New Bill Being Proposed in California to Combat Burner Phones

Technology and the law are constantly racing, with each one taking steps to catch up with the other. From the arguments Apple and the FBI are having regarding privacy and encryption to something as simple as Segways being illegal in public, technology is creating new gadgets and systems and the law is creating laws to either change or catch up with the issue. An issue that has long plagued law and the courts is burner phones, but a new bill in California could change that.

Burner phones follow a simple concept, you pay for them and the credit you need to use them. Once they are finished with, you can either dispose or top up the phone. Due to the throwaway nature, they are used by people with stuff to hide, with it recently being revealed that the terrorists who attacked Paris used burner phones not encryption to avoid detection.

The new bill, dubbed the “Closing the Pre-Paid Mobile Device Security Gap Act Of 2016″ would require anyone who sells prepaid devices to register and record the identity of those who purchased the phone. The specifics are the customer would be required to provide a credit card, social security number or driving license number, the same requirements people are required to provide for mobile contracts.

Rep. Jackie Speier of California is the one proposing the bill and states that the ” bill would close one of the most significant gaps in our ability to track and prevent acts of terror, drug trafficking, and modern-day slavery”.

Hyperloop is Coming to Europe

With Elon Musk’s Hyperloop currently stalled on US soil, a crowdsourced engineering project could bring the ‘mass transit system of the future’ to three European countries. Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) has agreed a deal in Slovakia which aims to connect three European capital cities via Hyperloop tracks: Slovakia’s Bratislava will be the central point in a route that runs from Vienna, Austria to Budapest in Hungary, according to Engadget.

The total length of the proposed Hyperloop track is estimated to be around 160 miles – the distance between Vienna to Bratislava is approximately 35 miles, while Bratislava to Budapest is just over 100 miles – which, end-to-end, could transport passengers in around 20 minutes. The plan even has the potential to expand beyond the three proposed cities, with an additional line running to Košice in Bratislava.

While the proposal is just that at the moment, the first step will be to assess the viability of creating a three-city, high-speed Hyperloop route.

HTT is also responsible for the planned Hyperloop test track in California, an initiative that has recently suffered delays. The crowdsourced group – a collaboration between scientists, engineers, and designers, all donating their time to help make Hyperloop a reality – is still hoping to have the California track functional by 2018.

California Moves to Ban Encrypted Phones

The state of California is looking to introduce new legislation that would see encrypted smartphones banned from sale and ownership. The bill, ZDNet reports, was introduced by Democratic California assembly member Jim Cooper and would require any smartphone manufactured “on or after January 1, 2017, and sold in California after that date” to be “capable of being decrypted and unlocked by its manufacturer or its operating system provider.” A phone that could not be decrypted on demand would be deemed illegal and the owner subject to a $2,500 fine.

Under this new legislation, Apple, based in California, would not be able to sell its iPhones on its own turf. Apple CEO has been very vocal in his support of end-to-end encryption in the past, saying that “Nobody should have to decide privacy and security. We should be smart enough to do both,” and that his company has “never worked with any government agency from any country to create a backdoor in any of our products or services […] and we never will.”

The bill still has to pass the California state assembly, and then be signed into law by California’s Democratic Governor Jerry Brown.

A similar bill, with nearly identical wording, was introduced in to the New York Senate last week.

 

 

Elon Musk Wants VW Forced to Produce Zero-Emission Vehicles

Tesla Motors founder Elon Musk – together with a group of 44 businesses and environmentalists – thinks that the punishment for Volkswagen’s lies regarding the exhaust emissions of its diesel cars should be to force the manufacturer to produce zero-emission vehicles, in lieu of fines and “impractical” recalls.

In an open letter to California Air Resources Board Chairman Mary Nichols, the group asks that they “cure the air, not the cars.” Instead of forcing a recall and repair of VW vehicles will emission-cheating software, the letter asks California to give VW the option of building zero-emission vehicles to allow it to make amends.

The letter proposes:

  1. Release VW from its obligation to fix diesel cars already on the road in California, which represent an insignificant portion of total vehicles emissions in the State, and which cars do not, individually, present any emissions-related risk to their owners or occupants
  2. Instead, direct VW to accelerate greatly its rollout of zero emission vehicles, which by their very nature, have zero emissions and thus present zero opportunities for cheating, and also do not require any enforcement dollars to verify
  3. Require that this acceleration of the rollout of zero emissions vehicles by VW result in a 10 for 1 or greater reduction in pollutant emissions as compared to the pollution associated with the diesel fleet cheating, and achieve this over the next 5 years
  4. Require that VW invest in new manufacturing plants and/or research and development, in the amounts that they otherwise would have been fined, and do so in California to the extent that California would have been allocated its share of the fines
  5. Allow VW some flexibility in the execution and timing of this plan by allowing it to be implemented via zero emission vehicle credits.

