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17 Feb 18:01

40-Node Raspi Cluster

by Josh Marsh

40nodepicluster

Multi-node RasPi clusters seem to be a rite of passage these days for hackers working with distributed computing. [Dave's] 40-node cluster is the latest of the super-Pi creations, and while it’s not the biggest we’ve featured here, it may be the sleekest.

The goal of this project—aside from the obvious desire to test distributed software—was to keep the entire package below the size of a full tower desktop. [Dave's] design packs the Pi’s in groups of 4 across ten individual cards that easily slide out for access. Each is wired (through beautiful cable management, we must say) to one of the 2 24-port switches at the bottom of the case. The build uses an ATX power supply up top that feeds into individual power for the Pi’s and everything else, including his HD array—5 1TB HD’s, expandable to 12—a wireless router, and a hefty fan assembly.

Perhaps the greatest achievement is the custom acrylic case, which [Dave] lasered out at the Dallas Makerspace (we featured it here last month). Each panel slides off with the press of a button, and the front/back panels provide convenient access to the internal network via some jacks. If you’ve ever been remotely curious about a build like this one, you should cruise over to [Dave's] page immediately: it’s one of the most meticulously well-documented projects we’ve seen in a long time. Videos after the break.

[Thanks Luke]


Filed under: Network Hacks, Raspberry Pi
17 Feb 17:14

Stunning images of the endless buildings and skies of Hong Kong

by Jesus Diaz on Sploid, shared by Brian Barrett to Gizmodo

Stunning images of the endless buildings and skies of Hong Kong

Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze is a French photographer who loves Hong Kong. These stunning photos are from his latest book, Vertical Horizon, "a deep immersion into the city's thick atmospheres and a visual record of its wildly diverse built environment." Some of the buildings seem to go on forever. When I look at them, I feel like I'm go fall into the sky.

Read more...


    






17 Feb 17:40

Snow Tires With Studs That Retract At the Push of a Button

by Andrew Liszewski

Snow Tires With Studs That Retract At the Push of a Button

Studded tires are probably the best way to avoid sliding all over the place on slippery, icy roads. But when that layer of snow and ice is gone, they're not particularly friendly to bare asphalt. Nokian Tyres, though, has developed this concept tire with studs that extend and retract with the push of a button on your dashboard.

Read more...


    






16 Feb 15:00

Inhabitat's Week in Green: NASA's healing device, vertical gardens and a grass-powered robot mower

by Inhabitat
Each week our friends at Inhabitat recap the week's most interesting green developments and clean tech news for us -- it's the Week in Green. Solar power just got a big boost as Ivanpah, the world's biggest solar thermal power plant, was just...
17 Feb 09:00

Dad-Built Rocket Control Module

by Kristina Panos

Like a lot of parents, [justbennett]‘s kids like to play rocket and spaceship command. His kids’ imagination-assigned controls kept shifting from this LEGO to that banana to the dog’s tail, so [justbennett] did what he had to do: make this Dad-built rocket control module for them.

The module supports all of the vital sub-modules required for rocket and spaceship administration. There is a launch status indicator, an acceleration vector resonator (AVR), and a com-link. He used mostly parts on hand, and the Arduino count is zero. He built a NASA-grade Plexiglas enclosure to avoid juice box incidents. The two pieces are connected with aluminum angle bar so that he can make repairs or modifications.

The analogue joystick was a thrift store find. [Justbennett] wired the trigger and thumb buttons up as the AVR which activate a recycled PICAXE 08M project of his. The PICAXE senses the button pushes to flash an LED and play an ascending or descending tone. Long-pressing one button will result in an explosion noise as you might expect.

The launch status indicator is a potentiometer wired to a second PICAXE and three LEDs that light up in sequence. In the future, [justbennett] intends to add haptic feedback with a tiny vibration motor. The com-link packet messaging system is a Radio Shack recording module and two big, tempting buttons. The control module ships with a message from Star Command that explains the controls.


Filed under: Microcontrollers, toy hacks
15 Feb 04:00

The UK Gold: riveting documentary on the deep, ingrained corruption of the UK's banking centre, the City of London

by Cory Doctorow

Jeff writes, "Featuring a brand new soundtrack from Radiohead's Thom Yorke, Massive Attack and Elbow, and narrated by Dominic West (The Wire), journalist Marke Donne has put together a riveting documentary exposing the tax avoidance 'industry' operated by the highly secretive, centuries old institution, The City of London.

