Saturday, March 17, 2007

Slot Machines May Soon Act As ATMs

As if it wasn't already easy enough to lose your life savings in a slot machine, manufacturers are now working on systems that would allow you to access your bank and credit card accounts without every leaving the one-armed bandit.

The next generation of cashless slots would allow gamblers to tie their players' club cards for each casino directly to their bank accounts or credit cards. Need an extra $100 for that machine you're convinced is going to pay out? No problem. Just enter your PIN and the players' club card will access whatever account you have specified and load the money directly into the credit meter, thereby eliminating the need for you to go to the ATM or cash-advance machine.

Even though the systems are already being developed by several manufacturers, the state's gaming regulators are not sold on the idea, citing concerns about abuse for people without the willpower to know when they should stop.

If the new technology is approved (and that's a big if) it'll be at least a year before you see them on the casino floors.

And Another Thing...
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Friday, March 16, 2007

NASA Uses Duct Tape For Space Repairs

Even in space, a little duct tape may work wonders. Astronaut Piers Sellers suggested using some of the multipurpose sticky material to fix a safety-jet backpack used during spacewalks after it almost came loose from him while he repaired the international space station.

"Right now, is there some kind of tape fix that you guys could think about that would be helpful?" Sellers asked Mission Control Tuesday morning, a day after the propulsive backpack started to come loose during his spacewalk with astronaut Mike Fossum.

Fossum had to tether the device to Sellers to keep it from flying away.

The jet backpack, nicknamed SAFER, is worn by every astronaut during a spacewalk. It allows an astronaut to propel himself or herself to safety in an emergency, for instance if a tether or foot restraint holding the astronaut in place breaks.

The two connecting devices of Sellers' backpack attachment, designed to be used if an astronaut floats free, loosened at different times, but he was never in danger of losing it, NASA officials said.

Sellers and Fossum were to make three spacewalks during space shuttle Discovery's 13-day mission to the space station, which ends next Monday.

During the second spacewalk on Monday, the spacewalkers replaced a cable reel to a rail car needed to move large pieces around the space station and installed a pump compartment for the complex's cooling system.

Discovery pilot Mark Kelly, who helped choreograph the spacewalk from inside the space station, told Houston he thinks the latches on Sellers' backpack came undone inside the shuttle's crowded payload bay.

"It's surprising that it did happen, but he's bumping a lot around in there," Kelly said Tuesday.

For Wednesday's spacewalk, the astronauts planned to test whether a sealant can be used to repair damaged pieces of the space shuttle's thermal protection system. The technique was developed to make sure there's never a repeat of the Columbia accident that killed seven astronauts in 2003.

The six astronauts of Discovery, along with the three space station crew members, planned to spend most of Tuesday packing up science experiments, trash and unneeded equipment to take back to Earth. They awoke to a recording of Smash Mouth's "All Star" chosen by the family of astronaut Lisa Nowak.

Associated Press

10 S�dkoreaner starben an der Spiel-Neigung 2005
Entrevue de BBC avec le type qui a entaill� la NASA

High Gas Prices Lead to U.S. Scooter Boom

NEW YORK - With gas prices above $3 a gallon, software engineer Daniel Fry has been commuting to work over the Brooklyn Bridge in a car pool of sorts. It's actually more like a convoy of motor scooters.

"It's fun to ride in a group," said Fry, 28, who joins a group of riders for coffee early Friday mornings before commuting into Manhattan via scooter. "In a big mass of scooters people look out for you more."

Fry is part of a growing community of scooter enthusiasts in New York and across the country who are taking to the streets in record numbers with gas prices so high. Fry fills up the 1.5-gallon gas tank of his scooter for under $5.

"The funniest thing is pulling into a gas station behind an SUV and seeing them pay 75 bucks," he says.

Scooter riders are also mobilizing in ways never seen before. Riders are joining clubs, setting up Internet message boards, and even lobbying city governments for more friendly laws.

One club, the New York Scooter Club, meets Wednesday evenings at a bar in Manhattan. They discuss mechanics, the relative merits of classic metal-framed scooters vs. the newer synthetic models, and the simple joys of scooter travel.

After the gathering, the members mount up for an 8 p.m. ride around town. On weekends, they organize day trips out of the city on scooters, first popularized in the 1960s and '70s by movies like Federico Fellini's "La Dolce Vita," and The Who's "Quadrophenia."

A scooter boom has been under way over the last few years as the vehicles came back into fashion. Retail sales in the U.S. have shot up from 12,000 scooters in 1997 to 113,000 in 2005, according to the Motorcycle Industry Council, a promotional trade organization. But this spring, the boom has turned into a bonanza, with more and more people realizing that scooters can get up to 100 miles per gallon and can weave around traffic jams.

