Monthly Archives: August 2015

Six NASA Astronauts Start Year-Long Mars Isolation Project

Six NASA Astronauts Start Year-Long Mars Isolation Project
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  • Mars Isolation Project continues to Test the Will of its Participants

The Mars Isolation Project has continued to test the will of its participants.

Half a dozen people locked themselves up inside a dome in Hawaii. They were engaged in the lengthiest isolation experiment ever conducted by NASA. The whole shebang is in preparation for a trip to the Red Planet.

Among the participants may be included an astrobiologist and a physicist. Then there was a pilot, an architect, a doctor/journalist and a soil scientist. The first two of these happen to be a Frenchman and a German respectively. As for the rest of the four crew members, they are all Yankees.

The experiment is taking place on a slope of Mauna Loa. There are no creatures in the vicinity and very little greenery. Each crew member has his or her own room. There is sleeping arrangements and a desk to study.

Among the food items that they can eat may be included: dehydrated cheese and canned tuna. They have to wear spacesuits and do not have much of a chance to surf the internet. Who would want to spend over a year in this manner?

Apparently these six. They want to show the world that they can accomplish the impossible. These heroes and heroines also want to prove to everyone that the world can be left behind.


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Have you seen the Portland Pooper?


This gentleman is the Portland Pooper who has been dropping deuces outside of a Southeast Portland office throughout the month. A disgusted business owner caught him in the act with a surveillance camera and posted flyers that he hopes will bring the culprit to justice. If they catch him, the Pooper could face “offensive littering charges.”

“I find it interesting that he has toilet paper with him, it’s very pre-planned,” Catrina Salazar, who works nearby at Phix Hair Studio, told KOIN 6 News. “You just don’t really know what to expect around here. People, they like do their own thing, they kind of march to the beat of their own drum.”


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Scientists reprogram cancer cells back to normal

For the first time, aggressive breast, lung and bladder cancer have been neutralized and turned back to normal cells, prevented from excessive multiplication. Scientists at the Mayo Clinic in Florida, US, likened it to applying brakes to a speeding car.

“We should be able to re-establish the brakes and restore normal cell function,” said Profesor Panos Anastasiadis, of the Department for Cancer Biology.

Cells need to constantly divide to replace and renew themselves, but in cancerous cells, they reproduce too much; when everything is working properly, everything is regulated by biological microprocessors called microRNAs. They tell cells to stop multiplying by secreting a protein called PLEKHA7 which breaks the cell bonds. But in cancer, that simply doesn’t work anymore. Scientists first figured out they could make cells cancerous by instructing the microRNAs to stop producing the protein. So in cancerous cells, if they could somehow instruct it to start producing the protein again, cancer cells would be reprogrammed. This is exactly what they’ve done.

“We have now done this in very aggressive human cell lines from breast and bladder cancer,” added Dr Anastasiadis. “These cells are already missing PLEKHA7. Restoring either PLEKHA7 levels, or the levels of microRNAs in these cells turns them back to a benign state. We are now working on better delivery options.”


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People With Schizophrenia Have Different Throat Bacteria

A culture of Streptococcus pyogenes bacteria, one of the types found in the study

The colonies of bacteria living in our throats could indicate whether or not a person has schizophrenia, according to a study published yesterday in the journal Peer J.

No one is quite sure what causes schizophrenia, but for decades scientists have been looking at the link between schizophrenia and the immune system. The immune system appears weaker in schizophrenic patients, but researchers didn’t really understand how the two were connected. Recent research into the microbiome—the colonies of bacteria that live in and around our bodies—has shown that these bacteria play a surprisingly large part in all sorts of functions, including regulating our moods and modulating our immune systems.

So a team of researchers from George Washington University decided to investigate which bacteria make up the microbiome in patients with and without schizophrenia. They took throat swabs of 32 patients, half of whom had schizophrenia and half of whom did not, and sequenced the genes of the bacteria they found there. They looked at which types of bacteria they were, and their concentrations.


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Self-Driving Trucks Coming Soon To Florida Roads

Self-driving trucks from Pennsylvania firm Royal Truck and Equipment will be on Florida roads by the end of the year.

The rigs, which are part of a Department of Transportation pilot program, can navigate by following a pre-programmed lead car, via remote control, or by using GPS Waypoint navigation. Daimler’s self-driving tractor trailers have already been testing in Nevada under a special state-granted autonomous license. But like the Google autonomous cars on the road in California, Daimler’s trucks require a human driver to be on board—the vehicles scheduled to deploy to the Sunshine State don’t.

The modified medium-duty Freightliners will be used for highway construction projects, and safety was cited as a key factor in removing from the driver from the equation.

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Fake terror plots, paid informants: the tactics of FBI ‘entrapment’ questioned

The FBI has drawn criticism over its apparent use of ‘entrapment’ tactics. Photograph: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

David Williams did not have an easy life. He moved to Newburgh, a gritty, impoverished town on the banks of the Hudson an hour or so north of New York, at just 10 years old. For a young, black American boy with a father in jail, trouble was everywhere.

Williams also made bad choices. He ended up going to jail for dealing drugs. When he came out in 2007 he tried to go straight, but money was tight and his brother, Lord, needed cash for a liver transplant. Life is hard in Newburgh if you are poor, have a drug rap and need cash quickly.

His aunt, Alicia McWilliams, was honest about the tough streets her nephew was dealing with. “Newburgh is a hard place,” she said. So it was perhaps no surprise that in May, 2009, David Williams was arrested again and hit with a 25-year jail sentence. But it was not for drugs offences. Or any other common crime. Instead Williams and three other struggling local men beset by drug, criminal and mental health issues were convicted of an Islamic terrorist plot to blow up Jewish synagogues and shoot down military jets with missiles.

