Iain Thomson

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Fujitsu ring

Fujitsu: Slide your fingertip through our ring piece and show mice the finger

Fujitsu Laboratories has unveiled what it thinks is the control system of the future: a smart ring to replace the keyboard and mouse so many of us are slaves to. The 10g (0.35oz) ring contains a near-field communications (NFC) module, low-power Bluetooth, an accelerometer, a gyroscope, and other sensors to track the motion of …
Iain Thomson, 13 Jan 2015
The new Facebook AMBER Alert

AMBER alerts of snatched kids to appear on Facebook (and Bing)

Video Facebook and Microsoft’s Bing have worked together with the US Department of Justice to add AMBER alerts for missing children to their websites. Youtube Video These warnings are put out whenever a child is reported to have vanished, and urge people to keep an eye out for the youngster: when the program started, alerts were …
Iain Thomson, 13 Jan 2015
FBI badge and gun

FBI has its fingers deep in NSA surveillance pie, declassified report shows

The FBI had, and most likely still has, a much closer involvement with the NSA’s mass surveillance programs than previously thought – with access to raw foreign intelligence and data on Americans gleaned from the PRISM program. The 231-page report, from the Department of Justice’s Inspector General, was obtained – albeit in a …
Iain Thomson, 13 Jan 2015
SpaceX launch

SpaceX drone hovership ROCKET LANDER BURN: Musk to try again

Pic SpaceX boss Elon Musk says his boffins have worked out what caused his company's Falcon 9 rocket to miss its floating landing pad – and that a solution has already been decided. The top half of the multistage rocket successfully delivered its cargo pod of supplies to the International Space Station on Monday after the bottom …
Iain Thomson, 12 Jan 2015

What do UK and Iran have in common? Both want to outlaw encrypted apps

Encrypted communications will be backdoored or banned in the UK if the Conservatives win the next election, Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged. Youtube Video The UK government has always had the power, “in extremis,” to read Brits' personal post and eavesdrop on electronic chatter, he repeatedly insisted on Monday in a …
Iain Thomson, 12 Jan 2015
Comet Lovejoy

Comet Lovejoy's greenish glow visible with naked eye this weekend

Northern stargazers in low-light environments should be able to pick up a greenish-looking space rock in the night's sky – as Comet C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy) makes its closest approach to Earth in living memory. Comet Lovejoy expelling carbon So long, won't see you later Lovejoy, named after the Australian amateur astronomer Terry …
Iain Thomson, 10 Jan 2015
3D flexible silicon structures

Boffins erect semi-hard 3D silicon: Pop-up micro-machines breakthrough

Pic Researchers have found a way to make tiny 3D structures out of silicon that "pop up" into shape when glued to an elastic substrate, paving the way to new forms of electronics. The minute shapes mimic complex mechanisms in biology – such as the internal structure of teeth and networks of veins and brain cells – and could be used …
Iain Thomson, 10 Jan 2015
NSA Director Admiral Michael Rogers

FBI fingering Norks for Sony hack: The TRUTH – by the NSA's spyboss

The head of the NSA has confirmed his agency gave the FBI top-secret intelligence that led the Feds to blame North Korea for the Sony Pictures mega-hack. The bureau has been strangely silent on how it came to finger the Nork government for the comprehensive ransacking of the Hollywood movie studio. So silent, in fact, seasoned …
Iain Thomson, 09 Jan 2015

What an ACE-HOLE! This super-software will whip you at poker, hands down

Researchers at the University of Alberta, Canada, think they've made the perfect poker-playing program – and are inviting people to try their hand against it. The software, dubbed Cepheus, is a machine-learning system that has been taught to play a variant of Texas Hold 'em called heads-up limit, where players can only bet fixed …
Iain Thomson, 09 Jan 2015

Saudi Arabia to flog man 1,000 times for insulting religion on Facebook

Updated After Friday prayers at the Al-Jafali mosque in the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah, Raif Badawi will receive the first 50 lashes of his 1,000 stroke sentence for the crime of publishing blasphemy against Islam on Facebook. In May, Badawi, a father of three, was sentenced to five years in prison, and will receive 1,000 lashes to be …
Iain Thomson, 08 Jan 2015

