The Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC) , a non-profit organization that promotes open-source software and defends the free software General Public License (GPL) , sued major TV vendor Vizio for abusing the GPL. Specifically, Vizio is using Linux's source code and other open-source software, such as BusyBox, U-Boot, bash, gawk, tar, Glibc, and FFmpegis, in its SmartCast OS TV firmware. These programs are protected under the GPL version 2 (GPLv2) and the Lesser GPL (LGPL) . Also: Software Freedom Conservancy sues Vizio for GPL violations All the SFC requires is that Vizio makes this code available to the public as per its licenses. Vizio won't hear of it. As Bradley M. Kuhn, the SFC's Hacker-in-Residence, and Karen M. Sandler, the SFC's Executive Director, wrote in a recent blog post , Vizio has not released the source code. Nor has the company proposed a Complete Corresponding Source (CCS) candidate for the SFC. With the latter, the SFC could have provided … [Read more...] about Open-source Vizio lawsuit takes an ugly turn
Back in July 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccines still six months away, the CTA (Consumer Technology Association) announced that its upcoming CES 2021 show would be an all-digital experience . Come January 2021, the Las Vegas exhibition venues, normally packed with stands from companies large and small, remained empty; keynotes and product demos were relayed online, with no in-person audiences; and the normal hectic round of face-to-face meetings and chance encounters on the show floor simply didn't happen. Basically, CES 2021 mirrored its audience, which was busy working remotely, under varying levels of social-distancing measures depending on the local or regional state of the pandemic. The tech industry still managed to discuss and demonstrate new technologies and products at CES 2021, but it was inevitably a smaller show, although still claimed by the CTA as 'the largest digital tech event' . As CES 2022 approaches, the coronavirus pandemic is still … [Read more...] about CES 2022 preview: Crowds set to return to Las Vegas, but digital element remains
Tien Shan mountains, China Almost half the world's population gets its water from glaciers and rainfall in Asia's highest mountains and deserts. Geologist Aaron Putnam of Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, his father David Putnam, an archaeologist at the University of Maine at Presque Isle, and their colleagues recently visited some of these areas on study expeditions, snapping these striking photos.Above: Looking north toward the high Tien Shan mountains of western China. At center is the highest peak in the Tien Shan: Tomur peak (or Jengish Chokusu in Khirgiz). Mountains in Bhutan Snow on high peaks above Thampe Chhu, Bhutan. Boulder sampling Tshewang Rigzin (Department of Hydromet Services, Royal Government of Bhutan) and guides sampling boulder on moraine. Weather station Tshewang Rigzin (Department of Hydromet Services, Royal Government of Bhutan) and Aaron Putnam (Columbia) tinkering with a weather station. Glacier, Bhutan … [Read more...] about Stunning scenes: From the Himalayas to the Taklamakan Desert
The feral child — a child raised by wild animals — is common in myth and folklore. Feral children are typically thought of as having been raised without human parental contact. A boy or girl raised by wolves — or bears or apes — is the original "wild child," often having little or no language ability or manners. Because feral children lack socialization, they are sometimes considered to represent a pure natural human state. Stories of feral children date back at least to Romulus and Remus, the twin brothers of Roman mythology rescued from certain death and raised by a wolf. In modern times, the feral child image evokes a strong romanticism for many people. This was especially true at the turn of the last century. Rudyard Kipling made a hero of the feral child Mowgli — an Indian boy raised by wolves — in his classic and wildly popular 1894 collection of stories "The Jungle Book." Writer Edgar Rice Burroughs created Tarzan, a boy raised by African apes, in the early 1900s, and his … [Read more...] about Feral Children: Lore of the Wild Child
Dragons have the ultimate built-in defense: They can breathe fire, smiting their enemies by turning them into charred husks. But though historic and modern-day literature is rich with dragon lore (we're looking at you, "Game of Thrones"), there isn't any reputable physical evidence that these legendary creatures exist. That said, are there any living creatures that can breathe fire like the mythical dragon? The short answer is no, but there are some astonishingly creative animals that can spew noxious fumes, toxins and goo from their bodies. And there are even crafty raptors that spread fire so they can smoke out tasty prey. [ Top 10 Beasts and Dragons: How Reality Made Myth ] The main reason fire-breathing animals don't exist? Well, a flame could cause a nasty boo-boo. "There are no real animals that are flame resistant or flame immune," Rachel Keeffe, a doctoral student studying reptiles and amphibians at the University of Florida, said in a statement … [Read more...] about Can any animal breathe fire like the mythical dragon?
