Archive for the ‘Science’ Category

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Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw)-Weekend Contributor

You may not have heard of it before, but the government has the ability to shut off cell phone service at any time, under the guise of National Security.  The Department of Homeland Security has an operating procedure known as Standard Operating Procedure 303( SOP 303) and it has been labeled as the cell phone “kill switch”.

I knew very little about the “kill switch” before today, but according to a recent Al Jezeera America article, the kill switch authority is being currently debated in Federal court. (more…)

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By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

WinVote User Interface

WinVote User Interface

A six year effort by Computer Scientist Jerry Epstein of SRI International has finally achieved fruition in his quest to decertify AVS WinVote Machines for election use due to what can described as extremely broken security measures and weaknesses in its design. Such deficiencies were so magnified the machines had not only the potential for fault but a relatively unsophisticated hacker could have brought down the State of Virginia’s election system.

Mr. Epstein reportedly stated the WinVote system “would get an F-” in security.

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Old_guitarist_chicagoThere is an interesting study out in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry that has concluded that the majority of people taking antidepressants may not actually have depression. The study found that more than two-thirds (69 per cent) of people taking antidepressants did not meet the criteria for major depressive disorder, or clinical depression.

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220px-AlfedPalmersmokestacksA new study has raised the disturbing question of whether we are substantially under-estiminating the annual death toll from air pollution, which currently stands at around 3.4 million a year. The reason is the failure to measure the lethality of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), emitted during fossil fuel burning.

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Screen Shot 2015-03-28 at 6.19.45 PMLast week, there was a compelling moment in the meeting of the Nebraska Oil and Gas Commission when a Nebraska farmer stepped forward to discuss the plan to allow 80 truckloads carrying 10,000 barrels per day containing fracking wastewater into Nebraska. Then the farmer offered the Commissioners a simple challenge: you drink it.

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Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 7.59.39 PMThis is one of the most impressive new inventions that I have seen recently and it is the work of two George Mason students. Engineering seniors Viet Tran and Seth Robertson have created a fire extinguisher using low-frequency sound waves to douse a blaze. Question: does this mean that there are never any kitchen fires in the home of Barry White?

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By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

300px-Rolling-thunder-cloudThere is an interesting video on Slashdot of an interview with Tom Henderson, principle researcher at Extreme Labs, Inc. He provides a primer into his well founded concerns on privacy in the world of cloud computing. His research has led him to the position of distrust of companies hired to store data on behalf of users as opposed to the advantages of these users self-storing and archiving. It is reminiscent of the convenience placed above privacy that is coming to a greater magnification today and likely to be more so into the future.

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