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The First Draft of the SN manifesto is available

My typing speed in words per minute is:

  • less than 50
  • 50-74
  • 75-99
  • 100-124
  • 125-149
  • more than 150
  • I can't type, you insensitive clod!
  • it depends - explain

[ Results | Polls ]
Comments:40 | Votes:295

posted by janrinok on Wednesday January 28, @05:37PM   Printer-friendly
from the allies-up-to-a-point dept.

Der Spiegel reports the infamous Regin malware, only publicly discovered last year but known to have been used in many serious attacks over the past decade, has been identified conclusively as NSA product. In addition to many circumstantial clues, source code for an NSA keylogger from the Snowden archives matches that of the Regin keylogger plugin. So Regin is most likely the system referred to as 'warriorpride' in the same documents.

What sort of fallout do you expect this to cause? Presumably many of those attacked already suspected who lay behind the attacks, but now that there is clear evidence to back up the suspicion, will that change things between the '5 Eyes' community and allies like Holland, Germany and non-state actors like the IAEA, who have been targets for attack?

posted by janrinok on Wednesday January 28, @04:33PM   Printer-friendly

Go to nearly any major site on the web and you are bombarded with advertisements. Like many other people I know, I use browser plugins like AdBlock to try and remove them from my browsing experience.

But, for one time each year, there is an event in the USA where I actually tune in as much to see the advertisements as to see the event itself. I'm talking about the Super Bowl where we find out who wins the National Football League (NFL) championship. This year's game, Super Bowl XLIX, pits the New England Patriots versus the Seattle Seahawks and is scheduled for Sunday, February 1 at 6:30 PM EST.

With such a large viewing audience and such large sums spent to acquire a spot during the game, advertisers go out of their way to try and make ads that are actually interesting and memorable. Some have strained the limits of technology to pull them off.

If I were to mention nothing but net, you'd probably know I was referring to a series of ads pitting Larry Bird against Michael Jordan going one-on-one on increasingly challenging and then outlandish basketball shots, the winner to get a McDonald's Big Mac.

So, with the big game soon to be upon us, I ask: What are your most memorable Super Bowl ads? What's the biggest flop? Some advertisers have "leaked" copies of commercials on-line before the big show. Where did you find them? What's your favorite so far?

posted by janrinok on Wednesday January 28, @03:39PM   Printer-friendly
from the oops-sorry-hic dept.

Related to our story yesterday, the US Secret Service has release some of its findings:

Today, ... the Secret Service revealed new details into their investigation—including a confession by the pilot himself. According to the Secret Service, an unnamed employee of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) claimed responsibility for crashing a remote-controlled quadrocopter into a tree on the grounds of the White House.

The yet-unnamed employee reported the incident to his superiors at NGA. He claimed to have been drinking at an apartment near the White House when he decided early Monday morning to fly a friend’s new DJI Phantom drone. He claimed that he then lost control of the drone. Soon after the drone slipped unnoticed over the White House fence, it was spotted flying low over the grounds before it crashed into a tree.

posted by janrinok on Wednesday January 28, @01:42PM   Printer-friendly
from the who-threw-the-first-punch? dept.

We already knew that Australia had a cyber army capable of running “computer network operations” — as broad a term as that is —...

[...] the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), and the hackers in its employ, have launched online attacks against targets in the Middle East that were (or are) conspiring against Australia.

That capability has been grown and developed over at least the last decade — a “computer network attack” team within the ASD, as part of the larger computer network operations team, tasked with building offensive digital warfare tools — rather than the intelligence gathering that the ASD more generally is responsible for.

And from this Australian Financial Review:

Sources say ASD has launched cyber-attacks on terrorists in the Middle East that were conspiring against Australia. ASD's small team of computer network attack (CNA) specialists, which are a fraction of the people working in its "computer network exploitation" area (which steals foreign intelligence), develop their own malware and borrow payloads from the larger CNA resources residing inside America's NSA and Britain's GCHQ.

Australia has also allegedly harnessed its offensive cyber skills to hit back against a non-democratic state that was pilfering our public and private secrets, intelligence sources say.

