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The Jehoshua Novels

Google buys solar-powered drone company Titan Aerospace

Just a month after word came that Facebook was interested in the 20-person drone maker, Google snatches it up for an undisclosed sum.

CNET, By Nick Statt, April 14

Technology companies are expanding beyond the Net and taking to the skies — literally, with solar-powered drones that will beam broadband Internet access to the developing [...]

CIA’s Pakistan drone strikes carried out by regular US air force personnel

Former drone operators claim in new documentary that CIA missions flown by USAF’s 17th Reconnaissance Squadron

The Guardian, By Chris Woods, April 14

A regular US air force unit based in the Nevada desert is responsible for flying the CIA’s drone strike programme in Pakistan, according to a new documentary to be released on Tuesday.


Happy fifty years to the mainframe

The IBM system 360 has survived 50 years. Please treat this as an open thread for mainframe related stories and links.

Revealed: Apple and Google’s wage-fixing cartel involved dozens more companies, over one million employees

Pando Daily, By Mark Ames, March 22

Back in January, I wrote about “The Techtopus” — an illegal agreement between seven tech giants, including Apple, Google, and Intel, to suppress wages for tens of thousands of tech employees. The agreement prompted a Department of Justice investigation, resulting in a settlement in which the companies agreed [...]

A vast hidden surveillance network runs across America, powered by the repo industry

BetaBoston, By Shawn Musgrave, March 5

Few notice the “spotter car” from Manny Sousa’s repo company as it scours Massachusetts parking lots, looking for vehicles whose owners have defaulted on their loans. Sousa’s unmarked car is part of a technological revolution that goes well beyond the repossession business, transforming any ­industry that wants to check [...]

Apple promises fix ‘very soon’ for Macs with failed encryption

Reuters – Apple Inc said on Saturday it would issue a software update “very soon” to cut off the ability of spies and hackers to grab email, financial information and other sensitive data from Mac computers.

Confirming researchers’ findings late Friday that a major security flaw in iPhones and iPads also appears in notebook and [...]

Snowden leaks: Canada ‘spied on airport travellers’

BBC, January 31

Canada’s electronic spy agency collected data from travellers passing through a major airport, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) reports.

The CSEC collected information captured from unsuspecting passengers’ wireless devices by the airport’s free wi-fi system over two-weeks, the report says.

The revelations come from documents leaked by Edward Snowden, CBC says.


New study links fracking to birth defects in heavily drilled Colorado

Al Jazeera America, By Renee Lewis, January 30

Risks of some birth defects increased as much as 30 percent in mothers who lived near oil and gas wells.

Living near hydraulic fracturing — or “fracking” — sites may increase the risk of some birth defects by as much as 30 percent, a new study suggests. [...]

Google to Buy Artificial Intelligence Startup DeepMind for $400M


Google is shelling out $400 million to buy a secretive artificial intelligence company called DeepMind.

Google confirmed the deal after Re/code inquired about it, but declined to specify a price.

Based in London, DeepMind was founded by games prodigy and neuroscientist Demis Hassabis, along with Shane Legg and Mustafa Suleyman.

This is in large [...]

Unrest Deepens in Ukraine as Protests Turn Deadly

New York Times, By David M. Herszenhornjan, January 22

Ukraine — A deepening civil uprising in Ukraine turned deadly on Wednesday, and this embattled capital veered toward chaos, after at least three demonstrators died during clashes with the police and the first direct negotiations between President Viktor F. Yanukovich and opposition leaders yielded only threats [...]

Court strikes down FCC’s net neutrality rules, agency may appeal

GigaOM, By Jeff John Roberts, January 14

An appeals court in Washington on Tuesday ruled that the FCC’s “net neutrality” rules, which prevent companies like Verizon from favoring some types of internet traffic over others, are invalid. The 81-page ruling, which was decided by a 2-1 vote with one judge dissenting in part, has big [...]

Skype hacked, Ballmer freaks out;)

Syrian Electrons Army hacks Skype’s Twitter

Skype Hacked: Hackers claiming to represent the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA) decided to deface Skype’s social media pages with disparaging messages about Microsoft and its digital properties. On Skype’s Twitter page, for example, the hackers posted a status update telling followers not to use Microsoft’s email [...]

N.S.A. Phone Surveillance Is Lawful, Federal Judge Rules

New York Times, By Michael S. Schmidt, December 27

Washington — A federal judge in New York on Friday ruled that the National Security Agency’s program that is systematically keeping phone records of all Americans is lawful, creating a conflict among lower courts and increasing the likelihood that the issue will be resolved by the [...]

Exceptional writing from Edward Dark in Syria

Aleppo’s bloodiest week By Edward Dark, Al Monitor

ALEPPO, Syria — Aleppo has seen its bloodiest week since the Syrian conflict began more than 32 months ago. I’d even venture to say it’s the bloodiest in its entire recent history, a grotesque carnival of mayhem, death and carnage, perpetrated against the hapless and helpless citizens [...]

NSA phone surveillance program likely unconstitutional, federal judge rules

The Guardian, By Spencer Ackerman & Dan Roberts, December 16

Washington – A federal judge in Washington ruled on Monday that the bulk collection of Americans’ telephone records by the National Security Agency is likely to violate the US constitution, in the most significant legal setback for the agency since the publication of the first [...]