Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

CMU Researchers Claim To Have Created Messaging App Even NSA Can’t Crack -

CMU Researchers Claim To Have Created Messaging App Even NSA Can’t Crack - 

Carnegie Mellon University researchers claim they have created a smartphone messaging app with security that not even the National Security Agency can break.

The app is called SafeSlinger, and is free on the iTunes store, and Google play store for Android phones.

Researchers say the app uses a passphrase which only the user, and the other party can know.

They claim messages cannot be read by a cellular carrier, internet-provider, employer, or anyone else.

The setup takes a few minutes, with the user answering security questions generated by the app that help it generate encryption and authorization credentials.
The app then works just like a regular messaging app.

In a press release from CMU’s CyLab, programmer Michael W. Farb said, “the most important feature is that SafeSlinger provides secure messaging and file transfer without trusting the phone company or any device other than my own smartphone.”

Carnegie Mellon say because the messages are encrypted and require a password to access, many teens are finding the app appealing to protect messages from peers and parents.

The app was introduces at last week’s MobiCom 2013 Conference for Mobile Computing and Networking in Miami.

SafeSlinger’s easy-to-use interface brings cryptography and secure communication to non-expert users, but also achieving military-grade security against hackers,” CyLab scientist Tiffany Hyun-Jin Kim said via press release.

CMU released a three-minute video to explain how SafeSlinger works, you can watch that below.


Does Map from 1418 prove that the New World was discovered by the CHINESE 70 years before Columbus -

Does Map from 1418 prove that the New World was discovered by the CHINESE 70 years before Columbus -  

Map of the World? It is claimed that this is an eighth century copy of the map Admiral Zheng He made in 1418. The map clearly shows the new world (left half) - more than 70 years before Columbus discovered it

A copy of a 600-year-old map found in a second-hand book shop is the key to proving that the Chinese, not Christopher Columbus, were the first to discover the New World, a controversial British historian claims. 
The document is purportedly an 18th century copy of a 1418 map charted by Chinese Admiral Zheng He, which appears to show the New World in some detail.
This purported evidence that a Chinese sailor mapped the Western Hemisphere more than seven decades before Columbus is just one of Earth-shattering claims that author Gavin Menzies makes in his new book ‘Who Discovered America?’ - out today, just in time for the Columbus Day holiday. 
‘The traditional story of Columbus discovering the New World is absolute fantasy, it’s fairy tales,’ Mr Menzies told MailOnline.

Among Menzies other claims are that the first inhabitants of the Western hemisphere didn’t come over land from the Bering Strait, but instead were Chinese sailors who first crossed the Pacific Ocean 40,000 years ago.
He also writes that DNA markers prove American Indians and other natives are the descendants of several waves of Asian settlers.

Furthermore, he says a majestic fleet of Chinese ships, commanded by Zheng He, sailed around the continent of South America - 100 years before Ferdinand Megellan supposedly became the first the undertake the task.
Columbus features heavily in the book - insofar as Menzies has devoted the last 20 years to finding and laying out evidence that Columbus not only didn’t discover America - he was 40 millenia late.
Mr Menzies believes that Columbus actually had a map of the world that was plotted by the Chinese Admiral Zheng He, who created the map when he sailed to the New World in 1421, more than seven decades before Columbus.

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Texas Man Afraid Of Wife Fakes Kidnapping To Go Drinking With Friends -

Texas Man Afraid Of Wife Fakes Kidnapping To Go Drinking With Friends - 

Talk about being afraid of your own wife.

A man in Texas apparently wanted to party with his friends so badly he staged his own kidnapping so his wife wouldn’t give him a hard time about leaving the house. Now he faces criminal charges and, likely, an even angrier wife.

According to police, Rogelio Andaverde, 34, of Edinburg, in the Texas-Mexico border region, was with his wife at home when two masked men barged into their house carrying guns. They forced him from his home and his hysterical wife called police in a panic, according to the San Antonio Express-News.

“We took this incident very serious because of the circumstances described to us by the wife,” Hidalgo County Sheriff Guadalupe Treviño told the newspaper. “People don't just barge into your house and kidnap you for the hell of it.”

Dozens of law enforcement officers fanned out to search for Andaverde. A police helicopter was even sent out to look for him. But the investigation was going nowhere, and police officers started to become suspicious.

“I looked at the guys and said, ‘Do you really believe this?’” Treviño told The (McAllen) Monitor. “He’s just a regular Joe, no criminal history — anything. It’s just not right.”

