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Current Affairs Posts - Page 33

Building turned Tetris in case of hack as high art

Those damn college kids are always doing some prank or another, and this time they have done something really cool that isn't destructive! The kids over at MIT, one of the leading technology colleges in the United States, have turned an entire building's windows into a playable Tetris game with different colors and difficulty levels!

 

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Was this some mischievousness plan to take over the college or just some work of public art? The building in question is the Earth and Planetary Science departments' building. It has long been the target of many of MIT students' pranks. The grid layout of the windows made this building the best choice for this particular prank.

 

The video is pretty awesome. As a fan of Tetris, I'm tempted to see about doing this at my house. Better yet, if I ever get a big corporation in NY, I'm going to specifically design the side of the building as a giant Tetris game. Then everyone will want to come work for me! What are your thoughts? Good prank or no?

Continue reading 'Building turned Tetris in case of hack as high art' (full post)

Navizon releases new tech that can track you by your smartphone's wireless

Yet another assault on users' privacy has occurred today. Navizon I.T.S. (Indoor Triangulation System) is a system similar to what Google is using for indoor navigation at large venues. It, however, locates you for the owners of the establishment, rather than you locating yourself for directions.

 

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Aimed at retail stores, shopping malls, museums, office buildings, and similar spots, the technology can be used for a couple of different purposes. One way is to use it as a security and surveillance system, as it could track approved Wi-Fi devices in a secure area or locate wireless devices on a campus.

 

Another way that it can be used is to study traffic patterns in certain areas or just generally see how many smartphone users there are at a given trade show. These ways are a bit less intrusive than using it for security, but it still raises concerns. Think about all of the pressure Apple and Google have gotten over WiFi geolocation.

 

Luckily, the system can't identify who you are. Rather, it can only get the signature of your device. It could, however, keep track of that signature and use it to track you every time you come back and then start to look for patterns. This is just one more way that smartphone users can be tracked, and many of these ways are without our knowledge.

Continue reading 'Navizon releases new tech that can track you by your smartphone's wireless' (full post)

NBC will be streaming the London 2012 Summer Olympics Live over the Internet

NBC has announced that all sports in the London 2012 Summer Olympics will be streamed live on the Internet, to go alongside the prime-time broadcast. NBC has laid down plans to stream all 32 sports live on nbcolympics.com when the London 2012 Summer Olympics start this July.

 

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Vice president and general manager of NBC Sports Digital Media, Rick Cordella, has said that the idea to stream on the Internet came from popular demand. Strange that in these Internet-connected days, and a multi-billion company that streams other shows on the Internet, that they had to wait for "popular demand" and it wasn't part of their normal scheduling. Just goes to show how far behind these companies are. Cordella says:

 

The hot topic is always, 'Why don't you show all your sports live?' We wanted to take care of that.

 

While all 32 sports will stream live on nbcolympics.com, the major events will not be archived until after the prime-time television broadcast. Major events like swimming, diving, track and field, beach volleyball and gymnastics are important to NBC's prime-time coverage, so the live streaming versions of these big events won't be archived until after the TV broadcast. All other events will be archived immediately.

 

Cordella adds:

 

Whatever is on schedule that day, if cameras are on it, we'll stream it.

Nicki Minaj closes Twitter account to protest Web piracy

The state of internet piracy, I'm sure, is at unprecedented levels. I think you would be hard-pressed to find a single household in the United States that hasn't done some sort of copyright infringement or straight illegal music downloading. Nicki Minaj has had enough after tracks from her upcoming, unreleased album ended up online.

 

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So she took the protest to her fans via Twitter, or rather, the lack of her having a Twitter anymore. In silent protest, she closed her Twitter account on Sunday. "Like seriously, it's but so much a person can take," Minaj wrote Sunday on Twitter just prior to closing down her account. She told fans, "Good f---ing bye," according to multiple reports.

 

This whole tirade came after Minaj accused the fan site NickiDaily.com of posting some of the tracks from her upcoming album online. More and more artists are speaking out against web piracy. In her defense, studies have shown that rap music is among the most pirated genres. However, it could just be a marketing ploy since leaking copyrighted material before it reaches market is a criminal offense.

Amazon is adding CDs to its trade-in program, will exchange for gift cards

Announced today, Amazon is now accepting used audio CDs through its trade-in program. In exchange for your used and unwanted CDs you will receive Amazon Gift Cards. Amazon's current program allows old electronic gadgets, textbooks, DVDs, and games to be turned in for gift cards. The program covers shipping costs.

 

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The CDs are expected to be added to the program today, but it's not yet available on the Amazon website. Because of this, I am unable to say just how much money you will get for your CDs, but I can't expect it will be much. I would hope it's at least enough to get digital copies of half the tracks from the CD you sent in. More as it becomes available.

