Tesla Motor's Wonderer-in-Chief Elon Musk went on CNBC today to talk about how great his car company is doing, but what everyone really wanted to hear about was his mad genius idea to reinvent long-distance travel. All this week, Musk has talking up a radical transportation idea called the "Hyperloop," which he describes as a "cross between a Concorde, a railgun and an air hockey table." It's basically an underground bullet train that, freed from pesky terrestrial concerns like weather, farm animals, and friction, would zoom people across the country in hours instead of days. Like the Segway of trains.
Late last year, a patent troll had the gall to send thousands of letters to small businesses around the US, demanding payment of between $900 and $1,200 per worker for - get this - using scanners and then emailing scans.
According to Ars Technica's Joe Mullen, this "brazen patent-trolling scheme" was conducted by a company called MPHJ Technology Investments, along with "dozens of shell companies with six-letter names."
The state of Vermont has a problem with that. A big problem.
Should robots be allowed to take a human life, without direct supervision or command?
Science fiction met reality at the United Nations in Geneva overnight, where this question was debated at a meeting of the Human Rights Council.
If you think the private messages you send over Skype are protected by end-to-end encryption, think again. The Microsoft-owned service regularly scans message contents for signs of fraud, and company managers may log the results indefinitely, Ars has confirmed. And this can only happen if Microsoft can convert the messages into human-readable form at will.
Jean Stapleton passed away at 90
Jean Stapleton (born Jeanne Murray; January 19, 1923 – May 31, 2013) was an American character actress of stage, television and film.
She was best known for her portrayal of Edith Bunker, the long-suffering, yet devoted wife of Archie Bunker (played by Carroll O'Connor) and mother of Gloria Stivic (played by Sally Struthers), on the 1970s situation comedy All in the Family. Stapleton was also seen occasionally on the All in the Family follow-up series, Archie Bunker's Place, but, tired of the role, asked to be written out after the first season.
Born in New York City, Stapleton was born to Joseph E. Murray (a billboard advertising salesman) and Marie Stapleton Murray (a singer). She attended Hunter College. At age 18, she began her career in 1941 in summer stock and made her New York debut in American Gothic, an Off-Broadway play.
She was featured on Broadway in several hit musicals, such as Damn Yankees, Funny Girl, Bells Are Ringing, andJuno. She guest starred in many television series, including the role of Rosa Criley in the 1963 episode "The Bride Wore Pink" on NBC's medical drama about psychiatry, The Eleventh Hour.
Her early work on television included roles in Starlight Theater, Robert Montgomery Presents, Lux Video Theater, Woman with a Past, The Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse, Dr. Kildare, The Patty Duke Show, Car 54 Where Are You?, Dennis the Menace, and Naked City. On an episode of The Defendersbroadcast on 1 December 1962, Jean Stapleton guest-starred with future television husband Carroll O'Connor.
In 1979, she appeared in the original Canadian production of the musical Something's Afoot, which was later broadcast on Showtime. In 1982, Stapleton portrayed Eleanor Roosevelt in a television production of the First Lady's later life. In 1998, and for a few years afterward, Stapleton took her "Eleanor" characterization to live theaters, now adapted as a one-woman show. She co-starred in Bagdad Cafewith Whoopi Goldberg, the television series based on the movie of the same name.
Her awards for All in the Family include three Emmys and two Golden Globes. She was offered a role in the feature filmWilly Wonka & the Chocolate Factory as Mrs. Teevee (the role went to Nora Denney), but she declined because it coincided with the production of the All in the Family pilot.
Stapleton appeared in made-for-TV movies and feature filmssuch as Klute, the comedy Cold Turkey and the Faerie Tale Theatre episode "Cinderella" as the fairy godmother and as the Giant's Wife in "Jack and the Beanstalk". She also had a recurring role on television's Scarecrow and Mrs. King as aBritish spy. She appeared in the educational seriesBeakman's World as Beakman's mother, "Beakmom".
In 1996, she played opposite John Travolta, portraying the eccentric rooming house owner, Pansy Milbank in Nora Ephron's hit Michael. Stapleton also appeared in the 1998 feature You've Got Mail as a close co-worker in whom Meg Ryan's character confides. Stapleton appeared on the CBS television series Touched by an Angel as an angel named Emma.
In the 1990s Stapleton played the role of Mrs. Piggle Wiggle in a children's series of the same name based on the books by Betty MacDonald. The show was created by Shelley Duvall and lasted only one season. 
In 1996, she appeared in the Everybody Loves Raymond episode "I Wish I Were Gus" playing Ray's Aunt Alda. That same year, she also appeared in the Murphy Brown episode "All in the Family" playing Miles's grandmother, Nana Silverberg. Making a debut in the world of video games, Stapleton was the voice of Grandma Ollie on KinderActive, Turner Pictures, and New Line Cinema's venture "Grandma Ollie's Morphabet Soup." The game won a Teacher's Choice Award from Learning Magazine. In 1998, Stapleton guest-starred in the Jean Smart sitcom, Style & Substance, playing a former television chef who has since "lost her marbles".
