Posts

October 20, 2014

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10:08 PM | What To Wear When You're On The Run From The NSA
CV Dazzle Makeup They may look like high fashion, but these styles are actually designed to fool facial recognition software. Adam Harvey In the documentary film "Citizenfour" by Laura Poitras, it’s revealed that Edward Snowden’s longtime girlfriend Lindsay Mills also left the United States and joined Snowden in Russia. Cheekily, Vogue suggests a trio of outfits for Mills, to match both the climate and the need for discretion that comes with proximity to […]

October 17, 2014

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9:59 PM | The Week In Drones: Pregnant Whales, Disaster Mapping, And More
Killer Whales Nuzzling As Seen From A Drone NOAA, Vancouver Aquarium. Here's a roundup of the week's top drone news: the military, commercial, non-profit, and recreational applications of unmanned aircraft. Drones For Claims USAA insures millions of Americans, primarily those serving in the military and their families. Earlier this month, they petitioned the FAA to let them use drones to evaluate claims after natural disasters. An insurance underwriter for USAA told Fast […]
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4:35 PM | Video: Laser Beam Makes Falling Droplets Explode
In mere fractions of a second, a laser turns a millimeter-sized droplet of liquid into a constellation of tiny fragments. Captured at 20,000 frames per second by a team of researchers from the University of Twente in the Netherlands, “Laser Impact On A Drop” is violently beautiful. Here’s now the researchers describe the experiment: The energy deposition in a liquid drop on a nanosecond time scale by impact of a laser pulse can induce various reactions, such as […]

October 16, 2014

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7:49 PM | Researchers Make One-Atom-Thin Electrical Generator
A Sample Of Molybdenum Disulfide Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology and Columbia Engineering have made the first experimental observation of piezoelectricity and the piezotronic effect in an atomically thin material, molybdenum disulfide (MoS2). Shown is a sample of the material that was tested as part of the research. The material could be the basis for unique electric generator and mechanosensation devices that are optically transparent, extremely light, and […]

October 14, 2014

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5:00 PM | Security Experts Build $150 Safecracker
Boston Public Library Combination Lock rpongsaj, via Wikimedia Commons Thanks to a pair of Melbourne security researchers, the cost of opening safes just hit a new low. Using an arduino platform and 3-D printed parts, the pair has created a contraption that can open many combination locks, like those on ATMs and gun safes. The device costs just $150 in parts, but people shouldn’t throw out their safes just yet: it takes about four days to crack the lock. Brute […]
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2:00 PM | Secret Robot Space Plane Returns To Earth Today
x-37B Upright U.S. Air Force In 2012, the Air Force sent an unmanned robot plane into space. It is scheduled to return today, completing its third voyage into space, one that began way back in the simpler days of 2012. The X-37B (not to be confused with the U.S. Navy’s terrestrial experimental unmanned X-47B airplane) is a known space plane with a secret purpose. One early guess as to the function of the X-37B? It might ferry future troops into battle, taking them very […]

October 13, 2014

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6:30 PM | Investigators Narrow MH-370 Crash Site To Smaller Stretch Of Ocean
Flight Path Reconstruction Google Earth/ Flight path reconstruction group, via Australian Transport Safety Bureau In March, Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing disappeared over the ocean. Despite international attention and search efforts, the plane was never recovered. On Wednesday, the Australian Transport Safety Board published a report that narrows the slice of sea where it’s likely the plane crashed. The ocean is still vast and […]

