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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 151357 times)
WingsofCrystal
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« Reply #4350 on: Jun 20th, 2011, 1:52pm »

"From the day Yurt and Kevin were separated, he asked to see her.

It was his dying wish."


God bless those people for reuniting Kevin and Yurt.

Thanks Phil.

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« Reply #4351 on: Jun 20th, 2011, 3:20pm »

"God bless those people for reuniting Kevin and Yurt."

Amen to that!
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« Reply #4352 on: Jun 20th, 2011, 7:33pm »

9/11 Cancers ... http://www.firehouse.com/forums/showthread.php?t=120289
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« Reply #4353 on: Jun 21st, 2011, 07:29am »

on Jun 20th, 2011, 7:33pm, Ringwind wrote:
9/11 Cancers ... http://www.firehouse.com/forums/showthread.php?t=120289


Welcome Ringwind.

Thank you for that link.

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« Reply #4354 on: Jun 21st, 2011, 07:40am »

Washington Post

As the sun awakens, the power grid stands vulnerable
By Brian Vastag, Published: June 20
The sun is waking up.

And on June 7, it woke up Michael Hesse. At 5:49 a.m., the solar scientist received an alert on his smartphone. NASA spacecraft had seen a burst of X-rays spinning out from a sunspot. The burst was a solar flare — and a “notably large one” at that, Hesse said later.

The sun has been quiet for years, at the nadir of its activity cycle. But since February, our star has been spitting out flares and plasma like an angry dragon. It’s Hesse’s job to watch these eruptions.

If a big one were headed our way, Hesse needed to know, and fast, so he could alert the electric power industry to brace for a geomagnetic storm that could knock some of the North American power grid offline.

Hesse gathered his team at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, where he is chief of the Space Weather Laboratory, and fed the latest data from four sun-staring satellites into powerful computers.

At 7:49 Hesse got his answer. An animated chart traced the predicted path of a huge arc of plasma — hot gas — hurtling through the inner solar system. But only the tail of the plume would lick Earth, arriving June 9 and driving a dazzling display of the northern lights from Alaska through Maine.

While a video of the eruption captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory showed an enormous plume spraying from the sun, this solar tantrum would not be the big one — it would not be the 1859 event all over again.

Sept. 1 of that year saw the largest solar flare on record, witnessed by British astronomer Richard Carrington. While tracing features of the sun’s surface, which Carrington had projected via telescope onto paper, he saw a sudden flash emerge from a dark spot. Although such sunspots had sparked curiosity for centuries — Galileo famously drew them, too, in the early 1600s — Carrington had no idea what the flash could mean.

Within hours, telegraph operators found out. Their long strands of wire acted as antennas for this huge wave of solar energy. As this tsunami sped by, transmitters heated up, and several burst into flames. Observers in Miami and Havana gaped skyward at eerie green and yellow displays, the northern lights pushed far south.

A knockout punch

Such a “Carrington event” will happen again someday, but our wired civilization will suffer losses far greater than a few telegraph shacks.

Communications satellites will be knocked offline. Financial transactions, timed and transmitted via those satellite, will fail, causing millions or billions in losses. The GPS system will go wonky. Astronauts on the space station will huddle in a shielded module, as they have done three times in the past decade due to “space weather,” the scientific term for all of the sun’s freaky activity. Flights between North America and Asia, over the North Pole, will have to be rerouted, as they were in April during a weak solar storm at a cost to the airlines of $100,000 a flight. And oil pipelines, particularly in Alaska and Canada, will suffer corrosion as they, like power lines, conduct electricity from the solar storm.

But the biggest impact will be on the modern marvel known as the power grid. And experts warn that the grid is not ready. In 2008, the National Academy of Sciences stated that an 1859-level storm could knock out power in parts of the northeastern and northwestern United States for months, even years. Report co-author John Kappenmann estimated that about 135 million Americans would be forced to revert to a pre-electric lifestyle or relocate. Water systems would fail. Food would spoil. Thousands could die. The financial cost: Up to $2 trillion, one-seventh the annual U.S. gross domestic product.

Utilities say they’re studying the issue, with an eye toward understanding how to protect the grid by powering down sections of it during an hours-long solar storm.

