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Submission + - Pentagon Document Confirms Existence of Russian Doomsday Torpedo (

schwit1 writes:

Kanyon is reportedly a very long range autonomous underwater vehicle that has a range 6,200 miles, a maximum depth of 3,280 feet, and a speed of 100 knots according to claims in leaked Russian documents.

But what really makes Kanyon nightmare fuel is the drone torpedo’s payload: a 100-megaton thermonuclear weapon. By way of comparison, the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima was 16 kilotons, or the equivalent of 16,000 tons of TNT. Kanyon’s nuke would be the equivalent of 100,000,000 tons of TNT. That’s twice as powerful as Tsar Bomba, the most powerful thermonuclear weapon ever tested. Dropped on New York City, a 100-megaton bomb would kill 8 million people outright and injure 6 million more.

Kanyon is designed to attack coastal areas, destroying cities, naval bases, and ports. The mega-bomb would also generate an artificial tsunami that would surge inland, spreading radioactive contamination with the advancing water. To make matters worse there are reports the warhead is “salted” with the radioactive isotope Cobalt-60. Contaminated areas would be off-limits to humanity for up to 100 years.

And being sea-based makes it immune to ballistic missile defense.

Submission + - Incidental Harassment Authorization Issued to SpaceX (

schwit1 writes:

On December 26, 2017, the National Marine Fisheries Service of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration published a notice in the Federal Register that it had issued SpaceX an incidental harassment authorization for its sonic booms

to incidentally harass, by Level B harassment only, marine mammals during boost-back and landing of Falcon 9 rockets at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, and at contingency landing locations in the Pacific Ocean.

People speak of the FAA having exclusive jurisdiction over regulating launches. Section 50919(a) of the Commercial Space Launch Act states that, except as provided by the CSLA, "a person is not required to obtain from an executive agency a license, approval, waiver, or exemption to launch a launch vehicle ." So why did SpaceX need NOAA's authorization for the landing of its first stage?

Arguably, SpaceX didn't. It needed NOAA authorization for something different, the harassment of marine mammals. The FAA authorizes the launch, but the activity of harassing a marine mammal is different, and thus regulated by a different agency. However, one might wonder whether NOAA isn't regulating the noise of the launch. If the aviation side of the FAA doesn't regulate the noise of launch vehicles , how does NOAA get to?

Submission + - Ex-C.I.A. Officer Suspected of Compromising Chinese Informants Is Arrested (

schwit1 writes: A former C.I.A. officer suspected by investigators of helping China dismantle United States spying operations and identify informants has been arrested, the Justice Department said on Tuesday. The collapse of the spy network was one of the American government’s worst intelligence failures in recent years.

The arrest of the former officer, Jerry Chun Shing Lee, 53, capped an intense F.B.I. inquiry that began around 2012, two years after the C.I.A. began losing its informants in China. Investigators confronted an enduring mystery: How did the names of so many C.I.A. sources, among the agency’s most dearly held secrets, end up in Chinese hands?

Some intelligence officials believed that a mole inside the C.I.A. was exposing its roster of informants. Others thought that the Chinese government had hacked the C.I.A.’s covert communications used to talk to foreign sources of information.

Why the F.B.I. did not arrest Mr. Lee after originally finding the classified material in his notebooks remains unclear.

Officials are concerned that Mr. Lee’s case and at least one other represent a troubling pattern of Chinese intelligence targeting former agency officials, an easier task than trying to recruit current C.I.A. operatives.

In June, a former C.I.A. officer was charged with providing classified information to China and making false statements. Prosecutors said that the former officer, Kevin Patrick Mallory, 60, of Leesburg, Va., had top-secret documents and incriminating messages on a communications device he brought back from Shanghai.

In March, prosecutors announced the arrest of a longtime State Department employee, Candace Marie Claiborne, accused of lying to investigators about her contacts with Chinese officials. According to the criminal complaint against Ms. Claiborne, who pleaded not guilty, Chinese agents wired cash into her bank account and lavished her with thousands of dollars in gifts.

