‘Google’s Security team has discovered vulnerabilities in the Sun Java Runtime Environment that threatens the security of all platforms, browsers and even mobile devices.
“This is as bad as it gets,” said Chris Gatford, a security expert from penetration testing firm Pure Hacking.
“It’s a pretty significant weakness, which will have a considerable impact if the exploit codes come to fruition quickly. It could affect a lot of organizations and users,” Gatford told ZDNet Australia. [..]
According to Gatford, the bugs threaten pretty much every modern device.’
‘Every month, the International Crisis Group makes predictions it hopes won’t come true. The non-profit organisation, which has its base in Brussels, Belgium, monitors regions where conflict is brewing. By tracking precursors of armed struggle, such as political instability, it raises awareness about looming wars in the hope of stopping conflicts before they begin. And as of this month, it will start talking about whether to include another variable in its analyses: climate change.
The discussions come after a wave of interest in the link between climate change and conflict. Last month, a group of retired US admirals and generals said global warming would act as a “threat multiplier”, with events such as droughts toppling unstable governments and unleashing conflict. The UN Security Council has devoted time to the matter, and media reports have described the crisis in Darfur, Sudan, as the first “climate change war”, due to the decades of droughts that preceded the conflict.’
‘Illegal networks selling nuclear technology to the highest bidder on the black market are posing a greater threat than ever, an expert has warned.
A speaker at non-proliferation talks in Washington said technology essential for enriching uranium was now freely available on the black market.
Others said that efforts to tackle the problem were tepid and in disarray.
The conference also raised concerns that the issue has receded from the non-proliferation agenda.’
‘The Spice Girls, who burst on to the music scene with “girl power” and attitude in the 1990s, have reunited for a world tour, their Web site said on Thursday.
“Hey everybody!! We’re back!! Can you believe it!!” Ginger, Sporty, Posh, Scary and Baby Spice announced on their Web site.’
‘New research shows that Australian children are becoming more anxious about themselves and the future of the planet.
The Australian Childhood Foundation survey of 600 children shows that more than half are scared there will not be enough water in the future.
The report also showed that more than a third of children were anxious about terrorism, were worried that one day they will have to fight in a war, and one in four believed the world will end before they reached adulthood.
The head of the foundation, Dr Joe Tucci, says this insecurity could have consequences for society.’
‘It began with a line of plastic bags ghosting the surface, followed by an ugly tangle of junk: nets and ropes and bottles, motor-oil jugs and cracked bath toys, a mangled tarp. Tires. A traffic cone. Moore could not believe his eyes. Out here in this desolate place, the water was a stew of plastic crap. It was as though someone had taken the pristine seascape of his youth and swapped it for a landfill.
How did all the plastic end up here? How did this trash tsunami begin? What did it mean? If the questions seemed overwhelming, Moore would soon learn that the answers were even more so, and that his discovery had dire implications for human–and planetary–health. As Alguita glided through the area that scientists now refer to as the “Eastern Garbage Patch,” Moore realized that the trail of plastic went on for hundreds of miles. Depressed and stunned, he sailed for a week through bobbing, toxic debris trapped in a purgatory of circling currents. To his horror, he had stumbled across the 21st-century Leviathan. It had no head, no tail. Just an endless body.’
‘The United States and Russia have agreed on a plan to accelerate installation of radiation detection devices at 350 Russian border crossings so the system to prevent nuclear smuggling is fully operational by 2011, U.S. officials said on Friday.
“This announcement is a major cooperative step in counter-proliferation work in Russia,” which contains a major portion of the world’s nuclear material, said Will Tobey, deputy administrator for defense nuclear nonproliferation at the National Nuclear Security Administration, a part of the U.S. Energy Department.
“It will help us prevent smuggling into and out of the region,” he told Reuters in an interview.
Russia identified more than 480 cases of illicit trafficking of nuclear and radioactive material in 2006. While U.S. officials said these cases were not believed to involve weapons-grade nuclear material, the number of cases underscores the scope of the problem.’
‘One year on, the torrent of mud gushing out of a drilling site on Java island shows no signs of abating.
Toll roads, railway tracks and factories have been submerged and 15,000 people have fled from their homes since May last year when mud began flowing from a “mud volcano” following an oil-drilling accident in Sidoarjo, an industrial suburb near provincial capital Surabaya.
The mud volcano has put an area four times the size of Monaco under hot mud.
An embankment has been built in an unsuccessful attempt to stop the mudflow.’
Followup to Indonesia plans new tactic to curb massive mud flow.
see it here »
‘The Bush administration. You know ’em, you… well, love isn’t exactly the right emotion.
Showing that there is no place safe from idiocy, here’s an absolutely astronomically stupid comment from NASA Administrator Michael Griffin. A statement so stupid, it makes the invasion of Iraq and the management of Katrina look like genius.
