ananyo writes "Physicists have resurrected a particle that may have existed in the first hot moments after the Big Bang. Arcanely called Zc(3900), it is the first confirmed particle made of four quarks, the building blocks of much of the Universe's matter (abstract one, abstract two). Until now, observed particles made of quarks have contained only three quarks (such as protons and neutrons) or two quarks (such as the pions and kaons found in cosmic rays)."
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An anonymous reader writes "China's Tianhe-2 is the world's fastest supercomputer, according to the latest semiannual Top 500 list of the 500 most powerful computer systems in the world. Developed by China's National University of Defense Technology, the system appeared two years ahead of schedule and will be deployed at the National Supercomputer Center in Guangzho, China, before the end of the year."
benrothke writes "It's said that truth is stranger than fiction, as fiction has to make sense. Had The Chinese Information War: Espionage, Cyberwar, Communications Control and Related Threats to United States Interests been written as a spy thriller, it would have been a fascinating novel of international intrigue. But the book is far from a novel. It's a dense, well-researched overview of China's cold-war like cyberwar tactics against the US to regain its past historical glory and world dominance." Read below for the rest of Ben's review.
chicksdaddy writes "In the days since stories based on classified information leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden hit the headlines, a string of reports and editorials claim that he had his facts wrong, accuse him of treason – or both. Others have accused journalists like Glen Greenwald of The Guardian of rushing to print before they had all the facts. All of these criticisms could be valid. Technology firms may not have given intelligence agencies unfettered and unchecked access to their users' data. Edward Snowden may be, as the New York Times's David Brooks suggests, one of those 20-something-men leading a 'life unshaped by the mediating institutions of civil society.' All those critiques may be true without undermining the larger truth of Snowden's revelation: in an age of global, networked communications and interactions, we are all a lot less free than we thought we were. I say this because nobody has seriously challenged the basic truth of Snowden's leak: that many of the world's leading telecommunications and technology firms are regularly divulging information about their users' activities and communications to law enforcement and intelligence agencies based on warrantless requests and court reviews that are hidden from public scrutiny. It hasn't always been so." Bruce Schneier has published an opinion piece saying that while Snowden did break the law, we need to investigate the government before any prosecution occurs. (Schneier's piece is one in a series on the subject.) Snowden himself said in an interview today that the U.S. government has been pursuing hacking operations against China for years.
An anonymous reader sends this quote from Bloomberg: "A Chinese national was sentenced to 12 years in a U.S. prison for selling more than $100 million worth of software pirated from American companies, including Agilent Technologies Inc., from his home in China. Li and his wife, of Chengdu, China, were accused of running a website called 'Crack 99' that sold copies of software for which 'access-control mechanisms had been circumvented, the U.S. said in an unsealed 46-count indictment. The pair was charged with distributing more than 500 copyrighted works to more than 300 buyers in the U.S. and overseas from April 2008 to June 2011. The retail value of the products was more than $100 million, the government said. Li is the first Chinese citizen to be 'apprehended and prosecuted in the U.S. for cybercrimes he engaged in entirely from China,' prosecutors said in court filings."
Zothecula writes "Ever since it was first unveiled in 2007, many people were captivated with the sleek, futuristic looks of the Aptera. When Aptera Motors went out of business in 2011, not having commercially produced a single vehicle, those same people were understandably disappointed. Now, word comes that a new company may be manufacturing and selling Apteras as soon as next year." Says the article: "Aptera USA has most of the original company’s prototypes, equipment, patents and designs, so it wouldn’t be starting from scratch. Given that fact, Deringer hopes that Aptera USA could be making cars as early as the first quarter of 2014. He’s currently in the process of hiring engineers, and the company has already put in an order for 1,000 bodies from its Detroit-based supplier." Until there really is a super-charger network from central Texas to California, I wish I could get one of the gas-powered (or gas-electric hybrid) Apteras. Why should Tesla have all the fun?
MTorrice writes "Men's options for birth control have significant downsides: Condoms are not as effective as hormonal methods for women, and vasectomies require surgery and are irreversible. Doctors and scientists have for decades searched for more effective and desirable male contraception techniques. Researchers in China now propose a nonsurgical, reversible, and low-cost method. They show that infrared laser light heats up gold nanorods injected into mice testes, leading to reduced fertility (abstract) in the animals."
McGruber writes with this news from late last week: "The Guardian is reporting that Nicaragua has awarded a Chinese company a 100-year concession to build an alternative to the Panama Canal, in a step that looks set to have profound geopolitical ramifications. The new route will be a higher-capacity alternative to the 99-year-old Panama Canal, which is currently being widened at the cost of $5.2bn. Last year, the Nicaraguan government noted that the new canal should be able to allow passage for mega-container ships with a dead weight of up to 250,000 tonnes. This is more than double the size of the vessels that will be able to pass through the Panama Canal after its expansion, it said."
anagama writes "NSA officials have repeatedly denied under oath to Congress that even producing an estimate of the number of Americans caught up in its surveillance is impossible. Leaked screenshots of an NSA application that does exactly that, prove that the NSA flat out lied (surprise). Glenn Greenwald continues his relentless attacks with another bombshell this time exposing Boundless Informant. Interestingly, the NSA spies more on America than China according to the heat map. Representative Wyden had sought amendments to FISA reauthorization bill that would have required the NSA to provide information like this (hence the NSA's lies), but Obama and Feinstein demanded a pure reauthorization of FISA, which they got at the end of 2012." And if you don't mind that you might have your name on yet another special list, you might enjoy this Twitter-based take on the ongoing news.
