Daily Archives: July 19, 2016

Geotrichum candidum (fungus) might destroy your CDs?

Many thanks to Dr. Victor Cardenes of the Department Geology and Soil Science at Ugent, Belgium, who provides us with a photo of a music CD being colonised by Geotrichum candidum (or a near relative).

CDanteriorWhilst working in Belize, Dr. Cardenes noticed that a CD ‘Pieces of Africa’ by the Kronos Quartet, showed mysterious markings that looked distinctly biological in nature. [see bottom left-hand quartile in the photo above].

“At that time I didn’t know what was going on on the CD, I’m a geologist and know little about fungus […]. At the Spanish Museum of Natural History we did some research (mostly SEM). We already realized that the tracks were biological, so we looked for a biologist. The Center of Biotechnology in Madrid took the CD and I didn’t see it any more. They did fungi cultures and fancy experiments that I would never understand.”

continue http://www.improbable.com/2016/07/17/geotrichum-candidum-fungus-might-destroy-your-cds/

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‘Tor and Bitcoin Hinder Anti-Piracy Efforts’

A new report published by the European Union Intellectual Property Office identifies a wide range of ‘business models’ that are used by pirate sites. The organization, which announced a new collaboration with Europol this week, signals Bitcoin and the Tor network as two key threats to ongoing anti-piracy efforts.

euipoTo avoid enforcement efforts, pirate sites often go to extremes to hide themselves from rightsholders and authorities.

Increasingly, this also means that they use various encryption technologies to increase their resilience and anonymity.

Several of these techniques are highlighted in a new report published by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).

The report gives a broad overview of the business models that are used to illegally exploit intellectual property. This includes websites dedicated to counterfeit goods, but also online piracy hubs such as torrent sites and file-hosting platforms.

EUIPO hopes that mapping out these business models will help to counter the ongoing threat they face.

continue https://torrentfreak.com/tor-and-bitcoin-hinder-anti-piracy-efforts-160715/

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Food Computer Allows Anyone to Be a Farmer

Caleb Harper has taken some detours on the path to becoming a farmer. Though his family was involved in agriculture and the grocery business, he didn’t want to follow in their footsteps. Instead, he left Texas and became an architect and engineer.

“I became this weird specialist in controlled environments,” Harper told ABC News. “I designed surgical theaters where people are very vulnerable, and I designed centers where computers are very vulnerable.”

But it wasn’t until a trip to the area near Fukushima, Japan, right after the devastating tsunami in March 2011 that he decided to apply his design skills to feeding people.

“So it was in that very small place that I was inspired to say, ‘OK, well, if you can’t use the world you have, then you could just create a new world.’” The new “world” that Harper created fits neatly into a pink glowing box.

continue http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/food-computer-caleb-harper-inspires-us-future-farmers/story

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Tor veteran Lucky Green exits, torpedos critical ‘Tonga’ node and relays

Tor’s annus horribilus continues, with one of its earliest contributors, Lucky Green, quitting and closing down the node and bridge authority he operates.

Green’s announcement is here, and in full below. He specifically declines to describe why it is “no longer appropriate” to take part in Tor, nor why he believes he has “no reasonable choice left within the bounds of ethics”.

It will therefore be left to others to speculate about whether or not Green’s decision is the result of the turmoil in the project, which emerged when Jacob Applebaum exited amid accusations and recriminations, and continued with the project’s board replacing itself.

Practically, it’s a big deal. Bridge Authorities are part of the infrastructure that lets users get around some ISP-level blocks on the network (not, however, defeating deep packet inspection). They’re also incorporated in the Tor code, meaning that to remove a Bridge Authority is going to need an update.

The shutdown is to take place on August 31.

Lucky Green’s message to the community reads as follows:

continue http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/07/18/lucky_green_torpedos_tors_tonga_node/

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Users sign away their firstborns on fake social network

We already know that people are willing to hand over their firstborns for free Wi-Fi.

Or, at least, they’re more willing to accidentally sign over perpetual ownership of their tots than they are to read lengthy terms and conditions. We know this thanks to a security firm that set up an open Wi-Fi network in a busy public area in London and then presented people with lengthy terms and conditions to sign up and – buh-bye, now! – inadvertently sign kids away in blissful ignorance.

Now, thanks to new research, we know that the same goes for signing up for a new social media platform.

Sorry, kids: you’ve once again been put on the bargaining table by researchers out to prove the point that this is the biggest lie on the internet:

continue https://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2016/07/15/users-sign-away-their-firstborns-on-fake-social-network/

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U.S. working to confirm it killed top ISIS leader, again

(CNN)The United States is trying to verify that an airstrike recently killed a high-ranking ISIS commander, and the Pentagon confirmed Wednesday that in a separate action it took out a commander of the Pakistani Taliban who was responsible for the deaths of more than 130 children.

