Corporations Block Access from Miracle Drugs to Science Research

Corporations Block Access to Everything from Miracle Drugs to Science Research:

Corporations Block Access to Everything from Miracle Drugs to Science Research

Corporations Block Access to Everything from Miracle Drugs to Science Research

Should a company be able to patent a breast cancer gene? What about a species of soybean? How about a tool for basic scientific research? Or even a patent for acquiring patents?

Intellectual property rights are supposed to help inventors bring good things to life, but there’s increasing concern that they may be keeping us from getting the things we need.

In this wild and contested jungle of the law, which concerns things like patents and copyrights, questions about the implications of allowing limited monopolies on ideas are making headlines. Do they stifle innovation? Can they cause the public more harm than good? Trillions of dollars are at stake. Companies known as “patent trolls” are gobbling up patents, then going on lawsuit sprees and extracting fees against infringement. Corporations are using intellectual property law to squash competitors and block our access to things as vital as lifesaving drugs, to place restrictions on things as intimate as parts of the human body. Third World countries are kept from accessing essential public goods related to everything from food security to education.

Surely, the producers of new ideas should be able to profit from their creations. But furious debates over what should be protected and who should profit are calling attention to the many things that are going wrong in this area. For example, a recent front-page story in the New York Times detailed how diabetics are being held hostage in America by companies that follow Apple’s playbook to lock patients into buying expensive, patented products that quickly become obsolete. If you don’t buy the product, you don’t miss getting the new iPhone. You may die.

Source:  alternet.org

61% Of Internet Users are Bots

Bots Are Now 61% Of Internet Users:   

Bots Are Now 61% Of Internet Users

Bots Are Now 61% Of Internet Users

 

A study by Incapsula suggests 61.5% of all website traffic is now generated by bots. The security firm said that was a 21% rise on last year’s figure of 51%.

Some of these automated software tools are malicious – stealing data or posting ads for scams in comment sections. But the firm said the biggest growth in traffic was for “good” bots.

These are tools used by search engines to crawl websites in order to index their content, by analytics companies to provide feedback about how a site is performing, and by others to carry out specific tasks – such as helping the Internet Archive preserve content before it is deleted.

To generate its report, Incapsula said it observed 1.45 billion bot visits over a 90 day period. Dr Ian Brown, associate director at Oxford University’s Cyber Security Centre, said the figures were useful as an indication of the growth in non-human traffic.

Congress doesn’t know how NSA works

Congress NSA doesn't works

Congress NSA doesn’t works

While the president and the intelligence community cling to “Congressional oversight” as a justficiation for the pervasive intelligence-gathering programs in place within the US, members of Congress theselves are saying that they don’t have the information they need to exercise real authority over the NSA. A recent report in The Guardian quotes two House members, Morgan Griffith (R-VA) and Alan Grayson (D-FL), who have both requested information about the agency and its programs from the House Intelligence Committee, only to be rebuffed.

In a June 25th request, Rep. Griffith asked the committee for the “classified FISA court order(s)” discussed on Meet the Press the previous weekend — a 2011 opinion holding that many of the NSA’s programs under the FISA Amendments Act were unconstitutitional. Weeks later he requested additional information surrounding Yahoo’s legal challenge to the NSA’s PRISM program and Verizon’s supplying of customer metadata to government intelligence agencies. More than six weeks since the first letter, Griffith still hasn’t received a response.

In Rep. Grayson’s case, the committee did sometimes respond to his requests for information. “The transcript is classified,” read one such reply to a request for the text from a vote — itself a decision to refuse an earlier request for information. So far, neither Griffith nor Grayson have received the information they requested.

Adding to the overall lack of oversight, media reports containing classified information are similarly barred from Congress. Last month, Grayson attempted to circulate slides published by The Guardian only to be told that he could face sanctions because the material they contained was still classified, echoing the Obama administration’s 2010 decision to ban the WikiLeaks website from federal computers while the diplomatic cables it sought to block access to were being published in major newspapers. Expressing frustration at the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Griffith said, “my oath is to make informed decisions, and I can’t do my job when I can’t get even the most basic information about these programs.”

NSA

Mutations Triggered Evolutionary Leap 500 Million Years Ago

Two Mutations Triggered an Evolutionary Leap 500 Million Years Ago:

Two Mutations Triggered an Evolutionary Leap 500 Million Years Ago

Two Mutations Triggered an Evolutionary Leap 500 Million Years Ago

A research team led by a University of Chicago scientist has discovered two key mutations that sparked a hormonal revolution 500 million years ago.

In a feat of “molecular time travel,” the researchers resurrected and analyzed the functions of the ancestors of genes that play key roles in modern human reproduction, development, immunity and cancer. By re-creating the same DNA changes that occurred during those genes’ ancient history, the team showed that two mutations set the stage for hormones like estrogen, testosterone and cortisol to take on their crucial present-day roles.

“Changes in just two letters of the genetic code in our deep evolutionary past caused a massive shift in the function of one protein and set in motion the evolution of our present-day hormonal and reproductive systems,” said Joe Thornton, PhD, professor of human genetics and ecology & evolution at the University of Chicago, who led the study.

“If those two mutations had not happened, our bodies today would have to use different mechanisms to regulate pregnancy, libido, the response to stress, kidney function, inflammation, and the development of male and female characteristics at puberty,” Thornton said.

Understanding how the genetic code of a protein determines its functions would allow biochemists to better design drugs and predict the effects of mutations on disease. Thornton said the discovery shows how evolutionary analysis of proteins’ histories can advance this goal, Before the group’s work, it was not previously known how the various steroid receptors in modern species distinguish estrogens from other hormones.

The team, which included researchers from the University of Oregon, Emory University and the Scripps Research Institute, studied the evolution of a family of proteins called steroid hormone receptors, which mediate the effects of hormones on reproduction, development and physiology. Without receptor proteins, these hormones cannot affect the body’s cells.

Thornton’s group traced how the ancestor of the entire receptor family — which recognized only estrogens — evolved into descendant proteins capable of recognizing other steroid hormones, such as testosterone, progesterone and the stress hormone cortisol.

To do so, the group used a gene “resurrection” strategy. They first inferred the genetic sequences of ancient receptor proteins, using computational methods to work their way back up the tree of life from a database of hundreds of present-day receptor sequences. They then biochemically synthesized these ancient DNA sequences and used molecular assays to determine the receptors’ sensitivity to various hormones.

Thornton’s team narrowed down the time range during which the capacity to recognize non-estrogen steroids evolved, to a period about 500 million years ago, before the dawn of vertebrate animals on Earth. They then identified the most important mutations that occurred during that interval by introducing them into the reconstructed ancestral proteins. By measuring how the mutations affected the receptor’s structure and function, the team could re-create ancient molecular evolution in the laboratory.

They found that just two changes in the ancient receptor’s gene sequence caused a 70,000-fold shift in preference away from estrogens toward other steroid hormones. The researchers also used biophysical techniques to identify the precise atomic-level mechanisms by which the mutations affected the protein’s functions. Although only a few atoms in the protein were changed, this radically rewired the network of interactions between the receptor and the hormone, leading to a massive change in function.

“Our findings show that new molecular functions can evolve by sudden large leaps due to a few tiny changes in the genetic code,” Thornton said. He pointed out that, along with the two key changes in the receptor, additional mutations, the precise effects of which are not yet known, were necessary for the full effects of hormone signaling on the body to evolve.

Internet kill’s brains

Does The Internet Make You Dumb? Top German Neuroscientist Says Yes – And Forever:

Does The Internet Make You Dumb? Top German Neuroscientist Says Yes - And Forever

Does The Internet Make You Dumb? Top German Neuroscientist Says Yes – And Forever

Dr. Manfred Spitzer knows that people find his arguments provocative. In his first book, he warned parents of the very real dangers of letting their children spend too much time in front of the TV. Now, in a second book called Digitale Demenz [Digital Dementia], he’s telling them that teaching young kids finger-counting games is much better for them than letting them explore on a laptop.

Spitzer, 54, may be a member of the slide-rule generation that learned multiplication tables by heart, but his work as a neuropsychiatrist has shown him that when young children spend too much time using a computer, their brain development suffers and that the deficits are irreversible and cannot be made up for later in life.

South Korean doctors were the first to describe this phenomenon, and dubbed it digital dementia – whence the title of Spitzer’s book. Simplistically, the message can be summed up this way: the Internet makes you dumb. And it is of course a message that outrages all those who feel utterly comfortable in the digital world. In the aftermath of the publication of Spitzer’s book, they have lost no time venting their wrath across Germany.

And yet Spitzer has accumulated a wealth of scientific information that gives his thesis solid underpinnings, and the studies and data he draws on offer more than enough room for consternation.

Everything leaves traces in the brain

According to his study, many young people today use more than one medium at a time: they place calls while playing computer games or writing e-mails. That means that some of them are packing 8.5 hours of media use per day into 6.5 hours. Multitasking like this comes at the cost of concentration – experiments by American researchers have established this. And to Spitzer, those results mean just one thing: “Multitasking is not something we should be encouraging in future generations.”

Because everything a person does leaves traces in the brain. When development is optimum, memory links are formed and built on during the first months and years of life, and the structure adds up to a kind of basic foundation for everything else we learn. Scientists call this ability of the brain to adjust to new challenges “neuroplasticity.” It is one of the reasons for the evolutionary success of the human species. Spitzer also sees it as a source of present danger.

When drivers depend exclusively on their navigation technology, they do not develop the ability to orient themselves, although of course the brain offers them the possibility of learning how to do so. The same applies to children who use electronic styluses on a SMART board instead of learning how to write — the brain is kept in check. And because computers take over many classrooms and other functions that are actually good practice for kids, “it inevitably has a negative effect on learning,” Spitzer argues.

Digital media should be banned from classrooms

Stating that there have so far been no independent studies “that unequivocally establish that computers and screens in the classroom makes learning any more effective,” Spitzer goes so far as to recommend that digital media be banned from the classroom. Even more drastically, he writes: “In reality, using digital media in kindergarten or primary school is actually a way of getting children addicted.” Strong stuff for the generations who take computers and the Internet for granted, using them as a source of information and a space to communicate via social networks — and who enjoy doing so. The Internet has become the fourth cultural technology, alongside reading, writing and arithmetic.

Spitzer quotes Swiss pedagogue and educational reformer Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi (1746-1827), who wrote that the process of learning involves the heart along with the brain and the hands. He believes it would be better if kids learned finger games to help them deal with numbers, instead of relying on computers. In a country like Germany, whose major resource is smart people and innovative ideas, maybe we should be taking Spitzer’s warnings more seriously.

What the internet is doing to our Brains:

Analytics engine will read your mind

Computation knowledge engine will soon be able to read your mind:

COMPUTATION KNOWLEDGE ENGINE

COMPUTATION KNOWLEDGE ENGINE

Wolfram Alpha will soon be able to read your mind, its creator Stephen Wolfram said at the South By Southwest (SXSW) conference in Austin today.

Speaking at the US technology conference on Monday, Wolfram predicted that his analytics engine will soon work pre-emptively, meaning it will be able to predict what its users are looking for.

“Wolfram Alpha will be able to predict what users are looking for,” Wolfram said. “Imagine that combined with augmented reality.”

Speaking during a talk on the future of computation, Stephen Wolfram – the creator of Wolfram Alpha and the mastermind behind Apple’s Siri personal assistant – also showed off the engine’s new ability to analyse images.

Wolfram said, “We’re now able to bring in uploaded material, and use our algorithm to analyse it. For example, we can take a picture, ask Wolfram Alpha and it will try and tell us things about it.

“We can compute all sorts of things about this picture – and ask Wolfram Alpha to do a specific computation if need be.”

That’s not the only new feature of Wolfram Alpha, as it can also now analyse data from uploaded spreadsheet documents.

“We can also do things like uploading a spreadsheet and asking Wolfram [Alpha] to analyse specific data from it,” Wolfram said.

He added, “This is an exciting time for me, because a whole lot of things I’ve been working on for 30 years have begun converging in a nice way.”

