By timothy from Slashdot's fire-department-do-you-read-me department
wiredmikey writes "Wireless Internet routers used in homes and offices could be knitted together to provide a communications system for emergency responders if the mobile phone network fails, German scientists reported on Monday. In many countries, routers are so commonplace that they could be used by police and fire departments if cell towers and networks are down or overwhelmed by people caught up in an emergency, they say. This rich density means that an emergency network could piggyback on nearby routers, giving first responders access to the Internet and contact with their headquarters. The researchers suggest that routers incorporate an emergency 'switch' that responders can activate to set up a backup network, thus giving them a voice and data link through the Internet. This could be done quite easily without impeding users or intruding on their privacy, the study argues. Many routers already have a 'guest' mode, meaning a supplementary channel that allows visitors to use a home's Wi-Fi."
This is a cool angle on mesh networking — reminds me of the emergency response capabilities of ham radio
; if it sounds intriguing, remember that even sparse networks can make use of this kind of networking
with the right antennas
. Related: even without touching the hardware on your router, you can do some meshing around with Byzantium
.Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's really-fast-baby-on-board department
writes with this snippet: "Just as Google's self-driving Prius goes for distance, recently passing 300,000 miles, Stanford's self-driving Audi TTS instead has the need for speed. The Audi, known as Shelley, sped around the Thunderhill Raceway track north of Sacramento topping 120 miles per hour on straightaways. The less than two and a half minutes it took to complete the 3-mile course is comparable to times achieved by professional drivers."
Now if only Montana could take a cue from Montana's rules for self-driving cars
, and bring back "reasonable and prudent" speed regulation
, driving out west could get a lot more exciting.Read Replies (0)
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's rumsfeld-aspic-jsofc3ip-Verisign-terrorism-Comirex department
colinneagle writes with news of a marine turned conspiracy theorist who was detained for psychological evaluation after posting rants on Facebook. He has since been ordered to remain in a mental facility for at least 30 days. From the article: "There are conspiracy theorists who believe 9/11 was an inside job. I don't really follow that news, but can people be arrested after saying so online, exercising their First Amendment right to Freedom of Speech? On August 16, the FBI, Secret Service and the Chesterfield ">Police arrested a decorated former U.S. Marine for 'airing his critical views of the U.S. government on Facebook.' On Facebook, Raub talked about the Illuminati, a shadow organization in which 'some of the leaders were involved with the bombing of the twin towers' and the 'great amount of evil perpetrated by the American Government.' He said people may think he was going crazy, but a 'civil war,' the 'Revolution' is coming. 'I'm starting the Revolution. I'm done waiting.' On July 24, he said he was at a 'great crossroads. As if a storm of destiny is about to pick me up and take me to fight a great battle.' On August 9 he talked about severing heads and told the generals he was coming for them. On August 13, he wrote, 'Sharpen up my axe; I'm here to sever heads.' On August 14, Raub wrote, 'The Revolution will come for me. Men will be at my door soon to pick me up to lead it.'"
I suspect being a former marine and threatening to decapitate military officials might have had something to do with this (communicating specific threats?). But then again, his Facebook page was reportedly private, and according to the AP newswire: "The big concern, Whitehead said, is whether government officials are monitoring citizens' private Facebook pages
and detaining people with whom they disagree."Read Replies (0)
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's bombs-into-probes department
gbrumfiel writes "The Curiosity rover will soon start rolling, and when it does, it will be running on gas from a Russian weapons plant. Slate has the story of how the plutonium-238 that powers the rover came from Mayak, a Soviet-era bomb factory. Mayak made the fuel through reprocessing, a chemical process used to make nuclear warheads that also polluted the surrounding environment. After the cold war ended, the Russians sold the spare Pu-238 to NASA, which put some of it into Curiosity. Now, the Russian supply is running low and NASA hopes to restart Pu-238 production on U.S. soil (They're planning on making less of a mess this time)."
One interesting way of dealing with nuclear waste: reprocess fuel a few times, extracting Pu-238 and friends (those pesky "have to keep waste sealed forever to prevent hyper-squirrels in the year 3,001,000 from being irradiated" elements) and launching an army of deep space probes. But then there's the waste stream from reprocessing...Read Replies (0)
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's on-second-thought department
writes "Hewlett-Packard is returning to tablets with a new unit that aims to make consumer devices under the leadership of former Nokia executive Alberto Torres."
This particular Ex-Nokia exec was part of the Meego division. The newly founded HP Mobility will focus on consumer tablets
; 'business' tablets (presumably running Windows 8) will remain in their current division. With the recent spinning off of the webOS team into Gram
this might mean new webOS hardware.Read Replies (0)
By samzenpus from Slashdot's show-me-the-money department
derekmead writes "Apple, as of this morning, is valued at $621 billion, thanks to a stock price that spiked at $663.10 per share (and that has risen this afternoon). That finally beats Microsoft, who previously held the record for most valuable company in 1999 at $619 billion. Incredibly, Apple has almost doubled its valuation in the last year, when it topped Exxon-Mobil for most valuable American company with a valuation of $346 billion. It's not the cleanest comparison, but to give you an idea of how much $621 billion actually is, only 23 countries had a GDP higher than that in 2011. So, basically, Apple alone is worth more than what 200+ countries in the world could produce in an entire year."Read Replies (0)