Amazon Testing New Drones – New Limits on ISPs – Brain Implants Give Paralyzed Movement

Amazon Gets Permission to Test Drones

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has once again granted Amazon permission to test drones for commercial use, this time expediting the request. The FAA says Amazon can test drones for delivery as long as it limits altitude to 400 feet and speed to 100 miles per hour. Eventually, the web retailer hopes to use commercial drones to deliver packages to customers at a distance of 10 miles or more.

Test shows if your ISP is throttling Internet speed

New regulations should stop ISPs from throttling your Internet, but has your ISP complied?

FCC Prepares to Become the Internet’s Privacy Cop

The agency issued an “enforcement advisory” Wednesday, outlining for the first time how it plans to decide whether to crack down on a company for violating its customers’ privacy. But the statement offers few specifics, leading critics to warn that the agency is claiming expansive new regulatory powers.

In order to enact net neutrality rules that it believed could hold up in court, the FCC expanded its power over Internet service by classifying it under the same regulatory regime as landline telephones.

That classification comes with dozens of regulations that have little to do with net neutrality. While the FCC waived most of those requirements for Internet providers, one section that will apply is the agency’s privacy protections.

Brain implants control robot arm well enough to grab a beer

A paralyzed man named Erik Sorto has finally been able to drink beer on his own after 13 years, and it’s all thanks to a robotic arm controlled solely by his mind.

Other mind-controlled robot limbs usually target the brain region that controls muscles, but the PPC is in charge of our “intent to move” instead. This apparently allows Caltech’s creation to move more fluidly and naturally, unlike the movements of similar technologies, which are (according to the team) “delayed and jerky.” In order to control the arm, Sorto has to think of what he intends to do, instead of imagining the details of a particular action. He has to think that he “wants to shake another person’s hand,” for instance, whereas other systems might require him to imagine each step: lift forearm, extend, grasp other person’s hand, lift up, down, up, down.

Doctors Say Tick Borne ‘Powassan Virus’ Is Worse Than Lyme Disease

It’s even worse than Lyme disease. Ticks in New York have been found to carry a rare, potentially life-threatening, virus.

OldNYC – Mapping historical pictures of New York City

New York City photos are now being currated online and organized by location and time. Take a walk down the old city streets.

How the government just protected some of your favorite podcasts

The company that owns the patent in question, Personal Audio, says it invented podcasting. In 2013, it began going around to podcast-makers, threatening to take them to court unless they paid a licensing fee. Among those affected? TV personality and comedian Adam Carolla, who ultimately settled with Personal Audio but not before spending more than $650,000 defending himself.

If you’ve heard about this case or others like it, then you’re familiar with patent trolls. They are companies that own patents but don’t really use them to make anything, except lawsuits. Pretty much everyone agrees they’re a horrible drain on innovation and the economy; the Federal Trade Commission gave a slap on the wrist to one last year, and Congress is currently debating how to reduce their impact.

Friday’s ruling by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office invalidates five provisions of Personal Audio’s podcasting patent.

The Most Creative Applications of 3D Printing

Beyond its recreational use, this promising technology already has very innovative and creative applications in fields as diverse as health, space exploration, education or art.

NASA plans to send 3D printers to space to allow astronauts to manufacture the parts they need.

For biology classes in high schools, or even for faculties of medicine, one can now print replicas of human body parts that help in their study. 3D printing may also be applied in the study of art or of human evolution. It is already possible to take a replica of Michelangelo’s David to the classroom to analyse, draw or manipulate.

Possible cure for Melanoma?

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer. Among the various types of skin cancer, melanoma is the most severe. Melanoma develops in the cells of the skin that produce melanin, which is the pigment that gives skin its color. It accounts for over 76 percent of cancer deaths each year. The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2015, about 73,870 new cases of melanoma will be diagnosed in the United States.

So, what are the researchers in Utah doing? They are customizing mutated viruses and injecting them directly into melanoma tumors to “train” them to attack cancer cells. What’s unique about this study
though, is that they are not just taking any virus, but the herpes virus, and altering the way it works.

Iris Scanner Identifies a Person 40 Feet Away

Like fingerprints, every iris is unique — thanks to enormously complex patterns that remain the same throughout a person’s lifetime. High-resolution cameras can capture images of the iris from a distance using light in the near-infrared wavelength band.

In the realm of law enforcement, iris recognition could be used to identify suspects at long range in various lighting conditions. The system can even be used to capture images through reflections in a mirror.

Computer Scientist Gives Virginia Voting Machines F- Security Grade

The electronic voting machines were shown to fail in every category: firmware, software, physical security and auditability.

This Guy Couldn’t Get a Job at Best Buy, so He’s Refusing to Pay Back His For-Profit College Loans

At 28, Michael Adorno got fed up with his low-wage job at a pizzeria in Richmond Hill, Georgia, and decided to go to college. Adorno attended the for-profit Everest College, part of Corinthian Colleges Inc., in Colorado Springs, Colorado, from 2010 to 2012, and he received an associate degree in network administration.

