Science & Technology

  How should a company respond if a consumer asks it to stop tracking his or her behavior on the company’s website? And what role should a browser play in helping consumers communicate their preferences regarding online tracking? These are questions we will look to answer with our tech guru, Jesse Feiler.

Jesse is a developer, consultant, and author specializing in iOS, FileMaker databases, and technologies for small businesses, nonprofits, and municipal governments. His most recent books are iWork for Dummies, Sams Teach Yourself Core Data in 24 Hours, and its companion Objective-C in 24 Hours.

His app, Minutes Machine for iPad, is available on the App Store. It helps nonprofits, homeowner associations, and small businesses manage meetings and generate minutes in real-time. His website is northcountryconsulting.com.

WAMC's Brian Shields spoke with Jeff Deyette, senior energy analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists. He is the author of Cooler Smarter: Practical Steps for Low-Carbon Living and toured New York this week to discuss how people can reduce their carbon footprints, including stops at the Ithaca Sustainability Center, Cornell University, and Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings’ Office of Energy and Sustainability.

RPI

We're all familiar with LED technology - Light-emitting diodes are used in applications as diverse as aviation lighting, automotive lighting and traffic signals. LEDs have allowed new text, video displays, and sensors to be developed, while their high switching rates are also useful in advanced communications technology.

An RPI student has been named the winner of a national competition for technological innovation...

Yahoo Redesign Aims to Make Site More Inviting

Feb 20, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Yahoo is renovating the main entry into its website in an effort to get people to visit more frequently and linger for longer periods of time.

The long-awaited makeover of Yahoo.com's home page is the most notable change to the website since the Internet company hired Marissa Mayer as its CEO seven months ago. The new look will start to gradually roll out in the U.S early Wednesday.

Future Science: Using 3D Worlds to Visualize Data

Feb 20, 2013
Jon Kristian Bernhardsen / Flickr

CHICAGO (AP) -- Take a walk through a human brain? Fly over the surface of Mars? Computer scientists at the University of Illinois at Chicago are pushing science fiction closer to reality with a wraparound virtual world where a researcher wearing 3D glasses can do all that and more.

In the system, known as CAVE2, an 8-foot-high screen encircles the viewer 320 degrees. A panorama of images springs from 72 stereoscopic liquid crystal display panels, conveying a dizzying sense of being able to touch what's not really there.

Administration Developing Penalties for Cybertheft

Feb 20, 2013
Intel Free Press / Flickr

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Evidence of an unrelenting campaign of cyberstealing linked to the Chinese government is prompting the Obama administration to develop more aggressive responses to the theft of U.S. government data and corporate trade secrets.

Maybe you don't like your mobile phone carrier, but you like your phone and you want to keep it but change providers. An obscure change in federal law makes it illegal to switch without permission from your carrier.

If you have, for example, AT&T, in order to switch to T-Mobile you have to unlock the phone, and AT&T can now stop you from doing that.

The change in the copyright law has some people upset, and they're petitioning the White House for a fix.

Even people who've never been to New York can tell you how to hail one of the iconic yellow cabs there. You just raise an arm and flag one down.

But the city wants to change that. Following the lead of cities like San Francisco and Washington, D.C., New York wants to permit passengers to use smartphone apps to find a cab.

Since Mayor La Guardia established New York's modern taxi system in 1937, there have been two big innovations in cab hailing: the whistle and the red light bulb on top of apartment building awnings.

Apple said today that the computers of some of its employees were attacked by hackers, who used the same vulnerability to access computers at Facebook.

All Things D reports:

Ganging up on classmates online can get students suspended.

But sometimes teachers are the target of cyberbullying, and in North Carolina, educators have said enough is enough. State officials have now made it a crime to "intimidate or torment" teachers online.

Chip Douglas knew something was up with his 10th-grade English class. When he was teaching, sometimes he'd get a strange question and the kids would laugh. It started to make sense when he learned a student had created a fake Twitter account using his name.

Intel Working on TV Set-Top Box to Replace Cable

Feb 13, 2013

Intel Corp. said Tuesday that it will sell a set-top box that brings Internet-delivered movies and shows to a TV set this year.

Erik Huggers, general manager of Intel Media, said the company plans to sell a box that will offer "a vastly superior experience" to today's cable boxes.

There are various boxes today that bring Internet content to TV sets, with popular ones made by Roku and Apple. But Intel wants to go further and make its box and streaming service a replacement for cable.

Some 66 million years ago, about 75 percent of species on Earth disappeared. It wasn't just dinosaurs but most large mammals, fish, birds and plankton. Scientists have known this for a long time just from looking at the fossil record. If you dig deep enough, you find lots of dinosaur bones. And then a few layers up, they're gone.

But scientists couldn't figure out exactly what had caused this phenomenon. Of course, there were lots of theories.

This news ...

"For the last four months, Chinese hackers have persistently attacked The New York Times, infiltrating its computer systems and getting passwords for its reporters and other employees."

... appears to be "part of a broader campaign against American media reporting on Chinese leaders," NPR's Louisa Lim reports from Beijing.

