With the exception of Apple, major tech giants, including Google, Microsoft and Twitter, are asking "the worlds governments to address the practices and laws regulating government surveillance of individuals and access to their information."
While the undersigned companies understand that governments need to take action to protect their citizens safety and security, we strongly believe that current laws and practices need to be reformed.
Consistent with established global norms of free expression and privacy and with the goals of ensuring that government law enforcement and intelligence efforts are rule-bound, narrowly tailored, transparent, and subject to oversight, we hereby call on governments to endorse the following principles and enact reforms that would put these principles into action.
With an headline style called by The New York Times as a "a curiosity gap," news aggregator Upworthy can take mundane subject matter, word them in such a way to generate tremendous amounts of traffic, attention and sharing; however, as The Atlantic's Robinson Meyer explains, the headline style (now being copied by pretty much everyone else) is only half of the equation:
In August, a Facebook corporate blog post hinted that the algorithm that controlled the sites News Feed was changing slightly, such that stories that people did not scroll down far enough to see can reappear near the top [...] if the stories are still getting lots of likes and comments.
It sounds like a little change, but its hard to overstate the importance of the News Feed. The feed is what you see when you log into Facebook.com; its essentially the homepage of the site, and it changes for every user. What dictates how it looks is the elusive News Feed algorithm, a program
The insanely talented LEGO builder Chris McVeigh has on his website complete guides showing you how to build your very own unique LEGO holiday ornaments. For the added advantage, you can order the custom kits from his online store. We featured Chris in the past with his Death Star Christmas Ornament.
Get into the spirit of the season by creating your own Christmas tree ornaments out of Lego®! Simply click the desired ornament to download the building guide as PDF. The guides are typically 20-30MB in size and may take a little while to download; also, depending on your configuration, the building guide may load in your browser rather than downloading to your computer. Please note that many of these models are offered as custom kits via my store: Powerpigs Builds n Things.
University of Michigan Professor Miles Kimball argues that the eerie future portrayed in The Hunger Games is actually far milder than the "unfathomably worse" poverty the real world sees today.
The Capitol, with all of its abundance of food, advanced medical care, and gadgets, is surrounded by a giant high-tech, booby-trapped WALL. The point of the Games is to burrow through the WALL to get to the material paradise of the Capitol without getting killed or caught and sent back to the Districts to starve.
The most important difference between Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games and my variant is that the poverty in the real world is unfathomably worse than the poverty depicted in the series. The only way I know to convey this to my students who have never left the United States is to read to them every word of Nicholas Kristofs New York Times essay, "Where Sweatshops are a Dream."
The Collector shows off these very cool bookmarks designed to match Penguin's All-Time Classics.
There are, of course, some classic novels in existence and Turkish designer, Ethem Onur Bilgiç, has found a rather brilliant way of celebrating these classics (Penguins All-Time Classics to be precise) with some highly engaging and visually impressive bookmarks that are pertinent to the particular classic that youre reading.
The Yule Log 2.0 website, the classic burning log is re-imagined by a variety of artists from around the world in endless loops you can put on full-screen for the family to enjoy.
Yule Log 2.0 re-imagines the traditional Yule Log through a collection of short films by illustrators, animators, directors, and creative coders. First televised in 1966 by WPIX-TV as a gift to viewers, the Log has since burned itself into our hearts.
You know how when you order something online, the delivery company always tries to drop it off home when you're at work and, failing to find you, wants you to pick it up from their main warehouse, inconveniently far away? The Luna - Moonlit Deliveries solves the problem by acting as one of your online delivery locations you send your packages to. When the package arrives, simply select the time at night you'd like it delivered to your home. Sadly, this service is only available in San Francisco but looks like they're planning on expanding. More info here.
If you have ever wondered why the symbol for powering on and off equipment is a broken circle with a line at the top, designer Sofya Yampolsky, together with Warm Gun and 500 Startups take the Gizmodo article The Secret Histories of Those @#$%ing Computer Symbols and explains it all with this infographic.
They are road signs for your daily rituals—the instantly recognized symbols and icons you press, click and ogle countless times a day when you interact with your computer. But how much do you know about their origins?
