20 years ago today, on April 30 1993, CERN contributed the technologies underpinning the World Wide Web to the royalty-free public domain. These simple technologies — the humble URL, HTTP, and HTML — were developed by Tim Berners-Lee at CERN in the early ’90s, but it wasn’t until they were open-sourced that the WWW actually became the web. If CERN had decided otherwise, much of what you consider to be the internet probably wouldn’t exist, including Facebook, Steam, and the humble website that you’re reading right now.
In 1989 and 1990, Berners-Lee began toying with the idea of an information management system, where hypertext pages (records) are linked together via hyperlinks. This might seem like an incredibly obvious concept now, but the web was really the first system to achieve this kind of interlinking on a broad scale. Prior to hypertext, all that really existed was searchable databases, with no way to jump between pages and records. Imagine Wikipedia without links, or ExtremeTech without links, where you have to type in the exact name/location every page, or find the exact search term every time you want to visit a page. To celebrate the WWW’s 20th birthday, CERN has re-released Berners-Lee’s original website, at its original address: info.cern.ch .
Three letters mailed with ricin, 2 sent to US Senate, 1 sent to POTUS; Man Arrested in Hart building
CNN is reporting that a man has been detained at the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington D.C. after officials found he had a backpack filled with “suspicious envelopes” and was delivering them to lawmakers’ offices.
Earlier, it was reported that officials are searching Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby’s Capitol office because of a “suspicious envelope” delivered to his office.
At about 10:30 a.m. CT, an alert was sent out telling lawmakers and Capitol employees that a “suspicious package” is being investigated by Capitol Police.
“The U.S. Capitol Police are responding to a suspicious package on the Atrium of the Hart Senate Office Building. All staff and other personnel are directed to avoid this area until further notice,” the alert read.
Sen. Shelby’s office is in the Russell office building where a second alert was issued soon after the first.
Bomb squads are reported to be on scene at both buildings.
Amazing sophisticated robot designed for rescues. It’s practically Data without the skin!
If you saw him approaching in a disaster area, you’d think he was just another fireman. Which is the reaction that the manufacturers of this lifelike humanoid robot are going for.
The PETMAN, created by Boston Dynamics, has gotten dressed. Wearing a flame-retardant camouflage jumpsuit, its metallic face obscured by a gas mask, the PETMAN high-steps, squats and rotates on a platform, all as a human would. This one even has a head.
This model of Boston Dynamics’ humanoid ‘bot was manufactured for the Defense Department’s Chemical and Biological Defense program. Should a chemical or biological attack take place, a robot might be able to perform rescue missions that wouldn’t be safe for a human being. That is, if it can maneuver past rubble, navigate uneven spaces and retain its balance, all of which are difficult propositions for a robot. A cousin of the PETMAN, called Atlas, is competing in Darpa’s newest Grand Challenge, which aims to go beyond the state of the art in robotic maneuverability.
The PETMAN is still suspended from wires in its testbed, indicating that its manufacturers are still sorting out the bugs. But the robot can dip down into a skier’s starting position, and raise its arms triumphantly a la Steve Holt from Arrested Development, presumably in excitement for the show’s return on Netflix.
It feels uncharitable to point out that the PETMAN is still a bit awkward in its movements, given that Virginia Tech roboticist Dennis Hong considers designing graceful, human-like robot motion “beyond Darpa-hard.” Give it credit for its ambition, and most certainly for its fashion sense.
Forty years ago, after more than a decade working to leave our planet, NASA launched an unprecedented mission to look back at home. Four decades later, the Landsat program is still going strong, with more than three million images of Earth in its archives and a new mission slated for launch in 2013.
On July 23, 1972, the Earth Resources Technology Satellite (later renamed Landsat 1) lifted off on a Thor-Delta (Delta 900) rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The first images from the satellite’s Multispectral Scanner System (MSS) were received a day later by scientists gathered at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. The very first image in the Landsat archive is the MSS image above, showing the greater Dallas area of Texas on July 25, 1972. The resolution is 60 meters per pixel in this false-color image, where shades of red indicate vegetated land and grays and whites are urban or rocky surfaces.
Scientists involved in the mission weren’t sure what to expect of the MSS, which used new fiber-optic technology, took pictures in four different bands of the spectrum, and scanned the Earth in strips. (More conventional television-style cameras—known as return beam vidicons (RBV)—had been expected to be the main workhorse of the satellite.) A group of scientists and technicians gathered at NASA Goddard with great anticipation, as the first MSS transmission was translated onto film by an electron beam recorder and then put into a viewing device.
As the imagery scrolled into view, there were clouds…and then more clouds…and then land. But something looked strange. A technician in the room lamented: “lt’s terrible. It has moiré patterns.” But after figuring out the location of the image—the Ouachita Mountain region in southeastern Oklahoma—scientists realized that the imagery was showing circular outcrops of the ancient fold mountains.
