writes "Can bottom-up cap and trade work?
California has funded a $3.2 million system to burn methane from dairy cows in Wisconsin.
It's all part of California's "cap and trade" effort to reduce climate change.
"California’s program is the latest incarnation of an increasingly popular — and much debated — mechanism that has emerged as one of the primary weapons against global warming. From China to Norway, Kazakhstan to the Northeastern United States, governments are requiring industries to buy permits allowing them to emit set levels of greenhouse gases. Under these plans, the allowable levels of pollution are steadily reduced and the cost of permits rises, creating an economic incentive for companies to cut emissions."
“We might be witnessing the birth of a new system, without quite realizing it,” said Glen P. Peters, a climate researcher at the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research in Oslo. “When you think of all these bottom-up initiatives around the world, maybe we are living through the transformation right now.”
"Experts who support cap and trade contend that a market mechanism can reach more deeply into the economy than any other approach, changing the behavior even of people and companies that might not necessarily care about global warming.""Link to Original Source
writes "“As you write a message, you know, an analyst at the NSA or any other service out there that’s using this kind of attack against people can actually see you write sentences and then backspace over your mistakes and then change the words and then kind of pause and — and — and think about what you wanted to say and then change it. And it’s this extraordinary intrusion not just into your communications, your finished messages but your actual drafting process, into the way you think.”
More information here:
http://www.nbcnews.com/feature..."Link to Original Source
writes "China’s Shanghai WinSun Decoration Design Engineering company has released new images and further details on its 3D printed houses. The ten houses were built entirely out of recycled materials, in less than 24 hours.
The monstrous 3D printer measures 32-meters long, by 10-meters wide, by 6.6-meters high and is fully capable of printing the 200 square meter houses, in Shanghai’s Qingpu district. It uses a mixture of construction and industrial waste to produce each house. The inexpensive materials used during the printing process and the lack of labor, means each house can be printed for under $5,000, an impressive achievement for a relatively new construction process."Link to Original Source
writes "The BBC reports:
The discovery of bugs in software used to run oil rigs, refineries and power plants has prompted a global push to patch the widely used control system. The bugs were found by security researchers and, if exploited, could give attackers remote access to control systems for the installations.
The US Department of Homeland Security said an attacker with "low skill" would be able to exploit the bugs. About 7,600 plants around the world are using the vulnerable software.
"We went from zero to total compromise," said Juan Vazquez, a researcher at security firm Rapid7 who, with colleague Julian Diaz, found several holes in Yokogawa's Centum CS 3000 software which was first released to run on Windows 98 to monitor and control machinery in many large industrial installations.
The researchers also explored other SCADA software: "We ended up finding over 1,000 bugs in 100 days,""Link to Original Source
writes "The NY Times has an interesting article about Brian Krebs (Krebs on Security):
"In the last year, Eastern European cybercriminals have stolen Brian Krebs’s identity a half dozen times, brought down his website, included his name and some unpleasant epithets in their malware code, sent fecal matter and heroin to his doorstep, and called a SWAT team to his home just as his mother was arriving for dinner."
His reporting is definitely on the edge. "Mr. Krebs, 41, tries to write pieces that cannot be found elsewhere. His widely read cybersecurity blog, Krebs on Security, covers a particularly dark corner of the Internet: profit-seeking cybercriminals, many based in Eastern Europe, who make billions off pharmaceutical sales, malware, spam, frauds and heists like the recent ones that Mr. Krebs was first to uncover at Adobe, Target and Neiman Marcus."
The article concludes with this: "Mr. Joffe worries Mr. Krebs’s enemies could do far worse. “I don’t understand why he hasn’t moved to a new, undisclosed address,” he said. “But Brian needs a bodyguard.” (He does have a shotgun.)"Link to Original Source
writes "From the The Register:
"Spanish hackers have been showing off their latest car-hacking creation; a circuit board using untraceable, off-the-shelf parts worth $20 that can give wireless access to the car's controls while it's on the road.
The device, which will be shown off at next month's Black Hat Asia hacking conference, uses the Controller Area Network (CAN) ports car manufacturers build into their engines for computer-system checks. Once assembled, the smartphone-sized device can be plugged in under some vehicles, or inside the bonnet of other models, and give the hackers remote access to control systems.
"A car is a mini network," security researcher Alberto Garcia Illera told Forbes. "And right now there's no security implemented.""Link to Original Source
writes "If you're headed to Sochi for the Winter Olympics, it might be best to stay off the grid.
The State Department has already warned travelers that they should have no expectation of privacy while in Russia. And now, NBC's Richard Engel has demonstrated just how easy it is to get hacked while at the games.
Engel, NBC's chief foreign correspondent, teamed with Kyle Wilhoit, a threat researcher with TrendMicro, to test how quickly devices could be compromised while in Russia.
According to Engel's report, the smartphone was attacked almost instantly... The PCs were also breached almost instantaneously from someone who appeared to be in Russia.
(Wilhoit said he will publish a more technical blog post on Friday that details exactly how the devices were compromised.)"Link to Original Source
writes "Since the source code for Bitcoin is open source, we have seen several copies or enhancements of Bitcoin (Litecoin, Dogecoin or Coinye West, anyone?... There are about 70 listed on this site: http://coinmarketcap.com/ )
Now you, too, can have your own cryptocurrency! Thanks to Matt Corallo, a veteran bitcoin developer, you can easily create your own at this site: coingen.io
He has automated the process of modifying the source code to create custom currencies. Just enter in the name for your new currency, a logo image and set a few parameters (or accept the defaults) and for the grand sum of as little as 0.05 Bitcoin, you can have your own cryptocurrency in 30 minutes! Source code and some customizations are a bit extra.
