Friday, June 1, 2012

Has Google Gone To 'War' Against The Chinese Government?

Sly Google Wields The Knife In Chinese Internet Censorship Tussle -- Christian Science Monitor

Google has introduced a new feature for Chinese users that will pull back the curtain on Chinese Internet government censorship.

This week the search engine giant Google kept a polite smile on its face as it stuck its shiv in up to the hilt, introducing a feature to its Chinese site that tells users exactly when the censors have blocked a search word for being too “sensitive.”

The Chinese government keeps its list of banned search terms secret; Google is now revealing them. But not once did Google Vice President Alan Eustace mention the word “censorship” in his blog introducing the new feature.

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My Comment: This is effective .... by revealing what Chinese authorities are censoring, Google is .... essentially .... embarrassing the authorities. My prediction .... the Chinese government is going to react quickly .... they are losing face, and for them this is unacceptable.

Bringing Computing Into Our Cells

Chemical Circuit A chemical chip can deliver a neurotransmitter like acetylcholine, which enables chemical control of muscles. Linköping University, Sweden

An Integrated Circuit Made of Ions Could Bring Computing Into Your Cells -- Popular Science

The human body isn't a metal machine, but it's still plenty complicated, and regulating it like a machine is tough to pull off. That's why a new discovery by Klas Tybrandt, a doctoral student in Organic Electronics at Linköping University, Sweden, is exciting: he's developed the first integrated chemical chip, similar to silicon-based electronics, but for biologic material.

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The Day When The Milky Way And Andromeda Crash Together

The Milky Way and Andromeda Crash Together -- Popular Science

First, the bad news: In four billion years it's going to get a lot more crowded around here. The Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies are on a collision course. The good news is that a new video from NASA shows how it'll go down.

It's been suggested for some time that the two galaxies might have it in for each other, but today NASA says they can "predict with certainty" that Andromeda, which is still 2.5 million light years away but heading toward us at 250,000 miles per hour, will collide with the Milky Way because of the mutual pull of their gravity.

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My Comment: Cool.

Will Divers Finally Get To The Bottom Of The Baltic Sea 'UFO' Mystery?

Unidentified treasure: Shipwreck divers are perplexed by the oddly-shaped object that they found at the bottom of the Baltic Sea

Will Divers Finally Get To The Bottom Of The Baltic Sea 'UFO' Mystery? Team Heads Into The Abyss To Discover The Origins Of Strange, 400-Metre 'Millennium Falcon' Object -- Daily Mail

Since June last year, the strange shape at the bottom of the Baltic Sea has caused so much speculation.

Sonar pictures showed a massive, metallic cylinder with a 60 metre diameter and a 400 metre-long tail resting about 300 feet below the Baltic Sea - and no-one knows what it is.

It must be man-made, or a sonar anomaly - the alternative, perhaps, is that it comes from a universe far, far, away, as its startling likeness to the Millennium Falcon ship from the Star Wars saga implies.

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My Comment:
Just imagine ..... what if it is a space ship? Is so .... imagine the world scramble for ownership and retrieval.

President Obama Ordered Cyber Attacks Against Iran

The report comes from David E. Sanger, the Chief Washington correspondent at The New York Times and author of the upcoming book "Confront and Conceal: Obama’s Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power". Naked Security

Obama Order Sped Up Wave of Cyberattacks Against Iran -- New York Times

WASHINGTON — From his first months in office, President Obama secretly ordered increasingly sophisticated attacks on the computer systems that run Iran’s main nuclear enrichment facilities, significantly expanding America’s first sustained use of cyberweapons, according to participants in the program.

Mr. Obama decided to accelerate the attacks — begun in the Bush administration and code-named Olympic Games — even after an element of the program accidentally became public in the summer of 2010 because of a programming error that allowed it to escape Iran’s Natanz plant and sent it around the world on the Internet. Computer security experts who began studying the worm, which had been developed by the United States and Israel, gave it a name: Stuxnet.

Read more ....

More News On President Obama Ordering Cyber Attacks Against Iran

Barack Obama 'ordered Stuxnet cyber attack on Iran' -- The Telegraph
Obama stepped up cyberattacks on Iran: report -- AFP
Report: Obama ordered wave of cyberattacks on Iran -- Yahoo News/ABC News
Obama continued, accelerated use of Bush-era Stuxnet computer attacks on Iran -- FOX News
Obama Ordered Stuxnet Cyber Attack Against Iran, Initiative Code-Named 'Olympic Games': Report -- International Business Times
Report: Obama Ordered Cyber Attacks on Iran -- Atlantic Wire
Obama ordered increased cyber attacks on Iran -- The Australian
US unleashed Stuxnet cyber war on Iran to appease Israel – report -- RT
Report: Obama secretly ordered cyber attacks on Iran's nuclear program -- Haaretz
Obama Ordered Devastating Cyberattacks Against Iran -- Gizmodo
Report: Obama Ordered Stuxnet Attacks on Iran -- PC World
Obama 'gave full backing to Stuxnet attack on Iran' -- New Scientist
US And Israel ‘Spawned Stuxnet’ -- Tech Week
Administration officials say Stuxnet was America’s first cyber weapon -- The Tech Herald
Stuxnet: How USA and Israel created anti-Iran virus, and then lost control of it -- Naked Security

Why The U.N. Should Not Takeover The Internet

FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell warns a House committee that Google, iTunes, Facebook, and Netflix could face new international taxes. (Credit: U.S. House of Representatives)

U.N. Takeover Of The Internet Must Be Stopped, U.S. Warns -- CNet

A U.N. summit later this year in Dubai could lead to a new international regime of censorship, taxes, and surveillance, warn Democrats, Republicans, the Internet Society, and father of the Internet Vint Cerf.

