Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Microsoft Patch Tuesday for 12 April 2011 is a Whopper!

Patch Tuesday is here, and this month is a whopper. Microsoft has unleashed 17 new security bulletins, addressing a total of 64 separate vulnerabilities. Nine bulletins are rated as critical and the remaining eight are rated as important. The vulnerabilities affect Microsoft Windows, Microsoft Office, Internet Explorer, Visual Studio, .NET Framework and GDI+.

The full version of the Microsoft Security Bulletin Summary for April 2011 can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin/ms11-apr.mspx.

If you have Automatic Update enabled and configured to download and install the latest Microsoft updates in the middle of the night while you're sleeping, it doesn't really matter if there are two security bulletins, or sixty-four. Either way you wake up to a freshly patched--and probably rebooted--system.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Spaceship Lands at San Francisco Airport

It looks like the future of space travel and exploration belongs to the commercial sector:


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Navy Wants Doc-Bots, Robo-Ambulances

Not all of the military's robot research goes into creating unfeeling killing machines. Some of them are here to heal, like the Navy's plan to create a medical robot to treat troops carried by drones.

The Navy envisions its medic-bot actually diagnosing and managing a number of "medically complex, life-threatening clinical events" for more than six hours — to be done either autonomously or with the remote assistance of a human caregiver. To do some of that critical management, ACCS would come equipped with its own drug kit, including "epinephrine, phenylephrine, dopamine, vasopressin, paralytics" among others.

The medic-bot will be a tiny little bot. The Navy wants it to be 30 pounds, max, and should be able to fit into helicopters easily.

But the Navy doesn't just want a robo-doc. It's also looking for an unmanned ambulance — one that flies, preferably. The Office of Naval Research says it expects that "unmanned ground or air vehicles" will be available to carry wounded troops or disaster victims in the future and that their medic-bot will "validate effective patient monitoring and control" on them while in transit.

Read more at navy-wants-doc-bots-robo-ambulances

NOTE: If these military technologies succeed you can bet they will quickly be applied to civilian use, just like medevac helicopters (air ambulances) . Medevac helicopters proved their value in the Korean and Vietnam wars and were then rapidly adopted in community hospitals.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Bananas Could Make Cars Leaner, Greener

Researchers are going bananas in the quest to build cleaner, greener cars.

Brazilian scientists have developed a way of using fibers from bananas, pineapples and other plants to create plastic that is stronger and lighter than the petroleum-based stuff. So-called nanocellulose fibers rival Kevlar in strength but are renewable, and the researchers believe they could be widely used within a couple of years.

"The properties of these plastics are incredible," Alcides Leão, a researcher at Sao Paulo State University, said in a statement. "They are light, but very strong — 30 percent lighter and three to four times stronger."

That could reduce the weight of new vehicles, which would increase fuel economy. Several automakers are cutting weight in their campaigns to maximize mpg. Ford, for example, hopes to trim 250 to 750 pounds from its vehicles and is exploring nanotechnology to do so.

Read more at bananas-could-make-cars-leaner-greener

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

GOP's anti-immigrant stance could turn Texas into a blue state

Not today, to be sure, nor tomorrow. But to read the newly released census data on the Lone Star State is to understand that Texas, the linchpin of any Republican electoral college majority, is turning Latino and, unless the Republicans change their spots, Democratic.

Figures released last month by the Census Bureau show that during the past decade, Texas joined California as a majority-minority state: The percentage of whites in the Texas population declined from 52 percent in 2000 to 45 percent in 2010, while the percentage of Latinos rose from 32 percent to 38 percent. Nearly half of all Texans under 18 - 48 percent - are Latino.

What these numbers mean is simply that the Republicans have an existential problem. As America becomes increasingly multiracial, the Republicans have elected to become increasingly white.

Read the entire article at Texas-blue

Monday, February 28, 2011

Military deploys acupuncture to treat soldiers' concussions

CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan — The U.S. military is applying an ancient Chinese healing technique to the top modern battlefield injury for American soldiers, with results that doctors here say are "off the charts."

Cdr Stuessi, a military doctor who treats soldiers at the Concussion Restoration Care Center at Camp Leatherneck, describes the results as "phenomenal." "It's like rewiring a computer; you're hitting certain nerves in the body. So instead of sending up a pain signal to the brain, they send up a signal saying everything's OK. It's almost like faking out the brain," Stuessi said.