Not app-y with VAT: Apple bumps up prices in Blighty, Europe, Canada

Updated Apple is enjoying a super-soaraway January: its App Store has cleared nearly half a billion dollars in sales in just the first seven days of the month, we are told. New Year’s Day set the record for the largest number of App Store sales in a 24-hour period, and Apple reports sales in 2014 were up 50 per cent on the previous year …
Iain Thomson, 08 Jan 2015
germs

Hey, bacteria: Resistance is FUTILE – boffins grow new super-antibiotic

A new type of antibiotic developed from soil culture could solve one of the most pressing medical problems of the modern age: antibiotic resistance. A paper in the journal Nature details how the new antibiotic, dubbed teixobactin, proved completely effective at healing mice infected with the most common drug-resistant forms of …
Iain Thomson, 08 Jan 2015
Department of Homeland Security

Top senator blasts US Homeland Security for leaving cyber-drawbridge down

A member of the US Senate's Homeland Security Committee has slammed the Department of Homeland Security over America's cyber-defenses: Tom Coburn (R-OK) said the agency is failing to protect the nation's IT infrastructure despite at least $700m in funding. "The nature of cybersecurity threats – and the ability of adversaries to …
Iain Thomson, 08 Jan 2015
Possible fossil strata on Mars

ALIEN fossils ON MARS: Curiosity snaps evidence of life

Pics Photographs of rocks taken by NASA's Curiosity rover may confirm that life as we know it once existed on Mars. The pictures were shot at the Gillespie Lake outcrop in Yellowknife Bay, which used to be a huge lake back when Mars had surface water. Dr Nora Noffke, who has spent 20 years studying fossils of early microbes, said …
Iain Thomson, 07 Jan 2015
Eagle Nebula in 2015

Hubble 'scope snaps ENORMO SPACE ERECTION: Pillars of Creation 20 years on

Pics Nearly 20 years ago, the Hubble space telescope took one of its most iconic pictures – the Pillars of Creation. Now a new image has been taken, showing how the star nursery has changed in the last two decades. Eagle Nebula comparison What a difference a couple of decades makes (click to enlarge) The image, presented at …
Iain Thomson, 07 Jan 2015
Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley fires rookie for stealing thousands of fat cats' financial files

Morgan Stanley has confirmed it sacked one of its financial advisers after he allegedly stole confidential data on up to 350,000 clients – information which then appeared online. According to the New York Times, in mid-December Morgan Stanley found on Pastebin sensitive information regarding 1,200 accounts belonging to 900 …
Iain Thomson, 06 Jan 2015
3D printed chocolate

Mock choc shock: 3D candy printer is good news for sweet-toothed swingbellies

CES 2015 Behold the latest marvel of wonder technology: the CocoJet, a 3D printer that can create intricate chocolate structures that will then be crushed in eager mouths. Youtube Video The machine, built by 3D Systems, uses nozzles to pump down dark, milk, and white chocolate onto software-specified designs. The brown stuff comes from …
Iain Thomson, 06 Jan 2015
The fashion world’s most privileged urchin lounges in a luxury hotel in Paris, 1993. © Geoff Wilkinson/RexUSA

Marriott: The TRUTH about personal Wi-Fi hotel jam bid

The Marriott hotel chain – slammed for jamming guests' personal Wi-Fi hotspots – has tried to explain why it's asking for permission to interfere with wireless networks. Marriott, Hilton, and the American Hotel & Lodging Association, had together petitioned US watchdog the Federal Communications Commission for clarification – …
Iain Thomson, 06 Jan 2015
The mission patch for SpaceX's fifth resupply mission

SpaceX: CATS with FRIKKIN' LASERS to blast off to space station

Pic While the rest of us are taking down the Christmas decorations, the astronauts on the International Space Station are still waiting for their presents – and Elon Musk's SpaceX rocketeers plan to fire them into orbit on Tuesday, weather permitting. This resupply mission will try to haul up some of the cargo that should have been …
Iain Thomson, 05 Jan 2015
SMAP water scanning satellite

