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Books

Book Review: The Information Diet 102

Posted by samzenpus
from the read-all-about-it dept.
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.
Nintendo

Fully Functional Nintendo Controller Coffee Table 49

Posted by samzenpus
from the use-a-coaster dept.
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."
Transportation

Interview With TSA Screener Reveals 'Fatal Flaws' 582

Posted by Soulskill
from the my-toothpaste-is-not-a-deadly-weapon-you-jerks dept.
OverTheGeicoE writes "Jonathan Corbett, creator of the video showing that TSA's body scanners can't see metal objects on our sides, has a new video out. This time he's interviewing an experienced TSA screener identified only as 'Jennifer,' and her allegations point to 'fatal flaws' in TSA and its procedures. Worse, TSA's screeners are well aware of these flaws. According to Jennifer, body scanners frequently fail to detect objects on passengers, and this flaw is well known to the screeners on the job. People with visible items in their pockets can pass through scanners without detection, even when the items are simulated weapons or explosives. Jennifer also alleges that training for screeners is severely lacking. Screeners are directed to operate body scanners, even the X-ray scanners, without any training whatsoever. The manual of standard operating procedures often can't be found at the checkpoints, let alone read. Jennifer was so alarmed by what she experienced that she wrote her congressional representative to complain. She was ultimately fired as a result, effective yesterday."
Businesses

Ask Slashdot: At What Point Has a Kickstarter Project Failed? 247

Posted by Soulskill
from the when-people-get-angry-on-the-internet dept.
skywiseguy writes "I have only used Kickstarter to back a single project so far, but one of the backers of that project pointed us to a project promising video capable glasses which was once one of the top 10 highest funded projects in Kickstarter history. After reading through the comments, it is obvious that the project has not met its expected deadline of 'Winter 2011,' but the project team rarely gives any updates with concrete information. All emails sent to them by backers get a form letter in reply, they routinely delete negative comments from their Facebook page, and apparently very soon after the project was funded, they posted pictures of themselves on a tropical beach with the tagline, 'We are not on a beach in Thailand.' Their early promotions were featured on Engadget and other tech sites but since the project was funded they've rarely, if ever, communicated in more than a form letter. So at what point can a project like this be considered to have failed? And if you had backed a project with this kind of lack of communication from the project team, what would you consider to be the best course of action? Disclaimer: I have not backed this project, but I am very interested in funding Kickstarter projects and I do not want to get caught sending money to a less than reputable project. According to the above project's backers, Kickstarter claims to have no mechanism for refunding money to backers of failed projects and no way to hold the project team accountable to their backers. This does not seem like a healthy environment for someone who is averse to giving their money to scam artists."
Medicine

McAfee Claims Successful Insulin Pump Attack 196

Posted by Soulskill
from the as-if-we-needed-more-biological-vulnerabilities dept.
judgecorp writes "Intel security subsidiary McAfee has claimed a successful wireless attack on insulin pumps that diabetics rely on to control blood sugar. While previous attempts to attack insulin pumps have met with mixed success, McAfee's Barnaby Jack says he has persuaded an insulin pump to deliver 45 days worth of insulin in one go, without triggering the pump's vibrating alert safety feature. All security experts still say that surgical implants are a benefit overall."
Censorship

Iran Plans To Unplug the Internet, Launch Its Own 'Clean' Alternative 301

Posted by timothy
from the good-thing-they're-not-western-imperialists dept.
suraj.sun writes "Iran topped a recent list of repressive regimes that most aggressively restrict Internet freedom. The list, published by Reporters Without Borders, is a part of the 2012 edition of the organization's Enemies of the Internet report. One of the details addressed in that report is the Iranian government's bizarre plan to create its own 'clean' Internet. The proposed system, an insular nation-wide intranet that is isolated from the regular Internet, will be heavily regulated by the government. In addition to developing its own Intranet system, the Iranian government is also creating its own custom email service and a national search engine called Ya Haq (Oh Just One) that is intended to replace Google. In order to obtain an account on the state-approved mail service, users will have to register their identity with the government." The "clean Internet" part, at least, was also mentioned earlier this year; Iran is one of the recurring champions when it comes to such dubious honors.
Patents

Woz Fears Stifling of Startups Due to Patent Wars 300

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the innovation-is-verboten dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak says that Apple and other tech companies' patent hoarding could prevent entrepreneurs doing the same thing that he and Steve Jobs did in starting a computer company in a garage. Woz also says the jury is still out on Tim Cook as the right CEO to lead Apple forward after Steve Jobs." He still gives Apple a bit of a break: "'Apple is the good guy on the block of all of them,' he says. 'It is creating so much and is so successful and it is not just following the formulas of other companies – [Apple is] totally establishing new markets that didn't exist.'"
The Military

New Tech Makes Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Verifiable 93

Posted by Soulskill
from the except-our-super-secret-stealth-nukes dept.
Harperdog writes "In 1999, Senate Republicans rejected the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty on the grounds that it wasn't verifiable. The National Academy of Sciences feels this is no longer true, due to new technology. Quoting: 'Technologies for detecting clandestine testing in four environments — underground, underwater, in the atmosphere, and in space — have improved significantly in the past decade. In particular, seismology, the most effective approach for monitoring underground nuclear explosion testing, can now detect underground explosions well below 1 kiloton in most regions. A kiloton is equivalent to 1,000 tons of chemical high explosive. The nuclear weapons that were used in Japan in World War II had yields in the range of 10 to 20 kilotons.'"
Security

FBI Says Smart Meter Hacks Are Likely To Spread 189

Posted by Soulskill
from the ignorance-is-bliss dept.
tsu doh nimh writes "A series of hacks perpetrated against so-called 'smart meter' installations over the past several years may have cost a single U.S. electric utility hundreds of millions of dollars annually, the FBI said in cyber intelligence bulletin first revealed today. The law enforcement agency said this is the first known report of criminals compromising the hi-tech meters, and that it expects this type of fraud to spread across the country as more utilities deploy smart grid technology."
It's funny.  Laugh.

