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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 11721 times)
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« Reply #5205 on: Oct 7th, 2011, 09:06am »

New York Times

October 6, 2011
White House Orders New Computer Security Rules
By ERIC SCHMITT

WASHINGTON — The White House plans to issue an executive order on Friday to replace a flawed patchwork of computer security safeguards exposed by the disclosure of hundreds of thousands of classified government documents to WikiLeaks last year.

The order by President Obama culminates a seven-month governmentwide review of policies and procedures involving the handling of classified information, and recommendations on how to reduce the risk of breaches.

The directive enshrines many stopgap fixes that the Pentagon, the State Department and the Central Intelligence Agency made immediately after the initial WikiLeaks disclosures last November. Since then, for instance, the military has disabled 87 percent of its computers to prevent people from downloading classified data onto memory sticks, CDs or DVDs.

The Pentagon has also developed procedures to monitor and detect suspicious behavior on classified computer systems. And the State Department stopped distributing its diplomatic cables over a classified e-mail system used by many in the military, including Pfc. Bradley E. Manning, who is accused of leaking the classified documents to WikiLeaks.

Computer security analysts say these safeguards, as well as others in the executive order aimed at bringing greater consistency and accountability to information sharing and protection policies, are long overdue, and lag behind what is routine in the private sector.

“The real surprise continues to be that relatively elementary procedures should have been in place and were not,” said Ravi Sandhu, executive director of the Institute for Cyber Security at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

In addition to these immediate measures, Mr. Obama’s order creates a task force led by the attorney general and the director of national intelligence to combat leaks from government workers, or what the White House calls an “insider threat.”

The directive also establishes a special government committee that must submit a report to the president within 90 days, and then at least once a year after that, assessing federal successes and failures in protecting classified information on government computer networks.

According to government prosecutors, the three big WikiLeaks document dumps were disguised as a Lady Gaga CD and smuggled out of a military intelligence office in Iraq by Private Manning. Computer security analysts say the case revealed major lapses in securing classified data in war zones.

Now, virtually every Defense Department computer is blocked from downloading classified information onto memory sticks or CDs, except for explicitly authorized “mission essential” exceptions.

The Pentagon has issued a cyber identity credential to anyone using unclassified networks and has started a similar program for personnel using classified networks. These credentials allow supervisors to track what users are working on.

And the military is accelerating the analysis of logs from computers on the classified networks to detect large transfers of data or the use of data that is unrelated to an individual’s job duties.

“It’s an additional tool to provide indicators that flag anomalous behavior, much as credit card companies monitor credit card use and a user’s profile,” said Teri Takai, the Defense Department’s chief information officer.

The WikiLeaks disclosure also revealed disparities in the use of security safeguards by various federal agencies and even within agencies. Under the new order, each federal agency will designate a senior official to oversee procedures for safeguarding classified data that also protect user privacy and civil liberties.

“As technology changes, we hope to be ahead of the curve, seeing where technology is going and being able to respond before it’s necessary,” said Patrick F. Kennedy, the under secretary for management at the State Department.

Despite the changes and continuing review, administration officials say the new policies and procedures are relatively untested.

“I don’t think we’ll ever be able to guarantee this won’t happen again, but this greatly enhances our chances of preventing it or catching it in the process,” said Monte Hawkins, the director for identity management and biometrics policy at the National Security Council.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/07/us/politics/white-house-orders-new-computer-security-rules.html?_r=1&hp

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« Reply #5206 on: Oct 7th, 2011, 12:00pm »

Wired

Oct. 7, 1959: Luna 3’s Images From the Dark Side
By Tony Long
October 7, 2011 | 6:30 am
Categories: 20th century, Space Exploration

1959: The space probe Luna 3 takes the first photographs of the far side of the moon.

The radio-controlled Luna 3 was part of the Soviet Union’s highly successful lunar program, which completed 20 missions to the moon between January 1959 and October 1970.

Although the United States won the race to land a human on the moon, the Russians achieved a number of their own lunar milestones, including the first flyby (Luna 1), first surface impact (Luna 2), first soft landing (Luna 9) and first lunar orbiter (Luna 10).