NASA to launch microwave SPACE LASSO to probe Earth's wet spots

Video At the end of the month, NASA will launch one of its most unusual satellites yet: a radar hurling a 19-foot-long (6-metre) mesh antenna around its head every four seconds. "We call it the spinning lasso," said Wendy Edelstein, instrument manager for the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) sensor built by NASA's Jet Propulsion …
Iain Thomson, 05 Jan 2015
Zuckerberg

Zuckerberg asks the public to tell him where to go in 2015

Every year the behoodied prince of Facebook sets himself a personal goal, and this year he’s asking the public to tell him how to spend 2015 doing something new. “Every year I take on a challenge to broaden my perspective and learn something about the world beyond my work at Facebook,” Zuckerberg wrote on his public social …
Iain Thomson, 02 Jan 2015
SpaceX barge landing spot

SpaceX six days from historic rocket landing attempt

On January 6, SpaceX will launch a critical supply mission to the International Space Station, but just as important as what is going up is what’ll (hopefully) come down. The CRS-5 mission was due to have taken place this month but the launch was delayed to allow NASA to add vitally needed supplies that were destroyed when …
Iain Thomson, 01 Jan 2015
Opportunity in clean room

NASA preps lobotomy for Opportunity rover to cure amnesia

NASA engineers are preparing a radical fix that could help the Opportunity Mars rover regain its fading faculties and continue its Red Planet mission. The rover, which has spent ten years rolling across the Martian plains, has been having memory problems for the last six months because the cells in its flash memory have been …
Iain Thomson, 31 Dec 2014
Dune sandworm

South Korea says NUCLEAR WORM is nothing to worry about

The South Korean Energy Minister has told the National Assembly that a newly discovered malware outbreak at one of the country's nuclear facilities is no big deal, and is not linked to a more serious breach earlier this month. Yoon Sang-jick said in a committee hearing that investigators had found a malware "worm" in one of the …
Iain Thomson, 30 Dec 2014
anonymousXENUCAKE

DON'T PANIC! Latest Anonymous data dump looks old hat

On the day after Christmas, Anonymous dumped out 13,000 credit card numbers and account details for a host of popular websites, but an analysis of the package by security experts shows that most of the data has been available online for ages. The dump was carried out "for the lulz," according to an Anonymous Twitter account. It …
Iain Thomson, 29 Dec 2014
The thumb of the German Defense Minister

German minister fingered as hacker 'steals' her thumbprint from a PHOTO

Security researchers claimed to have cloned the thumbprint of the German Defense Minister by photographing her hand at a press conference. In a presentation at the annual Chaos Computer Club hacker gathering in Hamburg, Germany, biometrics specialist Jan Krisller – known in the community as "Starbug" – explained how he'd taken a …
Iain Thomson, 29 Dec 2014
Surveillance image of Santa stick-up

NSA's Christmas Eve confession: We unlawfully spied on you for 12 years, soz

Slipping out unpleasant news at awkward times is a well-known PR practice – but the NSA has excelled itself by publishing on Christmas Eve internal reports detailing its unlawful surveillance. The agency dumped the docs online shortly after lunchtime on December 24, when most journalists are either heading home to their families …
Iain Thomson, 26 Dec 2014
Tesla Roadster

Tesla parades sleek model body and fab batt at Roadster fans

Elon Musk's Earth-bound transport company has upgraded its two-seater Roadster sports car design with a better battery – and a new body that will increase the range of the flash motors by up to 50 per cent, apparently. "Battery technology has continued a steady improvement in recent years, as has our experience in optimizing …
Iain Thomson, 26 Dec 2014
Kim Dotcom at Christmas

Dotcom 'saved' Xmas for Xbox – but no one can save Sony's titsup PlayStation Network

Updated A string of denial-of-service attacks that took down Xbox Live and Sony's PlayStation Network on Christmas Day appear to have stopped – and New Zealand-based file-sharing baron Kim Dotcom claims the ceasefire is all thanks to him. The portly polymath tweeted on December 25 that he was peeved at not being able to play Destiny on …
Iain Thomson, 26 Dec 2014
Facebook privacy image