October 10, 2014

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8:15 PM | The Week In Drones: Hawk Attacks, Drone Races, And More
Drone Pilot With First Person View Goggles Herve Pellarin, screenshot via YouTube Here's a roundup of the week's top drone news: the military, commercial, non-profit, and recreational applications of unmanned aircraft. Hawk Attacks Drone A cambridge man flying his quadcopter got an aerial surprise when a hawk attacked his drone midair. The video is brief and the drone-hawk fight even briefer. A modern toy was no match for the skills of a predator that evolved for […]
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7:00 PM | Take Orders From A Cat And Learn Cybersecurity
Prepare For Cyber Attack Cats do not have the best business sense. PBS Cybersecurity Lab Screenshot It was my first day on the job as chief technology officer for "SnapCat," and the hostile attacks on our servers came at us fast. With proper coding and security measures, I blocked some, but my cat boss informed me after that attack that about a third of our users were driven away from the site because of our poor security. In PBS’s online Cyber Lab […]
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4:00 PM | Tesla CEO Wants Mostly Self-Driving Cars By Next Year
Tesla Model S electric car Shal Farley Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors promises the car of the future today. In September, the billionaire promised something new for his electric vehicles: autopilot, mostly. Well, “90 percent of your miles can be on auto.” Left unsaid is how exactly that’s going to happen. The goal of a self-driving Tesla car is not new. Back in September 2013, when Elon Musk first announced his goal of a […]

October 08, 2014

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9:00 PM | This Gun Makes And Fires Paper Airplanes
A6 V1.0 Paper Airplane Gun Papierfliegerei, screenshot from YouTube Sometimes, a person accomplishes something so great, so revolutionary, that all they can do is smile as wide as humanly possible and show off the thing. This paper airplane gun, crafted by a 3-D printing and paper airplane enthusiast, is such a device. Wordlessly, the operator fires a series of paper airplanes. Then, with the top of the device removed, he reveals the assembly line inside the weapon. The […]
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8:00 PM | Using Lasers To Save Earth's Cultural Monuments
Washington Monument Interior LIDAR Scan CyArk History is unwritten by the destruction of great artifacts. Six of the seven wonders of the ancient world are gone, fallen into ruin and sold for scrap, and it is only through historical memory that we know of them. Preserving modern wonders for posterity is the main inititiative of CyArk, a nonprofit that uses 3-D laser scanning to create a digital archive of the world’s cultural heritage sites. Key to CyArk is a […]

October 07, 2014

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9:34 PM | Giant Clams Are Greenhouses For Algae
Giant Clam James Heilman, MD, via Wikimedia Commons Giant clams loom large on coral reefs, their gaping maws filled with bright lights. On other mollusks, this iridescence is a camouflage, guiding the eye away from the creature’s body. Recent research published in the Royal Society of Science’s journal Interface reveals that these patches of iridescence filter and distribute light for algae that grows inside the clams. Algae and  giant clams have a symbiotic […]

October 06, 2014

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7:20 PM | Navy Demonstrates Swarm Of Armed Robot Boats
Unmanned Patrol Boat Look ma, no crew! U.S. Navy Photo Call them sea drones, dronaughts, or roboats, the Navy demonstrated a swarm of remotely-controlled boats on the James River in Virginia this August. As if animated by the same mind, the 13 patrol boats all moved in unison, their crewless decks painting a picture of what warfare may soon become. The project, by the Office of Naval Research (ONR), wants to save both lives and costs, keeping sailors out of […]
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3:00 PM | New Military Helicopter Can Cruise At 253 MPH
The Raider As Unveiled Sikorsky Sikorsky’s S-97 Raider looks like the future. Not the distant future -- not the “Star Trek” future -- but a closer, more attainable future. Its design is based primarily on Sikorsky's X-2 project, and as the name implies, this isn’t just the future of helicopters. This is the future of helicopters at war. The Raider turns the standard helicopter’s normal balancing tail rotor perpendicular, […]

October 03, 2014

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6:45 PM | The Week In Drones: Drunk Drivers, Democracy, Volcanic Eruptions, And More
Grand Forks Police Qube Drone Kelsey D. Atherton Here's a roundup of the week's top drone news: the military, commercial, non-profit, and recreational applications of unmanned aircraft. Drunk Bust North Dakota is one of the first states to practice using drones. In 2001, with the help of a drone on loan from Customs and Border Protection, North Dakota police arrested a cattle thief. Now, the police department in Grand Forks, North Dakota used a drone to find […]

