Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 5:46 pm
North Korea appears to be in the process of restarting a nuclear reactor used to produce weapons-grade plutonium, five years after shutting the facility down as part of international disarmament efforts.
New satellite imagery appears to reveal that the 5-megawatt reactor at Yongbyon, which experts believe can produce enough plutonium for one to two bombs a year, shows signs of being operational.
You can literally see rockets when you drive into Huntsville, Ala., also known as the "Rocket City." NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center is here, along with scores of aerospace and defense contractors. The city also has one of the largest fully digital school districts: 24,000 Huntsville City Schools students use laptops or tablets instead of textbooks.
All of this partly explains the new cybersecurity class at Grissom High School. Huntsville City Schools and U.S. Army Cyber Command are developing the curriculum, which will eventually begin in middle school.
I noticed in The Guardian that there's a book coming out this week listing the 20 biggest challenges for modern science. I'd like to go over 10 of them today, perhaps coming back to the other 10 next week.
Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 3:07 pm
Satellite imagery and seismic data have identified two huge underground aquifers in Kenya's drought-prone north, a discovery that could be "a game changer" for the country, NPR's Gregory Warner reports.
The aquifers, located hundreds of feet underground in the Turkana region that borders Ethiopia and South Sudan, contain billions of gallons of water, according to UNESCO, which confirmed the existence of the subterranean lakes discovered with the help of a French company using technology originally designed to reveal oil deposits.
An employee drives a Google Maps Street View car around Palo Alto, Calif. The U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco said Tuesday that Google went far beyond listening to accessible radio communication when it drew information from inside people's homes.
Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 3:20 pm
The U.S. Appeals Court in San Francisco refused Tuesday to dismiss a lawsuit that accuses Google of violating federal wiretapping laws by collecting emails and data about people's Web surfing habits as the company's Street View cars crisscrossed the world.
Millions of people use unencrypted wireless networks in their homes to access the Internet. The lawsuit alleges Google's Street View cars were listening in to those digital conversations and making recordings of the traffic in violation of federal law.
When I saw it for the first time, here's what I knew: It's a Google image found on Google Maps, taken by a satellite, plucked and blogged by photographer/sleuth, Mishka Henner. It's a patch of land near a town called Coevorden, in The Netherlands. There's a road on one side, plowed farmland all about, some trees on the lower left and then, weirdly, grey, black, white, golden, green and brown patches crunched together in an almost-rectangle. Those couldn't be natural, I thought.
Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 1:06 pm
If you are wondering what NSA insiders think of the millions of us who are being watched by the agency, we now have a clue.
As part of a slide deck that shows how the NSA can use location information collected by mobile phone users, someone at the NSA apparently thought it would be amusing to play with images from Apple's "Big Brother" ad from 1984 and make allusions to Orwell's body of work.
Next, we'll introduce you to Nathan Myhrvold, who made his name as a prolific inventor at Microsoft. These days, he's focusing on a different kind of technological advance - the threat from biological weapons. Myhrvold is in Washington this week to meet with national security leaders, and try to convince them to spend time and energy on potential attacks. NPR's Carrie Johnson reports.