This involved implanting malware on foreign servers that erased data and disabled the cooling systems such that they were ultimately "fried".

So next time a western nation gets hacked perhaps it is because we started it......

posted by martyb on Wednesday January 28, @11:34AM   Printer-friendly
from the that'-s-no-moon dept.

Asteroid 2004 BL86 wizzed by the earth at 8:19 a.m. PST (11:19 a.m. EST) at a distance of about 745,000 miles (1.25 million km) — roughly three times the distance of the Moon from the Earth.

And it had a surprise for everyone. According to NASA and JPL, BL86 has a moon. JPL provided an animation of 20 different radar images that show the moon, as well as some detail of the Asteroid's surface.

The 20 individual images used in the movie were generated from data collected at Goldstone on Jan. 26, 2015. They show the primary body is approximately 1,100 feet (325 meters) across and has a small moon approximately 230 feet (70 meters) across. In the near-Earth population, about 16 percent of asteroids that are about 655 feet (200 meters) or larger are a binary (the primary asteroid with a smaller asteroid moon orbiting it) or even triple systems (two moons). The resolution on the radar images is 13 feet (4 meters) per pixel.

Sort of reminds me of The Siphonaptera:
Big fleas have little fleas upon their back to bitem. Little fleas have lesser fleas, and so ad infinitum.

posted by martyb on Wednesday January 28, @09:45AM   Printer-friendly
from the just-wait-until-it-hatches dept.

From The Guardian ...

"It sounds like the breakthrough that no one was asking for: scientists have announced they have managed to “unboil” an egg. In a disgusting-sounding experiment that you probably shouldn’t try at home, an international team of researchers have used urea, one of the main components of urine, and a “vortex fluid device” to uncook a hen’s egg. They believe the findings could dramatically reduce costs in processes as far apart as cheese manufacturing and cancer research."

posted by martyb on Wednesday January 28, @07:55AM   Printer-friendly
from the panopticlick-needs-an-update dept.

The New York Times reported Monday:

For the last several months, cybersecurity experts have been warning Verizon Wireless that it was putting the privacy of its customers at risk. The computer codes the company uses to tag and follow its mobile subscribers around the web, they said, could make those consumers vulnerable to covert tracking and profiling.

It looks as if there was reason to worry.

This month Jonathan Mayer, a lawyer and computer science graduate student at Stanford University, reported on his blog that Turn, an advertising software company, was using Verizon’s unique customer codes to regenerate its own tracking tags after consumers had chosen to delete what is called a cookie — a little bit of code that can stick with your web browser after you have visited a site. In effect, Turn found a way to keep tracking visitors even after they tried to delete their digital footprints.

The episode shined a spotlight on a privacy issue that is particularly pronounced at Verizon. The company’s customer codes, called unique ID headers, have troubled some data security and privacy experts who say Verizon has introduced a persistent, hidden tracking mechanism into apps and browsers that third parties could easily exploit.

posted by martyb on Wednesday January 28, @06:29AM   Printer-friendly
from the soon-to-be-made-into-vitawheatavegamin dept.

The wheat genome has been sequenced after years of study. Scientists say this breakthrough will now allow new and better wheat varieties. With the increasing problem of how to feed the world's growing population — especially in poor areas (poor as in soil quality as well as monetarily) — this seems like it could be a very important breakthrough for future civilization.

Now, with a chromosome-based full sequence in hand, plant breeders will have high-quality tools at their disposal to accelerate breeding programs and to identify how genes control complex traits such as yield, grain quality, disease, pest resistance, or abiotic stress tolerance. They will be able to produce a new generation of wheat varieties with higher yields and improved sustainability to meet the demands of a growing world population in a changing environment.

posted by janrinok on Wednesday January 28, @04:27AM   Printer-friendly
from the coming-slowly-to-a-showroom-near-you dept.

Here's a story from about the worlds first 3D-printed-car:

This week at the Detroit auto show, [Local Motors] 3D-printed a car called the Strati. The two-seater is made of plastic components and can go up to 25 miles per hour.

