GPS Navigation Without Satellites

#Technology

Wed, Apr 1st, 2015 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

According to Extreme Tech, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is currently working on developing a new GPS system that "doesn’t depend on satellites and is resistant to jamming."

In the paper, DARPA hints at how it’s going to develop a positioning system without the use of satellites: “The need to be able to operate effectively in areas where GPS is inaccessible, unreliable or potentially denied by adversaries has created a demand for alternative precision timing and navigation capabilities. To address this need, DARPA is investing in radically new technologies that have the potential to deliver GPS-quality position, navigation and timing information for military systems, including novel inertial measurement devices that use cold-atom interferometry; chip-scale self-calibrating gyroscopes, accelerometers and clocks; and pulsed-laser-enabled atomic clocks and microwave sources.”

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"The on-demand world isn't about sharing at all. It's about being served. This is an economy of shut-ins."

#Internet

Tue, Mar 31st, 2015 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

The problem with the on-demand economy is that it is creating a society of shut-in individuals which puts to question the social in social media. There is also the issue of a whole new social class system being created as a result.

In 1998, Carnegie Mellon researchers warned that the internet could make us into hermits. They released a study monitoring the social behavior of 169 people making their first forays online. The web-surfers started talking less with family and friends, and grew more isolated and depressed. “We were surprised to find that what is a social technology has such anti-social consequences,” said one of the researchers at the time. “And these are the same people who, when asked, describe the Internet as a positive thing.”

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8-Bit Instant Photo Gun

gbg-8

#Art

Mon, Mar 30th, 2015 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

Moscow-based media artist Dmitry Morozov showcases his gdg-8, an 8-bit instant photo gun. He does some neat stuff.

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IKEA's Humanitarian Shelter Enters Production

"Better Shelter"

#Technology

Mon, Mar 30th, 2015 10:00 by capnasty NEWS

After extensive testing in Ethiopia, IKEA's Better Shelter has entered production, with 10,000 units ordered by the UN refugee agency. The aptly-named shelter is designed to last three years, which is two and a half years longer than current shelters, and is packed much like you would expect out of regular IKEA furniture.

The crisis has put considerable strain on refugee camps, but the Ikea Foundation, Ikea's philanthropic arm, hopes the Better Shelter could make life a little easier for those staying there. Measuring about 188 square feet, each shelter accommodates five people and includes a rooftop solar panel that powers a built-in lamp and USB outlet. The structure ships just like any other piece of Ikea furniture, with insulated, lightweight polymer panels, pipes, and wires packed into a cardboard box. According to Ikea, it only takes about four…

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Extinguish Fire with Sounds

Extinguisher uses low-frequency sound waves to kill a fire

#Products

Sun, Mar 29th, 2015 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

NYMAG showcases a fire extinguisher that fights fire with sound-waves.

Here’s how: By blasting a flame with low-frequency sound waves in the 30 to 60 hertz range, the extinguisher separates oxygen from fuel. “The pressure wave is going back and forth, and that agitates where the air is. That specific space is enough to keep the fire from reigniting,” Tran told the Washington Post.

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Gender Swap Using VR Headsets

The Machine to Be Another

#Science

Sat, Mar 28th, 2015 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

The Machine to be Another is a social experiment where two people can virtually swap bodies and feel themselves.

Gender Swap is an experiment that uses themachinetobeanother.org/ system as a platform for embodiment experience (a neuroscience technique in which users can feel themselves like if they were in a different body). In order to create the brain illusion we use the immersive Head Mounted Display Oculus Rift, and first-person cameras. To create this perception, both users have to synchronize their movements. If one does not correspond to the movement of the other, the embodiment experience does not work. It means that both users have to constantly agree on every movement they make. Through out this experiment, we aim to investigate issues like Gender Identity, Queer Theory, feminist technoscience, Intimacy and Mutual Respect.

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The Other Self-Driving Car

#Driving

Fri, Mar 27th, 2015 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

Megan Geuss of Ars Technica goes for a ride on the other self-driving car, an Audi SQ5 equipped with technology from automotive components maker Delphi. The idea is to make a component that car manufacturers can simply install in their vehicles to provide them with self-driving functionality.

