The Daily Flash -Eco, Space, Tech (8/05)

DSC0040-300x201 Inside the Red Machine: Movie Explores WWII Espionage & Codebreaking

The new independent film The Red Machine is a World War II espionage thriller aimed at puzzlers. 

Puzzle fans and history buffs alike know of German cryptography during World War II and the Allies’ attempts to break those codes. It has inspired Thomas Harris’s Enigma and the ensuing movie adaptation, as well as Neal Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon, and other works. In the new film The Red Machine, however, directors Stephanie Argy and Alec Boehm tell a tale based on what they describe as an “allegedly true rumor,” taking viewers back to 1935 and the effort to crack the Japanese 91-shiki injiki cipher machine known to American cryptographers simply as “Red.” In the height of the Great Depression, Eddie Doyle (Donal Thoms-Cappello) is making his living stealing jewelry and other luxuries. His thieving might be small-time, but his skills aren’t. He never gets caught… that is, until he gets caught. His stay in jail isn’t long, as he is sprung by stiff, no-nonsense Navy Lt. F. Ellis Coburn (Lee Perkins). A confused Doyle is told that the United States government needs his help. Japan’s new encryption technology has suddenly rendered American analysts blind to their transmissions. The new messages originate from the Washington DC apartment of Japanese military man Ichiro Shimada and his wife (Eddie Lee and Madoka Kasahara). To earn his freedom, Doyle must work with Coburn and use his finesse to steal the machine.

Htc-google-android-handset (1) Google Activating 200,000 Android Units A Day 

Remember back in the day when Google was only activating 100,000 Android units a day? You should — it was May. By June, that number had jumped to 160,000 units a day. And today it now stands at 200,000 Android units activated a day. That’s pretty incredible. Google CEO Eric Schmidt revealed as much today during a sit down with a group of journalists after his panel at the Techonomy conference in Lake Tahoe, CA. When asked about how the Android platform is doing, Schmidt was practically glowing. He cited the recent quarterly shipment numbers (the ones showing total shipments passed those of the iPhone in the U.S.) and said that he just checked their own internal numbers this morning.

500x_albert-lin-team-genghis-600 Help Survey Genghis Khan's Lost Tomb 

National Geographic is offering up an ambitious project you can get involved in at home: surveying the Mongolian region that holds Genghis Khan's tomb. NatGeo's Valley of the Khans project allows armchair archaeologists to sift through satellite imagery of the region—multispectral shots provided by the GeoEye-1 and Ikonos sattelites—and mark what they think could be ancient roads, rivers, or other anomalies. And that's only one aspect of this high-tech effort. At the University of California in San Diego, researchers are employing a HIPerSpace (Highly Interactive Parallelized Display Space) wall—seen below—to visualize huge expanses of the Mongolian region, scaling into the billions of pixels. And then there's the StarCAVE, an Earthquake-proof, 3D visualization room which surrounds researchers with images in better-than-HD resolution—it's a few square feets' worth of Northern Mongolian vista, perfectly reproduced thousands of miles away in California. You can find out more and join the Field Expedition team for the Valley of the Khans project over on National Geographic's site. And if hunching over your laptop wasn't exactly how you envisioned your swashbuckling archeological adventure, you can always compliment your pajamas with an Indiana Jones fedora. 

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