Technology | Anorak - Part 8

Technology Category

Independent news, views, opinions and reviews on the latest gadgets, games, science, technology and research from Apple and more. It’s about the technologies that change the way we live, work, love and behave.

Police announcement: no body-worn cameras – no job

Should police wear body cameras? And if they should, what punishment if they ‘forget’ to turn them on?

After the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in New York City, confidence in police is low.

Over the last two years, the Oakland Police Department (OPD) has disciplined police officers on 24 occasions for disabling or failing to activate body-worn cameras, newly released public records show. The City of Oakland did not provide any records prior to 2013… The records show that on November 8, 2013 one officer was terminated after failing to activate his camera. Less than two weeks later, another resigned for improperly removing the camera from his or her uniform. However, most officers received minor discipline in comparison.

Next question: who watches the footage and how often?

Screen shot 2014-12-16 at 21.06.01


No camera. No job.

In the UK:

As non-evidential footage is deleted after 31 days, members of the public should be aware that any complaint that references the use of BWV needs to be made in a timely fashion to ensure that any evidential footage can be retained in line with force policy in the event that an investigation needs to take place.

After the initial 31-day period, deleted BWV footage that has been deemed as non-evidential cannot be recovered.

Why not? Storage is not that expensive.

Posted: 16th, December 2014 | In: Reviews, Technology | Comment

How to Survive A Helicopter Crash: grab the clip and don’t let go

In Airspace Mag you can learn How to Survive A Helicopter Crash. The simplest way, of course, is never to get inside a helicopter. I once took a trip to an oil rig. After a spot of training, in which you slide down a chute into a deep swimming pool, get tipped upside down and around before punching the release clip on your safety belt and wriggling free, you get to fly.

Yep, exactly, the old hands press the releases clip as soon as trouble looms. And once aboard the helicopter you soon learn that the old hands invite you sit in the middle of the seats rows – furthest from the doors. You then spend an hour or longer with a hand on your own clip, like they do. You know, in case.

James R. Chiles:

At least a quarter-million people have passed through helicopter escape schools worldwide, mostly as part of offshore-oil employment. The degree of realism (and stress level) varies from school to school, as does the equipment. Why the focus on rotorcraft? Helicopters fly lower and slower than airliners, so when they hit the water, their cabins are usually intact enough to trap people inside. And because the heavy machinery (engines, transmission, and main rotor) is up high, helicopters tend to roll over quickly.

Over five decades, dozens of military and oil field transports have crashed in the water with passengers, and of the deaths that resulted, drowning has been a common cause. In one eight-year span, two big transport helicopters crashed into English waters, killing 74.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 12th, December 2014 | In: Technology | Comment

Gawker counts the cost of attacking its customers

Gawker media’s anti-GamerGate drive back-fired:

 “The cost to Gawker Media of its ridicule and viciousness toward video gamers was ‘seven figures’ in lost advertising revenue, according to the company’s head of advertising, Andrew Gorenstein. In addition, founder Nick Denton has stepped down as president and editorial director Joel Johnson has been removed from his post and will probably leave the company, reportsCapital New York. . . . Gawker, together with Vox Media, represent the ‘worst offenders’ in the media, according to GamerGate forums: they have both, through properties such as Kotaku and Polygon, respectively, repeatedly mocked video gamers and uncritically reported claims of threats and harassment from feminist campaigners which are falling apart under closer scrutiny.”

Journalism is being crushed beneath the feminists’ truck of truth for whom evidence is a peculiarity…

Posted: 12th, December 2014 | In: Technology | Comment

Police advice: ‘don’t jerk and drive’

jerking and drive
The South Dakota Department of Public Safety tells drivers “Don’t Jerk and Drive”.
A British accent – the voice of nannyhood authoutity – declares “nobody likes a jerker”.

The department’s director Lee Axdahl says drivers should keep their car out of the ditch and their minds out of the gutter.

Posted: 12th, December 2014 | In: Technology | Comment

How To Build An Electric Train On your Kitchen Table




This is how you build an electric train with magnets, a battery, and a copper coil.


