Posts Tagged With: technology

Europe Cracks Down On Bitcoin, Virtual Currencies To “Curb Terrorism Funding”

In the past we have explained why when it comes to circumventing capital controls, primarily in the context of China, there are few as simple and as efficient alternatives to Bitcoin – contrary to what Bernanke may think, gold is concentrated money (and in India it now pays interest) but when it comes to transferring it across borders, it tends to be rather problematic. And now Europe appears to have figured this out, and as Reuters reports, European Union countries are preparing to crackdown on virtual currencies such as bitcoin, and anonymous payments made online and via pre-paid cards “in a bid to tackle terrorism financing after the Paris attacks, acording to a draft document.”

Just a week after the Paris terrorist attack, showing a dramatic ability for coordinated work by a continent that is known for anything but, today EU interior and justice ministers are gathering in Brussels for a crisis meeting called after the Paris carnage of last weekend. This happens days after the European Commission already announced it would make procurement of weapons across Europe virtually impossible, if only for citizens who wish to obtain protection legally.


Categories: government, internet, services, technology | Tags: , ,

EMP Trash Can Faraday Cage Testing in Lab

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Hack The Planet! (Before It’s Too Late)

Hack The Android

Joshua Drake of Zimperium’s highly publicized discovery of a bug that allows attackers to hack into most Android phones by simply sending them a carefully customized MMS message. Also: Wen Xu of KEEN on a Linux kernel vulnerability that can be used to root most Android devices.

Hack The Car

Charlie Miller of Twitter and Chris Valasek of IOActive on their Jeep hack that caused Chrysler to recall 1.4 million vehicles. Also: Marc Rogers of CloudFlare and Kevin Mahaffey of Lookout on “How to Hack a Tesla Model S.” (They’re also releasing a tool that allows Model S owners to track the telemetry information generated by their car in real time.) Also: Samy Kamkar on more tools and techniques to “wirelessly steal cars.”

Hack The Government

The always entertaining Cory Doctorow on his new mission in life: the EFF’s Project Apollo 1201. Its objective? To rid the world of all DRM in the next ten years. If you’re a hacker or researcher who’s dealing with DRM, or a developer or designer whose plans have been thwarted by DRM (Doctorow refers to such projects as “stolen from our future,”) he wants to hear from you.

Hacks By The Government

Morgan Marquis-Boire of Citizens Lab / The Intercept, Marion Marschalek of Cyphort, and Claudio Guarnieri on identifying and attributing malware crafted by nation-states to target their adversaries. Featuring: the USA, the UK, China, etc etc etc. Also: Adam Kozy of Crowdstrike and Johannes Gilger on China’s Great Cannon, the offensive counterpart to their Great Firewall.

Hack the Gun

Runa Sandvik and Michael Auger on hacking a “smart” sniper rifle.

Hack The GPS

Lin Huang and Yang Qing of Qihoo 360 on how to spoof GPS signals easily and cheaply using software-defined radios.

Hack The Home

Tobias Zillner and Sebastian Strobl of Cognosec on flaws in the Zigbee standard, widely used by Internet-of-Things devices. “Due to interoperability and compatibility requirements, as well as the application of legacy security concepts, it is possible to compromise ZigBee networks and take over control of all connected devices.” Also: Li Jun of Qihoo 360 and Yang Qing of Qihoo 360 on another technique to defeat ZigBee security.

Hack The Hypervisor

Yuriy Bulygin, Mikhail Gorobets, Alexander Matrosov, and Oleksandr Bazhaniuk of Intel Security’s Advanced Threat Research team “demonstrate a number of new attacks on hypervisors based on system firmware vulnerabilities with impacts ranging from VMM DoS to hypervisor privilege escalation to SMM privilege escalation from within the virtual machines.” (Hypervisors are the software which orchestrate virtual machines. Most Internet servers are virtual machines. So attacks on them are kind of a big deal.)

Hack The Neighbor’s Drone

Michael Robinson of Stevenson University ponders the question: “Would it be possible to force a commercial quad copter to land by sending a low-level pulse directly to it along the frequencies used by GPS?”

