Washington Post reveals new PRISM slides, offers greater clarity into the US’ surveillance operation
PRISM: The surveillance story that started with four leaked slides from the Washington Post, today gets a bit clearer. The publication has revealed four more annotated slides about the once-secret NSA operation, along with detailing the various levels of scrutiny from the FBI and NSA that happen before, during and after approved wiretaps take place. It seems that many of the measures make sure the warrantless data mining of US citizens occurs to the smallest extent possible and that FISA rules are followed -- still unsettling, nonetheless.
Detailing the process further, NSA analysts perform checks with supervisors to be certain intended targets are foreign nationals who aren't on US soil; approval is provided by way of "51-percent confidence" in assessments. During a "tasking process" search terms are entered, dubbed "selectors," which can tap into FBI gear installed within the private properties of participating companies -- so much for those denials. For live communications, this data goes straight to the NSA's PRINTAURA filtering system, while both the FBI and NSA scan pre-recorded data independently. Notably, live surveillance is indeed possible for the likes of text, voice and and instant message-based conversations, according to a slide that details how cases are notated. It's also worth mentioning that much of the collected metadata comes from programs outside of PRISM, as WP points out.
PRINTAURA is an overall filter for others, like NUCLEON for voice communications and MAINWAY for records of phone calls. Another two layers beyond that, called CONVEYANCE and FALLOUT, provide further filtering. Again, all of these checks apparently fine-tune results and help make sure they don't match up with US citizens. Results that return info about those in the US get scrapped, while those that have info about foreign targets mixed with US citizens get stored for up to five years -- restrictions are in place to limit the snooping of citizens. A total number of 117,675 active targets were listed as April 5th, but the paper notes that this doesn't reflect the amount of data that may also have been collected on American citizens in the process. If you haven't already, now might be a great time to catch up on this whole PRISM fiasco to learn about how it might affect you. You'll find all the new slides and more detailed analysis at the source links.
There's certainly been a lot of brouhaha surrounding the new design language Apple introduced for iOS 7 at WWDC. Some (ourselves included) feel it's modern and fresh while others loathe the brighter palette and simpler, flatter icons. A lot can change between now and the launch of iOS 7 this fall, but if Apple's recent trademark filing is any indication, FaceTime's new logo / icon -- which consists of a stylized white video camera inside a rounded-off green square -- fits squarely (ahem) within the aesthetic we saw on stage in San Francisco. Of course, companies often trademark logos, so we can't really say this comes as much of a surprise, either. If you're curious where Jony Ive might have found his inspiration for the pastel colors and thin lines showcased in iOS 7's iconography, check out Otl Aicher's design work for the 1972 Olympics in the "more coverage" link after the break.
Each week our friends at Inhabitat recap the week's most interesting green developments and clean tech news for us -- it's the Week in Green.
Summer is finally upon us, and polluting companies are feeling the heat as President Barack Obama announced a groundbreaking climate action plan this week that calls for cutting CO2 emissions and building more resilient communities in the face of climate change. Meanwhile, innovators around the world are continuing to tackle some of our biggest challenges. Rust-Oleum launched NeverWet - an incredible new spray that can completely waterproof any surface or object. IKEA unveiled a new solar-powered flat-pack shelter that could be easily deployed as emergency housing. Cardboard Technologies announced plans to mass-produce a $10 bicycle made almost entirely from recycled cardboard. And in one of the week's most exciting green transportation developments, England's Drayson Racing set a new land speed record for electric cars this week, shattering the previous mark by nearly 30 MPH.
It's only July, but 2013 has already been a banner year for Tesla Motors. Now, rumors are starting to circulate that Google will make a bid for the electric car company. In other green transportation news this week, inventor Chip Yates announced plans to fly an electric airplane nonstop from New York to Paris. A Volkswagen Passat TDI set a new world record by achieving 77.99 MPG in a 48-state drive -- the best fuel economy ever for a non-hybrid car. High Speed 2 released the first images of England's new 225 MPH bullet train, and in New York City, Inhabitat speculated on how parked Citi Bikes could be used to generate energy. Inhabitat also teamed up with Linus Bikes to give one lucky reader a bike worth $645.
