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Bomb Threats Via Twitter Partly Shut Down Atlanta's Hartsfield Airport

SternisheFan Update; No Bombs Found on Plane (89 comments)

Law enforcement officials found no bombs on two planes at Atlanta's main airport after authorities received what they considered credible threats, FBI spokesman Stephen Emmett said.

The threats were originally posted to Twitter by @kingZortic. At about 3:51 p.m. the account, which had earlier challenged the FBI, CIA and NSA, posted an address on the 4500 block of West Schubert Avenue in Chicago and issued another challenge to "come get me I got guns, COME AT ME."

Chicago Police went to the address listed on social media and determined that the person behind the threats did not actually reside at that address, said News Affairs Officer Bari Lemmon. Police did not find any weapons and did not arrest or detain anyone, Lemmon said.

The threats targeted Southwest Airlines Flight 2492, which arrived at Atlanta from Milwaukee, and Delta Air Lines Flight 1156, which arrived from Portland, Oregon, said Reese McCranie, a spokesman for Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Both planes landed safely.


10 hours ago

Blogger Who Revealed GOP Leader's KKK Ties Had Home Internet Lines Cut

SternisheFan Re:Censorship? (413 comments)

Yeah, I learned to drop my email from public view. Who needs that noise? (but, BBS's were great then...)


China Cuts Off Some VPNs

SternisheFan Re:write on weibo, go to readjustment camp... (184 comments)

Chinese Officials Vow To Fix Nation’s Crumbling Reeducation System

BEIJING—Acknowledging that its current programs are insufficient to meet the needs of a fast-paced, 21st-century population, the Chinese Ministry of Justice held a press conference Friday affirming its commitment to fixing the nation’s crumbling reeducation system.

According to government officials, the steady decline in the quality of reeducation is evidenced by the system’s serious overcrowding, dilapidated correctional facilities, and outdated propaganda materials, which have left a large percentage of China’s political prisoners unprepared for life as obedient citizens.

“We are falling well short of the reeducation needs of this country and failing a whole generation of dissidents,” said justice minister Wu Aiying, lamenting that many institutions currently rely on standardized reprogramming curriculums that haven’t been updated since the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s. “We need better reeducators who know how to use modern teaching and disciplinary technologies if we want to inspire our people to become fully subservient pawns of the state.”



China Cuts Off Some VPNs

SternisheFan Re:What's the difference between China and EU? (184 comments)

"Shouting fire in a crowded theater" is a popular metaphor for speech or actions made for the principal purpose of creating unnecessary panic. The phrase is a paraphrasing of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.'s opinion in the United States Supreme Court case Schenck v. United States in 1919, which held that the defendant's speech in opposition to the draft during World War I was not protected free speech under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

The paraphrasing does not generally include the word "falsely", i.e., "falsely shouting fire in a crowded theater", which was the original wording used in Holmes's opinion and highlights that speech which is dangerous and false is not protected, as opposed to speech which is truthful but also dangerous. http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wi...


China Cuts Off Some VPNs

SternisheFan Re:What's the difference between China and EU? (184 comments)

When free speech threatens innocent lives, like yelling fire in a crowded theatre when there is none, when giving step by step instructions on how to mass murder in the name of "???", when encouraging pedophiles to destroy a young person's childhood/adulthood... Yep, call me what you want to, these things should not be allowed in a free society for damned good reasons. And if anyone thinks they should be, let them and their loved ones be the first victims, for "their cause". Then perhaps the rest of us in the world can then live better lives.


China Cuts Off Some VPNs

SternisheFan Re:What's the difference between China and EU? (184 comments)

Imho, there are certain lines that do need to be drawn at times. And if it means shutting down certain websites in order to keep innnocent others in society safer, then so be it. I also don't approve of shouting "fire" in a crowded theatre.


Blogger Who Revealed GOP Leader's KKK Ties Had Home Internet Lines Cut

SternisheFan Re:You're an asshole (413 comments)

That's funny, your mom said the same thing to me when she was putting her clothes on this morning.


Surface RT Devices Won't Get Windows 10

SternisheFan Re:Translation: (155 comments)

From linked article below:

Microsoft is gambling: it is trading short-term PC sales and putting PC partners on hold in the interests of long-term adoption of Windows 10.

As we've written here before, offering free products in today’s climate of low-price but fully functioning devices is the way to grow market share.

Microsoft needs market share for two reasons: to make decent money from Windows 10 licenses at some point in the future and get more Windows 10 devices in the field that let people swallow subscription cloud services, like Office 365.

