Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Russia's GPS Network Is Put On Hold

RIA Novosti / Oleg Urusov

Russian Military's Support Of GLONASS On Ice After Corruption Scandal, Technical Failures - Report -- RT

The Russian Defense Ministry has reportedly refused to adopt GLONASS, the country’s rival to GPS, due to its technical shortcomings. One of the system’s 24 satellites has malfunctioned, and besides, GLONASS is still in its testing phase. ­

The malfunctioning satellite will not be operational any time soon as it has already exhausted its power after 96 months in service, Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports. And due to a difference in orbit inclination, no existing reserve satellite can substitute it.  

Read more ....  

My Comment: After a decade of war the U.S. has clearly shown the value of GPS systems for precision bomb strikes. Not having this essential network is a significant loss for the Russian military.  
Update: A link to how China and other countries are trying to develop their own GPS system.

Christianity Is 'Close To Extinction' In The Middle East

(Click on Image to Enlarge)

Christianity 'Close To Extinction' In Middle East -- The Telegraph

Christianity faces being wiped out of the “biblical heartlands” in the Middle East because of mounting persecution of worshippers, according to a new report.

The study warns that Christians suffer greater hostility across the world than any other religious group. And it claims politicians have been “blind” to the extent of violence faced by Christians in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The most common threat to Christians abroad is militant Islam, it says, claiming that oppression in Muslim countries is often ignored because of a fear that criticism will be seen as “racism”.

 It warns that converts from Islam face being killed in Saudi Arabia, Mauritania and Iran and risk severe legal penalties in other countries across the Middle East. The report, by the think tank Civitas, says: “It is generally accepted that many faith-based groups face discrimination or persecution to some degree.  

Read more ....  

My Comment: I have remarked on more than one occasion that this is one of the most under-reported stories of the past few years.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's Is Now On Facebook

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's Photo On Facebook

Iranians Can't Use Facebook, But Ayatollah Does -- NBC News

Facebook — banned in Iran due to its use by activists to rally government opponents in 2009 — has an unlikely new member: Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Launched a few days ago, the Facebook page "Khamenei.ir" displays photographs of the 73-year-old cleric alongside speeches and pronouncements by the man who wields ultimate power in the Islamic Republic. While there are several other Facebook pages already devoted to Khamenei, the new one — whose number of "likes" quadrupled on Monday to over 1,000 — appeared to be officially authorized, rather than merely the work of admirers.  

Read more ....

More News On Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Being On Facebook

Iran's supreme leader 'likes' Facebook despite ban -- ITV
Internet ayatollah: Iran's supreme leader "likes" Facebook -- Reuters
Iran's Supreme Leader adds Facebook to growing online presence, despite official ban -- The Verge Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Gets Nostalgic On Facebook -- Tech Crunch  

My Comment: I doubt that he is posting himself .... someone on his staff is probably doing this. but it is interesting that he feels that he needs an online presence for the international community to read and follow. More proof (once agaion) on the power of social media.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's Facebook page is here.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Fears That U.S. Banks Are Now Being Targeted For Cyber Attacks

Tourists walk past a Bank of America banking center in Times Square in New York in this June 2012 photo. Brendan McDermid/Reuters/Files

Cyberattacks On US Banks Resume, Aiming To Block Their Websites -- Christian Science Monitor

The latest cyberattack mirrors one in early fall that targeted websites of major US banks. Security experts say the attacks appear to be the handiwork of a group tied to Hamas, which the US lists as a terrorist organization. A massive new wave of cyberattacks aimed at blocking access to US banking websites has resumed after a three-month break, but with only mild impacts reported so far despite its size, cybersecurity experts report. Cybersecurity experts analyzing the distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks – which shoot data from myriad computers to clog the Internet pipes at the target site – say the attacks that began early Tuesday are similar to those that struck banks' website server computers in mid-September and continued for several weeks.  

Read more .... 

More News On U.S. Banks Being Targeted For Cyber Attacks

Muslim hacker group launches further attacks against US banks -- Global Post
'Project Blitzkrieg': Are Russian cybercriminals about to invade US banks? -- Christian Science Monitor DDoS Attacks on Major US Banks Resurface -- Threat Post
U.S. Banks on Alert After DDoS Threats by Islamic 'Hacktivists' -- Sci Tech Today
New Threats Of Cyberattacks Against U.S. Banks -- CRN
DDoS attacks against U.S. banks peaked at 60 Gbps -- Computer World
Latest DDoS attacks on banks: A teachable moment -- CSO

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Leaked Images Show 'The Next Blackberry'

Leaked Images Show 'The Next Blackberry' - And It Looks Suspiciously Like An iPhone -- Daily Mail 

* Images suggest that like Apple's device the Blackberry will have chunky bezels at top and bottom
* Device set to be Research In Motion's make or break product, with launch expected at the end of January
* Pictures leaked by a Vietnamese tech site

These pictures purport to show the phone which BlackBerry maker Research In Motion hopes will halt its seemingly inexorable slide out of the mobile business. Sourced from a Vietnamese tech news site they show a gadget that's sleek, shiny and futuristic - and that looks suspiciously like an iPhone. The images suggest Research In Motion has finally dropped the full keyboard that was their brand's virtual trademark in favour of a full touchscreen device.

 Read more ....  

My Comment: It looks like a winner.

Global Demographic Trends

The Demographic Trends that Will Shape the World -- Joseph Chamie, Real Clear World
While governments and institutions try to grapple with economic uncertainty and volatility an important factor of relative certainty is often overlooked: demography. One may not know how the markets will behave, but demographic trends can provide instructive and relative certainty for the near term to deal with debt, taxes, unemployment and entitlements, to name a few. Dismissal of major demographic trends, seven of which described below, will in all likelihood result in ill-conceived policies, unsustainable programs and squandered resources. First, at an estimated 7 billion, the world's population is growing at 1.1 percent annually, or 78 million people, half the peak level of 2.1 percent in the late 1960s. Although the world's demographic growth rate is continuing to slow due to declining birthrates, the 8 billion world population mark will likely be reached by 2025. This growth will increase the world's working age population, 15 to 64 years, by 610 million and those aged 65 years and older by 290 million, increases of 13 and 52 percent, respectively.  