IT Calls of Shame 256

Posted by samzenpus
from the is-your-screen-on? dept.
snydeq writes "InfoWorld's JR Raphael offers up six memorable tales of trouble and triumph from the tech support desk. 'Working in tech support is a bit like teaching preschool: You're an educator who provides reassurance in troubling times. You share knowledge and help others overcome their obstacles. And some days, it feels like all you hear is screaming, crying, and incoherent babble.' Pronoun problems, IT ghosts, the runaway mouse — when it comes to computers, the customer isn't always right."
The Military

America's Secret Underground Ice Fortresses 134

Posted by samzenpus
from the beneath-the-mountains-of-madness dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "With the advent of long-range bombers and intercontinental ballistic missiles in the 1950s, it was inevitable that military attention would be drawn to remote but strategic arctic regions. Now Defense Tech reports on Project Iceworm — America's secret cold war plan to build a network of underground missile bases under the Greenland ice cap capable of launching 'Iceman' ICBM missiles at Russia. The first base, 'Camp Century,' built 800 miles from the North Pole, contained 21 steel-arch covered trenches; the longest of which was 1,100-feet long, 26-feet wide and 26-feet high. The massive base, constructed to house 200 troops, was officially built to conduct scientific research. But the real reason was apparently to test out the feasibility of burying nuclear missiles below the ice, since Greenland is so much closer to Russia than the ICBM fields located in the continental U.S. If fully implemented, the project would cover an area of 52,000 square miles with clusters of missile launch centers spaced four miles apart. New tunnels were to be dug every year, so that after 5 years there would be thousands of firing positions, among which the several hundred missiles could be rotated. Camp Century was powered by a portable nuclear power plant designated PM-2A, the first of the U.S. Army's portable reactors to actually produce power, and was rated at two megawatts of electrical power, also supplying steam to operate the well that provided water for the troops. The Army team assembled the prefabricated reactor in 77 days, and just nine hours after fuel elements containing forty-three pounds of enriched Uranium-235 were inserted into the reactor, electricity was produced. Maintaining the tunnels at Camp Century required time-consuming and laborious trimming and removal of more than 120 tons of snow and ice each month. The camp, begun in 1959, was abandoned for good in 1966 and it is anticipated that the Greenland icecap, in constant motion, will completely destroy all the tunnels over the course of the coming years."
Android

Technology For the Masses: Churches Going Hi-Tech 249

Posted by samzenpus
from the open-up-your-pdf-and-sing dept.
theodp writes "More and more, reports the Chicago Tribune, churches are embracing the use of tablets and smartphones during services. At Trinity United Church of Christ on Chicago's South Side, the Rev. Otis Moss III preaches from his iPad. 'There was a time in the church when the Gutenberg Bible was introduced,' notes early adopter Moss. 'There was a severe concern among ministers who were afraid the printed page would be such a distraction if you put it in the hands of people in worship.' Tech-savvy churchgoers are also on board. 'In the service, when they say to pull out Bibles, I pull that phone out,' Ted Allen Miller said of using his Android smartphone at Willow Creek Community Church."
Movies

How James Cameron Pumped Volume Into Titanic 289

Posted by timothy
from the really-big-hose dept.
MrSeb writes with ExtremeTech's account of how director (and deep sea explorer) James Cameron spent a reported $18 million converting his blockbuster movie, Titantic, to 3D. The article "looks at the primary way of managing depth in 3D films (parallax), how you add depth to a movie that was originally filmed in 2D, and some of the software (both computer and human-brain) difficulties that Cameron had to overcome in the more-than-two-year process to convert Titanic into 3D."
Businesses

Will Kickstarter Launch a Gaming Renaissance? 170

Posted by timothy
from the pair-a-dimes-shift dept.
jfruh writes "Most gamers probably know that legendary game designer Tim Schafer turned to Kickstarter to help raise money a new adventure game; aiming for $400,000, he managed to raise more than $3 million. But you might not know that a host of other game projects are doing well on the crowdfunding site, with creators ranging from industry famous to unknown. By bypassing corporate funding and appealing directly to their audience, these developers are sparking a renaissance in quirky, personal games that probably wouldn't be backed by a big label looking for a sure-fire hit."
Android

Google Earns $2 Per Handset; Apple, $575 366

Posted by timothy
from the rough-figures-and-harsh dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "While Apple generates more than $575 in profit for every iOS device, and according to estimates in 2007 Apple earned more than $800 on every iPhone sold through ATT, Horace Dediu reports that Android generated less than $550m in revenues for Google between 2008 and the end of 2011, earning only $1.70 per year, per Android device — explaining how Apple is sucking up two thirds of the profit in the mobile phone business. Dediu's starting point is a settlement offer Google made to Oracle of $2.8 million and 0.515% of Android revenues on an ongoing basis. His assumption is that those numbers represent Google's revenue from Android to date. 'If this is the case,' writes Dediu, 'We have a significant breakthrough in understanding the economics of Android and the overall mobile platform strategy of Google.' Of course profitability is not the only reason Google is in the mobile phone business. 'P&L considerations were not the only (or even at all) factors in investment for Google. Having a hedge against hegemony of potential rivals, having a means to learn and develop new business and having a role in defining the post-PC computing paradigm are all probably bigger considerations than profitability,' writes Dediu. 'My take is that [Android] is not a bad business. But it's also not a great one.'"

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