Once you have your own "coin", you just need to convince people that it is worth something."Link to Original Source
writes "Each year, the British Medical Journal (BMJ) publishes a set of interesting articles which are, while scientifically correct, do not meet the usual criteria for publication (untraditional papers).
This highlight of this year's edition is one which found that 0.8% of US females reported virgin births. That is, they reported that they had never had intercourse and that they had been pregnant. It should be noted that they did not claim immaculate conception, they just reported (on regular surveys) that they had been pregnant and (in a separate section of the survey) had never had intercourse.
"The authors of "Like a virgin (mother)" — whose prose is devoid of irony — say such scientifically impossible claims show researchers must use care in interpreting self-reported behavior. Fallible memory, beliefs and wishes can cause people to err in what they tell scientists."
These results are from a large, well regarded, longitudinal study of women in the USA.
Some insight into these findings:
"Of those who said they became pregnant as virgins, 31 percent also said they had signed chastity pledges; 15 percent of nonvirgins who became pregnant said they had signed such pledges, in which a girl vows not to have sex until she marries."
"The ostensibly chaste mothers were also less likely to know how to use condoms, according to the report. " (duh... this could be a big clue here!)
Finally the authors also report (again, without irony) that: "The researchers found that although the mothers in question were more likely to have boys than girls, and to be pregnant during the weeks leading up to Christmas, neither similarity to the Virgin Mary was statistically significant."
Merry Christmas to Jesus and all the gang."Link to Original Source
writes "A Singapore nightclub has installed devices in their urinals which test for drunk patrons. When a patron is over the limit, the device identifies him by the RFID card in his pocket and tags the card. It also displays a warning above the urinal. When he goes to pick up his car, the warning is displayed and there is another opportunity to take a cab.
Apparently they don't prevent claiming the car but about 2/3 of patrons decide to take a cab.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2OdA7DUOAQ"Link to Original Source
writes ""When Glenn Greenwald’s 28-year-old Brazilian partner was detained in London this summer while transporting documents related to the bombshell Edward Snowden story, many assumed he was unfairly roped into a situation he didn’t understand. That couldn’t be further from the truth."
BuzzFeed has a lengthy interview with Miranda which gives lots of interesting details about Snowden in Hong Kong, Laura Poitras in Germany, his detention in the UK, and his life with Greenwald in Brazil.
Warning: This is a long article. If you don't have the time to read it, please don't comment tl;dr... just move on."Link to Original Source
writes "An interesting article in the NY Times: "Two researchers discovered that they could freeze, or crash, the software that monitors a substation, thereby blinding control center operators from the power grid."
These two engineers wrote software to test for vulnerabilities in the control systems of electrical power grids which use a protocol called DNP3 to communicate with sub-stations. They first tested an open source implementation of the protocol and didn't find any problems. They were worried that their software test wasn't adequate so they started testing proprietary systems. The broke every single one of the 16 proprietary systems they tested initially and found a further 9 systems vulnerable in later testing. They were able to install malware and also found firewalls ineffective.
They reported this to the Department of Homeland Security’s Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team, I.C.S.-C.E.R.T. and didn't get much of a response.
Scary that our electrical grid is so vulnerable and there doesn't seem to be much urgency to get it fixed. A few patches have been issued but who knows if the systems have been updated?"Link to Original Source
writes "Interesting interview with Edward Snowden in the NYTimes where he talks freely about his decision to start collecting documents. His experience in reporting problems and abuse convinced him he would be discredited. He also states he didn't take any of the documents to Russia and that the Chinese don't have them either. He turned them all over to the journalists. He also corrects last week's NYTimes story about the derogatory comment in his personnel file... it was due to him discovering and trying to report a vulnerability in the CIA's internal software. Interesting read."Link to Original Source
writes "The MIT Technology Review has given us a definitive answer to the age-old question: "On a closed track against a powerful head/tailwind, what racing strategy should a cyclist adopt?"
The problem is that aerodynamic drag, which is the predominant drag force, is not linear. After making a few simplifying assumptions, he comes up with a simple rule of thumb: "His rule of thumb is to ride at the target speed plus a quarter of the wind speed when you have a tailwind and to ride at your target speed minus half the wind speed when the wind is in your face."
Full paper (un-gated): http://arxiv.org/abs/1309.1741"Link to Original Source
writes "An interview with Bruce Schneier in the MIT Technology Review offers some unique insight and hints at future revelations on the Snowden papers. Bruce points out "What these leaks reveal is how robust NSA surveillance is, how pervasive it is, and to what degree the NSA has commandeered the entire Internet and turned it into a surveillance platform."
In addition: "They’re not just spying on the bad guys, they’re deliberately weakening Internet security for everyone—including the good guys. It’s sheer folly to believe that only the NSA can exploit the vulnerabilities they create. Additionally, by eavesdropping on all Americans, they’re building the technical infrastructure for a police state."
He also has an interesting analogy for the way the NSA "asks" for backdoors: "The way it seems to go, it’s never an explicit request from the NSA. It’s more of a joking thing: “So, are you going to give us a back door?” If you act amenable, then the conversation progresses. If you don’t, it’s completely deniable. It’s like going out on a date. Sex might never be explicitly mentioned, but you know it’s on the table."
Finally, he disses his five tips for avoiding NSA surveillance: "My five tips suck. They are not things the average person can use. One of them is to use PGP [a data-encryption program]. But my mother can’t use PGP. Maybe some people who read your publication will use my tips, but most people won’t. Basically, the average user is screwed."
He hints at further revelations in articles he is preparing for The Guardian."Link to Original Source