Read more ....

My Comment: There are a lot of stats in this report .... bottom line .... the world in 2050 will not look like the world today.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Facebook, Twitter And Google Release 2012 Trends

Facebook, Google Release 2012 Trends -- CNN 

 (CNN) -- If you can't recall everything you loved and hated about 2012, Facebook, Twitter and Google all just released their year-in-review reports. And all three reflect what many of us experienced firsthand: Thousands of strangers gathering to watch a rover land on Mars and a man fall from space. A hurricane slamming the East Coast while the world watched tragedy strike and heroes emerge. Social media, combined with the ability to search and surface information almost instantly, repeatedly brought Internet users together to huddle around the virtual campfire, sharing their stories through image, text and sound.

Read more ....

CSN Editor: For more on the trends:

The Next-Generation Supercomputers

Illustration: George Retseck 

Next-Generation Supercomputers -- IEEE 

Supercomputers are now running our search engines and social networks. But the heady days of stunning performance increases are over. Supercomputers are the crowning achievement of the digital age. Yes, it's true that yesterday's supercomputer is today's game console, as far as performance goes. But there is no doubt that during the past half-century these machines have driven some fascinating if esoteric pursuits: breaking codes, predicting the weather, modeling automobile crashes, simulating nuclear explosions, and designing new drugs—to name just a few. And in recent years, supercomputers have shaped our daily lives more directly. We now rely on them every time we do a Google search or try to find an old high school chum on Facebook, for example. And you can scarcely watch a big-budget movie without seeing supercomputer-generated special effects. So with these machines more ingrained than ever into our institutions and even our social fabric, it's an excellent time to wonder about the future. Will the next decade see the same kind of spectacular progress as the last two did? Alas, no.

 Read more ....

My Comment: An excellent report on the next generation of supercomputers. Read it all.

Friday, December 7, 2012

How Maggots Heal Wounds

How Maggots Heal Wounds -- Wired/Science Now 

Yes, maggots are creepy, crawly, and slimy. But that slime is a remarkable healing balm, used by battlefield surgeons for centuries to close wounds.

Now, researchers say they’ve figured out how the fly larvae work their magic: They suppress our immune system. Maggots are efficient consumers of dead tissue. They munch on rotting flesh, leaving healthy tissue practically unscathed. Physicians in Napoleon’s army used the larvae to clean wounds. In World War I, American surgeon William Baer noticed that soldiers with maggot-infested gashes didn’t have the expected infection or swelling seen in other patients. The rise of penicillin in the 1940s made clinical maggots less useful, but they bounced back in the 1990s when antibiotic-resistant bacteria created a new demand for alternative treatments. In 2004, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved maggot therapy as a prescription treatment.

Read more ....

My Comment: I guess our ancestors knew what they were doing.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

New Views Of Earth At Night

NASA Unveils The Clearest View Of Earth At Night Ever Captured -- Business Insider 

Scientists unveiled the most detailed view of what the Earth looks like at night at a news conference at the American Geophysical Union meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 5. The unprecedented nighttime view of Earth's city lights is compiled from hundreds of images that come from a new NASA and NOAA satellite, called Suomi NPP. Suomi NPP is special because it's equipped with a new sensor, called VIIRS, that can capture images at night even without moonlight, distinguishing night lights with six times better spatial resolution and 250 times better resolution of lighting levels than before.

Read more ....

My Comment: An incredible video .... check it out.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Making All Smartphones To Be Pocket Seismometers

A range of phones are hooked up to the Berkeley Seismological Lab's shake table 

Smartphones To Be Pocket Seismometers -- BBC 

The smartphones in our pockets are about to get even smarter. Scientists want these ubiquitous gadgets to be put to work helping them detect and investigate earthquakes. The devices contain accelerometers and a team at the Berkeley Seismic Laboratory says the mechanisms are capable of monitoring tremors. An app is being developed that will record the shaking during major events and then report the data back to a central server over the cell network. The high numbers of smartphones now in circulation mean researchers could get very detailed information on who felt what, and where.
Read more ....

My Comment: This is smart .... and one that millions can easily contribute to.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Volvo Develops The 'No Death' Car

Volvo Develops The 'No Death' Car: Vehicles Which Drive Themselves And Are Totally Crashproof Could Be On British Roads In Eight Years -- Daily Mail 

* Vehicle will be fitted with sensors that can detect potential collisions and take action
* Firm claims 'nobody will be killed or injured in a new Volvo by 2020'

Car giant Volvo is developing 'no death' cars that drive themselves and are impossible to crash – ready for launch in showrooms within eight years. The computerised vehicles will be fitted with high-tech sensors and will 'refuse to be steered' into other objects. Volvo says they will be on sale to customers by 2020, but that some of the life-saving technology will be incorporated into its vehicles even earlier – from 2014 – it says.

Read more ....  

My Comment: I am not convinced .... I will need to keep my hands on the steering wheel.

Inside An Amazon Warehouse (Pics)

CSN Editor: The link is here. What's my take .... impressive.

The Trend Of Building Glass Houses

Neighborhood Watch -- Wall Street Journal

A growing number of city dwellers are building glass houses—just a stone's throw from the street. Such homes allow in lots of light, but also curious looks from passersby; beware neighbors brandishing telescopes.

Every so often, Grant Risdon looks out his living room window and sees a stranger staring up at him, waving. Mr. Risdon isn't a celebrity—he is a consultant at a biotechnology company. But his house has a very public persona: Its second floor is almost entirely encased in glass, making it look like a transparent box floating above the more traditional homes in a densely populated Seattle neighborhood.

Mr. Risdon says he wanted to feel connected to the outside but didn't want to leave the city. He says he and his wife don't use blinds—even at night. "I don't feel exposed. I don't worry about it. We have nothing to hide," Mr. Risdon says.

Read more ....

 My Comment: If privacy is not your thing .... I guess this is for you.