This upload feature will be available as part of Wolfram Alpha Pro, a paid-for feature where Wolfram hopes the analytical engine will make most of its money. Wolfram Alpha Pro costs $4.99 per month, or $2.99 if you’re a student.

Wolfram also showed off Wolfram Alpha’s ability to analyse data from Facebook, a feature that was announced last August.

Police analyze Facebook to catch you

Researchers are interested in analyzing Facebook and social media to see how you score on a Self-Report Psychopathy scale:
The researchers are interested in analyzing what people write on Facebook or in other social media, since our unconscious mind also holds sway over what we write. By analyzing stories written by students from Cornell and the University of British Columbia, and looking at how the text people generate using social media relates to scores on the Self-Report Psychopathy scale.

The researchers are interested in analyzing what people write on Facebook or in other social media. By analyzing stories written by students and looking at how the text people generate using social media relates to scores on the Self-Report Psychopathy scale.

Psychopaths appear to view the world and others instrumentally, as theirs for the taking, the team, which included Stephen Porter from the University of British Columbia, wrote. As they expected, the psychopaths’ language contained more words known as subordinating conjunctions. These words, including “because” and “so that,” are associated with cause-and-effect statements. “This pattern suggested that psychopaths were more likely to view the crime as the logical outcome of a plan (something that ‘had’ to be done to achieve a goal),” the authors write. While most of us respond to higher-level needs, such as family, religion or spirituality, and self-esteem, psychopaths remain occupied with those needs associated with a more basic existence. Their analysis revealed that psychopaths used about twice as many words related to basic physiological needs and self-preservation, including eating, drinking and monetary resources than the nonpsychopaths, they write. Jeffrey Hancock, the lead researcher and an associate professor in communications at Cornell University said, “the nonpsychopathic murderers talked more about spirituality and religion and family, reflecting what nonpsychopathic people would think about when they just committed a murder”. Police and researchers are interested in analyzing what people write on Facebook or in other social media, since our unconscious mind also holds sway over what we write. By analyzing stories written by students from Cornell and the University of British Columbia, and looking at how the text people generate using social media relates to scores on the Self-Report Psychopathy scale. Unlike the checklist, which is based on an extensive review of the case file and an interview, the self report is completed by the person in question. This sort of tool could be very useful for law enforcement investigations, such as in the case of the Long Island serial killer, who is being sought for the murders of at least four prostitutes and possibly others, since this killer used the online classified site Craigslist to contact victims, according to Hancock. Text analysis software could be used to conduct a “first pass,” focusing the work of human investigators, he said. “A lot of time analysts tell you they feel they are drinking from a fire hose.” Knowing a suspect is a psychopath can affect how law enforcement conducts investigations and interrogations, Hancock said.

DARPA’S high resolution drone-mounted camera

DARPA Can See You… From 17,500 Feet In The Air:

 DARPA Can See You... From 17,500 Feet In The Air A new video from the world's highest-resolution drone-mounted camera is mind-blowingly clear. And terrifying.

DARPA Can See You… From 17,500 Feet In The Air

 

Curious as to how the Defense Department could be spying on you next? PBS checked in with DARPA about the latest in drone camera technology for the NOVA special “Rise of the Drones,” including the world’s highest-resolution camera. Actually seeing the sensor on ARGUS-IS, or Autonomous Real-Time Ground Ubiquitous Surveillance Imaging System, is still classified, but the basics of how it works have been deemed fit for public consumption. ARGUS-IS uses 368 imaging chips like those found in cell phone cameras, to stitch together a 1.8 billion pixel video. That means from 17,500 feet in the air, ARGUS-IS can see someone on the ground waving their arms. And it generates that kind of high-definition video for an area 15 square miles across. It can see a bird flying through a parking lot from more than three miles in the air. It can store a million terabytes of video a day, up to 5,000 hours of footage, so soon drones will not only be able to see everything that happens on the ground, but also keep that record. Whether or not ARGUS has been used in the field is still classified. Let’s get real, though: Does this cool a toy get put in a corner?

Russia Orders Obama to Tell the World About Aliens

Russia Orders Obama: Tell World About Aliens, Or We Will

Russia Orders Obama: Tell The World About Aliens, Or We Will

 

A stunning Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) report on Prime Minister Medvedev’s [photo top left] agenda at the World Economic Forum (WEF) this week states that Russia will warn President Obama that the “time has come” for the world to know the truth about aliens, and if the United States won’t participate in the announcement, the Kremlin will do so on its own. The WEF (The Forum) is a Swiss non-profit foundation, based in Cologny, Geneva and describes itself as an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.

Russia Orders Obama Tell World About Aliens, Or We Will

The Forum is best known for its annual meeting in Davos, a mountain resort in Graubünden, in the eastern Alps region of Switzerland. The meeting brings together some 2,500 top business leaders, international political leaders, selected intellectuals and journalists to discuss the most pressing issues facing the world, including health and the environment. Medvedev is scheduled to open this years Forum where as many as 50 heads of government, including Germany’s Angela Merkel and Britain’s David Cameron, will attend the five-day meeting that begins on 23 January. Critical to note about this years Forum is that the WEF, in their 2013 Executive Summary, scheduled for debate and discussion a number of items under their X Factors from Nature category, and which includes the “discovery of alien life” of which they state: “Proof of life elsewhere in the universe could have profound psychological implications for human belief systems.” Equally critical to note is that Medvedev, after completing a 7 December 2012 on-camera interview with reporters in Moscow, continued to respond to reporters and made some off-air comments without realizing that his microphone was still on. He was then asked by one reporter if “the president is handed secret files on aliens when he receives the briefcase needed to activate Russia’s nuclear arsenal,” Medvedev responded:

https://i1.wp.com/www.whatdoesitmean.com/all2.png

“Along with the briefcase with nuclear codes, the president of the country is given a special ‘top secret’ folder. This folder in its entirety contains information about aliens who visited our planet… Along with this, you are given a report of the absolutely secret special service that exercises control over aliens on the territory of our country… More detailed information on this topic you can get from a well-known movie called Men In Black… I will not tell you how many of them are among us because it may cause panic.”

Western news sources reporting on Medvedev’s shocking reply about aliens stated that he was “joking” as he mentioned the movie Men In Black, which they wrongly assumed was a reference to the 1997 American sci-fi adventure comedy about two top secret agents battling aliens in the US. Medvedev, however, wasn’t referring to the American movie but was, instead, talking about the famous Russian movie documentary Men In Black which details many UFO and alien anomalies. Where Western news sources quoted Medvedev as saying “More detailed information on this topic you can get from a well-known movie called ‘Men In Black,’” his actual answer was, “You can receive more detailed information having watched the documentary film of the same name.” The reason(s) for Western propaganda news outlets deliberately distorting Medvedev’s words become apparent after his shocking statement, and as evidenced in just one example of their so called reporting on this disclosure of alien life already being on our planet where the title of one such article was “Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev makes a crack about aliens, and conspiracists promptly lose their minds.” If anyone is “losing their minds” about aliens, it must be pointed out, it is certainly not Russia, but the Vatican, which in November 2009 announced it was “preparing for extraterrestrial disclosure.” Equally, and apparently, “losing their minds” are US government officials themselves, such as former Pentagon consultant Timothy Good, and author of Above Top Secret: The Worldwide U.F.O. Cover-Up, who in February 2012 stated that former President Dwight Eisenhower had three secret meetings with aliens who were ‘Nordic’ in appearance and wherein a ‘Pact’ was signed to keep their agenda on Earth secret. With the recent discovery in the Russian city of Vladivostok of a 300-million-year-old UFO tooth-wheel, and scientists, astronauts and YouTube users reporting increasingly strange happenings on the moon, the European Space agency reporting their discovery of a 1,000 ancient river on Mars, and UK and Sri Lanka scientists saying they now have “rock solid proof of alien life” after finding fossilized algae inside meteorite, the only ones who seem to be truly “losing their minds” are the Western, especially American, propagandists who for decades have covered up one of the most important stories in all of human history that “we are not alone.” To if Medvedev will be able to convince the Obama regime to tell the truth about UFO and aliens at the WEF this week it is not in our knowing.  What is in our knowing, though, is that with or without the US, the Kremlin will surely begin the process of telling the truth about that which we already know to be true.

Chinese law requires registration to access Internet

China may soon require real name registration for access to Internet:

China may soon require real name registration for access to Internet

China may soon require real name registration for access to Internet

 

China may require internet users to register with their real names when signing up to network providers, state media said on Tuesday, extending a policy already in force with microblogs in a bid to curb what officials call rumors and vulgarity. A law being discussed this week would mean people would have to present their government-issued identity cards when signing contracts for fixed line and mobile internet access, state-run newspapers said. “The law should escort the development of the internet to protect people’s interest,” Communist Party mouthpiece the People’s Daily said in a front-page commentary, echoing similar calls carried in state media over the past week. “Only that way can our Internet be healthier, more cultured and safer.” Many users say the restrictions are clearly aimed at further muzzling the often scathing, raucous — and perhaps most significantly, anonymous — online chatter in a country where the Internet offers a rare opportunity for open debate. It could also prevent people from exposing corruption online if they fear retribution from officials, said some users. It was unclear how the rules would be different from existing regulations as state media has provided only vague details and in practice customers have long had to present identity papers when signing contracts with internet providers. Earlier this year, the government began forcing users of Sina Corp.’s wildly successful Weibo microblogging platform to register their real names. The government says such a system is needed to prevent people making malicious and anonymous accusations online and that many other countries already have such rules. “It would also be the biggest step backwards since 1989,” wrote one indignant Weibo user, in apparent reference to the 1989 pro-democracy protests bloodily suppressed by the army. Chinese Internet users have long had to cope with extensive censorship, especially over politically sensitive topics like human rights, and popular foreign sites Facebook, Twitter and Google-owned YouTube are blocked. Despite periodic calls for political reform, the ruling Communist Party has shown no sign of loosening its grip on power and brooks no dissent to its authority.

Asperger’s syndrome dropped from DSM

Asperger’s syndrome dropped from psychiatrists’ handbook the DSM:

 

Gary McKinnon, the British hacker who is diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome. The condition is to be removed from American psychiatric handbook the DSM and its symptoms covered by autism spectrum disorder.

Gary McKinnon, the British hacker who is diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome. The condition is to be removed from American psychiatric handbook the DSM and its symptoms covered by autism spectrum disorder.

 

Asperger’s syndrome is to be dropped from the psychiatrists’ Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of Mental Disorders, the American publication that is one of the most influential references for the profession around the world. The term “Asperger’s disorder” will not appear in the DSM-5, the latest revision of the manual, and instead its symptoms will come under the newly added “autism spectrum disorder”, which is already used widely. That umbrella diagnosis will include children with severe autism, who often do not talk or interact, as well as those with milder forms. The British hacker Gary McKinnon is diagnosed with Asperger’s and it contributed to a government decision not to extradite him from Britain to the US on cybercrime charges. The DSM is used in a number of countries to varying degrees. Psychiatrists in some countries including Britain use the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) published by the World Health Organisation or a combination of both handbooks. In other changes to the DSM, abnormally bad and frequent temper tantrums will be diagnosed as DMDD, meaning disruptive mood dysregulation disorder. Supporters say it will address concerns about too many children being misdiagnosed with bipolar disorder and treated with powerful psychiatric drugs. The term “gender identity disorder”, for children and adults who strongly believe they were born the wrong gender, is being replaced with “gender dysphoria” to remove the stigma attached to the word “disorder”. Supporters equated the change with removing homosexuality as a mental illness in the diagnostic manual decades ago. The revisions come in the first major rewrite in nearly 20 years of the diagnostic guide used by psychiatrists in the US and other countries. The changes were approved on Saturday. Full details of all the revisions will come in May 2013 when the American Psychiatric Association’s new diagnostic manual is published. The changes will affect the diagnosis and treatment of millions of children and adults worldwide, as well as medical insurance and special education services. The aim was not to expand the number of people diagnosed with mental illness but to ensure those affected were more accurately diagnosed so they could get the most appropriate treatment, said Dr David Kupfer, the University of Pittsburgh psychiatry professor who chaired the revision committee. One of the most hotly argued changes was how to define the various ranges of autism. Some on the panel opposed the idea of dropping the specific diagnosis for Asperger’s. People with that disorder often have high intelligence and vast knowledge on narrow subjects but lack social skills. Some Asperger’s families opposed any change, fearing their children will lose a diagnosis and no longer be eligible for special services, but experts have said this will not be the case. People with dyslexia also were closely watching for the update. Many with the reading disorder did not want their diagnosis dropped, and it will not be. Instead, the new manual will have a broader learning disorder category to cover several conditions including dyslexia, which causes difficulty understanding letters and recognising written words. The shorthand name for the new edition, the organisation’s fifth revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, is DSM-5. Group leaders say specifics will not be disclosed until the manual is published but they confirmed some changes. A 2000 edition of the manual made minor changes but the last major edition was published in 1994.