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Photo: Though taken Oct. 7, 1959, the first image of the far side of the moon was not transmitted back to Earth until 11 days later.
(Courtesy NASA)




Luna 3’s mission objective was to provide the first photographs from the moon’s far side. To achieve this, the probe was equipped with a dual-lens 35mm camera, one a 200mm, f/5.6 aperture, the other a 500mm, f/9.5. The photo sequencing was automatically triggered when Luna 3’s photocell detected the sunlit far side, which occurred when the craft was passing about 40,000 miles above the lunar surface.

Luna 3’s camera took 29 photographs over a 40-minute period, covering roughly 70 percent of the moon’s far side. The photographs were developed, fixed and dried by the probe’s onboard film processing unit. Seventeen images were successfully scanned and returned to Earth on Oct. 18, when Luna 3 was in position to begin transmitting.

Although the low-resolution images had to be boosted by computer enhancement on Earth, in the end they were good enough to produce a tentative map of the far side, no longer dark to human knowledge. Among the identifiable features were two seas, named Mare Moscovrae (Sea of Moscow) and Mare Desiderii (Sea of Dreams), and mountain ranges that differed starkly from those on the side of the moon facing Earth.

Contact with Luna 3 was lost Oct. 22, and its ultimate fate remains unknown. It may have burned up in Earth’s atmosphere in March or April 1960, or it may have survived in orbit as late as 1962.

http://www.wired.com/thisdayintech/2011/10/1007luna-3-photos-dark-side-moon/

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« Reply #5207 on: Oct 7th, 2011, 12:07pm »

Petaluma360.com

Continuing an ancient tradition

Local family shares origins of Day of the Dead celebration

By Yovanna Bieberich
ARGUS-COURIER STAFF

Published: Friday, October 7, 2011 at 8:56 a.m.

In modern-day Petaluma, Amelia Quintas Chavez, dressed in a colorful embroidered blouse and skirt and armed with a basket of tostadas and a long to-do list, is meticulously continuing a tradition her ancestors began hundreds of years ago in her native Mexico.

Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) isn't until Nov. 1, but this unique holiday requires a month of careful preparations. Celebrated in Mexico and other Latin American countries, Dia de los Muertos is a national holiday connected with the Catholic holidays of All Saints' Day (Nov. 1) and All Souls' Day (Nov. 2). Traditions connected with the holiday include building altars honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed.

“Each town in Mexico has its own traditions on how Dia de los Muertos is celebrated,” said Chavez, who has been in the United States for a few years now. “But it's always celebrated with lots of food and the gathering of family and friends.”

Chavez and her husband, Leoncio Quintas Velasco, are from Cerro del Aire, a municipality of Santos Reyes Nopala in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico. An hour from the Pacific Ocean, Cerro del Aire is inhabited by people descended from the Zapotecs and Mixtecs. In fact, Velasco said that many of the citizens still speak the languages descended from these indigenous people.

“Chatino is our first language,” said Velasco. “It is not like Spanish at all. Spanish is our second language and we are learning English.”

Chavez said that in Oaxaca, the preparations for Dia de los Muertos begin a month in advance, since no cooking or work is to be done during the holiday. It all begins with the baking of hundreds — or even thousands — of tostadas, which is a crisp tortilla.

She makes her tostadas from scratch by boiling corn kernels and grinding them into a masa (dough). The dough is shaped into large round discs and cooked over a fire to make them crisp.

“You eat the tostadas with mole, beans or anything you want,” said Velasco. “We don't have a need for spoons, since we use the tostada as a spoon.”

Oaxaca is known as the “land of the seven moles,” and no celebration is complete without making large quantities of it. Mole, which means sauce, includes different types of chili peppers, nuts, herbs, plantain, bread, tortillas and even chocolate. Meat, usually shredded chicken, is eaten with the finished mole.

“Every region has its own mole and meat they eat with it,” said Chavez. “In one region, they add iguana meat, in another, deer meat.”

Throughout the month of October, women carry around big baskets of tostadas as they visit friends and family with the purpose of sharing what they've made. Often fruit harvested from their farms or special bread called pan de muerto (bread of the dead) is also shared.

“If we see someone doesn't have something for their altar or gathering, we share what we have,” said Chavez. “It's tradition. And likewise if they see we need something, they share what they have. Giving and receiving is a part of our culture. Some families don't have money to have their gathering or altar, so everyone gives to each other to help so everyone can celebrate.”

Hot chocolate is also on the menu, but to make it the women must take the time to grind cocoa beans that are then mixed with cinnamon and piloncillo (brown sugar).

It's also important that everyone in the family start the holiday off with clean clothes and bedding.

