Symmetricom Telecom Solutions reports:

On September 7, 2007, we can all celebrate the 80th anniversary of the birth of television. As we consider the new technologies that are bringing us IPTV, and the impending end of analog TV broadcasting, consider that television is here today because of agriculture. That’s right, if it weren’t for tilling a field with a horse-drawn harrow, we may not be talking today about the wonders of packet-based video.

Kelly Fiveash, The Register, reports:

An Aussie bloke went on a phone mast destroying spree yesterday, on the grounds that his health had been damaged by mobile phone signals.

According to the Times, John Patterson - who previously worked at Australia’s biggest telecoms firm, Telstra - used a 15-tonne armoured personnel carrier (APC) to bring down seven phone towers.

A convoy of more than 20 police cars and onlookers, some of whom egged him on, followed Patterson across western suburbs of Sydney.

Dennis Buffington, Professor of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Penn State University, writes:

Burning shelled corn as a fuel can be a feasible way of dealing with the high prices of more conventional fuels such as fuel oil, propane, natural gas, coal, and firewood. Utilizing corn as a fuel does not compete with the food supply needed for nourishment throughout the world. While it is recognized that malnutrition is a serious global problem, the world is not experiencing a food production problem. Instead the world faces political challenges associated with providing infrastructure systems for food distribution and storage.

Contemporary agricultural systems can produce sufficient quality and quantity of food for the world’s population, with additional resources available so that agricultural products can be used as fuel, pharmaceuticals, and chemical feedstocks. Shelled corn is a fuel that can be produced within 180 days, compared to the millennia needed to produce fossil fuels.

In Crypto-Gram, Bruce Schneier wrties:

Watch the video very carefully; it’s President Bush working the crowds
in Albania. 0.50 seconds into the clip, Bush has a watch. 1.04 seconds
into the clip, he had a watch.

The U.S. is denying that his watch was stolen:  ”Photographs showed
Bush, surrounded by five bodyguards, putting his hands behind his back
so one of the bodyguards could remove his watch.”

I simply don’t see that in the video. Bush’s arm is out in front of him
during the entire nine seconds between those stills.

Another denial: “An Albanian bodyguard who accompanied Bush in the town
told The Associated Press he had seen one of his U.S. colleagues close
to Bush bend down and pick up the watch.”

That’s certainly possible; it may have fallen off.

But possibly the pickpocket of the century. (Although would anyone
actually be stupid enough to try? There must be a zillion
easier-to-steal watches in that crowd, many of them nicer than Bush’s.)

Video clip:

St. Louis Bay in Superior, Wis.
A sandbar rises above water level in a channel between the coal loading dock and grain elevators along St. Louis Bay in Superior, Wis. Lake Superior has 3 quadrillion gallons of water — enough to submerge North and South America in a foot of water. (Julia Cheng, AP)

Dennis Cauchon, USA TODAY, reports:

BARAGA, Mich. — “Where did the water go?” asks Ted Shalifor, manager of a marina and campground on Lake Superior’s Chippewa Indian Reservation.

The water on Lake Superior is so low that he couldn’t put his docks in the water this year. Where he used to see water, he now sees sandbars.

Lake Superior, the world’s largest freshwater lake, has dropped to its lowest level in 81 years. The water is 20 inches below average and a foot lower than just a year ago.

Lake Huron and Lake Michigan are at low levels, as well, although not quite as extreme.

PETER B. de SELDING, Space News Staff Writer, reports:

‘If we have not published it in our catalogue, then it does not exist.’

BROYE-LES-PESMES, France - A French space-surveillance radar has detected 20-30 satellites in low Earth orbit that do not figure in the U.S. Defense Department’s published catalogue, a discovery that French officials say they will use to pressure U.S. authorities to stop publishing the whereabouts of French reconnaissance and military communications satellites.

JOHN MULCAHY, Ann Arbor News Staff Reporter, reports:

At the busy Bello Vino food market in the Plymouth Road Mall, customers are used to getting fresh, locally grown produce much of the year. They just may not know how local.

About 4.5 miles from the store, Bello Vino owner Louis Ferris has turned 85 acres of his 107-acre estate in Superior Township into a farming operation that includes a 1-acre-plus vegetable garden, an orchard with peach, pear, apple, cherry and plum trees, 750 blueberry bushes, raspberry bushes, strawberries, a 2,100-square-foot greenhouse, eight bee hives and a flock of 128 breeding ewes to produce lambs.