Their efforts are motivated, in part, by the sun’s increasingly frequent outbursts. Every 11 to 12 years, solar activity ramps up. After a quiet season, the sun is now spitting out flares again, with activity expected to peak in 2013 and 2014, said Dean Pesnell, a solar scientist at Goddard.

“The sun is not partisan, it doesn’t listen to diplomacy, and sanctions don’t work,” said Peter Huessy, president of GeoStrategic Analysis. Huessy wants Congress to enact rules that would force power companies to better protect the power grid. “The sun has its own clock. And we don’t know what that clock is, except for once every hundred years or so, it has a coronary.”

Running out of time

Predicting flares is still a nascent science. They typically spring from sunspots, which appear when tangled magnetic fields well up from deep within the sun. A burst of X-rays, flares travel at the speed of light, reaching Earth in about eight minutes. While they can interfere with the electronics in satellites, they pose no direct threat to people on the ground because Earth’s magnetic field acts as a shield against this type of solar weather. This shield is weakest at the North Pole and South Pole, which is why space weather affects high latitudes the most.

Within hours of a flare, the sun often tosses in an encore: a huge plume of plasma known as a coronal mass ejection. During each solar cycle, the sun throws off hundreds of these. But only a few are large. The fastest, most damaging of these waves of charged particles can reach the Earth in about 20 hours. On arrival, these storms deform the Earth’s magnetic field, charge the atmosphere and induce electric currents in power lines for several hours.

But estimating the arrival time and damage potential of such storms is tricky business. The simulations that Hesse runs at Goddard provide only a rough estimate, bracketing the arrival time of a solar storm in a 12- to 14-hour window.

More-precise alerts are sent to power companies just 20 to 30 minutes before a solar storm hits Earth. In May, 29 such alerts went out, triggered by a NASA satellite called the Advanced Composition Explorer, or ACE.

But if ACE fails, the space weather warning system will be crippled, said Tom Bogdan, who heads the Space Weather Prediction Center at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Bogdan wants Congress to fund other satellites to replace ACE before it runs out of fuel in 2021.

An uncertain fate

One possible replacement, a satellite called DSCOVR, sits nearly finished in a hangar at Goddard, where it has languished since 2001. The vision of Al Gore, sidelined when congressional Republicans defunded its launch vehicle, DSCOVR would provide longer warning times for solar storms. Its fate is uncertain, although President Obama is expected to ask for funds to launch the probe in his 2012 budget. Bogdan said the earliest it could get off the ground is 2014.

Representatives of the power industry take issue with the worst-case scenarios.

Leaders do acknowledge that huge solar flares are a serious issue, one the industry is addressing. But “the idea of 130 million people out of power for 10 years is an overstatement,” said Gerry Cauley, president of the North American Electric Reliability Corp., or NERC.

In 2007, Congress gave NERC the power to make rules for electric utilities to prevent blackouts like the one that left an estimated 50 million people in the Midwest, the Northeast and Ontario without power for up to four days in August 2003. (That outage was caused not by a solar flare but by high demand and a tree that fell on a power line; a cascading failure knocked some 100 power plants offline.) “The potential is there for damage to equipment and possibly even outages,” Cauley added. “But the grid itself is very resilient.”

The grid’s weak spots

In 1989, the grid got its most severe solar test, and sections did not fare well. A solar storm one-tenth the strength of the 1859 event triggered a cascade of failures in Quebec in just 90 seconds. Several million people went without power for nine to 12 hours, causing hundreds of millions of dollars in damage. In South Africa, the storm destroyed huge transformers.

Each the size of a house and costing several million dollars, transformers are the grid’s weak spots. They boost the voltage of electricity for transmission along high-voltage lines, but they also absorb extra loads coming down those lines. During the 1989 event, two of South Africa’s transformers overheated and fried during the storm, while nine more failed within a year, said Mark Lauby, a vice president at NERC.

Legislation under consideration in the House would force utility companies to protect 350 critical transformers from a massive solar storm. Under the bill, called the SHIELD Act, the one-time cost of $100 million to $300 million would be passed on to customers. Last year the bill passed in the House unanimously, only to stall in the Senate.

But the SHIELD Act is not dead. In May, the subcommittee on energy and power held a hearing on the bill, where military officials and government regulators warned of the dangers of space weather. Advocates expect the legislation to be reintroduced.

In the meantime, Bogdan will be losing sleep over losing ACE, the sun storm sentinel.