Spoter: Twisted Sifter

Posted: 2nd, December 2014 | In: Technology | Comment

The Silicon Valley Jungle: Life In America’s Largest Homeless Camp

In this March 4, 2014 photo, a man who goes by the name of D cooks lunch from a makeshift tent where he lives in the Jungle, a homeless encampment in San Jose, Calif.

In this March 4, 2014 photo, a man who goes by the name of D cooks lunch from a makeshift tent where he lives in the Jungle, a homeless encampment in San Jose, Calif.

No Home: How Silicon Valley Created America’s Largest Homeless Camp.

Feid, an unemployed union carpenter, lives in a fortress of netting and plastic tarp with a cat named Baby. He’s one of the 278 people who’ve claimed a spot in the thicket of cottonwood trees along Coyote Creek. He first moved here four years ago when he ran out of work…

The 53-year-old carpenter made good money at the height of the Silicon Valley construction boom in the 1980s and ’90s. He built movie theaters and installed ceilings in the new offices of high-tech companies that put San Jose and the rest of Santa Clara County on the map.

“All the buildings around here, you know, I probably worked on them,” said Feid, who was making up to $35 an hour in those days. Then came the dot-com crash in 2000, bankrupting dozens of Internet companies and drying up construction work. Feid lost his apartment and bounced around for years, living in people’s garages as he remodeled their homes. In 2009, a friend kicked him out and Feid found himself on the streets. All he had was his motorcycle and a few tarps.

“You build everything up … then you lose your job and then everything falls apart again,” Feid said. “At least here in the creek you know what your status is.”

The number of people living in the camp has tripled since Feid first moved in. The Jungle now has a Spanish-speaking section, and up the creek is the Vietnamese enclave known as Little Saigon. The explosive growth has led to more violence and filth. Dogs rummage through heaps of garbage and human waste. . . .

The current tech boom has made Silicon Valley one of the wealthiest and fastest-growing regions of the country. That has created one of the country’s most expensive rental markets, pushing low-wage workers out of Santa Clara County or onto the streets.

“You need to work five minimum-wage jobs to afford to live here,” said Jennifer Loving, executive director of Destination: Home, the public-private partnership to end homelessness in Santa Clara County. “No one can do that. That right there creates a huge income disparity.”

This year, San Jose and the surrounding county surpassed Los Angeles as having the country’s highest rate of homeless people living on the streets, according to the annual homelessness assessment report from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department. Three-quarters of the area’s 7,567 homeless residents are from Santa Clara County. Most of them live in one of San Jose’s 247 tent cities, just miles from the sprawling headquarters of Google and Apple.

This year, San Jose and the surrounding county surpassed Los Angeles as having the country’s highest rate of homeless people living on the streets, according to the annual homelessness assessment report from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department. Three-quarters of the area’s 7,567 homeless residents are from Santa Clara County. Most of them live in one of San Jose’s 247 tent cities, just miles from the sprawling headquarters of Google and Apple.

The right get richer…

Posted: 1st, December 2014 | In: Reviews, Technology | Comment

The ‘Guardian Class’ Want Video Games Rated For Sexism

In light of “Gamergate”, Sweden’s “government-funded innovation agency” Vinnova are looking at rating video games by their “sexist” content.
The Local catches up with one Vinnova “manager” who “said it was unclear at this stage if all video games produced in Sweden would be given a label, or if companies developing games that promoted equality would be given some kind of certification to use for their own marketing purposes… Video games can help us to create more diverse workplaces and can even change the way we think about things.”
Job done. We think you’re an idiot who treats people who play video games as fools. These people who play video games will not grow up believing all women are sexually available 2D bimbos. Just as the elite tell us that football fans’ speech must be controlled lest they race riot, gamers do not need re-educating.
Every aspect of our lives is being politicised. Unwinding with a video game is now a moral issue. Escapism is not allowed. Where once the fearful right condemend video nasties, acid house and comic books, the authoritarian left is now commanding:

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 20th, November 2014 | In: Reviews, Technology, The Consumer | Comment

REM, Depression And Genius: The Twenty-four Hour Mind



In Rosalind D. Cartwright’s The Twenty-four Hour Mind: The Role of Sleep and Dreaming in Our Emotional Lives,  she turns to a link between REM sleep and depression:

The more severe the depression, the earlier the first REM begins. Sometimes it starts as early as 45 minutes into sleep. That means these sleepers’ first cycle of NREM sleep amounts to about half the usual length of time. This early REM displaces the initial deep sleep, which is not fully recovered later in the night. This displacement of the first deep sleep is accompanied by an absence of the usual large outflow of growth hormone. The timing of the greatest release of human growth hormone (HGH) is in the first deep sleep cycle. The depressed have very little SWS [slow-wave sleep, Stages 3 and 4 of the sleep cycle] and no big pulse of HGH; and in addition to growth, HGH is related to physical repair. If we do not get enough deep sleep, our bodies take longer to heal and grow. The absence of the large spurt of HGH during the first deep sleep continues in many depressed patients even when they are no longer depressed (in remission).

The first REM sleep period not only begins too early in the night in people who are clinically depressed, it is also often abnormally long. Instead of the usual 10 minutes or so, this REM may last twice that. The eye movements too are abnormal — either too sparse or too dense. In fact, they are sometimes so frequent that they are called eye movement storms.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 20th, November 2014 | In: Technology | Comment

UK Crowdfunding Project Will Bury Your Hair On The Moon

SHAKE the tin and they will come:

A British-led consortium has outlined its plans to land a robotic probe on the Moon in 10 years’ time. Its aim is to raise £500m for the project from donations by the public. In return, donors would be able to have photos, text and their DNA included in a time capsule which will be buried under the lunar surface…

The project’s long term legacy will be a new way of funding space exploration”

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 19th, November 2014 | In: Technology | Comment

Septic Willies On Rosetta and Philae : Dr Matt Taylor’s Sexist Shirt Sell Out

MAtt Taylor

SO what the  European Space Agency landed the Philae spacecraft on that singing comet.  It was an awesome thing. Humanity is great. The names Rosetta and Philae are high on the news cycle. Space and the adventures imagained and realised is captivating.

Jonathan Freedland spoke for many:

…the fascination this adventure has stirred. Part of it is simple, a break from the torments down here on earth… For a few merciful days, the news has featured a story remote from the bloodshed of Islamic State and Ukraine, from the pain of child abuse and poverty. Even those who don’t dream of escaping this planet can relish the escapism.

But the comet landing has provided more than a diversion: it’s been an antidote too. For this has been a story of human cooperation in a world of conflict. The narrow version of this point focuses on this as a European success story. When our daily news sees “Europe” only as the source of unwanted migrants or maddening regulation, Philae has offered an alternative vision; that Germany, Italy, France, Britain and others can achieve far more together than they could ever dream of alone. The geopolitical experts so often speak of the global pivot to Asia, the rise of the Bric nations and the like – but this extraordinary voyage has proved that Europe is not dead yet.

Humanity is wonderful.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 15th, November 2014 | In: Reviews, Technology | Comment (1)

Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko Sounds Like Inuit Throat Singing: Listen To Rosetta

A model of Rosetta lander Philae stands on a model of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, at the European Space Agency ESA in Darmstadt, Germany, Wednesday, Nov.12, 2014. Europe's Rosetta space probe was launched in 2004 with the aim of studying the comet and learning more about one of the biggest questions about the origin of the universe. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

A model of Rosetta lander Philae stands on a model of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, at the European Space Agency ESA in Darmstadt, Germany, Wednesday, Nov.12, 2014. Europe’s Rosetta space probe was launched in 2004 with the aim of studying the comet and learning more about one of the biggest questions about the origin of the universe. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

THE Rosetta spacecraft’s Philae lander has picked up sound on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, upon which it now sits.

