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United States

US Military Explored Hiring Bloggers As Propagandists 355

Zeinfeld writes "Wired reports that one time Clipper Chip supporter Dorothy Denning wrote a report on using blogs for information warfare in 2006 (a report available from cryptome). Amongst the proposals were hiring bloggers directly as propaganda agents and using military media resources to 'make' a blogger posting favorable material. Notably, and most unfortunately absent from the report, is the very real question of whether the military should be manipulating domestic media." Is meme warfare just another battleground, or is this dirty pool?

Submission + - SPAM: NASA to test emergency ability of new spacecraft 2

coondoggie writes: "NASA this week will show off the first mock up of its Orion space capsule ahead of the capsule's first emergency astronaut escape system test. NASA in late 2008, says it will jettison the full-size structural model off a simulated launch pad at the US Army's White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. The launch escape vehicle sits atop the Orion capsule which is slated to be bolted on an Ares rocket. The escape vehicle is made up of three solid rocket motors as well as separation mechanisms and canards, and should offer the crew an escape capability in the event of an emergency during launch, according to NASA. [spam URL stripped]"
Link to Original Source

Microsoft Releases Office Binary Formats 259

Microsoft has released documentation on their Office binary formats. Before jumping up and down gleefully, those working on related open source efforts, such as OpenOffice, might want to take a very close look at Microsoft's Open Specification Promise to see if it seems to cover those working on GPL software; some believe it doesn't. stm2 points us to some good advice from Joel Spolsky to programmers tempted to dig into the spec and create an Excel competitor over a weekend that reads and writes these formats: find an easier way. Joel provides some workarounds that render it possible to make use of these binary files. "[A] normal programmer would conclude that Office's binary file formats: are deliberately obfuscated; are the product of a demented Borg mind; were created by insanely bad programmers; and are impossible to read or create correctly. You'd be wrong on all four counts."
PlayStation (Games)

Submission + - PS3 Projected Eventual Console Wars Winner (

PHPNerd writes: "A report from a well known market research firm has placed predictions based on current market evidence and trends that the PS3 will outstrip all competitors and nay-sayers to be the leading next-gen console by 2011. From the CNET article: "The research firm predicted that by the end of 2011, the PS3 could have sold 38.4 million units, while the Wii might be in second place at 37.7 million." But the writer on CNET goes on to say that "Of course, three-year forecasts have about as much chance of being right in electronics as predictions of who will win the World Series in three years.""

Nanowires Allow For Electricity-Generating Clothing 113

lee1 writes "The latest development in the field of 'energy harvesting', which includes such opportunistic technology such as self-winding watches, generators implanted in soldier's boots, and knee brace dynamos, is a cloth that generates electrical power. The cloth is newly developed by scientists in the US, and can produce up to 80 milliwatts per square metre. It is made from brush-like fibres composed of a Kevlar stalk surrounded by zinc oxide nanowire crystals that generate electricity through the piezoelectric effect. They can be grown on any substrate, including hair. The power harnessed from this effect could be used for anything from cosmetic components to the powering of medical devices."

Submission + - ATI vs. nVidia Hardware Technical Support (

Trevin Beattie writes: "Last week after rebooting my computer I noticed random red and blue dots blinking on the screen during POST. I sent a support request to ATI asking if they had any utilities to test my video RAM and whether this sounded like a problem that could be fixed. Their response: they don't support Linux video drivers!

I went back and forth with them three times on this, I even sent them photos of my screen during boot, and got the same response the second time and a boilerplate message the third time which stated, among other things: check the knowledge base (I had; the only article that mentions my problem is a broken link), upgrade your latest video drivers (irrelevant), then submit a support request (which was what I was doing).

I'm appalled at how obtuse their support people are. I suspect they aren't even really people; I feel like I'm talking to a machine with pre-programmed responses. I'm considering switching over to nVidia, but before I do, I want to know whether their technical support will be any better if I have hardware problems?

So what are your experiences with ATI and nVidia, for either gaming or workstation video cards? Please limit the discussion to actual hardware failures, not software/driver problems."


Submission + - US to shoot down dieing spy satellite

Frosty Piss writes: "U.S. officials say the Pentagon is planning to shoot down a broken spy satellite expected to hit the Earth in early March. The Associated Press has learned that the option preferred by the Bush administration will be to fire a missile from a U.S. Navy cruiser, and shoot down the satellite before it enters Earth's atmosphere. The speculated reason is to protect technology secrets, but I'm wondering how this will play out as far as random space junk in low orbit..."
The Internet

Comcast Defends Role As Internet Traffic Cop 425

RCTrucker7 writes "Comcast said yesterday that it purposely slows down some traffic on its network, including some music and movie downloads, an admission that sparked more controversy in the debate over how much control network operators should have over the Internet. In a filing with the Federal Communications Commission, Comcast said such measures — which can slow the transfer of music or video between subscribers sharing files, for example — are necessary to ensure better flow of traffic over its network. In defending its actions, Comcast stepped into one of the technology industry's most divisive battles. Comcast argues that it should be able to direct traffic so networks don't get clogged; consumer groups and some Internet companies argue that the networks should not be permitted to block or slow users' access to the Web."
Wireless Networking

Submission + - AT&T Wins Starbucks Wi-Fi: Free, Cheap Wi-Fi (

Glenn Fleishman writes: "Starbucks has left T-Mobile for AT&T to operate its in-store Wi-Fi networks. This was probably inevitable given that Apple, AT&T's iPhone exclusive partner, had a deal with Starbucks for selling music through the stores over Wi-Fi. Starbucks signed with MobileStar in 2001 and T-Mobile acquired MobileStar's assets and deals out of that firm's bankruptcy. AT&T says that two-hour sessions will be $4, down from $6 per hour or $10 a day with T-Mobile; monthly subscriptions free for those with AT&T DSL, $20 for others (down from $40 for those without T-Mobile voice); and anyone with a Starbucks Card, their stored value payment system, gets two free hours a day. And 100,000 Starbucks employees get free Starbucks-Fi, too. It dramatically reduces the perceived and actual cost of Wi-Fi hotspots, will drive use at Starbucks, and probably lead to changes in pricing by anyone still charging. I expect we'll see in-store media servers that will let Apple encrypt and push movies to iPhones, iPod touches, and laptops at 802.11n speeds (a few minutes); it's trivial once you have these pieces in place. The changeover starts in spring, completes in 2008."

The Grammy In Mathematics 150

An anonymous reader writes "A mathematician will receive a Grammy award for restoring the only known recording of a live Woody Guthrie performance — a bootleg someone made in 1949 using a wire recorder. Guthrie's daughter, who had never heard her father perform in front of a live audience, oversaw the restoration. The article links very cool before and after clips."

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