Stapleton voiced John Rolfe's maid, Mrs. Jenkins in Disney's 1998 direct-to-video animated filmPocahontas II: Journey to a New World.
She reunited on-camera with O'Connor on Donny and Marie Osmond's talk show on April 24, 2000, a little over a year before O'Connor's death. When the show's hosts asked her to perform in Edith Bunker's voice, she jokingly told them that she only does so "for pay". Stapleton later told the Archive of American Television that she does not like to replicate in casual settings the voices and mannerisms of characters whom she has created, as she feels that it trivializes and detracts from the characters as originally created.
For 30 years, Stapleton's husband William Putch (1924-1983) directed a summer stock theater, Totem Pole Playhouse, at Caledonia State Park in southern Pennsylvania. Stapleton performed occasionally at the theatre with the resident company.
Together they had two children: actor/writer/director John Putch and actress Pamela Putch.
Stapleton's brother, Jack Stapleton, was a stage actor. Her cousin is actress Betty Jane Watson.
Stapleton died May 31, 2013 in New York City of natural causes. She was 90 and is survived by her two children, John and Pamela.
A couple of months ago we wrote that podcasting was under threat from a patent troll. At that time, a patent troll named Personal Audio LLC had sued three podcasters and sent demand letters to a number of others. Since then, Personal Audio has filed two new lawsuits—this time against CBS and NBC. It has also sent additional demand letters to small podcasting operations. We’ve written often in the past about how patent trolls are a drain on innovation, and this latest troll is no exception. Since many podcasters barely make a profit, or simply do it for love, a shakedown from a patent troll threatens to shut down their program.
Don’t heat up your house this summer, build your own backyard pizza oven instead. We love to using our garden produce, homemade dough, and fresh farmer’s market mozzarella to whip up a tasty pie in the summer. But it can be tricky to cook it on the grill and we hate heating up the oven when it’s hot out. This could be a perfect solution.
Russian scientists claim they have extracted blood from a woolly mammoth buried in Siberia, a discovery they hope will aid their attempt to revive the extinct species.
[Justin Beckerman] built a functioning one-man submarine. The thing is, this isn’t the first one that he’s built. Looking through the projects on his website we find almost no information about this build, but he does show off one previous model, as well as a couple of unmanned underwater rover projects.
Simple tools used well can produce fantastic results. The hardware which [Gilad] uses in this project is the definition of common. We’d bet you have most if not all of them on hand right now. But the end product is a light box which seems to dance and twirl with every sound in the room. You should go watch the demo video before reading the bill of materials so that the simplicity doesn’t spoil it for you.
Tomorrow only Best Buy will give you a “free” iPhone 5 if you trade in your old iPhone 4 or 4S. The deal is a new offer of $150 in trade-in credit plus Best Buy’s already-announced $50 off discount on iPhone 5.
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. might just be the biggest show of the upcoming television season. It's a spinoff of the third-highest grossing movie of all time, a big-screen-to-small-screen corporate bet by Disney and ABC as networks scramble to find innovative, impact storytelling. And for Marvel's TV domination to work in the first place, Joss Whedon had to resurrect the dead. But don't worry about that, the director says.
World Health Organization and activists are criticizing tobacco companies' efforts at corporate social responsibility as thinly veiled marketing schemes on its 26th annual World No Tobacco Day, May 31.
A fleet of miniature helicopter drones mounted with thermal imaging cameras are to be deployed to combat graffiti-spraying gangs on the German railway network.
The drones, which fly at an altitude of 150 metres, will be used at graffiti hot spots such as the big German cities of Berlin, Leipzig, Cologne and Hamburg, a spokesman for Deutsche Bahn confirmed.
May 27 - Blueprints for ASIO's new $631 million building were stolen by someone in China when a computer system containing the information was hacked.
According to a report by the ABC's Four Corners, the blueprints included floor plans and the locations of communications cabling, servers and security systems.
Bambi NOTE: And 15 hours ago - Opposition told ASIO hack 'not successful' - SMH
Australian national security officials have denied classified plans of ASIO's new headquarters building were stolen by Chinese hackers and say the opposition was informed of this in a security briefing.
Motorola Mobility's head of advanced technology and projects group, Regina Dugan, unveiled its latest concept at the All Things Digital conference in California on Thursday - and while it's still in the gestation phase, so to speak, it could point to the future.
The pill in question is no ordinary tablet – it contains a tiny chip but no battery – instead it gets its power from the acids in your stomach.
The password, as we know it, isn’t the most effective or user-friendly way to secure our information. Not only are the good ones tough to create and remember, but there’s not all that much preventing an eager hacker from finding clever ways of getting around them.
As a result, there’s a lot of brain juice being poured trying to figure out how to replace our crummy passwords. One of the more interesting ideas came from Motorola advanced technologies head Regina Dugan, who this week showed off a pair of technologies that could eventually render the password obsolete.
Bambi NOTE: Philip K. Dick dystopia here we come?
More from the article, "Of course, anytime there’s talk of digital tattoos and ingestible chips, you inevitably edge into worries over a Philip K. Dick-level dystopia, where people voluntarily opt-in to the most effective government/corporate surveillance tool every created. That’s not a future I’m particularly eager to see made real."
