New flight 370 details: All signs point to backdoor westwardly landing approach onto secret island base

All evidence shows that a massive cover-up surrounding flight 370 has taken place, likely implementing U.S. military factions

secret-us-military-base-diego-garcia-flight-370-hijacked-malaysia

INDIAN OCEAN (INTELLIHUB) — It’s now been 30-days since Malaysian Airlines flight 370 went missing after departing from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) on route to China and search and rescue teams have still found no trace of the Boeing 777 aircraft or any of its 239 passengers, after being fed botched search area data by Malaysian officials.

In fact, it has been reported that family members of the missing believe that the Malaysian government is involved in a massive cover-up of what really took place on Mar. 8, after the aircraft’s transponder was manually overridden via human intervention. Moreover, Malaysian authorities have suspiciously failed to release the plane’s cargo hold manifest and actual cockpit voice recordings which have been repeatedly requested by various family members, investigators and search and rescue teams to aid in the search for the missing plane.

Now according to Sara Bajc the girlfriend of Phillip Wood, a missing passenger aboard flight 370, there is a general consensus amongst flight 370′s family members, based in Malaysia, that possibly a U.S. militarized faction may have intercepted and commandeered the airliner. In fact, Bajc even stated that there is some witness to two fighter jets accompanying MH370 after the flight went dark, evading radar.

“I am sure that the military in Malaysia knew that plane was there and has tracked that plane in some way. Now whether they were in control of it or not we don’t know. Many people are saying that the United States is involved […] but the general thinking across the families here and even non-families […] believe this was a military operation of some sort.”, said Bajc, demonstrating her true inner feelings.

So what do we know?

Based on radar data supplied from several other countries and early on reports, we know that MH370, under intelligent human control, turned-back to the west at about 1:21am on the morning of Mar 8., just after the planes transponder was shut off. It was then reported by Intellihub News that the plane then took a zig-zag course heading Northwest toward the Straights of Malacca and the Andaman Islands where it was later intercepted on radar by a Malaysian and military installation. However, the Malaysian military, press and government quickly covered up the leaked report. Then 10-days later officials in Thailand released their radar data willingly, which matched the leaked original leaked Malaysian military radar blips putting MH370 just North of Malaysia before turning to the South. Interestingly, Thai officials claim that no one ever asked for their radar data, that’s why they willingly submitted it 10-days after MH370 went missing.

New information obtained by CNN Sunday, tells us that “flight 370 may have been flown on purpose along a route designed to avoid radar detection”, signifying a highly contrived and likely militarized plan to commandeer the aircraft, its cargo, and 239 passengers. Shockingly this information dovetails with a report by Shepard Ambellas titled YouTube investigator: ‘Flight 370 landed at Diego Garcia military base, plane and passengers then put in a Faraday style hangar’ which was released on Mar. 24, detailing how flight 370 was spotted by locals flying low over the Maldives Islands between 6:15am and 6:40am on the morning of Mar. 8, the day flight 370 went missing. This sighting was also independently confirmed by American investigator John Halloway, after interviewing an eyewitness living on the island of Kudahuvadhoo, via telephone, who saw the massive white jumbo-jet bearing a red and blue stripe down its side. The eyewitness testimony also revealed that the plane was flying “Northwest to Southeast”, which would have set the plane up for a backdoor westwardly approach to U.S. military base Diego Garcia avoiding all sightings from any straggler base personnel on the remote island in the Indian Ocean.

Moreover, investigators also determined that out of 5 simulations that were loaded into the captain’s home flight simulator, one was of Diego Garcia. The police confiscated the flight simulator from the pilot’s house in Shah Alam and reassembled it at the police headquarters where experts are currently conducting checks.

“The simulation programmes are based on runways at the Male International Airport in Maldives, an airport owned by the United States (Diego Garcia), and three other runways in India and Sri Lanka, all have runway lengths of 1,000 metres. We are not discounting the possibility that the plane landed on a runway that might not be heavily monitored, in addition to the theories that the plane landed on sea, in the hills, or in an open space,” an unnamed source told Berita Harian.

Intentional diversions and distractions

Since the disappearance of flight MH370, loved ones of missing passengers have been on an emotional roller coaster ride as the mainstream media and the governments involved with the search continue to create diversions and spread false information.  Two weeks ago, the Malaysian government claimed to have found wreckage of the missing aircraft.  Their information came from a satellite search crew, but was not verified.  Based on this flimsy evidence, the Malaysian government was quick to announce that the wreckage had been found and that everyone on board the plane had been killed.  This information was callously passed on to the loved ones of missing passengers through a standard text message from the government.

Malaysian officials claimed that the mystery had been solved and seemed to be celebrating the terrible news that the plane was found in pieces.  However, the announcement of the crash was made prematurely and soon after it was discovered that the large masses detected in the ocean were just large swaths containing junk and trash, but no airplane.

After weeks of false alarms and wild goose chases the Malaysian government said that the plane may never be found, but the vast majority of the passengers family members refuse to believe the official story.

As of now, 30-days into it, the current goose chase is locating the black box “ping” that has allegedly being detected somewhere in the Indian Ocean.

The head of the multinational search for the missing flight recently told CBS News that two electronic pulses were picked up by a Chinese ship, which could be the missing planes black box. However, it was later admitted that the reports in question were published before they were verified, expanding the endless rabbit hole of propaganda for onlookers to get lost in.  While reports of the black box pings have yet to be verified, they continue to get constant mainstream media coverage.

The contents of flight 370

As of now the motive for such an elaborate crime is not yet fully known.

What we do know is that 20 employees from the multi-billion dollar Austin Texas-based tech firm Freescale Semiconductor along with one IBM executive were aboard the flight.

Adding to the mystery, the Lord Jacob Rothschild (Blackstone Group) controlled Freescale Semiconductor Ltd. has kept the flow of any information regarding their employees at a minimum.

The Voice of Russia reported on Mar. 31 in an article titled MH370 kept hidden at top-secret US military base – media reports:

Interestingly, that leading innovative company [Freescale Semiconductor Ltd.] has been oddly unwilling to provide information on the missing people. Only the nationalities of the employees were made public: 12 of them were from Malaysia and eight from China. However, Freescale has persistently declined to release their identities. “Out of respect for the families’ privacy during this difficult time, we will not be releasing the names of the employees who were on board the flight at this time,” Freescale spokeswoman Jacey Zuniga said.

Nevertheless, Mitch Haws, Freescale’s vice president, described them as “people with a lot of experience and technical background,” adding that “they were very important.” According to Reuters, the vanished employees were engineers or specialists involved in projects to streamline and cut costs at key manufacturing facilities in China and Malaysia.

While it had been reported previously that 4 of the Freescale Semiconductor employees aboard flight 370 were patent holders, their names did not appear on the official flight manifest released by the Malaysian government, adding even a deeper element for independent investigators.

(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

via IntelliHub

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Science Faction?

technology-based-future-bradbury-orwellIn a somewhat disturbing case of life imitating art, it seems that real world turmoil is catching up with classic science fiction projections of a dystopian future as envisioned by writers like George Orwell and Ray Bradbury — a world where the general populace is under constant surveillance, and the technology that we’ve become overly dependent on has become our greatest liability.

