Tell Me Something I Don’t Already Know

Iran is working to develop nuclear weapons, really?

U.N. report cites secret nuclear research by Iran

The United Nations’ nuclear watchdog said Tuesday that it has “serious concerns” that Iran is secretly working toward building a nuclear bomb, citing documents pointing to Iranian scientists’ extensive and possibly ongoing efforts to master the technology needed for atomic weapons.

The International Atomic Energy Agency cited “credible” intelligence — provided by 10 countries and vetted over many months — that directly contradicts Iran’s steadfast assertions that its nuclear intentions are entirely peaceful.

“The information indicates that Iran has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear device,” the IAEA said in an uncharacteristically blunt report prepared for the U.N. agency’s 35-nation board of directors.

Read the report:

Implementation of the NPT Safeguards
Agreement and relevant provisions of
Security Council resolutions in the
Islamic Republic of Iran

See also:
IAEA report: Iran has been working toward nuclear bomb since 2003
Nightmare Scenario In the Middle East as Iran Inches Closer to the Bomb
Iran’s nuclear program alarms world powers
World divided on response to Iran nuke report
US breaks silence on IAEA report,’won’t rule anything out’
European states call for stiffer sanctions against Iran following IAEA report
Official says Russia will not support any new sanctions against Iran over nuclear program
Iran says IAEA nuclear report influenced by U.S., West
PM: Iranian nukes endanger Mideast, world peace
Western Powers Warn of New Sanctions if Iran Ignores Nuclear Concerns
IAEA’s Iran Report Represents Critical Inflection Point
The IAEA report: what does it really mean and will it lead to war with Iran?

Face it, sanctions aren’t going to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons, especially as long as China and Russia continue to side with Ira. That leaves only one option, a military strike. Whether a military strike will stop Iran’s nuclear program is debatable and extremely risky. However, the 100% certain alternative is that Iran will develop nuclear weapons. Those are the two bad choices, a military strike or Iran gets nuclear weapons. Pick one.

/and forget about all the fussing about air routes and in-flight refueling, use ICBMs tipped with conventional ground penetrator payloads and start here

Keeping Up With The Jetsons

You want a flying car? We got your flying car right here, almost, maybe in a few years.

‘Flying Humvee’ moves ahead

A flying car that’s rugged enough for hardcore off-road driving, able to survive small-arms fire and can quickly take off and land is potentially just a few years shy of reality, according to reports sourced from DARPA, the U.S. military’s future-oriented research arm.

Aerospace companies Lockheed Martin and AAI Corporation have presented “feasible designs” to the military’s Transformer program, reports Aviation Week’s Ares blog, and have advanced to the next phase, which is to begin work on prototypes of the contraptions.




See also:
Is Darpa’s Fly-Drive Transformer on the Right Road?
The ‘flying Humvee’ gets off the ground as U.S. military plans first all-terrain, bullet-proof warcraft by next year
Flying humvee inches closer to reality
DARPA sets target date for testing ‘flying Humvee’
Coming soon: US army four-seater vehicle that can take off and land vertically
Progress to the Flying Humvee and enabling a revolution if door to door air travel up to 400 mile ranges
What’s The Point of Darpa’s ‘Flying Humvee,’ Exactly?
Military Developing Transformer To Solve Problems That Don’t Exist
Pentagon Wants Flying Humvee, For Some Reason
Transformer (TX)
Transformer (flying car)

I’m all for flying cars, but do we really need them for combat? The concept drawings of the Transformer TX makes it look like a huge ordnance magnet that, if it wasn’t blown up transitioning from ground to sky or vice versa, it would have so many complex moving parts that it would be undergoing maintenance for many more hours than it would be available for field use. Look at the trouble we already have keeping the V-22 Osprey in service.

/at a time when budget cutting and deficit reduction is the new national pastime, the Transformer TX would seem to be, in my opinion, a military toy too far

Beyond Stuxnet

Looks like someone, and I’m guessing it’s not the Anonymous script kiddies, is getting ready to open a serious can of cyberwarfare whoop ass on someone.