DNA finally photographed

 

DNA directly photographed for the first time:

DNA directly photographed for the first time

DNA directly photographed for the first time

Fifty-nine years after James Watson and Francis Crick deduced the double-helix structure of DNA, a scientist has captured the first direct photograph of the twisted ladder that props up life. Enzo Di Fabrizio, a physics professor at Magna Graecia University in Catanzaro, Italy, snapped the picture using an electron microscope. Previously, scientists had only seen DNA’s structure indirectly. The double-corkscrew form was first discovered using a technique called X-ray crystallography, in which a material’s shape is reconstructed based on how X-rays bounce after they collide with it.


A bundle of DNA is supported by two silicon pillars.

DNA’s double-helix structure is on display for the first time in this electron microscope photograph of a small bundle of DNA strands.

But Di Fabrizio and his colleagues developed a plan to bring DNA out of hiding. They built a nanoscopic landscape of extremely water-repellant silicon pillars. When they added a solution that contained strands of DNA into this scene, the water quickly evaporated and left behind cords of bare DNA that stretched like tightropes between the tiny mesas. They then shone beams of electrons through holes in the silicon bed, and captured high-resolution images of the illuminated molecules. Di Fabrizio’s images actually show a thread of several interwoven DNA molecules, as opposed to just two coupled strands. This is because the energy of the electrons used would be enough to destroy an isolated double helix, or a single strand from a double helix. But with the use of more sensitive equipment and lower energy electrons, Di Fabrizio thinks that snapshots of individual double helices will soon be possible, New Scientist reports. Molecules of DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, store the genetic instructions that govern all living organisms’ growth and function. Di Fabrizio’s innovation will allow scientists to vividly observe interactions between DNA and some of life’s other essential ingredients, such as RNA (r ibonucleic acid ). The results of Di Fabrizio’s work were published in the journal NanoLetters.

Universe Is A Computer Simulation

Physicists May Have Evidence Universe Is A Computer Simulation:

 Physicists May Have Evidence Universe Is A Computer Simulation


Physicists May Have Evidence Universe Is A Computer Simulation

Physicists say they may have evidence that the universe is a computer simulation. They made a computer simulation of the universe. And it looks sort of like us. A long-proposed thought experiment, put forward by both philosophers and popular culture, points out that any civilisation of sufficient size and intelligence would eventually create a simulation universe if such a thing were possible. And since there would therefore be many more simulations (within simulations, within simulations) than real universes, it is therefore more likely than not that our world is artificial. Now a team of researchers at the University of Bonn in Germany led by Silas Beane say they have evidence this may be true. In a paper named ‘Constraints on the Universe as a Numerical Simulation’, they point out that current simulations of the universe – which do exist, but which are extremely weak and small – naturally put limits on physical laws. Technology Review explains that “the problem with all simulations is that the laws of physics, which appear continuous, have to be superimposed onto a discrete three dimensional lattice which advances in steps of time.” What that basically means is that by just being a simulation, the computer would put limits on, for instance, the energy that particles can have within the program. These limits would be experienced by those living within the sim – and as it turns out, something which looks just like these limits do in fact exist. For instance, something known as the Greisen-Zatsepin-Kuzmin, or GZK cut off, is an apparent boundary of the energy that cosmic ray particles can have. This is caused by interaction with cosmic background radiation. But Beane and co’s paper argues that the pattern of this rule mirrors what you might expect from a computer simulation. Naturally, at this point the science becomes pretty tricky to wade through – and we would advise you read the paper itself to try and get the full detail of the idea. But the basic impression is an intriguing one. Like a prisoner in a pitch-black cell, we may never be able to see the ‘walls’ of our prison — but through physics we may be able to reach out and touch them.

Government is Tracking Your Cell Phone

Big Brother is Definitely Tracking Your Cell Phone:

 

Big Brother is Definitely Tracking Your Cell Phone

Big Brother is Definitely Tracking Your Cell Phone

 

In a frightening new decision, a federal appeals court says that you have no expectation of privacy when the police want to track your location using your cell phone. U.S. v. Skinner, Case No. 09-6497. The court said that the police don’t need to bother getting a warrant if they want to track you by using the GPS signal in your cell phone to track you. This means that sheriffs can freely track Latinos who could be undocumented, the police can see which political meetings you attend, and the cops can learn whether you go to a church or a synagogue. In a ruling that is right out of the pages of George Orwell’s “1984,” the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, Ohio, blithely ruled on August 14, 2012, that police efficiency and convenience overrides your right to be free of electronic spying. The case in question involved a marijuana bust, but the ruling applies to the 85 percent of adults who own a cell phone, a dashboard navigation device and many iPads. Cell phones continue sending a signal several times a minute even when they are turned off. The only way to stop the GPS signal from a cell phone is to take out the battery, which is nearly impossible for the 75 million consumers who own an iPhone. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled this year that the police must get a warrant when they physically attach a GPS device. But the Sixth Circuit ruled that but if you happen to be carrying one already, that’s cool — the government can track you. In the view of the Sixth Circuit, it is just too much of a hassle for the police to get a warrant to catalog your every movement with your phone’s GPS signal. “Using a more efficient means of discovering this information does not amount to a Fourth Amendment violation,” the court sniffed. The government can track you from the sky. Incredibly, the court equated high-tech electronic monitoring with a bloodhound following a scent or identifying a car by its color. The judges said that GPS tracking of citizens is the same as someone following you on the street.

MIT discovers a new kind of magnetism

MIT discovers a new state of matter, a new kind of magnetism:

MIT discovers a new state of matter, a new kind of magnetism

MIT discovers a new state of matter, a new kind of magnetism

Researchers at MIT have discovered a new state of matter with a new kind of magnetism. This new state, called a quantum spin liquid (QSL), could lead to significant advances in data storage. QSLs also exhibit a quantum phenomenon called long-range entanglement, which could lead to new types of communications systems, and more. Generally, when we talk about magnetism’s role in the realm of technology, there are just two types: Ferromagnetism and antiferromagnetism. Ferromagnetism has been known about for centuries, and is the underlying force behind your compass’s spinning needle or the permanent bar magnets you played with at school. In ferromagnets, the spin (i.e. charge) of every electron is aligned in the same direction, causing two distinct poles. In antiferromagnets, neighboring electrons point in the opposite direction, causing the object to have zero net magnetism (pictured below). In combination with ferromagnets, antiferromagnets are used to create spin valves: the magnetic sensors used in hard drive heads.

Antiferromagnetic ordering

In the case of quantum spin liquids, the material is a solid crystal — but the internal magnetic state is constantly in flux. The magnetic orientations of the electrons (their magnetic moment) fluctuate as they interact with other nearby electrons. “But there is a strong interaction between them, and due to quantum effects, they don’t lock in place,” says Young Lee, senior author of the research. It is these strong interactions that apparently allow for long-range quantum entanglement. The existence of QSLs has been theorized since 1987, but until now no one has succeeded in actually finding one. In MIT’s case, the researchers spent 10 months growing a tiny sliver of herbertsmithite (pictured above) — a material that was suspected to be a QSL, but which had never been properly investigated. (Bonus points if you can guess who herbertsmithite is named after.) Using neutron scattering — firing a beam of neutrons at a material to analyze its structure — the researchers found that the herbertsmithite was indeed a QSL. Moving forward, Lee says that the discovery of QSLs could lead to advances in data storage (new forms of magnetic storage) and communications (long-range entanglement). Lee also seems to think that QSLs could lead us towards higher-temperature superconductors — i.e. materials that superconduct under relatively normal conditions, rather than -200C. Really, though, the most exciting thing about quantum spin liquids is that they’re completely new, and thus we ultimately have no idea how they might eventually affect our world. “We have to get a more comprehensive understanding of the big picture,” Lee says. “There is no theory that describes everything that we’re seeing.”

2012 started in Mexico

Security forces have removed some 500 inmates from a prison in the northern Mexican city:

 

Security forces have removed some 500 inmates from a prison in the northern Mexican city

Security forces have removed some 500 inmates from a prison in the northern Mexican city

Security forces have removed some 500 inmates from a prison in the northern Mexican city of Gomez Palacio after 24 people died during a foiled jailbreak. The jail “has been totally emptied as a preventive measure,” an official said, adding that the prisoners have been brought to other regional facilities. At least 15 inmates and nine guards were killed in Wednesday’s shootout as the prisoners tried to escape. The Durango state jail has been at the centre of a series of scandals. The latest violence erupted when guards rang the alarm bell after seeing inmates climb the prison’s back fence, Public Safety Secretary Jesus Rosso said. The prisoners then opened fire on the guard towers and the warden’s office. The guards retaliated, initially shooting into the air before aiming at the inmates. Mr Rosso said soldiers deployed to the penitentiary eventually regained control of the situation. The prisoners have been moved to other facilities while an investigation is underway to establish how they got hold of the firearms. The jail already made headlines in July when prison director Margarita Rojas Rodriguez and 10 of her employees were arrested on suspicion of collaborating with the Sinaloa drug cartel. They were found guilty of allowing inmates to use the guards’ weapons to carry out executions of other prisoners. Wednesday’s shootout happened a day after President Enrique Pena Nieto unveiled a six-point strategy to combat crimes linked to drug violence, kidnappings and extortions.His plan includes a new militarised force of 10,000 officers. However, there has currently been no mention of reviewing the country’s antiquated and dangerous prisons, the BBC’s Will Grant in Mexico City says. Human rights groups say the penal system suffers from chronic overcrowding and is in urgent of an overhaul.

News organization allows government officials to censor

The New York Times Admits That Virtually Every Major News Organization Allows The News To Be Censored By Government Officials:

The New York Times Admits That Virtually Every Major News Organization Allows The News To Be Censored By Government Officials

The New York Times Admits That Virtually Every Major News Organization Allows The News To Be Censored By Government Officials

 

 

In one of the most shocking articles that the New York Times has ever put out, a New York Times reporter has openly admitted that virtually every major mainstream news organization allows government bureaucrats and campaign officials to censor their stories.  For example, almost every major news organization in the country has agreed to submit virtually all quotes from anyone involved in the Obama campaign or the Romney campaign to gatekeepers for “quote approval” before they will be published.  If the gatekeeper in the Obama campaign does not want a certain quote to get out, the American people will not see it, and the same thing applies to the Romney campaign.  The goal is to keep the campaigns as “on message” as possible and to avoid gaffes at all cost.  But this kind of thing is not just happening with political campaigns.  According to the New York Times, “quote approval” has become “commonplace throughout Washington”.  In other words, if you see a quote in the newspaper from someone in the federal government then it is safe to say that a gatekeeper has almost certainly reviewed that quote and has approved it.  This is another sign that “the free and independent media” in this country is a joke.  What we get from the mainstream media is a very highly filtered form of propaganda, and that is one reason why Americans are turning away from the mainstream media in droves.  People want the truth, and more Americans than ever realize that they are not getting it from the mainstream media. The following quote comes from the recent article in the New York Times mentioned above and it is absolutely jaw dropping….

The quotations come back redacted, stripped of colorful metaphors, colloquial language and anything even mildly provocative.

