Pop culture has made the sniper out to be the lone wolf of warfare. The truth is that long-distance shooting is a two man-job. The sniper may hold, aim and fire the rifle, but it’s the other half of the team – the spotter – who does the ballistics calculations of distance, drop, the slant of the earth, along with wind and other atmospheric factors. They’re typically equipped with a scope and a notepad, sometimes even a laptop. So, what if there was a weapon that could do all the arithmetic for you, transforming even amateur fire-arm users into deadly sharp-shooters? Well…now there is.
Derek Mead is host of the short film called “Long Shot” – covering his investigation and field test of the so-called “smart-rifle”, created by the Texas-based company Tracking Point Solutions. “Long Shot” was produced by Vice magazine’s tech-based video channel Motherboard, and Derek is also editor-in-chief of Motherboard.
Of all the features on Apple’s newest iPhone, the one generating the most buzz by far is the finger print scanner. The iPhone 5s allows people access to their phones without entering a passcode or even a swipe. So, is this the latest gimmick to sell phones or the beginning of the end of the password? David Ewalt writes about technology, games, space, and other geeky stuff as senior editor at Forbes…which is where you can find his blog, “Spacewar.”
Almost 9 percent of Americans who graduated from college this year will be unemployed. Eighteen percent will be underemployed. And, according to the Economic Policy Institute, more than half of those who do get jobs will be in positions that don’t require a college degree. But at the University of New Hampshire, 120 college students know for certain they’ll be getting good, high paying jobs -- before they even graduate.
Picture your computer workstation. Maybe you’ve got a Logitech keyboard and an Acer monitor, plugged into a Lenovo laptop – which is hooked up to the internet through a Motorola router and a Netgear modem.
Who is making sure all those devices actually work together?
Turns out it is students at the University of New Hampshire, like Nathanael Rubin and Glenn Martin. The two seniors, both IT majors, are seated between tall racks of humming servers at the University’s InterOperability Lab, or IOL.
Activism and innovation among Greeks started long before that country's debt crisis. In 2002, an Athens community fed up by slow and expensive service set up its own private internet. More than 1000 members of the Athens Wireless Metropolitan Network have free access to the web with speeds up to 30 times faster than commercial telecom carriers in the area. Given global concerns over the extent of the NSA’s surveillance program, independent “mesh” networks like the one in Athens could be adapted in other communities.
Researchers have long known the best way to learn is with a personal tutor. But tutoring is expensive. Providing the benefits of tutoring to everyone hasn't been possible. Now, experts say technology creates new ways for schools to customize education for each student.
According to recent reports published by the New York Times, Britain’s Guardian and the non-profit news site Pro-Publica, the National Security Agency, in concert with the British government, has cracked a large portion of the digital encryption used by businesses and everyday web users. These reports also outline the billions of dollars the NSA has invested in powerful technology that allows the government unfettered access to nearly all user’s information before it gets encrypted. Our resident tech expert, Rob Fleischman says these alarming reports are not quite true.
Rob Fleischman is chief technology officer at Xero-Cole, and our chief explainer of all things wired. He sat down with Virginia Prescott to explain.
There are some ways NASA can learn about deep space without sending anyone – or anything – into orbit. For example, scientists are studying meteorite impacts by recreating them here on earth at the NASA Ames Vertical Gun Range… the gun shoots projectiles up to fifteen thousand miles per hour into materials designed to simulate the surface of the moon, Mars, and even asteroids. Producer Zach Nugent spoke with Adam Mann, an astronomy and physics reporter for Wired, who visited the Ames facility to see the gun in action.
With all great innovations comes the potential for mischief. With so much of our social, commercial, and government infrastructure already online, it’s highly likely that we’ve all been targeted by cyber-attacks, even if we haven’t directly felt their results. Cars, computer cams, ATMs, databases, and power grids can be hacked. In a recent high profile case, a week before one of the world’s most elite hackers was scheduled to demonstrate how to interrupt pacemakers and implanted defibrillators, he was found dead in his apartment. A team at the University of Texas Austin recently experimented with a technique they call “GPS Spoofing.” While that may sound like a YouTube comedy series, “GPS Spoofing” could be used to deadly serious effect. Todd Humphreysis an assistant professor with the Aerospace Engineering department at UT Austin.
