Friday, April 18, 2014

SpaceX Making Easter Delivery Of Station Supplies

from npr.org: A SpaceX supply ship rocketed toward the International Space Station on Friday, setting the stage for an Easter morning delivery and urgent spacewalking repairs later in the week. Following its midday launch through cloudy skies, the Dragon cargo carrier was shown drifting away in the blackness of space, against the blue backdrop of Earth. It's transporting 2½ tons of goods, including a new spacesuit, spacesuit replacement parts, much-needed food, legs for NASA's humanoid, Robonaut, a bevy of mating flies, and germs gathered from sports arenas and historic sites across the U.S.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Kepler-186f: First Earth-Sized, Potentially Habitable Exoplanet Found

#Kepler186f: First Earth-Sized, Potentially Habitable Exoplanet Foundfrom popularmechanics.com: A team of astrophysicists at the SETI Institute and NASA's Ames Research Center has just reached a major milestone in the search for life-supporting planets outside our solar system. For the first time, they have discovered an Earth-sized planet nestled in the temperate, liquid-water supporting distance from its star—the so-called habitable zone. "This is a historic discovery," says Geoff Marcy, an astronomer at the University of California, Berkeley who was not involved in the research, "it's the best case for a habitable planet yet found."

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

DARPA's Microrobots Working Together To Build with Metal, Glass and Electronics

from technologyreview.com: Someone glancing through the door of Annjoe Wong-Foy’s lab at SRI International might think his equipment is infested by ants. Dark shapes about a centimeter across move to and fro over elevated walkways: they weave around obstacles and carry small sticks.

A closer look makes it clear that these busy critters are in fact man-made. Wong-Foy, a senior research engineer at SRI, has built an army of magnetically steered workers to test the idea that “microrobots” could be a better way to assemble electronics components, or to build other small structures.

DARPA to Set Sea-based Electronic Ambushes for Enemies

from stratrisks.com: U.S. military researchers are moving forward with a program to hide ruggedized electronic devices at the bottom of the world’s oceans that when called on will float to the surface to jam, disrupt, and spy on enemy forces.

Officials of the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in Arlington, Virginia, this week released a formal solicitation (DARPA-BAA-14-27) for the second and third phases of the Upward Falling Payloads (UFP) project to hide sensors and other devices on the ocean floor that will last for as long as five years concealed at depths to 20,000 feet.

Last summer DARPA awarded UFP phase-one contracts to Sparton Electronics of De Leon Springs, Florida, and to Zeta Associates Inc. in Fairfax, Virginia, to develop conceptual designs of a future system with the potential to launch sensors, electronic jammers, laser dazzlers, and other devices surreptitiously and quickly in any of the world’s maritime hot spots.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Saturn’s Newborn: Scientists Say Planet’s Ring May Give Birth to Baby Moon

from RT.com: Scientists believe a tiny satellite is emerging from the edge of Saturn’s ring system. A disturbance in the planet’s outer ring, called ‘Peggy,’ could grow into a separate icy moon – possibly the last one of its kind.

Images taken by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft have earlier revealed an arc of 750 miles (1,200 kilometers) long and six miles (10 kilometers) wide on the edge of Saturn’s icy A ring. The so-called “disturbance” is about 20 percent brighter than its surroundings and is accompanied by “unusual protuberances in the usually smooth profile at the ring’s edge,” NASA has said

A new study, published online by the journal Icarus on Monday, suggests that the phenomenon is caused by the gravitational effects of a nearby object. In other words, something might be growing in Saturn’s ring, just like its other icy moons formed, according to popular theories.

Monday, April 14, 2014

NSA Knew About Heartbleed, Exploited It for Two Years

As predicted, the huge Internet security vulnerability was used by the NSA. We should not be surprised, but furious

from salon.com: As soon as Heartbleed — the grave and widespread vulnerability which has for two years plagued Internet security — was discovered this week, skeptical and speculating eyes looked to the NSA. Some corners of the crytpography community even wondered if the bug had been purposefully planted at the bidding of spy agencies in the notoriously inscrutable OpenSSL code for mass surveillance purposes.

This was no tinfoil hat theorizing. The NSA may not have caused the critical flaw (thought to be born of human error with complicated cryptogaphy), but they certainly knew about it and exploited it. As Bloomberg News reported  Friday, the NSA “knew for at least two years about a flaw in the way that many websites send sensitive information, now dubbed the Heartbleed bug, and regularly used it to gather critical intelligence, two people familiar with the matter said.”

Sunday, April 13, 2014

A look inside a 'Cybersquat'

from bbc.co.uk: Major software innovations do not all come from big companies like Apple or Google. A surprising number of developers eschew the gleaming campuses of Silicon Valley, choosing an alternative lifestyle coding in so-called communal "cybersquats" around the world.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

China Expands Cyber Spying

from thediplomat.com: A new industry report says that the Chinese government has expanded the scope of its cyber espionage despite the greater public scrutiny these operations received  in 2013.

The new report was published by Mandiant, now part of FireEye, the same company that in February 2013 published the much discussed APT1 report directly linking a unit of the People’s Liberation Army to a massive cyber espionage campaign against foreign businesses. APT1 was the hacking unit the report profiled.