Judge kills Facebook's bid to dismiss private message sniffing case

A California judge has turned down Facebook's motion to dismiss a class-action suit against the company from users who are aggrieved that the social network was truffling through their private messages for advertising purposes. Facebook users Matthew Campbell and Michael Hurley filed the suit 12 months ago claiming that the …
Iain Thomson, 24 Dec 2014

Ireland: Hey, you. America. Hands off Microsoft's email cloud servers

The Irish government today supported Microsoft in its ongoing fight against US prosecutors – who appear to want access to server hard drives anywhere in the world. Microsoft has garnered serious backing from the technology industry in its case against American investigators. The Feds believe they have the right to access emails …
Iain Thomson, 24 Dec 2014
Hybrid aircraft

Cambridge boffins and Boeing fly first hybrid airplane over British skies

Video The first hydrocarbon/electric aircraft has taken to the skies over Southern England as part of trials to find out if such combo systems have a place in aviation's future. Youtube Video The aircraft, a heavily modified microlight, uses a conventional four-stroke petrol engine as its main power source and an electric motor …
Iain Thomson, 24 Dec 2014
Facepalm by Ron Mander

FCC: A few (680,000) net neutrality comments lost in 'XML gaffe'

The US Federal Communications Commission misplaced a huge tranche of public comments on its net neutrality proposals – and has blamed its outdated IT system. Four million missives were submitted via the FCC's website and in emails to staff; comments could be submitted in PDF, CSV, or plain text formats, and were converted into …
Iain Thomson, 23 Dec 2014
Starbucks free Wi-Fi UK

Hilton, Marriott and co want permission to JAM guests' personal Wi-Fi

Top hotel chains want permission in the US to disrupt guests' personal Wi-Fi hotspots – a move that would force people to use expensive hotel wireless instead. The hoteliers, including Hilton and Marriott, have urged US watchdog the FCC to allow them to cripple mobile hotspots because, they claim, such devices interfere with …
Iain Thomson, 23 Dec 2014
NuStar's view of the Sun

NASA's 'crazy' plan yields dramatic pictures of our X-ray Sun

The Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) was designed to probe the distant galaxy looking for black holes, but NASA has recently been aiming the orbiting instrument at the Sun to get a close-up view of our star's atmosphere. "At first I thought the whole idea was crazy," said Fiona Harrison, principal investigator for …
Iain Thomson, 23 Dec 2014
Kim Jong-un

Norks' internet goes TITSUP in possible DDoS attack

If the North Koreans really do have an elite hacking squad, it'll be twiddling its thumbs at the moment, as all internet activity in the country has gone dark in an outage that bears the hallmarks of a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack. "In the last 24 hours the signal has been getting worse and worse and today it went …
Iain Thomson, 22 Dec 2014
Google car

Google's first stab at control-free ROBOT car rolls off the line

The engineering wizards in Google's workshops have unveiled the Chocolate Factory's first attempt at a completely control-free robot car, where passengers entrust themselves entirely to the machine. In May, Google announced it was going to start building cars without pedals or a steering wheel to test out the practicalities of …
Iain Thomson, 22 Dec 2014
Artist's concept of Kepler 22b

Kepler's STILL GOT IT! Space telescope spots SUPER-EARTH 180 light years away

The Kepler space telescope might be damaged goods, but the clever hacks created by NASA's boffins have kept it running and it has spotted a new – if distant – planet that could harbor water, just like Earth. "Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Kepler has been reborn and is continuing to make discoveries. Even better, the …
Iain Thomson, 20 Dec 2014
Google UK office logos

Google sues Mississippi Attorney General 'for doing MPAA's dirty work'

Google is taking legal action against the Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood, alleging he exceeded his authority in suing the ad giant over piracy – and taking his cues from the Motion Picture Ass. of America. In October 2013, Hood filed a subpoena against Google, accusing the web ad giant of encouraging online piracy, …
Iain Thomson, 20 Dec 2014
The North Korean computer system

Feds finger Norks in Sony hack, Obama asks: HOW DO YOU SOLVE A PROBLEM LIKE KOREA?

