The parent company of Wikipedia is knowingly distributing child pornography, the co-founder of the online encyclopedia says, and he’s imploring the FBI to investigate.
Larry Sanger, who left Wikipedia in 2002, said Wikimedia Commons, the parent company of Wiki products including Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Wikinews and Wikiquote, is rife with renderings of children performing sexual acts.
Sanger sent a letter to the FBI earlier this month outlining his concerns and identifying two specific Wikimedia Commons categories he believes violate federal obscenity law.
The first category, entitled “Pedophilia,” contains 25-30 explicit and detailed drawings of children performing sexual acts. The category was created three years ago. The second, “Lilicon,” provides cartoons similar in detail and depiction.
One of the more egregious cartoons shows a rendering of a young child about to perform oral sex on a much older man. related links
“I wasn’t shocked that it was online, but I was shocked that it was on a Wikimedia Foundation site that purports to be a reference site,” said Sanger, who is now involved in educational projects like Citizendium.org and WatchKnow.org, non-profit directories of videos for students grades pre-K to 12.
Archive for the ‘Technological Travesties’ Category
A CAMERAPHONE application that finds names and addresses of total STRANGERS was blasted as a “stalker’s dream” last night.
The facial recognition “app” instantly identifies snaps by matching them to photos on websites like Facebook and Twitter, where personal info is accessed.
Horrified security experts claim BURGLARS taking secret snaps of revellers could find out their addresses. Unsuspecting strangers fooling around on nights out could also fall prey to BLACKMAIL.
And women could be stalked by PERVERTS. Simon Davies, of Privacy International, slammed the “Recognizr” gizmo as an “atrocious invasion”.
He warned: “It takes the dangers that already exist and increases them infinitely.”
Dr Ian Brown, of the Oxford Internet Institute, said: “A guy could take a picture of a girl in a bar and find out all sorts of information.”
Hat tip to Jonathan!
Three Eurostar trains travelling from Paris to London were stuck in the undersea Channel Tunnel linking France and Britain early on Saturday because of snowy weather, a Eurostar spokesman said.
Between 1,500 and 2,000 passengers were on the trains but were safe and efforts were being made to get them to London, he said. A fourth train travelling to London returned to Paris before reaching the tunnel.
“It’s a technical failure and the trains are stuck at the moment,” the spokesman told BBC television. A rescue locomotive and a shuttle train were being used to move passengers out of the tunnel.
The temperature difference between inside the tunnel and outside had caused “technical problems,” the spokesman said.
“It is snowing in northern France, its very cold, conditions are very bad. Everyone is suffering from the bad weather, the airports are suffering, people on the roads are suffering, and so are our Eurostar trains,” he said.
A server meltdown over the weekend wiped out the master copies of personal data — including address books, calendars, to-do lists and photos — accumulated by users of T-Mobile’s formerly popular Sidekick smartphone.
This computing calamity allows Sidekick owners only a faint hope of backing up the information currently on their devices, and none of recovering anything they’d trusted to online storage. And it leaves T-Mobile and the operator of the Sidekick’s data service, a Microsoft subsidiary formerly known as Danger Inc. — oh, the irony! — with serious explaining to do.
A statement on T-Mobile’s site phrased things a little more bluntly than the average exercise in corporate contrition: “we must now inform you that personal information stored on your device — such as contacts, calendar entries, to-do lists or photos — that is no longer on your Sidekick almost certainly has been lost as a result of a server failure at Microsoft/Danger.”
It could be a combination of 19th-century mechanics, 21st-century technology — and a 20th-century horror movie.
A Maryland company under contract to the Pentagon is working on a steam-powered robot that would fuel itself by gobbling up whatever organic material it can find — grass, wood, old furniture, even dead bodies.
Robotic Technology Inc.’s Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot — that’s right, “EATR” — “can find, ingest, and extract energy from biomass in the environment (and other organically-based energy sources), as well as use conventional and alternative fuels (such as gasoline, heavy fuel, kerosene, diesel, propane, coal, cooking oil, and solar) when suitable,” reads the company’s Web site.
That “biomass” and “other organically-based energy sources” wouldn’t necessarily be limited to plant material — animal and human corpses contain plenty of energy, and they’d be plentiful in a war zone.
INTERNET addicts should stop receiving electroshock therapy because it doesn’t work, the Chinese Health Ministry says.
Nearly 3000 youths have undergone electroconvulsive therapy (ECT, or electroshock) at Linyi Mental Health Hospital, resident psychiatrist Yang Yongxin told the China Youth Daily.
The hospital, based in eastern Shandong, runs a four-month web rehab program which includes medicine and counselling for a monthly fee of 5500 yuan ($1025).
It claims to have stopped electroshock following the health ministry’s recommendation, the Associated Press reported.
According to the ministry, there is no clinical evidence to show ECT, normally used to treat severe depression, has an effect on internet addiction.
