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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 44970 times)
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« Reply #6390 on: Mar 20th, 2012, 08:15am »

Wired

March 20, 1800: Volta’s Battery Shows Potential
By Randy Alfred
March 20, 2012 | 6:30 am
Categories: 19th century, Chemistry


1800: Italian physicist Alessandro Volta reports that he’s developed a reliable source of electrical current. He’s invented the wet-cell battery.

Volta had already created the electrophorus to create static electric charges and discovered methane before becoming professor of physics at the University of Pavia in 1779.

He disputed Luigi Galvani’s contention that a frog’s leg was producing the electricity that made it twitch. Volta thought the leg was simply responding to electricity from the metals that were touching it. The two men debated the science publicly, but remained friends — despite clashes by their supporters. Volta, in fact, coined the word galvanism to honor his friend’s contributions.

Volta theorized that electrical current was caused by the contact of dissimilar metals amid moisture. He went on to build a stack of alternating copper and zinc discs. Each pair of discs was separated from the next by cardboard that had been soaked in salty water. This voltaic pile produced continuous electrical current. Volta wrote about it to Joseph Banks, head of the Royal Society in London, who shared news of the invention with other scientists.

The results were literally electrifying and nearly immediate. Within weeks, William Nicholson and Anthony Carlisle had discovered that electrical current could decompose water into hydrogen and oxygen. Humphry Davy soon used this newly discovered electrolysis to discover potassium and other metals.

Emperor Napoleon of France, who ruled much of Italy at the time, was impressed by Volta’s inventions. He made him first a knight, then a senator and finally a count.

Count Volta’s name lives on, of course, as a unit of measure. The volt was officially established in 1881 as an electrical potential of 1 joule per coulomb of charge, or the electromotive force that will cause a current of 1 ampere to flow through a resistance of 1 ohm. It is used around the world.

(In other current events, it should be noted that West Africa’s Volta River is not named for the Italian scientist. Its name comes from the Portuguese word for turn, either because it was a turnaround point for explorers or because of the river’s own twists and turns.)

http://www.wired.com/thisdayintech/2012/03/march-20-1800-voltas-battery-shows-potential/

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« Reply #6391 on: Mar 20th, 2012, 08:21am »

Deadline Hollywood

Terra Nova’s Jason O’Mara To Co-Star Opposite Dennis Quaid In Ralph Lamb Pilot

By NELLIE ANDREEVA
Monday March 19, 2012 @ 7:45pm PDT
Tags: CBS, Jason O'Mara, Ralph Lamb

EXCLUSIVE: CBS‘ untitled Ralph Lamb drama pilot has added another prominent member to its all-star cast. Terra Nova star Jason O’Mara has been tapped to co-star in the project, joining Dennis Quaid, Michael Chiklis and Carrie-Anne Moss. For O’Mara, the pilot is in second position to prehistoric drama Terra Nova, which is still alive as talks between series producer 20th Century Fox TV and Netflix about a second season continue. O’Mara has fielded multiple pilot offers since Fox cancelled Terra Nova two weeks ago. Set in the 1960s, the untitled Ralph Lamb project, written by Goodfellas writer Nicholas Pileggi and Greg Walker and directed by James Mangold, chronicles the true story of Ralph Lamb (Quaid) – rodeo cowboy turned longtime Sheriff of Las Vegas – and Johnny Savino (Chiklis), a Chicago mob fixer whose entrepreneurial vision for transforming Las Vegas collides with the law-and-order mandate of Sheriff Lamb. O’Mara will play Ralph Lamb’s younger brother Frank, the diplomat in the family.

Also cast in the pilot in guest-starring roles are Michael Reilly Burke, Michael O’Neill and James Russo. Burke will play A.D.A. Katherine O’Connel’s (Moss) boss, D.A. Reynolds, an alpha prosecutor with a burning ambition for power. O’Neill will play Vegas Mayor Bennett, a man with a vision. He has been bucking the state’s Governor, who wants to move Vegas’s power and money up north to Reno. Russo will play Big Tuna, an old-world gangster who runs Vegas for his Chicago bosses. The first two roles were originally listed as regular but have been scaled back as guest-starring/recurring partly because of the big names the pilot was able to land for the four main leads. It is likely that at least some of the three roles will be upgraded to regular if the pilot goes to series. Pileggi, Mangold, Walker, Cathy Konrad and Arthur Sarkissian are executive producing the CBS TV Studios-produced Ralph Lamb, with Quaid and Chiklis co-executive producing. O’Mara is with UTA and the JTWAMM law firm. Burke, who recurs on ABC’s Revenge, is with Domain and Levine/Okwu/Erickson. Ralph Lamb is the second high-profile pilot to sign an actor from Terra Nova in second position, along with NBC’s Matthew Perry-starring comedy Go On, which cast Allison Miller. For O’Mara, this would mark the third consecutive series project set in the past, following the ABC 1970s drama Life On Mars and Fox’s Terra Nova.

http://www.deadline.com/2012/03/jason-omara-ralph-lamb-pilot-cbs/

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« Reply #6392 on: Mar 21st, 2012, 08:24am »

Washington Post

Mohammed Merah, French shooting suspect, exchanges gunfire with police in standoff

By Edward Cody
21 March 2012

PARIS — Elite French police units exchanged gunfire Wednesday with an Islamic militant barricaded in a Toulouse apartment who is suspected of being the gunman who methodically killed three French soldiers, three Jewish schoolchildren and a rabbi over the past eight days, Interior Minister Claude Gueant announced.