Democratic and Republican government officials warned this morning that a United Nations summit in December will lead to a virtual takeover of the Internet if proposals from China, Russia, Iran, and Saudi Arabia are adopted.

It was a rare point of bipartisan agreement during an election year: a proposal that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin described last year as handing the U.N. "international control of the Internet" must be stopped.

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My Comment: Every government that has tried to regulate and/or limit the use of the internet within their own country has had to face a backlash from their own citizens. As far as these governments are concerned .... having an international body like the United Nations doing their dirty work is far more preferable than doing it themselves.

Plan X — The Future of Cyberwarfare ‎

Plan X: Pentagon's Blueprint For Full-Fledged Cyberwar -- RT

The wheels of the war machine are ever turning inside the Pentagon, but the Defense Department’s latest endeavor won’t involve fighter jets and armored tanks. The DoD is putting aside billions to enhance its cyberwar capabilities.

The Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, DARPA, is turning towards the private sector and America’s next generation of computer wiz-kids to recruit forces for its next war. A report released Thursday by the Washington Post reveals that DARPA is looking to invest $1.54 billion during the next five years to up its online abilities, with $110 million going directly to a program dubbed Plan X, but unlike before it won’t be budgeted necessarily for thwarting acts of cyberterrorism. Instead the Pentagon is itching to ensure that America can carry out an offensive cyberwar on other nations rather than just readying the US to defend itself against a similar assault from abroad.

Read more

More News On Plan -X

With Plan X, Pentagon seeks to spread U.S. military might to cyberspace
-- Washington Post
Pentagon’s Blueprint For Full-Fledged Cyberwar -- Eurasia Review
Plan X — The Future of Cyberwarfare -- Lawfare
DARPA Cranks Up Cyber Effort with “Plan X” -- Heritage

Thursday, May 31, 2012

After 15 Months In Orbit The Supersecret X-37B Is To Return To Earth

After 15 Months In Orbit, Secret Space Plane Finally Returning To Earth -- Danger Room

The U.S. military’s secret space plane is preparing to return from its second mission after an incredible 453 days in orbit (as of today). The robotic X-37B, which resembles a miniature space shuttle, is due to land at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California sometime in early to mid-June, depending on weather and other technical factors.

“The men and women of Team Vandenberg are ready to execute safe landing operations anytime and at a moment’s notice,” Col. Nina Armagno, commander of the Air Force’s 30th Space Wing, said in a statement.

Read more

More News On The Upcoming Return Of The X-37B

Secret Air Force Spaceplane Coming Back To Earth In June
-- Red Orbit
Vandenberg AFB prepares for return of US military space plane after more than a year in orbit -- Washington Post/AP
Vandenberg AFB readies for X-37B landing -- Flight Global
US's secret space plane to return to Earth in a month -- Herald Sun
Air Force's mini space shuttle prepares for landing -- Space Flight Now
Air Force's Secretive X-37B Space Plane Will Land Soon --
X-37B Spaceplane Finishes Its Secret Mission, Prepares to Return to Earth -- Geek System
U.S. Air Force Space Plane Landing Targeted for June -- Space News
U.S. military space plane coming home next month -- Examiner

Does A Fever Combat Cancer Cells?

Feed A Fever, Starve A Cancer? -- Future Pundit

Have modern sterile environments and antibiotics boosted the rate of cancer? Do we need to work ourselves into a fevered pitch once or twice a year?

There is an inverse relationship between febrile infection and the risk of malignancies. Interferon gamma (IFN-γ) plays an important role in fever induction and its expression increases with incubation at fever-range temperatures. Therefore, the genetic polymorphism of IFN-γ may modify the association of febrile infection with breast cancer risk.

Why? An immune system turned up to kill off invading bacteria might also react more vigorously to attack aberrant cells in your body that have mutated only part of the way toward becoming cancerous. Cells that have mutated all the way into becoming cancerous often have mutations that cause them to excrete substances that suppress the immune system. So vaccines against well developed cancers have fared poorly. But if the immune system could be stimulated into attacking pre-cancerous cells at much earlier stages then in some cases cancer could be prevented.

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My Comment: Does fever hold anti-cancer effects .... mainly influencing our immune system to eliminate per-cancerous cells. More research is clearly needed.

Windows 8 Release Preview

Windows 8 Release Preview: Not Ready for Prime Time, but Closer -- Time

For all the ways in which Windows 8 is a bold departure from its predecessors, it’s following a road map to release that’s very much like the one Microsoft has used for years. Last September, the company showed the new version off in public for the first time and let developers get their hands on a very early version. In February, it followed up with a further-along Consumer Preview which any interested party could download for free, install and use.

Starting today, Microsoft is offering a Windows 8 Release Preview — an update to the Consumer Preview — that’s even closer to completion. It’s the latest sign that Windows 8 is on schedule, and while Microsoft isn’t saying when it plans to ship the operating system, the smart money says it’ll show up on new PCs and as an upgrade by the fall of this year.

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My Comment: They appear to be on track .... and yes .... I can easily see myself using Windows 8 by the end of this year.

SpaceX Dragon Supply Ship Returns Home

SpaceX Dragon Cargo Ship Splashes Down In Pacific Ocean -- Christian Science Monitor

The SpaceX Dragon capsule, a privately owned spacecraft, returned to Earth Thursday from the International Space Station

The SpaceX Dragon supply ship returned to Earth on Thursday, ending its revolutionary nine-day voyage to the International Space Station with an old-fashioned splashdown in the Pacific.

