judgecorp writes "Government institutions are among the targets of an attack on Pakistani bodies, which originates in India, according to reports. The campaign is using vulnerabilities in Microsoft software to install the HangOver malware, according to Norwegian security firm Norman Shark (PDF). From the article: 'In the attacks on Pakistani organizations, spear phishing emails were sent out purporting to contain information on "ongoing conflicts in the region, regional culture and religious matters," according to Norman. Norman could not provide direct attribution to the attacks, but its report did note the following: "The continued targeting of Pakistani interests and origins suggested that the attacker was of Indian origin." Snorre Fagerland, principal security researcher in the Malware Detection Team at Norman, told TechWeekEurope it appeared Pakistani government bodies had been attacked.'"
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benrothke writes "One of the challenges in reading The Plateau Effect: Getting from Stuck to Success is figuring how to classify it. Amazon has it ranked mainly in applied psychology, but also time management and inexplicable personal finance. In some ways it is all of the above and more. In fewer than 300 pages, the authors reference myriad different areas of science, mathematics, psychology and more; in the effort to show the reader how they can elevate themselves from the stuff in life that glues them to the status quo." Read below for the rest of Ben's review.
Hugh Pickens writes "The Ukrainian Navy has a small problem on their hands. The Atlantic reports that, after rebooting the Soviet Union's marine mammal program last year with the goal of teaching dolphins to find underwater mines and kill enemy divers, three of the Ukrainian military's new recruits have gone AWOL. Apparently they swam away from their trainers ostensibly in search of a 'mate' out in open waters. It might not be such a big deal except that these dolphins have been trained to 'attack enemy combat swimmers using special knives or pistols fixed to their heads.' Dolphins were trained at Sevastopol for the Soviet Navy as far back as 1973 to find military equipment such as sea mines on the seabed as well as attacking divers and even carrying explosives on their heads to plant on enemy ships. The U.S. has its own dolphin program in San Diego with 40 trained dolphins and sea lions and another 50 in training. U.S. Navy dolphins were deployed in Bahrain in 1987 during a period when Iran was laying down mines in the Persian Gulf to disrupt oil shipments. No word yet on whether 'sharks with frickin' laser beams attached' have been added to the U.S. arsenal." Update: 03/14 14:55 GMT by T : Note that (as the Atlantic has updated their story reached via above link) while there really are militarized dolphins in use around the world, this particular story turns out to be an elaborate prank.
A laser tool funded by the European Space Agency to measure carbon on Mars is now being used to help detect fake honey. By burning a few milligrams of honey the laser isotope ratio-meter can help determine its composition and origin. From the article: "According to a Food Safety News investigation, more than a third of honey consumed in the U.S. has been smuggled from China and may be tainted with illegal antibiotics and heavy metals. To make matters worse, some honey brokers create counterfeit honey using a small amount of real honey, bulked up with sugar, malt sweeteners, corn or rice syrup, jaggery (a type of unrefined sugar) and other additives—known as honey laundering. This honey is often mislabeled and sold on as legitimate, unadulterated honey in places such as Europe and the U.S."
Freshly Exhumed writes "You can't begrudge Nat Brown for claiming some pride in the birth of Microsoft's game console: 'I was a founder of the original xBox project at Microsoft and gave it its name. Almost 14 years after the painful, pointless, and idiotic internal cage-match to get it started and funded, the hard selling of a compelling and lucrative living-room product to Bill (and then Steve as he began to take over), a product that consumers would want and love and demand, I am actually still thrilled to see how far it has come...' But in his recent ILIKE.CODE blog post he is driven to lament that '...as usual, Microsoft has jumped its own shark and is out stomping through the weeds planning and talking about far-flung future strategies in interactive television and original programming partnerships with big dying media companies when their core product, their home town is on fire, their soldiers, their developers, are tired and deserting, and their supply-lines are broken.' Nat goes on to detail a list of Microsoft's past and present strategic Xbox blunders, while tossing some barbs towards Nintendo's and Sony's game console strategies."
MatthewVD writes "Infrared cameras on satellites and night vision goggles could soon use lasers to cool their components. According to the study published in Nature, researchers in Singapore were able to cool the semiconductor cadmium sulfide from 62 degrees fahrenheit to -9 degrees by focusing a green laser on it and making it fluoresce and lose energy as light. Since they require neither gas nor moving parts, they can be more compact, free from vibration and not prone to mechanical failure."