The police blanketed a residential area of Toulouse, in southwestern France, and negotiated with the suspect through the early morning. Gueant, who was on site directing operations, said the man was “presumed guilty” of the killing spree and had told police negotiators that he acted to “avenge Palestinian children” and protest France’s role in the Afghanistan war.

Authorities identified the suspect as Mohammed Merah, 24, a French citizen who has spent time with Islamic groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan. News reports said he was of Algerian origin and had invoked the al-Qaeda terrorist network in shouted conversations with police through the locked door of an apartment.

Two policemen were wounded in an initial exchange of gunfire as police approached the second-floor apartment, one in the shoulder and the other in the knee, Gueant said. In a television interview, he added that the suspect later threw a Colt .45 pistol out the window — the type used in the killings — but told negotiators he still had two assault rifles and several pistols inside the apartment.

Gueant also said the suspect, in the hours of negotiations that followed the exchange of gunfire, gave indications he might surrender later in the day.

Speaking to reporters watching the standoff, Gueant said investigators had worked their way toward the suspect through the Internet. An investigator found the computer address of the suspect’s mother had been used to reply to an Internet ad placed by the first victim, he said, and the suspect’s name was on an Interior Ministry surveillance list as a possible Islamic extremist.

As the operation against Merah began, two of his brothers and two of his sisters were taken into custody for questioning. Gueant, who was appearing before television cameras for regular updates, said one of the brothers was involved with a Muslim fundamentalist group in France but had not undergone training in Afghanistan and his involvement with the killings was unknown.

The suspect’s mother, who lives nearby, was seen being brought to the besieged apartment to help in the negotiations. But police said she refused to enter into the negotiations, arguing she had no influence over her son.

The standoff was the first fruit of a nationwide manhunt launched Tuesday to find the killer, whose crimes were described by the chief Paris prosecutor as terrorism.

The prosecutor, who is leading the investigation, said all France’s law enforcement resources have been thrown into the effort to track down and apprehend the shooter, who claimed his seven victims at close range. President Nicolas Sarkozy said Tuesday he was demanding fast results to reassure a population outraged by the killings.

“We are dealing with an extremely determined individual,” the prosecutor, Francois Molins, said at a news conference Tuesday. “He knows he is being hunted, and he could strike again.”

The intense national concern reflected an instinctive revulsion at seeing three young children and a teacher gunned down in front of a school. But it also grew from the sudden national realization that those slayings and the puzzling killings of the three soldiers appeared to be part of a series, the work of a psychopath with remarkable self-control or acts of terrorism by a politically motivated militant.

Molins said the crimes are being qualified as terrorism but noted that under French law, terrorism can be any crime that is carried out to disrupt the national order and does not have to be linked to a political cause. As a result, he explained, the qualification could cover the case of a hatemonger or racial supremacist as well as that of an Islamist extremist.

Investigators have no clues to guide them in any of those directions, he said. Even the description from a witness that the killer had a video camera hanging around his neck was uncertain, he said, despite the fact that it was cited in radio interviews by Interior Minister Claude Gueant as a possible insight into the gunman’s behavior.

The bodies of the four victims of Monday’s killings at a Jewish school in Toulouse were flown to Israel for burial Wednesday according to Jewish rites.

The four — Rabbi Jonathan Sandler, 30, and his two sons, Arieh, 5, and Gabriel, 4, along with Myriam Monsonego, 7 — were dual French-Israeli nationals. Myriam’s father, Yaacov, was the principal at Ozar Hatorah school, and Sandler had come to lend a hand as a religion teacher.

According to accounts from witnesses, the killer rode up to the school on a Yamaha T-Max 530 motor scooter as students gathered for morning classes. He shot Sandler and his sons on the sidewalk outside and then killed the principal’s daughter in the courtyard, all at a range close enough to leave powder burns, Molins said.

Although some witnesses spoke of two weapons, Molins said the victims were all killed by a .45-caliber Colt semiautomatic pistol of the type that formerly was standard issue in the U.S. armed forces. The weapon was the same one used in the killing of a soldier March 11 in Toulouse and in the shooting of three more soldiers — two of whom were killed and one seriously wounded — on March 15 in Montauban, about 30 miles north.

The three dead soldiers were French citizens of North African origin with Arab-sounding names, Molins said, and the wounded soldier was a black citizen from the French Antilles. But there was no indication whether they might have been targeted because of their racial origins, he said.

