Broadcast Engineer at BellMedia, Computer history buff, compulsive deprecated, disparate hardware hoarder, R/C, robots, arduino, RF, and everything in between.
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Interview with James Gleick about his new book on the history of Time Travel

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5 years ago, Boing Boing described James Gleick’s The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood as "a jaw-dropping tour de force history of information theory... The Information isn't just a natural history of a powerful idea; it embodies and transmits that idea, it is a vector for its memes (as Dawkins has it), and it is a toolkit for disassembling the world. It is a book that vibrates with excitement, and it transmits that excited vibration with very little signal loss. It is a wonder." (more…)





Download audio: https://assets.bwbx.io/av/users/iqjWHBFdfxIU/vYbhtLturYoE/v2.mp3
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tekvax
11 hours ago
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Burlington, Ontario
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Make Your Own Nuclear Battery

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A commercial nuclear battery from City Labs.

A Betavoltaic cell is a device that uses a radioactive source of beta particles and a semiconductor p-n junction to generate electricity. Tritium, an isotope of hydrogen, is often used as the radioactive element. You may think that tritium is hard to obtain or even forbidden, however, recently you can find tritium in self-lightning key chains, and it is also used in watches and firearm night sights. The beta particles (electrons) from the tritium radioactive process causes phosphors in the device to glow, giving a light that can last for years.

[NurdRage] has just created a nuclear battery using tritium vials from key chains. After getting rid of the plastic containers, he sandwiches the vials between two small solar panels. That’s all! Instant power for the next 15 years. Of course, the amount of power you can get from this device is on the order of microwatts. The battery produces around 1.6 volts at 800 nano amps. He gets 1.23 microwatts, not much, but it is in fact more than the output of commercial units at 0.84 microwatts, for a ten percent of the cost. That minuscule amount of power is actually not easy to measure, and he does a great job explaining the circuit he used to measure the current.

Nuclear batteries in the microwatt range are  used in clock circuits of critical computer systems and in some medical implants. They cost approximately $2,200, so you can figure out the price per watt. [NurdRage] version can be built for $220. You may not need one for your next electronics project, but we are sure you will enjoy his project. If you want a light source that lasts for years but do not want to use radioactive tritium, consider the TritiLED.


Filed under: misc hacks



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tekvax
2 days ago
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awesome idea!
Burlington, Ontario
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Buzz Aldrin medically evacuated from the South Pole

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Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the second person to walk on the moon, was medically evacuated out of Antarctica where the 86-year-old hero was on a tourist expedition.

The tour company, White Desert, issued a statement:

Mr Aldrin was visiting the Pole as part of a tourist group and while there his condition deteriorated. As a precaution, following discussion between the White Desert doctor and the US Antarctic Program (USAP) doctor, Mr Aldrin, accompanied by a member of his team, was evacuated on the first available flight out of the South Pole to McMurdo with the USAP under the care of a USAP doctor. His condition was described as stable upon White Desert doctor's hand-over to the USAP medical team.

And from a National Science Foundation statement:

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has agreed to provide a humanitarian medical evacuation flight for an ailing visitor from its Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station to McMurdo Station on the Antarctic coast and then to New Zealand...

Ski-equipped LC-130 cargo planes flown by the 109th Airlift Wing of the New York Air National Guard provide the air bridge between the South Pole and McMurdo. The flight to New Zealand will be scheduled as soon as possible.

NSF will make additional statements about the patient’s medical condition only as conditions warrant.

UPDATE: Buzz Aldrin's manager Christina Korp tweeted the following:

gettyimages-110952256-d66004bc

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tekvax
2 days ago
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oh dear...
Burlington, Ontario
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Even superheroes have problems with social media

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The perils of modern online life even affect the Man of Steel. Jimmy Olsen's snap run through Facebook's evil autotagging is more observant than Lois. Lots more brilliant stuff by Brakken here. (more…)
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tekvax
2 days ago
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Burlington, Ontario
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Holding Shift + F10 During Windows 10 Updates Opens Root CLI, Bypasses BitLocker

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An anonymous reader quotes a report from BleepingComputer: Windows security expert and infrastructure trainer Sami Laiho says that by holding SHIFT + F10 while a Windows 10 computer is installing a new OS build, an attacker can open a command-line interface with SYSTEM privileges. This CLI debugging interface also grants the attacker full access to the computer's hard drive data, despite the presence of BitLocker. The CLI debugging interface is present when updating to new Windows 10 and Windows 10 Insiders builds. The most obvious exploitation scenario is when a user leaves his computer unattended during the update procedure. A malicious insider can open the CLI debugger and perform malicious operations under a root user, despite BitLocker's presence. But there are other scenarios where Laiho's SHIFT + F10 trick can come in handy. For example when police have seized computers from users who deployed BitLocker or when someone steals your laptop. Windows 10 defaults help police/thieves in this case because these defaults forcibly update computers, even if the user hasn't logged on for weeks or months. This CLI debugging interface grants the attacker full access to the computer's hard drive, despite the presence of BitLocker. The reason is that during the Windows 10 update procedure, the OS disables BitLocker while the Windows PE (Preinstallation Environment) installs a new image of the main Windows 10 operating system. "This [update procedure] has a feature for troubleshooting that allows you to press SHIFT + F10 to get a Command Prompt," Laiho writes on his blog. "The real issue here is the Elevation of Privilege that takes a non-admin to SYSTEM (the root of Windows) even on a BitLocker (Microsoft's hard disk encryption) protected machine." Laiho informed Microsoft of the issue and the company is apparently working on a fix.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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tekvax
3 days ago
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oh joy!
Burlington, Ontario
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Wireless-Free Town’s Radio Silence Could End

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America’s least communicative town could lose its status as the National Science Foundation considers mothballing a space observatory that currently means wireless signals are largely banned.

Because Green Bank in West Virginia is so near to the observatory (and a naval radio station), where instruments must be kept free of interference, it’s the main residential area in the National Radio Quiet Zone. Restrictions mean that over-the-air TV signals and cellphone reception is virtually non-existent, while all but the weakest Wi-Fi signals are banned. In some cases, residents are even warned to avoid using microwave ovens.

As well as being something of a novelty, the wireless free area has also attracted people who believe they suffer from a condition named electromagnetic hypersensitivity disorder. (Its existence and importance is far from widely accepted among the medical community.)

Now the National Science Foundation is running a 30 day public comment period on a range of options for the Green Bank Observatory’s Future. These range from continuing to operate as present to completely demolishing the site. Other possibilities include suspending operations, working with private organizations on future projects, or turning the area into a technology and education park.

Were the observatory to cease operations, it’s possible the wireless ban could be abandoned or revised. If officials decided the naval radio station still needed “radio quiet”, the zone might be narrowed such that it no longer covered the Green Bank community.

[Via: BBC]

The post Wireless-Free Town’s Radio Silence Could End appeared first on Geeks are Sexy Technology News.

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tekvax
3 days ago
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Burlington, Ontario
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