Articles, Page 13 of 209

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16 Aug 12

Ex-Special Forces Decry Obama Administration Leaks

There have been quite a few anonymous leaks from the present administration – ranging from taking credit for the infamous Stuxnet, the kill lists to details on the bin Laden raid. While all of the actions are egregious disclosures of classified information, the bin Laden raid details particularly raised the ire of the special forces community across the military services. Although the active component has generally simmered in silence, the community’s members that have departed service are now speaking up. One former SEAL commented, “If you disclose how we got there, how we took down the building, what we did, how many people were there, that it’s going to hinder future operations, and certainly hurt the success of those future operations.” And flipping the President’s own words about small business owners back at him, “Mr. President, you did not kill Osama bin Laden. America did.” The disgruntled veterans, tired of being used to bolster Obama’s re-election campaign, put together a 22 minute video to air their concerns publicly.

13 Aug 12

Radioactive Butterflies

Mothra is a giant butterfly/moth hybrid that terrorized Japan in a series of monster genre movies. Unfortunately for Japan, Patient Zero of the butterfly world has emerged outside of the Fukushima nuclear plant. Thanks to a massive release of radioactive particles, the Zizeeria Maha Serica are showing genetic abnormalities that have only been reproduced scientifically using doses of radiation. These abnormalities have not yet resulted in gigantism or similar destructive features but include changes to wing patterns, antenna length and eye deformities.

13 Aug 12

So Who Is Paul Ryan?

So OmniNerds, who is this guy and why should we care? After all, the Vice President really doesn’t do much at all except wait for the President to die.

If you’ve been completely under a rock, Paul Ryan is Mitt Romney’s chosen running mate for Vice President. CNN has a basic rundown of Paul Ryan facts to establish a few starting point metrics. Naturally, the Obama camp already has their this guy is a sham articles up and posted.

09 Aug 12

Curiosity Lands on Mars

No doubt you already know ‘merica has conquered Mars once again. NASA’s Curiosity rover touched down in a dramatic sky crane landing a few days ago. Instead of bouncing across the landscape in a giant beachball like the Spirit and Opportunity rovers, Curiosity plunged through the atmosphere on a parachute whereupon it’s rocket backpack fired before impact allowing it to be lowered to Mars on a rappelling tether. That’s super bad ass NASA … fist bump. Prior to conducting any science, the vehicle is performing integrity checks which included more or less holding an iPhone up to a mirror and taking a picture of its butt. The images were created when the mast instrument checks were performed with the panoramic cameras providing a view of both Curiosity and the surrounding scorch marks from the landing rockets. Curiosity is expected to run for at least two years and packs 15 times as many instruments as its predecessors into its car sized frame.

07 Aug 12

Opening Hotel Locks

BlackHat 2012 proved once again to be an interesting conference full of the latest security research, training and hacks. One interesting presentation proved how insecure hotel locks are, specifically the ones utilizing the magnetic card keys. Hacker Cody Brocious used nothing more than a simple Arduino to read digital data and replay it. More specifically, a DC power port on the bottom of Onity locks allows for recharging the on-board battery and configuring a hotel specific code into the door. Using the Arduino, Brocious plugged into the DC port, read the 32bit hotel specific code and simply played it back which has the simple effect of … unlocking the door. A full technical write-up is available at the hacker’s website.

03 Aug 12

Chick-fil-A Politics

Chick-fil-A became embroiled in controversy over comments by Dan Cathy, the company’s CEO. In a nutshell, he didn’t just provide his opinion on same-sex marriage but indicated his company took an anti-same-sex marriage position based on its Christian values. Of course, they immediately became a poster child business for ardent Christians But the issue went further as some municipalities made public statements against the business for its inflammatory stance. This led to a rather interesting turnabout of additional protesters (that the religious right are incorrectly assuming take their side) that are simply arguing a government entity cannot punish a business for First Amendment rights. (After all, Romney made the news for declaring corporations are people too). The issue is now both anti/pro same-sex marriage AND first amendment rights for businesses against political opinions.

31 Jul 12

NBC Olympic Coverage

Anybody else think NBC’s coverage of the 2012 Olympics suck? Personally, I find it ridiculous that sports are on-going throughout the day and yet if I turn on the television there is nothing showing until the evening. By that point, any events I’m interested in, I’ve already found out the results from the Internet. And then, despite a plethora of athletes from around the world competing, all NBC seems to air are Americans, lengthy commercials and long winded background stories. I remember while living in Europe their sports channels carried nearly non-stop Olympic coverage spanning all sorts of events and showing as many athletes as possible. It’s not really a surprise so few people seem to care anymore.

31 Jul 12

Software Engineers, Developers and Computer Scientists

How do you delineate software engineers, software developers and computer scientists from one another? There are, of course, “definitions” for these individuals but practical reality often differs.

One amusing anecdote I’ve seen said, “A Software Engineer is the person you call to reset your password. A Software Developer is the person you call to set up a new Excel macro. Nobody knows what a Computer Scientist is.”