“It’s the extreme solar events I’m worried about,” he said. “It might not happen this solar cycle. But sometime in my lifetime or my children’s, that storm will be here. The question is ‘Will we be prepared for it?’ ”


http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/science/as-the-sun-awakens-the-power-grid-stands-vulnerable/2011/06/09/AGwc8DdH_story.html?hpid=z2

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« Reply #4355 on: Jun 21st, 2011, 07:44am »

Wired

Righthaven Loss: Judge Rules Reposting Entire Article Is Fair Use
By David Kravets
June 20, 2011 | 4:54 pm
Categories: The Courts, intellectual property

A federal judge ruled Monday that publishing an entire article without the rights holder’s authorization was a fair use of the work, in yet another blow to newspaper copyright troll Righthaven.

It’s not often that republishing an entire work without permission is deemed fair use. Fair use is an infringement defense when the defendant reproduced a copyrighted work for purposes such as criticism, commentary, teaching and research. The defense is analyzed on a case-by-case basis.

Monday’s ruling dismissed a lawsuit brought by Righthaven, a Las Vegas-based copyright litigation factory jointly owned with newspaper publisher Stephens Media. The venture’s litigation tactics and ethics are being questioned by several judges and attorneys, a factor that also weighed in on U.S. District Judge Philip Pro’s decision Monday.

Righthaven has sued more than 200 websites, bloggers and commenters for copyright infringement. More than 100 have settled out of court.

The lawsuit decided Monday targeted Wayne Hoehn, a Vietnam veteran who posted all 19 paragraphs of November editorial from the Las Vegas Review-Journal, which is owned by Stephens Media. Hoehn posted the article, and its headline, “Public Employee Pensions: We Can’t Afford Them” on medjacksports.com to prompt discussion about the financial affairs of the nation’s states. Hoehn was a user of the site, not an employee.

Righthaven sought up to $150,000, the maximum in damages allowed under the Copyright Act. Righthaven argued that the November posting reduced the number of eyeballs that would have visited the Review-Journal site to read the editorial.

“Righthaven did not present any evidence that the market for the work was harmed by Hoehn’s noncommercial use for the 40 days it appeared on the website. Accordingly, there is no genuine issue of material fact that Hoehn’s use of the work was fair and summary judgment is appropriate,” Judge Pro ruled.

Marc Randazza, one of Hoehn’s attorneys, said he would petition the judge for legal fees and costs.

The judge also said he took into consideration that only five of the editorial’s paragraphs were “purely creative opinions” of the author.

“While the work does have some creative or editorial elements, these elements are not enough to consider the work a purely ‘creative work’ in the realm of fictional stories, song lyrics, or Barbie dolls,” he wrote. “Accordingly, the work is not within ‘the core of intended copyright protection.’”

Judge Pro, in his fair-use analysis, also found that the posting was for noncommercial purposes, and was part of an “online discussion.”

That said, Pro did not need to decide the fair-use question.

That’s because he also found that Righthaven did not have legal standing to bring the lawsuit, a hot-button topic in the Righthaven litigation.

Pro’s decision came a week after a different Las Vegas federal judge threatened to sanction Righthaven, calling its litigation efforts “disingenuous, if not outright deceitful” when it came to standing. Standing is a legal concept that has enabled Righthaven to bring lawsuits on behalf of the copyrights owned by Stephens Media.

That blistering decision by U.S. District Judge Roger Hunt, the chief judge in Nevada, places into doubt Righthaven’s year-old business model, which is also under a Colorado federal judge’s microscope.

Hunt gave Righthaven two weeks to explain why he should not sanction it for trying to “manufacture standing.” Judge Hunt suggested Righthaven never had standing in any of its cases because Righthaven and Stephens Media had agreed to share the proceeds of any damages awards or settlements, yet Stephens Media kept ownership of the copyright.

Righthaven must own the copyright to sue on its behalf, Hunt ruled in a decision echoed by Judge Pro on Monday.

What’s more, in each of the 200-plus cases Righthaven brought on behalf of Las Vegas Review-Journal articles, Righthaven never disclosed, as required, that Stephens Media had a “pecuniary interest” in the outcome, Hunt wrote.

Many bloggers who settled are mulling their legal options.

