News Archives | Strange Ideas
2/11/2006 Technology / Strange Happenings. Ball Lightning created in lab.Makes me think of the video I saw with a ball of light flying around and creating a crop circle.
"If you have ever seen a mysterious ball of lightning chasing a cow or flying through your window during a thunderstorm, take comfort from the fact that you have witnessed a very rare phenomenon. Indeed, ball lightning -- a slow-moving ball of light that is occasionally seen at ground level during storms -- has puzzled scientists for centuries. Now, however, researchers in Israel have built a system that can create lightning balls in the lab. The work may not only help us to understand ball lightning but could even lead to practical applications that make use of these artificial balls." - physicsweb
2/7/2006 Technology. Inventor develops 'artificial gills'Just the thing for your secret underwater bases.
"Called "LikeAFish", the battery-powered artificial gill system aims to extract the small amounts of dissolved air that already exists in water to supply breathable oxygen to scuba divers, submarines and underwater habitats. The device is the brainchild of Alon Bodner. It utilises a high-speed centrifuge to lower the pressure of seawater in a small sealed chamber. This allows the dissolved air to escape back into a gaseous state - much like the way carbon dioxide is liberated from a soft drink when you reduce the pressure on it by popping the bottle cap. The air thus liberated is then transferred to an airbag for the diver to use. Since every litre of water contains about 1.5% of dissolved air, Bodner's system must circulate around 200 litres of water per minute to accommodate the breathing needs of an average person." - bored
2/2/2006 Technology. I'll take, "Things you can stick in a USB port, for 100 Alex..."
Check out the top 10 strangest USB devices.
2/2/2006 Technology / Privacy. Marauder's map is real and ordinary people can use it.
Read about how this guy stalked his girlfriend: "... A map appears of the area in which we live, with a person-shaped blob in the middle, roughly 100 yards from our home. The phone doesn't go off at all. There is no trace of what I'm doing on her phone. I can't quite believe my eyes: I knew that the police could do this, and telecommunications companies, but not any old random person with five minutes access to someone else's phone. I can't find anything in her mobile that could possibly let her know that I'm checking her location. " - guarduk. Is there such a service available in the US? Perhaps. Try this. Some are free.
"We can locate any cellular phone in the USA, Canada, Mexico, or the Caribbean. Any cellular phone, analog or digital, GPS or non- GPS enabled can be located using our cell phone ping service."
Cell phone stolen? Try tracerservices. By know you should all know that "Cell phones are miniature radio transmitters that constantly broadcast their location even when no call is in progress." There are some interesting ideas for using the data. For example, "the Missouri Department of Transportation is finalizing a contract to monitor thousands of cell phones, using their movements to map real-time traffic conditions statewide on all 5,500 miles of major roads." according to forbes.
1/27/2006 Technology. Rocket Bike: 0 to 60 mph in five seconds
"... Tim Pickens got himself another bike and stepped it up, attaching a 200-pound-thrust engine capable of blasting him from 0 to 60 miles an hour in five seconds -- fast enough to beat a Porsche in a drag race. The rocket bike employs the same hybrid rocket technology as the suborbital rocket plane SpaceShipOne, whose propulsion system Pickens helped design. In place of synthetic rubber fuel, however, the bike uses ordinary roofing tar." - cnn
1/24/2006 Technology. You had a visitor ... but you knew that, didn't you?How long until everyone is on camera at all times? Are we already? Some cameras like the military terahertz wave ray devices (in space? in UAVs?) can already see through walls! Freaky.
The home owner had developed their own security system which used a webcam to monitor any movement and then email out a series of pictures should anything suspicious happen.
The result was, even though their PC had been stolen, it had spent its last few moments emailing out some clear images of the miscreant in question.
... What happens when it detects motion is down to you and here Crime Catcher truly excels. You may want to just save the images to your hard disk. This is fine if your PC is secure but if that gets stolen...
You can also have the images emailed out so they'll be safe if the PC disappears." - practicalpc
1/20/2006 Technology. Bomber Spotted from Space by Google
"A LANCASTER bomber has been spotted flying over Huntingdon - from space. The veteran aircraft from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight was pictured cruising over Stukeley Meadows by Google Earth's mapping satellite. ... The Lancaster - City of Lincoln - is believed to have been flying to or from an air display from its base at RAF Coningsby when it flew under the satellite's cameras. ... Clear images available on Google Earth have sparked contests among users for spotting unusual objects such as the Lancaster. Other sightings include a ghostly apparition of Jesus in a Peruvian sand dune and military ships at sea."
