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+ - 374 After 911 Cockpits Are Harder to Invade But Easier to Lock up

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "Jad Mouawad And Christopher Drew write in the NYT that although airplane cockpits are supposed to be the last line of defense from outside aggressors, airlines have fewer options if the threat comes from within as it appears that the co-pilot of the German jet crashed Tuesday took advantage of one of the major safety protocols instituted after the September 11, 2001, attacks that turned cockpits into fortresses. “It is shocking to me that there was not a second person present in the cockpit,” says Mark Rosenker, a former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board. Access to the cockpit is strictly regulated in the United States. Passengers are not allowed to congregate near the cockpit door, and whenever the door is open, no one is allowed in the forward bathroom and flight attendants usually block aisle access, sometimes using a food cart. The crash, which killed all 150 people aboard the Germanwings Airbus A320, highlights a major difference between European and American flight deck procedures. The Federal Aviation Administration mandates that a flight attendant must sit in the cockpit when either pilot steps into the passenger area; European regulations do not have a similar two-person rule.

The Germanwings accident also points to potential shortcomings in how pilots are screened for mental problems, a recurring concern for an industry that demands focus and discipline in an increasingly technical job, often in stressful situations. In 2012, a well-regarded pilot with JetBlue, one of the airline’s earliest employees, was physically restrained by passengers on a flight from New York to Las Vegas after displaying erratic behavior. In that case, the co-pilot locked the pilot out of the cabin and made an emergency landing in Amarillo, Tex. “Aircraft-assisted pilot suicides,” as the Federal Aviation Administration calls them, are rare. They include the November 2013 crash of a Mozambique Airlines plane bound for Luanda, Angola, which bears an eerie resemblance to the Germanwings plane’s demise. When the flight’s co-pilot left to use the lavatory, the captain locked him out of the cockpit and manually steered the aircraft earthward. The crash of Egypt Airlines Flight 990 off Nantucket, Mass., in 1999, which killed all 217 people on board, was also caused by deliberate action, a National Transportation Safety Board investigation concluded. Experts on suicide say that the psychology of those who combine suicide with mass murder may differ in significant ways from those who limit themselves to taking their own lives. “This is not so different in some ways from someone who walks into a school and kills a bunch of people, and then kills themselves,” says Michelle Cornette adding that it was entirely possible that someone who was suicidal could pass psychological exams and receive a clean bill of health. “People know what’s going to raise a red flag.""

+ - 205 U.S. Air Force Overstepped In SpaceX Certification

Submitted by Rambo Tribble
Rambo Tribble (1273454) writes "An internal review commissioned by Air Force Secretary Deborah James has concluded that Air Force personnel tasked with evaluating SpaceX's certification treated as a design review, going so far as to dictate organizational changes in the company. This was judged contrary to the intention of promoting a competitive environment. The report, prepared by former Air Force Chief of Staff General Larry Welch concluded, "The result to date has been ... the worst of all worlds, pressing the Falcon 9 commercially oriented approach into a comfortable government mold that eliminates or significantly reduces the expected benefits to the government of the commercial approach. Both teams need to adjust.""

+ - 220 Big Vulnerability in Hotel Wi-Fi Router Puts Guests at Risk->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Guests at hundreds of hotels around the world are susceptible to serious hacks because of routers that many hotel chains depend on for their Wi-Fi networks. Researchers have discovered a vulnerability in the systems, which would allow an attacker to distribute malware to guests, monitor and record data sent over the network, and even possibly gain access to the hotel’s reservation and keycard systems.

The vulnerability, which was discovered by Justin W. Clarke of the security firm Cylance, gives attackers read-write access to the root file system of the ANTlabs devices.

The discovery of the vulnerable systems was particularly interesting to them in light of an active hotel hacking campaign uncovered last year by researchers at Kaspersky Lab. In that campaign, which Kaspersky dubbed DarkHotel"

Link to Original Source

+ - 278 Facebook's Drone will beam Internet Access to Billions of People from Sky

Submitted by rtoz
rtoz (2530056) writes "At its F8 conference in San Francisco, Facebook announced the first hardware it plans to use to beam the Internet down to billions of people around the world.