Like the victims at Ozar Hatorah, the soldiers were shot in the head at close range by a lone gunman who was described as calm and deliberate.

Witnesses said the killer rode up on the same kind of motor scooter in all three attacks, Molins said, but the scooter used in Montauban was described as black and the one used at the Ozar Hatorah was described as white. Witnesses were unable to provide the license number, he added, but the vehicle was thought to be a scooter that was reported stolen in Toulouse two weeks ago.

To facilitate the manhunt, Sarkozy ordered French security forces to move to “scarlet” alert status, the highest on the scale, for the area of southwestern France around Toulouse and Montauban. It is the first time the scarlet level has been imposed, although for several years the alert status has been at the red level, the next highest, mainly because of fears of terrorist attacks over France’s role in Afghanistan.

The change of status gives police and paramilitary gendarmes broad authority, enabling them, for instance, to demand ID checks without prior suspicions and stop vehicles for searches. Television news programs showed armed officers in Toulouse stopping youths on motor scooters and demanding to see their papers or ordering young women to display the contents of their shopping bags.

Sarkozy, who is a candidate for reelection, visited a middle school in Paris during the minute of silence he had ordered all French schools to observe at 11 a.m. Tuesday. His main adversary, Francois Hollande of the Socialist Party, paid the same type of visit at another school.

Both had suspended their campaigns until Wednesday as part of a national mourning. But politics quickly intruded on the grief. Sarkozy warned children during his visit that such killings could happen anywhere, even at their school. His remark drew immediate criticism from Cecile Duflot of the Greens party, who said children should be reassured and not warned.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/french-police-raid-house-in-toulouse-for-school-shooting-suspect/2012/03/21/gIQAbip4QS_story.html

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« Reply #6393 on: Mar 21st, 2012, 08:33am »

Wired Threat Level

NSA Chief Denies, Denies, Denies Wired’s Domestic Spying Story
By Ryan Singel
March 20, 2012 | 11:50 pm
Categories: Cybersecurity





NSA chief General Keith Alexander faced tough — and funny — questions from Congress Tuesday stemming from Wired’s story on the NSA’s capabalities and warrantless wiretapping program (http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/03/ff_nsadatacenter)

Congressman Hank Johnson, a Georgia Democrat, asked Alexander whether the NSA could, at the direction of Dick Cheney, identify people who sent e-mails making fun of his inability to hunt in order to waterboard them.

Alexander said “No,” adding that the “NSA does not have the ability to do that in the United States.” Elaborating, Alexander added: “We don’t have the technical insights in the United States. In other words, you have to have [...] some way of doing that either by going to a service provider with a warrant or you have to be collecting in that area. We’re not authorized to do that, nor do we have the equipment in the United States to collect that kind of information.”

That statement seemingly contradicts James Bamford’s story, The NSA Is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center (Watch What You Say), as well as stories from The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, USA Today and Wired, which collectively drew a picture of the NSA’s post-9/11 foray into wiretapping the nation’s telecommunication’s infrastructure to spy on Americans without getting warrants.

Bamford writes:

In the process — and for the first time since Watergate and the other scandals of the Nixon administration — the NSA has turned its surveillance apparatus on the US and its citizens. It has established listening posts throughout the nation to collect and sift through billions of email messages and phone calls, whether they originate within the country or overseas. It has created a supercomputer of almost unimaginable speed to look for patterns and unscramble codes. Finally, the agency has begun building a place to store all the trillions of words and thoughts and whispers captured in its electronic net. And, of course, it’s all being done in secret. To those on the inside, the old adage that NSA stands for Never Say Anything applies more than ever.

But in testimony Tuesday in front of the House Armed Services subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, Alexander responded to questions about the program, saying the NSA did not have the capability to monitor, inside the United States, Americans’ text messages, phone calls and e-mails. He added that if the NSA were to target an American, the FBI would take the lead and fill out the paperwork. (That’s an odd statement, since the process for targeting an American by the intelligence services is for the NSA to fill out the paperwork, submit it to the Justice Department and then send it to a secret court, according to statements by former Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell.)

Alexander and Johnson both mispronounced Bamford’s name as Bashford (a Freudian slip). But it’s an odder mistake by Alexander, given that Bamford is the premier chronicler of the NSA.

It’s hard to tell here whether Alexander is parsing the questions closely, misspeaking or telling the truth. The heads of the intelligence service have a long tradition of misspeaking or telling untruths that advance their agenda. President George Bush himself on the re-election campaign trail said that no American had been wiretapped without a warrant, which was plainly false, according to numerous news stories and the government’s own admissions of the program.

In the aftermath of those half-truths, the Congress passed, and Bush signed into law, the FISA Amendments Act, which re-wrote the nation’s surveillance laws to give the NSA a much freer hand to wiretap American infrastructure wholesale.

