Articles, Page 9 of 208

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10 Jun 13
Newspaper

Government Eavesdropping

The US Government seems to have itself in a pickle with its citizens. First, there was an alleged leak regarding blanket acquisitions of metadata from Verizon on all phone calls. Shortly afterwards, the President responded to the public summarized simply as, “Nobody is listening to your telephone calls.” Even the DNI responded with a statement as well covering the legality of the surveillance. Of course, there was an additional story about the government having taps into all the major Internet sites for a huge data-mining operation. Over the weekend, the story broke even more with revelations about the source of the leaks, a disgruntled defense contractor that fled to Hong Kong for political asylum. Naturally the EFF is pounding its we told you so drums over the whole situation.

19 May 13
Question

Be A Plumber

Not everyone will be an astronaut when the grow up, jokes despair.com. Its pretty funny until your Mayor Bloomberg lays it flat on the students in New York City. In his weekly radio show, the mayor says, “The people who are going to have the biggest problem are college graduates who aren’t rocket scientists, if you will, not at the top of their class …. Compare a plumber to going to Harvard College — being a plumber, actually for the average person, probably would be a better deal.”

19 May 13
Newspaper

Registration of 3D Printers

The 3D printing craze continues to evolve, especially as prices have dropped making them more affordable and accessible. With printer accessibility and the incepted seed of 3D guns, more people continue to develop open source CAD designs for improved performance. While the first models were AR-15 lowers (the regulated component) and reliant on existing metal parts for the remainder of the weapon, complete handguns have been produced entirely from the 3D printer. This newer development has led California Senator Leland Yee to propose the mandatory registration of 3D printers since they can be used to produce untraceable firearms. “Terrorists can make these guns and do some horrible things to an individual and then walk away scott-free, and that is something that is really dangerous.” In a limited Reason-Rupe telephone poll of only 1003 subjects, Americans indicated they were in support of banning the production of firearms with 3D printers.

12 May 13
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You heard it first on Omninerd. Too Cute to Shoot!

Breaking News:

You Tube has revealed that the Chinese have secretly developed a human clone machine, and now they are churning out an army that is just too cute to shoot.

Intel video analysts have noticed that the Commie Evil Genius has given himself away by not cloning some short fat ugly ones to hide in the middle ranks, as we and all other armies have to do.

Also note how the officers are identical clones of the enlisted women. How Communist?

Notice how the Beta Version 1.1.1 clone machine still has some problems with faces. Many of them are blurry. I presume that they are still working on the HiDef 2.0 version.

01 May 13
Question

Future of BitCoins?

If you haven’t at least heard of BitCoins, you’re living under the proverbial rock. The Internet’s digital currency of anonymity based on encryption algorithms has had interesting ride over the past year. Approximately a year ago, they were valued at just over $4 each after a particularly scathing cyber theft. This lull was followed by a spectacular rise starting in early 2013 to over $260 each. Despite the rises and falls, it would seem BitCoins are going to stick around for awhile and their continued acceptance (Amazon, PayPal, etc.) has led economists to start paying legitimate attention to them.

28 Apr 13
Newspaper

Army Quarterback Signed by Ravens

What do you think the Army will do this time around? The last time an Army football player was drafted by the NFL, the Army opted to send him off to war instead. Recently, four year quarterback Trent Steelman was signed by the Baltimore Ravens. It would seem a broader target audience to have a professional football player advocating the US Army for public relations than hitting the American Southeasts for NASCAR (although that ends this year) and drag racing.

25 Apr 13
Newspaper

Twitter Hack Affects Stock Trading

Only days ago, hackers compromised the Associated Press’s Twitter account and posted a breaking news story about explosions at the White House injuring the President. The Tweet (I hate that term) went viral and actually caused a 1% drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average though the dip was later recovered in further trading. The hack is presently attributed to the Syrian Electronic Army claiming to be “a group of enthusiastic Syrian youths who could not stay passive towards the massive distortion of facts about the recent uprising in Syria.” While this is amongst the first hacks to truly pan out an effect on the free market, it was not sustained but reveals an ability for adversaries to take non-traditional avenues towards impacting real world operations beyond simple site defacements and denials of service.

22 Apr 13
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Richard dawkins on homeopathy

During a recent bout of influenza, a professional pharmacist suggested that I should take Echinacea to improve my immune system.

I was rather shocked because I have always assumed that folk medicine, including homeopathy, health foods, etc, is a departure from medical science that should not be endorsed by a health professional. I did some research, both on Google and asking friends, and could find no credible support for the entire health food industry.