“There's so much to do, that's why we start a month before,” said Chavez.

Women aren't the ones doing all the work. During October, the men have the task of gathering wood for cooking and for sharing with others who need it. They also make cigars out of a tobacco-like leaf called totomosole.

“It's very strong,” said Velasco. “Two leaves make a very big cigar. It can take one week to smoke it. We make the cigars, smaller ones usually, ahead of time for the celebration to share with visiting family and friends.”

The men are also charged with making tepachi, a fermented beverage made from sugar cane.

“We drink mescal, too,” said Velasco. “We buy that rather than make it.”

During this time, families are also busily setting up altars to honor their lost loved ones. The altars are erected in a part of the home visible to everyone and are adorned with photos of the deceased, flowers, food and other items the deceased enjoyed in life. They can be simple or quite elaborate.

“We believe that what happens here on Earth is reflected in what's happening there,” said Chavez. “If we have an altar here, there is one made in heaven for them. Also, items in miniature on the altar here transform to full size in heaven.”

A trail of flower petals leads from the entry of the home to the altar, and nothing placed in the way, in order for the departed souls to find their way to the altar.

Chavez said that the festivities in Oaxaca begin on Oct. 31 when special altars are built honoring the souls of deceased children. On that day, living children are not to be scolded if they misbehave.

“That is their ‘free pass' day,” laughed Chavez.

Around noon on Nov. 1 is when family and friends begin to visit each other for Dia de Los Muertos. And the gatherings can be enormous since no friend or family member even remotely related is left uninvited.

“There are always so many friends and family” said Chavez. “It's a big, beautiful celebration. And I mean big. My husband's mom for example has more than 100 godchildren who stop by to visit. That doesn't include the rest of the family and friends. The kids ask why we have so many family and friends and we tell them, that's just the way it is. Your friends are a part of your family, too. That's how it is. We keep the tradition of that here in the U.S., too.”

Water is offered to arriving guests, which is symbolic of the journey from this world to the afterlife. Then incense is burned as a signal that its time for the souls of the departed to come and be a part of Dia de los Muertos festivities.

“Our tradition says that for families that don't celebrate, the souls of their loved ones stay in the dark,” said Chavez. “It's a very sad thing. When you die, you want to be remembered, so it's important to carry out this tradition while you are alive and motivate others to continue it.”

Nov. 1 is also when the month-long preparations pay off in a day of feasting and fun.

Every seven years, when Dia de Los Muertos falls on a weekend, the event becomes a three day holiday with the festivities continuing all through Nov. 2 with more feasting, music, dance and piñatas for the kids, along with a good natured prank or two.

“People put on masks made from coconut shells and they're supposed to scare those who have been drinking too much,” laughed Velasco.

Though the Quintas family make Petaluma their home now, they said that they've not found it difficult at all to keep their traditions alive, thanks to their Latino church community and other Latinos in the area who celebrate together as one big family.

“The one concern I do have is that we do less now because you can buy more foods prepared,” said Chavez. “But our young people like carrying on Dia de los Muertos. They make small altars in their homes and are keeping the tradition going for the next generation.”

Petaluma's Day of the Dead celebration, sponsored by the Petaluma Arts Center, is also helping keep their tradition alive, while also introducing it to Americans and dispelling the myth that it has any resemblance at all to Halloween.

“Day of the Dead has a lot of depth and meaning. And it's not just about the dead,” said Gloria McCallister, a committee member for Petaluma's Day of the Dead celebration. “It's about remembering our loved ones who have passed and that they continue to live on in our hearts and in who we are.”

Velasco added, “Dia de los Muertos is about remembering family and how they lived, what they did, what they ate and what they taught us and sharing all of that with our children.”

http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20111007/COMMUNITY/111009633/0/ARTICLES?Title=Continuing-an-ancient-tradition

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« Reply #5208 on: Oct 7th, 2011, 12:12pm »

Day of the Dead


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« Reply #5209 on: Oct 7th, 2011, 12:17pm »

Science Daily

Astronomers Find Elusive Planets in Decade-Old Hubble Data

ScienceDaily (Oct. 6, 2011)

In a painstaking re-analysis of Hubble Space Telescope images from 1998, astronomers have found visual evidence for two extrasolar planets that went undetected back then.