The unmanned capsule parachuted into the ocean about 500 miles off Mexico's Baja California, bringing back more than a half-ton of old station equipment. It was the first time since the space shuttles stopped flying last summer that NASA got back a big load from the orbiting lab.

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More News On The Return Of The SpaceX Dragon Supply Ship

SpaceX capsule returns to Earth, ends historic trip to space station with Pacific splashdown -- Washington Post/AP
SpaceX showered with praise for success of Dragon mission -- MSNBC/Space
SpaceX Dragon Landing Caps "Grand Slam" Mission to Space Station -- National Geographic
SpaceX Dragon returns to Earth, ends historic trip -- AP
SpaceX Dragon Successfully Splashes Down in Pacific -- Autopia
In a new space race, the Dragon, and Musk, have landed -- L.A. Times
SpaceX Dragon Capsule Returns to Earth -- ABC News

Google Offers Virtual Tours Of 132 Famous Sites

Google's 'World Wonders' Project Offers Virtual Tours Of 132 Famous Sites -- CBS News/AP

(CBS/AP) - Ever wanted to visit another country from the comfort of your own home? Google's has you covered and all you need is an Internet connection!

With Google's new World Wonders project, you can now take a virtual stroll among the ruins of Pompeii or into the temples of Kyoto.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company is offering virtual tours of 132 famous sites in 18 countries as part of an expansion of its Google Art initiative.

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My Comment: I would prefer to go there in person than looking at the sites virtually.

Robert Teachers?

The robot Wakamaru may become a fixture in the homes of elderly Japanese who have no one else to look after them. Wired

Mind-Reading Robot Teachers Head To Class -- Discovery

Everyone had that one teacher in high school who you swore was a robot. Dull lectures delivered in a monotone voice all but invited you to snooze away the class, drooling on your desk.

On the other hand, we've all had those teachers we loved; ones who were engaging, creative and inspired us us to explore our creativity. They may not have stood on desks or demand we rip excremental introductions from our text books, but bottom line, they held our attention.

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My Comment:
I cannot see such a teacher in a schoolroom filled with troubled teens .... but in higher education classes .... it will probably work.

Behold the World’s Finest Superyachts

Dutch yachtbuilder Feadship took home the Motor Yacht of the Year award for Tango. The 252.8-foot yacht was launched in April of last year and features accommodations for 12 guests, an owner's deck, beauty salon, massage parlor and an outdoor movie theater. Despite all that weight, four engines propel the Tango to a top speed of 22 knots. Image: Feadship

Beauties of the Sea: Behold the World’s Finest Superyachts -- Autopia

Even among the most luxurious of pleasure boats, some yachts are finer than others. And the finest of them all win the coveted Neptune Trophy, given out at the World Superyacht Awards.

The ceremony recognizes the ultimate achievements in superyacht design. To qualify in any of the various award categories, yachts must be over 30 meters in length and must have been delivered to their owners in the past 12 months.

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My Comment: My favorite superyacht is this one.

A Million Camera Clicks As New Yorkers Enjoy 'Manhattanhenge'

Stunning: Usually 'Manhattanhenge,' as seen here in 2009 (pictured), allows tall buildings to create a vertical channel to frame the sun

Night Of A Million Camera Clicks As New Yorkers Enjoy 'Manhattanhenge' When Sun Sets Between The Streets -- Daily Mail

Photographers last night struggled to capture stunning images of the 'Manhattanhenge' phenomenon in New York - when the sunset aligns with the city streets - as rain clouds obscured the view on many blocks.

However a slew of images made it onto social networks as professional photographers struggled. The 'Manhattanhenge' glow that occurs twice annually when the sun aligns precisely with the street grid in Manhattan was not as impressive as in previous years.

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My Comment: To all those who were disappointed ... wait till next year.

The Bubbles In Guinness Really DO Sink

Generations of beer drinkers have argued over whether the bubbles in Guinness sink while the beer is settling - now scientists have proved it

The Bubbles In Guinness Really DO Sink - And The Discovery Could Lead To Pints Of Stout That Pour Far Faster -- Daily Mail

* Bubbles circulate down at outside of glass
* Happens as pint settles
* Discovery could lead to new shapes of pint that allow stouts to settle faster

Generations of beer drinkers have argued over whether the bubbles in Guinness sink while the beer is settling - now scientists have proved it.

It might seem counterintuitive that bubbles might sink, but it's due to the way stouts 'settle' in the glass.

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My Comment: Hmmmm .... why do I want to drink a beer right now?

World's Top 100 Universities Under 50

World's Top 100 Universities Under 50: Ranked By Times Higher Education -- The Guardian

South Korea's Pohang University of Science and Technology has been ranked the best university under the age of 50. Find out which universities have made the list.

South Korea's Pohang University of Science and Technology has topped a list of the best universities under the age of 50.

The inaugural rankings by Times Higher Education (THE) aim to show "which nations are challenging the US and UK as the next higher education powerhouses". Swiss university, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne follows in second place.

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Editor: The Times Higher Education report is here.

Leaked Image Offers First Glimpse Of iPhone 5

It's coming! 9to5Mac has released this image, purported to be the iPhone 5. Features that can be spotted include a much larger screen, and a smaller dock connector

Leaked Image Offers First Glimpse Of iPhone 5 Sporting Much Bigger Screen As Rumours Point To A June 11 Announcement -- Daily Mail

A leaked image gives us a first glimpse of the iPhone5 - and anyone who was waiting for a bigger screen may finally have their prayers answered.

Established Apple site 9to5Mac revealed a leaked image of what is claimed to be the iPhone5, and the site - which has a good record for reporting accurate leaks from Apple - has a plethora of details about the new model.

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My Comment: I know that Steve Jobs did not approve of large iPhone screens .... but I like it. This is a good move on the part of Apple.