They are sent by e-mail from the Obama headquarters in Chicago to reporters who have interviewed campaign officials under one major condition: the press office has veto power over what statements can be quoted and attributed by name.

Most reporters, desperate to pick the brains of the president’s top strategists, grudgingly agree. After the interviews, they review their notes, check their tape recorders and send in the juiciest sound bites for review.

The verdict from the campaign — an operation that prides itself on staying consistently on script — is often no, Barack Obama does not approve this message.

This is an article that everyone needs to read.  If you have not read it yet, you can find it right here. What all of this means is that both the Obama campaign and the Romney campaign essentially have “veto power” over any quotes from those campaigns that we see in the newspapers. According to the New York Times, virtually every major news organization has agreed to submit their quotes for “quote approval”….

It was difficult to find a news outlet that had not agreed to quote approval, albeit reluctantly. Organizations like Bloomberg, The Washington Post, Vanity Fair, Reuters and The New York Times have all consented to interviews under such terms.

This is absolutely disgusting, and it goes against everything that our media is supposed to stand for. The following is what Joseph Farah had to say when he learned about this story….

All I can say about these people I once considered “colleagues” is that I am so ashamed of them. I am mortified. They are humiliating themselves and a vital institution for any free society.

It seems the biggest threat to the American tradition of a free and independent press is not government coercion. It’s the willing submission of the press to being handled and managed by government and politicians.

Keep in mind that Joseph Farah has been working in the world of journalism for decades.  He is deeply saddened to see what is happening to a profession that he deeply loves. But he is not the only one. Just check out what Dan Rather had to say during a speech back in 2009….

“At my age and stage I’ve finally reached the point where I don’t have to kiss up to anybody,” he said. “What a wonderful feeling it is.”

Even so, his talk emphasized what he believes is the erosion of quality journalism, because of the corporatization, politicization, and “trivialization” of news. Those three factors, Rather argued, have fueled the “dumbing down and sleezing up of news” and the decline of “great American journalism.”

Likening media consolidation to that of the banking industry, Rather claimed that “roughly 80 percent” of the media is controlled by no more than six, and possibly as few as four, corporations.

And Dan Rather is right.  The control over the media in the United States is more tightly concentrated than ever before. Back in the early 1980s, approximately 50 corporations essentially had nearly total control of the media in the United States. Today, just six monolithic media corporations dominate virtually everything you watch, hear and read. These six gigantic corporations own television networks, publishing houses, movie studios, newspapers, radio stations, music labels and video game companies.  Most Americans are absolutely addicted to information and entertainment, and those six massive corporations supply the vast majority of the information and entertainment that Americans take in. The amount of control that those six corporate giants have is absolutely incredible.  For example, the average American watches 153 hours of television a month.  If you can beam 153 hours of “programming” into someone’s head each month, that gives you an awesome amount of influence over that person. The six monolithic corporations mentioned above are Time Warner, Walt Disney, Viacom, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., CBS Corporation and NBC Universal. There are some areas of the media that are not completely dominated by those corporations, but even control over those areas is becoming more highly concentrated than ever. For example, Clear Channel now owns over 1000 radio stations across the United States.  The power that Clear Channel has over the radio industry in America is absolutely staggering. Even control over the Internet is becoming much more concentrated.  Giant corporations such as Facebook, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft are increasingly controlling what we see and hear online. But it really is the “big six” that dominate most of what we see, hear and read on a daily basis.

————————————————–

Today, six colossal media giants tower over all the rest.  Much of the information in the chart below comes from mediaowners.com.  The chart below reveals only a small fraction of the media outlets that these six behemoths actually own….

Time Warner

Home Box Office (HBO)
Time Inc.
Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.
Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
CW Network (partial ownership)
TMZ
New Line Cinema
Time Warner Cable
Cinemax
Cartoon Network
TBS
TNT
America Online
MapQuest
Moviefone
Castle Rock
Sports Illustrated
Fortune
Marie Claire
People Magazine

Walt Disney

ABC Television Network
Disney Publishing
ESPN Inc.
Disney Channel
SOAPnet
A&E
Lifetime
Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Buena Vista Theatrical Productions
Buena Vista Records
Disney Records
Hollywood Records
Miramax Films
Touchstone Pictures
Walt Disney Pictures
Pixar Animation Studios
Buena Vista Games
Hyperion Books

Viacom

Paramount Pictures
Paramount Home Entertainment
Black Entertainment Television (BET)
Comedy Central
Country Music Television (CMT)
Logo
MTV
MTV Canada
MTV2
Nick Magazine
Nick at Nite
Nick Jr.
Nickelodeon
Noggin
Spike TV
The Movie Channel
TV Land
VH1

News Corporation

Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
Fox Television Stations
The New York Post
Fox Searchlight Pictures
Beliefnet
Fox Business Network
Fox Kids Europe
Fox News Channel
Fox Sports Net
Fox Television Network
FX
My Network TV
MySpace
News Limited News
Phoenix InfoNews Channel
Phoenix Movies Channel
Sky PerfecTV
Speed Channel
STAR TV India
STAR TV Taiwan
STAR World
Times Higher Education Supplement Magazine
Times Literary Supplement Magazine
Times of London
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
20th Century Fox International
20th Century Fox Studios
20th Century Fox Television
BSkyB
DIRECTV
The Wall Street Journal
Fox Broadcasting Company
Fox Interactive Media
FOXTEL
HarperCollins Publishers
The National Geographic Channel
National Rugby League
News Interactive
News Outdoor
Radio Veronica
ReganBooks
Sky Italia
Sky Radio Denmark
Sky Radio Germany
Sky Radio Netherlands
STAR
Zondervan

CBS Corporation

CBS News
CBS Sports
CBS Television Network
CNET
Showtime
TV.com
CBS Radio Inc. (130 stations)
CBS Consumer Products
CBS Outdoor
CW Network (50% ownership)
Infinity Broadcasting
Simon & Schuster (Pocket Books, Scribner)
Westwood One Radio Network

NBC Universal

Bravo
CNBC
NBC News
MSNBC
NBC Sports
NBC Television Network
Oxygen
SciFi Magazine
Syfy (Sci Fi Channel)
Telemundo
USA Network
Weather Channel
Focus Features
NBC Universal Television Distribution
NBC Universal Television Studio
Paxson Communications (partial ownership)
Trio
Universal Parks & Resorts
Universal Pictures
Universal Studio Home Video

———————————————————-

Please keep in mind that the list above is not exhaustive.  It only contains a sampling of the companies that those six corporate giants own. So are you starting to get an idea of how powerful they are? If you ever wondered why the version of “the news” that you get is so similar no matter where you turn, it is because control of the news is concentrated in just a very few hands. So who controls the “big six” media corporations? Would it surprise you to know that the boards of directors of those big media corporations have a tremendous amount of overlap with the boards of directors of large banks, large oil companies and large pharmaceutical companies? The following is from the Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting website….

Media corporations share members of the board of directors with a variety of other large corporations, including banks, investment companies, oil companies, health care and pharmaceutical companies and technology companies.

You can find a list that shows how these boards of directors overlap and interlock right here. The giant media corporations are not going to criticize the establishment because they are the establishment. The messages that these media behemoths pound into our heads are going to be the messages that the establishment wants pounded into our heads. Anyone that believes that the mainstream media is “independent” and that it does not have “an agenda” is being delusional. Of course it is also worth mentioning that much of what we get from the mainstream media is also often directly controlled by the federal government. Former Washington Post reporter Carl Bernstein (of Woodward and Bernstein fame) has discovered that hundreds of American journalists have worked directly for the CIA. Not that the federal government and the establishment are opposed to one another.  The truth is that they very much work together hand in hand.  But sometimes the federal government has slightly different priorities than the corporate establishment does. In any event, the key point to take away from all this is that the news and entertainment that we all enjoy on a daily basis if very highly censored and very highly controlled. It is imperative that we understand that those that own and control the media are trying to shape society in a certain way.  They want to impose their values and their vision of the future on all the rest of us. You will notice that none of the major news organizations speak out against the “Big Brother” police state control grid that is going in all around us. Instead, they insist that all of this added “security” will keep us safe even as our liberties and freedoms are being badly eroded. You will notice that none of the major news organizations speak out against the population control agenda of the global elite. Instead, they insist that more “family planning” will help the environment and make the world a more prosperous place for all of us. You will notice that none of the major news organizations speak out against the Federal Reserve and none of them are warning us about the financial collapse that is rapidly approaching. Instead, they tell us to keep having faith in the system and they promise us that everything is going to be okay. Well, you can mindlessly believe the corporate media if you want, but I believe that in this day and age it is absolutely imperative that we all learn to think for ourselves. Don’t be a mindless robot for anyone. Think for yourself and make your own decisions. The truth is out there and you can find it if you are willing to go search for it.

Intelligence Linked to Ancient Genetic Accident

Origin of Intelligence and Mental Illness Linked to Ancient Genetic Accident

Origin of Intelligence and Mental Illness Linked to Ancient Genetic Accident

 

Researchers have identified the moment in history when the genes that enabled us to think and reason evolved. This point 500 million years ago provided our ability to learn complex skills, analyse situations and have flexibility in the way in which we think. Professor Seth Grant, of the University of Edinburgh, who led the research, said: “One of the greatest scientific problems is to explain how intelligence and complex behaviours arose during evolution.” The research, which is detailed in two papers in Nature Neuroscience, also shows a direct link between the evolution of behaviour and the origins of brain diseases. Scientists believe that the same genes that improved our mental capacity are also responsible for a number of brain disorders. “This ground breaking work has implications for how we understand the emergence of psychiatric disorders and will offer new avenues for the development of new treatments,” said John Williams, Head of Neuroscience and Mental Health at the Wellcome Trust, one of the study funders. The study shows that intelligence in humans developed as the result of an increase in the number of brain genes in our evolutionary ancestors. The researchers suggest that a simple invertebrate animal living in the sea 500 million years ago experienced a ‘genetic accident’, which resulted in extra copies of these genes being made. This animal’s descendants benefited from these extra genes, leading to behaviourally sophisticated vertebrates — including humans. The research team studied the mental abilities of mice and humans, using comparative tasks that involved identifying objects on touch-screen computers. Researchers then combined results of these behavioural tests with information from the genetic codes of various species to work out when different behaviours evolved. They found that higher mental functions in humans and mice were controlled by the  same genes. The study also showed that when these genes were mutated or damaged, they impaired higher mental functions. “Our work shows that the price of higher intelligence and more complex behaviours is more mental illness,” said Professor Grant. The researchers had previously shown that more than 100 childhood and adult brain diseases are caused by gene mutations. “We can now apply genetics and behavioural testing to help patients with these diseases,” said Dr Tim Bussey from Cambridge University, which was also involved in the study.

 

DNA Reprogrammed by Words and Frequencies

green superfood powder Scientist Prove DNA Can Be Reprogrammed by Words and Frequencies

Scientist Prove DNA Can Be Reprogrammed by Words and Frequencies

 

THE HUMAN DNA IS A BIOLOGICAL INTERNET and superior in many aspects to the artificial one. Russian scientific research directly or indirectly explains phenomena such as clairvoyance, intuition, spontaneous and remote acts of healing, self healing, affirmation techniques, unusual light/auras around people (namely spiritual masters), mind’s influence on weather patterns and much more. In addition, there is evidence for a whole new type of medicine in which DNA can be influenced and reprogrammed by words and frequencies WITHOUT cutting out and replacing single genes. Only 10% of our DNA is being used for building proteins. It is this subset of DNA that is of interest to western researchers and is being examined and categorized. The other 90% are considered “junk DNA.” The Russian researchers, however, convinced that nature was not dumb, joined linguists and geneticists in a venture to explore those 90% of “junk DNA.” Their results, findings and conclusions are simply revolutionary! According to them, our DNA is not only responsible for the construction of our body but also serves as data storage and in communication. The Russian linguists found that the genetic code, especially in the apparently useless 90%, follows the same rules as all our human languages. To this end they compared the rules of syntax (the way in which words are put together to form phrases and sentences), semantics (the study of meaning in language forms) and the basic rules of grammar. They found that the alkalines of our DNA follow a regular grammar and do have set rules just like our languages. So human languages did not appear coincidentally but are a reflection of our inherent DNA. The Russian biophysicist and molecular biologist Pjotr Garjajev and his colleagues also explored the vibrational behavior of the DNA. [For the sake of brevity I will give only a summary here. For further exploration please refer to the appendix at the end of this article.] The bottom line was: “Living chromosomes function just like solitonic/holographic computers using the endogenous DNA laser radiation.” This means that they managed for example to modulate certain frequency patterns onto a laser ray and with it influenced the DNA frequency and thus the genetic information itself. Since the basic structure of DNA-alkaline pairs and of language (as explained earlier) are of the same structure, no DNA decoding is necessary. One can simply use words and sentences of the human language! This, too, was experimentally proven! Living DNA substance (in living tissue, not in vitro) will always react to language-modulated laser rays and even to radio waves, if the proper frequencies are being used. This finally and scientifically explains why affirmations, autogenous training, hypnosis and the like can have such strong effects on humans and their bodies. It is entirely normal and natural for our DNA to react to language. While western researchers cut single genes from the DNA strands and insert them elsewhere, the Russians enthusiastically worked on devices that can influence the cellular metabolism through suitable modulated radio and light frequencies and thus repair genetic defects.

