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  1. How to get your YouTube History deleted automatically The video streaming site YouTube keeps track of every video that a user watches on the site and every search that is made. It uses the information for its recommendation engine that suggests videos to users based on past activity. YouTube users had two options up until now to deal with the accumulation of data: delete the data manually regularly or pause the data collecting. You can check out our guide on clearing and disabling the search and watch history on YouTube as it explains both options in detail. Google announced recently that it would integrate new functionality that would allow users to have the activity history deleted automatically. The new functionality is now available but it is likely that most YouTube users don't know about it. The main reason for that is that Google did not implement the functionality on the YouTube website but on the company's My Activity website instead. If you check the options on YouTube, you will get the old "pause" or "clear manually" options only. If you check My Activity, you get the option to configure automatic processes to delete the history and to configure the watch history better as well. Here is how that is done: Visit the My Activity website on the Google website. Either click on the link in the previous sentence to go there or open the main Google website, click on your profile icon and select Google Account > Manage your data & personalization > YouTube History > Manage Activity (under YouTube History). The page lists two main options to configure the history on YouTube. The left widget displays the current state of history recording, e.g. paused, and options to manage the settings. A click on change setting displays options to enable the watch history or search history exclusively on YouTube. Note that this will enable history recording again on the site. The second widget controls an automated process that will delete the history based on your preferences. The default is set to "keeping activity until you delete it manually". Click on "choose to delete automatically" to configure auto-delete for the YouTube history. Only two time intervals are provided: 3 months or 18 months. If you select one interval, Google will delete information about watched videos or searches automatically based on the selected interval. Google notes that recommendations get better the longer the history is kept. YouTube uses your history to remind you what you've watched, avoid recommending already watched videos, and improve your recommendations. These benefits improve the longer you keep your history. If you select three months, Google will delete any activity that is older than three months. The configuration page lacks any other options; there is no option to set a custom interval. There is no need to configure the automatic deletion of the history if you paused it already and deleted the past history (check out our linked guide above as it explains how to do that). Closing words The new automatic deletion setting is not flexible enough to be of good use. Three and eighteen months may work for some users but many would probably prefer different intervals or a custom option. Source: How to get your YouTube History deleted automatically (gHacks - Martin Brinkmann)
  2. Firefox Add-ons to delete history of active page or domain Delete The Browsing History Of The Current Page and Delete Browsing History Of Domain Of Current Page are two Firefox add-ons that make it very easy to delete certain bits from the Firefox browsing history. Designed by the same developer, the two add-ons are designed to erase the browsing history and cookies of the active page or of an entire site. Firefox users may delete the browsing history and other data at any time in the browser. All that is required for that is to either use Ctrl-Shift-Del to open the clear browsing history tool or open it by going to Menu > Options > Privacy and Security > Clear History under History. While you get some options, e.g. to clear all browsing data that accumulated over the last hour, there is no option to delete data from a single site only using the tool. You may delete individual pages or visited pages using the History, but that won't remove cookie and other site data. Delete The Browsing History Of The Current Page is a streamlined add-on for Firefox that serves just one purpose: erase the current page from Firefox's browsing history. The extension requires access to the browsing history and adds an icon to the Firefox address bar. The icon is a bit difficult to spot but you can check out the screenshot below to see where it is located in the interface. All you have to do now is to activate the icon to remove the browsing history of the active page from the Firefox browsing history. You may assign a shortcut to the extension as well if you prefer to delete the browsing history using a shortcut. Just open Firefox's add-ons manager, about:addons, click on the menu icon, and select the Manage Extension Shortcuts option to do so. Open the Browsing History using Ctrl-Shift-H to verify that the extension works. Delete Browsing History Of Domain Of Current Page works similarly but instead of deleting the browsing history of the active page, it deletes the activity of the domain the page is hosted on. If you visit multiple sites on Ghacks and activate the extension afterward, all Ghacks traces are removed from the browsing history. Closing Words Both Firefox add-ons may be useful to users who prefer to keep their browsing history clean. While that is also possible using private browsing modes or different Firefox profiles, both add a straightforward unobtrusive option to Firefox to do the same. Firefox uses the browsing history to display suggestions to users when they type in the browser's address bar. Visited sites may also land on the browser's New Tab page. Source: Firefox Add-ons to delete history of active page or domain (gHacks - Martin Brinkmann)