Court challenges to the program, brought by the EFF and the ACLU, attempted to argue that even allowing the NSA to harvest Americans’ communications alongside foreigners into giant databases violated American law and the US Constitution. However, those challenges have never survived the Bush and Obama administration’s invocation of the “state secrets” privilege to have them thrown out of court.

Which is another way of saying that Americans have no idea what’s going on. Given the choice between an administration official saying nothing is going on and a respected reporter with inside sources saying something wicked this way comes, I know where my trust would lie.

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/03/nsa-denies-wired/

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« Reply #6394 on: Mar 21st, 2012, 08:38am »

Hollywood Reporter


'CSI' Creator Anthony Zuiker Sets 'Cybergeddon' for Yahoo
The 90-minute cyber crime multipart feature will debut in the fall and mark Yahoo's latest original scripted programming offering.

10:52 PM PDT 3/20/2012
by Lesley Goldberg

Anthony Zuiker has set his next project.

The CSI: Crime Scene Investigation creator is teaming with Yahoo for Cybergeddon, a 90-minute scripted drama exploring the growing threat of cyber crime, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

The online effort, described as a "motion picture event," will debut in the fall on Yahoo as a series of installments that marks the Internet portal's latest endeavor in the original scripted content space following Electric City, a series of animated webisodes with Tom Hanks attached.

"We have a responsibility, especially myself as a leader of industry, to make sure that we push the industry forward in the right direction as things change and we're attempting to do that," Zuiker told The Hollywood Reporter of Cybergeddon. "We're in the generation where behaviors have shifted as to how people consume content on devices and we must be part of trailblazing the future."

Zuiker dubbed Cybergeddon -- which will be written by Miles Chapman (The Tomb) -- as the latest "evolution" of the crime genre. The drama will explore the growing threat of cyber crimes, with Norton by Symantec attached as an adviser.

The former showrunner, whose online credits include the BlackBox TV channel for YouTube, says Yahoo understood the space and scale and committed to the project in a way traditional networks couldn't.

"They're really going after A-list talent to be in that space," he said. "Going wide in the traditional motion picture world is 5,000 screens and this can be 50 million screens on premiere day in multiple languages."

Production and casting on the project kicks off this month, with Zuiker noting there's always an option to grow the project beyond the its digital home. "We don't discount the possibility that this could be turned into a bigger potion picture or television series," he said, citing an instance where a character from his digital novel, Level 26, landed on CSI.

Cybergeddon, inspired by Zuiker's frequent trips to Washington to learn about the future of crime and his CSI partner Jerry Bruckheimer's Armageddon, will also launch with a unique interactive campaign and comprehensive application for iPad, iPhone and iTouch with a level of "edutainment" and entertainment.

Zuiker will executive produce the project alongside his Dare to Pass president Matthew Weinberg and Dolphin Digital Studios CEO Bill O'Dowd; Dolphin Digital Media backed the CAA-packaged drama.

For its part, Yahoo has 21 out of the top 25 most-watched online series, drawing 61 million unique visitors a month who watch video on the site, according to comScore. The portal earlier this month launched a pair of original scripted comedy efforts, Sketchy and Funny or Die Presents: First Dates With Toby Harris.

In the past several months, Yahoo has struck deals with Hanks and Bill Maher, broadcasting Maher's StupidCrazyPolitics show last month.

Zuiker, who recently inked an overall deal with ABC Studios, is repped by CAA, Brillstein Entertainment Partners and Morris Yorn.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/csi-anthony-zuiker-yahoo-cybergeddon-302452

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« Reply #6395 on: Mar 21st, 2012, 08:42am »

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« Reply #6396 on: Mar 21st, 2012, 7:36pm »

Ex-NASA scientist, MIT grad gets 13 years in prison for espionage, fraud

Stewart Nozette defrauded the Navy Research Lab, DARPA and NASA


By Layer 8 on Wed, 03/21/12

Ex-NASA worker, planetary scientist and physicist, Stewart Nozette was today sentenced to 13 years in prison for attempted espionage, conspiracy to defraud the United States and tax evasion.

According to the Department of Justice the sentence covered charges in two cases. In the first, Nozette pleaded guilty in September 2011 to attempted espionage for providing classified information to a person he believed to be an Israeli intelligence officer. In the other, he pleaded guilty in January 2009 to fraud and tax charges stemming from more than $265,000 in false claims he submitted to the government.

In addition to the prison term, Nozette is expected to pay more than $217,000 in restitution to the government agencies he defrauded.

According to the DoJ, Nozette had an impressive resume that included:

• A Ph.D. in Planetary Sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1983

• A stint at the White House on the National Space Council, Executive Office of the President, from approximately 1989 through 1990.

• A stint as a physicist for the US Department of Energy's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory from approximately 1990 to 1999, where he designed highly advanced technology.

• Assisted in the development of the Clementine bi-static radar experiment which purportedly discovered water ice on the south pole of the moon. A version of the Clementine satellite currently hangs on display at the National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., and was later hailed as the vanguard of the new "faster, cheaper, better" revolution in space exploration.

