Reflective Russian Satellite to be Brightest ‘Star’ in the Sky

When you look up at the night sky, the brightest thing you will see is likely to be the Moon. However, a team of Russian engineers want to ensure that the second brightest object isn’t just any other star billions of miles away, but a man-made object!

After reaching their fundraising goal, the team look to launch a satellite that will have no other purpose than to glow brightly. The object is no bigger than a bread bin, but once it is in orbit, it will open up into a pyramid shape of reflective surfaces. The object will stay in a sun-synchronous orbit of 370 miles above the Earth, ensuring it is always in the sunlight, giving it the ability to outshine any other star in the Sky. Unfortunately for the team, not everyone is happy about their project.

While they hope to inspire that anyone can achieve a goal of doing space-bound projects, by giving people something to wonder about when they look up at the sky as it floats around in space, many scientists are concerned that it will cause too much light pollution. While using telescopes and other technologies to view real stars and other space-bound objects, light pollution is a big problem and effectively turning on a big light up there could hinder some scientific efforts.

“We want to show that space exploration is something exciting and interesting, but most importantly that today it is accessible to everybody who is interested,” said project leader Alexander Shaenko to Sputnik News.

There’s not too much concern, though, as the $20,000 project is only said to last for a few weeks, although if their goal is a success, it could inspire others to do the same in the near future. Personally, I can’t wait to see it, it’s a cool idea and hopefully it will give off the right message and encourage people to look up and wonder about the universe, if only for a moment.

Individual Uses Lighter While Refuelling Car And Sets Fire To It.

Indeed, thought this was self-explanatory but there you go, The Russian Independent Television is reporting as of late today (January 5th, 2016) that an Individual has accidentally set fire to their car while using a lighter near the fuel pump nozzle while routinely filling the vehicle up.

Below are the images of the incident, there not particularly graphic, but they do show a fire breaking out near a person and they are shocking, therefore, I thought I would pre-warn just in case.

As you can see, the fire is breaking out near the car, the individual had apparently held their lighter with the aim of seeing clearly what they were doing while filling up the car. The person then pulled the refuelling gun out of the car once they had spotted the fire.

Unfortunately this made it worse as fuel splashed out onto the pavement and also onto the car, it is unclear as to the outcome of this incident as of writing.

I did not think in today’s modern world I would need to say this, but please, no one try this at home, gasoline is highly flammable and diesel is a highly combustible liquid that can be extremely dangerous. Always take precautions and never treat it with anything other than respect and caution. 

Russian Gamer to Sue Bethesda For Fallout 4 Addiction

Video games like any entertainment medium can be addictive especially if the individual in question has an obsessive personality. Usually, consumers applaud developers for creating expansive experiences and enjoy the value proposition this brings. However, a 28-year-old man from Krasnoyarsk is suing Bethesda for $7000 because he didn’t realize Fallout 4 would “become so addictive”.

According to Russia Today, the player in question regularly skipped work, stopped speaking with his friends and led to the breakdown of his marriage. His statement reads:

“If I knew that this game could have become so addictive, I would have become a lot more wary of it. I would not have bought it, or I would have left it until I was on holiday or until the New Year holidays,”

This is an absurd situation and the idea that you can try to seek compensation for your own lack or organizational skills is laughable. There’s no real precedent in Russia regarding cases like this, so it’s going to be interesting to see how the legal case proceeds. Common sense should prevail though because millions have purchased Fallout 4 and not had any negative effects in their private or personal life.

Has a game ever captured so much of your time it almost impacted on personal relationships?

BBC to Offer Machine Translated TV News in Japanese and Russian

The BBC have announced a pilot run of its “Virtual Voiceover” technology, which will be used to automatically translate TV news reports into other languages. Initially, the service already offers translations in Japanese, with the BBC’s Russian service planning to implement the technology in early 2016. The objective of the virtual voiceover system is to allow news editors to easily and automatically publish news in a variety of languages with a minimal amount of staff and effort required.

The system is simple in theory, it will be fed the script for a news package and use a machine translation to convert the script into the target language. The translated script will then be checked over and polished if necessary by a bilingual journalist. Finally, a voiceover will be recorded using one of a number of synthesized voices available. According to a statement made to Ars Technica by the BBC, the machine translator currently used for the system is Google Translate but “it could just as easily be another translation engine and we’re likely to work with others as the project progress.”

Initially, the pilot testing of the service will run until April 2016, in both Japanese and Russian. Spanish is another language that the broadcaster has identified as useful for the system, and if it is initially successful, could be added to the service. The news packets that make use of these translations will be made available on the BBC’s new Today In Video service and can be accessed through the relevant BBC local website.