Image courtesy of International Business Times.

Elon Musk’s Hyperloop Coming to Las Vegas Next Year

The first full prototype of Elon Musk’s revolutionary Hyperloop transportation system will begin construction in Las Vegas, Nevada, next year. The test track will be built across a stretch of 50-acres in the Mountain View Industrial Park in the City of North Las Vegas during the first quarter of 2016.

“This decision represents another major milestone in our journey to bring Hyperloop to commercial reality,” Rob Lloyd, CEO of Hyperloop Technologies, said in a press release. “Hyperloop Technologies will invest first in regions where we receive government advocacy to move fast. We are grateful for the support we have received from Governor Sandoval, the Nevada Office of Economic Development and Mayor Lee and his team from the City of North Las Vegas.”

The Hyperloop system propels traincars via magnetics through low-pressure, overground tubes. The first Hyperloop track was initially expected to start construction in California last month, the first part of a proposed Los Angeles to San Francisco track, but that appears to have been delayed for the time being. Instead, Nevada will play host to a potentially momentous undertaking, which could change the face of public transport forever.

“Hyperloop Tech is a cutting-edge company focused on changing the way the world views transportation, and we could not be more excited about the role the State of Nevada is going to play in this first phase of testing,” Steve Hill, Director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, added. “It certainly is thrilling to see how Nevada is becoming a place to research, develop, test, and implement advanced technologies driven by innovation.”

Image courtesy of National Geographic.

Big Brother Drone Is Watching Construction Workers

Big Brother is everywhere, from CCTV cameras on poles to the most cutting edge of democracy crushing surveillance which has been brought to you by the NSA, CIA, GCHQ and CITV, now a new American football stadium which is under construction is monitoring its workers by implementing Drones.

The sports arena is question goes by the name of Sacramento Kings in California, the workers are being monitored by drones and software that can automatically flag slow progress. So how does it work? “Once per day, several drones automatically patrol the Sacramento work site with the aim of collecting video footage. That footage is then converted into a three-dimensional picture of the site showing when each element should be finished. The software can show managers how the project is progressing, and can automatically highlight parts that may be falling behind schedule”.

In theory, this is an idea which monitors construction with the aim of planning for any future errors or for example how the weather is affecting the build. The problem lies with the notion of how this data will be used, if for example a particular worker or team falls slightly behind schedule, will those individuals be fired? The concerning information also states that

“The University of Illinois team is currently testing a system that will allow drones to attach cameras to locations across a building site, so that activity can be monitored continually. A manager can then see how different tasks are being performed overall, and how much time each individual is spending on a job”.

To me this is attempting to speed human beings up to the same level which machines can operate, collecting data for architectural and building purposes is standard to ensure safety, asking drones to fly over the top of workers and record their movements? Not so much, data needs to be overseen with proper protocols in place to ensure information is not built up with the aim of placing jobs at risk. Psychologically, if those workers feel that they are being watched 24/7, it will place them in a heightened state which might affect concentration and health.

Below is a GIF/JIF of the current phases which have been modelled for the stadium, as you can see, it’s pretty impressive, let’s hope employment rights are as futuristic as the design.

Thank you MIT for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of watchdogwire

California Pot Smokers to Get Their Bitcoin-Paid-For Gear Delivered by Drone

New startup Trees will deliver marijuana, bought using Bitcoin, to Californian potheads via drone. San Francisco-based Trees allows cannabis smokers to order boxes of weed online, using either a computer or a smartphone, and have it delivered to them the same day.

Trees offers three boxes: the Bud Box, which contains the more exotic varieties, the Extract Box, stuffed full of hash, and the beginner box, for those novices who want to know what all the fuss is about. Other items on offer include cigarette papers, filter tips (which must be some kind of initiation test, or something), and a grinder.

To be eligible to order, though, potential smokers must have a California medical marijuana license. But eligibility will be rendered irrelevant if Trees isn’t granted approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to fly its drones, with its application still being assessed.

