stevegee58 writes: Russians have been noticing that their GPS doesn't work in Moscow near the Kremlin. Everyone from taxi drivers to Pokemon Go players suddenly notice that they're transported 18 miles away at the airport when they near the Kremlin.
While this may be an annoyance to the public it seems like a reasonable countermeasure to potential terrorist threats. Is it only a matter of time before other vulnerable sites such as the White House or the Capitol in Washington start doing the same?
stevegee58 writes: Ever wonder while standing at a urinal what is the best target to minimize or maximize splashing? Ever wonder where the big puddles on the floor come from? Well wonder no longer; science once more comes to the rescue.
Fluid dynamics researchers at Brigham Young University have determined the optimum distance and angle for minimal splashing. (Hint: don't aim at the urinal cake)
stevegee58 writes: File under "Good Luck With That" but still it's good to know someone's rattling the cage of our increasingly intrusive government.
From the ACLU's press release:
"In the wake of the past week's revelations about the NSA's unprecedented mass surveillance of phone calls, today the ACLU filed a lawsuit charging that the program violates Americans' constitutional rights of free speech, association, and privacy."
stevegee58 writes: It's a "yet another kid launches high altitude balloon with camera" story with a twist.
Californian middle schooler Lauren Rojas launched her Hello Kitty in a little silver space ship sporting the pink breast cancer awareness ribbon dangling from a balloon.
Still looking composed at over 93,000 feet, Kitty was recovered (with science project instruments) 47 miles away after the balloon burst.
stevegee58 writes: Jamaica was once home to a thriving bauxite (aluminum ore) industry. While Jamaican bauxite mining may have fallen on hard times, it seems that the bauxite tailings in the form of red mud are rich in rare earth elements.
Japanese researchers have discovered rare earth elements in high concentrations in this red mud and have already invested $3M in a pilot project to extract them. Perhaps Chinese dominance of rare earth deposits is on the wane as global manufacturers continue to search for and find other deposits of these valuable minerals.
stevegee58 writes: Like something right out of Dilbert, a Taliban spokesman accidentally cc'ed his whole mailing list in a routine news release e-mail.
The Taliban spokesman, Qari Yousuf Ahmedi is gonna have some 'splaini' to do.
stevegee58 writes: A tumblr blog entitled "hellothereracists" is publicly identifying other online posters who make racist/assassination comments about President Obama.
Beyond merely identifying online usernames, the blog's author is uncovering and publishing the real names and locations of offending posters.
It's an interesting mess of legal issues. The outed posters are at risk of a Secret Service visit, but the trouble may not end there. The hellothereracists blogger himself may have some problems publicly posters who are frequently underage teenagers.
stevegee58 writes: The Mitt Romney presidential campain accidentally launched a transition web site the day after the election. Sporting a "President Elect" seal and a catchy new tagline ("Smaller, Simpler, Smarter") , the site was up briefly before the gaffe was discovered and the site taken down.
Fortunately an alert blogger, Taegan Goddard, found the errant site and published some screen shots.
stevegee58 writes: After a long string of legal setbacks, the case brought by Jonathan Corbett challenging TSA's use of full body scanners and enhanced pat-downs has come to and end.
Today the Surpreme Court declined to hear the case so current TSA practices will stand.
stevegee58 writes: Apple's recently granted patent, U.S. Patent No. 8,254,902 would enable certain entities to selectively shut off features of cell phones.
Yes, enabling a restaurant or movie theatre to shut off the phone of that loud annoying idiot sounds great. But what about the police shutting off the cameras on phones during a protest?
Granted in late August, the "Apparatus and methods for enforcement of policies upon a wireless device" would allow phone policies to be set to "chang[e] one or more functional or operational aspects of a wireless device [...] upon the occurrence of a certain event."
stevegee58 writes: The Washington Post published an interesting article about Facebook's employee #51, Katherine Losse. As an English major from Johns Hopkins, Losse wasn't the typical Facebook employee. But after starting in customer service, she later became Mark Zuckerberg's personal ghostwriter, penning blog posts in his name. The article traces Losse's growing disillusionment with social networking in general and Facebook in particular. After cashing out some FB stock, Losse resigned and moved to a rural West Texas town to get away from technology and focus on writing. Her book, "The Boy Kings: A Journey Into the Heart of the Social Network" was recently published in June of this year.
The article provides an interesting vignette of life inside Facebook and is well worth the quick read.
stevegee58 writes: In an outbreak of common sense, Rhode Island repealed an obscure law enacted in 1989 that made it a crime to lie in online postings. Violations of this law carried a maximum penalty of $500 and up to a year in prison.
From the article:
""This law made virtually the entire population of Rhode Island a criminal," said Steven Brown, executive director of the Rhode Island American Civil Liberties Union. "When this bill was enacted nobody had any idea what its ramifications were. Telling fibs may be wrong, but it shouldn't be criminal activity."
The law aimed to stop fraud, con artists and scammers, but also outlawed the "transmission of false data" regardless of whether liars stood to profit from their deception or not."
stevegee58 writes: Posting videos posted on YouTube allegedly showing police misconduct has become commonplace these days. Now the police themselves are posting their own videos to refute misconduct claims.
"After a dozen Occupy Minnesota protesters were arrested at a downtown demonstration, the group quickly took to the Internet, posting video that activists said showed police treating them roughly and never warning them to leave.
But Minneapolis police knew warnings had been given. And they had their own video to prove it. So they posted the footage on YouTube, an example of how law enforcement agencies nationwide are embracing online video to cast doubt on false claims and offer their own perspective to the public."
stevegee58 writes: After 25 years on the air, Tom and Ray Magliozzi (aka Click and Clack, The Tappet Brothers) are calling it quits in September.
With their nerdy humor, explosive laughter and geek cred (both MIT alums) Tom and Ray will be sorely missed by the average NPR-listening Slashdotter.
stevegee58 writes: The Washington Post reports that the Pentagon is seeking to spread U.S. military might to cyberspace with an ambitious effort dubbed "Plan X":
"The Pentagon is turning to the private sector, universities and even computer-game companies as part of an ambitious effort to develop technologies to improve its cyberwarfare capabilities, launch effective attacks and withstand the likely retaliation."