Posted: 08/26/10 06:00 AM
The blogosphere—well, OK, a select subsection—is abuzz about “The Buzzer,” the nickname for a mysterious Russian shortwave signal that’s been broadcasting continuously since 1982. The Soviet, and now the Russian government won’t say what it’s for, though it seems to be connected to the military. UVB-76, the signal’s actual name, has mostly featured a monotonous repetition of pipping or buzzing sounds. But devoted listeners (trying to imagine…never mind) have heard a few voice transmissions over the years, and even people having conversations off-mike. Then earlier this week, UVB-76 fans were rewarded with a sudden burst of activity, the gist of which you can hear in this clip:
It’s a series of numbers in Russian, followed by the nonsense word NAIMINA, some names, more numbers, and more nonsense words that native speakers say sound like they should be Russian words, but in fact are not. What’s it all about? UVB-76 devotees on Wikipedia have speculated everything from communications with spies, to a more mundane explanation—the signal helps Russian scientists research the behavior of the ionosphere./jb
09/26/10 11:15 AM
There’s a vote coming up this week in Washington that will have a big impact on how you use the internet, what’s available to you, how much faster you’ll be able to get things online. On Thursday, the FCC is expected to open up unused parts of the broadcast spectrum, a lot of people call it “white space”. This is space that was positioned to be something of a buffer between television stations but such padding is proving less essential since the conversion to digital TV.
On today’s show, we talk to Glenn Fleishman from Wi-Fi Networking News and The Economist about how the spectrum works and what kind of new space we’re talking about. We also check in with Tim Wu from Columbia Law School about the companies that will look to use the space and what it all might mean for you and me as internet consumers.
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