Monthly Archives: November 2015

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Mind-controlled robot gives the disabled a taste of home

Brain-controlled robot limbs have already helped the disabled gain some mobility, but full-fledged robots have proven elusive: how do you use thoughts to steer a free-roaming machine? Swiss researchers think they have the answer. They've developed…

Lifehacker The Best Ways to Get a Bartender’s Attention (Without Being a Jerk) | Kotaku World’s Best

Lifehacker The Best Ways to Get a Bartender’s Attention (Without Being a Jerk) | Kotaku World’s Best Jigglypuff Player Gives Heartbreaking Interview After Winning Smash Tournament | io9 Jessica Jones Has Given Us Marvel’s Greatest Live-Action Villain by Far | Gawker There Are Only Two Issues

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Russian Su-34 Fullbacks Fly First Syria Sorties Loaded With Air-To-Air Missiles 

Russia has publicized its first Syrian air campaign missions with their Su-34 Fullback fighter-bombers loaded with air-to-air missiles. This move is in direct response to Turkey shooting down its Su-24 Fencer attack jet along the Turkish-Syrian border a week ago.

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How tech fails led to Air Force strike on MSF’s Kunduz hospital

On November 25, General John F. Campbell, the commander of US Forces in Afghanistan, announced the findings of an initial investigation into the air strike by an Air Force AC-130 gunship that hit a Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF, or Doctors Without Borders) trauma center in Kunduz, Afghanistan on October 3. The strike—in which the AC-130 attacked using its onboard cannon, killing 30 patients and members of the MSF hospital staff and injuring another 34—lasted nearly a half-hour.

Campbell called the strike “a tragic, but avoidable accident caused primarily by human error.” But among the secondary factors cited in the report, he noted, there were several contributing technical failures, including a networking failure that could have provided information that would have prevented the mistaken targeting of the hospital. Furthermore, information systems available to the command responsible for the aircraft failed to alert those on duty in the operations center that the target selected by the aircraft was on a no-strike list.

Spooky action at a distance

The aircraft responsible for the errant attack on the hospital was an AC-130U “Spooky” gunship, a 20-year-old aircraft that carries a five-barreled 25 millimeter Gatling gun, a 40mm Bofors cannon, and a 105mm howitzer. The airplane is a veritable flying artillery battery that “orbits” its targets while firing upon them with high-explosive rounds. (The Air Force has also deployed the AC-130W “Stinger,” a modified version of the special operations transport the MC-130W “Dragon Spear,” to Afghanistan. These aircraft carry a 30mm automatic cannon and launch tubes for Griffin and Hellfire missiles and laser-guided glide bombs.)

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Here’s why the iPad Pro’s processor is so fast

Whatever you think of Apple's products, there's little doubt that the A9X processor in the iPad Pro is quick — in a few cases, it rivals the performance you'd get from a laptop. But why is it so quick, especially when Apple tends to shy away from hi…

Hail, Spartan: An Ode to Interior Tranquility

Let the black low-gloss black plastic bathe you in indirect sunlight, and let the Japanese cloth seats swaddle you in utilitarian simplicity. The shift knob is devoid of extraneous chrome and the boot was crafted by Bohemian leathersmiths. Kando.

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Hey Reader’s Digest: Your site has been attacking visitors for days

Enlarge (credit: Malwarebytes)

An active hacking campaign is forcing Reader’s Digest and many other websites to host malicious code that can surreptitiously infect visitors with malware and linger for days or weeks before being cleaned up.

Reader’s Digest has been infected since last week with code originating with Angler, an off-the-shelf hack-by-numbers exploit kit that saves professional criminals the hassle of developing their own attack scripts, researchers from antivirus provider Malwarebytes told Ars. People who visit the site with outdated versions of Adobe Flash, Internet Explorer, and other browsing software are silently infected with malware that gains control over their computers. Malwarebytes researchers said they sent Reader’s Digest operators e-mails and social media alerts last week warning the site was infected but never got a response. The researchers estimate that thousands of other sites have been similarly attacked in recent weeks and that the number continues to grow.

“This campaign is still ongoing and we see dozens of new websites every day being leveraged to distribute malware via the Angler exploit kit,” Malwarebytes Senior Security Researcher Jérôme Segura wrote in an e-mail. “This attack may have been going on for some time but we noticed a dramatic increase in infections via WordPress sites in the past couple of weeks.”

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The 6 Weirdest James Bond Adventures (That You’ve Probably Never Heard Of)

The James Bond movies and novels aren’t exactly short on weirdness—Bond’s villains tend to hatch crazy schemes that revolve around hypnotizing women to love chickens . But if you want real insanity, you have to reach beyond the movies and books.

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The National Security Letter spy tool has been uncloaked, and it’s bad

It took 11 years to finally unveil what the FBI demands in a National Security Letter. How it evolved over the years is shown above. (credit: ACLU)

The National Security Letter (NSL) is a potent surveillance tool that allows the government to acquire a wide swath of private information—all without a warrant. Federal investigators issue tens of thousands of them each year to banks, ISPs, car dealers, insurance companies, doctors, and you name it. The letters don’t need a judge’s signature and come with a gag to the recipient, forbidding the disclosure of the NSL to the public or the target.

Nicholas Merrill (credit: Wikipedia)

For the first time, as part of a First Amendment lawsuit, a federal judge ordered the release of what the FBI was seeking from a small ISP as part of an NSL. Among other things, the FBI was demanding a target’s complete Web browsing history, IP addresses of everyone a person has corresponded with, and records of all online purchases, according to a court document unveiled Monday. All that’s required is an agent’s signature denoting that the information is relevant to an investigation.

“The FBI has interpreted its NSL authority to encompass the websites we read, the Web searches we conduct, the people we contact, and the places we go. This kind of data reveals the most intimate details of our lives, including our political activities, religious affiliations, private relationships, and even our private thoughts and beliefs,” said Nicholas Merrill, who was president of Calyx Internet Access in New York when he received the NSL targeting one of his customers in 2004.

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Sonos will support Apple Music starting December 15th

Sonos will close a major gap in the services that it supports on December 15th — that's when the company's products will start working with Apple Music. The company said that this would happen by the end of the year back in June, just before Apple M…