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2011/06/fair-use-defense/

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« Reply #4356 on: Jun 21st, 2011, 07:46am »

LA Times

Europe delays $17-billion payment to Greece

Eurozone ministers say they will release the bailout funds only if the Greek Parliament approves a controversial austerity program that faces strong opposition at home.

By Henry Chu, Los Angeles Times
June 21, 2011
Reporting from London

European finance officials Monday postponed a decision on handing debt-laden Greece its next installment of emergency loans, increasing the pressure on Athens to enact new austerity measures and fueling market fears of a national default.

European stocks fell in reaction to the postponement, continuing a slide driven by the continent's debt crisis and by the seeming inability of its leaders to get on top of the situation.

Investors had hoped that officials meeting in Luxembourg would approve the payout of about $17 billion in rescue loans to Greece, which desperately needs the money to pay bills that come due next month.

But after several hours of talks, finance ministers from the 17 countries that use the euro said early Monday that they would release the funds only if Greek lawmakers approved a controversial program of tax hikes and spending cuts to slash the country's mammoth budget deficit.

If that happens, then the $17-billion installment from the bailout package set up for Athens last year would be disbursed in July as scheduled, said Jean-Claude Juncker, the prime minister of Luxembourg.

"I'm convinced that … Greece will do everything that is needed in order to allow us to take the decisions that Greece is waiting for. The Greek authorities, the Greek Parliament has to know that this has to be done," Juncker told reporters.

He added that approval of the austerity measures would also pave the way for a second rescue package for Greece, which has so far failed to meet its deficit-reduction targets while facing a mountain of public debt. The Greek economy is on course for a painful contraction this year, heightening concerns about the government's ability to pay back its loans and put the economy on a more competitive footing.

International markets have been rattled for more than a year over the debt crisis in Greece and the mounting woes of Ireland and Portugal, two other Eurozone countries that have had to seek emergency bailouts from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

All eyes are now on Athens, where violent public demonstrations and a revolt brewing in Prime Minister George Papandreou's ruling Socialist party have thrown the fate of his proposed austerity measures into doubt.

Last week, the beleaguered leader was forced to reshuffle his Cabinet in an effort to shore up support for the austerity program, which would raise taxes, make deep cuts in public spending and sell off state assets to help balance the books. On Monday, lawmakers hotly debated the package in Parliament as thousands of protesters packed the plaza outside.

A crucial vote of confidence on Papandreou's new ministerial lineup is expected Tuesday, which could determine whether his government stands or falls.

Analysts say he is likely to eke out a win, which would smooth passage of the austerity package. But the volatility of the situation makes the outcome impossible to predict with certainty.

If he fails, and if Athens cannot pay its bills next month, ratings agencies will declare Greece to be in default, a step that could set off a global financial earthquake.

"The political time has been compressed a lot. Each day is of extreme importance and hence we cannot afford to waste a single hour," said Evangelos Venizelos, Papandreou's new finance minister.

The crisis in Greece has been exacerbated by disagreements among fellow Eurozone members over the best way to handle the situation. Although they largely agree now on the need for a second bailout, there has been deep discord over whether private creditors should shoulder some of the burden.

Last week, Germany, the continent's economic heavyweight, dropped its insistence that private holders of Greek debt be forced to take part in a new rescue package.

In Luxembourg on Monday, the finance ministers agreed that any such participation would be strictly voluntary. For example, private bondholders would be encouraged, but not compelled, to help by maintaining their exposure to Greek debt.


http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-eu-greece-finances-20110621,0,792178.story

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« Reply #4357 on: Jun 21st, 2011, 07:51am »

Telegraph

A young Antarctic Emperor penguin has taken a rare wrong turn and ended up stranded on a New Zealand beach.

9:27AM BST 21 Jun 2011

Emperor penguins typically spend their entire lives in Antarctica and almost never make landfall near humans.
It has been 44 years since a wild Emperor penguin was last sighted in New Zealand.


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Conservation experts say the penguin is about 10 months old, and stands about 32 inches high.

It is believed to have taken to the water several months ago to search for squid and krill and lost its way.

Experts say the bird is healthy but will need to find its way back south if it is to survive.

A resident discovered the bird while walking her dog on Monday evening at Peka Peka Beach on the northwestern coast.

"It's amazing to see one of these penguins on the Kapiti Coast," biodiversity spokesperson Peter Simpson told TVNZ.

