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Silent Circle's latest app democratizes encryption. Governments won't be happy

Silent Circle's latest app democratizes encryption. Governments won't be happy
Courtesy of Silent Circle For the past few months, some of the world’s leading cryptographers have been keeping a closely guarded secret about a pioneering new invention. Today, they’ve decided it’s time to tell all. Ryan Gallagher is a journalist who reports on surveillance, security, and civil liberties. Follow Back in October, the startup tech firm Silent Circle ruffled governments’ feathers with a “surveillance-proof” smartphone app to allow people to make secure phone calls and send texts easily. “This has never been done before,” boasts Mike Janke, Silent Circle’s CEO. True, he’s a businessman with a product to sell—but I think he is right. The technology uses a sophisticated peer-to-peer encryption technique that allows users to send encrypted files of up to 60 megabytes through a “Silent Text” app. By design, Silent Circle’s server infrastructure stores minimal information about its users. The cryptographers behind this innovation may be the only ones who could have pulled it off. Related:  Computer Applications astonishing

World's oldest and stickiest lab study ready for drop of excitement | Science | The Observer In terms of output, Queensland University's pitch drop study – the world's oldest laboratory experiment – has been stunningly low. Only eight drops have emerged from the lump of pitch installed in the university's physics building foyer in 1927. Watching paint dry looks exhilarating by comparison. But excitement is now rising over the experiment, which was set up to calculate the viscosity of the world's stickiest substance, pitch, which has been found to be at least 230 billion times more viscous than water. "No one has actually seen a drop emerge, so it is getting quite nervy round here," said Mainstone. The fact that pitch – which is so brittle it can be smashed with a hammer – behaves like a fluid is the most surprising aspect of the experiment, added Mainstone.

Spike puts laser measurement hardware on the back of a smartphone Through the Spike smartphone app, users are able to capture, measure, 3D model and share any object up to 200 yards (183 m) away with what the company says is laser accuracy Image Gallery (10 images) Traditionally, the technology that goes into laser hardware for surveying and 3D modeling has been the plaything of architects, surveyors and engineers. But now, with a view to expanding into the consumer market, Virginia-based IkeGPS wants to bring this functionality to the mainstream. And what better way to do it than sticking it on the back of a smartphone? View all Spike builds on the company's established GIS (geographic information systems) tools, which were used by the UN in the wake of natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Users take a photo of the object they wish to measure through the Spike companion app on their smartphone (the team has nearly completed an Android app and has an iOS app in development). Source: ikeGPS About the Author

Touchable Holograms To Our Faithful Users: Current's run has ended after eight exciting years on air and online. The Current TV staff has appreciated your interest, support, participation and unflagging loyalty over the years. Your contributions helped make a vibrant place for discussing thousands of interesting stories, and your continued viewership motivated us to keep innovating and find new ways to reflect the voice of the people. We now welcome the on-air and digital presence of Al Jazeera America, a new news network committed to reporting on and investigating real stories affecting the lives of everyday Americans in every corner of the country. You can keep up with what's new on Al Jazeera America and see this new brand of journalism for yourself at Thank you for inspiring and challenging us. – The Current TV Staff

PetMatch on the App Store Researchers Identify a New Form of Carbon: Grossly Warped 'Nanographene' Chemists at Boston College and Nagoya University in Japan have synthesized the first example of a new form of carbon. The new material consists of multiple identical pieces of “grossly warped graphene,” each containing exactly 80 carbon atoms joined together in a network of 26 rings, with 30 hydrogen atoms decorating the rim. Because they measure slightly more than a nanometer across, these individual molecules are referred to generically as “nanocarbons.” Credit: Nature Chemistry A team of researchers has identified a new form of carbon, a “grossly warped nanographene.” Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts – Chemists at Boston College and Nagoya University in Japan have synthesized the first example of a new form of carbon, the team reports in the most recent online edition of the journal Nature Chemistry. Until recently, scientists had identified only two forms of pure carbon: diamond and graphite. Graphene has been highly touted as a revolutionary material for nanoscale electronics.

Sproutling smart baby monitor learns and predicts baby behavior Babies don't come with instruction manuals, so the saying goes. But technology is promising to lend new parents a helping hand in the form of Sproutling, a smart baby monitor that keeps parents abreast of baby’s physical status, conditions in the baby’s room, and learns from baby's past behavior to provide specialized suggestions to sleep-deprived parents. View all The Sproutling system consists of three components; a breathable, washable band made from medical-grade, hypoallergenic silicone that the baby wears around his or her ankle; a dish that wirelessly recharges the wearable band and also monitors the room’s environmental conditions; and the Sproutling app, which collates all the data into useable observations and push notifications. All three are brought together via a home Wi-Fi network. The Sproutling team stresses that the system is not a thermometer, heart monitor, or a medical device, and thus does not need FDA approval at this time. Source: Sproutling Share

