Articles, Page 12 of 206
Congressional representative Michele Bachman was recently granted a Switzerland citizenship. She calls the matter a non-story … but is it? Is it not disturbing that political leaders of the United States could theoretically have legal duties or binding interests to foreign lands? It is especially disturbing considering that upon becoming a congressional representative that a full clearance is granted (to anything and all compartments). When a large matter of national security falls into the “NOFORN” category, what kind of precedent is she setting for maintaining classified information? (Not that congress isn’t the source of nearly all leaks …)
Until the early 20th century, human babies survived on breastmilk (it may have been from a wet nurse, but it was still breastmilk). With the invention of baby formula, mothers in America largely trended away from breastfeeding relying instead upon the derived product to handle their baby’s nutritional needs. Around the 70s, the trend slowly began to reverse itself back to actual breastfeeding. Oddly enough, the social norm had changed definitively such that a woman breastfeeding her baby became something she did entirely privately, as if Americans couldn’t handle the image. The trend seems to have shifted yet again, with helicopter parents growing truly extreme in recent years. The latest Time magazine feature story (subscription required) highlights that not only has breastfeeding made a return, but mothers are continuing the process as their children grow through the toddler years.
How much is FaceBook worth? Investors are about to find out when the social media company goes public on the 18th. Indications are the stock will be offered between $28-$35 a share up front and enough shares are on the table to put the FaceBook’s value at nearly $100 billion. It’s principle owners stand to make a killing by selling their own stock options as part of the initial offering with estimates that founder Mark Zuckerburg could be sitting on $1 billion in cash that day. A mere eight years ago, Google went public with pre-IPO estimates predicting $2.7 billion to be raised worth of stock sales. Is FaceBook overpriced or can investors bank on another meteoric chance to “get in early?”
There appears to be damning evidence for both sides; be it Google’s internal documents recognizing the possible copyright issue during the development of Android or Oracle’s admission that Oracle management decided it wanted to compete with Android prior to deciding to sue Google or even conflicting testimony from two former CEOs of Sun, the previous owner of Java intellectual property.
It’s relatively old news that employers do their research on interviewed candidates. They’ve done Google searches on them and checked them out on social networking sites like FaceBook. Some people finally jumped on the privacy bandwagon and locked down their accounts after realizing their drunken, topless keg stands from college are not ideal for prospective employers (or maybe it is). That didn’t stop the companies from demanding candidates turnover login information to their accounts – it’s even happened to people that were already employed as a condition of continued employment. Needless to say, this hasn’t sat well with … anyone. FaceBook has finally risen to the occasion and at least threatened to begin suing companies demanding illegitimate access to user accounts. One bill was already squashed in congress to make this illegal, but it was a rider on another bill. As such, the Social Networking Online Protection Act is being pushed again as an independent act.
I recently noticed a comment from an OmniNerd user that posting media into an article wan’t easy. This quick How-To will address that issue with a demonstration of embedding a picture and a video.
How To Post Pictures
The first thing you need to do, is create a new article using the typical routine. Click on
Submit New at the top and choose the
Article type. The site will prompt you for the usual preliminaries, a title and some tags, after which you must click
Save Draft and Begin Auto-Saving.
To put a picture into your article, start by clicking
Edit / Upload Images for this Article. You’ll be brought to a screen like the one below. From here, you simply pick a JPG, GIF or PNG file from your computer and click
BGP is the protocol that governs how routers between ASs (autonomous systems) share their routes with one another. It’s a peculiar protocol in that no network administrator necessarily trusts their counterpart, but is forced to accept what is advertised in order to see beyond their own network. That said, improper BGP messages can lead to all sorts of network mayhem – one of the most significant examples is laid out in great detail by OmniNerd’s own twabulldogg in Did China Hijack 15% of the Internet: Routers, BGP and Ignorance. Some network engineers have gotten together to come up with various solutions to solve the problem when BGP advertisements are irregular or false. One solution involves PKI certificates to vouch for authenticity but this technique involves an architectural change … and the Internet is nothing but slow to adopt change (cough IPv6 cough). The engineers are proposing an idea called ROVER (Route Origin Verification) which utilizes DNS and its myriad of available records to store route information and secure them with DNSSEC. An advantage of this approach is the architecture is already in place. A test program can be found at ROVER.
