New Theory: Speed of Light is Variable

at 23:18 on 2016-12-06

According to a new theory, the speed of light is not necessarily a constant value approximately 3*10^8 m/s.

It is widely believed that the CMB is the energy left over from the early moments after the Big Bang. Although there are small pockets where the energy is varies, on a wide scale the CMB is mostly uniform possibly due to inflation of our universe.

The theory that the speed of light varies is in direct conflict with inflation, the idea that the universe rapidly ballooned in size. Inflation explains why the CMB is pretty stable. Different parts of the universe were influenced by each other and all expanded at the same rate, keeping the CMB nearly constant.

LinkedIn officially KickedOut of Russia

at 04:57 on 2016-11-18

From The Register:

VirtualIron Curtain lowered on Microsoft-bait business network Russian telecoms regulator Roskomnadzor has made it official: LinkedIn is no longer welcome in Putin's formerly-socialist paradise.?

Russia had previously passed legislation requiring data on its users to be housed within Russia. LinkedIn fell afoul of that rule.

Summer Schneier

at 07:02 on 2016-08-17

Bruce Schneier has had a number of interesting articles recently that seem reasonable for reposting here.

Also, in the courts:

Researchers create skeleton robot with human-like muscles

at 06:44 on 2016-07-15

From Popular Science and Engadget referencing a Japanese article and video at the Tokyo Institute of Technology:

Researchers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology [gave a robot] human-like muscles to help with movement. The microfilament muscle "tissues" connect to joints and expand/contract just like the real thing. In fact, the robot has the same number of muscles in its legs as we do. At this point, they're not very strong and though the strands help with smoother movements, the skeleton still requires assistance to walk.

Similarly, The Economist has a report on an article in Science on research out of Harvard, which created an artificial sting-ray. The Harvard project also used artificial muscles, feeding them energy from a glucose filled substrate in the surrounding water, although the food source could hypothetically be more convenient in the future.

EFF: W3C's DRM Extension Must Be Investigated

at 06:13 on 2016-07-14

From Updates:

The World Wide Web Consortium has published a "Candidate Recommendation" for Encrypted Media Extensions, a pathway to DRM for streaming video. A large community of security researchers and public interest groups have been alarmed by the security implications of baking DRM into the HTML5 standard. That's because DRM -- unlike all the other technology that the W3C has ever standardized ? enjoys unique legal protection under a tangle of international laws, like the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Canada's Bill C-11, and EU laws that implement Article 6 of the EUCD.

Under these laws, companies can threaten legal action against researchers who circumvent DRM, even if they does so for lawful purposes, like disclosing security vulnerabilities. Last summer, a who's-who America's most esteemed security researchers filed comments with the US Copyright Office warning the agency that they routinely discovered vulnerabilities in systems from medical implants to voting machines to cars, but were advised not to disclose those discoveries because of the risk of legal reprisals under Section 1201 of the DMCA.

Baking DRM into the HTML standard has been a hotly contested topic since it was discussed back in 2013, with some claiming that it was a boon for openness.

Pokémon Go a hit, problems introduced by AR

at 05:55 on 2016-07-11

Augmented reality game, Pokémon Go, has become popular, leading to a 9% rise in Nintendo's stock value. Enterprising muggers have also been using it to lure victims, among other problems faced when jumping between worlds.

Ad-blocker detecting could be illegal in the EU

at 09:07 on 2016-04-25

From the Register:

Alexander Hanff, a privacy campaigner and programmer, says he has received a letter from the European Commission confirming that browser-side web scripts that pick out advert blockers access people's personal data (ie: the plugin stored on their computer). Thus, just like you need to give permission to EU websites to access and store your cookies, ad-blocker detectors must ask for permission before probing your browser.

LSD makes you think like a baby

at 05:52 on 2016-04-13

From Engadget RSS Feed:

Researchers at Imperial College London believe that they know what effect LSD has on the human brain. After pumping test subjects full of the stuff and shoving them in an MRI, the team learned that the drug makes our brains behave similarly to that of a baby. In order to understand this, imagine that your mind is the single floor of an office, with cubicles running as far as the eye can see. Each cubicle is responsible for different jobs, such as memory, balance and hearing, only talking to each other on the annual company retreat. LSD is like a disgruntled former employee, temporarily smashing down the plyboard dividers and forcing everyone to collaborate.

Breaking down the organizational structure of our mind is what's responsible for the crazy hallucinations some users experience. Normally, seeing is governed by the visual cortex, but the drug essentially lets everyone in the office have a go at running the projector. It's not just recreational, either, since the team believes that LSD could have the power to transform the lives of people with depression or addiction.

Both of those conditions are akin to setting up extra cubicles in your mental office -- ones that either compel you to think sad thoughts or consume a specific chemical. Treatment with LSD may help those affected to kick down those particular offices and move forward with their lives. It's also thought that users of LSD experience an improvement in their mental wellbeing when they're finished. Maybe Timothy Leary was right all of these years, and not just about video game design.

Netflix bags rights to new 'Top Gear'

at 05:48 on 2016-04-13

From Engadget RSS Feed:

Netflix was recently said to be discussing rights to the new series of Top Gear with the BBC, and as it turns out, a deal has indeed been struck. Top brass at the streaming service confirmed as much to BuzzFeed News, though the finer details are pretty fuzzy right now. The fact the two hashed out an agreement isn't a huge surprise. Older seasons of the motoring show (when Clarkson was at the helm) have been available on the streaming service for some time, so it wasn't like a presenter shuffle was going to destroy the working relationship Netflix and the BBC had built.