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The left image shows the star HR 8799 as seen by Hubble's Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS) in 1998.
The center image shows recent processing of the NICMOS data with newer, sophisticated software. The processing removes most of the scattered starlight to reveal three planets orbiting HR 8799.
Based on the reanalysis of NICMOS data and ground-based observations, the illustration on the right shows the positions of the star and the orbits of its four known planets.
(Credit: NASA; ESA; STScI, R. Soummer)




Finding these hidden gems in the Hubble archive gives astronomers an invaluable time machine for comparing much earlier planet orbital motion data to more recent observations. It also demonstrates a novel approach for planet hunting in archival Hubble data.

Four giant planets are known to orbit the young, massive star HR 8799, which is130 light-years away. In 2007 and 2008 the first three planets were discovered in near-infrared ground-based images taken with the W.M. Keck Observatory and the Gemini North telescope by Christian Marois of the National Research Council in Canada and his team. Marois and his colleagues then uncovered a fourth innermost planet in 2010. This is the only multiple exoplanetary system for which astronomers have obtained direct snapshots.

In 2009 David Lafreniere of the University of Montreal recovered hidden exoplanet data in Hubble images of HR 8799 taken in 1998 with the Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS). He identified the position of the outermost planet known to orbit the star. This first demonstrated the power of a new data-processing technique for retrieving faint planets buried in the glow of the central star.

A new analysis of the same archival NICMOS data by Remi Soummer of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore has recovered all three of the outer planets. The fourth, innermost planet is 1.5 billion miles from the star and cannot be seen because it is on the edge of the NICMOS coronagraphic spot that blocks the light from the central star.

By finding the planets in multiple images spaced over years of time, the orbits of the planets can be tracked. Knowing the orbits is critical to understanding the behavior of multiple-planet systems because massive planets can perturb each other's orbits. "From the Hubble images we can determine the shape of their orbits, which brings insight into the system stability, planet masses and eccentricities, and also the inclination of the system," says Soummer.

These results are to be published in the Astrophysical Journal.

The three outer gas-giant planets have approximately 100-, 200-, and 400-year orbits. This means that astronomers need to wait a very long time to see how the planets move along their paths. The added time span from the Hubble data helps enormously. "The archive got us 10 years of science right now," he says. "Without this data we would have had to wait another decade. It's 10 years of science for free."

Nevertheless, the slowest-moving, outermost planet has barely changed position in 10 years. "But if we go to the next inner planet we see a little bit of an orbit, and the third inner planet we actually see a lot of motion," says Soummer.

The planets weren't found in 1998 when the Hubble observations were first taken because the methods used to detect them were not available at that time. When astronomers subtracted the light from the central star to look for the residual glow of planets, the residual light scatter was still overwhelming the faint planets.

Lafreniere developed a way to improve this type of analysis by using a library of reference stars to more precisely remove the "fingerprint" glow of the central star. Soummer's team took Lafreniere's method a step further and used 466 images of reference stars taken from a library containing over 10 years of NICMOS observations assembled by Glenn Schneider of the University of Arizona.

Soummer's team further increased contrast and minimized residual starlight. They completely removed the diffraction spikes, which are artifacts common to telescope imaging systems. This allowed them to see two of the faint inner planets in the Hubble data. The planets recovered in the NICMOS data are about 1/100,000th the brightness of the parent star when viewed in near-infrared light.

Soummer next plans to analyze approximately 400 other stars in the NICMOS archive with the same technique, improving image quality by a factor of 10 over the imaging methods used when the data were obtained.

Soummer's work demonstrates the power of the Hubble Space Telescope data archive, which harbors images and spectral information from over twenty years of Hubble observations. Astronomers tap into this library to complement new observations with a wealth of invaluable data already gathered, yielding much more discovery potential than new observations alone.

From the NICMOS archive data Soummer's team will assemble a list of planetary candidates to be confirmed by ground-based telescopes. If new planets are discovered they will once again have several years' worth of orbital motion to measure.

The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) conducts Hubble science operations. STScI is operated for NASA by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., in Washington, D.C.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111006173612.htm

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« Reply #5210 on: Oct 7th, 2011, 2:22pm »

Wired Danger Room

Exclusive: Computer Virus Hits U.S. Drone Fleet
By Noah Shachtman
October 7, 2011 | 1:11 pm
Categories: Drones

A computer virus has infected the cockpits of America’s Predator and Reaper drones, logging pilots’ every keystroke as they remotely fly missions over Afghanistan and other warzones.

