Feb 16

- Self-organizing robot armies produced – and all thanks to ingenious termite logic (RT, Feb 15, 2014):

Harvard ‘brainiacs’ are at it again. Inspired by termites, they have realized their dream of cheap, expendable, self-organizing robots – a construction crew building complex structures at a quick pace, and completely independent of leadership.

The possibilities are vast. The machines can be made to build any three-dimensional structure on their own and with minimal instruction. But what is truly staggering is their ability to adapt to their work environment and to each other; to calculate losses, reorganize efforts and make adjustments. It is already clear that the development will do wonders for humanity in space, hard-to-reach places and other difficult situations.

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Feb 12

- Foxconn Working With Google on Robotics (Wall Street Journal, Feb 11, 2014):

Foxconn has long been associated as the partner for Apple, assembling the majority of the U.S. company’s iPhones and iPads.

But few people know the Taiwanese contract manufacturer, also known as Hon Hai Precision industry, has been quietly working with Google.

People familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal that Foxconn has been working with former Android executive Andy Rubin since last year to carry out the U.S. company’s vision for robotics.

To speed up robot deployment at its own factories, Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou met with Rubin in Taipei recently and they discussed new robotic technologies, they said.

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Feb 09

Drone-Argus1

- New drone technology “equivalent to the capabilities of 100 Predator drones” (Police State USA, Feb 8, 2014):

To understand the extent to which the federal government has the ability to spy on us, we must attempt to understand the technologies it has at its disposal.  Through the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Defense Department has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on one particular project alone.  Known as ARGUS, it is a surveillance platform with the capability to maintain continuous 24/7 surveillance, day or night; able to track multiple moving targets miles apart in high definition without refocusing the camera; and with a resolution so astounding that it can detect objects as small as a cellular phone from several miles in the sky.  It quite literally provides ubiquitous surveillance over a whole city from one drone.

“This is the next generation of surveillance,” said Yiannis Antonaides, an engineer for BAE Systems who led the design of the project.   “It is important for the public to know that some of these capabilities exist.” Continue reading »

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Feb 09

- Skynet Is Here (And Stealing Your Jobs) (ZeroHedge, Feb 8, 2014):

It may not be as sleek and intimidating as Robocop (or Skynet’s Terminator) but California-based Knightscope’s recently unveiled line of K5 robots will “predict and prevent crime with an innovative combination of hardware, software and social engagement.” While everyone from Jamba Juice to McDonalds is looking at robotizing their workforce away from minimum-wage-hike-demanding, bathroom-break-needing, healthcare-expecting, sleep-requiring humans, it seems everyone from your local mall cop to replacing police in neighborhood watch is now under threat as the automation of the American workforce moves from science fiction to science fact.

Via RT,

In a bid to make local communities safer and give local law enforcement agencies more tools to fight crime, California-based Knightscope recently unveiled a line of K5 robots that it believes will “predict and prevent crime with an innovative combination of hardware, software and social engagement.”

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The new K5 units have a look that resembles R2-D2 from “Star Wars,” but their casual design masks a highly advanced robot that its creators hope will drastically cut down on crime. Weighing in at 300 pounds, the five-foot K5 can patrol a neighborhood and uses a built-in laser to form a 3D map of the surrounding area in 270-degree sweeps. Four built-in cameras, meanwhile, are capable of scanning up to 1,500 license plates a minute.

20140208_robo2

“Data collected through these sensors is processed through our predictive analytics engine, combined with existing business, government and crowdsourced social data sets, and subsequently assigned an alert level that determines when the community and the authorities should be notified of a concern,” the company’s website states. Continue reading »

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Feb 07

From the article:

The attack was “the most significant incident of domestic terrorism involving the grid that has ever occurred”

So why was this attack found NOT to be newsworthy last year?