It’s a risky play that won’t just put a hole in Microsoft’s short-term earnings but will put PC partners further out in the cold and delay the PC industry’s recovery. Microsoft is gambling on the fact that most businesses now on Windows 7 will want Windows 10 in the next 12 months.


Free Windows 10 could mean DOOM for Microsoft and the PC biz The Register

2 days ago

Blogger Who Revealed GOP Leader's KKK Ties Had Home Internet Lines Cut

SternisheFan Re:Censorship? (413 comments)

The captcha applies to your comment.

2 days ago

Blogger Who Revealed GOP Leader's KKK Ties Had Home Internet Lines Cut

SternisheFan Re:Censorship? (413 comments)

Back when my email address was listed with my /. name I posted an anti-Bush comment, got sent a creepy picture of an old tombstone. Intimidation has always been a favorite tactic of bullying types.

2 days ago

What Will Google Glass 2.0 Need To Actually Succeed?

SternisheFan Re:Size (321 comments)

I always figured that they just need an LED light to shine if they are recording or now. Not perfect but at least they know.

...Which a small dot of black paint will easily cover up.

3 days ago

NSA Hack of N. Korea Convinced Obama NK Was Behind Sony Hack

SternisheFan Re:Stands to reason (181 comments)

IMO, as good a proof as the FBI has given.

5 days ago

NSA Hack of N. Korea Convinced Obama NK Was Behind Sony Hack

SternisheFan Re:Stands to reason (181 comments)

Please pardon my syntax errors, posting from my phone.

5 days ago

NSA Hack of N. Korea Convinced Obama NK Was Behind Sony Hack

SternisheFan Re:Stands to reason (181 comments)

If you are suggesting that because John McAfee admits to doing drugs (a lot), that he's not sane, then most of our American citizens are insane and not to be trusted (btw, alcohol's a devasting drug too). He's posted some wacked out things, and he's posted some dead on truths, he's human like you and me.

Yes he is hawking something now, I don't claim to know anything about it. From my limited following of the McAfee saga, I trust his words way more than the U.S.'s 3 Letter Agency s. His track record has more validity. FBI first says that there was North Korean-ese type language in the hack code. WTF kind of proof is that supposed to be? Sounds to me like my country is looking for any halfway credible reason to create a new war with N.K., and their credibility is quite low on the honesty scale, lately and historically. I want proof beyond a shadow of any doubt before any type of action gets taken against any country, and beyond flimsy allegations made so far by the U.S., all I see is a lot of more 'smoke and mirrors' tactics. That's not a good enough reason to go to war over a frickin' movie.

5 days ago

NSA Hack of N. Korea Convinced Obama NK Was Behind Sony Hack

SternisheFan Re:Stands to reason (181 comments)

According to John McAfee, N. Korea had nothing to do with the Sony hack.

Anti-virus pioneer John McAfee claims to have been in contact with the group of hackers behind the devastating cyber-attack against Sony Pictures and guarantees they are not from North Korea.

Speaking to IBTimes UK about his current roster of security startups under his Future Tense brand - including secure messaging app Chadder - McAfee spoke about working with the FBI previously but said that, in this case, the agency was "wrong".

"I can guarantee they are wrong. It has to do with a group of hackers - I will not name them - who are civil libertarians and who hate the confinement the restrictions the music industry and the movie industry has placed on art and so they are behind it."


about a week ago

The 'Radio Network of Things' Can Cut Electric Bills (Video)

SternisheFan Re:That was your first mistake (172 comments)

We all love 'The Internet of Things.'

No, we don't.

Yes you do, citizen. With all your heart. Unless you're suggesting that you know what's best for you, instead of corporations...

about a week ago

Washington DC's Public Library Will Teach People How To Avoid the NSA

SternisheFan Re:Take a note from Magneto (X-Men) (81 comments)

It will be at least a decade, probably several decades, before you'll need to wear brainwave-blocking hats while walking down the street.

Yeah, that's just what they'd want us to think...

about two weeks ago



NASA is testing an autonomous Martian helicopter

SternisheFan SternisheFan writes  |  yesterday

SternisheFan (2529412) writes "The Verge: Drones are everywhere these days. They're under Christmas trees. They're at the X-Games. They're even in Congress. And if NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory has its way, they could be headed to Mars next in the form of the Mars Helicopter.