  3. Around 252 million years ago, Earth experienced catastrophic devastation - an extinction event so severe that it wiped out almost all of the life on Earth. Up to 70 percent of all land vertebrate species were killed off, and a massive 96 percent of all marine species, including the famous trilobite that had previously survived two other mass extinction events. It's called the Permian-Triassic Extinction Event, also known as the Great Dying, and as far as we know, it was the most calamitous event in Earth's history. It's widely accepted that climate change is to blame - more specifically, that long-term volcanic activity in Siberia spewed so much material into the atmosphere that it wrapped the world in a shroud of ash for a million years, simultaneously blocking sunlight, thinning the ozone, dropping acid rain, and raising temperatures. Now scientists have demonstrated what obliterated the marine life: rising temperatures accelerated the metabolisms of ocean creatures, which increases their oxygen requirements, while simultaneously depleting the oceans of oxygen. The animals literally suffocated. And we're experiencing similar atmospheric warming again today - only much faster than the Great Dying, which showed warning signs for 700,000 years before the event itself. "This is the first time," said oceanographer Justin Penn of the University of Washington, "that we have made a mechanistic prediction about what caused the extinction that can be directly tested with the fossil record, which then allows us to make predictions about the causes of extinction in the future." The team conducted a computer simulation of the changes Earth underwent during the Great Dying. Prior to the Siberian volcanic eruptions, the temperatures and oxygen levels were similar to what they are today, so that gave them a good baseline to work from. Then they elevated greenhouse gases in the model's atmosphere to mimic the conditions following the eruption, which raised sea surface temperatures by around 11 degrees Celsius (by 20 degrees Fahrenheit). Sure enough, this resulted in an oxygen depletion of around 76 percent - and about 40 percent of the seafloor, mostly at greater depths, was entirely depleted of oxygen. To observe how this would affect marine life, the team plugged oxygen requirement data from 61 modern species into the simulation. It was a disaster. "Very few marine organisms stayed in the same habitats they were living in - it was either flee or perish," said oceanographer Curtis Deutsch of the University of Washington. The hardest hit were creatures most sensitive to oxygen, with the most pronounced devastation at high latitudes far from the equator. When the team compared their result with the fossil record, it confirmed their findings. This is because animals living in the warmer waters around the equator can migrate to higher latitudes, where they will find habitats similar to the ones they just left. But animals already living in higher latitudes have nowhere left to go. In all, the researchers found, this accounted for over 50 percent of the Great Dying's marine diversity loss. The rest was likely caused by other factors such as acidification by the CO2 from the Siberian traps, and a sharp decline in plant life caused by the thinning ozone. We should be sitting up and paying attention to this, the researchers said. That temperature increase of 11 degrees Celsius took a few thousand years, give or take. Since 1880, Earth's average temperature has risen by 0.8 degrees Celsius (1.4 Fahrenheit) - and two-thirds of that increase has occurred since 1975. And the warming of Earth's oceans is accelerating. "Under a business-as-usual emissions scenarios, by 2100 warming in the upper ocean will have approached 20 percent of warming in the late Permian, and by the year 2300 it will reach between 35 and 50 percent," Penn said. "This study highlights the potential for a mass extinction arising from a similar mechanism under anthropogenic climate change." Remember that. The team's research has been published in the journal Science. source
  4. tao

    [History] Ancient Russia

    The early history of Russia, like those of many countries, is one of migrating peoples and ancient kingdoms. In fact, early Russia was not exactly "Russia," but a collection of cities that gradually coalesced into an empire. I n the early part of the ninth century, as part of the same great movement that brough the Danes to England and the Norsemen to Western Europe, a Scandanavian people known as the Varangians crossed the Baltic Sea and landed in Eastern Europe. The leader of the Varangians was the semilegendary warrior Rurik, who led his people in 862 to the city of Novgorod on the Volkhov River. Whether Rurik took the city by force or was invited to rule there, he certainly invested the city. From Novgorod, Rurik's successor Oleg extended the power of the city southward. In 882, he gained control of Kiev, a Slavic city that had arisen along the Dnepr River around the 5th century. Oleg's attainment of rule over Kiev marked the first