Sunday, August 29, 2010

Russian government email servers hacked

So we thought this was only an Amerikan Capitalist problem. The Moscow Times tells us otherwise.:

"On Monday it turned out that the Federal Service of Protection (FSO) is not that good at protecting its own privacy. Yesterday internet forums were bubbling with information about a hack into the FSO internal email system.

The attack was aimed at an email server of one of the services’ departments, the FSO’s official representatives confirmed to Vedomosti, but no important state information was stored there. At the moment the organisation is investigating the circumstances of the break in and the security of all the servers.

After the attack any internet user could follow the link distributed by the hackers in online forums, type in a simple username and password and access the web-interface of Dozor, the software used for monitoring email traffic, checking the messages for breaches of email use policy, and then archiving the emails.

A hole in security

There had been information about a glitch in the security system, but it got out only now, according to a manager of a company that deals in internet security.

The unknown hackers advertised the glitch as access to the email archives of the system for investigative actions (SORM) – a technical complex that allows access to Russian citizens’ telephone conversations, as well as sms and other electronic communication.

However, experts say that it was misleading. It was not SORM, but the system which monitors internal email. Even so, it's still a very serious issue, the head of Virus research and analytics centre of the Russian branch of ESET Alexander Matrosov told Vedomosti."

No one is safe.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Northwest Passage Opens Again

The Northwest passage is open, another sign of climatic change that NASA scientists are expected to debate with guys who have maybe a Junior High school grasp of weather and climate.
A great explanation of the latest news by smarty pants scientists here.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Chico Science and Nacao Zumbi

A Brazilian favorite. Sadly, Chico Science was killed in an accident in 1997.

American Despair Continued...a series unfortunatley

The last week was truly an exercise in showing the lemming like march to the sea that characterizes life in America these days.A prime example was the so-called "End of the Iraq War" which must have come as rude shock to the latest (and probably not the last) American killed there.Particularly galling was coverage by MSNBC which supposedly represents liberal or progressive opinion with breathless pieces with Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow sounding like embedded journalists trying to overlook the fact that a withdrawal that still leaves 50,000+ forces is incongruous to put it mildly. Of course if your network is owned by one of the largest defense contractors in the country the idea of being an independent voice is difficult at times.

The next example is the Gulf Oil Spill is all cleaned up now. Here we have a problem where an out of control trans-national has ruined an enormous area for decades but now that there is no visible problem at least compared to the last 4 months everything is fine. Except pesky scientists keep intruding with inconvenient facts:

"As you might have heard, scientists are finding gigantic under oil plumes from the BP spill, including one that is more than 22 miles long, more than a mile wide and 650 feet deep.

On Thursday, Dr. Ian MacDonald and and Dr. Lisa Suatoni testified to a Congressional subcommittee that the oil will stay toxic, and will not degrade much further, for decades. MacDonald is an expert in deep-ocean extreme communities including natural hydrocarbon seeps, gas hydrates, and mud volcano systems, a former long-time NOAA scientist, and a professor of Biological Oceanography at Florida State University. Suatoni has a PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Yale, and is Senior Scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council's Oceans Program.

Dr. MacDonald told Congress that the oil has already degraded, emulsified and evaporated about as much as its going to, and it is going to very resistant for further biodegradation. The oil will be in the environment for a long-time, he said, and the imprint of the BP discharge will be detectable "for the rest of my life" (he's 58, and the average lifespan for American men is about 76; so that's some 18 years).

Dr. Suatoni told Congress that oil which goes into low-oxygen zones will remain in a full toxic form for decades."

These stories epitomize the collapse of American institutions that in a normal society galvanize the attention of the public and those in power as well. However if your media has been corporatized beyond recognition, your government also corporatized and unable to respond to the needs of the greater populace, and your populace preoccupied with personal economic survival, this is what you get.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Fox's Race Problem

Fox News and it's demographic of fearful, aging, white remnants of the middle class, has a real problem with race relations in the U.S. Malik Shabzz, of the New Black Panthers relates his group's experience with Fox Noise to Russia Today, while Think Progress illustrates the paltry coverage given to racist rants by the likes of Laura Schlessinger on Fox.

