By Jesus Diaz

guatemala-sinkhole "This can't be real" was my first thought. Then I checked the source: The Guatemalan government. This sinkhole appeared last sunday in a street intersection of Ciudad de Guatemala. Just looking at the photo gives me vertigo.

Click on the images to see the high resolution version.

A sinkhole is a natural depression caused by the removal of underground soil by water. Usually, it happens when the substrate is formed by limestone, carbonate rock, salt beds or any other rock that is easily eroded by water streams. The process could be slow, but sometimes the land just cracks open without notice. In this case, it happened suddenly, swallowing an entire house. The cause: Massive underground water torrents created by tropical storm Agatha.

Read more this news quote

image by Flickr/Boing-boing/Gizmodo

By Ryan Singel

facebook_glasses Facebook will be rolling out its promised “simplified” privacy controls to its users starting Wednesday, Facebook vice president Chris Cox announced Tuesday.

Cox made the announcement from the stage at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in New York City.

The venue is hardly surprising and in keeping with Facebook’s recent reliance on sympathetic media outlets to combat the backlash against its overweening ambitions and abysmal privacy practices. TechCrunch’s founder and head Michael Arrington recently came to the company’s defense, chastising the media for being too hard on Mark Zuckerberg.

On Monday, the Washington Post gave the company free space on its Op-Ed page to write a nearly content-free post on how it was listening to users. In fact, the company is promising little to its users and seems set to continue its new practice of turning over user data to third parties without getting prior permission.

Coincidentally, Washington Post publisher Donald Graham is on Facebook’s board and is a mentor to Zuckerberg. As Ryan Tate at Valleywag puts it: “An opinion piece in one of the nation’s most prestigious newspapers carries more moral authority than a blog post on,” and that Graham has been a sort of “press consigliere for the startup founder.”

Read more this news quote

Image by Wired


With a golden record on board, it left the Earth 33 years ago.

NASA installed the 12-inch disk containing music and greetings in 55 languages in case intelligent extraterrestrial life ever found it.

But now the Voyager 2 spacecraft is sending back what sounds like an answer: Signals in an unknown data format!

The best scientific minds have so far not been able to decipher the strange information – is it a secret message?

Read more this newsquote

image: Voyager 2 by NASA

By John D. Sutter                                      , says NASA, but maybe not in a government-built spaceship -- and maybe not any time soon.The future of American space exploration came into question on Monday as President Obama released his 2011 budget. If passed by Congress, the budget would eliminate Constellation -- NASA's project to send humans back to the moon by 2020.

Constellation was to follow NASA's space shuttle program, which, after about 30 years of taking astronauts to space, is scheduled to end later this year, following five more flights.

Instead of building new spacecraft of its own, NASA, under the proposal, would invest in space technology research and spend $6 billion to pay private space groups to develop and build new rockets to take astronauts into orbit.

The plan leaves many open questions about the future of U.S. space travel, including if and when NASA will ever build rockets of its own again, when astronauts will return to space and in what kind of spacecraft.

"It's almost like a reboot of NASA's human space flight program," said Tariq Malik, managing editor of

Read more this news quote

images: Space technology, including this crew module, is already in development for NASA's moon-exploration program. (By Getty Images/AFP)

By Brian X. Chen

Plenty of iPhone programmers whine about their failure to strike it rich in the App Store, but Tap Tap Revenge developer Tapulous can’t complain. The maker of the popular rhythm game reported sales nearing $1 million per month.

The Palo Alto, California startup told Reuters that it generates the revenue through sales of its games, ads and selling songs inside games.

Apple has sold more than 50 million iPhone OS devices (iPhones and iPod Touch units) to date. Earlier this year, research firm ComScore estimated that one-third of iPhone OS users had installed Tap Tap Revenge, Tapulous’ most popular game title. Many compare the game to Rock Band or Dance Dance Revolution. (In Tap Tap Revenge, you tap glowing dots as they hit the bottom of the screen.)

Tap Tap Revenge 3, the latest version of Tapulous’ game, is $1 in the App Store. There are free tracks, but mobile gamers have to buy some major artists’ songs for 50 cents apiece. The strategy seems to be working for artists, as well as for Tapulous.

Read more this news quote

image by

Senior administration officials said that the timetable will not be tied to particular conditions on the ground in Afghanistan.


WASHINGTON — President Obama plans to lay out a time frame for winding down the American involvement in the war in Afghanistan when he announces his decision this week to send more forces, senior administration officials said Sunday.

Although the speech was still in draft form, the officials said the president wanted to use the address at the United States Military Academy at West Point on Tuesday night not only to announce the immediate order to deploy roughly 30,000 more troops, but also to convey how he intends to turn the fight over to the Kabul government.

“It’s accurate to say that he will be more explicit about both goals and time frame than has been the case before and than has been part of the public discussion,” said a senior official, who requested anonymity to discuss the speech before it is delivered. “He wants to give a clear sense of both the time frame for action and how the war will eventually wind down.”

The officials would not disclose the time frame. But they said it would not be tied to particular conditions on the ground nor would it be as firm as the current schedule for withdrawing troops in Iraq, where Mr. Obama has committed to withdrawing most combat units by August and all forces by the end of 2011.

Read more this news quote

image by Scott Olson/Getty Images