The smartphone tracking scandal gets stranger by the day

A few days ago I asked whether Android smartphones were subject to a potentially massive security risk, with the discovery that Carrier IQ software is tracking almost every keystroke made on them, every Web site visited, etc. The story gets “curiouser and curiouser“, as Lewis Carroll’s Alice might have observed. CNN reports: The company behind the now-notorious Carrier IQ software that has been found to log every keystroke pressed, website visited and text message sent by 150 million mobile phone users said Friday it was shocked to learn that its software was doing that. . . . Coward insisted that

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Climbing up – and falling off – some very high mountains!

We’ve covered BASE jumping here before, with some pretty spectacular videos about it. I’ve not seen much about highlining, which is apparently a specialized form of slacklining. Highliners at work (image courtesy of National Geographic) It seems there’s a team called Skyliners that combines both sports at once. Here’s a remarkable 14-minute video showing some of their members at work. I highly recommend watching it in high definition and full-screen mode . . . it’s a wonderful piece of photography. Personally, you couldn’t pay me enough to attempt either sport . . . but I’m glad they seem to enjoy

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A bleg to benefit our troops

Linoge, my blogging buddy over at Walls Of The City, is trying to raise funds for the Soldiers’ Angels organization, which describes itself as follows: Soldiers’ Angels is a volunteer-led 501(c)(3) nonprofit providing aid and comfort to the men and women of the United States Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and their families. Founded in 2003 by the mother of two American soldiers, its hundreds of thousands of Angel volunteers assist veterans, wounded and deployed personnel and their families in a variety of unique and effective ways. “May No Soldier Go Unloved,” encapsulates the motivation behind Soldiers’ Angels.

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Doofus Of The Day #551

Today’s winner is from Pennsylvania. A robbery victim startled his alleged gunman in court Tuesday and cracked up a Lehigh County jury by delivering a simple, but unexpected, answer. Philome Cesar, representing himself in a case in which he’s charged with robbing 25 area hotels, convenience stores and other businesses in a three-month period last year, asked Daryl Evans to describe what the robber sounded like. “He sounded like you,” said Evans, a night auditor who was robbed at gunpoint around 3 a.m. on June 30, 2010, at the Holiday Inn Express on Hamilton Boulevard in South Whitehall Township. Cesar

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Why the prejudice against Aldi?

I shop at Aldi every week. The quality of their merchandise is excellent, in my experience (far better than most house brands, and fully the equal of major public brands), and their prices are considerably better than any other supermarket chain (including Wal-Mart, Kroger, Albertsons, Publix, etc.). I price-compare fairly often, and usually find that a basket of goods at Aldi is at least 10% cheaper than anywhere else – frequently closer to 15%. Sure, they only stock their own house brands, and have a limited selection of each item, but since the quality of that item is perfectly acceptable,

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Doofus Of The Day #550

Today’s winner comes from Derby in England. Metro UK reports: A Derby University student had to be cut free by firefighters after a freak accident left her trapped inside a clothes horse. Danielle Morgan, 18, said she had been ‘mucking about’ in her flatmate Lisa Smith’s bedroom when she fell off the bed and knocked over the drier, which fell on top of her. . . . The fire brigade eventually used bolt cutters to release Danielle – who, despite suffering bruising to her neck and shoulders she said she had now seen the funny side of the accident. .

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If life gives you lemons . . . make lemonade!

I was amused to read of a novel tattoo developed for a man who lost his arm. The Daily Mail reports: Heine Braeck, 33, was sick of his ‘tired-looking’ amputated limb, which was injured in a childhood accident on a train track. The Norwegian, of Sarpsborg, decided its shape was identical to a dolphin’s head, so he asked Bulgarian tattooist Valio Ska to turn it into a 3D tattoo of the marine animal – with uncanny results. There’s more at the link. I’ve got to admit, that’s a pretty lifelike dolphin’s head shape – but wouldn’t armpit hair make it

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Old-fashioned ‘dumb’ weapons are getting smarter all the time

A couple of years ago I wrote about new, small, ‘smart’ weapons being developed for light strike aircraft (and their heavier brethren, of course). We saw some of them in operation during recent operations in Libya, from which many useful lessons have been learned. One of the weapons I wrote about was the venerable 2.75″ (70mm.) unguided rocket, in use in various models since shortly after the Second World War, most recently in its Hydra 70 form (shown below). I mentioned that various manufacturers are developing laser-guided versions of this weapon, with a number of models approaching entry into service.

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