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Submission + - How to Get Back to the Moon in 4 Years--This Time to Stay (scientificamerican.com)

schwit1 writes: It’s a way to get to the Moon and to stay there permanently. A way to begin this process immediately and to achieve moon landings in less than four years.

How?

Turn to private industry. Turn to two companies in particular—Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Robert Bigelow’s Bigelow Aerospace. Why? Because the approach that NASA’s acting administrator Robert Lightfoot is pushing won’t allow a Moon landing.

Lightfoot’s problem lies in the two pieces of NASA equipment he wants to work with: a rocket that’s too expensive to fly and is years from completion—the Space Launch System; and a capsule that’s far from ready to carry humans—the Orion. Neither the SLS nor the Orion are able to land on the Moon. Let me repeat that. Once these pieces of super-expensive equipment reach the moon’s vicinity, they cannot land.

Who is able to land on the lunar surface? Elon Musk and Robert Bigelow. Musk’s rockets—the Falcon and the soon-to-be-launched Falcon Heavy—are built to take off and land. So far their landing capabilities have been used to ease them down on earth. But the same technology, with a few tweaks, gives them the ability to land payloads on the surface of the Moon. Including humans. What’s more, SpaceX’s upcoming seven-passenger Dragon 2 capsule has already demonstrated its ability to gentle itself down to earth’s surface. In other words, with a few modifications and equipment additions, Falcon rockets and Dragon capsules could be made Moon-ready.

There’s more. Within the space community, there is a wide disenchantment with “flags and footprints” missions. Flags and footprints missions are those like the Apollo landings in which astronauts land, plant a flag, hit a golf ball, then disappear for 45 years. Major segments of the space community want every future landing to add to a permanent infrastructure in the sky. And that’s within our grasp thanks to Robert Bigelow.

In 2000, Bigelow purchased a technology that Congress had ordered NASA to abandon: inflatable habitats. For the last sixteen years Bigelow and his company, Bigelow Aerospace, have been advancing inflatable habitat technology. Inflatable technology lets you squeeze a housing unit into a small package, carry it by rocket to a space destination, then blow it up like a balloon. Since the spring of 2016, Bigelow, a real estate developer and founder of the Budget Suites of America hotel chain, has had an inflatable habitat acting as a spare room at the International Space Station 220 miles above your head and mine. And Bigelow’s been developing something far more ambitious—an inflatable Moon Base, that would use three of his 330-cubic-meter B330 modules. What’s more, Bigelow has been developing a landing vehicle to bring his modules gently down to the Moon’s surface.

Then there’s a wild card—Jeff Bezos. Bezos’ Blue Origin rockets already have a well-tested capacity to take off, land, then take off again. Which means that in the next few years Bezos’ rockets, too, could land cargoes and passengers on the Moon.

Submission + - BlackBerry KeyOne Resurrects The QWERTY Keyboard Smartphone 1

Mickeycaskill writes: BlackBerry is back with its final smartphone, the QWERTY keyboard-toting, business-focussed BlackBerry KeyOne, previously codenamed Mercury.

Launched in the run-up to Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2017 in Barcelona, the KeyOne was designed by BlackBerry but made by TCL Communications, which will take over the design and creation of future BlackBerry branded handsets.

Sporting a 4.5inch display with a resolution of 1620×1080, a Snapdragon 625 system-on-a-chip, a 3,505mAh battery, 12 megapixel rear camera and an eight megapixel one to the front, the KeyOne does not initially dazzle the smartphone market with its specifications.

But the standout feature is the phone’s QWERTY keyboard, something that both appealed and repulsed punters with the BlackBerry Priv, with the aim of making hacking out emails on the go far easier than the more haphazard process of tapping on a smartphone for some users.

Submission + - If your TV rats you out, what about your car? (autoblog.com)

schwit1 writes: Nowadays, auto manufacturers seem to be tripping over each other pointing out that they offer Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto. And more recent phenomenon are announcements—from companies including Ford and Hyundai—that they are offering Amazon Alexa capabilities. You talk. It listens.

In late January, General Motors said it is releasing a next-generation infotainment software development kit (NGI SDK) to software developers to write apps for GM cars. The NGI SDK includes native Application Program Interfaces (APIs) that allow access to expected things — like oil life and tire pressure and whether lightbulbs are burned out — but unexpected things, as well. Like the presence of passengers in the vehicle.