Rover teams still have a tough time with the Martian surface even though they're flush with terrestrial data. The alien surface is uneven, and ridges and valleys make navigating the terrain difficult. The newest solution proposed by JPL is the Mars Helicopter, an autonomous drone that could "triple the distances that Mars rovers can drive in a Martian day," according to NASA. The helicopter would fly ahead of a rover when its view is blocked and send Earth-bound engineers the right data to plan the rover's route."

Link to Original Source

John McAfee: 'I know who hacked Sony Pictures - and it wasn't North Korea'

SternisheFan SternisheFan writes  |  about a week ago

SternisheFan (2529412) writes "Anti-virus pioneer John McAfee claims to have been in contact with the group of hackers behind the devastating cyber-attack against Sony Pictures and guarantees they are not from North Korea.

Speaking to IBTimes UK about his current roster of security startups under his Future Tense brand — including secure messaging app Chadder — McAfee spoke about working with the FBI previously but said that, in this case, the agency was "wrong".

"I can guarantee they are wrong. It has to do with a group of hackers — I will not name them — who are civil libertarians and who hate the confinement the restrictions the music industry and the movie industry has placed on art and so they are behind it.""

Link to Original Source

Obsessed: Star Trek TOS continues

SternisheFan SternisheFan writes  |  about a month ago

SternisheFan (2529412) writes "ST:TOS's Starship Enterprise was on a 5 year mission, but the original series was canceled after the third year. A new Star Trek:TOS is being created by a dedicated cast and crew intent on keeping true to the spirit of Gene Roddenberry's television show. From recreating the original sets with incredible accuracy and attention to details, staying faithful to original storylines has been a true labor of love for all involved.
        Click on the link below to view a series of videos showing the progress being made on recreating the iconic series."

Link to Original Source

Birds 'heard tornadoes coming' and fled one day ahead

SternisheFan SternisheFan writes  |  about a month ago

SternisheFan (2529412) writes "Scientists say tracking data shows that five golden-winged warblers "evacuated" their nesting site one day before the April 2014 tornado outbreak.

Geolocators showed the birds left the Appalachians and flew 700km (400 miles) south to the Gulf of Mexico.

The next day, devastating storms swept across the south and central US.

Writing in the journal Current Biology, ecologists suggest these birds — and others — may sense such extreme events with their keen low-frequency hearing.

Remarkably, the warblers had completed their seasonal migration just days earlier, settling down to nest after a 5,000km (3,100 mile) journey from Colombia.

Dr Henry Streby, from the University of California, Berkeley, said he initially set out to see if tracking the warblers was even possible.

"This was just a pilot season for a larger study that we're about to start," Dr Streby told the BBC.

"These are very tiny songbirds — they weigh about nine grams.

"The fact that they came back with the geolocators was supposed to be the great success of this season. Then this happened!"

Everybody out
Working with colleagues from the Universities of Tennessee and Minnesota, Dr Streby tagged 20 golden-winged warblers in May 2013, in the Cumberland Mountains of north-eastern Tennessee.

The birds nest and breed in this region every summer, and can be spotted around the Great Lakes and the Appalachian Mountains.

golden-winged warbler
The golden-winged warblers were being tracked as part of a pilot study of their normal, seasonal migration
After disappearing to Colombia for the winter, 10 of the tagged warblers returned in April 2014. The team was in the field observing them when they received advance warning of the tornadoes.

"We evacuated ourselves to the waffle house in Caryville, Tennessee, for the one day that the storm was really bad," Dr Streby said.

Elsewhere in the US the storm had more drastic consequences. At least 84 tornadoes caused 35 fatalities and more than $1bn (£0.6bn) in property damage.

After the storm had blown over, the team recaptured five of the warblers and removed the geolocators.

These are tiny devices weighing about half a gram, which measure light levels. Based on the timing and length of the days they record, these gadgets allow scientists to calculate and track the approximate location of migratory birds.

In this case, all five indicated that the birds had taken unprecedented evasive action, beginning one to two days ahead of the storm's arrival.

"The warblers in our study flew at least 1,500km (932 miles) in total," Dr Streby said.

They escaped just south of the tornadoes' path — and then went straight home again. By 2 May, all five were back in their nesting area.

Jump media playerMedia player helpOut of media player. Press enter to return or tab to continue.
Aerial footage, captured by a drone in the wake of the storms, shows emergency vehicles and debris on a highway in Arkansas
Remarkably, the warblers' evacuation commenced while the closest tornado was still hundreds of miles away. Weather conditions in the nesting area were still nothing out of the ordinary.