To demonstrate its progress in the self-driving car scene, Delphi asked Ars to come down and do a ride-along in its tricked out Audi SQ5—which the company will send on the world’s first autonomous-vehicle cross-country road trip next week. The trip is not a stunning announcement, but an indicator of just how far autonomous vehicles have come. Until just a few years ago, self-driving cars were the purview of science fiction. Even just last year, you could probably count the number of people who had been in a self driving car in a short tally, and automakers were heralding stop-and-go cruise control…

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Star Wars Done 80s-style Japanimation

"Tie Fighter"

#StarWars

Thu, Mar 26th, 2015 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

Currently making the rounds on the interwebs, this video by the very talented Mighty Otaking takes Star Wars from the perspective of the Empire and draws it in a style reminiscent of old-school Japanimation. Above, the poster. More info here.

Don't support me on Patreon, because I don't have one! And don't donate to my Kickstarter, because I don't have one of those either. Instead, if you enjoyed this, give someone at your workplace, uni, school or whatever a random bar of chocolate or can or Coke or something. Seriously, it'll probably make their day.
That would totally make my day.

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"Paid work for human beings could become a lot scarcer -- and soon."

-- Katrin Bennhold, The New York Times

#Future

Wed, Mar 25th, 2015 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

With automation getting better and smarter, rendering even the most unsuspecting of jobs obsolete, the New York Times' Katrin Bennhold wants to know what happens when all the jobs are gone.

It is not just truck drivers and tax preparers who risk losing their jobs, economists say. Robots can pick strawberries, distinguishing the ripe ones by taking hundreds of digital photographs a second, and algorithms apparently make more objective court decisions than human judges, who according to a study in Israel are more lenient after a food break.

This hyperdigital age is also creating some new jobs for humans. Among the 10 fastest-growing job descriptions identified by Dr. Frey were big data architect and iOS developer. But over all, he said, “It seems that job creation is not going to keep pace with automation.”

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SpaceX Places All of its Photos in the Public Domain

#Photography

Tue, Mar 24th, 2015 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

Motherboard reports that SpaceX's Elon Musk has created a Flickr account with more than 100 photos placed in the public domain. Above, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft launched from Cape Canaveral.

“We don’t talk about the public domain too often, but there are no restrictions, which is how it is for most NASA photos,” Parker Higgins, a copyright expert with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told me in a podcast we recorded about the subject. “You can use them for literally whatever you want… I saw an old ad the other day and the ad was for a chocolate bar that said it was ‘out of this world,’ and then it had a picture of space. They didn’t have to clear that with anyone.”

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The 24 Carrot Cake

#Food

Mon, Mar 23rd, 2015 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

Instructables really covers every kind of topic, including baking: with the 24 Carrot Cake you'll learn how to make a delicious carrot cake that looks like a very realistic gold ingot.

This is the MOST EXPENSIVE CAKE IN THE WORLD! Well ok, not really, but my 24 Carrot Cake is definitely the most expensive LOOKING cake and it tastes like a million bucks, so I count that as close.

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San Francisco's Luxury Bus Service

#Travel

Mon, Mar 23rd, 2015 10:00 by capnasty NEWS

Showcasing just how ridiculous things have become in San Francisco, The Atlantic introduces Leap Transit, a private bus service for commuters that provides a greeter, WiFi and fancy coffees for $6 per trip.

After a couple years of testing, the private line opened this week for service between the Marina District and downtown. It's sort of the anti-Muni for the young tech crowd. It looks chic and spacious, but taking a $6 ride means downloading the Leap app, creating an account, uploading a photo (required), entering credit-card information ... and that's as far as I got, because I'm fine taking Muni.

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Simulating Voices by 3D-Printing Vocal Tracts and Larynx Through DNA-Based Predictions

#Science

Sun, Mar 22nd, 2015 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

By collecting DNA samples belonging to philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), researchers were able to create a 3D printed "vocal tract and larynx" using DNA-based prediction, allowing for the simulation of his voice.

The application of 3D printing in tissue engineering has enabled new methods for the fabrication of organs and body parts using inkjet techniques. Synthetic biopolymers have been developed and combined with nanofibers and nano-structured particles to fabricate materials with selective bioactivity, as well as physical and chemical properties. Since 2014, the synthesis of biopolymers can be computer-tailored to spatially encode gene properties.

