Interesting stuff May 14, 2013;
Work break: Google helps a lot of folks — ahem — get their work done, but those of you with less taxing office chores can try “Atari Breakout” as an image search. I was able to clear the screen without losing a ball, but don’t tell the boss.
Antennas to be used as buggy whips: If you have a 4G smartphone, and a good signal, you know how fast it is. Now imagine it being 100 times faster. That’s what 5G will be like when it is commercially available in 2020, says electronics manufacturing kingpin Samsung, who has tested an early prototype. Samsung says they’ve already managed to transmit over 1 gig of data per second more than 2 kilometers. The 5G spec is not yet official, but it sounds like online TV has a definite future.
Talk is cheap: “Free speech and an independent press [are] essential pillars of our democracy,” said President Obama earlier this month. Today, news breaks that the U.S. Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press. The AP calls it a “massive and unprecedented intrusion” into how news organizations gather the news. Information seized in known to include who reporters in New York, Washington D.C. and other locations were calling for two months in 2012. The government is presumed to be trying to figure out who in the CIA and/or FBI told the AP details of a CIA operation in Yemen that stopped an al-Qaida ‘underwear bomber’ potentially bound for the U.S. aboard a commercial airliner. The operation was dubbed an “intelligence victory” for the U.S., but criminal charges will likely be sought against whoever spoke to the AP. Earlier this year, for the first time ever, a CIA agent was sentenced to prison for giving classified info to a reporter.
Droneapalooza: Everyone loves drones, except maybe human pilots. The U.S. Navy will today launch its first drone from an aircraft carrier. The Wall Street Journal says the “batwing” aircraft is “a key moment in the transformation of naval air power.” The first drones will be used for surveillance but later versions will have combat roles. Tom Cruise better get ‘Top Gun 2: Return of Goose” filmed while the Navy still has brash pilots.
#DiplomacyFAIL: A Japanese mayor has enraged many of the island nation’s neighbors by saying the sexual enslavement of women from other countries was “necessary” during World War II. “Anyone can understand that the system of comfort women was necessary to provide respite for high-strung, rough and tumble crowd of men risking their lives under a storm of bullets,” Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto told reporters Monday. “At the time, it was a necessary system to maintain military discipline.” The mayor made the comments while explaining how he believes American soldiers stationed in Okinawa should make more use of the island’s adult entertainment industry, which he said would reduce the incidence of sexual crimes against local women. During World War II, an estimated 200,000 women were rounded up by Japanese Imperial Soldiers and forced to live as prostitutes in “comfort stations.” The government of Japan is seeking to distance itself from the mayor.
Speaking of distance: Obama has sent newish Secretary of State John Kerry all the way to the Arctic Circle. He’s there to meet with other representatives of nations in the Arctic Council — Russia, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, and Canada. Why? There’s oil under them thar melting ice floes! Bloomberg reports “rapidly melting ice is changing the dynamics of the region, opening up new shipping routes that will shave transport times and make previously untouched oil and gas deposits accessible.” The amount of ice covering the Arctic Ocean has dwindled by half, and the thickness of remaining ice is down 80 percent, according to the article. Thin ice is like paper mache to a Russian ice breaker. Imagine how easy it will be look for fossil fuels once the ice cap soon becomes a “frigid slush of fresh and saltwater” during summers, as the White House suggests. How much oil is under the ice? Polar bears and environmentalists will be displeased to learn an estimated 13 percent of the planet’s undiscovered oil is waiting.