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Submission + - Russia develops hypersonic 4,600 mph Zircon missile (ibtimes.co.uk)

schwit1 writes: According to multiple reports, Russia is expected to begin production soon of its 3M22 Zircon, a hypersonic missile that will travel 4,600 miles per hour — six times the speed of sound — and will have a range of 250 miles. That’s just three minutes and 15 seconds from launch to impact.

"It will greatly reduce the reaction time that [Western military units] have to deploy their own defenses and counter-measures," Tim Ripley, who covers defense issues for Jane's Defence Weekly, told the German international broadcaster Deutsche Welle.

He said the Zircon could render Western anti-aircraft defenses “obsolete,” and he warned that Russia appears far ahead of the U.S. in development.

Submission + - Vaccine Skeptics Convene in DC in "Revolution4Truth" (scientificamerican.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Vaccine skeptics arrived in DC today in a campaign to convince lawmakers of their claims that vaccines are harmful and lead to autism in children. Several meetings were scheduled with federal lawmakers' staffers, with a subsequent march to the Capitol and a phone-calling campaign aimed at the white house.
While medical experts and researchers have thoroughly discredited claims linking vaccines to autism, the movement has gained confidence since the election of President Trump. Trump notably met with anti-vaccine leaders Andrew Wakefield and Robert Kennedy Jr. during his campaign and after his victory to discuss vaccine safety issues and has gone on record both in debates and on Twitter as believing vaccines led to autism in some children. However, Cabinet members and physicians Tom Price and Ben Carson have both gone on record as emphatically denying vaccines cause autism, and a rumored white house "vaccine safety commission" to be led by Kennedy Jr. was never followed up on and was dismissed by white house aides. How lawmakers and the white house will address the campaign, or whether Trump watched his copy of "Vaxxed" Wakefield gifted him, remains to be seen.

Submission + - UW Professor: The Information War Is Real, And We're Losing It (seattletimes.com)

An anonymous reader writes: It started with the Boston marathon bombing, four years ago. University of Washington professor Kate Starbird was sifting through thousands of tweets sent in the aftermath and noticed something strange. Too strange for a university professor to take seriously. “There was a significant volume of social-media traffic that blamed the Navy SEALs for the bombing,” Starbird told me the other day in her office. “It was real tinfoil-hat stuff. So we ignored it.” Same thing after the mass shooting that killed nine at Umpqua Community College in Oregon: a burst of social-media activity calling the massacre a fake, a stage play by “crisis actors” for political purposes. “After every mass shooting, dozens of them, there would be these strange clusters of activity,” Starbird says. “It was so fringe we kind of laughed at it. “That was a terrible mistake. We should have been studying it.” Starbird argues in a new paper, set to be presented at a computational social-science conference in May, that these “strange clusters” of wild conspiracy talk, when mapped, point to an emerging alternative media ecosystem on the web of surprising power and reach. There are dozens of conspiracy-propagating websites such as beforeitsnews.com, nodisinfo.com and veteranstoday.com. Starbird cataloged 81 of them, linked through a huge community of interest connected by shared followers on Twitter, with many of the tweets replicated by automated bots. Starbird is in the UW’s Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering — the study of the ways people and technology interact. Her team analyzed 58 million tweets sent after mass shootings during a 10-month period. They searched for terms such as “false flag” and “crisis actor,” web slang meaning a shooting is not what the government or the traditional media is reporting it to be. Then she analyzed the content of each site to try to answer the question: Just what is this alternative media ecosystem saying? Starbird is publishing her paper as a sort of warning. The information networks we’ve built are almost perfectly designed to exploit psychological vulnerabilities to rumor.

Submission + - UK home secretary peddling Security Snake Oil (bbc.co.uk)

Martin S. writes: Amanda Rudd the UK Home Secretary responsible for Policing is peddling security snake oil. Ignoring the big problem with information security is that is really is impossible to tell the difference between good security and bad security without an expert and we all know what the current crop of politicons they think of experts. https://www.schneier.com/crypt...

Submission + - Windows 10 forced upgrades spark legal action

AmiMoJo writes: Three people in Illinois have filed a lawsuit against Microsoft, claiming that its Windows 10 update destroyed their data and damaged their computers. The complaint, filed in Chicago's US District Court on Thursday, charges that Microsoft Windows 10 is a defective product and that its maker failed to provide adequate warning about the potential risks posed by Windows 10 installation – specifically system stability and data loss. The attorneys representing the trio are seeking to have the case certified as a class action that includes every person in the US who upgraded to Windows 10 from Windows 7 and suffered data loss or damage to software or hardware within 30 days of installation. They claim there are hundreds or thousands of affected individuals. Last June, a California woman won $10,000 after a Windows 10 update disabled her PC.

