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Submission + - Zapping drones with laser (popsci.com)

Taco Cowboy writes: Mini-UAVs like quadcopters and hand launched drones has proliferated amongst the hobbyists, activists, journalists, businesses, and in the case of Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, terrorists as well

Counterterrorist agencies from Washington to London, Moscow to Jakarta, are worrying about the ability of terrorists to use mini-UAVs to scout out attacks, or act as impropmtu bombers

In December 2013, a mapping drone flying near airplane flight paths within the vicinity of the Beijing airport, China mobilized 1,200 troops, two fighter and two helicopters to arrest the drone's three rogue operators. Learning from that experience, a group of Chinese companies has developed a powerful anti-drone laser for use in urban areas

The 10 kilowatt (coincidentally the same output as the initial laser on Lockheed Martin's HEL MD truck) laser can destroy drones flying at speeds of 180km, at ranges of 2km and a 50 meter altitude. The laser relies on electro-optical sensors for targeting; it takes about five seconds to compute a firing solution. These specifications match the needs in the target market of urban law enforcement and military operators

According to a spoke person of the consortium, snipers and drones are less than optimal solutions for dealing with small drones due to operator mistakes

Compared to missiles and anti-air cannons, the laser has a far lower likelihood of causing collateral damage and injury to nearby civilians. The anti-drone laser is light enough to either be installed to protect a fixed position like a stadium or government building, as well as to be mounted on trucks

The anti-drone laser has a perfect record of shooting down over 30 drones in a single test run

Submission + - Ö Bluetooth Ring is One of the Tiniest Personal Computers You Will Ever See (3dprint.com)

ErnieKey writes: There are smartphones, smartwatches, and now apparently smartrings. The Ö Bluetooth Ring features a 64x32 pixel screen and is able to display emails, tweets, texts and more. It can also display a clock, as well as graphics on the convenience of your finger. While the ring is not yet available for purchase, Arduboy plans on mass producing them and making them available soon.

Submission + - Box Office 2014: Moviegoing Hits Two-Decade Low

mrspoonsi writes: The number of people going to the movies in 2014 in North America slipped to its lowest level in two decades. According to preliminary estimates, roughly 1.26 billion consumers purchased cinema tickets between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31. That's the lowest number since 1.21 billion in 1995. Year-over-year, attendance looks to be off 6 percent from 2013, when admissions clocked in at 1.34 billion. Admissions have fluctuated dramatically over the years, and particularly since the advent of modern-day 3D, which can skew the average ticket price. Movie going in North America hit an all-time high in 2002, when 1.57 billion consumers lined up, thanks in part to Spider-Man, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

Submission + - Laws for thee but not for me.... (watchdog.org) 1

An anonymous reader writes: In a ruling handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court, the nation’s top court found that a police officer who mistakenly interprets a law and pulls someone over hasn’t violated their Fourth Amendment rights.

If a police officer reasonably believes something is against the law, they are justified in initiating a traffic stop, says the U.S. Supreme Court. The problem? According to North Carolina traffic law, only one tail light needs to be functional. That means the initial stop, justified on these grounds, would have been illegal — and so would the seizure of the cocaine found in Heien’s car

“The result is a system in which “ignorance of the law is no excuse” for citizens facing conviction, but police can use their own ignorance about the law to their advantage,” notes the legal brief on the case by a coalition of civil rights organizations, including American Civil Liberties Union and Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank.

Although this was a traffic stop, imagine this applied to computer search & seizure. Suddenly, you could be facing "reasonable belief" that you committed a crime.

I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say that this will enable a Police State.

Operating Systems

Canonical Developing Ubuntu OS For Tablets 228

snydeq writes "Canonical is preparing a version of the Ubuntu OS for tablet computers as the company looks to extend its presence in the mobile space, InfoWorld reports. The OS will be a lightweight version of Linux with a simplified, touch-friendly user interface, and tablets with the Ubuntu OS could become available late in winter 2011. The focus will be on developing an OS with a simplified user interface that provides quick access to the most-used applications. Development efforts will also focus on adding on-screen keyboard features and compatibility for multitouch drivers."