The virus, first detected nearly two weeks ago by the military’s Host-Based Security System, has not prevented pilots at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada from flying their missions overseas. Nor have there been any confirmed incidents of classified information being lost or sent to an outside source. But the virus has resisted multiple efforts to remove it from Creech’s computers, network security specialists say. And the infection underscores the ongoing security risks in what has become the U.S. military’s most important weapons system.

“We keep wiping it off, and it keeps coming back,” says a source familiar with the network infection, one of three that told Danger Room about the virus. “We think it’s benign. But we just don’t know.”

Military network security specialists aren’t sure whether the virus and its so-called “keylogger” payload were introduced intentionally or by accident; it may be a common piece of malware that just happened to make its way into these sensitive networks. The specialists don’t know exactly how far the virus has spread. But they’re sure that the infection has hit both classified and unclassified machines at Creech. That raises the possibility, at least, that secret data may have been captured by the keylogger, and then transmitted over the public internet to someone outside the military chain of command.

Drones have become America’s tool of choice in both its conventional and shadow wars, allowing U.S. forces to attack targets and spy on its foes without risking American lives. Since President Obama assumed office, a fleet of approximately 30 CIA-directed drones have hit targets in Pakistan more than 230 times; all told, these drones have killed more than 2,000 suspected militants and civilians, according to the Washington Post. More than 150 additional Predator and Reaper drones, under U.S. Air Force control, watch over the fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq. American military drones struck 92 times in Libya between mid-April and late August. And late last month, an American drone killed top terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki — part of an escalating unmanned air assault in the Horn of Africa and southern Arabian peninsula.

But despite their widespread use, the drone systems are known to have security flaws. Many Reapers and Predators don’t encrypt the video they transmit to American troops on the ground. In the summer of 2009, U.S. forces discovered “days and days and hours and hours” of the drone footage on the laptops of Iraqi insurgents. A $26 piece of software allowed the militants to capture the video.

The lion’s share of U.S. drone missions are flown by Air Force pilots stationed at Creech, a tiny outpost in the barren Nevada desert, 20 miles north of a state prison and adjacent to a one-story casino. In a nondescript building, down a largely unmarked hallway, is a series of rooms, each with a rack of servers and a “ground control station,” or GCS. There, a drone pilot and a sensor operator sit in their flight suits in front of a series of screens. In the pilot’s hand is the joystick, guiding the drone as it soars above Afghanistan, Iraq, or some other battlefield.

Some of the GCSs are classified secret, and used for conventional warzone surveillance duty. The GCSs handling more exotic operations are top secret. None of the remote cockpits are supposed to be connected to the public internet. Which means they are supposed to be largely immune to viruses and other network security threats.

But time and time again, the so-called “air gaps” between classified and public networks have been bridged, largely through the use of discs and removable drives. In late 2008, for example, the drives helped introduce the agent.btz worm to hundreds of thousands of Defense Department computers. The Pentagon is still disinfecting machines, three years later.

Use of the drives is now severely restricted throughout the military. But the base at Creech was one of the exceptions, until the virus hit. Predator and Reaper crews use removable hard drives to load map updates and transport mission videos from one computer to another. The virus is believed to have spread through these removable drives. Drone units at other Air Force bases worldwide have now been ordered to stop their use.

In the meantime, technicians at Creech are trying to get the virus off the GCS machines. It has not been easy. At first, they followed removal instructions posted on the website of the Kaspersky security firm. “But the virus kept coming back,” a source familiar with the infection says. Eventually, the technicians had to use a software tool called BCWipe to completely erase the GCS’ internal hard drives. “That meant rebuilding them from scratch” — a time-consuming effort.

The Air Force declined to comment directly on the virus. “We generally do not discuss specific vulnerabilities, threats, or responses to our computer networks, since that helps people looking to exploit or attack our systems to refine their approach,” says Lt. Col. Tadd Sholtis, a spokesman for Air Combat Command, which oversees the drones and all other Air Force tactical aircraft. “We invest a lot in protecting and monitoring our systems to counter threats and ensure security, which includes a comprehensive response to viruses, worms, and other malware we discover.”

However, insiders say that senior officers at Creech are being briefed daily on the virus.

“It’s getting a lot of attention,” the source says. “But no one’s panicking. Yet.”

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/10/virus-hits-drone-fleet/

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« Reply #5211 on: Oct 7th, 2011, 7:48pm »

I can't remember if I posted this. If I did, sorry for the repeat.

