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In a weird but not uncommon twist of events, Edward Snowden has agreed to stand for the post of Student Reactor at the University of Glasgow in Scotland. The position is basically a three-year position that sees its holder as the representative of the students to the management of the university.
Fortunately for Snowden, the position can be held remotely and never requires the holder to visit in person, unfortunately the position is unpaid. The position has historically been held by those directly involved with controversial political figures or others close to those figuresincluding: Winnie Mandela, Nelson Mandela's former wife and Israeli nuclear technician Mordechai Vanunu. Charles Kennedy, the former Liberal Democrat leader, is the current incumbent.
The position is not locked in for Snowden just yet though as he will have to beat out former Scottish cyclist Graeme Obree, clergyman Kelvin Holdsworth, and author Alan Bissett. In any event, the position is mostly honorary, and avocation on the students behalf is a rare occurrence.
For the first time, Fox Sports will stream the Super Bowl via its web-based and mobile video streaming service, Fox Sports Go, for free. Fox says that it will use the Super Bowl to showcase its Fox Sports Go service via a free one day pass to anyone who signs up for a free account.
The free day of access will last from 12 A.M eastern on Feb. 2nd until 3 A.M on Feb. 3rd. The entire Super Bowl event will be streamed live including the Pre-Game Show, Super Bowl, Half Time Show featuring Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, as well as the post-game activities. Unfortunately the game will not be streamed to smartphones as Verizon and the NFL have an exclusive agreement for mobile streaming.
Snow blowers, lawn mowers, and kids playing stick ball are the cause of thousands of window breaks every year, but a recent incident in New York City may be one of the most expensive rock through window accidents in history. During a recent routine snow removal pass by Manhattan's posh $6.7 million Apple Store, a rock was sent flying through the air, striking one of the stores massive panes of glass.
Apple says that the store will stay open despite the damage and I don't see why not as no one appears to be in danger as the glass looks to be coated with safety coatings preventing the glass shards from collapsing. Unfortunately for Apple, the single pane of glass is going to cost a whopping $450,000 to replace, which puts it at one of the most expensive window pane replacements in history.
Beijing's smog problem is becoming so bad that not only do people have to walk around wearing masks to try and be a little safer than walking through pollution, but citizens of one of the city cannot even view a natural sunrise.
The Chinese capital has now placed massive digital commercial TVs across the city that display virtual sunrises... yes, virtual sunrises. Air pollution monitors have issued a severe air warning for both the elderly and school children to stay indoors until the quality improves. Beijing's commuters have resorted to wearing industrial strength face masks to get to work because of the intense smog.
Beijing's air quality is normally poor, but the readings for Thursday for particles of PM2.5 pollution are the first of the season to be above 500 micrograms per cubic meter. Mid Thursday morning, the density of PM2.5 was between 300-500, but the air started to clear toward the afternoon. The World Health Organization considers 25 micrograms safe, so these readings are around 26 times the WHOs safe limits.
The National Security Agency (NSA) is undergoing internal reform following former contractor Edward Snowden's public disclosure of numerous sneaky NSA actions. President Barack Obama plans to announce his changes to the NSA later this week, including enhanced security measures to make it harder for someone else to have access to such a large amount of information - and store or share it - with unauthorized recipients.
Obama will also meet again with Silicon Valley tech leaders that have been bombarded with information requests from the NSA and other government agencies - a tactic that overburdens the companies and hurts trust among customers and potential investors.
Mass surveillance reportedly doesn't work, and only infringes on Internet and privacy rights, according to a growing number of groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). In a blog post, the group shared studies indicating the wide-scale NSA phone metadata program simply doesn't work when trying to collect information to prevent terrorism. The ACLU also believes Snowden should be granted immunity so he can return to the United States without fear of facing prosecution related to theft of government property and espionage.
While on a cruise ship in Ecuador's Galapagos Islands, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos suffered a kidney stone attack. Bezos was airlifted by an Ecuadorian navy helicopter, flown to his personal jet, and then to the US to have surgery performed.
ABC News reports that Bezos suffered the attack on New Year's Day when on the cruise ship, with other media outlets reporting that the Amazon founder received messages of thanks from his family and business partners. Bezos himself has now confirmed the news, with an Amazon spokesperson telling The Verge: "I sent Jeff your note and here's what he sent back: 'Galapagos: five stars. Kidney stones: zero stars."
Christmas is upon us and that means that millions of little boys and girls will be waking up to presents under a tree as the day progresses. As always NORAD has their Santa tracker up and running, and this year so does Google.
Unfortunately one of the systems tracking software is out of whack or they are tracking two different jolly old men. At the time of this writing, NORAD says that Santa is on his way to Hong Kong, but Google is tracking him as he is on his way to Taipei Taiwan. Google says that Santa has delivered 2,187,948,856 presents already and traveled more than 66,000km.
Even though the FCC is considering giving clearance for in-flight cellular usage, and possibibally allowing the use of electronics during takeoff and landing, Delta seems to be sticking to their guns about the matter. Delta's CEO, Richard Anderson, sent out a memo to 80,000 delta employees this morning stating that the company would not allow in-flight cellular or internet-based calling.
"Delta will not allow cellular calls or internet-based voice communications onboard Delta or Delta Connection flights," the memo read. The memo did say that it would allow the use of texting, email and other "silent" features if the FCC says they are ok. "If the FCC lifts its ban on cellular use in flight, Delta will move quickly to enable customers to use text, email and other silent data transmission services gate to gate."
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is still living and working in Russia, though has penned an open letter to the people of Brazil, while politicians ask Snowden for help following reports of NSA spying on Brazilian lawmakers.
In his open letter: "If Brazil hears only one thing from me, let It be this: when all of us band together against injustices and in defense of privacy and basic human rights, we can defend ourselves from even the most powerful systems."
Snowden said he would like to help the Brazilian people get their rights back, but cannot as long as he is wanted by the United States. In return for helping Brazil lawmakers, Snowden has requested asylum and safe passage to the country. No formal legal documents have been submitted to the Brazilian government to begin proceedings.
Although the NSA is considering granting Snowden amnesty if he agrees to stop discussing his activities, the former IT manager seems content to remain in Russia. Realistically, Snowden's ability to help other countries is limited unless he is eventually granted permanent political asylum - and is able to travel to the host country - without being intercepted by US officials.
Rumors about secret hidden software in tech devices are as old as tech itself, and since the beginning of personal computing people have been devising clever ways to trick others into formatting their machines. Unfortunately, a new rumor has popped up that has tricked Mac owners into doing just that.
A new infographic is spreading like wildfire around the internet that claims that Apple has been installing Bitcoin mining software into their Mac devices since 2009. The infographic informs users that they can unlock this feature by opening up the terminal and entering the command "sudo rm -rf/*" Unfortunately, this command does not unlock any hidden programs, apps, or features, but actually tells the users Mac to format itself, which causes a loss of all data, and a bricked device.