establishment of a unified, dynastic state in the region. Kiev became the center of a trade route between Scandinavia and Constantinople, and Kievan Rus', as the empire came to be known, flourished for the next three hundred years. By 989, Oleg's great-grandson Vladimir I was ruler of a kingdom that extended to as far south as the Black Sea, the Caucasus Mountains, and the lower reaches of the Volga River. Having decided to establish a state religion, Vladimir carefully considered a number of available faiths and decided upon Greek Orthodoxy, thus allying himself with Constantinople and the West. It is said that Vladimir decided against Islam partly because of his belief that his people could not live under a religion that prohibits hard liquor. Vladimir was succeeded by Yaroslav the Wise, whose reign marked the apogee of Kievan Rus'. Yaroslav codified laws, made shrewd alliances with other states, encouraged the arts, and all the other sorts of things that wise kings do. Unfortunately, he decided in the end to act like Lear, dividing his kingdom among his children and bidding them to cooperate and flourish. Of course, they did nothing of the sort. Within a few decades of Yaroslav's death (in 1054), Kievan Rus' was rife with internecine strife and had broken up into regional power centers. Internal divisions were made worse by the depradations of the invading Cumans (better known as the Kipchaks). It was during this time (in 1147 to be exact) that Yuri Dolgorukiy, one of the regional princes, held a feast at his hunting lodge atop a hill overlooking the confluence of the Moskva and Neglina Rivers. A chronicler recorded the party, thus providing us with the earliest mention of Moscow, the small settlement that would soon become the pre-eminent city in Russia. If interested, please read about Russian history from ancient times to Soviet era < here >. Ancient Russia | The Mongols & the Emergence of Moscow | The Romanovs | Napoleon's Invasion | The Path to Revolution | The Soviet Era
  5. tao

    Estonia

    Cannot the tongue of this land, In the wind of incantation, Rising up to the heavens, Seek eternity? ~ Kristjan Jaak Peterson Daily life and social customs Barn dwellings are now historical curiosities, but other elements of Estonian folk culture remain alive. Although the traditional costumes that were once everyday wear began to disappear in the last half of the 19th century as a result of increasing urbanization, they are still worn for festive occasions, and song and dance remain central to Estonian identity. Traditional cuisine in Estonia includes leavened rye bread, stews, berry jams, pickled gherkins, pearl barley, potato porridge, brawn (headcheese), and salt herring, among other dishes. Holiday meals may include roast goose or pork, ale, black pudding, apples, nuts, and gingerbread. Among the main holidays are New Year’s Day, Easter Sunday, Labour (or Spring) Day (May 1), and Christmas (December 25), as well as the summer holidays of Victory Day (June 23; Võidupüha) and St. John’s (or Midsummer) Day (June 24; Jaanipäev). Celebrated February 24, Independence Day honours the 1918 declaration of independence from Soviet Russia, while the 1991 declaration of independence from the Soviet Union is observed on August 20 and known as Restoration Day. Other national holidays commemorate the Tartu Peace Treaty of 1920 (February 2) and the Soviet deportation of some 10,000 Estonians on a single night in 1941 (June 14). Dancers performing at a song-and-dance festival in Tallinn, Estonia.MaSii The arts The scope and importance of Estonian literature have steadily increased since the period of national awakening in the 19th century. Open to cultural and literary influences of western Europe, Estonian literature developed a diversity of styles, ranging from Neoclassicism to bold experimentation. In the 20th century, Estonian writers represented three different epochs: Anton Hansen Tammsaare was the leading novelist of the former Republic of Estonia (1920–40); Jaan Kross wrote in an allegorical style during the period of Soviet occupation; and Tõnu Õnnepalu, whose work fits comfortably in the broader European context, became internationally recognized in the 1990s. Both Estonian classics and the works of contemporary authors have been translated into many languages. The beginning of professional theatrical art in Estonia is closely connected with the creation of the Vanemuine Theatre in Tartu in 1870. Tallinn has several theatres, including the national opera theatre, a youth theatre, and a puppet theatre. The festival Baltoscandal, which presents alternative theatre, started in Parnu in 1990. Estonian visual art came of age in the middle of the 19th century, when Johann Köler was among the leading portrait painters. The graphic art of Eduard Wiiralt symbolized bohemian art in the country in the 1920s and ’30s. The international reputation of Estonian art has grown beyond these origins with the work of sculptor Juri Ojaver, ceramicists Leo Rohlin and Kaido Kask, digital media artist Mare Tralla, and graphic artist Urmo Raus. An early expression of Estonian nationalism dating from the mid-19th century, song and dance festivals continue to be extremely popular. The first national song festival was held in Tartu in 1869, and today the Song and Dance Celebration remains a linchpin of national identity. Classical composers and conductors of note include Rudolf Tobias (Jonah’s Mission, 1908), Arvo Pärt (Fratres, 1977), and Neeme Järvi. If interested, please read the entire article < here >.