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Future For Drones Is 'Small'

iRobot Founder Now Building Tiny Hovering Drone Spies -- Danger Room

Four years ago, iRobot co-founder Helen Greiner stepped down from the company she helped turn into an all-important supplier of the military’s growing arsenal of ground robots. Now today, she’s unveiled the first ‘bots to roll off her new company’s assembly line. What are they? Teeny tiny hovering drones, designed to fly through your window and spy on you. That’s just one of two robots revealed so far from Massachusetts company CyPhy Works, founded by Greiner after leaving iRobot. We’ve also now got a sense of what Greiner’s been developing for the past couple of years.  

Read more ....  

My Comment: I concur .... I can easily foresee the day when these drones are being used by soldiers to scout ahead, check buildings/rooms, and monitor threats.

A The Bugatti Veyron Covered With Mathematical Equations

The 252mph Bugatti Veyron has been decorated with the equations that power its superfast engine

Now That's A FORMULA One Car: Bugatti Veyron Covered With Mathematical Equations Used To Engineer It -- Daily Mail

* 252mph car was customised by French artist Bernar Venet
* Both the bodywork and interior are decorated with complex formulae
* The Bugatti is a one-off version of the standard £1.5m Veyron, and is currently on display in a Miami museum

It is one of the world's fastest supercars, with a 252mph top speed that leaves rivals trailing in its wake. And now Italian car manufacturer Bugatti has revealed the science behind the Veyron's astonishing top speed by covering the car in the sums used to power it. Conceptual artist Bernar Venet was asked by Bugatti to create his own design for the £1.5million Grand Sport model.  

Read more ....  

My Comment: For geeks .... (yes ... I am one of them) .... this is super-cool.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

U.S. Navy's Biofuel Plans Get The Support Of The U.S. Senate

Senate Votes To Save The Navy’s ‘Great Green Fleet’ -- Danger Room
The Senate on Wednesday threw a life raft to the Navy’s beleaguered plan to power its ships and jets with biofuel. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus trumpeted the program as key to service’s long-term stability, pledging $170 million to kickstart the wobbly biofuel industry, promising to get half the Navy’s fuel from alternative sources by 2020, and making plans to dispatch an eco-friendly “Great Green Fleet” in 2016.  

Read more ....

More News On the U.S. Senate Approving The Pentagon's Plans For Bio-fuels

Senate OK’s military spending on biofuel refineries -- Stars and Stripes
Senate gives green light to Pentagon green energy -- Bloomberg Businessweek/AP
Navy's Biofuel Plan Gets Senate Support -- Wall Street Journal
Senate strikes restriction on military biofuel development -- Reuters
US Senate backs military, Obama on green fuels -- TG Daily
Senate Again Backs Pentagon's Green-Energy Plans -- Wall Street Journal
With Senate’s Support, Advanced Biofuel Industry Ready for Takeoff -- Energy Collective Democrats put green energy back into military budget bill -- Human Events

How Syria Turned Off The Internet

How Syria Turned Off The Internet -- Cloud Flare
Today, 29 November 2012, between 1026 and 1029 (UTC), all traffic from Syria to the rest of the Internet stopped. At CloudFlare, we witnessed the drop off. We've spent the morning studying the situation to understand what happened. The following graph shows the last several days of traffic coming to CloudFlare's network from Syria. Since the beginning of today's outage, we have received no requests from Syrian IP space. That is a more complete blackout than we've seen when other countries have been cut from the Internet (see, for example, Egypt where while most traffic was cut off some requests still trickled out).  

Read more ....

More News On Syria's Internet Shutdown

How Syria Turned Off the Internet -- Gizmodo
How were Syria's networks and Internet taken offline? -- ZDNet
How did Syria shut off the Internet? -- SFGate
Assad gov't continues to block Internet in Syria -- CBS/AP
Syrian Internet Connections Cut for Second Day -- New York Times
Syria Plunges Into Internet Blackout -- PC Mag
Syria's government urged to unblock internet and mobile access to country -- The Guardian
US providers host Syrian government websites -- Computer World
Communications blackout doesn't deter hackers targeting Syrian regime -- FOX News
Anonymous Hackers Swat At Syrian Government Websites In Reprisal For Internet Blackout -- Forbes
Anonymous declares Internet war on Syria -- NBC News
Syria’s Internet shutdown leaves information void, may signal escalating war -- Washington Post Syria Internet outage: How it might have happened and what it means -- Washington Post
How To Get Around The Internet Blackout In Syria -- Or A Mass Communications Outage Anywhere -- Betsy Isaacson, Huffington Post
The three big questions on Syria’s Internet blackout -- Max Fisher, Washington Post

Friday, November 2, 2012

Scientists Beat The House At Roulette

Scientists Beat The House At Roulette With Chaos Theory -- Forbes 

Professional gamblers know that when it comes to the game of roulette, the best strategy is the same one that supercomputer Joshua applied to nuclear war in the movie WarGames: “The only way to win is not to play.” But that didn’t stop a group of chaos theorists from trying to beat it anyway. And according to new research published in the journal Chaos, it looks like they may have found a way to beat the house. They were able to model the motion of the wheel and ball and were able to confirm their predictions both in simulation and using an actual roulette wheel.

 Read more ....  

My Comment: Their analysis makes sense .... but .... I suspect that the House knows about these "tricks".

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Steve Jobs High-Tech Yacht 'Venus' Unveiled

Steve Jobs reportedly spent years designing his super yacht Venus. FOX News

Steve Jobs High-Tech Yacht Unveiled -- BBC

A year after he died, a yacht that the co-founder of Apple, Steve Jobs, was working on has finally been launched in the Netherlands. It's a little under 80m (260 feet) long, made of lightweight aluminium and features 3m (10 feet) high windows. Just another super-yacht for one of the world's mega-rich you might think, but the clues to the owner of this sleek vessel are there, not least in the many Apple Mac computer screens on the bridge. The vessel is Jobs's yacht Venus, named for the Roman goddess of love. It has just been launched in Aalsmeer in The Netherlands. The boat has been built by the Dutch custom yacht builders Feadship.  

Read more ....