• Nozette performed some of this research and development at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency in Arlington, Va., and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

http://www.networkworld.com/community/blog/ex-nasa-scientist-mit-grad-gets-13-years-prison-espionage-fraud
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« Reply #6397 on: Mar 21st, 2012, 9:26pm »

"Ex-NASA scientist, MIT grad gets 13 years in prison for espionage, fraud

Stewart Nozette defrauded the Navy Research Lab, DARPA and NASA

By Layer 8 on Wed, 03/21/12

Ex-NASA worker, planetary scientist and physicist, Stewart Nozette was today sentenced to 13 years in prison for attempted espionage, conspiracy to defraud the United States and tax evasion.

According to the Department of Justice the sentence covered charges in two cases. In the first, Nozette pleaded guilty in September 2011 to attempted espionage for providing classified information to a person he believed to be an Israeli intelligence officer. In the other, he pleaded guilty in January 2009 to fraud and tax charges stemming from more than $265,000 in false claims he submitted to the government...."



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« Reply #6398 on: Mar 22nd, 2012, 07:53am »

Seattle Times

March 21, 2012 at 10:05 PM
Supreme Court rules unanimously property owners can sue EPA

The ruling was drawn narrowly around the issue of judicial review rather than the larger question of the Environmental Protection Agency's jurisdiction over wetlands.

By FELICITY BARRINGER
The New York Times

The Supreme Court ruled unanimously Wednesday that an Idaho couple had the right to file an immediate court challenge to a federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) decision designating their land as wetlands and forbidding them from building a home there.

The ruling was drawn narrowly around the issue of judicial review rather than the larger question of the EPA's jurisdiction over wetlands. Nonetheless, property-rights advocates hailed it as a victory for individual freedoms over governmental authority.

For years, the EPA has invoked its authority under the Clean Water Act to issue so-called compliance orders declaring a site to be a wetland and requiring owners to cease construction or to restore the land.

Property owners could not seek judicial review of these orders without taking other administrative steps, such as applying for permission from the Army Corps of Engineers to build on a wetland.

Wetlands have been accorded federal protection because of their role as natural incubators and as water-cleansing filters within larger ecosystems. The agency argued that compliance orders are crucial to its ability to step in and guard such areas from illegal development, and that immediate judicial review of these administrative actions would undermine the Clean Water Act.

But the couple bringing the case, Michael and Chantell Sackett, argued that they should be able to ask a court to rule immediately on an agency order that carries with it the threat of fines of $75,000 a day.

The Sacketts, who had bought a lot near Priest Lake in Idaho planning to build a home, sought a hearing with the EPA but were denied.

When the Sacketts sought to challenge the EPA order, they were told by EPA officials, by a federal judge and by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that they had no right to a hearing. Instead, they were told to comply with the order first and then seek a permit to resume building.

Justice Antonin Scalia, speaking in the courtroom, mocked the EPA's view that the Sacketts' small lot was protected by federal law as part of the "navigable waters" of the United States.

The couple, "never having seen a ship or other vessel cross their yard," questioned that their lot was a wetland, Scalia said, and are entitled to a civil hearing to contest the EPA's jurisdiction over their property.

The ruling in Sackett v. EPA did not address the question of the EPA's jurisdiction, particularly over wetlands. This issue was addressed — but not clearly decided — in a 2006 case.

In a statement, the EPA said, "EPA will, of course, fully comply with the Supreme Court's decision, which the agency is still reviewing, as we work to protect clean water for our families and future generations by using the tools provided by Congress to enforce the Clean Water Act."

In a concurring opinion, Justice Samuel Alito Jr. called on Congress to end the ambiguity over jurisdiction. "Real relief requires Congress to do what it should have done in the first place: provide a reasonably clear rule regarding the reach of the Clean Water Act," he wrote.

Material from the Tribune Washington bureau is included in this report.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2017810298_scotusproperty22.html

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« Reply #6399 on: Mar 22nd, 2012, 07:56am »

Reuters

Special Report: Chinese firm helps Iran spy on citizens

By Steve Stecklow
Thu Mar 22, 2012 8:48am EDT

(Reuters) - A Chinese telecommunications equipment company has sold Iran's largest telecom firm a powerful surveillance system capable of monitoring landline, mobile and internet communications, interviews and contract documents show.

The system was part of a 98.6 million euro ($130.6 million) contract for networking equipment supplied by Shenzhen, China-based ZTE Corp to the Telecommunication Co of Iran (TCI), according to the documents. Government-controlled TCI has a near monopoly on Iran's landline telephone services and much of Iran's internet traffic is required to flow through its network.

The ZTE-TCI deal, signed in December 2010, illustrates how despite tightening global sanctions, Iran still manages to obtain sophisticated technology, including systems that can be used to crack down on dissidents.

