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The IRS uses computers?! The horror!

Vintage 1960s era short film shows IRS defending its use of computers
Submitted by Layer 8 on Wed, 04/16/14 - 4:58pm.

It's impossible to imagine the Internal Revenue Service or most other number-crunching agencies or companies working without computers.  But when the IRS went to computers  -- the Automatic Data Processing  system --there was an uproar. The agency went so far as to produce a short film on the topic called Right On The Button, to convince the public computers were a good thing.

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Cold War sneakiness: CIA confirms using Dr. Zhivago as a weapon

“We have the opportunity to make Soviet citizens wonder what is wrong with their government…”
Submitted by Layer 8 on Tue, 04/15/14 - 3:50pm.

Interesting admission from the Central Intelligence Agency as it confirmed the long-held suspicion that it indeed had a role in publishing the first Russian-language edition of Doctor Zhivago after the book had been banned in the Soviet Union in 1958.

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Tiny camera brings big league applications to petite satellites

European Space Agency developed CubeSat camera sports spectral vision, data compression
Submitted by Layer 8 on Mon, 04/14/14 - 10:51am.

The European Space Agency has developed a tiny spectrum-revealing camera that can fly inside tiny satellites known as CubeSats making it ideal for many applications from agriculture to environmental research.

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US takes out gang that used Zeus malware to steal millions

Zeus malware used to attack Bank of America, First National Bank of Omaha and others
Submitted by Layer 8 on Fri, 04/11/14 - 1:08pm.

The US Department of Justice today charged nine members of a group that used Zeus malware to infect thousands of business computers with Zeus malware and illegally siphon-off millions of dollars into over-seas bank accounts.

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NASA setting up $250,000 Mars lander competition

NASA wants robotic spacecraft to land, grab a sample and leave
Submitted by Layer 8 on Thu, 04/10/14 - 1:59pm.

NASA this week said it is exploring setting up one of its iconic Centennial Challenge competitions for companies to build a robotic Mars landing spacecraft

NASA said it would expect to have about $250,000 worth of prize money for a robotic spacecraft that could land on the Red Planet, retrieve a sample and return it to orbit.

+More on Network World: 13 cool high-tech prize competitions+

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Dept. of Justice: IRS tax refund fraud at all-time high

April 15 IRS tax filing date has scammers falling over themselves
Submitted by Layer 8 on Mon, 04/07/14 - 2:04pm.

Calling it an "increasingly urgent problem" US Attorney General Eric Holder warned consumers and businesses alike that scammers looking to snatch fraudulent tax refunds based on stolen identities is at an all time high.

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NASA laying foundation for Jupiter moon space mission

Potential Jupiter moon Europa visit still faces daunting financial gauntlet
Submitted by Layer 8 on Mon, 04/07/14 - 11:13am.

NASA recently began laying out the groundwork for the technology it will need to fly an unmanned mission to Jupiter's intriguing moon Europa.

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Mars look bigger and brighter than usual? It should

Submitted by Layer 8 on Thu, 04/03/14 - 4:41pm.

Mars is closer to Earth than it has been for nearly seven years and with a 4-inch or larger telescope you may be able to get quite a view.

According to Sky & Telescope in the middle two weeks of April, Mars will shine with a brightness of magnitude -1.5, matching the luster of Sirius - typically the brightest star in the night sky. 

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FBI: Elaborate $1 million Verizon iPhone, iPad fraud busted

Chicago man preyed on Verizon, used FedEx employees to steal $1M worth of Apple iPhones, iPads
Submitted by Layer 8 on Wed, 04/02/14 - 9:09am.

The FBI said a man admitted he ripped off more than $1 million worth of iPhones and iPads from Verizon Wireless using an elaborate scheme that involved misappropriating corporate purchasing accounts and bribing Federal Express drivers.

U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said Stephen Gunn of Chicago, 36, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge in Newark federal court to an indictment charging him with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

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The government as whopping UFO skeptic

Newly released letter, photo show Air Force’s overt distain for UFO studies
Submitted by Layer 8 on Mon, 03/31/14 - 1:46pm.

A newly released response to one particualr public UFO sighting only increases the notion that the military - which was often forced into looking into "flying saucer" sightings - was exceptionally skeptical about such reports.

