steve tyson

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NSA chief talks surveillance tactics over dinner

When someone dines with Keith Alexander, the director of the National Security Agency, I'd like to know who pays the tab.<p>In a contributing article in Forbes, Stanford Center for Internet and Society Civil Liberties Director Jennifer Granick talks about what it was like to meet the man in charge of …

Microsoft explains 3D printing standards in Windows 8.1 (video)

Whether you're looking to print an Aston Martin or a birdhouse, Microsoft promises you'll be able to do it more easily with Windows 8.1. Redmond is looking to iron out the wrinkles currently associated with 3D printing -- like metadata loss during exporting and limited communication between apps …

First batch of Firefox phones sell out in U.S., U.K.

The ambitious Firefox phone may face a long, uphill road to success, but the first batch of phones up for grabs in the U.S. and U.K. has sold out after its first weekend of availability.<p>Less than 1,000 units of the low-powered ZTE Open were sold in each locale, with the American eBay tapped out at …

Selling

Is Google Ready to Buy Its Way Into TV With an NFL Deal?

Here’s a fun combination to ponder: The world’s most powerful media company and America’s most popular sport.<p>That could happen if Google buys the …

WSJ reports NSA spying capabilities cover up to 75 percent of US internet traffic

The question of how much contact the NSA has with internet traffic throughout the US is being raised again, this time by the <i>Wall Street Journal</i>. Yesterday <i>The Atlantic</i> took issue with the security agency's mathematics and 1.6 percent claim, while the <i>WSJ</i> report looks more closely at its reach into …

Facebook goes dark for some users across the U.S.

Several Facebook users have reported getting a "service not available" message when they tried to log into the social network Tuesday evening, according to the site isitdownrightnow.com. Other users noted Facebook pages were loading slowly, but that the service was still working.<p>Web service …

Google Maps for iOS and Android now displays Waze alerts, while Street View lands in Waze Map Editor

Google’s acquisition of community-based mapping, traffic and navigation app Waze is finally starting to bear some fruit, as the two begin sharing their respective features for the first time.<p>The Google Maps app for iOS and Android will now include real-time incident reports submitted by Waze users, …

Twitch to hitch a ride on new PlayStation 4

Sony said Tuesday that the new PlayStation 4 will go on sale in North America on Nov. 15 and that owners will be able to broadcast their games live on Twitch, the increasingly popular online service video gamers use to watch other gamers.<p>Sony's announcements could help San Francisco's Twitch …

NASA: Meteor In Russia Threw Up Globe-Girdling Plume Of Debris

The bus-sized meteor that slammed into Russia in February, causing a massive shock-wave and injuring hundreds of people, sent a plume of dust into the stratosphere that circled the globe in just four days and lingered for months, NASA says.<p>The Feb. 15 meteor at Chelyabinsk near Russia's southern …

How We Remember To Remember

The way our brain handles remembering to remember something, called prospective memory, has been somewhat of a mystery to scientists, until now.<p>"Remind me not to forget…" I often say to my roommate. My phone charger. The sandwich I made to take to work. The bill I need to put in the mail.<p>The way …

Why are you so afraid of MSG?

How did monosodium glutamate get such a bad rap? After a consumer crusade in the '60s, the compound has become synonymous with bad Chinese food, Doritos and processed cheese powder — but a new long-form piece from <i>BuzzFeed</i> suggests we might have MSG all wrong. Fifty years later, most of the original …

NASA Has Stopped Trying To Fix The Kepler Space Telescope

But they won't put the hobbling two-wheeled spacecraft out to pasture yet.<p>Well, NASA's crippled Kepler space telescope, launched in 2009, is officially beyond repair. Two of the four wheels used to align the telescope have failed over the past year, and NASA engineers haven't been able to get …

Watch This Tiny Robot Leap Over Walls [Video]

Hello, TailBot!<p>With the goal of making a robot that can run, jump, and maneuver in the air, a student team at Michigan State University came up with this monkey-like miniature machine: TailBot. It is <i>super</i> goofy. For example: to run, it doesn't run on its legs so much as knock itself over with its …

What's My Real Cancer Risk? When Online Calculators Don't Compute

Online risk calculators are all the rage these days among public health groups trying to get us to change our unhealthful ways. The World Health Organization developed an online tool that lets you estimate your personal risk of cracking a hip in the next 10 years, for example. You just plug in data …

Fruit flies: a very distant cousin

The tiny insect has been behind amazing discoveries in genetics – and now it's a mainstay of embryology<p>A few tiny flies have set up home in my kitchen. Some eggs must have arrived with a batch of bananas, and now it seems they've settled in and are reproducing. I'm not too worried: there's not …

3D Printing Goes Mainstream Retail

Just another day at UPS: Photocopy the ol' resume, ship back shoes to Zappos, print a car part.<p>About a month ago, a UPS store in eastern San Diego started offering a new service: 3D printing. Six weeks ago, store owner Burke Jones says, "I didn't know anything about 3D printing."<p>"I'd love to take …