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Australia repeals carbon tax

schwit1 (797399) writes | about 2 months ago

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schwit1 (797399) writes "After almost a decade of heated political debate, Australia has become the world's first developed nation to repeal carbon laws that put a price on greenhouse gas emissions.

In a vote that could highlight the difficulty in implementing additional measures to reduce carbon emissions ahead of global climate talks next year in Paris, Australia's Senate on Wednesday voted 39-32 to repeal a politically divisive carbon emissions price that contributed to the fall from power of three Australian leaders since it was first suggested in 2007.

Australia, the world's 12th largest economy, is one of the world's largest per capita greenhouse gas emitters due to its reliance on coal-burning power stations to power homes and industry. In 2011, daily emissions per head amounted to 49.3 kilograms (108 pounds), almost four times higher than the global average of 12.8 kilograms, and slightly ahead of the U.S. figure of 48.2 kilograms."

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New map fingers future hot spots for U.S. earthquakes

sciencehabit (1205606) writes | about 2 months ago

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sciencehabit (1205606) writes "Earthquake risk assessments can seem pretty abstract at first glance, with their “percent probabilities” and “peak ground accelerations.” But the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS’s) national hazard maps, updated periodically, pack a powerful punch: Insurance companies and city planners rely heavily on the maps, which influence billions of dollars in construction every year. Today, USGS scientists released the most recent earthquake hazard assessments for the country. Although the picture hasn’t changed much on a national scale since the last report in 2008, the devil is in the details, the report’s authors say—and some areas in the country are now considered to be at higher risk for powerful quakes than once thought."
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New York state proposes sweeping Bitcoin regulations

Anonymous Coward writes | about 2 months ago

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An anonymous reader writes "On Thursday, Benjamin M. Lawsky, the superintendent of financial services, announced proposed regulations for virtual currency companies operating in New York. The “BitLicense” plan, which includes rules on consumer protection, the prevention of money laundering and cybersecurity, is the first proposal by a state to create guidelines specifically for virtual currency. "We have sought to strike an appropriate balance that helps protect consumers and root out illegal activity—without stifling beneficial innovation,” he said in a statement."

Microsoft's Missed Opportunities: Memo From 1997

gthuang88 (3752041) writes | about 2 months ago

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gthuang88 (3752041) writes "In the 1990s, Microsoft was in position to own the software and devices market. Here is Nathan Myhrvold’s previously unpublished 1997 memo on expanding Microsoft Research to tackle problems in software testing, operating systems, artificial intelligence, and applications. Those fields would become crucial in the company’s competition with Google, Apple, Amazon, and Oracle. But research didn’t do enough to make the company broaden its businesses. While Microsoft Research was originally founded to ensure the company’s future, the organization only mapped out some possible futures. And now Microsoft is undergoing the biggest restructuring in its history."
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MIT may have just solved all your data center network lag issues

alphadogg (971356) writes | about 2 months ago

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alphadogg (971356) writes "A group of MIT researchers say they’ve invented a new technology that should all but eliminate queue length in data center networking. The technology will be fully described in a paper presented at the annual conference of the ACM Special Interest Group on Data Communication. According to MIT, the paper will detail a system – dubbed Fastpass – that uses a centralized arbiter to analyze network traffic holistically and make routing decisions based on that analysis, in contrast to the more decentralized protocols common today. Experimentation done in Facebook data centers shows that a Fastpass arbiter with just eight cores can be used to manage a network transmitting 2.2 terabits of data per second, according to the researchers."
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Taking Great Ideas from the Lab to the Fab

aarondubrow (1866212) writes | about 2 months ago

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aarondubrow (1866212) writes "The "valley of death" is well-known to entrepreneurs — the lull between government funding for research and industry support for prototypes and products. To confront this problem, in 2013 the National Science Foundation created a new program called InTrans to extend the life of the most high-impact NSF-funded research and help great ideas transition from lab to practice.Today, in partnership with Intel, NSF announced the first InTrans award of $3 million to a team of researchers who are designing customizable, domain-specific computing technologies for use in healthcare. The work could lead to less exposure to dangerous radiation during x-rays by speeding up the computing side of medicine. It also could result in patient-specific cancer treatments."
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How Hard Is It to Shoot Down a Plane?

