Electromagnetic Propulsion Drive?

A device has been invented that generates much more propulsion than a rocket.  The electromagnetic propulsion drive (EM Drive) works by bouncing microwaves around, and it could conceivably get us to Mars in only 70 days, as opposed to 260 days with current technology.  But it violates the known laws of physics, and scientists cannot figure out why it works.  Nevertheless, experimental tests keep confirming that it does.   However, skeptics remain.

Does any of you know anything about this?  Is this a delusion, like cold fusion?  Or might it be an invention that will open up interplanetary travel?

[Read more…]

Volkswagen’s scam

Since 2009, Volkswagen diesels have had software that detects when the car is on one of those treadmills states use for your annual emissions test.  Whereupon the software causes the car to emit very few pollutants.  But when the car goes back to normal driving, the software shuts down and the pollutants pour forth.

That acclaimed German engineering used for such a flagrant deception!  Now dealers are stuck with lotsful of inventory they aren’t allowed to sell, owners can’t pass their emissions tests, their resale value has plummeted, the head of the company has resigned, and a respected brand is utterly discredited.

Do any of you have a Volkswagen diesel affected by this scandal?  What is the company telling you?

[Read more…]

Ransomware

The internet purports to offer the cover of anonymity for embarrassing vices, but that is not always the case, as the number of people whose reputation has been ruined by the Ashley Madison hacks have learned.  Now there is a new class of online/cellphone virus called ransomware.

This often preys on the user’s fear of being exposed.  For example, in a recent case, a porn app takes your picture, take over your device, and blocks your phone, supposedly on the grounds of your using child pornography.  It demands $500 to unfreeze your phone and make it all go away.  Thus blackmail and extortion enter the information age. [Read more…]

Scam, fraud, and blackmail at Wikipedia

Wikipedia has banned 381 of its editors for scamming and in some cases extorting small businesses and celebrities, taking money to get favorable articles approved and “protected.” [Read more…]

Hackers enforcing morality?

So the Ashley Madison site, designed to hook up people who want to commit adultery, was hacked, leading to the release of data about some of the website’s 30 million customers (including already disgraced “family values” activist Josh Duggar).

This has created some indignation about the hackers’ “public shaming” of would-be adulterers.  But the fear of public shaming has kept people in line across all cultures for millennia, enforcing the external morality that is necessary for social order (a.k.a. “the first use of the Law”).  The internet has promised to get around that with total secrecy and anonymity, but the web isn’t as secret and anonymous as people assume.

So do you consider the Ashley Madison hacks to be egregious violations of privacy, or a fitting outing of cheating husbands and wives? [Read more…]

Why you hate talking on the phone

Do you dislike having to call up people, in real time, on the phone?  Would you rather text or e-mail?   The Millennial generation tends to feel that way, I learned, and I admit that I do too.

Media scholar Ian Bogost tries to explain why this is.  In doing so, he goes into the difference between talking on cell phones and talking on the old handset devices.  Whereas cell phones are designed to be carried, rather than talked into, and are used in public places, the old landlines were designed to enhance personal conversation in private spaces.  The handset phone, as well as the technology that went into it, created what he calls “a technology of intimacy.”

Well, I didn’t particularly like using the old-style phones either, but Bogost makes a fascinating case for the genius of old technology and design. [Read more…]


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X