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Submission + - Soviet Union Spent $1 billion on 'Psychotronic' Arms Race with the US (

KentuckyFC writes: During the Cold War, the US and the Soviet Union battled on many fronts to demonstrate their superior technical and scientific achievements. While the race to put a human in space and then on the Moon is famous, a much less well-known battlefront was the unconventional science of parapsychology, or psychotronics as the Soviets called it. Now a new review of unconventional research in the Soviet Union reveals the scale of this work for the first time and the cost: as much as $1 billion. The Soviets had programs studying how "human energy" could influence other objects and how this energy could be generated independently of humans using a device called 'cerpan'. The Soviets also had a mind control program similar to the CIA's infamous MKULTRA project. Interestingly, the Soviets included non-local physics in this work, such as the Aharonov-Bohm effect in which an electromagnetic field can influence a particle confined to region where the field strength is zero. And they built a number of devices that exploited the effect, although research in this area appears to have ended in 2003.

Submission + - Magma reservoir under Yellowstone is much bigger than previously thought (

schwit1 writes: The reservoir of molten rock underneath Yellowstone National Park in the United States is at least two and a half times larger than previously thought. Despite this, the scientists who came up with this latest estimate say that the highest risk in the iconic park is not a volcanic eruption but a huge earthquake.

Jamie Farrell, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Utah, mapped the underlying magma reservoir by analyzing data from more than 4,500 earthquakes. Seismic waves travel more slowly through molten rock than through solid rock, and seismometers can detect those changes.

The images show that the reservoir resembles a 4,000-cubic-kilometre underground sponge, with 6–8% of it filled with molten rock. It underlies most of the Yellowstone caldera and extends a little beyond it to the northeast.

Submission + - Big Box? Nissan Note The First-Ever Car You Can 'Buy' On Amazon (

cartechboy writes: You knew the day was coming when they started selling diapers. Amazon is now dipping its toe into car sales by selling a single car: the 2014 Nissan Versa Note. Amazon users hit a real live Versa Note product page, but instead of "Add to cart" you provide your ZIP code so Amazon can connect you with a nearby Nissan dealer. The first 100 Versa Note customers whose car purchases are initiated through Amazon receive $1,000 Amazon gift cards. Best part: Customers who end up actually buying the Note *will* receive them via boxed home delivery. Now, that's a big box.

Submission + - BREACH Compression Attack Steals SSL Secrets (

msm1267 writes: A serious attack against ciphertext secrets buried inside HTTPS responses has prompted an advisory from Homeland Security. The BREACH attack is an offshoot of CRIME, which was thought dead and buried after it was disclosed in September. Released at last week’s Black Hat USA 2013, BREACH enables an attacker to read encrypted messages over the Web by injecting plaintext into an HTTPS request and measuring compression changes.
Researchers Angelo Prado, Neal Harris and Yoel Gluck demonstrated the attack against Outlook Web Access (OWA) at Black Hat. Once the Web application was opened and the Breach attack was launched, within 30 seconds the attackers had extracted the secret.
“We are currently unaware of a practical solution to this problem,” said the CERT advisory, released one day after the Black Hat presentation.

Submission + - Manifold Clock: Telling time in 3D 1

An anonymous reader writes: A wall mounted clock, that tells time in 3D. The hour and minute hands are connected with a flexible sheet, creating an ever-changing form that moves in space. This unique time-piece is a combination of simple mechanics and modern design. It's based on mathematical notion of Riemann surfaces, derived from the log(z) function.
Currently on the verge of mass-production, needs to raise initial funding on kickstarter

Chief NSA Lawyer Hints That NSA May Be Tracking US Citizens 213

itwbennett writes "Responding to questions from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence yesterday, Matthew Olsen, the NSA's general counsel, said that the NSA 'may', under 'certain circumstances' have the authority to track U.S. citizens by intercepting location data from cell phones, but it's 'very complicated.' 'There's no need to panic, or start shopping for aluminum-foil headwear,' says blogger Kevin Fogarty, but clearly the NSA has been thinking about it enough 'that the agency's chief lawyer was able to speak intelligently about it off the cuff while interviewing for a different job.'"