Even more shocking was that the organisation, money, weapons and motivation for this plot did not come from real Islamic terrorists. It came from the FBI, and an informant paid to pose as a terrorist mastermind paying big bucks for help in carrying out an attack. For McWilliams, her own government had actually cajoled and paid her beloved nephew into being a terrorist, created a fake plot and then jailed him for it. “I feel like I am in the Twilight Zone,” she told the Guardian.


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Over 400 Church Leaders To Resign Over Ashley Madison Hacks


Not so holy…

Men and women across the globe are being affected by the Ashley Madison hack.  The website, designed for married couples to cheat on one another, has had a ripple affect through entertainment an politics.
Now, reports are indicating that as many as 400 pastors, elders, deacons, and church staff members will resign this Sunday after their names have surfaced on the list exposed by the Ashley Madison hack.
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The Only Way To Avoid Hangover Is To Drink Less, Study Says

Whether you’ve ever been drunk or not, you may be familiar with the concept of the hangover.

Those who have them look awful, behave like a sloth with a wart and drink gallons of water in an attempt to return to their more pleasant selves.

There have been many tales told of how to prevent hangover. Scientists have often weighed in — the latest idea is that the best preventative measure is to drink pear juice. Beforehand, that is.

Now a new study will relieve you of all your antidotes and hairs of the dog. For it concluded that the only way to prevent a hangover is to not drink so much.

As the BBC reports, scientists from the Netherlands and Canada examined hungover students in their respective countries. You might observe that there are rarely any other kind first thing in the morning, so they must have had plenty of potential respondents.

Still, the scientists found that among the 824 Dutch students they talked to, 54 percent did the equivalent of a late-night Jack-In-The-Box, Taco Bell or early morning fry-up in the hope of stemming a hangover’s effects. Some 66 percent tried the drink-a-lot-of-water-before-going-to-bed tactic.


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The Financial Times Demands End Of Cash, Calls It A “Barbarous Relic”

Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 3.01.39 PM

Earlier this week, as the financial world was mesmerized by a min-stock market crash, the Financial Times published a dastardly little piece of fascist propaganda.

There is no more egregious anti-liberty economic policy imaginable than banning cash. I covered this earlier in the year in the post, Martin Armstrong Reports on a Secret Meeting in London to Ban Cash. Here’s an excerpt:

At this point, anyone paying even the slightest bit of attention to the central planning economic totalitarians running the fraudulent global financial system is aware of the blatant push in the media to acclimate the masses to accepting a “cashless society.”

In the mind of an economic tyrant, banning cash represents the holy grail. Forcing the plebs onto a system of digital fiat currency transactions offers total control via a seamless tracking of all transactions in the economy, and the ability to block payments if an uppity citizen dares get out of line.

While we’ve all seen the idiotic arguments for banning cash, i.e., it will allow central planners to more efficiently centrally plan economies into the ground, Martin Armstrong is reporting on a secret meeting in London with the aim of getting rid of any economic privacy that remains by ending cash.

Three months later,  the Financial Times publishes an article titled, The Case for Retiring Another “Barbarous Relic.”  When you start to see increased propaganda about banning cash, you know the status quo is very scared and things are getting very serious. You’ve been warned.


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Pawn Storm: Fake EFF domain tricks users to deliver malware

Pawn Storm: Fake EFF domain tricks users to deliver malware

A NEW SPEAR PHISHING CAMPAIGN has been discovered that uses a domain masquerading as the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) digital rights group.

The bogus domain, which is part of a targeted malware campaign, is designed to create “a false sense of trust”, according to the EFF.

The international non-profit US group urged users to beware of as “it appears to have been used in a spear phishing attack, though it is unclear who the intended targets were”, the EFF said in a blog post.

The attack is said to be “relatively sophisticated” and uses a recently discovered Java exploit, the first known Java zero-day in two years.

The attacker sends the target an email containing a link to a unique URL on the malicious domain. If clicked on, the URL redirects to another unique URL in the form of{6_random_digits}/Go.class, which contains a Java applet that exploits a vulnerable version of Java.

Once the URL is used and the Java payload is received, the URL is disabled and will no longer deliver malware. The attacker is now able to run any code on the user’s machine, and downloads a second payload, which is a binary program to be executed on the target’s computer.


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People On Terrorism Watch List Not Blocked From Buying Guns
Even al-Qaida gloats about what’s possible under U.S. gun laws. In June 2011, a senior al-Qaida operative, Adam Gadahn, released a video message rallying people to take advantage of opportunities those laws provide.

“America is absolutely awash with easily obtainable firearms,” Gadahn says, explaining that “you can go down to a gun show at the local convention center” and buy a gun without a background check.

Then a faint smile crosses Gadahn’s face. “So what are you waiting for?” he asks.

Under current laws, if a background check reveals that your name is on the national terrorism watch list, you’re still free to walk out of a gun dealership with a firearm in your hands — as long as you don’t have a criminal or mental health record.

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Intel introduces its smallest socketed form factor yet: the 5×5

If you think mini-ITX is too big but don’t like the soldered down processor of the Intel NUC, the chip giant has come up with a new form factor that splits the difference: 5×5.

Measuring, er, 5.5 inches by 5.8 inches (compared to the 4.5″×4.4″ of the NUC, and the 6.7″×6.7″ of mini-ITX), the new offering in many ways slides directly in between the form factors that bookend it. Like mini-ITX, it has an LGA socket compatible with Intel’s Core-branded processors. But like the NUC, it uses SODIMM memory, M.2 drives, and an external power supply. It also sacrifices mini-ITX’s PCIe slot. 2.5″ SATA drives are also an option, though they will increase the system height a little.

