U.S. Wary of China's Anti-Ship Missiles

China's fiercest anti-ship missile, designed by Russia and dubbed the Sizzler by NATO, has a 300-kilometer range and accelerates to roughly three times the speed of sound as it nears its target. The Sizzler can reach farther and fly faster than the West's top anti-ship missiles, America's Harpoon and France's Exocet. Russia has also sold Sizzlers to India and possibly Iran, and Syria and Algeria have expressed interest, widening the threat. "Everyone in the Western world is wondering how you...

Credit Card Payments on Your iPhone

As a rule of thumb, small retailers see sales increase by more than 5 percent soon after beginning to accept credit-card payments. Sales of clothes, gifts or other nonessentials often climb a dramatic 10 percent. And yet many small shops in the United States and Europe refuse credit cards. Why? For many merchants, opening and managing an account for credit-card sales is prohibitively expensive. Others are shut out by red tape.The creator of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, may have a solution. His new...

Making Satellites Less Vulnerable to Attack

Satellites are vital to the military success of the United States and its allies, but they're a particularly vulnerable form of technology: they can be blown up. In January 2007 China launched a missile that blasted one of its own satellites. Russia is believed to have the same capability. In theory, the half dozen other countries able to launch satellites—including Iran and India—could learn how to destroy an enemy satellite. Philip Coyle, an assistant secretary of defense in the Clinton...

Wheel Magnets May Soon Power Electric Cars

Cars have traditionally been wasteful beasts. Every time a drop of gas explodes inside a cylinder, the energy gets passed along from the piston to the crankshaft, flywheel, gearbox, drivetrain, and axles. By the time the wheels actually turn, four fifths of the original energy has disappeared. The electric car goes a long way toward reducing wasted energy by replacing the internal-combustion engine with batteries. Even so, electric cars destroy about 60 percent of the energy because mechanical...

Is Your Cell Phone Spying On You?

Don't talk: your cell phone may be eavesdropping. Thanks to recent developments in "spy phone" software, a do-it-yourself spook can now wirelessly transfer a wiretapping program to any mobile phone. The programs are inexpensive, and the transfer requires no special skill. The would-be spy needs to get his hands on your phone to press keys authorizing the download, but it takes just a few minutes—about the time needed to download a ringtone.This new generation of -user-friendly spy-phone...

Technology That Locates the Origin of Sniper Fire

Making decisions in battle, Prussian military strategist Karl Von Clausewitz wrote two centuries ago, is akin to making life-or-death choices "in a mere twilight" with one's surroundings shrouded by the "effect of a fog or moonshine." In today's military jargon, it's called "poor situational awareness." Soldiers under fire express the idea with a simple question: where exactly are these bullets coming from? In urban battlefields in Afghanistan and Iraq, where locating a shooter by ear can be...

The Cash-Machine Capers

Forcing open cash machines is risky work. Those who try with a car must smash into the hunk of steel driving at least 40kph for a shot at success—and ATMs often withstand even faster charges, says Travis Yates, head driving trainer at the Tulsa Police Department in Oklahoma. Some thieves drag dislodged machines away to open with a blowtorch, but that's hardly any more discreet than ram raids. And many new ATMs release a blast of ink when jarred, ruining the cash inside. Increasingly, the...

Emotional Connections

When it's daytime in New York, callers in other time zones get up very early, or stay up very late, to talk to the Big Apple.

Escalating Spam Wars Take Their Toll

Spam has never been cheaper. online-marketing firms are falling over themselves to offer spam campaigns of millions of addresses. These e-mail blasts are disturbingly inexpensive. Pro Software Pack, for example, charges just $125 to send 1 million mes sages. Despite spending billions of dollars fighting spam over the past decade, the security industry is in no danger of winning the war soon:Spam now accounts for 19 of 20 e-mails, and its cost to businesses doubled between 2005 and 2007 to $100...

Black Market In Bad Code

Time is the hacker's enemy. The countdown starts as soon as a hacker learns about a security loophole that makes an Internet site vulnerable to a break-in. Security and software firms have, by and large, succeeded in shortening this period, but hackers have responded in kind. They've created a brisk underground market for buying and selling "zero day" code—software that can be used instantly to exploit an as-yet-unsecured loophole.Zero-day code is a reaction to the increased sophistication of...

Follow The Eyes

It's sometimes known as the trigger, the kicker or the launching pad: the part of a package a shopper is looking at when he decides to flip the cereal box to read the back. The gesture is a strong indication that the sale has been clinched. Attempts to locate and understand that sweet spot have traditionally entailed guesswork. Now marketers are beginning to crack the mystery.Devices that measure the direction of a person's gaze have dropped so far in price that the technology is now within...

Autos: Pay As You Drive

Those little GPS navigation devices on the dashboard have made driving unfamiliar terrain a lot easier. Now an innovation that combines Global Positioning technology with mobile phones promises to make driving a lot cheaper, for some. Cars can now carry gizmos that capture GPS location data and send them via mobile phone to the insurance company, which charges drivers a fee determined by when, where and how far they drive, rather than a flat rate. Motorists can reduce their fee by simply...

Stealing the Minutes

The Internet isn't as secure as a regular phone line. Businesses are now learning that the hard way.

Phone "Phreakers" Steal Minutes

The telephone industry has been in an upheaval ever since upstarts began competing with the big telecoms by sending voice calls over the Internet. Now even big firms use so-called voice over Internet protocol. But VoIP is not as secure as the old-fashioned phone lines—as carriers that rely on the Internet are finding out. They are increasingly falling prey to "phreakers," who steal their minutes and resell them on a thriving black market.Of course, anybody with a PC and an Internet connection...

Automating the Paris Metro

Even in a country that's long prided itself on its trains, the Paris Métro stands out. It's fast, easy to navigate, clean, inexpensive and, with 16 lines serving 297 stations, remarkably dense—leading many transport experts to consider it the world's premier metro. Since the first few lines entered service at the turn of the 20th century, the Métro has grown into a 218-kilometer network that carries 1.36 billion passengers a year. A train sweeps through the 25 stations of Ligne 1, the...

Graceful Injuries

Fouette, sauté, jeté, hospital stay? Ballet movements lead to injuries in almost half of professional dancers over 40, according to the University Hospital of Geneva in Switzerland. Most are pelvic repetitive injuries, and many require prostheses, especially in hips. A new study by the university's Computer-Science Center shows that it may be possible to reduce injuries from ballet--and potentially other activities--by identifying ahead of time those dancers whose joints are most likely to...