In an effort to create a better, longer-lasting bike light, Dutch company Rydon created a new solar-powered bike light that can be permanently mounted to any bike frame. Fashion designer Pauline van Dongen unveiled a prototype for a new coat that features a series of solar-powered flaps that unfurl in the sunlight. A pair of researchers at the University of Maryland Robotics Center developed a robo raven that is able to fly by flapping its wings independently of one another. DJ and turntablist Kid Koala released an album that comes with a working DIY cardboard record player that you can assemble yourself. And Lego builder Jason Alleman built a steampunk Lego ship that can crawl around on spiderlike legs.
La torcia più ecologica? Quella alimentata dal calore generato dalla mano: è questa l’idea alla base dell’invenzione della 15enne Ann Makosinski, originaria di Victoria (British Columbia) che le ha permesso di entrare tra i 15 finalisti del concorso Google Science Fair e partecipare così alla premiazione in sede a Mountain View (California). Il vincitore finale riceverà un premio di ben 50.000 dollari e un viaggio alle Isole Galapagos. La sua torcia è composta da un faro LED a basso consumo e da una cella di Peltier (un dispositivo termoelettrico che, semplificando, genera elettricità sfruttando la differenza di temperatura tra i due lati). Nel video qui sopra si può ascoltare il racconto della produzione del dispositivo, scopriamone di più.
La torcia è realizzata a partire da un tubo di alluminio all’interno di un altro tubo in PVC con una zona intagliata per un contatto diretto con la pelle dell’utente che può così scambiare colore con il dispositivo di Peltier. Come si può intuire, la resa della torcia sarà tanto più intensa quanto sarà bassa la temperatura ambientale, visto che il calore del corpo umano è piuttosto costante, dunque in condizione di freddo, la torcia sarà più efficiente. Il costo di produzione di una torcia – artigianalmente costruita – è di 26 dollari, ma si promette di scendere ancora nel costo.
Salta la corda, accendi la torcia
Jumping Light è l’interessante concept apparso sulle pagine di Yankodesign nel 2010, che si propone come mezzo ideale di fusione tra il fitness e l’ecologia, come? Ve lo spiego con un esempio: dovete salire in soffitta per cercare una scatola, invece che prendere la torcia a pile, saltate un po’ la corda. E cosa c’entra la corda? Semplice, Jumping Light è una speciale corda con impugnature che nascondono una dinamo che accumula energia cinetica in una batteria per poi accendere il faro LED a basso consumo e alta luminosità. Così in un colpo solo si bruciano un po’ di calorie e si ottiene luce pulita.
Allo stesso modo Jumping Light è ideale per chi svolge quotidianamente esercizi fisici a casa: per loro stessa natura sono ripetitivi e comportano uno spostamento di pesi o un movimento, energia che viene dissipata senza poterne catturare nemmeno una goccia. Per fortuna che ci pensano i due designer sudcoreani Hyun Joo Lee Eu Tteum Lee. La loro Jumping Light sfrutta proprio l’energia cinetica per accumulare carica che poi servirà a accendere il bulbo LED. La rotazione della corda intorno ai manici è la sorgente, un’idea semplice e d’effetto che potrebbe presto entrare in produzione.
Fonte | Yankodesign
While everyone tries to figure out what the future of TV looks like, Variety reports Cox Cable has crossed over to offering internet TV service to customers in Orange County. flareWatch beta testers can buy a Fanhattan Fan TV set-top box for $99 (up to three per household) and sign up for a TV package that features 90 live TV channels (60 in HD) and includes the usual favorites like ESPN / ESPN2, AMC, CNN, Nickelodeon and TNT, with video on-demand coming soon. DVR recordings take place in the cloud, with 30 hours of storage available for each subscriber.