While the idea has been criticised due to the idea that it could take jobs from humans, an anonymous source at the BBC stated, “the intention was instead to free up reporters to do more journalism rather than administrative tasks.”

As we drift ever further into the digital in our media intake, could the shift from news read by humans to synthetics take off? Maybe one day all news scripts will be read by synthetic voices, even in their native language. For a taste of that, the BBC made use of their synthetic voice technology in a demonstration video of the technology, revealing the Virtual Voice new service.

How a Hacker Made $45,000 Selling 0Day Exploits to Hacking Team

We previously reported that Italian spyware company, Hacking Team, has been hacked and had 400 GB of data publicly released via torrent websites. Well, Arstechnica reportedly found how easy it was doing business with the latter company by digging through their emails.

It seems that a Russian hacker approached the Hacking Team in 2013 with a few 0day bugs he found on Windows, OS X and iOS operating systems, with price ranges of $30,000 to $45,000. The company apparently was not interested in the latter, but it did show interest in another exploit offered by the hacker, namely the “Adobe Flash Player 9.x/10.x/11.x with the RCE exploit for the current Flash Player 11.9.x for Windows 32/64-bit and OS X 64-bit”.

The correspondence even revealed how the money was transferred to the hacker. According to the findings, the hacker received the money via bank wire transfer in three instalments, one of $20,000 in October 2013, the other of $15,000 in November 2013 and the last one of $10,000 in December 2013. There has not been any evidence of the hacker and the company doing any business up until 2015, when the Russian hacker received another $35,000 in his bank account in Moscow.

Arstechnica also approached the hacker and surprisingly, he explained that such transactions are very common between companies such as Hacking Team and freelance hackers. He stated that such transactions are “routine sales like with ZDI, VCP, pentesters and other legal 0day buyers”. I don’t know about you, but this information is as exciting as it is scary. So what are your thoughts on this?

Thank you arstechnica for providing us with this information

Wargaming Announces the Open Beta for World of Warships With New Trailer

Wargaming has just announced that it pushed its upcoming title, World of Warships, to open beta. This means that everybody can download and enjoy the naval warfare game and if you were already in the closed beta, you can now have your friends join and help you through the PvE or even test your skills in PvP with them.

The open beta is said to have 10 unique maps and over 90 ships, split into two historic naval ship banners, the Americans and Japanese. The tech tree has four ship classes, all with their unique gameplay and tactics. You can either choose to have Destroyers, boasting big torpedoes, extreme manoeuvrability and smoke screen capabilities, or take the helm of Cruisers and intimidate your opponents with big, powerful guns, anti-aircraft guns, and a lot of firepower to support your teammates.

The remaining two classes consist of Battleships, who are goliaths that can pierce through the thickest armoured ships in the game, sustain a lot of damage and act as the “guardians” for your fleet, and the almighty Aircraft Carriers, who can be your fleet’s eyes and firepower support.

Aside from the American and Japanese banners, you can also take the helm of a few Russian and British. So whether you want to try it out or get your friends to help your fleet, it’s definitely worth giving it a try. You can download it from its website here.

PlayStation 4 Gets New Hack That Allows Users to Install Pirated Games

As security measures and tech advances, so do methods to take them down or work around them. This is the case for a new hack recently discovered for Sony’s PlayStation 4 consoles, which allows users to install pirated games on their consoles.

Reports say that the hack might be coming from a Russian Website that Brazilian retailers use to install games on customers’ PS4 consoles, charging between $100 and $150 for 10 games and $15 for extra games, should they choose to get more than 10.

Sony was faces with a similar hack for its PS3 consoles, but the method used on the PS4 appears to be different. Unlike the PS3 hack which required users to have a modified firmware to allow installation and play of pirated content, the PS4 version seems to use some sort of NAN/BIOS cloning that will keep Sony scans from shutting you down.

The war on piracy has been raging on for ages now, but there’s still a long way to go before it will end (if ever). However, though it has been mentioned before, it is useless to use a lot of funds to try to take down piracy methods due to the fact that other ones will just crop up in their place again. Nevertheless, Sony will not turn a blind eye to this hack and will eventually find a way to plug it as it did with the PS3.

Thank you Sci-Tech Today for providing us with this information

Russian Hackers Read Obama’s Email

According to the New York Times, Russian hackers may have gotten access to Obama’s White House email. While the White House itself has been silent on the issue, the emails were likely accessed during a hack related to the recent power outage. Sources with knowledge of the previous hack noted that Russians, likely connected to the Kremlin, were the perpetrators of the hack, a claim echoed again. Email at the White House was disrupted for about a month while the last vestiges of the hack were purged.