If the recent NSA debacle wasn’t alarming enough for you, Google recently acquired Nest, the smart device firm and home automation pioneer. Home automation, of course, means having  multiple devices (kitchen appliances, thermostats, locks and security cameras, etc.) equipped with wireless capability and controllable through an app on a smart device. Your phone, in essence, becomes a remote control for your entire house. Some systems, like the one which Samsung recently premiered at CES 2014, will only enable the company’s own products to interact with one another, and the more glitzy products like the ADT home security systems allow homeowners to control their thermostats and other electronics (regardless of brand) with their smart phone.

If it sounds too good to be true…that’s because it potentially is, as this article from Trend Labs explains. The IP configuration on the devices is simple and the security options are quite limited, leaving them easily penetrable by hackers and thieves. Part of the risk, of course, is that if you have a home security system that can be entirely disabled through a smartphone, a thief could hack into your accounts, deactivate your entire security system with the push of a mere button, and enter your home freely. All of your data becomes more accessible to hackers, and now Google will have even more comprehensive data to sell to third party candidates who can market products even more aggressively to you.

Orwell and Bradbury basically called the whole thing…

One of the great things about science-fiction is that, whatever paranoid projections it makes about future global conditions, it’s always very much a product of its own time.This news raises all sorts of issues for an overly imaginative person.

The situation is like George Orwell’s 1984, where the general public can’t even so much as think in privacy. Everyone is under constant surveillance, and the entire system is under the pretense that this is somehow what’s best for society.

The citizens of Orwell’s fictional Oceania all have “telescreens” in their apartments, which enables Big Brother (whether that’s merely a governmental agency monitoring the public or one chief observer is never entirely clear) to supervise every given moment of everyone’s lives, and to possess an absurd level of intel on every given person under the jurisdiction of their central government. Replace telescreens with tablets, and Big Brother with Facebook and Google, and ask yourself how much of a deviation this setup is from life as we know it today.

It also calls to mind a particularly eerie story penned by Ray Bradbury 1950 entitled August 2026: There Will Come Soft Rains. The story focuses on “a-day-in-the-life” of a fully automated home after the extinction of the human race. The house prepares meals, recites important dates and reminders through an intercom system with a pre-recorded voice. We come to learn, throughout the course of the story, that the family who owned the house have been wiped out. We hear about silhouettes permanently fixed unto the side of the homes, in a manner that evoked the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki who were vaporized in an atomic blast.

So Bradbury’s grim musings couldn’t have been more fitting for his time, and they are startlingly relevant now. Just as humans channel their ingenuity and creativity into constructive things, or things which enhance life for humanity (all of the advancements in home technology, for instance) the misapplication of that creativity — and the misapplication of technology itself– can have dire, even catastrophic, consequences on humanity.

Is it really as bad as all of that?

Only time will tell, but it does seem more and more likely that whatever minor conveniences the technology yields will hardly justify the potential security risks.

You would hope that, in some cases, paranoid science-fiction literature would help prevent future atrocities from occurring by anticipating them. It’s sort of comforting that we’ve not yet reached the place anticipated by Arthur C. Clarke, where computers have superior intellect to humans and can function, not only with autonomy, but willfully against people. It’s pretty disconcerting, however, that we seem to be drawing nearer and nearer to those imagined realities, not merely a novel thought and fodder for pop literature, but a grim facet of our day to day lives.

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Biometric Voice-Identification Technology Leads to Arrests of Terrorist Suspects in Europe

Officials who apparently thwarted an alleged terror plot against Europe used voiceprinting technology to catch several suspects.

The British Government Communications Headquarters, which snoops on criminal suspects and works with MI6 spies, used voice identification technology to help uncover the plot, AP says. Several of the voices were recorded along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

Voiceprinting compares known voice recordings to new conversations to determine who is speaking. It involves recording words to capture the frequencies associated with a person’s voice, and using statisical models to extrapolate speech patterns. Advocates say it is as accurate as a fingerprint, and can be more useful especially for monitoring overseas suspects.

“Advances in these types of technology have been key in thwarting plots and catching suspects,” an anonymous British government official said.

Critics say voiceprints can be inaccurate, however, because a person’s voice is affected by variables like mood and health.

The reputed plot involved Britain, France and Germany, sparking travel warnings this week. Suspects reportedly spoke of a Mumbai-style shooting spree, recalling the 2008 attacks that killed 166 people.

Police in southern France arrested 12 suspects Tuesday, AP reports.

The recent arrests are the not the first time criminals’ own voices have betrayed them. In 2007, police arrested Colombian drug kingpin Juan Carlos Ramirez Abadia, who used plastic surgery and multiple aliases to dodge authorities, after the US Drug Enforcement Agency matched his voice to a tape recording made by Colombian authorities. The Pentagon even uses voiceprinting in Iraq.

Law enforcement agencies are reportedly considering how a voice database could help prevent future plots, AP says. An Interpol official said voice samples could be stored and shared with its 188 member countries.

via PopSci

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How Online Privacy Tools Are Changing Internet Security

How online privacy tools are changing Internet security and driving the (probably quixotic) quest for anonymity in the digital age.

For many of us, the Internet is like a puppy—lovable by design and fun to play with, but prone to biting. We suspect that our digital footprint is being tracked and recorded (true), mined and sold (super true), but we tolerate these teeth marks because, for many of us, the Internet is irresistible, its rewards greater than its risks. In a 2011 Gallup poll, more than half of those surveyed said they worried about privacy issues with Google, yet 60 percent paid weekly visits to the search giant. As long as we clear our search terms, block cookies, use antivirus software and see that our social media presence isn’t too social, we’ll be OK. Right?

Increasingly, this sense of security is an illusion. “I don’t trust anything on the Internet,” says digital whistleblower John Young. “Cybersecurity is a fiction.” He would know: Young was a seminal member of WikiLeaks and runs Cryptome, a website that posts “documents prohibited by governments worldwide”—think FBI files and manuals detailing how Microsoft spies on us. He argues that the tenuous architecture of the Internet prevents it from being truly secure.

Case in point: Mat Honan, the wired.com writer whose entire digital existence was destroyed by hackers within the span of an hour last August. The cyberbaddies broke into Honan’s Gmail, accessed his Apple ID account and deleted data on his MacBook, iPhone and iPad, including photos of his family. The scariest part of this privacy breach—aside from the fact that its victim is a tech writer (ahem)—is that the hackers hijacked his online world using nothing more than his billing address and the last four digits of his credit card, information that’s relatively easy to obtain online if you know the right tricks. Honan’s story served as yet another reminder that THE INTERNET IS NOT SAFE, PEOPLE.

So is it time to go off the grid? That’s one option. Another is to ditch the puppy analogy and view the Internet the way those who demand higher than average levels of security do: as a giant tracking device that can be outsmarted. Countless tools exist to cloak your digital identity: email encryption services, “meta search engines” that promise private browsing and networks and software that offer a degree of anonymity and, in some cases, entry to previously inaccessible websites. Sounds like the stuff of spy novels, but these tools are available to anyone with an Internet connection.

Of course, the idea of online anonymity clashes with the prevailing “share everything” approach to the Internet—and the moneymaking opportunities therein—which makes it a fascinating and complicated topic. Its opponents say it fosters hate and crime (Mark Zuckerberg’s sister, Randi Zuckerberg, who used to head up marketing at Facebook, famously called for the end of online anonymity earlier this year, stating that “People behave a lot better when they have their real names down”), while privacy champions argue that anonymity grants greater security and freedom of expression. The John Youngs of the world will tell you that being truly unidentifiable online is a fairy tale. But every fairy tale has a lesson, and even if you get hives thinking about trading your identity for a more armored online existence, there’s plenty to learn from the heroes, villains and everyday secret-keepers attempting to go John Doe in the digital realm.