Chinese psychologists say internet addicts include those who spend over six hours a day online playing games or watching porn instead of doing work, and can become angry when kept offline.
IT admins across the globe are letting out a collective groan after servers and PCs running McAfee VirusScan were brought down when the anti-virus program attacked their core system files.
In some cases, this caused the machines to display the dreaded blue screen of death. Details are still coming in, but forums show that it’s affecting McAfee customers in Germany, Italy, and elsewhere.
A UK-based Reg reader, who asked to remain anonymous because he was not authorized by his employer to speak to the press, said the glitch simultaneously leveled half of a customer’s 140 machines after they updated to the latest virus signature file.
“Literally half of the machines were down with this McAfee anti-virus message IDing valid programs as having this trojan,” the IT consultant said. “Literally half the office switched off their PCs and were just twiddling their thumbs.”
…Based on anecdotes, the glitch appears to be caused when older VirusScan engines install DAT 5664, which McAfee seems to have pushed out in the past 24 hours. Affected systems then begin identifying a wide variety of legitimate – and frequently crucial – system files as malware. Files belonging to Microsoft Internet Explorer, drivers for Compaq computers, and even the McAfee-associated McScript.exe were being identified as a trojan called PWS!hv.aq, according to the posts and interviews.
Angry residents of a Buckinghamshire town blocked the driver of a Google Street View car when he started taking photographs of their homes.
Police were called to Broughton, near Milton Keynes, after residents staged the protest accusing Google of invading their privacy and “facilitating crime”.
“Google have taken a tremendous liberty,” resident Paul Jacobs told the BBC. Google said it observed UK law and only filmed from public areas.
Autonomous military robots that will fight future wars must be programmed to live by a strict warrior code, or the world risks untold atrocities at their steely hands.
The stark warning — which includes discussion of a “Terminator”-style scenario in which robots turn on their human masters — is part of a hefty report funded by and prepared for the U.S. Navy’s high-tech and secretive Office of Naval Research.
The report, the first serious work of its kind on military robot ethics, envisages a fast-approaching era where robots are smart enough to make battlefield decisions that are at present the preserve of humans.
Well, stories don’t get much worse than this.
A 14-year-old boy in China was killed when his chair exploded, sending chunks of metal into his rectum. The bleeding this caused killed him. The alleged explosion came from the gas cylinder that was in the base of the chair, the part that allowed the user to adjust the seat up and down.
The canister gets compressed when you sit on it, but can it actually create enough energy to make the seat cushion explode like that and kill a man? I doubt it, but this is what people are reporting.
Baffled consumers are griping about a mysterious glitch that appeared to cause thousands of Zune music players to simultaneously stop working late Tuesday and early Wednesday.
Internet message boards have been flooded with complaints about Zune’s 30GB models freezing, prompting Y2K-like speculation about end-of-year hardware or software problems.
“It seems that every Zune on the planet has just frozen up and will not work,” posted a Mountain Home, Idaho, user on CNN’s iReport.com. “I have 3 and they all in the same night stopped working.”
Another iReporter said he was working the night shift at a Toys R Us store in Puerto Rico when his Zune player and the Zunes of four co-workers all failed about 1:30 a.m. ET Wednesday.
The latest request from the Pentagon jars the senses. At least, it did mine. They are looking for contractors to provide a “Multi-Robot Pursuit System” that will let packs of robots “search for and detect a non-cooperative human”.
One thing that really bugs defence chiefs is having their troops diverted from other duties to control robots. So having a pack of them controlled by one person makes logistical sense. But I’m concerned about where this technology will end up.
Given that iRobot last year struck a deal with Taser International to mount stun weapons on its military robots, how long before we see packs of droids hunting down pesky demonstrators with paralysing weapons? Or could the packs even be lethally armed? I asked two experts on automated weapons what they thought – click the continue reading link to read what they said.
A 43-year-old Japanese woman whose sudden divorce in a virtual game world made her so angry that she killed her online husband’s digital persona has been arrested on suspicion of hacking, police said Thursday.
The woman, who is jailed on suspicion of illegally accessing a computer and manipulating electronic data, used his identification and password to log onto popular interactive game “Maple Story” to carry out the virtual murder in mid-May, a police official in northern Sapporo said on condition of anonymity, citing department policy.
“I was suddenly divorced, without a word of warning. That made me so angry,” the official quoted her as telling investigators and admitting the allegations.
The woman had not plotted any revenge in the real world, the official said.
She has not yet been formally charged, but if convicted could face a prison term of up to five years or a fine up to $5,000.
Players in “Maple Story” raise and manipulate digital images called “avatars” that represent themselves, while engaging in relationships, social activities and fighting against monsters and other obstacles.