Last February, Google sent out invitations for developers and consumers to “test drive” its new Google Glass technology – a head mounted computer that can access email and is equipped with a camera. The winners of the “Glass Explorer” program were required to attend an event in New York, San Francisco, or Los Angeles before purchasing the wearable eyeglass computer for fifteen-hundred dollars. Reviews for the cutting-edge gadget have been mixed – there are concerns about safety, distraction, and privacy in Congress, along with more sartorial complaints about Google Glass being inexcusably geeky.
Patent wars are now standard in the tech industry, so is fierce competition for markets. But what would happen if two Silicon Valley superpowers made the jump to all-out war?
“Though the feud with Apple has been escalating for months, Google CEO Larry Page has never given serious consideration to the plan known internally as Operation GhostFruit. Then Apple decided to test him, first by removing Google as the default search engine on the iPhone and iPad, and then …by blocking Apple devices’ access to Google.com entirely. Larry Page has no choice but to go nuclear.”
That’s an excerpt from Slate’s totally fictional, not remotely thought out experiment called “Wargames: Apple Versus Google,” a highly entertaining ten-part series imagining what might if happen if the two behemoths used all their power, resources, and money to destroy each other. Matt Yglesias is Slate's Business and Economics Correspondent and he spoke with us about the potential battle: Google vs. Apple.
Whether you have a well-worn green thumb, or are making your first foray into home gardening, rest assured: there’s an app for that. New York Times Smart App Columnist Kit Eaton confesses he’s not an experienced gardener, but he dug in to the wide variety of garden-related apps on the market and joins us with some winners.
You may have heard the news earlier this week that taste-testers and scientists in the U.K. sampled the world’s first lab-grown burger. One food researcher said that the burger tasted “close to meat, but not that juicy”. Another quipped, “what was consistently different was the flavor”. Not a great review for a patty costing somewhere around three hundred and thirty thousand dollars, but you’ve got to start somewhere. Henry Fountain, science reporter for the New York Times, tells us about the science under the bun.
It’s been a pretty big couple of weeks for Amazon.com. First, President Obama chose one of the company’s fulfillment centers as a backdrop for a speech on raising the minimum wage. Then, news broke that Amazon’s founder, billionaire Jeff Bezos, had purchased the venerable Washington Post. Amazon now has one hundred and twenty-six million monthly users. But they might want to start reading product reviews with a grain of salt. Cited as the largest single source of internet consumer reviews in 2010, the online giant is susceptible to a deceitful practice called astroturfing. When Susan Crawford’s book “Captive Audience” about the Telecom Industry was published in January, it attached a number of bad reviews later revealed to be fake…with a political agenda behind them. Our guest Mike Masnick weeded out these fake reviews and published an expose for Techdirt that reached the front page of Reddit. Masnick is the founder and CEO of Floor64 and editor of the Techdirt blog, we spoke with him about his findings.
As we learned from Joe Hanson, space weather can be an amazing thing. As receiving real-time space weather forecasts is becoming more of a reality, it would be good to familiarize yourself with some of the weather events you can expect to see. We’ve compiled a list to test your space weather knowledge. All of these events sound fantastic and have been the fodder for many a Sci-Fi plot, but do you know which one of these 4 space weather events isn’t real?
People often lament that handwriting is a lost art. But if the creators of a new educational tool have their way, calligraphy will never die out completely. The Lernstift – or “learning pen”– is a working computerized pen which uses vibration to help improve handwriting, and is projected to go into production this fall. Word of Mouth’s Molly Donahue spoke with Daniel Kaesmacher who helped develop the Lernstift, to learn a little bit more about it.