"Unusual animals from the Antarctic sometimes visit our shores, but we really don't know why."

The last sighting of an Emperor penguin in New Zealand was on Southland's Oreti Beach in 1967.

Department of Conservation officials said the bird was relaxed and in good condition.

Locals have been advised to give the visitor a wide berth and keep their dogs away from the beach.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/wildlife/8588407/Emperor-penguin-spotted-long-way-from-home-in-New-Zealand.html

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« Reply #4358 on: Jun 21st, 2011, 07:56am »

Hollywood Reporter

Rory McIlroy Could Rival Tiger Woods’ $1 Bil Endorsement Career, Experts Predict
8:28 AM 6/21/2011
by Georg Szalai

Before this weekend’s US Open win, he had four sponsors totaling around $10 million, including golf equipment maker Titleist and sunglass maker Oakley.

NEW YORK – After his record-breaking US Open win this weekend, 22-year-old golfer Rory McIlroy could be on his way to draw a sponsorship portfolio comparable to that of Tiger Woods’ $1 billion career earnings, the New York Post reported, citing experts: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/business/madison_ave_tees_up_for_full_rory_hbhDs4Di1zGxwx3KusaU7H#ixzz1PuR0VJCJ

"The golf and sports marketing communities are hungering for that next golf superstar and want to anoint someone right away," sports marketing expert Kevin Adler, president of Engage Marketing, told the Post.

"Rory is humble and cracks an easy smile without being such a robo-golfer about it all," he added in a reference to Woods. "With a few more big wins, Rory can easily start monetizing his image in huge way by doing more US tournaments."

Before the US Open, McIlroy had four sponsors totaling around $10 million, some of which are set to expire in the coming months, industry sources told the Post. The sponsors are golf equipment maker Titleist, sunglass maker Oakley, which has congratulated the golfer in an ad in USA Today, Dubai-based hotel chain Jumeirah and luxury watchmaker Audemars Piguet. His agent is International Sports Management.

The paper said experts expect auto makers, such as Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, and smartphone companies, such as Samsung, LG and AT&T, to eye possible McIlroy deals. Smartphone purveyors are also expected to line up to sponsor McIlroy.

"He's the image sponsors want for the young end of the luxury market,” said Adler. “He's the leader of the young guns influencing the game today."

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/rory-mcilroy-could-rival-tiger-203696

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« Reply #4359 on: Jun 21st, 2011, 7:41pm »

Open Watch project:

http://www.openwatch.net/

"OpenWatch Philosophy

OpenWatch is a participatory citizen media project aiming to provide documentary evidence of uses and abuses of power.

The surveillance state has arrived and it is here to stay. The benefit to society in terms of security and justice is too great for it to ever go away. There is a problem, however, and the problem is not the technology. The problem is the lopsided distribution of who is in control of that technology. Surveillance technology is currently only in the hands of those who are already in power, which means it cannot be used to combat the largest problem facing modern society: abuse of power.

So the question remains: "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" - roughly, Who watches the watchers?

This is where OpenWatch comes in. The recent ubiquity of mobile telephones with media recording capabilities and the ability to run any software the users chooses gives the public a very powerful tool. Now, we are all equipped to become opportunistic journalists. Whenever any of us come in contact with power being used or abused, we can capture it and make it become part of the public record. If we seek truth and justice, we will be able to appeal to documentary evidence, not just our word against theirs. Ideally, this will mean less corruption, more open government and a more transparent society.

Once upon a time, journalists were limited by the number of words they could print on a page. They would have to highlight the facts that they felt were most important to a story and ignore the facts they felt were less important. This created an immediate power imbalance, as the reader had no way to verify what they were being told. In this age of terabyte storage and fibre-optic broadband, there is no reason that every single story can't be accompanied with verifiable source material. OpenWatch aims to democratize this theory of 'scientific journalism' championed by Julian Assange and apply it to citizen media.

OpenWatch is not only intended to display abuse of power, but also to highlight appropriate use. As we are unbound by technological restrictions, we can aim to record every single time power is applied so that we may analyze global trends and provide a record for future historians.

Police, corporate executives, judges, lawyers, private security agents, lobbyists, bankers, principals and politicians: be mindful! We are watching!"