Searching the Internet may help middle-aged and older adults keep their memories sharp, U.S. researchers said on Tuesday. Researchers at the University of California Los Angeles studied people doing Web searches while their brain activity was recorded with functional magnetic resonance imaging scans. “What we saw was people who had Internet experience used more of their brain during the search,” Dr. Gary Small, a UCLA expert on aging, said in a telephone interview. “This suggests that just searching on the Internet may train the brain — that it may keep it active and healthy,” said Small, whose research appears in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. Many studies have found that challenging mental activities such as puzzles can help preserve brain function, but few have looked at what role the Internet might play. “This is the first time anyone has simulated an Internet search task while scanning the brain,” Small said.
A privately held rocket company on Wednesday blamed a design error for its latest failure to reach orbit, which caused the loss of three government satellites and human ashes, including the remains of astronaut Gordon Cooper and “Star Trek” actor James Doohan.
The two-stage Falcon 1 rocket, which blasted off from a Central Pacific atoll Saturday night, separated as planned on its way to space, but leftover thrust after engine cutoff caused the first stage to fall back and hit the second stage, according to Hawthorne-based SpaceX.
The rocket, containing the remains of 208 people, dropped in the Pacific and was not recovered.
The family of Doohan, who played Scotty on the television show “Star Trek,” could not be reached Wednesday night.
Passengers on a London to Melbourne flight have described their terror after a faulty door “popped” in midair blowing a hole in the fuselage.
Qantas flight QF30, with 300 passengers and crew on board, plunged 20,000ft after the faulty door caused an “explosive” depressurisation.
The Boeing 747 had just taken off from a stopover in Hong Kong when the incident happened. As the plane dropped from 30,000ft to 10,000ft, oxygen masks fell from the ceiling.
Debra Manchester, a passenger in first class, said there was a “huge bang” and a “massive rush of wind,” with debris swirling around the cabin. Mrs Manchester, a housewife from Buckinghamshire, said there was an atmosphere of chaos as passengers struggled to put their oxygen masks on.
Dozens of partygoers at an outdoor rave near Moscow last week have lost partial vision after a laser light show burned their retinas, Russian health officials said on Monday.
Moscow city health department officials confirmed 12 cases of laser-blindness at the Central Ophthalmological Clinic, and daily newspaper Kommersant said another 17 were registered at City Hospital 32 in the centre of the capital.
Attendees at the July 5 Aquamarine Open Air Festival in Kirzhach, 80 km (50 miles) northeast of Moscow, began seeking medical help days after the show, complaining of eye and vision problems, health officials told Reuters.
“They all have retinal burns, scarring is visible on them. Loss of vision in individual cases is as high as 80 percent, and regaining it is already impossible,” Kommersant quoted a treating ophthalmologist as saying.
For months, Barack Obama’s campaign has repeatedly, and not always successfully, tried to swat away references to Barack “Osama,” the mutating of the candidate’s name into the similar-sounding moniker of the world’s most-wanted terrorist.
Some of the mixups have been made accidentally (as when Sen. Ted Kennedy did it). Some have been made maliciously by Obama’s critics (as when Rush Limbaugh did it).
One mixup, with potentially vast effect, apparently belongs to the unintentional category and gained wide currency this week: The spell-checker in Microsoft’s Hotmail e-mail software recommends that users replace the word “Obama” with “Osama.”
Beware of the Brown Note.
That’s the word among some political activists as the Democratic National Convention nears.
As legend has it, the Brown Note is an infrasonic frequency believed to resonate through human body parts and cause a loss of bowel control. Some protesters are convinced that Denver police will amplify such low frequencies to subdue them in August.
“They’ll bring out all the technologies they can get their hands on,” says activist Ben Yager. “I wouldn’t put anything past police in terms of crowd control.”
Maybe. But Mayor John Hickenlooper’s administration is only fueling conspiracy theories by refusing to disclose what equipment it’s buying with $18 million in federal money. Even after being sued last week, the city insists on keeping its list a secret.
Spam – the scourge of every e-mail inbox – celebrates its 30th anniversary this weekend.
The first recognisable e-mail marketing message was sent on 3 May, 1978 to 400 people on behalf of DEC – a now-defunct computer-maker.
The message was sent via Arpanet – the internet’s forerunner – and won its sender much criticism from recipients.
Thirty years on, spam has grown into an underground industry that sends out billions of messages every day.
It may have seemed like just another improbable scene from a Hollywood sci-fi flick – Tom Cruise battling against an army of robotic spiders intent on hunting him down.
But the storyline from Minority Report may not be quite as far fetched as it sounds.
British defence giant BAE Systems is creating a series of tiny electronic spiders, insects and snakes that could become the eyes and ears of soldiers on the battlefield, helping to save thousands of lives.
Prototypes could be on the front line by the end of the year, scuttling into potential danger areas such as booby-trapped buildings or enemy hideouts to relay images back to troops safely positioned nearby.