Bio-measures inferred from Nietzsche’s voice profile data were used to build a 3D model of a vocal tract and larynx through which artificial voiced sounds were organically computed. The M-shaped model was 3D-printed with biopolymer-based composites (collagen, chondroitin sulphate, chitin) at subcellular resolution. Tissue-engineered constructs integrated phonatory aerodynamics, muscle contractions, viscoelastic properties, thermal agitation, glottal…

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Send Someone You Hate a Bag of Dicks to Eat

Dicks by Mail

#Internet

Sat, Mar 21st, 2015 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

The Dicks by Mail service lets you send a bag of dicks to someone you hate. The service is anonymous and the dicks edible.

Remember that look of joy you got on your face on Christmas morning when you went downstairs and unwrapped a big bag of socks?
Us neither.

Dicks by Mail is the easy way to send that feeling to anyone in your life that deserves that feeling of sadness, disappointment and betrayal.

In only a few minutes you can send a literal Bag of Dicks to that special asshole in your life.
You know the one.
The annoying guy at the office. Your Ex who decided to see other people before telling you.
The Teacher that doesn't care about your dead grandma. The person that murdered your grandma.

And, of course, there's always glitter.

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"If current usage trends don’t change, the world will have only 60 per cent of the water it needs in 2030."

UN warns of upcoming water crisis

#Environment

Sat, Mar 21st, 2015 10:00 by capnasty NEWS

The UN warns that, unless the world acts now, the predicted shortage of water could mean a collapse of industries and ecosystems, an increase in poverty, and the rise of violent conflicts for access to the resource.

In many countries, including India, water use is largely unregulated and often wasteful. Pollution of water is often ignored and unpunished. At least 80 per cent of India’s population relies on groundwater for drinking to avoid bacteria-infested surface waters.

In agriculture-intense India, where studies show some aquifers are being depleted at the world’s fastest rates, the shortfall has been forecast at 50 per cent or even higher. Climate change is expected to make the situation worse, as higher temperatures and more erratic weather patterns could disrupt rainfall.

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How to Grow a Tiny Forest, Really Fast, Anywhere in the World

#Environment

Sun, Feb 22nd, 2015 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

Using techniques learnt while working at Toyota India, Eco-entrepreneur Shubhendu Sharma explains how he applies an industrial process in order to grow self-sustaining forests really fast anywhere in the world. Sharma's methods require just 10 years versus the 600-1,000 it would normally take mother nature.

Here’s the funny thing: I have no expertise about how to determine native species for forests! But I worked around this by applying car manufacturing models. At Toyota, I worked with the supplier development team, organizing assembly lines and dispatch systems for cars being manufactured in India. I applied these manufacturing principles to forests, developing a computer program that registers tree species’ specific parameters, such as how high it grows, in what months it blooms, the kinds of temperatures it can tolerate, and so on. For example, if there’s a species that grows up to 50…

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$89 Computer

An environmentally-friendly, privacy-conscious personal computer

#Computers

Tue, Mar 3rd, 2015 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

Hardware company Symple announced their $89 computer, a simple low-end workstation preloaded with Ubuntu Linux. Although not a powerhouse, the remanufactured PC has the standard array of ports you'd expect, and a minimum of 2 GB of RAM, 2.8 Ghz Pentium chip, and an 80 GB HD — plenty of power to surf the net, do some programming or make a spreadsheet.

"We are at a crossroads in our technological evolution. Our e-waste problem is massive, and many good computers are being piled up or melted down requiring more natural resources every day. Data control by large corporations and government agencies is a tangible concern. Our Symple PC represents another, environmentally intelligent and privacy-aware path. It is one of the most planet-friendly PCs in the world. The case is made from recycled ABS plastic, the parts are recycled, the box has no new fiber content. Even our…

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Whiteboard Clock

#Technology

Sat, Feb 21st, 2015 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

Using three servos, two for writing and one to lift the pen, the whiteboard clock writes the time on a white board. After five minutes, it erases the previous time and starts all over again.

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Self-Learning Software Masters Old Atari Games

Wolfenstein should be next

#Future

Wed, Feb 25th, 2015 21:00 by capnasty NEWS

Although uploaded to YouTube back in April, the above video is only now getting noticed. It showcases self-learning software developed by Google's artificial intelligence firm DeepMind Technologies, mastering old Atari games it knew nothing about. We should be scared.

At first, it’s clearly not very good, but after an hour of training (about 200 games), the software is performing measurably better with a 30-40 percent success rate. With only one more hour of practice, the software never misses the ball and is playing better than any human could. After even more training, the software sort of outsmarts the game, playing more offensively than defensively by strategically hitting the ball in ways that will help it win more efficiently and with less risk of missing.