More News On The Launching Of Steve Jobs Yacht

Steve Jobs-designed yacht launched in the Netherlands -- CBS/AP
Steve Jobs’ Yacht, Venus, Makes Public Debut -- ABC News
Steve Jobs' Yacht, 'Venus,' Sets Sail -- PC Magazine
Super yacht designed by Apple's Steve Jobs unveiled -- FOX News
Yacht Commissioned by Steve Jobs Launched -- Sci-Tech Daily
Steve Jobs’s 256-Foot Yacht Launches Posthumously -- HITC
About Steve Jobs’s New, iMac-Controlled Yacht -- Vanity Fair
Steve Jobs' custom, aluminum-hulled super-yacht "Venus" now seaworthy -- Ars Technica
Steve Jobs’s yacht: a floating Apple store with elements of iPhone -- The Week
Steve Jobs' superyacht breaks cover -- Motorboat & Yachting
Steve Jobs' magnificent yacht reflects the success of Apple -- Examiner

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

How 3D Printers Will Revolutionise The Manufacture Of Deadly Weapons

Making Guns In Your Garage: How 3D Printers Will Revolutionise The Manufacture Of Deadly Weapons -- The Telegraph
In the very near future, someone will be killed with a gun not bought from a dealer or a dodgy bloke in a pub, but printed at home in metal and plastic with a 3D printer. The tools necessary to replicate a deadly weapon will soon be affordable to someone toiling away at home. The cost of 3D printers has dropped substantially: models are available for as little as £400. Extremely polished designs such as the MakerBot Replicator 2 and Form Labs Form1 reveal how close the technology is to becoming a mainstream consumer proposition. Read more .... My Comment: The below video explains how this incredible tech works. One can only wonder what future developments will hold.

Here Comes The U.S. Army's Monster Laser Truck

Not quite handheld yet... The truck-mounted laser weapons system that Boeing and the Pentagon hopes will prove the efficacy of the technology on the battlefield
The Death-Ray On Wheels: US Army Begins Testing Monster Laser Truck That Can Shoot Down Anything, Including Missiles -- Daily Mail
* Boeing's land-based laser weapon could be used for missile defence * Beam will hit targets at a phenomenal 186,000 miles a second Laser weapons are a step closer to deployment on Earth's battlefields as a U.S. defence company gears up to test a new land-based device. Boeing has announced that it has successfully mounted a 10kw solid-state laser on an eight-wheeled, 500-horsepower truck that could be used alongside conventional Army forces. The High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator (HEL MD) is now ready for field testing and over the next year will have a chance to show off its ability to acquire, track and destroy targets. Read more ....
More News On Boeing's U.S. Army Laser Truck
The Army's eight-wheeled laser truck that zaps enemy missiles -- The Week Boeing Just Put The Finishing Touches On An 8-Wheeled Laser Truck -- Business Insider Boeing trucks ahead with 8-wheeling laser weapon -- CNet Truck Mounted High Energy Laser For Destroying Incoming Rocket and Artillery To Be Tested Next Year -- Ottawa Citizen Pew pew: Boeing's laser truck powers up -- Dvice Boeing lands $16M laser weapon follow-up -- Optics.org

Global Hunger Continues For One In Eight In The World

One In Eight Of World Population Going Hungry: U.N. -- Reuters
(Reuters) - One out of every eight people in the world is chronically undernourished, the United Nations' food agencies said on Tuesday, and aid groups warned that rising food prices could reverse gains in the fight against hunger. In a report on food insecurity, the UN agencies said 868 million people were hungry in 2010-2012, or about 12.5 percent of the world's population, down more sharply than previously estimated from about 1 billion, or 18.6 percent in 1990-92. The new figures, based on a revised calculation method and more up-to-date data, are lower than the last estimates for recent years that pegged the number of hungry people at 925 million in 2010 and 1.02 billion in 2009. Read more ....
More News On Global Hunger
UN says world hungry not 1 billion after all -- Seattle Times/AP UN Says World Hungry Now Under 1 Billion -- Voice of America MDG target to halve prevalence of hunger within reach, says UN -- The Guardian UN tweaks the methodology of malnourishment -- Globe and Mail Hunger falls but still unacceptably high-FAO chief -- Reuters

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Volcano That Destroyed The Minoan Civilization Is Stirring To Life Again

Cruise ships muster in the bay of the island of Santorini. The volcanic peak can be seen at the top-right of the image. 

 'Atlantis'-Killer Volcano Under Island Of Santorini Wakes Again -- News.com.au

IT destroyed the Minoan civilisation and sent shockwaves through history as the legend of Atlantis. Now, the volcano of Santorini is stirring again. Almost four thousand years ago, the island of Santorini was probably much as it is now - a scenic retreat for the Minoan's wealthy and powerful. And history may be set to repeat itself: Magma has been detected once again pouring up to 20 million cubic metres of molten rock into chambers deep beneath the idyllic island.

Read more ....  

My Comment: We have been lucky in the modern age to not experience a major earthquake in this part of the world .... but if this report is true .... it appears that the clock is ticking.

Steve Jobs' Vision of the World

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A New Electric Car World Speed Record

The Nemesis, driven by Nick Ponting, 21, hit 148.7mph - breaking the 137mph set by Don Wales, the grandson of speed ace Sir Malcolm Campbell, 10 years ago

 Electric Car Smashes World Speed Record - Clocking 148.7mph To Beat Record Set By Sir Malcolm Campbell’s Grandson -- Daily Mail

* Creators want to 'smash the sterotype that electric cars are 'slow and boring cars that Noddy would drive'
* Team also wants 'debate about how everyone will move around when the world runs out of oil'

There was no roar from the engine as this super-charged sports car topped 150mph on its record-breaking run yesterday. Only the relatively gentle sound of tyre rolling over road disturbed the peace and quiet as the UK land speed record for an electric car was shattered.

The team behind a supercar powered by energy from wind turbines believe they have smashed the UK land-speed record for an electric car. Their recorded speed of 148.7mph breaks the record of 137mph set by Don Wales, the grandson of speed ace Sir Malcolm Campbell, 10 years ago.

Read more ....