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has claimed to have found evidence linking North Korea with the hackers who ransacked Sony Pictures' servers and dumped gigabytes of sensitive data online. "As a result of our investigation, and in close collaboration with other US government departments and agencies, the FBI now has enough …
Iain Thomson, 19 Dec 2014

Microsoft fires legal salvo at phone 'tech support' scammers

Microsoft has launched its first US lawsuit against companies offering phoney phone support for its products and says it plans further operations in the UK and India to stamp out the scammers. Fake tech support calls have been around for a few years now. A caller will claim to be calling from Microsoft technical support saying …
Iain Thomson, 19 Dec 2014
ISIS leader Shakir Wahiyib with Facebook thumbs-up

New fear: ISIS killers use 'digital AK-47' malware to hunt victims

Malware has emerged from war-torn Syria targeting those protesting the rule of ISIS (ISIL, Islamic State, whatever the murderous humanity-hating fanatics are calling themselves these days.) The trivial Windows spyware, analyzed by University of Toronto internet watchdog Citizen Lab, was sent out in a small number of emails aimed …
Iain Thomson, 18 Dec 2014
GhostSwimmer

Don't panic, US Navy has only deployed a ROBOT SHARK (but where are the lasers?)

Pics and video The US Navy has shown off the first images of its latest aqua-drone: a five-foot-long robot shark that's been swimming off the shores of Virginia. The Navy's robot shark at rest GhostSwimmer at rest Dubbed GhostSwimmer, the 100lb machine (in Navy-speak, an AUV or autonomous underwater vehicle) is capable of swimming in water …
Iain Thomson, 18 Dec 2014

URL LOL: Delta splats web flight boarding pass snoop bug

Delta Airlines techies have fixed a flaw in the biz's paperless boarding pass system that allowed a hacker to access information on strangers' flights. The security vulnerability is down to the URLs used by Delta's website to serve digital copies of boarding passes to smartphones. These passes appear as QR codes which are …
Iain Thomson, 18 Dec 2014

Nork-ribbing flick The Interview AXED: Sony caves under hack terror 'menace'

Sony Pictures has confirmed the inevitable and cancelled the December 25 launch of The Interview after most major theater chains refused to run it. "The ability of our guests to enjoy the entertainment they choose in safety and comfort is and will continue to be a priority for theater owners," said the National Association of …
Iain Thomson, 18 Dec 2014
The death of Venus Express

ESA: Venus probe doomed to fiery death on weird planet's surface

The European Space Agency has administered the last rites to its Venus Express probe, saying that the spacecraft is now out of control and has gone "gently into the night." "The available information provides evidence of the spacecraft losing attitude control most likely due to thrust problems during the raising maneuvers," said …
Iain Thomson, 17 Dec 2014
David Bowie life on mars

It's whiff, Jim, but not as we know it: Curiosity sniffs ORGANICS on Mars

Two new papers on the latest data from the compact chemistry laboratory aboard nuclear-tank Curiosity show organic compounds in Mars' atmosphere and rocks – and therefore offer tantalizing clues to the Red Planet's watery past. Youtube Video In the past 20 months Curiosity's Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) laboratory has sniffed …
Iain Thomson, 17 Dec 2014

Sony sued by ex-staff over daft security, leaked privates

As if Sony Pictures didn't have enough on its plate, now former employees have launched a class-action lawsuit against the Hollywood giant over the parlous state of its security – and to recoup the damage hackers have allegedly caused them. It comes as people claiming to have hacked the movie studio's servers today made bizarre …
Iain Thomson, 16 Dec 2014
Mercury North pole

NASA asks world+dog to name Mercury's craters (back off, 4chan)

There's a chance to enter the history books (or at least a planetary geography atlas) as NASA is asking the public to help name five prominent features on Mercury, the tiny planet closest to the Sun. In 2004 NASA launched Messenger – its MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging probe – the first craft …
Iain Thomson, 16 Dec 2014
Sony Pictures

Sony hackers dump more hunks of stolen data, promise another 'Christmas gift'

The Guardians of Peace, the hackers who plundered Sony Pictures' servers, has leaked more data swiped from the movie studio – and threatened a bigger document dump in the run up to Christmas in a set of sinister messages. It comes amid claims the Sony subsidiary's bosses knew its systems had been hacked, and sensitive …
Iain Thomson, 16 Dec 2014