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Government

Submission + - NASA Head Ignores Congress, Eyes Co-op with China (spacenews.com)

eldavojohn writes: Congress and the president haven't been exactly kind to NASA recently as far as funding goes but NASA chief Charles Bolden is ruffling some feathers with his planned trip to Beijing to investigate cooperative human space flight as well as potential Chinese involvement with the International Space Station. Such news has caused Congressman Frank Wolf to warn Bolden that o such planning or coordination has been approved by the Congress ... In fact, several recent NASA authorization bills have explicitly sought to place strict limitations on coordination with China.' Wolf is an outspoken critic of China in space and further warned Bolden in a letter that 'It should go without saying that NASA has no business cooperating with the Chinese regime on human spaceflight. China is taking an increasingly aggressive posture globally, and their interests rarely intersect with ours. The U.S. intelligence community notes that China’s attempts to spy on U.S. agencies are the most aggressive of all foreign intelligence organizations. China’s aerospace industry for decades has provided missile technologies and equipment to rogue regimes like Iran and North Korea.' Is Bolden genuinely interested or is he just putting pressure on Congress and the administration to give NASA a bit more funding? Does China really pose an espionage risk if partnered with in space?
Politics

Submission + - The Political Leanings of Black Hats?

sv_libertarian writes: A friend and I were discussing the political bent of black hat hackers. Now, disregarding government sponsored hackers, I can find no study or information that suggests most black hats are driven by a particular political ideology. I would think that if anything, the dominant political belief among black hats would be a form of anarchism, and my friend believes a dominant political view would draw from the radical left. Or do the black hats really give a damn about politics?
Government

Submission + - Ballmer, Bezos Fund Effort to Undermine Bill Gates

theodp writes: You know what they say — it takes money to avoid paying money. TechFlash reports that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos have contributed $100,000 each to an effort to defeat an income tax on individuals in Washington state making more than $200,000. The backers of Initiative 1098, which is set for the November ballot, include Bill Gates (Sr.), who has emerged as one of the most vocal proponents of the income tax. Under the proposal, which has drawn the ire of the Bezos and Ballmer-backed Defeat 1098, no tax would be due on the first $200K of income, 5% tax would be owed on income between $200K and $500K, and everything above $500K would be subject to a 9% tax (cutoffs are doubled for joint returns).
Science

Submission + - Video: Plane lands like a bird (sciencemag.org) 2

sciencehabit writes: Researchers have designed an experimental glider that can fly like a plane and land like a bird. When birds zoom in for a landing on, say, a telephone wire, they drop their tails and raise their wings in what's called a high angle of attack. Planes can't do this, because their wings were built for level flight and gradual descents; too high an angle creates severe turbulence that stalls the plane. The researchers developed a control system that quickly compensates for the effects of the turbulence and keeps the aircraft at precisely the correct angle to avoid stalling. The technology, they say, could be used to develop robot craft that recharge themselves by perching on electric power lines.
Input Devices

Submission + - OLPC's XO-1.75 laptop to have a multitouch screen (idg.com.au)

angry tapir writes: "One Laptop Per Child has revealed it is adding a multitouch screen to the upcoming XO-1.75 laptop and is modifying software to take advantage of the new hardware. The XO-1.75 with a touch-sensitive 8.9-inch screen will start shipping next year. The laptop will run on an Arm processor and is the successor to the current XO-1.5 laptop, which runs on a Via x86 processor. OLPC will also add a multitouch screen on the next-generation XO-3 tablet, which is due to ship in 2012. Fedora will continue to be the base Linux distribution for XO-1.75 as the laptop changes from the x86 to Arm architecture."
The Military

Submission + - Researcher Cracks U.S. Cybercom Logo 'Secret' Code (computerworld.com)

CWmike writes: A researcher at Panda Security said on Thursday he was the first to crack the code embedded in the seal of the U.S. Cyber Command (Cybercom), the group responsible for protecting the country's military networks from attack. Sean-Paul Correll said that the characters visible in a gold ring on Cybercom's official seal represent the MD5 hash of the group's mission statement. Lt. Commander Steve Curry of the U.S. Navy confirmed that Correll had it right. 'It wasn't very difficult,' said Correll, adding that it took him only two minutes to figure out that the characters — 9ec4c12949a4f31474f299058ce2b22a — were the hash value for Cybercom's mission statement: 'USCYBERCOM plans, coordinates, integrates, synchronizes, and conducts activities to: direct the operations and defense of specified Department of Defense information networks and; prepare to, and when directed, conduct full-spectrum military cyberspace operations in order to enable actions in all domains, ensure US/Allied freedom of action in cyberspace and deny the same to our adversaries.'

Submission + - Car computers dangerously insecure (bbc.co.uk) 7

" rel="nofollow">jd writes: "According to the BBC, it is possible to remotely control the brakes, dashboard, car locks, engine and seatbelts. Researchers have actually done so, with nothing more than a packet sniffer to analyze the messages between the onboard computer systems and a means of injecting packets. There is no packet authentication or channel authentication of any kind, no sanity-checking and no obvious data validation. It appears to need a hardware hack, at present — such as a wireless device plugged into the diagnostics port — but it's not at all clear that this will be a limiting factor. There's no shortage of wireless devices that must make use of the fact you can inject packets to turn on/off the engine, lock/unlock the doors, track the car, etc. If it's a simple one-wire link, all you need is a transmitter tuned to that wire."
Patents