Submission + - Google's Project Zero: BitTorrent App Allows Websites To Run Malicious Code (

cold fjord writes: arstechnica reports, "There's a critical weakness in the widely used Transmission BitTorrent app that allows websites to execute malicious code on some users' computers . . . other BitTorrent clients are likely similarly susceptible. Researcher Tavis Ormandy published the proof-of-concept attack code last week. . . .Ormandy's proof-of-concept attack exploits a Transmission function that allows users to control the BitTorrent app with their Web browser. . . . most people don't enable password protection because they assume the JSON RPC interface can only be controlled by someone with physical access to the computer . . . Using a hacking technique known as domain name system rebinding, Ormandy devised a way that the Transmission interface can be remotely controlled when a vulnerable user visits a malicious site.

Submission + - Can Government Officials Have You Arrested for Speaking to Them? (

schwit1 writes: If a citizen speaks at a public meeting and says something a politician doesn’t like, can the citizen be arrested, cuffed, and carted off to the hoosegow?

Suppose that, during this fraught encounter, the citizen violates some law—even by accident, even one no one has ever heard of, even one dug up after the fact—does that make her arrest constitutional?

Deyshia Hargrave, meet Fane Lozman. You need to follow his case.

Hargrave is a language arts teacher in Kaplan, Louisana. She was arrested Monday after she questioned school-district policy during public comment at a school board meeting.

She asked why the superintendent of schools was receiving a five-figure raise when local teachers had not had a permanent pay increase in a decade. As she was speaking, the school-board president slammed his gavel, and a police officer told her to leave. She left, but once she went into the hall, the officer took her to the ground, handcuffed her, and arrested her for “remaining after having been forbidden” and “resisting an officer.”

Fane Lozman, whose case will be argued in front of the Supreme Court on February 27, faced the same fate at a meeting of the Riviera Beach, Florida, city council in November 2006. Lozman, remarkably enough, has made his way to the high court more or less without assistance twice in the past four years, arguing two different aspects of his acrimonious dispute with the Riviera Beach city government. The first case, which Lozman won, asked whether his motorless plywood “floating home” was actually a “vessel” subject to federal admiralty law. (Answer, via Justice Stephen Breyer: “Um, no.”) The second case is about police tactics at public meetings; its result could make a profound difference to citizens like Hargrave who want to talk back to local officials without a trip to jail.

Remember, plaintiffs must show that retaliation was the motive for the arrest. (In Lozman, that wasn’t hard: Meeting transcripts showed that the council wanted to “intimidate” Lozman and let him “feel the unwarranted heat.”) Unlike prosecutors, police officers don’t have immunity, and neither do elected officials who order them to silence citizens. There’s no “presumption” that an arrest is based on “legitimate grounds.”

Much of federal civil-rights law is set up to deter this kind of official bully-boy tactics. And a glimpse at any given front page in 2018 should convince even a cloistered Supreme Court justice that police attacks on free speech are still a problem.

Submission + - Mixed up menu options send off ballistic missile (alert). (

minstrelmike writes: The lousy menuing system for the emergency alert system in Hawaii is what caused an employee to accidentally send out a ballistic misslie--this is not a drill--tweet. Airplane manufacturers learned early on not to put the switch to dump all fuel right next to some other commonly used switch like landing gear down.

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Submission + - Stupid Patent of the Month: Sending positive messages to your phone

slimshady76 writes: EFF's latest SPOTM entry details U.S. Patent No. 9,069,648 where a patent is granted for “Systems and methods for delivering activity based suggestive (ABS) messages.”
The patent describes sending “motivational messages,” based “on the current or anticipated activity of the user,” to a “personal electronic device.” The patent provides examples such as sending the message “don't give up” when the user is running up a hill. The examples aren’t limited to health or exercise. For example, the patent suggests sending messages like “do not fear” and “God is with you” when a “user enters a dangerous neighborhood.”
The patent’s description of its invention is filled with silly, non-standard acronyms like ABS for “activity based suggestive” messages or EBIF for “electronic based intelligence function.” These silly acronyms create an illusion of complexity where plain, descriptive language would reveal the mundane nature of the supposed invention. For example, what the patent grandly calls EBIF appears to be nothing more than standard computer processing.

Comment My best laptop. (Score 2) 152

I use a mid-2011 Air for almost everything that doesn't require a huge amount of power to run. Battery could use replacing as it's tough to go 4-5 hours, but it's by far the best laptop I've ever owned.

VNC, SSH w/X, or RDP to connect to beefier desktop or workstation machines completes it.

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