pigrabbitbear writes: "Hackers are good at what they do, and they’re only getting better. Sure, you’ve got the hijinks of groups like Anonymous, who seem to have little trouble breaking into pretty much any website, even the CIA’s. But that’s just code cracking, finding a back door into a website, and maybe downloading some security contractor’s email inbox. There’s a whole other tier of hackers, serious thieves, who can not only find their way through a maze of code, but can actually tap into the very wires that carry that code from place to place. It’s a serious threat, and not even the most sophisticated fiber optic networks were safe. Not until now anyways."
pigrabbitbear writes: "Mother Jones reports that "In recent weeks, a host of liberal types have complained that their Facebook accounts have erroneously “liked” Romney’s page, and some are floating the theory that the Romney campaign has deployed a virus or used other nefarious means to inflate the candidate’s online stature. This conspiratorial notion has spawned a Facebook community forum, and its own page: “Hacked By Mitt Romney” (cute url: facebook.com/MittYouDidntBuildThat)"
So what’s going on? Is the Romney campaign engaging in some tech wizardry to hijack Americans’ Facebook pages? Seems unlikely, tech wizardry of any kind coming from the not-so-online-savvy campaign, but Romney did somehow manage to acquire millions of fake Twitter followers. And sure, Romney probably feels a bit envious of Obama’s 30 million ‘likers’, seeing as how he only has 8 million. But it looks like the Romney campaign isn’t behind this one — Facebook and its crappy mobile app is."
pigrabbitbear writes: "Created by four New York University students, Diaspora tried to destroy the notion that one network could completely dominate the web. Diaspora – "the privacy aware, personally controlled, do-it-all distributed open source social network,” as described on their Kickstarter page – offered what seemed like the perfect antidote to Zuckerbergian tyranny. The New York Times quickly got wind. Tired of being bullied, technologists rallied behind the burgeoning startup spectacle, transforming what began as a fun project into a political movement. Before a single line of code had been written, Diaspora was a sensation. Its anti establishment rallying cry and garage hacker ethos earned it kudos from across an Internet eager for signs of life among a generation grown addicted to status updates.
And yet, the battle may have been lost before it even began. Beyond the difficulty of actually executing a project of this scope and magnitude, the team of four young kids with little real-world programming experience found themselves crushed under the weight of expectation. Even before they had tried to produce an actual product, bloggers, technologists and open-source geeks everywhere were already looking to them to save the world from tyranny and oppression. Not surprisingly, the first release, on September 15, 2010 was a public disaster, mainly for its bugs and security holes. Former fans mockingly dismissed it as “swiss cheese.”"
pigrabbitbear writes: "The active ingredient in OxyContin, oxycodone, isn’t a new compound. It was originally synthesized in Germany in 1916. The patent on the medication had expired well before Purdue Pharma, a Stamford, Connecticut-based pharmaceutical company and the industry leader in pain medication, released it under the brand name in 1996. The genius of Purdue’s continued foray into pain-management medication – they had already produced versions of hydromorphone, oxycodone, fentanyl, codeine, and hydrocodone – was twofold. They not only created a drug from an already readily available compound, but they were able to essentially re-patent the active ingredient by introducing a time-release element. Prior to the 1990s, strong opioid medications were not routinely given for miscellaneous or chronic, moderately painful conditions; the strongest classes of drugs were often reserved for the dying. But Purdue parlayed their time-release system not only into the patent for OxyContin. They also went on a PR blitz, claiming their drug was unique because of the time-release element and implied that it was so difficult to abuse that the risk of addiction was “under 1%.”"
pigrabbitbear writes: "Three years after Facebook-friendly dissidents took to the streets of Tehran and made techno-optimists giddy about the Internet’s liberating potential, things have gotten bleak. Once again, the mullahs are taking on democracy-minded netizens — but nowadays, the government is the one getting creative with technology. And they’re winning, doing things to Internet access that makes China’s “Great Firewall” seem tame."
pigrabbitbear writes: "The company that long ago vowed to not be evil is now confronting it head on. Late yesterday Google added to its already deep portfolio of governmental-like projects a new initiative geared towards combatting violent illicit networks like drug cartels, organ harvesters, arms dealers and human traffickers. It’s not like Google is creating its own international police force or something, however Robocop that would be. Instead, the search giant is partnering with the Council on Foreign Relations and the Tribeca Film Festival to convene a summit called “Illicit Networks: Forces in Opposition” in Los Angeles this week to talk over the issues. The objective, Google says, is “to discover ways that technology can be used to expose and disrupt these networks as a whole — and to put some of these ideas into practice.”"
pigrabbitbear writes: "You’re on the Internet. What does that mean?
Most likely, it means one of a handful of telecommunications providers is middlemanning your information from Point A to Point B. Fire off an email or a tweet, broadcast a livestream or upload video to YouTube, and you’re relying on vast networks of fiber optic cables deep underground and undersea, working with satellites high above, to move your data around the world, and to bring the world to your fingertips.