 

Photo by Richard Fleischman.

There’s a famous New Yorker cartoon from 1993 that shows two dogs in front of a computer, one saying to the other, “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.” This was a novel proposition in the Web’s early days. Liberated from our actual identity, we chatted in forums using ridiculous pseudonyms such as “beaniebabyaddict47” and posted comments as “Anonymous,” our snarky alter ego. Anonymity felt great, even if technically it was just a state of mind. But then social media arrived, and with it the idea that transparency is power. Suddenly, we decided it was important to tell the Internet our real name and what we had for breakfast.

For those who want to keep their breakfast habits a secret, the rise of transparency created new security risks. Enter the digital cloaking device. In 2002, the U.S. Naval Research Lab debuted Tor, one of the more effective “anonymizers” to date. A group of M.I.T. grads developed it with the goal of masking one’s IP address, the string of numbers that reveals a given computer’s physical location (snoops and hacks love your IP because it brings them one step closer to determining the real you).

At the heart of Tor is a concept called “onion routing,” which sends the “packets” of info needed to get from points A to B online on a winding route through a network of randomly selected servers, each one knowing only the packet’s previous and next stops in the chain, thereby hiding the user’s IP and allowing a degree of anonymous Web browsing. Confused? In the simplest terms, Tor separates the origin and destination of your online communication, essentially tunneling you through the Web.

The U.S. Navy financed this tunnel to protect government communications, but its code was released to the public because, as Karen Reilly, development director for the nonprofit Tor Project, puts it, “A Navy anonymity network wouldn’t work. The idea is to have many diverse users so that you can’t tell who somebody is just by virtue of them using Tor.” Using seed money from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights advocacy group, the Tor Project formed a decade ago to grow Tor’s user base and maintain and improve its network. Today, Reilly estimates that Tor has about half a million daily users and 3,000 to 4,000 “nodes,” volunteer servers that hopscotch you through the network.

Tor is available as a free download on torproject.org. This software includes a Tor-enabled version of the Firefox Web browser that hides your IP address and forces an encrypted connection where available. Sounds great, but like most anonymizing tools, Tor is flawed. It slows Web browsing and, if someone decided to keep an eye on a large enough swath of the Internet, he could theoretically analyze data patterns to guess where the communication originated.

These weaknesses haven’t stopped hundreds of thousands from downloading the service. Reilly says most people use it to protect their browsing because “they think it’s creepy to be tracked. They don’t like the fact that there’s a file on them somewhere being kept by an advertiser who knows what cereal they like to eat.” And there are more weighty reasons to use Tor: Journalists and activists in oppressive regimes use it to circumvent Internet censorship. It’s been reported that Arab Spring revolutionaries tapped Tor to access Facebook and Twitter, both of which were blocked at various points by Egypt, Iran and others (incidentally, Iran has the second-highest number of Tor users; the United States has the most).

Criminals, trolls and other creeps also love Tor—no surprise given their affinity for the Internet in general. In the mood for some heroin? Silk Road is a one-stop online shop for illegal goods that uses Tor to hide its location from users and, ostensibly, law enforcement. Anonymity haters reference nasty sites like these when stating their case, but Reilly thinks this is misguided. “If Tor didn’t exist, criminals would have other options.”

Other options used by both crooks and law-abiders include virtual private networks, which are faster than Tor and sometimes less secure—and generally not free. Like Tor, VPNs provide a secure connection between computers and can be used as a gateway to websites that would otherwise be inaccessible. VPNs are all the rage in China, where government censorship of the Internet is the norm. Mara Hvistendahl, a Shanghai-based correspondent for Science magazine, has experimented with different privacy tools since moving to the city in 2004. She started with Tor, but found it too slow for regular Web browsing, so she switched to VPNs to access Gmail and Google Scholar, sites that have been blocked by Chinese censors. “Every foreign journalist I know in China uses a VPN,” she says. Another VPN user—a China-based English and journalism teacher who spoke to Sky on the condition of you know what—says she pays for a VPN called Astrill to reach Facebook.

Both women mentioned pairing VPNs with other privacy tools. Hvistendahl has heard of reporters combining VPNs, multiple SIM cards and the secure email service Hushmail to protect sources. If it’s true that no online cloaking device is totally effective, this bundling strategy might be our best bet for protecting ourselves online—though good luck trying to convince the average Web user to do it.
Most people have a difficult time with far-off risk,” says Ashkan Soltani, a former technologist with the Federal Trade Commission’s privacy division who’s currently a privacy/security researcher and consultant. “That’s why we passed seat belt laws. The likelihood of you getting in a car accident is low, but the harm that you might experience in that accident is potentially high. It’s the same online. We’re bad at figuring out how our data could be used against us in the future, so we don’t care.”

We should care, says Lee Tien, senior staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, because data privacy laws are “not incredibly strong.” This is an understatement in countries such as China and Iran, where Web users have little or no online freedom. The US has the Wiretap Act and the Stored Communications Act, both of which address basic privacy issues such as police needing an interception order to tap emails. But these laws fail to look at how private corporations handle our digital footprint, and as a result, we’re at the mercy of, say, Facebook’s data policy or Google’s data policy, and we all know that they have our best interests in mind . . . .

But here’s the real stinger: Let’s say you decide to take control of your digital footprint and start using some of the tools mentioned above. Also, you begin paying closer attention to the privacy policies on the various sites you visit, clicking “do not track” when possible and opting out of initiatives such as Google’s targeted ads program, which is based on the content of your email. Congratulations, responsible netizen, you now have more online security than most—have fun on your cumbersome, hard-to-manage, less optimized version of the Internet!

Ken Berman puts it another way: “If you want to be on Facebook, there are certain things—anonymizing tools that prevent tracking, prevent cookies, prevent identifying behavior—that make some of these social media tools difficult to work with.” Berman, an IT security expert who for years worked at the Broadcasting Board of Governors (the United States’ international broadcasting arm), sees two options for Internet users: “Either you say, ‘I give in. I enjoy the Web, so I’ll put up with walking by a store and getting a text message that says go in this store and you’ll get an immediate 10 percent coupon.’ Or you say, ‘No, I don’t want to play in that world, so I’m going to use Tor or a VPN. I’m going to clean up my session every time I log out and not leave any remnants of my behavior.’ I don’t see how there’s anything in between.”

Soltani is more optimistic. He sees a future where governments pass stronger digital privacy laws and geeks build easier-to-use privacy controls that work seamlessly with the slobbering puppy version of the Internet we all love. In the meantime, he’s doing his best to educate as many people as possible on the virtues of proper digital hygiene, whether that means using anonymity tools or simply being more aware of the fact that you leave a data trail wherever you go these days (don’t even get us started on smartphones).

“My big thing is to demystify I.T.,” says Soltani. “It doesn’t help to think of it as magic or something that’s bringing the world to an end. Tech changes the way we interact with one another and our society—and we should be cognizant of that and adjust accordingly.”