Distant rumble
The most likely tip-off was the deep rumble that tornadoes produce, well below what humans can hear.

Noise in this "infrasound" range travels thousands of kilometres, and may serve as something of an early warning system for animals that can pick it up.

"It's very unlikely that this species is the only group doing this," Dr Streby said.

Even from casual birdwatching in the area as the storm drew nearer, he said, "It seemed like there were far fewer birds — so I suspect it's not a species-specific trait."

Dr Chris Hewson, a senior research ecologist at the British Trust for Ornithology, told BBC News that infrasound was a plausible explanation.

He pointed out that several birds, including falcons, are thought to use infrasound to help them navigate.

"And you can see from the weather data that there doesn't appear to be any alternative cue that they could be picking up on," he said."

Link to Original Source

NASA Satellite's 1st CO2 Maps of Earth Revealed

SternisheFan SternisheFan writes  |  about a month ago

SternisheFan (2529412) writes "This past summer, NASA launched its first satellite devoted to measuring atmospheric carbon dioxide, a heat-trapping gas that is driving global warming.

Today (Dec. 18), scientists with the space agency unveiled the first carbon maps obtained by the spacecraft, named the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2, or OCO-2.

OCO-2 only started collecting its first scientifically useful information at the end of September, but the initial results "are quite amazing," said Annmarie Eldering, OCO-2 deputy project scientist, based at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

In a news briefing at the 47th annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco, Eldering and her colleagues showed a map of the globe that uses about 600,000 data points taken by OCO-2 from Oct. 1 through Nov. 17. It shows hotspots of carbon dioxide over northern Australia, southern Africa and eastern Brazil.

These carbon spikes could be explained by agricultural fires and land clearing — practices that are widespread during spring in the Southern Hemisphere, OCO-2 scientists said.

The satellite has a grading spectrometer to measure carbon dioxide levels with a precision of about 1 part per million, or ppm. (Today's carbon concentration, 400 ppm, is the highest in at least 800,000 years. This number means there are 400 molecules of carbon dioxide in the air per every million air molecules. Before the Industrial Revolution, carbon concentration was thought to be about 280 ppm.)"

Link to Original Source

Colorado sued by neighboring states over legal pot

SternisheFan SternisheFan writes  |  about a month ago

SternisheFan (2529412) writes "The attorneys general of Nebraska and Oklahoma sued Colorado in the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday, arguing state-legalized marijuana from Colorado is improperly spilling across state lines.

The suit invokes the federal government's right to regulate both drugs and interstate commerce, and says Colorado's decision to legalize marijuana has been "particularly burdensome" to police agencies on the other side of the state line.

In June, USA TODAY highlighted the flow of marijuana from Colorado into small towns across Nebraska: felony drug arrests in Chappell, Neb., just 7 miles north of the Colorado border have skyrocketed 400% in three years.

"In passing and enforcing Amendment 64, the state of Colorado has created a dangerous gap in the federal drug control system enacted by the United States Congress. Marijuana flows from this gap into neighboring states, undermining plaintiff states' own marijuana bans, draining their treasuries, and placing stress on their criminal justice systems," says the lawsuit. "The Constitution and the federal anti-drug laws do not permit the development of a patchwork of state and local pro-drug policies and licensed distribution schemes throughout the country which conflict with federal laws.""

Link to Original Source

NYC lawmaker wants to ban drones except for cops with warrants

SternisheFan SternisheFan writes  |  about a month ago

SternisheFan (2529412) writes "On Wednesday Councilman Dan Garodnick introduced a bill to the New York City council seeking to ban all use of drones except those operated by police officers who obtain warrants. A second, parallel bill introduced by councilman Paul Vallone would place more stringent restrictions on drone use but stop short of banning drones for hobbyists and companies altogether. Both bills have been passed to the city's committee on public safety.

An all-out ban on drones within the metropolis would be a quite wide-reaching step, especially as the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) seems poised to adopt more permissive rules, with respect to commercial interests in particular. Earlier this year, the FAA formally granted six Hollywood companies exemptions to drone ban rules. A couple of months later, the FAA granted similar exemptions for construction site monitoring and oil rig flare stack inspections.

Despite the FAA's tentative steps towards drone regulation, pilots of planes and helicopters have reported increased sightings of drones in their airspace, and several near-collisions. 12 incidents of dangerous encounters between drones and planes in the New York and Newark areas have been reported in recent months. In addition, in 2011, a man was fined $10,000 by the FAA for flying a remote-controlled plane recklessly through New York City. However, the National Transportation Safety Board struck down that fine. (ArsTechnica article....)"