So while the 5×5 leans much closer to the NUC spec list than the mini-ITX one, that processor and socket make a world of difference. The NUC processors top out at 28W for the Broadwell Core i7-5557U. Even that’s something of an outlier; every other current generation NUC uses a 15W or 6W chip. The 5×5, however, will have two thermal targets: 35W and 65W. Though 65W systems will be a little taller to accommodate a larger heatsink, support for any Intel Core processor with a TDP up to 65W makes the system a lot more versatile. For example, the Broadwell Core i7-5775C is a 65W part. This powerhouse chip includes 128MB of eDRAM, and as a result it’s surprisingly credible at gaming. This is a chip that can play Bioshock Infinite at 1920×1080 in high quality at 30 fps, Tomb Raider in low quality at 64 fps, and Dirt Showdown in medium quality at 46 fps.


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Monk sunbathing on wind turbine captured by drone camera

A Benedictine monk who works at a private Rhode Island school has discovered that finding solitude is no easy feat, even 53 metres in the air.

Brother Joseph Byron was recently relaxing atop the Portsmouth Abbey School’s wind turbine — as he often does — when a drone zoomed in.

Video taken by the drone, owned by a Californian on vacation, shows Byron sprawled across the turbine’s flat surface, with views of Narragansett Bay in the background. The footage was posted online this week.
continue after video

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“Jesus Was Black,” Reveals Newly Found Manuscript


A team of archeologists from the University of Tel Aviv have uncovered a collection of ancient scrolls in the West Bank region, near the Qumran Caves, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were originally uncovered in 1947, and which promise to shed a new light on the life and physical appearance of Jesus Christ.

The newly found documents which are believed to have been written by a small Jewish sectarian group, called the Essenes, retraces different elements of the Old Testament and New Testament similar to the Dead Sea Scrolls, but scholars have turned their attention to a peculiar fragment which describes the birth of the Christ figure in a new light. 

‘Jesus Was Black’ Reveals Newly Found Manuscript

The manuscripts that have been dated between 408 BCE to 318 CE describe the son of Mary as of a “darker color” of skin than her parents, a revealing information admits professor Hans Schummer.


The manuscripts that have been dated between 408 BCE to 318 CE shed a new light on the physical appearance of Jesus Christ, admits professor Hans Schummer of the University of Tel Aviv

“It is quite revealing that the unknown author of the document notes with a certain sense of surprise that the infant’s skin tone is darker in color than his mother and father.

“The infant was the color of the night” reads a part of the fragment of the scripture, “In the dark of the night, nothing could be seen of the infant except the white of his eyes” reads another excerpt.


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Buzz Aldrin Plans to Live on Mars by 2040

Aug 28 2015, 5:38am CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News

Buzz Aldrin Plans to Live on Mars by 2040
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  • Space Academy in Honor of Buzz Aldrin established at Florida Institute of Technology

A space academy in honor of the astronaut Buzz Aldrin was established at Florida Institute of Technology. And Aldrin is developing a ‘master plan’ to begin colonies on Mars by 2040.

Florida Institute of Technology laid the foundation of the Buzz Aldrin Space Institute. It will open its doors to the public towards the end of this summer. The goal of the institute is the colonization of the planet Mars.

Buzz Aldrin himself will lead the effort in the occupation of the Red Planet. Everyone remembers Buzz Aldrin from the unforgettable Apollo 11 mission.

The Florida Institute of Technology has always been at the leading edge of science and its application. It encourages its students to explore and gather valuable knowledge. This then can be applied in real life.

The president of Florida Tech gave a rousing speech in which he praised the exploration of space. It is the last frontier and a race has begun to conquer this void and vacuum of the universe. He referred to Florida Tech as a night school for missilemen. The president said that it was an honor to have Buzz Aldrin carrying forward the novel impetus.

“Florida Tech has long been at the forefront of exploration—since the days of our founding in 1958, serving as the ‘night school for missilemen’ when America began the race for space at Cape Canaveral,” said Florida Tech President and CEO Anthony J. Catanese.

“Having Dr. Aldrin build this new initiative at Florida Tech is indeed an honor. We look forward to meaningful collaboration as humankind’s new vision for space unfolds.”

The cooperation between the legendary astronaut and Florida Tech was bound to lead to a wonderful vision of future space travel. Aldrin will be joining Florida Tech as a senior advisor too.

“We welcome Dr. Aldrin to the Florida Tech faculty,” said T. Dwayne McCay, Florida Tech executive vice president and COO. “Our entire learning community will benefit from his presence.”


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Associated Press sues FBI over fake news story

The Associated Press filed a lawsuit (PDF) this morning, demanding the FBI hand over information about its use of fake news stories. The case stems from a 2007 incident regarding a bomb threat at a school. The FBI created a fake news story with an Associated Press byline, then e-mailed it to a suspect to plant malware on his computer.

The AP sent a Freedom of Information Act request to the FBI last year seeking documents related to the 2014 sting. It also seeks to know how many times the FBI has used such a ruse since 2000. The FBI responded to the AP saying it could take two years or more to gather the information requested. Unsatisfied with the response, the Associated Press has taken the matter to court.

An Electronic Frontier Foundation FOIA request on a different matter revealed the strategy in 2011, but it wasn’t made public until last year, when privacy researcher Chris Soghoian saw evidence of the operation in the documents and tweeted about it. That spurred both the AP and The Seattle Times to complain vocally about the FBI’s behavior.

“The FBI both misappropriated the trusted name of The Associated Press and created a situation where our credibility could have been undermined on a large scale,” AP General Counsel Karen Kaiser wrote in a letter to then-AG Eric Holder last year.


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Terror suspect gets a Class A trucking license


– A Minnesota man, who Homeland Security identifies as a terror suspect who is on the “No Fly” list, now has his Class A commercial license, which will allow him to drive semi-trucks.

The FOX 9 Investigators revealed last May that Amir Meshal was attempting to get his Class A license from a Twin Cities truck driving school. The $4,000 tuition was paid for through the state workforce program.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety confirms he was granted the license after passing a road test on August 8. A spokesperson said Meshal has also applied for a school bus endorsement, pending the outcome of a criminal background check.

