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Security

Is Analog the Fix For Cyber Terrorism? 245

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the security-through-obsolescence dept.
chicksdaddy writes "The Security Ledger has picked up on an opinion piece by noted cyber terrorism and Stuxnet expert Ralph Langner (@langnergroup) who argues in a blog post that critical infrastructure owners should consider implementing what he calls 'analog hard stops' to cyber attacks. Langner cautions against the wholesale embrace of digital systems by stating the obvious: that 'every digital system has a vulnerability,' and that it's nearly impossible to rule out the possibility that potentially harmful vulnerabilities won't be discovered during the design and testing phase of a digital ICS product. ... For example, many nuclear power plants still rely on what is considered 'outdated' analog reactor protection systems. While that is a concern (maintaining those systems and finding engineers to operate them is increasingly difficult), the analog protection systems have one big advantage over their digital successors: they are immune against cyber attacks.

Rather than bowing to the inevitability of the digital revolution, the U.S. Government (and others) could offer support for (or at least openness to) analog components as a backstop to advanced cyber attacks could create the financial incentive for aging systems to be maintained and the engineering talent to run them to be nurtured, Langner suggests."
Or maybe you could isolate control systems from the Internet.
Math

Can Electric Current Make People Better At Math? 112

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-bet-it-can-make-them-worse dept.
cold fjord sends this excerpt from the Wall Street Journal: "In a lab in Oxford University's experimental psychology department, researcher Roi Cohen Kadosh is testing an intriguing treatment: He is sending low-dose electric current through the brains of adults and children as young as 8 to make them better at math. A relatively new brain-stimulation technique called transcranial electrical stimulation may help people learn and improve their understanding of math concepts. The electrodes are placed in a tightly fitted cap and worn around the head. ... The mild current reduces the risk of side effects, which has opened up possibilities about using it, even in individuals without a disorder, as a general cognitive enhancer. Scientists also are investigating its use to treat mood disorders and other conditions. ... Up to 6% of the population is estimated to have a math-learning disability called developmental dyscalculia, similar to dyslexia but with numerals instead of letters. [In an earlier experiment, Kadosh] found that he could temporarily turn off regions of the brain known to be important for cognitive skills. When the parietal lobe of the brain was stimulated using that technique, he found that the basic arithmetic skills of doctoral students who were normally very good with numbers were reduced to a level similar to those with developmental dyscalculia. That led to his next inquiry: If current could turn off regions of the brain making people temporarily math-challenged, could a different type of stimulation improve math performance?"
United Kingdom

Now On Video: GCHQ Destroying Laptop Full of Snowden Disclosures 237

Posted by timothy
from the ask-not-what-your-country-can-destroy-for-you dept.
An anonymous reader writes "On Saturday 20 July 2013, in the basement of the Guardian's office in Kings Cross, London, watched by two GCHQ technicians, Guardian editors destroyed hard drives and memory cards on which encrypted files leaked by Edward Snowden had been stored. This is the first time footage of the event has been released."

Comment: Re:It's a memorial, not an art exhibition. (Score 1) 132

by garyok (#45812465) Attached to: The Strange Story Of the Sculpture On the Moon

You're assuming that the art is solely the product of the sculptor but it's not. The piece is a collaboration between Scott and Van Hoeydonck. Without Scott to commission (in whatever sense), transport, and arrange the installation, then neither the sculpture or the the plaque (Van Hoeydonck's sense of artistic fulfillment notwithstanding) would have had a lot of significance.

If you want to get all classical greek about it, Van Hoeydonck, controlled the material and formal causes of the installation but Scott controlled the effective cause and, without Scott, there could not have been a teleological cause for the piece. So Scott definitely gets equal standing weighing in on "what it was meant for".

Comment: Re:Stole exam answers? (Score 4, Insightful) 504

by garyok (#45703065) Attached to: CBS 60 Minutes: NSA Speaks Out On Snowden, Spying
So he broke into a secure environment, serruptitiously obtained confidential and/or classified information, and used his take to successfully gain a competive advantage over his peers? And somehow this makes him unsuitable for employment at the NSA? If he'd just 'fessed up he'd be the first new guy to start his job with an employee of the month award.
Medicine