Link to Original Source

Coolpad's backdoor installs apps and tracks customers without their knowledge

SternisheFan SternisheFan writes  |  about a month ago

SternisheFan (2529412) writes "(from ComputerWorld)

Chinese smartphone maker Coolpad has built an extensive "backdoor" into its Android devices that can track users, serve them unwanted advertisements and install unauthorized apps, a U.S. security firm alleged today.

In a research paper released today, Palo Alto Networks detailed its investigation of the backdoor, which it dubbed "CoolReaper."

"Coolpad has built a backdoor that goes beyond the usual data collection," said Ryan Olson, director of intelligence at Palo Alto's Unit 42. "This is way beyond what one malicious insider could have done."

Coolpad, which sells smartphones under several brand names — including Halo, also called Danzen — is one of China's largest ODMs (original device manufacturers). According to IDC, it ranked fifth in China in the third quarter, with 8.4% of the market, and has expanded sales outside of the People's Republic of China (PRC) and Taiwan to Southeast Asia, the U.S. and Western Europe.

Tipped off by a string of complaints from Coolpad smartphone users in China and Taiwan — who griped about seeing advertisements pop up and apps suddenly appear — Palo Alto dug into the ROM updates that Coolpad offered on its support site and found widespread evidence of CoolReaper.

Of the 77 ROMs that Palo Alto examined, 64 contained CoolReaper, including 41 hosted by Coolpad and signed with its own digital certificate.

Other evidence that Coolpad was the creator of the backdoor, said Olson, included the malware's command-and-control servers — which were registered to domains belonging to the Chinese company and used, in fact, for its public cloud — and an administrative console that other researchers had found last month because of a vulnerability in Coolpad's backend control system. The console confirmed CoolReaper's functionality.

CoolReaper has a host of components that allow Coolpad to download updates and apps to devices, start services and uninstall apps, dial phone numbers and send texts, and more — all without user knowledge, much less authorization.

So far, the backdoor has been used to serve up unsolicited ads and install apps without user approval, said Olson, who speculated that both were being done for financial reasons. Coolpad may be getting a per-app-install fee, for example."

Link to Original Source

Ralph H. Baer, a father of video gaming, dies at 92

SternisheFan SternisheFan writes  |  about a month and a half ago

SternisheFan (2529412) writes "At the dawn of the television age in 1951, a young engineer named Ralph Baer approached executives at an electronics firm and suggested the radical idea of offering games on the bulky TV boxes.

“And of course,” he said, “I got the regular reaction: ‘Who needs this?’ And nothing happened.”

It took another 15 years before Mr. Baer, who died Dec. 6 at 92, developed a prototype that would make him the widely acknowledged father of video games. His design helped lay the groundwork for an industry that transformed the role of the television set and generated tens of billions of dollars last year.

Mr. Baer “saw that there was this interesting device sitting in millions of American homes — but it was a one-way instrument,” said Arthur P. Molella, director of the Smithsonian Institution’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation. “He said, ‘Maybe there’s some way we can interact with this thing.’”"

Link to Original Source

Apple accused of deleting songs from iPods without users' knowledge

SternisheFan SternisheFan writes  |  about 2 months ago

SternisheFan (2529412) writes "During in-court proceedings of Apple's iPod/iTunes antitrust lawsuit on Wednesday, plaintiffs' lawyers claimed Apple surreptitiously deleted songs not purchased through the iTunes Music Store from users' iPods.

Attorney Patrick Coughlin, representing a class of individuals and businesses, said Apple intentionally wiped songs downloaded from competing services when users performed a sync with their iTunes library, reports The Wall Street Journal.

As explained by the publication, users attempting to sync an iPod with an iTunes library containing music from a rival service, such as RealNetworks, would see an ambiguous error message without prompting them to perform a factory reset. After restoring the device, users would find all non-iTunes music had disappeared.

"You guys decided to give them the worst possible experience and blow up" the iTunes library, Coughlin said.

It is unclear if iTunes or iPod encountered a legitimate problem, though Coughlin seems to be intimating Apple manufactured the error message as part of a supposed gambit to stop customers from using their iPod to play back music from stores other than iTunes.

For its part, Apple said the system was a safety measure installed to protect users. In testimony, Apple security director Augustin Farrugia said additional detail about the error's nature was not necessary because, "We don't need to give users too much information," and "We don't want to confuse users." He went on to say that Apple was "very paranoid" in its protection of iTunes, a sentiment echoed in an executive email penned by Steve Jobs in 2004. .."

