Wednesday February 29, 2012
James Murdoch Resigns & Flees to US
He has now relocated to America, where he will in all likelihood be protected from extradition if criminal proceedings commence in the UK.
From BBC News:
Paul Connew, a former News of the World deputy editor, said he was not surprised that James Murdoch had stood down.
"I think you've got to look at the bigger picture here," said Mr Connew.
"Quite clearly there's going to be criticism of James Murdoch in the culture and media select committee report, which presumably will be coming out in the not too distant future, and I think essentially he's been moved out of the firing line."
Tuesday February 28, 2012
Upper Classes Are More Dishonest
A new study seems to show that the rich are more likely to be dishonest.
The team's findings suggest that privilege promotes dishonesty. For example, upper-class subjects were more likely to cheat. After five apparently random rolls of a computerized die for a chance to win an online gift certificate, three times as many upper-class players reported totals higher than 12—even though, unbeknownst to them, the game was rigged so that 12 was the highest possible score.
Monday February 27, 2012
The Sun Paid 'Illegal' Money to Police Sources
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Sue Akers of the Metropolitan Police told Leveson inquiry that one public official received more than £80,000 in total from the News International title.
From The Guardian:
Her testimony contradicts claims by some Sun staff that the paper's journalists – 10 of whom have been arrested over corruption allegations – are being persecuted merely for buying lunch for contacts. After the arrests Mohan published a lengthy anti-police column in the Sun. Written by Murdoch veteran Trevor Kavanagh, it complained of a Soviet-style witch-hunt, and claimed vital press freedoms were under threat by the police raids.
Sunday February 26, 2012
Urban Explorers Face Ten Year ASBO
When several explorers were caught in London's defunct Aldwych tube stationdays before last year's Royal Wedding, they could not have foreseen that Transport for London would apply for ASBOs that prohibit the group from entering their favoured sites and even speaking to each other for ten years.
From The Guardian:
Last month TfL applied to issue anti-social behaviour orders which would not only stop them undertaking further expeditions and blogging about urban exploration but also prohibit them from carrying equipment that could be used for exploring after dark. Extraordinarily, it also stipulates they should not be allowed to speak to each other for the duration of the order – 10 years.
Saturday February 25, 2012
Wild Trojan Horses:
Botnet Becomes Autonomous
But a new variant of ZeuS no longer requires external servers and can survive autonomously.
From Network World:
Symantec researchers have seen this new ZeuS variant distributing malware like fake antivirus programs. However, they have yet to figure out how it sends the captured information back to the attackers in the absence of C&C servers.
Friday February 24, 2012
North Korea Fakes Millions of Dollars
North Korea is printing millions of dollars in counterfeit bills every year and their quality makes them hard to detect.
The so-called superdollars could be part of a plot to destabilise America's economy, or even acquire nuclear technology, but it may simply be that North Korea is broke.
These ultra-counterfeits are light years beyond the weak facsimiles produced by most forgers, who use desktop printers. As an anti-counterfeiting investigator with Europol once put it: "Superdollars are just U.S. dollars not made by the U.S. government." With few exceptions, only Federal Reserve banks equipped with the fanciest detection gear can identify these fakes.
Thursday February 23, 2012
GPS Jammers Becoming More Widespread
The jammers could be used for a variety of illegal purposes from fraud to armed robbery.
"Our modern society is almost completely reliant on GPS," Humphreys told the conference. "It could be deadly."
Wednesday February 22, 2012
Caught in the Network:
Facebook Rant Leads to Threat of Imprisonment
When Mark Byron posted a rant about his pending divorce, he couldn't have foreseen that it would lead to the threat of a jail sentence.
But his wife believed the post to be a form of harassment and a court found him in contempt -- giving him the choice of posting an apology or going to jail.
Elizabeth Byron, who couldn’t be reached, believed her husband’s Facebook rant violated the court order, said it and the comments about it made by Mark Byron’s Facebook friends embarrassed her. That, she said, violated the previous order from harassing her – even though the post wasn’t addressed to her and she was blocked from viewing it.
Monday February 20, 2012
Walk The Plank:
UK Courts Could Block The Pirate Bay
A ruling the UK High Court could lead to ISPs blocking access to The Pirate Bay, one of the oldest torrent search engines.
Although The Pirate Bay does not host infringing files themselves, the judgement against them discounts that inconvenient fact.
From The Guardian:
"Despite their ability to do so and despite the judicial findings that have been made against them, the operators of [The Pirate Bay] take no steps to prevent infringement," the judge said. "On the contrary … they actively encourage it and treat any attempts to prevent it (judicial or otherwise) with contempt."
Sunday February 19, 2012
UK Government Proposed Logging of Phone & Email Records
The UK government is proposing that ISPs & phone companies hold logs of phone calls, emails, and other communications for one year so that the security services can scrutinise them.
But opponents believe that such widespread retention of data will inevitably lead to hacker attacks on the logs by criminals and hostile governments.
From The Telegraph:
Gus Hosein, of Privacy International, said: “This will be ripe for hacking. Every hacker, every malicious threat, every foreign government is going to want access to this.
Thursday February 16, 2012
US Adderall Supplies Drying Up
But the shortages may also be due to pharmaceutical companies that eschew production of generic versions of Adderall in favour of more lucrative and patented versions.
