pigrabbitbear writes: In the chaos that immediately follows a terrorist attack, there may be only one certainty: the incident has been documented by dozens, if not hundreds of cameras. At a large public gathering like the Boston Marathon, there are thousands of eyes: solitary recordings from closed circuit television video, TV broadcasters, and civilian mobile devices that generate reams and reams of footage of potential suspects.
After gaining access to that data—the FBI asked anyone in the area of Monday's bombing to turn over photographs and video—it falls to weary investigators to analyze that footage, from all directions at once, in search of a common thread. Somewhere inside Boston's amateur footage and CCTV video (there are 600 CCTV cameras covering the subway system alone), the FBI managed to point at the two men now thought to be the perpetrators.
But as authorities have discovered during more than a decade of urban terrorist attacks, scouring through what is thought to be the thousands of hours of video taken in the minutes surrounding any incident is a logistical nightmare. But that could change with CoSync, a piece of software under development, it turns out, at an MIT lab not far where one of the suspects shot and killed a campus police officer Thursday night.
Now, a big question raised during the Christopher Dorner manhunt was whether or not a lethal drone strike on a US citizen on US soil would be legal. Attorney General Eric Holder has just commented on that matter, and while it would allegedly require war-like circumstances, he certainly didn't rule it out."
pigrabbitbear writes: "It's rare to see things flying outside your airplane window. A far off craft, a flock of birds — whatever else is zooming through the clouds at high speeds is going to feel a little dangerous. So when an Alitalia pilot made his final approach to New York's JFK airport on Monday afternoon, he was certainly startled to see another little plane flying near by. Here's an excerpt of the resulting talk with the air traffic controller:
JFK controller: Uh, what did you see?
Alitalia pilot: We saw a drone, a drone aircraft
JFK controller: What altitude did you see that aircraft?
Alitalia pilot: About 1,500 feet.
Within an hour, the Federal Bureau of Investigation issued a request for the public's help in finding the drone's operator. To the bureau's credit, they chose not to repeat the Alitalia pilot's "drone" designation, choosing instead to go with the slightly less militaristic "unmanned aircraft." Nobody called it a "model airplane."
The FBI is still looking for the miniature UFO. "The FBI is investigating the incident and looking to identify and locate the aircraft and its operator," reads a press release. "The unnamed aircraft was described as black in color and no more than three feet wide with four propellers.""
pigrabbitbear writes: "We writers and bloggers all know a little something about living “on the alms-basket of words” these days. In the quick-fire media world, where complex ideas have little time for gestation, where speed is paramount and poetry a vain and distant hope, we rely on trendy syntax and pop signifiers to communicate quickly—to signal to our audience that we’re “one of them.” It’s about being frictionless.
pigrabbitbear writes: "Areva, the French nuclear fuel company, helps supply Japan with a lot of its juice. And Areva's chief executive says that Japan is going to restart up to six reactors by the end of the year. Eventually, it's going to power up at least two thirds of them. Japan's prime minister Shinzo Abe has been a little cagey, but he recently told the press that yes, despite the upcoming March 11th anniversary of the Fukushima crisis, the nuke plants are coming back online.
Bloomberg Businessweek reports that "half a dozen reactors may restart by the end of this year in addition to the two that resumed operations in 2012." Luc Oursel, the Areva CEO, said at a press conference that “I think two-thirds of reactors will restart” within several years. This is probably a good thing:
First, consider Japan's alternative: loads of coal, oil, and gas power. Japan has been importing fossil fuels to make up for the lost supply; burning all of the above pumps out climate change-causing greenhouse gas emissions. Currently, Japan is entertaining plans to build 12.5 gigawatts worth of coal-fired power. That would be a disaster in climate terms. Eventually, solar and wind could feasibly pick up the slack, but it takes years to build out that kind of infrastructure."
