China’s Jade Rabbit Moon rover sends back first photos

The first robot rover to land on the Moon in nearly 40 years, China’s Jade Rabbit, has begun sending back photos, with shots of its lunar lander.

Jade Rabbit rolled down a ramp lowered by the lander and on to the volcanic plain known as Sinus Iridum at 04:35 Beijing time on Saturday (20:35 GMT).

It moved to a spot a few metres away, its historic short journey recorded by the lander.

On Sunday evening the two machines began photographing each other.

A Chinese flag is clearly visible on the Jade Rabbit as it stands deployed on the Moon’s surface.

Ma Xingrui, chief commander of China’s lunar programme, declared the mission a “complete success”.

via China’s Jade Rabbit Moon rover sends back first photos

Big Brother spying is reaching scary levels

On Monday, the world’s leading technology companies, including Google and Microsoft, published an open letter to President Obama and Congress demanding reform of U.S. privacy laws to restore the public’s “trust in the Internet.”

This comes after what seems like an endless series of revelations about government surveillance from the secret documents leaked by Edward Snowden.

Let’s start with the latest: American and British spies have gone into online fantasy games to snoop on players, and to see if any militants are communicating with each other dressed as elves or gnomes. Last week, the Washington Post reported that the National Security Agency is “collecting billions of records a day to track the location of mobile phone users around the world.” And we learned recently that the NSA hacked fiber-optic cables and infected 50,000 networks with malware.

Big Brother spying is happening at a scale we could never have imagined.

via Big Brother spying is reaching scary levels

U.S. Government Nastygram Shuts Down One-Man Bitcoin Mint

Mike Caldwell spent years turning digital currency into physical coins. That may sound like a paradox. But it’s true. He takes bitcoins — the world’s most popular digital currency — and then he mints them here in the physical world. If you added up all the bitcoins Caldwell has minted on behalf of his customers, they would be worth about $82 million.

Basically, these physical bitcoins are novelty items. But by moving the digital currency into the physical realm, he also prevents hackers from stealing the stuff via an online attack. Or at least he did. His run as the premiere bitcoin minter may be at an end. Caldwell has been put on notice by the feds.

Just before Thanksgiving, he says, he received a letter from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FINCEN, the arm of the Treasury Department that dictates how the nation’s anti-money-laundering and financial crime regulations are interpreted. According to FINCEN, Caldwell needs to rethink his business. “They considered my activity to be money transmitting,” Caldwell says. And if you want to transmit money, you must first jump through a lot of state and federal regulatory hoops Caldwell hasn’t jumped through.

via U.S. Government Nastygram Shuts Down One-Man Bitcoin Mint

Obama’s Orwellian Image Control

In response to these restrictions, 38 of the nation’s largest and most respected media organizations (including The New York Times) delivered a letter to the White House last month protesting photojournalists’ diminished access.

A deputy press secretary, Josh Earnest, responded by claiming that the White House had released more images of the president at work than any previous administration. It is serving the public perfectly well, he said, through a vibrant stream of behind-the-scenes photographs available on social media.

He missed the point entirely.

via Obama’s Orwellian Image Control

Google emulates 1980s-era Amiga computer in Chrome

The Amiga 500 lives again — in Google’s browser.

Google developer Christian Stefansen on Thursday resurrected a version of the venerable computer system from the 1980s in the form of a Web app that runs in Chrome. Forty-year-olds who want to relive their childhoods or younger people who want to see just how hard their elders had it can visit the Amiga 500 emulator for Chrome online, boot the machine, and play some games.

via Google emulates 1980s-era Amiga computer in Chrome