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Submission + - In One Month, Everyone In Iceland Will Own Cryptocurrency (

Daniel_Stuckey writes: The cryptocurrency craze spun into a new realm of ridiculous with Kanyecoin, Dogecoin, Ron Paul Coin and the bounty of other clone-coins that sprung up to ride the Bitcoin wave. But the latest altcoin to enter the market, Auroracoin, wants to take the futurist trend back to its cryptoanarchist roots. The altcoin was designed specifically for Iceland, and the creator plans to give every citizen of the Nordic country a digital handful of Auroracoins to kickstart their use.

Auroracoin is the brainchild of cryptocurrency enthusiast Baldur Friggjar Odinsson, and he'll be the one distributing pre-mined coins to the entire population of Iceland at midnight on March 25 in a countrywide "airdrop." Each Icelandic citizen—all 330,000 of them—will receive 31.8 AUC through a digital transaction. Citizens all have a national ID number available through a public database, which will be used to verify their identity.

Submission + - Why the Latest FISA Release by Google et al. Means Squat (

Nerval's Lobster writes: Google, Yahoo, and other tech firms are offering some updated statistics about government requests for data. There’s just one problem: under revised guidelines issued by the federal government, those companies can still only report a range, rather than a definitive number, for those requests. If that wasn’t fuzzy enough, the range can only be reported after a six-month lag. Between January and June 2013, Google received between 0-999 FISA “non-content” requests on 0-999 user accounts; it also fielded between 0-999 “content” requests for between 9000 and 9999 user accounts.Yahoo actually received a larger number of FISA queries than Google: for the first six months of 2013, the federal government made between 0-999 requests on between 30,000 and 30,999 user accounts hosted by the company. Facebook apparently received fewer requests than either Yahoo or Google for information; Microsoft received less than 1,000 FISA orders for user data, related to between 15,000 and 15,999 accounts—placing it somewhere between Yahoo and Google on the information-request scale. These companies have little choice but to advocate this new information release as a huge step forward for transparency. Unfortunately, restricting government data requests to a broad range isn’t very helpful: for example, a range (rather than a single numerical value) makes it difficult to determine trends, such as whether government requests are gradually increasing over the long term. The new revelations are a start, but privacy advocates would probably argue they don’t go nearly far enough.

Submission + - Is Verizon Already Slowing Netflix Down? (

hondo77 writes: From Dave's Blog: "I’ve since tested this almost every day for the last couple of weeks. During the day – the bandwidth is normal to AWS. However, after 4pm or so – things get slow. In my personal opinion, this is Verizon waging war against Netflix. Unfortunately, a lot of infrastructure is hosted on AWS. That means a lot of services are going to be impacted by this."

Submission + - AT&T Is First Olympic Tech Sponsor To Criticise Russian Anti-Gay Law (

judgecorp writes: AT&T has become the first tech firm to come out against the anti-gay laws which have sparked international protest centring on the Winter Olympics in Sochi. The firm sponsors the US Olympic team and has issued a statement in support of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transexual) equality which also strongly criticises Russia's law which bans the "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations", saying it is "harmful to a diverse society". There is now increased pressure on other sponsors for the Olympics, which include McDonalds and Coke, as well as tech firms including Samsung, Panasonic and Atos.

Submission + - Bumblebees Capable of Flying Higher Than Mount Everest (

sciencehabit writes: The last thing you’d expect to see out your airplane window is a bumblebee cruising by. But a new study suggests that the insects might be capable of such high-altitude jaunts. Researchers trapped six male bumblebees living at an altitude of 3250 meters in Sichuan, China, and placed them, one at a time, in a plexiglass flight chamber. Then they slowly pumped air out of the box, simulating the atmospheric conditions at higher and higher altitudes. Impressively, only one bee failed to fly above 8000 meters, and two even remained airborne above 9000 meters—more than 100 meters higher than the peak of Mount Everest.

Submission + - Second World War code-cracking computing hero Colossus turns 70 (

DW100 writes: The Colossus computer that helped the Allies crack messages sent by the Nazis during the Second World War has celebrated its 70th birthday. The machine was a pioneering feat of engineering, able to read 5,000 characters a second to help the team at Bletchley Park crack the German's Lorenz code in rapid time. This helped the Allies gather vital information on the Nazi's plans, and is credited with helping end the war effort early, saving millions of lives.

Submission + - Nanowires record beating of individual heart cells, response to medication (

An anonymous reader writes: Nanotechnology researchers are Hardvard University have fabricated a nanowire electrical probe and used it to penetrate an individual heart cell and record its beating. The development makes use of 'kinked' nanowires that are thin enough and acutely angled enough to enter a cell without killing it while at the same time providing a complete electrical circuit. The tiny dimensions of the probe make it possible to probe specific parts or organelles of the cell. In a demonstration, the scientists used the probe to electronically record the changes in a heart cell's beating in response to blood pressure medication. The technology could accelerate the development of new drugs and help study disease.

Submission + - Debate on nuclear energy vs. renewables (

Lasrick writes: "A debate is happening in the pages of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists that started with their publication of “Nuclear vs. Renewables: Divided They Fall,” an article by Dawn Stover that chides nuclear energy advocates and advocates of renewable energy for bickering over the deck chairs while climate change sinks the ship, and while the fossil fuel industry reaps the rewards of the clean energy camp’s refusal to work together. Many of the clean energy folks took umbrage at the description of nuclear power as “clean energy,” so the Civil Society Institute has responded with a detailed look at exactly why they believe nuclear power will not be needed as the world transitions to clean energy. Great stuff."

Comment Re:Solar Updraft? (Score 1) 259

I think you mean domes (qubaab in Arabic). You find them in a lot of Middle East architecture. Minarets (maazin in Arabic) are the towers attached to mosques which were classically used to call the azaan--the Muslim call to prayer. They largely have no function now as all but the most anachronistic muezzins call the prayer using a microphone and loudspeakers. I suppose the minarets are a good place to hang the loudspeakers.

Comment Re:Ridiculous troll (Score 4, Informative) 259

This is not a troll. Or if he is, he has is head unwittingly in the right place.

There have been protests again in Tahrir for about a week. They ramped up on Friday and haven't really abated since. They also regularly happen on Fridays. The Egyptian army have been hesitant to use force again after a few recent incidents which got entirely out of hand. Here's a link to a local English translation daily on the protests this past weekend:

It is not unreasonable for protesters in Cairo to be concerned about this sort of thing at all. The biggest protests happened in the middle of the winter when cold is a serious issue, particularly at night. Up until the beginning of July the weather has been quite mild, but just this week we have had two 40+C days. Yesterday was still stifling at 38C. Today is a breath of fresh air (sort of) at 32C, but it is always about 4-6 degrees hotter downtown, even with the river right there. It can be terribly dangerous. It's easy to get dehydrated or to develop heat/sun stroke rapidly without realizing it.


Woman Sues Google Over Street View Shots of Her Underwear 417

Kittenman writes "The Telegraph (and several US locals) are covering a story about a Japanese woman who had her underwear on the line while the Google car went past. She is now suing Google: 'I was overwhelmed with anxiety that I might be the target of a sex crime,' the woman told a district court. 'It caused me to lose my job and I had to change my residence.'"

Comment Nope (Score 1) 835

I am at the American University in Cairo and the IT department here neither uses or supports any Linux. There is a general suspicion in the wider computing community in Egypt that you must pay for something, particularly software, for it to be any good. So, everyone just pirates copies of Windows and then steals closed/proprietary software from each other. Brilliant situation.

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