“More than 1/3 of Americans believe in UFO’s and one in 10 Americans believe that they have seen a UFO according to a study by National Geographic Channel. UFO sightings are reported all over the planet by thousands of people. The real question is whether UFO’s are interstellar vehicles visiting Earth? Most UFO sightings can be classified as misidentified aircraft, planets or other aerial phenomena, but not all of them. There is a small percentage of UFO sightings that can’t be explained by any known aircraft or natural phenomena. It is this small percentage of UFO sightings that create an exciting possibility. Over the years real UFO sightings have reported simultaneous electromagnetic disturbances. The UFO Detector is designed to sense these electromagnetic disturbances and signal their detection flashing 16 LED’s simultaneously and beeping. The elegantly designed transparent plastic case is a handsome sculptured conversation piece that’s allows one to see the electronics inside the case. Suitable for display on a desk, shelf or bedroom dresser.”
Amazon seems to be doing quite well with the product since there are currently more than a hundred reviews on the site with an overall rating of 3.4 out of 5 stars. And, most are about what would be expected:
“I am very satisfied with this product and will recommend it to all of the human race” writes James O’Brien.
R. J. Reid reports: “This little gizmo is a bargain at twice the price and much more accurate than the voices in my head.”
And “This amazing device gives ample warning and is HIGHLY ACCURATE. I had a pretty good idea of when there was abnormal activity in my area. BUT NOW, DAMN. Every time that I notice distorted sensory emissions, bang, the detector is going off! WOOT WOOT WOOT!” says They Are Everywhere.
But, as with just about any mass produced product these days, it’s not all raves. Cyphis complains that “I don’t know if this is a scam or if mine was broken, but it doesn’t work and I am still getting abducted by UFO’s on a regular basis.” …
Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category
Posted by Xeno on December 10, 2013
Posted by Xeno on December 10, 2013
The annual Kennedy Center Honors reception isn’t normally a place to break news, but President Obama opted Sunday to publicly mention Area 51 — the installation where the government is supposedly storing UFOs and alien life, the inspiration for innumerable conspiracy theories.
The reason: Oscar-winning actress Shirley MacLaine and her claims to have seen UFOs and extraterrestrial beings.
“Now, when you first become president, one of the questions that people ask you is, ‘What’s really going on in Area 51?’” Obama said to chuckles at the White House event.
“When I wanted to know, I’d call Shirley MacLaine.”
Obama added: “I think I just became the first president to ever publicly mention Area 51. How’s that, Shirley?”
The other Kennedy Center honorees were musicians Billy Joel, Carlos Santana, Herbie Hancock, and opera star Martina Arroyo.
NEWS: Kennedy Center honorees saluted
As for MacLaine and Area 51, Time magazine noted:
“The president couldn’t resist the opportunity to joke about the decades of conspiracy theories surrounding mysterious lights and aliens at the Nevada installation. …
“The official use for the Nevada Test and Training Range and Groom Lake — the formal name for the facility commonly known as Area 51 — is far less otherworldly. It’s been the testing ground for government programs, including the U-2 spy plane and various stealth aircraft.”
Posted by Xeno on December 10, 2013
On Monday, the world’s leading technology companies, including Google and Microsoft, published an open letter to President Obama and Congress demanding reform of U.S. privacy laws to restore the public’s “trust in the Internet.”
This comes after what seems like an endless series of revelations about government surveillance from the secret documents leaked by Edward Snowden.
Let’s start with the latest: American and British spies have gone into online fantasy games to snoop on players, and to see if any militants are communicating with each other dressed as elves or gnomes. Last week, the Washington Post reported that the National Security Agency is “collecting billions of records a day to track the location of mobile phone users around the world.” And we learned recently that the NSA hacked fiber-optic cables and infected 50,000 networks with malware.
Big Brother spying is happening at a scale we could never have imagined.
This new awareness has prompted people — even those with nothing to hide and who support broad surveillance for national security reasons — to try to regain some control over their online privacy.
According to a fall Pew report, 86% of people “have taken steps online to remove or mask their digital footprints.” Another study concluded that 64% of Internet users concerned about privacy have taken action to protect themselves in direct response to the NSA PRISM program. Revelations of NSA spying even contributed to President Obama’s approval rating sinking to a new low.
Americans are very worried that they’ve lost control of their personal data. In this atmosphere of anxiety and mistrust, people are adopting privacy solutions in unprecedented numbers.