A very well performed rendition of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody performed to the lyrics of Star Wars.
Press "CC" in the player for the lyrics! Based on "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen and STAR WARS created by George Lucas. Performed by the Star Wars cosplayers of the Arizona geek community!
Microsoft Research's Telepathwords helps you find out how weak your passwords are by trying to guess each character of your password before you type it.
Telepathwords tries to predict the next character of your passwords by using knowledge of:
- common passwords, such as those made public as a result of security breaches
- common phrases, such as those that appear frequently on web pages or in common search queries
- common password-selection behaviors, such as the use of sequences of adjacent keys
Professor Sara Seager of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology planetary science and physics, told a House committee in a hearing that "The chance that there's a planet like Earth out there with life on it is very high".
"The question is: Is there life near here, in our neighborhood of stars? We think the chances are good," she said, answering a question from Rep. Ralph Hall, R-Texas, who asked: "Do you think there's life out there, and are they studying us? And what do they think about New York City?"
Seager was one of three Ph.D.-credentialed witnesses prominent in a scientific field once considered speculative who testified at a hearing called "Astrobiology: The Search for Biosignatures in Our Solar System and Beyond."
A biosignature is a substance -- such as an element, molecule or even a phenomenon -- that provides scientific evidence of past or present life.
Seager studies gases on distant planets that might indicate life.
With 15 days to go and already $10,000 over the funding required, the project to bring the 1.33x Anamorphic Adapter Lens will allow anyone armed with an iPhone 5/5S to shoot widescreen films and photos. Yes, sadly this product is only intended for the iPhone.
Anamorphic lenses were introduced for filmmaking in the 1950's to create an immersive, panoramic experience intended to compete with the widespread adoption of television. In addition to a wide aspect ratio, the anamorphic aesthetic is characterized by horizontal flares, distortion that creates a unique sense of depth or dimensionality, and oval "bokeh" or blur for out-of-focus areas. For these artistic reasons, anamorphic filmmaking has been enjoying a decades-long renaissance. However, due to the complexity and expense of the optics involved, anamorphic lenses are not readily available to most independent filmmakers. We believe there are stories best told with an anamorphic aesthetic, so we have developed
Restoration Hardware (which we featured in the past for having some cool stuff) has taken the old school gramophone horn and matched it to work with either an iPad or iPhone by mounting both on exquisite wood. A neat, if expensive gift, but the purist looking for real stereo sound may want to look at either the Hendekagram Horn Amplifier, or perhaps a real stereo.
In the late 1800s, Thomas Edison introduced the phonograph, and just like that, life had a soundtrack. Our Gramophone borrowed the iconic speaker horn from those early machines to amplify sound with the power of pure physics. Simply set your iPad® in the solid wood dock, and the metal horn will boost its volume by three to four times, with no need for electricity. Just don't tell Mr. Edison.
Created by the insanely talented Samy Kamkar, the idea behind SkyJack is pretty neat: a drone that flies around looking for other drones. When it finds them, it hacks them, wirelessly takes over them, and turns them into "an army of zombie drones under your control."
Today Amazon announced they're planning to use unmanned drones to deliver some packages to customers within five years. Cool! How fun would it be to take over drones, carrying Amazon packages or take over any other drones, and make them my little zombie drones. Awesome.
Using a Parrot AR.Drone 2, a Raspberry Pi, a USB battery, an Alfa AWUS036H wireless transmitter, aircrack-ng, node-ar-drone, node.js, and my SkyJack software, I developed a drone that flies around, seeks the wireless signal of any other drone in the area, forcefully disconnects the wireless connection of the true owner of the target drone, then authenticates with the target drone pretending to be its owner, then feeds commands to
The Moon Express is a fascinating concept that looks at sending multi-mission scalable landers to the moon in order to obtain its vast resources to "enrich and secure our future." The intriguing part is that this isn't a government-backed project, but a privately funded commercial space company.
Most of the elements that are rare on Earth are believed to have originated from space, and are largely on the surface of the Moon. Reaching for the Moon in a new paradigm of commercial economic endeavor is key to unlocking knowledge and resources that will help propel us into our future as a space faring species.
