Robots, Internet vengeance and cyber-war!
This has been a good week for the future. We got to see an editor who believes the entire Internet is public domain get her comeuppance for taking writing without writer consent. Neil Gaiman got involved in the dispute, and a cadre of Internet detectives worked through the magazine's back issues to track every instance of plagiarism they could find. The story is on-going, but Internet justice rarely stops before things blow way out of proportion.
Next up, this story from Australia about some criminals selling illegal animals online. Tiger cubs, cheetah cubs, chimps and capuchin monkeys are all included. While authorities warn that the service may be a scam (and is definitely illegal) that is unlikely to tempt anyone who really wants a cheetah.
This week also marks the first space-traveling humanoid robot's first trip into space. Robonaut 2 will be stored at the ISS until the end of December, when tests are scheduled to start. The goal is for Robonaut 2 (who also goes by the Star Wars-y moniker "R2") to take over many dangerous cleaning and repair tasks currently done by humans. Robonaut 2 is 3'4" and 330 pounds.
Also in robot-and-space-related news, NASA announced this week that they are considering putting a robot on the moon in 1,000 days. It would be much cheaper than sending a person- $200 million for the robot and $250 million for the rocket. Meanwhile, the estimated cost of another manned moon mission would top $150 billion.
This last headline is a little bit scary. A gigantic D-DOS attack actually knocked the entire country of Myanmar off the Internet. This attack has been going on since October 25 at least. It's caused disruption for tourism and business and, more worryingly, comes right ahead of a major election on November 7. The attack could be a government attempt to damage the opposition's ability to organize.
Total volume of the attacks have been pegged at "between 10-15 Gbps (several hundred times more than enough to overwhelm the country's 45 Mbps T3 terrestrial and satellite links)." So either some mysterious botnet has decided to wipe Myanmar off the Internet, or some shadowy government force is cutting connection in order to maintain power. Either way, this story is cyberpunk as hell.