Shipud writes: In February this year, over 120 delegates of the DOMAINFest in Santa Monica, California came down with symptoms of a respiratory illness. The convention included a trip to the Playboy mansion, which later was identified as the outbreak source. The convention was held Feb 1-4, 2011. The first inquiry to the LA County Department of Health (LAC DPH) of a suspected Legionnaire's Disease outbreak was made February 11. But upon tracing the outbreak, LAC DPH officials discovered a trail of reports preceding February 11 in social media, including Facebook and Twitter. The Wikipedia entry for legionelliosis was updated almost at the same time as when the LAC DPH report was made. The researchers concluded that social media updates helped the track the outbreak both through going through delegates tweets and Facebook posts, and also in the fast dissemination of questionnaires to track the outbreak source.
sciencehabit writes: Kids who score higher on IQ tests will, on average, go on to do better in conventional measures of success in life: academic achievement, economic success, even greater health, and longevity. Is that because they are more intelligent? Not necessarily. New research concludes that IQ scores are partly a measure of how motivated a child is to do well on the test. And harnessing that motivation might be as important to later success as so-called native intelligence.
Mark.JUK writes: The European Internet Services Providers Association (EuroISPA) has today warned the European Union (EU) that plans aimed at tackling online child sexual abuse content, which propose to force ISPs into adopting mandatory website blocking (censorship) technology, will not work because such methods are easy to circumvent; an ISP might cover your eyes but anybody can still take the blindfold off. Instead the EuroISPA has called for MEP's to consider permanently removing internet based child sexual abuse content at source, although this also runs into problems when the servers are based outside of your jurisdiction.
macslocum writes: Ambiguity surrounds the real impact of digital book piracy, notes Brian O'Leary in an interview with O'Reilly Radar, but all would be better served if more data was shared and less effort was exerted on futile DRM.
tsu doh nimh writes: Security experts from several different organizations are tracking an increase in Windows malware compromises via Java, although not from a vulnerability in the widely installed software: the threat comes from a feature of Java that prompts the user to download and run a Java applet. Kaspersky said it saw a huge uptick in PCs compromised by Java exploits in December, but that the biggest change was the use of this Java feature for social engineering. Brian Krebs writes about this trend, and looks at two new exploit packs that are powered mainly by Java flaws, including one pack that advertises this feature as an exploit that works on all Java versions.
alphadogg writes: A faster, more secure and energy-efficient update to the WiMax wireless Internet standard will get final approval and see commercialization within a year, industry officials said on Monday. An international committee tasked with WiMax development will finalize the standard’s IEEE 802.16m version in March following technical meetings in Taipei this week. It would be put into use at the end of this year or the beginning of 2012.
Final approval of 802.16m will let manufacturers pre-install the not-quite-4G standard that can operate at a frequency of 20 Mhz, twice that of the existing 802.16e, developers said in Taipei. That would enable signals to carry double the amount of network traffic, which has increased with the use of iPhones and other handheld devices.
“By doubling the bandwidth, of course you can work at much higher data rates,” said Rakesh Taori, vice chair of the professional association IEEE’s 802.16 working group.
The updated standard, which has been under development for five years, will increase security for users, including protecting the privacy of their locations, Taori added. It will also help smartphones conserve more power when in idle or sleep mode, he said.
krou writes: Chief of defence staff in the UK, General Sir David Richards, has made comments saying that a 'cultural change' in warfare is coming, and that the UK is facing a 'horse versus tank moment' in coping with modern warfare. The success of insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the increase in threat of cyber-attacks against the UK has led the General to claim that 'We've been in denial ever since the end of the cold war' about how the rules of war have been transformed by such actors, and has called for an increase in troops, unmanned spy planes, and high-tech cyber defences by slashing the budget for ships and fighter jets. '[We always thought] we’d go back to jolly old war-fighting like in the western desert or a hot version [with battle lines drawn] of the cold war', but this is increasingly unlikely. He went on to say that 'We must learn to defend, delay, attack and manoeuvre in cyberspace, just as we might on the land, sea or air and all together at the same time. Future war will always include a cyber dimension and it could become the dominant form. At the moment we don't have a cyber command and I'm very keen we have one. Whether we like it or not, cyber is going to be part of future warfare, just as tanks and aircraft are today. It's a cultural change. In the future I don't think state-to-state warfare will start in the way it did even 10 years ago. It will be cyber or banking attacks — that's how I'd conduct a war if I was running a belligerent state or a rebel movement. It's semi-anonymous, cheap and doesn't risk people.'
