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Submission + - New DDoS Attack And Tools Use Google Maps Plugin As Proxy

An anonymous reader writes: Attackers are using Joomla servers with a vulnerable Google Maps plugin installed as a platform for launching DDoS attacks. A known vulnerability in a Google Maps plugin for Joomla allows the plugin to act as a proxy. Attackers spoof (fake) the source of the requests, causing the results to be sent from the proxy to someone else – their denial of service target. The true source of the attack remains unknown, because the attack traffic appears to come from the Joomla servers.

Submission + - CERN Tests First Artificial Retina Capable Of Looking For High Energy Particles

KentuckyFC writes: Pattern recognition is one of the few areas where humans regularly outperform even the most powerful computers. Our extraordinary ability is a result of the way our bodies process visual information. But surprisingly, our brains only do part of the work. The most basic pattern recognition—edge detection, line detection and the detection of certain shapes—is performed by the complex circuitry of neurons in the retina. Now particle physicists are copying this trick to hunt for new particles. A team at CERN has built and tested an artificial retina capable of identifying particle tracks in the debris from particle collisions. And it can do it at the same rate that the LHC smashes particles together, about 800 million collisions per second. In other words, it can sift through the data in real time. The team says the retina outperforms any other particle-detecting device by a factor of 400.

Submission + - Cuba calculates cost of 54yr US embargo at $1.1tn

ltorvalds11 writes: Cuba says its economy is suffering a “systematic worsening” due to a US embargo, the consequences of which Havana places at $1.1 trillion since Washington imposed the sanctions in 1960, taking into account the depreciation of the dollar against gold.
“There is not, and there has not been in the world, such a terrorizing and vile violation of human rights of an entire people than the blockade that the US government has been leading against Cuba for 55 years,” Cuban Deputy Foreign Minister Abelardo Moreno told reporters.
He also blamed the embargo for the difficulties in accessing internet on the island, saying that the United States creates an obstacle for companies providing broadband services in Cuba. Additionally, he said that the area is one of the "most sensitive" to the embargo, with economic losses estimated at $34.2 million. It is also the sector that has fallen "victim of all kinds of attacks" by the US, as violations of the Cuban radio or electronic space “promote destabilization" of Cuban society, the report notes.
The damage to Cuban foreign trade between April 2013 and June 2014 amounted to $3.9 billion, the report said. Without the embargo, Cuba could have earned $205.8 million selling products such as rum and cigars to US consumers.
Barack Obama last week signed the one-year extension of the embargo on Cuba, based on the Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917, created to restrict trade with countries hostile to the US.
Government

Submission + - Is China's Political Model Superior? 6

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "As the leader of world’s most powerful electoral democracy and the heir apparent to its largest one-party state meet at a time of political transition for both, Eric X. Li, a venture capitalist in Shanghai, writes in the NY Times that the West’s current competition with China is a clash of two fundamentally different political outlooks. The modern West sees democracy and human rights as the pinnacle of human development while China sees its current form of government merely as a means to achieving larger national ends. "The American Federalists made it clear they were establishing a republic, not a democracy, and designed myriad means to constrain the popular will," writes Li. "The political franchise expanded, resulting in a greater number of people participating in more and more decisions. As they say in America, “California is the future.” And the future means endless referendums, paralysis and insolvency." China is on a different path. Its leaders are prepared to allow greater popular participation in political decisions if and when it is conducive to economic development and favorable to the country’s national interests. The fundamental difference is whether political rights are considered God-given and therefore absolute or whether they should be seen as privileges to be negotiated based on the needs and conditions of the nation. "The West seems incapable of becoming less democratic even when its survival may depend on such a shift," concludes Li. "History does not bode well for the American way.""

Submission + - Harvard engineers develop new manufacturing process for robotic insect hordes (harvard.edu)

KBehemoth writes: According to a press release from Harvard: "A new technique inspired by elegant pop-up books and origami will soon allow clones of robotic insects to be mass-produced by the sheet. Devised by engineers at Harvard, the ingenious layering and folding process enables the rapid fabrication of not just microrobots, but a broad range of electromechanical devices."
Microsoft

Submission + - Microsoft's Killer Tablet Opportunity (infoworld.com)

snydeq writes: "Advice Line's Bob Lewis sees ripe opportunity for Microsoft in the tablet market: Forget about outdoing Apple's iPad and give us the features that finally improve the way we work. 'The game isn't beating Apple at its own game. The magic buzzword is to "differentiate" and show what your technology will do that Apple won't even care about, let alone beat you at. One possible answer: Help individual employees be more effective at their jobs,' Lewis writes, outlining four business features to target, not the least of which would be to provide UI variance, enabling serious tablet users to expose the OS complexity necessary to do real work."
Space

