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Submission + - SPAM: Dawn of a new space war

Taco Cowboy writes: China launched its Aolong-1 robotic satellite, on board of the inaugurated flight of its new Long March 7 rocket on June 25th

According to China, the Aolong-1 robotic satellite, which is equipped with a robotic arm to remove large debris such as old satellites, is tasked to clean up space debris / space junk, but some space experts think that such robotic satellite has a dual-use purpose, and has the potential to be used as an anti-satellite weapon

The Aolong-1 (The Roaming Dragon) is small, weighing only a few hundred kilos, so the prototype could be produced and launched in large numbers. During peacetime, the craft could patrol space and prevent defunct satellites from crashing into big cities such as Shanghai or New Yorkl During wartime, they could be used as deterrents or directly against enemy assets in space

Furthermore, the Aolong-1 robotic satellite can also be said to be a “clean” anti-satellite weapon

China is not alone in this endeavor

The United States Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) plans to launch a larger, more sophisticated craft for the US Air Force in 2020

Unlike Aolong, the Phoenix in-orbit servicing program would also be able to carry out jobs such as repairing, upgrading and refueling aging satellites

It would even be able to “turn foreign satellites into US spy satellites”, according to the US air force

Chinese researchers with the 502 Institute at the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation said last year that China would launch a multi-tasking space robot similar to the Phoenix, also by about 2020

The China National Space Administration says the nation’s blueprint for its space robots spans missions ranging from low earth orbit to Mars

Link to Original Source

Submission + - SPAM: Jupiter Space Probe uses about same amount of energy as a blender

Taco Cowboy writes: Launched on Aug. 5, 2011, NASA's Juno probe has traveled nearly 1.8 billion miles (2.8 billion kilometers) through space to reach Jupiter and study the planet's history and is scheduled to slide into orbit around the solar system's largest planet on the upcoming Monday (July 4)

One amazing fact is that the Juno Space Probe operates on the amount of energy roughly equivalent to that of a blender

Jupiter is located about five times farther from the sun than Earth and receives about 25 times less sunlight, because of Juno's extremely low power consumption, the probe can stay alive by collecting sunlight using three large solar arrays that extend from the spacecraft's hexagonal body

In a web series, called "Crazy Engineering," produced by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Mike Meacham, a mechanical engineer at JPL, discussed Juno's low power needs and the science behind the probe's solar arrays

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Submission + - SPAM: China's long march to the Moon

Taco Cowboy writes: Until recently it was fairly easy to dismiss China’s space program

Although largely ignored by the Western world, the Chinese launch marks something of a defining moment for the giant of Asia, a moment when China firmly staked its position as one of the world’s great space-faring nations. More than that, it took a step toward equaling, or perhaps even surpassing, NASA one day

China’s goal appears to be the landing of taikonauts on the Moon in the early- to mid-2030s, and if early robotic missions to the lunar surface are any indication, the country wants to eventually develop a colony and harvest resources there

“The launch of Long March 7 shows them stepping into the modern era if you will,” Leroy Chiao, a former NASA astronaut and commander of the International Space Station, told Ars. “The message is the same that it’s been for some time. They’re in this game to stay. They’re making long-term plans to stay in space and expand their presence in space. For NASA and the United States I’m afraid that we’ve been resting on our laurels for so long that we’re going to lose our leadership in human spaceflight”

China has pressed ahead with plans to launch its own space station by the early 2020s and has sought to position it as a beacon of international cooperation. Earlier this month, the China Manned Space Agency signed an accord with the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs to invite other nations to conduct experiments on China’s space station and to provide flight opportunities for astronauts from those countries. China has previously reached agreements with Russia and the European Space Agency to potentially fly aboard its station. Although there are no firm plans yet for those flights in the 2020s, some European astronauts have begun to learn the Chinese language, according to reports

For its part, the United States plans to fly the International Space Station through 2024 and may potentially extend its lifetime through 2029. After that time it’s plausible that China will have the major hub of international activity in low-Earth orbit. NASA has said it is moving beyond low-Earth orbit in the late 2020s to transition to a deep-space exploration program, first with missions to the vicinity (but not the surface) of the Moon, followed by human crews being sent to the Martian system in the 2030s. However there are significant questions about the viability of this long-term strategy given NASA’s present funding and approach