  6. Matt Desch didn’t set out to change the world, but he just might do it anyway. As the CEO of Iridium, the only company that provides satellite communications to every inch of the globe, he is at the helm of Next, a fleet of telecommunications satellites that is arguably one of the most ambitious space projects ever undertaken. By this time next year, Iridium will have sent 75 Next satellites into orbit. Each one will be replacing a first-generation Iridium satellite that has been in orbit for almost two decades. Once these new satellites are in place, they will establish radio contact with one another over thousands of miles of empty space to create the largest and most complex mesh network ever placed in orbit. Like the first-generation network, these Iridium Next satellites will provide critical phone and data services to everyone from scientists in Antarctica and military contractors in the Middle East, to drug mules in Central America and climbers on the summit of Mount Everest. A payload capsule filled with 10 Iridium Next satellites on board a Falcon 9 rocket ahead of the Iridium-3 launch in October 2017 But the Next constellation also comes with a suite of new features. Not only will it provide an orbital backbone for the expanding Internet of Things, the satellite network will also be tracking planes and ships in regions they’ve never been tracked before. Almost 70 percent of the Earth isn’t covered by radar, which is why the ill-fated Malaysia Airlines flight was able to disappear into the ocean in 2014 without a trace. Iridium hopes to make these sorts of tragedies obsolete. That’s if everything goes according to plan, of course, and Iridium isn’t exactly known for its successes. A little under 20 years ago, it was the subject of one of the largest corporate bankruptcies in history. Indeed, the original fleet of satellites that Iridium is replacing with its Next constellation came within hours of a fiery demise, after the company decided to cut its losses after filing for bankruptcy and deorbit them. In this sense, each Iridium Next launch not only represents the culmination of several years’ worth of intensive design, research, and testing by an international team of scientists and engineers, but also the dogged pursuit of a (quite literally) lofty goal in the face of overwhelmingly bad odds. In order to get a better understanding of the stakes, I followed the next generation of Iridium satellites from their birth in a warehouse in the Arizona desert to their delivery to orbit nearly 500 miles overhead. Last October, I met Desch, who has been Iridium’s CEO for nearly 12 years, for breakfast at a restaurant in Solvang, California. We had just finished watching the third batch of ten Iridium satellites get delivered to orbit aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that launched from nearby Vandenberg Air Force Base. It was well before noon, but both Desch and I had been awake for hours. A SpaceX rocket carrying the third batch of Iridium satellites launches from Vandenberg Air Force base on October 9, 2017. As we devoured our avocado toast, Iridium engineers on the East Coast were busy maneuvering the satellites into their orbital planes while Desch explained why SpaceX and Iridium are ideal partners. “In many ways, the Falcon 9 was built around the Iridium payload because we were the first ones to work with SpaceX,” Desch told me. “Launching is about a third of our costs and if SpaceX wasn’t around, I just couldn’t afford it.” On the other hand, Iridium, which was SpaceX’s first customer and remains its largest, provides SpaceX with a major source of revenue that it won’t find anywhere else in the commercial sector. As Desch bluntly put it, “Nobody launches 75 satellites.” Desch’s faith in Elon Musk’s rockets hasn’t wavered over the years, but watching the Falcon 9 rocket explode on the launch pad in September 2016 made an impression on him. The first ten Iridium satellites had been scheduled to head to orbit a few weeks later, but the explosion delayed deployment until last January. SpaceX touts its “flight proven” rockets as a cost-saving measure, but the extra risk that comes with flying on a used rocket is part of the reason why Iridium’s original contract with the private spaceflight company specified that its cargo would never be flown on a Falcon 9 booster that had previously been to space. On the other hand, the rocket that claimed a Facebook satellite that September had been brand new, a forceful reminder that when it comes to space travel there are no guarantees. Flying “used” would save Iridum some money, but it’s a gamble: Each of Iridium’s payloads is worth a quarter billion dollars and the loss of even a single one would be disastrous. After lengthy talks with SpaceX and his insurance providers, however, Desch recently opted to send the fourth and fifth batches of Iridium satellites on flight-proven rockets. Given the high stakes of each launch, this speaks volumes about his confidence in Musk’s company. On December 22, SpaceX carried a batch of Iridium satellites to orbit on a previously flown rocket for the first time. Whatever Desch’s anxieties were about flying used, they proved to be unfounded—the launch went flawlessly. How to Build a Satellite Iridium’s journey to space begins in a nondescript building in pastoral Gilbert, Arizona, a Phoenix suburb. This building is home to Orbital ATK, the aerospace company overseeing the manufacturing process of the Iridium Next constellation, and sits just across the street from a farm where a handful of cows spend their days idly chewing cud. The sterile hallways of the Orbital ATK building are cavernous and lined with doors plastered with warnings that these rooms house strictly controlled materials. Technicians prepare an Iridium satellite at the Orbital factory. Under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), many satellite parts are subject to the same stringent oversight as weapons like tanks and hand grenades. These technologies are usually off limits to civilian eyes and can’t be shared with foreign governments. This regulation has been a pain the side of the space industry for years, but for a visitor to Orbital ATK’s facilities like myself, it mostly meant I wouldn’t be bringing a camera inside. The facility consists of five massive clean rooms for storing and assembling satellites. Orbital