Technology

How dangerous is radiation really?

You know how they tell you that nuclear radiation has insane half lives that basically means that when anything is contaminated, it takes thousands if not tens of thousands of years to decay to safe levels?

Why doesn’t that work out in the real world?

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For the first time since the 2011 disaster, all of the rice harvested in Fukushima Prefecture this year has passed radiation tests and now can be deemed safe for consumption, according to local officials.

Virtually all of the rice harvested in Fukushima in 2014 – or some 360,000 tonnes – has been checked for radiation and met the national standards of less than 100 Becquerel’s per kilogram, Reuters reports. Read more »

And they say my comments section is dreadful

The mainstream media and the disaffected left like to claim that the comments section here at WOBH is dreadful.

Fairfax owns used to own a fair chunk of Trade Me, even after they sold some down, until 2012 when they dumped the remaining shares.

Here is just one example of comments that stand at Trade Me.

deaththreat to PM Read more »

Solar Silvia will charge your Prius for free

 

By Pete

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In spite of its critics, “free” solar energy is increasingly used by individuals and companies to offset the power bill

Sylvia Park has switched on what is believed to be New Zealand’s biggest solar power installation.

The Auckland shopping centre has fitted more than 1000 solar panels to the mall roof in a bid to save money, with some of the energy channeled into shoppers’ vehicles below.

The 1134 panels cover an area the size of 12 tennis courts. Read more »

Bad Bots

Asimov’s three laws of robotics state:

The Three Laws of Robotics (often shortened to The Three Laws or Three Laws, also known as Asimov’s Laws) are a set of rules devised by the science fiction author Isaac Asimov. The rules were introduced in his 1942 short story “Runaround“, although they had been foreshadowed in a few earlier stories. The Three Laws are:

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

But what happens when bots go bad?

Daniel Rivero at Fusion reports:

Maybe it’s a sign that robots are growing up, and thus hitting the rebellious stage.

The Random Darknet Shopper, an automated online shopping bot with a budget of $100 a week in Bitcoin, is programmed to do a very specific task: go to one particular marketplace on the Deep Web and make one random purchase a week with the provided allowance. The purchases have all been compiled for an art show in Zurich, Switzerland titled The Darknet: From Memes to Onionland, which runs through January 11.

The concept would be all gravy if not for one thing: the programmers came home one day to find a shipment of 10 ecstasy pills, followed by an apparently very legit falsified Hungarian passport– developments which have left some observers of the bot’s blog a little uneasy.    Read more »

Streamlining cock tax, Uber style app launched for hookers

The Economist reports on the launch of a new app in Germany to streamline bookings and haggling of prices with hookers.

FOR those seeking commercial sex in Berlin, Peppr, a new app, makes life easy. Type in a location and up pops a list of the nearest prostitutes, along with pictures, prices and physical particulars. Results can be filtered, and users can arrange a session for a €5-10 ($6.50-13) booking fee. It plans to expand to more cities.

Peppr can operate openly since prostitution, and the advertising of prostitution, are both legal in Germany. But even where they are not, the internet is transforming the sex trade. Prostitutes and punters have always struggled to find each other, and to find out what they want to know before pairing off. Phone-box “tart cards” for blonde bombshells and leggy señoritas could only catch so many eyes. Customers knew little about the nature and quality of the services on offer. Personal recommendations, though helpful, were awkward to come by. Sex workers did not know what risks they were taking on with clients.

Now specialist websites and apps are allowing information to flow between buyer and seller, making it easier to strike mutually satisfactory deals. The sex trade is becoming easier to enter and safer to work in: prostitutes can warn each other about violent clients, and do background and health checks before taking a booking. Personal web pages allow them to advertise and arrange meetings online; their clients’ feedback on review sites helps others to proceed with confidence.

Even in places such as America, where prostitution and its facilitation are illegal everywhere except Nevada, the marketing and arrangement of commercial sex is moving online. To get round the laws, web servers are placed abroad; site-owners and users hide behind pseudonyms; and prominently placed legalese frames the purpose of sites as “entertainment” and their content as “fiction”.

The shift online is casting light on parts of the sex industry that have long lurked in the shadows. Streetwalkers have always attracted the lion’s share of attention from policymakers and researchers because they ply their trade in public places. They are more bothersome for everyone else—and, because they are the most vulnerable, more likely to come to the attention of the police and of social or health workers. But in many rich countries they are a minority of all sex workers; just 10-20% in America, estimates Ronald Weitzer, a sociologist at George Washington University.