New submitter EngnrFrmrlyKnownAsAC writes "Communicating with lasers has become the hot new thing. While most researchers are seeking faster throughput, NASA set its sights in a different direction: the moon. They recently announced the first successful one-way laser communication 'at planetary distances.' What did they send? An image of the Mona Lisa, of course. 'Precise timing was the key to transmitting the image. Sun and colleagues divided the Mona Lisa image into an array of 152 pixels by 200 pixels. Every pixel was converted into a shade of gray, represented by a number between zero and 4,095. Each pixel was transmitted by a laser pulse, with the pulse being fired in one of 4,096 possible time slots during a brief time window allotted for laser tracking. The complete image was transmitted at a data rate of about 300 bits per second.'"
Hugh Pickens writes "A burglar gets stuck in a chimney, a truck driver in a head on collision is thrown out the front window and lands on his feet, walks away; a wild antelope knocks a man off his bike; a candle at a wedding sets the bride's hair on fire; someone fishing off a backyard dock catches a huge man-size shark. Now Kevin Kelly writes that in former times these unlikely events would be private, known only as rumors, stories a friend of a friend told, easily doubted and not really believed but today they are on YouTube, seen by millions. 'Every minute a new impossible thing is uploaded to the internet and that improbable event becomes just one of hundreds of extraordinary events that we'll see or hear about today,' writes Kelly. 'As long as we are online — which is almost all day many days — we are illuminated by this compressed extraordinariness. It is the new normal.' But when the improbable dominates the archive to the point that it seems as if the library contains only the impossible, then the 'black swans' don't feel as improbable. 'To the uninformed, the increased prevalence of improbable events will make it easier to believe in impossible things,' concludes Kelly. 'A steady diet of coincidences makes it easy to believe they are more than just coincidences.'"
garymortimer writes "Photos provided by the animal rights group show the multicopter smoking on the ground, with its lithium polymer battery supply smoldering. Another photo shows the drone's video camera smashed. The drone, dubbed 'Angel,' was a Cinestar 8 octocopter estimated at $4,000. This wasn't the first time SHARK has been shot out of the sky. This is the fourth drone that the group has lost while investigating pigeon shootings. One drone landed on club property, and is the subject of an ongoing lawsuit."
Hugh Pickens writes "The Washington Post reports that a new vehicle could soon be zooming out of James Bond's garage — or pond — as the Quadski, a one-person all-terrain vehicle that doubles as a personal watercraft, is being billed by its makers as the first high-speed, commercially available amphibious vehicle. Scheduled to go on sale in the U.S. by the end of this year for around $40,000, the four-cylinder, BMW-supplied engine can drive up to 45 miles per hour on land and do a brisk 45 miles per hour in the water (video). 'You just drive straight into the water, quite fast, and keep on going. It's sort of magic,' says Alan Gibbs, the founder of Gibbs Sports Amphibians. The company is also preparing to introduce the Phibian, a 30-foot long, 6.5-ton model, and the Humdinga, a 22-foot, 3.5-ton model, which are both intended for the military and first responders. The company plans to produce 20 Quadskis per day with 150 employees when the plant is in full operation and expects to sell around 1,000 Quadskis in the first year. 'We'll respond to how the market develops,' says Gibbs. 'We wouldn't be doing it without being very confident people will love them.'"
Six years after being conceived, and after three years of regulatory review, the NRC has issued the operating license for the first commercial SILEX facility. This is just the final step in the multi-year approval process. There is still, however, a chance that the tech won't make it far: concerns over proliferation (due to the much smaller waste stream vs other enrichment processes) may lead to the NRC exercising its right to mothball further commercialization of the technology. Anyone interested in the long approval process should check out the NRC licensing page.
pmdubs writes "The U.C. Berkeley AMPLab research group will be hosting a free 'Big Data Bootcamp' on-campus and online, August 21 and 22. The AMP Camp will feature hands-on tutorials on big data analysis using the AMPLab software stack, including Spark, Shark, and Mesos. These tools work hand-in-hand with technologies like Hadoop to provide high performance, low latency data analysis. AMP Camp will also include high level overviews of warehouse scale computing, presentations on several big data use-cases, and talks on related projects."