Amazon CEO leading the attempt to recover Apollo 11 rocket engines from ocean

The Saturn V rocket is, in my opinion, the most beautiful space craft ever built. Oh, it's also the most powerful man-made vehicle ever built. On it's launch for the Apollo 11 mission, several of the engines fell into the Atlantic ocean and now the CEO of Amazon wants to recover them.

 

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It's not clear how Mr. Bezos knows that these are indeed the engines from the Apollo 11 space mission, but any sort of artifact recovery is certainly very cool. "We don't know yet what condition these engines might be in," he wrote. "They hit the ocean at high velocity and have been in salt water for more than 40 years. On the other hand, they're made of tough stuff, so we'll see."

 

The objects are property of NASA, and NASA has not yet been contacted regarding this. "There has always been great interest in artifacts from the early days of space exploration and his announcement only adds to the enthusiasm of those interested in NASA's history," NASA spokesman Bob Jacobs said in a statement.

 

The bottom of the ocean is littered with engines and other parts of space craft that fall off after lift off. So, while they may not be from the Saturn V Apollo 11 mission, they most likely are from space mission.

Google Street View takes armchair tourism to the Alps

Tourism from the seat of your own home seems to be the way of the future. From Pinterest posters posting beautiful pictures of places they would like to travel, to Google taking Street View to the Amazon rain forest. Well now, you can use Google Street View to take a ride on the famous UNESCO World Heritage Albula/Bernina railway line.

 

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The imagery is available directly in Google Maps like all Street View data is, but it is also available in its only gallery located here. The image collection process for this latest edition started last year just like the Amazon project. You can see a video about how they did it below. You can also visit the newly updated Street View Gallery.

Continue reading 'Google Street View takes armchair tourism to the Alps' (full post)

Batman gets pulled over in his Batmobile, didn't have license plates

Lenny B. Robinson, or, Batman, was pulled over by police just outside of Baltimore, Maryland, because his Batmobile did not have any proper license plate. The Batmobile in question is a sexy looking black Lamborghini.

 

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Robinson, or Batman, was on his way to a children's hospital to bring some happiness, before the police pulled him over. Robinson had nothing but a tag with the Batman logo on it, and of course, is not legal enough to ensure police don't notice it and pull you over. Batman had the real plates in his car, which ensured he escaped the ticket. One of the officers on the scene said:

 

The car was registered, and the man explained that he goes to hospitals and does work with kids (while in costume).

 

WHY SO SERIOUS, police officers?

Chinese woman wins $10k iTunes gift card for downloading the 25th billionth App

A very lucky Chinese woman has just won Apple's contest to be the downloader of the 25th billionth (!!!) app from the App Store. The lucky woman, Fu Chunli from Qingdao won the contest by downloading the free version of Disney's 'Where's My Water?'. In return, Apple rewarded her with an iTunes gift card worth $10,000 USD.

 

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Apple also invited Fu to the Beijing store to collect her prize. Once she arrived, she was met by journalists and photographers, and was given a tour of the store as well as a demonstration of Apple products by the staff. Fu wasn't very familiar with most Apple products, as she only purchased herself an iPhone just a month before winning the $10k prize.

 

Fu was still learning the basics of the App Store, and was completely unaware of the competition until she was contacted by Apple, at first, she thought it was a hoax, until it began to sink in. The Chinese media have dubbed Fu the "Apple Girl" from China, as she is the first Chinese resident to have won an Apple contest.

Continue reading 'Chinese woman wins $10k iTunes gift card for downloading the 25th billionth App' (full post)

Did the Mexican Government know there was going to be a big earthquake on March 20th?

It was only a few days ago now that I posted that I expected a sizeable earthquake to happen on March 22, and within 48 hours of this date, a 7.9-magnitude (downgraded to 7.4) an earthquake hit Oaxaca, Mexico. Right now you're thinking, well, that's weird... but that's not even the interesting part.

 

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The interesting part is that the government of the state of Chiapas, had actually prepared for a massive drill of a 7.9-magnitude earthquake, for 12:00 of that day. Just 180 seconds later, an actual, real, 7.9-magnitude earthquake hit. Luckily, as far as reports go now, there have been no casualties, but what is that for a coincidence? Could we even call it a coincidence? The government of the state of Chiapas, had massively prepared for this drill, which was reportedly a reason to test the response capability of the State System of Civil Protection and General Population in the even of a large-scale disturbing phenomenon.

 

Then we have the El Heraldo, which reported the following on March 2nd, 2012:

 

As part of preparations for the next megasimulacro March 20, state authorities of Civil Protection (CP) performed exercise tests before a cabinet to simulate the response to a contingency situation, an earthquake measuring 7.9 degrees on the scale Richter.

Continue reading 'Did the Mexican Government know there was going to be a big earthquake on March 20th?' (full post)

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