In May 2014, Meshal was removed and trespassed from a Bloomington, Minn. mosque, Al Farooq, after he was suspected of radicalizing young people who would later travel to Syria. According to the police report, religious leaders said, “We have concerns about Meshal interacting with our youth.”  Meshal had previously been asked to leave an Eden Prairie, Minn. mosque for similar reasons.


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FBI Illegally Collecting Intelligence Under Guise of “Community Outreach”

NEW YORK – The FBI has been illegally using its community outreach programs to secretly collect and store information about activities protected by the First Amendment for intelligence purposes, according to FBI documents released today by the American Civil Liberties Union.

“The trust that community outreach efforts aim to create is undermined when the FBI exploits these programs to gather intelligence on the very members of the religious and community organizations agents are meeting with,” said Michael German, ACLU senior policy counsel and a former FBI agent. “The FBI should be honest with community organizations about what information is being collected during meetings and purge any improperly collected information.”

FOIA documents showing instances of inappropriate intelligence gathering include:

• San Francisco FBI memos, written in 2007 and 2008 by agents who attended Ramadan Iftar dinners under the guise of the FBI’s mosque outreach program, documenting participants’ names, conversations and presentations. The 2008 memo also recorded participants’ contact information and descriptions of their opinions and associations.
• A 2009 San Jose, Calif. FBI memo describing FBI participation in a career day sponsored by an Assyrian community organization. Agents detailed conversations with three community leaders and members about their opinions, backgrounds and charitable activities.
• A 2007 San Jose, Calif. FBI memo describing a mosque outreach meeting attended by 50 people representing 27 Muslim community and religious organizations, identifying each person by name and organization and analyzing their “demographics.”

“Except under certain special circumstances, the Privacy Act bars the FBI from maintaining records like these describing how Americans exercise their First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and association,” said Nusrat Choudhury, a staff attorney with the ACLU National Security Project. “Congress passed this law to prevent records obtained by the government for one purpose from being used for another reason without a person’s consent, but that is precisely what the FBI has done.”


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Bedbugs: A Nightmare for the Hotel Industry

In 2010, it seemed all but impossible to escape bedbug infestation and paranoia in New York City. Almost everyone knew someone that had to deal with them; I remember guilt-ridden conversations of how to politely escape social gatherings at the homes of friends who had had them.

That year was the peak of bedbugs in New York. The Department of Housing Preservation and Development reports that infestation cases have been falling since then; last year’s case number—2,268—is less than half of what it once was.

Nevertheless, bedbugs are still a huge concern for the hospitality industry. The reason isn’t merely the bugs themselves, but how travelers choose their accommodations these days: online, guided by the reviews of their fellow travelers. And those online reviews can do real damage to a hotel if there is just the slightest hint of a bedbug infestation.

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How Linux was born, as told by Linus Torvalds himself

One of the most famous messages in all computing was posted exactly 24 years ago today, on 25 August, 1991:

Hello everybody out there using minix –

I’m doing a (free) operating system (just a hobby, won’t be big and
professional like gnu) for 386(486) AT clones. This has been brewing
since april, and is starting to get ready.

Enlarge / Linus Torvalds in 2005

Many people have read that post by Linus Torvalds in the comp.os.minix newsgroup on Usenet, or at least heard about it. Many more are aware of how that (free) operating system ended up taking over vast swathes of the computing world, and becoming both “big” and “professional.” But what about before that famous moment? What were the key events that led to Linus creating that first public release of Linux?

To find out, in December 1996, I went to Finland to interview Linus in his flat in Helsinki. I used some of his replies in a feature that appeared in Wired magazine in August 1997; more of them appeared in my book, Rebel Code: Inside Linux and the open source revolution, published in 2001. What follows is a more detailed explanation of how Linux came into being, as told in Linus’ own words.

In the autumn of 1988, Linus had entered Helsinki University to study computer science. It was only two years later that he encountered Unix for the first time:


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Cocaine Production Plummets After DEA Kicked Out of Bolivia


After the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) was kicked out of Bolivia, the country was able to drastically reduce the amount of coca (cocaine) produced within its borders. According to data released by the United Nations, cocaine production in the country declined by 11% in the past year, marking the fourth year in a row of steady decrease.

It was just seven years ago that the DEA left Bolivia — and only three years after that, progress was finally made. The strategy employed by the Bolivian government may be a surprise to many prohibitionists because it did not involve any strong-arm police state tactics. Instead, they worked to find alternative crops for farmers to grow that would actually make them more money.

“Bolivia has adopted a policy based on dialogue, where coca cultivation is allowed in traditional areas alongside alternative development [in others],”Antonino de Leo, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s representative in Bolivia, told VICE News.

“It’s not only about making money off a crop. In the old fashioned alternative development approach, we substitute one illicit crop for a licit crop. It’s about a more comprehensive approach that includes access to essential services like schools, hospitals, and roads in areas that traditionally have been hard to reach,” Leo added.


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The ‘Snatch Method’ Was One Crazy Way to Make a Glider Fly

read a great article on this

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Catching Up With the Unabomber. When Does the End Justify the Means?

The Unabomber, known as Ted Kaczynski, was not a fan of technology. To expose the world to his anti-technology philosophy, from the years 1978 to 1995, Kaczynski sent 16 bombs to universities and airlines, killing three people and injuring 23, before he was eventually caught and sent to prison. He remains there today. At one time, he was possibly the most famous criminal in the world.

He said of technology’s role:serveimage

The system does not and cannot exist to satisfy human needs. Instead, it is human behavior that has to be modified to fit the needs of the system. It is the fault of technology, because the system is guided not by ideology but by technical necessity.

In his essay Industrial Society and Its Future, Kaczynski argued that while his bombings were “a bit” extreme, they were quite necessary to attract attention to the loss of human freedom caused by modern technology. His book Technological Slavery: The Collected Writings of Theodore J. Kaczynski, a.k.a. “The Unabomber” breaks all of his philosophies down for those of us that just know him through corporate news stations.

