Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Thursday, 21 November 2013

U.S. Nuclear regulators crack firewalls to surf porn at work... -

U.S. Nuclear regulators crack firewalls to surf porn at work... - 

It’s become tougher to surf porn on government computers after scandals, but some workers at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission managed to find ways to bypass detection software and firewalls to get the illicit content, records show.
One contract employee watched, in his words, two “porn type” Netflix movies during “downtime” on his 12-hour shift at the commission’s office of information services, according to case records reviewed by The Washington Times.
Another employee repeatedly used the photo-sharing site Flickr to search for pornography while at the office.
And for years, a resident inspector at the agency scoured eBay looking for pornographic images.
The case memos don’t suggest as pervasive of a problem as the porn-surfing scandal that embroiled the Securities and Exchange Commission a few years ago. But the records indicate that the problem hasn’t been eliminated, either.

Joseph McMillian, assistant inspector general for investigations, said agents hadn’t been tipped off to any broader problems when they opened the investigation.
“It wasn’t anything specific; it was just being proactive,” he said.
From May 2011 to September 2012, agents with the inspector general’s cybercrimes unit opened seven cases involving computer misuse, records show. Among the examples cited in a case memo, all involved pornography.
In one investigation, agents approached an employee about 100 explicit images and videos traced to his computer. The employee denied looking at the material, and what might have seemed like an excuse turned out to be true.
Investigators later learned that a co-worker filched that employee’s login credentials to search for porn using terms such as “busty women.”
The records reviewed by The Times contain redactions that make it impossible to determine the names or detailed job titles of employees or contractors caught perusing pornography.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is charged with overseeing the nation’s nuclear industry. Many of its 2,800 staff members work at the agency’s headquarters in suburban Maryland.
Mr. McMillian referred questions about discipline to the agency but said the inspector general’s office was satisfied with actions taken after the investigations.
In six cases that The Times inquired about, the agency proposed disciplinary penalties ranging from a three-day suspension to removal from the job, commission spokeswoman Holly Harrington said.
“When determining the appropriate penalty the NRC considers a number of factors, including but not limited to the nature and seriousness of the action and frequency of the action; the employee’s job level; the employee’s past disciplinary record; the employee’s work record, including length of service; and consistency with other like or similar cases,” she wrote in an email.

Read more: - 

U.S. Congresswoman attacked, mugged near Capitol building... -

U.S. Congresswoman attacked, mugged near Capitol building... - 

Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.) was hit over the head and robbed Tuesday night near the Capitol.  

An attacker knocked Meng to the ground with a hit to the head while she was walking back to her apartment after eating dinner. The attacker took her bag and ran away near 6th St. and Pennsylvania Ave — a little less than a mile from the Capitol building. 

“While this was a frightening ordeal, I fortunately was not seriously injured,” Meng said. “Obviously, things could have been much worse. I thank the U.S. Capitol Police and the District of Columbia Police for responding quickly and professionally.”
Meng sustained minor injuries, including a bruise to her chin. She was taken to George Washington University Hospital where she underwent a CAT scan. Meng missed the first two votes on Wednesday but was present for subsequent votes.

The New York Democrat is a freshman elected in 2012.

U.S. Capitol Police, which is leading the “open” and “active” investigation, said no arrests have yet been made. Metro police directed questions to Capitol police. 

The lawmaker told reporters Wednesday evening that police are scrubbing for fingerprints on an old cell phone of hers that was found at the scene. The phone was in Meng's bag but was apparently discarded by her attacker.

She said she was fortunate to be carrying her wallet and credit cards in her coat pocket at the time and not in the bag that was stolen.

"I'm lucky," she said.


British army Operated Death Squads in Belfast in 1972 - and killed unarmed civilians -

British army Operated Death Squads in Belfast in 1972 - and killed unarmed civilians - 

Speaking publicly for the first time, the ex-members of the Military Reaction Force (MRF), which was disbanded in 1973, said they had been tasked with "hunting down" IRA members in Belfast.

The former soldiers said they believed the unit had saved many lives.

The Ministry of Defence said it had referred the disclosures to police.

The details have emerged a day after Northern Ireland's attorney general, John Larkin, suggested ending any prosecutions over Troubles-related killings that took place before the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.

The proposal has been criticised by groups representing relatives of victims.

Panorama has been told the MRF consisted of about 40 men handpicked from across the British army.

Before it was disbanded 40 years ago, after 18 months, plain-clothes soldiers carried out round-the-clock patrols of west Belfast - the heartland of the IRA - in unmarked cars.