Link to Original Source

Android "Not Compatible" Malware "maturing"

SternisheFan SternisheFan writes  |  about 2 months ago

SternisheFan (2529412) writes "Mobile malware reaches new heights

By Cory Bennett — 11/20/14 04:58 PM EST
Cyber criminals are reaching a level of sophistication when targeting smartphones previously only seen in desktop computer attacks.

Mobile security research firm Lookout revealed findings on Thursday showing hackers can now effectively turn Android phones into so-called botnets, a compromised device that can be used to communicate with other infected devices for nefarious purposes.

The company estimates between 4 million and 4.5 million phones in the U.S. have been turned into botnets this year as a result.
For years, cybersecurity experts knew malware targeting smartphones was a growing threat as the Internet-connected devices became more ubiquitous.

Lookout thinks this malware shows the threat has finally taken a dangerous jump.

The malware has been getting onto smartphones by first infecting a legitimate website. When users visit that website from their phone, they unwittingly download the malicious code.

This particular strategy is “one of the first times hacked websites were used at a large scale to specifically target and infect mobile devices,” said Tim Strazzere, Lookout’s lead research and response engineer, in a blog post.

The malware behind it, dubbed NotCompatible, was initially “compelling threat” when the company started tracking it two years ago, Strazzere explained. But NotCompatible has evolved.

The newest iteration “set a new bar for mobile malware sophistication and operational complexity,” Strazzere said. “This malware is a prime example of how mobile malware complexity is advancing and is borrowing technical tactics already seen in PC malware.”

National Security Agency Director Michael Rogers sees mobile hacking as a Top 3 concern in 2015.

“The greatest growth these days” in cyberattacks “is not in the corporate fixed, large-network structures,” he testified before the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday.

“We are all turning to mobile digital devices as vehicles to enhance our productivity,” Rogers added.

That makes those devices a desirable target for hackers.

Lookout said the hackers behind the malware are renting out the infected devices to criminals who then conduct large-scale scams — from buying up tickets in bulk to sending out more spam.

“We expect more of this type of sophistication in mobile malware,” Strazzere said. “Mobile malware maturity is here.”"

Link to Original Source

US Justice Department Used Fake Cell Towers In Planes To Track Criminals

SternisheFan SternisheFan writes  |  about 2 months ago

SternisheFan (2529412) writes "US Justice Department Used Fake Cell Towers In Planes To Track Criminals
By Tyler Lee on 11/13/2014

There is a lot of concern regarding privacy at the moment, especially in the wake of the Snowden reports which revealed that for the past few years, the government has been spying on its citizens. A recent study also revealed that a vast majority of adults feel like they have no control over their personal information anymore.
Well if all of that bothers you, then this might bother you even more. According to a report from The Wall Street Journal (via MacRumors), it has been revealed that the United States Justice Department has been using fake cell towers installed in airplanes to acquire cellphone data that is used to track criminals. Apparently this is a program that has been in place since 2007 and uses Cessna airplanes (not the commercial plans, thankfully) to operate out of at least five metropolitan area airports.
These planes have been outfitted with a “dirtbox” that is meant to replicate cellular towers, thus tricking cellphones into reporting information to them, which in turn is used to help track individuals who are under investigation. Given that non-criminals’ data can be captured in the process as well, there are some who are questioning the legality of the practice as well as raising concerns about the safeguarding of the information that they have captured in the process."

Link to Original Source

Why Scientists Think Completely Unclassifiable and Undiscovered Life Forms Exist

SternisheFan SternisheFan writes  |  about 2 months ago

SternisheFan (2529412) writes "Discovering a new type of bacteria or virus or, hell, even a mammal at this point isn't exactly news. It happens all the time, and there are tens of millions of species out there that aren't described. Scientists can at least place newly discovered life into specific categories, but that's because they've been using the same methods of finding it for decades.

New microbes are often discovered by doing what's known as environmental sampling, in which all the DNA and RNA from, say, a soil sample or an ocean sample is amplified and replicated so that it can be sequenced, and then researchers try to separate it out into species as best as they can.


Link to Original Source

Long-term study finds zero link between violence in video games and real life

SternisheFan SternisheFan writes  |  about 3 months ago

SternisheFan (2529412) writes "The first long-term study has been completed on the link between the consumption of violent media and real-life violent acts, and has found... there is none. In fact, the only possible trend that cropped up over the last century was that an increased consumption of violent video games correlated to a decrease in youth violence.

