensors in new phones (such as the Nexus 4, Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy S3, Note, and others) in order to build the comprehensive network. They plan to use the data to improve short-term weather prediction, and the gives a teaser of the new data visualization tool they are building."

Submission + - Google's new Android Nexus linup: More Barometers! (

An anonymous reader writes: Google recently announced the Nexus 4 phone and Nexus 10 tablet as the new flagship devices, but more subtly they also revealed these devices both contain barometers. Previous Android devices such as the Xoom tablet Galaxy Nexus set this trend last year. Cumulonimbus Software is building the free and open source application pressureNET, a global network of these devices. They have received more than 5,000,000 measurements since last year, and are rapidly gaining users in hopes to build the highest-resolution weather data network in existence. They have collected more than 100,000 pressure readings from Hurricane Sandy and will soon be releasing some analysis of their data.

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