Submission + - If you had to lecture on Cyber Terrorism 1

quantumghost writes: I have a high likelihood of presenting for a group of about 400 healthcare workers at a disaster preparedness conference next year. It is a 20 minute slot (and nothing more than a primer), but obviously, I want to capture their attention. I was thinking of working with the venue to set up a fake WiFi hotspot to capture those who randomly link to any hotspot, but how do I use that to full effect (e.g. anyone ever light up all their phones at once)? Or any suggestions about how to get their attention? Any topics that you think should be stressed? My plans for the talk will be about ransomware (and the need for backups), attacks on medical devices (hacking pacemakers, insulin pumps etc), (spear) phising attacks on providers/institutions, and awareness of social engineering — are there other topics that should be addressed?

Submission + - Terrifying anti-riot vehicle created to quash any urban disturbance (ibtimes.co.uk)

drunkdrone writes: A formidable remote-controlled anti-riot vehicle called the Bozena Riot has been designed to make light work of angry mobs with a giant expanding shield and packing an arsenal of crowd dispersal tools.

Built by Slovakian company Bozena, the high-tech security system keeps law enforcement units safe with its shock-absorbing barrier, which can be expanded out to 7.5 metres to protect 36 officers and features a rising platform to give riot police an elevated view of their surroundings and provide tactical advantage against aggressors.

The shield has ports for firing non-lethal projectiles and is equipped with tear gas guns to "guarantee control of crowds" when things get dicey. Mounted loudspeakers can be used either to issue instructions to officers or to appeal to crowds, and the vehicle can optionally be equipped with smoke grenade launchers and a radio jammer for blocking mobile communications.

Submission + - SPAM: Soviet cover-up of nuclear fallout worse than Chernobyl

schwit1 writes: It was a nuclear disaster four times worse than Chernobyl in terms of the number of cases of acute radiation sickness, but Moscow’s complicity in covering up its effects on people’s health has remained secret until now.

We knew that in August 1956, fallout from a Soviet nuclear weapons test at Semipalatinsk in Kazakhstan engulfed the Kazakh industrial city of Ust-Kamenogorsk and put more than 600 people in hospital with radiation sickness, but the details have been sketchy.

After seeing a newly uncovered report, New Scientist can now reveal that a scientific expedition from Moscow in the aftermath of the hushed-up disaster uncovered widespread radioactive contamination and radiation sickness across the Kazakh steppes.

The scientists then tracked the consequences as nuclear bomb tests continued — without telling the people affected or the outside world.

The report by scientists from the Institute of Biophysics in Moscow was found in the archive of the Institute of Radiation Medicine and Ecology (IRME) in Semey, Kazakhstan. “For many years, this has been a secret,” says the institute’s director Kazbek Apsalikov, who found the report and passed it on to New Scientist.

More nuclear bomb tests were conducted at Semipalatinsk than anywhere else in the world during the 1950s and early 1960s. Western journalists have reported since the breakup of the Soviet Union on the apparent health effects on villagers downwind of the tests. And some recent studies have estimated radiation doses using proxies such as radioactivity in tooth enamel.

The newly revealed report, which outlines “the results of a radiological study of Semipalatinsk region” and is marked “top secret”, shows for the first time just how much Soviet scientists knew at the time about the human-health disaster and the extent of the cover-up.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Your Hotel Room Photos Could Help Catch Sex Traffickers (cnn.com)

dryriver writes: CNN reports: Police find an advert for paid sex online. Its an illegally trafficked underage girl posing provocatively in a Hotel room. But police doesn't know where this hotel room is — what city, what neighborhood, what hotel or hotel room. This is where the TraffickCam phone app comes in. When you are staying at a hotel, you take pictures of your room with it. The app logs the GPS data (location of the hotel) and also analyzes what is in the picture — the furniture, bedsheets, carpet and other visual features. This makes the hotel room identifiable. Now when Police come across a sex trafficking picture online, there is a database of images that may reveal which hotel room the picture was taken in. About 100,000 people have downloaded TraffickCam so far.