Could Sarcastic Computers Be in Our Future?

Noah Goodman, right, and Michael Frank, both assistant professors of psychology, discuss their research at the white board that covers the wall in Goodman's office. (Credit: L.A. Cicero)

Could Sarcastic Computers Be in Our Future? New Math Model Can Help Computers Understand Inference -- Science Daily

ScienceDaily (May 30, 2012) — In a new paper, the researchers describe a mathematical model they created that helps predict pragmatic reasoning and may eventually lead to the manufacture of machines that can better understand inference, context and social rules.

Language is so much more than a string of words. To understand what someone means, you need context.

Consider the phrase, "Man on first." It doesn't make much sense unless you're at a baseball game. Or imagine a sign outside a children's boutique that reads, "Baby sale -- One week only!" You easily infer from the situation that the store isn't selling babies but advertising bargains on gear for them.

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My Comment: I guess it all comes down to the math and programming.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Man's Oldest Musical Instrument Is 42,000 Years Old (Give Or Take)

Looks like our earliest ancestors enjoyed music, too

42,000-Year-Old Mammoth Ivory And Bird Bone Flutes Are Oldest Instruments Ever Found -- Y! Tech/Yahoo News

It looks like our earliest human ancestors enjoyed recreational activities other than painting on cave walls. A study by Oxford University researchers revealed that the oldest musical instruments ever discovered date as far back as 42,000 to 43,000 years ago. These instruments are flutes made out of mammoth ivory and bird bones (above).

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My Comment: One can only wonder on what were the melodies played by early man.

Jesus Christ Was Crucified On Friday, April 3, 33 AD

U.S., German Researchers Reveal Date of Christ's Death. © RIA Novosti. Elena Visens

U.S., German Researchers Reveal Date of Christ's Death -- RIA Novosti

The U.S. and German geologists claim they had discovered the exact date when Christ was crucified, the International Geology Review reported.

According to the report, published in the academic journal this week, the scientists discovered that Christ had been crucified on Friday, April 3, 33 AD.

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My Comment: They seem very confident on the date.

Virgin Galactic Cleared For Rocket-Powered Test Flights

Virgin Galactic is to make its first rocket-powered test flights for its commercials passenger

Virgin Galactic Cleared For Rocket-Powered Test Flights -- The Telegraph

Virgin Galactic is to make its first rocket-powered test flights for its commercials passenger spaceship later this year after being granted clearance.

Scaled Composites, Virgin Galactic's spaceship design partner, was granted an experimental permit from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) – a move that will allow it to proceed with powered flights.

No timetable has been set for the first launches carrying paying customers, expected to take place after the test programme is complete.

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My Comment: This is exciting news.

Fears Of A Supervolcano Erupting Sooner Rather Than Later Are Being Raised

Eruption: Supervolcanoes with the power to destroy human civilisations may build up a deadly head of steam far faster than scientists believed

Supervolcanoes With Power To 'Destroy Civilisation' Explode Far More Rapidly Than Scientists Had Believed - And One Could Be Bubbling Under U.S. Right Now -- Daily Mail

* Most deadly event that can hit Earth short of asteroid
* Scientists believed they took 100,000 years to build up
* Instead, figure could be just hundreds
* Supervolcano believed to be simmering under Yellowstone in U.S.

A 'supervolcano' eruption is the most catastrophic natural disaster that can hit our planet, short of an asteroid impact - and now scientists believe they may build up a deadly head of steam far faster than we thought.

Instead of the process taking hundreds of thousands of years, it could take just hundreds.

The news could be bad for the US, where a supervolcano is said to be simmering beneath Yellowstone National Park. If it erupted, two thirds of the country could be rendered uninhabitable.

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My Comment: Such an event will .... to put it mildly .... change everything.

Ford's Fastest Mustang Ever

Ford Mustang Shelby GT 500 Courtesy Ford Motor Co.

Ford's Fastest Mustang Ever: A 200mph Muscle Car -- Popular Science

Detroit automakers have recently been locked in a competition straight out of the 1960s: a race to create the fastest and most powerful muscle car. This summer, Ford takes the lead with the 650-horsepower Mustang Shelby GT 500. To break the 200mph mark, engineers departed from the muscle-car tradition of throwing a truck engine under the hood and calling it a day. Instead they redesigned the engine with lightweight materials, refined the car’s aerodynamics, and installed driver-assistance systems that allow anyone to drive the Shelby as it’s designed to be driven—aggressively.

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My Comment: My friend has a 2011 Ford Mustang .... and he is always telling me that Ford can never improve on this car. Hmmm .... it looks like they have.

Iran Is Claiming That It Has Defeated The Newest Computer Virus Directed At Them

Graphic showing the number and location of Flame infections, a malicious software virus infiltrating the Middle East

Iran Claims To Have Beaten 'Flame' Computer Virus -- The Telegraph

Iran claims it has defeated a powerful computer virus that has boasted unprecedented data-snatching capabilities and could eavesdrop on computer users, a senior official said.

Ali Hakim Javadi, Iran's deputy Minister of Communications and Information Technology, told the official IRNA news agency that Iranian experts have already produced an antivirus capable of identifying and removing "Flame" from computers.

Iran's government-run Computer Emergency Response Team Coordination Center has said the Flame virus was focused on espionage.

Javadi did not say whether any Iranian government bodies or industries were affected by the virus.

Read more ....