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Term Emulator that Mimics Old School CRT Screen

Cool Retro Term

#Computers

Tue, Feb 24th, 2015 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

The very cool looking and very configurable Cool Retro Term allows you to open up a term window looking like an old school CRT screen.

This terminal emulator works under Linux and OSX and requires Qt 5.2 or higher.

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"The labour being done by these robots is work that will never again be done by people."

The robots are coming and they will eat all the little people's jobs

#Future

Fri, Feb 27th, 2015 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

On the London Review of Books, author John Lanchester looks at the machine age, the coming-soon era where automation and robotics will strip the poor of low-wage low-skill jobs and earn companies tremendous capital. Disturbing, relevant, excellently written.

[...] Consider the driverless car being developed by Google. This is both miraculous, in that to an amazing extent it already works, and severely limited, in that there are many routine aspects of driving that it can’t manage – it can’t, for instance, overtake, or ‘merge’ with flowing traffic, which is no small issue in the land of the freeway. But imagine for a moment that all the outstanding technical issues are solved, and the fully driverless car is a reality. It would be astonishing, especially when/if it were combined with clean energy sources. Your car would take your children on the school run while they scramble to finish their homework,…

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Turning a Large Circular Table into an Interactive Augmented Surface

Polar

#Technology

Thu, Feb 26th, 2015 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

Research and design lab beyond.io showcases Polar, "a massive, circular 3.2 meter table" turned into an interactive augmented surface. They have done other neat stuff.

For the tabletop interaction it was clear we could not use traditional input methods and UI conventions, as the table is not a computerscreen. Likewise, the depth and amount of content would be different than for example on a kiosk touchscreen. In this environment the main use case instead would be brief explorations of basic content on the programme in the venue and the different product features of Hello Bank.

To interact with this type of content on such a huge surface we chose to work with a Leap Motion. It’s ideal for casually browsing through a small set of predefined views. Moreover, waving your hands in thin air translate to movement…

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"In less time than it takes to make a cup of coffee, a sketch emerges inferred solely from DNA."

DNA-generated portraits

#Science

Wed, Feb 25th, 2015 10:00 by capnasty NEWS

Software developed by Mark D. Shriver, a professor of anthropology and genetics at Penn State University, can sketch a face based on DNA genetic markers alone.

To build his model, Dr. Shriver measured 7,000 three-dimensional coordinates on the face and analyzed their links to thousands of genetic variants. Though sex and ancestral mix are not the only predictor of face shape in this model, they are the primary influencers — something that has raised concerns about the potential for racial profiling.

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"The team's goal is to build an A.I. system with the capability of a toddler."

The magic behind the Atari-playing AI

#Technology

Sun, Mar 1st, 2015 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

You've probably seen the video by now showcasing a self-learning artificial intelligence capable of mastering old Atari video games. On The New Yorker, Nicola Twilley explores the recent article by Nature discussing the continued development of this brain-inspired software — and the incredible distance between it and us.

DeepMind’s A.I. starts each game like an unhousebroken puppy. It is programmed to find a score rewarding, but is given no instruction in how to obtain that reward. Its first moves are random, made in ignorance of the game’s underlying logic. Some are rewarded with a treat—a score—and some are not. Buried in the DeepMind code, however, is an algorithm that allows the juvenile A.I. to analyze its previous performance, decipher which actions led to better scores, and change its future behavior accordingly. Combined with the deep neural network, this gives the program more or less the qualities of…

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How Social Media Ruins Lives

#Literature

Fri, Mar 6th, 2015 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

If you remember the story of the developer who was fired after being shamed on Twitter for his big dongle joke at Pycom, you might be interested in reading this excerpt from Jon Ronson's So You've Been Publicly Shamed. Although your opinion of the shamer might not change, the piece puts things more in perspective, helping understand where the overreaction comes from.

“Somebody getting fired is pretty bad,” I said. “I know you didn’t call for him to be fired. But you must have felt pretty bad.”

