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The Military

Submission + - Obama Blocks Chinese Wind Farms in Oregon over National Security

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Reuters reports that President Barack Obama has invoked a little-used law to block a privately owned Chinese company from building wind turbines close to a Navy military site in Oregon due to national security concerns. "There is credible evidence that leads me to believe" that Ralls Corp, Sany Group and the two Sany Group executives who own Ralls "might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States," said Obama in issuing his decision. The military uses the Oregon naval facility to test unmanned drones and the EA-18G "Growler". The electronic warfare aircraft accompanies US fighter bombers on missions and protectively jams enemy radar, destroying them with missiles along the way. At the Oregon site, the planes fly as low as 60 m and at almost 480 km/h. The administration would not say what risks the wind farm purchases presented but the Treasury Department said the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States, known as CFIUS, made its recommendation to Obama after receiving an analysis of the potential threats from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The last time a president used the law to block a transaction was in 1990, when George H.W. Bush voided the sale of an aerospace company, Mamco Manufacturing, to a Chinese agency."
Facebook

Submission + - Mark Zuckerberg Time's Person of the Year 2010 (time.com) 1

ideonexus writes: From the article:

In less than seven years, Zuckerberg wired together a twelfth of humanity into a single network, thereby creating a social entity almost twice as large as the U.S. If Facebook were a country it would be the third largest, behind only China and India. It started out as a lark, a diversion, but it has turned into something real, something that has changed the way human beings relate to one another on a species-wide scale. We are now running our social lives through a for-profit network that, on paper at least, has made Zuckerberg a billionaire six times over.


Businesses

Submission + - America's Cubicles Are Shrinking (latimes.com)

Hugh Pickens writes: "In the 1970s, American corporations typically thought they needed 500 to 700 square feet per employee to build an effective office, but the LA Times reports that today's average is a little more than 200 square feet per person, and the space allocation could hit a mere 50 square feet by 2015. "We're at a very interesting inflection point in real estate history," says Peter Miscovich who studies workplace trends. "The next 10 years will be very different than the last 30." Although cubicles have shrunk from an average of 64 feet to 49 feet in recent years, companies are looking for more ways to compress their real estate footprint with offices that squeeze together workstations while setting aside a few rooms where employees can conduct meetings or have private phone conversations. "Younger workers' lives are all integrated, not segregated," says Larry Rivard. "They have learned to work anywhere — at a kitchen table or wherever.""
Google

Submission + - Irony: Chrome OS beta Achilles' heel is the Web (infoworld.com)

GMGruman writes: The whole point of the forthcoming Google Chrome OS is to not be like today's Windows or Mac OS "fat client" style of computing, and instead rely on cloud-based resources for nearly everything. InfoWorld's Galen Gruman has been spending quality time with a prototype Cr-48 Chrome OS laptop and the beta version of Chrome OS, and finds that it's the cloud's Web resources that are likely to make or break the Chrome OS concept. Right now, they would break it, he finds, given the overly simplistic nature of Web apps today and the problems of working on a computer that needs you to be always connected. The real version is a good six months away, but Gruman is surprised that Google's own Web apps aren't already in beta form to show the Chrome OS in better light, given how long Google has been working on the project. Right now, the irony is that the cloud is failing the cloud-based Chrome OS.
Privacy

Submission + - Opinions as Password (faqs.org)

An anonymous reader writes: A Sebastopol (CA) based startup "Fortknock Protection LLC" wants to replace passwords by short multiple choice tests, see their patent application (http://www.faqs.org/patents/app/20090276839). At signup, the user has to define a list of questions and answers. "Factual questions [...] are to be avoided", opinions should be stated instead.

The Secret Service will certainly be interested in the collected data :)

Security

Submission + - Death sentence in Chinese anti-virus bribery case (sophos.com) 1

An anonymous reader writes: A high-up Chinese government official, who took over 2 million dollars in bribes, has been given a suspended death sentence in a case which shows the bitter rivalry between rival anti-virus firms in the country.

Yu Bing, a former director of Internet monitoring department of the Ministry of Public Security, is said to have received bribes from a number of firms including 4.2 million yuan ($630,000) from leading Chinese anti-virus firm Rising. His firm sent out public warnings about malware, telling users to install Rising's product.

According to media reports, Yu pleaded guilty earlier this year to all charges of bribery charges and also fabricating evidence to frame Tian Yakui, a Vice President at Chinese anti-virus firm Micropoint, who used to work for Rising.

Tian spent 11 months in prison on the charges, before being released without charge, and his company said it lost over 30 million yuan (US$4.39 million) as a result of the action.

Micropoint is reported to be planning to launch a lawsuit seeking compensation for losses caused by the defamation. In the past, Rising has denied claims that it framed its competitor.

Data Storage

Submission + - Dell to Acquire Compellent for $960M Cash (securityweek.com)

wiredmikey writes: After failing in its efforts to acquire storage provider 3PAR despite a $1.8 bid this past summer, Dell has made another move and has agreed to acquire, Compellent Technologies, a provider of storage solutions that help organizations manage and move data. Under terms of the agreement, Dell will pay $960 Million in cash based on $27.75 per share of Compellent. Net of Compellent’s cash, the deal has aggregate purchase price of approximately $820 million.
NASA

Submission + - X-37B landing video released by Air Force (suasnews.com) 1

garymortimer writes: Officials revealed several findings following a first glance at the vehicle after landing.

McKinney said the X-37B’s left tire blew out as the space plane rolled out after touchdown.