For now, it remains to be seen how these changes will affect online anonymity, a concept that begs important questions about what sort of society we want to live in: Is anonymity a right? Should we be able to engage in discourse anonymously? Should beaniebabyaddict47 be allowed to have such an obnoxious alias? Stay tuned. //
With consultation on information systems security from Matt Lange at Milwaukee Area Technical College.

via DeltaSkyMag

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Watch A Swarm Of Robots Team Up With Flying Drones To Solve Real-World Problems

We’re used to thinking of robot swarms as consisting of lots and lots of similar robots working together. What we’re starting to see now, though, are swarms of heterogeneous robots, where you get different robots combining their powers to make each other more efficient and more capable. One of the first projects to really make this work was Swarmanoid, with teams of footbots and handbots and eyebots, and researchers presented a similar idea at IROS earlier this month, using an AR Drone to help a swarm of self-assembling ground robots to climb over a hill.

The focus of this research is communication: getting a flying robot to be able to communicate with a swarm of ground robots by relying exclusively on visual feedback from LEDs. All you need to get this to work are lights, cameras, and some mildly intelligent robots: you can leave your maps, GPS, IMU, hardware IDs, and all that stuff at home. Here’s a video of the system in action:

As interesting as the communication is, it’s the applications that really make this video worth watching. Since the ground robots can’t see very far, they rely on the quadrotor to scout ahead and estimate the parameters of upcoming obstacles. Then, the quadrotor instructs the swarm on the ground how to team up to best overcome those obstacles. With the hill, for example, the quadrotor can use stereo imagery to compute how steep it is, run an onboard simulation to see how many ground robots will have to team up to make it over, and then give instruction and direction to the robots below. Very clever.

“Spatially Targeted Communication and Self-Assembly,” by Nithin Mathews, Anders Lyhne Christensen, Rehan O’Grady, and Marco Dorigo, from Universite Libre de Bruxelles and Instituto Universitario de Lisboa, was presented at IROS 2012 in Vilamoura, Portugal.

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Whonix: The Anonymous Operating System

Whonix is an anonymous general purpose operating system based on Virtual Box, Ubuntu GNU/Linux and Tor. By Whonix design, IP and DNS leaks are impossible. Not even malware with root rights can find out the user’s real IP/location.

Whonix consists of two machines, which are connected through an isolated network. One machine acts as the client or Whonix-Workstation, the other as a proxy or Whonix-Gateway, which will route all of the Whonix-Workstation’s traffic through Tor. This setup can be implemented either through virtualization and/or Physical Isolation.

Whonix advantages:

  • All applications, including those, which do not support proxy settings, will automatically be routed through Tor.
  • Installation of any software package possible.
  • Safe hosting of Hidden services possible.
  • Protection against side channel attacks, no IP or DNS leaks possible^3^ To test for leaks, see LeakTests.
  • Advantage over Live CD’s: Tor’s data directory is still available after reboot, due to persistent storage. Tor requires persistent storage to save it’s Entry Guards.
  • Java / JavaScript / flash / Browser Plugins / misconfigured applications cannot leak your real external IP.
  • Whonix does even protect against root exploits (Malware with root rights) on the Workstation.
  • Uses only Free Software.
  • Building Whonix from source is easy.
  • Tor+Vidalia and Tor Browser are not running inside the same machine. That means that for example an exploit in the browser can’t affect the integrity of the Tor process.
  • It is possible to use Whonix setup in conjunction with VPNs, ssh and other proxies. But see Tor plus VPN/proxies Warning. Everything possible, as first chain or last chain, or both.
  • Loads of Optional Configurations (additional features / Add-Ons) available.
  • Best possible Protocol-Leak-Protection and Fingerprinting-Protection.
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TrapWire Tied to Anti-Occupy Internet-spy Program Tartan by NTrepid Abraxas Cubic

How do you make matters worse for an elusive intelligence company that has been forced to scramble for explanations about their ownership of an intricate, widespread surveillance program? Just ask Cubic, whose troubles only begin with TrapWire.

Days after the international intelligence gathering surveillance system called TrapWire was unraveled by RT, an ongoing investigation into any and all entities with ties to the technology has unturned an ever-increasing toll of creepy truths. In only the latest installment of the quickly snowballing TrapWire saga, a company that shares several of the same board members as the secret spy system has been linked to a program called Tartan, which aims to track down alleged anarchists by specifically singling out Occupy Wall Street protesters and the publically funded media — all with the aid of federal agents.

Tartan, a product of the Ntrepid Corporation, “exposes and quantifies key influencers and hidden connections in social networks using mathematical algorithms for objective, un-biased output,” its website claims. “Our analysts, mathematicians and computer scientists are continually exploring new quantification, mining and visualization techniques in order to better analyze social networks.” In order to prove as such, their official website links to the executive summary of a case study dated this year that examines social network connections among so-called anarchists, supposedly locating hidden ties within an underground movement that was anchored on political activists and even the Public Broadcasting Station [.pdf].

“Tartan was used to reveal a hidden network of relationships among anarchist leaders of seemingly unrelated movements,” the website claims. “The study exposed the affiliations within this network that facilitate the viral spread of violent and illegal tactics to the broader protest movement in the United States.”

Tartan is advertised on their site as a must-have application for the national security sector, politicians and federal law enforcement, and makes a case by claiming that “an amorphous network of anarchist and protest groups,” made up of Occupy Oakland, PBS, Citizen Radio, Crimethinc and others, relies on “influential leaders,” “modern technology” and “illegal tactics” to spread a message of anarchy across America.

“The organizers of Occupy Wall Street and Occupy DC have built Occupy networks through online communication with anarchists actively participating in the movements’ founding,” the executive summary reads. On the chart that accompanies their claim, the group lists several political activism groups and broadcast networks within a ring of alleged anarchy, which also includes an unnamed FBI informant.

Although emails uncovered in a hack last year waged at Strategic Forecasting, or Stratfor, suggested that Occupy groups had been under private surveillance, the latest discovery of publically available information implies that the extent to which the monitoring of political activists on American soil occurred may have extended what was previously imagined.

Things don’t end there, though. While the TrapWire tale is still only just beginning, the Ntrepid Corporation made headlines last year after it was discovered by the Guardian that the company was orchestrating an “online persona management” program, a clever propaganda mill that was touted as a means “to influence regional and international audiences to achieve U.S. Central Command strategic objectives,” according, at least, to the Inspector General of the US Defense Department [.pdf]. The investigation eventually revealed that the US Central Command awarded Ntrepid $2.76 million worth of taxpayer dollars to create phony Internet “sock puppets” to propagate US support.

One year later, the merits of Tartan’s analytics are now being brought into question, but so are the rest of the company’s ties. A trove of research accumulated by RT, Project PM founder Barrett Brown, PrivacySOS.org and independent researchers Justin Ferguson and Asher Wolf, among others, has linked Tartan with an even more unsettling operation.

Margaret A. Lee of Northern Virginia is listed on several websites as serving on the Ntrepid board of directors as secretary, a position she held alongside Director Richard Helms, CFO Wesley R Husted and President Michael Martinka. And although several parties are going to great lengths to deny the ties, a paper trail directly links Lee and company to Abraxas — and thus Cubic — and, of course, TrapWire, the very surveillance system that is believed to be blanketing the United States.

According to the Commonwealth of Virginia’s State Corporation Commission, TrapWire Inc. was registered to Margaret A Lee on March 7, 2009. Other publically available information reveals that, at least at one point, Wesley Husted served as chief financial officer for TrapWire, Inc., where Richard H Helms held the title of CEO.

