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Submission + - NSA Utah Datacenter May Already Be Watching You (

Nerval's Lobster writes: The secret, Brobdingnagian datacenter the National Security Agency (NSA) is building in Bluffdale, Utah may have quietly become active weeks earlier than the not-quite-publicly-scheduled date by which it was expected to go online. The $1.5 billion facility, which will serve double-duty as both a repository for data from NSA digital eavesdropping efforts and as a backup for the agency’s five other datacenters, had been expected to go live at the end of September or beginning of October 2013. Construction began in early 2011. Rather than wait for a formal grand opening day during which all four of the facility’s megascale datacenters could go live together, however, the NSA may simply be starting work as soon as the equipment for each task is ready to go, according to a Sept. 26 story in The Salt Lake Tribune . “We turn each machine on as it is installed, and the facility is ready for that installation to begin,” NSA spokeswoman Vanee Vines said during an extremely restricted press conference and tour of the Bluffdale, Utah facility Sept. 23. Vimes didn’t confirm in the interview that any of the massive compute or storage farms had yet been installed at the time of the interview, only that the facility was ready to go as soon as the first modules were installed. The 1 million-square-foot datacenter facility, built within the Utah National Guard’s Camp Williams in Bluffdale, Utah (22 miles south of Salt Lake City), includes four separate datacenter facilities. At 100,000 square feet apiece, each of the four is as large as the megascale datacenters relied on by cloud providers such as Google and Microsoft to provide instant-response search- and application services worldwide.

Japan Extracts Natural Gas From Frozen Methane Hydrate 154

ixarux writes "For the first time ever, a Japanese company has successfully extracted natural gas from frozen methane hydrate off its central coast. The Nankai Trough gas field, located a little more than 30 miles offshore, could provide an alternative energy source for the island nation, reducing its dependence on foreign imports. 'A Japanese study estimated that at least 1.1tn cubic meters of methane hydrate exist in offshore deposits. This is the equivalent of more than a decade of Japan's gas consumption. Japan has few natural resources and the cost of importing fuel has increased after a backlash against nuclear power following the Fukushima nuclear disaster two years ago.'"

Comment The origianl iphone makes a great alarm clock! (Score 1) 301

I use my iPhone (first generation) as an alarm clock next to my bed. If you put it into airplane mode and turn off the wifi, the battery actually lasts a couple of weeks! Plus I use it when traveling in places where my current phone doesn't work (it's frequency isn't supported in some countries).

Comment This is what the KGB used to do in the USSR (Score 1) 355

Back when my grandfather bought his typewriter in 1960~70s he had to register it with the KGB. The idea is that the print drum is unique on each machine (like a finger print). So then if you started sending anonymous letters to somebody the KGB would be able to figure out who's typewriter was used to print the message and track you down.
And back in those days a typewriter was an equivalent of a modern day high end phone/computer: people would not just give it away to friends or throw it out.

Comment Go to UK (Score 1) 913

Go to the UK. Universities here focus only on your major. No gen-ed classes. And unless you go to Scotland, the degree is 3 years instead of 4. So it comes out cheaper and quicker then the US version but you get the same CS knowledge. Some schools here (like the department at Edinburgh university or Manchester) are considered to be on par with the top CS schools in the US.

Comment Re:bitcoin: broken by design (Score 1) 858

If you do some research about this it you would know that BitCoins are not just simple integers. You can have parts of a bitcoin. All the way to 0.00000001 of a bitcoin or so. As some coins are lost we can simply use a smaller fraction of a coin. Or we can create a new unit say mili bitcoin, micro bitcoin, and so on. I don't think having fewer coins in the system will be a problem since we can always device by ten the existing number of coins and go move on.

Comment For some .Net is NOT a choice. (Score 1) 758

choosing .NET is a choice

I beg to differ!
When I was looking for a summer internship after my second year at uni I did not get to choose where I would work or what development environment I would use. If I wanted to work I had to use .net. Later, after graduating from grad school, the only reason I was hired was because of my previous experience with .net. And guess what! They wanted me to do more .net stuff. I did not get to choose to use Python or Ruby or C.