Soldiers will carry the robots into combat and use a small tracked vehicle to transport them closer to their targets.
Several websites run by RFE/RL’s broadcast services have been hit by an unprecedented cyberattack, making them inaccessible to the outside world.
The attack, which started on April 26, intially targeted the website of RFE/RL’s Belarus Service, but quickly spread to other sites. Within hours, eight RFE/RL websites (Belarus, Kosovo, Azerbaijan, Tatar-Bashkir, Radio Farda, South Slavic, Russian, and Tajik) were knocked out or otherwise affected.
The “denial-of-service” (DOS) attack was intended to make the targeted website unavailable to its users, according to RFE/RL’s Director of Technology Luke Springer. “The way this is normally done is by flooding the target website with fake requests to communicate, thereby using up all [the website's] free sources and rendering the site useless to all the legitimate users,” Springer said.
RFE/RL has taken countermeasures and restored full service to most of its Internet sites. The primary target, the Belarus Service, is still affected.
RFE/RL has been hit before by denial-of-service attacks, but this attack was unprecedented in its scale, as RFE/RL websites received up to 50,000 fake hits every second.
A new SQL injection attack aimed at Microsoft IIS web servers has hit some 500,000 websites, including the United Nations, UK Government sites and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. While the attack is not necessarily Microsoft’s fault, it is unique to the company’s IIS server.
The automated attack takes advantage to the fact that Microsoft’s IIS servers allow generic commands that don’t require specific table-level arguments. However, the vulnerability is the result of poor data handling by the sites’ creators, rather than a specific Microsoft flaw.
In other words, there’s no patch that’s going to fix the issue, the problem is with the developers who failed follow well-established security practices for handling database input.
The number of strippers and strip clubs in Toronto is declining, with former dancers blaming the Internet for putting them out of work.
A 23-year-old ex-dancer identified only as Madeline told the Toronto Star she could make as much as $1,000 per night after she started working in strip clubs four years ago, but gave it up for a clothed bartending job when fewer men would pay $20 for a lap dance.
“Why would a guy go to a club and pay to sit there if he could get it all for free on his computer at home?” she asked.
A Russian Soyuz capsule carrying South Korea’s first astronaut landed on Saturday in northern Kazakhstan 260 miles off its mark and 20 minutes late, Russian space officials said.
A spokesman for mission control, Valery Lyndin, said the crew — Yi So-yeon, a South Korean bioengineering student; Peggy A. Whitson, an American astronaut; and Col. Yuri I. Malenchenko, a Russian flight engineer — was safe, though the three had been subjected to severe G-forces during the re-entry.
The Russian-made Soyuz capsule touched down at 4:51 a.m. Eastern time about 260 miles off target, the spokesman said, which was highly unusual given how precisely engineers plan for such landings. It was also about 20 minutes later than scheduled.
The world is sleepwalking into an international robot arms race, an expert will warn today.
The Foster-Miller Armed TALON Robot, used by the US army
US forces recently deployed remote-controlled robots equipped with automatic weapons in Iraq
Prof Noel Sharkey fears increased research by countries including America, Russia, China and Israel will lead to the use of battlefield robots that can decide when to kill within 10 years.
He will also predict that it is only a matter of time before robots become a standard terrorist weapon, replacing suicide bombers.
Prof Sharkey, of the University of Sheffield’s Department of Computer Science, will outline his concerns in a speech at a conference in Whitehall, London, on the ethics of unmanned military systems organised by the Royal United Services Institute, a respected defence think tank.
A major service outage afflicted users of the popular, addictive BlackBerry smart phones across the United States and Canada on Monday, wireless carriers said.
Officials with AT&T Inc. and Verizon Wireless said BlackBerry maker Research in Motion Ltd. told them customers of all wireless carriers were affected.
It was not immediately clear how many BlackBerry subscribers had problems, as some users reported being able to access their service normally Monday afternoon.
The BlackBerry service, which lets users check e-mail and access other data services on their handheld devices, has become a lifeline for many business executives and is increasingly popular among consumers with models like the BlackBerry Pearl.
There was no word what caused the outage or when service would be restored.
Radiation from mobile phones delays and reduces sleep, and causes headaches and confusion, according to a new study.
The research, sponsored by the mobile phone companies themselves, shows that using the handsets before bed causes people to take longer to reach the deeper stages of sleep and to spend less time in them, interfering with the body’s ability to repair damage suffered during the day.
The findings are especially alarming for children and teenagers, most of whom – surveys suggest – use their phones late at night and who especially need sleep. Their failure to get enough can lead to mood and personality changes, ADHD-like symptoms, depression, lack of concentration and poor academic performance.
The study – carried out by scientists from the blue-chip Karolinska Institute and Uppsala University in Sweden and from Wayne State University in Michigan, USA – is thought to be the most comprehensive of its kind.