W32.Duqu: The Precursor to the Next Stuxnet

On October 14, 2011, a research lab with strong international connections alerted us to a sample that appeared to be very similar to Stuxnet. They named the threat “Duqu” [dyü-kyü] because it creates files with the file name prefix “~DQ”. The research lab provided us with samples recovered from computer systems located in Europe, as well as a detailed report with their initial findings, including analysis comparing the threat to Stuxnet, which we were able to confirm. Parts of Duqu are nearly identical to Stuxnet, but with a completely different purpose.

Duqu is essentially the precursor to a future Stuxnet-like attack. The threat was written by the same authors (or those that have access to the Stuxnet source code) and appears to have been created since the last Stuxnet file was recovered. Duqu’s purpose is to gather intelligence data and assets from entities, such as industrial control system manufacturers, in order to more easily conduct a future attack against another third party. The attackers are looking for information such as design documents that could help them mount a future attack on an industrial control facility.

Duqu does not contain any code related to industrial control systems and is primarily a remote access Trojan (RAT). The threat does not self-replicate. Our telemetry shows the threat was highly targeted toward a limited number of organizations for their specific assets. However, it’s possible that other attacks are being conducted against other organizations in a similar manner with currently undetected variants.

See also:
Son of Stuxnet Found in the Wild on Systems in Europe
Duqu May Have Targeted Certificate Authorities for Encryption Keys
Stuxnet Clone ‘Duqu’: The Hydrogen Bomb of Cyberwarfare?
“Son of Stuxnet” Virus Uncovered
New virus a cyber ‘attack in the making’
Cyberattack forecast after spy virus found
Stuxnet successor on the loose?
Brace for “son of Stuxnet” — Duqu spies on SCADA
Duqu: Son of Stuxnet?
Symantec, McAfee differ on Duqu threat
Who’s behind worm Duqu, ‘son of Stuxnet’?
Stuxnet-based cyber espionage virus targets European firms
Key European Nuclear Firms Attacked By Variation On Stuxnet Virus

A couple of conclusions come to mind. First, the fact that Duqu is based on Stuxnet and the Stuxnet source code has never been released makes it a sure bet that the authors are one in the same, namely Israel and/or the United States, Second, the fact that Duqu is clandestinely collecting information from European manufacturers of industrial control system software, specifically software that controls nuclear facilities, strongly suggests that the eventual primary target of the apparent pending cyberattack will, once again, be Iran’s nuclear program.

/in other words, Duqu is setting up a cyberassault that will hopefully finish, once and for all, the job that Stuxnet so effectively started, halting Iran’s quest for a nuclear weapon in its tracks without having to bomb the [expletive deleted] out of their nuclear facilities

When Chinese RATs Attack

Oh, hey, look what China did, again. Isn’t this supposed to be an act of war now?

Massive Global Cyberattack Targeting U.S., U.N. Discovered; Experts Blame China

The world’s most extensive case of cyber-espionage, including attacks on U.S. government and U.N. computers, was revealed Wednesday by online security firm McAfee, and analysts are speculating that China is behind the attacks.

The spying was dubbed “Operation Shady RAT,” or “remote access tool” by McAfee — and it led to a massive loss of information that poses a huge economic threat, wrote vice president of threat research Dmitri Alperovitch.

. . .

Analysts told The Washington Post that the finger of blame for the infiltration of the 72 networks — 49 of them in the U.S. — points firmly in the direction of China.

See also:
Revealed: Operation Shady RAT
McAfee’s Operation Shady RAT exposes national cybersecurity lapses
McAfee discovers massive series of cyber attacks
Hacking Campaign Targets U.S. Government, Signs Point to China
Operation Shady RAT: five-year hack attack hit 14 countries
China Suspected Of Shady RAT Attacks
Q+A: Massive cyber attack dubbed “Operation Shady RAT”
Operation Shady RAT: A frightening web of global cyber-espionage
Operation Shady RAT smells like Chinese hacking
All cursors point to China in global hack attack that threatens nations
China accused of biggest ever global cyber spying attacks
Hackers Based in China Attack UN, Olympic Networks, Security Firms Report
Operation Shady RAT and the cyberhacking
APT Attackers Used Chinese-Authored Hacker Tool To Hide Their Tracks

Why did it take a private security company to uncover the largest case of cyberspying in world history and why aren’t we doing something about it?