517fe1d2p8LWas the Unabomber crazy, or just so sane he was blowing our minds?

I talked to David Skrbina, confidant of Kaczynski, and philosophy professor at the University of Michigan. Skrbina wrote the intro to Technological Slavery.

Can you tell me a bit about how you and Kaczynski began to communicate? Are you still in touch with him today?

Back in 2003, I began work on a new course at the University of Michigan: Philosophy of Technology. Surprisingly, such a course had never been offered before, at any of our campuses. I wanted to remedy that deficiency.

I then began to pull together recent and relevant material for the course, focusing on critical approaches to technology. These, to me, were more insightful and more interesting, and were notably under-analyzed among current philosophers of technology. Most of them are either neutral toward modern technology, or positively embrace it, or accept its presence resignedly. As I found out, very few philosophers of the past four decades adopted anything like a critical stance. This, for me, was highly revealing.

Anyway, I was well aware of Kaczynski’s manifesto, “Industrial society and its future,” which was published in late 1995 at the height of the Unabomber mania. I was very impressed with its analysis, even though most of the ideas were not new to me (many were reiterations of arguments by Jacques Ellul, for example—see his 1964 book The Technological Society). But the manifesto was clear and concise, and made a compelling argument.

After Kaczynski was arrested in 1996, and after a year-long trial process, he was stashed away in a super-max prison in Colorado. The media then decided that, in essence, the story was over. Case closed. No need to cover Kaczynski or his troubling ideas ever again.


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Boffins unwrap honeybee black box recorder project

Flight of the RFID tag

RFID'd bee, image via CSIRO


Scientists want to electronically tag the world’s honeybees in a bid to understand the mass death of entire populations.

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Australia has called for a global project fitting bees with micro-sized RFID chips to gather critical data.

Data would be harvested to generate 3D models of the bees’ activities whilst on the move.

The goal is to follow the bees’ behavior and identify their response to factors that might generate stress, thereby affecting their health and attempts to pollinate plants.

CSIRO made the call Tuesday having already successfully tagged more than 10,000 bees in Hobart, Tasmania.

Australia’s national science body says it now wants to turn this into a global effort it’s leading, called the Global Initiative for Honey Bee Health.

Data generated by the study would be used by scientists, beekeepers, primary producers, industry groups and governments.

Professor Paulo de Souze, CSIRO science leader, compared the tags to acting like the black-box flight recorder on an aircraft, recording critical information.

“The tiny technology allows researchers to analyse the effects of stress factors including disease, pesticides, air pollution, water contamination, diet and extreme weather on the movements of bees and their ability to pollinate,” de Souza said in a statement.


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The World Doesn’t Exist to Not Offend You

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Another Reason to Use an Ad Blocker: Malvertising Has Tripled This Year

Proponents of ad-blocking software may have another reason to continue blocking ads.

A new report from cybersecurity firm Cyphort published this morning notes that instances of malware served via online advertising networks increased 325 percent between June 2014 and February of this year. The report notes that several high-profile websites, including the Forbes, Huffington Post, and LA Weekly, served malware via their ads in that time frame.

Spreading malicious software, or malware, via online advertising networks is commonly referred to as “malvertising,” and, according to Cyphort, is seen by cybercriminals as being particularly effective because compromised ads are visually indistinguishable from safe ads.


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Heinz ordered to drop ‘ketchup’ from labels in Israel

Heinz Ketchup on a supermarket shelf. File Photo by Gary C. Caskey/UPI

| License Photo

JERUSALEM, Aug. 24 (UPI) — The Israeli government ordered food maker Heinz to stop using the word “ketchup” in its labeling due to the low amount of “tomato solids” in the product.

The Health Ministry ordered Heinz to remove the word “ketchup” from its labeling in favor of “tomato seasoning” following lobbying by Osem, Israel’s leading ketchup manufacturer.

Osem accused Heinz of having only 21 percent tomato concentrate in its ketchup instead of the 61 percent it claims in advertising.


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Woman lies about being kidnapped to get out of work

A woman in Florida lied about being kidnapped because she didn’t want to return from her work break, according to a Panama City Police Department news release.

A concerned co-worker had reportedly called 43-year-old Beverly F. Brooks around 2:30 a.m. Monday when she noticed the night nurse hadn’t returned to her shift. Brooks allegedly told the co-worker that her boyfriend was holding her against her will, and the boyfriend, 35-year-old James Vincent Hill Fennell Jr., could be heard in the background telling Brooks that she was not getting out of their car.

The PCPD and five other law enforcement agencies spent several hours looking for the couple before finding them in Port St. Joe, at which point Brooks admitted she had made everything up simply because she didn’t feel like going back to work.


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Banks Get Credit for Helping the Poor — By Financing Their Evictions?

In 1977, Congress wanted to make sure commercial banks fulfilled their commitment to serve all communities in America, regardless of income level. “A public charter conveys numerous economic benefits,” said William Proxmire, then head of the Senate Banking Committee, “and in return it is legitimate for public policy and regulatory practice to require some public purpose.”

Under the Community Reinvestment Act, banks are periodically examined for how well they provide lending and investment to low- and moderate-income (LMI) neighborhoods where they take deposits. Since its enactment, 97 percent of all banks examined have received a “Satisfactory” or “Outstanding” grade, according to the Congressional Research Service.

And yet lending and even basic financial services remain hard to come by for the poor. In the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s most recent survey, over one in four American households have either little or no access to traditional banking. Fully 93 percent of all bank branch closures from 2008-2013 happened in low-income neighborhoods, which has dramatic effects on the availability of small business loans. Poor people without access to credit turn to predatory payday lenders that trap them in a cycle of debt.

What’s the disconnect here? How can practically every bank get a satisfactory rating for lending to LMI communities for almost 40 years, yet serious problems with lending to the poor persist?

