NASA’s Mars orbiter spotted the ‘Star Trek’ logo on Mars and fans are freaking out – BGR

mars star trek dune

NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is an incredibly useful tool that allows scientists to image areas of the planet’s surface with ultra-sharp detail. It has revealed many things about Mars and offered insights into how the planet’s weather has affected its geography over millions and sometimes billions of years.

Apparently, it’s also really good at building hype with sci-fi fans.

One of the orbiter’s recent images of the Red Planet is getting far more attention than most, and it’s causing quite a stir on social media. In the image, the long-still remains of an ancient dune catch the eye immediately, and for good reason: it’s in the shape of the Star Trek logo.

via NASA’s Mars orbiter spotted the ‘Star Trek’ logo on Mars and fans are freaking out – BGR

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Why There Are Many Types of Screws

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This Goofy Apple Computer Video From 1987 Has Futuristic Gadgets That We’re Still Waiting For

Apple Computer was an innovative and nimble company in 1987, so it makes sense that people at the tech giant would imagine a world dominated by Apple ten years into the future. And that’s precisely what it did when it released this goofy video from the perspective of the year 1997.


via This Goofy Apple Computer Video From 1987 Has Futuristic Gadgets That We’re Still Waiting For

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DHS issues warning about Medtronic implantable defibrillator flaws

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The Department of Homeland Security and Medtronic are advising people with the latter’s implantable defibrillators to keep their monitors and programmers updated and in sight. A warning issued by the department says over 20 Medtronic products are afflicted with vulnerabilities that could be exploited by attackers nearby. Sixteen of the products are implantable defibrillators — some still sold around the world today — while the others are the defibrillators’ bedside monitors and programmers. According to the Star Tribune, as many as 750,000 devices for the heart come with the flaws.

Medtronic(This is one of the affected Medtronic programmers, which allow doctors to tweak the implant’s settings.)

Implantable defibrillators are placed under the skin to monitor the patient’s heart. If they detect a wildly irregular rhythm, they shoot out electric shocks to restore the person’s normal heartbeat. The vulnerabilities allow bad actors to change or inject data sent between a defib and its programming device. Medtronic’s affected products don’t use use formal authentication or authorization protections, which means attackers can alter the implant’s settings and potentially harm the patient.

Since the hacker has to be in close proximity to the affected devices, though, the company told Star Tribune that the risk of physical harm to patients with implants appears to be low. It also said that it’s now monitoring its network for signs of exploit attempts, and it ensured patients that its defibrillators will automatically shut down wireless communications if they receive unusual commands.

Even so, the company is reminding patients to only use devices obtained directly from healthcare providers and to keep wireless communications open so they’d receive the security patch when it rolls out. Also, in addition to physically keeping monitors and programmers safe, Medtronic is discouraging patients from plugging USB sticks and other unapproved accessories into the devices.

via DHS issues warning about Medtronic implantable defibrillator flaws

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Why (and When) You Need to Replace Your Surge Protector

Energy Savings With Turning Off Electrical AppliancesSurge protectors aren’t like diamonds. They have a definite lifespan. At some point, your surge protector will stop protecting your gear from power surges and become a dumb power strip.

It’s difficult to tell exactly when a surge protector loses those protective powers and just functions as a power strip. But, if you’re still using an old surge protector you purchased ten years ago, it’s probably long past time to replace it.

via Why (and When) You Need to Replace Your Surge Protector

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Why You Should Periodically Replace Your Surge Protectors

A decent surge protector is an important piece of equipment in any office or entertainment center. They don’t last forever, though, so make sure you take the time and purge your surge on occasion to keep your electronics protected.

A decent surge protector is an important piece of equipment in any office or entertainment center. They don’t last forever, though, so make sure you take the time and purge your surge on occasion to keep your electronics protected.

via Why You Should Periodically Replace Your Surge Protectors

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FCC approves additional funding for Puerto Rico hurricane recovery

The FCC approved a measure today that will make additional funds immediately available for ongoing hurricane recovery efforts in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. Puerto Rico will receive $51.2 million for restoration efforts and the US Virgin Islands will have access to an additional $13 million. Additionally, the FCC is seeking comment on medium- and long-term funding proposals that will go towards improving broadband and 4G LTE access on the islands.

Through the Uniendo a Puerto Rico Fund, the FCC proposes making $444.5 million available over 10 years, which would go towards fixed voice and broadband expansion. That amount of funding would be $84 million over current levels. The FCC also proposes around $254 million for 4G LTE mobile voice and broadband expansion, which would be made available over three years. That would be about $16.8 million over current funding levels.