Last May, Stephanie Lee couldn’t find a pharmacy in Atlanta that stocked Adderall, the prescription drug cocktail of amphetamine salts that helps her treat her attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. She called her local pharmacy. All amphetamine salts, as well as generic, extended release Adderall XR were nowhere to be found, thanks to a limit set on the amount of amphetamines produced every year by the federal government.
Wednesday February 15, 2012
Caught in the Web:
UK Authorities Seize Music Website
To make matters worse, they have posted a message on the site stating that visitors' IP addresses are logged and that they could be prosecuted.
The scare tactic of displaying your IP address and pretending that this suggests they're coming after any visitor to the site. This is, again, insane. The RIAA tried this years ago when it got the Grokster site and it was just as silly then as it is now. Merely visiting a site is not breaking the law, and splashing your IP address next to a message suggesting visitors are about to be put in jail is insane hyperbole.
Tuesday February 14, 2012
Scanner Could Allow Liquids on Airplanes Once More
But a new laser scanner could check liquids within seconds and eliminate these restrictions.
The scanner utilizes Spatially Offset Raman Spectroscopy, or SORS. The process begins with security personnel placing an individual container inside the microwave oven-sized device. Then, the system shines a near-infrared laser into that container at various locations. Some of that light is reflected back to the device by the liquid. The wavelength of that light, however, is shifted by energy levels of the liquid's molecules. By assessing the wavelength shifts of those various light readings, the machine is able to identify what the liquid is - within five seconds, to boot.
Monday February 13, 2012
Anonymous Warns Bulgaria Against Signing ACTA
The Anonymous hacking group has warned the Bulgarian government not to sign ACTA, a controversial treaty designed to prevent online piracy.
A statement from the group says that 'the economy, traffic and transport in almost all of Bulgaria' will be affected if ACTA is ratified.
Greetings Bulgaria. I guess you know who we are, but if you do not know - we are Anonymous. We are the largest force in the world. Force greater and mightier than all the governments of this Earth.
Saturday February 11, 2012
Interpol Arrests Journalists Over Tweet
Interpol have arrested a Malaysian journalist at the behest of Saudi Arabian authorities.
The journalist was detained for writing a tweet that appeared to insult the Prophet Muhammad.
From The Guardian:
Kashgari, a newspaper columnist, fled Saudi Arabia after posting a tweet on the prophet's birthday that sparked more than 30,000 responses and several death threats. The posting, which was later deleted, read: "I have loved things about you and I have hated things about you and there is a lot I don't understand about you … I will not pray for you."
Thursday February 09, 2012
US Builds Two New Nuclear Power Plants
The Fukushima disaster may have led to many countries banning new construction of nuclear reactors, but US regulators are not following in their footsteps.
Approval has been given for the construction of two new power plants in Georgia -- the first nuclear reactors built in the US for 30 years.
From USA Today:
Allison Fisher, an energy expert for the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen, called the NRC's action — less than a year after the Japan crisis — a step in the wrong direction.
"It is inexplicable that we've chosen this moment in history to expand the use of a failed and dangerous technology," she said.
Wednesday February 08, 2012
Apple's Sweat Shops Are Not The Worst
Apple has attracted controversy in recent weeks as revelations about working conditions in their Chinese factories have called their ethics into question.
But according to one Chinese activist, even Apple's sweat shops are not the worst factories to be found in the technology sector.
“Although I know that the iPhone 4 is made at sweat shop factories in China, I still think that this is the only choice, because Apple is actually one of the best. Actually before I made a decision, I compared Apple with other cell phone companies, such as Nokia,” he said through a translator. “And the conditions in those factories are worse than the ones of Apple.”
Sunday February 05, 2012
Out Of Africa By Sea?
Seems that early humans may have been going to sea much longer than anyone had ever assumed.
Discoveries of prehistoric stone tools on Greek islands and genetic evidence from Australia form a valid cause for reconsidering the migration routes for prehuman travellers.
From The Wall Street Journal:
For a long time, scientists had assumed a gradual expansion of African people through Sinai into both Europe and Asia. Then, bizarrely, it became clear from both genetics and archaeology that Europe was peopled later (after 40,000 years ago) than Australia (before 50,000 years ago).
Thursday February 02, 2012
A Weighty Matter:
Is Earth Getting Lighter or Heavier?
As time goes on, does the Earth lose mass or gain it?
A physicist has calculated that the planet sucks in tonnes of space dust every year due to gravity, but it's still losing mass.
From BBC News:
For instance, the Earth's core is like a giant nuclear reactor that is gradually losing energy over time, and that loss in energy translates into a loss of mass.
Wednesday February 01, 2012
Breaking Down Brain Waves To Hear
US scientists have demonstrated that the brain decodes sounds into patterns of electrical currents and based on the correlation between sound and electric activity in brain's temporal lobe they were able to predict the words the person heard.
However any practical use in case of patients who cannot talk is a long way of because this research is based on what a person actually hears, rather than thinks of...
From The Guardian:
Experiments on 15 patients in the US showed that a computer could decipher their brain activity and play back words they heard, though at times the words were difficult to recognise.
"This is exciting in terms of the basic science of how the brain decodes what we hear," said Robert Knight, a senior member of the team and director of the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute at the University of California, Berkeley.