The problem is that regulators implementing the Community Reinvestment Act have not kept pace with innovations the banking industry uses to get out of its commitments. “Regulators have not been scrutinizing the purported CRA-eligible activities to the extent we need,” said Kevin Stein of the California Reinvestment Coalition. In fact, some of those activities, far from helping low-income residents get a leg up, are actively harmful, but banks aren’t downgraded for such pursuits.

The CRA includes several perfect conditions for banks to game the system. No one agency oversees the law: The FDIC, the Federal Reserve and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency all separately conduct examinations on different banks. These regulators do not mandate lending quotas. They subjectively assess a range of activities banks engage in, from maintaining bank branches to investing in capital projects in LMI neighborhoods to holding financial literacy sessions to offering remittance services.


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Activist pens pirate’s map to ‘liberating’ academic journals

The cause of those who feel that information wants to be free, and that academic research should always be, have a new tool: a guide to defeating tracking traps that could identify document leakers.

An activist using the alias Storm Harding (@StormHarding) told the Chaos Communications Camp in Zehdenick, Germany, his “purely-imaginative framework” showcases the tactics publishers take to identify possible leakers.

“We are at war,” Harding says.

“Remember this is serious business; people are getting arrested for sharing information.

“Elsevier has filed a John Doe lawsuit against (academic file sharing network) SciHub and Libgen is also under attack with the High Court blocking access in the United Kingdom.”

Harding says authors should be contacted before publishing, and asked for permission to broadly distribute their work, but argues the literature should be published with or without approval.

Activists, notably the late Aaron Swartz, have argued that academic works should be freely and widely accessible online so that disadvantaged people can access the literature and not just those privileged enough to have access to libraries.


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Confirmation Tianjin Was Nuked


While a layman like myself can recognise the overall similarity, it takes an expert to fully analyse the evidence contained in the pictures; luckily, at VT we have such an expert in the erstwhile Jeff Smith who provided the following analysis:

Normal people are not trained in what to look at so they simply ignore the obvious. However, once you see enough explosions like this you begin to spot the artefacts in the photos real fast. Unfortunately all of these people that know this stuff usually work for the government. Just like I did.

The big clue is in the ash produced and the exploding radiators on the cars. They show the radiation and the blast patterns the best. All melted rubber, glass, and aluminium but no melted steel? This tells you it is from radiation and not from a gasoline fire. Temps between 1500 degrees C for melting aluminium and less than 3,000 degrees C for melting steel. Everything organic ashes below 450 degrees C.

This had a plasma fireball that was over 4,000C! Only a nuke can do that. The clue is in the white ash leftover from the thermal blast.

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Sheriff Refuses to Enforce Unconstitutional Executive Orders in Arizona County

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Man who had penis ripped off as a child now has 8 inch bionic replacement

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The bionic penis was created thanks to pioneering surgery.

A man whose penis was ripped off as a child has been fitted with an 8-inch bionic replacement.

Mohammed Abad, 43, has undergone pioneering surgery over the last three years to have the new fully functioning penis fitted.

He lost his genitals in a horrific accident at age 6 when he was hit by a car and dragged for 600 yards.

Surgeons started crafting a proper replacement three years ago with a skin graft taken from his arm.

Abad’s manhood has two tubes along its length which inflate with fluid when he presses a button on his testicles.


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3D Printed Fish Can Detect And Remove Toxins From Liquid

We all know that eating fish is good for your health, but what about fish shaped robots?

In a study published this month in Advanced Materials, researchers from UC San Diego announced that they’d figured out a way to 3D print tiny microrobots in the shape of fish.

The fish are just 120 microns long and 30 microns thick, much smaller than a human hair. Researchers can 3D print hundreds of the fish in seconds. The fish are printed with tiny particles of platinum in the tail which react with hydrogen peroxide. When the microfish are placed in peroxide, the tails move, propelling the fish along. The scientists can also add other particles to the materials used to print the fish, including chemicals that can detect and absorb toxins like bee venom.

In the study, they showed that the microfish could detoxify a liquid contaminated with a toxin. As the fish work, they glow red, and the swimming motion helps make sure they don’t miss a drop of the contaminant.

These fish are just a proof of concept. They won’t be used outside of a lab for a long time yet, but their creators have very high hopes for the fish.


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Girl Surprised To Receive 3D-Printed Arm From Designer Who Is Also Missing His Left Arm

Stephen Davies, who is missing an arm, received a free prosthetic from Team Unlimbited e-Nable, and soon became a volunteer for the organization. When Davies learned that there was an 8-year-old-girl from Bristol who also needed prosthetic arm, he saw a chance to pay his good fortune forward: he designed an arm for Isabella, and then drove 200 miles to deliver it to her in person.

“The gadget is so bright and bold that she insisted on wearing it to the local supermarket straight after she got it and proudly strutted around wanting the world to see it,” Isabella’s father told Baby Center. “She’s been keen to show it off and explain how it works ever since she got it and to almost anyone that will listen.”

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Joe Biden Admits He Wrote The Patriot Act In 1995!

By choosing Joe Biden as their vice presidential candidate, the Democrats have selected a politician with a mixed record on technology who has spent most of his Senate career allied with the FBI and copyright holders, who ranks toward the bottom of CNET’s Technology Voters’ Guide, and whose anti-privacy legislation was actually responsible for the creation of PGP.

That’s probably okay with Barack Obama: Biden likely got the nod because of his foreign policy knowledge. The Delaware politician is the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations committee who voted for the war in Iraq, and is reasonably well-known nationally after his presidential campaigns in 1988 and 2008.

But back to the Delaware senator’s tech record. After taking over the Foreign Relations committee, Biden became a staunch ally of Hollywood and the recording industry in their efforts to expand copyright law. He sponsored a bill in 2002 that would have make it a federal felony to trick certain types of devices into playing unauthorized music or executing unapproved computer programs. Biden’s bill was backed by content companies including News Corp. but eventually died after Verizon, Microsoft, Apple, eBay, and Yahoo lobbied against it.