ackthpt writes "A network of fixed buoys and solar powered surfing robots called Wave Gliders are set to track Great White Sharks in the Pacific, off the California coast near San Francisco, between Monterey Bay and Tomales Point. According to PhysOrg, 'The self-propelled wave and solar-powered glider is part of a new network of data receivers on fixed buoys will pick up signals from acoustic tags on animals passing within 1,000 feet and transmit the data to a research team on shore, led by Stanford University Marine Sciences Prof. Barbara Block.' Related to the project is 'Shark Net,' a new iOS app 'available free of charge at the Apple app store, created by Dr. Block and her colleagues with developers from TOPP, EarthNC and Gaia GPS to enable a direct, personal connection between the public and wild marine animals and to raise public awareness of the ocean wilderness teeming with life just off North America's West Coast.'"
sciencehabit writes "Don't feel inadequate. Even though your teeth are largely composed of a mineral softer than that found in sharks, new tests suggest that they're just as tough. In sharks, the material coating the teeth is largely composed of fluoroapatite, a fluoridated phosphate mineral that in its pure form is harder than the hydroxyapatite found in the enamel of human teeth. But by pressing tiny metallic pyramids into the surfaces of teeth from a shortfin mako shark and a tiger shark, researchers found that the enameloid coating on shark teeth is no harder than that of the enamel on a human wisdom tooth. The teeth are, in fact, of comparable hardness because their surfaces aren't pure mineral but instead are made of mineral crystals bound together with proteins so that the material doesn't shatter under a sudden impact."
ananyo writes "Scientists have reported the first tabletop source of ultra-short, laser-like pulses of low energy, or 'soft,' X-rays. The light, capable of probing the structure and dynamics of molecules (abstract), was previously available only at large, billion-dollar national facilities such as synchrotrons or free-electron lasers, where competition for use of the equipment is fierce. The new device, by husband-and-wife team Margaret Murnane and Henry Kapteyn based at JILA in Boulder, Colorado, might soon lie within the grasp of a university laboratory budget — perhaps allowing them to one day be as common in labs as electron microscopes are."
Freshly Exhumed writes in with a Wired story about a nerd/super-villian dream come true. "Marine biologist-cum-TV personality Luke Tipple attached a 50-milliwatt green laser to a lemon shark off the coast of the Bahamas in late April. The escapade was sponsored by Wicked Lasers, a consumer-focused laser manufacturer based in Hong Kong that produces some of the most brilliant — and potentially dangerous — handheld lasers in the world. 'This was definitely a world first,' Tipple told Wired. 'Initially, I told them no. I thought it was a frivolous stunt. But then I considered that it would give us an opportunity to test our clips and attachments, and whatever is attached to that clip, I really don't care. It was a low-powered laser that couldn't be dangerous to anyone, and there's actually useful applications in having a laser attached to the animal.'"
retroworks writes "Dinei Florencio and Cormac Herley write that cybercrime depleted gullible and unprotected users, producing diminishing returns (over-phishing). They argue that the statistics on the extent of losses from cybercrime are flawed because there is never an under-estimation reported. Do they underestimate the number of suckers gaining internet access born every minute? Or has cybercrime become the 'shark attack' that gets reported more often than it occurs?"
An anonymous reader writes "Researchers at the Vienna University of Technology have managed to perfect 3D printing at the nanoscale. What may look like a grain of sand to the human eye could in fact be a detailed racing car model, a reproduction of a famous church, or London Bridge. The 3D printer relies on a laser beam directed by mirrors through a liquid resin onto a surface. It can print at 5 meters per second, which is a world record, and the end result is only a few hundred nanometers in size. The next hurdle: printing with bio-material so we can start making our own body parts/organs."
MrSeb writes "Hold onto your hats: Scientists at the University of York, England have completely rewritten the rules of magnetic storage (abstract; full paper paywalled). Instead of switching a magnetic region using a magnetic field (like a hard drive head), the researchers have managed to switch a ferrimagnetic nanoisland using a 60-femtosecond laser. Storing magnetic data using lasers is up to 1,000 times faster than writing to a conventional hard drive (we're talking about gigabytes or terabytes per second) — and the ferrimagnetic nanoislands that store the data are capable of storage densities that are some 15 times greater than existing hard drive platters. Unfortunately the York scientists only detailed writing data with lasers; there's no word on how to read it."
New submitter newmission33 writes "Government researchers have created the fastest, purest X-ray laser pulses ever achieved, and have fulfilled a 1967 prediction that an atomic scale X-ray laser could be made in the same manner as visible-light lasers, according to a statement released Wednesday. Researchers at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory used the Linac Coherent Light Source to aim a powerful X-ray source beam, a billion times brighter than any previous source, at a capsule of neon gas and triggered an 'avalanche' of X-ray emissions to become the world's first 'atomic X-ray laser.'"