This could easily solve Papatoetoe’s problem with street walkers.   Read more »

UK wind turbines need national grid electricity to operate

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Yes, you read that right.

Off-shore wind turbines take power from the National Grid when not generating electricity, it has emerged.

They use electricity to keep their blades rotating slowly in cold weather to prevent them icing up and to power the systems which turn the blades into the wind.

It costs around twice as much to produce electricity using offshore wind than at traditional coal and gas-fired power stations.

But think about the feel good factor!!

Read more »

Drone to kill unwanted insurgents on New Zealand soil

And I’m not joking

Scott Sambell and his dog Millie are finding that keeping Glenfern Sanctuary pest-free can be hard work.

The 240 hectare peninsula is cordoned off by a pest-proof fence to protect native wildlife, but that doesn’t stop a handful of unwanted predators making their way in every year.

“We’ve got over 1000 monitoring stations on here which you try and get to at least once a month,” says Mr Sambell, who manages the sanctuary.

That means if a predator is detected, it could have up to a month’s headstart to get away from Mr Sambell’s team.

“The whole point of this is that we just don’t know what is going out there, and it’s crazy that with all this technology that we’ve got, why can’t we know these things?”

Mr Sambell vented his frustration to inventor Gian Badraun, who’s come up with the Trap Minder, a monitoring system that sends instant alerts by email, text, a computer program or smartphone app the instant a pest is detected.

That means biosecurity workers can act immediately to eradicate the pest, but soon they may not even need to move a muscle.

Eventually the Trap Minder system will communicate directly with a drone which could be set to automatically fly to the GPS coordinates of the incursion.

On one level, that’s so cool.  Yet on another, how do we stop people from implementing these on their own properties?  In their own gardens?  And will they know now to shoot at the kid that’s coming over the fence  just to get his tennis ball back?

Read more »

Sony hackers threatening to hack a media organisation, please let it be the NZ Herald

Excuse me if I don’t just laugh a little bit at the latest hacker threat…to hack a media organisation.

Now we will get to see weapons grade hypocrisy exhibited as they all claim this is an outrage against their rights as journalists…never-mind they have all been feeding off of the criminal exploits of hackers for some time.

The hackers who infiltrated Sony Pictures Entertainment’s computer servers have threatened to attack an American news media organization,according to an FBI bulletin obtained by The Intercept.

The threat against the unnamed news organization by the Guardians of Peace, the hacker group that has claimed credit for the Sony attack, “may extend to other such organizations in the near future,” according to a Joint Intelligence Bulletin of the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security obtained by The Intercept.

Referring to Sony only as “USPER1”and the news organization as “USPER2,” the Joint Intelligence Bulletin, dated Dec. 24 and marked For Official Use Only, states that its purpose is “to provide information on the late-November 2014 cyber intrusion targeting USPER1 and related threats concerning the planned release of the movie, ‘The Interview.’ Additionally, these threats have extended to USPER2 —a news media organization—and may extend to other such organizations in the near future.”   Read more »

Kiwi ISIS Jihadist finds social media too social

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Mohammad Daniel, also known as Abu Abdul Rahman, and formerly known as Mark John Taylor, has now deleted 45 posts from Twitter after discovering that he had been revealing his location to intelligence agencies and enemies keeping tabs on him.

Experts say such information is invaluable in helping investigators establish links that foreign fighters have with terrorist groups.

Daniel’s tweets apparently show that in October this year he was with Isis in Kafar Roma, an area that President Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian Army has previously confirmed had been occupied by pockets of foreign fighters from Isis.

His tweets stopped around the time that the Syrian Army made a strong push into the area.

He then goes off the grid for several months while fighting in the desert and finally retreating to the Isis stronghold of Al Tabqah in early December.

It’s absurd to have individual Jihadist maintaining social media accounts of their exploits.   Read more »

Turning plastic into food? Can’t come soon enough

Some would joke most food is already plastic, but sarcasm aside, this research could be the start of a great and cheap source of fuel to make plastics edible.

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Two Austrian designers have teamed up with Utrecht University to develop an incubator dubbed the ‘Fungi Mutarium.’ It cultivates plastic-digesting fungi, which is edible.

Researchers at Yale University in 2012 discovered a rare variety of mushroom that could break down polyurethane, a type of plastic. What followed was a wave of research exploring how fungi can degrade plastic without retaining any of its toxicity. Read more »

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