Assault on California Power Station Raises Alarm on Potential for Terrorism

- Assault on California Power Station Raises Alarm on Potential for Terrorism (Wall Street Journal, Feb 4, 2014):

April Sniper Attack Knocked Out Substation, Raises Concern for Country’s Power Grid

SAN JOSE, Calif.—The attack began just before 1 a.m. on April 16 last year, when someone slipped into an underground vault not far from a busy freeway and cut telephone cables.

Within half an hour, snipers opened fire on a nearby electrical substation. Shooting for 19 minutes, they surgically knocked out 17 giant transformers that funnel power to Silicon Valley. A minute before a police car arrived, the shooters disappeared into the night.

To avoid a blackout, electric-grid officials rerouted power around the site and asked power plants in Silicon Valley to produce more electricity. But it took utility workers 27 days to make repairs and bring the substation back to life.

Nobody has been arrested or charged in the attack at PG&E Corp.’s Metcalf transmission substation. It is an incident of which few Americans are aware. But one former federal regulator is calling it a terrorist act that, if it were widely replicated across the country, could take down the U.S. electric grid and black out much of the country.

The attack was “the most significant incident of domestic terrorism involving the grid that has ever occurred” in the U.S., said Jon Wellinghoff, who was chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission at the time.

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Feb 07

The CAN Hacking Tool, or CHT
The CAN Hacking Tool, or CHT

- This iPhone-Sized Device Can Hack A Car, Researchers Plan To Demonstrate (Forbes, Feb 5, 2014):

Auto makers have long downplayed the threat of hacker attacks on their cars and trucks, arguing that their vehicles’ increasingly-networked systems are protected from rogue wireless intrusion. Now two researchers plan to show that a few minutes alone with a car and a tiny, cheap device can give digital saboteurs all the wireless control they need.

Continue reading »

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Feb 06

turkey-internet-censorship

- Turkish Government Restricts Internet Access; Erdogan Compared To Hitler (ZeroHedge, Feb 6, 2014):

Remember that Adolf Hitler used the same methods when he rose to power,” opposition leader Hasan Oren blasts as Turkish PM Erdogan as the Turkish parliament has approved a bill that would tighten government controls over the internet. As The BBC reports, the new law allows the government to block websites without first seeking a court ruling. “Now you are implementing fascism,” Oren goes on, despite promises of “enhancing democracy in Turkey” when Erdogan was elected. The Erdogan government had already restricted access to “the scourge of Twitter” and Facebook’s “menace to society,” but this latest step dismisses any legal limits or restrictions.

Via The BBC,

The Turkish parliament has approved a bill that would tighten government controls over the internet.

The new law will allow Turkey’s telecommunications authority to block websites without first seeking a court ruling.

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Feb 06

- New surveillance technology can track everyone in an area for several hours at a time (Washington Post, Feb 5, 2014):

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Feb 05

- Mandatory “Vehicle-to-Vehicle” Communications Coming To U.S. Cars (Liberty Blitzkrieg, Feb 4, 2014):

“The vision of ‘talking’ cars that avoid crashes is well on the way to becoming a reality. And we’re not just talking about cars talking to cars, but about cars talking to bikes, trucks talking to motorcycles, and even buses talking to pedestrians. This promises to significantly reduce the number of deaths and injuries on our nation’s roads while unleashing a new wave of innovation from advanced traffic management systems and smart mobility apps to real-time traffic, transit and parking information.”
- Scott Belcher, President and CEO of the Intelligent Transportation Society of America

Worried about “pre-crime?” What about “pre-crash?”

The geniuses at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTS) are so concerned about your “safety,” they have decided to take it into their own hands and make it mandatory that your car wirelessly communicate with other vehicles on the road. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx went so far as to say the technology could save “thousands of lives and even prevent accidents in the first place.” The concept of “pre-crash” has been born.

As in so many other aspects of life, there is a top down push to remove all control from the individual to the collective (recall the MSNBC host who proclaimed children don’t belong to their parents), typically justified within the content of the “war on terror,” and always justified with “it’s for your own good.” Apparently, we aren’t capable of making our own choices in anything any more, including something as simple as driving a car.