Michael Griffin NASA Administrator has told America’s National Public Radio that while he has no doubt a trend of global warming exists “I am not sure that it is fair to say that it is a problem we must wrestle with.”‘
‘The world is now on track to experience more catastrophic damages from climate change than in the worst-case scenario forecast by international experts, scientists have warned.
The research, published in a prestigious US science journal, shows that between 2000 and 2004 the rate of increase in global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels was three times greater than in the 1990s. [..]
The climbing emissions mean that average global temperatures are now on track to rise by more than four degrees this century – enough to thaw vast areas of arctic permafrost and leave about 3 billion people suffering from water shortages, including in Australia.’
‘The international and Hong Kong authorities said Monday that they had received little information from mainland Chinese officials about a mysterious ailment killing pigs in southeastern China or about Chinese wheat gluten contaminated with plastic scrap, raising questions again about whether Beijing is willing to share data on global health issues.
The Chinese government, and particularly the government of Guangdong Province, next to Hong Kong, suffered heavy criticism in 2003 after concealing the SARS virus for the first four months after it first emerged in Foshan, 150 kilometers, or 95 miles, northwest of Hong Kong. After SARS spread to Hong Kong and around the world, top Chinese officials promised to improve disclosure.
But officials in Hong Kong as well as at the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization said Monday that they had received practically no information about the latest pig deaths and limited details about wheat gluten contamination.’
‘[..] If you look at history, you can see that there is essentially a blueprint for turning an open society into a dictatorship. That blueprint has been used again and again in more and less bloody, more and less terrifying ways. But it is always effective. It is very difficult and arduous to create and sustain a democracy – but history shows that closing one down is much simpler. You simply have to be willing to take the 10 steps.
As difficult as this is to contemplate, it is clear, if you are willing to look, that each of these 10 steps has already been initiated today in the United States by the Bush administration.’
‘The technological explosion is even bigger than the mobile phone explosion that preceded it. And, as with mobiles, it is being followed by fears about its effect on health – particularly the health of children. Recent research, which suggests that the worst fears about mobiles are proving to be justified, only heightens concern about the electronic soup in which we are increasingly spending our lives.
Now, as we report today, Sir William Stewart (pictured below right), the man who has issued the most authoritative British warnings about the hazards of mobiles, is becoming worried about the spread of Wi-Fi. The chairman of the Health Protection Agency – and a former chief scientific adviser to the Government – is privately pressing for an official investigation of the risks it may pose.’
‘Gonorrhea in the United States is now resistant to all but one class of antibiotic drugs, threatening doctors’ ability to treat the common sexually transmitted disease, officials said on Thursday. [..]
Gonorrhea is an example of the rise of “superbugs” that have evolved to beat antibiotics that once vanquished them. Many experts decry the overuse of antibiotics, which can fuel the emergence of drug-resistant bacteria.
Douglas said gonorrhea previously became resistant to other antibiotics, penicillin and tetracycline, before starting to conquer the fluoroquinolones.
“Gonorrhea has now joined the list of other superbugs for which treatment options have become dangerously few,” Dr. Henry Masur, president of the Infectious Diseases Society of America advocacy group, said in a statement.’
This is the fish of doom.
‘Though the Yellowstone system is active and expected to eventually blow its top, scientists don’t think it will erupt any time soon.
What’s in Store
Yet significant activity continues beneath the surface. And the activity has been increasing lately, scientists have discovered. In addition, the nearby Teton Range, in a total surprise, is getting shorter.
The findings, reported this month in the Journal of Geophysical Research—Solid Earth, suggest that a slow and gradual movement of a volcano over time can shape a landscape more than a violent eruption.’
‘”Changes in climate are now affecting physical and biological systems on every continent,” the report says, in marked contrast to a 2001 report by the same international group that said the effects of global warming were coming. But that report only mentioned scattered regional effects.
“Things are happening and happening faster than we expected,” said Patricia Romero Lankao of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., one of the many co-authors of the new report. [..]
The hardest-hit continents are likely to be Africa and Asia, with major harm also coming to small islands and some aspects of ecosystems near the poles. North America, Europe and Australia are predicted to suffer the fewest of the harmful effects.’
‘Try to absorb as much of the radiation as possible with your groin region. The current world record is 5 minutes, 12 seconds.
If you’ve become a radiation mutant with a deformed hand, remember to close the window. No one wants to see that. [..]
Survive a biohazard attack by first standing, then begging on your knees, then rolling over and playing dead. [..]
If you see colors in the sky, grasp your throat and pretend to choke yourself. Girls go for that. [..]
Your telephone may be a practicing physician. Look for a phone with no numbers on it.’
‘I met god the other day.
I know what you’re thinking. How the hell did you know it was god?
Well, I’ll explain as we go along, but basically he convinced me by having all, and I do mean ALL, the answers. Every question I flung at him he batted back with a plausible and satisfactory answer. In the end, it was easier to accept that he was god than otherwise.
Which is odd, because I’m still an atheist and we even agree on that!