~

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« Reply #4360 on: Jun 22nd, 2011, 07:25am »

Washington Post

Critic of ATF gun-trafficking program raised no objection when briefed last year

By Jerry Markon and Sari Horwitz
Published: June 21

A chief Republican critic of a controversial U.S. anti-gun-trafficking operation was briefed on ATF’s “Fast and Furious” program last year and did not express any opposition, sources familiar with the classified briefing said Tuesday.

Rep. Darrell Issa (Calif.), who has repeatedly called for top Justice Department officials to be held accountable for the now-defunct operation, was given highly specific information about it at an April 2010 briefing, the sources said. Members of his staff also attended the session, which Issa and two other Republican congressmen had requested.

Fast and Furious targeted Mexican gun traffickers but was linked to the killing of a U.S. law enforcement officer. Republicans in Congress have criticized the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives over its handling of the operation, with Issa calling it “felony-stupid bad judgment” during a hearing last week in which he grilled a Justice Department official.

At the briefing last year, bureau officials laid out for Issa and other members of Congress from both parties details of several ATF investigations, including Fast and Furious, the sources said. For that program, the briefing covered how many guns had been bought by “straw purchasers,’’ the types of guns and how much money had been spent, said one source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the briefing was not public.

“All of the things [Issa] has been screaming about, he was briefed on,’’ said one source familiar with the session.

Frederick R. Hill, a spokesman for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which Issa chairs, acknowledged on Tuesday that an ATF briefing on “weapons smuggling by criminal cartels” took place in April 2010 but declined to specify what Issa or his staff were told.

He accused “opponents” of the committee’s investigation of the gun-trafficking operation of “incredulously trying to assert that Obama administration political appointees at the Justice Department were ignorant — yet Congress was in the know on the details of Operation Fast and Furious.’’

“This irresponsible and false accusation is indicative of a Justice Department bereft of leadership and rattled by the revelations of its own misconduct,’’ Hill added.

Justice Department officials have said the operation was approved by ATF’s Phoenix field office and the U.S. attorney’s office in Phoenix. The department’s inspector general is investigating allegations that Justice and ATF allowed nearly 2,500 guns to flow illegally into Mexico as part of the program.

ATF is in the midst of uncertainty about its leadership. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. met on Tuesday with Andrew Traver, President Obama’s nominee to head the bureau. Traver’s nomination has stalled in the Senate, and law enforcement and other sources said this week that ATF’s interim leadership could be changed in response to pressure over the Fast and Furious controversy.

But sources said Tuesday that the acting director, Kenneth E. Melson, has not indicated any plans to resign. One source described morale at the troubled agency as poor, with officials and agents uncertain about what will happen next.

Melson’s stewardship of ATF has come under fire over the Phoenix-based Fast and Furious operation. Facing pressure to snag bigger players in trafficking organizations that smuggle weapons to Mexico, the bureau began the campaign in November 2009.

For nearly a year, agents tracked guns they suspected might end up in the hands of Mexican cartels. But several ATF agents testified before Issa’s committee last week that they were ordered not to stop people they suspected had illegal guns. Two of the AK-47s recovered at the scene of the fatal shooting of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian A. Terry in December were bought in Fast and Furious.

Issa, along with Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), has been pushing to learn whether senior Justice officials authorized the program. On Tuesday, Issa told Fox News that Melson should lose his job and that senior officials should be “held accountable.’’

But Issa raised no objections to the program at the April 2010 briefing, sources said. They said Issa and Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and John L. Mica (R-Fla.) had written a letter to Melson in February seeking a briefing about ATF’s efforts to combat gun- and drug-related violence along the Mexican border.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/critic-of-atf-gun-trafficking-program-raised-no-objection-when-briefed-last-year/2011/06/21/AGzvZ5eH_story.html?hpid=z3

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« Reply #4361 on: Jun 22nd, 2011, 07:30am »

Telegraph

Overdue Charles Darwin book returned to library 122 years late

Staff at an Australia library have been stunned after first edition copy of Charles Darwin's Insectivorous Plants book was returned 122 years late.

By Bonnie Malkin, Sydney
8:52AM BST 22 Jun 2011

A stamp inside the first edition copy showed that the book had been borrowed more than a century ago, on January 30, 1889.

Investigations have found that the book had been in a private collection for 50 years before being handed to a local university, whose employees passed it back to the library.

Staff at the Camden Library in Sydney's southwest have estimated that the late fees for the book were about $35,000 (Ł22,800).