"The phone has been ringing and recently the calls begin with talk about gas prices," says Aaron Peterson, manager of Vespa Soho, a Manhattan dealer of the most classic Italian scooter.

Sales at the Chicago-based Genuine Scooter Company, one of the country's larger scooter dealers, which owns the popular Stella brand, have been doubling annually for the last three years, with even faster growth projected for this year, according to owner Philip McCaleb. The Stella gets about 90 miles per gallon.

"We are trying to combine fun and fuel economy and three-dollar gas is helping," McCaleb said.

Dealers say high gas prices have attracted a whole different crowd from the usual fashionable set, who buy classic Italian models.

"I'm seeing a lot of people from blue-collar businesses, who are paying $100 to fill up their vans," said Nick Mendizabal, owner of Brooklynbretta, a scooter dealership. "A lot of people who thought scooters were not so masculine are now asking, 'How fast do they go?' and `What's the mileage?'"

Some of the scooter clubs aren't as practical. The Jedi Knights, a scooter club for Star Wars fans founded in Ann Arbor, Mich., has spread to more than a half-dozen cities. In New York, the club recently built a speeder-bike modeled after the vehicle featured in "Return of the Jedi."

"The Jedi Knights are about taking ourselves lightly," explains member Gregory Heller. "We are into 'Star Wars' and into scooters and that's a pretty high level of dorkiness."

On a more serious level, Heller helped organize a charity for fellow scooter riders suffering after Hurricane Katrina. He is also active lobbying the New York City government for designated parking for scooters and motorcycles, which frequently get knocked over when competing with cars for legal parking.

Heller says he got into scooters after traveling in Greece a few years ago. When he got back he thought it would be a romantic and efficient way to get around New York.

"It was go anywhere, park anywhere, wind in your hair," he says.

For others, the scooter is a cheap transportation solution. But most riders agree on the chief appeal.

"At the end of the day, it's just fun riding a scooter around a city," said Jonathan Faulhaber, who attends the New York Scooter Club meetings.

Associated Press

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

JVC Releases 'Sake Soaked' Speakers For Better Karaoke

WAYNE, NJ, May 1, 2006 Home theater is now available for the bedroom or other small room with the introduction of a new JVC compact home theater system, which features the company's exclusive sake-soaked wood cone speakers.

The elegantly-designed JVC EX-A10 includes two diminutive components a receiver and a matching DVD player which when stacked occupy no more space than a typical laptop computer. Wrapped in a brushed aluminum finish, these components are complemented by a pair of JVC's wood cone speakers housed in beautifully finished solid cherry cabinets. The system easily fits on a bookshelf or desktop. For a complete home theater set-up, all the user need add is a TV.

What truly sets the EX-A10 apart are its wood cone speakers. To deliver a warm, natural sound, each speaker cone is made of a solid sheet of wood, which has acoustic properties that make it ideal speaker material. But it's a design that was 20 years in the making because forming the wood sheets into a speaker cone proved daunting they would crack. Countless techniques were tried, but proved ineffective, until a surprising solution was found sake, or Japanese rice wine. JVC engineers discovered that when soaked in sake, a birch wood sheet becomes soft and pliable enough to be pressed into speaker cones without splitting.

With the EX-A10, JVC includes a pair of two-way wood cone speakers, each cabinet housing a 3-3/16-inch wood cone mid/bass driver and a tweeter with a wood dome. The black semi-transparent speaker grills can be left on or removed to show off the birch wood speaker cones.

To provide theater-like audio performance from such a small system, the EX-A10 features JVC's Hybrid Feedback digital amplifier, a compact, highly efficient design that generates high power output with low distortion levels. The system is bi-amplified, with 30 watts per channel driving the mid/bass speakers and 20 watts per channel driving the tweeters. To further ensure the best possible sound quality, the system employs JVC's K2 and CC Converter (Compression Compensative) technologies, also found in JVC's top-end AV receivers, which improves the sound quality of both CDs and music files, such as MP3 and WMA files. The system can play both DVD Video and DVD Audio discs and provides two-channel decoding of Dolby Digital and DTS surround sound signals. Also built into the receiver are an AM/FM tuner and a clock with a timer that allows waking up to CD or the radio. Included is a full-function remote control.

Other components and devices can be connected to the EX-A10 using its analog and optical audio inputs. For connecting to a TV, the system offers component, S-Video and composite outputs.

The JVC EX-A10 is available now and sells for about $1,000.