US Executions Threaten Supply of Anaesthetic Used For Surgical Procedures 1160

Posted by Soulskill
from the are-you-saying-that-killing-people-has-consequences dept.
ananyo writes "Allen Nicklasson has had a temporary reprieve. Scheduled to be executed by lethal injection in Missouri on 23 October, the convicted killer was given a stay of execution by the state's governor, Jay Nixon, on 11 October — but not because his guilt was in doubt. Nicklasson will live a while longer because one of the drugs that was supposed to be used in his execution — a widely used anesthetic called propofol — is at the center of an international controversy that threatens millions of U.S. patients, and affects the way that U.S. states execute inmates. Propofol, used up to 50 million times a year in U.S. surgical procedures, has never been used in an execution. If the execution had gone ahead, U.S. hospitals could have lost access to the drug because 90% of the U.S. supply is made and exported by a German company subject to European Union regulations that restrict the export of medicines and devices that could be used for capital punishment or torture. This is not the first time that the E.U.'s anti-death-penalty stance has affected the U.S. supply of anesthetics. Since 2011, a popular sedative called sodium thiopental has been unavailable in the United States. 'The European Union is serious,' says David Lubarsky, head of the anesthesiology department at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in Florida. 'They've already shown that with thiopental. If we go down this road with propofol, a lot of good people who need anesthesia are going to be harmed.'"

Comment: Re:I remember being puzzled by that chapter (Score 2) 423

by garyok (#44228073) Attached to: Malcolm Gladwell On Culture and Airplane Crashes

On a trip from Delhi to Agra in 2010, I saw so much scary driving. Entire families on the backs of motorbikes. A tractor popping wheelies cos the tow bar was grossly overloaded. Bus passengers jumping on and off the buses in the middle of the road, in traffic going 10-20mph. Another bus driving straight at us when we were on the inside lane of a dual carriageway.

Every car journey in India was like a roller-coaster squared worth of white knuckles.

Comment: Re: Not-so-accurate source (Score 3, Funny) 487

by garyok (#43923617) Attached to: BBC Clock Inaccurate - 100 Days To Fix?
My mistake - GP is right. Just as long as he never, ever accidentally clicks on the Listen Live button he'll be fine. But if he does it, even once, then a ravening horde of TV Licencing inspectors will descend on his demise and commit inventive mayhem on him and his housemates. And he'll be liable for the licence fee.

Comment: Re: Not-so-accurate source (Score 4, Interesting) 487

by garyok (#43923471) Attached to: BBC Clock Inaccurate - 100 Days To Fix?

The TV licensing chaps often like to think of themselves as some sort of police force, and will often try to threaten or cajole people in either of the above two categories into buying a license anyway, but they don't have a legal leg to stand on. They can't demand you buy a license or enter your home without permission or a warrant. IME, warrants are very rarely issued to the TV licensing chaps because the judges know they like to throw their weight around and bully people.

I don't know where you're hearing that from. I've gone round with a TV Licencing officer on his rounds through Watford and I've witnessed first-hand how they operate. He never entered a home without permission, he just asked politely and all but one person said yes (the one that said no actually threatened to punch our teeth out - pity we could see the TV tuned to BBC2 from the doorstep...) As far as I'm aware, about 50% of the visits resulted in no follow-up action due to compassionate reasons. The only ones that were referred for further action were people who could pay, but thought they should be allowed to get away with it.

I love the BBC, especially all the various documentaries and the occasional drama. But no-one else in our house watches live TV either and didn't see the point in paying the money, so to get all those BBC4 documentaries I like so much, I scour iPlayer to watch them after they've been broadcast and buy the DVD if and when they become available.

i.e. people like you.

Comment: Re:is gmail faster in it? (Score 2) 195

by garyok (#43791671) Attached to: Google Chrome 27 Is Out: 5% Faster Page Loads

As for Joe Human, his reaction time is at about 20ms. Hence @5% improvement would be theoretically "noticeable" in a 2 seconds page load. But unnoticeable if Joe Human would have to observe it relative to 2 seconds total. Likely even with a stop watch Joe H. would be in "error area". And 100ms would be an improvement on a 20s load which would challenge patience of any Joe H.

Reaction time is how long it takes you to process a stimulus and initiate a physical action in response - it's not how long it takes you to notice something. Joe Human's sitting there wondering wondering why he's letting this site steal the precious moments of his life away from him loading ads for stuff he doesn't care about. He might not have time to hit the Cancel control before the page finishes loading but he knows his time's been wasted.

Comment: Re:The Queen (Score 1) 214

by garyok (#43673541) Attached to: Did the Queen Just Resurrect the Snooper's Charter?

Only the Crown can assert absolute ownership of the land in England (and the seabed of territorial waters). "Landowners" in England only own estates (the estate in fee simple and the estate in land) and have tenure on the land.

Of course, it'd really kick off if Liz Windsor sent her army round to clear the peasants off her nice patch of dirt (she is Commander-in-Chief of the British Armed Forces after all). Something tells me she can't be bothered with the hassle.

If a subordinate asks you a pertinent question, look at him as if he had lost his senses. When he looks down, paraphrase the question back at him.

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