“We’re not sure when we’ll be launching yet,” a spokesperson for Trees said. “We are based in San Francisco and the legal situation here is not clear yet.”

It remains to be seen whether Trees will have its flight application approved, since Amazon has been struggling for months to have its Amazon Prime Air drone delivery initiative given the thumbs-up by the FCC.

Thank you The Independent for providing us with this information.

$75,000 Reward In Hunt For Drone Users

Drones are amazing devices, being able to fly a device throughout your garden and beyond, taking pictures that are breathtaking and near impossible for any one person to manage. The problems begin when users begin to do stupid things and end up endangering lives with the devices. Such as those who are now the focus of a hunt with a possible reward offering around $75,000 to the one who helps catch them.

Drones have caused a few problems in recent months, drone users have almost been responsible for 14 near misses with commercial planes between March 2014 and March 2015. With a jail sentence of 5 years for even endangering the planes, the CAA really want to drive home that it is unacceptable to use drones near airplanes. Across the pond in California, San Bernardino county to be precise, a reward of $75k has been offered to anyone who can help track down drone pilots who are flying their drones over the forest fires in the country recently.

The first incident involved a drone flying too close to a flight path, resulting in a $10,000 detour for three planes carrying flame retardant, not only costing a lot of money but also hampering the US Forest Services attempts to control and prevent the forest fire from spreading. The drone in question was flying above the legal limit of 400 feet and was also in the no-fly zone commonly put forward when dealing with wildfires.

The second fire resulted in firefighting helicopters being forced to land with as many as five drones present in the area of the fire, the subsequent fire then spread to the highway where at least 20 cars were destroyed by the flames. Luckily the passengers had managed to escape on foot prior to the fire reaching them. This was only a few days after they were forced to suspend a tanker arriving after a drone was spotted in the area around another wildfire.

With three possible culprits an offer of $25,000 has been put forward for the apprehension of the drone pilots, in what can only be considered as serious action against those who would endanger lives and property for a quick photo opportunity.

With lives being endangered on a nearly weekly rate, drone users need to be more careful and considerate or face serious repercussions for their actions.

Thank you Ars Technica for the information.

Image courtesy of the BBC.

Google’s Bubble Car to Hit the Road this Summer

We follow autonomous cars quite closely, especially seeing that this could be the future of driving. Following our recent article on the safety record of Google’s other self-driving fleet, Google is now ready to unleash the little bubble car on the world; well the streets of California in the Mountain View area this Summer.

Since last September, Google has let a fleet Lexus RX450h roam the streets of California; equipped with the same self-driving technology. Together, they have clocked up near 1 million autonomous miles on the public highway, nearly 10,000 a week. The total amount of autonomously logged data is comparable to the experience of “75 years of typical American adult driving”.

The cool thing about autonomous driving, all of the data logged by the previous cars can be instantly uploaded to the new cars, with certain parameters changed such as vehicle size to give better spatial awareness. If that isn’t enough to calm you, then each car will have a human occupant with the control to override the system if needs be.

Following the recent news and criticism of Google’s self-driving cars, namely the Lexus models; Google has made statements to set the record straight. “Over the 6 years since we started the project, we’ve been involved in 11 minor accidents (light damage, no injuries) during those 1.7 million miles of autonomous and manual driving with our safety drivers behind the wheel,” wrote Google’s Chris Urmson in a recent post on Medium, “and not once was the self-driving car the cause of the accident,” a Google representative said.

Apart from the awful looks of the car, would you be willing to let one drive you around? What about actually owning one when the are released? Let us know in the comments

Thank you to ArsTechnica for providing us with this information.

Google’s Self-Driving Cars are Better Drivers Than us

Self-driving cars are becoming more and more common everywhere we look (in news at least); the key player in this is Google. For the autonomous scheme to be accepted by California law, the company needs to provide proof of the number of accidents that the autonomous vehicles were involved in and of that, how many were the cause. Well, the results are good, well they’re better than good.

Seven of the accidents involved the car being rear ended, at least one was the result of another driver running a red light and the rest were human errors; where a human was in control for whatever reason. Google has been testing these vehicles on the road since 2009, so those figures are very encouraging for those who wouldn’t want to trust a car with no one in control.

Despite the figures, the cars themselves won’t be ready for consumer purchase for a few years yet; mainly down to the fact that a few states in America have laws which govern the use of autonomous vehicles on the public highway. These laws are still relatively new though, so I’d bet on them being changed very soon; especially with the recent news of a Big Rig/ 18 wheeler/ artic lorry being given a ‘licence’ in Nevada.