U.S. warplanes targeted senior ISIS operative Omar al-Shishani in Iraq in the past few days, some four months after the coalition first thought it had killed him in Syria, according to two U.S. officials. The United States is still trying to confirm they got him this time, the U.S. officials said.
Al-Shishani, also known as “Omar the Chechen,” was targeted by an airstrike near Qarayyah, Iraq, south of Mosul, the officials said. But they would not speak publicly until it’s certain this time that he is dead. If he has been killed in Iraq, it’s a sign that top ISIS operatives are still able to move around the region with some degree of freedom.
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Senate Bill Aims To Restrict Tor Access For Illicit Activities

Saying how we live in a very strange world would be the understatement of the year. A new US Senate bill wants to ensure “bad people” can’t use solutions like Tor. Whether or not this means everyone else can keep using it, is anybody’s guess. For quite some time, everyone who used Tor was deemed to be an extremist.


It becomes apparent from the outset government officials do not see eye to eye on matters regarding technology and privacy. Some people feel everyone who uses Tor is anextremist, whereas others just want to catch the bad guys using it. But US Congress has come up with a plan that should work for everyone. Or will it?

The new Senate bill making the rounds is somehow preventing bad people from using anonymity software such as Tor. The bill itself doesn’t make any specific mentions as to how this is to be achieved, making it seem like some parlor trick at best. It may be best not to let the imagination run too wild at this stage, albeit it is doubtful the technology used will respect user privacy.

continue http://themerkle.com/new-senate-bill-aims-to-restrict-tor-access-for-illicit-activities/

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Australian man admits to amateur testicle surgery

A surgical scalpel
Image captionA man has admitted removing another man’s testicle during an “unauthorised” surgery

An amateur surgeon in Australia has pleaded guilty to removing the left testicle of a man who could not afford professional medical treatment.

Allan George Matthews, 56, admitted to “removing tissue” from the man “without consent or authority” at a motel in Port Macquarie, north of Sydney.

Police said the 52-year-old victim posted an online ad “requesting assistance with a medical issue”.

He had been suffering for years after being kicked in the groin by a horse.

Police became aware of the case in June when the man attended hospital after the wound he suffered during the operation became infected.

Officers raided Matthews’ home and seized medical equipment, firearms and four bottles of what they suspected to be amyl nitrate.

Prosecutors alleged that Matthews was not authorised to perform such a procedure as he was not a qualified or registered medical practitioner.

He also pleaded guilty in court this week to illegally possessing a gun and two counts of possessing or attempting to prescribe a restricted substance.

continue http://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-36781296

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Listen Up! Microphones to Fly to Mars

Posted by Bruce Betts


What does Mars sound like?  We’ll get another chance to find out.The Mars 2020 mission has announced that microphones will fly on board their rover, a near-copy of Curiosity but with different instruments. There will be JPL-provided Entry, Descent, and Landing (EDL) microphones, and there will be a microphone included in the SuperCam science instrument, led by Roger Wiens at Los Alamos National Laboratory in partnership with the French Space Agency, CNES. This is very exciting news for The Planetary Society and its members, who have been trying to get microphones to Mars for the last 20 years, including flying the first-ever Mars Microphone on the failed Mars Polar Lander mission. The Planetary Society and its members, and their efforts, were crucial in continually putting the idea of microphones forward into the consciousness of Mars exploration. Congratulations, microphones will fly again!

Microphones will finally enable us to add a second human sense to all the amazing visual imagery we have seen from Mars, adding a visceral reality to a distant world. Sounds from Mars have been something the public has long found fascinating and, as a result, that The Planetary Society has embraced and pursued.

“One test is worth a thousand expert opinions,” said Bill Nye, CEO of The Planetary Society, in response to the news. “At last we will hear the sounds of Mars. Stay tuned, and get ready to turn this mission up loud!”

A Brief History of No Martian Sounds

Co-founder of The Planetary Society Carl Sagan was perhaps the first to formally suggest the idea of placing a microphone on Mars. Sagan wrote in a 1996 letter to NASA, “Even if only a few minutes of Martian sounds are recorded from this first experiment, the public interest will be high and the opportunity for scientific exploration real.”

The Planetary Society flew the Mars Microphone on NASA’s Mars Polar Lander mission in 1998 as part of a Russian LIDAR instrument. It was not only the first microphone to go to Mars, but also was the first privately funded planetary experiment. Sadly, Mars Polar Lander crashed on Mars in 1999, but The Planetary Society didn’t give up.

