Daily Archives: July 30, 2017

DEA Data Shows Drug Cartels Continue to “Operate and Profit” From Marijuana Sales in Legalized Markets

A legal marijuana grow in Colorado. Photo Brett Levin/Flickr.A bulletin from the El Paso Intelligence Center (EPIC) released to law enforcement in February 2017 describes how Mexican transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) are continuing to exploit legalized markets in the U.S. for the sale and distribution of marijuana.  In January 2016, EPIC produced a bulletin detailing how “data provided by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and open source reporting” indicated at the time that Mexican TCOs had not been adversely affected by marijuana legalization in numerous markets, noting instead “that the effort of legalization had conversely brought new opportunities for illicit profits from marijuana sales.”  The updated February 2017 bulletin, which was obtained by Public Intelligence, indicates that Mexican TCOs continue to exploit the legalization of Marijuana in these areas, operating in three distinct “co-equal marijuana markets in U.S. legalized states: a legal market; an illegal market, and a black market.”Based on “analytical exchanges” between DEA and Northwest High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) analysts, the bulletin states that TCOs are selling illegally grown marijuana in legal markets, including to “proscribed customers, such as children.”  In black markets, TCOs are selling illegally grown marijuana at lower prices in an attempt to undercut the profit margins on legally cultivated marijuana.  In all three markets, the TCOs are “evading state tax laws” and often utilizing public lands to grow the marijuana before transporting it back to non-legalized state markets.  The bulletin provides some specific examples of diversion from legalized markets:

Source: DEA Data Shows Drug Cartels Continue to “Operate and Profit” From Marijuana Sales in Legalized Markets | Public Intelligence

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Report: Human embryo edited for first time in US, pushes limits

A team of researchers in Oregon have become the first in the US to attempt genetically altering human embryos, according to reporting by MIT Technology Review. The attempt is said to represent an advance in the safety and efficacy of methods used to correct genetic defects that spur disease.

Until now, the only three published reports of human embryo gene editing were from researchers in China. But their experiments—using a gene-editing method called CRISPR—caused “off-target” genetic changes, basically sloppy changes in the DNA that were not intended. Also, not all the cells in the embryos were successfully edited, causing an effect called “mosaicism.” Together, the problems suggested that the technique was not advanced enough to safely alter human embryos without unintended or incomplete genetic consequences.Scientists familiar with the new US work told MIT Technology Review that the Oregon team has improved these issues. They’re said to have shown in experiments with “many tens” of human embryos that they can correct genetic mutations that cause disease while avoiding mosaicism and off-target effects. Their improved method allows for earlier delivery of CRISPR into cells at the same time sperm fertilize an egg.

Source: Report: Human embryo edited for first time in US, pushes limits | Ars Technica

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How Hackers Can Use ‘Evil Bubbles’ to Destroy Industrial Pumps

SINCE THE NSA’S infamous Stuxnet malware started exploding Iranian centrifuges, hacker attacks that disrupt big, physical systems have moved out of the realm of Die Hard sequels and into reality. As those attacks evolve, the cybersecurity community has started to move beyond the question of whether hacks can impact physical infrastructure, to the more chilling question of exactly what those attacks might accomplish. Judging by one proof-of-concept demonstration, those attacks could come in more insidious and unexpected forms than defenders expect.In a talk at the Black Hat security conference Thursday, Honeywell security researcher Marina Krotofil showed one example of an attack on industrial systems meant to drive home just how surreptitious the hacking of so-called cyberphysical systems—physical systems that can be manipulated by digital means—might be. With a laptop connected to a $50,000, 610-pound industrial pump, she showed how a hacker could leverage a hidden, highly destructive weapon on that massive machine: bubbles.

Source: How Hackers Can Use ‘Evil Bubbles’ to Destroy Industrial Pumps | WIRED

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Low energy LED lightbulbs could be giving us all headaches

Energy-saving lightbulbs could be giving us all headaches as they flicker too much.LED bulbs can bring on feelings of dizziness and pain within just 20 minutes of switching them on, an expert has warned.Professor Arnold Wilkins, professor of psychology at the University of Essex, said the flickering of the unpopular lights is stronger than for traditional lightbulbs.While fluorescent lights, such as those in offices, dim by around 35 per cent with every flicker, LED lights dim by 100 per cent. It means they effectively turn off and on again hundreds of times every second.This can cause headaches by disrupting movement control of the eyes, forcing the brain to work harder. Flickering LED bulbs could double the chances of suffering a headache, based on previous research.

Source: Low energy LED lightbulbs could be giving us all headaches | Daily Mail Online

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Facial Recognition Coming to Police Body Cameras 

Even if the cop who pulls you over doesn’t recognize you, the body camera on his chest eventually just might.Device-maker Motorola will work with artificial intelligence software startup Neurala to build “real-time learning for a person of interest search” on products such as the Si500 body camera for police, the firm announced Monday.Italian-born neuroscientist and Neurala founder Massimiliano Versace has created patent-pending image recognition and machine learning technology. It’s similar to other machine learning methods but far more scalable, so a device carried by that cop on his shoulder can learn to recognize shapes and — potentially faces — as quickly and reliably as a much larger and more powerful computer. It works by mimicking the mammalian brain, rather than the way computers have worked traditionally.

Source: Facial Recognition Coming to Police Body Cameras – Defense One

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