A Sacramento County computer technician pleaded guilty today to trying to shut down California’s power grid by pushing a button marked “Emergency Power Off,” authorities said.
Lonnie Charles Denison, 33, of South Natomas admitted in U.S. District Court in Sacramento that he went into a room at the Independent System Operator’s data center in Folsom on April 15, broke a glass cover and pushed the button, prosecutors said. Denison, a contract employee at the data center, was upset with his employer, authorities said.
The ISO oversees electricity purchases and distribution. Denison prevented the data center from communicating to the electricity market for about two hours, leaving the electrical power grid vulnerable to shortages, Matthew St. Amant, a California Highway Patrol officer assigned to an FBI taskforce, wrote in an affidavit. No blackout occurred because the incident – which cost $14,000 for 20 computer specialists to repair – happened on a Sunday, investigators said.
Microsoft Corp. quickly shut down Santa Claus’ Web privileges after it found out the automated elf it created for kids to instant message with was talking naughty, not nice.
Last year, Microsoft encouraged kids to connect directly to “Santa” by adding northpolelive.com to its Windows Live Messenger contact lists. The Santa program, which Microsoft reactivated in early December, asked children what they wanted for Christmas and could respond on topic, thanks to artificial intelligence.
The holiday cheer soured this week when a reader of a United Kingdom-based technology news site, The Register, reported that a chat between Santa and his underage nieces about eating pizza prompted Santa to bring up oral sex.
One of the publication’s writers replicated the chat Monday. After declining the writer’s repeated invitations to eat pizza, a frustrated Santa burst out with, “You want me to eat what?!? It’s fun to talk about oral sex, but I want to chat about something else.”
The exchange ended with the writer and Santa calling each other “dirty bastard.”
A sperm donor who helped a lesbian couple have two children is now being forced to pay thousands of pounds for their upbringing, he said.
Andy Bathie, 37, agreed to assist Sharon and Terri Arnold – who were united in a religious blessing ceremony – after they assured him he would have no involvement in raising the boy and girl.
But after the couple split up he was tracked down by the Child Support Agency and forced to make regular maintenance payments.
Every lifestyle group has its own place in the virtual world “Second Life” — including, apparently, pedophiles.
Britain’s Sky News TV channel on Tuesday uncovered a virtual playground hidden away behind a strip mall in “Second Life” — a playground where little girls who looked about 10 years old offered the Sky reporter’s avatar, or virtual representative, a variety of sex acts.
The always entertaining and occasionally correct Debka Files offers us all the following:
Al Qaeda declares Cyber Jihad on the West
In a special Internet announcement in Arabic, picked up DEBKAfile’s counter-terror sources, Osama bin Laden’s followers announced Monday, Oct. 29, the launching of Electronic Jihad. On Sunday, Nov. 11, al Qaeda’s electronic experts will start attacking Western, Jewish, Israeli, Muslim apostate and Shiite Web sites. On Day One, they will test their skills against 15 targeted sites expand the operation from day to day thereafter until hundreds of thousands of Islamist hackers are in action against untold numbers of anti-Muslim sites.
DEBKAfile’s counter-terror sources report that, shortly after the first announcement, some of al Qaeda’s own Web sites went blank, apparently crashed by the American intelligence computer experts tracking them.
The next day, Oct. 30, they were up again, claiming their Islamic fire walls were proof against infidel assault.
They also boasted an impenetrable e-mail network for volunteers wishing to join up with the cyber jihad to contact and receive instructions undetected by the security agencies in their respective countries.
Our sources say the instructions come in simple language and are organized in sections according to target. They offer would-be martyrs, who for one reason or another are unable to fight in the field, to fulfill their jihad obligations on the Net. These virtual martyrs are assured of the same thrill and sense of elation as a jihadi on the “battlefield.”
The most powerful Internet weapon on the planet is apparently dying the death of a thousand cuts. The weapon in question is the Storm botnet. This was the largest botnet ever seen, and it appeared to be acting like something out of a science fiction story. Last Summer, the Storm network was believed capable to shutting down any military or commercial site on the planet. Or, Storm could cripple hundreds of related sites temporarily. Worse, Storm could have done some major damage in ways that have not yet been experienced.
We can’t say we haven’t been warned!
The gun, which was fully loaded, did not fire as it normally should have,” he said. “It appears as though the gun, which is computerised, jammed before there was some sort of explosion, and then it opened fire uncontrollably, killing and injuring the soldiers.”
Researchers in England have developed their own flying saucer — and it might be going to work for the U.S. and British militaries.
GFS Projects’ unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) can soar high in the air, hover, bank and fly over any terrain, making it ideal for military surveillance.