Would you trust being in such a vehicle? Imagine the carnage if someone managed to hack all the vehicles in a certain area, adding say 10MPH onto the speed or setting the internal GPS to a few foot to one direction. Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Thank you to MotorAuthority for providing us with this information.

Every UFO Sighting Since 1933 Can be Viewed on an Interactive Map

Sightings of possible UFO activity has been increasing common the past century. However, even with their increase in number, they still remain an intriguing mystery. The last sighting of a UFO that went viral on the Internet was in California, where a high-speed UFO passes through a town. Also, the video can be viewed in 4K.

(This might also make you wonder if UFOs should get a ticket for speeding)

All these UFO sightings can even lead to crazy conspiracy theories, but nonetheless, everyone is free to believe in what they like. Regardless of what everyone’s belief is, people continue to see these sightings and thanks to conspiracy buffs and alien hunters, someone managed to put all recorded sightings together in an interactive map, leading to sightings since 1933.

The map was made by Christian Pearson, an MBA candidate, using data from the National UFO Reporting Centre. The sightings appear as a flashing dot on the map, along with an appropriate colour stating for how long the sighting took place.

“It was a fun way of conveying the point that beautiful data visualisation can provide deep insights,” Mr Pearson told City Lab.

Also, Pearson appears to discredit the myth that sightings tend to happen more often in secluded rural places, showing that heavy clusters of sightings have been reported in major urban cities rather than quiet rural towns.

“The map clearly shows large clusters of reporting in urban areas,” Mr Pearson said.

You can view and interact with the UFO sightings map in question below:

Thank you News.com.au for providing us with this information.

A Team of Biohackers Figured out How to Inject Night Vision in Your Eyes

It looks like nothing comes with limits nowadays, having a group of independent researchers figuring out how to give night vision to humans and allow them to see over 50 meters in the dark for a short time.

The group is called Science of the Masses and have their little ‘base of operations’ a couple of hours north of Los Angeles in Tehachapi, California. They have theorised that they could enhance a human being’s eyesight enough that it would induce night vision with the help of a kind of chlorophyll analogue called Chlorin e6 (Ce6), which studies found in deep-sea fish and which is also used in occasional methods of treating night blindness.

“Going off that research, we thought this would be something to move ahead with,” the lab’s medical officer, Jeffrey Tibbetts, told Mic. “There are a fair amount of papers talking about having it injected in models like rats, and it’s been used intravenously since the ’60s as a treatment for different cancers. After doing the research, you have to take the next step.”

Team biochem researcher, Gabriel Licina, has offered to take part in this experiment and has been injected with 50 microliters of Ce6, an extremely low dose. The dose was injected into Licina’s speculum-stretched eyes, aiming for the conjunctival sac, carrying the chemical to the retina. After about an hour, the effects started to kick in.

Licina and Tibbetts had done their research, going so far as to post a paper called “A Review on Night Enhancement Eyedrops Using Chlorin e6“. However, they still are just a bunch of guys working out of a garage, so credibility is in question here. This is why they went out on a field test.

The results were promising, having started with Licina recognising shapes 10 meters away in pitch black darkness conditions. After a short time, he was able to do longer distances, recognizing symbols and identifying moving subjects against different backgrounds. During the test, it is said that Licina had a 100% rate of success in identifying objects, while the control group without being dosed with the Ce6 got the shapes right a third of the time.

“The other test, we had people go stand in the woods,” he says. “At 50 meters, we could figure out where they were, even if they were standing up against a tree.”

While this seems as a plaything for people to toy around with in the woods at night, it does have some strong real-word applications too. Two good fields that would really benefit from this would be search-and-rescue teams, being able to see in the dark in forested areas, or in hostage situations.

The next step for the team is to do more tests and get some ‘real numbers’ on the electrical stimulation in the eye. For now, the biggest success is that the first experiment worked.

Thank you Science Mic for providing us with this information

Delphi’s Driverless Car Preparing to Start Its Nationwide Journey

It looks like Delphi is looking to start pushing boundaries today by showing off the true potential of autonomous vehicle technology. The driverless car is set to begin a cross-country trip later today, having the starting point set in California and the destination set as New York. Though driverless cars may be truly advanced, a driver will still be present inside the car to take control in case of emergency.

