Thursday, December 17, 2009

Warm up before playing Wii, parents warned

Middle-aged parents must stretch properly to avoid injuries when playing Wii games, doctors have warned.

The Nintendo console – which is expected to be one of the most popular presents again this year – allows players to simulate a range of energetic sports in their own home.

But parents who are not used to regular exercise could seriously hurt themselves if they do not warm up and warm down properly before playing.

Osteopaths have reported a rapid increase in the number of back, neck and elbow injuries among older people who claim to have overexerted themselves on games such as Wii tennis.

Health and fitness experts are warning those older parents playing Wii games with their children to stretch properly to avoid a pain filled festive period.

Read the full story by Martin Evans at the Telegraph.co.uk

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Baby-by-Number: Parents’ New Obsession With Data


"Allen Fawcett admits he and his wife are mildly addicted to keeping track of their babies’ schedules. The pair of economists have been recording every diaper, feeding and nap since they became parents.

With the help of the Trixie Tracker website, they know they’ve changed exactly 7,367 diapers for their three-year-old son and 969 for their three-month-old daughter. They also have a graph of precisely how many minutes each of their children slept on nearly every day since birth. During their daughter’s first month, the data shows she averaged 15 hours of sleep a day, which is two hours more than her brother at the same age and well above average for other Trixie Tracker babies.

“People look at us and say, ‘My goodness, how do you spend so much time on this?’” Fawcett said. “But each record takes just a few iPhone clicks, so it’s really not as time-consuming as it looks.”

The Fawcett family may take schedule tracking to the extreme, but they’re certainly not the only parents who are measuring, recording and comparing minute details of their kids’ lives.

Fifteen years ago, tracking your baby’s development meant going to the pediatrician every few months and recording his growth on a simple height and weight chart. Today, baby tracking is a booming business. In addition to websites that let you track your infant’s schedule, there are iPhone apps that translate and record your baby’s cries, wearable devices that keep track of how much you talk to your child, and even electronic toys that record how your child plays with them, so you can compare his progress to developmental norms.

As a soon-to-be mom expecting my first child in less than a month, I sympathize with the desire to keep close tabs on a baby. Almost the instant a second line appeared on my pregnancy pee stick, I found myself seized by a strong desire to make sure my baby was developing normally.

I managed to refrain from buying a home Doppler device to monitor my kid’s heartbeat, and I skipped the special Kickbee belt that detects fetal kicks and tweets every time baby wiggles in the womb. But once my first son makes his appearance, I know I’ll be tempted to try some of the infant-tracking technology. Who wouldn’t want more ways to record their child’s health and well-being?

According to pediatricians and child development experts, however, this new obsession with quantifying our kids has a potential downside, especially when parents cross the line from merely tracking an infant’s schedule to obsessing over developmental milestones and worrying about how baby measures up to her peers."

Read the full story at Wired by Hadley Leggett

Friday, December 11, 2009

Soviet Star Wars

The launch that saved the world from orbiting laser battle stations.


"It sounds like something from a James Bond movie: a massive satellite, the largest ever launched, equipped with a powerful laser to take out the American anti-missile shield in advance of a Soviet first strike. It was real, though—or at least the plan was. In fact, when Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev walked out of the October 1986 summit in Reykjavik, Iceland, because President Ronald Reagan wouldn't abandon his Strategic Defense Initiative, or SDI, the Soviets were closer to fielding a space-based weapon than the United States was. Less than a year later, as the world continued to criticize Reagan for his "Star Wars" concept, the Soviet Union launched a test satellite for its own space-based laser system, which failed to reach orbit. Had it succeeded, the cold war might have taken a different turn."

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Monday, December 7, 2009

Cocktails From Behind The Iron Curtain - Food

Although the Berlin Wall came down over the period of a long summer, November 4, 1989 — when over 1,000,000 people gathered in East Berlin’s Alexanderplatz — is often regarded as the beginning of the end, not only for the Berlin Wall, but for the Soviet Bloc itself.

