Friday, January 25, 2008

Cyberwar costs only 1,600 dollars these days

So, back in 2007, Estonia was under a brutal denial of service attack and Estonia thought it was Russia's goverment authorizing the attack. So, it turns out in was just some mad dude, who lives in Estonia.
And what was the punishment, you ask?

And so it comes as quite a shock to THREAT LEVEL to learn that the attacker convicted today isn't a member of the Russian military, nor is he an embittered cyber warrior in Putin's secret service. He doesn't even live in Russia. He's an ethnic Russian who lives in Estonia, who was pissed off over that whole statue thing.

The court fined him 17,500 kroons, or $1,620 dollars, and sent him on his way.

I guess the costs of a Cyberwar that almost started World War III are dropping these days.


Thursday, January 24, 2008

Cyborg Bonanza Prediction Comes True!

In a post a few down (from July '07), my cohort "Berg" predicted that Craig Venter would be well on his way to creating life.
TIME Magazine, always well behind the Cyborg Bonanza bleeding edge, covers Mr. Venter's discoveries today.

Working with only the four basic nucleotides that make up all DNA—adenine, cytosine, guanine and thymine—he has assembled an entirely new chromosome for an entirely new one-celled creature. Insert that genome into a cell—like inserting a disc into a computer—and a new species of living thing will be booted up.

Allow me to be the first to welcome our Craig Venter organism overlords.

From TIME Magazine

Hey you guys!

New look and logo around these parts.
I hope you all like it.

Inbreeding == Good...what?

A new study has come out that indicates that inbred people live long lives, even longer than non-cousin diddlers. The researchers have found a town that has a very high rate of incest.

Passarino and his colleagues used census data to identify a geographically isolated region of southern Italy with more than its fair share of male nonagerians. When the team looked at the local phone book, they found many people in the region shared the same surname, suggesting marriage between related individuals was common...

So, because there was so much inbreeding in this town, the few inbred folks that didn't get serious diseases lived to be very old indeed. Good news for inbred kids, I guess you don't see that every day.

Found at New Scientist. Warning: New Scientist registration required.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Craig Venter Comes One Step Closer To World Domination

US genomics pioneer Craig Venter, best known for his success with the Human Genome_Project, informed the world today of his groups success in converting one type of bacteria into another:

Venter's team, led by John Glass of the J. Craig Venter Institute in Rockville, Maryland, US, managed to transfer the genome of Mycoplasma mycoides to a related parasite called M. capricolum. Both species infect goats, sheep and cows.


The researchers took a strain of M. mycoides that is resistant to the antibiotic tetracycline, broke open the cells and carefully "digested" the proteins, leaving just the intact circular chromosomes, the DNA.

These chromosomes were then incubated with M. capricolum cells in a polymer medium that encourages cell membranes to fuse. The researchers speculate that some M. capricolum cells fused together, encapsulating an M. mycoides chromosome as they did so.

Finally, the researchers treated their cultures with tetracycline, so that only M. capricolum cells containing the M. mycoides genome would survive.

Venter's group is hailing the operation as a crucial step towards their goal of creating a synthetic life form, with the creation of a synthetic life form being a crucial step to creating an army of moldiers, and moldiers being a crucial step towards world domination. Clearly, because nobody tinkering around in the field of biology has ever done anything positive for humanity, this week's progress marks the beginning for the end of mankind as well as the beginning of what will come to be known as "Venter's Reign of Terror."

Read the article here on

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Pauly Shore: There Is Hope For You Yet

Biosphere 2 has been saved! I always thought that biospheres were cool. Especially because they were the precursors to living on the moon or on Mars. Unfortunately, everyone just came out of the biodomes just hating each other. But, BioSphere 2 is going to be least for another few years.
It belongs to the University of Arizona and they are going to try to keep it open as and environmental laboratory and not, you know, a bunch of McMansions.

The university has now leased the property for scientific research with the aid of gifts and grants, and funds permitting, will try to extend the lease for 10 years.