“Delphi had great success testing its car in California and on the streets of Las Vegas,” said Jeff Owens, chief technology officer of Delphi. “now it’s time to put our vehicle to the ultimate test by broadening the range of driving conditions. This drive will help us collect invaluable data in our quest to deliver the best automotive grade technologies on the market.”

The journey is said to be 3.500 miles and is taking place in order for engineers to collect valuable live data which can further enhance the self-driving car technology. The vehicle is said to be able to accurately navigate a 4-way stop, pass cyclists safely and enter/exit highways on its own.

Thank you TweakTown for providing us with this information

Pharell Wants to Play Dancing Man’s Part, Along With 1700 Women!

The internet has been buzzing recently, not about the colour of that stupid dress, I am of course talking about Dancing Man! After a cruel social media post, Cassandra Fairbanks of California set out on a counter campaign to find the Dancing Man to show him that not everyone in the world is a bully!

Through the power of social media, the post was shared thousands of times, read by millions and in the end Cassandra, a Free Thoughts Project activist, found Dancing Man, Sean, within just a few hours. Now he’s been invited to the party of his life. He’ll be the only man among 1700 beautiful women at a party in California who want to show him that he should never be ashamed of dancing.

Now celebrities are getting in on the action, only settings up to make this a night he’ll never forget. Pharell and Andrew W.K have expressed interest in playing at the party and now Moby has also offered to DJ for the evening; free of charge, of course.

https://twitter.com/CassandraRules/status/573617663655571456

https://twitter.com/CassandraRules/status/573817848507715585

https://twitter.com/CassandraRules/status/573823355876302849

What is the Most Intagramed Place on Earth?

Why it’s “the happiest place on earth” – Disneyland of course! Yes, the original of Disney’s massively successful theme parks – Disneyland in Anaheim, California, is the most Instagramed place on earth.

The company released a list of places with the most images attributed to them in 2014 and the famous theme park took the top spot. The rest of the list, included bellow, gives some surprising locations, places you probably wouldn’t associate with Instagram, while there are others that are just plain obvious.

  1. Disneyland — Anaheim, Calif.
  2. Dodger Stadium — Los Angeles, Calif.
  3. Times Square — New York, NY
  4. Siam Paragon (shopping mall) — Bangkok, Thailand
  5. Gorky Park (amusement park) — Moscow, Russia
  6. Musée du Louvre — Paris, France
  7. Red Square — Moscow, Russia
  8. Madison Square Garden — New York, NY
  9. Yankee Stadium — New York, NY
  10. The Dubai Mall — Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Source: Re/code

Media Lobby Indoctrination Turns into Education

About a year ago it was reported that the MPAA and RIAA were building a curriculum, targeted at kids from kindergarten through sixth grade in California, to teach about copyright law. This was however highly criticized in the media for being very one sided, not surprisingly. While teaching kids at a young age about copyright is a good thing in it self, there was barely any mention of fair-use and free-to-share copyright licenses at all. Just a lot of ‘don’t do this and don’t do that’.

Behind the entire thing are the MPAA and RIAA together with the California School Libraries Association and iKeepSafe. Torrentfreak have now discovered the final version of this curriculum, and it looks like the public outcry and media attention a year ago paid off. The new version shows big improvements.

Back then everyone involved was quick to state that it was just a pilot and that the final materials would be more balanced, and the president of the California School Library Association acknowledged that it was very one-sided and that the early drafts came straight from the content industry. “We’re moving along trying to get things a little closer to sanity. That tone and language, that came from that side of the fence, so to speak,” said Glen Warren back then.

The old draft put the emphasis on what you can’t do with copyrighted content, now it instead emphasizes that sharing can be a good thing and describes the Creative Common licenses in detail. Every lesson plan informs the children about fair use, and a lot of mandatory teacher remarks have been completely removed or changed. For example it no longer reads “we recognize that it’s hard work to produce something, and we want to get paid for our work”. It now reads, “the projects they created are fun / informative / respectful, and so they may want to share them online,” instead.

The media files that are included in the curriculum, such as videos, have doubled in length to cover fair use and Creative Common licenses. It now also informs the students that it’s totally fine to use copyrighted images and music in the Power Point presentations, as long as it’s only showed in class. The old draft warned students against this, something that would make the homework a lot harder.

Above is the old purpose and key concepts and below the new. They clearly show the difference in the approach taken before and after the revision of the material. You can read up on the entire content at iKeepSafe, if interested.