I am not ruling out the possibility that vitamins, and perhaps some naturally occurring substances, could be good for you at times when your body is out of balance, but it appears that it has not been possible for the proponents to prove that there is any therapeutic effect for most of the (very expensive) products of the health food industry that are on the shelf at the pharmacy or supermarket. I know that these tests are time consuming and expensive, but if you are asking $45 for a bottle of pills then they bloody well should do something beneficial.

21 Apr 13
Question

Due Process and Boston Bombers

Curious – was catching the bomber done appropriately?

First, it involved a voluntary lockdown of Boston which legal experts are saying was really a “shelter in place” typically used for keeping order in a disease outbreak. The governor requested everyone stay indoors during the manhunt due to the increased police activity, questioning, vehicle movements and the violence that ensued in their pursuit. What if it had been a true lock down? Should the governor have the authority to force everyone to stay indoors and possibly throw a blanket probable cause on across the board for search purposes?

15 Apr 13
Newspaper

Boston Marathon Bomb

So apparently a pair of bombs went off near the finish line of the annual Boston Marathon. At about 2:45pm EST, the bombs exploded along Boylston Street near Copley Square and allegedly within roughly 100 yards of each other. Reporting continues to vary with current deaths at two and nearly a hundred casualties evacuated to various medical facilities sporting injuries from burns and scratches to amputations. The explosions’ timing for an hour after the first finishers seemed timed to wait on a greater number of marathon runners to be within the vicinity.

15 Apr 13
Newspaper

Navy to Deploy Laser

“Pew Pew Pew”, said the USS Ponce. No seriously, by 2014, the United States Navy will be deploying a solid state laser to sea aboard the USS Ponce. Current testing has validated the weapon at destroying drones and small ships. Navy officials believe utilizing energy weapons will save the military money in the long run due to each shots estimated cost being less than $1 (after recouping the cost of installation of course).

15 Apr 13
Newspaper

Beretta Leaves Maryland

What happens when your host state passes a number of laws unfriendly to your business? You pack up and move elsewhere. As Maryland has passed a number of recent laws banning or severely regulating the products of Beretta, the nearly 500 year old company has opted to leave the state. With it, the company will take over 300 jobs, production for thousands of weapons for the US military and law enforcement and millions of dollars in annual tax revenue for the state. “Why expand in a place where the people who built the gun couldn’t buy it?” said Jeffrey Reh, general counsel for Beretta.

06 Apr 13
Newspaper

Manipulating Traffic Data

The first GPS navigation devices for cars were strictly “dumb” in the sense of picking optimal routes on speed or distance. The past few years have seen models incorporate traffic information to perform on-the-fly route optimization. That information used to come through inaudible frequencies through FM radio but the prevalence of smartphone GPS navigation applications is shifting that to a direct pull via the Internet. But how has that data been derived? Many of those smartphones in cars are transmitting speed and location information back to central servers that aggregate the data to determine flow rates on traffic routes. However, due to users demanding privacy, the traffic aggregators cannot guarantee authenticity of the originating source. What does this mean? Well, a BlackHat presentation shows a proof-of-concept for falsifying traffic data in order to “control” the information passed back to drivers. (pdf)

06 Apr 13
Newspaper

Distributed Internet Mapping

What would the most effective way to map the entire Internet in a short amount of time? Distribute the scan out as far as you can and then aggregate the results in order to farm the processing, bandwidth and network reach of others. One researcher took the time to craft a script designed to access insecure embedded device across the Internet using default credentials. Then, leveraging all of those devices he launched nmap scans of the entire IPv4 address space to paint a picture of the 2012 Internet. Who knows, there’s a good chance your Internet modem or Internet enabled device (TV, DVR, etc.) participated in the scan.

31 Mar 13
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Cummins 4BT Jeep Wrangler TJ Diesel Conversion

It took me awhile, but I finally finished writing up my build article – Cummins 4BT Jeep Wrangler TJ Diesel Conversion – on converting my 2006 Jeep Wrangler over to diesel. My 4.0L died back in 2011 so I was faced with the cost of replacing the engine anyway otherwise I wouldn’t have ever considered doing it.

Since the conversion completed, I’ve put 13,000 miles on her in the past six months. As long as I keep her in the right RPM band, she gets 28mpg at 55mph (4th gear). That quickly drops to 22mpg at 70mph (5th gear). I would imagine a 2nd generation Cummins 4BT with electronic management could do even better. Another way to look at these efficiency gains is 7.27 miles per dollar for diesel compared with 4.16 miles per dollar for regular unleaded at today’s prices. I should be able to improve those numbers once I get the Bosch VE fuel pump leak fixed (it drips out a lot of diesel right now). Leak or not, with my 31.5 gallon Safari tank, it’s pretty nice to go 700 miles before the fuel light comes on and know that I still have 182 miles left before empty!

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