The Mars Microphone

© Robin Weiner, Associated Press

The Mars Microphone

The flight spare of The Planetary Society’s Mars Microphone, which flew to Mars aboard Mars Polar Lander.

The Planetary Society Mars Microphone was selected to fly on the ultimately cancelled CNES Mars Netlander missions. The Society, including the creator of the Mars Microphone, Dr. Greg Delory of UC Berkeley, worked with the acoustic sensor on Cassini-Huygens to turn science data into sound for the public from Titan in 2005, “hearing” the wind sound of descent through the atmosphere. In 2007, The Planetary Society partnered with Malin Space Science Systems on their microphone in the Phoenix descent imager. This second microphone to fly to Mars, on Phoenix, was never turned on because of the potential for an electronic problem.

continue http://www.planetary.org/blogs/bruce-betts/2016/20160705-listen-up-microphones-on-mars.html

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TPP Will Probably Become Law in U.S. Soon After November Elections.Top Lobbyist

Rufus Yerxa, the top lobbyist for the National Foreign Trade Council, told World Trade Online, on July 12th, that he believes “there is enough time and congressional support to get TPP passed during a lame-duck” session of Congress, meaning the session between November 9th and January 3rd, which would be in time for U.S. President Barack Obama to sign it into U.S. law before leaving office. (It would be done basically the way Bill Clinton deregulated Wall Street and ended AFDC — just as he exits the White House, and with overwhelming Republican support in Congress.)

This means that any increase in the laws and/or regulations regarding product-safety, workers’ rights, consumers’ rights, and/or the environment, will spark a slew of lawsuits by the owners of international corporations, against the U.S. government, the taxpayers, to reimburse to these stockholders what they estimate will be their resulting loss of profits on their investments. These are typically multi-billion-dollar suits, and if TPP passes, the number of them will explode into the stratosphere, like a nuclear weapon against national governments — a weapon that’s owned and operated by mega-corporations (not by any government).

TPP thus would effectively lock-in the existing laws and regulations, no matter whether, for example, a certain chemical is subsequently found (by new scientific studies) to be, in fact, extremely carcinogenic, or otherwise toxic, so that any existing law or regulation regarding it is actually out-of-date.

Future historians will therefore probably record that the most crucial historical event during Obama’s Presidency, occurred on 23 June 2015, when the U.S. Senate voted, just barely meeting the required 60 votes (which would have failed if even only one of those 60 Senators had not voted “Yea” on it) for “cloture,” so as to enable passage of Fast Track Trade Promotion Authority, in order for the President to be able subsequently to win passage of his mega-trade treaties, including TPP, which is now expected to happen soon after November 8th, in the most momentous act of his Presidency.

Those TPP lawsuits (as that link, the second link above here, documents and explains) will be decided not by juries or any court in any country, but by a panel of three international-corporate-dependent arbitrators, who won’t be required to adhere to the laws or constitution of any country, and whose decision in each case, whatever it may turn out to be, will be final and non-appealable, in any court or other legal body.

Here are the 60 Senators who held the fate of the world in their hands on that crucial vote, and chose on 23 June 2015 to vote to give international corporations control (regarding these crucial matters) over not only the U.S. but the 11 other TPP-signatory nations (and an asterisk * here will mean the Senator is among the 21 who are up for re-election in 2016 — i.e., facing voters on November 8th):

continue http://www.globalresearch.ca/trans-pacific-partnership-tpp-tpp-will-probably-become-law-in-u-s-soon-after-november-elections-top-lobbyist/5536003

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Ghostbusters in line for China ban due to supernatural theme

Despite Sony renaming film ‘Super Power Dare-to-Die Team’ for China, censorship laws prohibiting promotion of cults and superstitions look set to scupper its chances of release

KRISTEN WIIG in Ghostbusters
Chinese burn … Kristen Wiig in Ghostbusters, which may never be released in China due to its spooky content. Photograph: Allstar/Sony Pictures

Ghostbusters is unlikely to be let loose in China due to its supernatural themes,according to Variety.

Paul Feig’s reboot stars Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon as the spectre-smashing quartet. It has not yet been screened for Chinese censors, but Variety’s source suggests it is likely to be snared by rules banning films that prohibit the promotion of “cults and superstitions”. Studio Sony have attempted to sway the censors by renaming the film. If it were released in China it would be called “Super Power Dare-to-Die Team”.