If it wasn’t for fair-use and common creative licenses, the internet would be a boring place. Just take our news for example, or any news for that matter, or all the blogs out there. We report on things other people have created, done and accomplished. If we couldn’t show you the photos and videos, this would be an entire different site. That said, it’s great to see that kids will be taught all sides and options in the future, instead of being trained into lobby sheep.

Thank you torrentfreak for proving us with this information.

Images courtesy of torrentfreak and freevintagestamps.

Google Building World’s Fastest Computer Using Quantum Technology

Google have joined forces with researchers at the University of California Santa Barbara to develop “quantum computing” technology. The technology is still highly technical and a lot of it is also theoretical, but the potential for mind-blowing performance is too great to ignore and that is why Google and many other industry giants have been researching quantum technology.

Using qubits to process information rather than the binary systems of ones and zeros that are used by traditional computers, quantum computers should theoretically be faster, to put it into perspective how fast lets look at the world’s current #1, the Tianhe-2 super computer in China. Tianhe-2 can blast through 55 quadrillion calculations a second, if Google pull off their new computer, Tianhe-2’s performance will look like a snails pace.

The technology has a long way to go, but with Google already having worked with D-Wave on developing a viable quantum computer, they’re easily one of the best equipped to make it a reality.

Thank you CNN for providing us with this information.

New Law Requires Smartphones to Come with Killswitch

A new law passed in California on Monday will require smartphones to come with a remote kill switch to render them useless in case of theft or lost. The reason for the new law is the ever rising amount of crimes originating in the small smart-devices. The bill was signed by Governor Jerry Brown in the latest effort to stop the epidemic in his state.

Under the new law all smartphones sold in the state after July 2015 will not only have to come equipped with the kill switch function but also requires the manufacturer to notify the users that the function exists.

“Our efforts will effectively wipe out the incentive to steal smartphones and curb this crime of convenience, which is fuelling street crime and violence within our communities,” said the author of the bill, state Senator Mark Leno.

The bill received wide support from California prosecutors and law enforcement agencies that hoped it could help reduce smartphone thefts, that now account for more than half of the crimes committed in San Francisco, Oakland and other large cities.

Other U.S. states are experiencing the same problems with theft and crimes related to smartphones and are considering similar new laws. Minnesota passed a theft prevention law in May, but this new one is the first to also force the notification to the user about the feature.

The mobile industry originally opposed to the bill, but changed their mind once the activation date for it was postponed until July 2015.

Thank you Reuters for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of Tomsguide.

California Gov. Brown Signs Bill Legalizing Bitcoin, Other Cryptocurrencies

California Governor Jerry Brown recently signed bill AB 129 into law, which legalizes Bitcoin and other digital cryptocurrencies inside of California.

Legally, the State of California had legislation that didn’t make it legal to use “anything but the lawful money of the United States,” though this was something that supporters hoped to change.  Following Gov. Brown’s decision, it’s likely other states will follow later down the road, as Bitcoins continue to gain a larger support group.

In addition, a number of different retailers and companies welcome Bitcoin payments, saying it doesn’t make sense to turn down any form of currency customers are willing to pay with.

Here is what Roger Dickinson (D-Sacramento), California Assemblyman, previously said in a press release:

“In an era of evolving payment methods, from Amazon Coins to Starbucks Stars, it is impractical to ignore the growing use of cash alternatives.  This bill is intended to fine-tune current law to address Californians’ payment habits in the mobile and digital fields.”

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) said Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies cannot be classified as currency – but that hasn’t stopped investors and supporters from promoting their use.  Despite California – and other states showing interest in cryptocurrencies – it seems unlikely the federal government will show the same enthusiasm.

Thank you to Los Angeles Times for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of NY Post

Real Life Breaking Bad? 64 Year Old Busted For Meth Lab In Retirement Community

In a true story that seems a bit to “Breaking Bad” for my liking an old white American man was arrested for the possession of a significant amount of methamphetamine. After arresting the man, Robert Short 64, during a routine traffic stop where the man was in possession of $1700 of meth (that’s half a pound) the police went on to search the Short’s home. Down in Fresno Village California, a small retirement community, police found Short’s apartment to be full of meth and to have all the equipment required to cook up and distribute meth.

