How Cutting-Edge Technology & Science Are Powering The Future TPM Idealab

Above our heads, 21,000 pieces of man-made junk uncomfortably share the orbit around our planet with satellites, space craft and space platforms. These chunks of orbital debris threaten to collide with all that equipment, potentially bringing down communications, scientific, and military satellites. But if the Air Force has its way, its Space Fence system will track the thousands of pieces of debris and give data to scientists to help them avoid collisions.

This past November, the Air Force's Electronic Systems Center put out a call for proposals for developing a Space Fence that will use up to three powerful S-band radars to keep track of debris in the southern hemisphere as small as one inch in diameter. These new sensors will compliment the current United States Space Surveillance Network, whose sensors can follow objects down to ten centimeters in diameter.

Read More →

Apple's iPad tablet computer may be the perfect vehicle to view glossy magazines, but the iTunes subscription model has some publishers ready to turn the page.

On both sides of the Atlantic, publishers are grumbling about Apple's iTunes store. Some popular US publications, including the New York Times and Playboy, recently announced web-based subscriptions that will offer more flexible options and control over content than iTunes. But in Europe, Apple faces a probe by Belgian antitrust authorities over whether it is abusing its market position by requiring that publishers only sell subscriptions through iTunes.

Read More →

With news of Google co-founder Larry Page set to become the company's new CEO this April, should Americans be bracing themselves for an abrupt about-face on net neutrality at Google as the more ideological and product-focused Page takes the reins?

Don't hold your breath, according to industry experts. It's unlikely that Page will make any huge policy changes.

Read More →

When you board a passenger plane in twenty years, what will it look like? Will it be a single, wide wing much like the current B-2 stealth bomber? Or could it look like a pontoon boat with wings? NASA last week gave the public a glimpse of the possibilities the future holds when it unveiled three radically different concept designs for the passenger plane of 2025 and beyond.

Read More →

Have governments got cyberwarfare all wrong? A new study argues that the United States and United Kingdom have never figured out a proper definition of cyberwar and that a "true cyber war" will never happen.

But it's not all good news: In order to prevent a combination of cyberwarfare, conventional war and other disasters from causing future, the scholars behind the project argue that an internet equivalent of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is needed to protect against worms, distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks and hackers.

Read More →

Any time Angry Birds or Yelp is opened on a smartphone, information is being sent to marketers -- and app developers aren't required to reveal it. Apps running on the iPhone, Android and BlackBerry platforms often collect personal information to be resold to marketing companies and initiatives such as Google's AdMob. These apps and others work in conjunction with in-phone GPS chips to give marketers detailed information on smartphone users' locations, gender, ages and, in some cases, personal contacts and use of other apps.

Read More →

Last week, CNET's Declan McCullagh reported that the government was trying to create an "Internet ID for Americans," and that the Department of Commerce was orchestrating the plan. The article quickly spread around the Internet, leading to a common understanding that Obama was trying to replace systems like Facebook Connect or OpenID with a top-down, government-controlled competitor.

But if the Department of Commerce was supposed to create from whole cloth a national Internet ID for all Americans, somebody forgot to tell the Department of Commerce.

Read More →

Californians that own cars in cities like San Francisco, where parking is scarce and public transportation is not, have a new option to earn back some of the money they pay to keep their cars: renting those cars to strangers.

A recent change to California's law -- spurred by one entrepreneur's business idea -- will allow individuals to rent out their cars commercially but keep their insurance. And technologies pioneered by companies like ZipCar, proponents say, will help by overcoming people's concerns about giving their car keys to strangers.

Read More →

TPMLivewire