Hack The NFC

Peter Fillmore on how to clone NFC payment cards and perform fraudulent transactions.

Hack the RAM

I’ve written about this before, but it’s too amazing not to mention again. Google’s Mark Seaborn and Halvar Flake on the “Rowhammer” attack that uses electromagnetic leakage within RAM chips to take over a computer. This is amazing. “Rowhammer, to our knowledge, represents the first public discussion of turning a widespread, real-world, physics-level hardware problem into a security issue.”

Hack The Satellite

Colby Moore of Synack on flaws in the Globalstar satellite system (widely used for asset tracking) that give exploiters “ability to intercept, spoof, falsify, and intelligently jam communications. Due to design tradeoffs these vulnerabilities are realistically unpatchable and put millions of devices, critical infrastructure, emergency services, and high value assets at risk.”

Hack The Skateboard

Mike Ryan of eBay and Richo Healey of Stripe “investigate the security of several popular skateboards, including Boosted’s flagship model and demonstrate several vulnerabilities that allow complete control of a an unmodified victim’s skateboard.”

Hack The Planet!

The crowd at DEF CON is a mass of self-proclaimed misfits, rebels, and iconoclasts, and while much of that is obviously empty posturing, it still always cheers me up. In an era where dissent is not so much actively stifled as passively marginalized and ignored, pervasive contempt for the status quo among people who have the intellectual tools and capacity to incite real change is one of the most hopeful things around; and for all its multitudinous flaws, DEF CON is home to many such people. I suppose that’s why I keep coming back.

Categories: technology | Tags: ,

New malware turns your computer into a cellular antenna

A group of Israeli researchers have improved on a way to steal data from air-gapped computers, thought to be safer from attack due to their isolation from the Internet.

They’ve figured out how to turn the computer into a cellular transmitter, leaking bits of data that can be picked up by a nearby low-end mobile phone.

While other research has shown it possible to steal data this way, some of those methods required some hardware modifications to the computer. This attack uses ordinary computer hardware to send out the cellular signals.

Their research, which will be featured next week at the 24th USENIX Security Symposium in Washington, D.C., is the first to show it’s possible to steal data using just specialized malware on the computer and the mobile phone.

“If somebody wanted to get access to somebody’s computer at home—let’s say the computer at home wasn’t per se connected to the Internet—you could possibly receive the signal from outside the person’s house,” said Yisroel Mirsky, a doctoral student at Ben-Gurion University and study co-author.


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FBI: Retweeting a Terrorist’s Tweet Could Land You In Trouble

— The FBI’s best informant has played a role in dozens of terrorism cases over the past several years and provided endless intelligence on extremists across the United States. The informant is young, rich, well-connected, easily distracted and really into reality television.

The informant’s name? Twitter.

The social network is an “extraordinarily effective way to sell shoes, or vacations, or terrorism,” and it puts propaganda in the pocket of kids and those with troubled minds, FBI Director James Comey said recently. “It’s buzz, buzz, buzz, buzz, buzz. It’s the constant feed … the devil on your shoulder all day long, saying, ‘Kill, kill, kill.'”

FBI agents have cited suspects’ tweets in a slew of recent terrorism cases. Federal prosecutors have charged several Twitter users who allegedly support the Islamic State with lying to federal agents about their Twitter activity. In other cases, the FBI has pointed to Twitter activity — including retweets — as probable cause for terrorism charges. In one case, a 17-year-old pleaded guilty to providing “material support” to a designated foreign terrorist organization by tweeting out links.

Law enforcement officials are ramping up their monitoring of Twitter. The company received 2,879 information requests from federal, state and local law enforcement authorities within the U.S. in 2014 — a 66 percent increase from the 1,735 it received in 2013, according to its transparency report. Overall, there was a 72 percent jump in the number of accounts affected by such requests in the second half of 2014. The requests could be seeking additional user information, IP addresses and even the content of direct messages sent through the network.