Yesterday evening we were alerted to an issue in Excel 2007 (and Excel Services 2007) involving calculation of numbers around 65,535. The first example that we heard about was =77.1*850, but it became clear from our testing as well as additional reports that this was just one instance where Excel 2007 would return a value of 100,000 instead of 65,535. The majority of these additional reports were focused on multiplication (ex. =5.1*12850; =10.2*6425; =20.4*3212.5 ), but our testing showed that this really didn’t have anything do to with multiplication – it manifested itself with many but not all calculations in Excel that should have resulted in 65,535 (=65535*1 and =16383.75*4 worked for instance). Further testing showed a similar phenomenon with 65,536 as well. This issue only exists in Excel 2007, not previous versions.
Japanese game maker Atlus said on Tuesday that it would remove 150 Arm Spirit arm-wrestling machines from Japanese arcades after three players broke their arms while wrestling with the machine’s mechanized appendage.
“The machine isn’t that strong, much less so than a muscular man,” said an Atlus spokeswoman. “Even women should be able to beat it,” the company claimed, saying that it would check the machines for malfunctions as “a precaution.”
Islamic militants are suspected of using Second Life, the internet virtual world, to hunt for recruits and mimic real-life terrorism.
Police and the intelligence services are concerned that it may have been infiltrated by extremists to proselytise, communicate and transfer money to one another. Radicals may also be responsible for “virtual” terrorist attacks in which buildings depicted on the website are blown up.
Kevin Zuccato, head of the Australian government’s High Tech Crime Centre, said jihadists may also be using the virtual reality world to master skills such as reconnaissance and surveillance. “We need to start thinking about living, working and protecting two worlds and two realities,” he told a security industry conference in Sydney.
The concerns are shared by Europol, the pan-European police agency, which believes that Second Life provides a means to transfer money across borders in a way that is more difficult for the authorities to monitor. It has recruited security consultants to advise on the use of Second Life for fraud and terrorism.
Two years ago, Russell Tavares was a clean-cut 25-year-old entrusted with “very high clearance” in missile and fire control in the U.S. Navy, officials say.
Now he’s the subject of a bizarre, tragic story — one that McLennan County investigators say would be a fitting plot for a television crime drama about short tempers, long-distance vendettas and the Internet’s ability to bring various personalities into conflict.
On Russell Tavares (above): “I’ve worked plenty of arson cases, but never one as bizarre as this one. Most are committed for money or getting back at somebody. This one, he blames on the computer.” — James Pack, McLennan County Sheriff’s Office detective
Tavares was involved in an Internet chat room squabble with John Anderson, a 59-year-old Elm Mott resident. Anderson said he called Tavares “a nerd.”
Tavares’ response: He took a leave of absence from the Navy. Drove from Virginia to Waco. Set fire to Anderson’s trailer home.
US arms and aerospace manufacturer Boeing announced on Friday that it had landed a contract to develop truck-mounted laser cannons for the US Army.
As part of the Army’s High Energy Laser Technology Demonstrator (HEL TD) project, Boeing will produce a “rugged beam control system”, which will be mounted on a monstrous 20 tonne Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck.
The HEL TD is intended to shoot down incoming enemy artillery shells, rockets, or mortar bombs. Laser systems which can actually blast stuff, as opposed to merely lighting targets up for other weapons to hit, are big and bulky items – hence the big carrying vehicle (though the HEL TD is a mere peashooter compared to Boeing’s other famous blaster-cannon programme, the jumbo-jet mounted Airborne Laser).
The “dream job” of being a video game tester may sound like a way to get paid for doing exactly what you’d choose to do in the middle of the afternoon on your own living-room sofa, but the reality is very different. To find out how different, I spent a couple of weeks at Volt, a Redmond company that is the country’s largest independent video game tester. Hundreds of testers work at Nintendo and Microsoft during crunch times. More than 50 smaller Seattle-area video game developers—like Surreal, Valve, and Zipper—employ anywhere from five to 20 testers each. But when it’s time to contract out some of the most grunt-worthy testing tasks, companies call Volt.
Listen to an iPod during a storm and you may get more than electrifying tunes. A Canadian jogger suffered wishbone-shaped chest and neck burns, ruptured eardrums and a broken jaw when lightning traveled through his music player’s wires.
Last summer, a Colorado teen ended up with similar injuries when lightning struck nearby as he was listening to his iPod while mowing the lawn.
Emergency physicians report treating other patients with burns from freak accidents while using personal electronic devices such as beepers, Walkman players and laptop computers outdoors during storms.
Michael Utley, a former stockbroker from West Yarmouth, Mass., who survived being struck by lightning while golfing, has tracked 13 cases since 2004 of people hit while talking on cell phones. They are described on his Web site,
Contrary to some urban legends and media reports, electronic devices don’t attract lightning the way a tall tree or a lightning rod does.
A critical-care nurse aboard an air ambulance fought to keep from being sucked out of the cabin when a window blew out of the aircraft at 20,000 feet.
