cold fjord writes "The Telegraph reports, 'GCHQ has received at least £100 million from the U.S. to help fund intelligence gathering, raising questions over American influence on the British agencies. ... It also emerged that the intelligence agency wants the ability to "exploit any phone, anywhere, any time" and that some staff have raised concerns over the "morality and ethics" of their operational work. ... The agency has faced claims it was handed intelligence on individuals from the US gained from the Prism programme that collected telephone and web records. However, it has been cleared of any wrongdoing or attempts to circumvent British law by the parliamentary intelligence and security committee, as well as by Mr Hague. The payments from the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) are detailed in GCHQ's annual "investment portfolios", leaked by Mr Snowden to The Guardian. The NSA paid GCHQ £22.9million in 2009, £39.9million in 2010 and £34.7million in 2011/12. ...Another £15.5million went towards redevelopment projects at GCHQ's site in Bude, Cornwall, which intercepts communications from the transatlantic cables that carry internet traffic. ... A Cabinet Office spokesman said: "In a 60-year alliance it is entirely unsurprising that there are joint projects in which resources and expertise are pooled, but the benefits flow in both directions."'" dryriver also wrote in with news that several telecoms are collaborating with GHCQ (BT, Vodafone, and Verizon at least). From the article: "GCHQ has the ability to tap cables carrying both internet data and phone calls. By last year GCHQ was handling 600m 'telephone events' each day, had tapped more than 200 fibre-optic cables and was able to process data from at least 46 of them at a time. ... Documents seen by the Guardian suggest some telecoms companies allowed GCHQ to access cables which they did not themselves own or operate, but only operated a landing station for. Such practices could raise alarm among other cable providers who do not co-operate with GCHQ programmes that their facilities are being used by the intelligence agency."
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cylonlover writes with this news bite about a cool new ground to space laser communication system from NASA and ESA: "Space communications have relied on radio since the first Sputnik in 1957. It's a mature, reliable technology, but it's reaching its limits. The amount of data sent has increased exponentially for decades and NASA expects the trend to continue. The current communications systems are reaching their limits, so NASA and ESA are going beyond radio as a solution. As part of this effort, ESA has finished tests of part of a new communications system, in preparations for a demonstration in October in which it will receive a laser data download from a NASA lunar orbiter."
holy_calamity writes "MIT Technology Review reports that APT1, the China-based hacking group said to steal data from U.S. companies, has been caught taking over a decoy water plant control system. The honeypot mimicked the remote access control panels and physical control system of a U.S. municipal water plant. The decoy was one of 12 set up in 8 countries around the world, which together attracted more than 70 attacks, 10 of which completely compromised the control system. China and Russia were the leading sources of the attacks. The researcher behind the study says his results provide the first clear evidence that people actively seek to exploit the many security problems of industrial systems."
szotz writes "Although there was once a hint from a cosmic ray experiment (on Valentine's Day, no less), no one's found any solid evidence of monopoles (unpaired north and south magnets) flying around the cosmos. But physicists did find monopole-like quasiparticles in some exotic crystals in 2009. One of the discoverers has an article this month in IEEE Spectrum that looks at how the particles were found and what's happened since. They might seem like a wacky curiosity, but the author says we shouldn't write them off — they might one day make useful new 'magnetronic' devices."
alphadogg writes "The lead author of a controversial research paper about flaws in luxury car lock systems will deliver a presentation at this month's USENIX Security Symposium even though a UK court ruling (inspired by a Volkswagen complaint) has forced the paper to be pulled from the event's proceedings. USENIX has announced that 'in keeping with its commitment to academic freedom and open access to research,' researcher Roel Verdult will speak at the Aug. 14-16 conference, to be held in Washington, D.C. Verdult and 2 co-authors were recently prohibited by the High Court of Justice in the U.K. from publishing certain portions of their paper, 'Dismantling Megamos Crypto: Wireless Lockpicking a Vehicle Immobilizer.' Among the most sensitive information: Codes for cracking the car security system in Porsches, Audis, etc."
Daniel_Stuckey writes "Like so many great leaps for mankind, getting a human to one of Jupiter's moons must begin with a small step. And Objective Europa is aiming to do exactly that. A small team — architects, futurist designers, private space pioneers and even Jacques Cousteau's son — is beginning the planning stage to send human beings on a one-way trip to the Jovian moon Europa. The effort is headed up by Kristian Von Bengston, the founder of Copenhagen Suborbitals, an open source DIY space program based in his native Denmark. And he's quite serious about transporting a man or woman beyond our atmosphere, Mars and the asteroid belt."