For example, Silent Circle, a global encrypted communications company that provides secure phone and text solutions, has experienced explosive 400% growth. My company, Disconnect, anonymized more than three million search queries in the first 30 days after launch. And sites like Prism Break are becoming popular destinations to learn about ways to protect your online privacy.
It’s hard not to feel that we’ve lost too much control when secret laws and new technologies empower governments and a handful of giant companies to secretly track, analyze and record virtually every detail about any of our lives (even leaders of world superpowers). Without suspicion, it appears that untold millions of us have or will be subject to unconstitutional searches and seizures of our most personal information. No wonder many people believe that the NSA’s actions violate our privacy.
What’s even scarier is that government spy programs are rapidly expanding. For example, significant progress is being made to improve the use and capabilities of video surveillance. Law enforcement agencies are partnering with technology firms to create video surveillance systems capable of facial recognition, scanning license plates and detecting radiation levels emitted by cars.
In New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg cited a joint NYPD-Microsoft project and suggested that within five years there will be 24/7 video surveillance of the entire city. On Big Brother, Bloomberg said, “Get used to it!”
The government is also upgrading its ability to process and store the enormous amount of data it is acquiring. During the summer when Snowden’s disclosures were sending shock waves around the world, U.S. taxpayers paid for a brand new $1.2 billion data farm that will serve as the NSA’s external hard drive, designed specifically to improve “data acquisition, storage and processing effort.”
Meanwhile, consumer trust that companies can or will protect their personal information has been dealt a major blow as evidence emerged that the NSA collects information “at will” from Google’s and Yahoo’s data hubs without those companies’ knowledge and that nine leading Internet companies provided the government access directly to user information as part of the PRISM program.
So it comes as no surprise that 58% of people don’t trust Internet companies to protect privacy. Tech leaders have even publicly acknowledged that news about PRISM has hurt their brand trust to a far greater extent than any previous uproar over privacy violations.
We can’t assume any company can protect us from government snooping. So until existing laws change, we have to focus on controlling what we can. It’s possible that over time, consumers will increasingly avoid or limit sharing personal information. Companies that collect huge silos of personal data may be viewed as unattractive — as sources of intel the government can easily and secretly tap into.
Ironically, the companies known as the biggest online privacy offenders who’ve created business models that rely on monetizing user data are now calling for limits on surveillance. Though, really, what these companies seek has nothing to do with making their collection and use of our data more transparent.
Still, their point is well taken. The government must change surveillance laws to avoid destroying our trust and the current Internet economy.
Those familiar with the entire cache of Snowden’s leaked documents insist that the most shocking and significant revelations are yet to come. And there’s a lot we’ll never know. According to the U.S. government, Snowden, a low-level contract engineer, had very limited access and no knowledge about the “crown jewels” of the NSA’s surveillance program.
What could those “crown jewels” be? …
One crown jewel would be the darknet. There are many things called the darknet but what I mean is all data that you think was never transmitted over the Internet. Access could be obtained by multiple back doors in operating systems and in hardware to bypass encryption. Another would be if they’ve cracked encryption.
Posted by Xeno on December 10, 2013
The FBI began experimenting with drones in 1995, but didn’t view them as a viable option for video surveillance until a full decade later. Since then, however, the agency appears to have slowly but steadily moved forward in building its drone program. Now, details of that program have been revealed in a series of recently released documents sent to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington CREW, an advocacy group that issued a Freedom of Information Act request in June. Though CREW was interested in learning what company provided the FBI’s drones and where the purchases’ funding came from, that information is largely redacted. Even so, the documents do reveal quite a bit about the program’s development, including how the FBI has been using drones and what it plans to do with them in the future.The documents show that the FBI’s first operational drone deployment was in October, 2006. Drone use was “limited over the next four years,” the documents read, noting that funding issues and compliance with Federal Aviation Administration FAA regulations were major limiting factors. While the FBI’s Technical Response Unit oversaw its drone program at first, the program was transferred to its Video Surveillance Unit in 2009, at which point drone “inventory and missions began to increase.” The documents suggest that this wasn’t so much a matter of the new unit utilizing them more, but that agents began to better understand what drones were capable of.
Posted by Xeno on December 6, 2013
… The Richland County Sheriff’s Department used Tower Dumps during the investigation into a string of car breakins, where weapons and computers were stolen. They combined the Tower Dump information with DNA evidence and in 2011 arrested Phillip Tate on three counts of “breaking and entering a motor vehicle” and one count of “larceny.”