Here's the thing. While it may seem appealing to have all manner of connectivity in cars, there is the other side of that. Without getting all tinfoil hat about this, when your TV set is ratting you out, isn't it likely that your car will?

It drives. And watches. And listens. And collects data the likes of which you might otherwise not have shared.

Submission + - Risk Of Cascadia Quake Elevated As Puget Sound 'Slow Slip' Event Begins (patch.com) 1

schwit1 writes: On Wednesday, the semi-annual "slow slip" event began, according to the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network (PNSN) at the University of Washington. The event happens about every 14 months deep underneath the Puget Sound area and is essentially a slow earthquake that takes place over the course of two weeks.

During a slow-slip event, after 14 months of moving eastward, the Juan de Fuca tectonic plate stalls and moves westward, which puts stress on the Cascadia subduction zone.

Seismologists often refer to this as a "straw that broke the camel's back" scenario.

"It's loading up the edge of the lock zone of the Cascadia subduction zone more rapidly than normal tectonic processes would do," explained Bill Steele, director of communications at the PNSN. "You're getting seven months of strain accumulation applied to the back edge of the fault over a week."

Submission + - First victim of SHA-1 collisions: Subversion. Technique was reverse engineered

Artem Tashkinov writes: A WebKit developer who tried to upload "bad" PDF files generated from the first successful SHA-1 attack broke WebKit's SVN repository because Subversion uses SHA-1 hash to differentiate commits. The reason to upload the files was to create a test for checking cache poisoning in WebKit.

Another news story is that based on the theoretical incomplete description of the SHA-1 collision attack published by Google just two days ago, people have managed to recreate the attack in practice and now you can download a python script which can create a new PDF file with the same SHA-1 hashsum using your input PDF. The attack is also implemented as a website which can prepare two PDF files with different JPEG images which will result in the same hash sum.

Submission + - Intel unofficially cuts prices for its x86 CPUs across the board 1

Artem Tashkinov writes: In an expected turn of events, now that AMD Ryzen is less than a week away from going public, Intel has unofficially cut prices for a long range of its CPUs. The biggest price cuts involve the following CPUs:
  • Intel Core i7-6850K, Broadwell, 3.6GHz, 6 cores (with HT), LGA 2011-3, was $700, now $550 (21% off)
  • Intel Core i7-6800K, Broadwell, 3.4GHz, 6 cores (with HT), LGA 2011-3, was $500, now $360 (28% off)
  • Intel Core i7-5820K, Haswell, 3.3GHz, 6 cores (with HT), LGA 2011-3, was $420, now $320 (24% off)
  • Intel Core i7-6700K, SkyLake, 4.0GHz, 4 cores (with HT), LGA 1151, was $400, now $260 (35% off)
  • Intel Core i7-6600K, SkyLake, 3.5GHz, 4 cores (with HT), LGA 1151, was $270, now $180 (33% off)

It's so good to finally have a competition in the x86 CPU market back after more than ten years since Intel released its Core 2 CPUs.

Submission + - MySQL Databases Targeted in New Ransom Attacks (bleepingcomputer.com)

An anonymous reader writes: After the ransacking of MongoDB, ElasticSearch, Hadoop, CouchDB, and Cassandra servers, attackers are now hijacking hundreds of MySQL databases, deleting their content, and leaving a ransom note behind asking for a 0.2 Bitcoin ($235) payment. Attackers are gaining access to databases by brute-forcing root accounts for Internet-exposed MySQL servers.

The attacks started on February 12, and only lasted for 30 hours, during which time attackers breached hundreds of servers. Investigators said all attacks came from the same IP address from the Netherlands, 109.236.88.20, belonging to a hosting company called WorldStream.

In some cases attackers dumped the database, in other cases they deleted all content and left a ransom note behind. Two ransom notes have been found in the hundreds of confirmed attacks, one asking victims to get in contact via email and confirm the payment, while the other used a completely different mode of operation, redirecting users to a Tor-hosted website. At the time of writing, the Tor website is still up and running, at http://sognd75g4isasu2v.onion/

Submission + - White House blocks news organizations from press briefing (cnn.com)

ClickOnThis writes: CNN reports that it, along with several other major news organizations, were blocked from attending a press briefing at the White House today. From the article:

The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Politico and BuzzFeed were also excluded from the meeting, which is known as a gaggle and is less formal than the televised Q-and-A session in the White House briefing room. The gaggle was held by White House press secretary Sean Spicer.