This push to exert control within individual vehicles is nothing new and appears to be a global phenomenon.  For instance, just last week I posted an article titled: The EU May Mandate a “Remote Stopping Device” in All Cars for Police Use.

Now we learn from The Detroit News that:

Washington— The U.S. Transportation Department said Monday it plans to propose requiring all new cars and trucks to eventually communicate with one another, which could one day help reduce up to 80 percent of crash deaths.

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Feb 05

FYI.


DHS warned that violent extremists had obtained [insider] positions in utilities

- Senator: Gov’t warning that “violent extremists” obtained insider positions at utilities — Nuclear plants at risk of takeover — “I’m completely flummoxed” by NRC’s inaction on this… “You’ve got to be kidding” (VIDEO)

Medill School of Journalism, Jan. 31, 2014: [Nuclear Regulatory Commission members] blundered under questioning on the NRC’s vote to delay a recommendation by its own staff that two people be present when nuclear materials are handled to prevent an insider terrorist attack. The commissioners could not recall how or why they had voted to delay the decision, which they did unanimously in May 2013. [...] “The commission decided not to move forward with that,” [Chairman Allison] Macfarlane said. When asked why she said, “It was a commission decision. I’m not sure what the vote was.” [Senator Barbara] Boxer expressed concerns and frustrations with the decision, saying that in 2011 the Department of Homeland Security had warned that “violent extremists had obtained [insider] positions in utilities” and posed a significant threat.

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA): “I am completely flummoxed. This is a big and important issue. This business of a cost benefit analysis, when you’re dealing with a potential terror attack and a takeover of a nuclear plant? You’ve got to be kidding. [...] You found the costs were minimal, less than a million dollars a year.”

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Feb 01

- Driverless Trucks Will Keep Army Safe From IEDs (Wired, Jan 31, 2014):

U.S. Army convoys will soon be able to roll into even the roughest of unfriendly foreign urban areas and combat zones without the worry of loss of life, thanks to new technology that will make large vehicles fully autonomous.

In demonstrations earlier this month at Fort Hood, Texas, the U.S. Army Tank-Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) and Lockheed Martin demonstrated the ability of the Autonomous Mobility Appliqué System (AMAS), which gives full autonomy to convoys to operate in urban environments. In tests, driverless tactical vehicles were able to navigate hazards and obstacles including pedestrians, oncoming traffic, road intersections, traffic circles and stalled and passing vehicles.

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Jan 31
The Very First Porsche (1898) Was An Electric Car And Sat Untouched In A Warehouse For 111 Years
It looks steampunk, but it’s really an electric vehicle.(Credit: Porsche)

- Porsche’s 1898 e-car returns after a century in storage (CNET, Jan 28, 2014):

The very first Porsche, an electric carriage, sat untouched in a warehouse for 111 years, but now it’s come home.

On June 26, 1898, Ferdinand Porsche’s “Egger-Lohner C.2 electric vehicle,” better known as the “P-1,” rolled on to the streets of Vienna for the first time. In 1899, the P-1 took the gold medal (by a full 18 minutes!) against a field of other electric vehicles in Berlin. Then in 1902, as Porsche put the first all-wheel drive passenger car into production, the P-1 was parked in a warehouse…where it sat untouched for the next 111 years.

After missing two world wars, the entire Berlin Wall era, and six “Fast and Furious” flicks during the intervening 11 decades, Porsche says in a release (PDF) the P-1 has now been recovered and is on permanent display, unrestored, at the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart, Germany.

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Jan 31

- Is Google Cornering the Market on Deep Learning? (MIT Technology Review, Jan 29, 2014):

A cutting-edge corner of science is being wooed by Silicon Valley, to the dismay of some academics.

How much are a dozen deep-learning researchers worth? Apparently, more than $400 million.

