Four short links: 21 Apr 2009

Space arrays, mobile hell, book scanners, and open source brains:

  1. Great Brazilian Sat-Hack Crackdown (Wired) — Satellite hackers in Brazil are bouncing ham signals off a disused US military satellite array.
    Truck drivers love the birds because they provide better range and sound than ham radios. Rogue loggers in the Amazon use the satellites to transmit coded warnings when authorities threaten to close in. Drug dealers and organized criminal factions use them to coordinate operations. […] “Nearly illiterate men rigged a radio in less than one minute, rolling wire on a coil.” As William Gibson said, “the street finds its own uses for things.” One man’s space junk is another man’s Make project. (via BoingBoing)
  2. My Students, My Cellphone, My Ordeal — there’s probably a market selling lightweight forensic tools to schools, specifically to avoid scenarios like this poor man’s.
  3. DIY High Speed Book Scanner From Trash and Cheap Cameras (Instructables) — $300 of parts gets you a reasonably high-quality scanner. It doesn’t have an automatic page turner, but it’s still a step up on “open the scanner lid, change the page, close the lid, hit scan, wait, [repeat until braindead]”. We have a huge legacy of analog, and we’re going to need consumer-grade consumer-priced systems if we are to rip-mix-burn our cultural legacy. What would the Google Books settlement look like if we all had high-speed scanners to do to our bookshelves what iTunes did to our CD shelves? (via BoingBoing)
  4. OpenCog Brainwave Projects in Google’s Summer of Code — in case you think GSoC is all about GNOME apps getting alternate shortcuts for DVORAK keyboards, there’s some esoteric stuff being approved. I wish that when I was a college student someone had paid me to work on a Application of Pleasure Algorithm Project.
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