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February 23 2014

February 21 2014

February 19 2014

February 16 2014

February 12 2014

Top Moments From Sochi: Alpine Stalemate, German Luge Victory

American Shaun White's quest for a third gold medal in the men's snowboard halfpipe ended Tuesday after a first run that was far from stellar, but other Olympians were still fighting for the top spot on the podium Wednesday at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Athletes competed in everything from alpine skiing, which resulted in an historic tie between Slovenia's Tin Maze and Dominique Gisin of Switzerland, to curling and luge.

"I'm sure glad I'm going to share this gold with Tina," Gisin told the Associated Press. "She's such a great woman and one of the greatest athletes of our sport."

More about Finland, United States, Olympics, Germany, and Russia

January 19 2014

What Your State Wants, According to Google Autocomplete

Google Autocomplete is notorious for taking a standard search and anticipating something completely ridiculous.

In the style of Tumblr user Gaysquib, we conducted our own experiment and created a map of what each state wants (according to Autocomplete).

The resulting map reads like a list of New Year's resolutions made by Civil War veterans. Did you know, for example, that more than anything, Wyoming evidently wants an aircraft carrier? Are you close enough to Wisconsin that residents revealed their secret wish to be called "The Mitten State?" Who could forget existential Florida, whose only desire is simply "to know." Read more...

More about Google, United States, Features, Maps, and Humor

January 16 2014

Japanese Scientists to Clean Up Orbiting Space Junk

Japanese scientists are trying to take out the trash — in space

There are approximately 100 million bits of man-made junk floating in space, the majority of which is only 700 to 1,000 kilometers above the Earth's surface, according to Hong Kong-based newspaper South China Morning Post. And it's not just sitting pretty — all of this debris poses a threat.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency has partnered with a fishing-equipment company to design a net that can catch space debris, much like how a fisherman would catch trout

JAXA will send a rocket and satellite into orbit, where the latter will unreel a wire net approximately 300 meters long. The net will then generate a magnetic field, and if all goes well, catch some of the debris. Tests will begin in late February. Read more...

More about Space, United States, Japan, Field, and Trash

January 02 2014

High-Tech Ship Ready to Destroy Syria's Chemical Weapons

A U.S. cargo ship called the Cape Ray is being transformed into a war machine that will play a vital role in destroying Syria's chemical weapons.

The Department of Defense is outfitting the vessel with two hydrolysis machines that will use "heat, water and bleach-like chemicals" to degrade the chemical weapon stockpile. The plan comes after the Syrian government unleashed a chemical attack in August 2013, killing 1,400 rebel troops and civilians and resulting in a call to military action by President Barack Obama. Congress voted against the use of force, and the U.S. and Russia eventually brokered an agreement that allows other nations to extract and eliminate the weapons. Read more...

More about United States, Ship, Virginia, Syria, and Us World

January 01 2014

The Need to Be Open: U.S. Laws Are Killing the Future of Robotics

The next step in transformative technology is already here, and the United States runs the risk of getting left behind.

The amount of robotics inventions is steadily on the rise, and the U.S. military is already in on the action. A few years ago, Air Force drones surpassed 1 million combat hours. Hobbyists are using platforms like Arduino to build their own robots, and they're building them by the thousands. Tesla recently announced its intention to develop and market driverless cars by 2018. Last year, Chris Anderson quit his job as the editor-in-chief of Wired Magazine to found and run a robotics company. Read more...

More about United States, Law, Tech, Robots, and Robotics

December 10 2013

Russian Nukes Supply 10% of U.S. Power, But That's About to Change

Five hundred metric tons of uranium cores once found in 20,000 Soviet Union warheads have been converted into nuclear fuel and shipped to the U.S. for the past 20 years. However, that ends Tuesday after the final shipment is delivered to a port in Baltimore, Md., at which point the Russian-supplied portion of U.S. atomic energy will begin to dwindle from 50% to 20%, according to The New York Times.

The deal, called Megatons to Megawatts, earned Russia $13 billion and supplied 10% of America's electricity. Moreover, it cut down the number of nuclear bombs in the world — 17,300 weapons remain, 16,200 of which belong to the Cold War adversaries. Of those, the two nations each have around 2,000 warheads that can be launched right now, but they've pledged to lower that number to 1,550 by 2018, leaving the door open for more Russian shipments to America. Such a plan, though, may never materialize. Read more...

More about United States, Russia, Electricity, Nuclear Reactor, and Us World

December 06 2013

How the U.S. Plans to Help Destroy Syria's Chemical Weapons

The Department of Defense is planning to help eradicate Syria's chemical weapons with some chemicals of its own.

Later this December, department officials plan to test a portable hydrolysis system that uses "heat, water and bleach-like chemicals" to transform the weapons into a lower grade of hazardous waste that is more manageable, according to a news release on the department's website. The tests will be conducted on Cape Ray, a U.S. Merchant Marine ship, marking the first time such a test would be performed at sea.

More about United States, Department Of Defense, Syria, Gadgets, and Us World

December 05 2013

U.S. Pregnancy Rate Reaches 12-Year Low

The U.S. pregnancy rate has fallen almost continuously over the last decade and reached a 12-year low in 2009, according to a new government report.

Researchers analyzed information on U.S. pregnancy rates for women ages 15 to 44 over the last two decades, with 2009 being the most recent year with data available.