astroengine (1577233) writes | about 2 months ago

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astroengine (1577233) writes "Ukrainian government officials say Russian-backed rebel forces shot down a Malaysian Airlines flight with 295 passengers and crew over the embattled border region on its way from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. The commercial flight was cruising at 33,000 feet, making it too high for a shoulder-launched missile and more likely that it was targeted by a radar-guided missile defense system, according to military experts. “It does seem depressingly likely,” said Mark Galeotti, a professor of global affairs at New York University currently studying Russian security issues in Moscow. “We know the rebels have the Buk missile system. We know they have shot down planes in the past. They may have believed it was a legitimate target.” Although the Buk system is designed to shoot down fast-moving military aircraft, a high-flying jetliner would have been an easy target. And although it would have been carrying a civilian transponder, if the anti-aircraft missile was being operated by a novice controller, mistakes were most likely made."
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Star Trek "warp drive" crushes diamonds to dust

sciencehabit (1205606) writes | about 2 months ago

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sciencehabit (1205606) writes "The world’s largest laser, a machine that appeared as the warp core in "Star Trek into Darkness", has attained a powerful result: It's squeezed diamond, the least compressible substance known, 50 million times harder than Earth's atmosphere presses down on us. The finding should help scientists better understand how material behaves at the great pressures that prevail deep inside giant planets."
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Facebook tests new 'buy' button for online purchases in U.S.

mpicpp (3454017) writes | about 2 months ago

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mpicpp (3454017) writes "Facebook Inc is testing a new "buy" button on its website that will let consumers purchase products that are advertised on its social network.

The new service, which Facebook described on Thursday as a test with a "few small and medium-sized businesses" in the United States, represents the Internet social networking company's latest effort to play a bigger role in the e-commerce business.

Facebook said its new Buy button will be available on the mobile and desktop PC version of its website and will allow consumers to purchase goods directly from participating businesses."

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Rand Paul eyes tech-oriented donors, geeks in Bay Area

SonicSpike (242293) writes | about 2 months ago

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SonicSpike (242293) writes "Rand Paul goes hunting in San Francisco starting Thursday for two things Democrats usually expect to have locked up in the Golden State: rich technology donors and computer geeks game to leave their jobs to work on a White House campaign.

Focusing on a libertarian sliver of the Bay Area’s tech crowd, the Kentucky Republican hopes the three-day trip can tap into a powerful resource that could boost his fundraising skills, message delivery and voter turnout — potent technology tools that were a crucial component in President Barack Obama’s two general election victories.

But Paul also has a more lofty agenda — using his strongly held views on National Security Agency surveillance, Internet privacy and free markets to broaden the traditional GOP coalition — and perhaps even persuade California voters to turn their state red for the first time since George H.W. Bush in 1988.

“I think it has to be someone with the right message, but I think there’s room for us out there,” Paul said in an interview where he called on Republicans to “run a 50-state strategy.”"

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More forgotten vials of deadly diseases discovered

schwit1 (797399) writes | about 2 months ago

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schwit1 (797399) writes "FDA officials now admit that when they discovered six undocumented vials of smallpox in a facility in Maryland they also found 327 additional vials that contained dengue, influenza and rickettsia.

FDA scientists said they have not yet confirmed whether the newly disclosed vials actually contained the pathogens listed on their labels. The agency is conducting a nationwide search of all cold storage units for any other missing samples.

Investigators destroyed 32 vials containing tissue samples and a non-contagious virus related to smallpox. Several unlabeled vials were sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for testing and the remaining 279 samples were shipped to the Department of Homeland Security for safekeeping.

The FDA’s deputy director is quoted with what might be the understatement of the year. “The reasons why these samples went unnoticed for this long is something we’re actively trying to understand.”"
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ExoLance: Shooting Darts at Mars to Find Life