My Comment: Here is some more info .... the Nemesis can travel from 100-150 miles between charges, depending on driving style, and can be charged from empty in less than 30 minutes.

Bright Comet To Light Up The Sky In A Late 2013 Pass-By

Photo: Hale-Bopp sailed overhead, leaving two trails: An ionic trail of magnetically-charged particles facing directly away from the sun (left), and a trail of dust and debris.

Comet 'Shining 15 Times Brighter Than Moon' Will Fly By Our Planet In 2013 -- Daily Mail 

They are one of the most spectacular views a human could hope to see - and next year a comet which could outshine the moon is due to fly by the Earth.

Comet ISON is visiting the inner solar system and is set to put on spectacular views for the Northern Hemisphere across November and December as it heads towards the sun.

 It may prove to be brighter than any comet of the last century - visible even in broad daylight - and this may end up being its one and only trip to the solar system, as its trajectory may see it plunge into the sun in a fiery death.

Read more ....

My Comment: Let's hope that it will be a bright one for everyone to see.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

New 200mph McLaren British Supercar With £800,000 Price Tag

State-of-the-art: The super-lightweight but powerful supercar (pictured) is being built at McLaren's factory in Woking, Surrey

New 200mph McLaren British Supercar With £800,000 Price Tag Is Revealed For The First Time Ahead Of Paris Motor Show -- Daily Mail

* Lightweight but powerful vehicle being built at McLaren's state-of-the-art factory
* It is being seen as the spiritual successor of the three-seater McLaren F1 supercar of the 1990s

A new 200mph British supercar has broken cover with a scintillating £800,000 price-tag to match.

The new flagship two-seater McLaren P1 will accelerate from rest to 62mph in under three seconds and is set to be one of the stars of next week’s Paris Motor Show.

The super-lightweight but powerful supercar is being built at McLaren’s state of the art factory in Woking, Surrey and has the ambition of being the best road and track car in the world for drivers.

Read more

My Comment: She looks very hot.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Can We Finally Break The Speed Of Light?

Space time mapped out: Teams at NASA are exploring ways to warp the universe to enable faster than light travel. Pictured is a model of how a ship, enclosed in a space-time 'doughnut', could reach the stars

Can We Finally Break The Speed Of Light? Nasa Breakthrough Suggests Star Trek's 'Warp Drives' May Not Only Be Possible - But Practical -- Daily Mail

* NASA suggests new model which could reduce energy requirements for warp-speed travel from planet-sized to car-sized
* 'Humble experiments' in laboratory could lead to faster-than-light travel

As we take our virgin steps into space, there is one thing that could always put a cap on our ambitions.

Despite our desire to explore the stars, we are limited by travelling at less than light speed - and even if we managed to match that pace, we would still be listing our voyages from star to star in years, centuries or millenia.

But, in what could be a huge breakthrough, theorists from Nasa say there is 'hope' that we can achieve faster-than-light travel, after physicists found a theoretical possibility for warp speed travel.

Read more ....

My Comment: Faster please. :)

The Complete Guide To Twitter’s Language And Acronyms

The Complete Guide To Twitter’s Language And Acronyms -- Twitter

The beauty and challenge of Twitter is stuffing your most sophisticated thoughts and feelings into a measly 140 characters (or less). Unfortunately, our traditional methods of communication have proven to be a poor training ground for micro-messaging, and even the most savvy platform users have sighed in exasperation as those bright red negative character signs mock our basic intelligence. But, perhaps even worse, no good tweet is ever going to be 140 characters because it’s impossible to share, respond or reference a tweet that’s already at it’s max. If you want to make a big statement with a small message, you have to trim the fat.

Read more ....

My Comment: A useful and brief list.

More Countries Are Blocking YouTube Over Anti-Islam Video

More Countries Push To Block YouTube Over Anti-Islam Video -- L.A. Times

As protests over an online video mocking the Islamic prophet continue to simmer in Pakistan, Indonesia and elsewhere, more countries are trying to keep it from being seen around the world.

Google has already stopped the film trailer from being viewed on YouTube in Egypt and Libya “given the very difficult situation” and has restricted it in Indonesia and India over concerns that it violates local laws. Malaysian news media reported that the video was also inaccessible there late Monday after government officials lodged similar complaints with the company about the amateurish video.

Read more ....

More News On Countries Blocking YouTube Over Anti-Islam Video

YouTube blocked in Saudi to stop anti-Islam film -- Houston Chronicle/AP
Pakistan, Bangladesh Block YouTube Amid Islam Film Protests -- Bloomberg Businessweek
YouTube selectively restricts access to anti-Islam film -- Daily Star
In Egypt, despite Google claims, anti-Islam film can be seen online -- Bikyamasr
Google Refuses to Censor Anti-Islam Film in America but Bars Access in Muslim Countries -- News Busters

Real Time Map That Shows You Every Plane In The Air Right Now

Flightradar 24 makes it possible to track flights all around the world

Rush Hour In The Skies: Real Time Map That Shows You Every Plane In The Air Right Now -- Daily Mail

At any given moment there are an estimated 5,000 commercial airplanes in the skies over the United States and now there's a website that enables you to track them, in real time, on a map.

Flightradar24 makes it possible to track flights all around the world, whether commercial airliners, private jets or military aircraft.

The website's flight map is updated every couple of seconds. Using the map you can track a specific flight, mark out its route, the airport from which it departed and where it is supposed to land. You can even see its altitude and speed.

Read more ....

Editor: Flightradar24's website is here.

Monday, September 10, 2012

A Final Tribute To Neil Armstrong

Neil Armstrong To Be Buried At Sea: Family -- Reuters

CLEVELAND (Reuters) - U.S. astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon, will be buried at sea, family spokesman Rick Miller said on Thursday.

Armstrong died on August 25 following complications resulting from cardiovascular procedures. He was 82.

A public memorial service will be held at the Washington National Cathedral on September 13 and will be broadcast live on NASA Television and streamed online at nasa.gov and nationalcathedral.org.

Read more ....

My Comment: I guess he does not want a grave-site turned into a public memorial and place for those to gather and acknowledge his moon-walk accomplishment.