With a permanent office in Parliament, a budget of $1.2 billion and the media-avoiding tactics of the super-rich, the City relies on lobbying and silence to carry out it's offshore tax avoidance, robbing the state of tens of billions in revenue every year."

The UK Gold is a vital insight into the shady, inner workings of one of the world's financial hubs, and how the rich exert their power and influence to maintain their self-serving status quo.

From the Guardian: "This is the kind of film to get the blood boiling and the steam hissing out of your ears. Campaigning journalist Mark Donne has constructed an ambitious and admirably clear assault on the UK's lamentable record in the tax avoidance industry, zeroing in on the unsavoury role played by the City of London and its institutions -- not just in this country, but in far more desperate international territories too."

“The UK Gold” a new documentary by Brass Moustache Films

    






13 Feb 21:15

What It Looks Like When Lightning Strikes the World's Tallest Building

by Leslie Horn

What It Looks Like When Lightning Strikes the World's Tallest Building

Presenting the money shot: during a massive storm in Dubai yesterday, photographer Michael Shainblum captured lightning zapping Burj Khalifa, aka the tallest building in the world.

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13 Feb 23:20

These Autonomous Bots Build Structures With a Hive Mind of Their Own

by Robert Sorokanich

These Autonomous Bots Build Structures With a Hive Mind of Their Own

These tiny construction robots look like they're doing a well-choreographed dance, working together to build a structure. Who's driving? Nobody—these micro machines cooperate autonomously, using the same concept that guides termites and bees to build huge structures without a supervisor or blueprint. Look at them go!

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14 Feb 03:00

Daughter reacts so adorably when she asks her dad to drive super fast

by Casey Chan on Sploid, shared by Casey Chan to Gizmodo

Don't tell Mom! Actually tell Mom because her daughter is so dang adorable that she should be proud that her little girl has so much joy in her. Jamie P. took his daughter out in his 1000bhp Nissan GT-R and fulfills his daughter's request to drive faster to hilariously delightful results. She's the best. Even though she covers her eyes for half of it, she's having the time of her life!

Read more...


    






14 Feb 12:45

This Graphene Nanoribbon Conducts Electricity Insanely Fast

by Jamie Condliffe

This Graphene Nanoribbon Conducts Electricity Insanely Fast

You're looking a ribbon of graphene that's just one atom thick and fifteen atoms wide—and it could help shift data thousands of times faster than anything else currently can.

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14 Feb 15:40

Tapping Into Wave Power With a Gigantic, Artificial "Seafloor Carpet"

by Michael Keller

Tapping Into Wave Power With a Gigantic, Artificial "Seafloor Carpet"

Scientists have known for decades that muddy coastal sediments absorb the power of waves as they roll toward beaches. The result is a free service courtesy of soft ocean bottoms that diminishes the sea's energy before it reaches the communities living beyond them.

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15 Feb 00:40

These Brand New Shapes Are a Class of Their Own

by PJ Smith

These Brand New Shapes Are a Class of Their Own

Until today, scientists only knew of three classes of 3 dimensional solids. Now they've got a fourth. This new flavor of shapes are called Goldberg polyhedrons, and they are the first new class of shapes discovered in over four hundred years.

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13 Feb 14:00

My First Original Arduino Project: What I Learned About Learning

by Gary Rudd

My First Original Arduino Project: What I Learned About Learning

If you are new to DIY and are just getting into project building withArduino, like myself, you might be feeling a little overwhelmed. You might think you can't learn this stuff. I am relatively new to the the world of microcontrollers, programming, and designing...but I did it, and it was easier than I thought! Here's what I learned.

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13 Feb 12:15

The World's Largest Solar Plant Started Creating Electricity Today

by Attila Nagy

The World's Largest Solar Plant Started Creating Electricity Today

Take 300,000 computer-controlled mirrors, each 7 feet high and 10 feet wide. Control them with computers to focus the Sun's light to the top of 459-feet towers, where water is turned to steam to power turbines. Bingo: you have the world's biggest solar power plant, the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System.

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13 Feb 13:00

Nuclear Fusion Just Got More Energy Out of Its Fuel Than It Put Into It

by Gerald Lynch - Gizmodo UK

Nuclear Fusion Just Got More Energy Out of Its Fuel Than It Put Into It

It's one of science's ultimate goals, and perhaps the only thing that could prevent humanity's ultimate depletion of the Earth's resources — the ability to create more energy than is used to make it. Now, a new nuclear breakthrough has brought that feat even closer to becoming a reality.