Keeping Up With Kids' Online Privacy

Jan 30, 2013

"Youth are much savvier about their online privacy than most adults give them credit for," says Rey Junco, a faculty associate at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society. In the final installment of Tell Me More's series Social Me, Junco tells NPR's Michel Martin that research into teenagers' online behavior on sites like Facebook show that they adjust privacy settings and behave in ways that prove "they're very aware of privacy issues."

Microbes are known to be able to thrive in extreme environments, from inside fiery volcanoes to down on the bottom of the ocean. Now scientists have found a surprising number of them living in storm clouds tens of thousands of feet above the Earth. And those airborne microbes could play a role in global climate.

Two hackers associated with the group Anonymous will serve time in jail. A British judge handed down the sentence after the two were convicted of perpetrating attacks against the Paypal and Mastercard websites.

The BBC reports Christopher Weatherhead, 22, and Ashley Rhodes, 28, will serve 18 months and seven months respectively. The BBC adds:

"Co-defendant Peter Gibson was given a six-month sentence, suspended for two years, while another defendant, Jake Birchall, 18, will be sentenced later."

Ramen Bowl Offers Built-In iPhone Dock

Jan 24, 2013
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What holds energy tech back? The infernal battery

Jan 23, 2013
Mark Hunter / Flickr

WASHINGTON (AP) -- As 21st century technology strains to become ever faster, cleaner and cheaper, an invention from more than 200 years ago keeps holding it back. It's why electric cars aren't clogging the roads and why Boeing's new ultra-efficient 787 Dreamliners aren't flying high.

And chances are you have this little invention next to you right now and probably have cursed it recently: the infernal battery.

  Gamification is the use of game-thinking and game mechanics in non-game contexts in order to engage users and solve problems. We discuss the ups and downs with our tech guru, Jesse Feiler.

Brian Vasconcellos / Flickr

NEW YORK (AP) -- Video game maker Atari's U.S. operations have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in an effort to separate from their French parent company, which is filing a similar motion separately in France.

In a statement, Atari says the move is necessary to secure investments it needs to grow in mobile and downloadable video games.

What began as a company's suspicion that its infrastructure was being hacked turned into a case of a worker outsourcing his own job to a Chinese consulting firm, according to reports that cite an investigation by Verizon's security team. The man was earning a six-figure salary.

Facebook's secret announcement today was all about search. Facebook wants you to be able to search your entire life with their service, Graph Search. It is not going to replace the current Facebook search, but rather offer a new way to explore your social life.

Users of Facebook will soon have a new search tool at their disposal, the leaders of the company announced Tuesday during a live event. The new Graph Search feature will let those on Facebook sift through photos, people, places, and business pages.

The new search ability will join Facebook users' newsfeed and timeline as "pillars" of their experience, said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who predicted Graph Search would become an "amazing resource."

nasa.gov

    The Dudley Observatory in Schenectady has a great program coming up next week at the Proctors GE Theater as part of their Skywatch Lecture Series.

Just this past summer the rover, Curiosity, landed on Mars. That project has ties to this region. Dr. Laurie Leshin of RPI is an integral part of the project and she'll present an insider's view of the mission and share some of the exciting results to date at 7:30pm on Tuesday 1/22 at the Proctors GE Theater.

  tw telecom is one of the top three Business Ethernet providers in the U.S. and have a heavy presence in our region. They manage the high-speed fiber optic network that is contributing to the growth in semiconductor manufacturing we are seeing at the Luther Forest Technology Campus in Malta.

What's Facebook's Secret? Company Tells All Today

Jan 15, 2013
Andrew Feinberg

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Facebook's mystery "press event" on Tuesday could reveal a more robust search feature that would intensify the competition between the social networking giant and its rival Google Inc.

Facebook is holding the event at 10 a.m. (1 p.m. EST) at its Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters. The company has not said what it plans to announce. Last week, it invited bloggers and journalists to "come see what we're building."

The company probably won't be showing off a new office building -unless it decided to make its invitation very literal.

Days after the Department of Homeland Security said computer users should remove the latest versions of its Java software, Oracle Corp. says it has fixed the flaw, in a new update released Monday. As we reported Friday, hacking groups included the Java 7 vulnerability in new "exploit kits" this year.

He was 14 when he co-authored RSS and later helped found the company that would become the social media website Reddit. Internet activist Aaron Swartz was found dead in his Brooklyn apartment, authorities said Saturday. He was 26.

Update at 7:42 p.m.: Swartz To Be Remembered For 'Technological Virtuosity':

'Make Me' Asian App Sparks Online Backlash

Jan 12, 2013

Tens of thousands of people have downloaded two apps from the Google Play Store that are sparking accusations of racism.

The "Make me Asian" and "Make me Indian" apps allow Android smartphone users to take a picture and superimpose characteristics the developer thinks relate to those ethnic groups. An online petition is urging Google to remove the apps from its store.

The Make me Asian app manipulates pictures to give the subject yellow-tinged skin, narrow eyes, a conical rice-paddy hat and a Fu Manchu mustache taken from a fictional Chinese villain.

If you've gotten the "Death Spiral" email that's apparently been arriving in many inboxes, here's the verdict from two major, nonpartisan fact checkers:

It is NOT true, as the email claims, that in 11 states there are more people on welfare than there are working.

The debunkers: both PolitiFact.com and FactCheck.org.

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