SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

New developments in research etc.

Marines give Google’s latest robot a tryout as “working dog”

In a series of drills this week, the Marine Corps tested whether a new four-legged companion had what it takes to work with infantrymen in a variety of situations. The subject of the tests was Boston Dynamics' Spot robot, a 160-pound, hydraulicly actuated quadruped robot first revealed by the Google (soon to be Alpahbet) subsidiary in February.

Spot was brought to the Marine Corps Base in Quantico, Virginia, home of the Marine Corps Combat Development Command, by a team from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. DARPA has tested a number of previous robots from Boston Dynamics, including the BigDog quadruped robot, with the Marine Corps. Ben Swilling, a roboticist with DARPA who accompanied Spot for the tests, said "I think a robot like Spot has tons of opportunities we could use it for, like scouting or load carriage."
READ MORE: http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2015/09/marines-give-googl...

Revolutionary 3D Printer Can Build 10 Houses In 24 Hours For Only $5,000 Each

To remedy the housing crisis, as well as the increasing demand for economical and sustainably-produced living spaces, many architects are experimenting with 3D printing.

One such designer is Ma Yihe, the owner of the private firm WinSun. According to BBC News, WinSun managed to produce 10 full-sized, detached single-story houses in just ONE day – a monumental achievement.
READ MORE: http://www.techswarm.com/2015/09/revolutionary-3d-printer-can-build-10.html

Electronic Warfare Expected in New World of Drones and Anti-Drones

As the global drone arms race continues to expand, so do the counter measures.

The proliferation of commercial drones, in particular, is expected to present new challenges to an increasingly crowded sky. Among commercial and military drones is the potential for swarms of micro-drones that can be hidden in plain sight … at least to the naked eye. However, drones are never hidden from the electromagnetic spectrum.

A UK defense firm announced that it is working on a comprehensive defense shield that aims to “control the electromagnetic spectrum” – electronic warfare. It will not only identify drones that are a threat either to populations or critical infrastructure such as nuclear facilities, military installations, and seats of government, but also will have the ability to hijack the aircraft and remove it from the area.
READ MORE: http://www.activistpost.com/2015/09/electronic-drone-warfare.html

Microsoft is downloading Windows 10 to PCs, even if you don’t “reserve” a copy

You might be in the process of acquiring Windows 10—whether you want the free upgrade or not. Microsoft has confirmed that it is “helping upgradable devices get ready for Windows 10 by downloading the files they need” in the event that owners decide to migrate to the new OS, even if they have heretofore passed up on "reserving" their free upgrade from Windows 7 or 8.

The issue seems to revolve around the Microsoft update KB3035583, and as such it appears to only afflict individuals who have chosen to receive automatic updates. As far as we can tell, if you have automatic updates turned off, Windows 10 won't be pre-loaded onto your PC.
READ MORE: http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2015/09/microsoft-is-downl...

Lockpickers 3-D Print TSA Master Luggage Keys From Leaked Photos

The TSA is learning a basic lesson of physical security in the age of 3-D printing: If you have sensitive keys—say, a set of master keys that can open locks you’ve asked millions of Americans to use—don’t post pictures of them on the Internet.

A group of lock-picking and security enthusiasts drove that lesson home Wednesday by publishing a set of CAD files to Github that anyone can use to 3-D print a precisely measured set of the TSA’s master keys for its “approved” locks—the ones the agency can open with its own keys during airport inspections.
READ MORE: http://www.wired.com/2015/09/lockpickers-3-d-print-tsa-luggage-keys-leak...

Why there must be freedom to publish flaws and security vulnerabilities

Two academics have been given permission to publish their security research which reveals vulnerabilities in a wireless car locking system. It comes two years after Volkswagen, one of the manufacturers using it, won a court injunction banning publication.

Despite a court order in its favour, Volkswagen has now allowed the report to be republished with only minor redactions. However the case reveals the tension between security researchers and software firms, or in this case the software used by car manufacturers. While some firms such as Facebook, Google and Microsoft offer financial rewards for those finding bugs, others such as Fiat Chrysler assert that such activity is criminal or as Volkswagen did, take it to the courts – while failing to address the highlighted problems that expose their customers to risks.
READ MORE: https://theconversation.com/why-there-must-be-freedom-to-publish-flaws-a...

How Debian Is Trying to Shut Down the CIA and Make Software Trustworthy Again

In response to the Snowden revelation that the CIA compromised Apple developers' build process, thus enabling the government to insert backdoors at compile time without developers realizing, Debian, the world's largest free software project, has embarked on a campaign to to prevent just such attacks. Debian's solution? Reproducible builds.

In a talk at Chaos Communication Camp in Zehdenick, Germany, earlier this month (full text here), Debian developer Jérémy Bobbio, better known as Lunar, told the audience how the Linux-based operating system is working to bring reproducible builds to all of its more than 22,000 software packages.
READ MORE: http://motherboard.vice.com/read/how-debian-is-trying-to-shut-down-the-c...

Conservative Politics Leads The Global Change Game

In 2003 Robert Altemeyer, the father of contemporary Right-wing authoritarianism research, reported on a series of global leadership simulations. Publishing in the Journal “Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy” Altemeyer named his paper, “What Happens When Authoritarians Inherit the Earth? A Simulation”.

Using a paradigm known as the Global Change Game, Altemeyer created two mock worlds, one in which leaders and followers were high on Right-wing authoritarianism (RWA), and one in which they were low. Right-wing authoritarianism correlates with political conservatism and involves punitive submission to authority and the status quo.
READ MORE: https://newmatilda.com/2015/09/02/right-wingers-lead-simulated-global-po...

FUN FACT: In June 1999, Bhutan became the last nation on earth to introduce TV—an unprecedented crime wave followed

Bhutan is a country with no traffic lights and no fast-food chains. It has more monks than soldiers. It may be the only country in the world to measure Gross National Happiness.

Tucked between India and China, the Buddhist kingdom is the size of Switzerland and has less than a million people. For centuries it has remained isolated in the Himalayan mountains. But now it has opened itself to what critics call "an electronic invasion" -- cable TV.
READ MORE: http://www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/bhutan/thestory.html
http://www.theguardian.com/theguardian/2003/jun/14/weekend7.weekend2
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/3812275.stm

Microsoft backports privacy-invading Windows 10 features to Windows 7, 8

Every time Microsoft releases a new version of an operating system, there’s always a few users bitterly unhappy at the company’s decision not to support new features on older products. Microsoft has finally listened to these die-hard devotees of older operating systems. If you felt like Windows 7 and Windows 8 offered you a little too much privacy, rejoice: Microsoft is updating those operating systems with the same telemetry gathering software it deployed on Windows 10.
READ MORE: http://www.extremetech.com/computing/213183-once-more-with-tracking-micr...

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