Russia’s underground cybercrime market

The Russian underground economy has democratized cybercrime:

Russian cybercrime

Russian cybercrime

If you want to buy a botnet, it’ll cost you somewhere in the region of $700. If you just want to hire someone else’s for an hour, though, it can cost as little as $2—that’s long enough to take down, say, a call center, if that’s what you were in the mood for. Maybe you’d like to spy on an ex—for $350 you can purchase a trojan that lets you see all their incoming and outgoing texts. Or maybe you’re just in the market for some good, old-fashioned spamming—it’ll only cost you $10 for a million e-mails. That’s the hourly minimum wage in the UK. This is the current state of Russia’s underground market in cybercrime—a vibrant community of ne’er-do-wells offering every conceivable kind of method for compromising computer security. It’s been profiled in security firm Trend Micro‘s report, Russian Underground 101, and its findings are as fascinating as they are alarming. It’s an insight into the workings of an entirely hidden economy, but also one that’s pretty scary. Some of these things are really, really cheap. Rik Ferguson, Trend Micro’s director of security research and communications, explains to Wired.co.uk that Russia’s cybercrime market is “very much a well-established market.” He says: “It’s very mature. It’s been in place for quite some time. There are people offering niche services, and every niche is catered for.” Russia is one of the major centers of cybercrime, alongside other nations like China and Brazil (“the spiritual home of banking malware”). Russian Underground 101 details the range of products on offer in this established market—Ferguson says that they can be for targeting anyone “from consumers to small businesses.” He points to ZeuS, a hugely popular trojan that’s been around for at least six years. It creates botnets that remotely store personal information gleaned from users’ machines, and has been discovered within the networks of large organizations like Bank of America, NASA, and Amazon. In 2011, the source code for ZeuS was released into the wild—now, Ferguson says, “it’s become a criminal open source project.” Versions of ZeuS sell for between $200 and $500. Cybercriminal techniques go in and out of fashion like everything else—in that sense, ZeuS is a bit unusual in its longevity. That’s in large part because viruses and trojans can be adapted to take advantage of things in the news to make their fake error messages or spam e-mails seem more legitimate. For example, fake sites, and fake ads for antivirus software, aren’t as popular as they once were because people are just more computer literate these days. Exploits which take advantage of gaps in browser security to install code hidden in the background of a webpage have also become less common as those holes are patched up—but programs which embed within Web browsers still pose a threat, as the recent hullabaloo over a weakness in Java demonstrates. Ferguson points to so-called “ransomware” as an example of a more recent trend, where the computer is locked down and the hard drive encrypted. All the user sees on the screen is that tells them that their local law enforcement authority (so, in the UK, often the Metropolitan Police) has detected something like child pornography or pirated software on their PC, and if they want to unlock it they’ll have to send money to a certain bank account. No payment, no getting your hard drive back. Amazingly, if you pay that “fine,” then you will actually get your information back, says Ferguson. “But you’ve labeled yourself as an easy mark, and there’s no telling if they haven’t left behind a backdoor which will let them come back and try again,” he says. Child pornography and pirated software have been in the news a lot over the past few years, for obvious reasons, and that kind of thing directly influences the thinking of hackers and programmers. Taking the time to adapt these tools to recent trends can be very lucrative. DNSChanger, a popular trojan from 2007 to 2011, would infect a machine and change its DNS settings. When the user went to a webpage with ads on it, that traffic would give affiliate revenue to the scammers. One prominent DNSChanger ring (Rove Digital) was busted in Estonia in 2011—the FBI had been tracking them for six years, and during that time it was estimated that they’d earned around $14 million from this little trick. It also meant that the FBI was left with some critical Web infrastructure on its hands—those infected machines (which included machines at major organizations) could only access the Web through those Rove Digital servers. Months were spent trying to get people to check their computers for infection and ensuring that when those Estonian servers were shut off, it didn’t take down, say, a bank. The most recent trends in cybercrime, though, are very much focused on mobile—particularly Android, Ferguson explains: “We’ve seen so far 175,000 malicious threats for Android, and we expect that to be a quarter of a million by next year. Those threats come from malicious apps—if you want to stay safe, stick to official channels like Google Play, don’t just download from any site. Similarly, there aren’t any malicious iOS apps in the wild, on the App Store, but that only applies to iPhones aren’t jailbroken—downloading from other places puts your phone at risk.” These threats aren’t going away, either. In fact, according to Ferguson, “prices are going down” across the Russian underground: “Let’s not pretend that these people aren’t taking advantage of technology just like normal businesses—improvements in technology are getting faster, and there are things like cloud services which they also use. The bad guys are using technologies to drive down costs in the same way businesses are.” Ferguson cites the recent case of someone claiming to have bought the personal information of 1.1 million Facebook users for only $5 (£3.19) as further evidence of the growing problem of online information leaking into the hands of these cybercrime communities. Hackers and other cybercriminals make it their job to analyze security measures and find ways around them, because that information is where the value lies. While hackers and other cyber criminals can save by buying in bulk, the cost to the individual (or the business) that falls victim to one of these techniques is potentially much higher.

Ultimate spy machine for the U.S. Government

Hard Drives in computers the Ultimate Spying Machine that can be used against you:

Hard Drives in computers the Ultimate Spying Machine that can be used against you

Hard Drives in computers the Ultimate Spying Machine that can be used against you

You can be a newbie to computers or a advanced IT Expert, Technician or even a hacker but many don’t even realize that their computers are already an ultimate spy machine for the U.S. Government, State Governments and their forensics departments (SBI, FBI, CIA, Private Intelligence Agencies). Who needs to plant bugs or GPS tracking devices when you have the suspects hard drives from their computer by using a search and seizure raid on just something as simple as being accused of a computer crime or even downloading illegal material whether it’s true or not. Even after the Virginia Tech Shooting and other major criminal incidents, the police or FBI or even the SBI always talk about wanting to come for the suspects computer equipment and hard drives to send to forensics to investigate their entire life history through the usage of the computer with the hard drive used for data storage. It’s all there!!! Hard Drives are basically a High Density magnetic medium using tiny bits to encode and decode information, for simpler terms it is like writing files and reading files from a computer unit. Every hard drive doesn’t give you access to it’s full memory but holds off a fraction that is not user accessible which also likely holds data on our digital activities. In addition the hard drives use a form of magnetic to where no matter how many overwrites you use on a hard drive to coverup confidential and sensitive, embarrassing, or even material that you don’t want the world to know you have whatever the reason may be, the data can still be recovered at a forensics lab or even some expensive Data recovery company that is hell bent on obtaining personal information knowing they can blackmail people for profits. Well whats the problem, what do you have to hide? It does sound like it is over the top paranoid in this article but the experts such as Peter Gutmann admit that hard drives that are wiped with certain methods can always have it’s Data recovered using certain magnetic analyzing technology. All the police have to do is claim you committed a “computer crime” and they will have the legal ability to use forensic recovery units to find all your lifes history, any embarrassing photos and videos you taken with your boyfriend or girlfriend and yes that also includes cell phones so any horny young teenage guy or girl could become the next bust for child pornography, top secret and confidential legal attorney/client documents and that also includes top secret government and military documents, and even your entire web history and can even move on to what organizations you belong to and chatter with. The question is why does the government want us all to have computers, to spy on us and keep tabs on our entire Internet and computer history. Since people stupidly chat on Twitter and Facebook about all the things they do such as cooking to partying, all their activities are being archived and cataloged to each individual and since most profiles are public anybody can archive your information to use against you later on. It is even discovered through attending a autism meeting that many autistic people including children accidentally get into pornography when the parents installed no filter and end up getting caught on pornography charges (Laws prohibiting people under the age of 18 and in some cases the age of 21 from viewing adult pornography) which are very hard to drop in court which means juvenile prison. More teenagers and children to be brought up and raised under the Juvenile Prison Industrial Complex!!!! Whoever thought people can be arrested over what we do privately with their boyfriends and girlfriends and in some cases looking at a few digital photos is all it takes to go to the slammer whether there is a harmful intent or not. That is why it is a popular method of setting somebody up and that is setting somebody up for child pornography charges because it is nearly impossible to get out of them and ruins their life and reputation. All of our activities whether it is posting photos of your family on Flickr, emails you receive and send, whatever documents and other files you create, being involved with non-mainstream religions whatever your beliefs are, being involved with hack tools, being involved with file-sharing or even downloading warez material, and any other digital activity ever conducted is all stored on the hard drive and impossible to completely erase by normal conventional erasing software. First method that can be used by the forensics team is simple software and MFT Data recovery tools to find all the files both deleted under the MFT and even data that is lost due to MFT corruption by seeking out the file type signature, every file type ever made has a distinct signature or header that identifies the file type, and recovering the data based on the signature. Second method that forensic technicians use is Magnetic Force Microscopy (MFM) and even Scanning Probe Microscopy (SPM) or even Magnetic Tunneling Microscopy (STM). No matter what method of recovery, magnetic recovery is the far worst privacy invasion since the leaks of classified government documents via Wikileaks. Peter Gutmann, the same Computer Science expert that created the Gutmann erasing method (35 passes overwrite) that is used in almost every hard drive erasing software not limited to Active@ Killdisk erasing tool, conducted a study and whitepaper titled “Secure Deletion of Data from Magnetic and Solid-State Memory” (PDF) which concluded that “it is effectively impossible to sanitize storage locations by simple overwriting them, no matter how many overwrite passes are made or what data patterns are written. However by using the relatively simple methods presented in this paper the task of an attacker can be made significantly more difficult, if not prohibitively expensive.” Of course with the SBI and FBI fueled with the need to be champions of justice they will spend lots of money to recover the erased data no matter how expensive it is since they can just take more and more tax payers money through the IRS thugs. Reminds me of that movie “No Way Out!” where a Pentagon high-up had a photo taken I think with some Russian spy and the photo was ruined but the Pentagon had a forensics method of restoring the photograph as evidence then used to prosecute him for possible espionage. I even heard that when the authorities take computers by a court order, they say that they can find anything on it, time stamps, your life history, all of your life ever on a computer, can be examined by the State Bureau of Investigation or even the Federal Bureau of Investigation via their crime labs. They can even plant material on the hard drive since it is pretty easy to manipulate the timestamps, hack somebodies password protected or even public Wifi, mix somebodies DNA with a rape and/or murder victim sample for analysis which the charges can only be thrown out with a very good alibi or getting the forensics expert to admit to setting somebody up which will never happen of course, and internet histories can be fabricated by altering the hex data and even with computer virtualization technologies such as VMWare and other tools. Heck look what they did to Brandon Raub for the crime of making 9/11 inside job and other political statements on his Facebook profile. People saying anything that possibly sounds like some threat against the US President warrants a secret service visit and could maybe even a hard drive seizure if they desire it. People should be concerned at the fact that hard drives, RAM Cards, and other memory storage devices were on purposely created to not only store your data but to also violate your privacy with a backdoor that can allow deleted and even erased (DOD, Russian Ghost, Gutmann, One Pass Zeros, One Pass Random, other erasing methods) data to be recovered and accessible. If that is not apart of a major spying surveillance system being set-up then what is? Windows saves all file accesses and program histories with MRU, and possible other file access histories of files opened up. Every web page visited whether encrypted or not saves information which piles up overtime when not deleted which can be impossible to get rid of without overwriting it in the exact same data spot with conventional files to overcome the MFM’s ability to recover data erased by conventional hard drive erasing procedures. The solution really is to be careful on anything you do in your computer and cell phone, be careful when your political because somebody from forensics can set you up for computer crimes or even of murder, and when erasing be aware that you have to copy all your normal everyday files into the hard drive after erasure for a best chance at destroying any chance of recovery of what data you were hoping to erase if that is even possible. Be aware that when your hard drive stores your personal information even after deletion and erasure then it is meant to keep your computer history stored for any police or government agency to look at will especially under the Patriot Act. Even when you delete you are not deleting the data but just a MFT reference to the file along with the timestamps. Of course when you erase with any pattern all the forensic has to do is figure out what erasing pattern you used and then start the recovering process through magnetic imaging of the drive disk platters. If anything when you first buy a computer your better off first-hand encrypting the entire hard drive with TrueCrypt’s System/Partition Encryption and use a very complex password so that on every bootup you can use a operating system that is more secure and when data is deleted or even erased it will be impossible to recover since MFM usually relies on unencrypted RAW Data and even if they tried to break the password to use forensics to find the deleted/erased file, it was erased on the encryption side which means just the encrypted data changes a bit and since that happens it didn’t disappear on the outside using a normal overwrite procedure so it is no doubt that having your entire operating system and hard drive encrypted would be the best practice to data security. As for your autistic children please for goodness sake use a filter software to block all forms of pornography so that your child doesn’t get caught then forced to go through hell just for getting a little too curious. As for any teenagers you raise in your family, please keep tabs on their cell phone so if they take any photos of themselves you can delete them to prevent your son and daughter from ending up on a sex offender registry. As for the average computer user this article serves as a warning to all of you that anything you do on your computer can be accessed and data profiles and histories are set up on everybody especially with Facebook and Twitter.

