Thursday, January 26, 2012

Hackers launch fresh attacks on Israeli websites

Arab hackers claimed responsibility Wednesday for a series of attacks on prominent Israeli websites, including that of daily newspaper Haaretz.

Cyber attacks against Israeli sites have been increasing since the start of the month, many of them claimed by Arab hackers.

In a Twitter message, the Palestinian wing of the global hacker collective Anonymous claimed responsibility for taking down Haaretz's Hebrew-language site, which was still out of commission by late Wednesday.

The paper's English section was also targeted but was up again by the afternoon.

Other victims included two Tel Aviv hospitals and the Israel Festival, a key cultural event in the Jewish state. On the festival's homepage, slogans said "Free Palestine" and "Death to Israel" while Arab music played in the background.

Arab hackers have since the start of January targeted many sites including those of the Tel Aviv stock exchange, the national airline El Al and local firefighters.

Hackers also posted the details from tens of thousands of Israelis' credit cards. Read More

Serial Killer Targeting Pit Bulls In Houston Area

HOUSTON (CBS Houston) — A pet serial killer is on the loose in the Houston area.

Seven dogs were found dead, six of them pit bulls, over the Martin Luther King holiday weekend. Three of those pit bulls were fatally shot, while the other four dogs suffered blunt trauma to the head.

“We started finding an unusual number of dead dogs, all of them pit bulls,” Emily Crossley, founder of Backstreet Brutality & Relief, told CBS Houston. “Two were found on top of each other … another one was found shot in the head inside a crate.”

The dogs were found in an area where there is a lot of litter and debris.

Crossley said there is suspicion that a dog-fighting ring might be behind these pit bull deaths, but that there are “some things that don’t add up.

“All these dogs appeared that they were pet dogs, no fighting wounds,” Crossley told CBS Houston. “They were not fighting dogs. Read More

Chinese Police Kill Tibetans in Sichuan Province Clashes

Catastrophic events will increase on Earth according to scientist: What will happen next?

Shenzhen Businesses Start Chinese New Year Facing Forced Demolitions

Lego Man in Space

Are our brains being boggled by Google? Study says humans now use the internet as our main 'memory' - instead of our heads

The Internet is becoming our main source of memory instead of our own brains, a study has concluded.

In the age of Google, our minds are adapting so that we are experts at knowing where to find information even though we don’t recall what it is.

The researchers found that when we want to know something we use the Internet as an ‘external memory’ just as computers use an external hard drive.

Nowadays we are so reliant on our smart phones and laptops that we go into ‘withdrawal when we can’t find out something immediately’.

And such is our dependence that having our Internet connection severed is growing ‘more and more like losing a friend’.

Researchers from Harvard University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Columbia University in the U.S. carried out four tests to check their theory.

They involved giving test participants a trivia quiz and then seeing whether they recognised computer-related words more quickly than other words.

The other tests involved seeing if people remembered 40 pieces information they would typically later have normally looked up.

The third and fourth parts of the study involved checking how well people remember where to look up information on-line and whether or not they remembered the location more than the actual data. Read More

Is capitalism outdated in the 21st century?

Davos, Switzerland (CNN) – With the world still shaking from the global economic earthquake, and suffering daily aftershocks from Europe, it is not surprising that the topic at Davos is whether capitalism is dead.

On the opening day, the main debate focused on the question: "Is 20th century capitalism failing 21st century society?"

It’s not hard to see why. Former White House economist Nouriel Roubini reminded us that today we are "back to the inequality of 1929 and the Great Depression." High unemployment and the failure of wages to keep pace with living costs are resulting in widespread unrest against elites.

In the eyes of many workers, and especially young people, the business community "has lost its moral compass," trade union leader Sharan Burrow pointed out in today’s debate. "We must redesign the model. We must reset it,” she urged.

Klaus Schwab, founder of the World Economic Forum, is in no doubt that capitalism is "outdated," and that talent, not capital, should be the main driver of economies.

So far there seems to be a view that capitalism may be the worst form of economy - except for all the others. Read More

Could shops charge you MORE for products you've 'Liked' online? 'Behavioural pricing' might let them do just that

Online shops already have a frightening amount of information at their fingertips - from whether you've purchased from them before, to what sites you've visited before you arrive at their shop, accessible via browsing history.

But new start-ups could move the idea to a new level - harvesting information from sources such as Facebook and Twitter to 'tweak' prices to what customers are willing to pay.

In other words, if you've 'Liked' something, prepare to pay for it.