“He did break and enter into both of those vehicles, one of them being the vehicle of Sheriff Lott. It was parked at his house,” said Fifth Circuit Solicitor Joanna McDuffy in court. “It was his sheriff department issued vehicle. Weapons were taken from that vehicle your honor.”
Search warrants we found say Richland Sheriff’s investigators requested dumps on two cell phone towers during their investigation.
Cops seeking to use these tower dumps just can’t call up the provider and ask for them. But neither do they have to jump through the probable cause hoops a warrant entails. All they need is a court order, which is considerably easier to obtain than a warrant, thanks to the (somewhat ironically-named) Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986.
The Richland PD is just one of several law enforcement entities making frequent use of these untargeted, unminimized data dumps. And the numbers keep increasing every year.
In 2011, AT&T and Verizon received 1.3 million requests for cell phone data (many of which were tower dumps) and filled more than 500,000 of them. Verizon estimates that over the last 5 years, law enforcement’s tower dump requests have increased by 15% annually. T-Mobile reported increases of approximately 12%-16%.
Thanks to the ease of obtaining tower dumps, it’s becoming a go-to tool for law enforcement. Not only can they collect these without needing to show probable cause, they’re also under no obligation to inform any of the millions of unrelated cellphone customers whose information they’ve obtained that they’ve swept up their data.
Oddly enough, someone from the counterterrorism community is being the voice of reason in all this.
“In recognizing that it’s not just the CIA or FBI tracking a terrorist that may have flown over here, this is local law enforcement. As citizens, we sort of have a question: how often is this happening?” said Keith Pounds, president of counterrorism consulting firm Countercon…
He supports Tower Dumps, but only if a search warrant is signed, the data is purged after an investigation is complete and law enforcement notify subscribers included in the database.
“Inform us,” Pounds said. “Or at least those couple of hundred or couple of thousand people, innocent people, inform them that hey we acquired your information for this particular crime. We’re going to purge the data and get rid of it.”
This obviously isn’t being implementedanywhere at the moment, or we would have heard of it. Law enforcement agencies are understandably in no hurry to tell innocent citizens that they’re sweeping up their data in order to sift through it for potential signs of wrongdoing. They seem to be taking their cues from our nation’s intelligence agencies, which only begrudgingly inform the public about their data hauls, and then only after former employees splash them all over the front pages of newspapers. …
I didn’t realize that data is stored in cell towers.
Posted by Xeno on December 4, 2013
Posted by Xeno on December 3, 2013
As technology rapidly advances, we’re living longer, doing more, creating more memories and recording more data. Every scrapbooker, business owner, photographer, every person fears losing the legacy they have spent their lifetime creating. M-DISC™ eliminates that fear. Once written, your documents, medical records, photos, videos and data will last up to 1,000 years. “Just M-Disc™ and Forget It!”M-DISC™ is the only data storage solution to withstand rigorous testing by the U.S. Department of Defense. Even today’s leading archival optical discs weren’t up to the challenge. M-DISC™ is resistant to extreme conditions of light, temperature, humidity and more. M-DISC™ cannot be overwritten, erased or corrupted by natural processes. Best of all, it’s compatible with any DVD drive, so you can access your data anywhere, anytime.
You do need a special drive to write the data (~$50-$150). A duplicator is about $150 to solidify your old disks for the next 1,000 years. Or just get an external drive with M-disk support for $53 from Staples. A pack of 10 M-disks seems to be about $32. So, for under $100 you could save 43.45 GB for 1,000 years.
If you are recording your tax records you might want to save your data on M-disks encrypted. To do that, create an encrypted container on your computer, get everything in it EXACTLY as you want it for the next 1,000 years then burn it to disk. A safe container size to use with “4.7 GB” single layer DVD-R media is 4450MB.
Or … you could wait until the double layer disks come out and have more data. They are due out … any minute now! 25GB per disk is much better.