Australia's fairy circles Scientists are debating the cause of "fairy circles" in Australia’s dry grasslands. While some researchers believe the mysterious circular patches are the result of termite nests, others think they can be explained by competition for scarce water among plants. Once only found in southern Africa, fairy circles were identified in Australia earlier this year in landscapes like this one, near Kintore in the Northern Territory. [ Read the full story on the Australian fairy circles ] Thirsty grass? The barren circles surrounded by rings of grass are notable in that they repeat quite regularly in a geometric pattern. The research team that first described Australia's fairy circles attributed the shapes to water competition. Or termite homes? But a team of local researchers led by ecologist Fiona Walsh now claims the dry, sunbaked patches of soil are left behind by termites. Food prep Walsh and her colleagues observed that … [Read more...] about Photos: Mysterious Fairy Circles in Australia
The discovery of fairy circles in Australia earlier this year has hardly put to rest the controversy over how these mysterious structures form. " Fairy circles " are regular, repeating patches of dirt in remote grasslands that, when viewed from above, look like whimsical rings that were scattered across a landscape. Despite their fanciful appearance, the patterns have been a source of serious scientific debate for the last four decades. While some have argued that the geometric patterns are the work of termites , others have postulated that the circles form naturally as vegetation self-organizes in competition for scarce water and other nutrients. Previously, these patches had been observed only in southeastern Africa, mostly Namibia, but in March, a group of researchers announced that they had identified fairy circles in satellite images and during fieldwork in Western Australia. [ See Stunning Photos of Fairy Circles in Australia ] Led by ecological modeler … [Read more...] about Are ‘Fairy Circles’ Just the ‘Ghosts’ of Termite Nests?
An expansive megadrought that parched ancient Africa and southern Asia about 16,000 years ago was one of the most intense and far-reaching dry periods in the history of modern humans, new climate research indicates. The drought hit almost all of southern Asia and most of the African continent. During the drought, Africa's Lake Victoria — the world’s largest tropical lake and the source of the Nile — dried out, as did Lake Tana in Ethiopia and Lake Van in Turkey. And monsoons from China to the Mediterranean brought little or no rain. By looking at climate records, including samples of ancient sediments taken from Lake Victoria and Lake Tanganyika in Tanzania, the researchers pegged the timing of the megadrought to the peak of a 3,000-year period when icebergs and their meltwater surged into the North Atlantic. This change in the ocean, which occurred as the last ice age came to a close, appears to have had effects at the tropics, the researchers write in the Feb. 25 issue of the … [Read more...] about Epic Megadrought Struck 16,000 Years Ago
A burn scar left by a wildfire in Western Australia is so massive, it's visible from space, according to images captured by a NASA satellite. But fires that leave immense scars in their wake — such as this one in the Gibson Desert, just 50 miles (80 kilometers) southwest of Lake Mackay — aren't entirely unexpected, NASA said. That's because the native Aboriginal people who once routinely set fire to their land no longer live there, allowing desert grasses to grow out of control and into a colossal tinderbox. "For tens of thousands of years, nomadic Aboriginal people traveled the harsh landscape around Lake Mackay looking for food and water," NASA's Earth Observatory said in a statement . "That nomadic lifestyle was transformed when the British military began missile tests in the region in [the] 1950s; most of the Pintupi people [an Australian Aboriginal group] living in the area ended up in small settlements such as Kiwirrkurra" — located in the Gibson Desert. [ Top 10 … [Read more...] about Burn Scar from Massive Australian Wildfire Visible from Space
Australia rang in the new year with dangerous tidings: Parts of Western Australia have been battling large bushfires since the beginning of the month. The blazes seem to be easing off, but an Earth-observing satellite captured a dramatic view of the fires earlier this month, showing thick clouds of smoke hugging the nation's southwestern coast. Last week, NASA's Earth Observatory posted a photo taken Jan. 7 by the Suomi NPP satellite's Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS). The day before, on Jan. 6, massive bushfires broke out, threatening the town of Yarloop, which is located about 75 miles (120 kilometers) south of Perth. Low rainfall over the past few years had caused unusually dry conditions in the area, which has made it difficult for plants to grow and decay . Plants have been running on minimal moisture and in some cases have died and built up into dry debris. This has made the area more susceptible to fire during Australia's summer, which is prime … [Read more...] about Raging Fires in Australia Visible from Space