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The Military

Submission + - US Air Force's 1950s supersonic flying saucer declassified (extremetech.com) 2

MrSeb writes: "Tighten the strap on your tinfoil hat: Recently declassified documents show that the US Air Force was working on, and perhaps had already built, a supersonic flying saucer in 1956. The aircraft, which had the code name Project 1794, was developed by the USAF and Avro Canada in the 1950s. One declassified memo, which seems to be the conclusion of initial research and prototyping, says that Project 1794 is a flying saucer capable of “between Mach 3 and Mach 4,” (2,300-3,000 mph) a service ceiling of over 100,000 feet (30,500m), and a range of around 1,000 nautical miles (1,150mi, 1850km). According to declassified cutaway diagrams, the supersonic flying saucer would propel itself by rotating an outer disk at very high speed, taking advantage of the Coand effect. Maneuvering would be accomplished by using small shutters on the edge of the disc (similar to ailerons on a winged aircraft). Power would be provided by jet turbines. According to the cutaway diagrams, the entire thing would even be capable of vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL). The fact that there are no disc-shaped aircraft in the skies today, though, suggests that the USAF's flying saucer efforts probably never got past the prototype stage."

Comment It's a legal problem, baby, got me on the run... (Score 5, Interesting) 178

Wouldn't the job of refutation fall upon the shoulders of Samsung's lawyers? That was their job after all. They seem better at managing public perception before, after, and outside the classroom and fairly incompetent in the courtroom itself. Yes, the patent system is highly dysfunctional. Yes, the law seems highly dysfunctional. But isn't the job of a high-powered attorney to factor all those vectors, and many more, into their presentation and execution?

Submission + - Lock-pick hotel rooms with a James Bond-like dry-erase marker (networkworld.com)

colinneagle writes: At the Black Hat security conference, a hacker picked Onity hotel keycard locks in less time than it takes to blink. These locks are in about 22,000 hotels worldwide, leaving about four million vulnerable to hacking.

Lock manufacturer Onity boasts that its locks secure rooms in about 22,000 hotels worldwide, but hacker Cody Brocious said at BlackHat that it's "stupidly simple" to hack them. He added, "It wouldn't surprise me if a thousand other people have found this same vulnerability and sold it to other governments. An intern at the NSA could find this in five minutes." To exploit the lock, Brocious plugged an Arduino microcontroller into the DC power port located underneath the keycard lock. He discovered he could read the 32-bit key stored in the lock's memory location and was able to spoof the type of portable programming device used by hotels to set master keys.

Comment anxiety is not necessary response to everything (Score 2) 282

Agreed. Why do people feel the need to be anxious? It's just not necessary. Besides, what really matters is composition. And as crazy has already noted, this really only applies to heavily composed photography, not spontaneous. So, yeah, stock photographers might need to be on the lookout, but photojournalists? Not so much.

Submission + - Fly-By-Wire Contributed to Air France 447 Disaster

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "The Telegraph reports that although fly-by-wire technology has huge advantages, Airbus’s 'brilliant’ aircraft design may have contributed to one of the world’s worst aviation disasters and the deaths of all 228 passengers onboard Air France Flight 447 from Rio de Janeiro to Paris. While there is no doubt that at least one of AF447’s pilots made a fatal and sustained mistake, the errors committed by the pilot doing the flying were not corrected by his more experienced colleagues because they did not know he was behaving in a manner bound to induce a stall and the reason for that fatal lack of awareness lies partly in the design of the control stick – the “side stick” – used in all Airbus cockpits. “Most Airbus pilots I know love it because of the reliable automation that allows you to manage situations and not be so fatigued by the mechanics of flying," says Stephen King of the British Airline Pilots’ Association. But the fact that the second pilot’s stick stays in neutral whatever the input to the other is not a good thing. “It’s not immediately apparent to one pilot what the other may be doing with the control stick, unless he makes a big effort to look across to the other side of the flight deck, which is not easy. In any case, the side stick is held back for only a few seconds, so you have to see the action being taken.”"

Comment AOL better comparison (Score 2) 95

The comparison to AOL is probably more apt than the one to Apple. I get that Apple walls its garden when it comes to available apps for the iPhone, but that doesn't limit the ways you can access the internet. (Though I think it bears exploring about the ways those apps limit, for good and for bad, limit access.) Amazon is also repeating Apple's play in this regard. Does that mean Amazon has more walls? Taller ones? Ah, the limits of metaphor.

Comment open systems will 'win' in the end." (Score 1) 246

Pundits like to state this, but I always wonder how Windows is an open system? Don't get me wrong: I love the various *nixes I run -- which includes Linux and Mac OS X (one open and one closed) -- but the only clear winner in a previous epic battle was Windows over Mac OS, but neither was open. And so what does Otellini base his conclusion, apart from the wishful thinking of individuals with whom he'd rather not deal in most cases? (E.g., the various open and free movements that have an uncomfortable relationship at best with IP-warchested Intel.)

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