Submission + - Does Google Research Raise Red Flag on Microsoft's HS Student Screening Advice?

theodp writes: Sharing its latest research on unconscious bias in the classroom, Google warns that educators may unintentionally discriminate against some of their students, discouraging them from pursuing certain fields of study, like computer science and STEM. "By focusing on educators," writes Google's head of R&D for CS education, "we can help them become aware of their unconscious biases [e.g., perceiving Black students as disruptive, inattentive, and less likely to complete homework; perceiving misbehavior as worse when observing students of a race different than their own] and learn how they can adjust their actions to support diverse students in computer science and STEM." So, one wonders what those who conducted the Google research might make of Microsoft TEALS, a pet program of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella that sends volunteer software engineers with no teaching experience from Microsoft, Google, Facebook, etc. into high schools across the nation to teach kids and their teachers computer science. "Our mission," states a TEALS booklet, is "to provide every student with the opportunity to study rigorous computer science in high school." Sounds good, but in a section entitled "Identifying Students Prepared to Succeed" in the TEALS Implementation Guides from 2014-2017, schools are advised, "Especially while the courses are new to your school, it is important to select only students who are interested in CS and able to handle the course work (including study skills, and behavioral issues). This is not a place to put students simply because they have an open period and expect that CS class is equivalent to playing games." A flyer for the 2017-18 school year boasts that "TEALS students scored 10% higher than the national average on their AP CS exams last year." Whether any of that lift may be attributable to screening out certain students will presumably be addressed by a still-underway 4-year, $1.5 million NSF study of the efficacy of TEALS "in an authentic high school learning context."

Submission + - US Secretary of Defense: Climate Change National Security Issue (propublica.org)

omaha393 writes: Secretary of Defense James Mattis identified climate change as a national security risks to the Senate Armed Services Committee, according to unpublished comments sent to the Senate Armed Services Committee. Secretary Mattis joins several scientific and policy experts as well as the Pentagon Study urging action to address climate change. While Secretary Mattis’ position seems at odds with other members of the White House cabinet, this is hardly the first time Mattis has offered contrary opinions on major policy decisions. Other members of the cabinet, including Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, have changed their tones on the subject, now supporting the evidence that man-made climate change is real and may pose a threat to national security. How climate change will be addressed under the new administration remains to be seen, as advisors the White House have indicated the administration intends to pull out of the Paris Climate Accords and the recently revealed "budget blueprint" seeks to slash funding to climate change alleviation.

Submission + - SPAM: NY bill would require removal of inaccurate, irrelevant or excessive statements 1

schwit1 writes: In a bill aimed at securing a "right to be forgotten," introduced by Assemblyman David I. Weprin and (as Senate Bill 4561 by state Sen. Tony Avella), New York politicians would require people to remove 'inaccurate,' 'irrelevant,' 'inadequate' or 'excessive' statements about others...
  • Within 30 days of a "request from an individual,"
  • "all search engines and online speakers] shall remove ... content about such individual, and links or indexes to any of the same, that is 'inaccurate', 'irrelevant', 'inadequate' or 'excessive,'' "
  • "and without replacing such removed ... content with any disclaimer [or] takedown notice."
  • " '[I]naccurate', 'irrelevant', 'inadequate', or 'excessive' shall mean content,"
  • "which after a significant lapse in time from its first publication,"
  • "is no longer material to current public debate or discourse,"
  • "especially when considered in light of the financial, reputational and/or demonstrable other harm that the information ... is causing to the requester's professional, financial, reputational or other interest,"
  • "with the exception of content related to convicted felonies, legal matters relating to violence, or a matter that is of significant current public interest, and as to which the requester's role with regard to the matter is central and substantial."

Failure to comply would make the search engines or speakers liable for, at least, statutory damages of $250/day plus attorney fees.
Link to Original Source

Submission + - First academic research study of 4chan's /pol/ board (arxiv.org)

stolkien writes: "Kek, Cucks, and God Emperor Trump: A Measurement Study of 4chan's Politically Incorrect Forum and Its Effects on the Web"

Abstract: "The discussion-board site 4chan has been part of the Internet's dark underbelly since its inception, and recent political events have put it increasingly in the spotlight. In particular, /pol/, the "Politically Incorrect" board, has been a central figure in the outlandish 2016 US election season, as it has often been linked to the alt-right movement and its rhetoric of hate and racism. However, 4chan remains relatively unstudied by the scientific community: little is known about its user base, the content it generates, and how it affects other parts of the Web. In this paper, we start addressing this gap by analyzing /pol/ along several axes, using a dataset of over 8M posts we collected over two and a half months. First, we perform a general characterization, showing that /pol/ users are well distributed around the world and that 4chan's unique features encourage fresh discussions. We also analyze content, finding, for instance, that YouTube links and hate speech are predominant on /pol/. Overall, our analysis not only provides the first measurement study of /pol/, but also insight into online harassment and hate speech trends in social media."

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