October 02, 2014

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7:45 PM | Man Shoots Down Drone, Lawyers Scratch Their Heads
Johnny Dronehunter A still from "Johnny Dronehunter," an ad for shotgun silencer maker SilencerCo. In the ad, the protagonist shoots down a bunch of drones with a shotgun like so many clay pigeons. SilencerCo Shooting down a small drone is hard. But determining whether people should be allowed to do so may prove more difficult still. A man in New Jersey fired a shotgun at his neighbor's drone, and as the quadcopter crashed to the ground, the incident raised new […]

October 01, 2014

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6:45 PM | Governor Brown Vetoes Drone Privacy Bill
California State Capitol Laws happen here, sometimes. PeteBobb, via Wikimedia Commons A California bill that would require police to obtain warrants before using drones for most purposes was vetoed by Governor Jerry Brown this week. While the bill contains exceptions for emergency situations, wildfires, coordinating traffic accident first responders, and environmental disasters, it does rule out police using drones for routine traffic stops or other searches, […]

September 30, 2014

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6:00 PM | Wearable Drone Nixie Flies Up From Your Wrist
Nixie Concept Team Nixie Sure, Apple's new smart watch brings smartphone features to users' wrists, but can it fly free and take video in the air? The Nixie, which has none of the features of a watch other than wrist-wearability, is a drone for people who like robots as fashion statements, as well as aerial photography. Nixie is a quadcopter with flexible arms, letting it cling to a pilot's wrist like a scared mechanical flying squirrel. Created by […]
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2:00 PM | Space Combat Won't Look At All Like 'Star Wars'
Concept Art For A Space Weapon National War College, via Wikimedia Commons If humanity brings war into space, what will those battles look like? Well, if our understanding of physics is anything close to correct, they won’t look at all like Star Wars. In this six minute clip by PBS Digital Studios, host Joe Hanson explores the physics of space battles. Space battles in fiction, especially television and movies, resemble World War II aerial dogfights or naval battles […]

September 29, 2014

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6:45 PM | Robot Orb Could Scan Cargo Ships With Ultrasound
Screenshot Of EVIE Demonstration Animation Courtesy of the researchers Inspecting a ship’s cargo is a dull, tedious, time-consuming task. So a pair of researchers at MIT, including graduate student Sampriti Bhattacharyya and her advisor Harry Asada, created a small robot that resembles a squished foam ball to inspect ship cargo quickly, cheaply, and silently. They presented their findings earlier this month at the International Conference on Intelligent Robots and […]

September 26, 2014

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9:15 PM | The Week In Drones: Drones Fight Ebola, Iranian Dogfighters, And More
Satellite Image Of The Hollywood Sign United States Geological Survey, via Wikimedia Commons Here's a roundup of the week's top drone news: the military, commercial, non-profit, and recreational applications of unmanned aircraft. Unprepared Skies The future moves faster than bureaucracy. When the Federal Aviation Administration, responsible for the safety of America’s skies, started building its NextGen air traffic control system in 2003, drones were mostly […]
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5:31 PM | Camera-Toting Drones Are Coming To Hollywood
Hexarotor Filming Mountain Climbers In Haute-Savoie, France Tangopaso, via Wikimedia Commons After four years of lobbying by the Motion Picture Association of America, the Federal Aviation Administration announced yesterday that movie producers can fly drones to shoot film. This is good news for commercial drone use in the United States, but it might be too little, too late. As the FAA stalls on defining drone regulations, leaving commercial UAVs grounded throughout […]

September 25, 2014

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9:00 PM | For Car Buyers, The Repo Man Is Just A Click Away
A Dodge Magnum SE 2007 raul, via Wikimedia Commons The problem with cars is that they move. For lenders interested in making sure loan repayments happen on schedule, moving collateral can present an investment risk. Recently, Popular Science reported on how, in an effort to mitigate this risk, repo men are scanning billions of license plates, putting drivers' privacy at risk in order to track down repossessed vehicles. Now The New York […]
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