The car — which Local plans to sell later this year — takes about 44 hours to print, and is then outfitted with an electric car battery, motor and suspension from French automaker Renault, according to the Associated Press. Local Motors CEO Jay Rogers told the AP the Strati is the first of three vehicles he plans to sell. The Strati will cost between $18,000 and $30,000, he added.The two-seater is made of plastic components and can go up to 25 miles per hour so it's more of a cart than a car.

posted by janrinok on Wednesday January 28, @02:22AM   Printer-friendly
from the a-peake-into-space dept.

Should we say NO even before the project is finished (citing Betteridge's law of headlines)?

Science Education researchers at University of York are to work with leading space scientist and The Sky at Night presenter Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock to investigate if human spaceflight inspires school students to take science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects.

The £348,000 three-year project, funded by the UK Space Agency and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), will focus on British astronaut Tim Peake's mission to the International Space Station (ISS), to be launched at the end of November 2015.

Tim Peake is the first British member of the European Space Agency's astronaut corps, and he will become the first Briton to visit the ISS. As well as delivering invaluable scientific research and cutting edge technology, it is hoped that the programme will boost participation and interest in STEM subjects among school children.

The research will involve gathering views from pupils and teachers from a sample of 30 primary and 30 secondary schools. In addition, perspectives will be gained from space scientists on areas of the industry that may influence students. Participants will be asked their advice on space science resources for use with school students, leading to the production of an overview of those resources. The study, starting in January 2015, will also involve the design of a new instrument to assess school students' attitudes to STEM subjects and to space science.

posted by LaminatorX on Wednesday January 28, @12:21AM   Printer-friendly
from the mo-money-mo-problems dept.

Nicholas Confessore reports at the New York Times that the Koch Brothers and their political network plan to spend close to $900 million in the 2016 election, an unparalleled effort by coordinated outside groups to shape a presidential election that is already on track to be the most expensive in history. The group’s budget reflects the rising ambition and expanded reach of the Koch operation, which has sought to distinguish itself from other outside groups by emphasizing the role of donors over consultants and political operatives. Hundreds of conservative donors recruited by the Kochs gathered over the weekend for three days of issue seminars, strategy sessions, and mingling with rising elected officials. These donors represent the largest concentration of political money outside the party establishment, one that has achieved enormous power in Republican circles in recent years. “It’s no wonder the candidates show up when the Koch brothers call,” says David Axelrod, a former senior adviser to Mr. Obama. “That’s exponentially more money than any party organization will spend. In many ways, they have superseded the party.”

Espousing a political worldview that protects free speech and individual and property rights with equal protection for everyone under the law Koch says: “It is up to us. Making this vision a reality will require more than a financial commitment. It requires making it a central part of our lives.” Told of the $889 million goal, Mark McKinnon, a veteran GOP operative who has worked to rally Republican support to reduce the role of money in politics, quipped: “For that kind of money, you could buy yourself a president. Oh, right. That’s the point.”

posted by LaminatorX on Tuesday January 27, @10:18PM   Printer-friendly
from the time-they-are-a-changin dept.

Douglas Quenqua reports in the New York Times that the days of the Baby Boomers are numbered as Millennials are set to overtake them as the United States’ largest living generation "Which is obviously terrifying! #Millennials, with their hippity-hop music and their "Snapchats" and their twerks, overtaking that most noble (and by "noble" we mean "populous") generation!" But there is power in numbers, and the size of the millennial generation will carry some benefits for its members. "They are tired of being stereotyped by boomers, whom they view as ruining the world for them,” says Jeffrey Arnett. “This could allow them to demand more respect than they’ve gotten so far.” Perhaps more important, it will give them “more power in the conversation about where American society should go in particular.”

Part of the probem is in determining demographically just what is a Millennial. While Boomers are traditionally deemed to include anyone born between 1946 and 1960, according to Pew Research "Millennials are defined as those ages 18 to 34 in 2015." In other words, those born between 1981 and 1997. “One of the defining events typically associated with millennials is that they grew up experiencing 9/11,” says Richard Fry. But those born in 1997 “would have been 5 years old when the attacks happened,” not usually an age when global events leave formative impressions. Then there's the Gen Xers, projected to remain the “middle child” of generations – caught between two larger generations of the Millennials and the Boomers. Gen Xers are fewer in number than Millennials because the generational span of Gen X (16 years) is shorter than the Millennials (17 years). Also, the Gen Xers were born during a period when Americans were having fewer children than later decades. "For Xers, there’s one silver lining in all this. From everything we know about them, they’re savvy, skeptical and self-reliant; they’re not into preening or pampering, and they just might not give much of a hoot what others think of them. Or whether others think of them at all."

posted by LaminatorX on Tuesday January 27, @08:16PM   Printer-friendly
from the Counter-Strike:Hellenic-Republic dept.