Human rights groups say they have documented numerous cases in which the Iranian government tracked down and arrested critics by monitoring their telephone calls or internet activities. Iran this month set up a Supreme Council of Cyberspace, headed by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who said it would protect "against internet evils," according to Iranian state television.

Mahmoud Tadjallimehr, a former telecommunications project manager in Iran who has worked for major European and Chinese equipment makers, said the ZTE system supplied to TCI was "country-wide" and was "far more capable of monitoring citizens than I have ever seen in other equipment" sold by other companies to Iran. He said its capabilities included being able "to locate users, intercept their voice, text messaging ... emails, chat conversations or web access."

The ZTE-TCI documents also disclose a backdoor way Iran apparently obtains U.S. technology despite a longtime American ban on non-humanitarian sales to Iran - by purchasing them through a Chinese company.

ZTE's 907-page "Packing List," dated July 24, 2011, includes hardware and software products from some of America's best-known tech companies, including Microsoft Corp, Hewlett-Packard Co, Oracle Corp, Cisco Systems Inc, Dell Inc, Juniper Networks Inc and Symantec Corp.

ZTE has partnerships with some of the U.S. firms. In interviews, all of the companies said they had no knowledge of the TCI deal. Several - including HP, Dell, Cisco and Juniper - said in statements they were launching internal investigations after learning about the contract from Reuters.

Li Erjian, a ZTE spokesman in China, said his company only sells "standard" equipment to Iran. "Our main focus for business in Iran is to provide standard communications and network solutions for commercial use to help operators upgrade their network.

"We are a small scale telecommunication equipment supplier in the Iran market. We sell standard equipment in Iran as we do globally," he wrote in an email.

TCI officials in Tehran either didn't respond to requests for comment or could not be reached.

The United States, Europe and many Arab countries accuse Iran of attempting to develop nuclear weapons, which Iran denies. But Beijing, along with Moscow, has repeatedly vetoed attempts to strengthen sanctions against Tehran. China is Iran's largest trading partner with business between the countries surpassing $45 billion last year, up $16 billion from 2010, according to Iran's FARS news agency.

ZTE, China's second largest telecom equipment maker, is publicly traded but its largest shareholder is a Chinese state-owned enterprise. The fast-growing firm, which says it sells equipment to more than 500 carriers in more than 160 countries, reported annual revenue of $10.6 billion in 2010.

TCI is owned by the Iranian government and a private consortium with reported ties to Iran's elite special-forces unit, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.

In a recent interview Mahmoud Khosravi, managing director of Iran's government-controlled Telecommunications Infrastructure Co., boasted that sanctions have had no effect on Iran's telecom industry. "We have the latest technology in our networks," he said.

RIVALS PULL OUT

Sanctions on Iran have focused on banking, terrorism, Iran's oil industry, and individuals and companies that Western capitals believe are involved in the country's nuclear development program, which Iran maintains is peaceful. Although sanctions have not specifically targeted Iran's telecommunications industry, its future growth is expected to suffer from "severe fluctuations in the currency, the rial, as international sanctions begin to impact the economy," according to a report this month by Pyramid Research in Cambridge, Mass.

Last month, European Union diplomats said the bloc's 27 governments had reached an agreement in principle to target telecommunications equipment that can be used by Iranian authorities for monitoring anti-government dissent. But no final decision has been made and there is no target date for implementing such a ban.

Like most countries, including the United States, Iran requires telephone operators to provide law enforcement authorities with access to communications. Some telecoms equipment makers that previously provided Iran with gear capable of intercepting communications have cut back sales.

After Iran's controversial election in June 2009 sparked the country's biggest demonstrations in decades, Ericsson and Nokia Siemens Networks, a joint venture between Nokia and Siemens, said they would reduce their business there. NSN had provided TCI with a monitoring center capable of intercepting and recording voice calls on its landline and mobile network. Ericsson had sold equipment to Iranian telecoms that included built-in interception capabilities.

Even the giant Chinese telecommunications equipment firm Huawei Technologies said it has curtailed new business in Iran. In August 2009, Huawei and British company Creativity Software beat out ZTE to win a contract to supply Iran's second largest mobile phone carrier, MTN Irancell, with a "location-based services" system, according to a press release from Creativity.

Such systems can be used to track phone users' whereabouts. Last December Huawei said that "due to the increasingly complex situation in Iran, Huawei will voluntarily restrict its business development there by no longer seeking new customers and limiting its business activities with existing customers."

"INTERCEPTION SOLUTION"

ZTE's pursuit of the surveillance market is no secret. Its subsidiary, ZTE Special Equipment Co., or ZTEsec, specializes in security and surveillance systems and often co-sponsors an international trade show called ISS World where companies peddle their wares to governments and law-enforcement agencies. According to the trade show's website, a ZTEsec official gave a training seminar in Brazil last July on "ZTEsec Deep Insight Solution - Comprehensive and Intelligent Interception Solution."