The ESA released tbgis audio clip of 67P/C-G singing. MNany sya it sounds a lot like Predator, the bearded Hollywood alien that tried to kill Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 14th, November 2014 | In: Strange But True, Technology | Comment

Hart To Heart: Woman Marries Anonymous Sperm Donor Who Fathered Her Child

aminah hart


MODERN romance features Aminah Hart who wanted her daughter to meet her biological father – the one who sired her by donating his sperm.

A British-born woman who had a child through IVF is engaged to the anonymous sperm donor she tracked down and later fell in love with. Aminah Hart, 45, an Australian woman born in London, only met her fiance after she had given birth to their daughter Leila, it has been reported.

She originally selected Scott Andersen, an Australian cattle farmer who lives on an island off the south coast, from five possible sperm donors because she liked that he listed himself as “happy and healthy”.

Aminah discovered his identity through a series of internet searches based on his name as well as his profession as a cattle breeder and his role as a Aussie rules football coach.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 11th, November 2014 | In: Reviews, Technology | Comment

Obama Moves To Control The Internet

IN the USA, Barack Obama saya the way to keep the internet free is to, er, regulate it:

“So President Obama has announced that the Internet should be regulated as a public utility. He’s asking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reclassify internet service providers (ISPs) from “information services” under Title I as telecommunications providers under Title II regulatory guidelines. This is all being done in the name of ‘Net Neutrality,’ keeping the Internet free and open, prohibiting ‘fast lanes’ for certain services and sites, making sure no legal content is blocked, and all other horribles that…have failed to materialize in the absence of increased federal regulation.”

It’s about control, no?

Proponents argue that Title II regulation would ensure the free and fair flow of traffic across the Internet. Opponents, however, believe the reorientation would mean onerous rules that would limit investment in the infrastructure and in new services, and that toll roads of sorts would provide better service to companies that can support their higher traffic volumes. But that in turn has created widespread concern that ISPs could throttle service in some instances, intentionally slowing some content streams and speeding others.

Yep. It’s about control…

Posted: 10th, November 2014 | In: Technology | Comment

New Drug Turns Your Fixed Adult Brain Into A Fast-Learning Child-Like Mind

NEW science means you can think and learn like a child…

Professor Carla Shatz of Stanford University and her colleagues have discovered a way to revert an adult brain to the “plastic”, child-like state that is more able to form new connections quickly. The technical term “plastic” implies the ability to adapt or shape itself to new conditions. The striking results were revealed through experiments on a protein expressed in brain cells known as PirB (this is the name of the protein in the animal model, in humans it is called “LilrB2″), which seems to stabilize neural connections.

Stability protects against loss of learned skills or information, but at the same time hampers the acquisition of new ones. The scientists found that interfering with the normal function of the neuron-stability molecule PirB had the remarkable effect of reverting at least one part of the brain to a more malleable state that could easily recover from damage, rewire itself and learn new skills. The study is exciting for not only its therapeutic implications, but also for the emerging field of brain and cognition-enhancing drugs.

Life is wonderful. It can’t come fast enough…

Posted: 10th, November 2014 | In: Technology | Comment

I Can See The Music: Vinly Records At 1000 Magnification

vinyl stylus

EVER wonder what a needle on a vinyl record looks like at 1000x magnification?

vinyl stylus 1000

Here’s what it looks like in action:


Spotter: @marcrobichaud

Posted: 8th, November 2014 | In: Key Posts, Music, Technology | Comment (1)

Watch A Bowling Ball And Feather Race Inside The World’s Largest Vacuum Chamber

A FEATHER and a bowling ball dropped together inside the world’s largest vacuum chamber:


For the BBC’s Human Universe, Brian Cox went to NASA’s Space Power Facility to showcase the world’s largest vacuum chamber. In the video, he shows that without air, a feather and bowling ball dropped at the same time don’t fall as they normally would…

Spotter: io9

Posted: 7th, November 2014 | In: Technology | Comment

Idling: 70% Of Porn Traffic Comes From Office Computers During Work Hours

DO you work hard at the office? Roland Paulsen, author of Empty Labor: Idleness and Workplace Resistance, counts the minutes:

Most work sociologists tend toward the view that non-work at work is a marginal, if not negligible, phenomenon. What all statistics point towards is a general intensification of work with more and more burnouts and other stress syndromes troubling us.

