Sep 242007


I never really cared for the term ‘Cracker’ as the ‘bad hackers’, so we’ll stick with my favorite : Black Hat Hackers.

In a major shift in policy and intent, the National Security Administration (NSA) is examining what it would take to in order to monitor and defend against the bad guys that want to hack into the networks controlling the American power plants, utilities, subways and any other system deemed vital to the safety and well fare of its citizens.

The problem with this is that the original charter for the NSA emphasizes that the National Security Agency shall not spy on its own citizens, but this very thing would be required since the bad guys are coming from inside the borders as much as they are from outside.

From the Baltimore Sun:

The plan calls for the NSA to work with the Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies to monitor such networks to prevent unauthorized intrusion, according to those with knowledge of what is known internally as the “Cyber Initiative.” Details of the project are highly classified.

The NSA’s new domestic role would require a revision of the agency’s charter, the senior intelligence official said. Up to now, the NSA’s cyberdefense arsenal has been used to guard the government’s classified networks — not the unclassified networks that now are the responsibility of other federal agencies.

Potential cyberattacks are being discussed in chat rooms in languages that include English, Arabic, Russian and Punjabi. Terrorists and others already know many of the country’s vulnerabilities and are extremely concerned about the ability to hack into computer systems controlling nuclear power plants.

Link to the Baltimore Sun article.

 Posted by at 6:01 am
Sep 242007

Last week I discussed the details of NASA’s call for you to submit your application to join the Astronaut Class of 2009 for extended missions in space, possibly for the Moon.

Well here’s an incredible video produced by NASA to get you juiced for the space program again as their push for the Moon and beyond (Mars anyone?). The music jibes perfectly with the various technologies and phases of this proposed vision of Lunar Exploration.

Tip of the hat to the folks that produced this video, I love it!

[youtube L1__6TzLOqo Lunar Exploration Trailer]


 Posted by at 12:02 am
Sep 232007

I don’t know about you guys, but I think this summer was pretty dry (hehe) for new games.  Yeah there were a few releases, but nothing to go nuts over ;P  However, titles like Shadowrun, Crysis, Quake Wars, and Unreal Tournament III are eagerly anticipated for putting the smack-down on our systems.

I thought I’d bust out a few links to the game sites, so you can drool over your near future in time wasting!

Bioshock has been the hotness ever since it released last month and it’s packing the digits and numbers to prove it.  Combine 50’s horror and sci-fi with genetic engineering; pack it all into an expansive city on the sea floor and you have the latest in advanced fps gaming.  This is not a game you want to pass up.

Unreal Tournament III – Hang onto your flak cannons. The Unreal Tournament series is gearing up for its next appearance, and it’s bringing the powerful new Unreal engine along for the ride.  New weapons, vehicles and maps recharge this offering along with all new multiplayer technology.  I hear it’s going to be optimized for DX10 for added sweetness!

Jericho is based on Clive Barker’s background in horror and thrill-packed novel writing.  You take command of a military tactical unit called the “Jericho Squad” that specializes in confronting paranormal threats.  Block by block, you lead your team through a city under supernatural siege and drive off other-dimensional forces that stand in your way.

Stranglehold brings a fresh look to the John Woo style of gunplay, just like in the movie “Hard Boiled”.  You take the role of Inspector Tequila who is forced to cross the line from sworn duty to bloody revenge.  Engage your enemies with intense cinematic gun battles and cause massive environmental damage in real-time or revolutionary slow-motion Tequila Time.

There’s more to come, but this should whet your appetite for the time being.   Look out next time for some info on games like Hellgate: London, Crysis, Frontlines: Fuel Of War and Heroes Of Might & Magic V.

Drop a comment if you’d like to see a particular game mentioned.  Game on! 

Sep 232007

GOOG The Dalles

For the first time ever, GOOG allowed the press (just two folks) to enter their data center complex in The Dalles, Oregon (The Dalles is at the end of the Oregon Trail), shown above.

With just a hint of transparency, these two reporters put a human face on one of the most secretive aspects of the internet behemoth, normally this location is treated with a level of secrecy as if it’s the CIA. And with good reason, with a global computer system estimated at around 450,000 computers, how they serve and analyze internet data is their ‘golden egg’.

The reason why they’re in this location one hour from Portland, OR is due to the cheap electricity from the Columbia River’s hydrodynamic power as well as easy access to data networking.

Link to The Dalles Chronicle article describing their visit.

Want more tangible information on the 2 football field sized computing center? Try this NY Times article from 2006.

 Posted by at 5:03 pm
Sep 232007

Mystery Boy in iron coffin

I won’t spoil the story for you but it involves a boy in a cast iron coffin that resembles a well preserved Egyptian Mummy and the detective work required to identify him.

It’s a story that brought together a team two-dozen-strong consisting of pathologists, forensics and the Smithsonian.

Newsday has the AP wire story by Science Writer Randolph Schmid.

 Posted by at 6:01 am