Twitter’s report does not specify how many requests came from the federal government in particular. But it’s notable that FBI agents investigating terrorism are likely based in some of the locations with the highest number of Twitter requests in the second half of 2014. There were 195 requests made in Virginia, 170 requests out of New York state, and 125 requests that originated in the nation’s capital.


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Sex with robots to be ‘the norm’ in 50 years, expert claims

Future: Experts believe humans could be having sex with robots in the near future

Humans could soon be having sexual relationships with robots, a top academic has claimed.

Dr Helen Driscoll said advances in technology mean the way in which humans interact with robots is set to change drastically in the coming years.

Dr Driscoll, a leading authority on the psychology of sex and relationships, said ‘sex tech’ was already advancing at a fast pace and by 2070, physical relationships will seem primitive.

Already you can order a mannequin partner online. And robotic, interactive, motion-sensing technology is likely to become more and more central to the sex industry in the next few years.

“It could really start to enable mannequin partners to ‘come to life'”, according to Dr Driscoll, from the University of Sunderland.


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Biometric behavioural profiling: Fighting that password you simply can’t change

Security researchers have developed a browser extension that supposedly defeats biometrics based on typing patterns, with the exercise designed, in part, to promote greater awareness about the emerging technology and the privacy risk it might pose.

Biometric behavioural profiling allows a site to collect metadata about how a person types, rather than just what they type.

When you type your username and password, the site can see how long it takes to type it, including how long each key is depressed (dwell time) and how long it takes to move from one key to another (gap time).

Some sites are moving beyond simple password/ID logins towards multi-factor solutions in an effort to bolster security.

This can happen to the detriment of the user experience, particular when it comes to continuous authentication/behavioural biometrics, according to Per Thorsheim, founder of PasswordsCon and independent IT security consultant Paul Moore.

Profiling technologies from firms such as BehavioSec and KeyTrac can improve security when added to a banking site, where they offer the potential to minimise fraud.

But use of the technologies elsewhere comes at the expense of privacy, according to the two security researchers. It’s unclear how many sites use biometrics based on typing patterns or, if they did, whether or not they inform users about their practices in this area.

“You can forget Tor, a VPN and your favourite proxy site,” Moore explained. “If you have JavaScript enabled and you’ve been profiled, there’s a very good chance they’ll identify you. The problem is … do you know when you’re being profiled?”

If a site is using biometric behavioural profiling, then this has deeper consequences than simply obliging users to change their passwords, Moore added.


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FBI Director: Government Must Have Access to Your Encrypted Data

The director of the FBI doesn’t want you to use technology to encrypt your personal data. He said that for your safety the feds should have unrestricted access to everything you store in a cloud or a hard drive, write in an e-mail, or send in a text. Security, he says, trumps privacy. Besides, only a criminal has something to hide.

Actually, what FBI Director James Comey told the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee is that in order to stay a step ahead of the b  ad guys, the g-m  en should  have FBI Director: Government Must Have Access to Your Encrypted Data access to any available technology to decode encrypted data. And that the government should be the arbiter of when decryption is necessary or not.

Comey made these statements during testimony he gave as part of a panel of “experts” called to speak at a hearing labelled “Going Dark: Encryption, Technology, and the Balance Between Public Safety and Privacy.”

Tech specialists warn, however, that giving the FBI such access would necessarily open doors to data that could be exploited by “bad actors.”

Comey isn’t persuaded. “It is clear that governments across the world, including those of our closest allies, recognize the serious public safety risks if criminals can plan and undertake illegal acts without fear of detection,” he told the committee.

Once again, the agents of the autocracy are demanding that Americans sacrifice individual liberty on the altar of “national security.” That’s nowhere made clearer than in the following question posed by Comey: “Are we comfortable with technical design decisions that result in barriers to obtaining evidence of a crime?”


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Big changes are coming to Firefox to win back users and developers

Firefox is about to undergo some dramatic changes, according to Mozilla. Most notably, it sounds like future versions of Firefox will focus on Firefox-esque features such as Private Browsing Mode, while features that are unpolished or otherwise not very useful will be stripped out of the browser entirely. Furthermore, it looks like Mozilla is finally getting serious about moving Firefox away from XUL and XBL, though it isn’t clear if they will be replaced with open Web technologies (HTML, CSS, JS) or native UI.