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« Reply #5212 on: Oct 8th, 2011, 11:26am »

New York Times

October 7, 2011
Bahrain Protesters Clash With Police Near Capital After Teenager’s Funeral
By J. DAVID GOODMAN

Security forces clashed with demonstrators along a central highway west of Bahrain’s capital, Manama, on Friday, in what appeared to be among the largest protests in months.

The Interior Ministry acknowledged that security forces had moved to clear the area, but it blamed “vandals” for blocking the highway after the funeral of a teenager who activists said was killed by police officers the day before. “This led to interference of security forces to bring the situation to normal,” it said in a statement.

The clashes, which did not lead to any deaths, followed a week in which the government of Bahrain took steps to present a less punitive approach to antigovernment protesters. On Wednesday, the government’s top prosecutor nullified harsh prison terms, handed down last week, for medical workers accused of antigovernment activities, ordering those in custody to be freed pending retrials.

The prosecution of the medical workers had become a symbol of the government’s tough response to a wave of protests in the spring and had attracted negative international attention.

The protest appeared, from video posted online by Shiite activists, to be much larger than the small demonstrations that have occurred regularly since March, and it was the second time in two months that activists blamed the police for the death of a teenager.

In late August, a 14-year-old-boy died as security forces in Sitra, a restive village to the south of the capital, broke up a small protest. Witnesses said he had been hit in the chest by a tear gas canister.

The authorities identified the teenager killed on Thursday as Ahmed Jaber, 16, and said they had opened an investigation into his death, according to a report by the official Bahrain News Agency.

Rights activists said he had been part of a protest near the capital on Thursday when he was shot in the chest at close range by police officers with birdshot — used to contain crowds — and killed. The Bahrain Center for Human Rights posted a graphic image on its Web page that was said to show Ahmed just after his death, his chest riddled with small, round wounds.

The state news agency said the Interior Ministry would investigate conflicting accounts of his death, including “a report by forensic experts of the Public Prosecution indicating that the death was the result of an injury by a police birdshot” — similar to what the activists described — and another report from the Bahrain International Hospital, where he had been taken, which attributed his death “to a severe drop in the blood circulation and the respiratory system that led to heart failure.”

The mourners accompanying the body on Friday, members of the country’s Shiite majority, pumped their fists and chanted slogans against the Sunni-led government, according to video images posted online. Many carried the red and white flags of Bahrain, an important American ally and host to the United States Fifth Fleet’s naval base.

After the funeral had broken up, activists said the police began using tear gas and sound grenades to disperse the crowd, as protesters lingered on the central highway. Al Jazeera reported that at least four people were injured. There were also reports of gunfire, though it was unclear what type of bullets were being used.

Video posted by LuaLua TV, an independent Arabic-language station in Bahrain, showed protesters massing near security forces as a gaseous haze hung over the highway. Other video, posted by activists, showed young men, holding stones, heading in the direction of security forces firing tear gas.


http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/08/world/middleeast/protesters-clash-with-police-in-bahrain.html?ref=world

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« Reply #5213 on: Oct 8th, 2011, 11:27am »

I have to go jogging before it starts raining, be back in a bit.

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« Reply #5214 on: Oct 8th, 2011, 12:46pm »

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Uploaded by UFOSightings2010 on Oct 3, 2011

Meteor or UFO falling from the sky Japan September 2011! Could this have been the tail end of something
much bigger or could this be a triangle ufo crashing down to the earth and over the sunset Japan? as always you decide.

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Science & Technology

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Crystal
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« Reply #5215 on: Oct 8th, 2011, 1:01pm »

Geeky Gadgets

For Holy Smoke, Ashes To Bullets And Dust To Dust
By Glenn Santos
Saturday 8th October 2011 12:30 pm in Geeky


Unlike most places in the world (other than Yemen or Afghanistan), a vibrant gun culture is still alive and kicking in the US. But a new company wants to put a fresh spin on every enthusiastic shooter/outdoor type’s departure from this life. The startup is called Holy Smoke LLC and its founders specialize in turning cremated remains into bullets. Part of their marketing campaign involves shooting people into the afterlife. Not surprising.

Holy Smoke got its start in unusual circumstances. A long while ago, Thad Holmes and Clem Parnell were contemplating existential matters. In the midst of their discussion came the idea for a radical service aimed at the gun-owning part of the population. Being enthusiastic game wardens and outdoor adventurers, the pair were experienced with making ullets for small arms. Shotgun shells are also among their specialties.

