Storm Chasers

Say hello to the robots that will be competing in the December 2013 DARPA Robotics Challenge Trials at the Homestead-Miami Speedway! Which is your favorite?

The robots shown here are in various states of readiness. The teams have until December to complete their bots for the initial round of physical competition in the DARPA Robotics Challenge. The goal of the competition is to advance the technology required to create robots to assist humans in disaster response.

The six Track A robots will compete against seven teams using the Atlas robot, created by Boston Dynamics for DARPA, and against an unknown number of teams from Track D.


Close-up detail of man holding new iPhone 5 smart phone showing screen with many apps

A string of code from iOS 7 revealing ‘a fingerprint that changes colour during the setup process’ was posted online yesterday, sparking rumours that the new iPhone could contain a fingerprint sensor.

If the rumours are true, the latest iPhone will be the first Apple product to feature such a sensor, which could be used for unlocking the homescreen or confirming identity for payment from the App Store or other outlets. Any sensor would likely be embedded into the physical home button.

Earlier this year it was reported that a supply chain source in Taiwan said Apple had been forced to delay production of the next iPhone due to failure to find a coating material that did not interfere with the fingerprint sensor.

Fingerprint sensors have not been widely utilised across smartphones in the past. Motorola released the Atrix 4G in 2011 which featured a biometric fingerprint sensor it claimed offered a level of security surpassing password or PIN locks. Customers reported mixed levels of success with the scanner, with many saying the sensor failed to recognise their fingerprint. Other digital security systems include theSamsung Galaxy S3′s Face Unlock feature, and in the future it’s likely phones will unlock upon recognition of its owner’s voice.


The Telegraph has the full article

(Photo: Alamy)

Steam rising from reactor building in Fukushima

Steam rising from reactor building in Fukushima

TOKYO (Reuters) – Steam is rising from a destroyed building that houses a reactor at Japan’s crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, the operator of the plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co, said on Thursday. The utility, widely known as Tepco, said the levels of radioactivity around the plant had remained unchanged and it was still looking into what triggered the… Read more →

Radioactive cesium level skyrockets 90-fold at Fukushima in just 3 days

Radioactive cesium level skyrockets 90-fold at Fukushima in just 3 days

Levels of radioactive cesium in a well at the Fukushima nuclear power plant are 90 times higher than just three days ago, and may spread into the Pacific Ocean. Meanwhile, 10 applications to restart closed reactors under stricter rules have been received. Read RT’s article about a hero Fukushima ex-manager who died of cancer TEPCO, the company that operated the plant and… Read more →

A Hypnotic Visualization of Everything Gmail Knows About You and Your Friends

Immersion, a tool built by Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers, helps Gmail users understand their own trail of Internet breadcrumbs. (MIT Media Lab)

When Google hands over e-mail records to the government, it includes basic envelope information, or metadata, that reveals the names and e-mail addresses of senders and recipients in your account. The feds can then mine that information for patterns that might be useful in a law-enforcement investigation.

What kind of relationships do they see in an average account? Thanks to the researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab, now you can find out. They’ve developed a tool called Immersion that taps into your Gmail and displays the results as an interactive graphic. (That’s mine, above.)


The chart depicts all of your contacts as nodes, and the gray lines between those nodes represent connections between people by e-mail. The larger the circle, the more prominent that person is in your digital life.

A word of warning for the privacy conscious: To use the service, you need to give MIT permission to analyze your e-mail metadata. Once you’ve done so, it’ll take a few minutes to compile everything. When you’re done, you’re given the option to delete your metadata from MIT’s servers.

What you see in my chart are five and a half years’ worth of e-mails. The yellow circles indicate family and close family friends. All of my college friends are in red, and my D.C. friends are in green. Blue nodes denote my colleagues at The Atlantic; pink, my coworkers at National Journal; and gray, people who generally don’t share connections with the other major networks in my life.

In all, MIT counted 606 “collaborators” in my inbox, totaling some 83,000 e-mails. But you can also break down that data by year, month, or even the past week. Pretty amazing stuff—and a good reminder not only how much information Google knows about you, but what that information can uncover about other people. If you can learn this much just from looking at one account, imagine what crunching hundreds or thousands of interconnected accounts must be like.


This is a copy of the full article provided by The National Journal

(Photos: MIT)

WHO sets up emergency committee on MERS virus

WHO sets up emergency committee on MERS virus

(Reuters) – The World Health Organization is forming an emergency committee of international experts to prepare for a possible worsening of the Middle East coronavirus (MERS), which has killed 40 people, WHO flu expert Keiji Fukuda said on Friday. Fukuda said there was currently no emergency or pandemic but the experts would advise on how to tackle the disease if… Read more →

Bees dying by the millions: Is GMO corn to blame?

Bees dying by the millions: Is GMO corn to blame?

ELMWOOD - Local beekeepers are finding millions of their bees dead just after corn was planted here in the last few weeks. Dave Schuit, who has a honey operation in Elmwood, lost 600 hives, a total of 37 million bees. “Once the corn started to get planted our bees died by the millions,” Schuit said. He and many others, including the European… Read more →

EPA won't confirm fracking pollution tie, tells states to do their own investigation

EPA won’t confirm fracking pollution tie, tells states to do their own investigation

CHEYENNE, Wyo. –  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday it is dropping its longstanding plan to have independent scientists review its finding that hydraulic fracturing may be linked to groundwater pollution in central Wyoming. The EPA is standing by its findings, but state officials will lead further investigation into the pollution in the Pavillion area. The area has been… Read more →

70 Percent Of Americans On Prescription Drugs

70 Percent Of Americans On Prescription Drugs

(Photo: Wikipedia) Rochester, Minn. (CBS ATLANTA) –Researchers find that nearly 70 percent of Americans are on at least one prescription drug, and more than half receive at least two prescriptions. Mayo Clinic researchers report that antibiotics, antidepressants and painkiller opioids are the most common prescriptions given to Americans. Twenty percent of U.S. patients were also found to be on five or more… Read more →

Obama commits to tough push on global warming

Obama commits to tough push on global warming

(Photo: Wikipedia) WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is planning a major push using executive powers to tackle the pollution blamed for global warming in an effort to make good on promises he made at the start of his second term. “We know we have to do more — and we will do more,” Obama said Wednesday in Berlin. Obama’s senior energy and climate adviser, Heather Zichal,… Read more →