Various sources have since claimed that Helms, a former CIA agent that once ran the agency’s European division, has severed ties with TrapWire, yet the other connections remain intact.

In RT’s earlier research in the TrapWire case, it was revealed that TrapWire’s parent company, Cubic Corporation, acquired an online identity masking tool called Anonymzer in a 2010 merger, and also controls the fare card system at some of the biggest public transportation systems in the world. According to the latest findings, Cubic’s control extends beyond just that, though. Under their Ntrepid branch, Cubic controlled an operation that spied on political activists with FBI informants and attempted to link them to crimes across America.

Whether or not the TrapWire system was implemented in such operations is unclear, and Cubic continues to maintain that they are not involved with the surveillance network.

Last week, Cubic Corporation issued a press release claiming, “Abraxas Corporation then and now has no affiliation with Abraxas Applications now known as Trapwire, Inc.”

“Abraxas Corp., a risk-mitigation technology company, has spun out a software business to focus on selling a new product,” the article reads. “The spinoff – called Abraxas Applications – will sell TrapWire, which predicts attacks on critical infrastructure by analyzing security reports and video surveillance.”

Not only does a 2007 report in the Washington Business Journal insist that the companies are practically one in the same, though, but a 2006 article in the same paper reveals that Abraxas had just acquired software maker Dauntless. Researchers at Darkernet have since linked Lee, Husted and Helms to the Abraxas Dauntless Board of Directors as well.

Justin Ferguson, the researcher who first exposed TrapWire two weeks ago, has noted that Lee, Helms and Husted were listed on Abraxas Dauntless’ filings with Virginia as recently as December 2011. They also are all present on the TrapWire filings dated September 2011 and the latest annual filing made with the Florida Department of State, Division of Corporations on behalf of Ntrepid.

Nevertheless, in a conversation this week with Project PM’s Barrett Brown, Cubic Corp. Communication Director Tim Hall dismisses this tie again.

“There is no connection at all with Abraxas Applications and Trapwire and or Ntrepid,” Hall allegedly insists, according to audio uploaded to YouTube.

Brown, on his part, says he has obtained Cubic’s 2010 tax filings that show that Ntrepd, like Abraxas, is “wholly owned” by Cubic.

Other trademark information publically available online says that the Abraxas Corporation first filed to claim the name TrapWire in 2004 and was granted a license for such in January of 2007.

 

TrapWire Training Courses Reveal Possible Purpose for its Creation

Although certain people reportedly playing key roles in the web-like leadership structure of TrapWire deny their involvement with the massive surveillance system, there is evidence that the engine driving this global company runs on the ambition of a common core of officers and directors.

Given the potential flood of legal challenges to its constitutionality, the corporation believed to be behind TrapWire is heading for higher ground, denying any association with the surveillance technology.

In a statement published on its website on August 13, Cubic Corporation attempted to sever the ties binding it to TrapWire. “Cubic Corporation (NYSE: CUB) acquired Abraxas Corporation on December 20, 2010. Abraxas Corporation then and now has no affiliation with Abraxas Applications now known as Trapwire, Inc. Erroneous reports have linked the company with Trapwire, Inc.,” the company insisted.

Despite such denials, many are rightly worried about any corporate connection — no matter how tenuous — between Cubic and TrapWire given the former’s access to the personal data of Americans through its other corporate interests. The synergy of such access with a massive surveillance apparatus could threaten the privacy of millions, as well as the freedom from unwarranted searches and seizures protected by the Fourth Amendment.

As for the scope and significance of TrapWire, the size of it cannot be exaggerated.

TrapWire is a massive and technologically advanced surveillance system that has the capacity to keep nearly the entire population of this country under the watchful eye of government 24 hours a day. Using this network of cameras and other surveillance tools, the federal government is rapidly constructing an impenetrable, inescapable theater of surveillance, most of which is going unnoticed by Americans and unreported by the mainstream media.

Unlike other elements of the central government’s cybersurveillance program, word about TrapWire was not leaked by Obama administration insiders. The details of this nearly unbelievable surveillance scheme were made public by WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy group founded by Julian Assange. The TrapWire story percolated from the millions of e-mails from the Austin, Texas-based private intelligence-gathering firm Stratfor, published this year by WikiLeaks. Covering correspondence from mid-2004 to 2011, these documents expose Stratfor’s “web of informers, pay-off structure, payment-laundering techniques and psychological methods.”

This coterie of Stratfor co-conspirators is apparently angry about the leaks, considering that the WikiLeaks servers have been under near-constant Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks since the TrapWire revelations began attracting the notice of alternative journalists. Some outlets report that the cyberattacks are being carried out by agents of the American intelligence community determined to prevent the full depth of this scandal from being explored by reporters.

Exactly what is TrapWire? According to one description of the program, from Russia Today:

Former senior intelligence officials have created a detailed surveillance system more accurate than modern facial recognition technology — and have installed it across the US under the radar of most Americans, according to emails hacked by Anonymous.

Every few seconds, data picked up at surveillance points in major cities and landmarks across the United States are recorded digitally on the spot, then encrypted and instantaneously delivered to a fortified central database center at an undisclosed location to be aggregated with other intelligence.

Although many of the details remain undisclosed, it is known that the infrastructure of TrapWire was designed and deployed by Abraxas, an intelligence contractor based in northern Virginia headed and run by dozens of former American surveillance officers. As one article described it: “The employee roster at Abraxas reads like a who’s who of agents once with the Pentagon, CIA and other government entities according to their public LinkedIn profiles, and the corporation’s ties are assumed to go deeper than even documented.”

The network is believed to be immense. An article published by transparency advocacy group Public Intelligence claims that Stratfor e-mails suggest that TrapWire is in use by the U.S. Secret Service, the British security service MI5, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, as well as counterterrorism divisions in both the Los Angeles and New York Police Departments and the LA fusion center. The e-mails also suggest that TrapWire is in use at military bases around the country. A July 2011 e-mail from a “Burton” to others at Stratfor describes how the U.S. Army, Marine Corps, and Pentagon have all begun using TrapWire and are “on the system now.” Burton described the Navy as the “next on the list.”

A survey of WikiLeaks e-mails containing information about TrapWire reveals another facet of this ever-expanding tool for tracking and targeting individuals.

In a report filed by online news gathering site darkernet.in, a list of the training courses offered to end users shines a little light on the otherwise purposefully obscured goals of this global monitoring behemoth.

The first course listed in the darkernet article is called the Surveillance Awareness Workshop. This class is reportedly “designed to instruct network and security personnel to use and navigate the TrapWire software system to familiarize themselves with the indicators of surveillance, terrorist surveillance methodologies, facility vulnerabilities, and the identification of probable surveillance zones that exist within each facility.”

The goal is that those with their fingers on the buttons and eyes on the consoles will learn to “view their facility the same way as would a terrorist, and then to be alert to the indicators of pre-attack surveillance.”

Pre-attack is a statist way of saying “guilty until proven innocent.” These agents — typically law enforcement or federal intelligence officers — reportedly will learn to spot suspicious behavior that points to the target’s propensity for participation in illegal activities.

This sort of advance profiling is eerily similar to the philosophy undergirding the signature strike that is becoming the go-to tactic in the Obama administration’s drone war.