alphadogg writes: The Computer History Museum on Monday announced its Class of 2013 includes Ed Catmull, a computer scientist and Pixar co-founder, along with two PC pioneers: Harry Huskey (creator of the G15, called by some the first PC) and Robert W. Taylor (leader at ARPA & Xerox PARC). These accomplished technology industry professionals will be inducted into the museum's Hall of Fellows http://www.computerhistory.org/fellowawards/current/ on April 27 in Mountain View. While their names might not be household ones, they join a roster of technology bigwigs from Web creator Tim Berners-Lee to Internet pioneer Vinton Cerf and Ethernet inventor Bob Metcalfe.
yayoubetcha writes: Another White House petition... This one, I signed. It is a proposal for a simple and prominent table of an ISPs pricing on their website. Too often the prices are designed to get a subscriber signed up for a low price for a few months then it expires and they are paying a high rate. The proposal is for a food-like "Nutritional Information" "label" for an ISPs pricing that clearly shows regular rates, special pricing, and bandwidth limits.
My mother uses email and surfs the web occasionally, and of course updates to her Windows OS. That's about it. She was paying $60 a month for 20Gbps service for two years before I called Century Link to get it reduce to 7Gbps and $40/month — still too much for her needs, but she is saving a little.
DrHappyAngry writes: After calling Tmobile to look at getting out of my contract for unnacceptable service throughout Downtown Seattle, I found that they require a snail mail letter or fax. They also require a copy of ID or utility bill showing my address, which would not even show the locations that are problematic, such as my office. The service quality is at the point where most buildings in the core of a major city are not even able to be serviced by their network. How do you deal with a provider that is out to make it as impossible to leave as they can? Asides from posting this to/. how else can they be publicly shamed? I was very upset when they told me this, and in fact told them "This isn't 1980, nobody uses that anymore, and this is for the sole purpose of making it more difficult to terminate the contract."
netbuzz writes: "In a dramatic call for action directly prompted by 114,000 signatures on a “We the People” petition, the Obama Administration moments ago urged the reversal of a federal regulatory decision that had rendered the act of unlocking a cell phone illegal. From the reply: “The White House agrees with the 114,000+ of you who believe that consumers should be able to unlock their cell phones without risking criminal or other penalties. In fact, we believe the same principle should also apply to tablets, which are increasingly similar to smart phones. And if you have paid for your mobile device, and aren't bound by a service agreement or other obligation, you should be able to use it on another network. It's common sense, crucial for protecting consumer choice, and important for ensuring we continue to have the vibrant, competitive wireless market that delivers innovative products and solid service to meet consumers' needs.” Statements from the FCC and Library of Congress indicate that they back the administration’s position."
kkleiner writes: "In what is sure to be only the beginning of human vs. robot confrontations, a surveillance robot belonging to the police was recently shot after a six-hour standoff with a 62-year-old heavily inebriated man. Shortly afterward, police entered the home and used an electronic stun device to subdue the man. After being issued a search warrant, authorities found a number of firearms within the residence, including two AK47 rifles and a 75-round ammunition drum, which is illegal in Ohio. Incidents between citizens and police robots will surely be on the rise as more bots are brought into service."
Called CleanSpace One, the monster has been dubbed the "janitor satellite." It's been designed to match a defunct satellite's orbital plane, grip it with a giant mechanical claw, and pull it back down into the Earth's atmosphere. Both satellites would then burn up upon reentry.
The Swiss scientists hope to launch CleanSpace One on its trial mission in under five years. The first target is the Swisscube, Switzerland's first working satellite, which was put into orbit in 2009, and completed its imaging mission in 2011. Even though the first CleanSpace One will disintegrate upon re-entry, the Swiss are planning a whole family of space janitors. Eventually, they may be able to dispose more than one satellite at a time."
pigrabbitbear writes: "Move over, Dr. Mario? Turns out budding surgeons are playing games to develop a steady hand. To wit: A group of post-graduate medical students in Rome who participated in a recent month-long program using the Nintendo Wii went on to earn higher scores in surgical simulators relating to laparoscopic, or keyhole, surgery compared to students who did not use the Wii."