ATK has registered each of these as a Foreign Trade Zone, a legal distinction that is the industrial equivalent to a duty free shop at an airport and saves the company paying steep taxes on imported parts. The largest FTZ is reserved for the manufacture of Iridium satellites, consists of 18 workstations, and has technicians in cleanroom suits working on site 24/7. Most satellites are unique and their production is a painstaking process that can last years. This wasn’t going to work for Iridium: The company needed to manufacture 81 satellites (75 to be placed in orbit with six remaining on the ground as spares) in the amount of time it usually takes to make one. In short, Iridium tasked Orbital ATK with doing for aerospace what Henry Ford had done for the automobile. This was a challenge for a relatively small company, but it had some experience in the area. In the late 90s, Orbital also oversaw the construction of the first constellation of Iridium satellites, when the idea of mass producing satellites was totally unprecedented and deemed by many to be impossible. Many of the engineers that worked on that first constellation are still at the company today, but this time the design of the Next satellites was overseen by the French aerospace company Thales. Thales had a legacy satellite design that was adapted for the Iridium payloads, but according to the Orbital ATK and Thales engineers I spoke with, the design collaboration process could still be painstakingly slow due to ITAR restrictions. Often, Thales would send its preliminary designs to Orbital ATK, only to find a number of adjustments needed to be made, even though the exact nature of these adjustments was unclear due to restrictions on the sharing of component designs. After a drawn-out revision process, the satellite designs were passed off to Orbital ATK, which began to manufacture seven of the planned 81 satellites. These seven satellites are the only ones that run the gamut of testing, which includes subjecting them to intense vibrations, electromagnetic interference and acoustic tests that Michael Pickett, Orbital ATK’s director of program management, described to me as “blasting the satellites with the biggest, baddest rock concert speakers you can imagine.” The point of these tests was to validate the design process—if the satellites still worked after this mechanical torture, it meant the other 74 satellites that would pass through the assembly line should work fine, too. After the design validation tests, Orbital ATK kicked its 18-station assembly line into high gear. Until the last one is finished, sometime in early 2018, the assembly line will see five to six satellites from start to completion each month. The process starts with assembling the different parts of the satellite body—called the “bus”—which is about the size of a Mini Cooper. Once the bus is completed, Orbital ATK technicians begin testing the satellite’s electronic components and communication modules, antenna alignment, and insulation. Toward the end of the assembly line, each satellite is placed in a thermal chamber for 12 days and is subjected to extremely high and low temperatures to see how it will hold up in the hostile space environment. If the satellite survives, it progresses to station 15, where the star tracker that will be used to track the satellite’s position in orbit is installed. This station also holds sentimental value for the Orbital ATK engineers—the point where a plate dedicating the craft to a specific employee or investor is installed on the craft. 10 Iridium satellites are loaded into a specially designed payload capsule to be placed atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. Next, the satellites’ fuel tanks are filled with helium and placed in an airtight tent that is pumped full of nitrogen. Due to the size difference of these molecules, the engineers are able to look for any leaks that might’ve cropped up during the assembly process. Finally, the solar panels that will serve as a power supply for the satellite are installed and the craft is basically ready for orbit. Iridium then has to decide whether or not the satellite will be one of the ten going up on the next SpaceX rocket. If not, it will join a few dozen other satellites stacked two-high and covered with black tarps inside a large storage room, until they’re ready for launch. If a finished satellite is destined to go up on the next launch, its batteries will be removed from cold storage and installed on the craft at the last station. Here, the satellite’s software is uploaded to the craft and Iridium technicians at its Satellite Network Operations Center in Virginia establish contact with the satellite to make sure they will be able to communicate with the craft while it’s in orbit. The satellite is then loaded into a custom shipping container for its journey to Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, its final stop on Earth. After liftoff, Iridium’s global network of technicians takes over to make sure the satellites are communicating with one another and the gateways on Earth as they are maneuvered into orbit—a process that can take up to a month. Once they are properly in orbit, the satellites will not only begin talking to one another and Iridium devices on the ground, but also one of the three gateways that link the satellite constellation to the telecommunications infrastructure that most of us use on a daily basis. When I visited Iridium’s main gateway in Tempe, Arizona, it was a hive of activity. (The other two gateways are exclusively for the US Department of Defense and Russia, respectively.) Iridium technicians sat in a darkened control room watching satellites tear across a projection of the Earth as they monitored calls being routed through the network for any signs of an error. Iridium’s main satellite network operations center in Virginia. According to Stuart Fankhauser, Iridium’s vice president of network operations, it wasn’t so long ago that the operating room was a dead zone as the company teetered on the brink of bankruptcy. “I was one of the last guys here,” Fankhauser told me. “It was just me and four others, and we ran everything. It was very quiet, very eerie.” Iridium was spun off as a subsidiary of Motorola in the 1990s. Its first-generation constellation was originally expected to cost around $3.5 billion, but by the time the