China’s lunar rover has stalled on its second lunar night of exploration due to the moon’s "complicated lunar surface environment."
China’s Yutu rover, translated as “Jade Rabbit,” is experiencing a “mechanical control abnormality” just one month after making the first soft landing on the Moon since 1976, Xinhua news agency said.
The six-wheeled rover was expected to gather data for about three months. Until now, it had successfully explored the lunar surface with its mechanical arm.
Yutu was being shut down Saturday when it stalled, according to the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense (SASTIND). The agency said scientists are planning to make repairs, but gave no further details.
Unofficial accounts claim that Yutu’s solar panels did not fold back properly on its mast as it was positioned over a warming box that protects it from the frigid lunar night – which lasts 14 Earth days.
If this is true, instruments and electronic systems on the mast may be defunct.
A wireless, compact, camera-equipped robot will soon be joining the war against drug smuggling along the United States’ southern border.
The new round of state-of-the-art technology will work alongside camera towers, unmanned aerial drones and wireless technologies to watch the 168 discovered tunnels in Arizona and California used mostly to smuggle drugs.
Because of tight land, air and water surveillance among the U.S.-Mexico border, traffickers have gone underground, where this new round of technology will be used.
“We’ve found all types of contraband in Nogales [Arizona],” border patrol Agent Kevin Hecht said. “We’ve had marijuana, we’ve had cocaine, we’ve had heroine, we’ve had some meth.”
The robot will be able to transform into a drone with a 12-gauge shotgun, a feature that won’t be activated according to Hecht.
“That is not an option we needed right now,” he said.
The robots will be sent ahead of agents in order to detect potential threats.
“Once you determine there’s no threats and it’s safe for the agent to make entry, then the agent can clear the tunnel and investigate further beyond what the robot was able to do.”
Tunnel robots have been used by the Border Patrol for years. They can navigate safely throughout pipes, tunnels, and drainage systems while agents control them from the surface, watching the robot’s every move from a handheld screen.
The new batch of robots, only 19 inches wide and weight 12 pounds, can flip, maneuver through rough terrain, climb stairs, and navigate through narrow passageways. They will be deployed this year across southern Arizona and California.
Sources: Christian Science Monitor, USA Today, Associated Press
Talented web developer Tal Ater has found a bug in Google’s widely-used Chrome browser. Ater, who works in speech recognition programming, stumbled upon the bug during his own work. According to Ater, the bug could let websites with malicious intentions activate your microphone without you ever noticing. Here’s how it works.
When you visit a site that wants to use your microphone, the site has to ask for your permission. Assuming you accept, this site will be able hear what you say for the duration of your visit at the site. This is relatively harmless in and of itself - web developers are actively working to allow users to execute commands on the internet using their voice.
When a site is accessing your microphone, a red light will appear in the browsing window letting you know that you’re microphone is activated. But, Ater says, a website does not have to ask you for permission to access your microphone every time you visit. Consenting to microphone use even once on a site is all the site needs to access your microphone in future visits without asking.
Here’s the kick: the way Chrome currently works, it’s not at all difficult for a website to open a discreet pop-up window without you noticing. This window could open, activate your microphone, and record your conversations for hours or days before you ever notice.
"Even while not using your computer - conversations, meetings and phone calls next to your computer may be recorded and compromised," Ater said in his blog post on the bug.
“The malicious site you visited can continue listening in on you long after you have left it," Ater continued. "As long as Chrome is still running nothing said next to your computer is private.”
Ater reported the bug to Google on September 24th. Google’s engineers responded swiftly with a patch for the exploit. But Google is yet to implement the patch in the mainstream code of Chrome. The internet giant says the issue is still being debated amongst their browser Standards group.
“As of today, almost four months after learning about this issue, Google is still waiting for the Standards group to agree on the best course of action," Ater said, "and your browser is still vulnerable."
Aerial drones soaring through the sky have been a hot topic lately in the political world, and pretty soon much smaller drones might be making their way into people’s pockets – literally.
The “Pocket Drone,” funded by Kickstarter.com, is a foldable, flying “multicopter” that its creators have described it as the “GoPro of drones.”
Equipped with an action camera for capturing aerial photos and videos and a rechargeable battery, the drone folds up to a size of a small tablet.
“Until now, most people could not participate in this awesome new technology revolution – the cost was too great, the drones too bulky, and the software too difficult to operate,” creators Timothy Reuter, TJ Johnson and Chance Roth wrote on their Kickstarter page.
The creators, also founders of the Drones User Group Network, said they want to empower civilians, not spy on them.
The Drones User Group Network says it is “dedicated to teaching people to build and operate the flying robots… and there wasn’t anything out there that was both powerful and convenient to carry. So we decided to create something that combined the best of everything we had seen, but was more elegant and accessible."
This drone is easy to operate, they said. It can be unpacked and launched within 20 seconds and can be managed by a remote, a third party RC controller or from any Android phone or tablet with a USB port.
The Pocket Drone can be purchased for $445 without a controller or $495 for the entire package.
The Kickstarter campaign will close its fundraising on March 9 and has already surpassed its goal of $35,000 by reaching $300,000.
