Articles, Page 17 of 200
Have you seen any of the May 21st Judgement Day advertisements lately? They’re the work of folks following Harold Camping who uses a little numerology to deduce that a five month cataclysm begins this Saturday. Of course, Harold’s been wrong before having predicted we would all be wiped out about seventeen years ago. Oops. Despite previous mistakes in his predictions, he has enough followers to report $18 million in donations to the IRS. Needless to say, as the date has drawn nearer, they’ve been posting billboards and driving end-of-the-world-vans around trying to convince everyone of their impending demise. Break out your barbecues on Friday for some apocalyptic tailgating!
Our wives have long complained the male obsession with zombie apocalypse plans were frivolous. Well, the CDC (Center for Disease Control) has on it’s official .gov site a preparedness plan for preventing your death from a zombie outbreak. From the CDC:
If zombies did start roaming the streets, CDC would conduct an investigation much like any other disease outbreak. CDC would provide technical assistance to cities, states, or international partners dealing with a zombie infestation. This assistance might include consultation, lab testing and analysis, patient management and care, tracking of contacts, and infection control (including isolation and quarantine).
My opinion on Wall Street’s implementation of HFT is no secret to OmniNerds. A proof of concept hack has been demonstrated against HFT systems that is being dubbed a side-channel attack. The principle is very simple, and similar in practice to DoS, where an attacker introduces minor latencies into the network – not enough to disrupt it – to delay a trade’s execution by milliseconds. That creates a large enough window to squeeze in a competitive trade or one that negatively influences the value against which the delayed trade made its execution decision. It would be a virtually impossible vector to detect as the very essence of HFT is to be faster than the other guy making the injected trade seem like just another HFT system at play. Furthermore, the delays are so inconsequential and dispersed that efforts to actually detect them probably costs more than the affected loss. But to the criminal, those random pay-offs are easily worth it.
So I’ve ranted and raved before about the idiocy of Wall Street’s activities creating false prices for oil. The specific take away is with regards to market making where “the purchasing whims of a single entity can have global impact on a product’s price – even when its not ‘real’ demand” and that single entity’s activity is exacerbated by market bandwagoning. Nearly three years ago today, strategists described the situation of 2008’s oil run up quite succinctly, “The guys who screwed up the mortgage markets are bringing their awesome skill sets to bear on physical commodity markets.”
Last night, the Mythbusters tested the myth of propelling a sailboat with an on-board fan. At first, the myth seemed busted when the scale model sat still thanks to Newton’s Third Law. But, as is usual Mythbuster style, the team decided to ramp up the test to show that it didn’t matter how big the fan was, the boat would remain still – but it didn’t. Using a model plane engine followed by a model plane ducted fan jet, the Mythbusters were able to get their scaled contraptions moving (albeit inefficiently). This test was finally confirmed using a swamp boat with the fan turned backwards. On a windless day, blowing the 60+mph wind into their sail resulted in forward motion of about 3mph.
During the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound, one of the military’s helicopters was lost. While that normally wouldn’t be of much interest, speculators looking at the wreckage photographs have noticed it was something unusual. Aviation experts believe it was a heavily modified Blackhawk UH-60. According to Jane’s Defence Weekly, “had this particular helicopter not crashed, we still would have no idea of its existence.” Many elements of its appearance bear similarity to technology found on the RAH-66 Comanche. First unveiled in 1995, the Comanche was canceled in 2004 to divert funds towards the National Guard and Reserve forces. The vehicle featured a number of technological breakthroughs with regards to making a stealth helicopter. Considering also the raid was a coordinated effort between the Navy SEALs and the CIA, helicopter technologies from the mythical CIA black helicopters may also have been at play.1
Open a newspaper in the Marcellus Shale region of Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland, West Virginia and part of Virgina and you will likely find an article on the hydraulic fracturing that is used to drill these wells. Politicians see this as a new ‘Boom’, while environmental groups are calling for a moratorium on drilling. This article will explore the hydraulic fracturing process, the reason for the excitement over the Marcellus Shale region, the dangers involved, and the public reaction to the process.