More News On The 'Flame' Computer Virus

Iran Says It's Produced Antivirus to Newly Detected Flame -- Bloomberg Businessweek
Iran claims it has fix for Flame malware -- TG Daily
Iran: 'Flame' virus fight began with oil attack -- AP
Iran: Powerful "Flame" computer virus briefly hit oil industry but was defeated with data recovered -- CBS/AP
Iran defeats powerful ‘Flame’ virus, military official claims -- Toronto Star/AP
Iran acknowledges that Flame virus has infected computers nationwide -- Washington Post
Iran confirms Flame virus attacked computers of high-ranking officials -- The Telegraph

A Look At How Libya Under GaddafiTried To Monitor The Internet And Social Media

Jamming Tripoli: Inside Moammar Gadhafi’s Secret Surveillance Network -- Threat Level

He once was known as al-Jamil—the Handsome One—for his chiseled features and dark curls. But four decades as dictator had considerably dimmed the looks of Moammar Gadhafi. At 68, he now wore a face lined with deep folds, and his lips hung slack, crested with a sparse mustache. When he stepped from the shadows of his presidential palace to greet Ghaida al-Tawati, whom he had summoned that evening by sending one of his hulking female bodyguards to fetch her, it was the first time she had seen him without his trademark sunglasses; his eyes were hooded and rheumy. The dictator was dressed in a white Puma tracksuit and slippers. How tired and thin he looked in person, Tawati thought.

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My Comment: This article is a fascinating read. In the age of the internet and social media .... intelligence and security agencies are now prioritizing efforts to not only limit it's uses .... but also on how to effectively conduct surveillance operations on it. A look at how Libya under Gaddafi tried to have a handle on this is fascinating to read .... not because of what was done in Libya .... but on what present repressive governments are trying to do when faced with dissatisfied youth and and calls for reform.

Inside The Navy’s Newest Spy Sub

Exclusive Pictures: Inside The Navy’s Newest Spy Sub -- Danger Room

UNDERWAY ON THE U.S.S. MISSISSIPPI — The Navy’s newest fast-attack submarine is speeding down the Florida coast, on its way to its commissioning ceremony in its namesake state, at 15 knots. And it’s getting outraced by dolphins.

Hours before the U.S.S. Mississippi dives several hundred feet beneath the Atlantic, its sail juts proudly into the warm, whipping southern air. Submariners allow me to see the highest point on the sub for myself — provided I can keep my balance up three steep levels’ worth of ladder and hoist myself out onto a platform the size of a fancy refrigerator. A harness hooked to an iron bolt on the sail keeps me from falling to my death. There’s no land in sight, just blue water turned white around the sub’s wake, a tall BPS-16 military radar spinning in front of us, and a family of dolphins jumping out of the surf in front of the 377-foot boat.

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My Comment: Four days on a sub .... must have been an eye opening trip.

The Continuing Exponential Growth Of YouTube

Now Serving The Latest In Exponential Growth: YouTube! -- Singularity Hub

It goes without saying that YouTube has become the quintessential online video source for amateurs and professionals alike, but on the service’s seven-year anniversary, Google made quite a startling announcement: 72 hours of video are uploaded every single minute. That’s three entire days worth of cat videos, webcam rants, conference proceedings, news interviews, and company marketing fodder that is quietly swelling hard drives that already serve up four billion videos a day.

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My Comment: This 'exponential' growth probably has a few more years to go before it starts to level off.

The ‘New AIDS Of The Americas'

Photo: Experts say Charles Darwin suffered from Chagas disease, being called the “new AIDS of the Americas.” Reuters

Chagas Disease, An Incurable Infection, Called The ‘New AIDS Of The Americas': Report -- New York Post

Is This The Disease That Killed Charles Darwin?

Experts have dubbed it the “new AIDS of the Americas.”

A parasitic infection called Chagas Disease has similarities to the early spread of HIV, according to research published recently in the journal PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases.

Like AIDS, Chagas is hard to detect and has a long incubation period before symptoms emerge, the study said, according to the New York Times.

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My Comment: This disease looks nasty.

New Advances In Stroke Treatments

Brain attack: Strokes occur when blood stops flowing to a part of the brain, often because a blood clot gets lodged in an artery supplying blood to the organ. istockphoto/Eraxion

Pill Could Reverse Effects Of A Stroke Long After It Hits -- Technology Review

One pharmaceutical company aims to lengthen a stroke's drug-treatable period from hours to months.

For the 800,000 people in the United States who suffer a stroke each year, the window for drug therapy closes in the first few hours after the attack. That leaves some seven million stroke survivors in this country alone with no medical alternative beyond physical therapy. A small pharmaceutical company in New York hopes to change that with a drug that may help patients regain some of their lost mobility six months or more after a stroke.

Read more

My Comment: Our family had to take care of my father for 7 years after his stroke. I know that any advances in treatment will help millions.

NASA Is Worried About Future Moon Explorers

NASA has released a series of guidelines in an effort to protect future lunar missions from ruining the historic Apollo moon landing sites on the moon’s surface. Daily News Photo Illustration

NASA To Future Moon Explorers: Don’t Ruin Our Apollo Landing Sites -- New York Daily News

Space agency issues guidelines to help other lunar missions to protect historic remains

The next person to set foot on the moon needs to watch their step.

NASA has reached an agreement with the Google X Lunar Prize competition to prevent the next wave of moon visitors from ruining historic lunar sites.

The guidelines would also protect existing scientific experiments from getting trampled underfoot by the guests vying for $30 million in prize money.

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My Comment: I guess they are worried that some future moon explorer would go to the first Apollo site .... steal the flag .... and mark in the dust that "Killjoy was here".