The craft’s main landing gear tires are about the size of a dinner plate and normally pressurized to about 300 psi. Engineers believe the X-37B may have struck something on the runway to cause the tire failure, but that’s just an early hypothesis, according to McKinney.

In the first few days after landing, inspections revealed about seven locations of damage from space debris. But some of the dings could be from the tire blowout as shredded pieces of the landing gear struck the bottom side of the space plane, McKinney said.

“I think as we get the data and we analyze it we’ll release it,” McKinney said.

Lt. Col. Troy Giese, the Air Force’s X-37B program manager, said the space plane’s first flight was a complete success.

Image

Walmart Stores Get CCTV-Enabled, Breathalyzin' Wine Vending Machines Screenshot-sm 135

Select Pennsylvania Walmarts have found a way to work around the law prohibiting alcohol sales in grocery stores. It turns out the shortsighted legislature forgot to make it illegal to sell wine from a vending machine: "as long as the user is asked to take a breathalyzer test, swipe their state issued ID or Driver License, and then show their mug to a state official sitting somewhere in Harrisburg, who is keeping an eye on the proceedings via CCTV." I'm surprised nobody thought of this sooner.
Television

Submission + - Broadcaster Sky Alerts Users of Open Source Rights (thinq.co.uk)

An anonymous reader writes: UK Satellite Broadcaster Sky has flashed up a system update page pointing out to all of its paying subscribers that it uses open source software, and suggests that they might like to spend a few minutes reading about the delights of the GPL.

Whether Sky has recently started using the open source code, or has been prodded into a confession by eagle-eyed open sourcers, is open to debate.

Submission + - Righthaven To Explain Why Reposting Isn't Fair Use

Ponca City, We love you writes: "TechDirt reports that a judge has asked Righthaven to explain why a non-profit organization reposting an entire article isn't fair use. The case involves the Center for Intercultural Organizing of Portland, Oregon, which was sued by Righthaven in August after an entire 33-paragraph Review-Journal story about Las Vegas immigrants was posted on the center's website, crediting the Review-Journal. The nonprofit says it was founded by Portland-area immigrants and refugees to combat widespread anti-Muslim sentiment after 9/11 and it works to strengthen immigrant and refugee communities through education, civic engagement, organizing and mobilization and does not charge subscription fees or derive any income from its website. The interesting thing is that the defendant in this case didn't even raise the fair use issue. It was the judge who brought it up suggesting that the Nevada judges are being inundated with hundreds of Righthaven cases, and that Righthaven has already lost once in a case that was found to be fair use so judges may want to set a precedent to clear their dockets. "Considering how many of the sites sued were small, non-profit sites where the use was clearly not intended to compete or to take money away from Righthaven, if those conditions satisfy a fair use ruling, Righthaven may watch a bunch of these cases fall like dominoes," writes Mike Masnick. "Of course, that would be quite fitting, in that in bringing nearly 200 lawsuits against various sites, the end result could be that various sites receive clearer guidelines stating that they actually can copy entire articles onto their websites, given certain other conditions." In the meantime TechDirt recommends that bloggers and web sites that allow posting register with the copyright office for DMCA protection as it appears that RightHaven has been careful to only sue websites without a registered DMCA agent."
Security

Submission + - Network card rootkit proof of concept developed (theregister.co.uk)

KindMind writes: The Register has a story on a researcher that has developed a network card firmware based rootkit. From the story: Guillaume Delugré, a reverse engineer at French security firm Sogeti ESEC, was able to develop proof-of-concept code after studying the firmware from Broadcom Ethernet NetExtreme PCI Ethernet cards ... Using the knowledge gained from this process, Delugré was able to develop custom firmware code and flash the device so that his proof-of-concept code ran on the CPU of the network card. You can read more on his blog.

Submission + - Scotland Injects Stem Cells into Man’s Brain (singularityhub.com)

kkleiner writes: The University of Glasgow’s Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology recently injected fetal stem cells into the brain of a stroke survivor 18 months after his near fatal injury. The man, who is in his 60s, is the first patient in a clinical trial to test the safety and feasibility of using stem cells to repair ischaemic stroke damage (which accounts for 80% of all strokes). According to the University of Glasgow, his injection is pioneering the use of stem cells for this condition, and the purveyor of these cells, ReNeuron, says it is the first UK company to get approval for a human stem cell clinical trial in the country.
Security

Submission + - Cracking Passwords with Amazon EC2 GPU Instances (stacksmashing.net) 1

suraj.sun writes: As of Nov-15, 2010, Amazon EC2 is providing what they call "Cluster GPU Instances": An instance in the Amazon cloud that provides you with the power of two NVIDIA Tesla “Fermi” M2050 GPUs. The exact specifications look like this:

        22 GB of memory
        33.5 EC2 Compute Units (2 x Intel Xeon X5570, quad-core “Nehalem” architecture)
        2 x NVIDIA Tesla “Fermi” M2050 GPUs
        1690 GB of instance storage
        64-bit platform
        I/O Performance: Very High (10 Gigabit Ethernet)
        API name: cg1.4xlarge

GPUs are known to be the best hardware accelerator for cracking passwords, so I decided to give it a try: How fast can this instance type be used to crack SHA1 hashes?

Using the CUDA-Multiforce, I was able to crack all hashes from this file with a password length from 1-6 in only 49 Minutes (1 hour costs 2.10$ by the way.). This just shows one more time that SHA1 is deprecated — You really don't want to use it anymore!

StackSmashing: http://stacksmashing.net/2010/11/15/cracking-in-the-cloud-amazons-new-ec2-gpu-instances/

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