another random user sends this quote from the BBC: "The third and fourth spacecraft in Europe's satellite navigation system have gone into orbit. The pair were launched on a Russian Soyuz rocket from French Guiana. It is an important milestone for the multi-billion-euro project to create a European version of the U.S. Global Positioning System. With four satellites now in orbit — the first and second spacecraft were launched in 2011 — it becomes possible to test Galileo end-to-end. That is because a minimum of four satellites are required in the sky for a smartphone or vehicle to use their signals to calculate a positional fix."
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An article at The Verge discusses a new exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art which traces the history of photo manipulation, starting in the mid-1800s. Early photographers used simple techniques like painting on their negatives or simply forming a composite image from many painstakingly framed shots. That period of time even had its own approximation of modern memes: "A large number of prints from that era — featuring decapitated subjects holding, juggling, or otherwise posing with their own heads — might be seen as the lolcats of their day, owing to an alluringly macabre and widespread fascination with parlour tricks and stage magic." However, lying with pictures really took off when business and government figured out how effective it could be as a tool for propaganda. The exhibit has many examples, such as President Ulysses S. Grant's head superimposed onto a soldier's body and a different background, or another of Joseph Goebbels removed from a photo of a party. The article likens these manipulations to more recent situations like the faked pictures of Osama Bin Laden's corpse, and often-hilarious altered ads featured on Photoshop Disasters. The article ends with a quote from photographer Jerry Uelsmann: "Let us not delude ourselves by the seemingly scientific nature of the darkroom ritual. It has been and always will be a form of alchemy."
MarkWhittington writes "Bill Nye, once known as 'The Science Guy' for his 1990s PBS educational television show, has cut a YouTube video in his current capacity of CEO of the Planetary Society urging people to write to President Obama to restore cuts to planetary science. The budget cuts were enacted by the president last February, causing consternation in the scientific community. Nye writes, 'If that proposal continues the steep decline in funding to NASA's planetary program it will gravely endanger the unique capabilities and outstanding people that have delivered U.S. leadership in space. We will lose a capability that took decades to develop and may never be replaced.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Is Google planning on integrating an antivirus scanner into Android? A just-released Google Play store app update, as well as the company's recent acquisition of VirusTotal seem to hint that yes, Google is looking into it. 'Google yesterday started rolling out an update to its Google Play Store app: version 3.8.17 from August was bumped to version 3.9.16 in October. Android Police got its hands on the APK and posted an extensive tear down. The first change noted was the addition of new security-related artwork (exclamation icons and security shields) as well as the following strings: App Check 'Allow Google to check all apps installed to this device for harmful behavior? To learn more, go to Settings > Security.''"
An anonymous reader writes "Soda makers, along with other trade organizations, filed a lawsuit Friday challenging the New York soda ban that is about to be implemented in the city. 'Last month, the board voted eight to zero, with one abstention, to ban restaurants, mobile food carts, delis and concessions at movie theaters, stadiums and arenas from selling sugary drinks in cups or containers larger than 16 ounces. The ban, designed to reduce obesity, is slated to begin March 12. ... The lawsuit also claims that new regulations are “arbitrary and capricious,” violating a section of the New York Civil Laws and Rules. Opponents have specifically said it’s unfair that convenience stores, including 7-Eleven and its famous Big Gulp drink, would be exempt.'"
An anonymous reader writes "'When all 3 legs of your 3-legged strategy fail, what do you do? You rush — run run run — to change your total strategy. But what would a madman do?' Ex-Nokia exec Tommi Ahonen's new article has a few suggestions. Is the Nokia board either asleep at the wheel, or incompetent, or in collusion with the incompetent CEO? Ahonen provides an insider's view not just of how Nokia's Windows phone strategy has failed, but how this has spread to other parts of the company's technology. He says the 'Elop Effect' has 'single-handedly destroyed [...] Europe's biggest tech giant.' He raises the question: Why is Nokia's board failing to act? We've discussed Tommi's articles before, where he was correctly predicting Windows Phone's market failure at a point where others were claiming that 'the Lumia line is, in fact, selling quite nicely.'"
olsmeister writes "Ever wonder if the universe is really a simulation? Well, physicists do too. Recently, a group of physicists have devised a way that could conceivably figure out one way or the other whether that is the case. There is a paper describing their work on arXiv. Some other physicists propose that the universe is actually a giant hologram with all the action actually occurring on a two-dimensional boundary region."
Giorgio Maone writes "Ubuntu developer and fellow Mozillian Benjamin Kerensa chatted with various people about the new Amazon Product Results in the Ubuntu 12.10 Unity Dash. Among them, Richard Stallman told him that this feature is bad because: 1. 'If Canonical gets this data, it will be forced to hand it over to various governments.'; 2. Amazon is bad. Concerned people can disable remote data retrieval for any lens and scopes or, more surgically, use sudo apt-get remove unity-lens-shopping."