Three former members of the unit, who agreed to be interviewed on condition their identities were disguised, said they had posed as Belfast City Council road sweepers, dustmen and even "meths drinkers", carrying out surveillance from street gutters.

But surveillance was just one part of their work.

One of the soldiers said they had also fired on suspected IRA members.

He described their mission as "to draw out the IRA and to minimise their activities... if they needed shooting, they'd be shot".

For 15 years, Northern Ireland has been divided about how to deal with the legacy of three decades of conflict.

The compromise has been the establishment of the Historical Enquiries Team, a group of former detectives, who are reviewing all deaths in Northern Ireland during the conflict, primarily to answer questions from their relatives.

But now the Northern Ireland attorney general has reignited the vexed issue of whether truth recovery through a virtual amnesty is preferable to prosecution.

John Larkin has called for an end to all prosecutions and inquiries in relation to Troubles-related killings.

The disclosures by Panorama are bound to add to this debate.

The closest former MRF soldiers have previously come to breaking cover is as the pseudonymous authors of two semi-fictionalised paperbacks, one of whom has referred to the MRF as a "legalised death squad".

The factual account of the MRF may not be quite as colourful. Nonetheless, the evidence gleaned from seven former members, declassified files and witnesses, does point to a central truth - that MRF tactics did sometimes mirror the IRA's.

'Targets taken down'
Another former member of the unit said: "We never wore uniform - very few people knew what rank anyone was anyway.

"We were hunting down hardcore baby-killers, terrorists, people that would kill you without even thinking about it."

A third former MRF soldier said: "If you had a player who was a well-known shooter who carried out quite a lot of assassinations... then he had to be taken out.

"[They were] killers themselves, and they had no mercy for anybody."

In 1972 there were more than 10,600 shootings in Northern Ireland. It is not possible to say how many the unit was involved in.

The MRF's operational records have been destroyed and its former members refused to incriminate themselves or their comrades in specific incidents when interviewed by Panorama.

But they admitted shooting and killing unarmed civilians.

When asked if on occasion the MRF would make an assumption that someone had a weapon, even if they could not see one, one of the former soldiers replied "occasionally".

"We didn't go around town blasting, shooting all over the place like you see on the TV, we were going down there and finding, looking for our targets, finding them and taking them down," he said.


Can honey bees really be trained to detect cancer in ten minutes? -

Can honey bees really be trained to detect cancer in ten minutes? - 

A Portuguese designer has created a contraption which she says can detect cancer using trained bees. 
The bees are placed in a glass chamber which the patient exhales from. 
If the bees fly into a secondary chamber, then that means the bees have detected the disease, according to Susana Soares.

Miss Soares, who presented her Bee's project at Dutch Design Week, in Eindhoven last month, said: 'Trained bees only rush into the smaller chamber if they detect the odour on the patient's breath that they have been trained to target.

'The bees can be trained within 10 minutes.'
Scientists have discovered that honey bees have an excellent sense of smell which is better than a sniffer dog. 
Bees can be trained to detect bombs and one company called Insectinel is training 'sniffer bees' to work in counter-terrorist operations.

A bee is trained by exposing it to certain odours before feeding them a solution of water and sugar. 
The bees then remember the smell for the rest of their lives if they are always rewarded with sugar. 
The glass object has a big chamber and a small chamber where the bees go if they detect the disease. 
Research carried out by scientists has suggested that bees can accurately diagnose diseases such as tuberculosis, lung and skin cancer as well as diabetes.


Boeing 747 mistakenly lands at small Kansas airport -

Boeing 747 mistakenly lands at small Kansas airport - 

Boeing Dreamlifter stuck at Wichita airport

A Boeing 747 jumbo jet mistakenly landed a tiny airport in Wichita, Kansas late Wednesday, raising questions about whether or not the plane will be able to take off. 

KAKE.com reports that the jet used to haul 787 Dreamliner parts landed at Jabara Airport instead of its intended destination of McConnell Air Force Base.

A Boeing spokesman confirmed to The Wall Street Journal in a statement that the plane had landed on the 6,101-foot long runway and that "we are working to determine next steps." 

Emergency crews in Wichita were not sent to the airport and no injuries or property damage were reported, KAKE.com reported. Boeing has reportedly dispatched a tug to turn the jet around. 

Officials tell Fox News that the FAA is currently investigating the situation and findings will be released in the coming weeks.   

Read more -