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United States

Congress Suggests Moat, Electronic Fence To Protect White House 212

Posted by samzenpus
from the greased-monkeys-with-straight-razors dept.
PolygamousRanchKid writes Acting Secret Service director Joseph Clancy on Wednesday faced a number of tough questions from the House Judiciary Committee about the fence jumper who made it deep into the White House. But along with the tough questions, Clancy fielded a couple eyebrow raising suggestions on how to better protect the president's home. "Would a moat, water six feet around, be kind of attractive and effective?" Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., asked with trepidation. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, asked: “Would you be in favor of removing the fence around the White House and having, maybe, a virtual or electronic fence around it?” Clancy liked the moat idea better than the electric fence. “My knee-jerk reaction to that would be no, sir,” he told Gohmert. “Partly because of the number of tourists that come up Pennsylvania Avenue and come up to that area.”
Bitcoin

Entrepreneur Injects Bitcoin Wallets Into Hands 77

Posted by timothy
from the heirs-are-not-amused dept.
wiredmikey writes A Dutch entrepreneur has had two microchips containing Bitcoin injected into his hands to help him make contactless payments. The chips, enclosed in a 2mm by 12mm capsule of "biocompatible" glass, were injected using a special syringe and can communicate with devices such as Android smartphones or tablets via NFC. "What's stored on the microchips should be seen as a savings account rather than a current account," Martijn Wismeijer, co-founder of MrBitcoin said. "The payment device remains the smartphone, but you transfer funds from the chips." The chips are available on the Internet, sold with a syringe for $99, but Wismeijer suggested individuals should find a specialist to handle the injection to avoid infections.
Build

Maker Joe is a 'Maker' Sculptor (Video) 16

Posted by Roblimo
from the I-sculpt,-therefore-I-am dept.
Joe Gilmore was showing some of his work at Maker Faire Atlanta when Timothy Lord pointed his camera at him. Joe may never create a Mars colony or build the tallest skyscraper in North America, but what he does is fun to the point of whimsy, and seems to bring smiles to a lot of faces. (Alternate Video Link)
Math

The Math Behind the Hipster Effect 176

Posted by samzenpus
from the we're-all-individuals dept.
rossgneumann writes If everyone always wants to look different than everybody else, everybody starts looking the same. At least, if you use a recently published mathematical model describing the phenomenon. "The hipster effect is this non-concerted emergent collective phenomenon of looking alike trying to look different," in the words of Jonathan Touboul, mathematical neuroscientist at the College de France in Paris.
Image

Discovery Claims It Will Show a Man Being "Eaten Alive" By an Anaconda 164

Posted by samzenpus
from the ratings-war-has-begun dept.
An anonymous reader writes Have you ever wished that you could watch a man be eaten alive by an anaconda from the comfort of your own home? The Discovery Channel is betting that the answer is yes with their upcoming special, Eaten Alive. The channel says wildlife filmmaker Paul Rosolie will don a custom-built snake-proof suit, and go inside a live anaconda. They've even released a teaser. It's unclear what scientific conundrum will be solved in the process of feeding Paul to the snake, or how he plans to get out.
The Courts

Undersized Grouper Case Lands In Supreme Court 251

Posted by samzenpus
from the ine-serious-fish-story dept.
An anonymous reader writes The Supremes have decided to hear a case regarding whether groupers are 'tangible articles' under the Sarbanes-Oxley law. The issue is that the crew of the Miss Katie was caught with undersized fish. A marine fisheries officer wrote them a ticket and put the fish in a box that the captain was ordered to turn in when he got ashore. Rather than do this, they threw out the undersized fish and replaced them with bigger ones. Prosecutors, rather than charging them with offenses of catching undersized fish (which would have resulted in a fine and a small jail sentence), went after them under the Sarbanes-Oxley law which forbids the destruction of "any record, document, or tangible object" and which could result in a 20 year prison sentence, though the prosecutor only asked for two years on this one. Lawyers are arguing over whether "tangible object" here is something that could contain records, or whether it's any object whatsoever that might be evidence. So far in comments, many of the conservative justices, including Roberts, Alito and Scalia, have expressed skepticism as to whether this would lead to overcriminalization for petty crimes and would give prosecutors undue leverage given all the things Sarbanes-Oxley can apply to. They also question whether this was intended in the law, given that "tangible object" was listed in a context including documents and records and appears to have been only contemplated in terms of servers, DVDs, or other tangible objects that might contain documents or records. Meanwhile, Kagan and Kennedy appear amenable to a more literal reading of the statute, given that groupers are in fact touchable and that makes them "tangible objects" under the ordinary meaning of those words.
Apple