The packing list for ZTE's TCI contract refers to "Equipment Model: ZXMT," a system the Chinese firm's marketing documents refer to as an "integrated monitoring system" and a "turnkey solution for lawful interception" that simultaneously monitors telephone networks and the internet.

Reuters asked project manager Tadjallimehr and a former ZTE network engineer who helped to install the ZXMT system in another country to review the ZTE packing list. Both men said that among the items were parts for a surveillance system that can monitor voice, text messaging and internet communications. The former ZTE employee said the system does not use any U.S.-made parts or software. Both men said the ZXMT system utilizes "deep packet inspection," a powerful and potentially intrusive technology that can read and analyze "packets" of data that travel across the internet. The technology can be used to track internet users, search for and reconstruct email messages that have been broken up into data packets, block certain types of traffic and even deliver altered web pages to users.

Andrew Lewman, executive director of The Tor Project, which distributes software so that dissidents in places like Iran and China can surf the internet undetected, says the group has collected evidence showing that Iran has been using deep packet inspection since 2010 to monitor and block internet traffic.

"They seem to be rolling it out countrywide and they seem to be willing to experiment with blocking more and more traffic," said Lewman, the project's executive director.

Tor, which has nearly 50,000 daily users in Iran, repeatedly has had to tweak its circumvention technology to outfox Iranian censors. Lewman said after using deep packet inspection to isolate and block specific traffic like Google's Gmail, the Iranian government can then record every online request for the service and trace individual users. "They can figure out the households," he said.

ZTE markets its monitoring system as low-cost and user-friendly. In May 2008, the firm made a presentation to the government-controlled Iran Telecommunication Research Center about its latest networking products, including the "ZTE Lawful Intercept Solution," according to Privacy International, a London-based non-profit that advocates the right to privacy and obtained a copy of the presentation.

In a 91-page document called "Talking to the future," ZTE noted that its ZXMT system was applicable to military and national security agencies. Citing "10 Reasons to Select ZXMT," it said the system offered "High security and good secrecy" and was "Invisible to the targets."

more after the jump
http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/22/us-iran-telecoms-idUSBRE82L0B820120322

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« Reply #6400 on: Mar 22nd, 2012, 08:02am »

Wired

Planet Mercury Even Weirder Than We Thought
By Adam Mann
March 21, 2012 | 5:30 pm
Categories: Space



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Image: NASA/JHUAPL/CIW-DTM/GSFC/MIT/Brown University.
Rendering by James Dickson and Jim Head



New data suggests that Mercury has undergone much more dynamic processes than previously believed and that its core is unlike any of the other rocky planets in our solar system.

NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft, which has been in orbit around the solar system’s smallest and innermost planet for just over a year, has beamed back plenty of surprises for scientists here on Earth.

“I thought the surface of Mercury would turn out to be complex and the interior simple,” said planetary scientist Maria Zuber of MIT, who is a member of the MESSENGER team and co-author of two new papers on the planet that appear March 21 in Science. “Instead, our data has been such a surprise that we kept thinking we were interpreting it wrong.”

Mercury’s tiny size and heavily cratered surface suggested that the planet cooled into an inert lump soon after its formation 4.5 billion years ago. The two new papers show that the planet had active geologic and tectonic processes occurring until at least the planet’s middle age, around 2 billion years ago.

Here, Wired takes a look at some of the weirdest new findings of what is turning out to be a strange little world.

Above:

Surface Heights

MESSENGER has measured the height of surface features over much of Mercury. This image shows off altimetry data from ancient volcanic plains in the planet’s northern high latitudes.

These smooth plains were created at the earliest stages of the planet’s history and have been subsequently deformed. The large white feature in the lower left is an enormous rise in the plains that was created through active geologic processes.

more after the jump
http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/03/dynamic-mercury-geology/

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« Reply #6401 on: Mar 22nd, 2012, 08:13am »

Deadline Hollywood

‘Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome’ Not Moving Forward As TV Series On Syfy, May Become Digital Series

By NELLIE ANDREEVA
Wednesday March 21, 2012 @ 3:40pm PDT
Tags: Battlestar Galactica: Blood And Chrome, Mark Stern, Syfy

It’s a case of bad news/good news for Battlestar Galactica fans who have been flocking to the Web to watch an unauthorized trailer for the long-in-the-works offshoot Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome over the past 36 hours. After lengthy deliberations, Syfy has decided not to go forward with the project, about the young years of William Adama, as a regular TV series. Blood & Chrome, initially envisioned as a Web series, was greenlighted as a two-hour TV pilot in October 2010. Because of intensive post-production, including special effects, the pilot was not delivered to Syfy until last November.

As of January, Syfy president original programming Mark Stern was quoted as saying that he the network brass were “trying to figure out the economics right now” and that he hoped those would be figured out. Now, the network has passed on the project as a regular series but is looking to do it as a digital one, while airing the already produced pilot on the network as a movie. “Though the vision for “Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome” has evolved over the course of the past year, our enthusiasm for this ambitious project has not waned,” Stern said in a statement today. “We are actively pursuing it as was originally intended: a groundbreaking digital series that will launch to audiences beyond the scope of a television screen. The 90-minute pilot movie will air on Syfy in its entirety at a future date.”