31 Jul 12

Female Body Armor

Women in the Army are on the verge of getting new armor. The simple fact of the matter is that current vest and plate designs just don’t fit right on women due to different body form factors. While it’s easy to simply redesign the shapes, the “challenge right now is that when you bring in those complex curvatures, the plate loses some of its strength.” In other words, 0xB16B00B5 get in the way and weaken contemporary plate designs if they’re simply reshaped to form. Perhaps this is the first step towards a military uniform consisting of form-fitting spandex just like the comic books said would happen.

30 Jul 12

3D Printing Firearms

Gun control may soon be a very moot point. Take for example, the classic AR-15 (M4/M16 equivalent). You can buy nearly every component for this weapon via uncontrolled mechanisms today. The “controlled”, if you will, component is the lower receiver which is stamped by serial number and ultimately considered the weapon. An American gunsmith has taken to technology and voila, printed himself a lower receiver from a standard 3D printer using resin. The lower receiver was mated with the appropriate components and a fully-functional AR-15 was born. THe digital design to replicate the work exists on ThingVerse where people can expand on the work … like add full auto?

25 Jul 12

Everybody p0wns Natanz

It’s beginning to seem that Iran is the Poland of cyberspace … everyone is p0wning them. The latest buzz around the Natanz nuclear facility is an email received by F-Secure from a scientist at the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI). F-Secure has confirmed the email really did originate from the facility but has not had a chance to validate the claims. Within the note, the scientist claims their network and Siemens systems were shutdown from an attack utilizing nothing more than Metasploit with the added audible insult of playing ACDC’s Thunderstruck from the computer’s speakers each night. If true, then it would seem Iran’s networks are the digital equivalent of the easy-girl at the frat party.

24 Jul 12


Microsoft has been contributing to the Linux kernel for many years, specifically to get driver support for Hyper-V to function properly. As a matter of fact, their efforts were recognized by the Linux Foundation as putting Microsoft among the top 1% of Linux contributors. That recognition was recently discolored a little by a lack of professionalism in their code contributions. The following entries were submitted into the kernel …

#define HV_LINUX_GUEST_ID_LO               0x00000000
#define HV_LINUX_GUEST_ID_HI               0xB16B00B5

1337 speak for ‘Big Boobs’, the entry was noticed during an examination of changes through Git. This somewhat amusing back and forth between Linux developers shows the discovery of the 0xB16B00B5 constant which in turn was ‘solved’ by recommitting the code in decimal form instead of hexadecimal. Apparently, this constant has been in use by Microsoft long enough they responded, “While the hypervisor does not interpret the guest ID that is registered, I am not sure what dependencies there might be on this value” with regards to changing it to something else.

23 Jul 12

Professional Athletes in the Olympics

In the beginning of the modern Olympic games, athletes were required to be amateurs. That requirement extended beyond the sport they competed in and included any form of payment for athletic performance. Jim Thorpe’s performance in the 1912 Olympics exemplified this rule. However, as time went on, nations began suspecting one another of seeding the games with state professionals or other less-than-amateur entries. The United States truly bit the professional athlete bullet with the 1992 Dream Team that effectively changed the face of Olympic basketball. Now, nearly every athlete of dominance has some form of professional affiliation or monetary sponsorship and the games are inundated with advertisements and endorsements.

20 Jul 12

Concealed Carry - What If?

By now, it’s likely that you already know about the Aurora, CO shootings during the Batman: Dark Knight Rises premier. One crazed gunman managed to kill 12 and injure 59 using an AR-15, shotgun and dual .40 handguns. The weapons were purchased legally as Colorado is not one of the difficult states for acquiring firearms (for law-abiding citizens that is).

Already, people are questioning whether or not stricter gun control is the answer or whether more citizens with privately concealed firearms could have defended themselves. With regards to self defense, a concealed carry permit is relatively easy to obtain in Colorado and the state supports both Castle Doctrine and stand-your-ground. Only days ago in Florida, a senior citizen with a concealed firearm shot two thugs holding up an Internet cafe at gunpoint adding credence that a trained and armed society can often take care of itself [see the security footage embedded below]. Naturally, there are two sides to the coin and many admit that in the crowded, dark and smoky theater, it would have been difficult for a person to defend themselves without injuring others in the process.

18 Jul 12

2013 Diesel Jeep Cherokee

Awhile back, American Jeep enthusiasts were underwhelmed when only the Liberty was given a 2.8L diesel. The engine was short lived because the 2007 restrictions on diesel fuel took effect that most engines where incapable of meeting. Needless to say, excitement for a diesel engine in a Jeep (that people actually wanted) has never faded away and the auto industry’s tumble in 2009 crippled the crate diesel engine swap for the Wrangler TJ series.

It looks like the wait may finally be over as Chrysler has announced the 2013 Grand Cherokee will have a 3.0L diesel as an option. Production of the diesel for the Cherokee (along with the Durango and the rebirth of the Viper) is expected to also create more than 1000 jobs in the Detroit factories. The overseas markets have long enjoyed diesel options; 90% of Cherokees in Europe are diesel powered. If the overseas market engines perform similarly in the United States (after meeting the 2007 requirements), the Cherokees are expected to get more than 33mpg.

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