Valve's Economist Yanis Varoufakis Appointed Greece's Finance Minister to try to right Greece's economy suffering under EU austerity I measures.

In-game economies, especially those in MMORPGs, can provide excellent insights into what factors contribute to a thriving economy, namely because controllers of the game can manipulate the money supply to see what happens.

To my mind this is an interesting and hopeful turn of events which might stop their great depression with 25% in the unemployment rate.

Coverage at International Business Times and The Telegraph.

posted by LaminatorX on Tuesday January 27, @06:56PM   Printer-friendly
from the Dump-the-milk-Ethel-the-cat's-drinking-unleaded! dept.

We discussed the end of the driving boom in This Story on SN just days ago. This was based on a Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) study released in May.

But now a story in The Detroit News says that the same FHWA agency has reversed course, and now says driving in 2014 will exceed levels not seen since 2007.

Drivers are on pace to top 3 trillion miles for the first time since 2007 — when drivers logged 3.031 trillion miles, the most in history — and just one of two years in which driving topped 3 trillion miles. As drivers buy more fuel-efficient vehicles, they also opt to drive more as the price per mile declines.

Other sources indicate the upturn in traffic has been noticeable in California.

The falling price of fuel, expected to persist thought 2015, is likely to keep this trend going.

The graphics of Traffic volume (pdf page 9) of the newer FHWA Traffic Volume Trends report suggest that it is the decline in traffic growth that is over. Many sources suggest this decline had more to do with the recession than any actual decline in American automobile travel.

posted by LaminatorX on Tuesday January 27, @04:45PM   Printer-friendly
from the all-I-got-was-this-stupid-T-shirt dept.

Caitlin Dewey writes in the Washington Post that she's been using a new service called "Invisible Boyfriend" and that she's fallen in love with it. When you sign up for the service, you design a boyfriend (or girlfriend) to your specifications. "You pick his name, his age, his interests and personality traits. You tell the app if you prefer blonds or brunettes, tall guys or short, guys who like theater or guys who watch sports. Then you swipe your credit card — $25 per month, cha-ching! — and the imaginary man of your dreams starts texting you." Invisible boyfriend is actually boyfriends, plural: The service’s texting operation is powered by CrowdSource, a St. Louis-based tech company that manages 200,000 remote, microtask-focused workers. "When I send a text to the Ryan number saved in my phone, the message routes through Invisible Boyfriend, where it’s anonymized and assigned to some Amazon Turk or Fivrr freelancer. He (or she) gets a couple of cents to respond. He never sees my name or number, and he can’t really have anything like an actual conversation with me." Dewey says that the point of Invisible Boyfriend is to deceive the user’s meddling friends and relatives. "I was newly divorced and got tired of everyone asking if I was dating or seeing someone," says co-founder Matthew Homann. "There seems to be this romance culture in our country where people are looked down upon if they aren't in a relationship."

Evidence suggests that people can be conned into loving just about anything. There is no shortage of stories about couples carrying on “relationships” exclusively via Second Life , the game critic Kate Gray recently published an ode to “Dorian,” a character she fell in love with in a video game, and one anthropologist argues that our relationships are increasingly so mediated by tech that they’ve become indistinguishable from Tamagotchis. “The Internet is a disinhibiting medium, where people’s emotional guard is down,” says Mark Griffiths. “It’s the same phenomenon as the stranger on the train, where you find yourself telling your life story to someone you don’t know.” It’s not exactly the stuff of fairytales, concludes Dewey. "But given enough time and texts—a full 100 are included in my monthly package—I’m pretty sure I could fall for him. I mean, er … them."

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