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The 'Flame' Virus Ups The Ante For Cyberwar

A cyber warfare expert holds a notebook computer while posing for a portrait in Charlotte in this December 2011 file photo. A United Nations agency charged with helping member nations secure their national infrastructures plans to issue a sharp warning about the risk of the Flame virus that was recently discovered in Iran and other parts of the Middle East. John Adkisson/Reuters/Files

Beyond Stuxnet: Massively Complex Flame Malware Ups Ante For Cyberwar -- Christian Science Monitor

Flame is something new in cyberwar, experts say. It can take screenshots and record audio on infected computers. The malware was almost certainly made by a nation-state.

Stuxnet move over. Cybersecurity researchers on Monday announced the discovery of Flame, a piece of malicious software that one firm has called "arguably ... the most complex malware ever found."

At this early stage of analysis, only a few of Flame's functions are understood, reports Kaspersky Lab, the Boston-based cybersecurity company that uncovered it. Because of Flame's size and complexity, it could take years to unpack completely what the program can – and has – done, experts add.

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My Comment:
There are only 4 countries capable of doing this .... the US, Russia, China, and Israel. Who is the guilty party .... my money is on all 4 of them.

Is Israel Behind The Super-Virus Targeting Iran?

Israel Hints It May Be Behind Super-Virus Targeting Iran -- The Independent

'Flame' cyber attacks that can steal vast amounts of sensitive data come as Tehran nuclear talks falter.

A top Israeli minister yesterday fed speculation that the Jewish state could be responsible for a powerful new virus said to have been used in a fresh attack on computers in Iran and elsewhere in the Middle East.

The discovery of the unprecedented complex data-stealing "Flame" virus was disclosed by a Russian-based digital security firm Kaspersky Lab. Its experts reported on Monday that it had been applied most actively in Iran, but also in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, Sudan, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

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My Comment: If Israel was behind the development of this virus .... they would be saying nothing.

Why A Gin And Tonic Is Best Served Cold

The tongue tastes the bitterness in gin and tonic more intensely when it's cold, researchers have found (Source: jonathansloane/iStockphoto)

Evidence Supports A Cold Gin And Tonic -- ABC News (Australia)

Science can finally explain why gin and tonic tastes best when it's served cold.

Sensory scientist Dr Martha Bajec and colleagues from Brock University in Ontario, Canada, report their findings online this month in the journal Chemosensory Perception.

"You want to make sure that your gin and tonic is cold to make sure that it's bitter," says Bajec.

While previous research has suggested temperature can affect people's perception of sweetness, Bajec was surprised to find no one had ever looked at the effect of temperature on bitter tastes.

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My Comment: I guess the same can be said of most drinks .... from beer to putting ice-cubes in any 'hard drink'.

Even In The Stone Age There Were 'Haves' And 'Have Nots'

Analysis of grave sites across central Europe found that 7,000 years ago, in the early Neolithic era, some farmers had better land and better tools, which they were buried with.

Even In The Stone Age There Were 'Haves' And 'Have Nots' - And Our Unequal Society Began 7,000 Years Ago -- Daily Mail

* People buried with stone 'adzes' had better farming land
* Inherited wealth began just as farming spread across Europe
* Social inequality began far earlier than many imagined
* Early Neolithic farmers divided into 'haves' and 'have nots'

The gap between rich and poor began far earlier than most of us might imagine.

In 5,000BC, long before the Egyptians built the pyramids, Europeans were already divided into ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’.

Analysis of grave sites across central Europe found that 7,000 years ago, in the early Neolithic era, some farmers had better land – and better tools, which they were buried with.

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My Comment: I guess we have not changed much over the past few centuries.

What’s Killing Supercentenarians?

Small bowel duodenum with amyloid deposition (credit: Michael Feldman/Wikimedia Commons)

What’s Killing Supercentenarians? Amyloidosis, Suggest Two Gerontologists -- Kurzweil Artificial Intelligence

In a newly published review, Dr. Stephen Coles and Robert Young of the UCLA Gerontology Research Group have identified what may be killing supercentenarians: amyloidosis — and drugs to treat it could extend lifespan beyond current limits, Extreme Longevity reports.

Supercentenarians are persons who have lived beyond the age of 110. Currently there are only about 80 such known individuals in the world whose age is verified. The world record holder is Jeanne Calment, who survived until age 122.

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My Comment: I's getting older .... so faster please.

Some Star Wars Fun

Luke Skywalker in Star Wars IV - A New Hope (1977) Photo: Allstar/LUCASFILM

Star Wars Superfun Update -- Dark Roasted Blend

Star Wars as You've Never Seen Them Before - in Geek Art and Fan Creativity!

Just finished watching the original trilogy in Blu-ray edition (highly recommended, by the way) - and was pleasantly reminded that we need to update our long-running popular "Star Wars Fun" series (Part 3, Part 2, Part 1)

Since our last update, Star Wars Universe has seen some near-Big-Bang explosion of fantastic art and creativity in made items... inspired by the classic, near immortal, interstellar story of Grand Conflict Between Good and Evil, full of Betrayal, Peril and Redemption at the most importunate times... but I digress; true Star Wars fans stay away from big words and prefer visual proof. Here it is -

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My Comment: A little Star Wars fun.

How Memory Works

Image: Drawing from Gray's Anatomy

Why Is Memory So Good and So Bad? -- Scientific American

Explaining the memory paradox.

What did you eat for dinner one week ago today? Chances are, you can’t quite recall. But for at least a short while after your meal, you knew exactly what you ate, and could easily remember what was on your plate in great detail. What happened to your memory between then and now? Did it slowly fade away? Or did it vanish, all at once?

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My Comment:
For one who finds it frustrating when he forgets important bits of information .... this is a must read.