A new study released by the University of British Columbia’s psychology department is definitively showing a widening delta between intuitive and analytic thinkers when it comes to religious belief. Even more interesting, as highly devout subjects are pushed into analytic thinking modes, their level of belief begins to diminish noticeably. Will Gervais, the leading researcher states, “Our goal was to explore the fundamental question of why people believe in a God to different degrees.” They intend to follow-up the study with experiments to determine the lasting effects of the diminished belief or how long the mind remains in its analytic mode vice the intuitive mode. Associate Professor Ara Norenzayan adds, “Our findings suggest that activating the ‘analytic’ cognitive system in the brain can undermine the ‘intuitive’ support for religious belief, at least temporarily.” The full article was published in Science (requires subscription).
Supply chain security has been a hot topic of late, particularly with regards to America’s dependence on IT infrastructure manufactured overseas. Lately, reports haven’t pulled any punches in alluding to Chinese involvement in surreptitiously compromising equipment destined for the United States. Although the source has not been confirmed, Hewlett Packard ProCurve 5400 zl Switches have been identified as having shipped to customers with infected compact flash cards. Only particular batches of serial numbers after April 30, 2011 are amongst the infected lot. The malware does not have an impact on the switch itself but is believed to target PCs once a user removes the card from the switch and transfers it to a regular machine. The security announcement from Hewlett Packard can be viewed here.
Only a few short days ago, Iran announced its Ministry of Oil was subjected to a cyber attack and successfully repelled it. Reports vary with regard to the target, some indicate the attack seemed to center around the National Iranian Oil Company’s primary servers where it was detected and mitigated while others indicate it affected the control systems of Kharg Island where most of Iran’s oil exports are handled. Having established a Supreme Council of Cyberspace after the Stuxnet worm ravaged the Iranian nuclear program, their response team shut down external network access to the oil ministry and various refineries for a period of three days. Presently, the Iranians claim no damage was incurred and no data was exfiltrated, “This cyber attack has not damaged the main data of the oil ministry and the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) since the general servers are separate from the main servers, even their cables are not linked to each other and are not linked to internet service.” Another spokesman indicated that user data had been compromised but ultimately oil production was not affected. It’s no surprise the Iranians are in such a hurry to create a national Internet, severing themselves from the global Internet for both infrastructure security and population control.
So awhile back, I bought one of these LG BX580 BluRay players because I wanted to simplify my media experience with an all-in-one disc/network player. I really didn’t think anything of it since the player did exactly what it was supposed to do. But in light of recent articles bringing up the inherent security risks associated with appliances – Government Console Hacking, Firmware Attacks on Printers and Your TV Will Be Hacked – I decided to take a quick look at the device.
According to a report from Alarabiya.net, Egypt is currently debating several bills to move the country toward a more fundamentalist version of Islamic rule. One law will legalize marriage of girls starting from age 14 and another, strangely (at least to this westerner), allows a husband to engage in intercourse with his wife for up to six hours after her death (clearly a cause worth fighting for). Yet another is looking to strip women of divorce rights in the country.
An Egyptian MP, Dr. Mervat al-Talawi, head of the National Council for Women, is appealing the approval of the bills in light of “the woes of Egyptian women, especially after the popular uprising that toppled president Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.”
The service academies are in the news again, but this time it’s not for sports rivalry or academic value. Rape is the soup du jour, with allegations and lawsuits against both West Point and the Naval Academy. It’s obvious that such allegations are of a serious nature, but it is somewhat ridiculous for the plaintiffs to hold “personally responsible” (as per the article) the former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, the former superintendents of the two academies and the current secretaries of the Army and Navy. The story indicates an overly pervasive culture of alcohol pressure and a hostile chain of command to which one could report sexual misconduct.
Watching a few of those old sit coms on cable the other day I was struck by how unfunny I now regarded shows that I thought were hilarious when they were new. The canned laughter seemed to be in the wrong places, and soon became so grating that I soon had to concede that I should no longer seek entertainment in that form.
Reflecting on this in bed, I wondered whether it is my sense of humour that has changed, or is it America’s, or am I imagining this and nothing has changed? So, giving up on sleep, I turned on the TV and on came the Letterman Show. The crowd goes wild as he enters the theatre and the whistles and screams continue as he attempts to get out his opening one-liners. I pay close attention to his words and it is all I can do to find some mild irony or satire, certainly insufficient to raise a smile in me. But the signs are clearly urging the audience to applaud because Dave is getting an ovation that would do credit to an opera star. I turn off the TV and sink into a depressing reflection that I have grown into an old fart who no longer shares the mainstream sense of humour.