A signature strike is not a strike on a particular suspect, but rather an attack on a person or group of people demonstrating behavior that is typical of those who might be associated with terror.

Perhaps the TrapWire “pre-attack surveillance” and the drone war “signature strike” are just two identifiable examples of a wider, more insidious government movement toward a society where one can be found guilty in advance of any crime based solely on one’s likelihood to act unlawfully and then be summarily executed based on that probability alone.

The second class offered by the makers of TrapWire according to the Internet investigation is designed along similar lines. It is called the Terrorist Pre-Attack Operations Course (TPOC).

Darkernet reports that participation in TPOC “will enhance overall security awareness and improve participants’ understanding of terrorist and criminal pre-attack surveillance and intelligence collection operations.”

Once again, the watchers are taught to better understand “terrorists” and what behavior they display just prior to the commission of a crime.

Unlike actual laws, these technologies and the courses improving their capabilities in the hands of users do not offer definitions of “terrorist” or “criminal.” One is left to one’s own understanding, it would seem, in the matter of conceiving of who is and is not a terrorist.

Today, the typical target might be a Muslim seen frequenting a subway station, for example. However, as the gulf separating the rulers and the ruled widens, perhaps a future TrapWire operator will target a gun-owner or attendant at a rally opposing a government policy as a potential threat and will initiate the requisite “intelligence collection operations.” The end result of those operations may be indefinite detention or death by Hellfire missile.

Finally, the last class listed in the darkernet article is called the Deception Detection and Eliciting Responses (DDER) course. This class will “teach students to detect deception and elicit responses in individuals including those which have been identified by TrapWire as having been engaged in suspicious behavior.”

So, once the target’s image pops up on one of the myriad cameras tracking the movements of every citizen (all are targets and potential terrorists, apparently) and the intelligence officers are called in to begin building a dossier on the target, the responding agents will use their newly-acquired interrogation skills to get the truth out of the target. “We have ways of making you talk,” in other words.

Given the aversion of the wizards running the surveillance state to allowing the curtain to be pulled back exposing the incredible extent of its domestic surveillance activities, it is more likely than not that TrapWire’s use in the tracking of Americans is wider and more institutional than most of us would like to believe.

A link to a complete listing of all TrapWire courses and the associated material is found here.

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Sex, Technology, and its Harm To Children

Information technology, among all that it does, brings together two things which are wonderful when apart, and frightening when combined: children, and sex. For the past couple decades, this has, understandably, freaked us all out. We need to calm down and have a talk about it.

In his defense of freedom of “icky speech”, Neil Gaiman observed, “The Law is a blunt instrument. It’s not a scalpel. It’s a club.” This exemplifies how much of the world has reacted to the intersection of technology, sex, and children: by wildly flailing around with a gigantic legal club, more often smashing itself in the head than solving any problems. Let’s explore how:

Kids Looking At Pornography

The Internet is really, really great for porn. Porn is so easy to find online that even a child could do it. The problem, so it would seem, is that this is exactly what children end up doing. And as they approach and go through puberty, boy oh boy do they find porn.

Such porn-finding is unstoppable. Nobody ever clicks “No, I am not 18 years of age or older” when visiting a porn site. No web filtering software can stand up to the resourcefulness of a curious and hormonal teenager. No law will convince a maturing human being not to seek out sexually explicit material. The underage psyche interprets barriers to pornography as damage, and routes around it.

For some reason, this is seen as a bad thing. Exposure to graphic depictions of sex are considered somehow harmful to children, teenagers, and anyone below the arbitrary age of 18, 21, or whatever. But as generations of kids raised on surreptitiously-accessed Internet porn grow older, little evidence of harm shows itself. Rampant porn-viewing hasn’t been shown to increase rates of sexual assault or sexual violence; in fact increasing availability of porn has correlated with a decline in rape. On that note, what pornography may also do is aid in young people’s exploration and discovery of their own sexualities as they mature — a hypothesis which, if true, isn’t particularly malignant.

Yet, we insist on criminalizing this perfectly normal behavior by sexually developing human beings. In many cases, this illegality concerns the willful distribution of pornography to a minor — giving the pornographer, not the minor, the blame. But here’s the thing: nobody has to distribute or market pornography to a minor. They’ll find it all by themselves.

Kids Willfully Creating “Pornography”

It starts to get a bit more problematic when that exploration goes beyond passive viewing; apparently, kids these days are into something called “sexting”. At its most innocuous, a child or teenager snaps a nude or sexually explicit photo of themselves, and sends it (often via MMS) to a friend, crush, or significant other. All of a sudden, through their own free will, the kid’s become a child pornographer.

Of course, this behavior is far from unique to minors. Information technology has enabled consenting adults from all walks of life to share sexually explicit imagery of themselves with one another. MMSes and emails between friends aren’t even the half of it. Webcams and video chat software weren’t on the scene for five minutes before somebody realized that they could be used to transmit their genitalia. There are sexually explicit social networks and YouTube-clones where people can expose themselves to millions of anonymous viewers. There’s even a fusion of these two in live video broadcasting websites which permit people to stream real-time images of themselves doing scandalous things without very much clothing on. As with all sexually-charged things that consenting adults do, sometimes minors decide to give it a try themselves.

Child pornography laws are meant to prevent the abuse of minors. When minors decide, by their own volition, to take nude or sexually explicit images of themselves and share them with loved ones, friends, or even anonymous acquaintances, it’s hard to describe how that could possibly constitute abuse. Sadly, because of the law, all parties involved end up liable for the heinous crime of child pornography: both the recipient, regardless of age, and the exhibiting minor.

Laws intended to protect children from sexual abuse now have the effect of criminalizing behavior that — in the context of our contemporary world — is perfectly reasonable for a pubescent minor to engage in. It’s not really that weird, strange, or appalling that sexually-developing young people might want to show off their bodies to their fellow sexually-developing young people; the only weird part is this new medium of exhibition they’re using. Before the Internet and cellphones, kids just took off their clothes for each other in person.

Much like with physical, flesh-and-blood sexual intimacy, educating children about why they shouldn’t make themselves into porn stars isn’t going to work; they’ll still desire to, and they’ll still do it. And there’s nothing inherently wrong with that. The sanest course of action is to educate them about responsibility: “use a condom” is to real sex as “don’t send pictures of your boyfriend’s dick to all of your other friends” is to explicit image sharing. But the reason for that advice should be basic common sense and human decency, not because doing so will force you to register as a sex offender at age 14.

Actual Child Pornography and Pedophilia

What about the actual abuse from which children need to be protected? The sexual abuse of children — or anyone, for that matter — is rightfully illegal, and absolutely reprehensible. But in our zeal to destroy reprehensible things, most societies have gone further, and made it illegal to access or possess images of this abhorrent abuse. Unfortunately, the uncomfortable truth is that banning the possession of child pornography doesn’t do any good.

First of all, child pornography is a wonderful scapegoat. Copyright lobbyists regularly use child porn to incite moral panic, and make their proposals to censor the Internet more palatable. And much like these “piracy-stopping” censorship schemes, child pornography bans don’t stop the sexual abuse of children involved.

Before the Internet, child pornography was distributed secretly among close-knit networks of pedophiles. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to assume that the recipient of child porn might be no more than two or three degrees of separation from its creator — the actual person who had committed the sexual abuse. Today, a single child rapist can anonymously distribute their “work” to thousands of people with a single click of a mouse. The downloaders often have absolutely no idea who the perpetrator was; their arrests solve nothing.

