Fluffeh writes "Breaking up terrorist plots is one of the main goals of the FBI these days. If it can't do that, well, it seems making plots up and then valiantly stopping them is okay too — but the NY Times is calling them on it. 'The United States has been narrowly saved from lethal terrorist plots in recent years — or so it has seemed. A would-be suicide bomber was intercepted on his way to the Capitol; a scheme to bomb synagogues and shoot Stinger missiles at military aircraft was developed by men in Newburgh, N.Y.; and a fanciful idea to fly explosive-laden model planes into the Pentagon and the Capitol was hatched in Massachusetts. But all these dramas were facilitated by the F.B.I., whose undercover agents and informers posed as terrorists offering a dummy missile, fake C-4 explosives, a disarmed suicide vest and rudimentary training. Suspects naïvely played their parts until they were arrested.'"
judgecorp writes "The British Government has announced its plans to handle solar storms. The idea is to improve the resilience of infrastructure, including satellite communications — which the government says will also be useful against the future possibility of electromagnetic pulse (EMP) weapons. From the report: 'National Grid and DECC are building on the work of the Space Environment Impacts Evaluation Group and E3C to analyse the range of impacts of extreme space weather events, with the Carrington Event being adopted as the reasonable worst case. These scientific assessments have enabled National Grid to change the design requirements for its Supergrid transformers, and to increase its reserve holding of transformers. National Grid is currently developing improved monitoring tools with the British Geological Survey (BGS) and installing or reinstalling Geomagnetically Induced Currents (GIC) monitoring devices into its Strategic Asset Management program. The next steps will be for National Grid, in association with BGS and working with E3C, to develop more detailed modelling of severe space weather events including impacts on generator transformers. This will extend and strengthen its analysis on the electricity transmission system completed so far.'"
Earlier today, Tizen, Intel's post-MeeGo mobile OS, announced the availability of their first stable release. The H has a summary of the new features: "The source code for Tizen's Larkspur release has seen a number of new features added. The Web capabilities have now got full W3C/HTML5 specification support with 'key' WebRTC features incorporated and APIs to access the local camera and vibration. ... Tizen's graphics are based on X11 with a compositing window manager based on Enlightenment Foundation Libraries ... The SDK's IDE includes a new browser based tool which offers support for the Tizen APIs within a browser; this should allow developers to run and debug Tizen 'web applications' and see how those applications run with various device profiles. The alpha release of the browser based simulator should reduce the need to work with the emulator for many applications." The SDK release notes and source release notes have the gritty details. A new community wiki has been created, and source is available via git. This release comes just before the first Tizen developer conference, May 7-9th in San Francisco.
1sockchuck writes "Apple's North Carolina data center will tap landfills for biogas, which will then be converted into electricity using fuel cells from Bloom Energy. The 24 'Bloom boxes' will have a capacity of 4.8 megawatts of power, and along with a large solar array, will provide Apple with a significant on-site generation of sustainable energy. Microsoft is also developing biogas-powered data plants where modular data centers will be housed near water treatment plants and landfills. GigaOm has a useful primer on biogas in data centers, as well as video of the new higher capacity Bloom boxes that will support Apple's server farm."
mikejuk writes, quoting I Programmer: "If you are looking for an exciting hardware project, KegDroid deserves a look. It is a sophisticated system that involves Android, Arduino, NFC, plumbing and — beer. Perhaps the final stroke of genius is to package the whole thing in a Droid body. Some how the little green fella looks at home on the bar. You have heard of desktop and laptop apps now we have bartop apps to add to the list" Details are fuzzy currently, but from all appearances this is a repackaged KegBot in a very fancy shell. (Video for those without Flash.)
An anonymous reader writes "While the celebs are already charging big money for their Tweets, an Aussie startup is ranking everyday people and turning them into product salespeople. After a successful start Down Under they have now hit Silicon Valley, but will Americans embrace selling to their friends?" From the article: "In a nutshell, individuals sign up to the Social Loot website and are assigned companies to promote to their circle of online friends. They are then paid on a sliding scale based on the amount of traffic their posts generate, and the quality of referrals and number of resulting sales. This is tracked by a code embedded in the links promoted by Social Loot’s spruikers."
Harperdog writes "Noah Schactman has a great piece on the Airborne Laser, the ray gun-equipped 747 that became a symbol of wasteful Pentagon weaponeering. Despite sixteen years and billions of dollars in development, the jet could never reliably blast a missile in trials. Now the House Armed Services Committee's Strategic Forces wants the Airborne Laser to be used to defend us against the threat of North Korea's failed missiles."