Submission + - Who Regulates Commercial Suborbital Flight? (txchnologist.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The commercial space flight industry has plenty of problems right now, but safety apparently isn’t one of them. “Weak demand, foreign competition, financial limitations, and technical challenges seem to be more significant impediments [than safety] at the moment,” says Scott Pace, director of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University.
Education

Submission + - NC State Agents Replaces Preschooler's Homemade Lunch with Cafeteria "Nuggets" (carolinajournal.com) 2

suraj.sun writes: A preschooler at West Hoke Elementary School ate three chicken nuggets for lunch Jan. 30 because a state employee told her the lunch her mother packed was not nutritious. The girl's turkey and cheese sandwich, banana, potato chips, and apple juice did not meet U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines, according to the interpretation of the agent who was inspecting all lunch boxes in her More at Four classroom that day.

The Division of Child Development and Early Education at the Department of Health and Human Services requires all lunches served in pre-kindergarten programs — including in-home day care centers — to meet USDA guidelines. That means lunches must consist of one serving of meat, one serving of milk, one serving of grain, and two servings of fruit or vegetables, even if the lunches are brought from home.

http://www.carolinajournal.com/exclusives/homemade-lunch-replaced-with-cafeteria-nuggets.html

Science

Submission + - The Myth of Renewable Energy (thebulletin.org)

Harperdog writes: Excellent piece by Dawn Stover about what renewables can and can't do. The sun and wind may be practically inexhaustible, but "renewable" energy isn't. Solar, wind, and geothermal power are not fundamentally different from other energy technologies that consume finite natural resources. Good reading for anyone who thinks they know how to combat climate change.
Cellphones

China Demands Real Names From Mobile Phone Users 187

itwbennett writes "Starting this month, mobile carriers in China are requiring people who set up new mobile phone accounts to register with their real names as part of a new government measure to reduce anonymity among the country's 800 million mobile users. And within 3 years, the carriers must also register the real identities of all existing users, said China Telecom spokesman Xu Fei. The new policy comes as China has been pushing users to register with their real names online. In August, online gamers had to begin real-name registration under regulations that are meant to protect minors from Internet addiction and 'unhealthy' content."
Earth

Cloth Successfully Separates Oil From Gulf Water 327

Chinobi writes "Di Gao, an assistant professor at the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh, has developed a method of separating oil from water within just seconds using a cotton cloth coated in a chemical polymer that makes it both hydrophilic (it bonds with the hydrogen atoms in water) and oleophobic (oil-repelling), making it absolutely perfect for blocking oil and letting water pass through. Gao tested his filter successfully on Gulf Oil water and oil and has an impressive video to demonstrate the results." This is a laboratory demonstration; the technology hasn't been tested at scale.
Programming

Submission + - Program That Can Read the Screen?

An anonymous reader writes: I'm a manager at a small IT company service center. Part of my job is escalating issue tickets from a web-based database to our in house database, which just involves a bunch of copying and pasting, with just a few values varying between tickets. As the company expands this part of my job is taking up more and more of my day, and the company is reluctant to hire someone who would have to sit here most of the day and do nothing until a ticket is submitted. Is there some sort of program out there that can check if there are images I would provide it on the screen, and execute keyboard and mouse macros based on those images? I do know a little programming, but nothing too serious. I'm thinking that if there were a separate program for the image comparison which gave command line output I could possibly use something like autohotkey to do the macro functions, but I'm not entirely sure where to start looking for these things.
Earth

Submission + - Sunlight and CO2 powered cars (newscientist.com)

Grant Ohm writes: We all know cars churn out tonnes of greenhouse gases — and that our appetite for motor vehicles shows little sign of abating. But New Scientist has a story on researchers that are aiming to create synthetic fuels which actually consume carbon dioxide in the production process. What's more, these processes are powered by huge mirrors which use sunlight as their energy source. This work is moving fast: one group has already demonstrated their prototype works — albeit only briefly — but now they're pressing ahead with larger versions.
NASA

NASA Outlines "Flagship" Technology Demonstrations 27

FleaPlus writes "As part of its new plans, NASA has outlined the initial series of large-scale 'flagship' technology demonstration (FTD) missions for developing and testing technologies needed for sustainable beyond-Earth exploration, complementing the smaller-scale ETDD missions outlined previously. The first four FTD missions (costing $400M-$1B each, about the cost of the recent Ares I-X suborbital rocket launch) are scheduled to launch between 2014 and 2016, demonstrating advanced in-space propulsion (next-generation ion propulsion and solar arrays), in-space propellant transfer and storage, a lightweight/inflatable mission module at the ISS (which will also test closed-loop life support), and an inflatable aeroshell for aerocapture at Mars. A multi-purpose robotic rendezvous and docking vehicle will also be developed to support these missions."

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