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    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeJun 29th 2012
    France has shut down Minitel.

    Launched in 1978, Minitel once meant that France led the world in online services but as the internet spread and Minitel failed to update its technology it eventually just couldn't compete.

    Minitel is really an object lesson in the strengths and weaknesses of French state-directed capitalism. By putting a Minitel terminal in every household, France kick-started online commerce way ahead of any other country. But it was over-regulated from the start. For example, only existing newspapers could operate news services.

    Then the text-based b&w service was never updated and countries other than France that wanted to adopt Minitel had to take the exact same system used as France - take it or leave it.

    So a great technology (for the time) that could have been the bases for a massive new French industry essentially went to waste.
  1.  (10727.2)
    ?You don't play the ANS synthesizer with a keyboard. Instead you etch images onto glass sheets covered in black putty and feed them into a machine that shines light through the etchings, trigging a wide range of tones. Etchings made low on the sheets make low tones. High etchings make high tones. The sound is generated in real-time and the tempo depends on how fast you insert the sheets.

    This isn't a new Dorkbot or Maker Faire oddity. It's a nearly forgotten Russian synthesizer designed by Evgeny Murzin in 1938. The synth was named after and dedicated to the Russian experimental composer and occultist Alexander Nikolayevich Scriabin (1872–1915). The name might not mean much to you, but it illuminates a long running connection between electronic music and the occult.

    The Soviet synthesizer that bridged occultism and electronic music
    • CommentTimeJun 29th 2012
    Researchers use spoofing to 'hack' into a flying drone
    American researchers took control of a flying drone by hacking into its GPS system - acting on a $1,000 (£640) dare from the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
    • CommentTimeJun 29th 2012
    @Vornaskotti: HOLY SHIT that was awesome.
      CommentAuthorAlan Tyson
    • CommentTimeJun 29th 2012
    @Vornaskotti: What Texture said. This has sent me off on a wild Futurist weirdohunt.
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeJun 29th 2012
    You guys know the story of Leon Theremin, I presume?
    • CommentTimeJun 29th 2012
    on the 1st of July 2012

    A positive leap second will be introduced at the end of June 2012.
    The sequence of dates of the UTC second markers will be:

    2012 June 30, 23h 59m 59s
    2012 June 30, 23h 59m 60s
    2012 July 1, 0h 0m 0s

    The difference between UTC and the International Atomic Time TAI is:

    from 2009 January 1, 0h UTC, to 2012 July 1 0h UTC : UTC-TAI = - 34s
    from 2012 July 1, 0h UTC, until further notice : UTC-TAI = - 35s

    Leap seconds can be introduced in UTC at the end of the months of December
    or June, depending on the evolution of UT1-TAI. Bulletin C is mailed every
    six months, either to announce a time step in UTC or to confirm that there
    will be no time step at the next possible date.

    Daniel GAMBIS
    Earth Orientation Center of IERS
    Observatoire de Paris, France
    • CommentAuthor256
    • CommentTimeJun 29th 2012
    @Vorn - there are going to be some seriously clenched assholes until Curiosity touches down ok.
    @celan - cheers for that. I love the intricate corrections-of-corrections-of-etc. that go into timekeeping

    The Pentagon's First Pride Ceremony.
    • CommentAuthorWood
    • CommentTimeJun 30th 2012
    A beauty pageant for Holocaust survivors organized in Israel.

    Grinning and waving, 14 women who survived the horrors of World War II have paraded in an unusual pageant, vying for the honour of being crowned Israel's first "Miss Holocaust Survivor".

    I wish I'd know what to think about this.
      CommentAuthorcity creed
    • CommentTimeJun 30th 2012
    How inspiring.

    Personally, I'm looking forward to the "Miss Administrative Detention Survivor" pageant - maybe in another 60 years eh?
  2.  (10727.11)
    Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces are equipped with a special ‘safe-busting’ sledgehammer that can be used in an emergency to break open the safe containing launch codes if it fails to open, a spokesman for the Rocket Forces, Col. Vadim Koval said on Wednesday.

    Reminds me of their anti-bear shotguns in their spaceships...
  3.  (10727.12)
    "I wish I'd know what to think about this."

    Have you seen the video of the Australian Holocaust survivor who went back to one of the Concentration Camps with his kids and grandchildren and danced with them to Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive" outside the main gate?
    • CommentAuthorWood
    • CommentTimeJul 1st 2012
    @Vorn : tell me you're kidding about the shotguns...
    • CommentAuthorWood
    • CommentTimeJul 1st 2012
  4.  (10727.15)

    Well yeah, they are actually multipurpose shotgun-flare gun-pistol-machetes...

    TP-82 : Russian space pistol / shotgun / carbine / flare gun no longer being carried into space
    • CommentAuthorWood
    • CommentTimeJul 1st 2012
    Timbuktu world heritage site attacked by Islamists

    "They are armed and have surrounded the sites with pick-up trucks. The population is just looking on helplessly," said a local journalist, Yeya Tandina.

    Tandina and other witnesses said Ansar Dine had already destroyed the mausoleums of three local saints – Sidi Mahmoud, Sidi el-Mokhtar and Alfa Moya – and at least seven tombs.

    "The mausoleum doesn't exist any more and the cemetery is as bare as a soccer pitch," a local teacher, Abdoulaye Boulahi, said of the Mahmoud burial place.

    Mali Islamists destroying 'more Timbuktu shrines'

    BAMAKO — Islamist rebels in northern Mali took hoes and chisels to the tombs of ancient Muslim saints in the city of Timbuktu for a second day, ignoring international pleas to halt their campaign of destruction.

    After smashing three ancient tombs on Saturday, the Islamist militants who consider the World Heritage shrines idolatrous, set about wrecking four mausoleums at the cemetery of Djingareyber, a local journalist told AFP.

    Mali's government and the international community have expressed horror and outrage at the destruction of cultural treasures in the fabled city, an ancient desert crossroads and centre of learning known as the "City of 333 Saints".

    On Saturday the Islamists destroyed the tombs of Sidi Mahmoud, Sidi Moctar and Alpha Moya, and on Sunday attacked Cheikh el-Kebir's mausoleum as residents stood by helplessly.

    Crying "Allahu Akbar" (God is Great), the men circled the cemetery clasping tools such as chisels and hoes, but did not have construction vehicles that were used in Saturday's rampage.
  5.  (10727.17)
    The God Particle has been found -- or at least, that's what the Daily Mail reports they're going to be telling us any day now.
    • CommentAuthorStefanJ
    • CommentTimeJul 1st 2012
    So, we found the God Particle.

    You know, this would be a really good time for envoys from the Galactic Federation to show up, congratulating us on qualifying for membership and giving us a membership gift of plans to a Turd Fusion generator, which turns sewage into clean power.
    • CommentTimeJul 1st 2012 edited
    But I already have a turd fusion generator...
    • CommentTimeJul 1st 2012
    @ StefanJ

    Nah, I don't think so. We're still the same planet that allows assholes to destroy the Timbuktu shrines.

    Besides, figure if they did show up, we'd fail the "Space Dollars" test and be locked in a Warp-cube for the rest of eternity.