Sen. Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic vice presidential nominee, whose anti-encryption legislation was responsible for the creation of PGP.

A few months later, Biden signed a letter that urged the Justice Department “to prosecute individuals who intentionally allow mass copying from their computer over peer-to-peer networks.” Critics of this approach said that the Motion Picture Association of America and the Recording Industry Association of America, and not taxpayers, should pay for their own lawsuits.

Last year, Biden sponsored an RIAA-backed bill called the Perform Act aimed at restricting Americans’ ability to record and play back individual songs from satellite and Internet radio services. (The RIAA sued XM Satellite Radio over precisely this point.)

All of which meant that nobody in Washington was surprised when Biden was one of only four U.S. senators invited to a champagne reception in celebration of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act hosted by the MPAA’s Jack Valenti, the RIAA, and the Business Software Alliance. (Photos are here.)

Now, it’s true that few Americans will cast their votes in November based on what the vice presidential candidate thinks of copyright law. But these pro-copyright views don’t exactly jibe with what Obama has promised; he’s pledged to “update and reform our copyright and patent systems to promote civic discourse, innovation and investment while ensuring that intellectual property owners are fairly treated.” These are code words for taking a more pro-EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) than pro-MPAA approach.

Unfortunately, Biden has steadfastly refused to answer questions on the topic. We asked him 10 tech-related questions, including whether he’d support rewriting the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, as part of our 2008 Technology Voters’ guide. Biden would not answer (we did hear back from Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John McCain, and Ron Paul).

In our 2006 Technology Voters’ Guide, which ranked Senate votes from July 1998 through May 2005, Biden received a mere 37.5 percent score because of his support for Internet filters in schools and libraries and occasional support for Internet taxes.

Privacy, the FBI, and PGP
On privacy, Biden’s record is hardly stellar. In the 1990s, Biden was chairman of the Judiciary Committee and introduced a bill called the Comprehensive Counter-Terrorism Act, which the EFF says he was “persuaded” to do by the FBI. A second Biden bill was called the Violent Crime Control Act. Both were staunchly anti-encryption, with this identical language:

It is the sense of Congress that providers of electronic communications services and manufacturers of electronic communications service equipment shall ensure that communications systems permit the government to obtain the plain text contents of voice, data, and other communications when appropriately authorized by law.

Translated, that means turn over your encryption keys. The book Electronic Privacy Papers describes Biden’s bill as representing the FBI’s visible effort to restrict encryption technology, which was taking place in concert with the National Security Agency’s parallel, but less visible efforts. (Biden was no foe of the NSA. He once described now-retired NSA director Bobby Ray Inman as the “single most competent man in the government.”)

Biden’s bill — and the threat of encryption being outlawed — is what spurred Phil Zimmermann to write PGP, thereby kicking off a historic debate about export controls, national security, and privacy. Zimmermann, who’s now busy developing Zfone, says it was Biden’s legislation “that led me to publish PGP electronically for free that year, shortly before the measure was defeated after vigorous protest by civil libertarians and industry groups.”

While neither of Biden’s pair of bills became law, they did foreshadow the FBI’s pro-wiretapping, anti-encryption legislative strategy that followed — and demonstrated that the Delaware senator was willing to be a reliable ally of law enforcement on the topic. (They also previewed the FBI’s legislative proposal later that decade for banning encryption products such as SSH or PGP without government backdoors, which was approved by one House of Representatives committee but never came to a vote in the Senate.)

“Joe Biden made his second attempt to introduce such legislation” in the form of the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA), which was also known as the Digital Telephony law, according to an account in Wired magazine. Biden at the time was chairman of the relevant committee; he co-sponsored the Senate version and dutifully secured a successful floor vote on it less than two months after it was introduced. CALEA became law in October 1994, and is still bedeviling privacy advocates: the FBI recently managed to extend its requirements to Internet service providers.

CALEA represented one step in the FBI and NSA’s attempts to restrict encryption without backdoors. In a top-secret memo to members of President George H.W. Bush’s administration including Defense Secretary Dick Cheney and CIA director Robert Gates, one White House official wrote: “Justice should go ahead now to seek a legislative fix to the digital telephony problem, and all parties should prepare to follow through on the encryption problem in about a year. Success with digital telephony will lock in one major objective; we will have a beachhead we can exploit for the encryption fix; and the encryption access options can be developed more thoroughly in the meantime.”

There’s another reason why Biden’s legislative tactics in the CALEA scrum amount to more than a mere a footnote in Internet history. They’re what led to the creation of the Center for Democracy and Technology — and the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s simultaneous implosion and soul-searching.

EFF staffers Jerry Berman and Danny Weitzner chose to work with Biden on cutting a deal and altering the bill in hopes of obtaining privacy concessions. It may have helped, but it also left the EFF in the uncomfortable position of leaving its imprimatur on Biden’s FBI-backed wiretapping law universally loathed by privacy advocates. The debacle ended with internal turmoil, Berman and Weitzner leaving the group and taking their corporate backers to form CDT, and a chastened EFF that quietly packed its bags and moved to its current home in San Francisco. (Weitzner, who was responsible for a censorship controversy last year, became a formal Obama campaign surrogate.)

“Anti-terror” legislation
The next year, months before the Oklahoma City bombing took place, Biden introduced another bill called the Omnibus Counterterrorism Act of 1995. It previewed the 2001 Patriot Act by allowing secret evidence to be used in prosecutions, expanding the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and wiretap laws, creating a new federal crime of “terrorism” that could be invoked based on political beliefs, permitting the U.S. military to be used in civilian law enforcement, and allowing permanent detection of non-U.S. citizens without judicial review. The Center for National Security Studies said the bill would erode “constitutional and statutory due process protections” and would “authorize the Justice Department to pick and choose crimes to investigate and prosecute based on political beliefs and associations.”