Codenamed "Aquila", the solar-powered drone has a wingspan comparable to a Boeing 737. But it weighs less than a small car.

It will be powered by solar panels on its wings and it will be able to stay at altitudes of more than 60,000 feet for months at a time.

Facebook says it’ll begin test flights this summer, with a broader rollout over the next several years."

+ - 144 Physical sciences contribute 22% of economy->

Submitted by Taco Cowboy
Taco Cowboy (5327) writes "According to a report published in Australit — http://www.science.org.au/scie... — physical sciences, including core disciplines of physics, chemistry, earth sciences and the mathematical sciences have contributed around 22% of the Australian economy The direct contribution of the advanced physical and mathematical sciences is equal to 11% of the economy while additional and flow-on benefits add another 11%, bringing the total benefits to almost A$300 billion a year The report also notes that this estimate is likely to be conservative, and sets out several other areas of benefit that are harder to measure The report carefully considered the pathways by which the advanced physical and mathematical sciences yielded economic benefits and the Australian community’s continuing commitment to the advanced physical and mathematical sciences would be needed to ensure that the benefits from what is essentially a global scientific enterprise will continue to accrue to the Australian economy The economists who prepared the report conducted industry consultations to determine the importance of the physical sciences to Australia’s 506 industry classes. They outline the economic contribution of the sciences to the top 10 industry groups in an appendix to the report There are three distinct sources of useful knowledge, the report says: the core disciplines of mathematics, physics and chemistry can provide useful knowledge individually and it takes banking as an example: "“Part of the banking industry relies on complex mathematically based models that support risk and investment decisions, but on no other science input. We estimate that 3.6% of Australia’s economic output is produced from inputs that embody useful knowledge from a single core discipline” The economists also estimate that 7.3% of Australia’s economic output is produced from inputs that embody useful knowledge from multiple disciplines. So the multidisciplinary nature of science means that the total impact of science is greater than the sum of the contributions of the individual sciences"
Link to Original Source

+ - 163 Germanwings Crash Prompts Requirement of Two Personnel in Cockpit

Submitted by jones_supa
jones_supa (887896) writes "After a co-pilot appeared to deliberately crash Germanwings flight 4U9525, some airlines are to change their rules to ensure two crew members are in plane cockpits at all times. Two low-cost European carriers EasyJet and Norwegian Air Shuttle are going to roll the new policy into effect almost immediately. The latter company said that they had already been discussing about such scenario before. Air Canada and the Canadian charter airline Air Transat also said they would go with the new rule. Many more carriers are likely to follow. Airlines in United States already follow the "rule of two"."

+ - 180 Ordnance Survey releases mapping tool->

Submitted by rHBa
rHBa (976986) writes "The BBC reports that the UK mapping organisation Ordnance Survey has added 4 new products to its open data portfolio: OS Local, Names, Rivers and Roads. Perhaps the most interesting of the free data sets is OS Local which provides a base map to identify ‘hotspots’ such as property pricing, insurance risk, and crime.

The OS are not creating a new Google Maps-style service of their own but rather are providing their data for use by other third-party apps and online tools. They expect developers and designers to use the data to enhance their own products and improve the information people can access via the web.

What uses would you put this sort of data to if it were available in an easily parsable format for your area?"

Link to Original Source

+ - 214 Rebuilding the PDP-8...with a Raspberry Pi->

Submitted by braindrainbahrain
braindrainbahrain (874202) writes "Hacker Oscarv wanted a PDP-8 mini computer. But a buying a real PDP-8 was horribly expensive and out of the question. So Oscarv did the next best thing: use a Raspberry Pi as the computing engine and interface it to a replica PDP-8 front panel, complete with boatloads of fully functional switches and LEDs."
Link to Original Source