One web entrepreneur, Alex Gannett, founder of CampusSplash says that 2012 will be 'the year of behavioural pricing' - a new type of e-commerce, where prices will be tweaked to include what customers are willing to pay.

Using such freely available information isn't an out-there idea.

Demdex, acquired by Adobe last year, has built a business on harvesting user information from 'cookies' - invisible internet files - to build up a picture of what audiences like so that advertisers can target people more effectively.

Tweaking prices to suit the individual could be the next step.

The idea has already started raising privacy alarm bells. Read More

Is The NYPD Experimenting With Drones Over The City? Evidence Points To Yes

Miami, Cities In Texas Also Said To Be Trying This New Way To Be Eye In The Sky.

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — They’re used in war zones for surveillance and military strikes.

But are there plans to deploy drones in the Big Apple to keep an eye on New Yorkers?

More and more people believe it’s inevitable, reports CBS 2’s Don Dahler.

Drones are unmanned aircraft that can fly at low altitudes and shoot live video — or shoot live missiles.

Surveillance cameras already dot the city’s streets, but is the NYPD exploring the use of even more eyes in the skies, in the form of drones? Some evidence points to yes.

A website named Gay City News posted an e-mail it says it acquired through the Freedom of Information Act. It’s purportedly from a detective in the NYPD counterterrorism division, asking the Federal Aviation Administration about the use of unmanned aerial vehicles as a law enforcement tool. Read More

5.1 Magnitude Earthquake NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN - 27th Jan 2012

A magnitude 5.1 earthquake has struck near the East Coast of Honshu, Japan at a depth of just 2 km (1.2 miles), the quake hit at 04:19:27 UTC Friday 27th January 2012
The epicenter was 19 km (11.8 miles) Northeast of Kamisu, Honshu, Japan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Damage or Injuries at this time.

US Post Office Needs to Cut 260,000 Jobs: Rep. Issa

The U.S. Postal Service needs to slash 260,000 jobs and end weekend delivery if it is to climb out of its "financially insolvent" condition, Rep. Darrell Issa said.

Despite a mandate to avoid deficits, the post office loses up to $15 billion a year, Issa told CNBC during an informal gathering of senior House Oversight and Government Reform Committee members.

"It's a combination of delivering what people want at a price they're willing to pay," the California Republican said. "We've restricted what the post office can charge for various classes of mail. But the biggest challenge is there are about 660,000 workers at the post office. In the private sector there would be about 400,000."

Though Issa's numbers are likely on the high side — the most recent official estimates from the postal service put the total employees at 574,000 — reducing the size of the workforce and consolidating operations has been a priority. Read More

Russia installing webcams in polling stations: Good or bad?

VELIKY NOVGOROD — In this historic city that was once the cradle of Russian democracy, an unprecedented new campaign kicked off over the weekend to install web cameras in every polling station around the country in an effort to prevent voting fraud.

The ambitious program — costing billions of rubles — was ordered by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin following the largest public protests in years in reaction to widespread allegations of ballot box-stuffing and other voting irregularities in December's State Duma elections.

Some experts say the move to live-stream activity around polling stations serves as a strong statement to bloggers and the Internet-savvy who played an important role in whipping up dissent after the disputed ballot preserved a narrow majority for Putin's United Russia in the Duma.

Yet skeptics say the camera initiative will fall far short as there are other ways to cheat. Still, officials say the effort will make a huge difference in promoting fair elections.

"It will have a certain psychological effect for people who come to the polling station. They will feel they are not being cheated," the city's Mayor Yury Bobryshev told The Moscow Times on Saturday.

In Novgorod region, United Russia took a beating in the December elections — receiving just 35 percent of votes compared with 63 percent in 2007. Read More

Global elite seek new path for capitalism in Davos

The world's political and business elite will shelter from the chill winds buffeting the global economy and plot a new path for capitalism at the annual Davos forum which begins Wednesday.

Some 40 heads of government will rub shoulders over the next five days in the Swiss Alps with titans of commerce and industry to discuss everything from the eurozone crisis to Iran's nuclear programme as well as trends in science and the arts.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will deliver the keynote address on Wednesday while fellow G20 leaders such as British Prime Minister David Cameron and his Canadian counterpart Stephen Harper will also address delegates later in the week.

They will be joined by a new generation of premiers from countries such as Tunisia and Thailand which are trying to emerge from periods of turmoil as well as African heads of state including Nigeria's Goodluck Jonathan as his country grapples with an intensifying Islamist insurgency.

But it is the title of the debates which catches the eye as much as the participants with the first posing the question: "Is 20th Century Capitalism Failing 21st Century Society?" Read More