NORTH KOREAN DOCUMENTARY WESTERN PROPAGANDA

LEAKED NORTH KOREAN DOCUMENTARY ‘EXPOSES WESTERN PROPAGANDA’ (AND IT’S SCARY HOW TRUE IT IS):

LEAKED NORTH KOREAN DOCUMENTARY ‘EXPOSES WESTERN PROPAGANDA’ (AND IT’S SCARY HOW TRUE IT IS)

LEAKED NORTH KOREAN DOCUMENTARY ‘EXPOSES WESTERN PROPAGANDA’ (AND IT’S SCARY HOW TRUE IT IS)

 

Sabine is a YouTube user who, during a visit to family living in South Korea in April of this year, was given a DVD by a man and a woman claiming to be North Korean “defectors”, and was asked to translate the film so it could be posted on the internet and reach a wider audience. What the DVD turned out to be was something much more than Sabine, or anyone else, probably would’ve imagined, and something that certainly has found a widespread audience on the internet over the last month or so – it was a film called “PROPAGANDA”, a documentary about capitalism, imperialism, mass manipulation of western culture for the purpose of commodification, and how it permeates every aspect of the lives of blissfully ignorant, borderline zombie masses. And jesus, is it on the fucking money.

 

From the video’s description –

“Here is the formal statement I gave to Federal Police on 16 June 2012:

On a trip to visit family in Seoul in April, I was approached by a man and a woman who claimed to be North Korean defectors. They presented me with a DVD that recently came into their possession and asked me to translate it. They also asked me to post the completed film on the Internet so that it could reach a worldwide audience. I believed what I was told and an agreement was made to protect their identities (and mine).

Despite my concerns about what I was viewing when I returned home, I proceeded to translate and post the film on You Tube because of the film’s extraordinary content. I have now made public my belief that this film was never intended for a domestic audience in the DPRK. Instead, I believe that these people, who presented themselves as ‘defectors’ specifically targeted me because of my reputation as a translator and interpreter.

Furthermore, I now believe these people work for the DPRK. The fact that I have continued to translate and post the film in spite of this belief does not make me complicit in their intention to spread their ideology. I chose to keep posting this film because – regardless of who made it – I believe people should see it because of the issues it raises and I stand by my right to post it for people to share and discuss freely with each other.

Sabine

I have translated this film, laid in the English voice over and subtitles, and on legal advice have blurred the identity of the presenter and/or blacked out certain elements.”

Ill boy send’s robot to school

Boy sends robot to school in his place:

Boy sends robot to school in his place

Boy sends robot to school in his place

A seven-year-old boy who is too ill to go to school has sent a robot to class in his place. Devon Carrow, from New York in America, uses the £3,000 ‘robo-swot’ to answer his teachers’ questions and take part in group discussions, all from the comfort of his home. The high-tech gadget uses HD cameras to show Devon his classroom and he can signal when he wants to give an answer with a flashing light.

Robot
The robot even has its own desk! Devon has lots of allergies, which mean it is dangerous for him to be around other children. His Mum says that the equipment helps him feel included and realise that he still has to go to school the same as anyone else.

Expect dents from Apple iPhone 5

iPhone 5 scratches and dents are ‘normal’, VP of marketing brushes aside concerns over chipped edges:

iPhone 5 black with scratched edge

The minimal but still unpleasant scuffmarks on the iPhone 5’s chamfered bezel are apparently “normal”, according to an Apple exec. Since landing last Friday, reports have trickling in that not only is the iPhone 5 more prone to scratches, many units even come scraped and dented in the packaging, suggesting that a manufacturing flaw may be to blame. However, Apple has a less than sympathetic view of those concerns, with senior vice president of worldwide marketing, Philip Schiller, claiming it’s part of the handset’s normal wear and tear. Responding to an email from a befuddled owner, Schiller said: “Any aluminium product may scratch or chip with use, exposing its natural silver colour. “That is normal.” That may be so, but it doesn’t explain why there are complaints that a portion of these handsets are reportedly already scratched out of the box. The majority of complaints suggest these are particularly noticeable on the ‘black & slab’ colourway. Cosmetic or not, the chips are sure to leave a bad taste in the mouths of early adopters who queued for hours and paid hundreds of pounds for what is otherwise a very decent smartphone. Apple’s unapologetic stance is clearly to avoid further embarrassment caused by the abysmal new Maps app that swaps Google Maps as the default mapping software in iOS 6. Do you think Apple should offer replacements or some sort of compensation for these damaged iPhone 5s? Let us know in the comments section below.

 

Google’s chief detained by federal police

 

Google’s Brazil chief detained by federal police over YouTube video:

Google's Brazil chief detained by federal police over YouTube video

Google’s Brazil chief detained by federal police over YouTube video

Fábio José Silva Coelho, the President of Google in Brazil, was detained for questioning and then released today, one day after a regional judge ordered the arrest of Coelho for refusing to remove a user-uploaded video attacking and “slandering” a mayoral candidate in the country. Google has long affirmed that it is not responsible for the content of the videos on its site. Brazilian police questioned Coelho, but released him saying that he had a “low potential to offend” and had signed a statement agreeing to appear in front of the authorities when summoned, according to the BBC. Officially, Coelho was charged with violating an electoral code that prohibits offending the dignity of a candidate. While Google may yet prove that it is not responsible for the content, failure to remove content ordered illegal by a judge in Brazil could bring a sentence of up to a year in jail. “Google is appealing the decision that ordered the removal of the video on YouTube because, as a platform, Google is not responsible for the content posted to its site,” a spokesperson told Reuters. YouTube’s responsibility or lack thereof for content posted to its site has been scrutinized quite closely in the last few weeks, with an incendiary video shot in the US portraying Mohammed in an unflattering light sparking riots in the Middle East. A state court in São Paulo, Brazil yesterday gave Google 10 days to remove that video as well, as it has in Afghanistan, Saudia Arabia, Lybia, Egypt, Indonesia, and India. In the US, one of the actors in the offending video recently asked a court to have the video removed, but that motion was denied.

 

 

Apple lost Again

Apple loses German patent case against Samsung, Motorola over touch-screen devices:

Apple loses German patent case against Samsung, Motorola over touch-screen devices

Apple loses German patent case against Samsung, Motorola over touch-screen devices

In Berlin, a German court has dismissed Apple Inc.’s claim that Samsung Electronics and Google Inc.’s Motorola Mobility infringed patents used in touch-screen devices. The Mannheim state court’s ruling Friday follows similar decisions in Britain and the Netherlands. The ruling can be appealed within 30 days. Apple and its rivals are locked in a complex worldwide battle over patents and design rights covering the lucrative market for smartphones and tablet computers. Last month a U.S. court ruled that Samsung phones and tablets infringe on Apple patents, and awarded the Cupertino, California, company $1.05 billion. Meanwhile, Samsung is seeking royalties from Apple for sales of iPhones it says infringe on its patents.

 

Apple finally Lost

Japan court rules Samsung did not infringe on Apple patent:

Japan court rules Samsung did not infringe on Apple patent

Japan court rules Samsung did not infringe on Apple patent

A Tokyo court on Friday dismissed Apple Inc.’s claim that Samsung had infringed on its patent — the latest ruling in the global legal battle over smartphones that pits the two technology titans against each other. Samsung Electronics Co. of South Korea, the world’s largest maker of phones, welcomed the Tokyo District Court ruling that its technology to synchronize mobile players with computers did not infringe on Apple patents as confirming “our long-held position.” “We will continue to offer highly innovative products to consumers, and continue our contributions toward the mobile industry’s development,” the company said in a statement. The Apple lawyer present at the courthouse declined comment, and it was not immediately clear whether Apple would appeal. In a session lasting a few minutes, Judge Tamotsu Shoji said he did not think Samsung products fell into the realm of Apple technology and dismissed the lawsuit, filed by Apple in August last year. Apple, the Cupertino, California-based maker of the hit iPhone and iPad, is embroiled in similar legal squabbles around the world over whether Samsung smartphones, which relies on Google Inc.’s Android technology, illegally used Apple designs, ideas or technology. In one such case, a jury in California ruled last week that Samsung products illegally used such Apple creations as the “bounce-back” feature when a user scrolls to an end image, and the ability to zoom text with a tap of a finger. The jury awarded Apple $1 billion in damages, and a judge is now evaluating Apple’s request to have eight Samsung products pulled from shelves and banned from the U.S. market, including popular Galaxy model smartphones. Samsung’s latest hit, Galaxy S3, was not part of the U.S. ruling. Friday’s ruling was the first held in Japan in the Samsung-Apple global court battle, but other technology is being contested by the two companies in separate legal cases in Japan. Apple products are extremely popular among Japanese consumers, but major Japanese carriers such as NTT DoCoMo sell Samsung smartphones as well. Japanese electronics maker Sony Corp. also makes smartphones similar to Samsung’s, using Android technology. Samsung has sold more than 50 million Galaxy S and Galaxy S2 smartphones around the world. The legal battle also involves Samsung’s Tab device, which Apple claims infringes on patents related to the iPad tablet.

 

New spin on Single-Atom quantum computer

Researchers create single-atom silicon-based quantum computer:

Researchers create single-atom silicon-based quantum computer

Researchers create single-atom silicon-based quantum computer

A team of Australian engineers is claiming it has made the first working quantum bit (qubit) fashioned out of a single phosphorous atom, embedded on a conventional silicon chip. This breakthrough stems all the way back to 1998, when Bruce Kane — then a University of New South Wales (UNSW) professor — published a research paper on the possibility of phosphorous atoms, suspended in ultra-pure silicon, being used as qubits. For 14 years, UNSW has been working on the approach — and today, it has finally turned theory into practice. To create this quantum computer chip, the Australian engineers created a silicon transistor so small that “electrons have to travel along it one after the other.” A single phosphorous atom is then implanted into the silicon substrate, right next to the transistor. The transistor only allows electricity to flow through it if one electron from the phosphorus atom jumps to an “island” in the middle of the transistor. This is the key point: by controlling the phosphorus’s electrons, the engineers can control the flow of electricity across the transistor.