“When the officers searched the car they located four ounces of methamphetamine in the car, which is a lot of methamphetamine, so that’s consistent with somebody who’s selling,” said Fresno police Lt. Joe Gomez. “Just shocking someone that age would do that, but actually a perfect place to do it, right? Retirement village, who would suspect it going on there?”

Okay so it’s hardly real life Breaking Bad but who’d of thought it? Maybe TV influences people more than you might think!

Who said old people can’t keep up with the latest tech?

Source: ABC30, Via: Softpedia

Image courtesy of Maroela Media

Nano-Cooling Breakthrough Achieved By Intel And Berkley

University of California researchers at Intel and Berkley reported to have made a breakthrough in cooling microchips by using a combination of carbon nanotubes, which we previously reported that Japanese researchers found a way to mass produce them as well as their impact on technology, and organic molecules to create a high efficient connection between a chip and its heatsink.

As chips get smaller, and faster even, the heat generated by the chips becomes a more increasing aspect that researchers have to deal with. It was previously noted that carbon nanotubes could work as a high efficient conduit for this heat, but the issue still remained in getting the heat to the carbon nanotubes.

“The thermal conductivity of carbon nanotubes exceeds that of diamond or any other natural material but because carbon nanotubes are so chemically stable, their chemical interactions with most other materials are relatively weak, which makes for high thermal interface resistance,” explained Frank Ogletree, a physicist at Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division and leader of the study”

And from here, Intel comes in with a little improvement to their plan. Nachiket Raravikar and Ravi Prasher, who were both Intel engineers from the project’s very beginning, were able to increase and strengthen the contact between the carbon nanotubes and the surface of other materials, reducing thermal resistance and increasing heat transport efficiency. It works by using organic molecules to form strong covalent bonds between the carbon nanotubes and metal surfaces, equivalent to using thermal paste between a heat sink and a CPU.

The new system formed allows for a six-fold increase in heat flow from the metal to the nanotubes, and also the method uses nothing more than gas vapour or low-temperature liquid chemistry, meaning it can easily be integrated into the production process of modern chips. But it is not done yet, since the tests currently show that only a small portion of the nanotubes connect to the metal surface, but it is progress nonetheless.

Thank you Bit-Tech for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Bit-Tech

NZXT Talk Us Through The New H440 Chassis

We speak with Rob Teller; one of NZXT’s product managers as he takes us through the brand new H440, their latest chassis to hit the market. If you’re after something that is that bit different, but also extremely practical and loaded with style and features, then sit back and enjoy as we awe you with something that is like no other.

The H440 includes some unique features and we wanted to highlight these for consumers wanting to buy a chassis like this as we believe this video should give you a further insight as to why the H440 beats the competition. After talking to NZXT and Rob, we found that NZXT take product management very seriously and have listed contently to their consumers needs and what they want from a chassis of this nature.

Remember to check out our full review of the H440 chassis here.

For now, we invite you to check out the video below, and enjoy:

Zeppelins Returning As Cargo Carriers In Europe By 2016

Zeppelins used to be kings of the sky, and new it looks like in the next couple of years the classic airship will be making a come back in a big way. Cargolux’s new generation of Zeppelins will be designed to carry cargo and their first fleet will feature 22 airships that will go into operation as early as 2016.

Zeppelins are originally from Germany, the creation of Ferdinand von Zeppelin in the early 20th century. These new models will however will be created in California under a partnership with Aeroscraft Corporation. They’ll be capable of fully vertical landing and take off, will be a whopping 554ft long and be capable of carrying 65 tonnes of cargo. The cruising speed will be a breezy 120 knots and the aircraft will have a range of 3100 nautical miles.

While the Zeppelin has been in use for decades for advertising, surveillance and pleasure flights, it’s great to see the classic Zeppelin make a big come back.

Thank you T3 for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of T3.

Woman Gets Ticket For Wearing Google Glass While Driving

Well it was only a matter of time before something like this happened, a woman in California has been given a ticket for driving while wearing Google Glass! Now that isn’t in its self an illegal thing to do, in fact it is somewhat of a grey area at best, but non the less Cecilia Abade was given a ticket for the “offence”.

Wearable tech is certainly gaining in popularity and while I agree that tinkering with your phone while driving is a big no-no, wearing Google Glass isn’t its self a direct distraction while you drive as it could be used for Sat Nav, not just for checking your emails.

Being wearable the intention is that you keep the device on throughout the day, not just pop it on to check your Facebook, so it would be sensible to assume that it would be in a partial sleep state between activities, but still fitted to your glasses. If the officer could tell she was really focusing on Tweeting and not driving, then she deserved the ticket, but that really doesn’t seem to be the case.