astroengine (1577233) writes | about 2 months ago

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astroengine (1577233) writes "To find life on Mars, some scientists believe you might want to look underground for microbes that may be hiding from the harsh radiation that bathes the red planet’s surface. Various NASA rovers have scraped away a few inches at a time, but the real paydirt may lie a meter or two below the surface. That’s too deep for existing instruments, so a team of space enthusiasts has launched a more ambitious idea: dropping arrow-like probes from the Martian atmosphere to pierce the soil like bunker-busting bug catchers. The “ExoLance” project aims to drop ground-penetrating devices, each of which would carry a small chemical sampling test to find signs of life. “One of the benefits of doing this mission is that there is less engineering,” said Chris Carberry, executive director of Explore Mars, a non-profit space advocacy group pushing the idea. “With penetrators we can engineer them to get what we want, and send it back to an orbiter. We can theoretically check out more than one site at a time. We could drop five or six, which increases the chances of finding something.”"
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The hacking of NASDAQ

puddingebola (2036796) writes | about 2 months ago

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puddingebola (2036796) writes "Businessweek has an account of the 2010 hacking of the NASDAQ exchange. From the article, "Intelligence and law enforcement agencies, under pressure to decipher a complex hack, struggled to provide an even moderately clear picture to policymakers. After months of work, there were still basic disagreements in different parts of government over who was behind the incident and why. “We’ve seen a nation-state gain access to at least one of our stock exchanges, I’ll put it that way, and it’s not crystal clear what their final objective is,” says House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, a Republican from Michigan, who agreed to talk about the incident only in general terms because the details remain classified. “The bad news of that equation is, I’m not sure you will really know until that final trigger is pulled. And you never want to get to that.”""
Link to Original Source

Workbooks for 6% of all the kids

Anonymous Coward writes | about 2 months ago

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An anonymous reader writes "Many of us know a family with a child who has autism or ADHD. More than 1% have autism and for ADHD the number is a lot higher. A new workbook series from Be My Rails Publishing can help these children to develop executive functions and theory of mind by teaching even a young child to think in steps and understand others. The two latest workbooks are released 18th July and in-between Lego challenges and a memory game, there is a superhero to help children to wash hands and wait."
Link to Original Source

Ask Dr. Andy Chun About Artificial Intelligence

samzenpus (5) writes | about 2 months ago

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samzenpus (5) writes "Dr. Andy Chun is the CIO for City University of Hong Kong, and is instrumental in transforming the University to be one of the most technology-progressive in this region. He serves as an advisor on many government boards including the Digital 21 Strategy Advisory Committee, an advisory group on information technology matters in Hong Kong. His research work on the use of Artificial Intelligence has been honored with numerous awards, and his AI system keeps the subway in Hong Kong running and repaired with an amazing 99.9% uptime. Dr. Chun has agreed to give us some of his time in order to answer your questions. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one question per post."

Malaysian passenger plane reportedly shot down over Ukraine

Anonymous Coward writes | about 2 months ago

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An anonymous reader writes "Russian newswire service Interfax is reporting that a Malaysian passenger plane carrying 295 people was shot down with a Buk ground-to-air missile over Ukraine near the Russian border. The Associated Press cites an adviser to Ukraine's Interior Minister as the source.

First reports are that it was mistaken for a Ukrainian AN-26."

Link to Original Source

Flying Dinosaur Had Four Wings And Longest Feathers Ever Seen In Raptors

mpicpp (3454017) writes | about 2 months ago

1

mpicpp (3454017) writes "Ever since the release of the movie Jurassic Park, the Velociraptor has been in tough competition with the Tyrannosaurs rex for the most feared and dangerous dinosaur of all time. Its razor-sharp teeth, lighting speed and purported ruthless nature made it an ideal predator across the lands that dinosaurs roamed.

Now scientists have discovered fossils that indicate that some members of the raptor family may have terrorized the skies as well.

While working in the Chinese province of Liaoning near the border of North Korea in 2012, researchers from the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles found the fossilized remains of Changyuraptor yangi — a relative of the mighty Velociraptor that had the longest feathers of any known dinosaur, and not two, but four wings.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Luis Chiappe of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles told The Washington Post. “It is a stunning specimen and it was stunning to see the size of the feathers. This is the dinosaur with the longest known feathers — by far. There is nothing like this by a very good distance. The feathers were one-fourth the size of the animal.”"

Link to Original Source

U.N. report finds NSA mass surveillance likely in violation of human rights

Anonymous Coward writes | about 2 months ago

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An anonymous reader writes "A top United Nations human rights official released a report Wednesday that blasts the United States’ mass surveillance programs for potentially violating human rights on a worldwide scale. U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay also praised whistleblower Edward Snowden and condemned U.S. efforts to prosecute him. "Those who disclose human rights violations should be protected," she said. "We need them.""