Nestled in the Santa Catalina Mountains north of Tucson, Arizona, the great glass greenhouse was built 20 years ago by Space Biosphere Ventures as an artificial closed ecological system.

When, in 1991, eight people were sealed inside, it was hailed as a dry run for building a colony on Mars. But two years later, when the same eight emerged emaciated from poor diets and embittered by infighting, critics were quick to call the project a failure.

I tell you what though. BioDome the movie was NOT a failure, I loved that movie.

(via New Scientist) Biosphere 2 saved from developer's bulldozers

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Yay, Plastic Bags Finally Good for Something

A new microwave contraption has been developed that turns classic garden variety plastic bags into oil and gas. (Back from whence you came, plastic bag!) This is good news on two fronts. First, oil is yummy and we are addicted to it. Secondly, plastic bags are clogging our waterways and killing our birds and fish because they apparently try to eat the damn things. See National Geographic article here.

All that is needed, claims Global Resource Corporation (GRC), is a finely tuned microwave and – hey presto! – a mix of materials that were made from oil can be reduced back to oil and combustible gas (and a few leftovers).

Key to GRC’s process is a machine that uses 1200 different frequencies within the microwave range, which act on specific hydrocarbon materials. As the material is zapped at the appropriate wavelength, part of the hydrocarbons that make up the plastic and rubber in the material are broken down into diesel oil and combustible gas.

So, watch out grocery stores. Soon oil barons will be stealing your plastic bags to turn into oil to sell at outrageous prices.
(via New Scientist) Giant microwave turns plastic back to oil

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

I Call Bologna Sandwich on You Researchers

A new study has been released that Europe has just had the warmest winter and fall in 700 years. Wait one cotton-picking minute. 700 years? Was the thermometer around in 1300? No, probably not, so let's see what they do.

European climate measurements and temperature records stretch back several hundred years – UK records are the longest available, going back to 1659. Estimating historical temperatures beyond then involves scrutinizing contemporary documents and diaries.

"People in churches, or doctors, wrote diaries, and usually they also included information about weather and climate. Climate historians can use and interpret this information and translate it into a temperature value," explains Luterbacher, who worked with climate historians to compare past and recent temperatures

So, your "data" that this is the hottest winter EVAR is based on the fact that you read in some girls diary from 1289 that it was "omg, hawt out" (That's not a direct quote. It probably was more like, "me lord thinks it is too warm out to take a gander at the rose garden methinks.)
I'm sure you love making headlines that pop, but this is just merely hearsay. This is not science. I'm sorry, but let's say this was the hottest winter in 300 years. That works and that it actually true.

(via New Scientist) Freak winter is Europe's warmest for 700 years

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Single Ladies, Make Noise!

If you got a hundred dollar bill, put your hands up!
Anyhow, that is enough Fatman Scoop for now. But, in the latest National Geographic, they have published a map that details where the greater populations of single men live and single women live. Blue is overwhelming populations of single men, red is single women. This is honestly shocking to me, Silicon Valley makes sense, but maybe my West Coast corespondent can log in and let me know if there is actually zillions more single men in LA than women. From living on the East Coast for the past few years, I would not have guessed that the entire coast is figuratively throbbing with single women. I guess I must have hung out at the wrong places.
In either case...West of the Mississippi River there is a whole lotta dudes.
(via The Creativity Exchange) The Singles Map

Monday, June 11, 2007

Scientists Say: Nuclear War Still Bad.

Scientists at Rutgers University have completed a study on nuclear wars and nuclear winters by "simulating" bomb explosions over major cites. They "simulated" the explosion of 100 nuclear bombs. And hopefully not to their surprise, the nuclear winter afterwards would really suck. Unless you died in the bomb, then the weather would be ok.

They found that the blasts would loft up to 5 million tonnes of black carbon soot into the atmosphere, lowering global temperatures by 1.4 °C. Growing seasons in the middle latitudes would be shortened and in some cases fail entirely. "By explaining the consequences to the world, we hope nothing like this will ever happen," says Robock.

Yes, thank you for discovering that a nuclear war would really suck for everyone.
'Nuclear winter' is still a threat to be avoided