This week, Google reportedly paid that much to acquire DeepMind Technologies, a startup based in London that had one of the biggest concentrations of researchers anywhere working on deep learning, a relatively new field of artificial intelligence research that aims to achieve tasks like recognizing faces in video or words in human speech (see “Deep Learning”).

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Jan 26

- ‘Abe-genda’: nuclear export superpower (Japan Times, Jan 25, 2014):

A lot is riding on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push to export nuclear technology abroad. As Abe visits New Delhi on the occasion of India’s Republic Day, we examine the nuclear component of ‘Abenomics’ infrastructure-exports growth strategy

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Jan 26

- Google Chrome Bug Lets Websites Listen to Your Conversations (IBT, Jan 23, 2014):

A bug in Google’s Chrome web browser enables malicious websites to activate your microphone and spy on conversations that happen next to your computer, even after you’ve left the website.

Tal Ater, a web developer in Israel discovered the exploit while working on a JavaScript Speech Recognition library called annyang.

The internet giant seems dismissive of the problem, however.

In a statement, Google said: “We’ve reinvestigated and still believe there is no immediate threat, since a user must first enable speech recognition for each site that requests it.”

In a video he filmed with a voice-over artist, Ater shows how websites that legitimately turn on your microphone to enable speech recognition, can continue to record and listen in on conversations in the background even after you have left the website.

His video shows that every word of the script the voice-over artist was reading aloud has been recorded by Chrome’s speech recognition feature, even after the website has been closed.

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Jan 24

- Why is a Gigantic War-Blimp About to Fly Above the Skies of Suburban Baltimore? (Liberty Blitzkrieg, Jan 23, 2014):

One of the most disturbing and relentless trends over the past several years has been the redirection of war technology and equipment from the battlefield abroad toward domestic use in the USA. This has resulted in a militarization of police across the nation and has encouraged small towns to use Department of Homeland Security (DHS) grants to purchase ridiculous items such as tanks.

Sadly, it appears this trend is only accelerating. With billions of dollars already spent, and failed wars abroad, the military-industrial complex needs to continue to generate cash flow. May as well just use it against the American people.

We find out from the Washington Post that:

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Jan 22

- Cyber attack that sent 750k malicious emails traced to hacked refrigerator, TVs and home routers (The Age/AFP, Jan 20, 2014):

Call it the attack of the zombie refrigerators.

Computer security researchers say they have discovered a large “botnet” which infected internet-connected home appliances and then delivered more than 750,000 malicious emails.

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Jan 21

- Linux Powered Smart Rifles With Networked Tracking Scopes Have Arrived (Liberty Blitzkrieg, Jan 20, 2014):

Technological advancement is moving ahead so fast it is impossible to keep up. Pretty soon it doesn’t look like humans are going to be responsible for much of anything at all if we continue at this pace.

The latest military “advancement” is a Linux powered rifle that basically only requires the human soldier to mark a target and then a computer can “engage and assist.” Basically it sounds a lot like a drone rifle. Insane.

More from Geeky Gadgets:

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Jan 20

- Computer Security Expert Claims he Hacked the ObamaCare Website in 4 Minutes (Liberty Blitzkrieg, Jan 20, 2014):

The hits just keep on coming for ObamaCare. It was less than two weeks ago that I highlighted the potential premium rate death spiral that ObamaCare faces due to the fact that only old and sick people are signing up for the program. Now it seems there are further security related concerns plaguing the site, as cyber-security expert David Kennedy recently claimed that “gaining access to 70,000 personal records of Obamacare enrollees via HealthCare.gov took about 4 minutes.”

It’s actually hard to be this incompetent if you tried.

More from the Washington Times:

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Jan 19

See also:

- Windows XP: Microsoft’s Ticking Time Bomb


- A disaster in the making: 95% of ATMs still run Windows XP (Yahoo News/BGR, Jan 17, 2014):

As we’ve mentioned multiple times, now is really the time to upgrade from Windows XP if you haven’t done so already. Even though Microsoft will extend support for its Windows XP security products through July 2015, the company has warned that “the effectiveness of antimalware solutions on out-of-support operating systems is limited.” Bloomberg Businessweek reports that some of the most important machines that desperately need to upgrade from Windows XP are ATMs, of which an estimated 95% still run on Microsoft’s older operating system.