As part of the Long March 7 launch preparations, Chinese space officials spoke of the next evolution beyond the current booster technology toward a Long March 9 vehicle, a heavy lift rocket in the class of the Apollo program’s Saturn V rocket. This powerful rocket likely remains about 15 years from its debut, but that timing is consistent with the Chinese desire to begin sending humans to the Moon in the early 2030s

“If everybody starts heading toward the Moon, what are we going to do, fly a few Orions around cislunar space?” Chiao asked. “If we don’t go back to the Moon and we try to go directly to Mars, my fear is that it will get canceled because it’s too expensive and too soon, with a price tag that’s too high and with too long of a time frame for the public and Congress”

Link to Original Source

Submission + - The Trials And Tribulations Of 'Kidnapped' Startup Founder Mayer Mizrachi (

blottsie writes: Mayer Mizrachi and his attorney sat in the backseat as guards drove through the barbed-wire gates of La Picota prison and deposited the pair onto a sidewalk in Bogotá, Colombia. Mizrachi held fast onto a piece of paper in his right hand that declared his freedom. Before slipping into a taxi, he took one last look at the prison behind him, his home for nearly six months.

The nightmare, it seemed, was finally coming to an end. Today, Mizrachi's future is anything but certain.

In the United States, we’re used to hearing tales of technology startup failures and successes. None compare to that of Mizrachi, a 28-year-old tech entrepreneur and startup CEO, who has endured what his attorney characterizes as “kidnapping,” months of imprisonment, political grudges targeting his family, multinational maneuvering, and a life-long illness that could kill him at any moment.

In this months-long investigation, the Daily Dot dives into the forces that landed Mizrachi in prison, and how he escaped to freedom—for now.


US Healthcare Records Offered For Sale Online 88

An anonymous reader writes:Three U.S. healthcare organisations are reportedly being held to ransom by a hacker who stole data on hundreds of thousands of patients. The hacker has also put the 650,000 records up for sale on dark web markets where stolen data is traded. Prices for the different databases range from $100,000 to $411,000. Buyers have already been found for some of the stolen data, the hacker behind the theft told news site Motherboard. No information about the size of the ransom payment sought by the data thief has emerged, although he did say it was "a modest amount compared to the damage that will be caused to the organisations when I decide to publicly leak the victims."

Submission + - SPAM: 3D printed Camera - possible use in surveillance

Taco Cowboy writes: German engineers have created a camera no bigger than a grain of salt that could change the future of health imaging — and clandestine surveillance

Using 3D printing, researchers from the University of Stuttgart built a three-lens camera, and fit it onto the end of an optical fibre the width of two hairs

Such technology could be used as minimally-intrusive endoscopes for exploring inside the human body, the engineers reported in the journal Nature Photonics

The compound lens of the camera is just 100 micrometres (0.1 millimetres) wide, and 120 micrometres with its casing

It could also be deployed in virtually invisible security monitors, or mini-robots with "autonomous vision"

The compound lens can also be printed onto image sensor other than optical fibres, such as those used in digital cameras

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Submission + - Physical Security and its Convergence with Information Security (