2 In 3 Misunderstand Gas Mileage; Here's Why 1042

thecarchik sends in this piece, which was published last March but remains timely: "OK, so here's a little test: Which saves more gasoline, going from 10 to 20 mpg, or going from 33 to 50 mpg? If you're like most Americans, you picked the second one. But, in fact, that's exactly backwards. Over any given mileage, replacing a 10-mpg vehicle with one that gets 20 mpg saves five times the gasoline that replacing a 33-mpg vehicle with one that gets 50 does. Last summer, Duke University's Fuqua School of Business released a study that shows how much damage comes from using MPG instead of consumption to measure how green a car is. Management professors Richard Larick and Jack Soll's experiments proved that consumers thought fuel consumption was cut at an even rate as mileage increased."

US Confirms Underwater Oil Plume 353

oxide7 writes "An underwater three-dimensional map of the oil spill is closer to becoming a reality, now that the US has for the first time confirmed the discovery of a subsurface oil plume resulting from the ruptured BP well. The government agency in charge of ocean science has received the first of several expected reports from university investigators aboard research ships detailing specific locations where oil has been found below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico. The government, which denied reports of giant underwater oil plumes in mid-May, said researchers at the time had not confirmed the presence of conglomerated oil." The New York Times talked with scientists on a two-week mission in the Gulf and reported them "awed" at the size and density of the underwater plume.

Wake Forest Researchers Swap Skin Grafts For Cell Spraying 123

TigerWolf2 writes with this excerpt from a Reuters story carried by Yahoo: "Inspired by a standard office inkjet printer, US researchers have rigged up a device that can spray skin cells directly onto burn victims, quickly protecting and healing their wounds as an alternative to skin grafts. ... Tests on mice showed the spray system, called bioprinting, could heal wounds quickly and safely, the researchers reported at the Translational Regenerative Medicine Forum."

Robotics Prof Fears Rise of Military Robots 258

An anonymous reader writes "Interesting video interview on silicon.com with Sheffield University's Noel Sharkey, professor of AI & robotics. The white-haired prof talks state-of-the-robot-nation — discussing the most impressive robots currently clanking about on two-legs (hello Asimo) and who's doing the most interesting things in UK robotics research (something involving crickets apparently). He also voices concerns about military use of robots — suggesting it won't be long before armies are sending out fully autonomous killing machines."
Internet Explorer

IE 0-Day Flaw Used In Chinese Attack 318

bheer writes "A zero-day attack on IE was used to carry out the cyber attack on Google and others that's been getting so much ink recently, reports The Register, quoting McAfee's CTO. While the web (and security) community has pointed out the problems with IE's many security flaws (and its sluggish update cycle) in the past, IE shows no sign of vanishing from the corporate landscape."

Google Switching To EXT4 Filesystem 348

An anonymous reader writes "Google is in the process of upgrading their existing EXT2 filesystem to the new and improved EXT4 filesystem. Google has benchmarked three different filesystems — XFS, EXT4 and JFS. In their benchmarking, EXT4 and XFS performed equally well. However, in view of the easier upgrade path from EXT2 to EXT4, Google has decided to go ahead with EXT4."

Comment Quick and easy "plaintextify" for Windows (Score 1) 495

1) Copy desired formatted/linked/etc text to clipboard.
2) Windows key-R (opens Run box)
3) Ctrl-V (paste the text into the Run box)
4) Shift-Home (select the now-plaintext)
5) Ctrl-C (copy the now-plaintext)
6) Esc (close Run box)

I use this all the time when copying and pasting in Windows, and it works great for me.

Comment How Tynt.com says to avoid being tracked... (Score 5, Informative) 495

This from their FAQ - Technical Topics (http://www1.tynt.com/faq-technical-topics):

Q. How can I block Tynt Insight from monitoring my actions?

A. Tynt understands that some people are uncomfortable having events from their web browsing recorded in a database. We take your privacy concerns seriously and we are therefore investing considerable effort into developing a feature that will allow users to block Tynt software across all the sites that are using it, from within their own browser. Until we have this blocking feature ready, it is possible to achieve a similar effect by using one of the many ad blocking components available on the net. For Firefox users, we have found Adblock plus to work well, and Super Ad Blocker is effective for IE users.

I can't wait to download and install software they've written to help me block them from tracking me with their software. Good thing I'm using Ad Block Plus and NoScript while I wait, or they'd know I cut-n-pasted that...

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