Andaverde thought he had outsmarted everyone, police said. He casually returned home and said the kidnappers showed mercy and had set him free. But he later fessed up to investigators, police said, that it was all a ruse so he could go out for a night on the town with his drinking buddies.

“We have people file false reports all the time, and we put them in jail for it,” Treviño told the Express-News. “But I've never had someone do it just to get out of the house.”

Andaverde was charged with making a false report to police. He was released on $5,000 bail.

No word yet on what kind of punishment was waiting for him at home. But it’s highly likely his wife was not a happy camper.

“I don't think his wife appreciated being kept until 4 or 5 in the morning, being interviewed by the cops while her husband was out doing who knows what with who knows who,” Treviño told the Express News. “He's going to have a lot of answering to do.”


Neuroscientist uses MRI scans to show that dogs have emotions similar to humans -

Neuroscientist uses MRI scans to show that dogs have emotions similar to humans - 


Man’s best friend may have more in common with his or her human owners than previously thought.

For the past two years, neuroscientist Gregory Berns of Emory University has been conducting a series of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans on canines – including his pet terrier Callie – and he says his findings show that dogs have the same capacity to experience emotions, such as love and attachment, as humans.

In a recent op-ed in The New York Times, Berns argued that this emotional aptitude must mean that “dogs are people, too,” and they should be afforded many of the same rights as people.

Because dogs cannot speak, Berns said that scientists have relied on behavioral observations to better understand what dogs are thinking.  This can be tricky, since researchers cannot truly comprehend why a dog performs a certain action or how the dog feels about it.  

“By looking directly at their brains and bypassing the constraints of behaviorism, MRIs can tell us about dogs’ internal states,” Berns argued in The New York Times.

Along with his friend Mark Spivak, a dog trainer, Berns trained his dog Callie and other canine volunteers to enter the MRI scanner in order to measure the dogs’ brain responses to two hand signals.  Through these tests, Berns noted a striking similarity between dogs and humans in a region of the brain called the caudate nucleus – an area associated with anticipation of things people enjoy.

“… Many of the same things that activate the human caudate, which are associated with positive emotions, also activate the dog caudate,” Berns wrote in The New York Times. “Neuroscientists call this a functional homology, and it may be an indication of canine emotions.”

Because of this finding, Berns said it’s possible that dogs experience a level of sentience comparable to human children, suggesting that people should reconsider how they think of their pets.

“Perhaps someday we may see a case arguing for a dog’s rights based on brain-imaging findings,” Berns wrote in The New York Times.


Whistleblower Terminated from Northwestern for Revealing Secret Human Experimentation -

Whistleblower Terminated from Northwestern for Revealing Secret Human Experimentation - 

Why would a bright and promising cardiologist be fired from the University hospital that she had practiced at since 2000?

Apparently, protecting her patients is grounds for dismissal. At least, that is the case at Northwestern University in Illinois.

Despite being promoted to Valve Director in 2006, Dr. Nalini M. Rajamannan was terminated in 2008 after reporting the use of non-FDA approved, experimental medical devices being implanted in patients without their knowledge.

The doctor conducting these human experiments, Dr. Patrick McCarthy, was testing his own inventions, an IMR annuloplasty device and a Myxo annuloplasty device manufactured by Edwards Lifescience.

These devices had not been approved by the FDA and even now, many patients have no idea that they have these experimental devices in their bodies.

One Patient's Experience

Dr. Rajamannan first discovered this deception in July 2007 when one of her patients, Antonitsa Vlahoulis, required a second surgery to replace the Myxo annuloplasty device less than a year after it was implanted.

Ms. Vlahoulis questioned why the device she had was not the one listed on her pre-op brochure.

Discussing her experience, Ms. Vlahoulis stated:

"When I had my consult with Dr. McCarthy, he told me that I had severe Mitral valve prolapse. He said with the severity of my valve, he would most likely have to replace the valve with a pig valve or prosthetic. He explained the difference between the two. He also stated that his specialty was saving the valve by repairing it with a mitral valve ring. He never mentioned what type of ring, or that he was an inventor and he had designed a ring for this purpose."

She went on to say:

"He told me I would feel like a new person immediately after my surgery. I knew as soon as I woke up from the surgery that I was in trouble. I did not feel like a new person. My breathing felt a lot worse. I had a lot of complications only to find out he had implanted a device he had just invented and start implanting in patients one month before me.

I was never asked to sign an informed consent, nor was I advised that I was part of an experimental trial."

Ms. Vlahoulis said that by the time she had the device removed, the experimental ring had caused stenosis. She also needed her tricuspid valve repaired and now has a permanent pacemaker. She says she continues to have shortness of breath upon exertion as well as other heart issues. Her question remains unanswered:

"How can you place a non FDA device in a patient without their consent and knowledge? What century are we living in?"