In an e-mail to the firefox-dev mailing list, Firefox Director of Engineering Dave Camp has outlined what he calls the Three Pillars of the new Firefox: Uncompromised Quality, Best Of The Web, and Uniquely Firefox. Let’s take them in order.

Uncompromised Quality will aim to strip out Firefox’s half-baked ideas or carry them through to completion so that they’re “polished, functional, and a joy to use.” This program is internally dubbed “Great or Dead”—as in, if the Firefox devs can’t make a feature great, it should be killed off. Camp says in the e-mail that Electrolysis (e10s)—Firefox’s massively overdue implementation of per-tab processes—is one of the first features that needs to be focused on in order “to get the kind of snappy experience we need to make Firefox feel great.”

Best Of The Web is a slightly more nebulous pillar that will concern itself with the add-ons community and partnerships with third parties like Telefonica. “We intend to spend some significant effort making addons even more awesome by improving security and performance for users and building a better API that increases x-platform compatibility for addon authors and partners,” Camp says in the e-mail.


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This Organization Wants to Stop Killer Robots

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Vinyl records are still riding that big comeback wave, sales up 38% in a year

On Thursday, Nielsen Music released its 2015 US mid-year report, finding that overall music consumption had increased by 14 percent in the first half of the year. What’s driving that boom? Well, certainly a growth in streaming—on-demand streaming increased year-over-year by 92.4 percent, with more than 135 billion songs streamed, and overall sales of digital streaming increased by 23 percent.

But what may be more fascinating is the continued resurgence of the old licorice pizza—that is, vinyl LPs. Nielsen reports that vinyl LP sales are up 38 percent year-to-date. “Vinyl sales now comprise nearly 9 percent of physical album sales,” Nielsen stated.Who’s leading the charge on all that vinyl? None other than the music industry’s favorite singer-songwriter Taylor Swift with her album 1989, which sold 33,500 LPs. Swift recently flexed her professional muscle when she wrote an open letter to Apple, criticizing the company for failing to pay artists during the free three-month trial of Apple Music. Apple quickly kowtowed to the pop star and reversed its position.


Categories: music, technology | Tags: ,

Enable the (Hidden) Administrator Account on Windows 7, 8, or 10

First you’ll need to open a command prompt in administrator mode by right-clicking and choosing “Run as administrator” (or use the Ctrl+Shift+Enter shortcut from the search box).

Note that this works the same in all versions of Windows. Just search for cmd and then right-click on the command prompt icon in the Start menu or Start screen.

If you are in Windows 8.x or 10 you can right-click on the Start button and choose to open a command prompt that way.

Now type the following command:

net user administrator /active:yes

You should see a message that the command completed successfully. Log out, and you’ll now see the Administrator account as a choice. (Note that this screenshot is from Vista, but this works on Windows 7 and Windows 8 and Windows 10)


You’ll note that there’s no password for this account, so if you want to leave it enabled you should change the password.

source in case you want to uninstall

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Google’s Plan for Self-driving Cars May Have Finally Been Exposed… and It’s Ground-breaking

Google Self-Driving Cars

Google’s self-driving cars look ridiculous by today’s standards. They’re tiny, the design is peculiar and the shape is odd. But those funny-looking cars are the future, and that future is going to arrive sooner than you might think.

While Google has been reasonably open during the development of its new autonomous car technology, the company’s specific plans for these cars remain a mystery. However, new claims from a venture capitalist may have just pulled back the curtain on Google’s plans, and they may be even more ground-breaking than we thought.

Draper Fisher Jurvetson partner Steve Jurvetson recently appeared on Bloomberg West, and he had some truly interesting things to say about Google’s self-driving cars.

The source of his information is unclear, but Jurvetson spoke very matter-of-factly about Google’s plans, claiming that the company is considering an app and service called “Free Ride” that would allow users to hail a self-driving Google taxi and take a ride for free.