An anonymous reader writes: The traditional definition of physical security was confined to people and things, but this has changed. Today, even access control and various other parameters are part of the broader definition of Physical Security. Consequently, the challenge to secure physical and information security have compounded over the years, as even a minor lapse in physical security can result in huge data and information theft.
Security Challenges have compounded in this era
With devices taking a major role in current security paradigm, investing in security systems —which can guard against unauthorized access and natural disasters alike — is more important than it was ever before. Of course, there are traditional ways like video surveillance and access control —but current challenges demand more streamlined and secure processes.
To meet up these challenges — which warrants integration and enhanced security at the same time — vendors have come with devices that converge physical and digital security technologies. One common example of such devices is IP-based cameras. This is evolving and expected to continue to remain a major trend in physical security solution market.
Also, current physical security solutions are not confined to access control or guarding physical assets, but they also endeavour to ensure the safety of employees. This was an overlooked concept. But organizations have realized that if a dangerous situation arises in the facility, it is important to have a system in place that can notify people concerned. This would help control the damage and also ensure safety of the people.
IoT has made Physical Security more important today than it was ever before
In the current era, devices have an attribute, and hence, are a part of the security infrastructure — just like humans. Therefore, it is essential not just to monitor the data access, but also the device location. This means need for the convergence of both physical and logical security into a single security system. Physical security deals with tracking users, areas accessed by them, the time of access, the duration of access etc., whereas, logical security deals with tracking the devices they use, data access rules, etc.
The developments in Physical Security Systems revolve around two primary challenges that internet of things (IoT) has brought in. First is connecting physical security devices — like surveillance cameras — to the internet and ensuring its protection from hackers. Second is to use an organization’s existing surveillance and intrusion devices.
IoT presents a way to improve both physical security and access management. For instance, with IoT and cloud management, you can use the existing systems and mark scalable improvements — which can be then shared across the network.
Convergence of Physical Security and Information Security
Information security deals with managing data: both at rest and during the transit. Information and physical security form the overall security system of an organization. Recently, Scott Borg, director of the U.S. Cyber Consequences Unit (US-CCU), said —“As long as organizations treat their physical and cyber domains as separate, there is little hope of securing either one.”
Till now, there were two separate entities of the larger security paradigm, but this is changing. Today, devices and services are being converged — a transformation driven by the migration of legacy sensors and appliances to TCP/IP.
Convergence of voice with data has brought about changes in various fields; in fact, the traditional terms like voice and video are more inclusive than they were ever before. For instance, voice now refers to crowd monitoring, noise detection in a vacant building, etc. Hence, this term is not confined to audio any more. Similarly, the term video now also refers to surveillance — through traffic camera etc. — which was traditionally limited to video calls.
This integration of devices connected with a specific attribute — like the internet, paves the way to the integration of physical and logical security. Today, the versatility of various devices has made their specific purpose irrelevant — as the functionality of these devices can overlap. This also results in higher traffic. For instance, with the rise of cloud services, the access of data is not confined to intranet any more.
Therefore, network redesigning may be required in case the existing network is not suitably designed to handle the rise in traffic. As new technologies, and devices come into fray, this would continue to evolve, and would result in the higher integration of devices.
Keywords: Physical Security, Information Security, Logical Security, Access Controls, Biometrics, Video Surveillance, Internet of Things, Smart Cameras, Convergence
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China Tells App Developers To Increase User Monitoring 47

An anonymous reader writes: The Cyberspace Administration of China has imposed new regulation for the mobile app community, requiring that developers keep a close watch over users and keep a record of their activities. However, the proposed legislation would also prevent apps from requesting unnecessary access to users' contacts, camera, microphone and other spurious installation requests. The regulator introduced the new laws in the name of cracking down on illegal use of mobile platforms for the distribution of pornography, fraud and the spread of 'malicious' content.
The Courts

Airbnb Has Sued Its Hometown Of San Francisco ( 242

Robert Mclean, reporting for CNN:Airbnb is taking its hometown to federal court. The company has filed a lawsuit against the city of San Francisco, objecting to short-term rental rule changes approved by its Board of Supervisors. A new ordinance set to take effect in late July would require all Airbnb hosts to register with the city. If they do not, Airbnb would be fined up to $1,000 a day for each listing, putting the burden on the company to make sure each listing is legal. But the city's $50 registration process is analog enough to turn off many hosts. It can't be completed online and requires submitting all the documents in person. Airbnb contends the new rule violates the Communications Decency Act, Stored Communications Act and the First Amendment.

Submission + - Clinton wants to 'staple' green cards on STEM diplomas (

dcblogs writes: As president, Hillary Clinton will support automatic green cards, or permanent residency, for foreign students who earn advanced STEM degrees. Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate, wants the U.S. to “staple” green cards on the diplomas of STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) masters and PhD graduates “from accredited institutions.” Clinton outlined her plan in a broader tech policy agenda released today. Clinton's “staple” idea isn’t a new. It’s what Mitt Romney, the GOP presidential candidate in 2012, supported. It has had bipartisan support in Congress. But the staple idea is controversial. Critics will say this provision will be hard to control, will foster age discrimination, and put pressure on IT wages.

Submission + - NASA approves robot satellite refueling mission

schwit1 writes: NASA has approved plans to launch Restore-L, a robot mission in 2020 to refuel a satellite.

In May, NASA officially moved forward with plans to execute the ambitious, technology-rich Restore-L mission, an endeavor to launch a robotic spacecraft in 2020 to refuel a live satellite. The mission – the first of its kind in low-Earth orbit – will demonstrate that a carefully curated suite of satellite-servicing technologies are fully operational. The current candidate client for this venture is Landsat 7, a government-owned satellite in low-Earth orbit.

This mission is being spear-headed by the division at the Goddard Space Flight Center that ran the repair missions to the Hubble Space Telescope, as well as the recent robotic refueling demonstrations on ISS. With the success of those demonstrations, NASA has decided to move forward with an actual flight.