Despite being able to read Obama’s email, the hack is not as grievous as it could have been as it only breached the unclassified network. This means only unclassified emails sent to and from the system were accessed. Officials were quick to stress that no classified system was breached nor was classified information lost. The New York Times’s source suggests that the hack originated with a breach of the State Department’s unclassified network and found its way to the White House. That hack was so widespread, that to quote the New York Times:

“The disruptions were so severe during the Iranian nuclear negotiations in Vienna in November, officials needed to distribute personal email accounts, to one another and to some reporters, to maintain contact.”

Since the hack, Obama has reduced the frequency of his emails. Obama has been known for fighting against the Secret Service to keep access to his BlackBerry and email, unlike his predecessor, Geoge W. Bush, who completely eschewed email.  Given the recent revelations that the Pentagon unclassified networks were also hacked, it raises the issue as to how much these systems can be trusted and whether or not they are more of a liability than an asset.

Thank you New York Times for the information

Kosmos-1220 Set To Crash Back To Earth Today, Location Unknown

At some point today the defunct Russian satellite Kosmos-1220 will be returning to Earth, unfortunately experts have no idea where the fragments will land, although it is most likely to hit the biggest target of all, the Pacific Ocean.

‘As of February 7, 2014 the fragments are expected to fall on February 16. The exact impact time and location of the fragments from the Kosmos-1220 satellite may change due to external factors,’ said Colonel Alexei Zolotukhin.

Of course much of the 1090’s satellite will burn up upon re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere, at which point we expect it will put on a pretty light show, but some of the larger, heavier parts are still likely to partially survive the decent and make contact with Earth. Fortunately the odds are stacked in favour of it hitting water, given that most of the earth is in fact ocean, but there is always a chance, however remote that it could hit land.

Most of the satellite, which was launched into space in 1980, will burn up on re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere, David Eicher, editor of Astronomy magazine, told FoxNews.com.

‘What we have going for us is that most of the planet is covered with water, and highly populated areas are in the minority of our planet’s surface area. So it is unlikely that satellite debris will cause injuries or major damage. Still, with such a re-entry, we are playing the odds. This is a very real danger, given that a decaying orbit will carry this satellite down onto the planet.’ said Devid Eicher of Astronomy magazine when speaking with Fox News.

It’ll be interesting to see how this one plays out, and certainly worth keeping your eyes on the news for updates of its decent, because there could be some exciting photo opportunities depending on where this thing comes down.

Thank you Metro for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Metro.

Russian Snowboarder’s iPhone Crashes After Receiving 2000+ Messages During Olympics

We now know that an iPhone has its limits in terms of text messages, thanks to Russian Olympic snowboarder, Alexey Sobolev, who wrote his phone number on his helmet and wore it during a run.

Now I know everyone would ask why on earth did he do that. Well, some may think that he was bored, but an obvious reason would be to get admirers, especially female ones. In the end he got what he wanted, more than he was expecting even. He go over 2000 text messages from people all around the world.

And this is the most interesting part though. It is said that when he tried to respond to one of his admirers, his iPhone crashed. Now how about that? You really do have a limit it seems. Luckily though, he was able to to start it again and all was fine.

However, the stunt did not go unnoticed, since he was banned by the committee from showing his number again on the next run and had to cover it up. No matter though, because his number is already out there, generating virtual tears for his iPhone, which is expected to be flooded by messages in the following days.

Thank you Phonearena for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Phonearena

Russian Chelyabinsk Meteorite Pulled From Lake Chebarkul

A half-tonne chunk of the meteorite that spectacularly descended on Russia earlier this year has been recovered from the bottom of Lake Chebarkul in central Russia.

One February 15th this year, a huge 10,000 tonne meteorite exploded in the sky above central Russia, an incident so powerful that the resulting shockwave broke windows, rocked building and even destroyed a factory, all total around 1000 people were injured.

Despite the injuries, the meteorite put on an impressive light show, with one of the clearest fireballs caught in video in recent memory and scientists have been working hard to recover as much of the material from the meteorite as possible, this chunk from the lake is known to be the biggest and the recovery has proved more than difficult given that it was at the bottom of an often frozen lake.

The 1.5 meter rock was wrapped in a special covering and put on a metal sheet while it was underwater. It was found at a depth of 13 meters, not 6-8 meters are originally thought, it was pulled ashore before the rock broke into three pieces, then the scales used the weigh the rock broke, only adding to the troubles of the day.

Sergey Zamozdra, an associate professor at Chelyabinsk State University, told the Interfax news agency: “The preliminary examination… shows that this is really a fraction of the Chelyabinsk meteorite. This chunk is most probably one of the top 10 biggest meteorite fragments ever found.”

Thank you BBC for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of BBC.