NASA Wanted To Send Astronauts To Venus

NASA Wanted Astronauts to View Venus Up-Close -- Discovery News

In a little over a week, we’re all going to be looking skyward and focusing our sights (safely) on Venus as it crosses the disk of the sun. It's going to be a fantastic view, especially since most of us only ever see Venus as a tiny dot of light in the sky. But in 1967, NASA considered giving three astronauts a really rare view of Venus by sending them on a flyby around the second planet from the sun.

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My Comment: NASA dreamed big then.

SKA Super Telescope To Be Located Across South Africa, Australia And New Zealand.

Artists impression of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope project Photo: Reuters

Australia And South Africa To Share SKA Super Telescope -- The Telegraph

The world's biggest and most powerful radio telescope will be spread across South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

Members of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), a £1.2 billion radio telescope which will probe the greatest mysteries of the Universe and lead the search for life on other planets, took the decision at a meeting in Amsterdam on Friday.

Representatives from Britain and the seven other states overseeing the project agreed to adopt a "dual site" after failing to decide between competing bids from Southern Africa and Australasia.

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My Comment: I am surprised by the South African choice .... I expected Chile.

Is Apple's iTV Coming To Market?

China Business News reports that Foxconn's Shenzhen factory has received the first order for the product and is producing the initial models on a trial basis.

Could Apple's Long-Awaited iTV Be On Store Shelves This Christmas? Early Versions Are Already Being Tested In China -- Daily Mail

Apple is believed to have begun test production of an ‘iTV’ that could be unveiled before Christmas.

China Business News reports that Foxconn’s Shenzhen factory has received the first order for the product and is producing the initial models on a ‘trial basis’.

The TV is rumoured to have voice control, and was one of the last major projects Steve Jobs worked on before he died.

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My Comment: Perfect timing for Christmas .... if they can do it.

Samsung Galaxy S3 Takes On Apple

The Galaxy S3 is the successor to the S2 Android phone, which helped make Samsung the world's largest smartphone maker in 2011

Samsung Galaxy S3: Korean Tech Giant Takes Another Bite Out Of Apple With Music Service To Take On iTunes -- Daily Mail

* Samsung on 'Music Hub': 'We want to be bigger than Apple'

Samsung will today launch its flagship smartphone, taking the fight to Apple with the most pre-ordered gadget in history.

And while all eyes are on the launch of Samsung's hardware, the Korean tech giant launched another salvo against Apple with a competitor to the iPhone's long-established iTunes media store.

The Galaxy S3 is the successor to the S2 Android phone, which helped make Samsung the world's largest smartphone maker in 2011.

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My Comment: Even I am excited by this cell phone .... which tells me something because tech (since I have seen it all) rarely excites me.

Get Ready For Manhattanhenge!

Be Prepared For Manhattanhenge! May 29-30 -- Red Orbit

On Tuesday evening, residences and onlookers in Manhattan will be treated to a sunset spectacle known as Manhattanhenge.

During the event, a half sun will align itself perfectly with the city’s 201-year-old grid at 8:17 p.m. as it sets right in line with the streets of Manhattan in New York.

The steel construction echoes a similar effect created by Stonehenge, as the ancient arrangement matches the direction of the midsummer sunrise and midwinter sunset.

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Update: Last night was a disappointment.

10 Things That Steve Jobs Will Not Agree With

10 Changes That Must Have Steve Jobs Rolling In His Grave -- Gizmodo

I miss Steve Jobs. The tech world is so boring. So beige. Things haven't been the same without his show-and-tells, him slamming people left and right, or his email replies in the middle of the night.

Apple hasn't been the same either. And, wherever he is, Jobs probably doesn't like some of the things that have been happening or are about to happen in Cupertino. Here are the 10 things that would have probably made him shout his classic "this is shit!"

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My Comment: Yup .... I have to agree that these 10 changes is a move backwards for Apple.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Facebook Co-Founder Talks About Zuckerberg

Facebook's Saverin: 'No Hard Feelings' Toward Mark Zuckerberg -- L.A. Times

Facebook's foreign co-founder, Eduardo Saverin, finally addressed publicly the rift between himself and Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, saying there were "no hard feelings" between the two.

Saverin, 30, one of the social network giant's original four founders, spoke of his relationship with Zuckerberg, how it was portrayed by Hollywood, his recent decision to give up his U.S. citizenship and his current work in Singapore in a cover story for the Brazilian magazine Veja (link in Portuguese).

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Facebook Co-Founder Eduardo Saverin Speaks With Brazilian Newsmagazine ‘Veja’ -- AllFacebook

My Comment: Why should he have any 'hard feelings' .... he is a billionaire now .... and it is all due to Facebook and Zuckerburg's efforts.

Facebook Tries Again To Build A Smartphone

Facebook Tries, Tries Again On A Smartphone -- New York Times

Can a software company build its own smartphone? We may find out soon.

This past week, Google completed its acquisition of the hardware maker Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion, which could lead to the search giant’s making its own smartphone. But another software titan might be getting into the hardware game as well: Facebook.

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My Comment: This is going to be an uphill battle for Facebook.

It Took Ten Million Years To Recover From Earth's Greatest Mass Extinction

New research reveals that it took some 10 million years for Earth to recover from the greatest mass extinction of all time, some 250 million years ago. (Credit: © byheaven / Fotolia)

It Took Earth Ten Million Years to Recover from Greatest Mass Extinction -- Science Daily

ScienceDaily (May 27, 2012) — It took some 10 million years for Earth to recover from the greatest mass extinction of all time, latest research has revealed.

Life was nearly wiped out 250 million years ago, with only 10 per cent of plants and animals surviving. It is currently much debated how life recovered from this cataclysm, whether quickly or slowly.

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My Comment: Only 10 million years?