FBI To Start A Face Recognition System Database Across America

FBI Begins Installation Of $1 Billion Face Recognition System Across America -- RT

Birthmarks, be damned: the FBI has officially started rolling out a state-of-the-art face recognition project that will assist in their effort to accumulate and archive information about each and every American at a cost of a billion dollars.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has reached a milestone in the development of their Next Generation Identification (NGI) program and is now implementing the intelligence database in unidentified locales across the country, New Scientist reports in an article this week. The FBI first outlined the project back in 2005, explaining to the Justice Department in an August 2006 document (.pdf) that their new system will eventually serve as an upgrade to the current Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS) that keeps track of citizens with criminal records across America .

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More News On The FBI Installing Software Across The Country

FBI to roll out $1 billion public facial recognition system in 2014, will be on to your evildoing everywhere -- Endgadget
The FBI Banks $1 Billion For Facial Recognition Tech -- Fast Company
FBI moves forward with plans to build $1billion database of Americans' photographs for new facial recognition software -- Daily Mail
FBI launches $1 billion face recognition project -- New Scientist
How the feds are tracking us -- PC World
FBI Wagers $1 Billion On Facial Recognition Software -- Inquistr

My Comment: It will only be a question of time before no one will be able to hide.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Two Planets ... Two Stars

Two Planets ... Two Stars: Nasa Detects Strange New Solar System (And One Of The Planets Occupies The Life-Supporting 'Goldilocks Zone') -- Daily Mail

* First time that planets have been seen orbiting a two-star system
* 'Theorists will be going back to the drawing board to improve our understanding of how planets are assembled'

Nasa has announced the discovery of a solar system which is home to not one, but two stars.

The Kepler solar system, 4,900 light-years away from Earth, has two stars - called a binary system - orbiting each other in a cosmic dance.

What makes this discovery exciting is the discovery of two planets circling the system - and one of them inhabits the so-called 'Goldilocks Zone', where the planet is the right distance ('not too hot, not too cold') to support liquid water and potentially support life.

Before today, it was unknown whether planets could form around a two-star system.

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My Comment
: Another mystery solved.

How One U.S. Navy Captain Used A Creative Way To Provide For His Family If He Died

Neil Armstrong Couldn't Afford Life Insurance, So He Used A Creative Way To Provide For His Family If He Died -- Business Insider

After all the danger, glory, and fame it's easy to forget that at the end of the day astronauts are federal employees subject to the same General Schedule (GS) pay scale as everyone from typists to CIA agents.

Unfortunately, a federal salary wasn't enough for Apollo 11 astronauts to purchase life insurance.

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My Comment: A small confession .... as a stamp collector, I would pay $5,000 for such a signed postcard.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

How Tall Can Buildings Get?

Is There a Limit to How Tall Buildings Can Get? -- The Atlantic

The race is always on. Within the span of just two years, the world's tallest building was built three times in New York City – the 282.5-meter Bank of Manhattan in 1930, the 319-meter Chrysler Building in a few months after, and then 11 months later the 381-meter Empire State Building in 1931. The era of architectural horse-racing and ego-boosting has only intensified in the decades since. In 2003, the 509-meter Taipei 101 unseated the 452-meter Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur after a seven-year reign as the world's tallest. In 2010, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai far surpassed Taipei 101, climbing up to 828 meters. Bold builders in China want to go 10 meters higher later this year with a 220-story pre-fab tower that can be constructed in a baffling 90 days. And then, in 2018, the Kingdom Tower in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (below, right) will go significantly farther, with a proposed height of at least 1,000 meters.*

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My Comment: It seems that money is the biggest limitation.

Hover 'Bike' Flies On Pilot's Intuition

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Remembering Neil Armstrong

Neil Armstrong Dead At 82: First Man To Walk On The Moon Passes Away Following Heart Surgery, 43 Years After Giant Leap For Mankind -- Daily Mail

* Former astronaut Neil Armstrong captained Apollo 11 mission to the moon
* He and fellow NASA astronaut Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin spent nearly three hours on lunar surface
* Served in U.S. Navy in Korean War and flew 78 missions during combat
* After lunar landing, took worldwide tour with Apollo 11 crew and met Queen Elizabeth II during 38-day journey
* Famously stayed out of public view following moon landing; friends said he had no interest in becoming a novelty

Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, has died at the age of 82, after suffering complications from heart surgery, his family said in a statement.

Earlier this month, the former NASA astronaut had undergone heart surgery.

He famously uttered the quote moments after setting foot on the lunar surface: ‘That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.’

Read more .....

More News On The Death Of Neil Armstrong

Neil Armstrong, first man to step on the moon, dies at 82 -- Washington Post
Space legend Neil Armstrong dies -- CNN
First Man to Set Foot on Moon Dies at 82 -- Voice of America
Neil Armstrong, US astronaut, dies aged 82 -- The Telegraph
Neil Armstrong, first man to walk on the moon, dies at age 82 -- The Guardian
Tributes pour in for 'man on the moon' Armstrong -- AFP
Man on the moon: moment of greatness that defined the American century -- The Guardian
Remembering Neil Armstrong, A Man of Profound Skill and Preternatural Calm -- Time
Armstrong’s small step a giant leap for humanity -- Washington Times/AP
Neil Armstrong, 1930-2012 -- John Steele Gordon, Commentary
One small step for man, or a man? Armstrong said his famous words from the moon were misquoted -- Washington Post/AP
What happened to NASA’s pioneering astronauts? -- Washington Times/AP

My Comment: After spending the past 2 days camping in the woods .... I fire up my computer to see what is happening in the world .... everything then becomes a blur except this story .... and then an overwhelming sense of loss knowing that something is now gone forever.

I was nine years old when I saw him walk on the moon .... becoming one of those grainy black and white childhood images that has always stuck with me. Over the years he then became the symbol (at least to me) of not what man is .... but what man is capable of doing .... and now he is gone and the world is a lesser place because of it. But I take comfort that even though he is gone .... as long as history books are written .... he will always be remembered as the first man to walk on a different celestial body .... and the first man to look at the earth from a perspective that no one had ever looked at before.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Test Flight Of U.S. Air Force Hypersonic X-51A Aircraft Ends In Failure

Military’s Mach 5 Missile Fails, Again -- Danger Room

A crucial test for the Air Force’s experimental Mach 5 missile has ended in failure, according to the Air Force. Tuesday’s test is also the third time the hypersonic X-51A Waverider cruise missile has fallen short. But this time could be the last.