Zothecula writes "With some help from a robotic fish, scientists have discovered that zebrafish are much like humans in at least one way – they get reckless when they get drunk. OK, 'drunk' might not be technically accurate, but when exposed to alcohol, the fish show no fear of a robotic version of one of their natural predators, the Indian leaf fish. When they're "sober," they avoid the thing like crazy. The researchers believe that the experiments indicate a promising future for robots in behavioral studies."
msmoriarty writes "Google's Don Dodge, GitHub's Tom Preston-Werner, New Relic's Lew Cirne and others recently got together in San Francisco on a panel called 'The Developer is King: The Power Behind the Throne.' According to coverage of the event, the panelists all agreed that programmers — both independent ones and those employed by companies — have more power, and thus opportunities, than ever. Even the marketing power of developers was acknowledged: 'The only way to convince a developer is by giving them a demo and showing them how it's better,' said Preston-Werner. 'The beauty is, you plant these seeds around the world, and those people will evangelize it for you. Because another thing that developers are great at is telling other developers what works for them.'"
sciencehabit writes "If you take some scientists' word for it, the biggest agricultural revolution since the domestication of livestock is starting on Monday — in an arts center in London. At a carefully orchestrated media event, Dutch stem cell researcher Mark Post is planning to present the world's first test-tube hamburger. Its patty — financed by an anonymous billionaire — is made from meat that Post has laboriously grown from bovine stem cells in his lab at an estimated cost of $375,000, just to prove a point: that it is possible to produce meat without slaughtering animals."
An anonymous reader writes "Google today announced Android Device Manager, a new app coming later this month that helps you find your lost phone or tablet. The service will be available for devices running Android 2.2 (Froyo) or above. Details are scarce right now, but Google does say Android Device Manager will let you ring your phone at maximum volume so you can find it, even if it's been silenced. We also know you'll need to be signed into your Google Account to use the service."
Nerval's Lobster writes "They may not all support what the NSA will do with its giant new datacenter in Bluffdale, but Utah officials do seem to agree on the value of having a world-class, $1.5 billion datacenter built in their territory. In general, they're for it, and are proving that by changing a law that would have added about $2.4 million in taxes to the datacenter's power bill—an addition that was an unpleasant surprise to NSA officials when they heard about it in May. A bill signed into law April 1 imposed a tax of up to 6 percent on electricity from Rocky Mountain Power, a requirement the NSA protested in an email to Utah Gov. Gary Herbert April 26. State tax agencies swear they informed the NSA about the impact of the law when it was still under debate; NSA officials denied knowing anything about it and complained that it would make Utah a less attractive site for the datacenter, which was only three to four months from completion at the time."
Solar1ze writes "I've just started a role in an IT services firm. I'm required to take over from an incumbent who has been in the position for three years. What are some of the best practices for knowledge transfer you have used when you've taken over from another IT staff member? How do you digest the thousands of hosts, networks and associated software systems in a week, especially when some documentation exists, but much of it is still in the mind of the former worker?"
Rick Zeman writes "Those of us of a certain age recall The Oregon Trail with fondness as the pioneering educational game that had the audacity to make learning fun! This article takes a look at the history behind the game, even going back to its initial text-based offering, showing how some programming magic pulled a generation of kids together. Quoting: '[F]or two weeks, the roommates holed up in a former janitor’s closet at Bryant Junior High School, where the school’s teletype was stored, and spent their evenings programming. Using Rawitsch’s historical knowledge, Heinemann and Dillenberger developed a series of algorithms, punching hundreds of lines of code into the teletype. But just because they created the program didn’t mean they could breeze through it. When Heinemann tried The Oregon Trail for the first time, he died of pneumonia midway!'"
Beeftopia writes "Conventional wisdom has suggested selfishness is most beneficial evolutionary strategy for humans, while cooperation is suboptimal. This dovetailed with a political undercurrent dating back more than a century, starting with social Darwinism. A new paper in the journal Nature Communications casts doubt on this school of thought. The paper shows that while selfishness is optimal in the short term, it fails in the long term. Cooperation is seen as the most effective long term human evolutionary strategy."
An anonymous reader writes "Russians are going nuts over a new anti-piracy law that enables Roskomnadzor (the Federal Supervision Agency for Information Technologies and Communications) to 'blacklist' Internet resources before the issue of a court order. Indeed, 1700 websites have issued a blackout, just like U.S. firms did in protest at the Stop Online Piracy Act. The law, widely known as the Russian SOPA, has been slammed by some major tech firms from the country, including Yandex. Freedom of speech campaigners are worried it could be used for political censorship, while digital companies say it will slow down the development of Internet services in the country."