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Jan 19

- Fire breaks out at U.S. nuclear plant, reactor shut down — Emergency alert lasts over 5 hours due to ‘equipment malfunction’ — Residents discuss fears after many recent problems (VIDEO) (ENENews, Jan 18, 2014):

AP, Jan. 18, 2014: Fire breaks out at NC nuclear plant [...] Officials say operators shut down the plant when an alert was declared Saturday morning.

WRAL, Jan. 18, 2014: “This morning Duke Energy notified the emergency management agencies for the state and four counties within close proximity to the Harris nuclear plant of an equipment malfunction,” state Department of Public Safety Secretary Frank Perry said in a statement.

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Jan 19

- Microsoft’s secret battle against the Tor botnet (The Daily Dot, Jan 16, 2014):

In August 2013, 4 million infected computers woke up and waited instructions from their master.

The pathogen was Sefnit, a nasty bit of malware that makes infected computers mine bitcoins. Once the computers woke up, they worked under the command of Ukranian and Israeli hackers named Scorpion and Dekadent. The malware communicated with the two by downloading Tor, the powerful anonymizing software, and talking over encrypted channels. It was the first time a botnet, as a collection of slave computers is called, used Tor in such a potentially powerful way.

By using an unconventional method to exploit Windows, the hackers unwittingly forced Microsoft to show a hand few knew it had: The ability to remotely remove progams en masse from people’s computers, without them even knowing it.

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Jan 17

Fukushima-125

- Why Obama Won’t Admit Fukushima Radiation is Poisoning Americans…Connecting the Dots (The Daily Sheeple, Jan 16, 2014):

We all know that the radiation from the stricken Fukushima plant has spread around the globe and is poisoning people worldwide. We all know that the West Coast of the United States is being polluted with radioactive debris and that the oceans, the beaches that border them, and even the air is becoming more polluted by radioactivity as time goes on.

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Jan 16

Texting on BlackBerry mobile phone
The NSA has made extensive use of its text message database to extract information on people under no suspicion of illegal activity.

- NSA collects millions of text messages daily in ‘untargeted’ global sweep (Guardian, Jan 16, 2014):

• NSA extracts location, contacts and financial transactions
• ‘Dishfire’ program sweeps up ‘pretty much everything it can’
• GCHQ using database to search metadata from UK numbers

The National Security Agency has collected almost 200 million text messages a day from across the globe, using them to extract data including location, contact networks and credit card details, according to top-secret documents.

The untargeted collection and storage of SMS messages – including their contacts – is revealed in a joint investigation between the Guardian and the UK’s Channel 4 News based on material provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

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Jan 15

- Here’s The Underwater Drone The Navy Will Use To Spy On Enemy Submarines (Business Insider, Jan 14, 2014):

Drones don’t just fly in the sky. They’ll soon be patrolling the ocean. The US Navy recently announced a contract worth $203.7M for marine technology developer Teledyne Benthos to repurpose the Slocum Glider as an instrument used for military activity.

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Jan 15

- Fox Business: Leading ‘pro-nuclear’ scientist admits our nuclear plants are “dangerous” and “error-prone” — Agrees we don’t even know true extent of Fukushima disaster or its impact (VIDEO) (ENENews, Jan 14, 2014):

Fox Business, Jan. 3, 2014 (at 2:00 in):

Lou Dobbs, host: Your thoughts on nuclear power and why you think that’s so critical, given the direction of our climate?