There is one notable limitation however, as with cable company provided TiVo DVRs, streaming services like Hulu and Netflix are not available. Cox already cloud based storage under the MyFlare brand name, and Variety also mentions the company plans to expand it with music and game services. Other providers have hinted at offering IPTV options and Comcast launched an IPTV test at MIT, but this is the first one publicly available from a major company. If you live in the area, demonstrations are available at several locations, check out the site at the link below and a preview video after the break.
Listen, we're all for waiting until the last possible minute, but that time is now. If you happen to be looking for a deal on Google's fancy new music service, the clock is ticking. Once June 30th rolls around, Google Play Music All Access's $7.99 price tag will bump up to the standard $9.99 a month. That's a full $2 a month more for access to those millions of unlimited songs. You can sign up at the source link below -- that same page can also hook you up with a free 30-day trial, if not paying money is your thing.
Alt-week takes a look at the best science and alternative tech stories from the last seven days.
Sure, DARPA is slightly sinister, but it's so into robots that we're willing to let that slide. In fact, last year it launched the DARPA Robotics Challenge, and it just announced the top
six nine seven teams to advance. But if just the idea of figuring out robotics frustrates you, NC State's face tracking program literally gets that, and NASA just launched the IRIS solar probe from the belly of a transport jet. It's Alt-week, baby.
Remember DARPA's Robotics Challenge (DRC) launched to create 'bots that would look like humans and perform real world tasks? Well, the military's skunkworks division just announced that its winnowed down the original 26 teams to seven after completion of the Virtual Robotics Challenge (VRC) phase. To test them, DARPA created a cloud-based simulator, which teams used to simulate vehicle egress and driving, walking on rough, muddy terrain, attaching a hose to a spigot and turning a valve. While DARPA was planning on having six finalists, it turned out that JPL (which already has a DARPA-funded project and its own robot), decided to drop out and donate its resources Lockheed Martin's Trooper entry. At the same time, Team K from Japan and Case Western University pooled their resources and also received a donated ATLAS robot from Hong Kong University. In the spirit of good sportsmanship, DARPA decided after all that to keep seven teams, which will get an actual Boston Dynamics Atlas robot and more funding for the final DRC trials. Since that will no doubt produce the kind of entertainment we saw earlier this year at Engadget Expand, we can't wait.
NASA launches are always a hoot, even its so-called Small Explorer Missions. The IRIS solar observer is one of those, and was lofted into space on Thursday from an Orbital Sciences Pegasus rocket, which itself separated from the underside of a converted Lockheed L-1011 jet at around 40,000 feet. Now that it's in orbit at about 400 miles, IRIS (Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph) will begin observing solar material that transits a poorly understood region between the sun's photosphere and corona, causing solar winds and driving the million-degree atmosphere. It'll use an ultraviolet telescope built by Lockheed Martin to do that during its two year mission, which one day may improve solar forecasts and explain some of the bizarre tantrums occasionally thrown by our star.
Confused? That's a common issue for students learning computer science, and while in-the-flesh profs can easily see your anxious state, machines have no such empathy. Researchers from North Carolina State University want to change that, so they developed software that tracks facial expressions in order to predict the emotions of students during online tutoring sessions. Called JavaTutor, the program correctly sussed out moods 85 percent of the time and "will not only respond to what a students knows, but to (his or her) feelings of frustration or engagement," according to assistant professor Dr. Kristy Boyer. That'll lead to the next stage of research -- providing both "cognitive and emotion-based feedback to students" during learning sessions, which the scientists claim could have a dramatic effect on retention. Sounds good, but if you put that together with DARPA's project above, the result could be a scary-looking robot that senses your fear.
The end of an era arrives Sunday, when Sprint will officially shut the door on its Nextel iDEN push-to-talk service. Subscribers who've held onto the legacy PTT standard with white knuckle grips (and extra fees) will have to switch to its CDMA-based Direct Connect offering for continued chirping capabilities -- or migrate to the likes of Ma Bell's haus. The freed up 800MHz spectrum won't remain idle; if you'll recall, it'll be re-allocated to give a major boost to Sprint's 4G CDMA voice/LTE data rollout for 2014. Hurry up and make that switch if you haven't already and relive some Sprint Nextel memories with us after the break.