Biden himself draws parallels between his 1995 bill and its 2001 cousin. “I drafted a terrorism bill after the Oklahoma City bombing. And the bill John Ashcroft sent up was my bill,” he said when the Patriot Act was being debated, according to the New Republic, which described him as “the Democratic Party’s de facto spokesman on the war against terrorism.”

Biden’s chronology is not accurate: the bombing took place in April 1995 and his bill had been introduced in February 1995. But it’s true that Biden’s proposal probably helped to lay the groundwork for the Bush administration’s Patriot Act.

In 1996, Biden voted to keep intact an ostensibly anti-illegal immigration bill that outlined what the Real ID Act would become almost a decade later. The bill would create a national worker identification registry; Biden voted to kill an Abraham-Feingold amendment that would have replaced the registry with stronger enforcement. According to an analysis by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, the underlying bill would have required “states to place Social Security numbers on drivers licenses and to obtain fingerprints or some other form of biometric identification for licenses.”

Along with most of his colleagues in the Congress — including Sen. John McCain but not Rep. Ron Paul — Biden voted for the Patriot Act and the Real ID Act (which was part of a larger spending bill). Obama voted for the bill containing the Real ID Act, but wasn’t in the U.S. Senate in 2001 when the original Patriot Act vote took place.


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Anti-privacy unkillable super-cookies spreading around the world

cookie_monsterAt least nine telcos around the world are using so-called super-cookies to secretly monitor citizens’ online behavior, according to a new study.

A super-cookie is a token unique to each subscriber that is injected into every HTTP request made through a telco’s cellphone networks. They can’t be stripped by the user: every time a subscriber visits a website from his or her smartphone, the telco’s system places the super-cookie in the HTTP headers, so that the site’s servers can identify the visitor.

This super-cookie allows ad networks and media publishers to follow people across the internet even if they clear their cookies. It allows the networks to build up profiles on users’ habits, and pitch them targeted advertising, while the telcos take a cut.

When it emerged that Verizon and AT&T in the US were using this technology it caused a storm. AT&T dropped the super-cookies, and Verizon eventually switched to an opt-out approach: if you switched them off, the headers went away.

Now a six-month investigation by digital rights group Access has shown that telcos overseas are using the same super-cookie techniques.

Access set up a website called, and monitored visits from 180,000 netizens on their phones. The group found that 15.3 per cent of visitors had the tracking headers installed from cellphone owners in Canada, China, India, Mexico, Morocco, the Netherlands, Peru, Spain, the US, and Venezuela.


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How to create your own free computer forensics kit on a USB drive

The super-sleuth detectives in TV show CSI have some very nifty tools to help solve crimes. But the need to keep things interesting and wrap the show up in an hour means the technology used in each episode bears little resemblance to the work of real forensic experts. Or does it?

When it comes to computer forensics, today’s tools are becoming more advanced, leaving fewer places to hide information. This tension between fact and fiction took on a whole new dimension when Microsoft’s police-only forensic toolkit was leaked on the internet. Reports say that it has more in common with CSI than The Bill.

We’re going to show you how to mimic Microsoft’s offering using open-source software to unlock Windows accounts, investigate suspicious activity, see any file on a Windows disk and even peruse files that others believe have been permanently deleted.

Forensic toolkit

During November 2009, it was announced that someone had leaked Microsoft’s secret crime-fighting software online.

Described as a collection of programs linked by a sophisticated script, hackers and other cybercriminals had been dying to get their hands on it for some time. Now it’s reportedly available to anyone brave enough to download and install it.

The Computer Online Forensic Evidence Extractor (or COFEE for short) has been available to police forces since at least summer 2007, and is designed to gather forensic evidence at crime scenes and during raids from the still-running PCs of suspects and victims.


COFEE reportedly takes the average police officer about 10 minutes to master, and comes supplied on a bootable USB pen drive. It enables trained officers to gather evidence from a running system without the need to call in cybercrime specialists, thereby speeding up investigations.

The USB drive itself is said to contain a package of about 150 forensic programs that enable an investigator to record sensitive information like internet history files and complete practical tasks like deleting Windows passwords. It also enables them to upload the recorded data for further analysis.

By April 2008, it was reportedly in use by over 2,000 law enforcement officers throughout 15 countries. At the time of the leak, Microsoft claimed that COFEE was nothing more than a collection of commercially available programs brought together in a single handy package, which it makes available free of charge (if hitherto secretly) to help combat computer crime.

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This 3D-Printed Stethoscope Costs $5, Outperforms $200 Competitors

Tarek Loubani, an emergency room doctor in Gaza, wants to apply the principles of open source software development to out-of-patent medical devices. His first success: A 3D-printed stethoscope head that costs 30 cents to make and, according to his tests, has better sound quality than the industry standard.

Loubani is the head of the Glia project, whose team of hackers and surgeons designed and field-tested the stethoscope. Audio-frequency response curve tests showed the device not only exceeds international standards, but offers superior sound quality compared to the industry-leading Littmann Cardiology 3.

The Littmann retails for $150-200. The Glia stethoscope, including the 3D printed head, tubing and ear piece, will cost around $5 to produce.

Loubani founded the Glia project after the 2012 Israeli invasion of Gaza. “I had to hold my ear to the chests of victims because there were no good stethoscopes, and that was a tragedy, a travesty, and unacceptable,” Loubani told attendees during a presentation at the Chaos Communications Camp in Zehdenick, Germany.


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Cheap thermal imagers can steal user PINs

A British infosec company has found that cheap thermal imaging accessories for smartphones can be used to glean personal identification numbers entered on push-button security devices on bank ATMs..

Thermal imaging devices used to be bulky and expensive, but Sec-Tec told iTnews they can now be bought cheaply as compact iPhone accessories – for instance, the FLIR One, which retails for US$249 (A$340).

The company tested several PIN pads in ATMs, locks and safes with the thermal imagers and found they could “leak” the digits entered by legimate users for longer than a minute after use.

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