Read the entire article at military-deploys-acupuncture
PERSONAL NOTE: I have severe tendonitis in my hands and arthritis in my thumbs caused by 48 years of using computer mice and keyboards. Orthopedic surgeons in VA and TX have told me that an operation MIGHT help so I have resorted to using pain medication when the pain gets severe. A couple of months ago I decided to try acupuncture. Acupuncture hasn't cured the problem but has helped to the extent that I no longer use medication.

Friday, February 11, 2011

World’s Total CPU Power: One Human Brain

"To put our findings in perspective, the 6.4*1018 instructions per second that human kind can carry out on its general-purpose computers in 2007 are in the same ballpark area as the maximum number of nerve impulses executed by one human brain per second,"

It turns out our computers aren't as powerful as we thought…

Read the article at world-computer-data

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Cranky Redskins Fan's Guide to Dan Snyder

The City Paper, a small alternative Washington newspaper, published an article detailing dozens of Snyder's inept and unpopular actions as team owner and businessman. It included the 2005 controversy surrounding the removal of more than 130 trees on National Park Service land adjacent to Snyder's home to improve his view of the Potomac River. Afterward Snyder paid a $37,000 fine and planted seedlings to replace the trees. Needless to say it will takes decades for the seedlings to reach the height of the previous trees and meanwhile Mr. Snyder will have an unobstructed view of the river. I remember this well because I lived in Fairfax County Virginia at the time. The episode marked one of the rare times Snyder got crisis PR help. He retained Mike Sitrick, who helped with damage control for the Michael Jackson family after the pop star's death and Paris Hilton after one of her arrests. Mr. Snyder is threatening a lawsuit against the paper and demanding that they fire the author of the article.

Mr. Robert Danno, the Shenandoah Junction resident and National Park Service employee who reported the tree removal to authorities, hasn't been as lucky as Mr. Snyder. Soon after he made his disclosures, he experienced a variety of administrative actions, including temporary reassignment, investigation, frivolous administrative charges, Board of Inquiry, suspension, isolation, permanent reassignment and criminal charges. He was removed from his position as chief ranger and reassigned for more than two years to the George Washington Memorial Parkway, where he was required to commute to Mt. Vernon from West Virginia, to issue picnic permits.

Read the entire article at the-cranky-redskins-fans-guide-to-dan-snyder

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Darpa Wants Troop Cellphones With Heat Vision

There's the shopworn military cliche about every soldier being a sensor. And then there's Darpa's out-there project to shrink thermal imaging down to the point where it would fit on a cellphone screen or a rifle sight. The Pentagon's research branch wants personal infrared imaging that's good enough to tell a soldier whether an armed adversary is coming right at him.

Read more at darpa-wants-troop-cellphones-with-heat-vision

Saturday, January 8, 2011

‘White House’ eCard Dupes Dot-Gov Geeks

A malware-laced e-mail that spoofed seasons greetings from The White House siphoned gigabytes of sensitive documents from dozens of victims over the holidays, including a number of government employees and contractors who work on cybersecurity matters.

The attack appears to be the latest salvo from ZeuS malware gangs whose activities over the past year have blurred the boundaries between online financial crime and espionage, by stealing both financial data and documents from victim machines. This activity is unusual because most criminals using ZeuS are interested in money-making activities – such as swiping passwords and creating botnets – whereas the hoovering up of sensitive government documents is activity typically associated with so-called advanced persistent threat attacks, or those deployed to gather industrial and military intelligence.

Read more atWhite-House-ecard-dupes-dot-gov-geeks

Global spam volumes fall precipitously

Global spam volumes have fallen precipitously in the past two months, thanks largely to the cessation of junk e-mail from Rustock – until recently the world's most active spam botnet. But experts say the hackers behind Rustock have since shifted the botnet's resources toward other money-making activities, such as installing spyware and adware. That's good news or bad news, depending on whether you have a good anti-spyware program. If you don't I recommend Spybot (free) or Systems Mechanic Pro ($49.95). System Mechanic Pro is also a very good PC tunup tool.

Read more at Rustock-ceases-operation