For the US Virgin Islands, the FCC proposes making $186.5 million available over 10 years for fixed broadband access (an increase of about $21 million). And the agency proposes an additional $4.4 million over three years for 4G LTE expansion — a $4.2 million increase.

Lastly, the FCC has also decided to not offset $65.8 million in emergency funding provided last year with reductions in future universal support payments, as was initially planned. “Although we had previously anticipated offsetting the advance payments against future support, we no longer believe that to be a prudent course,” the FCC said in its order. “The continuing difficulties in bringing service and power back to Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands have impeded and delayed restoration efforts so that conditions on the islands have not improved sufficiently to justify reducing future support payments.”

Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement, “The commission’s action today will not only help complete the recovery from last year’s devastating storms, but seeks comment on much-needed funding for long-term improvement and expansion of broadband throughout Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.”

Commissioner Rosenworcel issued her own statement in response to the order and notice of proposed rulemaking, noting that the FCC failed to make concerted efforts to understand the full impact of Hurricane Maria. “Despite the epic devastation from Hurricane Maria, the FCC failed to hold any public hearings to discuss this communications disaster in the affected area. The FCC refused to do even a basic report as we have done in the past. This is a shame,” she wrote. “Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands deserve the same treatment from this agency as communities on the mainland. Moreover, this was a lost opportunity because efforts like these could have informed our approach in this rulemaking. Our failure to do even a simple assessment on par with what has been done in the past through hearings and reports is an ugly mistake.”

via FCC approves additional funding for Puerto Rico hurricane recovery

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Microsoft’s Surface Hub 2 is a bold attempt at changing how we work


Remember the Surface Hub? You probably don’t. Unlike Microsoft’s other PCs — the Surface Pro, Book, Laptop and Studio — the Hub was a giant and expensive device meant for workplace collaboration, not average consumers. It was never going to star in commercials or turn heads at Best Buy. And even Microsoft admits that it only sold to more than 5,000 customers. But its successor, the Surface Hub 2, is another matter entirely.

It’s a sleek 50.5-inch 4K+ display (the exact resolution is still being finalized) that can be rotated with a slight push, turning it into huge portrait screen. That makes it useful for both scribbling notes with colleagues, or video chatting with someone that’s almost life-sized. You can tile up to four together to create an even larger display, or spread multiple Hub 2s around the room, each serving different roles. It features rolling cases and mounts co-developed with Steelcase, which Microsoft partnered with last year to envision creative workspaces. Even its 3 x 2 aspect ratio is unique, since every other large screen these days is a wider 16 x 9.

The Surface Hub 2 isn’t just another connected display. It’s a bold attempt at transforming the way we work. Panos Panay, Microsoft’s chief product officer, describes it as more of a huddle board — something that’ll get people out of their seats and collaborating in entirely new ways. Naturally, there’s touchscreen support, but you can also throw documents to the Surface Hub 2 from your computer, or control presentations using your phone. And perhaps most importantly for Microsoft, it’s deeply connected to Teams, which could encourage more companies to move over to its Slack rival.

via Microsoft’s Surface Hub 2 is a bold attempt at changing how we work

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Waymo Announces ‘Fully Self-Driving Cars are Here,’ Taxi Service Coming

We are in the midst of a pretty historic moment. Leaping ahead of the competition, Waymo has announced that its self-driving cars will no longer use a human safety driver while they are tested on the roads of Phoenix. But the even bigger news is that the company is gearing up to launch the first commercial driverless taxi service. Yup, the time has come.
On Tuesday, Waymo, the driverless car unit of Google’s parent company Alphabet, released a video of its cars tooling around the Arizona suburbs without anyone behind the wheel. Typically, Waymo and other driverless car startups use a human who’s ready to take over driving duties in case of an emergency. In a blog post, the company announced that what you see in that video is what you’ll be seeing pull up next to you at a traffic light. Continue reading

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AT&T’s ‘Flying COW’ drone provides cell service to Puerto Rico

These days, it’s just as important to have communication up and running after a major disaster as it is to have power, food and drinkable water. The FCC approved $77 million to fix communications in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, while Project Loon (a collaboration with AT&T, Alphabet and T-Mobile) has found ways to get the internet up and running via LTE-providing balloons. Now, AT&T has deployed its helicopter Flying COW (Cell on Wings) to temporarily provide data, voice and text services to Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

AT&T claims that this is the first time such a device has been deployed. The Flying COW hovers 200 to 400 feet above the ground and offers wireless connectivity in an up to 40-square-mile area, a distance that AT&T says is farther than other temporary cell sites. The drone is currently in the San Juan area of Puerto Rico and the company plans to relocate it to various other areas, including a military hospital at Manati Coliseum.


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