Submission + - Robot gets rid of landmines -- by crushing them ( 1

derGoldstein writes: Discovery has an article about a robot that gets rid of landmines, not by using sensors to pinpoint their location, but by rotating a giant cylinder covered in tungsten hammers to smash them and blow them up: "An operator commands this beast from a safe distance using a remote control unit. The hull of the robot is made up of hardened steel plates in a "V" shape to help limit any damage from antitank mines and unexploded shells of sizes up to 3 inches, and the D-3 has been able to successfully ingest mines containing as much as 17.6 pounds of explosive, which is nothing to sneeze at.". A video of the beast in action can be found here.

Submission + - Bristol physicists break 150-year-old law (

KPexEA writes: A violation of one of the oldest empirical laws of physics has been observed by scientists at the University of Bristol. Their experiments on purple bronze, a metal with unique one-dimensional electronic properties, indicate that it breaks the Wiedemann-Franz Law.

Submission + - DefCon Goon/Ninja Badge creator needs your help! (

socz writes: Barkode is one of the masterminds behind the ever popular, invite only, Ninja Networks Party held every year at DefCon. He codes those fantastic badges we all covet so much each year... What you don’t know is that he is sick. He needs your help now. He has been diagnosed with a very rare, acquired, blood deficiency disease and is fighting for his life in the hospital where he lies in the acute care ward.

This happened very quickly. In a matter of a few weeks, he went from healthy to needing a bone marrow transplant to survive. This disease destroys his red blood cells. It is literally killing him from the inside. The only treatment for it is constant whole blood transfusions until a bone marrow match donor can be found and eventually a bone marrow transplant can be performed.

Follow the link to see how you can help by donating blood!


Submission + - Worm Descendants from Columbia Disaster Relaunched (

astroengine writes: "In 2003, Space Shuttle Columbia burned up on reentry, killing all seven astronauts on board. However, from the wreckage, a sample of C. elegans worms survived. On Monday, descendants from the worms that survived the disaster were launched on board Endeavour for experiments on the space station. "C. elegans is a common, well-studied organism used in biomedical research as a model for human development, genetics, aging and disease," says NASA. "The organism shares many essential biological characteristics found in human biology.""

Submission + - Amazon CEO: Sales tax is unconstitutional (

Steve1960 writes: " chief Jeff Bezos says the online retailer won’t collect tax from most of its 90 million customers until Congress clearly mandates it.

Although a growing number of states are demanding that Amazon collect and remit tax on sales within their borders, such demands are “interference in interstate commerce” and prohibited by the Constitution, Bezos said."


Submission + - Developer required for pothole identification ( 1

mikejuk writes: The city of Boston has already devised a novel Android app for pothole identification and has now posted a bounty of $25,000 for an algorithm to improve it. Using the accelerometer to detect bumps as people drive round the city is clever. When multiple phones report the same jolt, the app identifies a pothole that needs to be repaired and this is clever. But... they can't tell the difference between things like railway crossings and sewer gratings from potholes and so are offering $22,500 to any programmer who can work out an algorithm that can tell the difference.
Don't they have city maps in Boston?


Submission + - Capturing Solar Power with Antennae 2

necro81 writes: Researchers at the University of Missouri and the Idaho National Laboratory have demonstrated a new method of capturing solar power. Rather than using semiconductors to capture photons of sunlight, they fabricated small coiled antennae (several um square) that resonate with the wave nature of light. The antennae are tuned towards midrange infrared light (5-10 um), which is abundant on our cozy-warm Earth — even at night. They also demonstrated a way to imprint these coils on a substrate, like how CDs or vinyl records are produced, but could be scaled to roll-to-roll mass production. The usual caveat applies: it may be 5-10 years until this could hit the market.

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