Furthermore, there is no conclusive evidence that viewers of child pornography are more likely to act on their fetishes and commit sexual abuse of a child. In fact, based on the aforementioned “porn lowers rape rates” study, one could reasonably hypothesize that the exact opposite is true.

The criminalization of viewing or possessing child pornography only serves to get “revenge” on people who are interested in it. It does not lead to the imprisonment of child rapists, it does not give justice to the victims, and it does not stop potential pedophiles from acting on their urges.

What would, in fact, stop potential pedophiles from acting on their urges is mental health treatment. If at all possible, societies should not view sexual diversity or fetishism as a mental illness; it’s not a particularly harmful thing if somebody is sexually aroused by, oh, let’s say, being hit in the face with a pie. Sexual attraction to children, on the other hand, isn’t something that can be reasonably accommodated — hence, a mental health problem.

But much as the criminalization (and resulting stigmatization) of drug use makes addicts afraid to seek treatment, people suffering with pedophilia fear the consequences of getting help. In researching this article, I got an anonymous source to put it in his own words for me:

When I was 17 I looked at a lot of porn, just like anyone my age. I was curious about it all. I didn’t even know I was gay until I got curious about gay porn. So I looked at all the varieties, twinks, jocks, black guys, Asian guys, groups, all of it. Weirder stuff too like bondage, BDSM, some of it I liked for a while, some of it I never went back to. Then I started looking at kids. I was curious, and a horny teenager, so it wasn’t like it was that creepy. But every time after, I felt horrible. I could see how scared those kids were in the pics but I didn’t stop. I told myself, it’s just because I’m young, I’ll grow out of it, but I’m 20 now and still can’t stop myself sometimes. I wouldn’t ever go and do it for real, I know that. I like guys my own age and older, so it’s not like I can only get off to kids. But I still hate myself for it. But if I go out and tell someone I need help, the feds might come and knock down my door. So I don’t know what to do.

This is the sort of person who needs a therapist’s couch, not a prison cell. But our irrational rage at all things pedophilic deny this man his health, his sanity, and his right to be a productive member of society. He’s not alone, he’s just the one brave enough to break the silence.

Conclusion

The intersection of sexuality and children is understandably frightening. It’s a very primal instinct to want to protect children, and sex — as something that many full-grown adults still haven’t fully come to terms with — seems threatening with its emotional complexity, and its potential for abuse. The Internet and other information technology make it easier for everyone to encounter all types of information, and consequently, for children to encounter sex. But there are two things we must remember:

  1. Sex is perfectly fine, and something that children need education of, not protection from.
  2. Sexual abuse is not perfectly fine, and is its own distinct concern.

If we truly care about protecting children from sexual abuse, then it behooves us to do it effectively. Knee-jerk reactions, moral panics, and emotion-based policymaking do not protect our children. Ineffective laws only serve to make politicians and civil servants look like they’re doing something, in a ploy to win public support. And that is almost as disgusting as abusing a child.

 

SOURCE: Falkvinge,net

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Synthetic DNA Substitute Gets Its Own Enzymes, Undergoes Evolution

On Earth, all life is dependent upon the nucleic acids, DNA and RNA. But researchers Including those who are wondering how to detect life somewhere other than Earth, have wondered whether other information-bearing polymers might also serve this purpose. Is there something special about DNA and RNA, or did they just happen to be the first things that work? The answer to that question would not only have implications for the origin of life on Earth and elsewhere, but it might have practical uses.

Researchers have now taken a major step towards showing that alternatives can actually work as genetic material. They replaced a standard part of nucleic acids with a number of chemical relatives, and found out that they all could work. Sequence information could be shuttled back and forth between these artificial molecules and DNA, and the synthetic materials could even undergo the sort of molecular evolution that has been demonstrated using DNA and RNA.

The chemical structure of nucleic acids isn’t all that complex. They consist of a long polymer of sugars, linked together by a phosphate. Hanging off each sugar is a base (A, T, C, or G). It’s the order of these bases that conveys genetic information or, in the case of RNAs that can catalyze chemical reactions, form the structure needed to create a catalytically active site.

Chemically, however, just about all of these can be swapped out. The phosphate can be replaced by a sulfate and the resulting molecule can still undergo base pairing with normal nucleic acids. Other researchers have traded the sugar for related, ring-like structures. Some geneticists have even used relatives of the four standard bases that undergo base pairing that’s structurally distinct. These synthetic molecules can actually be used by the normal cellular machinery if they’re supplied to bacteria, creating an expanded genetic code.

Replacing the pieces of DNA

When it comes to messing with the backbone—the sugars and phosphates—it gets quite a bit harder to integrate things with actual biological systems. The enzymes that prepare and copy DNA, for example, are structured to work with sugars and phosphates. Having something that’s both chemically and structurally distinct doesn’t always work that well.

Rather than messing with the chemistry, the team behind the new paper decided to fix the enzymes. They started with a DNA copying enzyme, and introduced lots of random mutations, then checked for versions that would latch on to a chemical that was somewhat structurally related to the normal sugar used in DNA. After a couple rounds of this, they had an enzyme that could copy stretches of DNA into pieces of a nucleic acid that contained nothing but this sugar substitute, converting the DNA into an artificial chemical relative.

Using similar procedures, the same enzyme could be adapted to a wide variety of chemicals related to sugars. The authors picked five in total, all with features that were distinct from the normal sugars, like a double bond between carbon atoms, a fluorine replacing an oxygen, and a double-ring structure. Collectively, they termed these DNA/RNA substitutes XNAs.

Having a one-way trip from DNA to XNA wasn’t all that useful for experiments, so the authors turned to an enzyme that normally converts RNA to DNA. A few rounds of random mutation, and they had a second set of enzymes that could convert XNAs back to DNA. With these tools in hand, the authors could convert any sequence into an XNA, experiment with the results, and then convert it back to DNA in order to do basic work on it, such as duplicating and sequencing it.

The process, however, was a lot more error-prone than one that relies on the typical enzymes that only work on DNA, introducing random mutations at frequencies between once every 4,000 bases to once every 500. Of course, random mutations are the raw material of evolution, so the authors decided to check out whether the XNAs could evolve new functions. They made a collection of random strings of XNAs, and selected those that stuck to a couple of substances (a protein and an RNA). Those that stuck were copied into DNA, amplified, and copied back to XNA, picking up mutations along the way. After a few rounds, they had sequences that stuck specifically.

Informative and useful

On the most basic level, the results probably won’t surprise anyone with a biochemistry background. The different XNAs all look a fair bit like sugars, and mutated versions of various enzymes have been shown to be fairly flexible about what they work with in the past. And (for now at least) we’re not at the point where we could grow an XNA-based cell. We don’t have enzymes that can copy XNA into more XNA without going through DNA (although, reportedly, these are in the works). And the cell can’t synthesize its own raw materials for XNA—they have to be supplied externally.

But none of these things are necessarily insurmountable, so it’s entirely possible to imagine we could have XNA-based bacteria floating around a lab at some point in the not-too-distant future. In the meantime, the results tell us quite a bit, and could be useful.