JVC Company of America, headquartered in Wayne, New Jersey, is a division of JVC Americas Corp., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Victor Company of Japan Ltd., and a holding company for JVC companies located in North and South America. JVC distributes a complete line of video and audio equipment, including high definition displays, camcorders, VCRs, D-VHS recorders, DVD players and recorders, satellite systems, home and portable audio equipment, mobile entertainment products and recording media. For further product information, visit JVC's Web site at or call 800-526-5308.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Top 10 Strangest Things People Throw Away By Hippowaste

If you're having a spring clean this weekend and are clearing out your loft or garage, you might want to double check exactly what you are throwing away!

A live tortoise, an old mattress stuffed with £5,000, an entire 25 year collection of The Beano and a suitcase full of human skulls are just some of the weird and wonderful items that have ended up in our bins according to a new survey on what people throw away.

National waste management firm HIPPOWASTE, operators of the HIPPOBAG, surveyed 100 waste transfer stations and household tips across the country to find the top 10 strangest things people throw away.

The top 10 were:

  1. A mattress stuffed with over £5,000 worth of savings left by an elderly lady who had forgotten it was there!
  2. An entire collection of The Beano spanning 25 years
  3. A suitcase full of human skulls and bones from a biology lab
  4. A £3,000 wedding dress and bridesmaid dresses that should have gone to the dry cleaners after the big day!
  5. A live tortoise found crawling around the green waste bin and was subsequently reclaimed by its owner
  6. An entire man's wardrobe including golf clubs thrown away by disgruntled wife who discovered he was having an affair
  7. Contents of a police evidence bag for a court case
  8. Top secret documents and blueprints for a British aircraft carrier
  9. A hoax bomb that initiated an army investigation
  10. Travel agency takings of £200,000 that was thrown away in black bin liners and required a major recovery operation

Other items identified in the poll included false legs, passports, anti-aircraft shells, the entire Saturday takings of a major shopping centre, old coins from 1820 featuring Queen Victoria and a week's worth of family washing!

"Waste and how much we throw away is a serious business in the UK but we wanted to do some light-hearted research into what ends up in our bins. This survey has generated some fascinating results and shows that people will literally throw anything away, whether intentionally or by mistake!" explained James Bennett, managing director of HIPPOWASTE.

Source -

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10 S�dkoreaner starben an der Spiel-Neigung 2005

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Spammers turn to images to fool filters

Spammers are increasingly sneaking their messages past e-mail filters by sending their pitches as images rather than text, spam experts say.

The images fool some filters because they have no easy way of knowing whether a graphical file contains an innocent photograph of a friend's birthday party or embedded text pitching Viagra or a company's stock.

The development marks yet another escalation in the battle between spammers and filter developers: As software gets smarter at detecting junk, spammers get smarter at fooling the filters.

Until last year, the use of image spam has been in decline as anti-spam filters figured out how to detect it -- often by applying a mathematical formula to known spam images and generating a unique signature that software can use to flag junk, said Craig Sprosts, senior product manager for anti-spam vendor IronPort Systems Inc.

But earlier this year, tools began circulating among spammers t o automatically vary images ever so slightly -- a change in color here, a slightly larger border there. That changes the signature, helping it escape detection.

"If you are trying to fingerprint that image, it appears different every time," said Dmitri Alperovitch, principal research scientist at anti-spam vendor CipherTrust Inc.

Since April, IronPort has seen a 40 percent increase in image spam sent to so-called "honeypot" accounts set up solely to attract junk messages for analysis. IronPort and CipherTrust both say that image spam now accounts for 15 percent of all spam, up from 1 percent earlier in the year.

Image spam can also tax e-mail systems because each message is about 7.5 times larger than regular spam, Sprosts said.

Associated Press

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La uni�n y la gran ciencia no se mezclan
Gli Americani non desiderano essere amici con qualcuno

Monday, March 12, 2007

BBC Interview With The Guy Who Hacked NASA

Spencer Kelly: Here's your list of charges: you hacked into the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Department of Defense, and Nasa, amongst other things. Why?

Gary McKinnon: I was in search of suppressed technology, laughingly referred to as UFO technology. I think it's the biggest kept secret in the world because of its comic value, but it's a very important thing.

Old-age pensioners can't pay their fuel bills, countries are invaded to award oil contracts to the West, and meanwhile secretive parts of the secret government are sitting on suppressed technology for free energy.

SK: How did you go about trying to find the stuff you were looking for in Nasa, in the Department of Defense?

GM: Unlike the press would have you believe, it wasn't very clever. I searched for blank passwords, I wrote a tiny Perl script that tied together other people's programs that search for blank passwords, so you could scan 65,000 machines in just over eigh t minutes.

SK: So you're saying that you found computers which had a high-ranking status, administrator status, which hadn't had their passwords set - they were still set to default?

GM: Yes, precisely.

SK: Were you the only hacker to make it past the slightly lower-than-expected lines of defence?