Linda Campbell, the library's manager of community services, said it was wonderful to have the book back.

"It has obviously had an interesting journey in that time from what we can tell it ended up in the private collection of an elderly gentleman who gave it to the University of Sydney Farms library when he moved out of the area," she said.

"They saw the stamp in it and sent it to us and we were absolutely thrilled, here's this fantastic aged book that can go back into our collection."

Miss Campbell said the book would not attract a fine because it was the library's "fine amnesty month", when borrowers could bring back late books in exchange for a donation to charity.

However, the book would never be lent out again, she said.

"It will be preserved, it will be here, people will be able to look at it but we're not loaning it out, it's grounded for a very long time."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/australiaandthepacific/australia/8591006/Overdue-Charles-Darwin-book-returned-to-library-122-years-late.html

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« Reply #4362 on: Jun 22nd, 2011, 07:36am »

Wired Threat Level

British Police Swoop In on Possible LulzSec Suspect
By Kevin Poulsen
June 21, 2011 | 1:46 pm
Categories: Hacks and Cracks

London’s Metropolitan Police arrested a 19-year-old Essex man Tuesday in an investigation that may be linked to the tweet-happy hax0ring gang LulzSec.

“The arrest follows an investigation into network intrusions and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks against a number of international business and intelligence agencies by what is believed to be the same hacking group,” the police announced in a statement.

“The teenager was arrested on suspicion of Computer Misuse Act, and Fraud Act offences and was taken to a central London police station, where he currently remains in custody for questioning.”

The Guardian identified the suspect as Ryan Cleary of Wickford, Essex. In May, the griefer group Anonymous — now a LulzSec ally — outed Cleary as a Anonymous member called “viraL” who’d attempted an internal coup in an Anonymous chat room. Phone calls to Cleary’s last known number went directly to voice mail Tuesday.

LulzSec, though, denies that it’s lost a man. “Ryan Cleary is not part of LulzSec; we house one of our many legitimate chatrooms on his IRC server, but that’s it,” the group tweeted in response to the news. “Clearly the U.K. police are so desperate to catch us that they’ve gone and arrested someone who is, at best, mildly associated with us. Lame.”

LulzSec won overnight attention when it cracked PBS last month to protest Frontline’s hour-long documentary on WikiLeaks. In that hack, the group stole and posted thousands of stolen passwords, and put up a fake news story on a PBS Newshour blog.

The group has also claimed responsibility for hacking multiple Sony websites, and Fox.com, where the group stole and posted 363 employee passwords and the names, phone numbers and e-mail addresses of 73,000 people who had signed up for audition information for the upcoming Fox talent show The X-Factor. More recent hacks have included defacement of two regional websites for InfraGard — a kind of cybersecurity neighborhood watch sponsored by the FBI — and crude DDoS attacks against the CIA and other lulzkillers.

While its hacks have been largely opportunistic, LulzSec is distinct for its ability to work a crowd, using Twitter to taunt its enemies and engage its fans. As of writing, it has over 230,000 Twitter followers, and LulzSec-inspired graffiti has begun to appear. The group’s fame has come at a price, of course, and an anonymous group of “web ninjas” has set up a blog dedicated to publicly identifying LulzSec members by correlating nicknames from IRC chat logs.

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2011/06/lulzsec_bust/#more-27421

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« Reply #4363 on: Jun 22nd, 2011, 07:39am »

Reuters

New round of cyber attacks heightens focus on FBI

By Jeremy Pelofsky
WASHINGTON | Tue Jun 21, 2011 4:54pm EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Each week brings word of another cyber attack on a major U.S. institution, sending law enforcement scrambling and raising new questions about whether it has the ability or resources to track down cyber criminals.

The FBI says it is working to bulk up its cyber division as hackers focus on higher-profile targets, but is at the mercy of a Congress struggling to cut the massive budget deficit.

FBI Director Robert Mueller, who has made it his mission to boost computer savviness during his decade-long tenure, acknowledged there was more work to do when he testified to Congress recently about extending his term by two years.

"I will tell you that we will increasingly put emphasis on addressing cyber-threats in all of their variations," Mueller said earlier this month. "Part of that is making certain that the personnel in the bureau have the equipment, the capability, the skill, the experience to address those threats."