For starters, although DNA and RNA are obviously effective carriers of genetic information and can combine that with biochemical activities, they’re not the only molecules that can do so. Their role in life on Earth, then, may be a contingency. At the same time, this work suggests that life on Earth need not have started using the nucleic acids it uses now. It’s entirely possible that some other related compound—one that was easier to generate from the raw materials on the early Earth—got life going, but was then replaced by RNA or DNA. That makes the job of origin-of-life researchers both easier (they don’t have to limit their thinking to RNA) and harder (it’s not clear what they should limit themselves to).

When it comes to life elsewhere, the options are wide open.

Back here on Earth, this also may prove very useful. There have been a number of attempts to produce nucleic-acid based therapies, and it has generally been found that skipping DNA and using some chemical relative is much more effective—the drugs last longer because the enzymes that normally break down loose DNA don’t recognize the synthetic variant. The XNA-based system may allow us to produce these in huge quantities.

Source: http://arstechnica.com/science/news/2012/04/synthetic-dna-substitute-gets-its-own-enzymes-undergoes-evolution.ars

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New ‘Terahertz’ Scanner Lets Mobile Phones See Through Walls
  • Scanner uses ‘terahertz’ spectrum – between infrared and microwaves
  • Can see through walls, wood and plastics
  • Doctors could use small, cheap devices to see tumours inside body

Comic-book superpowers could become reality as scientists have designed a phone that works as ‘X-Ray spex’.

A hi-tech chip allows a phone to ‘see through’ walls, wood and plastics – and (although the researchers are coy about this) through fabrics such as clothing.

Doctors could also use the imagers to look inside the body for cancer tumours without damaging X-Rays or large, expensive MRI scanners.

A hi-tech chip allows a phone to 'see through' walls, wood and plastics - and (although the researchers are coy about this) through fabrics such as clothing)

 

Close up of a CMOS chip - a new version of the commonly used chips would allow users to capture images 'through' walls and even inside the human body

The researchers claim it could allow DIYers to detect studs within walls, or allow businesses to detect counterfeit money.

At present, it’s designed to work over a short range – and works with a normal-sized microchip that could fit into phones or other handheld electronics.

The team’s research involves tapping into an unused range in the electromagnetic spectrum. 

But the terahertz band of the electromagnetic spectrum, one of the wavelength ranges that falls between microwave and infrared, has not been accessible for most consumer devices.

‘We’ve created approaches that open a previously untapped portion of the electromagnetic spectrum for consumer use and life-saving medical applications,’ said Dr. Kenneth O, professor of electrical engineering at UT Dallas.

‘The terahertz range is full of unlimited potential that could benefit us all.’

X-ray spex? At present, it's designed to work over a short range - and works with a normal-sized microchip that could fit into phones or other handheld electronics

 

Using the new approach, images can be created with signals operating in the terahertz (THz) range without having to use several lenses inside a device. This could reduce overall size and cost.

The second advance that makes the findings applicable for consumer devices is the technology used to create the microchip.

Chips manufactured using CMOS (Complementary Metal-Oxide Semiconductor) technology form the basis of many consumer electronic devices used in daily life such as personal computers, smart phones, high definition TV and game consoles.

‘CMOS is affordable and can be used to make lots of chips,’ Dr. O said. ‘The combination of CMOS and terahertz means you could put this chip and receiver on the back of a cellphone, turning it into a device carried in your pocket that can see through objects.’

Due to privacy concerns, Dr. O and his team are focused on uses in the distance range of less than four inches.

Consumer applications of such technology could range from finding studs in walls to authentication of important documents. Businesses could use it to detect counterfeit money.

Manufacturing companies could apply it to process control.

There are also more communication channels available in terahertz than the range currently used for wireless communication, so information could be more rapidly shared at this frequency.

Terahertz can also be used for imaging to detect cancer tumors, diagnosing disease through breath analysis, and monitoring air toxicity.

‘There are all kinds of things you could be able to do that we just haven’t yet thought about,’ said Dr. O, holder of the Texas Instruments Distinguished Chair.
The research was presented at the most recent International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC). The team will work next to build an entire working imaging system based on the CMOS terahertz system.

By Rob Waugh

PUBLISHED: 02:50 EST, 19 April 2012 | UPDATED: 03:03 EST, 19 April 2012

Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2131932/The-REAL-X-Ray-spex–new-terahertz-scanner-lets-mobile-phones-walls.html

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How to secure your computer and surf fully Anonymous BLACK-HAT STYLE

This is a guide with which even a total noob can get high class security for his system and complete anonymity online. But its not only for noobs, it contains a lot of tips most people will find pretty helpfull. It is explained so detailed even the biggest noobs can do it^^ :

=== The Ultimate Guide for Anonymous and Secure Internet Usage v1.0.1 ===

Table of Contents:

  1.   Obtaining Tor Browser
  2.   Using and Testing Tor Browser for the first time
  3.   Securing Your Hard Drive
  4.   Setting up TrueCrypt, Encrypted Hidden Volumes
  5.   Testing TrueCrypt Volumes
  6.   Securing your Hard Disk
  7.   Temporarily Securing Your Disk, Shredding Free Space
  8.   Installing VirtualBox
  9.   Installing a Firewall
  10.   Firewall Configuration
  11.   Installing Ubuntu
  12.   Ubuntu Initial Setup
  13.   Installing Guest Additions
  14.   Installing IRC (Optional)
  15.   Installing Torchat (Optional)
  16.   Creating TOR-Only Internet Environment
  17.   General Daily Usage

By the time you are finished reading and implementing this guide, you will be able to securely and anonymously browse any website and to do so anonymously. No one not even your ISP or a government agent will be able to see what you are doing online. If privacy and anonymity is important to you, then you owe it to yourself to follow the instructions that are presented here.

In order to prepare this guide for you, I have used a computer that is running Windows Vista. This guide will work equally well for other versions of Windows. If you use a different operating system, you may need to have someone fluent in that operating system guide you through this process. However, most parts of the process are easily duplicated in other operating systems.

I have written this guide to be as newbie friendly as possible. Every step is fully detailed and explained. I have tried to keep instructions explicit as possible. This way, so long as you patiently follow each step, you will be just fine.

In this guide from time to time you will be instructed to go to certain URLs to download files. You do NOT need TOR to get these files, and using TOR (while possible) will make these downloads very slow.

This guide may appear overwhelming. Every single step is explained thoroughly and it is just a matter of following along until you are done. Once you are finished, you will have a very secure setup and it will be well worth the effort. Even though the guide appears huge, this whole process should take at the most a few hours. You can finish it in phases over the course of several days.

It is highly recommended that you close *ALL* applications running on your computer before starting.

SOURCE:
http://www.cyberguerrilla.org/?p=3322

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Fastwalkers, reveals the truth about UFOs and Extraterrestrials that has been suppressed and hidden for centuries.

“Fastwalker” is a code word created by NORAD (North American Air Defense Command) to classify (UFOs) unidentified flying objects which approach our Earth from space and enter our atmosphere. It has been reported that from its subterranean facility deep inside Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado, USA, the Air Force NORAD facility tracks a rough average of 500 of these “Fastwalkers” each year.

For the first time, Fastwalkers in a feature length documentary form discloses information you were never meant to know. Amazing Fastwalker UFO photos and Fastwalker footage gathered from around the world that you were never meant to see. Never before has there been such a wealth of information presented by such unbiased experts who focus on providing a “World View” of what is really happening on planet Earth, rather than what “we are told is happening.”

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