Under China’s censorship laws any films suggesting the existence of the supernatural can be banned from distribution. Exceptions are made for ghost stories based on Chinese mythology or films in which the supernatural is explained by a realistic rationale (eg drug use or dream sequence). Among the films that have fallen foul of the ruling in the past is Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest and Crimson Peak, Guillermo del Toro’s gothic horror starring Tom Hiddleston.

continue https://www.theguardian.com/film/2016/jul/14/ghostbusters-china-ban-supernatural-theme

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Army Special Operations Command Unconventional Warfare Pocket Guide

Unconventional Warfare Pocket Guide

Page Count: 44 pages
Date: April 2016
Restriction: None
Originating Organization: U.S. Army Special Operations Command
File Type: pdf
File Size: 1,017,705 bytes
File Hash (SHA-256):B855C0B0A97F8C53AC6Army Special Operations Command Unconventional Warfare Pocket Guide8DED2FDC41E5427ADC242635CAAE9165D478A27BA6825

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This guide is a quick reference of Unconventional Warfare (UW) theory, principles, and tactics, techniques and procedures. It is not a complete treatment of the subject. To guide further study, it includes (in annotated form) as many references as possible starting with established law, policy and doctrine, includes scientific studies, and finishes with recommended reading on the subject.

The term UW often elicits strong responses both negative and positive, though many have a fundamental misunderstanding of the term itself, and its application supporting U.S. policy. Simply, UW is the support to a resistance movement. Historically and most often, the U.S. supported a semi-organized militarized irregular force — known in doctrine as a Guerrilla Force, as part of an insurgency — such as the U.S. support to the Afghanistan Northern Alliance in 2001. This is most often due to a foreign policy decision on when to get involved.

However, the application of UW is much broader and adaptive. The methods and techniques used and the planning for the operations are dependent on the state of the resistance movement, environment, and the desired end state. Support to a resistance organization in its incipient state requires significantly different planning and support than one in the war of movement state (using Mao’s phases). The first will most likely be small, very sensitive, longer in duration, and often conducted under Title 50 authority, whereas the latter is large scale and open, as with the Northern Alliance in 2001.

Thus to prepare and train a force to conduct UW writ large, the theoretical construct must encompass all developmental states of the resistance; numerous environments, ideologies and circumstances; and account for all possible paths to a desired end state. The straw man and scenarios discussed in doctrine are not prescriptive but descriptive of a comprehensive campaign necessary to explore all possibilities, and their applicability.

UW has a wide range of applications in the contemporary environment, whether a textbook approached operation supporting the Syrian resistance, preparing a partner state ahead of potential occupation, or enabling a tribal group to resist Da’esh occupation in an Iraqi city. Special Operations Commanders must understand UW theories, principle, and tactics, and adapt them based on circumstance, the resistance, the opposition, and the desired end-state. This guide will help commanders and their staffs to find the relevant information necessary to understand and conduct UW.

Unconventional Warfare Overview

The focus in UW is on the indigenous resistance elements, not U.S. force structures and procedures. UW falls within the construct of Irregular Warfare (IW) and is one of U.S. Special Operations Command’s (USSOCOM) Core Activities. USSOCOM Directives 10-1cc (U) and 525-89 (S//NF) establishes USASOC as the Lead Component for UW. This directive also describes the SOF service component capabilities and tasks for UW.

Components of a Resistance

Indigenous populations engaged in resistance are composed of the following primary components: the underground, auxiliary, guerrilla forces, public components, shadow government, and a government-in-exile. The goals, objectives, and success of the resistance will determine the level of development and relationships among the components.

The underground and guerrillas are politico-military entities that may conduct both political and military acts, and which represent the ends of a spectrum between clandestine and overt resistance.

The auxiliary represents a clandestine support structure for both the underground and guerrillas.

The public component functions as an overt, political, and/or material support entity. The public components may negotiate with the nation-state government or occupying power on behalf of resistance movement objectives, and will typically make overt appeals for domestic and international support. Public components may represent resistance strategic leadership or merely an interest section.

The underground is a cellular organization within the resistance that has the ability to conduct operations in areas that are inaccessible to guerrillas, such as urban areas under the control of the local security forces. Examples of underground functions include: intelligence, counterintelligence (CI) networks, special material fabrication (example: false identification), munitions, subversive radio, media networks (newspaper or leaflet print shops), social media, webpages, logistic networks, sabotage, clandestine medical facilities, and generation of funding.

The auxiliary refers to that portion of the population that provides active clandestine support to the guerrilla force or the underground. Members of the auxiliary are part-time volunteers who have value because of their normal position in the community. Some functions include: logistics procurement and distribution, labor for special materials, early warning for underground facilities and guerrilla bases, intelligence collection recruitment, communications couriers or messengers, distribution media and safe house management.



source https://publicintelligence.net/usasoc-uw-pocket-guide/

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