Hopefully that means that the early seasons of the May/Hamster era return, rather than Netflix just keeping the most recent handful of seasons.

Google to users: Security's hard, here's an icon

at 09:05 on 2016-02-17

Alphabet subsidiary Google has started indicating whether the first hop an eMail will take may be encrypted in an apparent attempt to mislead its users as to what secure eMail entails.

Of course, correctly encrypted eMail would mean that Google wouldn't be able to mine it to provide contextually targeted advertising, and would force it to take a difficult position.

/. discussion

Slashdot and Sourceforge Sold Again

at 13:24 on 2016-01-29

Former nerd-news site /. and former open-source development site Sourceforge have been yet again to BIZX. /. thread.

Social media terrorist activity bill returning to Senate

at 08:03 on 2015-12-08

From Reuters: Technology News:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Senator Dianne Feinstein will reintroduce legislation as soon as Monday that would force social media operators such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to notify federal authorities of online terrorist activity, a spokesman said.

…Reuters reported on Saturday that Facebook, Google and Twitter were stepping up efforts to combat online propaganda and recruiting by Islamic militants, but doing it quietly to avoid the perception that they are helping authorities police the Internet.

It sounds like from the articles last paragraph that the major social networks are already doing this, so the legislation seems redundant.

EU lawmakers, countries agree on bloc's first cybersecurity law

at 08:00 on 2015-12-08

From Reuters: Technology News:

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - EU lawmakers and member states struck a deal on the bloc's first cybersecurity law on Monday that will force Internet firms such as Google and Amazon to report serious breaches or face sanctions.…

The new law, known as the Network and Information Security Directive, sets out security and reporting obligations for companies in critical sectors such as transport, energy, health and finance. Web firms will be subject to less stringent obligations, than, say, airports or oil pipeline operators.

Under the measure, Internet companies such as Google, Amazon, eBay and Cisco - but not social networks like Facebook - will be required to report serious incidents to national authorities, which in turn will be able to impose sanctions on companies that fail to do so.

The article doesn't go into any sort of details as to why social networks are excluded, but shopping sites (Amazon, eBay) and companies who primarily work in hard tangibles (Cisco) are.

Vegitation as Electronic Circuits

at 08:45 on 2015-11-26

An article at the American Association for the Advancement of Science's covers how some Swedish biologists utilized the natural processes of common flowers, such as roses, to power electric circuits.

Yahoo! Rejects! Ad-blocking! Users!

at 08:51 on 2015-11-24

A thread on the Adblock-plus forums (and picked-up by the Washington Post and Engadget) indicates that 90's era Web portal and free-mail provider Yahoo! has started rejecting users from accessing their Webmail-boxes when using popular ad-blocking software. Unlike other mail providers, including free-mail providers such as Yandex and Google, Yahoo! doesn't support retrieving mail via IMAP (presumably because nobody used IMAP in the 90s).

Engadget reports that this is currently only a test by Yahoo! on a segment of their users, and the ABP forums indicate switching to basic mode allows one into the inbox. Security experts often recommend using ad-blocking software when browsing the Web as ad-networks tend to be a common source of malware infections.

Many patients ok linking social media to medical records

at 08:25 on 2015-11-17

From Reuters: Health News:

(Reuters Health) - Many people may be willing to link their social media accounts to their medical records, a U.S. study suggests, a shift with the potential to improve care by giving doctors more insight into what makes patients tick.

The objective, from the article, is to identify the source of illnesses, not simply blog about that ugly sore you found.

Chipotle Serves Up Chips, Guac & HR Email

at 08:17 on 2015-11-17

From Krebs on Security:

The restaurant chain Chipotle Mexican Grill seems pretty good at churning out huge numbers of huge burritos, but the company may need to revisit some basic corporate cybersecurity concepts. For starters, Chipotle’s human resources department has been replying to new job applicants using the domain “” — a Web site name that the company has never owned or controlled.

Kohlman has since offered to freely give over the domain to the restaurant chain. But Chipotle expressed zero interest in acquiring the free domain. In fact, Chipotle’s spokesman Chris Arnold says the company doesn’t see this as a big deal at all.

US trade agency isn't allowed to block overseas internet data

at 08:00 on 2015-11-12

From Reuters:

Common sense "dictates that there is a fundamental difference between electronic transmissions and 'material things,'" the court said in a 2-1 decision.

Critics said the ITC overstepped its authority when it ordered the company to cease transmission of digital models, because U.S. law gives the commission authority over unfair practices "in the importation of articles."

The ITC expanded its jurisdiction to say digital data is included in the definition of "articles."

High-tech companies like Google Inc and other Internet-related groups said global Internet transmissions should flow unimpeded and the ITC should not be authorized to regulate them.

But associations for recording artists and Hollywood film studios saw the ITC's decision as an effective tool to fight piracy, most of which happens through electronic downloads and streaming.

In a first, the FCC is fining a major cable company for getting hacked

at 08:48 on 2015-11-06

The washington Post and The Register are both reporting the FCC's fine of Cox Communications for $595,000 (USD) over a 2014 leak of customer information after a Cox employee handed a social engineer credentials to access their customer database.

Related, tomorrow's edition of the Economist is carrying a story on the booming tech security industry.

European Law Enforcent raid purchasers of Android software-implant

at 09:02 on 2015-10-29

Reuters has a brief blurb about European authorities rading purchasers of an Android software-implant, DroidJack which they say is designed to track and eaves-drop on phones, and can solely be used for illegal purposes.

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