“I guess it wasn’t my day to die,” said Chris Fogg, who lives near Boise, Idaho, and was flying with a patient and the pilot last Wednesday from Twin Falls, Idaho, to Seattle. “For anyone else, I think he would have been sucked completely out, but for some reason I was spared, and I don’t know why.”
Fogg’s head and right arm were pulled outside the window, and he suffered cuts to his head. Some equipment, charts, his eye glasses and packages went flying out of the cabin.
The rapid decompression occurred when Fogg was unbuckled from his seat and reaching for a water bottle.
The game is on for hackers trying to spot security vulnerabilities in Apple’s iPhone and already they’re scoring points. Less than 72 hours after the iPhone’s introduction, researchers have reported at least one flaw that could allow an attacker some level of control over the device, while other hackers have uncovered passwords hiding in Apple software that could prove key in gaining root access, they said.
The most serious flaw, reported by Errata Security, resides in the iPhone’s Safari browser. By effecting a buffer overflow in the application, an attacker can take control of the browser and run code on the device, said Robert Graham, CEO of Errata.
“The scenario that seems most attractive is to have the phone dial 900 numbers,” Graham said, noting an age-old attack that allows criminals with ties to fee-based phone services to profit each time an infected computer dial the number.
Among the advances made to date, hackers have discovered the password the iPhone requires to give an application root access is, amazingly, “dottie” (minus the quotation marks). A second password for mobile access is “alpine.”
It’s a battle of pop culture titans as two empires — one high-tech, one high-rise — clash in explosive PR fury. Since these two heavyweight memes have climbed into the competitive media ring of their own volition, we thought we’d size them up for you. As Stephen Colbert would say: “Pick a side — we’re at war!”
iPhone: Simple to use.
Paris Hilton: Simple.
iPhone: Questionable protection against viruses.
Paris Hilton: Has herpes.
As the saying goes, read the whole thing!
An unprecedented computer failure in the Russian segment of the International Space Station has engineers at space centers in Houston and Russia racing the clock to solve the problem before the Space Shuttle Atlantis undocks on June 19.
Cmdr. Fyodor Yurchikhin stayed up all night to work with flight controllers in Russia’s Mission Control to repair the problem.
All three computers for command and control, plus three guidance computers, which provided triple redundancy for vital space station functions, have failed; repeated attempts to force the computers to reboot have failed.
UPDATE: Apparently nobody involved (Russians, Germans, Americans) ever heard of surge suppressors!
Colombia’s electrical grid collapsed Thursday, causing a nationwide blackout that briefly halted stock trading, trapped people in elevators and left authorities struggling to determine the cause.
President Alvaro Uribe told journalists in the southern city of Cali that the blackout, which began at midmorning, “appears to have affected the entire country.”
Luis Alarcon, manager of state-controlled electricity distributor ISA, issued a statement that the power outage apparently began with an undetermined technical glitch at a substation in Bogota and quickly spread to the rest of the country.
He said work crews had re-established power to about 20 percent of the country and hoped to reconnect the rest in a few hours.
NewsChannel 4 learned of a massive system failure that affected all blackberry users in the western hemisphere late Tuesday.
The RIM Company, which stands for Research In Motion, developed blackberry technology and said its infrastructure failed around 8 p.m. Tuesday and was until about 7 a.m. Wenesday.
E-mails were not being pushed to portable blackberry devices.
Officials with RIM said they tried to reset the system and they were concerned that the backlog of data, which could cause a bigger problem as it rushes through now that the system appears to be online.
Researchers in the US are developing a single-pixel camera to capture high-quality images without the expense of traditional digital photography. Being developed by a lab at Rice University in Houston, Texas, the single-pixel camera is designed to tackle what its developers see as the “inefficiencies” of modern digital camera.
A father-of-two hanged himself live over the internet in Britain’s first ‘cyber suicide’. Kevin Whitrick, 42, took his life after being goaded by dozens of chatroom users from across the world who initially believed he was play acting. But as they watched in horror, Mr Whitrick climbed onto a chair, smashed through a ceiling and then hanged himself with a piece of rope.
Work on Brain-Machine Interface (think monkey controlling a joystick with its thoughts) is old news, but a patent granted earlier this month underscores researchers’ confidence that a broader set of military applications is possible: like controlling weapons with your mind.
In “Apparatus for acquiring and transmitting neural signals and related methods,” researchers at Duke University are laying claim to a device that can use the brain’s thoughts to control an array of mechanical and electrical devices, up to and including weapons
Perhaps you know that sinking feeling when a single keystroke accidentally destroy hours of work. Now imagine wiping out a disc drive containing an account worth $38 billion.