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13 Feb 18:59

Scientists get meaningful energy from laser-based nuclear fusion

by Jon Fingas
Researchers have long sought to generate significant energy from laser-based nuclear fusion, and it appears that they're finally making some headway. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory reports that laser blasts in September and November produced...
12 Feb 13:00

A Rocket, a Meteor and the Milky Way, All in One Overwhelming Image

by Jamie Condliffe

A Rocket, a Meteor and the Milky Way, All in One Overwhelming Image

Pictures of rockets, meteors and the Milky Way are all amazing. But one with all three makes for an overwhelming image indeed.

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12 Feb 16:50

Meet the Flockers: ISS Launches Low-Cost Earth-Imaging Micro-Satellites

by Andrew Tarantola

Meet the Flockers: ISS Launches Low-Cost Earth-Imaging Micro-Satellites

Since the launch of the Landsat program in 1972, generating images of Earth from space has been the near-exclusive domain of enormous, multi-million dollar satellites sponsored by nations and major defense corporations. But these new micro-satellites, recently launched from the ISS, aim to make real-time imaging available for a fraction of the price.

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13 Feb 00:11

Here's how much stronger carbon fiber is compared to steel in one GIF

by Casey Chan on Sploid, shared by Casey Chan to Gizmodo

Here's how much stronger carbon fiber is compared to steel in one GIF

What you're looking at is a carbon fiber drive shaft and a steel drive shaft being twisted with force until they break. As you can see in this torque test between the two, the carbon fiber shaft doesn't budge (that's not a still image, folks) while the steel shaft cork screws itself and becomes deformed under the same amount of twisting pressure. Gnarly.

Read more...


    






13 Feb 00:21

NASA's building a satellite refueling robot platform that works... in space

by Michael Gorman
Currently, every satellite put into orbit will become interstellar refuse, destined to be tracked (and perhaps dismantled) by DARPA or eventually disposed of by gigantic lasers (maybe). Naturally, NASA's not so keen on such waste, and it knows that...
11 Feb 12:57

"The Mask" Espionage Malware

by Bruce Schneier

We’ve got a new nation-state espionage malware. "The Mask" was discovered by Kaspersky Labs:

The primary targets are government institutions, diplomatic offices and embassies, energy, oil and gas companies, research organizations and activists. Victims of this targeted attack have been found in 31 countries around the world -- from the Middle East and Europe to Africa and the Americas.

The main objective of the attackers is to gather sensitive data from the infected systems. These include office documents, but also various encryption keys, VPN configurations, SSH keys (serving as a means of identifying a user to an SSH server) and RDP files (used by the Remote Desktop Client to automatically open a connection to the reserved computer).

"Several reasons make us believe this could be a nation-state sponsored campaign. First of all, we observed a very high degree of professionalism in the operational procedures of the group behind this attack. From infrastructure management, shutdown of the operation, avoiding curious eyes through access rules and using wiping instead of deletion of log files. These combine to put this APT ahead of Duqu in terms of sophistication, making it one of the most advanced threats at the moment," said Costin Raiu, Director of the Global Research and Analysis Team (GReAT) at Kaspersky Lab. "This level of operational security is not normal for cyber-criminal groups."

It's been in operation, undetected, for at least seven years.

As usual, we infer the creator of the malware from the target list.

We counted over 380 unique victims between 1000+ IPs. Infections have been observed in: Algeria, Argentina, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Egypt, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Guatemala, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States and Venezuela.

Based on the prevalence of Spanish-speaking victims, the number of infected victims in Morocco, and the fact that Gibraltar is on the list, that implies Spain is behind this one. My guess is that soon countries will start infecting uninteresting targets in order to deflect blame, but that they still think they’re immune from discovery. So Spain, if it is you, attack a few sites in the Falklands next time -- and use a separate tool for Morocco.

There are several news articles.

12 Feb 01:10

3 MAKE projects to help you fight for your online privacy

by Mark Frauenfelder
In keeping with the theme of "The Day We Fight Back," MAKE has three privacy-enhancement projects you can make: an Onion Pi Tor proxy so you can browse the web anonymously anywhere you go, a mobile, anonymous file-sharing device called the Piratebox, and a personal Internet kill switch (not the kind that freedom-hater Joe Leiberman wants to install, but one you can put in your house to keep freedom-haters from snooping on you).