Some experts question whether the FBI has the tools or manpower to apprehend those responsible for attempts like one earlier this year that sought to infiltrate the International Monetary Fund's computers, which hold sensitive economic data.

A Justice Department inspector general report in April said some FBI field agents raised concerns they were not qualified for cyber cases and were rotated between offices too often, hobbling their efforts.

The FBI is now reviewing its policy on agent transfers and reviewing training they receive for such investigations.

"The tools that the FBI has in its toolbox are really pretty limited," said Stewart Baker, a former top official at the Homeland Security Department and now a partner at the law firm of Steptoe & Johnson.

"Many of these attacks are launched from overseas, they use individual e-mails with specially-packaged malware to get into the system," he said. "The FBI doesn't have a lot of tools to actually identify a wrongdoer."

The FBI does not reveal how many hacking cases it has pending or the budget for its growing cyber division.

Following a joint investigation with the FBI, British authorities on Tuesday announced the arrest of a 19-year-old man suspected of involvement in the attack on the public website of the CIA.

FINDING MORE RESOURCES TOUGH

A senior official in the FBI's cyber division said his team has recently received more backing from Congress. Now, about 60 percent of cases focus on national security and criminal intrusions, up from 50 percent about two years ago. Most of the remainder deal with child pornography.

"As we've received enhancements to personnel and non-personnel resources, we've specifically trained them in the areas of intrusion," Steven Chabinsky, deputy assistant director of the FBI's cyber division, told Reuters.

A Senate Judiciary subcommittee on Tuesday weighed beefing up cyber laws. But the critical issue of finding more money could be difficult as Obama and Congress are under intense pressure to cut the budget deficit.

National security matters tend to get spared the budget ax, but the chances of a large boost in resources are slim.

Obama's proposed budget for fiscal 2012, which starts October 1, includes a request for almost $19 million more for 42 new positions at the FBI focusing on investigating and protecting against cyber attacks, including 14 special agents.

Obama also sought money to hire six more attorneys who would be placed overseas to focus on cyber crime cases, adding to the 40 or so prosecutors already working on those crimes in the Justice Department's criminal division.

The FBI has been confronted with both "nuisance" attacks, like the CIA and Senate website cases, and much more serious intrusions at the IMF, Lockheed Martin and Sony.

The latter cases are a "higher priority in terms of damage and victimization, but an overall investigative approach can be quite successful by looking at the entirety of the problem," Chabinsky said, a possible indication of how broadly the FBI is examining the recent spate of attacks.

Still, he said the number of cyber attacks has not increased dramatically in the last two years, rather publicity about them has -- either from the victims or those launching the attacks.

"But I think they're more visible, and a trend toward destructiveness is disconcerting," he said. "The level of capability that's now being used for destructiveness as opposed to financial gain is different."

Cyber attacks often span multiple countries and servers. Laws overseas may be different. Determining who was at the keyboard at the time poses yet more challenges.

Chabinsky said the FBI spends considerable resources on those cases that take them around the world. Cooperation by foreign governments in pursuing hackers has increased.

One expert offered praise for the FBI upping its game, noting it was zeroing in on the more serious cyber attacks. He said the FBI must also try to infiltrate groups that openly publicize their hacks, like Anonymous and LulzSec.

(Editing by Warren Strobel)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/06/21/us-usa-cybersecurity-fbi-idUSTRE75K6EN20110621

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« Reply #4364 on: Jun 22nd, 2011, 07:46am »

Geeky Gadgets

The Facebook Icon Wall Clock
By Roland Hutchinson on Wednesday 22nd June 2011 12:37 pm in Design, Geeky

We have featured quite a few different geeky clocks here at Geeky Gadgets in the past, the latest one will appeal to fans
of the worlds most popular social network, the Facebook Icon Wall clock.


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As you can see from the photos below, the Facebook Icon Wall Clock is available in a couple of different versions, a wooden version and a plastic version, each clock has been hand made and instead of numbers to mark the time there are various icons for each hour.

If you want one of these Facebook wall clocks, they are available for $30 each from Wall Decoration: http://www.etsy.com/shop/walldecoration
and they also have some other cool versions available including an Apple Design Icon wall clock and a Google Chrome Icon wall clock.

photos after the jump
http://www.geeky-gadgets.com/the-facebook-icon-wall-clock-22-06-2011/#more-84667

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