/does China have to steal every last piece of sensitive and secret computer data we possess before we start taking this threat seriously?

Chicken Beats Egg

It’s official, you can now feel free to count your chickens before they’re hatched.

Chicken Came Before the Egg: “Scientific Proof”

British scientists claim to have solved one of the great mysteries of life, the universe and everything in it: The chicken came before the egg, they say, and they’re not mincing words.

“It had long been suspected that the egg came first, but now we have the scientific proof that shows that in fact the chicken came first,” Sheffield University’s Dr Colin Freeman, according to a report in the Metro.

Researchers from Scotland and England used a supercomputer called HECToR to look in such detail at a chicken eggshell that they were able to determine the vital role of a protein used to kick-start the egg’s formation.

That protein is only found, wait for it… inside a chicken.

Freeman, who worked on HECToR with counterparts at Edinburgh’s Warwick University, said the protein had been identified earlier by scientists and was known to be linked to egg formation, “but by examining it closely we have been able to see how it controls the process,” he added, describing it as a catalyst.

Professor John Harding, who also took part in the research, told Metro the discovery could have other applications.

“Understanding how chickens make shells is fascinating in itself, but can also give clues towards designing new materials.” he said.

Which is good, because in spite of HECToR’s hard work and the “scientific proof” it yielded, the study offered no explanation as to how the chicken got there in the first place.

If not from an egg, perhaps it just came from across the road.

See also:
‘The chicken came first, not the egg’, scientists prove
Chicken came before egg
Which came first, the chicken or the egg? The chicken, researchers say!
What came first, chicken or egg?
UK scientists have proof chicken came before egg
Researchers say the chicken came before the egg in age-old riddle
Chicken-and-Egg Mystery Finally Cracked
Scientific Proof: The Chicken came before the Egg
After All These Years, It’s Been The Chicken All Along
Which came first? The chicken, not the egg!
Scientists solve chicken and egg riddle*
The Chicken and the Egg: Ancient Mystery Solved?
Scientists in Britain close to cracking chicken-egg puzzle
The chicken or the egg?

/well, now that that’s settled, you can lose sleep at night wondering where the chicken that laid the first egg came from

Bad News . . . For Cancer

Scientists unlock genetic code in major cancer breakthrough

The entire genetic codes of two common types of cancer have been cracked, according to scientists, who say the breakthrough could unlock a new era in the treatment of deadly diseases.

Scientists at the UK-based Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute catalogued the genetic maps of skin and lung cancer and have pinpointed the specific mutations within DNA that can lead to dangerous tumors.

Researchers predict these maps will offer patients a personalized treatment option that ranges from earlier detection to the types of medication used to treat cancer.

The genetic maps will also allow cancer researchers to study cells with defective DNA and produce more powerful drugs to fight the errors, according to the the study’s scientists.

“The knowledge we extract over the next few years will have major implications for treatment,” Peter Campbell from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute said.

“By identifying all the cancer genes we will be able to develop new drugs that target the specific mutated genes and work out which patients will benefit from these novel treatments.”

See also:
Scientists crack ‘entire genetic code’ of cancer
British scientists crack killer cancer code
British scientists genetic breakthrough brings new hopes for cancer treatment
Scientists crack killer cancer code
UPDATE 1-Gene maps to transform scientists’ work on cancer
Scientists Decode Entire Genetic Code of Cancer
Cancer code cracked
Huge Step: Cancer Code Cracked By Scientists
Newly decoded cancer gene discoveries may revolutionize cancer treatment
Scientists Break Cancer Gene Code: Melanoma and Lung Cancer
Scientists Crack Genetic Codes of Two Cancers
Health Buzz: Researchers Crack Gene Code of Melanoma and Lung Cancer

It seems like at least once a year there’s a “breakthrough” in cancer research that threatens to end the deadly scourge but, so far, there’s still no “magic bullet” and cancer marches on. Let’s hope this research lives up to its potential and finally breaks the back of the deadly, insidious disease.

/my dad died of lung cancer and I used to smoke, so hurry up, please