Barence writes "Five of Britain's biggest ISPs have been ordered to block access to The Pirate Bay. Sky, Everything Everywhere, TalkTalk, O2 and Virgin Media have been told to block access to the site. Britain's biggest ISP, BT, has been given a few further weeks to 'consider its position.' Music lobby group, the BPI, welcomed the move, saying music creators 'deserve to be paid for their work just like everyone else' and calling for those who use The Pirate Bay to illegally download content to 'explore the many digital music services operating ethically and legally in the UK.'"
cylonlover writes "A University of Dundee research team led by Prof. Mike MacDonald has demonstrated that both levitation and twisting forces can be applied to an object by application of ultrasonic beams. The team of physicists at the University of Dundee in Scotland (with associates at Bristol University in England) have succeeded in generating an ultrasonic vortex beam strong enough to lift and rotate a rubber disk submerged in water. This latest breakthrough is part of a wide-ranging U.K. research effort to develop a device not unlike the "sonic screwdriver" made famous by the TV series Doctor Who." We covered the beginning of the sonic screwdriver project by Bristol University engineers a little over a year ago.
First time accepted submitter NGTechnoRobot writes "In a turn for the books the BBC reports that Microsoft has invested $300 million in Barnes and Noble's Nook e-reader. The new Nook reader will integrate with Microsoft's yet-to-be-released Windows 8 operating system. From the article: 'The deal could make Barnes and Noble's Nook e-book reader available to millions of new customers, integrating it with the Microsoft's new Windows 8 operating system. The as-yet unnamed new company will be 82.4% owned by Barnes and Noble, with Microsoft getting a 17.6% stake.' Guess the lawsuit's over, folks."
suraj.sun writes "More than a decade ago, Microsoft execs, led by Chairman Bill Gates, were touting a future where .Net coffee pots, bulletin boards, and refrigerator magnets would be part of homes where smart devices would communicate and inter-operate. Microsoft hasn't given up on that dream. In 2010, Microsoft researchers published a white paper about their work on a HomeOS and a HomeStore — early concepts around a Microsoft Research-developed home-automation system. Those concepts have morphed into prototypes since then, based on a white paper, 'An Operating System for the Home,' (PDF) published this month on the Microsoft Research site. The core of HomeOS is described in the white paper as a kernel that is agnostic to the devices to which it provides access, allowing easy incorporation of new devices and applications. The HomeOS itself 'runs on a dedicated computer in the home (e.g., the gateway) and does not require any modifications to commodity devices,' the paper added. Microsoft has been testing HomeOS in 12 real homes over the past four to eight months, according to the latest updates. As is true with all Microsoft Research projects, there's no guarantee when and if HomeOS will be commercialized, or even be 'adopted' by a Microsoft product group."
nachiketas writes "A study led by Liming Zhou, Research Associate Professor at the Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences at the University of New York concludes that large wind farms could noticeably impact local weather patterns. According to Professor Zhou: 'While converting wind's kinetic energy into electricity, wind turbines modify surface-atmosphere exchanges and transfer of energy, momentum, mass and moisture within the atmosphere. These changes, if spatially large enough, might have noticeable impacts on local to regional weather and climate.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Scientists have discovered a benign algae eating protozoan in a lake near Oslo, Norway whose gene sequence does not match any known organism living on earth today, and this beasty combines genetic characteristics across plant, animal, and fungal kingdoms. It is believed to be the closest living organism to the original organisms that spawned all animal life on earth."
First time accepted submitter TheGift73 writes "I have to admit, when I first read about this I thought it was a hoax, but unfortunately it's true. The UK government is considering placing surface-to-air missiles on residential buildings in London for the duration of the London Olympics. From the article: 'The Ministry of Defence is considering placing surface-to-air missiles on residential flats during the Olympics. An east London estate, where 700 people live, has received leaflets saying a "Higher Velocity Missile system" could be placed on a water tower. A spokesman said the MoD had not yet decided whether to deploy ground based air defence systems during the event.'"
redletterdave writes "While downloading and storing digital media with online service providers has become commonplace — more so than purchasing DVDs and CDs at physical retail stores — it's not very easy to transfer digital files from one individual to another, usually because of copyright laws. Some digital distributors have systems for limiting usage and distribution of their products from the original purchaser to others, but often times, transferring a copyright-protected file from one device to another can result in the file being unplayable or totally inaccessible. Apple believes it has a solution to this issue: A gift-giving platform where users have a standardized way for buying, sending and receiving media files from a provider (iTunes) between multiple electronic devices (iPhones, iPads). The process is simply called, 'Gifting.'"