Bin Laden Family Members Killed in Jet Crash

August 1st, 2015

Via: BBC:

Family members of Osama Bin Laden were on board a plane which crashed in Hampshire, the Saudi Arabian embassy in the UK has said.

The private jet crashed near Blackbushe Airport, Yateley, on Friday killing the pilot and all three passengers.

In a statement on Twitter, the Saudi ambassador to the UK, Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf Al Saud, offered condolences to the Bin Laden family.

The embassy said it was in contact with the British crash investigators.

The statement said: “His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf Al Saud… has paid his condolences to the family and relatives of Mohammed bin Laden at Blackbushe airport in Britain for the great loss they have suffered as a result of the crash of the plane that was carrying the family.”

The embassy added that it was working with the British authorities to ensure the speedy handover of the bodies for funerals and burials in Saudi Arabia.

The plane – an Embraer Phenom 300 – is reported to have belonged to an aviation firm owned by the Saudi-based family of the former al-Qaeda leader.

Research Credit: Jb

Facebook’s Solar-Powered Internet Plane Looks Like a Stealth Bomber

July 30th, 2015

Pics at the link. Woh.

Via: The Verge:

Facebook’s plans to become a flying internet service provider for the developing world are coming to fruition. The company today introduced Aquila, a high-flying, long-endurance plane that will bring basic internet access to the developing world. A working model of the plane is now ready for testing, Facebook said.

Facebook’s shallow, V-shaped plane has the wingspan of a Boeing 737. But even fully loaded down with communications gear, Aquila only weighs between 880 to 1,000 lbs — about a third the weight of a Prius. “When deployed, it will be able to circle a remote region for up to 90 days, beaming connectivity down to people from an altitude of 60,000 to 90,000 [feet],” the company said in a blog post. This means the planes will be flying at an altitude above commercial aircraft, and even above the weather.

This is how it will work: Facebook will have lasers on the ground that can locate the dome-shaped optical head, located on the bottom of the plane, in the air — basically shooting a laser at a dime-sized target that is more than 10 miles away. The plane will first hone in on the general location of the laser on the ground, proceeding to target it further and lock onto the location so that it can start beaming down the internet. Because the plane requires a connection with the lasers on the ground though, you might experience a slower connection when it’s raining or cloudy.

Windows 10 Delivers Updates to Other Users on the Internet Via Peer-to-Peer by Default

July 30th, 2015

Update: Windows 10 Default Privacy Settings: “Vague and Bordering on Scary”

By dumb luck, I just found a setting that indicates that Windows 10 delivers updates to other computers over the Internet via peer-to-peer networking.

Not good if you’re like most people in New Zealand on metered Internet connections!

Once I got over my shock at this “feature” and disabled it, I looked for a mention of this elsewhere and yep, there it is. The author of the article below had also lived in NZ.

It makes great sense for distribution on the LAN, but no thanks to being a part of Microsoft’s involuntary CDN/botnet on the WAN side. Holy shit. I mean, what could possibly go wrong on the WAN side with this? Attackers will never get control of that thing to distribute payloads of doom to hundreds of millions of Windows 10 machines. Right?

Anyway, I wonder what other gems are packed inside this thing!? (I’ve only installed Windows 10 on a junker laptop to experiment with so far.)

Via: TNW News:

Windows 10 launched on July 29 to much fanfare — it’s a free upgrade for Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 users — but along with the privacy issues, there’s another small thing you should check: by default, Windows 10 uses your internet connection to share updates with others across the internet.

The feature, called Windows Update Delivery Optimization is designed to help users get updates faster and is enabled by default in Windows 10 Home and Pro editions. Windows 10 Enterprise and Education have the feature enabled, but only for the local network.

It’s basically how torrents work: your computer is used as part of a peer to peer network to deliver updates faster to others. It’s a great idea, unless your connection is restricted.

More: Windows 10 “Wi-Fi Sense” Insanity

Robots: The Growing Threat to the Service Industry

July 30th, 2015

Via: Value Walk:

Soon McDonald’s and Burger King Worldwide Inc (NYSE:BKW) will have no need for anyone to run a burger kiosk other than a 20-something with mad technology skills; everything from order entry to burger preparation and delivery will be automated (and faster and without the asinine errors that plague this low-education industry today).

Hotels will no longer need check-in clerks at the front desk. Starbucks won’t need baristas. Nursing homes won’t need nurses, or at least not so many nurses. Self-driving cars will do away with taxi (and Uber) drivers completely.

And if you think a few aggrieved taxi drivers blocking some roadways in Paris are a problem for lawmakers, just wait until vast swaths of the service industry are losing jobs in massive numbers to technology that increases productivity and profits.

Outrage is going to flow across the American economy … and lawmakers are going to react by banning technology applications in various instances. The bans won’t last, of course. Technology will win out, because technology companies have the cash to ultimately buy/sway lawmakers.

Nevertheless, it promises to be an ugly transition to a more robotic future…

Related: Seattle Hikes Minimum Wage to $15 Per Hour

Self Driving Trucks Will Wipe Out Millions of Jobs

Manufacturing of Asus Graphics Cards Now 100% Automated

Intel and Micron Announce New Memory Technology, 3D XPoint

July 30th, 2015

Via: Intel:

The technology is up to 1,000 times faster and has up to 1,000 times greater endurance than NAND, and is 10 times denser than conventional memory.

Following more than a decade of research and development, 3D XPoint technology was built from the ground up to address the need for non-volatile, high-performance, high-endurance and high-capacity storage and memory at an affordable cost. It ushers in a new class of non-volatile memory that significantly reduces latencies, allowing much more data to be stored close to the processor and accessed at speeds previously impossible for non-volatile storage.