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NASA snaps shot of flashy Mars-bound comet

Hubble telescope offers images of comet that is in 1 million year orbit
Submitted by Layer 8 on Thu, 03/27/14 - 10:41am.

NASA today released images of a comet that will make a pass within 84,000 miles of Mars -- less than half the distance between Earth and the moon.

NASA said the Hubble Space Telescope captured the image on the left March 11 of comet C/2013 A1, also called Siding Spring, at a distance of 353 million miles from Earth. Hubble can't see Siding Spring's icy nucleus because of its minuscule size. The nucleus is surrounded by a glowing dust cloud that measures roughly 12,000 miles across, NASA said.

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NTSB reminds pilots to land at correct airport

Two wrong landing incidents in the past year prompted the National Transportation Safety Board’s communiqué on incorrect airport landings
Submitted by Layer 8 on Wed, 03/26/14 - 12:08pm.

There are a ton of details involved in flying an aircraft no doubt but you might think landing at the correct airport would be one of those things that just wouldn't be a serious problem.

Well I guess we'd be wrong on that score because today the National Transportation Safety Board has issued a Safety Alert to remind pilots to um, land at the right airport.

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Artificial Intelligence challenge: Could a robot give its own TED talk?

New X Prize, TED competition wants TED-worthy robot presenters
Submitted by Layer 8 on Tue, 03/25/14 - 12:16pm.

Without a doubt the most presentations and presenters for that matter at any given TED conference deliver leading edge material.  And now that group - who's tag line if "Ideas worth Spreading" - wants to make them even more advanced by challenging the Artificial Intelligence community to develop a thinking robot to deliver a TED presentation.

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US Navy preps Black Box finder for Malaysia Flight 370 search

Device looks for aircraft emergency pinger acoustic signal which is transmitted to either a Oscilloscope, or Signal Processing Computer
Submitted by Layer 8 on Mon, 03/24/14 - 12:40pm.

The US Navy is sending an emergency system that will help searchers find the Black Box of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which mysteriously disappeared March 8.

The Navy system will help find the Black Box in the event a debris field of the plane is ever located.

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Feds call $1M IRS scam largest ever

IRS phone scam threatens arrest, deportation or loss of a business or driver’s license
Submitted by Layer 8 on Fri, 03/21/14 - 12:26pm.

If you think online and telephone scammers just couldn't fool more people  -- think again.  The Treasury Inspector General for Taxpayer Administration this week issued a warning to taxpayers to beware of phone calls from individuals claiming to represent the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in an effort to defraud them.

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“We need more scientific mavericks”

Scientists write: “Mavericks once played an essential role in research. Indeed, their work defined the 20th century. We need influential allies.”
Submitted by Layer 8 on Wed, 03/19/14 - 1:23pm.

Gotta love this letter published in the this week.  It comes from a number of scientists throughout the world who are obviously frustrated with the barriers being thrown up around them - financial, antiquated procedures and techniques to name a few - and would like to see changes.

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Hopped-up Helicopters: DARPA funds radically faster, stronger aircraft

Four companies get nod to build first Vertical take-off and landing X Plane
Submitted by Layer 8 on Tue, 03/18/14 - 6:27pm.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency today embarked on it plan to build a super vertical take off and landing or VTOL aircraft that can fly fast and carry a big load.

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Harsh wireless conditions? Send in the drone hot spot

DARPA program looks to develop hot spot pods for small unmanned aircraft
Submitted by Layer 8 on Fri, 03/14/14 - 4:03pm.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has moved along a project it says would use hot-spot enabled drones to bring bring wireless communications to even the most distant and harsh  environment.

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Sophisticated scam targeting Verizon Wireless customers

Better Business Bureau says scam uses Caller ID spoofing technology, fake website to garner personal information.
Submitted by Layer 8 on Thu, 03/13/14 - 1:33pm.

The Better Business Bureau recently warned of a scam targeting Verizon Wireless customers that tries to trick users into giving up personal information.

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NASA setting stage for asteroid mission

Asteroid retrieval mission would use a robotic spacecraft to capture a small near-Earth asteroid and move it near the moon
Submitted by Layer 8 on Tue, 03/11/14 - 5:01pm.

NASA today said it will officially begin seeking the company or companies that it will contract with to begin the mission to capture an asteroid and move it near the moon, where it could be studied and perhaps mined.

A Broad Agency Announcement or BAA on the Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM)will be published March 21, NASA said. 

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