Any lingering anxiety in the room quickly turned to excitement, and skeptics were promptly converted into supporters. The well-known U.S. Geological Survey cartographer Alden Colvocoresses, who had been cynical about any cartographically accurate data being collected with “a little mirror in space,” turned to his colleagues after seeing the MSS imagery and said:“gentlemen, that’s a map.”
Warning: Some of the following graphic photos may distress the reader.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is an organization that publicly claims to represent the best interest of animals — indeed their “ethical treatment.” Yet approximately 2,000 animals pass through PETA’s front door every year and very few make it out alive. The vast majority — 96 percent in 2011 — exit the facility out the back door after they have been killed, when Pet Cremation Services of Tidewater stops by on their regular visits to pick up their remains. Between these visits, the bodies are stored in the giant walk-in freezer PETA installed for this very purpose. It is a freezer that cost $9,370 and, like the company which incinerates the bodies of PETA’s victims, was paid for with the donations of animal lovers who could never have imagined that the money they donated to help animals would be used to end their lives instead. In fact, in the last 11 years, PETA has killed 29,426 dogs, cats, rabbits, and other domestic animals.
Most animal lovers find this hard to believe. But seeing is believing. And if it is true that a picture speaks a thousand words, the following images speak volumes about who and what PETA really stands for.
…These pictures reveal the truth about PETA, a reality that is deeply at odds with the public’s perception of that organization as a radical animal rights group. In practice, PETA is the functional equivalent of a slaughterhouse, while their efforts to undermine the lifesaving work of animal lovers throughout the country continually derail urgently needed reforms that would further the rights of our nation’s homeless dogs and cats.
By defending regressive and cruel shelters and sheltering policies that mandate killing, by calling for the death of certain groups of animals entering shelters and by injecting thousands of animals with a fatal dose of poison every year, these actions are not only inconsistent with the mission of an animal rights organization, they are the antithesis of one. Only one question remains: Why is anyone still donating to PETA?
It’s a big article with pictures of what they are doing (which I wont post). I wish all the celebrities who endorse these people understand what kind of group they are supporting.
What could possibly go wrong?
KABUL, April 2 (Xinhua) — Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Tuesday that Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar can run or the upcoming presidential elections.
“The Afghan constitution is valid for all Afghans and the Taliban should also benefit from it,” Karzai told the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung.
He made the comments days after his return from a two-day state visit to Persian Gulf state of Qatar, during which he discussed with the Qatari leaders the opening of a Taliban office to conduct negotiations.
The Taliban insurgent group, fighting Afghan and the NATO-led forces stationed in the country, had in the past rejected the government’s offers for talks, saying there will be no dialogue in the presence of foreign forces in the country.
The third presidential elections since the fall of Taliban in late 2001, is secluded for early April next year.
The Taliban was so happy with the news that they went out today and killed dozens in Afghanistan.
A provincial governor says at least 53 people, including nine attackers, have been killed in a daylong gunbattle in western Afghanistan.
Officials say the fighting broke out Wednesday after suicide bombers disguised as Afghan soldiers stormed a courthouse in Farah province in a failed bid to free more than a dozen Taliban.
Provincial Gov. Akram Akhpewak says those killed included 34 civilians, 10 security forces and nine attackers.
It sounds like something out of a horror movie. But Italian scientists say that the “Gate to Hell” is the real deal—poisonous vapors and all.
The announcement of the finding of the ruins of Pluto’s Gate (Plutonium in Latin) at an archeology conference in Turkey last month, was recently reported by Discovery News. Francesco D’Andria, professor of classic archaeology at the University of Salento in Lecce, Italy, who has been excavating the ancient Greco-Roman World Heritage Site of Hierapolis for years, led the research team.
D’Andria told Discovery News he used ancient mythology as his guide to locate the legendary portal to the underworld. “We found the Plutonium by reconstructing the route of a thermal spring. Indeed, Pamukkale’ springs, which produce the famous white travertine terraces originate from this cave.”
Scribes like Cicero and the Greek geographer Strabo mentioned the gate to hell as located at the ancient site in Turkey, noted Discovery, but nobody had been able to find it until now.
“Pluto’s Gate” has been documented in the Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites, which noted in its description of ancient Hierapolis, “Adjoining the temple on the SE is the Plutoneion, which constituted the city’s chief claim to fame. It was described by Strabo as an orifice in a ridge of the hillside, in front of which was a fenced enclosure filled with thick mist immediately fatal to any who entered.”
Strabo (64 B.C.- 24 B.C.) wrote, “This space is full of a vapor so misty and dense that one can scarcely see the ground. Any animal that passes inside meets instant death. I threw in sparrows and they immediately breathed their last and fell.”
The portal to the underworld seems just as bad for your health today. The professor said, “We could see the cave’s lethal properties during the excavation. Several birds died as they tried to get close to the warm opening, instantly killed by the carbon dioxide fumes.”
