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F-35 successfully targets aerial drone (is still a moneypit)

November 1, 2013 11:28 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

The F-35 Lightning II program, which surpassed 10,000 flight hours in September, has another reason to celebrate today. On October 31, the F-35A, a 5th generation fighter, successfully launched an AIM-120 radar-seeking missile from the internal weapons bay. 

Should the government regulate Google Glass?

October 31, 2013 4:22 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Every new technology or consumer widget must inevitably run headfirst into the regulatory powers of government — often in conjunction with automotive safety. So this was no surprise: San Diego police have pulled over a motorist and ticketed her for wearing Google Glass, touching off the latest battle between federal legislators and the private sector.

This wallet will take your money and run

October 31, 2013 10:33 am | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Blogs | Comments

There’s chasing money and then there’s chasing money. According to Japan’s RocketNews24, one company has come up with a wallet that runs away before you run out of cash. (OK, it actually rolls away.) Not only does the “Living Wallet” sense its owner’s hand reaching for it and try to sneak off, it also, when caught, can scream....

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When online marketers target mobile device users, nothing’s out of bounds

October 28, 2013 2:54 pm | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Blogs | Comments

Online ad companies are scaling down their use of cookies, particularly on mobile devices, to track consumers. Until recently, these companies had no way of determining if someone viewed an ad on one device, say a smart phone, and then went to the advertiser’s web site....

Growing sensors: Agriculture meets technology

October 28, 2013 11:50 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Articles | Comments

Agriculture is arguably one of the most important industries in the world. After all, with an estimated population of over 7 billion people, there are a lot of mouths to feed. Unfortunately, agriculture is also one of the most unpredictable industries. Crops are subject to the whims of nature with droughts, fire, rain, sun, and hail.

WWII vet screws with the TSA

October 25, 2013 4:49 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

If you haven’t met the TSA – meaning you somehow haven’t flown anywhere in the last 12 years – know that they’re the crotch-grabbing, nude-scanning, senior-citizen harassing government agency in charge of airport security. And they really hate shoes. But the mighty TSA has apparently met its match in an 87-year-old, half-deaf World War II vet.

Iran’s newest “drone” held together with duct tape

October 24, 2013 4:20 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

A recently released video of Iran’s new “suicide remotely piloted vehicle” called the Ra’ad 85—aka Thunder 85—reveals it might be less impressive than originally announced. A few weeks ago, Brigadier General Ahmad Reza Pourdastan, Commander of the Iranian Army Ground Force, announced the Ra’ad 85 would be a game-changer for Iran’s military.

Board game indoctrinates kids on global warming

October 24, 2013 10:23 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

I’m torn here. As a child’s toy, MELTDOWN – the “first board game that melts” – is extremely clever. I probably would’ve loved playing with the cute little polar bears and fake ice floes. But I can’t ignore the transparent attempt to indoctrinate children on the theory – yes, the theory – of global warming.

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Reconfigurable heterogeneous architectures deliver flexibility and performance for complex applications

October 23, 2013 4:47 pm | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Articles | Comments

Embedded systems designers, more than ever, are seeking flexibility in how they work with processing elements to help keep risks low, speed time to market and control cost. Traditional embedded systems often rely on general-purpose processors and microcontrollers or multicore processors.

Are we addicted to smartphones?

October 22, 2013 4:13 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor, Photography by Melissa Spivak | Blogs | Comments

Do you own a “Crackberry” or, god forbid, an iPhone? Is it always within arms’ reach, and do you compulsively check it every 5-10 minutes? Do you scour your smartphone with no clear purpose in mind? And do you have a strong desire to resist this “constant connectivity”? You may be experiencing “pushback”, according to a new paper from the University of Washington. But is this a symptom of smartphone "addiction"?

Watch these DARPA-funded robots run through their frightening paces

October 16, 2013 3:46 pm | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Blogs | Comments

Boston Dynamics recently posted more video eye candy (but not necessarily ear candy) for those who can’t get enough of their amazing, creature-like robotics. The two new videos are its quadroped called the WildCat and the bipedal Atlas. The all-terrain Wildcat can run at 16 mph on a flat surface and can either gallop or “bound.” Atlas is intended to walk upright and keep its balance even on rough terrain.

This women’s makeup can launch drones

October 16, 2013 2:06 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

At long last – this red-blooded American male might finally wear makeup. And no, this isn’t an “admission” of sorts. But the ability to control electronics with metallized false eyelashes and conducting eyeshadow could simplify my life and improve my fashion sense.