“Not too bad,” she said. She thought more and shook her head decisively. “He’s a white male. I’m a black Jewish female. He was saying things that could be inferred as offensive to me, sitting in front of him. I do have empathy for him but it only goes so far. If he had Down’s Syndrome and he accidently…

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India, a Street Photographer's Dream

#Photography

Mon, Mar 2nd, 2015 11:00 by Leonard Ramos ARTICLE

Going to India is not what I expected… The question I asked myself is "India a developing country, or is it a third world country?" my answer is yes to both.

The India I saw is a country that contradict itself. There is the upper class society that lives side-by-side with the poorest of the poor. Kids the age of 5 years old walking down the street without shoes being passed by well to-do classes of society. Don't get me wrong this happens in New York, London and Toronto but here you can see is every corner in every street, every day.

As a street photographer this is a perfect country to practice my art, but it was hard for me to take the picture! I'm not sure if I'm taking advantage of the people or I'm just being human. So I decided to take the picture and tell…

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Dropbox Accesses Every File on Your Computer

Not just those in the sync folder

#Privacy

Tue, Mar 3rd, 2015 10:00 by capnasty NEWS

According to E-Siber, Dropbox appears to access and send back information on every file on your computer — not just those in the sync folder — and does so without users' permission or consent.

[...] Dropbox syncs not only its own folder but also everything in local drive (C:) without any user consent or permission. I caught it red-handed while working with my DLP (data loss prevention) endpoint agent that I adjust DLP system to work properly on production environment.

However, according to information security researcher Darren P. Meyer, this might not be the case:

The Dropbox application uses a filesystem monitor to detect when changes are made by monitoring filesystem write events. This is, by necessity, a system-wide process. So DLP alerting that Dropbox is “acccessing” a new file shouldn’t be surprising.

Likewise, the Dropbox application routinely communicates with its sync infrastructure at Dropbox and AWS…

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Astronomers Watch Supernova Happen Over and Over Again

Kind of an intergalactic Groundhog Day

#Space

Sat, Mar 7th, 2015 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

A star that blew up nine billion years ago keeps appearing in astronomers' telescopes, allowing them to watch it explode over and over again. The phenomena is caused by Einsteinian optics, where light rays from the star are "bent and magnified by the gravity of an intervening cluster of galaxies," causing a multitude of images of the same explosion to appear over time.

Supernovas are among the most violent and rare events in the universe, occurring perhaps once per century in a typical galaxy. They outshine entire galaxies, spewing elemental particles like oxygen and gold out into space to form the foundations of new worlds, and leaving behind crushed remnants called neutron stars or black holes.

Because of the galaxy cluster standing between this star and the Hubble, “basically, we got to see the supernova four times,” Dr. Kelly said. And the explosion is expected to appear again…

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The Traditional Submarine is Becoming Obsolete

"Turning submarines into underwater aircraft carriers that would carry drone-like underwater unmanned vehicles or UUVs."

#War

Mon, Feb 23rd, 2015 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

Citing the same fate that plagued the battleship -- a powerful platform too expensive to risk in battle and too difficult to defend against the modern propeller plane -- submarines may be facing a similar issue thanks to better technology capable of picking up even the quietest of subs. The solution? Turning them into a sort of underwater aircraft carriers.

“Submarines will increasingly need to shift from being front-line tactical platforms like aircraft to being host and coordination platforms like aircraft carriers” explained Clark in his piece for TNI last month. “Large UUVs and other deployed systems that are smaller and less detectable will increasingly be used instead of manned submarines for tactical missions such as coastal intelligence gathering, land attack, or anti-ship missions.”

One could imagine a scenario where UUVs move into A2/AD environments for surveillance missions, land attack or even hunting manned attack subs, allowing much more…

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Canadian Man Arrested for Not Giving Smartphone Password to Canadian Border Official

#Privacy

Sat, Mar 7th, 2015 10:00 by capnasty NEWS

According to CBC news, Quebec resident Alain Philippon was arrested for refusing to give his smartphone password to border officials. Because Philippon intends to fight the charge in court, it will set a precedent as to whether a traveller must reveal their passwords when crossing the border.

Rob Currie, director of the Law and Technology Institute at the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University, said that under Canadian law, travellers crossing the Canadian border have a reduced expectation of privacy.

He said border officials have wide-ranging powers to search travellers and their belongings.

"Under the Customs Act, customs officers are allowed to inspect things that you have, that you're bringing into the country," he told CBC News. "The term used in the act is 'goods,' but that certainly extends to your cellphone, to your tablet, to your computer, pretty much anything you have."

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