According to Discovery News, the fumes emanated from a cave below the site, which includes ionic columns with inscriptions to Pluto and Kore, gods of the underworld. Also discovered: the remains of a temple, and a pool and stairs placed above the cave. D’Andria is now working on a digital rendering of the site.
Now if someone tells you to go to hell you know where it is :)
Cheating test scores to receive big bonuses in a school system? I hope they throw the book at these scumbags. The ones who get screwed in the end are the kids.
A parade of Atlanta educators trooped to the county jail beginning in the early hours of Tuesday morning and surrendered to officials on criminal charges stemming what is believed to be the biggest testing scandal in American education.
By early morning, at least four of the 35 teachers, principals and school officials had turned themselves in and were expected to post bonds ranging from hundreds of thousands of dollars to more than $1 million. All were named in a 65-count indictment released last week by Fulton County Dist. Atty. Paul L. Howard Jr.
“The four principal crimes that are charged in the indictment are the statements and writings, false swearings, theft by taking, and influencing witnesses,” he told reporters. The maximum penalty, if convicted, could be as high as 20 years in prison for most defendants.
Still to be heard from is Beverly Hall, Atlanta’s retired school superintendent. On her watch the hard-pressed school district earned a national reputation for improving test scores. She was also given performance bonuses totaling more than $500,000 for her efforts.
Investigators allege she pressured teachers and principals to cheat, and punished those who refused to bend the rules. A grand jury recommended her bail be set at $7.5 million. She faces up to 45 years in prison.
Hall has denied all of the charges
The Atlanta scandal is considered the largest to hit a school district in recent years. About 200 educators have admitted to a variety of improprieties, including tampering with students’ standardized tests, erasing wrong answers and correcting them by inserting the correct ones. The goal was to increase test scores and it apparently worked: At one middle school, 86% of eighth-graders scored proficient in math, compared to 24% a year earlier.
The bonds are set pretty high.
$2 million — Principals
Armstead Salters, Gideons Elementary School
Christopher Waller, Parks Middle School
Willie Davenport, D.H. Stanton Elementary School
Clariettta Davis, Venetian Elementary School
Dana Evans, Dobbs Elementary School
Lucious Brown, Kennedy Middle School
$1 million – Testing coordinators
Theresia Copeland, Benteen Elementary School
Lera Middlebrooks, Dunbar Elementary School
Donald Bullock, Usher-Collier Heights Elementary School
Francis Mack, D.H. Stanton Elementary School
Sandra Ward, Parks Middle School
Sheridan Rogers, Gideons Elementary School
$1 million — Assistant principal
Tabeeka Jordan, Deerwood Academy
Gregory Reid, Parks Middle School
$500,000 – Teachers
Angela Williamson, Dobbs Elementary School
Derrick Broadwater, Dobbs Elementary School
$400,000 – Teachers
Wendy Ahmed, Humphries Elementary School
Starlette Mitchell, Parks Middle School
Ingrid Abella-Sly, Humphries Elementary School
Sheila Evans, Benteen Elementary School
Shayla Smith, Dobbs Elementary School
$300,000 – Teachers
Dessa Curb, Dobbs Elementary School
Gloria Ivey, Dunbar Elementary School
Lisa Terry, Dunbar Elementary School
Diane Buckner-Webb, Dunbar Elementary School
Pamela Cleveland, Dunbar Elementary School
$200,000 — School improvement specialist
Tameka Goodson, Kennedy Middle School
$200,000 — Teachers
Kimberly Oden, Parks Middle School
Shani Robinson, Dunbar Elementary School
$200,000 — Secretary
Carol Dennis, Kennedy Middle School
RIYADH (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia said on Tuesday that people it arrested on suspicion of spying this month had direct links to the intelligence services of Iran, its main rival for influence in the Gulf.
“Preliminary investigations, physical evidence which has been collected and statements from the accused in this case have shown a direct link between members of this cell and Iran’s intelligence apparatus,” said a security spokesman for the Interior Ministry quoted by the official news agency.
He said Iranian intelligence had paid the suspects “in exchange for information and documents about important sites”. The investigation is ongoing, he added.
Riyadh announced a week ago it had arrested 16 Saudis, an Iranian and a Lebanese on suspicion of spying.
Iran denied on Sunday that it was linked to spying in Saudi Arabia.
Sure looks like it. They just got busted together in Egypt.
Sinai security forces arrested 25 Hamas and Al-Qaida suspects attempting to cross from the northern peninsula to the Nile Delta in the South, according to Egyptian media sources.
According to the reports, the army and police force revealed a weapons cache containing explosives, anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles in El-Arish. The suspects were allegedly found in possession of weapons, ammunition and satellite communications equipment, according to sources. The terrorists were also found in possession of maps of strategic installations in the Sinai.
I wonder what they were up to?