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United States

9/11 Made Us Safer, Says Bruce Schneier 280

richi writes "Security guru and BT CTO Bruce Schneier discusses terrorist attacks. In fact, Bruce seems to be saying that 9/11 actually made us safer from terrorists, which seems like a curious argument. While Bruce's blog post is interesting and no doubt insightful, I'm not sure I really buy it. And what's the deal with the new rules for searching the TSA No Fly List? Why is it, in 2010, we're still mucking about with publishing database extracts and waiting hours for them to be searched? How about checking within seconds of an update? Couldn't someone volunteer to show them how to implement a reliable, scalable, NoSQL setup? Instead, the TSA plan to fix this is a classic 'big government' solution."
Graphics

Rome, Built In a Day 107

spmallick writes "Researchers at the University of Washington, in collaboration with Microsoft, have recreated the city of Rome in 3D using images obtained from Flickr. The data set consists of 150,000 images from Flickr.com associated with the tags 'Rome' or 'Roma,' and it took 21 hours on 496 compute cores to create a 3D digital model. Unlike Photosynth / Photo Tourism, the goal was to reconstruct an entire city and not just individual landmarks. Previous versions of the Photo Tourism software matched each photo to every other photo in the set. But as the number of photos increases the number of matches explodes, increasing with the square of the number of photos. A set of 250,000 images would take at least a year for 500 computers to process... A million photos would take more than a decade! The newly developed code works more than a hundred times faster than the previous version. It first establishes likely matches and then concentrates on those parts."
Databases

How a Team of Geeks Cracked the Spy Trade 187

drunken_boxer777 sends us to The Wall Street Journal for a lengthy article on a small tech company, Palantir Technologies, that is making the CIA, Pentagon, and FBI take notice. The submitter adds, "And yes, their company name is a reference to what you think it is." "One of the latest entrants into the government spy-services marketplace, Palantir Technologies has designed what many intelligence analysts say is the most effective tool to date to investigate terrorist networks. The software's main advance is a user-friendly search tool that can scan multiple data sources at once, something previous search tools couldn't do. That means an analyst who is following a tip about a planned terror attack, for example, can more quickly and easily unearth connections among suspects, money transfers, phone calls and previous attacks around the globe. ... With Palantir's software 'you can actually point to examples where it was pretty clear that lives were saved.'"

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