Today in Tech
  • Old Wall posts are coming back to life, but no private conversations have been leaked

    If you've seen the myriad of reports appearing on social networks and tech sites regarding old Facebook private messages suddenly appearing on users' Timelines, you can breathe a sigh of relief: Facebook has confirmed that no private messages have been publicly posted on anyone's pages.

    The first widespread reports began circulating a number of hours ago, with users claiming that old private message were inexplicably appearing on their Timeline. It seems that the antiquated messages that some users are noticing are actually just posts that appeared on the old Facebook "Wall" system. As the new Timeline layout is an evolution of the Wall system — and those older posts carried over to the Timeline as well — these messages have always been there, but some users are just now noticing.

    The confusion stems from the fact that when Facebook still used Walls for users, people would often have Wall-to-Wall conversations, though these differ from private messages in that Wall posts were

    Read More »from Don’t Panic: Your Facebook private messages are safe and sound
  • The organization is hosting an edit-a-thon to beef up sparse profiles

    The Royal Society announced that it will hold a meeting in London on October 19 to undertake massive edits to the Wikipedia pages of female scientists and engineers. Since many women in those fields were overshadowed by male colleagues, they are not as well-known by the general population and have little to no representation on the crowd-sourced site. "If you can't find them easily in a place like Wikipedia, you won't know anything about them," said Uta Frith, a cognitive development professor who will lead a panel discussion at the edit-a-thon. "You'll think they are not important."

    Some of the ladies of science who will have more expansive Wikipedia entries after the event include Dame Kathleen Lonsdale, a crystallographer who identified the chemical structure of benzene, and Dr. Elsie Widdowson, who helped include vitamin supplements in World War II rations. The Royal Society event is also affiliated with Ada Lovelace Day, which honors the contributions of women in the sciences and

    Read More »from Female scientists and engineers to get their due on Wikipedia, thanks to the Royal Society
  • Part of the fun of using light guns to play video games is imagining that you're firing a laser beam at enemies on your TV screen. Thanks to a resourceful hardware hacker, a Nintendo Zapper — a light gun made for the original 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System — has been modified to fire an actual laser. Not just any beam, mind you, but one that can set fires and cause nasty burns if you're not careful.

    As detailed on the North Street Labs blog, the Zapper was disassembled and outfitted with a 2 watt blue laser. To give you an idea of how powerful that is, a laser pointer is about 5 milliwatts. This homemade laser pistol is 400 times as strong.

    In the video above, you can see the laser igniting matches instantaneously and actually cutting a surface from more than a foot away. It's powered by a replaceable battery pack and the pistol has a safety mechanism operated by a key to prevent it from being accidentally fired. That last part is crucial since even a brief burst can cause

    Read More »from Old-school Nintendo Zapper light gun transformed into a real laser pistol


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  • Allen says he won't join a team this season
    Allen says he won't join a team this season

    Ray Allen, who helped the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat win NBA titles, will not reunite with LeBron James in Cleveland, saying Wednesday he will sit out the current season. The 39-year-old guard, one of the NBA's all-time top shooters and the league's career 3-pointers leader, had hinted that he might sign as a free agent with a title contender.

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