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Internet Domain Names Get More Character
February 04, 2014
Tuesday ushered in a series of generic top-level domains (gTLDs) that for the first time in Web history, include Arabic, Chinese and Russian characters. The new gTLDs -- which are the suffixes to Web addresses, such as ".com" and ".net" -- were approved by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN. ICANN invited applications for new domain names in 2012, at a cost of $185,000 a pop.
US, British Intelligence Scoop Data From Smartphone Apps
January 28, 2014
Don't get angry, but... U.S. and British intelligence agencies have long been mining data from smartphone apps such as the wildly popular Angry Birds. The National Security Agency and its British brethren at the Government Communications Headquarters reportedly have targeted the swell of data moving to and fro on mobile apps, based on previously secret documents leaked by Edward Snowden.
Terrorist's Penalty Stiffened for Zipped Lips
January 17, 2014
Syed Farhan Hussain, a 22-year-old from Luton, UK, was hit with additional jail time for refusing to divulge the password for a memory stick that police were eager to take a peek at. Police were unable to crack the password themselves and therefore sought Hussain's help; Hussain declined, prompting a guilty verdict under Britain's Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000.
Russian Spacewalkers to Install Videocams Providing ISS-View of Earth
December 27, 2013
Two Russian cosmonauts on Friday began a spacewalk outside the International Space Station to install camera equipment from UrtheCast, which soon could provide near real-time streaming images to viewers on Earth. Canada-based UrtheCast partnered with the Russian Federal Space Agency to launch two cameras, one high- and one medium-resolution, into space last month.
Japanese Robot Shoots Breeze With Astronaut
December 20, 2013
A humanoid robot named "Kirobo" has had a chat with a Japanese astronaut on the ISS. The robot, also from Japan, is designed to process questions and construct answers from its vocabulary bank, as opposed to regurgitating preprogrammed responses. Asked if he could handle zero-gravity conditions, the robot replied, "I'm used to it now, no problem at all."
Norway Dashes Cold Water on Bitcoins
December 16, 2013
Norway's government ruled that Bitcoins don't qualify as a real currency, and it will treat them as an asset -- as opposed to a legitimate currency -- that is subject to capital gains tax. Many countries have been weighing in on how they will treat Bitcoins. Earlier this month, China said that its banks and financial institutions shouldn't handle the digital currency.
NASA May Schedule Spacewalks to Fix ISS Cooling Loop
December 13, 2013
NASA on Wednesday shut off one of the two external cooling loops on the International Space Station and has been struggling to fix it since. The problem appears to be in the flow valve within a pump module. There has been speculation that the situation could be more serious than NASA has acknowledged. Some noncritical systems in various nodes and laboratories have been powered down.
MX-1 to Shoot for Moon - and $20 Million
December 07, 2013
Moon Express on Thursday unveiled the design of its MX-1 robotic spacecraft to more than 10,000 attendees at the closing session of Autodesk University in Las Vegas. Moon Express plans to deploy the unmanned MX-1 to the moon and perhaps capture Google's Lunar XPrize. The MX-1 will be able to perform a variety of scientific and commercial functions.
China Flies Jade Rabbit Rover to the Moon
December 02, 2013
China has launched a rover that is en route to the surface of the moon, marking the first time the Middle Kingdom has embarked on a moon-bound rover mission. The rover, called "Jade Rabbit," is affixed to a rocket that launched at 1:30 a.m. Monday morning local time. If all goes to plan, it is expected to land on the moon in mid-December. China has had two lunar orbit missions.
MAVEN to Search Mars' Atmosphere for Evolutionary Clues
November 19, 2013
NASA's MAVEN mission is under way following Monday's successful launch from Cape Canaveral of a spacecraft that will explore Mars' upper atmosphere and seek answers to questions about the planet's evolution. The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN, or MAVEN, craft is scheduled to travel for 10 months and reach Mars in September 2014. MAVEN is the first mission targeting Mars' upper atmosphere.