The focus of malware authors used to be almost solely restricted to the Windows domain as the number of Microsoft systems vastly dwarfed any of its competitors. However, as the popularity of alternative platforms grows, the criminal return on targeting them increases. Only a few days ago, a kit emerged for miscreants to automatically develop malware binaries that take advantage of OS X users similar to the Zeus kit. Another attack against OS X machines came in the form of the highly polished Mac Defender trojan which portrays itself as a security tool finding all sorts of non-existent malware on a system in order to fool users into purchasing it (and giving away their credit card information). Lastly, a new botnet was discovered written in Java seemingly to make cross-platform ownership a reality.
Pure and simple – I hate people that tailgate me when I’m driving. There are certainly some creative ways of dealing with them … what are some of yours?
It’s amazing to think the birth certificate controversy has plodded onward as long as it has. Recently, the White House released the so-called long form (pdf) to put the matter to rest at last. Despite completely deflating the birther’s sails, Trump managed to congratulate himself anyway stating, “I’m very proud of myself because I’ve accomplished something that nobody else has been able to accomplish.” Meanwhile, President Obama explained the decision to release this document despite having already submitting the short form during the election, “We’re not going to be able to solve our problems if we get distracted by sideshows and carnival barkers.” Incredibly, many of the birthers continue to be skeptical in disbelief.
What is it that makes certain figures appear more authoritative than others? The answer will undoubtedly reveal a generational gap between schools of thought. For instance, while many might look at the activity as less than professional, a small study amongst younger academics revealed that students associated greater credibility with professors that Tweeted1 about their social activity versus those with only a scholarly twist (or none at all). The Baby Boomers had to deal with the Generation X-ers diminished view of authority and corporate stodginess. Is the rising generation of workers going to force management at all levels to open up to social networking?
News on the street is that UBL (Osama bin Laden) was killed by Seal Team 6. According to reports, the location in Abbottabad was identified by the CIA after years of monitoring UBL’s couriers. UBL was residing in a mansion-like facility just outside of Islamabad, Pakistan. As a point of political embarrassment to the Pakistanis that have long claimed to “be doing everything to assist,” the facility was only a few football field lengths away from the Pakistani Military Academy (their version of West Point). When the intelligence was solid, President Obama authorized the raid whereupon forces were inserted rapidly by helicopter. The entire operation took less than forty minutes with no losses to American forces. As public enemy number one, UBL had a long history of conflict with the United States dating back into the 1990’s with attempted World Trade Center bombings, embassy attacks, etc. Although the action will inevitably stir conspiracy theorists, UBL’s body was buried at sea shortly after the raid. Reasons behind the action were to abide by Islamic tradition of burial with a single day (so as not to incite further violence) and to prevent any single location from becoming a shrine to extremists.
I am sure that none of us here are going to cry over the death of Ossama bin Laden, but there may be something else to be sorry about here.
We gave him a death in battle, along with his comrades, when they were trapped by a superior force. That is a situation any soldier can find himself in and it is an honorable way to die. I don’t think he deserved that.
The USA did not bring him to justice. We don’t administer justice using machine guns and missiles from helicopters. We presumed him guilty, judged him without a trial and then gave him a death in battle. By so doing we lost any hope of ever bringing him to justice.
If you’ve stayed in a hotel in the past year or two, you’ve likely noticed some new signage in your room – a placard next to the bed or posted in the bathroom asking you to join the hotel in their efforts to save water by washing your sheets or towels only as needed, instead of everyday.
My first reaction to these was twofold: First, this is a great idea! It presents me with an opportunity to give up something about which I care little (not having my towels and sheets washed everyday) for something about which I care deeply (minimizing waste). Second, I was sure the hotel cared less about the environment than they did about saving money.