The innovative, transistor-less cross point architecture creates a three-dimensional checkerboard where memory cells sit at the intersection of word lines and bit lines, allowing the cells to be addressed individually. As a result, data can be written and read in small sizes, leading to faster and more efficient read/write processes.

3D XPoint technology will sample later this year with select customers, and Intel and Micron are developing individual products based on the technology.

Kentucky Man Arrested for Shooting Down Drone

July 30th, 2015

Via: WDRB:

A Hillview man has been arrested after he shot down a drone flying over his property — but he’s not making any apologies for it.

It happened Sunday night at a home on Earlywood Way, just south of the intersection between Smith Lane and Mud Lane in Bullitt County, according to an arrest report.

Hillview Police say they were called to the home of 47-year-old William H. Merideth after someone complained about a firearm.

When they arrived, police say Merideth told them he had shot down a drone that was flying over his house. The drone was hit in mid-air and crashed in a field near Merideth’s home.

Police say the owner of the drone claimed he was flying it to get pictures of a friend’s house — and that the cost of the drone was over $1,800.

Merideth was arrested and charged with first degree criminal mischief and first degree wanton endangerment. He was booked into the Bullitt County Detention Center, and released on Monday.

Japan Fires the World’s Most Powerful Laser (for a Trillionth of a Second)

July 29th, 2015

Via: Popular Science:

Researchers at Osaka University are claiming to have fired the most powerful laser in the world. The 2-petawatt (two quadrillion watt) pulse lasted just one picosecond (a trillionth of a second).

For a rough comparison, in 2013, a 50 kilowatt (50,000 watt) laser shot down a drone two kilometers away.

Osaka’s mega-powerful laser is called LFEX, or Laser for Fast Ignition Experiments, and measures more than 300 feet long.

While two petawatts is a formidable amount of power, the idea of a petawatt laser isn’t new. The United States has a few of their own, notably a one-petawatt laser at the University of Texas at Austin.

Michael Donovan, associate director for the Texas Petawatt, says that it’s important to remember when talking about lasers of this size that, while the power output is immense, the energy used is actually very little.

“The energy of the Texas Petawatt, 150 to 200 Joules, is about that in a cup of coffee or a very hard tennis serve,” Donovan said via email. ”It is the energy used by a 100 watt light bulb in 2 seconds.” Power is energy over time, and since one picosecond is a very small amount of time, the power output turns out to be immense.

The scientists at Osaka University claim that their pulse (2 petawatts at 1 picosecond) is about 100 times the energy of UT Austin’s laser, and twice its peak power.

“Two petawatts, that’s a lot,” said Julio Soares, senior research scientist at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. What could a laser that powerful be used to do? Based on the kinds of experiments done at the National Ignition Facility, which houses a similar high-powered lasers, Soares jokes: “Well, to blow things up.”

New Zealand Parents Feeding Junk Food to Children Until Their Teeth Dissolve to the Gums

July 29th, 2015

Via: Stuff:

Children as young as 18 months old are having multiple rotten teeth pulled out as parents feed toddlers soft drinks through sipper bottles, and chocolate biscuits and Milo as bedtime treats.

Dentist and veteran anti-sugar lobbyist Rob Beaglehole said he pulled several teeth on Monday from an 18-month-old, and had once treated a 2-year-old who had been drinking Coke from a baby bottle. The child’s teeth had dissolved down to the gum line and were bleeding.

Beaglehole, a father of two and principal dental officer for Nelson Marlborough District Health Board, recently extracted 11 teeth from a 3-year-old whose parents had let him drink Coke from a sipper bottle to “keep him happy”.

Another 3-year-old needed four stainless steel crowns, had four teeth pulled and was given four fillings the child’s parents put Milo in a baby bottle to sip on overnight.

All these procedures, performed under general anaesthetic, cost the Nelson Marlborough DHB about $4000 each, and none of them needed to happen, Beaglehole said.

Each year 35,000 children aged under 12 have rotten teeth extracted because of excessively sugary diets – mainly from sugary drinks and other junk foods.

Amazon Provides New Details on Plan for Drone Air Corridors

July 28th, 2015

Via: The Verge:

The company laid out its vision for a multi-tiered superhighway in the sky, one in which all drones flying above 200 feet would have the ability to communicate with — and ideally sense and avoid — other aircraft. It’s an attempt to put an end to the Wild West atmosphere that has been the norm for uncrewed aerial systems (UAS) over the last five years, replacing it with a next-generation air traffic control system. It hopes to establish a basic regulatory framework and set of technical standards that manufacturers can work toward. All this would prepare the airspace for a time when thousands, even tens of thousands of drones fly over the average city delivering parcels, monitoring air quality, and handing out parking tickets.

Amazon’s proposal, which is in line with similar ideas floated by NASA and Google, would create a slow lane for local traffic below 200 feet and a fast lane for long-distance transport between 200 and 400 feet. Altitudes between 400 and 500 feet would become a no-fly zone, and anything above that is already against FAA regulations for hobbyists. While some commercial drone operators are pushing to fly large UAS above 500 feet, Amazon is avoiding that discussion for now.

Colorado City Stops Water Fluoridation

July 28th, 2015

Via: Natural Society:

Snowmass, a skier’s paradise tucked into the Colorado Mountains, and part of Aspen, has decided to stop fluoridating its water. The news comes just after the latest groundbreaking study on water fluoridation concluded that there was zero relationship between water fluoridation and cavity prevention.

As Anthony Gucciardi shared with you on July 1st, the study incorporated years of research into a serious conclusion that could help activists remove fluoride from the water worldwide.

The sanitation district board members at Snowmass decided that ‘it wasn’t in the business of medicating’ its citizens, shortly after the federal government revised its recommendations regarding public-water fluoridation to lower the allowable levels.

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