MORE BAMBI NOTE: "The basic tool for the manipulation of reality is the manipulation of words. If you can control the meaning of words, you can control the people who must use them." ― Philip K. Dick
Very similar to George Orwell's O'Brien interview with Winston. I should have added Philip K. Dick to that article back in 2005.
The loss of privacy, people under surveillance, constantly watched will likely have many negative impacts on the human psyche. Science Fiction has tried over the years to explore the possibilities and reactions of such surveillance of humans at work, home and play in their books about dystopian societies, such as. George Orwell, Philip K. Dick, Ray Bradbury, Aldus Huxley, Anthony Burgess, Suzanne Collins, Veronica Roth, Margaret Atwood, and many more.
Supreme Court Justice Louis Dembitz Brandeis, an amazing person - his article on is well worth a read! He and his partner, Samuel Warren, really gave some great insight into a person's rights to privacy and freedoms as noted in the Wikipedia article:
Between 1888 and 1890, Brandeis and his law partner, Samuel Warren, wrote three scholarly articles published in the Harvard Law Review. The third, "The Right to Privacy," was the most important, with legal scholar Roscoe Pound saying it accomplished "nothing less than adding a chapter to our law."
Brandeis and Warren discussed "snapshot photography," a recent innovation in journalism, that allowed newspapers to publish photographs and statements of individuals without obtaining their consent. They argued that private individuals were being continually injured and that the practice weakened the "moral standards of society as a whole.":61 They wrote:
That the individual shall have full protection in person and in property is a principle as old as the common law; but it has been found necessary from time to time to define anew the exact nature and extent of such protection. Political, social, and economic changes entail the recognition of new rights, and the common law, in its eternal youth, grows to meet the demands of society.
The press is overstepping in every direction the obvious bounds of propriety and of decency. Gossip is no longer the resource of the idle and of the vicious, but has become a trade, which is pursued with industry as well as effrontery. To satisfy a prurient taste the details of sexual relations are spread broadcast in the columns of the daily papers....The intensity and complexity of life, attendant upon advancing civilization, have rendered necessary some retreat from the world, and man, under the refining influence of culture, has become more sensitive to publicity, so that solitude and privacy have become more essential to the individual; but modern enterprise and invention have, through invasions upon his privacy, subjected him to mental pain and distress, far greater than could be inflicted by mere bodily injury.
In SciFi TV shows, they tried to also address the possibilities. The following first season episode of Outer Limits was just one of them.
"O.B.I.T." is an episode of the original The Outer Limits television show. It first aired on 4 November 1963, during the first season.
A new device, the O.B.I.T. machine, allows the observation of anyone, anywhere, at any time.
In this room, twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, security personnel at the Defense Department's Cyprus Hills Research Center keep constant watch on its scientists through O.B.I.T., a mysterious electronic device whose very existence was carefully kept from the public at large. And so it would have remained but for the facts you are about to witness…
While inquiring into the murder of an administrator at a government research facility, a U.S. senator is confronted with paranoia, secrecy, and intimidation. He ultimately learns the cause: An unusual security device that is used to monitor its employees. The Outer Band Individuated Teletracer (known by the acronym O.B.I.T.) is so pervasive and invasive that no one can escape its prying eye, at any time or in any place. It is even deemed addictive by some of its operators. After a missing administrator is found and reveals his knowledge of O.B.I.T., its sinister, unearthly origins and purpose become apparent; the device is, in actuality, an alien invention that was designed to demoralize and desensitize the human race in preparation for invasion.
Lomax: People with nothing to hide have nothing to fear from O.B.I.T.
Orville: (scoffs) Are you that perfect, Mr. Lomax?
Lomax (revealed as an alien): The machines are everywhere! Oh you'll find them all, you're a zealous people. And you'll make a great show of smashing a few of them. But for every one you destroy,hundreds of others will be built. And they will demoralize you, break your spirits, create such rifts and tensions in your society that no one will be able to repair them! Oh, you're a savage, despairing planet, and when we come here to live, you friendless, demoralized flotsam will fall without even a single shot being fired. Senator, enjoy the few years left you. There is no answer. You're all of the same dark persuasion! You demand – insist – on knowing every private thought and hunger of everyone: Your families, your neighbors, everyone — but yourselves.
Agents of the Justice Department are rounding up the machines now. But these machines, these inventions of another planet, have been cunningly conceived to prey on our most mortal weakness. In the last analysis, dear friends, whether O.B.I.T. lives up to its name or not will depend on you.
Facebook has plugged a privacy hole in its Pages Manager application for Android.
Facebook Pages help businesses establish a presence on the social network, while the app enables an admin to manage posts, respond to comments and messages, push notifications to customers, manage photographs and more. Facebook Page Manager for Android is a free app and has been installed at least 5 million times according to its Google Play page.
Federal law enforcement officials in the United States seized domains belonging to the Costa Rican-based Liberty Reserve, a payment processor, money transfer service, and digital currency exchange reportedly used by criminals as a means for laundering money.