satellites were functional, Motorola had sunk almost twice that much into the revolutionary project. To make matters worse, in the early 90s there were hardly any customers for Iridium’s satellite phone service, the constellation’s raison d’être. This was partly due to the unwieldy size of the company’s satellite phone (affectionately known as “the brick”), but mostly a consequence of its cost: thousands of dollars for the phone and then around $7/minute to make a call. Before it filed for bankruptcy, Iridium had roughly 60,000 customers, but increasing cell phone coverage in the United States and Europe meant that the very populations that could afford the device had increasingly little need for it. In August 1999, Motorola pulled the plug on its ambitious satellite project and Iridium filed for bankruptcy, just nine months after the satellite constellation went live. Unless another company bought it out—and by 1999, no investor in their right mind would touch this space-age Icarus—Iridium would be done for. Enter Dan Colussy, the former president of Pan American airlines who had been monitoring Iridium’s troubles with great interest. Just hours before Motorola was scheduled to begin the deorbiting process, Colussy was busy negotiating terms with the Department of Defense, Saudi financiers, and Motorola executives that would allow him to formally purchase the company for around $35 million, a fraction of the billions of dollars the tech giant had sunk into it. Iridium VP of satellite operations Walt Everetts with one of the company's grounded test satellites in Tempe, Arizona. As detailed in Eccentric Orbits, journalist John Bloom’s tell-all memoir of Iridium’s unlikely rise and spectacular failure, Colussy, who didn’t respond to my requests for comment, knew the satellite constellation would be good for something, he just wasn’t sure what. Iridium was an unprecedented technological feat that simply seemed too valuable to allow it to burn up in the atmosphere. Sixteen years later, Colussy’s intuition is finally being proven correct, but Iridium’s employees told me it was an uphill battle to make it here. “We had to be pretty scrappy back then,” Fankhauser told me as we walked through Iridium’s Tempe gateway facility. “We were burning our investors’ money so we bought supplies off eBay and liquidators from failing dotcoms. It was humbling.” The gateway is one half of Iridium’s backend operations. The other half, a test facility just down the road, is constantly probing the satellite network for weaknesses or seeking ways to improve Iridium’s service. Inside the test facility are two large Faraday cages filled with every type of Iridium phone and IoT device that operates on the Iridium network. These devices are used to call two partially disassembled satellites in another room that have been programmed to “think” they’re in orbit in order to test the load-bearing capacity of the operational network and the compatibility of various devices. On the day I visited, Iridium engineers had successfully managed to place 1,700 simultaneous calls through a single satellite, a company record. Walt Everetts is Iridium’s vice president of satellite operations and ground development and oversees the day to day activities at the test center. He showed me a large interactive map in the test center’s lobby that depicted calls on the network in real time. Small colored dots indicated different types of services: someone in Dubai calling someone in China or a sailor in the Atlantic checking their email. But the vast majority of the dots indicated machines talking to other machines. Iridium satellites waiting to be loaded onto a Falcon 9 rocket. The white box at the top is the Aireon hosted payload, which will track planes in regions of the world that are outside of ground-based RADAR range As Everetts and Desch both pointed out, the growth of the Internet of Things is a key reason why they believe Iridium will be a viable company this time around. Although facilitating calls between humans is still a core component of the company’s business, most of the network is used to route information between computers, whether these are tsunami monitoring buoys in the middle of the ocean, or chips implanted to track endangered animals. In fact, Desch said over half of Iridium’s almost 1 million subscriptions are now IoT companies looking to connect their devices. End of an Era Iridium is one of the few companies in the aerospace sector, alongside SpaceX, that can claim to have anything close to a fan club. Aside from the customers actually using its products, there are a number of astroheads around the world cataloging a phenomenon known as Iridium flares. The original satellites were designed with a large reflective surface, meaning at certain angles the sunlight produces a bright flare that can be seen with the naked eye at night, even in light polluted cities. This passion was also expressed by Iridium technicians I spoke with, who had an uncanny habit of referring to the satellites in the same manner a parent might speak about their child. Indeed, each one has a name—Everetts has named two after his sons—and this adds a degree of gravitas to the deorbiting process, which can take anywhere from a few days to several months, depending on how much fuel is left in a satellite. At the time of writing, six of the original Iridium satellites launched in the late 90s have been successfully deorbited. Several others will meet their demise later this year. Yet the end of the original Iridium network is also the beginning of something new—not just for the company, but for space exploration as a whole. Today, companies like OneWeb, Boeing, and SpaceX are in a race to create massive broadband networks consisting of hundreds of satellites, but Iridium doesn’t see them as much of a threat. In the first place, most of these planned constellations are for consumer broadband, whereas Iridium provides specialized services. More importantly, however, none of these companies has even come close to getting those projects off the ground. This race to take the internet to space calls to mind other ambitious and ill-fated satellite telecommunications companies of the 90s, like Teledesic and Globalstar. Both these companies collapsed after Iridium filed for bankruptcy and demonstrated that there wasn’t a real market for satellite phones. It’s highly likely this new crop is carefully watching Iridium, just like the space industry did back in the 90s, to see whether its ambitious program will work. So far, everything has gone off without a hitch. But 35 more satellites still need to be launched. And there is plenty of opportunity for error. The gamble is a big one, and so is the reward—being the first, and only, company to provide communications coverage to every inch of the globe. “We’re the only company that’s ever launched this many satellites and we’re the only one still doing it today,” Desch told me. “But because of our success, we’ve inspired a whole new industry: This is the era of Low Earth Orbit satellite megaconstellations.” source
