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Satellite Spots China's First Aircraft Carrier 449

Hugh Pickens writes "Commercial satellite company DigitalGlobe Inc. has announced that it has an image of the People's Republic of China's first functional aircraft carrier, taken during the carrier's first sea trials in the Yellow Sea. The carrier was originally meant for the Soviet navy, but its construction was halted as the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 and engineers in the Ukraine disarmed it and removed its engines before selling it to China in 1998 for $20 million. The vessel, an Admiral Kuznetsov class aircraft carrier measuring 304.5 meters long, and having a displacement of 58,500 tons, has been refitted for research and training in China. The Ministry of National Defense says the steam-powered aircraft carrier has completed all refitting and testing work as scheduled after its first sea trial in mid-August, and was heading back out to sea for additional scientific research and experiments. According to Andrew S. Erickson at the US Naval War College, China's long term strategic dilemma is whether to focus on large-deck aviation or on submarines (PDF)."

XML Encryption Broken, Need To Fix W3C Standard 80

gzipped_tar writes "Researchers from Ruhr University Bochum demonstrated the insecurity of XML encryption standard at ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security in Chicago this week. 'Everything is insecure,' is the uncomfortable message from Bochum. As pointed out by the Ars Technica article, XML Encryption is used widely as part of server-to-server Web services connections to transmit secure information mixed with non-sensitive data, based on cipher-block chaining. But it is apparently too weak, as demonstrated by Juraj Somorovsky and Tibor Jager. They were able to decrypt data by sending modified ciphertexts to the server by gathering information from the received error messages. The attack was tested against a popular open source implementation of XML Encryption, and against the implementations of companies that responded to the responsible disclosure — in all cases the result was the same: the attack worked. Fixing the vulnerability will require a revision of the W3C XML encryption standard, Somorovsky said. The researchers informed all possibly affected companies through the mailing list of W3C, following a clear responsible disclosure process."

FDA To Scrutinize Mobile Medical Apps 142

mikejuk writes "It looks like 'first do no harm' is coming to an app near you. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is seeking input on its proposed oversight of some health-related mobile phone apps. It is almost too easy to create an app that aims to help people detect or manage some condition or other — but should programmers play the role of doctor even in seemingly harmless areas?"

Steve Ballmer Reveals His Secret Twitter Account 166

alphadogg writes "'Quietly' is not a word that would usually describe any action performed by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. But quietly is exactly how Ballmer has conducted himself on Twitter, a site he joined over a year ago unbeknownst to most of the technology world. Just a few days ago, Ballmer was speaking in Kiev, Ukraine, and according to a transcript on the Microsoft website, Ballmer responded to an audience member who asked 'when are you going to start tweeting?' Ballmer said: 'I have a Twitter account. I'm just very private about who I really am on Twitter.'"

Battlestar Galactica's Last Days 799

bowman9991 writes "If your country was invaded and occupied by a foreign power, would you blow yourself up to fight back? If someone pointed a gun at your head and threatened to pull the trigger if you refused to sign a document you knew would lead to a hundred deaths (and you signed!), would that make you ultimately responsible? Does superior technology give you the moral right to impose your will on a technologically inferior culture? You wouldn't expect a mainstream television show to tackle such philosophically loaded questions, certainly not a show based on cheesy science fiction from the '70s, but if you've watched Battlestar Galactica since it was re-imagined in 2003, there has been no escape. The final fourth season is nearly over, and when the final episode airs, television will never be the same again. SFFMedia illustrates how Battlestar Galactica exposes the moral dilemmas, outrages, and questionable believes of the present as effectively (but more entertainingly) than any documentary or news program. It's not hard to see parallels in the CIA and US military's use of interrogation techniques in Bush's War on Terror, the effects of labeling one race as 'the enemy,' the crackdown on free speech, or the use of suicide bombers in Iraq."

"Necessity is the mother of invention" is a silly proverb. "Necessity is the mother of futile dodges" is much nearer the truth. -- Alfred North Whitehead