Archive for February 7, 2012

Democrats to continue Internet coup with new cyber bill

February 7, 2012 Comments off

A blackout landing page is displayed on a laptop computer screen inside the “Anti-Sopa War Room” at the offices of the Wikipedia Foundation in San Francisco, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, following a recent anti-piracy legislative debacle with SOPA and PIPA, will lead his second effort of 2012 to push Internet-regulating legislation, this time in the form of a new cybersecurity bill. The expected bill is the latest attempt by the Democrats to broadly expand the authority of executive branch agencies over the Internet.

Details about the bill remain shrouded in secrecy. Clues available to the public suggest that the bill might be stronger than President Barack Obama’s cybersecurity proposal, which was released in May 2011. Reid said that he would bring the bill — expected to come out of the Senate Homeland Security and Read more…

India Bans Army From Using Social Networks

February 7, 2012 Comments off

The contemporary soldier has to operate in a very sophisticated setting, using some of the latest technology, but many armies around the world are quite selective about which bits of technology they allow their soldiers to use.

India Bans Army From Using Social Networks indian armyOne case in point is the Indian Army which has taken the rather broad and somewhat harsh approach of banning entirely, the use of social media and social networks by its soldiers. The reason given for the wholesale ban is the typical “security safeguards” excuse, and many in the blogosphere are simply not convinced by it. Although there hasn’t been an official confirmation from the Army, sources close to the situation say that the ban is effectively immediately and will affect the 36,000 officers and 1.3 million regular soldiers that currently make up India’s armed forces.

The ban means that once you a soldier is enlisted in the Indian Army, he or she is not permitted to even have Read more…

Mali violence forces 20,000 into exile, UN says

February 7, 2012 Comments off

Malian refugees are pictured on February 4, 2012 at a Malian refugees camp in Chinegodar, western Niger, close to the Malian border. The UN says violence in the country has forced 20,000 to flee. Malian refugees are pictured on February 4, 2012 at a Malian refugees camp in Chinegodar, western Niger, close to the Malian border. The UN says violence in the country has forced 20,000 to flee.

Photograph by: Boureima Hama, AFP/Getty Images


GENEVA – The UN refugee agency said Tuesday it has sent emergency teams to countries surrounding Mali to help them deal with an influx of more than 20,000 people who have the fled fighting there.

Clashes between rebel Tuareg groups and governmental forces in the Azawad region of northern Mali broke out in mid-January.

In the past three weeks, at least 10,000 people are reported to have crossed to Niger, 9,000 have found refuge in Mauritania and 3,000 in Burkina Faso, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said.

In Niger, about two-thirds of the refugees are in Read more…

Categories: Africa, Mali Tags: , ,

Russia ready to defend Iran and Syria

February 7, 2012 3 comments

Russia believes that Syria and Iran are in its national interest and is apparently ready to use military force to defend them:

Following are excerpts from an interview with Colonel-General [ret.] Leonid Ivashov, former member of the Russian Joint Chiefs of Staff, which aired on Russia Today TV on February 1, 2012:

Interviewer: Dr. Leonid, do you think that these preparations and very large maneuvers, which will soon be conducted by Russia, are meant as preparation for war, or rather, a military strike against Read more…

Russia, China to Jointly Build Mi-2A Helicopters

February 7, 2012 1 comment

RIA Novosti

Russian helicopter maker Rostvertol and Chinese Xi’Ao Aeroplane Manufacturing will build a plant in northern China capable of manufacturing 100 lightweight civil Mi-2A helicopters annually, Xinhua said on Monday.

The first phase of the plant, located on 47 hectares in Hebei Province, will be completed by the end of July, Xinhua said citing local officials.

The investment for the first phase is estimated at $224 million.

The plant will also serve as a repair hub for Russia’s Mi-series choppers in the Asia region.

Mi-2A is a modernized version of the Russian Mi-2 Hoplit helicopter, which features a new power plant, advanced piloting and navigation equipment, and significant flight performance improvement.

Did You Know That Earth Is Getting Lighter Every Day?

February 7, 2012 Comments off

Earth is getting 50,000 tonnes lighterevery year, even while 40,000 tonnes of space dust fall on our planet’s surface during the same period. So, why are we losing so much weight? You will be surprised.

At least, I never considered this and I was surprised to hear the reasoning in More or Less, a BBC Radio 4 program about statistics and numbers. According to Dr Chris Smith and Cambridge University physicist Dave Ansel’s calculations, despite those 40,000 tonnes of space dust that become part of our planet every year, Earth loses 50,000 tonnes of mass. Is it because we keep launching rockets? No. These are their back-of-the-napkin calculations:

Adding weight

• Earth gains about 40,000 tonnes of dust every year, the remnants of the formation of the solar system, which are attracted by our gravity and become part of the matter in our planet. Our planet is actually made from all that starstuff.
• NASA says that Earth gains about 160 tonnes of matter a year because the global temperature is going up: “If we are adding energy to the system, the mass must Read more…

Categories: Earth, Earth changes Tags:

‘Deleted’ Facebook photos still viewable THREE YEARS later

February 7, 2012 Comments off


Mark Zuckerberg, Founder and CEO of Facebook: Site users claim that 'deleted' photographs persist on the site for up to three years, accessible by anyone with a link to them

Deleted Facebook photos don’t disappear but can still be accessed by anyone with a link to the images themselves.

The company admits that its systems ‘do not always delete images in a reasonable period of time.’

The news is liable to be a shock to users who’ve relied on the delete function to remove embarrassing photos from office parties or nights out.

Deleted images vanish from ‘normal’ views of the site – ie if you log in to Facebook and look on somebody’s photo page, they won’t be visible – but remain visible to anyone with a direct URL link to the picture.

That means that if, for instance, a picture has been circulated by email, the image will still be there for anyone who clicks the link.

Facebook has repeatedly promised to ‘fix’ problems with the systems it uses to remove photographs, after users pointed out that images tended to persist after deletion.

Not all deleted pictures are affected, but a significant percentage.

Technology site Ars Technica reports that a picture of a naked toddler supposedly ‘removed’ in 2008 was still visible as of February 2012.

Site readers reported campaigns of harassment using Read more…