How the University of Michigan patched Heartbleed

FrankPoole (1736680) writes | about 2 months ago

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FrankPoole (1736680) writes "Former University of Michigan Chief Security Officer Paul Howell talks with SearchSecurity.com about how the school responded to Heartbleed and how he overcame challenges with assessment, patching and communication. Howell details his experiences, from the discovery of Heartbleed on April 7 to the final patching efforts, and explains why the university didn't order all users to change their passwords and how he had to convice the school's leadership that "the Internet is not melting.""
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X.Org Server 1.16 Brings XWayland, GLAMOR, Systemd Integration

Anonymous Coward writes | about 2 months ago

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An anonymous reader writes "The much anticipated Xorg Server 1.16 release is now available. The X.Org "Marionberry Pie" release features XWayland integration, GLAMOR support, systemd support, and many other features. XWayland support allows for legacy X11 support in Wayland environments via GL acceleration, GLAMOR provides generic 2D acceleration, non-PCI GPU device improvements, and countless other changes."
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Hackers Steal Personal Information of US Security-Clearance Holders

schwit1 (797399) writes | about 2 months ago

1

schwit1 (797399) writes "The article says they were Chinese but offers no evidence:

The intrusion at the Office of Personnel Management was particularly disturbing because it oversees a system called e-QIP, in which federal employees applying for security clearances enter their most personal information, including financial data. Federal employees who have had security clearances for some time are often required to update their personal information through the website.

This is a big deal. If I were a government, trying to figure out who to target for blackmail, bribery, and other coercive tactics, this would be a nice database to have. — B Schneier"
Link to Original Source

Cosmologists Prove Negative Mass Can Exist In Our Universe

KentuckyFC (1144503) writes | about 2 months ago

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KentuckyFC (1144503) writes "The idea of negative mass has fascinated scientists since it was first used in the 16th century to explain why metals gain weight when they are oxidised. Since then, theoretical physicists have shown how it could be used to create exotic objects such as wormholes and the Alcubierre warp drive. But cosmologists' attempts to include negative matter in any reasonable model of the cosmos have always run into trouble because negative mass violates the energy conditions required to make realistic universes with Einstein's theory of general relativity. Now a pair of cosmologists have round a way round this. By treating negative mass as a perfect fluid rather than a solid point-like object, they've shown that negative mass does not violate the energy conditions as had been thought and so must be allowed in our universe. That has important consequences. If positive and negative mass particles were created in the early universe, they would form a kind of plasma that absorbs gravitational waves. Having built a number of gravitational wave observatories that have to see a single gravitational wave, astronomers might soon need to explain the absence of observations. Negative mass would then come in extremely handy."

FAA investigates congressman's drone wedding video

schwit1 (797399) writes | about 2 months ago

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schwit1 (797399) writes "The Federal Aviation Administration indicated Wednesday that it is investigating whether a video of a congressman's wedding last month violated the agency's ban on drone flights for commercial purposes. The agency's carefully worded statement doesn't mention Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., by name, but said it was looking into "a report of an unmanned aircraft operation in Cold Spring, New York, on June 21 to determine if there was any violation of federal regulations or airspace restrictions."

Maloney has acknowledged hiring a photographer to produce a video of his wedding using a camera mounted on a small drone. The wedding took place in Cold Spring on June 21. Maloney is a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's aviation subcommittee, which oversees the FAA."

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Nearly 25 years ago, IBM helped save Macintosh

dcblogs (1096431) writes | about 2 months ago

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dcblogs (1096431) writes "Apple and IBM, which just announced partnership to bring iOS and cloud services to enterprises, have helped each other before. IBM played a key role in turning the Macintosh into a successful hardware platform at a point when it — and the company itself — were struggling. Nearly 25 years ago, IBM was a part of an alliance that gave Apple access to PowerPC chips for Macintosh systems that were competitive, if not better performing in some benchmarks, than the processors Intel was producing at the time for Windows PCs. In 1991, Apple was looking for a RISC-based processor to replace the Motorola 68K it had been using in its Macintosh line. "The PCs of the era were definitely outperforming the Macintoshes that were based on the 68K," he said. "Apple was definitely behind the power, performance curve," said Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst at Insight 64. The PowerPC processor that emerged from that earlier pairing changed that. PowerPC processors were used in Macintoshes for more than a decade, until 2006, when Apple switched to Intel chips."
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Google launches Dedicated Analytics app for iPhone