  7. Researchers say it may be the shape of our brains, not the size, that makes us who we are W all learned in science class that human’s have big ol’ brains, and that the size of our brains is responsible for all of the fancy things humans have achieved in our relatively short stint here on Earth. However, new research into the evolution of the brain “cases” of Homo sapiens (simply put, the inside of the skull) suggests that the size of our brains might not have been the most important factor in getting us where we are today. Homo sapiens had quite large brains even as far back as 300,000 years ago. However, it took a long time for the elongated, flatter brains that were present in the earliest examples of our species to evolve into the rounder, globe-shaped brains we have today. A new paper published in Science Advances attempts to narrow down the timeframe of when our brains changed, and researchers have discovered that its changing shape may have been the key factor in sparking human ingenuity. After studying the fossilized remains of various human ancestors, scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology have come to the conclusion that rounded brains didn’t begin to emerge until somewhere between 100,000 and 35,000 years ago. That means that for 200,000 years or more, early humans still had flatter, Neanderthal-like brain shapes. Researchers believe that human genetic changes are responsible for the shift in brain shape, but they still aren’t sure exactly why it happened. However, the timing of our shape-shifting brain appears to be well aligned with some of the most important developments in human history. The emergence of art, advanced tool making, and other huge milestones seem to correlate with the evolution of our brain shape, suggesting that a reorganization of our brain matter (rather than a spike in brain size) was just what we needed to push forward as a species. “Our data show that, 300,000 years ago, brain size in early H. sapiens already fell within the range of present-day humans,” the researchers write. “Brain shape, however, evolved gradually within the H. sapiens lineage, reaching present-day human variation between about 100,000 and 35,000 years ago. This process started only after other key features of craniofacial morphology appeared modern and paralleled the emergence of behavioral modernity as seen from the archeological record.” Source
  8. Who can view my internet history? Last week, whilst most of us were busy watching the comings and goings at Trump Tower and Ed Balls on Strictly, Parliament quietly passed the Investigatory Powers Act 2016 (a.k.a. the Snoopers’ Charter). It’s been described as the most intrusive system of any democracy in history and a privacy disaster waiting to happen. The Act makes broad provisions to track what you do online. Amongst a raft of new surveillance and hacking powers, it introduces the concept of an internet connection record: a log of which internet services - such as websites and instant messaging apps - you have accessed. Your internet provider must keep these logs in bulk and hand them over to the government on request, whether you want them to or not. So long right to privacy, hello 1984. This is a truly appalling development, but all is not quite lost: there are still legal actions pending against the UK’s mass surveillance powers, and you can visit Don’t Spy on Us to find out more. In the meantime, read on to find out who exactly will be able to see what you’ve been up to online. Who can view my stuff? A list of who will have the power to access your internet connection records is set out in Schedule 4 of the Act. It’s longer than you might imagine: Metropolitan police force City of London police force Police forces maintained under section 2 of the Police Act 1996 Police Service of Scotland Police Service of Northern Ireland British Transport Police Ministry of Defence Police Royal Navy Police Royal Military Police Royal Air Force Police Security Service Secret Intelligence Service GCHQ Ministry of Defence Department of Health Home Office Ministry of Justice National Crime Agency HM Revenue & Customs Department for Transport Department for Work and Pensions NHS trusts and foundation trusts in England that provide ambulance services Common Services Agency for the Scottish Health Service Competition and Markets Authority Criminal Cases Review Commission Department for Communities in Northern Ireland Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland Department of Justice in Northern Ireland Financial Conduct Authority Fire and rescue authorities under the Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004 Food Standards Agency Food Standards Scotland Gambling Commission Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority Health and Safety Executive Independent Police Complaints Commissioner Information Commissioner NHS Business Services Authority Northern Ireland Ambulance Service Health and Social Care Trust Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service Board Northern Ireland Health and Social Care Regional Business Services Organisation Office of Communications Office of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland Police Investigations and Review Commissioner Scottish Ambulance Service Board Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission Serious Fraud Office Welsh Ambulance Services National Health Service Trust I always wondered what it would feel like to be suffocated by the sort of state intrusion that citizens are subjected to in places like China, Russia and Iran. I guess we’re all about to find out. Who else can view my stuff? Bulk surveillance of the population and