An artist's rendition of the single phosphorous atom (red circle) surrounded by its electron cloud

 

A team of Australian engineers is claiming it has made the first working quantum bit (qubit) fashioned out of a single phosphorous atom, embedded on a conventional silicon chip. This breakthrough stems all the way back to 1998, when Bruce Kane — then a University of New South Wales (UNSW) professor — published a research paper on the possibility of phosphorous atoms, suspended in ultra-pure silicon, being used as qubits. For 14 years, UNSW has been working on the approach — and today, it has finally turned theory into practice. To create this quantum computer chip, the Australian engineers created a silicon transistor so small that “electrons have to travel along it one after the other.” A single phosphorous atom is then implanted into the silicon substrate, right next to the transistor. The transistor only allows electricity to flow through it if one electron from the phosphorus atom jumps to an “island” in the middle of the transistor. This is the key point: by controlling the phosphorus’s electrons, the engineers can control the flow of electricity across the transistor. At this point, I would strongly recommend that you watch this excellent video that walks you through UNSW’s landmark discovery — but if you can’t watch it, just carry on reading. To control the phosphorus atom’s electrons, you must change their spin, which in this case is done by a small burst of microwave radiation. In essence, when the phosphorus atom is in its base state, the transistor is off; it has a value of 0 — but when a small burst of radiation is applied, the electrons change orientation, one of them pops into the transistor, it turns on; it has a value of 1. For more on electron spin and how it might impact computing. Now, we’ve written about quantum computers before — the University of Southern California has created a quantum computer inside a diamond, for example — but the key breakthrough here is that UNSW’s quantum transistor has been fashioned using conventional silicon processes. Rather than beating its own path, UNSW is effectively riding on the back of 60 years and trillions of dollars of silicon-based electronics R&D, which makes this a much more exciting prospect than usual. It is now quite reasonable to believe that there will be readily available, commercial quantum computers in the next few years.

 

Apple’s new iPhone 5 really sucks

Apple’s iOS 6 Maps app is awful, and now the world knows it:

Apple’s iOS 6 Maps app is awful

Apple’s iOS 6 Maps app is awful

People who have been using beta versions of iOS 6 for the past few months have known how awful Apple’s (AAPL) new Maps app is, but for the most part they held out hope that the company would make some serious refinements by the time its new iOS 6 software was released to the public. But iOS 6 officially took flight on Wednesday and sadly, Apple’s new Maps app is still awful. An unsightly blemish on what is otherwise a beautiful OS, Apple’s new Maps application is enraging users. Google Maps wasn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination but Google (GOOG) has spent many years and boatloads of money creating its mapping experience. The result is a fantastic product that iOS users had taken for granted. Until now. Apple is often criticized for valuing form over function by enthusiasts who avidly support rival companies. Those who use Apple products argue that they function quite well, but this is an instance where the naysayers are correct. Apple’s new Maps application is absolutely gorgeous but in terms of performance, it takes multiple giant leaps backwards compared to Google Maps. In my own testing over the past few months, I have found the new Maps app to be remarkably frustrating and after a while I avoided it at all costs. I would check back in from time to time to see if any notable improvements had been made, but each time I checked I was met with disappointment. Put plainly, Apple’s Maps app just isn’t smart. A search performed just a few days ago for a restaurant I was standing no more than 100 feet away from yielded a result in Kansas. I was in New Jersey at the time. While I’m sure Kansas has terrific Chinese food, Google Maps would have known that serving a result 1,100 miles away probably isn’t as smart as serving a result 100 feet away. I have had a great deal of trouble when searching for most business names in Apple’s Maps app. This is especially problematic when I’m rushing to a meeting that I am already late for. Sadly, this happens often. Searching the name of a hotel or event center in Google Maps always took me right where I needed to go. The same cannot be said of Apple’s Maps app. Even if I’m within a mile of the place I’m looking for, Maps in iOS 6 often serves results that are across town or even in a different city. To make matters worse, searching exact addresses isn’t always better. A recent search for an address on Broadway in Manhattan would only return a result on West Broadway — an entirely different street. Sometimes, even after I tap the locate button and the app has pinpointed my location, searches for business names or addresses yield results in different towns or even different states when there are closer, far more logical results to be found. It’s just not smart. And so we have our first big gripe with iOS 6, and by extension, the new iPhone 5: Apple’s new mapping solution is awful. Apple knows how bad its Maps application is, and I’m sure the company is working hard to improve it. Many assume Apple launched the new service in this state because it was in such a rush to oust Google from its devices, and this may or may not be the explanation. Regardless, users are being punished. Thermonuclear war or not, there’s no excuse for punishing users.

UPDATE:

Customers around the world are upgrading to iOS 6 with over 200 new features including Apple Maps, our first map service. We are excited to offer this service with innovative new features like Flyover, turn by turn navigation, and Siri integration. We launched this new map service knowing it is a major initiative and that we are just getting started with it. Maps is a cloud-based solution and the more people use it, the better it will get. We appreciate all of the customer feedback and are working hard to make the customer experience even better.

3-D TV without any glasses

3D Movies Without Any Need of Glasses:

3d-glasses

3d-glasses

3D movies can be enjoyed on TV without any viewing glasses, thanks to a new German technology. The 3D movies currently available on Blu-ray are based on two different perspectives: two images, one for each eye. However, autostereoscopic displays need five to 10 views of the same scene (depending on the type). In the future, the number will probably be even more. This is because these displays have to present a 3D image in such a manner that it can be seen from different angles — indeed, there is more than one place to sit on a sofa, and you should be able to get the same three dimensional impressions from any position. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications at Heinrich-Hertz Institute (HHI) in Berlin have developed a technology that converts a Blu-ray’s existing 3D content in a manner that enables them to be shown on autostereoscopic displays. “We take the existing two images and generate a depth map… a map that assigns a specific distance from the camera to each object,” says Christian Riechert, research fellow at HHI. Previous systems were only capable of generating such depth maps at a dramatically slower pace; sometimes they even required manual adaptation. Real-time conversion, by contrast, is like simultaneous interpretation: The viewer inserts a 3D Blu-ray disc, gets comfortable in front of the TV screen and enjoys the movie – without the glasses. Researchers have already finished the software that converts these data. In the next step, the scientists, working in collaboration with industry partners, intend to port it onto a hardware product so that it can be integrated into TV. Nevertheless, it will still take at least another calendar year before the technology hits store shelves. Researchers will unveil this technology in Berlin at this year’s IFA trade show from Aug 31 to Sep 5.

U.S. security state watching you online

6 Government Surveillance Programs Designed to Watch What You Do Online:

6 Government Surveillance Programs Designed to Watch What You Do Online

6 Government Surveillance Programs Designed to Watch What You Do Online

President Eisenhower was right on point about the military-industrial complex, but he could not have predicted the emergence of the massive surveillance state — combining the government and private sector — that bolsters it. Sadly, neither President Obama nor his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, has the desire or moral courage to fight the growing power and influence of the Corporate Security State. We are witnessing the integration of spying on two levels, the government level (federal, state and local) and the corporate level (via telecom providers, web services and credit card companies). If you are a user of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Craigslist or another popular site, the U.S. security state is watching you. An increasing number of federal agencies are employing sophisticated means to monitor Americans’ use of social networking sites. Federal entities from the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Defense Department to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to even the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) are involved in developing programs to track the American public online. Here is a brief summary of some of the other programs:

1. Justice Department. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) released a report from the DOJ’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property section, “Obtaining and Using Evidence from Social Networking Sites,” that describes how evidence from social networking sites can reveal personal communications that might help “establish motives and personal relationships.” It reports that monitored data from such sites can provide location information and “prove and disprove alibis.” Perhaps most illuminating, it advises agents that “going undercover” on social media sites can enable law enforcement to communicate with suspects and targets, gain access to nonpublic information and map social relationships. The DOJ document notes that Twitter retains the last login IP address, but does not preserve data unless legally required to do so. 

2. The IRS uses a variety of social media sites like Facebook, Google, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube and Second Life to investigate taxpayers. It seems to have started this practice in 2009, providing agents with special training on social networking. The EFF posted the IRS’ 38-page training that offers detailed tips to agents on how to conduct searches, locate relevant taxpayer information, narrow down and refine results. 

3. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence is seeking a tool that integrates all online information, including web searches, Wikipedia edits and traffic webcams.

4. The Defense Department has solicited proposals through DARPA for a $42 million “Social Media Strategic Communications” (SMISC) program, a tool that tracks social media and weeds out information. It has set four goals for the project: (i) to detect, classify and measure the development of ideas, concepts in hidden social media messages; (ii) specify the structure of the campaign and influence in social media sites and the community they create; (iii) identify the participants and intention in conducting a social media campaign of persuasion and measure its effect; and (iv) develop an effective counter-message to an identified campaign carried out against the enemy. 

5. The FBI is soliciting a bid for a program that seems very similar to the DHS social-network monitoring program. Dubbed the “FBI Social Media Application,” the program would have “[the ability] to rapidly assemble critical open source information and intelligence … to quickly vet, identify and geo-locate breaking events, incidents and emerging threats.”

15 year old hacks 259 Websites

15-year-old hacks 259 websites in just 3 months:

15-year-old hacks 259 websites in just 3 months

15-year-old hacks 259 websites in just 3 months

If you’re looking for a gauge as to how good or bad web security is at the moment, look no further than the case of a 15-year-old from Austria who, over the course of 3 months, managed to hack 259 company websites and databases.  The young man (boy?) was anti-social and turned to the Internet for “praise and affirmation.” He found a hacking community that rewarded successful attacks, downloaded the tools he needed, and set about bypassing the security of different websites.  Between January and March this year he successfully gained access to 259 sites including a few run by adult entertainment companies. Any that he defaced were left with a tag like the one in the screenshot above. His hacker name was ACK!3STX.  The Federal Criminal Police Office (BMI) in Austria identified the boy after many complaints when he failed to hide his IP address during a hack. It was logged and passed to the BMI who arrested him. It didn’t take long for a confession to be forthcoming.  The attacks weren’t aimed at any particular sites, instead it turns out he was just looking for security holes he could exploit in any and all websites he visited. His reason? He was bored as well as wanting praise from the hacker community.  Hacking 259 websites in 3 months is impressive not because a 15-year-old did it, but because it seems to have been done so easily. A boy with no experience and using free tools did this. Clearly website security still isn’t a major concern for the majority of companies being hacked and/or the frameworks being used to implement them.