Put one on the wired connection between your computer and router and use it to unambiguously isolate that computer from the internet whenever you want. Or put it between your router (wireless or otherwise) and your ISP hardware to control the connection for the entire house. Sure, you could just unplug the cable, but that’s hard on the connectors, and the switch is faster to use and neater-looking, to boot.

3 Projects to Help You Fight for Your Online Privacy

    






11 Feb 21:40

How a Rogue Developer Got Apple to Approve a Drone Strike App

by Adam Clark Estes

How a Rogue Developer Got Apple to Approve a Drone Strike App

After nearly two years and a ton of media attention, you can now download an iPhone app that alerts you every time a drone strike kills someone abroad. It only took the app developer six tries and several different names to get Apple to approve it.

Read more...


    






11 Feb 21:17

Sophisticated malware finally discovered after 7 years, likely created by a nation-state

by Nicole Lee
Security firm Kaspersky Labs recently released a research paper that uncovers the existence of a piece of highly complex malware that's been in circulation for almost seven years. It's called "The Mask," which is a rough English translation of...
11 Feb 18:01

Retrotechtacular: Where the Linux/UNIX TTY Came From

by Mike Szczys

retrotechtacular-tty-demystified

From time to time we realize that sayings which make sense to us probably will have no meaning for future generations. Two of the examples that spring to mind are “hang up the phone” or in a vehicle you might “roll down the window”. And so is the case for today’s Retrotechtacular. Linux users surely know about TTY, but if you look up the term you actually get references to “Teletypewriter”. What’s that all about?

[Linus Akesson] wrote a fantastic essay on the subject called The TTY Demystified. We often feature old video as the subject of this column, but we think you’ll agree that [Linus'] article is worth its weight in film (if that can be possible). The TTY system in Linux is a throwback to when computers first because interactive in real-time. They were connected to the typewriter-mutant of the day known as a teletype machine and basically shot off your keystrokes over a wire to the computer the terminal was controlling.

This copper pipeline to the processor is still basically how the terminal emulators function today. They just don’t require any more hardware than a monitor and keyboard. We consider ourselves fairly advanced Linux users, but the noob and expert alike will find nuggets and tidbits which are sure to switch on the lightbulb in your mind.

[Thanks Chuck]

Retrotechtacular is a weekly column featuring hacks, technology, and kitsch from ages of yore. Help keep it fresh by sending in your ideas for future installments.


Filed under: Hackaday Columns, linux hacks, Retrotechtacular
11 Feb 18:20

Cancer-Spotting Glasses Light Up the Bad Cells for Surgeons

by Adam Clark Estes

Cancer-Spotting Glasses Light Up the Bad Cells for Surgeons

Cancer surgery is tough. Even with high-powered microscopes, surgeons have a very difficult time distinguishing cancer cells from healthy cells. But these new glasses developed by Washington University, St. Louis could change all that.

Read more...


    






10 Feb 17:20

Russian Rocket Hardware Looks Even More Badass in a Blizzard

by Attila Nagy

Russian Rocket Hardware Looks Even More Badass in a Blizzard

Okay, confession time: I've got a crush on the Russian Proton-M rocket. Okay, so it's not the most reliable rocket in the world. But that doesn't mean I love it any less. And the blizzard! So Russian!

Read more...


    






10 Feb 22:20

Scientists Put Tiny Sound-Powered Motors Inside Living Cells

by Adam Clark Estes

Brain-bender alert! For the first time ever, scientists have managed to insert nanomotors into living cells. Once inside, the gold, rocket-shaped motors were propelled with ultrasonic waves and steered with magnets. Because we now live in a scene from Fantastic Voyage.

Read more...


    






11 Feb 00:00

Adorable kid freaks out when he sees Superman fly for the first time

by Casey Chan on Sploid, shared by Casey Chan to Gizmodo

Here's something that'll make you feel good on a day you wish was still the weekend: a 16-month old kid watches Superman take his first flight in Man of Steel and adorably (and appropriately) cheers him on. It's just pure happiness. You can see the wonder in his eyes, the excitement in his clap and the mirroring joy when his arms are raised. We were once you kid. If only we still were!

Read more...


    






11 Feb 00:28

Bill Gates weighs in on the new Microsoft, philanthropy and leaping over chairs

by Chris Velazco
Bill Gates plays bridge, washes dishes each night and prefers In-N-Out to McDonald's and Burger King (as any sane person would). The Gates Foundation chairman offered up those tidbits and more in another Reddit AMA today, an hour-long dialogue that...