SALT LAKE CITY, Jun 03, 2013 (BUSINESS WIRE) — U.S.-based Millenniata (www.mdisc.com) today announced the completion of its new 25GB M-DISC Blu-ray, with mass production to begin in early August 2013. RITEK Corporation, the leading manufacturer of optical storage media in the world, will begin production of the new M-DISC Blu-ray as part of its manufacturing agreement with Millenniata. Imation and RITEK will distribute and market the M-DISC Blu-ray through their established distribution and reseller channels. Imation will distribute under the TDK, Memorex and Imation brands, and RITEK will distribute under the RITEK, Ridata and Traxdata brands. With the addition of the new 25GB M-DISC Blu-ray to its products, Millenniata has significantly expanded the breadth of the market addressed by its permanent data storage solution, greatly increasing the storage capacity, ease-of-access and usability of the M-DISC. The M-DISC Blu-ray offers five times the storage capacity of the standard 4.7GB M-DISC DVD, and is writable and readable on any Blu-ray drive – an enormous step for Millenniata and the convenience of this permanent storage technology. …
Now we need a DVD player that will last 1,000 years. It would need to be more than tiger-proof. (Panasonic CF-30 “Toughbook” pictured).
To me it is very strange (and cool) that most of us can now afford to create data disks with lifespans 10 times our own! I’d like to outlive the 1,000 year disks I make. All we have to do is solve a few (seven, I think) problems to eliminate death by aging.
Posted by Xeno on December 3, 2013
… Tape is the oldest computer storage medium still in use. It was first put to work on a UNIVAC computer in 1951. But although tape sales have been falling since 2008 and dropped by 14% in 2012, according to the Santa Clara Consulting Group, tape’s decline has now gone into reverse: sales grew by 1% in the last quarter of 2012 and a 3% rise is expected this year.
Alberto Pace, head of data and storage at CERN, says that tape has four advantages over hard disks for the long-term preservation of data. The first is speed. Although it takes about 40 seconds for an archive robot to select the right tape and put it in a reader, once it has loaded, extracting data from that tape is about four times as fast as reading from a hard disk.
The second advantage is reliability. When a tape snaps, it can be spliced back together. The loss is rarely more than a few hundred megabytes—a bagatelle in information-technology circles. When a terabyte hard disk fails, by contrast, all the data on it may be lost. The consequence at CERN, specifically, is that a few hundred megabytes of its 100-petabyte tape repository are, on average, lost every year. Of the 50 petabytes of data held on hard disk, however, it loses a few hundred terabytes in the same period.
The third benefit of tapes is that they do not need power to preserve data held on them. Stopping a disk rotating by temporarily turning off the juice—a process called power cycling—increases the likelihood that it will fail. The fourth benefit is security. If a hacker with a grudge managed to break into CERN’s data centre, he could delete all 50 petabytes of the disk-based data in minutes. To delete the same amount from the organisation’s tapes would take years.
Tape has two other benefits, as Evangelos Eleftheriou, manager of storage technologies at IBM’s research laboratory in Zurich, points out. It is cheaper than disks (a gigabyte of disk storage costs 10 cents, versus 4 cents for tape), and it lasts longer. Tapes can still be read reliably after three decades, against five years for disks. …
But even today’s tape cartridges, which can hold up to six terabytes of compressed data, are not up to the job of dealing with the data deluge that is around the corner. Much higher densities than that are needed. In 2010 Dr Eleftheriou and his team, in collaboration with Fujifilm, set a new record. They demonstrated a tape that can store 29.5 gigabits per square inch—which, for a standard 1km tape, translates as 35 terabytes of data on a single cartridge. But even that is not enough for Dr Eleftheriou. He has now set himself the challenge of developing a tape with a density of 100 gigabits per square inch, and creating the equipment necessary to read it. If he is successful, a single cartridge will be able to store more than 100 terabytes. … Dr Eleftheriou hopes to have a prototype ready in 2014.
This may answer my question about how the NSA stores all of that data on everyone. Tape. No wonder they need so much space.
… Some reports have suggested the data center could hold as much as 5 zetabytes, an astronomical sum equivalent to 62 billion stacked iPhone 5s. King called that number “difficult, if not impossible to conceive.”
“That would mean deploying about 5 million storage systems running roughly 1.25 billion, 4-terabyte hard drives,” he said.
The agency will neither confirm nor deny specific details about the 100,000 square foot center, which comprises four separate data halls.
Not hard drives, think tape:
Oracle’s StorageTek T10000C tape drive lets you boost storage capacity and performance without increasing your footprint. It delivers up to 5.5 TB native, making it ideal for 24×7 datacenter operations with growing volumes of data. The StorageTek T10000C Tape Drive also delivers exceptional performance with up to 252MB/s of native performance.