NecroPuppy writes: The US Navy finally finds themselves in sight of the end of their contract with NMCI.. Depending on who you ask, the Naval Marine Corp Intranet (acronym explained so you don't have to come up with your own meaning), has been the best thing to happen to the Navy, a massive waste of taxpayer money, a less than useful implementation, or a massive boondoggle. Possiblly multiple of those at the same time. A bit of history, before people start laying all the blame on HP: EDS (who started the contract) was originally a standalone company that was only recently bought by HP. (Not that HP has done much better with the contract.)
astroengine writes: "Astronomers have known for some time that our Sun oscillates at various frequencies, a science known as "helioseismology." But can we detect these oscillations in other stars? It may sound like a big ask, but the Sun-like star called HD 49933 — located nearly 100 light years from Earth — appears to have very similar qualities. Using the Convection Rotation and Planetary Transists (CoRoT) mission, astronomers have detected star-wide oscillations — analogous to a ringing bell — relating to the waxing and waning of the star's cycle — in a similar fashion to our Sun's 11-year cycle. The only difference is that HD 49933's cycle takes only a year to complete, making this star the 'fruit fly' of stellar research, as Jennifer Ouellette of Discovery News explains: "...its magnetic cycle is similar to our Sun's 11-year cycle, except much shorter: less than one year, making this star the fruit fly of astrophysics research. (Many biological studies involve fruit flies because of their very short life spans.)""
FlorianMueller writes: In a recent Slashdot discussion, a Linux evangelist from Google, Jeremy Allison, said that "Google submitted an anti-software patent brief in the Bilski case." He disclosed his affiliation and encouraged double-checking. I have performed a detailed analysis of Google's amicus curiae brief in re Bilski. While it cites some patent-critical literature, the document stops far short of advocating the abolition of software patents. The brief supports the idea that patent law should expand according to technological progress. It complains about some software patents being too abstract and others making only a "conventional" use of a computer, but under patent law, that doesn't mean that all software is conventional by definition. Google's own patents, such as the PageRank patent, are (at least intended to be) non-abstract and non-conventional. Is anyone aware of Google ever having spoken out against the patentability of all software, including the software Google itself patents every day?
coondoggie writes: Cybersecurity vulnerabilities in key corporate tools such as Web apps, JavaScriot, PDFs, are increasing dramatically, having reached record levels for the first half of 2010, according to security watchers on IBM's X-Force research and development team. Overall, 4,396 new vulnerabilities were documented by the X-Force in the first half of 2010, a 36% increase over the same time period last year. Over half, 55%, of all these disclosed vulnerabilities had no vendor-supplied patch at the end of the period, according to the X Force's Mid-Year Trend and Risk Report.
pariax writes: Tired of a week of stories hyping the role the malware infection may have played in the Spanair crash, a security consultant and pilot has dissected the official report on the incident and provides a detailed account of the chain of failures that led to the crash. AV vendors duck and cover!
RedEaredSlider writes: Researchers at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases have found a class of drugs that could provide treatment for Ebola and Marburg hemorrhagic fever.
The new drugs are called "antisense" compounds, and they allow the immune system to attack the viruses before they can do enough damage to kill the patient. Travis Warren, research scientist at USAMRIID, said while the work is still preliminary — the drugs have been tested only on primates — the results are so far promising. In the case of Ebola, five of eight monkeys infected with the virus lived, and with Marburg, all survived.
The drugs were developed as part of a program to deal with possible bioterrorist threats, in partnership with AVI Biopharma.