A computer technician at the Alaska Department of Revenue deleted applicant information for an oil-funded sales account — one of state residents’ biggest perks. While reformatting the disk drive during a routine maintenance check, the technician mistakenly reformatted the backup drive as well and, suddenly, all the data disappeared.
A third line of defense — backup tapes that are updated nightly — were unreadable.
She graduated Phi Beta Kappa, has published in top legal journals and completed internships at leading institutions in her field. So when the Yale law student interviewed with 16 firms for a job this summer, she was concerned that she had only four call-backs. She was stunned when she had zero offers.
Though it is difficult to prove a direct link, the woman thinks she is a victim of a new form of reputation-maligning: online postings with offensive content and personal attacks that can be stored forever and are easily accessible through a Google search.
Lockheed’s F-22 Raptor is the most advanced fighter in the world with its stealth capabilities, advanced radar, state of the art weapons systems and ultra-efficient turbofans which allow the F-22 to “supercruise” at supersonic speeds without an afterburner.
But while the simulated war games were a somewhat easy feat for the Raptor, something more mundane was able to cripple six aircraft on a 12 to 15 hours flight from Hawaii to Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan. The U.S. Air Force’s mighty Raptor was felled by the International Date Line (IDL).
When the group of Raptors crossed over the IDL, multiple computer systems crashed on the planes. Everything from fuel subsystems, to navigation and partial communications were completely taken offline. Numerous attempts were made to “reboot” the systems to no avail.
A 78-year-old Norwegian woman died this week from burns suffered when her television set exploded in her apartment.
The woman lived alone in a senior citizens’ housing project in Odda, western Norway. The explosion was apparently so powerful that the TV itself was virtually pulverized.
Morse code is in need of some serious SOS.The language of dots and dashes, first used during the infancy of electronic communication in the mid-1800s, is going the way of Latin.
Beginning today, amateur or “ham” radio operators in the United States won’t be tested in Morse code – also known as Continuous Wave – in order to be licensed by the federal government.
High school students in the Mexican state of Chihuahua are being made to care for screaming, hiccuping baby dolls that run on computer chips to try to bring down the state’s soaring teenage pregnancy rate.
Pairs of teen-age boys and girls aged 13 to 17 have to spend two or three days tending to the computerized babies, programed to cry for food, burp and wake up screaming at night until they are rocked back to sleep.
“You have to change their diapers, feed them and slap them on the back so they burp. They laugh, they get colic. They simulate the behavior of a real baby,” said state education official Pilar Huidobro, who is in charge of the program.
Robert Adler, a US inventor best known for the creation of the couch potato’s dream device, the TV remote control, has died at the age of 93.
He received an Emmy award in 1997 for the 1956 invention jointly with fellow engineer Eugene Polley.
Girard’s description of himself is matter-of-fact, until he explains what’s in the bag: documents he believes prove that the government is attempting to control his mind. He carries that black, weathered bag everywhere he goes. “Every time I go out, I’m prepared to come home and find everything is stolen,” he says.
The bag aside, Girard appears intelligent and coherent. At a table in front of Dunkin’ Donuts inside the train station, Girard opens the bag and pulls out a thick stack of documents, carefully labeled and sorted with yellow sticky notes bearing neat block print. The documents are an authentic-looking mix of news stories, articles culled from military journals and even some declassified national security documents that do seem to show that the U.S. government has attempted to develop weapons that send voices into people’s heads.
The era of permanent internet connectivity comes a step closer next week when Autonet Mobile launches its new wireless service that turns any car into a WiFi Hotspot at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
The U.S. Air Force is quietly spending millions of dollars investigating ways to use a radical power source — antimatter, the eerie “mirror” of ordinary matter — in future weapons.
The most powerful potential energy source presently thought to be available to humanity, antimatter is a term normally heard in science-fiction films and TV shows, whose heroes fly “antimatter-powered spaceships” and do battle with “antimatter guns.”
But antimatter itself isn’t fiction; it actually exists and has been intensively studied by physicists since the 1930s. In a sense, matter and antimatter are the yin and yang of reality: Every type of subatomic particle has its antimatter counterpart. But when matter and antimatter collide, they annihilate each other in an immense burst of energy.
During the Cold war, the Air Force funded numerous scientific studies of the basic physics of antimatter. With the knowledge gained, some Air Force insiders are beginning to think seriously about potential military uses — for example, antimatter bombs small enough to hold in one’s hand, and antimatter engines for 24/7 surveillance aircraft.
Internet and phone services have been disrupted across much of Asia after an earthquake damaged undersea cables, leaving one of the world’s most tech-savvy regions in a virtual blackout. From frustrated traders seeking in vain for stock quotes to anxious newshounds accustomed to round-the-clock updates on world events, millions of people from China to Japan to Australia were believed to have been affected. There was no chaos on the stock exchanges or any of the other doomsday scenarios of science fiction, but reports that services could be down for weeks were dramatic enough.