Moon Express will send a series of robotic spacecraft to the Moon for ongoing exploration and commercial development. The opportunity is simply driven by advances in technology. What used to require the unlimited budgets of a superpower, are now within reach of private enterprise.
"When doctors use their knowledge for torture, society is outraged. Why don't the same standards apply to engineers?"
If what the NSA is able to liberally invade people's privacy in part thanks to engineers providing the technology to do it, The Guardian's Abbas El-Zein wants to know why when "doctors or nurses use their knowledge of anatomy in order to torture or conduct medical experiments on helpless subjects, we are rightly outraged" and yet, society doesn't "seem to apply the same standards to engineers."
At one point during the hearing, Mr. Rusbridger was One aspect of Edward Snowden's revelations in the Guardian about the NSA's surveillance activities has received less attention than it should. The algorithms that extract highly specific information from an otherwise impenetrable amount of data have been conceived and built by flesh and blood, engineers with highly sophisticated technical knowledge. Did they know the use to which their algorithms would be put? If not, should they have been mindful of the potential for misuse? Either way, should they be held partly responsible or were they
On the Sheerwind website, an interesting approach to capturing wind, concentrating it through a funnel and using the pressure to turn a turbine. Among the many advantages, cheaper to build and maintain and works with less than 2mph wind speeds.
SheerWinds INVELOX technology captures, accelerates, concentrates, and generates electrical power when wind is at its optimum state of energy. INVELOX replaces traditional wind turbines that use a massive turbine generator systems on top of a tower. Instead of snatching bits of energy from the wind as it passes through the blades of a rotor, the wind is captured with a funnel and directed through a tapering passageway that accelerates its flow. This stream of kinetic energy then drives a generator that is installed safely and economically at ground level. The concentrated wind flow power output rises almost exponentially. Bringing the air-flow from the top of the tower to ground level allows us to generate more power with
According to The Atlantic, the National Library in Norway is planning in digitizing every single Norwegian book and to have it available to the public by mid 2020s.
Yes. All. The. Books. In Norwegian, at least. Hundreds of thousands of them. Every book in the library's holdings.
By law, "all published content, in all media, [must] be deposited with the National Library of Norway," so when the library is finished scanning, the entire record of a people's language and literature will be machine-readable and sitting in whatever we call the cloud in 15 years.
If you happen to be in Norway, as measured by your IP address, you will be able to access all 20th-century works, even those still under copyright. Non-copyrighted works from all time periods will be available for download.
The Guardian's Editor Explains Intimidation Tactics from U.S. and U.K. Governments After Showden Leaks
On The New York Times, Ravi Somaiya reports on the recent Commons Home Affairs Committee in London on Tuesday, which heard the testimony of Alan Rusbridger, editor of The Guardian. Rusbringer faced "aggressive questioning from lawmakers, particularly those of the ruling Conservative Party," with accusations that the newspaper had handled "the material irresponsibly, putting it at risk of interception by hostile governments and others." The editor's own allegiance to his native country was put in to question as well.
At one point during the hearing, Mr. Rusbridger was asked, to his evident surprise, whether he loved his country. He answered yes, noting that he valued its democracy and free press. After Mr. Rusbridgers testimony, a senior British police officer, Cressida Dick, refused to rule out prosecutions as part of an investigation into the matter.
Since the revelations, newspapers, particularly those that have dealt with Mr. Snowdens material, have also
Led by Andy Rubin, "the engineer who spearheaded the development of Android," Google is reportedly planning in having "a major role in making robotics happen. Not just robotic cars, but actual robots." To start this process, Google has acquired seven robotics companies. From the article in The New York Times:
Mr. Rubin has secretly acquired an array of robotics and artificial intelligence start-up companies in the United States and Japan.
Among the companies are Schaft, a small team of Japanese roboticists who recently left Tokyo University to develop a humanoid robot, and Industrial Perception, a start-up here that has developed computer vision systems and robot arms for loading and unloading trucks. Also acquired were Meka and Redwood Robotics, makers of humanoid robots and robot arms in San Francisco, and Bot & Dolly, a maker of robotic camera systems that were recently used to create special effects in the movie Gravity. A related firm, Autofuss, which focuses on