Sunday, July 22, 2007

Micro generator turns environmental vibes into electricity

This is so cool. 

Micro-generator feeds on good vibrations - tech - 04 July 2007 - New Scientist Tech
A sugar-cube-sized electric generator that feeds on environmental vibrations has been developed. It could power swarms of wireless sensors or even medical implants, researchers claim. The new micro-generator harvests power electromagnetically, exploiting the wobbling of several magnets attached to a millimetre-sized cantilever. It measures just 7.0 millimetres by 7.0 mm by 8.5 mm, and the team behind it say it is the most efficient micro-generator yet developed. The generator converts 30% of environmental kinetic energy into electrical power, and could keep all sorts of low-power devices running without batteries – particularly when alternatives like solar power are not an option.

Ubuntu 6.10 -> 7.04 upgrade: Apache 2.2 ldap changes

Just suffered through some lame apache module syntax changes on Ubuntu after upgrading to 7.0.4.  This is why I don't skip major versions...

Here is my functioning template on Ubuntu 7.04 Feisty:

AuthBasicProvider ldap
AuthName "Secret Website"
AuthType Basic
AuthzLDAPAuthoritative on # prevent other mods from authenticating this user on failure
# protocol://server:port/base?attribute?scope?filter
AuthLDAPURL ldap://localhost:389/blah
AuthLDAPBindDN blah
AuthLDAPBindPassword "secret"
# require membership in LDAP group for access
require ldap-group cn=mygroup,ou=Groups,dc=example,dc=com
There were several major changes that kept my site from working after the upgrade:

Deprecated directives:

AuthLDAPAuthoritative (now AuthzLDAPAuthoritative)

New directive required:

AuthBasicProvider ldap

This tells the mod_auth_basic module to defer to the mod_authnz_ldap module for authentication instead of handling it on its own.  If you don't specify it, you get this lovely cryptic error in your server error log: 
[error] Internal error: pcfg_openfile() called with NULL filename
require group now only is used for local UNIX groups.  For LDAP, you have to use require ldap-group.

Washington teen caught by FBI using spyware

The FBI is becoming clever with technology -- and the local bureau at that.  Very nice work. 

FBI's Secret Spyware Tracks Down Teen Who Made Bomb Threats
FBI agents trying to track the source of e-mailed bomb threats against a Washington high school last month sent the suspect a secret surveillance program designed to surreptitiously monitor him and report back to a government server, according to an FBI affidavit obtained by Wired News.


The software was sent to the owner of an anonymous MySpace profile
linked to bomb threats against Timberline High School near Seattle. The
code led the FBI to 15-year-old Josh Glazebrook, a student at the
school, who on Monday pleaded guilty to making bomb threats, identity
theft and felony harassment.

Cool Biology news: Building life and a brain

Very cool developments in biology.

Interesting that the first article involves changing cells from one species to another.  Wonder what the Intelligent Design folks would say about that (they often argue that we have never observed one species becoming another)

Daily Kos: Science Friday: The Legos of Life
The team at the J. Craig Venter Institute took all of the genes from one species of bacteria, Mycoplasma mycoides, and transferred them into another, Mycoplasma capricolum. The result: The genes from the mycoides took over, changing the cells from one species to another simply by moving around DNA.
ABC News: Scientist Build a 'Brain' From Rat Cells
The Combination of Biology and Technology Can Be Trained to Fly a Flight Simulator

Happy Hour guides

I just found out about Unthirsty, but even that site now has competition from MappyHour -- a Google mashup site with links to happy hour reviews.

But this site is still a great staple:  Seattle Travel's Seattle Happy Hour Guide. It has happy hours listed by neighborhood.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Scooter Limbo

This is ridiculousness on top of unbelievable ridiculousness and makes me even more pissed about the Bush Administration.

They commute Scooter's sentence before he serves any prison time, then assume he will instead get probation, except you have to serve some time to be eligible for a judge to do that.  So, Scooter may not get anything other than the $250k fine.  Wankers.

Crooks and Liars » John Dean: Bush’s Commutation Conflicts With His Own DoJ Guidelines
White House Counsel Fred Fielding either did a very shabby or very sneaky job of handling the details of Libby’s commutation, as it is hard to believe that someone as experienced as Fielding wouldn’t anticipate the confusion we see now. I guess it really doesn’t matter to them in the long run, their buddy Scooter will do zero prison time for his part in treasonous crimes against his country while Paris Hilton spent nearly a month in jail for a parole violation. They must be proud…

Local call to bring troops home

Olympia, WA -- my state capitol -- makes the "pages" of Daily Kos. 

Daily Kos: Bring them home.
How many more Americans will forfeit their lives on the battlefield between now and then? How many more tax dollars will be spent to stall America’s inevitable departure?

It’s time to end the American bloodshed. It’s time to bring the troops home.