So this year, Holy Smoke LLC: http://www.myholysmoke.com/
finally came into existence. What it does is take the remains of a recently deceased loved (this means ashes after cremation) and use the dust in the mixture for cartridge shells.

Unfortunately business has been a little lean on the fledgling firm, having serviced only two clients since formally opening in July. Oh well, growing pains. Everybody has them.

http://www.geeky-gadgets.com/for-holy-smoke-ashes-to-bullets-and-dust-to-dust-08-10-2011/

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« Reply #5216 on: Oct 8th, 2011, 1:04pm »

Telegraph

What the way you walk can reveal about you

The unique way someone walks can betray who they are with almost as much accuracy as fingerprints, scientists have found.

By Richard Gray, Science Correspondent
8:15AM BST 08 Oct 2011

Researchers have developed a method that can identify a unique "pressure signature" in their footsteps.

By analysing more than 100,000 pressure points created by people's feet as they walk, the scientists were able to pinpoint 70 key patterns that are unique to an individual.

They hope the system could provide a new form of "biometric" identification that could work alongside retinal scanning and fingerprints at airports. The only snag is that the system can only identify people if they are not wearing shoes.

Dr John Goulermas, an electrical engineer at the University of Liverpool, said they were hoping to develop the system so it will work when people are wearing shoes too.

He said: "This is more complicated as the stiffness of the sole and the treads can change things, but it should still be possible.

"At the moment there is a key point when people go through airport security where they have to remove their shoes to walk through the scanners and so by incorporating pressure pads into the floor it would be possible to identify individuals."

The researchers asked 104 volunteers to walk across boards studded with thousands of highly sensitive pressure sensors. They recorded ten steps per person and then analysed how each persons step changed to produce a unique profile for each person.

When asked to then identify individuals from their footsteps, the system was correct 99.6 per cent of the time.

Researchers have been investigating the unique aspects of gait for some time and many attempts have been made to use computer recognition software to detect individuals from CCTV footage of them walking.

These tend to have only moderate accuracy and are right around three quarters of the time.

Dr Todd Pataky, who led the research at Liverpool University but has since moved to Shinshu University in Tokida, Japan, added: "If we see a family member or a friend from a distance we can identify that person based on their walk.

"Our feet are the only parts of our body that interact with the environment during walking so it is logical that an individuals unique movement patterns are transmitted vial the feet to the ground.

"We are currently working on other checking whether other information can be unravelled from foot pressures, including things like gender, age, and exercise levels, but we expect that these characteristics will not be as well classified."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/8815241/What-the-way-you-walk-can-reveal-about-you.html

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« Reply #5217 on: Oct 8th, 2011, 1:12pm »

Bit Rebels

Ghosts With Shit Jobs: A Sci-Fi View Of North America In 2040
08/27/2011 - 10:00 am
By Diana Adams

I must warn you, once you watch this little video, you won’t be able to un-watch it. It will be burned in your brain forever. Someone told me that ten seconds before I permanently scared myself by watching the trailer for The Human Centipede. I should have listened. This is similar to that, and since I had to watch it, it’s only appropriate that I subject you to it as well. If you live in North America, it will definitely mess with your head.

In the year 2040, jobs suck in a whole new way. This low-budget sci-fi mockumentary called Ghosts With Shit Jobs is supposed to be funny, in a creepy kind of way. It is an artistic interpretation of the future of the American economy, and how we will be living in years to come. Apparently, in about 30 years from now, our entire country will be nothing more than slums. China will be the world’s largest superpower, and North Americans (called “ghosts“), will only be able to get the shitty jobs that the wealthy people in Asia don’t want to do.

For example, you’ll see a woman with the job of being “human spam.” She just goes around dropping company names wherever she is. Other people are “digital janitors” who cover up company logos on the streets (for copyright reasons) for Google Street View. During this time, the only robotics jobs available in America will be the illegal production of refurbished babies. Baby makers pack those babies in boxes and ship them overseas for wealthy children in Asia to play with. It’s all about the economic collapse of the west.