Russia Takes Down Steve Jobs Memorial After Apple's Tim Cook Comes Out 430

Posted by samzenpus
from the honestly-not-the-onion dept.
An anonymous reader writes Citing the need to abide by a law combating "gay propaganda," a memorial dedicated to the late Apple founder Steve Jobs has been torn down. This comes on the heels of new CEO Tim Cook coming out as gay. "In Russia, gay propaganda and other sexual perversions among minors are prohibited by law," ZEFS (a Russian group of companies that originally erected the statue) said, noting that the memorial had been "in an area of direct access for young students and scholars". "After Apple CEO Tim Cook publicly called for sodomy, the monument was taken down to abide to the Russian federal law protecting children from information promoting denial of traditional family values."
Science

Dance Your Ph.D. Winner Announced 14

Posted by samzenpus
from the just-dance dept.
sciencehabit writes When she isn't out in the forest gathering data for her Ph.D. in plant biology at the University of Georgia, Athens, Uma Nagendra spends a good deal of her time hanging upside down from a trapeze doing circus aerials. "It turns out that there are a lot of scientists doing it," she says. To combine the two halves of her life, she teamed up with her fellow aerialists to create the midair dance based on her scientific research. Nagendra's circus extravaganza is the overall winner of this year's "Dance Your Ph.D." contest.
Transportation

New Crash Test Dummies Reflect Rising American Bodyweight 144

Posted by timothy
from the my-self-esteem-has-certainly-taken-a-beating dept.
Ever thought that all those crash-test dummies getting slammed around in slow-motion were reflecting an unrealistic, hard-to-achieve body image? One company is acting to change that, with some super-sized (or right-sized) dummies more in line with current American body shapes: Plymouth, Michigan-based company Humanetics said that it has been manufacturing overweight crash test dummies to reflect growing obesity trends in the U.S. Humanetics has been the pioneer in crash test dummies segment since the 1950s. But now, the company's crash test dummies are undergoing a makeover, which will represent thicker waistlines and large rear ends of Americans.
It's funny.  Laugh.

"Dance Your Ph.D." Finalists Announced 19

Posted by samzenpus
from the a-groove-a-mile-wide dept.
sciencehabit writes "Science has announced the 12 finalists for its annual "Dance Your PhD" contest. Among the finalists are dances about nanofibers and explosions, fusion implosions at the National Ignition Facility, and the science of tornadoes. A panel of esteemed scientists, artists, and educators are judging the finalists now to choose the winners. The winners and audience favorite will be announced on 3 November.
Space

Rosetta Probe Reveals What a Comet Smells Like 53

Posted by samzenpus
from the do-you-smell-that? dept.
An anonymous reader writes If you like the smell of rotten eggs, horse urine, formaldehyde, bitter almonds, alcohol, vinegar with a hint of sweet ether, you'd love the smell of a comet. Researchers at the University of Bern, in Switzerland, determined the odor of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko comet by analyzing the chemicals in its coma, the fuzzy head surrounding the nucleus. The molecules were collected by an instrument aboard the Rosetta spacecraft, which has been flying in tandem with the comet.
Google

PETA Is Not Happy That Google Used a Camel To Get a Desert "StreetView" 367

Posted by samzenpus
from the the-camera-that-broke-the-camels-back dept.
First time accepted submitter flopwich writes Google used a camel-mounted camera to get a 'street view' of a stretch of desert in the United Arab Emirates. PETA's director Ingrid E. Newkirk is upset about it, saying they should have used jeeps. "These days, jeeps are in common use in the desert, as are light planes and even dune buggies, and satellite images could also easily have been taken instead," she said. "(Google) should leave camels out of its activites altogether."
Math