stephendavion (2872091) writes | about 2 months ago

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stephendavion (2872091) writes "Google has launched a version of its Analytics app for iOS. The app which is available globally and optimized for iPhone and iPod touch lets you access all of your Web and app data as usual, but now it’s packaged in a mobile-friendly format for Apple devices. You can peruse page-view figures and real-time reports of traffic by region, source and more."
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Exposing The Insecurity Of Hotel Safes

Anonymous Coward writes | about 2 months ago

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An anonymous reader writes "When looking at one popular safe model, G DATA SecurityLabs experts found serious security deficiencies. With a little technical effort, the safe can be hacked and cleared out in a very short time. If the safe has a magnetic card reader, it offers criminals the option of using skimming to access the data on the card and offering it for sale on the Internet or in special underground forums. The safe model investigated could be opened using the master code provided by the manufacturer, which is only supposed to be used to open it in emergencies. Many hotel owners, however, do not bother to change the default code – making life easy for thieves. Another option for opening a safe is to hack the emergency lock. The hotel manager usually has an emergency key. However, after unscrewing a plate on the front of the safe, the lock underneath can also be opened using a false key."

Fossils of Cambrian predator preserved with brain impressions

Anonymous Coward writes | about 2 months ago

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An anonymous reader writes "Researchers on Wednesday described fossilized remains unearthed in China showing in fine detail the brain structures of a bizarre group of sea creatures that were the top predators more than half a billion years ago. The 520-million-year-old creature, one of the first predators of its day, sported compound eyes, body armor and two spiky claws for grabbing prey. "The animals of the Cambrian are noted for being a collection of oddballs that are sometimes difficult to match up with anything currently living on Earth. But even among these oddities, Anomalocarids stand out (as their name implies). The creatures propelled themselves with a series of oar-like paddles arranged on their flanks, spotted prey with enormous compound eyes, and shoveled them into a disk-like mouth with large arms that resided at the very front of their bodies—although some of them ended up as filter feeders.""

Japan arrests woman for making a printable 3d model of her vagina

antifoidulus (807088) writes | about 2 months ago

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antifoidulus (807088) writes "The BBC is reporting that a Japanese woman has been arrested for making a 3d model of her vagina that can be printed using a 3d printer. Megumi Igarashi had sent the printable model to people who sent her money to create it. A police spokesman told AFP news agency she had distributed data that could "create an obscene shape". While giant phalluses are a common spectacle at Japanese fertility festivals, apparently vaginas are still considered "taboo". Ms. Igarashi is fighting the charges."

US Marines Demonstrate Ultra Heavy-lift Amphibious Connector Prototype

Zothecula (1870348) writes | about 2 months ago

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Zothecula (1870348) writes "In a recent demonstration carried out during RIMPAC 2014, the US Marines displayed and tested a fully-functional, half-scale prototype of its new amphibious transport vehicle. In its proposed full-size version the Ultra Heavy-Lift Amphibious Connecter (UHAC) concept is designed to power across the water with a payload of nearly 200 tons (180 tonnes) at up to 20 knots (23 mph/37 km/h) and be capable of driving up on to the shore and over the top of obstructions up to 10 ft (3 m) high."
Link to Original Source

Open Hardware and Digital Communications conference on free video, if you help

Bruce Perens (3872) writes | about 2 months ago

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Bruce Perens (3872) writes "The TAPR Digital Communications Conference has been covered twice here and is a great meeting on leading-edge wireless technology, mostly done as Open Hardware and Open Source software. Free videos of the September 2014 presentations will be made available if you help via Kickstarter. For an idea of what's in them, see the Dayton Hamvention interviews covering Whitebox, our Open Hardware handheld software-defined radio transceiver, and Michael Ossman's HackRF, a programmable Open Hardware transceiver for wireless security exploration and other wireless research. Last year's TAPR DCC presentations are at the Ham Radio Now channel on Youtube."
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