dozens of public authorities with the power to access your internet connection records is a grim turn of events for a democracy like ours. Unfortunately, bulk collection and storage will also create an irresistible target for malicious actors, massively increasing the risk that your personal data will end up in the hands of: People able to hack / infiltrate your ISP People able to hack / infiltrate your Wi-Fi hotspot provider People able to hack / infiltrate your mobile network operator People able to hack / infiltrate a government department or agency People able to hack / infiltrate the government’s new multi-database request filter I’d wager that none of these people have your best interests at heart. Sadly, if the events of the past few years are anything to go by, it won’t take long for one or more of these organisations to suffer a security breach. Assuming, of course, that the powers that be manage not to just lose all of our personal data in the post. Article source
  9. I’m seeing reports all over the web that KB 3185330, the “October 2016 security monthly quality rollup for Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1,” is messing up search history, possibly in Internet Explorer, Google Toolbar in IE, and Chrome. Poster Mike on Krebs on Security says: I had to use system restore to remove the security rollup update KB3185330 for Windows 7. Applying the update caused a massive slow down in performance and affected functions for some IE11 add-ons (most notably-blocking the Google toolbar history from appearing and not allowing suggestions while typing in searches). I’m seeing similar reports about KB 3185331, the analogous “October 2016 security monthly quality rollup for Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2.” KB 3197954, the Oct. 27 Win10 cumulative update that brings version 1607 up to 14393.351. I haven’t seen any definitive word about the November Monthly Rollups (KB 3197868 for Win7 and KB 3197874 for Win 8.1). Nor have I seen any discussion of KB 3198586, the Nov. 8 cumulative update for Win10 version 1511 that brings it up to 10586.679. There are many posts in the Microsoft Answers forum, although it’s still fuzzy to me if the disappearing search history problem applies to Internet Explorer 11, Google Toolbar (for Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Chrome), and/or Firefox or Chrome itself. Uninstalling the patch restores the browser history — so it looks like the bug doesn’t delete the history, it just hides the history. Article source
  10. Sharks are often seen as "living fossils," examples of evolutionary excellence that have not altered their design significantly since they came into existence. Evolutionary biologists have theorized specifically that the creatures' respiratory systems, fed by efficient gills, were present in the species since they first diverged on Earth more than 400 million years ago. But researchers have recently discovered a fossil record that appears to refute that theory. A study of the 325 million year old "shark-like" creature, published in scientific journal Nature, suggests that ancient sharks might have developed their gills after bony fish did. The authors of the study say the fossil, which represents the earliest identified cartilaginous fish with a preserved respiratory system, has a gill structure that makes it look more like an average bony fish than a shark. The scientists say the findings "invert the classic hypothesis, in which modern sharks retain the ancestral condition," suggesting that sharks evolved their gills after bony fish, honing them over millennia. The structure supporting these early gills is believed to have been essential in the evolution of jaws, a mutation that paved the way for the evolution of many land-based vertebrates. The scientists say the findings "profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history." Source
  11. Germany has confirmed its biggest Data theft in the country's history with usernames and passwords of some 18 million email accounts stolen and compromised by hackers. The Story broke by the German press, Der Spiegel on Thursday, when German Authorities revealed another mass hacking of private data belonged to German citizens and major Internet companies both in Germany and abroad. 16 MILLION AND NOW 18 MILLION Authorities in the northwestern city of Verden unearthed a treasure of personal information, a list of about 18 million stolen email addresses and passwords, and seized it just after only two months from the previous major data breach, when researchers came across 16 million compromised email accounts of German users while conducting research on a botnet, a network of computers infected with malware. The accounts were compromised by hackers in the mid of January, and Der Spiegel suggests that the same group of hackers is responsible for both thefts and that they may be based in one of the Baltic countries. MILLION ON SPAM .. SHOP... THEFT According to Investigators, some of the accounts are used to send spam emails and some combinations of email and password are used for online shopping portals, as these mass of stolen personal information could also be used to obtain the financial details of users account. To help in securing the Internet users, German authorities warned to take additional security measures to prevent cyber criminals using their data while shopping online. "It is suspected that these stolen records are being actively misused," said Lutz Gaebel, spokesman of the prosecutor's office in Verden. SOURCE OF DATA Till now, It has not been revealed by the investigators that how much they know about this massive data Breach and How the attackers get their evil hands on the personal data of over 18 million users. Lutz Gaebel declined to give more information due to the ongoing investigation. It is estimated that at least three million of the accounts belonged to German citizens and some of the compromised email accounts have international domain extensions such as ‘.COM’. But in real, the number could be much larger than the visible one as the investigation is ongoing. The German prosecutor investigating the latest major data theft informed the country's IT watchdog, Federal Office for Information Security (BSI), to introduce additional security measures to help the Internet users. Source4
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