New Sunlight Reactor Produces Fuel 269

eldavojohn writes "A new reactor developed by CalTech shows promise for producing renewable fuel from sunlight. The reactor hinges on a metal oxide named Ceria that has very interesting properties at very high temperatures. It exhales oxygen at very high temperatures and inhales oxygen at very low temperatures. From the article, 'Specifically, the inhaled oxygen is stripped off of carbon dioxide (CO2) and/or water (H2O) gas molecules that are pumped into the reactor, producing carbon monoxide (CO) and/or hydrogen gas (H2). H2 can be used to fuel hydrogen fuel cells; CO, combined with H2, can be used to create synthetic gas, or "syngas," which is the precursor to liquid hydrocarbon fuels. Adding other catalysts to the gas mixture, meanwhile, produces methane. And once the ceria is oxygenated to full capacity, it can be heated back up again, and the cycle can begin anew.' The only other piece of the puzzle is a large sunlight concentrator to raise the temperature to the necessary 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The team is working on modifying and refining the reactor to require a lower temperature to achieve the two-step thermochemical cycle. Another issue is the heat loss which the team claims could be reduced to improve efficiency to 15% or higher. Since CO2 is an input, the possibility exists for coal and power plants to collect CO2 emissions to be used in this process which would effectively allow us to "use the carbon twice." Another idea listed is that a "zero CO2 emissions" is developed along these lines: 'H2O and CO2 would be converted to methane, would fuel electricity-producing power plants that generate more CO2 and H2O, to keep the process going.' The team's work was published last month in Science."

Unsecured IP Cameras Accessible To Everyone 146

Orome1 writes "In the last couple of decades, we have become so accustomed to the idea that the public portion of our everyday life is watched and recorded — in stores, on the street, in institutions — that we often don't even notice the cameras anymore. Analog surveillance systems were difficult to hack into by people who lacked the adequate knowledge, but IP cameras — having their own IPs — can be quite easily physically located and their stream watched in real-time by anyone who has a modicum of computer knowledge and knows what to search for on Google."

Research Suggests E-Readers Are "Too Easy" To Read 185

New research suggests that the clear screens and easily read fonts of e-readers makes your brain "lazy." According to Neuroscience blogger Jonah Lehrer, using electronic books like the Kindle and Sony Reader makes you less likely to remember what you have read because the devices are so easy on the eyes. From the article: "Rather than making things clearer, e-readers and computers prevent us from absorbing information because their crisp screens and fonts tell our subconscious that the words they convey are not important, it is claimed. In contrast, handwriting and fonts that are more challenging to read signal to the brain that the content of the message is important and worth remembering, experts say."

Amazon EC2 Enables Cheap Brute-Force Attacks 212

snydeq writes "German white-hat hacker Thomas Roth claims he can crack WPA-PSK-protected networks in six minutes using Amazon EC2 compute power — an attack that would cost him $1.68. The key? Amazon's new cluster GPU instances. 'GPUs are (depending on the algorithm and the implementation) some hundred times faster compared to standard quad-core CPUs when it comes to brute forcing SHA-1 and MD,' Roth explained. GPU-assisted servers were previously available only in supercomputers and not to the public at large, according to Roth; that's changed with EC2. Among the questions Roth's research raises is, what role should Amazon and other public-cloud service providers play in preventing customers from using their services to commit crimes?"

Goodbye Bifocals — Electronic Glasses Change Focus 166

kkleiner writes "Move over Ben Franklin, we finally have a replacement for bifocals. Virginia-based Pixel Optics has developed a composite lens that can change the range of focus electronically. The emPower! glasses were created in cooperation with Panasonic Healthcare, and allow you to switch between long distance and short distance vision in a split second. Rather than having a lens divided into two sections, emPower! uses an LCD overlay that can change the focal length of the glasses via electric current. When the LCD layer is off, your lenses are good for intermediate/long distances. Turn the LCD layer on, and a section of the lens is suddenly magnifying close-up images – perfect for reading."

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