Here is the military-issued rifle for every country in the world

October 16, 2013 10:15 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

It's always pretty interesting to see what other military forces are working with, so Maps on the Web has graced us with this baby, which takes a look at the military rifles of all the countries. Each color signifies a particular "family" of guns with variations signified by shading of the same color.

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Is the F-35 a “great national scandal”?

October 15, 2013 1:16 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

In government, the left hand often doesn’t know what the right hand’s doing. Case in point: Days after the DoD got all warm-and-fuzzy over its working relationship with Lockheed Martin and the F-35, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) called the Joint Strike Fighter “one of the great national scandals.”

Watch “Star Wars” recreated using an Etch a Sketch

October 14, 2013 2:18 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

The force is strong with this one. I was never very skilled with an Etch a Sketch. And it’s not just my complete lack of artistic ability – my hands are steady as a coffee junkie (small wonder I didn’t become a doctor). But this guy is good – very, very good. Using nothing more than a garden-variety Etch a Sketch, he creates a complete recap of “Star Wars”, and it’s glorious.

Will the QF-16 be the next step in drone warfare?

October 14, 2013 11:03 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

What happens when a fighter jet is too old to be used in combat by the Air Force, but too expensive to totally dump? It becomes a drone, at least sometimes it does. The F-16 Fighting Falcon was acquired by Boeing after being retired by the Air Force. In turn the aerospace company turned the old school jet into a brand new drone to be used for military training.

It’s a man’s world

October 10, 2013 3:17 pm | by Melissa Barnes, Associate Editor | Blogs | Comments

The lack of women in engineering has been an ongoing issue for some time. In terms of progress, we have seen some marvelous improvements and change for the better. But according to the National Science Foundation’s most recent statistics, an astonishing gender disparity remains....

Why Twitter is a male chauvinist’s dream company

October 9, 2013 4:57 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

Twitter is in big trouble. The company, which recently began preparing to go public, came under fire for its all-male board and lack of female executives within the company. All of this was pointed out in a NYT’s piece by Clair Cain Miller where Vivek Wadhwa, a fellow at Stanford Rock Center for Corporate Governance...

Why the U.S. sucks at math

October 9, 2013 4:47 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

No doubt about it – we're failing our children. We take it for granted that American children lag behind the rest of the world in STEM literacy: In a recent survey, U.S. 15-year-olds ranked 25th out of 34 developed countries in mathematics. We also assume that kiddies are born with a natural affinity for math and science. But what if STEM literacy isn’t an innate skill? What if it can be taught?

Meet the voice behind Siri

October 9, 2013 2:44 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

Internet, meet Siri. Siri, meet the internet. Surprise! It’s not really Siri. Obviously, Siri is a computer program on the iPhone, but Susan Bennett is the voice behind the virtual assistant. Bennett says the sassy, somewhat martyred, voice was a product of some July 2005 recording sessions for GM Voices.

Watch dead batteries power smartphones

October 8, 2013 2:02 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

When we speak of “reanimating the dead”, we usually don’t mean dead batteries. And we certainly don’t harness these used electrochemical cells – Frankenstein-style – into a giant, mutated power station. Yet that’s exactly what Thailand’s Vitamilk did by resurrecting a battalion of dead batteries and channeling their energy to power small electronics....

Why IKEA's solar panels are a great idea

October 8, 2013 12:31 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

Though Americans can already buy solar panels at Home Depot and Lowes, customers in the UK are just getting the opportunity as IKEA, the Swedish flat-pack furniture store, will start stocking the panels.This is such a great step towards mainstreaming the renewable energy market.

This dating website caters to ghosts

October 4, 2013 10:08 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Who says being dead has to kill your love life? Yes, a dating website actually caters to ghosts, because of course it does....and no, this isn’t a joke (at least in the sense that the website actually exists). The Internet’s limitless potential for putting the sum total of humanity’s accumulated knowledge at a keystroke has the incidental effect of uniting lonely singles who prefer niche preferences, but ethereal spirits? That’s a new one.

Why the iPhone 5s makes me nauseous

October 3, 2013 4:43 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

For a girl who loves her Apple products, I’ve generally been pretty un-opinionated about the iOS 7. I’ve heard some complaints about the size of the app icons and other curmudgeonly complaints as everyone slowly updates. My favorite—and most frequently heard—complaint is actually that they changed the color of some of the app icons and now no one can find anything.

Top 10 must-see stories for September

October 3, 2013 3:30 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

Here’s a rundown of the most read, most popular, most awesome articles on the web. Take a look at what you missed the first time around or check up on an old favorite to see the conversation in the comments. Keep checking out the Lead at www.ecnmag.com and follow us on Twitter @ecnonline for our most up-to-date articles.

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