New submitter egparedes points out a post dissecting webOS and highlighting the things it did right, in the hopes that developers for other mobile operating systems will use them as inspiration. Quoting: "webOS isn't quite dead yet. It's just being open-sourced, which, when it happens to commercial software, often turns out to be the digital equivalent of being reanimated as a walking corpse in a George Romero movie. ... Of course, it's not assured that this is the end of webOS. Maybe open-sourcing it will be the best thing that ever happened to webOS. But maybe it just means that HP doesn't care anymore, and that webOS won't receive much attention anymore. This would be unfortunate, because webOS is one of the few current mobile operating systems that are actually a joy to use. It's been hurt by HP's incompetent management, rather than any egregious faults of its own. The least we can do now is to keep its best ideas alive, even if webOS itself won't make it."
snydeq writes "Deep End's Paul Venezia sees few business IT situations that could make good use of full cloud storage services, outside of startups. 'As IT continues in a zigzag path of figuring out what to do with this "cloud" stuff, it seems that some companies are getting ahead of themselves. In particular, the concept of outsourcing storage to a cloud provider puzzles me. I can see some benefits in other cloud services (though I still find the trust aspect difficult to reconcile), but full-on cloud storage offerings don't make sense outside of some rare circumstances.'"
An anonymous reader writes "In hopes of protecting the children of California from the ravages of violent video games, then governor Arnold Schwarzenegger attempted to push through a law that would fine retailers $1000 for each infraction of selling a violent game to an underage child. However, in the wake of appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court, which struck down the law, California is now forced to pay the legal fees of all parties to the tune of two million dollars."
waderoush writes "Google wants to 'organize the world's information,' but there isn't a marketplace or a category of knowledge it can organize without remaking it in the process. A case in point: public transportation. Largely outside the media spotlight, Google has wrought a quiet revolution over the last five years in the way commuters get schedule information for local buses and trains, and the way public transit agencies communicate with their riders. GTFS and GTFS-realtime, which Google invented, have become the de facto world standards for sharing transit data, and have opened up space for a whole ecosystem of third-party transit app developers. This in-depth article looks at the history of GTFS and Google's efforts to give people information (largely via their smartphones) that can help them plan their commutes on public transportation — and, not incidentally, drive a lot less."
jpwilliams writes "This tiny projector can use any surface you have on hand to project an image. Using a webcam, it adapts to the surface, not just by adjusting keystone, but also following that surface and displaying different amounts of information (in certain cases). The guy in the video also uses a coffee mug as an app changer."
ndogg writes with news that Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum has counterattacked those critical of conservative views on science, saying that they're 'anti-science' themselves. From a CBS report: "In his remarks Monday, Santorum went beyond his usual discussion of the importance of increasing domestic energy production to deliver a blistering attack on environmental activists. He said global warming claims are based on 'phony studies,' and that climate change science is little more than 'political science.' His views are not 'anti-science' as Democrats claim, Santorum said. 'When it comes to the management of the Earth, they are the anti-science ones. We are the ones who stand for science, and technology, and using the resources we have to be able to make sure that we have a quality of life in this country and (that we) maintain a good and stable environment,' he said to applause, and cited local ordinances to reduce coal dust pollution in Pittsburgh during the heyday of coal mining."
OverTheGeicoE writes "The Electronic Privacy Information Center has been examining the White House's proposed budget for Department of Homeland Security for 2013, and they point out that it doesn't include any money for additional airport body scanners for TSA. Did the recent scandal involving TSA workers targeting women for scans make the White House realize that TSA is a national embarrassment? Does the executive branch finally understand the questionable safety and effectiveness of these devices? Or does DHS just think it has enough scanners once TSA installs the 250 new scanners in this year's budget?"
An anonymous reader writes "Paul Tyma, creator of Mailinator, writes about a greedy algorithm to analyze the huge amount of email Mailinator receives and finds ways to reduce its memory footprint by 90%. Quoting: 'I grabbed a few hundred megs of the Mailinator stream and ran it through several compressors. Mostly just stuff I had on hand 7z, bzip, gzip, etc. Venerable zip reduced the file by 63%. Not bad. Then I tried the LZMA/2 algorithm (7z) which got it down by 85%! Well. OK! Article is over! Everyone out! 85% is good enough. Actually — there were two problems with that result. One was that, LZMA, like many compression algorithms build their dictionary based on a fixed dataset. As it compresses it builds a dictionary of common sequences and improves and uses that dictionary to compress everything thereafter. That works great on static files — but Mailinator is not a static file. Its a big, honking, several gigabyte cache of ever changing email. If I compressed a million emails, and then some user wanted to read email #502,922 — I'd have to "seek" through the preceding half-million or so to build the dictionary in order to decompress it. That's probably not feasible.'"
Zothecula writes "If you thought WikiLeaks was a disruptive idea, the transparency grenade is going to blow you away. This tiny bit of hardware hidden under the shell shaped like a classic Soviet F1 hand grenade allows you to leak information from anywhere just by pulling a pin. The device is essentially a small computer with a powerful wireless antenna and a microphone. Following 'detonation,' the grenade intercepts local network traffic and captures audio data, then makes the information immediately available online."
An anonymous reader sends this quote from an article at Txchnologist: "The spectacle of a booster rocket lifting off a launch pad atop a mass of brilliant flames and billowing smoke is an iconic image of the Space Age. Such powerful chemical rockets are needed to break the bonds of Earth's gravity and send spacecraft into orbit. But once a vehicle has progressed beyond low-earth orbit chemical rockets are not necessarily the best way to get around outer space. That's because chemical propulsion systems require such large quantities of fuel to generate high speeds, there is little room for payload. As a result rocket scientists are increasingly turning to electric rockets, which accelerate propellants out the back end using solar-powered electromagnetic fields rather than chemical reactions. The electric rockets use so much less propellant that the entire spacecraft can be much more compact, which enables them to scale down the original launch boosters."
ananyo writes "Even in death, the world's most accomplished parrot continues to amaze. The final experiments involving Alex – a grey parrot trained to count objects – have just been published (abstract). They show that Alex could accurately add together Arabic numerals to a sum of eight, and correctly add three small sets of objects, putting his mathematical abilities on par with (and maybe beyond) those of chimpanzees and other non-human primates."
caseih writes "Damaging the embedded chip in your passport is now grounds for denying you the ability to travel in at least one airport in the U.S. Though the airport can slide the passport through the little number reader as easily as they can wave it in front of an RFID reader, they chose to deny a young child access to the flight, in essence denying the whole family. The child had accidentally sat on his passport, creasing the cover, and the passport appeared worn. The claim has been made that breaking the chip in the passport shows that you disrespect the privilege of owning a passport, and that the airport was justified in denying this child from using the passport."
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The Bad Astronomer writes "Last week, an anonymous source leaked several internal documents from the Heartland Institute, a non-profit think tank known for anti-global-warming rhetoric. The leaker has come forward: Peter Gleick, scientist and journalist. In his admission, he cites his own breach of ethics, but also maintains that all the documents are real. This includes the potentially embarrassing '2012 Climate Strategy' document stating that Heartland wants to 'dissuade teachers from teaching science.' Heartland still claims this document is a forgery, but there is no solid evidence either way."