Yet there are more-detailed surveys reporting that the average time spent on private activities at work is between 1.5 and three hours a day. By measuring the flows of audiences for certain websites, it has also been observed that, by the turn of the century, 70 percent of the U.S. internet traffic passing through pornographic sites did so during working hours, and that 60 percent of all online purchases were made between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. … Even if the percentage of workers who claim they are working at the pinnacle of their capacity all the time is slowly increasing, the majority still remains unaffected. In fact, the proportion of people who say they never work hard has long been far greater than those who say they always do.

Slacking off, jacking off and clocking off…

Posted: 4th, November 2014 | In: Money, Reviews, Technology | Comment

Pianist Uses EU ‘Right To Be Forgotten’ Rules To Censor Bad Reviews


WHEN did the internet become all about promoting censorship?

In 2010, Dejan Lazic got a mildly critical review in the Washington Post and now he wants it taken down so people who google him won’t see it anymore.

Lazi adheres to the EU’s “right to be forgotten”. In August 2014, Google removed 12 BBC News stories from its search engine under the EU’s controversial ‘right to be forgotten’ law. Robert Peston, the BBC’s former economics editor, criticised Google in July for removing a blog he had written.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 4th, November 2014 | In: Reviews, Technology | Comment

The Universe Will End When A Tiny Bubble Appears Under Your Chair

PA-20833834 (1)

IF the Big Bang started the Universive, how will it all end? Cosmologist Alex Vilenkin knows. It will go ‘pop’:

All of a sudden a tiny little bubble will appear. It can appear anywhere—under your chair, or somewhere in Andromeda, very far away—and this little tiny thing starts growing at a speed that’s pretty close to the speed of light. And as it expands, all things that it engulfs turn into an alien form of matter. It may be approaching us right now. Say it nucleated at Andromeda some millions of years ago, it may be expanding toward us at the speed of light. But we don’t get much of a warning. So the good thing about it is you don’t really have to worry about it.

So what would happen to the Earth? It would just go, “FLOOP!” and not exist anymore?

Yeah. Inside of this bubble, ordinary matter as we know it does not exist. It’s made up of different kinds of particles. So everything will be turned into some other stuff that we just don’t know about. But aside from the fact that the end will come very quickly, the other piece of good news is that the probability of the universe ending at any given moment is extremely low.

Like how low?

We can’t really tell. It depends on particle physics at very high energy, so we can’t reliably calculate it. But back-of-the-envelope estimates give you extremely low numbers, like trillions and trillions of years from now. The probably of it occurring while our sun is still active and burning is almost nil. So most likely it will happen when the sun is already gone and, you know, we might not be around.

Cold comfort…

Posted: 3rd, November 2014 | In: Technology | Comment

Virgian Galactic: Getting There Is Dangerous



Virgin Galactic’s Spaceship Two:

“This was a test flight. This is what test flights are for. The desert around Mojave has a decades-long history of smoking holes in the ground and test-pilot funerals, though most of them usually originate from Edwards AFB, a few mile to the south. The company won’t be flying passengers until they’ve had many successful consecutive test flights, with whatever new vehicle they develop, assuming they follow through on pledges at the press conference yesterday, and move forward.”

Reaching space is dangerous…

Posted: 2nd, November 2014 | In: Technology | Comment

Fetch The Generator: A Huge Spot On The Sun Is Acting Weird

The bright light in the lower right region of the sun shows an X-class solar flare on Oct. 26, 2014, as captured by NASA’s SDO. This was the third X-class flare in 48 hour. Image by NASA/SDO

The bright light in the lower right region of the sun shows an X-class solar flare on Oct. 26, 2014, as captured by NASA’s SDO. This was the third X-class flare in 48 hour. Image by NASA/SDO


AS I write, it’s 23 degrees Centigrade in London. On Halloween.

