Daily Archives: May 2, 2017
Researchers from a trio of U.S. universities have developed a technique to produce butadiene — a molecule traditionally sourced from oil or natural gas that underpins synthetic rubber and plastics — from renewable sources.Rubber is going green.Image credits Hans Braxmeier.Butadiene is the prime building block used for a whole bunch of materials we use today. It can be strewn together/polymerized to create styrene-butadiene rubber, the stuff quality tires are made of (apart, of course, from those made from eggshells and tomatoes). As nitrile butadiene rubber, it’s used to make hoses, seals, and the ubiquitous medical rubber glove. Butadiene is also the main component in acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene, a rigid plastic that can be molded into hardy shapes — your computer or console case is likely made from this substance.But getting your hands on butadiene does pose one economic and ecological problem — you need to refine natural hydrocarbons such as oil and gas to produce it. So understandably, there has been a push develop renewable (and if at all possible, cheaper) methods of obtaining this monomer. One new paper describes exactly one such method: the team — from the University of Delaware, the University of Minnesota and the University of Massachusetts — has invented a process to make butadiene from renewable sugars found in trees, grasses, and corn.
A 300-pound egg-shaped security robot was punched to the ground by an allegedly drunken man outside a Silicon Valley shopping center, Mountain View police said.A 41-year-old Mountain View man has been arrested in connection to the alleged parking-lot altercation with the Knightscope-made droid. The accused robo-assailant, who faces charges of prowling and public intoxication, was identified as Jason Sylvain. The robot suffered minor scratches and is back on duty following last week’s incident, which was first reported Tuesday by ABC7 News.Sylvain was not immediately reachable for comment.Last year, one of the Knightscope’s security robots knocked over a 16-month-old child at a Silicon Valley shopping center. The robot ran over the boy’s right foot, causing bruising but not breaking it.The five-foot-tall, K5 robots can read 300 license plates per minute. They also are equipped to supply 360-degree video streaming. Once an anomaly is detected by these robots, they alert security guards. The robots are not armed.
Launched less than a year ago, the No More Ransom (NMR) project has increased its capacity with new partners and new decryption tools added to its now global campaign to combat Ransomware.
Started as a joint initiative by Europol, the Dutch National Police, Intel Security and Kaspersky Lab, No More Ransom is an anti-ransomware cross-industry initiative to help ransomware victims recover their data without having to pay ransom to cyber criminals.
The online website not just educates computer users to protect themselves from ransomware, but also provides a collection of free decryption tools.
Statistics show that most of the website visitors were from Russia, the Netherlands, the U.S., Italy, and Germany.
The NSA announced Friday that they would stop the controversial program which sweeps up all emails and text messages which an American exchanges with someone overseas that makes reference to a real target of NSA surveillance.
By way of background, if Russia’s Putin was an NSA target, and an American received an email from a Russian saying “I hate Putin”, then that American could be surveilled by the NSA.
Washington’s Blog asked Bill Binney what he thought of the NSA’s announcement.
Binney is the NSA executive who created the agency’s mass surveillance program for digital information, who served as the senior technical director within the agency, who managed six thousand NSA employees, the 36-year NSA veteran widely regarded as a “legend” within the agency and the NSA’s best-ever analyst and code-breaker, who mapped out the Soviet command-and-control structure before anyone else knew how, and so predicted Soviet invasions before they happened (“in the 1970s, he decrypted the Soviet Union’s command system, which provided the US and its allies with real-time surveillance of all Soviet troop movements and Russian atomic weapons”). Binney is the real McCoy. Binney has been interviewed by virtually all of the mainstream media, including CBS, ABC, CNN, New York Times, USA Today, Fox News, PBS and many others.
Specifically, we asked Binney:
A wildfire broke out in the highly radioactive “no-go zone” near the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant over the weekend, reviving concerns over potential airborne radiation.Japanese newspaper The Mainichi reports that lightning was likely to blame for sparking the fire Saturday on Mount Juman in Namie, which lies in the Fukushima Prefecture and was one of the areas evacuated following the 2011 meltdown. The area continues to be barred to entry as it is designated a “difficult-to-return zone” due to continually high radiation levels.Local officials were forced to call in the Japanese military, the Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF), to help battle the blaze, which continued to burn on Monday. At least 10 hectares of forest have burned so far.”A total of eight helicopters from Fukushima, Miyagi and Gunma prefectures as well as the SDF discharged water on the site to combat the fire,” The Mainichi reports. “As the fire continued to spread, however, helicopters from the GSDF, Fukushima Prefecture and other parties on May 1 resumed fire extinguishing operations from around 5 am [local time].”An official with the Ministry of the Environment said Monday that there has been “no major changes to radiation levels” in the region, according to the newspaper, but added that they will “continue to closely watch changes in radiation doses in the surrounding areas.”
John McCool suspected that a scientific journal called the Urology & Nephrology Open Access Journal was essentially a pay-to-publish journal with a flimsy peer-review process. So he wrote a paper based on a bogus medical condition made up for an episode of Seinfeld and submitted it to them.This was inspired by the classic 1991 episode “The Parking Garage,” where the gang can’t find their car in a mall parking garage. Eventually, Jerry has to urinate; he goes against a garage wall and gets busted by a security guard; and he tries to get out of it by claiming that he suffers from a disease called “uromycitisis” and could die if he doesn’t relieve himself whenever and wherever he needs to.I went all out. I wrote it as Dr. Martin van Nostrand, Kramer’s physician alter ego, and coauthored by Jay Reimenschneider (Kramer’s friend who eats horse meat) and Leonard “Len” Nicodemo (another of Kramer’s friends, who once had gout). I included fake references to articles written by the likes of Costanza GL, Pennypacker HE, and Peterman J. I created a fake institution where the authors worked: the Arthur Vandelay Urological Research Institute. In the Acknowledgements section, I thanked people such as Tor Eckman, the bizarre holistic healer from “The Heart Attack” episode, giving him a “Doctor of Holistic Medicine (HMD)” degree.The Arthur Vandelay Urological Research Institute!! That’s some top-shelf trolling right there. If you read the full paper, you’ll also see references to Steinbrenner and Lloyd Braun. Of course the journal accepted and published it:The journal was excited to receive this “quality” and “very interesting” case report. A mere 33 minutes after receiving it, a representative notified “Dr. van Nostrand” that it had been sent out for peer review (a process the journal’s website touts as “rigorous”). Three days later, reviewer comments were returned to me, and I was asked to make a few minor changes, including adding lab test results from when the patient was in the emergency room. I made these up, too, and promptly resubmitted the revised case report. Soon after, it was officially accepted for publication.The publication eventually figured out it had been pranked and had a quick back-and-forth with McCool about it.
How much personal information are you giving fraudsters access to on Facebook? Are you giving them enough information to steal your identity?Information Age reported recently that an online survey conducted by YouGov in the UK had found that almost 30% of adults with social media accounts “include their full name and date of birth on their profiles” – that’s two of the three key pieces of information a fraudster needs to steal your identity.The third? Your address, as a recent post by Action Fraud in the UK reveals:All it takes is your name, date of birth and address for fraudsters to steal your identity and access your bank accounts, take out loans or take out mobile phones in your name.But deterring fraudsters might not be as simple as just hiding this information in your profile. They can still work out when you were born from the birthday messages posted on your timeline. And even if they don’t know where you live, they could be able to find that out from your name and date of birth. An article in The Telegraph reveals how.