Vietnam War In 3-D

Vietnam in 3-D: The Soldier Who Was The Only One To Capture The Historic War With Revolutionary Camera -- Daily Mail

When avid photographer, Joel Glenn, left his Florida home to become a helicopter pilot in the Vietnam War he wanted to document his strange surroundings and experiences in a war zone.

But his 35-millimetre slides did not do the place justice so he sent away for a three-dimensional camera, with which he proceeded to take the only known 3-D photographs of the historic event.

The unbelievable images, which truly jump from the screen, have been made into an hour-long Memorial Day documentary called 'Sky Soldier: A Vietnam Story in 3-D'. It airs at 9pm tonight on DirecTV, so get your 3-D glasses ready.

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My Comment: This photographer was way ahead of his time.

Russia Dreams Of having A Moonbase

Destination: the Moon Bob Familiar via Wikimedia

Russian Space Chief: 'We’re Talking About Establishing Permanent Bases' On The Moon -- Popular Science

Yesterday, the heads of the space agencies for Europe, Canada, Russia, India, and Japan met in Washington D.C. (without NASA, which had all hands on deck for the SpaceX launch in Florida). The most interesting topic of conversation? The moon, which seems to be the destination on everyone’s agenda except for NASA. And for Russia, it’s less a destination and more a frontier for colonization.

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My Comment: They are ambitious.

The Porsche Covered In Crushed Diamonds

A demo car showing off Gemballa's new diamond 'paint': The paint is made from diamonds ground down to a dust that still sparkles, so it can be applied to cars like a paint. The German company claims that the sheer number of tiny diamonds in the coating leads to an 'incomparable' shin

Talk About A Pimped-Up Ride: The Porsche Covered In Crushed Diamonds (But Can It Take You To The Weekly Shop At Waitrose?) -- Daily Mail

German Porsche-tuner Gemballa has created one of the most over-the-top cars in history - a car encrusted head to toe in diamonds.

But before every rapper in the world rushes for their AmEx, this is just a demo model - real, driveable versions would have to have compromises such as windshields you can actually see through.

‘When Gemballa peaks of diamonds, we really mean it’, explains CEO Andreas Schwarz. ‘Our complex process uses genuine diamonds as its key ingredient - not metal pigments, glass fragments, or crystals.’

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My Comment: I call this imagination and brilliance run amok.

A New Sophisticated Cyber Weapon 'Flame' Discovered In The Middle East

A sophisticated cyber-espionage virus called 'Flame' was found in the Middle East targeting Iran primarily said Russian software security group Kapersky. (SecureList/Courtesy)

Flame: World's Most Complex Computer Virus Exposed -- The Telegraph

The world's most complex computer virus, possessing a range of complex espionage capabilities, including the ability to secretly record conversations, has been exposed.

Middle Eastern states were targeted and Iran ordered an emergency review of official computer installations after the discovery of a new virus, known as Flame.

Experts said the massive malicious software was 20 times more powerful than other known cyber warfare programmes including the Stuxnet virus and could only have been created by a state.

It is the third cyber attack weapon targeting systems in the Middle East to be exposed in recent years.

Read more

More News On The Latest Computer Virus

New Computer Virus Looks Like a Cyberweapon -- New York Times
Cyber weapon ‘Flame’ discovered in thousands of Middle East computers -- Financial Post/Reuters
Computer worm that hit Iran oil terminals 'is most complex yet' -- The Guardian
Powerful 'Flame' Computer Virus Hits Iran, Mideast -- Radio Free Europe
New computer virus hits Iran, West Bank in unprecedented cyberattack -- Haaretz
A new era of cyber warfare: Virus 'weapon' has siphoned secrets from thousands of PCs in Middle East undetected for five years -- Daily Mail
Massive targeted cyber-attack in Middle East uncovered -- CNet
The 'Flame' Computer Virus Strikes Iran, 'Worse Than Stuxnet' -- Arutz Sheva
Complex cyberwar tool 'Flame' found ALL OVER Middle East -- Register
Spy virus 'Flame' infects Middle East -- News 24
Massive cyberattack 'Flame' discovered in the Middle East -- Global Post
'Flame' espionage malware has infected computers across the Middle East -- Wired
‘Flame,’ a cyberweapon that makes Stuxnet look cheap -- Beyond the Beyond.

How To Keep The Ketchup Flowing

MIT’s Freaky Non-Stick Coating Keeps Ketchup Flowing -- Fast Co-Exist

Watch never-before-seen videos of an amazing new condiment lubricant that makes the inside of bottles so slippery, nothing is left inside. This means no more pounding on the bottom of your ketchup containers--and a lot less wasted food.

When it comes to those last globs of ketchup inevitably stuck to every bottle of Heinz, most people either violently shake the container in hopes of eking out another drop or two, or perform the "secret" trick: smacking the "57" logo on the bottle’s neck. But not MIT PhD candidate Dave Smith. He and a team of mechanical engineers and nano-technologists at the Varanasi Research Group have been held up in an MIT lab for the last two months addressing this common dining problem.

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My Comment: This is an invention that I will embrace.

16 Year Old Solves 300-Year-Old Mathematical Riddle Posed By Sir Isaac Newton

Shouryya Ray

German Teen Solves 300-Year-Old Mathematical Riddle Posed By Sir Isaac Newton -- FOX News

DRESDEN, Germany – A German 16-year-old has become the first person to solve a mathematical problem posed by Sir Isaac Newton more than 300 years ago.

Shouryya Ray worked out how to calculate exactly the path of a projectile under gravity and subject to air resistance, The (London) Sunday Times reported.

The Indian-born teen said he solved the problem that had stumped mathematicians for centuries while working on a school project.

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My Comment: 16 years old .... knew calculus at 6. OK .... he has a gift.