Ah, Kim Dotcom. Thanks for the laugh this morning with your latest tweet, which reads "NSA WARNING: Do NOT retweet this #Megaupload raid video. We know where you live." Check it out below:
You can see that Dotcom, and everyone on his land, had no chance but to surrender to the police. We all know this story, but Dotcom is using this time where the NSA is under the Internet's microscope to spread his story. I still can't believe this happened, but at least Dotcom is a free man. I'm sure the NSA have been watching his every move for quite some time now.
Thank you NSA, for not being as secure as you wanted to be, because all of this news is showing the world that user data isn't as secure as we thought it was. Facebook have now come out stating they received between 9000 and 10,000 requests for user data from US authorities in the second half of last year alone.
These requests ranged from child disappearances to petty crimes, all the way to terror threats and saw between 18,000 and 19,000 accounts. Facebook didn't state how often they complied with the requests for users' data. The social network have said they "aggressively" protect their users' data, according to Facebook's general counsel, Ted Ullyot. He added:
We frequently reject such requests outright, or require the government to substantially scale down its requests, or simply give the government much less data than it has requested. And we respond only as required by law.
I think mainstream science has been suppressed for a very long time now, and it's about time that we find out, as a human race, what the reality of our existence really is. The first steps in this, are reversing the mainstream points of science. It looks like NASA could do something good here, with their latest field test that could prove that there is a possibility of faster-than-light travel.
Harold White and his team at NASA have been working on something called the Alcubierre Drive. This new method could use a solution which would see a craft placed within a space that is moving faster than the speed of light. This means that the craft itself isn't moving at the speed of light, meaning the craft itself doesn't need a propulsion system capable of travelling at that speed. This is where things get a little confusing, so grab your white lab coat and come on a walk with me.
The Alcubierre Drive is based on Einstein's field equations, which suggest that a spacecraft could indeed travel faster than the speed of light. But, instead of the craft itself pushing past the speed of light, it would do so by contracting space from in front of it, and expanding the space behind it - a nice trick. It's this type of science that I love reading about, and I think this is the future of space travel - thinking outside the box, which this kind of is.
Google's super-secretive but super-cool Google X labs have designed some amazing things so far, such as Google Glass and the self-driving cars from Google. Google X have just outdone themselves today by announcing Project Loon, which would see balloon-powered Internet access to parts of the world where Internet access is hard, or impossible to come by.
Google even started testing this new initiative during the week, which would provide users with 3G-like speeds using balloons blasting Internet down to the people below in New Zealand. Google have said that they've found a way to let these balloons "sail freely in the winds" and would steer them by moving them up or down to catch the right winds. Of course, this means that Google still have some work to do, which I can see them creating the technology to at least automate this process.
The Mountain View-based search giant have said that they're solving this problem "with some complex algorithms and lots of computing power." Google would be using wind data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to give the balloons their flight paths. The search giant are currently using 30 balloons to test the project with around 50 tests in New Zealand who are using the service on the ground.
Microsoft have just dug a few more inches of their own grave for the Xbox One by stating that if you get banned from Xbox Live on the new Xbox One, you'll also "forfeit the licenses to any games that have licenses tired to it as listed in the ToU."
This means that if you get banned, you're pretty much handing over your physical discs to Microsoft. Of course, not everyone gets banned - but this is actually quite serious as you're having physical media get banned from the XBL service altogether. Microsoft, whatever you're smoking, you could make more money selling that than you will with the Xbox One.
I've finally moved into a house with solar power and enjoying the benefits of our star for my power consumption, which is a lot. But Sharp Corporation have just achieved something of a milestone in that they've reached the world's highest solar cell conversion efficiency of 44.4%.
They achieved this by using a concentrator triple-junction compound solar cell. These solar cells, in laymen's terms, use a lens-based concentrator system that focuses sunlight on the cells which in turn, generate electricity. Sharp's huge breakthrough is part of a research and development effort that are a part of the "R&D on Innovate Solar Cells" project which is promoted by Japan's New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO).
Hopefully this means we'll see a bright future for solar power, which I hope someday powers everything from our smartphones to buildings and houses. You can read some more detailed information at the source.
E3 2013 - At this year's E3, Popcap announced a new version of their popular Plants vs Zombies franchise. Known as Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare, the new game takes a twist on the older tower defense game. The new game makes use of the Frostbite 3 engine, which allows for excellent graphics. The trailer is embedded below, and I suggest you watch it before moving on in this piece:
In all reality, Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare is probably my official highlight from the 2013 E3 show. The graphics look great, the gameplay looks interesting, and it was probably one of the biggest surprises at the show. Everyone expected most of the other games, but I hadn't heard of this until EA's press conference on Monday.
EA and Popcap tried to merge the best of the FPS world while still keeping what people loved from the original: EA took "everything you love about action games and matched it with everything our fans love about Plants vs Zombies."
It will launch on the Xbox One and Xbox 360 first, with plans to bring it to PC coming sometime later. It's not clear if it will make its way to any other systems. We saw a demo of the online cooperative mode that allows you and your friends to play together to defeat the waves of invading zombies. It will also feature matchmaking, meaning those of us without friends will be able to still play online cooperatively.
This is something that could be like pulling a thread from a very large ball of wool, but defense lawyers for Terrance Brown, who is a south Florida man currently facing bank robbery charges, have requested the NSA to provide them with Brown's mobile phone surveillance records to support his claim that he wasn't anywhere near the bank at the time of the robbery.
The reason this request has been done is that we now know that the NSA requires all American phone companies to hand over the complete records of all of their clients' calls, including the GPS location data of the calls themselves.
The prosecution had told defense attorneys that they were unable to obtain Brown's cellphone records from the period before September 2010 because his carrier, MetroPCS, had not held on to them.
Not so fast, Brown's attorney Marshall Dore Louis argued in court documents filed in Fort Lauderdale days after the National Security Agency surveillance program was revealed last week...
...Louis argued in court Wednesday that the government should be forced to turn over phone location records for two cellphones Brown may have used because it could prove he was not present for one of the attempted bank robberies, on July 26 on Federal Highway in Lighthouse Point.
We know that Sony 'won' the next-gen console war at E3 this year with their PlayStation 4, but it looks like this strong surge in interest might hurt consumers' dreams when it comes to purchasing a PS4 on day one.
Sony Computer Entertainment CEO, Andrew House, has said that PS4 "demand may well outstrip supply" after the huge presence the next-gen console made in the last week. He spoke with the Wall Street Journal where he said that Sony have raised their internal sales forecasts for the PS4 after the supremely positive feedback by tech sites, consumers and retails over the last week.
E3 2013 - TweakTown got a chance to capture some extended in-game action of the upcoming FPS Battlefield 4 at E3 2013. Before watching the video, let me add a disclaimer that I am not much of a Battlefield player, preferring the older classic Unreal Tournament 2004. The graphics and "levelution" make Battlefield 4 an excellent game and I will soon become a seasoned veteran.
With that said, this is still an early build. I noticed various graphical glitches throughout the game that should end up being fixed by the time BF4 launches in October. I didn't get a good chance to experience the Commander mode, but it does look to be a nice addition to the game, especially since it allows the Battlefield 4 experience to be taken to tablets and mobile devices.