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Festo's Drone Dragonfly Takes To the Air 45

yyzmcleod writes "Building on the work of last year's bionic creation, the Smart Bird, Festo announced that it will literally launch its latest creation, the BionicOpter, at Hannover Messe in April. With a wingspan of 63 cm and weighing in at 175 grams, the robotic dragonfly mimics all forms of flight as its natural counterpart, including hover, glide and maneuvering in all directions. This is made possible, the company says, by the BionicOpter's ability to move each of its four wings independently, as well as control their amplitude, frequency and angle of attack. Including its actuated head and body, the robot exhibits 13 degrees of freedom, which allows it to rapidly accelerate, decelerate, turn and fly backwards."
Electronic Frontier Foundation

DOJ Often Used Cell Tower Impersonating Devices Without Explicit Warrants 146

Via the EFF comes news that, during a case involving the use of a Stingray device, the DOJ revealed that it was standard practice to use the devices without explicitly requesting permission in warrants. "When Rigmaiden filed a motion to suppress the Stingray evidence as a warrantless search in violation of the Fourth Amendment, the government responded that this order was a search warrant that authorized the government to use the Stingray. Together with the ACLU of Northern California and the ACLU, we filed an amicus brief in support of Rigmaiden, noting that this 'order' wasn't a search warrant because it was directed towards Verizon, made no mention of an IMSI catcher or Stingray and didn't authorize the government — rather than Verizon — to do anything. Plus to the extent it captured loads of information from other people not suspected of criminal activity it was a 'general warrant,' the precise evil the Fourth Amendment was designed to prevent. ... The emails make clear that U.S. Attorneys in the Northern California were using Stingrays but not informing magistrates of what exactly they were doing. And once the judges got wind of what was actually going on, they were none too pleased:"

Submission + - Finland is crowdsourcing its new copyright law (

An anonymous reader writes: Internet activists in Finland, upset with the country's strict copyright laws, are ready to take advantage of the country's promise to vote on any citizen-proposed bill that reaches 50,000 signatures. Digital rights group Common Sense in Copyright has proposed sweeping changes to Finland's Lex Karpela, a 2006 amendment to the Finnish copyright law that more firmly criminalized digital piracy. Under it, "countless youngsters have been found guilty of copyright crimes and sentenced to pay thousands, in some cases hundreds of thousands, of euros in punitive damages to the copyright organizations." The proposal to fix copyright is the best-rated and most-commented petition on the Open Ministry site.

Comment Dedicated A/C system (Score 3, Insightful) 422

On my required list would be a separate dedicated A/C system for your equipment room. Too often computer/telephone rooms are connected to whatever A/C system is convenient which leads to problems -- One of my horror stories was management turning off the A/C in the lunch room which had been running 24x7 to save energy, little did they know that the lunch room A/C was shared by the computer room on the other side of the wall.... :-(

Submission + - What's wrong with online comments? (

mosb1000 writes: "CNN has an opinion piece about online comments in websites. The author bluntly asks "Have online comment sections become 'a joke'?"

He then proceeds to shoot down a number of common suggestions: having editors and reporters engage their readers in the comments, requiring readers to post using their real names, giving other commenters more power to "up-vote" or "down-vote" posts, etc. And he ultimately suggests that the authors themselves should chose comments to be posted. I don't think that's a real solution, and I've noticed that the comments on Slashdot are generally more useful than those found on other sites. How can we export what Slashdot is doing right to other parts of the internet (and can we)? And what can we do to get rid of the all the useless comments on Slashdot itself."


Submission + - The 1,000-Year-Old Message That Saved a Village

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Disaster researcher José Holguín-Veras writes in the LA Times that when he went to Japan after the Tohoku earthquake to identify lessons that could benefit future disaster-response operations, he discovered a message sent across 50 generations that saved the residents of a fishing village called Murohama. "A millennium ago, the residents of Murohama, knowing they were going to be inundated, had sought safety on the village's closest hill. But they had entered into a deadly trap," writes Holguín-Veras. "A second wave, which had reached the interior of the island through an inlet, was speeding over the rice paddies from the opposite direction." The waves collided at the hill and killed those who had taken refuge there. To signify their grief and to advise future generations, the survivors erected a shrine. Holguín-Veras asked a community leader if "a thousand years ago" was a figure of speech and to his astonishment, village elders had reviewed the local temple's records and found reports pinpointing a large tsunami 1,142 years ago that coincided with the massive Jogan Jishin earthquake of 869. On March 11, 2011 residents relied on the lesson that had been transmitted generation to generation for 1,000 years. "We all knew the story about the two tsunami waves that collided at the shrine," and instead of taking refuge on hill with the shrine, they took the time to get to high ground farther away and watched two tsunami waves colliding at the hill with the shrine, just as they did long ago. "I know that science and engineering save lives. But in this instance neither did much to help," says Holguín-Veras. "Reaching out from the distant past, long-gone ancestors — and a deeply embedded story — saved their children.""

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