Despite the lengthy production and decision-making, the buzz about Blood & Chrome never died among Battlestar fans. It went into overdrive over the past couple of days following a WonderCom panel over the weekend with Kevin Grazier, the scientific adviser for Syfy’s Battlestar Galactica series, where he screened what was described as a trailer for Blood & Chrome. That trailer, to Trent Reznor and Karen O’s cover of “Immigrant Song” for The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, found its way to the Web on Monday night and has gone viral — garnering some 100,000 views in 24 hours. The problem was that this was not an official trailer but a demo reel not intended for public consumption and thus not put through the process of clearing music and other rights.

It is still unclear how the video made its way to WonderCon, but NBCUniversal today moved swiftly to take down the multiple copies that had popped up on YouTube. Universal Cable Prods, which produces Blood & Chrome, may still shop the project to other networks. Michael Taylor wrote the teleplay from a story by Battlestar Galactica executive producer David Eick, Taylor and Bradley Thompson & David Weddle.

http://www.deadline.com/2012/03/battlestar-galactica-blood-and-chrome-cancelled-syfy/

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« Reply #6402 on: Mar 22nd, 2012, 08:16am »






Uploaded by TrailersTvspot on Mar 22, 2012

Riverse Trailer for the Copyrights
Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Crome - Official Trailer - New Season - 2012

Category:
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~

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« Reply #6403 on: Mar 22nd, 2012, 3:08pm »

Marine faces dismissal for anti-Obama Facebook posts

Published March 22, 2012
Associated Press

SAN DIEGO – A Marine sergeant who started a Facebook group that is openly critical of President Barack Obama and posted comments saying he will not follow the unlawful orders of the commander in chief is facing possible dismissal from the Corps.

The Marines on Wednesday told Sgt. Gary Stein -- a Camp Pendleton Marine who started the Facebook page called Armed Forces Tea Party -- that he is in violation of Pentagon policy barring troops from political activities.

Stein, a nine-year member of the Corps, said he started the page to encourage fellow service members to exercise their free speech rights. He has also criticized U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta for his comments on Syria.

The Marine Corps said in a statement that Stein's commanding officer ordered a preliminary inquiry on March 8 after receiving allegations that Stein posted the political statements violating the Pentagon's directives.

"After reviewing the findings of the preliminary inquiry, the commander decided to address the allegations through administrative action," the Corps said.

"I'm completely shocked that this is happening," Stein said. "I've done nothing wrong. I've only stated what our oath states that I will defend the constitution and that I will not follow unlawful orders. If that's a crime, what is America coming to?"

Stein said he planned to fight the charges. He had applied to extend his service, which was set to expire in a few months.
Stein said in addition to being discharged, he would have his rank reduced to lance corporal if he is proven to be in violation. He said he was removed from his job at the Marine Corps Recruiting Depot in San Diego on Wednesday and given a desk job with no access to computers
.
According to Pentagon directives, military personnel in uniform cannot sponsor a political club; participate in any TV or radio program or group discussion that advocates for or against a political party, candidate or cause; or speak at any event promoting a political movement. Commissioned officers also may not use contemptuous words against senior officials, including the defense secretary or the president.

Stein was first cautioned by his superiors at Camp Pendleton in 2010, after he launched his Facebook page and criticized Obama's health care overhaul. Stein volunteered to take down the page while he reviewed the rules at the request of his superiors.

He said he determined he was not in violation and relaunched the page. Last week, he said his superiors told him he could not use social media sites on government computers after he posted the message stating he would not follow the president's unlawful orders.

Stein said his statement was part of an online debate about NATO allowing U.S. troops to be tried for the Quran burnings in Afghanistan.

In that context, he said, he was stating that he would not follow orders from the president if those orders included detaining U.S. citizens, disarming them or doing anything else that he believes would violate their constitutional rights.
Another Marine alerted his command about the statement, Stein said.

Stein said he respects the office of the president, but he does not agree with Obama's policies. He said he is within his rights to speak up.

The Marine Corps said Stein is allowed to express his personal opinions as long as they do not give the impression he is speaking in his official capacity as a Marine.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/03/22/marine-faces-dismissal-for-anti-obama-facebook-posts/?test=latestnews#ixzz1psSCaj00

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« Reply #6404 on: Mar 22nd, 2012, 8:08pm »

"Stein said he respects the office of the president, but he does not agree with Obama's policies. He said he is within his rights to speak up.

The Marine Corps said Stein is allowed to express his personal opinions as long as they do not give the impression he is speaking in his official capacity as a Marine."



If his page states that he is speaking in a personal capacity rather than as a spokesperson for the Marines why should they have a problem? He is defending his rights as well as other citizens' rights.

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