Three years later Adorno is unemployed and was even rejected from a job at Best Buy. Adorno belongs to a group called the Corinthian 100, alumni of Corinthian Colleges who refuse to pay back their student loans and claim they were defrauded by Corinthian. Like other members of the group, he claims he got a subpar education and was left with massive debt and no suitable job.

Before 2014, Corinthian Colleges Inc. was a network of more than 100 schools and one of the largest for-profit college companies in the U.S. But numerous investigations and lawsuits alleging wrongdoing against the company rapidly decreased its size. In July, an agreement with the U.S. Department of Education forced Corinthian to sell 85 of its schools and close another 12.

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Finally, an FAA Panel Agrees That Our eDevices Won’t Crash Planes

Federal Aviation Administration

There’s no harm in continuing to listen to music, watch movies, read e-books and otherwise enjoy “airplane mode” activities on electronic devices during takeoff and landing, according to an advisory committee appointed by the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA).

The committee submitted a report to the FAA this week, recommending the agency ease restrictions on use of electronic devices when a plane is below 10,000 feet, the Wall Street Journal reported.

“The FAA received the report and recommendations today on the expanded use of personal electronic devices,” FAA spokesman Les Dorr told Mashable in an email on Monday.

Paul Misener, Amazon’s vice president of global public policy, is one of the leaders of the advisory committee the FAA appointed to look into the matter last year. Misener told the Wall Street Journal “the committee effectively determined there are no major safety impediments to allowing unlimited use of tablets, e-readers and other hand-held devices from the beginning to the end of flights there are no major safety impediments to allowing unlimited use of tablets, e-readers and other hand-held devices from the beginning to the end of flights.”

The report, which includes more than two dozen recommendations, does not recommend changing rules restricting activities that require a network connection such as voice calls or data transfer.

The next step in the process is for the FAA to respond to the advisory committee’s report, though the agency would not comment on when that might happen.


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Airbus Testing its First Composite-Materials Airframe

English: A350XWB Diagram

The European aviation giant is keeping mum on when the A350 might take to the air for the first time, but the Paris Air Show begins in little more than a week. That’s got everyone in the aerospace industry wondering if the A350-XWB will make an appearance above one of the biggest stages in aviation. The company’s chief rival, Boeing, will be performing at the airshow  with the composite 787 Dreamliner, so it’s hard to see Airbus letting Boeing take the limelight at the industry’s most important event.

During take off, the airplane’s flight computers will be turned off, with controls operating in the “direct law” mode. Because the A350-XWB is, like the 787 Dreamliner, a fly-by-wire aircraft, a computer is always involved in transmitting control stick forces to the control surfaces. But Airbus uses several different “laws” that engage different computers and software to provide varying levels of assistance or automation during flight. In “direct law” mode there is no “buffer” between the pilot and the control services, meaning the computer will do exactly what the pilot commands.

The crew expects to climb to around 10,000 feet and about 200 knots (230 mph), at which point it will change the flap configuration and raise the landing gear. These changes are usually made immediately after take off in a normal flight, but during a first flight, the goal is usually not to change anything in the first few minutes until the pilots are confident in the basic flying qualities.

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Airplane Passengers Don’t Turn Off Their Gadgets – And Planes Aren’t Crashing

Gadgets on a table with lamp 12-2004

In a recent study the Airline Passenger Experience Association and the Consumer Electronics Association, as many as 30 percent of all passengers said they had accidentally left a device on during takeoff or landing. About 67 percent said they had never done this, always ensuring that their electronics were turned off. Four percent were unsure.

In another segment of the study, passengers were asked if they turn their devices to “off” when instructed to do so by the pilot. Although 59 percent of passengers said they do fully turn their electronics off, 21 percent said they often simply switch to “airplane mode,” which disables the main radios of a gadget. Five percent sometimes adhere to the rule. And others were either unsure or do not carry electronic devices on a plane.

The device most often left on is the smartphone, the study found.

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US Military Able to Deliver a Bomb Anywhere in Less Than an Hour

An illustration of DARPA's Falcon Hypersonic T...

Image via Wikipedia

DARPA has announced the second test flight of the Falcon HTV-2 aircraft.  This unmanned aircraft is designed to fly at speeds up to 13,000 mph (at least that’s what they’re admitting to) and is the result of a project started in 2003 for the US military to be able to reach anywhere in the world in less than an hour.

The Falcon is launched on the back of a rocket and its carbon composite skin is designed to withstand the heat generated by flying in the upper atmosphere at speeds more than 20 times higher than the speed of sound — four miles per second.

With this spur yet another mis-use of technology as we decided to get rid of our ground bases around the world in favor of having a few fast, stealthy aircraft which can deliver a payload instead of having boots on the ground?

Over the last decade we’ve been experiencing the result of relying on intercepted satellite communications over having infiltrated potential enemy organizations.  It’s great to have the ability to put hardware in harm’s way instead of our soldiers, but there’s nothing like the ability of a human to make sure we’re ready, and to make sure we’ve got the right target.

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