Virtual telescope provides detailed glimpse of chaotic point in space

European astronomers have used networking technology to create a virtual telescope with better resolution than any single telescope currently available. The project, called Express Production Real-time e-VLBI Service (ExPRES), is part of the European VLBI Network's effort to study SS433, a point in the Milky Way where a star and a possible black hole orbit each other, causing massive gas activity. The project includes 16 radio telescopes located on six continents. The telescopes deliver data to the network at 1 Gbit per second to a supercomputer in The Netherlands, which combines the signals into real-time video. (PhysOrg)

Google introduces Android scripting environment for phones

Developers can now edit and run scripts on Android devices with the Android Scripting Environment (ASE), which Google introduced this week. ASE uses a simplified interface that lets developers use many of the same functions available on regular PC Android applications, including making phone calls, sending text messages, and scanning bar codes. Developers can write scripts in Python, Lua, and BeanShell. According to Google's open source blog, ASE was created to let developers work away from their PCs, letting them try out ideas wherever they happen to be. (The Register)

Chinese finalists lead way in TopCoder contest

A Chinese teenager won the most coveted prize in the TopCoder Open software contest last week, leading a large contingent of Chinese finalists. Bin Jin, 18, who goes by "crazyb0y," won the algorithm competition, which included solving three problems labeled easy, medium, and hard. Roughly 4,200 people participated in the contest, with 70 finalists chosen for a tournament in Las Vegas. Of those finalists, 20 were from China, 10 from Russia, and two from the US. The contest is sponsored by the US National Security Agency, which often hires people who perform well. (Computerworld)

Canada won't regulate Internet content, for now

A Canadian regulator ruled Tuesday that Internet streaming is considered broadcasting and can be treated the same way as television and radio, but turned down a levy proposal that would have required ISPs to contribute funds for creative content. The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) upheld a regulartory exemption for Internet in place since 1999, deciding that regulation would curtail innovation in a medium that is still growing. Many ISPs and companies, such as Google, that opposed the levies were pleased with the decision, but the CRTC left open the possibility that the levies could be introduced some time in the future. (Ars Technica)

China to require Web-filtering program on all computers

China is requiring all computers sold in the country after July 1 to have a government-approved Web-filtering program installed or come with a CD-ROM including the software, according to reports. Called Green Dam Youth Escort, the program blocks Web sites containing pornographic content and can be disabled by parents, who can filter content by keywords. China has aggressively tried to block content it deems inappropriate, including access to Microsoft's Bing search engine, Twitter, and Hotmail last week. (The Associated Press, Computerworld)

Hackers claim massive T-Mobile breach, security experts doubtful

A group of hackers on Saturday claimed that it had breached T-Mobile security and stolen a large amount of information, including databases, programs, and customers' financial documents. The group posted a message on the Full Disclosure security mailing list, saying that it had initially offered the information to T-Mobile's competitors, and is now offering it to the highest bidder. T-Mobile said that it is investigating the matter. However, some security experts doubted the claim and believed it to be a hoax, noting that the public offer actually devalued any stolen information by giving T-Mobile time to implement coutermeasures and change passwords. (CNet)

Studios experiment with Epix movie streaming service

Three movie studios have collaborated to launch Epix, a new streaming service intended as a new distribution model through cable and Internet services that will offer pre-DVD films. Paramount, MGM, and Lionsgate funded the new 720p high-definition service, which will be offered as part of cable companies' regular service, avoiding a separate monthly charge or advertising. Movies available on the cable service will also be streamed on demand at Epixhd.com through a Flash player that checks bandwidth every 10 seconds and adjusts accordingly. Epix, which is rolling out in an invitation-only beta, will only be offered to customers who sign up for cable companies' full television and Internet package. The company is exploring additional collaboration with ISPs by installing caching servers in data centers to cut down on bandwidth. (Ars Technica)

Louisiana pushes Internet surcharge to fight sex crimes

Louisiana lawmakers voted Thursday to implement a US$0.15 monthly surcharge for Internet access throughout the state to raise funds for combating online sex crimes. Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell would manage the funds, estimated at $2.4 million per year beginning in 2010, as part of an online crimes division. Public libraries and schools would be exempt from the surcharge. House of Representatives backers said the bill was necessary to protect children, but opponents called it an Internet tax that might violate a federal law against such taxes. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal also said he opposes the bill, which will move on to the Louisiana Senate. (The Associated Press)

Yahoo adds applications to email service

Yahoo on Friday launched 11 new email applications in an effort to let users do more on the site, including a PayPal widget and several photo services. The applications are only available as part of a limited beta in the US, and Yahoo said it will begin rolling them out to all visitors in select markets later in the summer. The applications include Picnik photo editor, Xoopit photo management, Photobucket, and Zuma Drive, which lets users send attachments up to 100 Mbytes. (Yahoo)

FTC shuts down rogue ISP

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has shut down an ISP that allegedly hosted botnets, phishing sites, child porn, and other illegal activity. The company, Pricewert, operated under several names, including 3FN and APS Telecom. According to the FTC, Pricewert actively encouraged criminal activity with its service, often ignoring take-down requests from security companies and transferring users to new ISP addresses to shield them. The FTC also filed instant-messaging transcripts with a San Jose, California, district court showing senior Pricewert employees discussing botnet configurations. All of Pricewert's upstream providers have shut off Internet access. (Daily Tech)

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