The California Energy Commission has awarded a $10 million grant to Tesla Motors for the company to buy equipment necessary for the production of its Model X electric SUV. Tesla will have to match the funds with $50 million of its own money. From the article: "It was something of a love fest for Tesla at the energy commission meeting in Sacramento as commissioners and other regulators praised Tesla as an innovator that has brought automotive manufacturing back to California while creating clean cars and more than 1,500 jobs. 'Tesla has the unique distinction of being the only automaker to actually ask us to increase our targets under zero emission rules,' said Ryan McCarthy, the science and technology policy advisor to the chair of the California Air Resources Board. ... 'Tesla’s Gen 3 vehicle could ultimately be a game changer for electric vehicles and air quality and public health in California,' added McCarthy, referring to Tesla’s plans to build an electric car in the $30,000 range. Its latest car, the Model S sedan, sells between $50,000 and $100,000 and the Model X, which is based on the Model S platform, is expected to sell in that price range."
gManZboy writes "If you skip Windows 8, you lose the appealing opportunity to synchronize all of your devices on a single platform — or so goes the argument. If you're skeptical, you're not alone. OS monogamy may be in Apple's interest, and Microsoft's, but ask why it's in your interest. Can Microsoft convince the skeptics? 'If the hardware and software are the same at home and at work, one can't be "better" than the other. It would help if Microsoft convinced users like me that their platform is so good, we'd be fools to go anywhere else,' writes Kevin Casey."
SpzToid writes "U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta has warned that the country is 'facing the possibility of a "cyber-Pearl Harbor" and [is] increasingly vulnerable to foreign computer hackers who could dismantle the nation's power grid, transportation system, financial networks and government.' Countries such as Iran, China, and Russia are claimed to be motivated to conduct such attacks (though in at least Iran's case, it could be retaliation). Perhaps this is old news around here, even though Panetta is requesting new legislation from Congress. I think the following message from Richard Bejtlich is more wise and current: 'We would be much better served if we accepted that prevention eventually fails, so we need detection, response, and containment for the incidents that will occur.' Times do changes, even in the technology sector. Currently Congress is preoccupied with the failure of U.S. security threats in Benghazi, while maybe Leon isn't getting the press his recent message deserves?"
NeutronCowboy writes with news that a majority of top staff members from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission have become convinced that Google "illegally used its dominance of the search market to hurt its rivals." The FTC is now drafting a memo that recommends the U.S. government begin an antitrust case against Google. "The agency’s central focus is whether Google manipulates search results to favor its own products, and makes it harder for competitors and their products to appear prominently on a results page. ... The memo is still being edited and changes could be made, but these are mostly fine-tuning and will not alter the broad conclusions reached after an inquiry that began more than a year ago, said these people, who spoke on the condition that they not be identified. ... The FTC staff memo does not mean that the government will sue Google for antitrust violations. Next, the vote of three of the five FTC commissioners would be required. And each step is a further prod for Google to make concessions to reach a settlement before going to court. Last month, Jon Leibowitz, chairman of the FTC, said a final decision on whether to sue Google would be made before the end of this year.
theodp writes "In Ken Kesey's 1962 novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Nurse Ratched maintained order in the mental institution by dispensing antipsychotic and anticonvulsant drugs to the patients. Fifty years later, the NY Times reports that some physicians are prescribing stimulants to struggling students in schools starved of extra money, not to treat ADHD, necessarily, but to boost their academic performance. 'We as a society have been unwilling to invest in very effective nonpharmaceutical interventions for these children and their families,' said Dr. Ramesh Raghavan, an expert in prescription drug use among low-income children. 'We are effectively forcing local community psychiatrists to use the only tool at their disposal, which is psychotropic medications.'"
another random user writes "Apple is planning to shift production of its ARM-based microprocessors from Samsung to the Taiwanese chip-baking giant TSMC as early as next year, according to a report by the China Economic News Service (CENS). The report cites CitiGroup Global Markets analyst J.T. Hsu as saying that TSMC will be Apple's sole supplier of 20nm quad-core processors, with volume production to begin in the fourth quarter of 2013. He also noted that Apple began its 20nm chip-verfication process at TSMC in August of this year. Hsu told CENS that the future quad-core chips were intended for Apple's 'iPad, iTV and even Macbook,' turning up the heat on two rumors that have been simmering for months: that Apple is planning a move into the television market, and that an ARM-based MacBook is in the works."
ancientribe writes "A couple of college interns have discovered that remote administration tools (RATs) often used for cyberspying and targeted cyberattacks contain common flaws that ultimately could be exploited to help turn the tables on the attackers. RATs conduct keylogging, screen and camera capture, file management, code execution, and password-sniffing, and give the attacker a foothold in the infected machine as well as the targeted organization. This new research opens the door for incident responders to detect these attacker tools in their network and fight back."