Statisticians Uncover What Makes For a Stable Marriage 447

Posted by samzenpus
from the by-the-numbers dept.
HughPickens.com writes Randy Olson, a Computer Science grad student who works with data visualizations, writes about seven of the biggest factors that predict what makes for a long term stable marriage in America. Olson took the results of a study that polled thousands of recently married and divorced Americans and and asked them dozens of questions about their marriage (PDF): How long they were dating, how long they were engaged, etc. After running this data through a multivariate model, the authors were able to calculate the factors that best predicted whether a marriage would end in divorce. "What struck me about this study is that it basically laid out what makes for a stable marriage in the US," writes Olson. Here are some of the biggest factors:

How long you were dating: (Couples who dated 1-2 years before their engagement were 20% less likely to end up divorced than couples who dated less than a year before getting engaged. Couples who dated 3 years or more are 39% less likely to get divorced.); How much money you make: (The more money you and your partner make, the less likely you are to ultimately file for divorce. Couples who earn $125K per year are 51% less likely to divorce than couples making 0 — 25k); How often you go to church: (Couples who never go to church are 2x more likely to divorce than regular churchgoers.); Your attitude toward your partner: (Men are 1.5x more likely to end up divorced when they care more about their partner's looks, and women are 1.6x more likely to end up divorced when they care more about their partner's wealth.); How many people attended the wedding: ("Crazy enough, your wedding ceremony has a huge impact on the long-term stability of your marriage. Perhaps the biggest factor is how many people attend your wedding: Couples who elope are 12.5x more likely to end up divorced than couples who get married at a wedding with 200+ people."); How much you spent on the wedding: (The more you spend on your wedding, the more likely you'll end up divorced.); Whether you had a honeymoon: (Couples who had a honeymoon are 41% less likely to divorce than those who had no honeymoon)

Of course correlation is not causation. For example, expensive weddings may simply attract the kind of immature and narcissistic people who are less likely to sustain a successful marriage and such people might end up getting divorced even if they married cheaply. But "the particularly scary part here is that the average cost of a wedding in the U.S. is well over $30,000," says Olson, "which doesn't bode well for the future of American marriages."
Star Wars Prequels

Darth Vader, Yoda, Chewbacca Aim To Invade Ukraine's Govt. In Upcoming Elections 63

Posted by samzenpus
from the may-the-political-force-be-with-you dept.
An anonymous reader writes The BBC and RT report that 16 men named after the Star Wars character "Darth Vader" are running for parliamentary elections in Ukraine later this month. In addition, a Chewbacca, Palpatin, Padme Amidala and Grand Jedi Master Yoda will stand in the snap October 26 polls. All of them have been nominated for parliament by the Internet Party of Ukraine. "This is not the first time Darth Vader has stood for election in Ukraine. In April, a man going by that name tried running for presidency, but his application was rejected by the Central Electoral Commission. One official suggested that his campaign could be an attempt to make a mockery of elections in Ukraine - possibly by Russia."
China

China Worried About Terrorist Pigeons 92

Posted by Soulskill
from the lesser-known-cousin-to-carrier-pigeons dept.
An anonymous reader writes: A pleasant event was planned for the 65th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. A ceremony at Tiananmen Square would release 10,000 pigeons at sunrise to symbolize an era of peace. Unfortunately, even symbols of peace can apparently remind people of violence. Chinese authorities searched all 10,000 pigeons for "dangerous materials," after the government was concerned they might be used for attacks. The pigeons' feathers were checked, and they were given a cavity search as well. The reports did not indicate what kind of "dangerous materials" these pigeons might be carrying. It's unclear whether any pigeons disclosed terror plots under interrogation.

As the trials of life continue to take their toll, remember that there is always a future in Computer Maintenance. -- National Lampoon, "Deteriorata"

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