Categories: cars, services, technology | Tags: ,

FBI Wants Pirate Bay Logs to Expose Copyright Trolls

pirate bayOver the past few years copyright troll law firm Prenda crossed the line on several occasions.

Most controversial was the clear evidence that Prenda uploaded their own torrents to The Pirate Bay, creating a honeypot for the people they later sued over pirated downloads.

The crucial evidence to back up this allegation came from The Pirate Bay, who shared upload logs with TorrentFreak that tied a user account and uploads to Prenda and its boss John Steele.

This serious allegation together with other violations piqued the interest of the FBI. For a long time there have been suspicions that the authorities are investigating the Prenda operation and today we can confirm that this is indeed the case.


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Japanese Court Orders Google To Delete Past Reports Of Man’s Molestation Arrest

The Saitama District Court has ordered Google Inc. to delete past reports on a man’s arrest over molestation from its online search results after ruling that they violate the man’s personal rights, it has been learned.

It is uncommon for a court to order that search outcomes on reports about an arrest be deleted, according to a lawyer familiar with lawsuits involving the Internet.

The court made the decision on June 25 in favor of the man, who was arrested about three years ago on suspicion of violating the Act on Punishment of Activities Relating to Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, and the Protection of Children, after molesting a girl under 18. A court’s summary order fining him 500,000 yen was finalized.

However, past articles about his arrest continued to be displayed online when users entered his name and address.

“He harbors remorse over the incident and is leading a new life. The search results prevent him from rehabilitating himself,” the man’s defense counsel claimed, adding, “Publicizing past criminal information with a person’s real name doesn’t serve the public’s needs, and is therefore illegal.”


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Mastercard facial recog-ware will unlock your money using SELFIES

Mastercard will begin using selfies as a means to verify payments, it is being said.

The “innovation” will allow some 500 pilot users to take a photo instead of punching in PINs, a move MasterCard chief product security officer Ajay Bhalla says will be popular with youth.

Bhalla told CNN Mastercard partnered with all phone manufacturers to produce the biometric beastie.

“The new generation, which is into selfies … I think they’ll find it cool. They’ll embrace it,” Bhalla says. “This [app] seamlessly integrates biometrics into the overall payment experience.

“You can choose to use your fingerprint or your face – you tap it, the transaction is okayed (sic) and you’re done.”

Bhalla says the trial will begin in the US shortly with a full scale deployment to follow.

Users will need to hold their mobile phones at eye-level and blink once when instructed for the check-me-out checkout process to complete.


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Spanish Town That Runs on Twitter Shows Off the Power of Social Media

Twitter, along with countless other social media websites, is often viewed as a productivity killer. But a small town in Spain has actually been using the platform to improve communication between authorities and the people. In fact, Twitter is so important to the people of Jun that they actually built a monument of the iconic ‘blue bird’ in the town’s square.

Since September 2011, the 3,500-strong community has used Twitter to spread local news, developments, job opportunities, orbituaries, and even school dinner menus! Residents book doctor’s appointments, register consumer complaints, and report crimes through their tweets. Jun’s Mayor, José Antonio Rodriguez Salas, has his own account, with a massive following of over 340,000. Locals can contact the Mayor by tweeting him directly.

All the town’s public services, including the police force, have their own Twitter accounts. The force, consisting of only one officer, drives a squad car with ‘@PoliciaJun’ painted on the bonnet. In fact, the bird logo can be seen everywhere, including the Mayor’s office. Even the guy who sweeps the streets tweets amusing messages, with before and after shots of his handiwork.  The town’s elderly aren’t ignored either – there’s a special program in place to teach them how to use the internet and social media.


The town’s unique communication strategy has caught the attention of the world, so much so that researchers from MIT’s Media Lab are now conducting studies in Jun. According to The Independent, they’re trying to find out if social networking holds the key to improved public services in larger cities.


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What Is the Big Secret About Stingray Surveillance?

