joshuarrrr writes "When the RMS Titanic scraped an iceberg on the night of 14 April 1912, its wireless operators began sending distress calls on one of the world's most advanced radios: a 5-kilowatt rotary spark transmitter that on a clear night could send signals from the middle of the Atlantic to New York City or London. What the radio operators lacked, however, were international protocols for wireless communications at sea. At the time, US law only required ships to have one operator on board, and he was usually employed by the wireless companies, not the ship itself. On the 100th anniversary of the Titanic, IEEE Spectrum looks at how the tragedy accelerated the improvement of communications at sea."
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Oldcynic writes "The Canadian mint has allowed 500 developers to enter a contest to create a new digital currency. The currency would allow micro payments using electronic devices. From the article: 'Less than a week after the government announced the penny’s impending death, the Mint quietly unveiled its digital currency called MintChip. Still in the research and development phase, MintChip will ultimately let people pay each other directly using smartphones, USB sticks, computers, tablets and clouds. The digital currency will be anonymous and good for small transactions — just like cash, the Mint says. To make sure its technology meets the gold standard in a world where digital transactions are gaining steam, the Mint is holding a contest for software developers to create applications using the MintChip.'" It looks like the Canadian Mint might have a bit of Sweden envy.
chicksdaddy writes "Threatpost is reporting on a critical security flaw in the latest version of Backtrack Linux, a popular distribution that is used by security professionals for penetration testing. The previously undiscovered privilege escalation hole was discovered by a student taking part in an InfoSec Institute Ethical Hacking class, according to the post on the group's Web site. 'The student in our ethical hacking class that found the 0day was using backtrack and decided to fuzz the program, as well as look through the source code,' wrote Jack Koziol, the Security Program Manager at the InfoSec Institute. 'He found that he could overwrite config settings and gain a root shell.' An unofficial patch is available from InfoSec Institute. Koziol said that an official patch is being tested now and is expected shortly."
alphadogg writes "A Japanese bank this week said it will introduce ATMs that use palm scanners in place of cash cards. Ogaki Kyoristu Bank said the new machines will allow customers to withdraw or deposit cash and check their balances by placing their hand on a scanner and entering their birthday plus a pin number. The ATMs will initially be installed at 10 banks, as well as a drive-through ATM and two mobile banks. Ogaiki announced the new ATMs with the slogan 'You are your cash card.'"
samazon writes "Online retail shop Etsy announced a living-expenses grant program for women interested in attending the free Hacker School 3-month programming course. The program is hosted in various New York locations (NYU and Spotify have both hosted sessions) and not only is Etsy offering $5,000 grants to ten women who are accepted into the program, they're also hosting the summer course, and have offered enough space to double the class size to 40 students."
George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer who shot Trayvon Martin, was charged with second-degree murder. He faces up to life in prison if convicted in the shooting. From the article: "Special prosecutor Angela Corey announced the charges but would not discuss how she arrived at them or disclose other details of her investigation, saying: 'That's why we try cases in court.' Second-degree murder is typically brought in cases when there is a fight or other confrontation that results in death and but does [not] involve a premeditated plan to kill. Corey would not disclose Zimmerman's whereabouts for his safety but said that he will be in court within 24 hours."
snydeq writes "J. Peter Bruzzese questions whether Microsoft receives unfair criticism in the media, while Apple, Facebook, and Google seem to get away from missteps unscathed. 'I've noticed an unfair, ongoing trend: If Microsoft does something a little off, it gets bashed into the ground for it. But if Google, Facebook, or Apple (all three of which can be categorized, like Microsoft, as The Man in their own rights) missteps, it generally gets mild reprimands and even support from the media and those drinking the Kool-Aid.' Do you feel any inherent media bias in its coverage of the tech industry?"
h00manist writes "Nicholas Merrill ran a New York based ISP and got tired of federal 'information requests.' He is now planning an ISP which would be built from the ground up for privacy. Everything encrypted, maximum technical and legal resistance to information requests. Merrill has formed an advisory board with members including Sascha Meinrath from the New America Foundation; former NSA technical director Brian Snow; and Jacob Appelbaum from the Tor Project. Kickstarter-like IndieGoGo has a project page."
sciencehabit writes in with a link about a group of students who have come up with an interesting idea about how to fill potholes. "Non-Newtonian fluids are the stars of high school science demonstrations. In one example, an ooey-gooey batter made from corn starch and water oozes like a liquid when moved slowly. But punch it, or run across a giant puddle of it, and it becomes stiff like a solid. Now, a group of college students has figured out a new use for the strange stuff: filler for potholes."
wiredmikey writes "HP has warned of a security vulnerability associated with its ProCurve 5400 zl switches that contain compact flash cards that the company says may be infected with malware. The company warned that using one of the infected compact flash cards in a computer could result in the system being compromised. According to HP, the potential threat exists on HP 5400 zl series switches purchased after April 30, 2011 with certain serial numbers listed in the security advisory. This issue once again brings attention to the security of the electronics supply chain, which has been a hot topic as of late."
stoolpigeon writes "It is a well known fact that the United States has an obesity problem. There are numerous causes that ultimately lead to an imbalance in the ratio between the number of calories taken in to the number of calories burned. The size of the American diet industry is another good indicator of how widespread the problem has become. Clay Johnson believes that the issues the U.S. has with food have become mirrored in how we consume information." Read below for the rest of stoolpigeon's review.
techfun89 writes "Ever wished that you could defeat Bowser literally right from your coffee table with giant built in buttons? Well, your dreams have come true with the fully-functional Nintendo Controller Coffee Table. This is the creation of Charles Lushear that has combined old school entertainment with maple wood and craftsmanship. Simply plug into an existing classic NES system and go to town. The table also features a removable glass top with retractable cord to use the furniture as just a table when you are done playing Mario."
An anonymous reader writes "Posting as AC for obvious reasons. The company I work for put an app in an app store. The marketing people think it isn't selling very well, so they sent out an email asking people to get on all their social media sites and friend or like the app to build up traffic. The thing is, most of the employees have not used the app, but we are being asked to say that we like it. We just saw stories about companies not being allowed to ask employees or interview candidates for access to social sites, but what does it mean when a company asks employees to astroturf? Will the marketing or HR people look at who has astroturfed, and who has not at raise time? How would you deal with this?"
joemite writes "On early Wednesday, Nokia said it had found a software bug in the new Lumia 900 smartphone, its big hope to take on Apple's iPhone, and was effectively giving the model away until it is fixed. It is offering anyone who has bought a Lumia 900 phone, or who buys one by April 21, a $100 US credit to their AT&T bill. The operator sells the phone for $99.99 with a two-year contract. Both Microsoft and Nokia still have big hopes for this phone. The bug apparently causes a random data connection drop. Nokia plans to push a patch the phone later in April."
First time accepted submitter TheSeventh writes "Simpsons creator Matt Groening has revealed the location of the real Springfield: It's in Oregon. In an interview with Smithsonian magazine, Groening credits the name to the hit TV show Father Knows Best. The show 'took place in the town of Springfield, and I was thrilled because I imagined that it was the town next to Portland, my hometown,' he says. 'When I grew up, I realized it was just a fictitious name. I also figured out that Springfield was one of the most common names for a city in the U.S. In anticipation of the success of the show, I thought, 'This will be cool; everyone will think it's their Springfield.' And they do.'"