Much of the allure of the Internet is its relative anonymity, as users can interact with each other without revealing their personal information. The NSA spying scandal as well as other big data collection reports have demonstrated, of course, that the net is not as anonymous as many users would like to believe. Still, internet commenters can find comfort in the fact that their online speech cannot be linked with their true identity.
A new ruling by a federal judge in Louisiana claims that anonymity on the web might not be an inherent right. US Magistrate Judge Joseph Wilkinson decided on Tuesday that attorney Edward Castaing could legally subpoena NOLA.com to provide him with the names, addresses and phone numbers of two otherwise anonymous commenters on the site.
The case in which Castaing is involved regards the Danziger Bridge shootings that took place in New Orleans during the days following Hurricane Katrina. Five police officers were convicted with shooting civilians during the incident.
Castaing’s client, former New Orleans Affordable Homeownership executive director Stacey Jackson, was accused of misusing federal funds for personal benefit, theft and bribery amidst the chaotic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Castaing believes his client may have been charged due to comments on the site posted anonymously by law enforcement officials, an act which would constitute prosecutorial misconduct. Castaing claims that two commenters on NOLA.com, the online equivalent of print publication the New Orleans Times-Picayune, made statements that “pressured suspects to cooperate with prosecutors,” according to RT.
Former US Attorney Jim Letten’s office had already admitted to posting slanderous comments on the site, which led both Letten to resign and a judge to reopen a trial for the convicted police officers. Several federal officials, including former Assistant U.S. Attorney Sal Perricone and former First Assistant U.S. Attorney Jann Mann, were found to have been using the site to post anonymous comments.
One commenter, using the name “jammer1954,” wrote the following on the article which Castaing hopes to subpoena: “Mark my words. The canaries are going to start singing, and Car 54 is going up in smoke. Stacey Jackson is going to rat out every one, every body, and every thing to make the best deal for herself – after all she did this as chief of NOAH so her behavior isn’t going to change.”
NOLA.com has claimed that it takes the privacy of its users seriously and that it would consider how to respond once it receives the subpoena from Castaing. Although the judges presiding over the case recognized how the subpoena would violate individual privacy, they claimed that it also “might lead to the conclusion that there was a pattern, policy or practice of pre-indictment prosecutorial misconduct in the accusatory process material to Jackson’s defenses alleging violations of her due process rights.”
With the success of the drone program—in terms of waging long-distance war without risking your own troop casualties—and against the warnings of science fiction writers, the US Army is considering replacing some human ground forces with robots. Robots are already employed in the military, specifically in explosive ordnance disposal or EOD, but this is the first real suggestion of employing robots on a mass scale for numerous tasks.
According to British newspaper The Telegraph, a “senior American officer has said he is considering shrinking the size of the Army’s brigade combat teams by a quarter and replacing the lost troops with robots and remote-controlled vehicles.” This suggestion comes at a time when the Army is considering drawing down its force reserves as a result of larger Department of Defense or DOD budget restructuring.
That said, we’re still very far away from a platoon of Terminators fighting America’s wars. Although, the DOD does have its eyes on a workable android, it is being designed for rescue and relief rather than warfare. Still even the addition of robots to human units will involve a fundamental change in the way the US Army trains and fights.
Some of the robots being considered are like those used by EOD, employed to accomplish dangerous or meticulous tasks. There are dog-like robots, driverless vehicles, and a robot on tank treads that can fire a squad-assault weapon.
Still, the drone program has created a lot of ill feelings towards the U.S. and further use of robots runs that same risk. The chaos of war is often only tempered by the humanity of the soldiers who wage it. So ultimately the success of any new robotic program would rely on the efficacy of the human soldiers who would control and work with these devices.
The British maker of the popular app Candy Crush Saga has a provisional trademark in the U.S. on the word “candy” and has begun warning other apps using the noun to cease and desist.
King.com says it filed the patent to crack down on copycat developers.
A King representative said "we have to enforce our rights and protect our players from confusion. We don't enforce against all uses of 'Candy' - some are legitimate, and, of course, we would not ask app developers who use the term legitimately to stop doing so."
Tyler Ochoa, who teaches intellectual property at Santa Clara University School of Law, said the patent is “blatantly anti-competitive” and "unduly broad.”
The provisional trademark given to King by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in currently undergoing its 30-day "opposition period.” But Florida game developer Benny Hsu said he already received a warning from King telling him to remove the word from his free app “All Candy Casino Slots.”
"I was very surprised to get that warning because 'candy' is such a common word and I never dreamed anyone could get a trademark for it," Hsu said.
“I don't think anyone identifies this app by the name 'candy' by itself,” said Ochoa. “They're attempting to get a monopoly or exclusive rights on anything that has the word 'candy' in it to prevent other people from making imitation games. That's blatantly anti-competitive and it's not what the trademark law is supposed to be about. It's about protecting products and brands."
Creative Strategies analyst Ben Bajarin told San Jose Mercury News he was "surprised that King could get a trademark for a word so broadly used. They didn't invent the word 'candy,' but they saw an opportunity to own it and fight their competition, which shows just how hard it is to have a successful brand and franchise in today's era of mobile gaming."