1/20/2006 Technology / PSA. Free music, aka Sneaky access to someone's computer
A guy my friend was dating installed file sharing software on her computer so she could download songs from the Internet. He secretly, however, shared her entire hard drive. Knowing her computer's address, he was then free to copy anything he wanted from her computer while she was downloading songs. He used that method to find and use her hotmail password to access her email and impersonate her to send messages to her friends. Coincidentally, I found this out a few days after I wrote the PSA below.
What to do? 1. Understand the real risks of p2p software include identity theft as well as prosecution for copy writeinfringement or worse. 2. Act accordingly.
Unfortunately, there are many different p2p programs and the settings are different for each one. Plus, you can have more than one installed at a time. You can try to find a friend you trust to double check what is running on your computer. Big secret: Some (all?) file sharing programs also have backdoors that allow access all of your files in stealth mode. I just guessing, but duh. Why wouldn't they?
1/18/2006 Technology / PSA. Get some MP3's, give up your identity?
There are legitimate legal uses for Point to Point (P2P) software such as Napster, but most people use it to swap copyrighted songs, videos and software.
PSA: If you use it, double check what you are sharing. Some things people reported finding include: Resumes, logs of private chat sessions, videos and private pictures of the person who own's the computer, private addresses and phone numbers, letters of resignation, tax info, unemployment info, life goals, unsent break-up letters, divorce papers, and even non-classified Department of Defense correspondence which some soldiers keep on their home computers. ( Yikes! ) US Intel People: Get out there and educate our troops about this! Seriously!
One assumes that since P2P software is legal, that it is legal to grab any files other people share ... as long as no copywrite or other laws are violated. Since many files are misnamed, what if you get something that says "My Garage Band" and it turns out to be the Rolling Stones? What about the reverse? How much is honestly being monitored? What % of people will eventually be found and fined? If you buy CDs at garage sales is it legal to rip and keep the MP3s from them on your home computer? What if you then throw away the CD? Do you still legally own the MP3s?
Recent news stories say the P2P software users are winning the battle. More music is being swapped freely than ever before. News here.
1/11/2006 Technology / Freedom / Privacy. Rights group criticises 'Asbo TV'
How soon before everyone is on TV all the time everywhere? A community network project in Shoreditch will now allow viewing by regular folk of the local CCTV cameras. Interesting idea. Some enterprising peole should put on street plays in front of the cameras. Shakespeare is full of Asbo violations.
"Viewers can then alert police to anyone in breach of an anti-social behaviour order (Asbo) or committing a crime." - bbc
1/5/2006 Technology. Florida spammer faces $11 billion fine.
"A US-based ISP has been awarded $11.2bn (£6.38bn) in a judgement against a Florida spammer who sent millions of unsolicited emails to its users.
... [The] lawsuit against James McCalla and other defendants in 2003 claim[ed] that more than 280 million spam email messages were sent ... The emails advertised mortgages, debt consolidation services, pornographic and gambling Web sites.
The judgement, given by US District Judge Charles R. Wolle on 23 December, 2005, also prohibits McCalla from accessing the Internet for three years. ... Anti-spam legislation in the US began to bite late last year. [Florida] spammer Peter Moshou pleaded guilty in June to violating the US Can-Spam Act after EarthLink sued him in January. Moshou was jailed for a year and fined $120,000." - zdnet | mherald
1/12/2006 Technology. 'Voice from heaven' and the new generation of beam weaponsYes, we can do amazing things with sound, including beaming voices into a person's head. When you hear a booming voice from the flying saucers, don't assume there must be aliens. Could be a human trick. I warned you.
"... After more than two decades of research, the United States is on the verge of deploying a new generation of weapons that discharge beams of energy, such as the Airborne Laser and the Active Denial System, as well as the Tactical High Energy Laser, or THEL.
... By tuning the resonance of a laser onto Earth's ionosphere, you can create audible frequencies. Like some boom box in the sky, the laser-produced voice could bellow from above down to the target below: "Put down your weapons." - msnbc
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