The full version of this film will be available in about a month or so. The whole project cost $4,000 to create. I don’t think I’ll be watching the full-length version. This clip is about as much of this as I can stomach. It’s creative, artsy and thought-provoking though, and for that, I give it a thumbs up. You can learn more at Ghosts With Shit Jobs: http://www.ghostswithshitjobs.com/







http://www.bitrebels.com/entertainment-2/ghosts-with-shit-jobs-a-sci-fi-view-of-north-america-in-2040/

Crystal
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« Reply #5218 on: Oct 8th, 2011, 1:19pm »

Scientific American

Double Impact: Did 2 Giant Collisions Turn Uranus on Its Side?

A pair of giant impacts early in solar system history could reconcile the dramatic tilt of Uranus with the equatorial orbit of its satellites

By John Matson
October 7, 2011

NANTES, France—Knock, knock. That's not the start of a joke but the hard-luck history of Uranus. New research suggests that the giant planet may have suffered two massive impacts early in its history, which would account for its extreme, mysterious axial tilt.

Uranus orbits nearly on its side; its axis of rotation is skewed by 98 degrees relative to an ordinary upright orientation, perpendicular to the orbital plane. Many planetary scientists have sought to explain the odd tilt by invoking a giant impact into Uranus billions of years ago. But the giant planet has a system of moons circling its equator that would have been disrupted by such an impact.



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TWICE TILTED? New simulations indicate that Uranus experienced
at least two large impacts, leaving the planet with its modern-day, near-sideways tilt.
Image: NASA and Erich Karkoschka, University of Arizona




"If Uranus is suddenly tilted, the satellites keep moving like that from north pole to south pole, and [wouldn't be] equatorial at all," Alessandro Morbidelli of the Observatory of Côte d’Azur in Nice, France, reported here Thursday at a joint meeting of the American Astronomical Society Division for Planetary Sciences and the European Planetary Science Congress. [Read more planetary news from the meeting here.]

But what if the tilting was a more gradual process, caused not by one mammoth impact but by two somewhat smaller nudges? Simulations show that the two-strike mechanism appears to solve the problem, knocking Uranus sideways and allowing it to develop equatorially orbiting moons, Morbidelli said.

The key is that the impacts must have come very early, before Uranus's moons had coalesced from a disk of gas and dust surrounding the planet. That disk, supplemented by debris stirred up by the collisions, would have migrated around the planet to form a thin equatorial disk that gave rise to Uranus's five large moons.

In the simulations, the same sort of equatorial migration also worked for the single-impact tilt scenario, but that scenario came with one important and disqualifying caveat: the moons orbited in the wrong direction, counter to Uranus's rotation. "If you tilt Uranus all in one shot, you produce regular satellites on the equator, but they will all be retrograde, and the satellites are actually prograde," Morbidelli said.

The only way for Uranus to have kept its moons in the right place, moving in the right direction, was to have suffered multiple giant impacts. "If we are right, Uranus was hit at least twice by big objects, about the mass of the Earth," Morbidelli said. He noted that Neptune's tilt, although only about one third that of Uranus, is also best explained by a giant impact.

"He solved the problem with the giant-impact hypothesis," said Hal Levison of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colo. "I've always been worried about this problem." But, Levison noted, "that doesn't mean that the giant-impact hypothesis is right." There are several other ways to change a planet's tilt, or obliquity, including tidal forces and resonances between a planet's spin and its orbit.

But if Uranus did suffer two large collisions, and Neptune absorbed one as well, that would indicate that massive impacts played a significant role in shaping the giant planets. That would be a surprise, given the traditional view that the gas giants grew by sweeping up smaller planetesimals. "This is quite an unconventional scenario for the formation of the giant planets, but I think that the obliquities of Uranus and Neptune point in this direction," Morbidelli said.


http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=uranus-axial-tilt-obliquity

Crystal


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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #5219 on: Oct 8th, 2011, 5:03pm »

"Telegraph

What the way you walk can reveal about you

The unique way someone walks can betray who they are with almost as much accuracy as fingerprints, scientists have found.

By Richard Gray, Science Correspondent
8:15AM BST 08 Oct 2011

Researchers have developed a method that can identify a unique "pressure signature" in their footsteps.

By analysing more than 100,000 pressure points created by people's feet as they walk, the scientists were able to pinpoint 70 key patterns that are unique to an individual.

They hope the system could provide a new form of "biometric" identification that could work alongside retinal scanning and fingerprints at airports. The only snag is that the system can only identify people if they are not wearing shoes.

Kinda reminds me of 'The Ministry of Silly Walks'!!

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