The results have been published in the Journal of Communication. onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jcom.12129/full"

Link to Original Source

The Internet Archive launches its arcade: Classic games in a browser

SternisheFan SternisheFan writes  |  about 3 months ago

SternisheFan (2529412) writes "Today, The Internet Archive launched The Internet Arcade, a free, emulated, browser-compatible collection comprising arcade games from the 1970s to the 1990s.

Of course, while some games in the archive have been effectively abandoned and even forgotten, others are still popular and actively exploited by their creators, such as games in the Pac-Man franchise. Games from well-known companies such as Capcom, Konami, Namco, Taito, and Sega appear in the list, among many others — around 900, in total.

Archivist Jason Scott writes about the process of getting the Arcade up and running on his personal blog. He explains its purpose like this: "... my hope is that a handful, a probably tiny percentage [of players], will begin plotting out ways to use this stuff in research, in writing, and remixing these old games into understanding their contexts.""

Link to Original Source

Fossil fuels should be 'phased out by 2100' says IPCC

SternisheFan SternisheFan writes  |  about 3 months ago

SternisheFan (2529412) writes "The IPCC says fossil fuels — without carbon capture — should be "phased out" by 2100
Continue reading the main story
Related Stories

Europe 'will fail to protect climate'
Climate impacts 'overwhelming' — UN
UN '95% sure' humans cause warming
The unrestricted use of fossil fuels must end soon if the world is to avoid dangerous climate change.

That's one of the key messages in a new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The IPCC outlines an approach that could see most of the world's electricity produced from low carbon sources by 2050.

Fossil fuels, without carbon capture and storage (CCS), would be phased out "almost entirely" by 2100.

The short Synthesis Report was published on Sunday in Copenhagen, after a week of intense debate between scientists and government officials.

Continue reading the main story

Start Quote

If we can't develop carbon capture we will have to stop using fossil fuels if we want to stop dangerous climate change”

Prof Myles Allen
The report says the world faces "severe, pervasive and irreversible" impacts without effective action on carbon.

"It's very clear from the report that fossil fuels have had their day," said Prof Arthur Petersen from UCL and a member of the Dutch government's team in Copenhagen.

"Of course it is up to politicians to decide which risks they want to take with climate change, so it is not policy prescriptive in saying that these reductions should take place, but it is absolutely clear that the reductions should take place if you want to limit (temperature increases) to 2C."

Rapid phase out
For electricity production, this would mean a rapid move away from coal and into renewables and other low carbon forms, including nuclear.

The report suggests renewables will have to grow from their current 30% share to 80% of the power sector by 2050.

In the longer term the report states "fossil fuel power generation without CCS is phased out almost entirely by 2100".

Three previous reports from the IPCC, issued over the past 13 months, have outlined the causes, the impacts and the potential solutions to climate change.

The Synthesis boils these three into one, with the intention of informing politicians engaged in attempts to deliver a new global treaty on climate by the end of 2015.

It re-states many familiar positions:

Warming is "unequivocal" and the human influence on climate is clear
Since the 1950s the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia
The period from 1983 to 2012, it says, was likely the warmest 30 year period of the last 1,400 years
Warming impacts are already being seen around the globe, in the acidification of the oceans, the melting of arctic ice and poorer crop yields in many parts
Without concerted action on carbon, temperatures will increase over the coming decades and could be almost 5C above pre-industrial levels by the end of this century
Politicians have agreed that a rise of 2C is the threshold of danger. In this report the IPCC authors outline a number of routes to keep to that level by the end of the century.

Countries will need to adapt rapidly, but almost all scenarios see near zero emissions by 2100.

"We can't afford to burn all the fossil fuels we have without dealing with the waste product which is CO2 and without dumping it in the atmosphere," said Prof Myles Allen from Oxford University, and a member of the IPCC core writing team.

"If we can't develop carbon capture we will have to stop using fossil fuels if we want to stop dangerous climate change, that is a very clear message that comes out of the IPCC reports."

The clarity of the language over the future of coal, oil, and gas was welcomed by campaigners.

"What they have said is that we must get to zero emissions, and that's new," said Samantha Smith from WWF.

"The second thing is they said that it is affordable, it is not going to cripple economies."

Saudi concerns
In their discussions on fossil fuels, there was a fierce battle over a chart that showed how much the electricity sector needed to curb its carbon.

According to one observer, "the Saudis went ballistic" over its inclusion.