GM: Yes, exactly, there were no lines of defence. There was a permanent tenancy of foreign hackers. You could run a command when you were on the machine that showed connections from all over the world, check the IP address to see if it was another military base or whatever, and it wasn't.

The General Accounting Office in America has again published another damning report saying that federal security is very, very poor.

SK: Over what kind of period were you hacking into these computers? Was it a one-time only, or for the course of a week?

GM: Oh no, it was a couple of years.

SK: And you went unnoticed fo r a couple of years?

GM: Oh yes. I used to be careful about the hours.

SK: So you would log on in the middle of the night, say?

GM: Yes, I'd always be juggling different time zones. Doing it at night time there's hopefully not many people around. But there was one occasion when a network engineer saw me and actually questioned me and we actually talked to each other via WordPad, which was very, very strange.

SK: So what did he say? And what did you say?

GM: He said "What are you doing?" which was a bit shocking. I told him I was from Military Computer Security, which he fully believed.

SK: Did you find what you were looking for?

GM: Yes.

SK: Tell us about it.

GM: There was a group called the Disclosure Project. They published a book which had 400 expert witnesses ranging from civilian air traffic controllers, through military radar operators, right up to the chaps who were responsible f or whether or not to launch nuclear missiles.

They are some very credible, relied upon people, all saying yes, there is UFO technology, there's anti-gravity, there's free energy, and it's extra-terrestrial in origin, and we've captured spacecraft and reverse-engineered it.

SK: What did you find inside Nasa?

GM: One of these people was a Nasa photographic expert, and she said that in building eight of Johnson Space Centre they regularly airbrushed out images of UFOs from the high-resolution satellite imaging. What she said was there was there: there were folders called "filtered" and "unfiltered", "processed" and "raw", something like that.

I got one picture out of the folder, and bearing in mind this is a 56k dial-up, so a very slow internet connection, in dial-up days, using the remote control programme I turned the colour down to 4bit colour and the screen resolution really, really low, and even then the picture was still juddering a s it came onto the screen.

But what came on to the screen was amazing. It was a culmination of all my efforts. It was a picture of something that definitely wasn't man-made.

It was above the Earth's hemisphere. It kind of looked like a satellite. It was cigar-shaped and had geodesic domes above, below, to the left, the right and both ends of it, and although it was a low-resolution picture it was very close up.

This thing was hanging in space, the earth's hemisphere visible below it, and no rivets, no seams, none of the stuff associated with normal man-made manufacturing.

SK: Is it possible this is an artist's impression?

GM: I don't know... For me, it was more than a coincidence. This woman has said: "This is what happens, in this building, in this space centre". I went into that building, that space centre, and saw exactly that.

SK: Do you have a copy of this? It came down to your machine.

GM: No, the gr aphical remote viewer works frame by frame. It's a Java application, so there's nothing to save on your hard drive, or at least if it is, only one frame at a time.

SK: So did you get the one frame?

GM: No.

SK: What happened?

GM: Once I was cut off, my picture just disappeared.

SK: You were actually cut off the time you were downloading the picture?

GM: Yes, I saw the guy's hand move across.

SK: You acknowledge that what you did was against the law, it was wrong, don't you?

GM: Unauthorised access is against the law and it is wrong.

SK: What do you think is a suitable punishment for someone who did what you did?

GM: Firstly, because of what I was looking for, I think I was morally correct. Even though I regret it now, I think the free energy technology should be publicly available.

I want to be tried in my own country, under the Computer Misuse Act, and I want evidenc e brought forward, or at least want the Americans to have to provide evidence in order to extradite me, because I know there is no evidence of damage.

Source - BBC

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Teens sind saugend und leckend

Sunday, March 11, 2007

10 South Koreans Died From Game Addiction In 2005

Authorities in South Korea are concerned about computer games addiction.

The country is considered a nation which experts describe hosting the most extreme gamer culture.

The government has launched a game addiction hotline. Hundreds of private hospitals and psychiatric clinics have opened specialized units to treat the problem.

According to government figures, 2.4 per cent of the population aged nine to 39 suffer from game addiction.

Another 10.2 percent were found to be "borderline cases". These are people who play games to the point of sleep deprivation, disruption of daily life and a loosening grip on reality.

The situation has grown so acute that 10 South Koreans -- mostly teenagers and people in their twenties -- died in 2005 from game addiction-related causes, up from only two known deaths from 2001 to 2004, according to government officials. Most of the deaths were attributed to a disruption in blood circulation caused by sitting in a single, cramped position for too long -- a problem known as "economy class syndrome," a reference to sitting in an airplane's smallest seats on long flights.

One of the reasons that young people are more likely to suffer from gaming addictions in South Korea is the acute stress as they face educational pressures which are worse than other countries.

Apparently they play to escape where traditional vices such as sex and drugs are rare.

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