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+ - Can High Intelligence Be A Burden Rather Than A Boon?

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com writes: David Robson has an interesting article at BBC on the relationship between high intelligence and happiness. "We tend to think of geniuses as being plagued by existential angst, frustration, and loneliness," writes Robson. Think of Virginia Woolf, Alan Turing, or Lisa Simpson – lone stars, isolated even as they burn their brightest." As Ernest Hemingway wrote: “Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.” The first steps to studying the question were taken in 1926 when psychologist Lewis Terman decided to identify and study a group of gifted children. Terman selected 1,500 pupils with an IQ of 140 or more – 80 of whom had IQs above 170. Together, they became known as the “Termites”, and the highs and lows of their lives are still being studied to this day.

As you might expect, many of the Termites did achieve wealth and fame – most notably Jess Oppenheimer, the writer of the classic 1950s sitcom I Love Lucy. Indeed, by the time his series aired on CBS, the Termites’ average salary was twice that of the average white-collar job. But not all the group met Terman’s expectations – there were many who pursued more “humble” professions such as police officers, seafarers, and typists. For this reason, Terman concluded that “intellect and achievement are far from perfectly correlated”. Nor did their smarts endow personal happiness. Over the course of their lives, levels of divorce, alcoholism and suicide were about the same as the national average.

According to Robson, one possibility is that knowledge of your talents becomes something of a ball and chain. During the 1990s, the surviving Termites were asked to look back at the events in their 80-year lifespan. Rather than basking in their successes, many reported that they had been plagued by the sense that they had somehow failed to live up to their youthful expectations (PDF).

+ - Researchers discover SS7 flaw, allowing total access to ANY cell phone anywhere.->

Submitted by krakman
krakman writes: Researchers discovered security flaws in SS7 that allow listening to private phone calls and intercepting text messages on a potentially massive scale – even when cellular networks are using the most advanced encryption now available.

The flaws, to be reported at a hacker conference in Hamburg this month, are actually functions built into SS7 for other purposes – such as keeping calls connected as users speed down highways, switching from cell tower to cell tower – that hackers can repurpose for surveillance because of the lax security on the network. It is thought that these flaws were used for bugging Chancellor Merkels phone earlier.

Those skilled at the housekeeping functions built into SS7 can locate callers anywhere in the world, listen to calls as they happen or record hundreds of encrypted calls and texts at a time for later decryption. There also is potential to defraud users and cellular carriers by using SS7 functions, the researchers say.

Another result of Security being thought of after the fact, as opposed to part of the initial design.

Link to Original Source

+ - Bitcoin Plunges after Mt. Gox Exchange halts trades-> 3

Submitted by krakman
krakman writes: From Bloomberg...
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/...

Bitcoin plunged more than 8 percent today after a Tokyo-based exchange halted withdrawals of the digital currency, citing technical malfunction.

Mt. Gox, claimed in a blog post it needed to “temporarily pause on all withdrawal requests to obtain a clear technical view of the currency processes.” It promised an “update” — not a reopening — on Monday, Feb. 10, Japan time.

This is day after Russia's Prosecutor General concluded Bitcoin and other digital currencies are illegal under current law.

Link to Original Source

+ - Multidrug Resistance Gene Released By Chinese Wastewater Treatment Plants->

Submitted by MTorrice
MTorrice writes: In recent years, increasing numbers of patients worldwide have contracted severe bacterial infections that are untreatable by most available antibiotics. Some of the gravest of these infections are caused by bacteria carrying genes that confer resistance to a broad class of antibiotics called beta-lactams, many of which are treatments of last resort. Now a research team reports that some wastewater treatment plants in China discharge one of these potent resistance genes into the environment. Environmental and public health experts worry that this discharge could promote the spread of resistance.
Link to Original Source

+ - Want to Fight Allergies? Get a Dirty Dog->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit writes: A dog in the house is more than just good company. There’s increasing evidence that exposure to dogs and livestock early in life can lessen the chances of infants later developing allergies and asthma. Now, researchers have traced this beneficial health effect to a microbe living in the gut. Their study, in mice, suggests that supplementing an infant’s diet with the right mix of bacteria might help prevent allergies—even without a pet pooch.
Link to Original Source

+ - Worse then NSA? France Broadens Its Surveillance Power with wider scope then NSA->

Submitted by krakman
krakman writes: With the NSA disclosures, French media was 'outraged'. Yet they appear to be worse then the NSA, with a new law that codifies standard practice and provides for no judicial oversight while allowing electronic surveillance for a broad range of purposes, including “national security,” the protection of France’s “scientific and economic potential” and prevention of “terrorism” or “criminality.” ( NYTIMES article: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/15/world/europe/france-broadens-its-surveillance-power.html )

The government argues that the law, passed last week with little debate as part of a routine military spending bill, which takes effect in 2015, does not expand intelligence powers. Rather, officials say, those powers have been in place for years, and the law creates rules where there had been none, notably with regard to real-time location tracking.