Cocktails From Behind The Iron Curtain - Food & Drink - FOXNews.com

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Leo Laporte & Net Neutrality

OPEN (ep 3) explores the inner-workings of the TWiT Cottage and the creative process of Leo Laporte. Leo has build an online network with over a dozen shows, a staff of 7 and an unrelenting drive ...

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Several Restaurants Sue Vendor for Unsecured Card Processor

"Seven restaurants have sued the maker of a bank card-processing system for failing to secure the product from a Romanian hacker who breached their systems.

The restaurants, located in Louisiana and Mississippi, filed a class-action suitagainst Georgia-based Radiant Systems for producing a point-of-sale (POS) system that they say was not compliant with payment card industry security standards and resulted in an undetermined number of customers having their debit and credit card numbers stolen.

The suit alleges that the system stored all the data embedded on the bank card magnetic stripe after the transaction was completed — a violation of industry security standards that made it a high-risk target for hackers.

Also named in the suit is Computer World, a Louisiana-based retailer, which sold and maintained Radiant’s Aloha POS system.

According to plaintiffs, Computer World’s technicians allegedly installed the remote-access program PCAnywhere on the systems to allow its technicians to fix technical problems from off-site. The only problem is, the company failed to secure the program. The suit alleges that the system was not up to date with software patches, and the PCAnywhere remote log-in and password that technicians used to access the POS systems was the same at every one of the 200 Louisiana locations where the system was installed. According to one of the plaintiffs who spoke with Threat Level, the default login was “administrator” and the password was “computer.”

As a result, a hacker, believed to be based in Romania, accessed the systems of at least 19 businesses through the PCAnywhere software, and possibly others plaintiffs say. "

Image courtesy California State Controller’s Office & Wired

Read the full story by Kim Zetter of Wired

Friday, December 4, 2009

Home owners and HOA's butt heads over solar

"Ready to chuck his electric bills, Camarillo resident Marc Weinberg last year asked his homeowners association for permission to put solar panels on his roof.

When the Spanish Hills Homeowners Assn. said no, Weinberg sued the group. Under the state's Solar Rights Act, he argued, a homeowners association can't unreasonably block solar installations.

Weinberg won, and the Spanish Hills Homeowners Assn. was ordered to not only permit the solar panels but to cover the tens of thousands of dollars that Weinberg had spent on legal fees. Since last fall, when he installed a double row of matte black panels, three other homes in the hilltop neighborhood of luxury estates have added panels. "

Read the full story at the LA Times

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Eco Motors creates radically new type of engine

"Eco Motors is the name of a new company that has come up with a radically new type of engine. It has two opposing pistons in two contiguous cylinders, connected to a common crankshaft in the middle of the engine. An electric supercharger provides boost on demand. It's a two-stroke engine with no valves, yet still achieves 90% scavenging efficiency with less oil consumption than a four-stroke engine. In other words, it's a two-stroke engine that can meet the strictest emissions standards. It can be made as a spark-ignited or compression-ignition engine, and the diesel version can meet emission standards without using urea."

Read the full story at autoblog

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

SSL/TLS Zero-day flaw found in web encryption

"Security researchers Marsh Ray and Steve Dispensa unveiled the TLS (Transport Layer Security) flaw on Wednesday, following the disclosure of separate, but similar, security findings. TLS and its predecessor, SSL (Secure Sockets Layer), are typically used by online retailers and banks to provide security for web transactions.

The flaw in the TLS authentication process allows an outsider to hijack a legitimate user's browser session and successfully impersonate the user, the researchers said in a technical paper.

The fault lies in an "authentication gap" in TLS, Ray and Dispensa said. During the cryptographic authentication process, in which a series of electronic handshakes take place between the client and server, there is a loss of continuity in the authentication of the server to the client. This gives an attacker an opening to hijack the data stream, they said.

In addition, the flaw allows practical man-in-the-middle attacks against hypertext transfer protocol secure (Https) servers, the researchers said. Https is the secure combination of http and TLS used in most online financial transactions."

Read the full story at ZDnet UK