Given the amount of mobile phone traffic that cell phone towers transmit, it is no wonder law enforcement agencies target these devices as a rich source of data to aid their investigations. Standard procedure involves getting a court order to obtain phone records from a wireless carrier. When authorities cannot or do not want to go that route, they can set up a simulated cell phone tower—often called a stingray—that surreptitiously gathers information from the suspects in question as well as any other mobile device in the area.

These simulated cell sites—which collect international mobile subscriber identity (IMSI), location and other data from mobile phones connecting to them—have become a source of controversy for a number of reasons. National and local law enforcement agencies closely guard details about the technology’s use, with much of what is known about stingrays revealed through court documents and other paperwork made public via Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.

One such document recently revealed that the Baltimore Police Department has used a cell site simulator 4,300 times since 2007 and signed a nondisclosure agreement with the FBI that instructed prosecutors to drop cases rather than reveal the department’s use of the stingray. Other records indicate law enforcement agencies have used the technology hundreds of times without a search warrant, instead relying on a much more generic court order known as a pen register and trap and trace order. Last year Harris Corp., the Melbourne, Fla., company that makes the majority of cell site simulators, went so far as to petition the Federal Communications Commission to block a FOIA request for user manuals for some of the company’s products.

The secretive nature of stingray use has begun to backfire on law enforcement, however, with states beginning to pass laws that require police to obtain a warrant before they can set up a fake cell phone tower for surveillance. Virginia, Minnesota, Utah and Washington State now have laws regulating stingray use, with California and Texas considering similar measures. Proposed federal legislation to prevent the government from tracking people’s cell phone or GPS location without a warrant could also include stingray technology.

Scientific American recently spoke with Brian Owsley, an assistant professor of law at the University of North Texas Dallas College of Law, about the legal issues and privacy implications surrounding the use of a stingray to indiscriminately collect mobile phone data. Given the invasive nature of the technology and scarcity of laws governing its use, Owsley, a former U.S. magistrate judge in Texas, says the lack of reliable information documenting the technology’s use is particularly troubling.

[An edited transcript of the interview follows.]

When and why did law enforcement agencies begin using international cell site simulators to intercept mobile phone traffic and track movement of mobile phone users?

Initially, intelligence agencies—CIA and the like—couldn’t get local or national telecommunications companies in other countries to cooperate with U.S. surveillance operations against nationals in those countries. To fill that void companies like the Harris Corp. started creating cell site simulators for these agencies to use. Once Harris saturated the intelligence and military markets [with] their products, they turned to federal agencies operating in the U.S. So the [Drug Enforcement Administration], Homeland Security, FBI and others started having their own simulated cell sites to use for surveillance. Eventually this trickled down further to yet another untapped market: state and local law enforcement. That’s where we are today in terms of the proliferation of this technology.


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Ohio student runs Android OS on graphing calculator

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Space station cabbage: To boldly grow where no veg has grown before


Video Weather permitting, SpaceX will fire off its seventh resupply mission to the International Space Station on Sunday, and NASA has detailed some of the science experiments the Dragon capsule will be carrying in its hold.

The rocket will loft nearly 4,000lbs (1,814kg) of supplies and science kit when it takes off on Sunday at 1021 ET (1521 UTC) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, including 35 new experiments for the ISS crew to run.

Dr Julie Robinson, chief scientist for the ISS, said that of special interest to the crew will be the Veggie, a piece of equipment that will allow them to grow their own food.

“We’re getting close to that first bite of space lettuce,” Robinson said at a NASA press conference on Friday. “The crew eat only preserved food at the moment, which is better than pills, but eating fresh leafy greens is really important as part of a balanced diet and helps with mental health.”

On a mission last year, astronauts used a Veggie to raise romaine lettuce but weren’t allowed to eat it because scientists wanted to see if it was safe. This time, Robinson said, the ISS crew will grow a form of Japanese cabbage and may even be allowed to eat it themselves.

Also included in the Commercial Resupply Services 7 (CRS-7) mission payload is NASA’s Meteor camera, which will be mounted in the Window Observational Research Facility (WORF) on the ISS.

