2016-04-18 (Monday)

Today, I learned that:

A few days ago, I heard an interesting story from the SR local radio station in Borås, named SR Sjuhärad. SP (The Swedish Technical Research Institute) in Borås, together with the University of Göteborg (Gothenburg) has developed a new type of paint, to be used in the hull of boats and maintain them clean from the plants that tend to propagate there. If the boat owner can keep the hull clean from Balanidae, then s/he can reduce friction during travel and save up to 20 % of fuel.

The traditional paint used today to keep those plants away contains copper, which contaminates the water. The revolutionary paint does not contain copper, but instead a chemical compound named Abamectin and is produced by bacteriae. The difference between the old and the new paint is that the latter one permits the plants to attach themselves to the hull and once there they are poisoned by the paint, die and eventually fall off the hull.

The new paint should be available commercially by a German company within three years. See references #1, 2 and 3 below for further details.

One week ago I talked about the technology podcast This Week in Tech, which then discussed a US draft for law that demanded that producers of any equipment or software containing encryption technology should also provide non-encrypted access, if any authority so requested. Yesterday’s program have further information in this polemical subject. And also, this program celebrates 11 years of regular, weekly podcasts by Leo Laporte and his team. Congratulations to all of you!

And speaking of 11 years ago, on 2005-04-18 I had a pleasant field day with my sister-in-law Sônia to the region around Japan’s sacred Mount Fuji, which we ended with a purchasing spree in the electronic district Akihabara downtown Tokyo. Below are some photos I took that day.

18AD

Out and about in the Tokyo vicinity, photos taken on 2005-04-18

… That’s what I learned in school !

Refs.:

1: SP i Borås bakom framtidens båtfärg

2: Havstulpaner

3: Balanidae

4: This Week in Tech 558 Rattlesnake in a Piñata

+: What did you learn in school today ?

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2016-04-12 (Tuesday)

Today, I learned that:

On Sunday evenings or afterwards as a podcast, one of my favorite technology programs is Leo Laporte’s This Week in Tech. Among other things, this week’s edition discussed at length a draft of a US Congress bill to obligate any provider of encryption solutions to data communication to also offer means of decrypting it when summoned by the authorities. Scary stuff! Reference #1 below appoints to the TWiT show.

Reference #2 below discusses the same draft, and here is a citation of that article:

“Feinstein-Burr ‘encryption bill’

A draft of the long-awaited Feinstein-Burr ‘encryption bill’ surfaced late Thursday night and has law and tech experts reeling.

“To uphold both the rule of law and protect the interests and security of the United States, all persons receiving an authorized judicial order for information or data must provide, in a timely manner, responsive, intelligible information or data, or appropriate technical assistance to obtain such information or data,” the discussion draft states.

The draft of the “Compliance with Court Orders Act of 2016” essentially requires any device manufacturer, software manufacturer, electronic communication service, remote computing service providers, “or any person who provides a product or method to facilitate a communication or the processing or storage of data” to comply with court orders and hand over any plain-text communications the government demands.

Tom Mentzer, press secretary for Senator Diane Feinstein, D-CA, who is heading the bill alongside Senator Richard Burr, R-N.C., shared their joint statement to Digital Trends: “We’re still working on finalizing a discussion draft and as a result can’t comment on language in specific versions of the bill,” according to the statement. “However, the underlying goal is simple: when there’s a court order to render technical assistance to law enforcement or provide decrypted information, that court order is carried out. No individual or company is above the law. We’re still in the process of soliciting input from stakeholders and hope to have final language ready soon.” But Mentzer also said “nothing has been released by the committee,” meaning the discussion draft will likely be revised greatly before it becomes a bill.”

10EH

Photos taken during my afternoon visit to the Yuyuan garden on 2005-04-10

Continuing my pleasant Sunday sightseeing in Shanghai, that I wrote about yesterday, above are four photos from the impressive Yuyuan garden. Reference #3 below has a complete description of the garden.

… That’s what I learned in school !

Refs.:

1: This Week in Tech 557 – A trainwreck of Brobdingnagian proportions

2: Feinstein-Burr ‘encryption bill’

3: Yuyuan garden

+: What did you learn in school today ?