French intelligence agencies have little experience publicly justifying their practices. Parliamentary oversight did not begin until 2007.

The Association des Services Internet Communautaires, or @sic, an advocacy group whose members include AOL, eBay, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and several top French Internet companies, discovered the new legislation essentially by chance.

“There was no consultation at all,” said Giuseppe de Martino, @sic’s director and an executive at Dailymotion, a French online video service. “No one said anything about it to us.”

Link to Original Source

+ - Outdoor Kinect: 3D Scanning in Sunlight->

Submitted by giantwheeler
giantwheeler writes: 3D scanning has now come to our living rooms. Think of Kinect. It is possible to build 3D models of our furniture, our rooms as well as ourselves.

But what about outdoors? Outdoors is a different story as these devices have to compete with strong sunlight. The result is 3D scans with very low quality. If we are making an autonomous car or an outdoor robot, we need to do high quality 3D scanning outdoors. We also want systems that are fast, low power, cheap and small.

Does this sound too much to ask for?

Researchers in the computer vision lab at Columbia University have shown that these things are possible. By concentrating light smartly according to how strong the sunlight is, they have achieved high quality 3D scans of outdoor scenes even with very low power devices. With low power light sources such as pico projectors becoming popular, this could lead to next generation "Kinect" devices that work outdoors. Details at http://www.cs.columbia.edu/CAVE/projects/sl_in_sunlight/

Link to Original Source

+ - NSA has no clue as to scope of SNOWDON file copy, amnesty for unpublished docs?->

Submitted by krakman
krakman writes: In a NY Times article ( http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/15/us/officials-say-us-may-never-know-extent-of-snowdens-leaks.html) a 6 month internal investigation has not been able to define the actual files that Edward Snowdon had copied.

There is a suspicion that not all the documents have been leaked to newspapers, and a senior NSA official (Rick Ledgett), who is heading the security agency’s task force examining Mr. Snowden’s leak, has said on the record, that he would consider recommending amnesty for Mr. Snowden in exchange for those unleaked documents.

The investigation managed to reveal so far, that Snowdon hacked firewalls and used coworkers security credentials to gain systemwide access.

“They’ve spent hundreds and hundreds of man-hours trying to reconstruct everything he has gotten, and they still don’t know all of what he took,” a senior administration official said. “I know that seems crazy, but everything with this is crazy.”

That Mr. Snowden was so expertly able to exploit blind spots in the systems of America’s most secretive spy agency illustrates how far computer security still lagged years after President Obama ordered standards tightened after the WikiLeaks revelations of 2010.

Link to Original Source

+ - Insight on FBI hacking team ops from Washington Post->

Submitted by krakman
krakman writes: A very interesting story on how the background to how the FBI can investigate and get details from computers over the net, without knowing anything about the computer location. Not from some conspiracy rag, but Washington Post regarding FBI "network investigative techniques":

"The man who called himself “Mo” had dark hair, a foreign accent and — if the pictures he e-mailed to federal investigators could be believed — an Iranian military uniform. When he made a series of threats to detonate bombs at universities and airports across a wide swath of the United States last year, police had to scramble every time.

Mo remained elusive for months, communicating via e-mail, video chat and an Internet-based phone service without revealing his true identity or location, court documents show. So with no house to search or telephone to tap, investigators turned to a new kind of surveillance tool delivered over the Internet." ...

Link to Original Source

+ - There is no God in the Catholic Bible....

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: On the site http://www.catholic.org/bible/ there is a search box allowing one to search for keywords in the Catholic Bible. In a "brilliant" programming move, someone decided not to index words shorter then four letters. And thus God was banished from the index. And So was Sin.

Then again, this could be a byproduct of Pope Benedict XVI attacking the idea of transparency in the Internet age....
Media

+ - CNN is using subliminal advertising?-> 1

Submitted by
krakman
krakman writes: "CNN has subliminal Advertising? I just got a email from a friend who said she was watching CNN over her DVR and had a clip that showed CNN's subliminal advertising. She uploaded the clip to youtube, and I extracted the frame, (go to http://brainwashingbycnn.blogspot.com/ to check it out) Innocent mistake by CNN or bigger plot to brainwash us...... I look forward to comments...."
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