During that period, the U.S. pregnancy rate fell 12%, from 115.8 pregnancies per 1,000 women in 1990, to 102.1 pregnancies per 1,000 women in 2009.

The total number of pregnancies in 2009 was about 6.3 million, which resulted in 4.1 million live births, 1.1 million induced abortions and 1.1 million pregnancy losses, according to the report. Read more...

More about United States, Parenting, Family, Pregnancy, and Pregnant
India Will Ask the U.S. Government for Help Spying on Its Citizens

When you need help with a difficult problem, it’s always wise to turn to an expert. Maybe that’s why India’s home ministry is planning to ask the United States for assistance in decrypting communications over Skype, BlackBerry, WeChat and other services.

The request is on the agenda for the U.S.-Indo police chiefs conference, which starts Wednesday in Delhi, the Economic Times reports, citing an “agenda note” from the ministry. It reads:

The communication over these services is encrypted and the encryption-decryption technologies available with the service providers will be required by security agencies even if the facility for lawful interception of these communications is extended to security agencies in India. The technology in use by US agencies may be an area of co-operation. Read more...

More about United States, India, Monitoring, Spying, and Governments

December 04 2013

The Launch Code for U.S. Nukes Was 00000000 for 20 Years

Steven M. Bellovin, a computer science professor at Columbia, uncovered a startling fact. The launch code for all U.S. Minuteman nuclear missiles for 20 years used the same code: 00000000. Bellovin discovered this after finding a 2004 paper by Dr. Bruce G. Blair, a former Air Force officer who manned Minuteman silos.

The codes — known as Permissive Action Links (PALs) — came to be following the 1963-1964 Cyprus crisis, when NATO countries Turkey and Greece wanted to nuke each other. The PALs were meant to give only the president of the United States the power to use such weapons. Apparently, this security feature was largely symbolic. For two decades, multiple presidents carried around a briefcase with the allegedly constantly changing codes, though it may as well have been filled with shredded newspaper Read more...

More about United States, Military, Politics, Nuclear, and Us World

November 26 2013

White House Refused NSA Director's Offer to Resign

The National Security Agency was rocked harder by former contractor Edward Snowden's leaks than previously realized.

Its director, Gen. Keith Alexander, initially offered to resign, a government official has told The Wall Street Journal.

In June, Snowden collected a massive number of agency documents, fled the country and passed them to a handful of journalists. His leaks, trickled out of a handful of news agencies, have revealed the NSA has a vast network of spying power, including the ability to track much of the Internet, many of the world's phone records, and that the agency has partnerships with similar spy organizations around the world. Read more...

More about United States, Us Government, White House, Us World, and Politics

November 23 2013

Inside the U.S. Navy's New Stealth Destroyer

It doesn’t look like a ship. It doesn’t even feel like a ship.

The hallways are too wide. The ceilings are incredibly high. There’s barely an outdoor deck. No bridge tower. No lookout crow’s nests. Flat-screen TV mounts are everywhere. In fact, the only sign that this is a ship are the steep deck ladders and “knee-knocker” air lock doorways sailors and ironworkers duck through from bow to stern.

There’s also the relatively cavernous mission control room, which looks more like something from Houston than Groton, with large flat-screen displays at the front of the room, five rows of 18 work stations with even more flat screens at each station, and a rear loft for flag officers to oversee the entire operation. Read more...

More about United States, Military, U.S. Military, Navy, and Us World

November 22 2013

Apple Now Accepts Orders for Unlocked iPhone 5S Handsets

You can now buy an unlocked iPhone 5S in the United States. Beginning Friday, Apple is accepting orders for unlocked GSM versions of the device through the company’s online store.

The unlocked model is identical to those already on the market, except that it doesn’t come with a SIM card. The phone works on AT&T and T-Mobile in the U.S. and is available in three varieties. These include the 16GB, 32GB and 64GB models, for $649, $749 and $849, respectively.


A SIM-free iPhone 5C version has been available since both phones were released in September. This is the first time an unlocked iPhone 5S was made available in the U.S. Read more...

More about Iphone, United States, Apple, Smartphone, and Tech
Why Presidents Almost Never Apologize for War

Being the U.S. president means almost never having to say you’re sorry about a war.

Harry Truman didn’t apologize for dropping atomic bombs on Japan. No president said he was sorry to Vietnam’s government. The same is true for the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The issue flared anew after the New York Times reported that Afghan officials said they would require an expression of contrition from President Barack Obama for military mistakes, including causing civilian casualties, in exchange for an agreement over how long U.S. troops could stay in their country.

Secretary of State John Kerry said Afghan President Hamid Karzai hadn’t asked for an apology and none would be given. An apology, Kerry said yesterday, “wasn’t even on the table.” Read more...

More about United States, Politics, Us Government, President, and Conflict

November 20 2013

Spectacular Night Rocket Launch Wows Skywatchers on East Coast

A dazzling rocket launch that hurled a record 29 satellites into orbit from Virginia's eastern shore Tuesday night was also visible to potentially millions of observers on the U.S. East Coast, thrilling skywatchers who photographed the amazing space shot.

The Orbital Sciences-built Minotaur 1 rocket launched a cornucopia of satellites into orbit Tuesday at 8:15 p.m. EST from a pad at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Va. Because of the launch's trajectory, it was expected to be visible from northeastern Canada to Florida, and as far inland as Kentucky, according to Orbital Sciences officials. Read more...

More about Space, United States, Launch, Science, and Rocket
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