In a brief statement defending the move, administration spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said the White House "had the pool there so everyone would be represented and get an update from us today."

The pool usually includes a representative from one television network and one print outlet. In this case, four of the five major television networks — NBC, ABC, CBS and Fox News — were invited and attended the meeting, while only CNN was blocked.

And while The New York Times was kept out, conservative media organizations Breitbart News, The Washington Times and One America News Network were also allowed in.


Submission + - Professors claim passive cooling breakthrough via plastic film (economist.com)

charlesj68 writes: An article in the Economist discusses the development of a plastic film by two professors at the University of Colorado in Boulder that provides a passive cooling effect. The film contains embedded glass beads that absorb and emit infrared in a wavelength that is not blocked by the atmosphere. Combining this with half-silvering to keep the sun from being the source of infrared absorption on the part of the beads, and you have way of pumping heat at a claimed rate of 93 watts per square meter.
Actual paper in Science: http://science.sciencemag.org/...
Original research by others in Nature: http://www.nature.com/nature/j...

Submission + - World's Largest Spam Botnet Adds DDoS Feature (bleepingcomputer.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Necurs, the world's largest spam botnet with nearly five million infected bots, of which one million active each day, has added a new module that can be used for launching DDoS attacks. The sheer size of the Necurs botnet, even in its worst days, dwarfs all of today's IoT botnets, who barely managed to reach 400,000 (albeit the owner of that botnet has now been arrested).

If this new feature would ever to be used, a Necurs DDoS atack would easily break every DDoS record there is. Fortunately, no such attack has been seen until now. Until now, the Necurs botnet has been seen spreading the Dridex banking trojan and the Locky ransomware. According to industry experts, there's a low chance to see the Necurs botnet engage in DDoS attacks because the criminal group behind the botnet is already making too much money to risk exposing their full infrastructure in DDoS attacks.

Submission + - Security lapse exposed New York airport's critical servers for a year (zdnet.com)

An anonymous reader writes: A security lapse at a New York international airport left its server backups exposed on the open internet for almost a year, ZDNet has found.

Khalil Sehnaoui, founder of Krypton Security, and Brad "Renderman" Haines, a hacker and security researcher, analyzed the password file and a network schematic found among the files to determine the reach of a potential attacker.

"The password file would give us full access to every component of the internal network," said Sehnaoui.

But in the wrong hands, it could also be used to issue valid boarding passes to people on the "no-fly" list, a government watchlist that prevents possible terrorists from boarding flights, he said.

"You could access the database of travelers and know who is going where and when, and get a list of the passenger's data, such as names and passport numbers," said Haines.

Or, worst case scenario, hackers could shut down airport operations, stranding passengers on the ground, the researchers say.

Submission + - Malaysian Police: VX nerve gas killed N Korea leader's brother in airport attack (reuters.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Malaysian police have announced their finding that Kim Jong Nam, half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jon Un, was killed by assassins using VX nerve gas in an attack in the busy Kuala Lumpur airport. Malaysian authorities plan to decontaminate the airport and other sites visited by the attackers. Police are holding the two female attackers, one of whom was affected by the chemical agent, as well as two other men. They are seeking seven more North Koreans connected to the case. VX is the most toxic of the nerve gasses and the UN has declared it a weapon of mass destruction. The manufacture and stockpiling of more than 100 grams of VX per year is prohibited by the Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993. It has no commercial uses. The Malaysian police are trying to discover if it was smuggled into their country, or manufactured there. The Malaysian government has recalled its ambassador to North Korea for consultation. North Korea is blaming the death of Kim Jong Nam on Malaysia. North Korea is believed to have major stockpiles of chemical weapons, and is alleged to conduct experiments on prisoners and social undesirables.

Submission + - Film studios seek to block Australians from acessing 41 pirate websites (computerworld.com.au)

angry tapir writes: A group of film studios is undertaking what is set to be the most significant use so far of Australia's anti-piracy laws, which allow rights holders to apply for court orders that can compel ISPs to block their customers from accessing certain piracy-linked sites. A pair of rights holders last year successfully obtained court orders forcing Australia's most popular ISPs to block a handful of sites including The Pirate Bay. Now Village Roadshow wants to have 41 more sites blocked

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