Space Agency: Pay No Attention to That Plummeting Satellite
November 11, 2013
The European Space Agency has predicted that when its fuel-less, Earth-bound, 2,000-pound research satellite crashes, it will likely crash into the ocean or polar regions. The satellite was expected to crash down some time on Sunday or Monday, according to the agency, which added, "with a very high probability, a re-entry over Europe can be excluded." Good news for Europeans, bad news for polar bears.
NSA-Bashing Brazil Claims It Spied Better
November 06, 2013
Few if any countries have been more outspoken, incredulous and chest-thumping over U.S. spying revelations than Brazil. Last summer, after Edward Snowden's leaks had made the rounds, Brazilian lawmakers proposed a law that would require e-businesses to store data in Brazil -- and only Brazil. Then, after it was revealed that the U.S. had spied on Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Rousseff canceled a state visit to the U.S.
Kepler's Search for Life: Cosmic Haystack Just Got a Lot Bigger
November 05, 2013
Around a fifth of the Sun-like stars in the Milky Way are orbited by Earth-sized planets capable of sustaining life, suggests a study of data obtained by NASA's Kepler and the Keck Observatory. Those planets, up to twice Earth's size, are orbiting their stars in the so-called habitable zone -- that is, the range of orbits that would permit liquid water to exist on the surface.
Russian 'Pirates' Offer Hobbled NASA a Helping Tech Hand
October 08, 2013
Russia's Pirate Party wrote a letter to NASA offering to host the agency's website, which is currently out of commission because of the government shutdown. The Pirate Party -- a minority political movement in many European countries predicated on privacy and transparency -- informed NASA that it could use the party's dedicated servers until the U.S. government got off the ground.
A Satellite's-Eye View on Mobile Payments
September 17, 2013
Turn-by-turn directions have become a common technological enhancement to the automotive world thanks to a set of satellites dedicated to the task. To date, these radio positioning signals have been supplied to consumers primarily by the U.S. military through a satellite constellation called "GPS," or Global Positioning System. Essentially, receivers on the ground interpret the signals and tell you where you are.
Voyager's Intrepid Flight a Reminder of Human Audacity
September 13, 2013
NASA has confirmed that after 36 years of journeying, Voyager 1 has reached interstellar space. Voyager 1 has been traveling for about a year through a transitional plasma region in the space between the influence of Earth's sun and other stars. "Voyager 1 is the first true stellar explorer from Earth," said James R. Webb, Ph.D., professor of physics and director of the SARA Observatory.
Huawei Blasts US for Illegal NSA Spying
September 13, 2013
Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei is taking a PR victory lap following reports suggesting that the National Security Agency spied on the company. Earlier this week, Brazilian TV network Globo revealed a raft of documents that purportedly came from Edward Snowden. The files implicate the NSA, along with its British snooping ally, GCHQ, in spying on numerous targets.
Earth-to-Moon Laser Tests Could Ignite New Era in Space Comms
August 30, 2013
NASA is poised to launch a mission that will use lasers in a test of two-way communications between the Earth and the moon. The Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration will herald a new area of space communications. The LLCD equipment will be on board the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer, which will launch Sept. 6 using Orbital Science's Minotaur V rocket.
Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho, It's Off to the Asteroid Mines We Go?
August 13, 2013
Researchers in the UK recently identified 12 small asteroids close enough to Earth to be used in mining operations that could begin as early as 2021. The research was part of a larger effort by both private and public institutions to learn more about the potential for tapping into asteroids that could contain large deposits of valuable resources including platinum, iron-nickel ore or gold.
Boeing Shows Off Space Taxi's Sleek Interior
July 23, 2013
Boeing unveiled the interior of its Crew Space Transportation-100 commercial spacecraft Monday, giving the public a first look inside the craft and offering two NASA astronauts the chance to climb inside and test it. The company designed the CST-100 to be a safe, reliable and cost-effective way to send astronauts to Low Earth Orbit destinations, including the International Space Station.

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