PBS has news:

By the time the giant spot on the sun rotated into view on October 18, it was already 80,000 miles wide, big enough to fit all of Jupiter, big enough to lay 10 Earths, side by side, across. It is the largest spot the sun has harbored in 24 years.

But while most erupting sunspots lob chunks of plasma outward in events called coronal mass ejections, this one’s keeping its plasma close to the surface.

To rewind, a sunspot is a darker, cooler area on the sun’s visible surface that stores intense magnetic energy. (Note: Cooler, in this case, means roughly 7,500 degrees Fahrenheit, down from about 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit.)

The sun is not a solid body. It’s a ball of hot, hot ionized gas called plasma that’s threaded with magnetic field, created by charged particles moving around. The sun spins faster at its equator, and the result is that some of that magnetic field drags, getting twisted and knotted up in the process. As this happens, these knots of magnetic field gain energy, pressure and buoyancy, and some of them float to the surface, and penetrate it, popping out…

Releasing this pent-up energy typically takes two forms: a solar flare or a coronal mass ejection, and this is key to what makes the behavior here unusual. A coronal mass ejection is made up of balls of gas ejected from the sun’s outer atmosphere, consisting of charged particles and magnetic field. The fastest CME’s travel up to 93 million miles a day, or millions of miles per hour. A solar flare is a burst of x-rays and energy, typically smaller and shorter-lasting than a CME, and rather than being launched out into space, it is caused by material accelerated back into the sun…

When a solar flare erupts, it lights up the side of the Earth that’s facing the flare, and heats up the Earth’s upper atmosphere, or ionosphere, which can temporarily change its properties. Solar flares pose less danger than CME’s, but they can affect short-wave radio communication used by pilots and ships, since the radio waves are bounced off the upper atmosphere.

Sunspots, first seen through a telescope by Galileo, are classified by how complex they are. Similar to a mole, a clean, round sunspot is of less interest to sun watchers.

“Imagine the doctor says you’ve got a nice little round mole,” Young said. “But when it starts to break up into pieces and change color and get jagged and complicated, that’s when you start to become concerned.”

Read it all…

Posted: 31st, October 2014 | In: Strange But True, Technology | Comment

Journalism: Verizon’s Makes Pravda Look Open And Neutral

JOURNALISM is dying. Verizon has a new news website:

The most-valuable, second-richest telecommunications company in the world is bankrolling a technology news site called The publication, which is now hiring its first full-time editors and reporters, is meant to rival major tech websites like Wired and the Verge while bringing in a potentially giant mainstream audience to beat those competitors at their own game.

There’s just one catch: In exchange for the major corporate backing, tech reporters at SugarString are expressly forbidden from writing about American spying or net neutrality around the world, two of the biggest issues in tech and politics today.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 30th, October 2014 | In: Technology | Comment

A Lovely Time-Lapse Video of Braces Straightening Teeth

Video: time-lapse of braces straightening teeth:   Spotter: The Kid Should See This

Posted: 30th, October 2014 | In: Technology | Comment

Watch the NASA’s Antares Rocket Blow-Up From Loads of Angles!



THERE’S something in the human psyche that loves seeing things blow-up. Explosions are even better when there’s no casualties, because you can just enjoy the show without wanting to vomit with the weight of it all.

Yesterday, NASA launched the unmanned Orbital Sciences Corp Antares rocket as part of a $1.9billion contract, however, it didn’t make it out of the atmosphere as it turned into a huge molten fireball seven seconds above the ground, before crashing back into the earth, blowing up everywhere.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 30th, October 2014 | In: Reviews, Technology | Comment

Face of The Day: ASMIO At The WIRED Conference in London

FACE of the Day: Honda’s ASIMO:



ASIMO (Advanced Step in Innovative MObility) Honda’s humanoid robot, ascends a staircase as it makes its UK debut at the WIRED Conference in London.  Honda’s development of humanoid robots began in 1986 and many developments have been made since ASIMO first launched in 2000.


Posted: 17th, October 2014 | In: Technology | Comment