This is NASA’s second attempt at installing the Meteor, as the original camera was among the equipment that was destroyed when an Orbital Sciences Antares rocket blew up last year shortly after launch.


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Engineers Break the Capacity Limit for Fiber Optic Transmissions

Internet Fiber Optic Capacity

As the sheer volume of data transmitted over the web continues to grow by leaps and bounds, there has been a lot of speculation regarding whether or not the fiber optic cables which form the underlying foundation of the internet will eventually max out.

Well not to fear. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego recently published a report in the journal Science detailing how they were able to increase the maximum power under which fiber optic signals can be transmitted and accurately decoded. In turn, optic signals can now travel for longer distances without seeing a degradation in quality.

“This advance,” the UC San Diego News Center writes, “has the potential to increase the data transmission rates for the fiber optic cables that serve as the backbone of the internet, cable, wireless and landline networks.”


Categories: internet, technology | Tags: ,

Gov Web Bots To Scour Internet for Hate Speech: “Could Potentially Criminalize Thoughts and Expressions”

With the capability to intercept every digital communication sent over the internet or telephone it’s no surprise that Big Brother is pushing to further expand its role in the lives of Americans.

Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) is proposing a new bill that would send government web bots across the internet looking for hate speech or material allegedly determined to be advocating or encouraging “violent acts.” Once identified, the Congressman wants reports to be disseminated to Congress so that they can monitor, control and potentially criminalize thoughts and expressions deemed by an unknown panel of government bureaucrats to be hateful.

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Genetically Modified Wheat Crop Fails To Repel Pests

Scientists have found that a controversial trial of genetically modified (GM) wheat has failed to repel pests any more effectively than ordinary crops.  The £3 million trial has been branded ‘a waste’

RT reports: Researchers attempted to engineer a variety of wheat to emit an odor that deters aphids in the hope of reducing the amount of pesticides required by plants.

The crops, nicknamed “whiffy wheat,” were successful in lab tests, but succumbed to aphids when trialed in the field.

The experiment cost £3m, some £2.2m of which was spent on fencing and other security measures to protect the trial from animals and saboteurs.

Campaign group GM Freeze said the experiment was a waste of money and further evidence of the “folly” of investing in GM technology.

Agricultural institution Rothamsted Research ran the trial in Hertfordshire from 2012 to 2013.

continue article

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Pirate captain blasts Google for its ‘mystery’ Chrome blob

spy_eye_648Pirate Party captain Rick Falkvinge has weighed into the Google Chrome ‘listening blob’ debate, saying Mountain View silently downloaded an ‘eavesdropper’ to Chrome users’ machines.

The row arose last week, when Debian users first noticed that The Chocolate Factory was dropping the blob on their machines.

Falkvinge rejects Google’s apology, that while the binary file was downloaded without consent, it was enabled only when users ticked a box to use the Ok Google voice recognition search.

“Google has been stealth downloading audio listeners onto every computer that runs Chrome, and transmitting audio data back to Google,” Falkvinge says.

“Effectively, this means that Google had taken itself the right to listen to every conversation in every room that runs Chrome somewhere, without any kind of consent from the people eavesdropped on.”


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Boob tubes: Breast grown in lab will test cancer treatments

(Image: Eric Van Den Brulle/Getty)

It’s not quite a lab-grown boob, but it’s close. Mammary glands have been created using cells donated after breast reduction operations.

During puberty the mammary gland forms a network of milk-ducts that are repeatedly reshaped through a woman’s life to allow her to provide milk for any children she may have. But the regenerative processes that enable this to happen are poorly understood. Unravelling them could help us better tackle breast cancer as it is the cells of this mammary gland network that usually go awry.

Christina Scheel at the Helmholtz Centre for Health and Environmental Research in Munich and her team took mammary gland cells from donated human tissue and added them to gels made of collagen fibres, a common type of connective tissue. The cells spread out and connected to these fibres, pulling on them. This generated a physical force that enabled the cells to grow into a new mammary gland network inside the Petri dish.


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