For 5 zetabytes (wild guess by FauxNews?) you’d only need 909,000,000 (909 million) tape drives. Much better than hard drives if you want the data to last for decades. If they got a super deal, say $2,500 per drive plus a free 5.5 TB tape with each unit, that would cost about $2.3 trillion dollars. Wait, how many trillions did Donald Rumsfeld tell the world the day before 9/11 was missing from the Pentagon budget? Oh, I remember now, it was $2.3 trillion dollars.
Just one wild (read practical, reasonable) guess about where the money might have gone. Of course, with that amount of money, you need to think differently. They might very well have some totally new super storage technology that stores data in three dimensions in crystal cubes which last millions of years.
Damn. Don’t you wish that before you started using telephones and the Internet someone had told you everything you ever do and say will be recorded and stored for millions of years?
No one told me that. I’m telling you. Use your time wisely! Research and solve some problems for the planet instead of just being a vegetable and watching cartoons or having drama with people who don’t have their heads on straight.
How are we to preserve information about our civilisation on a timescale that outlasts it? In other words, what technology can reliably store information for 1 million years or more? Today, we get an answer thanks to the work of Jeroen de Vries at the University of Twente in the Netherlands and a few pals. These guys have designed and built a disk capable of storing data over this timescale. And they’ve performed accelerated ageing tests which show it should be able to store data for 1 million years and possibly longer. – (Silicon-Nitride/Tungsten Based Medium) link, link, link
Posted by Xeno on November 27, 2013
Once viewed as an “outlandish morally objectionable” concept with science-fiction overtones, face transplantation is now accepted as a “feasible and necessary treatment” for severely disfigured patients. The evolving ethical debate over face transplantation is analyzed in a special topic paper in the December issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).
Harriet Kiwanuka and colleagues of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, analyzed published articles on the ethics of face transplantation, focusing how the ethical debate has changed over time. Their review shows that initial concerns over the impact on patients’ identity have faded, as experience shows the benefits of facial transplants in helping patients with severe facial disfigurement return to a more-normal life.
Ethics of Facial Transplant—From Concerns about ‘Identity Issues’…
In a review of the medical literature, Kiwanuka and coauthors identified 110 articles discussing the ethics of face transplantation. Published from 2002 to 2012, nearly half of the papers appeared in the year before and after the first facial transplant—performed by a French team in 2005. Since then, the number of ethical discussions on face transplantation has gradually decreased.
The papers showed a “time-related trend” in ethical positions. All of the articles published in 2002 concluded that face transplantation was not ethically justified. By 2008, all published papers acknowledged the ethical concerns, but concluded that they were outweighed by the benefits of successful facial transplant.
The researchers identified a core group of 15 topics that recurred through the years. The most common issues were related to “identity change/psychological effects,” the need for lifelong immunosuppressive drugs to prevent rejection of the transplanted face, and the risks versus benefits of face transplantation.
Many of the early concerns over identity focused on the idea of “wearing someone else’s face”—perhaps reflecting the influence of the 1997 science fiction movie Face Off, in which an FBI agent and a criminal switch faces. But these concerns faded, as experience showed that facial transplant recipients gain a new appearance that is “neither identical to the recipient’s nor the donor’s [face],” write the researchers, who were led by senior author Bohdan Pomahac, MD.
…To Practical Issues Informed by Experience
To date, 25 facial transplants have been performed worldwide, and the procedure is expected to be more common in the years ahead. In more recent ethical discussions, some new issues have become prominent, such as patient selection for face transplantation, the inability of severely disfigured patients to lead normal lives, and the high costs of face transplantation.
Many recent papers focus on characteristics of the “ideal recipient” for facial transplant. One report cites the “Catch-22″ of face transplantation: the patients who are most capable of coping with face transplantation may be those who need it least, because they are coping well with their disfigurement.
Would you be okay with someone using your face after you are done with it?
Posted by Xeno on November 23, 2013
Someone just transacted $148 million worth of Bitcoin.
That’s about 195,000 Bitcoins.
We say transacted because there is no way of knowing whether any money actually changed hands. The Bitcoins were transferred from several Blockchain “addresses” to another single address. Addresses are basically routing numbers, and an individual’s Bitcoin wallet can contain multiple addresses.
So barring some kind of deal that would almost certainly be required to be reported to some sort of third party, it’s likely to have just been an individual consolidating accounts.
But it does show that someone out there owns 195,000 Bitcoins, which are increasingly becoming more valuable.
What creates bit coins? Powerful computers. Who has the most? Governments. Just saying.