Meanwhile, the prospect of obese middle aged Tea-Baggers being confronted by the New Black Panthers as promised by Mr. Shabazz sounds too good to be true, I'll definitely be watching for it.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Matthew Simmons RIP

Matthew Simmons did not discover Peak Oil but presented one of the most compelling arguments regarding a large factor of the obvious American Decline.The video above shows his insight into our present situation in 2007. His book "Twilight in the Desert" is a primer in peak oil. He was an early skeptic of the BP gulf fiasco and as an accomplished business journalist in a field of sycophants stood out for his integrity

"If the inevitability of peak oil is ignored and the event overtakes us unprepared, the unintended consequences could easily spiral into a sequence of ever-worsening conditions that would create not just twilight in Saudi Arabia's oil industry, but twilight for the lifestyles we all now enjoy" .

Matthew Simmons died on August 8th at his home in Maine.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Friday, August 06, 2010

Russian Fires, Bombs, and Bread

Large parts of western and southern Russia now resemble southern California on a very bad day.Russia Blog reports on the scope and peculiarities of Russian forest and peat bog fires now scorching the country:

"Nearly 1.8 million acres are burning in Central Russia, thousands of homes are destroyed, military and fire departments resources maxed out, and no end of the tragedy is in sight. Peat (a fossil fuel that lays underground close to the surface) caused current fires. The fuel, usually moist from the rivers, swamp, and underground creeks, has dried up during the record-breaking two-months-long draught with temperatures reaching 120 Farengheit across Central Russia. The greatest challenges in fighting the fires is that burning peat cannot be detected as the fire spreads rapidly underground and travelsin random directions. At any given moment the fire almost instanteniously appears above the ground igniting trees and homes above. While firemen tackle the smoking ground, chances are high that they are pouring water on a fire that has been burning for days or weeks, and its major flames have already traveled dozens and hundreds miles away from where it is being fought."

Meanwhile Kavkaz Center reports on damage to Russian military infrastructure:

"The command of the Moscow Military District, due to fire-dangerous situation, removed stocks of missiles and artillery weapons deployed at this base to a safer area, Russians claim.
On Wednesday, the formal ringleader of the Kremlin, Medvedev, instructed the Putin's "government" to draw up in two days a new list of potentially dangerous military bases.
It is to be mentioned that a naval base, storing aerotechnical equipment, in the Kolomna district outside Moscow has been destroyed by fires in recent days. According to official underestimated figures, the damage amounts to $ 670 million.

Medvedev dismissed some high-ranking military officers and warned his funny "defense ministry" that "if something like this happens again, everyone will bear responsibility".

Some Russian media outlets reported that fires at the naval base also destroyed a secret antenna of the Russian general staff, the damage amounted to several hundred million US dollars. The defense Ministry, as previously, tries to deny this report.

Meanwhile, Russian sources insist that also a communications center of the general staff was burnt down together with the naval base in the Kolomna district, Moscow region.

The fire occurred on July 29 - the same day, when the naval base was burnt, and it destroyed a secret antenna of the general staff, located near the village of Shurovo, Kolomna district, on the territory of the airborne forces, the media insist.

The antenna was in the forest and burned down in few minutes. When Russian soldiers arrived to the scene under the orders of the command, there was nothing left to extinguish.

A fight between Russian soldiers and the fire near the nuclear bombs factory in Sarov is continuing against this background."

Another effect which may directly impact American consumers is rising food prices as noted by this Reuters report:

"A severe drought in Russia could result in higher prices for bread in U.S. stores, as a spike in wheat costs may lead manufacturers to ease up on the discounts retailers pushed for during the recession.

But consumers and retailers may push back. Shoppers could opt for cheaper options as unemployment remains high, while retailers -- who try to drive traffic with discounts -- could point out that the spike in wheat is no where near the level of two years ago, when manufacturers raised prices on many goods.

Russia, one of the world's biggest exporters of wheat, is enduring its worst drought in 130 years, sparking a temporary ban on exports and sending U.S. wheat prices soaring.

If prices do not retreat, food makers such as General Mills Inc (GIS.N), Kellogg Co (K.N), Kraft Foods Inc (KFT.N) and Sara Lee Corp (SLE.N) may need to raise prices on bread, crackers and cookies to protect their profit margins."