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Hitler’s Stealth Fighter

DesScorp writes “Aviation Week reports on a television special from the National Geographic Channel on what may have been the world’s first true stealth fighter, the Horton Ho 229, a wooden design that was to include a layer of carbon material sandwiched in the leading edge to defeat radar. Northrop Grumman, experts at stealth technology from their Tacit Blue and B-2 programs, have built a full-size replica of the airframe and tested it at their desert facilities where they determined that the design was indeed stealthy, and would have been practically invisible to Britain’s Chain Home radar system of WWII.”

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Wednesday, June 24th, 2009 Jets Comments Off on Hitler’s Stealth Fighter

On the Humble Default

Hugh Pickens sends along Kevin Kelly’s paean to the default. “One of the greatest unappreciated inventions of modern life is the default. ‘Default’ is a technical concept first used in computer science in the 1960s to indicate a preset standard. … Today the notion of a default has spread beyond computer science to the culture at large. It seems such a small thing, but the idea of the default is fundamental… It’s hard to remember a time when defaults were not part of life. But defaults only arose as computing spread; they are an attribute of complex technological systems. There were no defaults in the industrial age. … The hallmark of flexible technological systems is the ease by which they can be rewired, modified, reprogrammed, adapted, and changed to suit new uses and new users. Many (not all) of their assumptions can be altered. The upside to endless flexibility and multiple defaults lies in the genuine choice that an individual now has, if one wants it. … Choices materialize when summoned. But these abundant choices never appeared in fixed designs. … In properly designed default system, I always have my full freedoms, yet my choices are presented to me in a way that encourages taking those choices in time — in an incremental and educated manner. Defaults are a tool that tame expanding choice.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Hospital Confirms Steve Jobs’s Liver Transplant

CNet is reporting that the hospital where Apple’s CEO reportedly got a liver transplant two months ago has now confirmed the truth of these reports. “Steve Jobs underwent his liver transplant about two months ago at Methodist University Hospital in Memphis, the hospital confirmed Tuesday. Jobs, who returned to work Apple’s campus in Cupertino, Calif., on Monday after a six-month medical leave, ‘is now recovering well and has an excellent prognosis,’ according to a statement by Dr. James D. Eason, the program director of the Methodist University Hospital Transplant Institute. … While Eason said the confirmation was being provided with Jobs’s approval, he cited patient confidentially in saying that he could not reveal any further information on the specifics of Jobs’s surgery.”

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PHP 5.3 gets GOTO operator – XKCD used in the PHP manual

The goto operator can be used to jump to another section in the program. The target point is specified by a label followed by a colon, and the instruction is given as goto followed by the desired target label.

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Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009 Uncategorized Comments Off on PHP 5.3 gets GOTO operator – XKCD used in the PHP manual

Why China’s Internet Plan May Backfire

The mandatory requirement that all computers sold in China carry security software has caused a stir among Chinese Internet users. Officially, the purpose of the Green Dam-Youth Escort software is to shield kids from online pornography, but most China watchers expect Beijing to use the program to block access to…

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DHS To Kill Domestic Satellite Spying Program

mcgrew writes “The Bush administration had plans in place to use spy satellites to spy on American citizens. This morning the AP reports that new DHS head Janet Napolitano has axed those plans. ‘The program was announced in 2007 and was to have the Homeland Security Department use overhead and mapping imagery from existing satellites for homeland security and law enforcement purposes. The program, called the National Applications Office, has been delayed because of privacy and civil liberty concerns. The program was included in the Obama administration’s 2010 budget request, according to Rep. Jane Harman, a California Democrat and House homeland security committee member who was briefed on the department’s classified intelligence budget.'”

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Verified Identify Pass Shuts Down "Clear" Operations

torrentami writes that Verified Identity Pass, operator of the “Clear” program, which allowed pre-screened passengers quicker access to US airport gates, “sent out emails to its subscribers today informing them that as of 11 p.m. PST they will cease operations. Clear was a pioneer in speeding customers through security at airports and had planned on expanding to large events. The service, where it was available, offered a first class security experience for travelers willing to fork over 0 a year and their biometrics. Customers are now left holding their Flyclear cards with encrypted biometrics. The question now becomes, what happens to all that information? This is not the first time Clear has been in the news. A laptop containing customer records was reportedly missing from the San Francisco International airport recently but then turned up shortly thereafter. Another casualty of the recession’s downturn in business travel.”

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Is It Quality Assurance or Quality Control?


Is there a difference between quality control and quality assurance? Just night and day. Unfortunately, many companies believe they are the same, when in reality the differences are overwhelming. Quality control, or black box testing, is chartered to ensure that the product is going to meet the user’s needs — not just to demonstrate that the program runs. A program can run and still not meet the user’s needs. The involvement of QC begins with the project specification. How can a tester test without knowing the client’s expectations?

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Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009 Uncategorized Comments Off on Is It Quality Assurance or Quality Control?

US Military Blocks Data On Incoming Meteors

Hugh Pickens writes “Nature reports that the US military has abruptly ended an informal arrangement that allowed scientists access to data on incoming meteors from classified surveillance satellites, dealing a blow to the astronomers and planetary scientists who used the information to track space rocks. ‘These systems are extremely useful,’ says astronomer Peter Brown, at the University of Western Ontario. ‘I think the tech community benefited enormously.’ Meteor data came from the Defense Support Program (DSP) satellite network consisting of infrared satellites in geosynchronous orbit to monitor the globe for missile launches or atmospheric nuclear blasts, forming the principal component of the United States’ ballistic missile early-warning system. The satellites’ effectiveness was demonstrated during Desert Storm, when DSP detected the launch of Iraqi Scud missiles and provided warning to civilian populations and coalition forces in Israel and Saudi Arabia. As a side benefit, the satellites could also precisely detect the time, position, altitude and brightness of meteors as they entered Earth’s atmosphere, information the military didn’t consider particularly useful, or classified. ‘It was being dropped on the floor,’ says former Air Force captain Brian Weeden. Although the reason for ending the arrangement remains unclear, Weeden notes that it coincides with the launch of a new generation of surveillance satellites and speculates that the Pentagon may not want details of the new satellites’ capabilities to be made public, or it may simply lack the expensive software needed to handle classified and declassified data simultaneously. ‘The decision may have been made that it was perhaps too difficult to disclose just these data.'”

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Monday, June 22nd, 2009 Uncategorized Comments Off on US Military Blocks Data On Incoming Meteors

Google Suggest Disabled In China Due To Porn

I Don’t Believe in Imaginary Property writes “The Chinese government has asked Google to disable Google Suggest because it has been suggesting that people search for pornography based on its analysis of the most popular search terms in China. This comes on the heels of a fake CCTV interview being used to support the government requirement that all new computers ship with the ‘Green Damn’ Internet censoring program, which is still in force, despite reports to the contrary.” The story on the chinaSMACK site demonstrates that Chinese search engine Baidu features a comparable search-suggestion function, which similarly recommends adult-themed sites, but that the government has not attacked Baidu over the issue of porn.

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Sunday, June 21st, 2009 Uncategorized Comments Off on Google Suggest Disabled In China Due To Porn