Archive

Archive for June 28, 2011

These Fake Chinese Microchips Were Made To Disarm U.S. Missiles

June 28, 2011 Comments off

businessinsider

Chip

Image: fox o’ryan via flickr

Last year, the U.S. Navy bought 59,000 microchips for use in everything from missiles to transponders that turned out to be counterfeits from China.

Wired reports the chips weren’t only low-quality fakes, they had been made with a “back-door” and could have been remotely shut down at any time.

If left undiscovered the result could have rendered useless U.S. missiles and killed the signal from aircraft that tells everyone whether it’s friend or foe.

Apparently foreign chip makers are often better at making cheap microchips and U.S. defense contractors are loathe to pass up the better deal.

The problem remains with these “trojan-horse” circuits that can be built into the chip and are almost impossible to detect — especially without the original plans to compare them to.

The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Agency (IARPA) is now looking for ways to check the chips to make sure they haven’t been hacked in the production process.

Expect to see a whole lot more funding directed to this goal. Or, considering  IARPA is the research and development section of the intelligence community — expect the money to be spent — don’t expect to see where.

2010 – 2011: Earth’s most extreme weather since 1816?

June 28, 2011 Comments off

wunderground

Every year extraordinary weather events rock the Earth. Records that have stood centuries are broken. Great floods, droughts, and storms affect millions of people, and truly exceptional weather events unprecedented in human history may occur. But the wild roller-coaster ride of incredible weather events during 2010, in my mind, makes that year the planet’s most extraordinary year for extreme weather since reliable global upper-air data began in the late 1940s. Never in my 30 years as a meteorologist have I witnessed a year like 2010–the astonishing number of weather disasters and unprecedented wild swings in Earth’s atmospheric circulation were like nothing I’ve seen. The pace of incredible extreme weather events in the U.S. over the past few months have kept me so busy that I’ve been unable to write-up a retrospective look at the weather events of 2010. But I’ve finally managed to finish, so fasten Read more…