Submission + - Microsoft to Pay $200M in Patent Dispute

Pickens writes: "eWeek reports that Microsoft announced that it will pay $200 million to settle a patent-infringement suit against it by VirnetX which alleged that the software giant infringed on its patents related to communications, virtualization and collaboration technology in a payment that represents a substantial markup from the $105.7 million that a Texas jury awarded in March when it found that Microsoft had infringed on two U.S. patents held by VirnetX. "We are pleased to work with VirnetX to bring these cases to a successful resolution through this settlement," says Tom Burt, Microsoft's deputy general counsel. Microsoft will license VirnetX technology for its own products. "We believe that this successful resolution of our litigation with Microsoft will allow us to focus on the upcoming pilot system that will showcase VirnetX's automatic Virtual Private Network technology," says Kendall Larsen, VirnetX Holding Corp.'s CEO. East Texas courts have a reputation as a good place to pursue intellectual property suits against larger corporations. While many of these cases seem to be settled out of court — or dismissed as totally frivolous — recent lawsuits such as those leveled by i4i and VirnetX are notable for at least extending to the Big Judgment phase."
Science

Why the First Cowboy To Draw Always Gets Shot 398

cremeglace writes "Have you ever noticed that the first cowboy to draw his gun in a Hollywood Western is invariably the one to get shot? Nobel-winning physicist Niels Bohr did, once arranging mock duels to test the validity of this cinematic curiosity. Researchers have now confirmed that people indeed move faster if they are reacting, rather than acting first."

Submission + - Hardware: SATA-III 6Gbps Meets SSDs (benchmarkreviews.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Solid State Drive technology has helped transform computers into high-performance machines. Adding to the mania, 6.0-Gbps SATA-III bandwidth has cleared any bottlenecks that may have previously limited SSD speeds. Based on the Marvell 88SS9174-BJP2 SSD processor, the 256GB Crucial RealSSD-C300 becomes the industry's first SATA-6G consumer Solid State Drive. Likewise, the C300 is also the first SSD to use ONFI 2.1 synchronous NAND flash. In this article, Benchmark Reviews tests the MTFDDAC256MAG model rated for 355 MBps read speeds using the HighPoint Rocket 620LF host controller.
Movies

Submission + - Wal-Mart, Target Put Squeeze on Redbox (businessweek.com)

gollum123 writes: Wal-Mart is boxing out Redbox. Wal-Mart (WMT), the world's largest retailer, has imposed strict limits on the number of DVDs any one customer can buy at a time, making it harder for movie-rental kiosks such as Coinstar's (CSTR) Redbox to get their hands on large numbers of newly released discs. The new rules took effect Feb. 1 and include a five-DVD cap on new releases, mirroring limits placed by Target (TGT) in December. Target's cap remains in effect for one week to several weeks after a movie is released to stores. Redbox and NCR (NCR) are among the largest U.S. operators of DVD-rental kiosks, which rent movies for about $1 a day and, according to Adams Media Research, are the fastest-growing distributors of movie rentals. Limits at Wal-Mart and Target make it all the more urgent that Redbox and NCR find ways to buy DVDs directly from studios. Redbox is in a legal tussle with studios that have refused to make new releases available on the day they become available for sale in stores.
The Courts

Submission + - Landmark ruling gives Australian ISPs safe harbor (itnews.com.au)

omnibit writes: Today, the Federal Court of Australia handed down its ruling in favor of the country's third largest ISP, iiNet. The case was backed by some of the largest media companies, including 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros. They accused iiNet of approving piracy by ignoring thousands of infringement notices. Justice Cowdroy said that the "mere provision of access to internet is not the means to infringement" and "[c]opyright infringement occured as result of use of BitTorrent, not the Internet...iiNet has no control over BitTorrent system and [is] not responsible for BitTorrent system." Many internet providers had been concerned that an adverse ruling would have forced themselves to police internet traffic and comply with the demands of copyright owners without any legislative or judicial oversight.
Security

Submission + - SPAM: How Wi-Fi attackers are poisoning Web browsers

alphadogg writes: Public Wi-Fi networks such as those in coffee shops and airports present a bigger security threat than ever to computer users because attackers can intercede over wireless to "poison" users' browser caches in order to present fake Web pages or even steal data at a later time.That's according to security researcher Mike Kershaw, developer of the Kismet wireless network detector and intrusion-detection system, who spoke at the Black Hat conference. He said it's simple for an attacker over an 802.11 wireless network to take control of a Web browser cache by hijacking a common JavaScript file, for example.

"Once you've left Starbucks, you're owned. I own your cache-control header," he said. "You're still loading the cache JavaScript when you go back to work."

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Theory of Fastest Gunfighter Tested (bbc.co.uk)

SubComdTaco writes: Scientists discovered that people move faster when reacting to something than when they perform "planned actions".

In an experimental "duel", published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, they studied the speed of these two types of movement.

As well as unpicking Wild West mythology, scientists hope the findings will shed light on movement disorders.

The team say the results could help diagnose conditions such as Parkinson's disease.

Gun-free duels: Pairs of participants were put in a button-pressing competition with each other. Each was secretly given instructions of how long to wait before pushing a row of buttons. "There was no 'go' signal," said Dr Andrew Welchman from the University of Birmingham, who led the research.

"All they had to go by was either their own intention to move or a reaction to their opponent — just like in the gunslingers legend."

Those who reacted to their opponent were on average 21 milliseconds faster than those who initiated the movement.

Science

Submission + - Sceptical climate researcher withholds code (newscientist.com) 1

xav_jones writes: New Scientist is reporting that Nicola Scafetta, a physicist at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina — whose work is often highlighted by climate-change sceptics, including US senator James Inhofe — is refusing to provide the software he used to other climate researchers attempting to replicate his results. Emails between Rasmus Benestad of the Norwegian Meteorological Institute in Oslo and Scafetta over the past week had Scaffetta repeatedly refusing to provide the code. "If you just disclose your code and data, then we will manage to get to the bottom of this," Benestad writes in one email. "I really do not understand why you are not able to write your own program to reproduce the calculations," responds Scafetta.

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