Nuclear fusion milestone passed at US lab - amount of energy released exceeded the amount of energy being absorbed -

Nuclear fusion milestone passed at US lab - amount of energy released exceeded the amount of energy being absorbed - 


Researchers at a US lab have passed a crucial milestone on the way to their ultimate goal of achieving self-sustaining nuclear fusion.

Harnessing fusion - the process that powers the Sun - could provide an unlimited and cheap source of energy.

But to be viable, fusion power plants would have to produce more energy than they consume, which has proven elusive.

Now, a breakthrough by scientists at the National Ignition Facility (NIF) could boost hopes of scaling up fusion.

NIF, based at Livermore in California, uses 192 beams from the world's most powerful laser to heat and compress a small pellet of hydrogen fuel to the point where nuclear fusion reactions take place.

The BBC understands that during an experiment in late September, the amount of energy released through the fusion reaction exceeded the amount of energy being absorbed by the fuel - the first time this had been achieved at any fusion facility in the world.

This is a step short of the lab's stated goal of "ignition", where nuclear fusion generates as much energy as the lasers supply. This is because known "inefficiencies" in different parts of the system mean not all the energy supplied through the laser is delivered to the fuel.

Continue reading the main story
Nuclear fusion at NIF

192 laser beams are focused through holes in a target container called a hohlraum
Inside the hohlraum is a tiny pellet containing an extremely cold, solid mixture of hydrogen isotopes
Lasers strike the hohlraum's walls, which in turn radiate X-rays
X-rays strip material from the outer shell of the fuel pellet, heating it up to millions of degrees
If the compression of the fuel is high enough and uniform enough, nuclear fusion can result
But the latest achievement has been described as the single most meaningful step for fusion in recent years, and demonstrates NIF is well on its way towards the coveted target of ignition and self-sustaining fusion.

For half a century, researchers have strived for controlled nuclear fusion and been disappointed. It was hoped that NIF would provide the breakthrough fusion research needed.

In 2009, NIF officials announced an aim to demonstrate nuclear fusion producing net energy by 30 September 2012. But unexpected technical problems ensured the deadline came and went; the fusion output was less than had originally been predicted by mathematical models.

Soon after, the $3.5bn facility shifted focus, cutting the amount of time spent on fusion versus nuclear weapons research - which was part of the lab's original mission.

However, the latest experiments agree well with predictions of energy output, which will provide a welcome boost to ignition research at NIF, as well as encouragement to advocates of fusion energy in general.

It is markedly different from current nuclear power, which operates through splitting atoms - fission - rather than squashing them together in fusion.

NIF, based at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, is one of several projects around the world aimed at harnessing fusion. They include the multi-billion-euro ITER facility, currently under construction in Cadarache, France.

However, ITER will take a different approach to the laser-driven fusion at NIF; the Cadarache facility will use magnetic fields to contain the hot fusion fuel - a concept known as magnetic confinement.


9-year-old boy who boarded plane without ticket reportedly stole car weeks ago - and sneaked into a water park -

9-year-old boy who boarded plane without ticket reportedly stole car weeks ago - and sneaked into a water park - 

A 9-year-old Minneapolis boy who flew to Las Vegas last week without a ticket had reportedly been investigated by child protection workers after he stole a car and sneaked into a water park without paying.

Relatives of the unidentified boy who boarded a Delta flight en route to Las Vegas on Thursday have been the subject of four child-protection assessments since December, according to an email from a Hennepin County official obtained by the Star Tribune.

“The reports have been inconsistent and there have been no injuries to the child; however, there is a pattern of behavior,” wrote Janine Moore, area director of the county’s Human Services and Public Health Department.

Moore declined to identify the boy or indicate where his family lives, but said that his mother works at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. An investigation is now being conducted to determine whether she helped him aboard the flight to Nevada.

Metropolitan Airports Commission spokesman Patrick Hogan said the flight crew became suspicious midflight because the boy was not on their list of unattended minors. The crew then contacted Las Vegas police, who met them upon landing and transferred the boy to child protection services.

"It's hard to piece anything together from his stories why he got on the flight and went to Las Vegas," Hogan said.

The boy is known to county officials as a “challenging” child, Moore wrote, adding that he stole a car two weeks ago and was arrested on a nearby highway. The email did not indicate whether the boy was driving or where he was arrested, the newspaper reports.

The boy also has a history of riding trains to a Bloomington water park, where he “waits until a large family is entering and joins them,” 

Read more -