An anonymous reader writes "Cyber espionage, crime, and warfare are possible only because of poor application or system design, implementation, and/or configuration,' argues a U.S. Air Force cyber security researcher. 'It is technological vulnerabilities that create the ability for actors to exploit the information system and gain illicit access to sensitive national security secrets, as the previous examples highlight. Yet software and hardware developers are not regulated in the same way as, say, the auto or pharmaceutical industries.' 'The truth is that we should no longer accept a patch/configuration management culture that promotes a laissez-faire approach to cyber security."
hypnosec writes "Microsoft in collaboration with the FBI have successfully taken down the Citadel botnet which was known to control millions of PCs across the globe and was allegedly responsible for bank fraud in excess of $500 million. Citadel was known to have over 1,400 instances across the globe with most located in the US, Europe, India, China, Hong Kong and Singapore. It would install key-logging tools on target systems, which were then used to steal online banking credentials."
kkleiner writes "The long anticipated Chinese construction project called Sky City, a 220-story building that can house 30,000 people, has finally received approval from the central government to break ground. The firm Broad Sustainable Building previously constructed a prefab 30-story building in 15 days, but for Sky City, they have an even more aggressive schedule: 90 days to build 2,750 feet into the air. Once completed, the building will be a place for people to both live and work, with recreational facilities, theaters, a school, and a hospital all within the structure."
Etherwalk writes "Huang Chengqing, China's top internet security official, alleged that cyberattacks on China from people in the U.S. are as serious as those from China on the U.S. 'We have mountains of data, if we wanted to accuse the U.S., but it's not helpful in solving the problem.' Huang, however, does not necessarily attribute them to the U.S. government just because they came from U.S. soil, and he thinks Washington should extend the same courtesy. 'They advocated cases that they never let us know about. Some cases can be addressed if they had talked to us, why not let us know? It is not a constructive train of thought to solve problems.' In response to the recent theft of U.S. military designs, he replied with an observation whose obviousness is worthy of Captain Hammer: 'Even following the general principle of secret-keeping, it should not have been linked to the Internet.'" A few experts think China's more cooperative attitude has come about precisely because the U.S. government has gone public with hacking allegations.
An anonymous reader writes "With help from a draft report (PDF) from Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Jack Dongarra, who also spearheads the process of verifying the top of the pack supercomputer, we get a detailed look at China's Tianhe-2 system. As noted previously, the system will be housed at the National Supercomputer Center in Guangzhou and has been aimed at providing an open platform for research and education and to provide a high performance computing service for southern China. From Jack's details: '... was sent results showing a run of HPL benchmark using 14,336 nodes, that run was made using 50 GB of the memory of each node and achieved 30.65 petaflops out of a theoretical peak of 49.19 petaflops, or an efficiency of 62.3% of theoretical peak performance taking a little over 5 hours to complete.The fastest result shown was using 90% of the machine. They are expecting to make improvements and increase the number of nodes used in the test.'"
cylonlover writes "A team of scientists at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore has developed a new image sensor from graphene that promises to improve the quality of images captured in low light conditions. In tests, it has proved to be 1,000 times more sensitive to light than existing complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) or charge-coupled device (CCD) camera sensors in addition to operating at much lower voltages, consequently using 10 times less energy."
New submitter thomas8166 writes "The Taiwanese Intellectual Property Office (TIPO) recently proposed draft legislation that would empower it to block foreign websites that it deems infringing. The proposal has been likened to SOPA, and has drawn heavy criticism from website operators such as Wikimedia Taiwan. The TIPO stresses that it will only target well-known infringing sites, but Taiwanese netizens are concerned that this power can potentially be abused for political purposes."
New submitter Eugriped3z writes with an article in the New York Times that "indicates that manufacturing defect rates for solar panels manufactured in China vary widely, anywhere from 5-22%. Secrecy in the terms of settlements negotiated by attorneys representing multi-million dollar installations perpetuate the problem by masking the identity of unscrupulous or incompetent actors. Meanwhile, Reuters reports that unit labor costs in Mexico are now lower than in China."
Taco Cowboy points out reports in The Register and The Jerusalem Post (along with a paywalled article at the WSJ) that say "[Iranian hackers are] responsible for a wave of computer attacks on U.S. corporations, with targets including oil, gas and electricity companies. Unlike the cyber incursions from China, the goal of the Iranian attacks is sabotage rather than espionage. The cyber attacks are seen as attempts to gain control of critical processing systems. The attacks on oil, gas and power firms have so far concentrated on accruing information on how their systems work – a likely first step in a co-ordinated campaign that would eventually result in attacks aimed at disrupting or destroying such infrastructure."
n1ywb writes "Chinese hackers have gained access to the designs of many of the nation's most sensitive advanced weapons systems, according to a report prepared for the Defense Department and government and defense industry officials,The Washington Post reported Tuesday. The compromised weapons designs include, among others, the advanced Patriot missile system, the Navy's Aegis ballistic missile defense systems, the F/A-18 fighter jet, the V-22 Osprey, the Black Hawk helicopter and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter." Also (with some more details and news-report round-up) at SlashBI.
SandmanWAIX writes "In an embarrassing revelation today it appears as though the blueprints to the new Australian federal intelligence agency ASIO headquarters have been stolen, reportedly by a cyber attack originating from China. Several other governmental departments have been reported as being breached also. The blueprints which have been compromised include the security system, comms network, floor plan and server locations of the new ASIO headquarters located in the Australian capital city, Canberra."