All of that food is used to supply Bello Vino with up to 30 percent of its produce over the course of the year.

The plasma-filled shield would offer protection from harmful particles

Paul Rincon, Science reporter, BBC News, Preston, reports:

British scientists are planning to see whether a Star Trek-style deflector shield could be built to protect astronauts from radiation.
They argue that magnetic shields could be deployed around spacecraft and on the surfaces of planets to deflect harmful energised particles.

The Associated Press, via reports:

ZURICH, Switzerland - What began as a routine training exercise almost ended in an embarrassing diplomatic incident after a company of Swiss soldiers got lost at night and marched into neighboring Liechtenstein.

According to Swiss daily Blick, the 170 infantry soldiers wandered just over a mile across an unmarked border into the tiny principality early Thursday before realizing their mistake and turning back.

A spokesman for the Swiss army confirmed the story but said that there were unlikely to be any serious repercussions for the mistaken invasion.

“We’ve spoken to the authorities in Liechtenstein and it’s not a problem,” Daniel Reist told The Associated Press.

Officials in Liechtenstein also played down the incident.

Interior ministry spokesman Markus Amman said nobody in Liechtenstein had even noticed the soldiers, who were carrying assault rifles but no ammunition. “It’s not like they stormed over here with attack helicopters or something,” he said.

Liechtenstein, which has about 34,000 inhabitants and is slightly smaller than Washington DC, doesn’t have an army.

Who Fucks the Stoke?

(via BoingBoing)

Reuters reports:

LONDON, England (Reuters) — Beaming people in “Star Trek” fashion is still in the realms of science fiction, but physicists in Denmark have teleported information from light to matter bringing quantum communication and computing closer to reality.

Until now scientists have teleported similar objects such as light or single atoms over short distances from one spot to another in a split second.

But Professor Eugene Polzik and his team at the Niels Bohr Institute at Copenhagen University in Denmark have made a breakthrough by using both light and matter.

“It is one step further because for the first time it involves teleportation between light and matter, two different objects. One is the carrier of information and the other one is the storage medium,” Polzik explained in an interview on Wednesday.

The experiment involved for the first time a macroscopic atomic object containing thousands of billions of atoms. They also teleported the information a distance of half a meter but believe it can be extended further.

DRU SEFTON, Newhouse News Service, reports:

Let us now take 9,192,631,770 cycles of radiation corresponding to the transition between two hyperfine levels of the ground state of cesium-133 to pay tribute to the atomic clock.

That would be one second.

Fifty years ago this October, the atomic clock first became available commercially. It and its descendants use that cesium frequency to keep time, accurately measuring to one-billionth of a second.

Photo: Burning Man 2006 - IKONOS
KONOS Satellite of Burning Man 2006, copyright GeoEye and Yahoo!. (via )

GPS World reports:

The current GPS constellation — its health and viability — continues in question and under scrutiny, despite reassurances from the Air Force.

Last month’s GPS World Survey & Construction e-newsletter relayed user plaints that there aren’t enough healthy GPS satellites. Surveyors say they can’t use RTK a full day with the current constellation even with every satellite healthy — and that recently there have been more satellite outages than ever before. They’ve resorted to filling GPS gaps with GLONASS.

The online story drew immediate affirmation. “While most of the time we get good coverage, for the last couple months we have had a 4 to 6-hour gap where we ‘float’ a lot and our precision goes down. Unfortunately this gap is usually between 10 am and 2 pm, which creates some interesting scheduling problems.”

Bruce Schneier writes:

I’d like everyone to take a deep breath and listen for a minute.

The point of terrorism is to cause terror, sometimes to further a political goal and sometimes out of sheer hatred. The people terrorists kill are not the targets; they are collateral damage. And blowing up planes, trains, markets or buses is not the goal; those are just tactics. The real targets of terrorism are the rest of us: the billions of us who are not killed but are terrorized because of the killing. The real point of terrorism is not the act itself, but our reaction to the act.

And we’re doing exactly what the terrorists want.


On Yahoo’s MI_BM list, Dan E. writes:

Mandatory nude flights.

It’s the only logical solution to this problem.