+ - 204 Millennial Tech Workers Losing Ground in U.S.->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "Millennial tech workers are entering the U.S. workforce at a comparable disadvantage to other tech workers throughout the industrialized world, according to study earlier this year from Educational Testing Services (PDF). How do U.S. millennials compare to their international peers, at least according to ETS? Those in the 90th percentile (i.e., the top-scoring) actually scored lower than top-scoring millennials in 15 of the 22 studied countries; low-scoring U.S. millennials ranked last (along with Italy and England/Northern Ireland). While some experts have blamed the nation's education system for the ultimate lack of STEM jobs, other studies have suggested that the problem isn't in the classroom; a 2014 report from the U.S. Census Bureau suggested that many of the people who earned STEM degrees didn't actually go into careers requiring them. In any case, the U.S. is clearly wrestling with an issue; how can it introduce more (qualified) STEM people into the market (yes, Dice link)?"
Link to Original Source

+ - 212 GAO denied access to Webb telescope workers by Northrop Grumman

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "In a report as well as at House hearings today the GAO reported that Northrop Grumman has denied them one-on-one access to workers building the James Webb Space Telescope.

The interviews, part of a running series of GAO audits of the NASA flagship observatory, which is billions of dollars overbudget and years behind schedule, were intended to identify potential future trouble spots, according to a GAO official. But Northrop Grumman Aerospace, which along with NASA says the $9 billion project is back on track, cited concerns that the employees, 30 in all, would be intimidated by the process.

To give Northrop Grumman the benefit of the doubt, these interviews were a somewhat unusual request. Then again, if all was well why would they resist? Note too that the quote above says the cost of the telescope project is now $9 billion. If the project was “back on track: as the agency and Northrop Grumman claim, than why has the budget suddenly increased by another billion?"

+ - 326 One Professional Russian Troll Tells All->

Submitted by SecState
SecState (667211) writes "Hundreds of full-time, well-paid trolls operate thousands of fake accounts to fill social media sites and comments threads with pro-Kremlin propaganda. A St. Petersburg blogger spent two months working 12-hour shifts in a "troll factory," targeting forums of Russian municipal websites. In an interview, he describes how he worked in teams with two other trolls to create false "debates" about Russian and international politics, with pro-Putin views always scoring the winning point. Of course, with the U.S. government invoking "state secrets" to dismiss a defamation case against the supposedly independent advocacy group United Against a Nuclear Iran, Americans also need to be asking how far is too far when it comes to masked government propaganda."
Link to Original Source

+ - 246 PayPal Cited For 'Reckless Disregard' For U.S. Sanctions->

Submitted by jfruh
jfruh (300774) writes "PayPal may not be a bank, but it's still legally required to follow regulations on transferring money — but the company has admitted to a number of violations, including allowing transfers to an individual specifically sanctioned by the U.S. State Department for helping proliferate nuclear weapons."
Link to Original Source

+ - 287 Amazon Requires Non-Compete Agreements...For Warehouse Workers

Submitted by Rick Zeman
Rick Zeman (15628) writes "Amazon, perhaps historically only second to NewEgg in the IT nerdling's online shopping heart, not only has treated their warehouse workers to appalling working condtions, but they're also making them sign a non-compete agreement for the privilege. Excerpt from the agreement:
During employment and for 18 months after the Separation Date, Employee will not, directly or indirectly, whether on Employee’s own behalf or on behalf of any other entity (for example, as an employee, agent, partner, or consultant), engage in or support the development, manufacture, marketing, or sale of any product or service that competes or is intended to compete with any product or service sold, offered, or otherwise provided by Amazon (or intended to be sold, offered, or otherwise provided by Amazon in the future)...."

+ - 158 Australia passes mandatory data retention law->

Submitted by Bismillah
Bismillah (993337) writes "Opposition from the Green Party and independent members of parliament wasn't enough to stop the ruling conservative Liberal-National coalition from passing Australia's new law that will force telcos and ISPs to store customer metadata for at least two years.

Journalists' metadata is not exempted from the retention law, but requires a warrant to access.

The metadata of everyone else can be accessed by unspecified government agencies without a warrant however."

Link to Original Source