As first reported by Danger Room, the Waverider’s control fin failed, preventing the missile’s scramjet engine from starting. The Air Force later confirmed the result in a statement. That also corresponds to information provided by an insider familiar with the test, who said a problem with a missile’s fin caused a loss of control before the engine could kick in.

Read more ....

More News On Yesterday's Failure Of The Hypersonic X-51A Aircraft

US hypersonic aircraft crashes seconds into military test flight -- Reuters
Hypersonic vehicle fails flight test: US Air Force -- AFP
Hypersonic jet Waverider fails Mach 6 test -- BBC
Unmanned Air Force craft fails in attempt to reach Mach 6 for 5 minutes over Pacific Ocean -- Washington Post/AP
Hypersonic Waverider jet fails during attempt to fly six times speed of sound -- The Telegraph
US hypersonic aircraft crashes in test flight -- The Telegraph
Air Force's Hypersonic X-51A jet fails latest test flight, is lost over the Pacific -- FOX News
Air Force X-51A WaveRider Hypersonic Jet Crashes -- ABC News
X-51A WaveRider hypersonic mission doomed by bum missile fin -- Endgadget
USAF Hypersonic Aircraft Fails Flight Test -- Defense News
Hypersonic Craft Fails in Test Flight -- Wall Street Journal

Monday, August 13, 2012

Key Hypersonic Test Flight Tomorrow

(Click on Image to Enlarge)

Key Test Set For Sustained Hypersonic Flight -- L.A. Times

The unmanned experimental aircraft X-51A WaveRider is expected to fly above the Pacific Ocean near Point Mugu at Mach 6 for 300 seconds Tuesday.

Since test pilot Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier in 1947, engineers and scientists have dreamed of ever-faster aircraft. Now, they face one of their toughest challenges yet: sustaining hypersonic flight — going five times the speed of sound or more — for more than a few minutes.

In a nondescript hangar at Edwards Air Force Base in the Mojave Desert, a team of aerospace engineers has been putting the finishing touches on a lightning-quick experimental aircraft designed to fly above the Pacific Ocean at 3,600 mph. A passenger aircraft traveling at that speed could fly from Los Angeles to New York in 46 minutes.

Read more ....

Tomorrow's Test Of The X-51 Waverider Could Usher In A New Era Of Flight -- Business Insider

My Comment:
I wish them the best.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Mini-Drone Can Watch Neighbors From Above

Domestic Spying: Mini-Drone Can Watch Neighbors From Above -- CBS News

WASHINGTON (CBS) – Your neighbors’ fences are no longer tall enough.

While President Obama takes flak for the US’s use of unmanned drone attacks abroad, there is a smaller, smartphone-controlled drone hovering above urban rooftops and suburban backyards: The Parrot AR Drone 2.0.

The Parrot AR Drone 2.0, listed on Amazon just below $300, is the best way to live out one’s fantasy of being a spy. The miniature drone is controlled through your iPhone or iPad and features multiple sensors, including a hi-definition front-facing 720-pixel camera and a vertical camera looking straight down from the bottom of the miniature quadricopter (four propellers).

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My Comment: I can see these drones being used FOBs in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

New Cyber Virus Detected That Targets Middle Eastern Bank Accounts

Code from the Gauss virus, a new cyberweapon that attacks bank accounts. CNN

Virus Seeking Bank Data Is Tied To Attack On Iran -- New York Times

A security firm said Thursday that it had discovered what it believed was the fourth state-sponsored computer virus to surface in the Middle East in the last three years, apparently aimed at computers in Lebanon.

The firm, Kaspersky Lab, said that the virus appeared to have been written by the same programmers who created Flame, the data-mining computer virus that was found to be spying on computers in Iran in May, and that it might be linked to Stuxnet, the virus that disrupted uranium enrichment work in Iran in 2010.

Read more ....

More News On A New Cyber Virus That Targets Bank Accounts

Nation-sponsored malware with Stuxnet ties has mystery warhead -- Ars Technica
Flame and Stuxnet Cousin Targets Lebanese Bank Customers, Carries Mysterious Payload -- Wired
Kaspersky Lab Says It Has Found Another State-Sponsored Computer Virus -- NPR
Newly discovered malware linked to Stuxnet, Flame -- Washington Post
Virus found in Mideast can spy on bank transactions -- Reuters
Nation-backed surveillance malware monitors Middle East bank accounts -- Computer World
Cyberweapon targets Middle East bank accounts -- CNN Money
Stuxnet-like spy virus Gauss hits Middle East banks -- The Guardian
Meet the ‘Gauss’ Virus, Stuxnet and Flame’s New Cousin -- Mashable Tech

My Comment: It looks like someone is monitoring Middle Eastern financial transactions and transfers of money .... and probably for a long time. To build and conduct such a surveillance operation will require huge amounts of money and personnel .... only a handful of countries could do this .... correction .... only 3 or 4 countries can. (U.S., Israel, Russia, and China). My money is on the U.S. and Israel working together on this one.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Fracking And Geothermal Energy Revolution

(Click on Image to Enlarge)

Fracking And A Geothermal Energy Revolution -- Energy Tomorrow

In the news: Projects are advancing that use hydraulic fracturing to crack “hot rocks” thousands of feet below the earth’s surface and turn them into geothermal energy-producing zones. Some say it could start a revolution in electricity generation.

Certainly, this map from the Energy Department’s National Renewals Lab, posted on the EnerGeo Politics blog, suggests there’s lots of hot-rock energy beneath the United States – especially in the West:

Read more ....

My Comment:
A very useful and informative map.

Monday, August 6, 2012

World's Biggest Purpose-Built Yacht Carrier

Dockwise's new Yacht Express carrier is launched.