China’s heavy-handed censorship accelerate rumors

Rumor, Lies, and Weibo: How Social Media is Changing the Nature of Truth in China:

chinese

chinese

 

When the message appeared on the Weibo account of Xinhua, China’s official news agency on April 10, announcing charges against the family of high-profile party leader Bo Xilai, it ended many days of public speculation on China’s largest political crisis in decades. But it also left Chinese web users even more deeply confused about the distinction between political truth and rumor, one that has always been hazy in China but is now blurred even more by social media.  Chinese web users began speculating, following Bo’s firing as Chongqing party chief in March, about the Bo family’s possible role in the mysterious death of Neil Heywood, a British businessman with close ties to the family. China’s Internet censors muzzled the online discussions. The government spokesmen stonewalled inquiries from the British government and told curious Chinese that Heywood died of “excessive drinking,” admonishing them “not to spread groundless rumor.”  On the morning of April 11, Chinese web users woke up to find that the reports that had previously filled their Weibo pages — in coded words adopted to evade the censors — now featured the front page of every official newspaper. The rumor, repressed by censors and dodged by government spokesmen, had become a state-approved fact overnight.  “What was treated as attacks spread by ‘international reactionary forces’ has now become truth. Then what other ‘truths’ exposed by foreign media should we believe?…God knows!” wrote Weibo user Jieyigongjiang. “How did it all become truth? Was I being fooled?” user Zousifanye asked. This hall-of-mirrors system can be confusing even for the officials who run it.  For China’s new generation of tech-savvy youth, who compose the bulk of the nation’s estimated 300 million Weibo users, the downfall of Bo Xilai is the largest political crisis they have witnessed. The sudden volatility of the official versions of truth on the story has left many of them deeply confused. Some see this as a victory for Weibo, which is moderated by censors but often too free-wheeling and fast-moving for them to maintain total control, over more traditional media, which is openly run by the state. “In this political drama that took place in Yuzhou [alternative name for Chongqing], all the media outlets were following Weibo. The power of social media is manifested here,” user Tujiayefu wrote. User Kangjialin agreed: ” ‘Rumor’ is the proof that mainstream media is now falling behind Weibo.”  The government controls all forms of media in China, including Weibo. But on occasions censorship of Weibo is known to relax, allowing windows of free speech, particularly in the cases of breaking news. Chinese distrust of the country’s traditional media, which regularly covers up food scandals and human rights violations, is leading many people to turn to Weibo for information and news. The Twitter-like service has helped expose incidents of mafia intimidation and money laundering. Weibo-based stories like that of Guo Meimei, the 20-year-old “senior official” at the state-run Red Cross Society who posted photos of her new Lamborghini and Maserati online, ignited firestorms of discussions on weightier, more sensitive, and sometimes forbidden subjects such as corruption within state-run social organizations.  In the West, social media is treated skeptically for the exact same reason that it is so embraced in China: it is rife with rumors. Its break-neck speed allows little time for fact-checking or editorial supervision, which also means it can move too quickly for censors. Its noisy, open-source discussion — anyone can say anything and watch it spread — makes it tougher for Western users to trust, but easier for Chinese users, who know that censors can pressure official news organizations but not a hundred million anonymous citizen-bloggers. That anonymity is slowly receding, but this hasn’t done much damage to the service’s popularity or power.  In the Bo Xilai saga, many Weibo users had at first dismissed the dramatic speculations over the Communist Party’s divisive infighting as sensationalized rumors. Now that the rumors have turned out to be true, they’re re-examining the established beliefs that led them to reject the stories and to take the officials at their word. “The result of rumor turning truth is that from now on all rumors will become more trustworthy,” concluded Potomac Xiaowu.  The government is fighting back, reminding Chinese web users that Weibo is also a hot bed of invented rumors, and that believing and spreading them can bring real consequences. Less than a month ago, whispers circulated on Weibo of troop movements near the leadership’s Zhongnanhai compound in central Beijing. Those whispers soon grew into a full-blown account of a coup being staged by Bo’s Party allies in Beijing. Tanks purportedly rolled in and gunshots were fired, a story with terrifying echoes of the 1989 protest on Tiananmen Square. The rumors quickly made it into Western media. Just as it became clear that these stories weren’t true, the government ordered the shutdown of 16 websites and detention of six people over the rumors, which it clearly considered threats to public order. The two massive Weibo sites, Sina and Tencent, were forced to shut down their comment function for three days in order to “carry out a concentrated cleanup.”  China’s heavy-handed censorship may now actually accelerate the spread of rumors, which could be seen as more plausible precisely because they are censored. Chinese web users trying to figure out the most likely truth must speculate not only about the rumors themselves, but also about every move the government makes in response. Did the state order censors to crack down on a particular story because they want quell a false and potentially destabilizing rumor or because they want to prevent an uncomfortable truth from spreading? If censors clamp down on a growing rumor later than expected or not at all, is this because they’re simply slow or because government wants to build up public attention for its own purposes? In the days immediately after Bo’s removal from his Chongqing office, for example, Internet rumors about his misdeeds circulated freely, in what many suspect was a state effort to build public knowledge of his corruption and turn people against him. For Chinese netizens trying to parse out truth from rumors, every story and its government response are a new mystery, and the guessing game never really ends.  This hall-of-mirrors system can be confusing even for the officials who run it, and social media consumers are not the only people in China who can confuse truth and rumor. Last February, as protest movements stormed the Middle East, starting with the “Jasmine revolution” in Tunisia, a crowd gathered quietly in central Beijing after anonymous calls for their own Jasmine protests. The small crowd was outnumbered by skittish police, not to mention a number of Western reporters. Both groups had also caught the rumor and responded swiftly.  The movement was ended before it had really started, but it continued to ripple through the life of common Chinese citizens in ways its initiators had probably not expected. In the next months, although few or no protesters actually gathered and there seemed to be little momentum for an Arab Spring-style movement, the government seemed to take the social media mumblings far more seriously than the actual activists. Streets were blocked and plainclothes police were stationed at shopping malls and movie theaters every few hundred of feet. Security officials detained dozens of leading activists, including artist Ai Weiwei, in apparent fear of their stirring further unrest, and threatened foreign journalists for reporting on the incident. When Chinese people realized the word “jasmine” was blocked from the Internet and from text messages, though euphemisms for the word were now well-known, and the flower was banned at Beijing botanic markets, the news of the pseudo-revolution had reached a wide public. The government, in its effort to quell the rumor, had ballooned it into an alternate version of truth. Their over-reaction had communicated the rumors of a revolution far more powerfully than had the actual rumors or its proponents.  The tug-of-war between the government and the people over truth and rumor happens every day in today’s China. The rise of social media has made the struggle harder and the stakes higher. The night the government announced the charges against Bo Xilai, a crowd of thousands gathered in Chongqing and clashed with local police. The government vigorously denied any connection between the incident and Bo’s expulsion, meanwhile moving to delete relevant messages and photos from Weibo. The Chinese web users reveling in the role of social networking sites in revealing the Bo scandals once again fell into debates, while others have been reflecting on larger questions. “Why does the U.S. not censor rumors?” asked one Weibo user last November. “No matter how wild they are, nobody bans them, and the creators of rumors do not worry about getting arrested. Perhaps for places where truth persists, rumors have no harm. Only places that lack truth are fearful of rumors.”  Had the censors tried to look for the original writer of this message, they would not have found him or her. The name is lost amid millions of others, who forward the message after each round of rumor-clearing seizes Weibo in a state-run information purge that can never quite keep up.

Powerful forces line up against internet around world

Google: Internet Freedom Faces Greatest Threat Ever:

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1984-was-not-supposed-to-be-an-instruction-manual

In an interview published today, Google Co-founder Sergey Brin told The Guardian that internet openness and universal access are under immediate attack by “very powerful forces that have lined up against the open internet on all sides and around the world”. “I am more worried than I have been in the past,” he said. “It’s scary.”

Sergey Brin Google co-founder .The threat to the internet comes “from a combination of governments increasingly trying to control access and communication by their citizens, the entertainment industry’s attempts to crack down on piracy, and the rise of ‘restrictive’ walled gardens such as Facebook and Apple, which tightly control what software can be released on their platforms,” The Guardian reports.  In the interview Brin alludes to the reach of the US government, telling how Google is forced to hand over data and is restricted from notifying users that their privacy has been breached.

Brin said he and co-founder Larry Page would not have been able to create Google if the internet was dominated by Facebook. “You have to play by their rules, which are really restrictive,” he said. “The kind of environment that we developed Google in, the reason that we were able to develop a search engine, is the web was so open. Once you get too many rules, that will stifle innovation.”

He criticised Facebook for not making it easy for users to switch their data to other services. “Facebook has been sucking down Gmail contacts for many years,” he said. […]

He reserved his harshest words for the entertainment industry, which he said was “shooting itself in the foot, or maybe worse than in the foot” by lobbying for legislation to block sites offering pirate material.

He said the Sopa and Pipa bills championed by the film and music industries would have led to the US using the same technology and approach it criticised China and Iran for using. The entertainment industry failed to appreciate people would continue to download pirated content as long as it was easier to acquire and use than legitimately obtained material, he said. […]

Brin acknowledged that some people were anxious about the amount of their data that was now in the reach of US authorities because it sits on Google’s servers. He said the company was periodically forced to hand over data and sometimes prevented by legal restrictions from even notifying users that it had done so.

Microsoft spy’s on you reports to Government

A patent filed by Microsoft reveals the company has voluntarily created software that provides the Government and other agencies seeking to spy on you:

Microsoft

A patent filed by Microsoft reveals the company has voluntarily created software that provides the Government and other agencies seeking to spy on you.

A patent filed by Microsoft seeks to give the company exclusive rights to intercept personal electronic communications and resend them directly to the Government and other agencies who may be seeking to spy on you.  By filing the patent, Microsoft clearly shows they have voluntarily created the software,  instead of waiting for a Government mandate to do so. The patent states that “the  government or one of its agencies may need to monitor communications” and software acts as a “recording agent” that is able to silently record the communication”.  The patent specifically names certain types of communications, such as Skype calls, instant messaging, video conferencing software, and even meeting software but does not stop there. Instead it goes on to label just about all electronic devices you can think of as a computer and requests for a patent to be able to intercept digital communications from those devices, and even access data stored in a variety of other storage mediums, and forward the to the Government.  A Gizmodo article on the patent points out that Microsoft appears to trying to patent Skype spying,  which is specifically named within the patent,  but the scope of patent goes far beyond the ability to just spy on Skype calls.  Only by digging into the patent can you see the deceptiveness in Microsoft’s the labeling of certain technologies and realize the true scope of what the software company is trying to provide the Government easy access to spy on.  For example, the label all packet-based communication as VoIP, which clearly nothing is further from the truth. All data that can be sent over the internet is a “packet-based communication”.

[…] the term VoIP is used to refer to standard VoIP as well as any other form of packet-based communication that may be used to transmit audio over a wireless and/or wired network. For example, VoIP may include audio messages transmitted via gaming systems, instant messaging protocols that transmit audio, Skype and Skype-like applications, meeting software, video conferencing software, and the like.

The patent goes on and deceptively labels all digital electronic devices as computers, say that everything from computers, to printers, gaming devices, automobile systems, even printers, home appliances and all other mobile based electronics are computers. The patent even applies to microcontroller which are often the brain of electronic devices and used in products ranging from automobile engine control systems, implantable medical devices, remote controls, office machines, appliances, power tools, and even toys.

A computer may include any electronic device that is capable of executing an instruction[…]

Examples of well known computing systems, environments, or configurations that may be suitable for use [include] personal computers, server computers, hand-held or laptop devices, multiprocessor systems, microcontroller-based systems, set-top boxes, programmable consumer electronics, network PCs, minicomputers, mainframe computers, personal digital assistants (PDAs), smartphones, gaming devices, printers, appliances including set-top, media center, or other appliances, automobile-embedded or attached computing devices, other mobile devices, distributed computing environments that include any of the above systems or devices, and the like.

The patent also doesn’t stop with computers or even communications for that matter. It targets a variety of offline mediums that can used to store data and even computer programs themselves.

[…] a variety of computer-readable media [including] any available media that can be accessed by the computer  removable and non-removable media implemented in any method or technology for storage of information such as computer-readable instructions, data structures, program modules, or other data.

Computer storage media includes RAM, ROM, EEPROM, flash memory or other memory technology, CD-ROM, digital versatile discs (DVDs) or other optical disk storage, magnetic cassettes, magnetic tape, magnetic disk storage or other magnetic storage devices, or any other medium which can be used to store the desired information and which can be accessed by the computer.

The patent further reveals that the software’s capability includes the ability to intercept all digital communications regardless of the medium, or whether they are online or offline, bluntly including the ability to intercept all modulated data signals.

Communication media typically embodies computer-readable instructions, data structures, program modules, or other data in a modulated data signal such as a carrier wave or other transport mechanism and includes any information delivery media. The term “modulated data signal” means a signal that has one or more of its characteristics set or changed in such a manner as to encode information in the signal. By way of example, and not limitation, communication media includes wired media such as a wired network or direct-wired connection, and wireless media such as acoustic, RF, infrared and other wireless media. Combinations of any of the above should also be included within the scope of computer-readable media.