After booby drones will be going to work in the UK (a country known for ten thousands of CCTV cameras and for sporting speakers and microphones in public spaces), the US cops are employing them no as well. To make them palpable to the public, big brother is introducing them with the usual propaganda, like wanting to use them in “urban areas with an eye toward full-fledged employment in crime fighting” and having them in service only in “tactical situations as an extra set of eyes.” Sure. We have manned flying machines already generating speeding fines and helping to sustain the terrorist hysteria – why wouldn’t the State want to save wages when it does everywhere else in this economic-rationalist and increasing surveillance oriented world? Won’t be long, and we’ll have them here as well, snooping on us wherever we are.
Archive for March, 2008
Tags: Science, technology
Thanks to the New Scientist and Engadget we can get a pretty good idea of what NASA’s new Chariot lunar vehicle can do. Just think of the lunar landscapes mining and deforesting operations create here on Earth and you’ll get the picture. Fortunately there are no trees on the moon and the landscape is lunar already, but that might make us even more careless and violently creative than we are here on Earth – especially with the US planning to be at work there. As you can see for yourself, the rig certainly looks to be quite capable of tearing it up on the lunar surface, with its plough, a drill and a back hoe being ready for setting up the first moon base (or other potential lunar installations, some of them peaceful while others won’t be). Military installations certainly will have priority, and the future does not look peaceful with laser cannons already planned, even though this one still looks harmless.
Tags: internet, software, technology
Mac OS X only: The latest beta 3 release of Yahoo Messenger for Mac adds voice and voicemail capabilities ala Skype. Using Yahoo Messenger, computer to computer voice calls are free, and you can purchase a PhoneOut and/or PhoneIn account to call land line or cell phones, or receive calls on your computer, or even set up call forwarding to land lines or mobile phones. (Rates start at 1 cent/minute in the U.S.) You can also send SMS messages with Yahoo Messenger, and get free voicemail; Y Messenger delivers voicemail as an email attachment to the address you specify. Skype’s had all these features for Mac and PC for some time now, so Yahoo’s pretty late to the game—but still good to have options.
Tags: software, technology
Gina Trapani on Lifehacker suggests using some free software to synch folders either on your network or, like with FolderShare, even over the Internet. Lifehacker found quite a few uses for the application, from maintaining a consistent workspace, to syncing your Firefox extensions and Greasemonkey scripts between computers; Gina also explains at great length the installation process, which seems to be pretty straight forward. FolderShare is available for Windows and Mac.
Antarctica’s massive Wilkins Ice Shelf has continued to disintegrate under the effects of global warming. The collapse of a substantial section of the shelf was triggered on 28 February when an iceberg measuring 41km by 2.4km broke off its southwestern front. That movement led to disintegration of the shelf’s interior, of which 414km.sq have already disappeared.
Satellite images show the sudden disintegration of a 160-square-mile chunk in western Antarctica, according to a press release from the University of Colorado’s National Snow and Ice Data Center and an AP report of the ice shelf breakup. The only thing now connecting the Wilkins Ice Shelf to the Antarctic mainland is a thin “buttress” of ice.
The Wilkins Ice Shelf is a broad plate of permanent floating ice 1,609km south of South America, on the southwest Antarctic Peninsula. Now, as a result of recent losses, a large part of the 12,950km.sq shelf is supported by a narrow 5.6km strip of ice between two islands. ‘Wilkins is the largest ice shelf on west Antarctica yet to be threatened. This shelf is hanging by a thread,’ said a scientist from the British Antarctic Survey.
A researcher in the area described the ice collapse for Science Daily: “I’ve never seen anything like this before — it was awesome. Big hefty chunks of ice, the size of small houses, look as though they’ve been thrown around like rubble — it’s like an explosion.” BBC coverage of the ice shelf includes a video flyover of the massive, now-seafaring ice chunks.
Antarctica has suffered unprecedented warming in the last 50 years, with several ice shelves retreating and six of them collapsing since the 1970s. A 1,000-square-kilometer chunk broke off of the Wilkins shelf in 1998. In 2002, a larger collapse took out 3,200 square kilometers of the Larsen B ice shelf. Over the past half century, the western Antarctic Peninsula has experienced the steepest temperature increase on Earth: 0.5 degrees Celsius per decade.
Melting ice shelves do not raise the worldwide sea level, because this ice is already floating on the ocean. However, the Antarctic ice shelves are the leading edges of land-based glaciers behind them. If the glaciers behind them start moving into the sea more quickly, that will have an impact on sea levels.
[via Wired Science]
Tags: business & economy, ethics, global justice, human rights
Google has recommended a no vote against two shareholder proposals to be put to their annual general meeting May 8 that relate to free speech and human rights.
Proposal 4 comes from the The Office of the Comptroller of New York City and St. Scholastica Monastery. The Office of the Comptroller of New York City is the custodian and trustee of the Retirement System of NYC Teachers, Police, Fire Department and Education System. Resolution 5 comes from Harrington Investments and calls for a Google Board Committee on Human Rights. Google, the company who does no evil of course sees money as being above good and evil and therefore can’t understand what the fuss about human rights is all about.
[for the full text of both resolutions see TechCrunch]
Diesel released a couple of timepieces featuring OLED. With their more traditional look they certainly aren’t as futuristic as last year’s models, but I don’t mind the one where you can actually read the digits without a magnifying glass – although, maybe you can choose not to have the animations obscure your view. The DZ7076 and DZ7086 both tout a genuine leather strap and of course the Diesel logo, which I could do without except …. The DZ7076 will set you back US$120, the animated DZ7086 will demand an extra US$30 – on ebay though I just saw DZ7076 for US$ 82. Hmmm …