Dockwise Debuts The World's Biggest Purpose-Built Yacht Carrier -- Gizmag

"The majority of yachts do not have the range to reach many of the world's inviting cruising areas and international playgrounds," reads the company's vision statement, but this need no longer be a limitation. Yacht owners simply sail their craft into the massive semi-submersible Yacht Express, where they are securely attached. The owners can then rendezvous with the yacht at its destination, or accompany their craft aboard the carrier in five-star luxury.

Read more ....

My Comment: Owning a yacht is becoming a global social and economic trend .... a development that I am sure will give this ship a considerable amount of business.

Ocean Wave Energy The Next Big Thing

Stefan Siegel, president and chief technology officer of Atargis Energy Corporation, talks about the 1:10 scale model of a cycloidal wave energy converter that the company is testing in the wave basin at Texas A&M Offshore Technology Research Center Monday, July 16, 2012, in College Station. Hydrofoil blades on the underwater device rotate to extract energy from waves. ( Melissa Phillip / Houston Chronicle ) Photo: Melissa Phillip / © 2012 Houston Chronicle

Scientists Seek Next Wave In Power Generation -- Fuel Fix

Aerospace engineers are working to make ocean wave energy the nation’s newest source of green power by applying the physics of wind turbines to the sea.

Former U.S. Air Force Academy scientists took over Texas A&M University’s wave tank recently to test the idea that if air can produce affordable electricity, so can ocean water.

Read more ....

My Comment:
It is still years away from any possible development.

Mars Explorer Curiosity Successfully Lands On Mars - A News Roundup

Mars Landing Went 'Flawlessly,' Scientists Say -- CNN

(CNN) -- NASA's rover Curiosity successfully carried out a highly challenging landing on Mars early Monday, transmitting images back to Earth after traveling hundreds of millions of miles through space to explore the red planet.

Scientists praised the landing Monday.

"This is a stunning achievement. The engineering went flawlessly," said Scott Hubbard, who was the first Mars program director at NASA headquarters, and is currently a consulting professor at Stanford University.

The 10 science instruments aboard Curiosity are in "perfect health," and testing and calibration are under way, NASA said Monday.

More News On The Successful Mars Landing Of NASA's Curiosity

NASA’s Curiosity rover lands on Mars after 352-million mile journey -- Washington Post
Mars rover Curiosity lands, NASA releases new image: ‘The surface mission of Curiosity has now begun’ -- Washington Post
Safely on Mars, NASA rover Curiosity gets busy -- Computer World
Next on Mars: 400 scientists on an alien road trip -- AFP
Curiosity rover beams back first photo from Martian surface -- Christian Science Monitor
NASA's Mars rover Curiosity makes history (A Google+ hangout) -- L.A. Times
NASA photographs split second when Curiosity enters Mars airspace -- FOX News
Photos illustrate Mars rover's precise landing -- Bloomberg Businessweek
Mars Rover FAQs: What's Next -- PC World
Mars Rover Landing a Success—What Happens Now? -- National Geographic
Curiosity opening Martian frontier? -- Meg Urry, CNN

My Comment:
A job well done.

Hiroshima Marks The 67th Anniversary Of The World's First Atomic Attack

Japan Marks Hiroshima Bombing Amid Anti-Nuclear Calls -- BBC

Japan is marking the 67th anniversary of the atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima in an annual ceremony.

Tens of thousands of people attended the event, amid growing anti-nuclear sentiment and protests in the country.

A bell marked the start of a one-minute silence at 08:15 local time (23:15 GMT) when the US bomber Enola Gay dropped the bomb that killed 140,000 people.

Mayor Kazumi Matsui called for a nuclear-free world at the event at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.

Read more ....

More News On The Hiroshima Anniversary Of The First Atomic Attack

Hiroshima marks 67th anniversary of A-bomb attack -- AJC/AP
Japan marks Hiroshima A-Bomb anniversary with anti-nuclear call -- The Telegraph
Nuclear fears focus attention on 67th Hiroshima anniversary -- Haaretz
Harry Truman's grandson arrives in Japan for Hiroshima visit -- The Telegraph
Grandson of President Truman lays wreath for Hiroshima dead -- The Guardian
Target Nagasaki: the men who dropped the second bomb -- The Telegraph

Friday, August 3, 2012

How To Best Feed The World

How To Ensure The World’s Food Supply -- Greg Page, Washington Post

In America’s heartland, farmers are making the agonizing decision to plow down cornfields that have succumbed to the worst drought in decades. The parched land, resulting lower yields and already tight grain stocks remind us that we can’t take food production for granted. They also raise the question: Can we feed a world on its way to 9 billion people, given weather events, pressure on natural resources and changing diets? At Cargill, we believe the answer is yes. But leaders in government, business and civil societies need to take into account three key imperatives to create a more food-secure world.

Read more ....

My Comment: Reading Greg Page's point on Africa representing about 60 percent of the potentially available cropland in the world surprised me .... I always grew up believing that the bread baskets were in North America, the steppes of Russia, Australia, and Argentina. But he is right .... and that is why Africa's long history of feeding it's own citizens is so tragic .... it does not have to be.

This is an excellent analysis on food production and distribution from a man whose business is food production and distribution, and is a must read.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

A Robot Rescue Copter For Wounded Troops?

U.S. Navy Corpsmen transport wounded from an Army Medical Evacuation H-60 Black Hawk helicopter. Wikipedia

Army Eyes Robot Rescue Copters For Wounded Troops -- Danger Room

It’s one of the most dangerous missions on the modern battlefield — and one of the most important. Crews flying big, vulnerable and sometimes unarmed helicopters brave gunfire, bad weather and rugged terrain to snatch wounded troops from a firefight or the scene of a bomb blast.

Medical evacuation crews are some of the gutsiest people around. But to avoid another Black Hawk Down scenario — in which the rescuers also get trapped alongside the wounded — in the hottest battle zones the Pentagon sometimes grounds the medevac copters under certain conditions. Now the Army has latched onto a possible solution: replace the human copter crews with Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) drones.

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My Comment: Patient-panic problems will probably be the #1 problem in using such a system.