Phrogman writes: UK officials are fearful that China has the capability to shut down businesses, military and critical infrastructure through cyber attacks and spy equipment embedded in computer and telecommunications equipment. A British researcher chose an American military chip that is highly secure with sophisticated encryption standard, manufactured in China, with the aim of seeing if there were any unexpected features on the chip. They discovered a previously unknown backdoor, with a key they extracted, that enabled the chip to be reprogrammed or disabled. The article does not provide specifics on the technology used or details on the backdoor itself.
Phrogman writes: The Conservative government of Steven Harper in Canada has proposed a new bill that would impose a jail term of 10 years for anyone wearing a mask while "participating in a riot or unlawful assembly". The conservative backbencher who proposed the bill makes it clear that he intended it to allow police to arrest anyone wearing a mask "before protests spiral out of control". Since this is the same government that arrested hundreds of protesters during the G8/G20 summit using a law that didn't actually exist, it raises the question as to how they will define "unlawful". This is the latest in a series of "tough on crime" legislation being promulgated by the Conservatives now that they have the power of a majority government. The 10 year penalty is more than double the penalty awarded to a person who murdered someone in a fit of "road-rage" recently.
Phrogman writes: CNN is reporting that "British billionaire Richard Branson's dream of space travel that thousands of people can afford took a leap toward reality with the maiden flight of the world's first commercial spacecraft over California's Mojave Desert", stating that "the VSS Enterprise had successfully completed what it called a captive carry flight attached to a carrier plane."
Phrogman writes: A far-right faction of the Texas State Board of Education succeeded Friday in injecting conservative ideals into social studies, history and economics lessons that will be taught to millions of students for the next decade. The changes will see teachers no longer teaching students about Thomas Jefferson (instead they will learn about religious right icon John Calvin), "Teachers in Texas will be required to cover the Judeo-Christian influences of the nation's Founding Fathers, but not highlight the philosophical rationale for the separation of church and state", Curriculum standards also will describe the U.S. government as a "constitutional republic" rather than "democratic", teachers will not be required to teach students that the Constitution prevents the U.S. government from promoting one religion over all others, there is a heavy focus on teaching about conservative groups and movements (including Phyllis Schlafly, the Contract With America, the Heritage Foundation, the Moral Majority and the National Rifle Association) with no corresponding discussion of liberal or minority rights groups, high school sociology courses will no longer discuss differences between sex and gender (board member Barbara Cargill, R-The Woodlands, worried that (discussion) "would lead students into the world of 'transvestites, transsexuals and who knows what else"), gone are discussions on the late U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy and new Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, while the late President Ronald Reagan gets elevated to more prominent coverage, Members voted to polish up references to the American 'free enterprise' economic system and removed most mentions of 'capitalism,' a word that board member Ken Mercer, R-San Antonio, said has a negative connotation, plus a variety of other changes all reflecting an ultraconservative viewpoint. Since Texas is one of the biggest clients for textbook publishing, these changes here can affect textbook content nationwide.
Phrogman writes: The BBC is reporting that "Deforestation has revealed what could be a giant impact crater in Central Africa, scientists say. The 36-46km-wide feature, identified in DR Congo, may be one of the largest such structures discovered in the last decade." If you search google maps for "Omeonga Democratic Republic of the Congo" you will be right in the middle of the suspected crater.
Phrogman writes: In this CNN article by Bruce Schneier, he states that the US Government inadvertently enabled Chinese hackers access to Google's Gmail. The article states "Google made headlines when it went public with the fact that Chinese hackers had penetrated some of its services, such as Gmail, in a politically motivated attempt at intelligence gathering. The news here isn't that Chinese hackers engage in these activities or that their attempts are technically sophisticated — we knew that already — it's that the U.S. government inadvertently aided the hackers."