This one will no doubt be debated for some time and I expect some legislation will be drawn up in the next few months to cover such devices, but for now, maybe you shouldn’t wear the device while driving or you could face a fine, or worse.

Thank you Phandroid for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Cecilia Abade.

Google Implements New “Hummingbird” Search Algorithm

On Google’s 15th anniversary, they introduced a new search algorithm to its giant search engine. According to Google, this change to the core algorithm is its biggest since the launch of Caffeine in 2010. Google senior vice president, Amit Singhal, stated that while page ranking and indexing must work together in a search engine, Caffeine was focused more on the ranking side. Hummingbird is more about indexing. “Hummingbird gave us an opportunity after years of building to rethink how we use the power of these things,” Singhal stated.

Any changes to Google’s search rankings can have big ramifications due to their steer of a lot of the Internet’s traffic. Google hosts 2 out of 3 search requests in the U.S. and handles even more volume in parts of Europe. The change would also impact the price of Google ads, driving the prices up to demoted websites looking for marketing messages which can boost their ratings.

Google revealed the new search algorithm on Thursday at an event held in Menlo Park, California, where CEO Larry Page and co-founder Sergey Brin started the company 15 years ago.

Thank you Huffingtonpost for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Google.

Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt Buys Sex Penthouse

When we are looking for a place to have a side relationship we just go out and buy a penthouse, we don’t need to purchase a house, go to a motel room, or even the back seat of our car. Of course not, unless you are Eric Schmidt. Who is Eric Schmidt and why should we care? Eric Schmidt was CEO of the tech giant Google, though he hasn’t been CEO since 2011. Schmidt is currently the Executive Chairman of Google.

Earlier today, The New York Post reported about Schmidt and his recent purchase. A Penthouse apartment located in Flatiron, a borough of Manhattan, in New York City, New York.  The 6,250-square-foot apartment, consisting of four bedrooms, an entertainment area, wet bar. The apartment also has a 3,300-square-foot-terrace. After purchasing the apartment for 14.6 million dollars, he had it soundproofed. Possibly because of all the loud noises of the big city, but more likely to give him complete privacy.  News outlets have dubbed it the ‘Sex Penthouse’.

Schmidt had a net worth of 8.2 billion dollars according for Forbes as of March of this year.

Who knows the real reasoning behind purchasing the penthouse. Perhaps Schmidt is just a big fan of the movie ‘Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps’ in which portions of the movie were filmed. Or perhaps it gives him solitude from his wife and his 20 million dollar mansion located in Montecito, California. Maybe he just wants to show off to his array of lovers. Whatever his reasoning, is his business.

On another note Schmidt and his wife Wendy donated $15 million to the Hills, a project in which four hills we be built-up on Governers Island.

But this raises the questions, what do you think he is going to use the apartment for and what would you use it for if you had just bought it?

Image courtesy of The Washington Post / Business insider.

Using Hands-on GPS While Driving In Californa Is Now Illegal


The lawmakers in the state of California have passed a new law which made it illegal for one to check their hands on GPS systems while driving in the hopes it will prevent most of the chances of accidents. This way drivers will not be distracted by driving, similar to how talking and texting while driving is banned.

However, there are certain issues while addressing this concern, while texting, talking and using hands-on GPS is deemed illegal, there are certain activities which could cause a distraction while driving such as changing the radio station, talking to passengers, eating, etc. is still considered legal. This way it would not be practical to make a single law to ban each activity while drives, but again a blanket law simply cannot be put up.

Studies have found that many distracted drivers often find a different way to distract themselves while driving to pass the time.

There have been cases where drivers argued that using the hands-on GPS should be allowed. But the court did not agree to him despite agreeing to certain oddities and therefore told that its the job of the lawmakers to decide what to so about it.

The law doesn’t completely stop one to use the mapping system, but it should be setup in a way that it can be used hands free. Technically it makes you touching your mobile devices to access the navigation system as illegal. That being said, having a hands-free mapping software can help to dramatically reduce to distract a driver.

There are certain loop holes, such as many new cars with built-in touch only GPS systems that are legal to be used in California. But eventually, one wouldn’t be surprised if the manufacturers will integrate voice-controlled devices in their GPS units. It should be noted that a voice-controlled devices would be considered as a distraction.

Via: TechSpot