Another significant fight was over the inclusion of text about Article 2 of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

It quickly became a standoff between those who want the focus to be on cutting emissions against those who think the right to develop economies must come first.

An unlikely alliance between Bolivia and Saudi Arabia ultimately saw the section dropped entirely from the underlying report.

"There was a box in the draft, and in the end that box wasn't included in the underlying report," said Prof Petersen.

"History will tell us whether it was wise or not, there are lessons to be learned here."

Some of those attending said they believed that that tackling climate change and sustainable development went hand in hand.

"Different countries come to different perspectives" said Prof Jim Skea from Imperial College and a review editor of the report.

"But from the science perspective, we need them both. We need to walk and chew gum at the same time."

Follow Matt on Twitter @mattmcgrathbbc."

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Pope says evolution doesn't mean there's no God

SternisheFan SternisheFan writes  |  about 3 months ago

SternisheFan (2529412) writes "In an address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, the Pope explains that God is not some sort of wizard.

by Chris Matyszczyk CNET @ChrisMatyszczyk October 27, 2014 10:56 AM PDT

The pope says evolution is valid, as long as God is the beginning.

Arguments around creation and evolution sometimes seem too similar to "Which came first? The chicken or the egg?"

Science and religion get placed on either side of a spectrum, with a section in the middle for those who'd like to hedge their bets.

On Monday, the pope outlined his belief with respect to God and evolution. Speaking to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Pope Francis insisted that there was no reason to believe that God and evolution were somehow incompatible.

It's just, he suggested, that God came first.

He said, according to Breitbart's translation: "Evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve." Though God is, he said, no wizard, he's still at the heart of all things, because he's the creator of all things.

The pope explained that God "created beings and let them develop in accordance with the internal laws that He has given to each one, so that they could arrive at their fulfillment," according to the translation.

The pope's views differ radically from those of some eminent scientists, such as Stephen Hawking. Hawking recently made it clear that he dismisses the idea of God. He said: "Before we understand science, it is natural to believe that God created the universe. But now science offers a more convincing explanation.""

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UK Gun Owners Now Subject To Surprise Warrantless Firearm Storage Inspections

SternisheFan SternisheFan writes  |  about 3 months ago

SternisheFan (2529412) writes "A new firearm policy from the United Kingdom Home Office, put in force on October 15, has accelerated the once-proud nation’s devolution into a police state. The Home Office’s October 2014 “Guide on Firearms Licensing Law” adds a new rule allowing for police to conduct warrantless surprise inspections of a gun owner’s firearm storage practices. As bad as that is, what’s far worse is that the President of the United States cites England’s gun control policies as a model for America to follow."
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Cancer-killing stem cells engineered in lab

SternisheFan SternisheFan writes  |  about 3 months ago

SternisheFan (2529412) writes "Scientists from Harvard Medical School have discovered a way of turning stem cells into killing machines to fight brain cancer.

In experiments on mice, the stem cells were genetically engineered to produce and secrete toxins which kill brain tumours, without killing normal cells or themselves.

Researchers said the next stage was to test the procedure in humans.

A stem cell expert said this was "the future" of cancer treatment.Dr Khalid Shah, lead author and director of the molecular neurotherapy and imaging lab at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, said the results were very positive.

"After doing all of the molecular analysis and imaging to track the inhibition of protein synthesis within brain tumours, we do see the toxins kill the cancer cells."

He added: "Cancer-killing toxins have been used with great success in a variety of blood cancers, but they don't work as well in solid tumours because the cancers aren't as accessible and the toxins have a short half-life."

But genetically engineering stem cells has changed all that, he said.

"Now, we have toxin-resistant stem cells that can make and release cancer-killing drugs."

This study shows you can attack solid tumours by putting mini pharmacies inside the patient...”

Prof Chris Mason
University College London
Chris Mason, professor of regenerative medicine at University College London, said: "This is a clever study, which signals the beginning of the next wave of therapies."

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World's First Airborne Wind Turbine to Bring Renewable Energy and WiFi to Alaska

SternisheFan SternisheFan writes  |  about 3 months ago

SternisheFan (2529412) writes "Wind turbines have become airborne! An enormous helium-filled wind turbine will soon float over the city of Fairbanks, Alaska to produce enough electricity for more than a dozen families living off the grid. Designed and built by MIT startup Altaeros Energies, the turbine known as BAT-Buoyant Airborne Turbine will hover at an altitude of 1,000 feet for 18 months, catching air currents that are five to eight times more powerful than winds on the ground."
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