On the Time-Nuts mailing list, Randy@synergy… writes


Sorry to post again, but it just dawned on me that I meant to post some
info concerning M12+, M12, GT, UT+, and probably even VP receivers. This
issue is one of the reasons the M12M is late coming out of the chute. If
I have posted this before I apologize. Just too many things rattling
around in my brain.

CRITICAL: Whenever you run a Self-Test on any of these receivers, MAKE
ABSOLUTELY SURE that you wait until you have gotten the response message
before you issue any additional commands. If you get REALLY lucky and
send your command at EXACTLY the wrong time while the UART is in limbo
you can get stuck in a lovely “do…while” loop that can only be exited
by cycling power to the receiver. A clue that this has occurred is that
the 1PPS also stops. The Self-Test code in the M12M has been changed to
keep this from happening.

Looking back, this explains a lot of the unexplained random failures in
cell towers reported over the years by a couple of the carriers.
Absolutely unrepeatable. Almost impossible to troubleshoot. We just
found it by accident.

Now, before any of you wise guys try to repeat this problem, bear in
mind that statistically it seems to happen maybe once per 200,000 Self


On Slashdot, alien88 writes:

“Late last week, the Washtenaw County Board approved Wireless Washtenaw Advisory Board’s recommendation of 20/20 Communications to cover the entire county with wireless by the end of 2007. This includes Ann Arbor, the home of University of Michigan and future home of Google’s Adwords division. The wireless network will be free for speeds up to 85kbps and $35/month for 500kbps. 20/20 Communications estimates it will take around 6,000 radios to cover the county.

This initiative is being funded without taxpayer dollars and is one of the most ambitious wireless deployments in the US. Will it succeed or will it fail? Check out the county’s wireless website for updates on the project.” Of course, the real reason this is worth posting is it’s because this is the county where Rob, myself and a number of the others live in.

Photo: BiQuad Antenna

Graeme writes:

I just got a Nokia E61 on T-Mobile. When I signed up, I knew that the signal was really weak in the back of our house - the building forms a large square, and my bedroom faces into the centre of the square. I could get a signal in the living room (just), but wouldn’t it be great, I thought, not to have to go through there every time the phone rings. Although outside my house full-strength UMTS signals are readily available, the building’s construction prevents them diffracting into the internal ‘courtyard’.

Photo: Tomato Face

MSN-Mainichi Daily News, via BoingBoing, reports:

The tomato, which is about 10 centimeters in diameter and weighs about 150 grams, is of the regular “Momotaro” variety, but is about three times the normal size. It was harvested in Yawata from a field owned by 61-year-old farmer Kiyoshi Ueda.

Photo: Tree Mummy
My mummy found a “Tree Mummy.”

Photo: Kids
Locked up in custody for two hours: Tree-climbing friends Katy Smith, left, Sam Cannon and Amy Higgins

KHUSHWANT SACHDAVE, Daily Mail (UK), reports:

To the 12-year-old friends planning to build themselves a den, the cherry tree seemed an inviting source of material.

But the afternoon adventure turned into a frightening ordeal for Sam Cannon, Amy Higgins and Katy Smith after they climbed into the 20ft tree - then found themselves hauled into a police station and locked in cells for up to two hours.

Their shoes were removed and mugshots, DNA samples and mouth swabs were taken.

Officers told the children they had been seen damaging the tree which is in a wooded area of public land near their homes.

Questioned by police, the scared friends admitted they had broken some loose branches because they had wanted to build a tree house, but said they did not realise what they had done was wrong.

Officers considered charging the children with criminal damage but eventually decided a reprimand - the equivalent of a caution for juveniles - was sufficient.

The Associated Press reports:

NEW YORK (AP) — A mysterious blackout during the hottest week of the year left tens of thousands of New Yorkers without power for a fifth day Friday as residents sweltered, businesses idled and city officials seethed after the power company revealed the outages were 10 times larger than previously reported.

“It’s a total catastrophe. We’ve been throwing things out for four days,” restaurant owner Louis Panazakos lamented as workers threw out garbage bags full of fresh pasta and sauces.

Power company Con Edison initially said fewer than 2,500 customers were affected, but it increased that number tenfold Friday morning to 25,000 customers. By 9 p.m., the number of customers without power had dropped to 23,950, the utility said.


NO positive leap second will be introduced at the end of December 2006.
The difference between Coordinated Universal Time UTC and the
International Atomic Time TAI is :

from 2006 January 1, 0h UTC, until further notice : UTC-TAI = -33 s

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