Articles by HAL9000

Reports Tariq Malik of via the Christian Science Monitor:

The sun unleashed a cosmic double whammy Tuesday (March 6), erupting with two major flares to cap a busy day of powerful solar storms. One of the flares is the most powerful solar eruption of the year, so far. Both of the huge flares ranked as X-class storms, the strongest type of solar flares the sun can have. They followed several weaker, but still powerful, sun storms on Tuesday and came just days after another major solar flare on Sunday night.

What Stalin wanted, Stalin got, gravity be damned. No evidence the thing actually worked, even with the one “photo” taken of it. Via Wikipedia: The Antonov A-40 Krylya Tanka (Russian: крылья танка,…

BenderWhen your login and password are both “admin” these sort of things will happen, but the sheer incompetence of the Washington D.C. election board with electronic voting systems is frightening. Via Geekosystem:

Sure, widespread electronic voting would make the process of tallying and processing ballots exponentially easier, but can it ever really be secure? Maybe someday, but certainly not right now, as evidenced by a little experiment in Washington D.C. that ended with everyone’s favorite robo-sociopath Bender Bending Rodriguez being elected as the head of the Washington D.C. school board. Needless to say, there was a little bit of hacking involved.

Before we go any further, its worth noting that there was hacking involved partially because the Washington D.C. election board was asking for it. Literally. During the election in question, the election board actually invited all comers to try and break into the system as a test of its security. Among others, a team from University of Michigan took a crack at it, and cracked the system wide open …

Stan Schroeder writes on Mashable:

The typical soldier can only carry about 100 lbs. worth of gear, but not indefinitely. DARPA’s (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) new robotic mule, however, can carry 400 lbs. of gear and never get tired — and it can do it with a surprising degree of agility.

Physical overburden of soldiers is one of the top five biggest challenges for the U.S. army, according to DARPA, and a semi-autonomous legged robot, officially named the Legged Squad Support System (LS3), might be one way of fixing that problem …

CIAVia AFP via Google News:

The website of the Central Intelligence Agency was inaccessible on Friday after the hacker group Anonymous claimed to have knocked it offline.

“CIA Tango down,” a member of Anonymous said on @YourAnonNews, a Twitter feed used by the group. “Tango down” is an expression used by the US Special Forces when they have eliminated an enemy. Attempts to access the CIA website at were unsuccessful.

More than two hours after the initial attack on the site attempts by AFP to reach were met with a message saying the Web page was not available. Members of Anonymous also claimed Friday to have hacked the website of Camimex, the Mexican chamber of mines, and posted emails taken from the site online …

Two MoonsSo reports MIT’s Technology Review:

Back in 2006, the Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona noticed that a mysterious body had begun orbiting the Earth. This object had a spectrum that was remarkably similar to the titanium white paint used on Saturn V rocket stages and, indeed, a number of rocket stages are known to orbit the Sun close to Earth.

But this was not an object of ours. Instead, 2006 RH120, as it became known, turned out to be a tiny asteroid just a few metres across–a natural satellite like the Moon. It was captured by Earth’s gravity in September 2006 and orbited us until June 2007 when it wandered off into the Solar System in search of a more interesting neighbour.

2006 RH120 was the first reliably documented example of a temporary moon …

Amazing read. Sam Biddle writes on Gizmodo:

Months ago, I asked the Pentagon for its visual records of Osama bin Laden’s sea burial under the Freedom of Information Act. Today, I received a thick packet of No— a complete denial that any records exist. Read it.

The core of the response is this: the Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, United States Special Operations Command, and the Department of the Navy all had their records searched. Nothing. Admiral Mike Mullen’s email was scanned. Nothing. The Pentagon claims not a single person aboard the USS Carl Vinson, where Bin Laden’s remains were disposed of, took a single picture. Not a single email from the ship makes reference to photo or video. Essentially: nobody in the military has evidence. So did these things ever exist? If so, they’re in a filing cabinet at the CIA, where they’ll be safe for the rest of time.

SRSRob Pavey reports in the Augusta Chronicle:

Savannah River Site scientists are working to identify a strange growth found on racks of spent nuclear fuel collected from foreign governments.

The “white, string-like” material was found among thousands of spent fuel assemblies submerged in deep pools within the site’s L Area, according to a report filed by the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, a federal oversight panel.

“The growth, which resembles a spider web, has yet to be characterized, but may be biological in nature,” the report said. Savannah River National Laboratory collected a small sample in hopes of identifying the mystery lint — and determining whether it is alive …

Wikipedia Spy FilesKim Zetter writes on WIRED’s Threat Level:

What better way to sell your wares than to produce a marketing video showing exactly how your product works? Even if that product is spyware, marketed to oppressive regimes.

WikiLeaks, as part of its Spy Files trove of documents, released on Thursday a series of videos from Gamma International, a UK-based firm that markets the Finfisher spyware.

The video shows how the company’s product can be used to sniff WiFi networks from a hotel lobby, hack computers and cell phones, or intercept Skype communications and siphon encryption passwords.

Michael Stone reports in the Examiner:

Anonymous targets Muslim Brotherhood In Egypt, claims Muslim Brotherhood is a threat to Egyptian revolution, plans a coordinated Distributed Denial of Service attack on Nov. 11. Those claiming to represent the nebulous and notorious international Internet hacktivist collective known as Anonymous released a YouTube video announcing an operation directed at the Muslim Brotherhood.

According to the announcement, the Muslim Brotherhood is a “corrupt” organization “bent on taking over sovereign Arab states in its quest to seize power.” The announcement goes on to compare the Muslim Brotherhood to the Church of Scientology, and declares the Brotherhood to be “a threat to the people.”

Didn’t we know this already? Reports Kimberly Dozier on the AP: McLEAN, VA — In an anonymous industrial park, CIA analysts who jokingly call themselves the “ninja librarians” are mining the mass…

MUOSTony Capaccio and Jeff Bliss report in Bloomberg:

Computer hackers, possibly from the Chinese military, interfered with two U.S. government satellites four times in 2007 and 2008 through a ground station in Norway, according to a congressional commission.

The intrusions on the satellites, used for earth climate and terrain observation, underscore the potential danger posed by hackers, according to excerpts from the final draft of the annual report by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. The report is scheduled to be released next month.

“Such interference poses numerous potential threats, particularly if achieved against satellites with more sensitive functions,” according to the draft. “Access to a satellite‘s controls could allow an attacker to damage or destroy the satellite. An attacker could also deny or degrade as well as forge or otherwise manipulate the satellite’s transmission.”