It all started on the 8.20 back from Paddington. Got myself a nice window seat, no screaming brats or drunken hooligans within earshot. Not even a mobile phone in sight. Sat down, reading the paper and in he walks.’
‘A great presentation of five apocalyptic scenarios.’
(434meg Google video)
see it here »
‘Friday the 13th of April 2029 could be a very unlucky day for planet Earth. At 4:36 a.m. Greenwich Mean Time, a 25-million-ton, 820-foot-wide asteroid called 99942 Apophis will slice across the orbit of the moon and barrel toward Earth at more than 28,000 mph. The huge pockmarked rock, two-thirds the size of Devils Tower in Wyoming, will pack the energy of 65,000 Hiroshima bombs — enough to wipe out a small country or kick up an 800-foot tsunami.
On this day, however, Apophis is not expected to live up to its namesake, the ancient Egyptian god of darkness and destruction. Scientists are 99.7 percent certain it will pass at a distance of 18,800 to 20,800 miles. [..] We will have dodged a cosmic bullet.
Followup to Space rock on a collision course.
‘Tasmanian devils could be extinct in just 10 years, researchers at a University of Tasmania forum in Hobart said yesterday.
Devil scientists overwhelmingly believed the last wild devil would die in under 20 years without major action.
That would spell the end for marsupials like bettongs and eastern-barred bandicoots.
“There was very strong consensus that if we don’t do something, extinction will happen on mainland Tasmania,” said Professor of Wildlife Research Hamish McCallum, senior scientist with the Devil Facial Tumour Disease program.’
‘The vast freshwater ecosystem of the Amazon River is home to abundant animal life, and many of its species thrive by virtue of their ferocity. If one were to ask the locals which of the river’s indigenous species is the most treacherous, a few might describe the roaming packs of carnivorous piranhas, or the massive anaconda snakes; but based on the general sentiment of the region, the most frequently uttered response would be “candirú.”‘
‘”We’re going to talk a little bit today about the inevitable zombie uprising, the zombie apocalypse – also known as ‘zombocalypse.'” So begins William Spencer, addressing 150 science-fiction geeks at last October’s Archon convention in Collinsville, Illinois.
Spencer, a 31-year-old body-piercer who is dressed this day like a Commando character, is a founder of the Zombie Squad. A St. Louis-based survivalist group that uses the walking dead as a metaphor for the breakdown of society, the Zombie Squad’s primary mission is to teach disaster-preparation tactics to the public. What unites this quirky mix of tattooed hipsters, role-playing gamers and sci-fi nerds is an insatiable appetite for zombie flicks.’
‘The United Nations has been urged to launch a space mission designed to take out an asteroid threatening to smash into the Earth in 2036.
In scenes straight out of Hollywood action movie Armageddon, a group of astronauts, engineers and scientists say they are monitoring an asteroid named Apophis, which has a one in 45,000 chance of striking Earth on April 13, 2036. [..]
“It’s not just Apophis we’re looking at. Every country is at risk. We need a set of general principles to deal with this issue,” Mr Schweickart, a member of the Apollo 9 crew that orbited the moon in March 1969, told an American Association for the Advancement of Science conference.’
Followup to NASA looks for solutions to asteroid problem.
‘The avian flu which killed 2,600 turkeys at a Suffolk farm has been confirmed as the H5N1 virus.
The strain can be fatal if it is passed on to humans but experts said the outbreak was being contained and posed little danger to people.
A spokesman for Bernard Matthews, which runs the farm in Holton, said none of the affected birds had entered the food chain and there was no risk to health.’
‘Indonesia will drop hundreds of concrete balls into a mud volcano in a bid to brake the flow of hot liquid that has displaced more than 10,000 people and inundated entire villages in Java, an official said on Friday.
The torrent of hot mud has been flowing since an oil drilling accident in May in Sidoarjo, an industrial suburb of East Java’s Surabaya, Indonesia’s second-largest city.
Numerous attempts to cap or curb the flow since it started have failed.
But now the government plans to try concrete balls linked by metal chains.’
Followup to Poisonous mud wreaks havoc on Java.
‘Immediate reductions in greenhouse gas emissions will not halt the continuing damage to Australia’s environment, a Federal Government researcher warns.
The CSIRO expects Sydney’s maximum temperatures to rise 1.6 degrees by 2030 and 4.8 degrees by 2070.
Average rainfall will decrease by 40 per cent and water evaporation rates will jump 24 per cent by 2040 under the scorching conditions.
By 2050, annual heat-related deaths of people over 65 will increase almost eight times from 176 to 1312.’
‘The US wants the world’s scientists to develop technology to block sunlight as a last-ditch way to halt global warming.
It says research into techniques such as giant mirrors in space or reflective dust pumped into the atmosphere would be “important insurance” against rising emissions, and has lobbied for such a strategy to be recommended by a UN report on climate change, the first part of which is due out on Friday.’