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Ken Caldeira, climate scientist in the Carnegie Institution Department of Global Ecology at Stanford University: [...] If we look at nuclear power, the facts about the objective risks are also fairly well established, in that nuclear power seems far less risky than coal. And yes, there are risks — we’ve seen Fukushima, and we know that there’s waste disposal issues — but there’s nothing fundamental about nuclear power that says that it can’t be substantially safer than what we’re currently doing.

Dobbs: I don’t want to get into the issue nuclear power itself, other than to say Fukushima — as you put it aside here — I mean, we don’t even know the true extent of that disaster and its impact. You would agree with that right?

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Jan 15

- The Incredibly Flat World of Monsanto (FarmWars, Jan 6, 2014):

New scientific discovery reveals DNA manipulation can create mutations due to ignorance of gene control mechanism.

There was a time when science dictated that the world was flat, and that if you reached the edge, you would simply fall off. What they couldn’t see, they proposed to be non-existent. Well, we’ve come a long way since then, but the arrogance remains. In the biotech sector, what they don’t see simply does not exist, and what they claim does not exist may be responsible for a myriad of diseases we are experiencing today. Continue reading »

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Jan 14

FYI.


- ‘Game Changer’: Former Prime Ministers team up to win Tokyo election and end nuclear power — “Our nation’s survival is at stake” — “Could have biggest influence ever on national politics” (ENENews, Jan 14, 2014):

Kyodo, Jan. 14, 2014: Former Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa said Tuesday he will run in the upcoming Tokyo gubernatorial election with an antinuclear agenda after securing the backing of popular former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi [...] The move [...] could have game-changing impact on the race for the helm of the Japanese capital [...] “I have made my decision to run in the Tokyo governor election,” Hosokawa told reporters after meeting Koizumi. “I have a sense of crisis myself that the country’s various problems, especially nuclear power plants, are matters of survival for the country.” [...] Koizumi indicated the main focus of the election will be whether to pursue nuclear power or not, calling the election “a war between the group that says Japan can grow with zero nuclear power plants” and the group that says it cannot. [...]

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Jan 14

- TV: Fukushima confirms nightmarish potential of nuclear power; Public living with threat of worst-case scenarios on daily basis — Author: “Super catastrophe” looms at plant (VIDEO) (ENENews, Jan 14, 2014):

Dr. Michael Parenti, Ph.D.(Yale University) political scientist, historian, author, Jan. 13, 2014: [...] President Obama has been as mute about the calamity looming at Fukushima as the Japanese government itself—-and for the same reasons. First, the potential danger is stupendous and it is in the manner of leaders, when facing something that might develop into a super catastrophe, to keep the public’s mind off it. The last thing they want is to put the public into a fright and fury about their own survival [...] Should Obama broach the subject of Fukushima he would leave himself open to a host of questions [...] It would become apparent that he and the others have no sure answer regarding how they are going to decommission the nuclear plants [...]

Al Jazeera America, Jan. 13, 2014: [...] since its inception, commercial nuclear power has also provoked a kind of blood-curdling dread, and countries embraced the vision of a nuclear future to very different degrees. The 2011 catastrophe in Fukushima confirmed, once again, the nightmarish potential of nuclear power, and refigured the debate about nuclear across the globe. [...]

Fukushima-234556

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Jan 13

DARPA Funds Development Of EEG Brain Scanner That You Can Print Out At Home

- These Guys Are Creating a Brain Scanner You Can Print Out at Home (Wired, Jan 13, 2014):

Conor Russomanno and Joel Murphy have a dream: They want to create an open-source brain scanner that you can print out at home, strap onto your head, and hook straight into your brainwaves.

This past week, they printed their first headset prototype on a 3-D printer, and WIRED has the first photos.

Bootstrapped with a little funding help from DARPA — the research arm of the Department of Defense — the device is known as OpenBCI. It includes sensors and a mini-computer that plugs into sensors on a black skull-grabbing piece of plastic called the “Spider Claw 3000,” which you print out on a 3-D printer. Put it all together, and it operates as a low-cost electroencephalography (EEG) brainwave scanner that connects to your PC.

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