ygslash (893445) writes "Ishai Zimmerman, a locksmith in his 80's, won first prize in the 2014 Technobrain Space Elevator competition at the Technion in Haifa. The final round of the competition was attended by Russian engineer Yuri Artsutanov, who first published the idea of a space elevator in 1960 based on a concept of 19th century rocket science founder Konstantin Tsiolkovsky. In this year's competition, participants were required to build a climber that could ascend a 25 meter vertical rope at high speed and then lift a capsule attached to the bottom of the rope, without using any combustion energy. Zimmerman's winning entry was based on an electric screw motor used in the manufacture of plastic pipes." top
ygslash (893445) writes "Astronomers at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory announced that they have discovered what appears to be the coolest white dwarf ever detected. The white dwarf is formerly a star similar to our own sun which, after expending all of its fuel, has cooled to less than a chilly 3000 degrees Kelvin and contracted to a size approximately the same as Earth. A white dwarf is composed mostly of carbon and oxygen, and the astronomers believe that at that temperature it would be mostly crystallized, forming something like a huge diamond." top
ygslash (893445) writes "NASA announced progress in its plan to capture a small asteroid and put it into orbit around the moon in 2019. The project is dubbed "Asteroid Redirect Mission" (ARM). After recent observations by the Spitzer Space Telescope, the current leading candidate asteroid is 2011 MD, about 6 meters in diameter. NASA is still also considering an alternate plan to break off and return a "boulder-sized" sample from an asteroid instead of an entire asteroid. In further progress on ARM, NASA approved 18 proposals for studies by outside organizations to develop system concepts and key technologies for the project." top
McMillen: Net Neutrality is not about cost of bandwidth
ygslash (893445) writes "Robert McMillen of Wired claims that we have gotten Net Neutrality all wrong. While we are all busy arguing about whether there should be regulations preventing large content providers from getting preferential bandwidth, McMillen says that not only have the large content providers already had preferential bandwidth for ten years, but that by now this has become an inherent part of the structure of the Internet and in practice cannot be changed. Instead, he says, the Net Neutrality discussion should be about ensuring a free and open competitive market for bandwidth, so that anyone who wants bandwidth can purchase it at a fair price." top
ygslash (893445) writes "DARPA is developing hand-held paddles that can be used to scale vertical walls. The adhesion technology employed in the paddles is based on Van der Waals force, inspired by the feet of certain species of geckos known for their excellent climbing ability. In a recent test, a man weighing almost 100 kg (220 lbs) and carrying a heavy pack that added about 23 kg (50 lbs) of additional weight, was able to scale a vertical glass wall almost 8 m (25 ft) high using the paddles. However, the paddles are reported to be 'not battlefield-ready yet'. Apparently, smooth glass walls are not usually what you need to climb in real battlefield conditions." top
IXWebHosting suffers DDOS attack against DNS for more than a day
ygslash (893445) writes "The DNS servers of IXWebHosting, a major domain name registrar, have been targeted by a massive DDOS attack against their DNS servers for more than 24 hours. The attack is still ongoing at the time this post is being written. All domains hosted by IXWebHosting are gradually becoming unavailable as their TTLs expire and the domains drop out of DNS caches around the Internet. Some details about this attack were posted on the company's support blog — but now their own domain name has passed TTL and can no longer be resolved. If anyone has an IP address for IXWebHosting, or some other way of finding out information about this attack, please post it in the comments. Are incidents like this evidence that the venerable DNS system is no longer robust enough to keep the Internet running in the modern era?" Link to Original Source top
Parallella Open Parallel Hardware Platform Gets Kickstart Funding
ygslash (893445) writes "Adapteva has achieved Kickstarter funding for their Parallella "supercomputing for everyone" project. The stated goal of the Parallella project is to provide a totally open highly parallel hardware platform, with a full set of publicly available NDA-free specs and documentation, for under $100 US. They claim that a credit-card sized Parallella CPU board based on their Epiphany 64-core accelerator will provide 90 gflops while consuming only 5 watts (but I wonder if the under $100 version might only include their 16-core version). On their Kickstarter page, Adapteva promises that "all architecture and SDK documents will be published on the web as soon as the Kickstarter project is funded." Still looking for the link..." top
ygslash (893445) writes "The Los Conchas wildfire in New Mexico threatened Los Alamos National Laboratory on June 27, coming within less than one mile of its boundary. All "non essential" personal among its more than 11,000 employees were instructed to stay away from the facility. In an official statement, the laboratory reported that "all radioactive and hazardous material is appropriately accounted for and protected."" Link to Original Source top
ygslash (893445) writes "The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have established a pilot program with leading private defense contractors and ISPs called DIB Cyber Pilot in an attempt to strengthen each others' knowledge base regarding growing security threats in cyberspace. The new program was triggered by recent high-profile hacks of the International Monetary Fund and many others. But don't worry — Deputy Secretary of Defense William J. Lynn promises that the new program will not involve "monitoring, intercepting, or storing any private sector communications" by the DOD and DHS." Link to Original Source top
ygslash (893445) writes "The Israeli Supreme Court
refused to force an ISP
to reveal the identity of an anonymous talkback
thereby preventing a libel suit for
labeling an alternative medicine practitioner a
"charlatan". In the 70 page decision (to be
in Hebrew, within 72 hours), the
court weighed the rights of freedom of speech and
confidentiality against the right to protect one's
reputation, and discussed the procedural
complexities of allowing civil suits against
anonymous parties while protecting the rights of
all involved. The majority opinion of the court
was that legislation would be required to allow
any legal action in this case.
Business Ethics researcher Asher Meir
'If talkbacks were strictly subject to the laws of
libel, then people would give them more
credence. [The majority opinion of the court] is
correct from a judicial point of view, but if we
are weighing legislation a basic question would
be: How much credibility do we in fact want
talkbacks to have?'" Link to Original Source top
ygslash writes "The Debian Project has decided that part of the GNU Emacs package will be classified as "non-free" in the next release of Debian GNU/Linux. GNU Emacs, authored by free software pioneer Richard M. Stallman in the 1980's, is an icon of the free software movement. But some of the documentation that is included with GNU Emacs carries a copyright notice that prohibits redistribution in modified form. After several years of struggling with this issue, it was decided that this restriction is not consistent with the Debian Free Software Guidelines."
On Sunday, I submitted a story entitled "Telcos block FreeConference phone numbers".
I am posting this journal entry as a follow-up comment.
My original submission was about an email that FreeConference.com sent out to all of its customers. In the email, FreeConference.com claims that AT&T/Cingular, Qwest, and Sprint are blocking access to some of the phone numbers that are used by them to provide free conference calls.
It seems that more free conferencing services, including FreeConferenceCall.com, are affected by this blockage, as reported by the public interest groups U.S. PIRG and PennPIRG. The public interest groups report that AT&T has sued at least one of the free conference call services, claiming that this service is causing them to lose revenues.
Um, yes, when someone provides better service at far lower cost or even free, AT&T is going to lose revenue. As PennPIRG puts it, "AT&T/Cingular should not hold consumers hostage in their billing dispute with free conference call services".
FreeConference.com has now sent out another email to all of its customers, stating that the telcos are only blocking access to "a small set of numbers to one of our many conferencing bridges," and that they are "running our business with minimal interruptions." There is more information on their FAQ.