"My game looks nothing like Candy Crush," Hsu said. "My candies are rainbow-colored lollipops; Crush uses small green and red and yellow candies."
Instead of springing for a lawyer, Hsu said he would change the name to “All Sweets Casino Slots.”
He said it’s not the first time he’s received a letter like this. He developed an app last year with “memory” in the title and "got an email from a developer that said 'we own the trademark to the word "memory," so you can't use it.'"
Candy Crush Saga has been downloaded more than 500 million times by Apple and Android users.
I’m sure we’ve all experienced one of those eerie moments when we’re searching for something on the internet and Google somehow knows exactly what we’re going to type. This function, usually referred to as autocomplete, logs what users search for and uses that data to suggest commonly searched for things to future users.
Tech magazine Mashable recently decided to use Google’s autocomplete feature to see what people in each state “want” for the their state. Researchers simply typed in “(State name) wants” and wrote down the first autocomplete suggestion for the search. The results were pretty entertaining.
Secession was an extremely common theme in the searches. For 15 states, the first suggestion for “(State name) wants…” was “to secede.”
Other funny finds from the map:
- Virginia wants its own currency
- New York wants your guns
- Miserable Georgians want Tennessee weather
- Poor Wyoming just wants an aircraft carrier
- Floridians want “to know”…. And nothing else
- Louisiana wants to close libraries
- Fitting with these state’s huge college football programs, Oregon and Oklahoma fans want Bama.
Check out the rest of the quirky findings on the map below:
It’s already illegal to wear Google Glass while driving in California. To be fair, this doesn’t seem like a bad law. Given people’s affinity for texting and driving, it’s not hard to imagine Glass wearers looking at all kinds of things on their Glass while only keeping a half-attentive eye on the road.
It looks like driving isn’t the only thing authorities don’t want you doing while wearing Glass. A man in a Columbus, Ohio movie theatre was confronted by law enforcement agents in the middle of a movie recently. The agents snatched the glasses off his face and removed him from the theatre. Once outside, the man was confronted by a group of agents who grilled him for over three hours about whether he was using the glasses to record the movie he was seeing.
“People around me were all looking in my direction,” said the man, who wishes to remain anonymous. “Being dark in the theatre, I didn’t see how the other people react. And it happened rather fast. I followed my glasses – I wouldn’t let somebody just take them and leave without me following.”
The man insists he wasn’t using Glass to record the movie. He is one of a number of people who chose to purchase prescription lenses for his Glass and use them as his daily glasses. This is why he chose to wear them to the theatre that day.
“After I got my prescription lens for Glass, I wore Google Glass exclusively, including at the movies,” he said. “As the prior couple of times there was no issue with me wearing glass at the very same movie theater, I didn’t even think about wearing my old pair of glasses to the movie, and I didn’t have my old glasses with me. I always carry an “emergency pair” in my car, but the car was in the parking lot. So the short answer is no, I didn’t consider wearing regular glasses.”
Agents let the man go home after three hours of questioning. His glasses were returned to him and no charges were filed. The AMC movie theatre he was confronted at doesn’t seem too apologetic about the ordeal – the only consolation he received for his troubles is two free tickets to another showing. Woohoo.
For years, the list of worst passwords was dominated by the word “password.” It was consistently among the most common and easy to guess. But now there’s a new number one.
SplashData, a password management application, has announced that first time in years, “password” fell from the number one spot to second place. It now sits behind “12345.”
Interestingly, many of the passwords on the list below are short and numerical. This trend comes even after many websites began asking for more complex passwords that contain at least one number, notes Morgan Slain, CEO of Splash Data.
“Seeing passwords like ‘adobe123’ and ‘photoshop’ on this list offers a good reminder not to base your password on the name of the website or application you are accessing,” he said in a statement.
Splash Data offers several tips in making passwords more secure such as using passwords of eight characters or more with mixed types of characters, even though these are not immune to security breach either.
“But even passwords with common substitutions like “dr4matic” can be vulnerable to attackers’ increasingly sophisticated technology,” Slain said.
In addition, Splash Data suggests avoiding using the same username/password combination for multiple websites and “using a password manager application that organizes and protects passwords and can automatically log you into websites.”
Here is the list of worst passwords of 2013 and their change from 2012, according to SplashData:
1. 123456 (Up 1)
2. passoword (Down 1)
3. 12345678 (Unchanged)
4. qwerty (Up 1)
5. abc123 (Down 1)
6. 123456789 (New)
7. 111111 (Up 2)
8. 1234567 (Up 5)
9. iloveyou (Up 2)
10. adobe123 (New)
11. 123123 (Up 5)
12. admin (New)
13. 1234567890 (New)
14. letmein (Down 7)
15. photoshop (New)
16. 1234 (New)
17. monkey (Down 11)
18. shadow (Unchanged)
19. sunshine (Down 5)
20. 12345 (new)
21. password1 (Up 4)
22. princess (New)
23. azerty (New)
24. trustno1 (Down 12)
25. 000000 (New)