Why Don't You Try This?: Scientists Use Sound Waves To Levitate, Manipulate Matter A team of researchers in Switzerland have developed a way of levitating and transporting small objects using nothing but sound. Using ultrasonic waves – that is, sound waves whose frequency is too high for humans to hear – scientists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich have made water droplets, instant coffee crystals, styrofoam flakes, and a toothpick, among other objects, hang in midair, move along a plane, and interact with each other. It is the first time that scientists have been able to use sound to simultaneously levitate several objects next to each other and move them around. Research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences describes how objects placed between two horizontal surfaces, the bottom one emitting high-pitched sound waves and the top one reflecting the waves back, can be levitated and manipulated. As anyone with a subwoofer and a teenager knows, sound waves exert pressure. Full Article Related:

Latest supercomputers run truer simulations of extreme weather High-resolution simulations of the global climate can now perform much closer to actual observations, and they perform far better at reproducing extreme weather events, a new Berkeley Lab study has found. Lead author Michael Wehner heralds this news as evidence of a golden age in climate modeling, as not only did the simulation closer match reality but it also took a fraction as long to complete as it would have in recent history – just three months compared to several years. "These kinds of calculations have gone from basically intractable to heroic to now doable," Wehner said. "I've literally waited my entire career to be able to do these simulations." The researchers used a CRAY XE-6 supercomputer at the National Energy Research Supercomputing Center to conduct their analysis for the period 1979 to 2005 at three spatial resolutions – 25 km (15.5 mi), 100 km (62 mi), and 200 km (124 mi) – and then compared the results to both each other and to real-world observations. Share

British have invaded nine out of ten countries - so look out Luxembourg The analysis is contained in a new book, All the Countries We've Ever Invaded: And the Few We Never Got Round To. Stuart Laycock, the author, has worked his way around the globe, through each country alphabetically, researching its history to establish whether, at any point, they have experienced an incursion by Britain. Only a comparatively small proportion of the total in Mr Laycock's list of invaded states actually formed an official part of the empire. The remainder have been included because the British were found to have achieved some sort of military presence in the territory – however transitory – either through force, the threat of force, negotiation or payment. Incursions by British pirates, privateers or armed explorers have also been included, provided they were operating with the approval of their government. Among some of the perhaps surprising entries on the list are: * Cuba, where in 1741, a force under Admiral Edward Vernon stormed ashore at Guantánamo Bay. Andorra Belarus

9-dollar computer tops two million on Kickstarter Raspberry Pi has new competition in the ultra-budget computer universe. CHIP purports to be the world's first $9 computer and its run on Kickstarter is coming to a close after raising over $2 million, more than 40 times its crowdfunding goal from nearly 40,000 backers. CHIP easily fits in your palm and packs a 1GHz processor, 512 MB RAM and 4 GB of storage with Linux loaded and ready to roll. It has built in WiFi, Bluetooth and a composite video port; VGA and HDMI adapters can also be added. LibreOffice and the Chromium browser allow for instant web browsing and productivity just about as quickly as you can get the system connected to a display and means of input. The key to CHIP's low price is a partnership with China's Allwinner Technology, a chipmaker that has been particularly popular for open-source and budget projects, to drive down component prices through bulk ordering tens of thousands of chips at a time. Watch the full pitch video below. Source: Kickstarter

Underwater Photos That Mimic the Look of Baroque Paintings Hawaii-based photographer Christy Lee Rogers specializes in creating dreamlike photos of people underwater. Her project Reckless Unbound shows people swirling around one another while wearing colorful outfits. The photos are reminiscent of the paintings of old Baroque masters, who would often paint people floating around in heavenly realms. Rogers creates her photos in swimming pools at night. The scenes are illuminated with bright off-camera lights, and the shoots often last two to four hours each. GUP Magazine writes, Christy Lee Rogers reshapes the boundaries between contemporary photography and painting, with her series Reckless Unbound. You can see more of her work over on her website. Reckless Unbound by Christy Lee Rogers (via My Modern Met) Image credits: Photographs by Christy Lee Rogers

Pointing the Way: 3D Computer Cursors Could Navigate Virtual Worlds Forget everything you thought you knew about computer cursors. Researchers have come up with a way to turn cursors into a tool that can navigate around 3D space. Conventional pointers that are controlled with a trackpad and show up as a tiny arrow on a screen will soon be outdated, according to scientists at the University of Montreal in Canada. This futuristic technology could play an integral role in how virtual reality software responds to how users move in real life. Traditionally, a mouse and a cursor are confined to a screen "like a jail," said study lead researcher Tomás Dorta, a professor at the University of Montreal's School of Design. The high-tech cursor developed by Dorta and his colleagues can select objects in the 3D virtual world. "If I have this cup," Dorta said, picking up a coffee mug. The controlling plane appears on the screen, which can enlarge or decrease an object when the user pinches or expands it using their fingers.