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US Army computer training

Believe it or not, the US government doesn't always keep its cyberwarfare code a secret. The Army Research Lab has quietly posted the source code for Dshell, a tool it uses to both spot and understand cyberattacks against the Department of Defense. The hope is that this open-door policy will not only help other countries and companies defend against hackers, but help improve the US military's own safeguards -- if you have a knack for digital security, you could spot flaws or offer improvements.

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While Hubble certainly has the advantage out there in low Earth orbit, its ground-based counterparts have also been capturing their own mesmerizing shots of the universe. Take, for example, this image of the cometary globule CG4 taken by ESO's Very Large Telescope. CG4 is also known as "The Mouth of the Beast," because, well, it looks like the gaping maw of a gigantic serpent, though some call it "The Hand of God" instead. Cometary globules are elongated comet-like clouds of gas and dust -- the CG4, in particular, is located 1,300 light-years away from Earth in a constellation called "The Poop" or Puppis, if you want its fancier name.

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Gas planet becoming habitable

It's tempting to think of gas planets as permanently hostile to life as we know it. A pair of University of Washington researchers beg to differ, however. They've used computer modelling to determine that these worlds can become habitable when their stars get particularly grabby. If a relatively small, solid-core gas planet orbits a class M dwarf, tidal forces can tug it into a habitable zone and not only wipe out the gas (through the dwarf's X-ray and ultraviolet radiation), but produce life-giving water from the core's ice. Provided the timing is right, the result could be downright Earth-like.

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Each week our friends at Inhabitat recap the week's most interesting green developments and clean tech news for us -- it's the Week in Green.

Inhabitat Week in Green

When the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots take the field for the Super Bowl this evening, it will be one of the most widely watched sporting events in the world. And it will also be one of the greenest. The game, which will take place at University of Phoenix Stadium, will be the first Super Bowl host to light its stadium entirely with LEDs, cutting energy use by 75 percent. In other news, Spain announced plans to install the world's first streetlight system that's powered entirely by solar and wind energy. An early prototype shows lampposts with small solar panels and vertical-axis wind turbines attached to the top.

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It's always cool learning how stuff works. Case in point: cameras. More specifically, digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) pictograph boxes. The chaps over at YouTube channel The Slow Mo Guys have taken their trademark ultra-high-speed camerawork and, well, pointed it at a camera. The result? Seeing what a shutter looks like moving at 1/8000 of a second compared to 1/1000 of a second. Host Gavin Free achieves this, like the rest of the team's pretty rad videos, by shooting at 10,000 frames per-second with a Phantom Flex and then slowing it down for playback. The video below isn't the channel's most impressive clip, but it's perhaps the one with the most useful knowledge. After all, how often will you watch the result of chugging a gallon of milk as opposed to seeing just what happens when you snap a picture? Exactly.

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Let's get this out of the way: ghost detection is based on junk science. It's trying to prove something that's unprovable almost by definition, using theories that have little connection to the real world. But if you are going to chase phantoms, you might as well have the best technology at your disposal, right? GhostArk certainly thinks so. It's developing a pocketable ghost detector that supposedly has everything you need to track down supernatural beings, including an electromagnetic field meter, high-sensitivity microphones, radio frequency sweeping and sensors for both atmospheric pressure and temperature. Think of it as an audio recorder on steroids -- you can even add white noise to "bolster the spirits' strength." It's a clever concept, even if none of its findings would stand up under academic scrutiny.

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tax or taxes concept with word on business folder index

Airbnb's been struggling with numerous legal issues for a while now, and one of the biggest complaints against the service is that hosts have been using it to set up illegal hotels to avoid paying taxes. These days, Airbnb's trying to get on the good side of the law, so after getting rid of sketchy listings (in NYC, at least), it's now collecting tourist taxes in more locations. The service has been doing just that in San Francisco and Portland, Oregon since last year, but now the list of locations has grown to include San Jose, California and Amsterdam in the Netherlands (starting this week, as well as Washington and Chicago starting on February 15.

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Amazon Echo

If you accepted an invitation to buy Amazon's Echo speaker, you've noticed that the device didn't have a vast musical vocabulary at first -- you could tell it to play iHeartRadio or Prime Music tunes, and that's about it. You'll have a better time of things from now on, though. Amazon is rolling out an update that lets you use your voice to steer iTunes, Pandora radio or Spotify on your mobile device. It's not super-sophisticated, but you no longer have to reach for your phone just to skip tracks. And in case millions more songs won't keep you entertained, there's also a "Simon says" command that you can use to prank people (or simply tell them something) from across the home. We'd argue that the biggest upgrade to the Echo would be getting to buy one, but these new features will do in a pinch.


Couple Sitting In Hotel Lobby Looking At Digital Tablet Smiling

Marriott wants you to know that it's completely done trying to block guests' personal WiFi connections -- it has even given up convincing the FCC to give it permission to do so, a spokesperson told Engadget. The company already announced that it won't be keeping people from using their own MiFis and hotspots in hotel rooms, but its official statement at that time said it "will continue to look to the FCC to clarify appropriate security measures network operators." See, the hotel chain still wanted the FCC to let it continue blocking personal WiFi in its business and convention centers in order to protect guests from rogue internet connections, or so it claimed.

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