Submission + - Activision abuses DMCA to take knock indie game entirely off Steam

He Who Has No Name writes: We've seen brain-dead, overzealous, and entirely over-automated DMCA takedown requests bring down music and videos, but this may be the first case of an entire video game being knocked out. Earlier today David Prassel, creator of Trek Industries and developer of the not-without-controversy ORION: Dino Horde / Prelude and the early-access Guardians of ORION, posted that his current project had been entirely removed from Steam after a questionable DMCA allegation from Activision. Prassel explains further, "We've made Steam our primary platform, but this has put a definite scare into us going forward considering our entire livelihood can be pulled without a moments notice, without any warning or proper verification. I cannot even confirm that the representative from Activision is a real person as absolutely no results pop up in any of my searches." Image comparisons against at least two of the weapon models claimed to be infringing were posted by Prassel and in at least one thread on reddit in /r/pcmasterrace.

What's more, it appears Activision is alleging not a vertex-for-vertex and texel-for-texel theft and duplication of the Call Of Duty: Black Ops 3 2D & 3D art assets, but in fact an infringing artistic similarity and design of separately created art content — something that the DMCA does not cover (and which more would likely fall under copyright or possibly trade dress).

Since this takedown falls directly in the middle of the Steam Summer Sale — which probably is not a coincidence — and will profoundly impact Trek Industry's potential sales, does this make a case for substantial reform in the appeals & response process in DMCA takedown demands, adding a due process and rebuttal window to prevent takedown requests from being essentially weaponized?

Submission + - Physicists Confirm A Pear-Shaped Nucleus, And It Could Ruin Time Travel Forever (

An anonymous reader writes: Physicists have confirmed the existence of pear-shaped nuclei, which challenges the fundamental theories of physics that explain our Universe. "We've found these nuclei literally point towards a direction in space. This relates to a direction in time, providing there's a well-defined direction in time and we will always travel from past to present," Marcus Scheck from the University of the West of Scotland told Kenneth MacDonald at BBC News. Until recently, it was generally accepted that nuclei of atoms could only be one of three shapes: spherical, discus, or rugby ball. The first discovery of a pear-shaped nucleus was back in 2013, when physicists at CERN discovered isotope Radium-224. Now, that find has been confirmed by a second study, which shows that the nucleus of the isotope Barium-144 is too asymmetrical and pear-shaped. In regards to time travel, Scheck says that this uneven distribution of mass and charge caused Barium-144's nuclear to "point" in a certain direction in spacetime, and this bias could explain why time seems to only want to go from past to present, and not backwards, even if the laws of physics don't care which way it goes.

Submission + - As It Searches for Suspects, the FBI May Be Looking at You (

schwit1 writes: The FBI has access to nearly 412 million photos in its facial recognition system—perhaps including the one on your driver's license. But according to a new government watchdog report, the bureau doesn't know how error-prone the system is, or whether it enhances or hinders investigations.

Since 2011, the bureau has quietly been using this system to compare new images, such as those taken from surveillance cameras, against a large set of photos to look for a match. That set of existing images is not limited to the FBI's own database, which includes some 30 million photos. The bureau also has access to face recognition systems used by law enforcement agencies in 16 different states, and it can tap into databases from the Department of State and the Department of Defense. And it is in negotiations with 18 other states to be able to search their databases, too.

Adding to the privacy concerns is another finding in the GAO report: that the FBI has not properly determined how often its system makes errors and has not “taken steps to determine whether face recognition systems used by external partners, such as states and federal agencies, are sufficiently accurate” to support investigations.

Submission + - Microsoft co-founder is building the world's biggest plane - 76% done (

schwit1 writes: Paul Allen, billionaire earthling and co-founder of Microsoft, has long been obsessed with space, and his pet project Stratolaunch Systems is beginning to bear fruit. The Washington Post reports that Stratolaunch, shaping up to be the world's largest airplane, is now 76% assembled—no small accomplishment given the sheer size of the beast, a twin-fuselage behemoth expected to weigh (payload included) 1.3 million pounds, be powered by six 747 engines, boast landing gear with 28 wheels, and house 60 miles of wiring, among other feats. But to what end? Well, to shuttle rockets up to 35,000 feet and launch them into low Earth orbit. Oh, and to do this by the end of this decade. That's right: Someday it may actually be routine to transport people and objects in the couple-hundred-miles-above-Earth section of space, and Allen is willing to bet big on it.

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