Pirate Bay cofounder: ‘you can’t beat politics with new technology all the time – Peter Sunde, one of the cofounders of The Pirate Bay, is one of the most politically outspoken of the site’s original creators. As the former spokesperson for the torrent site, he was an early member of Sweden’s Piratebyrån and is currently running for for a seat in the European Parliament as a member of Sweden’s Pirate Party. It should thus come as no surprise that he is a believer in political action. In an interview with Wired UK, Sunde goes so far as to say that believing in technology without political change is “a bit disgusting.”
In the interview, Sunde rails against the arrogance of those looking for technological evolution instead of political revolutions. “Sometimes,” he tells Wired UK,” you have to actually make sure that politics are in line with what people want.” He goes on to talk about how police corruption isn’t solved with file encryption. “You actually need to go somewhere and vote and make sure you don’t have corrupt police,” he says.
Google celebrates 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address with digital exhibit – Google has collected a series of online exhibits focused on Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg address — his famously concise speech reflecting on the Civil War as a test of America’s founding principles — which was delivered 150 years ago today. Though the address is famed for its eloquence, scholars aren’t sure of exactly what Lincoln said that day: there are five versions of the manuscript, each of them differing slightly. High-resolution copies of each version are now available on Google, which has even set two of them side-by-side so you can explore the differences.
Firefox previews near-final Australis interface with curved tabs, streamlined controls – Firefox has been talking up Australis, its next-gen browser interface, for quite some time now, and that celestial-sounding update has just landed on Firefox Nightly. Yes, finally curious users can test it out and evaluate the experience as Firefox gets closer to the final version.
Per a video preview on the Mozilla blog, one of the most immediately obvious changes with Australis is a new, curvier tab shape (like a rounded take on Chrome’s style). Firefox also designed the forward button to only appear when you hover over it, and the tool bar has been streamlined, with the bulk of browser settings accessible via a menu on the right-hand side.
Firefox says Australis will offer “consistency and unification” across different devices, which likely means a similar look and feel along with the requisite saved tabs. Finally, enhanced customization settings should make it easier to tweak the browser to your liking.
Philips LED carpet turns floors into incredibly helpful dynamic signage – Philips doesn’t just make light bulbs, the company has done lots of cool things with LEDs (like those awesome Hue bulbs). Now they’re teaming up with the carpet wizards at Desso to create some of the coolest fuzzy flooring you’ll ever find beneath your feet.
It’s called light transmissive carpet, and Philips says it’s going to change the way people interact with with their indoor environments. Our eyes naturally seek out light, and we’ve got a tendency to look down to figure out where we’re supposed to be walking. It makes sense, then, to put important movement-related information right under our feet. That’s exactly what Philips and Desso have done.
Pentagon guilty of billion-dollar accounting fraud, reveals Reuters investigation – A new report from Reuters has discovered widespread accounting fraud at the Pentagon, describing a budget of more than $8 trillion disappearing into a mess of corrupted data, erroneous reports, and unauditable ledgers. Sources from the Department of Finance and Accounting describe the arduous process of squaring the Navy’s books with the US Treasury outlays, dealing with obviously inaccurate numbers or entries that were simply left blank.
The data usually arrives just two days before deadline, and supervisors direct the office to enter false numbers — known as “plugs” — to square the accounts and conceal the agencies’ patchy bookkeeping. The result is fraudulent figures that can reach as high as a trillion dollars in a single year, simply to make the Pentagon books match the Treasury’s budget.
Samsung boasts 800,000 Galaxy Gear sales in two months – In an attempt to end speculation about the popularity of its Galaxy Gear smartwatch, Samsung has shared sales figures for the first time, and they might surprise you.
Reuters reports that sales of the company’s Android-powered wearable have reached 800,000 units since its launch in September, surpassing its own expectations and contradicting recent industry reports that pegged sales at just 50,000 units.
In an attempt to stimulate sales, Samsung has offered plenty of incentives to buy the Galaxy Gear by bundling it with the Galaxy Note 3, with some UK carriers offering the smartwatch for free if they purchased the 5.7-inch smartphone on a two-year contract.
Japan wants to sell its super-fast levitating trains to the US – Former US politicians have visited Japan for a ride on a train that uses magnetic levitation to travel at 315 mph. As cities around the world consider the introduction of maglev trains, the Japanese government hopes the American group’s experience of the journey — a test ahead of Japan’s planned introduction of a new high-speed maglev train line between the cities of Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka — will encourage American companies to invest in the expensive technology for deployment in their own nation.
Toshiba’s new Kira Ultrabook promises 22 hours of use on a single charge – We praised Toshiba’s last flagship Ultrabook for its brilliant screen and speedy boot-up time, but the company’s newest Kirabook has a notable new feature — an estimated 22 hours of battery life. Intel’s new Haswell chips may have shifted our expectations of what we expect laptops can deliver battery-wise, but almost running a whole day remains an impressive feat. That’s Toshiba’s claim for its new Dynabook KIRA V654, which sidesteps touch compatibility on its 13-inch 1,366 x 768 resolution screen to add to the battery savings and weighs in at just 1.12kg. Alongside an additional high-resolution model (2,560 x 1,440), if you simply must have swipeable screens on your Windows 8 machine, there’s also the similarly-sized Dynabook Kira V834, although that model will only manage a paltry 14 hours of work and / or play. (We kid.)
The two machines will launch in Japan on 20th November, with the touch-capable V834 starting at 153,000 yen ($1,530), while the endurance-specialized V634 will start at 144,000 yen (roughly $1,446).
Reliance on autopilot is now the biggest threat to flight safety, study says – The tendency of commercial airline pilots to rely on automated systems now represents the biggest threat to flight safety around the world, according to a new study commissioned by the Federal Aviation Administration. Pilots now struggle with manual flying tasks and in some cases fail to keep pace with changing technology in the cockpit, according to the Wall Street Journal, which saw a draft copy of the report. As a result, some pilots lack the knowledge or skills to properly control their planes, particularly in unusual situations.
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