Archive for the ‘government’ category: Page 166

Oct 12, 2017

Israel hacked Kaspersky, then tipped the NSA that its tools had been breached

Posted by in categories: cybercrime/malcode, government, privacy

Israel notified the NSA, where alarmed officials immediately began a hunt for the breach, according to people familiar with the matter, who said an investigation by the agency revealed that the tools were in the possession of the Russian government.

Israeli spies had found the hacking material on the network of Kaspersky Lab, the global anti-virus firm under a spotlight in the United States because of suspicions that its products facilitate Russian espionage.

Last month, the Department of Homeland Security instructed federal civilian agencies to identify Kaspersky Lab software on their networks and remove it on the grounds that “the risk that the Russian government, whether acting on its own or in collaboration with Kaspersky, could capitalize on access provided by Kaspersky products to compromise federal information and information systems directly implicates U.S. national security.” The directive followed a decision by the General Services Administration to remove Kaspersky from its list of approved vendors. And lawmakers on Capitol Hill are considering a governmentwide ban.

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Oct 9, 2017

NASA contracts energy firm to refine nuclear thermal propulsion concepts

Posted by in categories: government, nuclear energy, space travel

As the U.S. government continues to pursue plans for a crewed mission to Mars, NASA has contracted with BWXT Nuclear Energy Inc. of Lynchburg, Virginia, to advance concepts in Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP), which could drastically reduce travel times to Mars.

This is part of NASA’s Game Changing Development Program, which takes ideas from academia and industry as well as NASA and other government programs, to advance new approaches to space technologies to accommodate the changing needs of U.S. space efforts.

NTP is not a new concept, but it was abandoned in 1972 when plans for a Mars mission were shelved. NASA conducted ground tests since 1955 to determine the viability of NTP and has occasionally been revisited as a conceptual part of Mars mission feasibility studies.

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Oct 9, 2017

Could DARPA’s Brain Uploads Lead To ‘Matrix’ Military Training?

Posted by in categories: government, military, neuroscience

With all the movies and TV shows currently streaming online, who has time to learn a new language or some other cognitive skill anymore? DARPA (the U.S government’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) has been working on the ultimate cheat code for brains that would cut down the time needed to acquire knowledge and complete skill training. The program was not named after any of the characters from The Matrix, but it probably should have been.

According to Futurism, DARPA announced the Targeted Neuroplasticity Training (TNT) program back in 2016. In theory, DARPA would develop technology that would stimulate peripheral nerves to release more neuromodulators (brain chemicals) including acetylcholine, dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. The chemicals would activate synaptic plasticity and the brain would be trained to process information for cognitive skills more quickly. The stated goal of TNT is to speed up training processes for military personnel and in turn reduce costs and improve results. “DARPA is approaching the study of synaptic plasticity from multiple angles to determine whether there are safe and responsible ways to enhance learning and accelerate training for skills relevant to national security missions,” said TNT Program Manager Doug Webe, in a press release. But the technology could be used for much cooler applications, like teaching me Jiu-jitsu or how to fly a helicopter in a matter of seconds.

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Oct 8, 2017

Japan brings out the bazooka in AI war with China

Posted by in categories: economics, government, robotics/AI

China may have the clear lead in the development of artificial intelligence (AI) systems in the region, but Japan’s government, realising how vital the sector is to its economic future, has intervened in the hopes of levelling the playing field.

Japan announced in late August that it is planning to invest billions of yen to fund next-generation semiconductors and other technologies critical to AI development.

Billions of yen in public investment could help firms innovate, but analysts say the nation may never catch up with China and the US, global tech leaders that show no signs of slowing down.

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Oct 5, 2017

Pence Pledges the U.S. Will Go to the Moon, Mars and Beyond

Posted by in categories: government, military, policy, satellites, space

Washington (AP) — Seated before the grounded space shuttle Discovery, a constellation of Trump administration officials used soaring rhetoric to vow to send Americans back to the moon and then on to Mars.

After voicing celestial aspirations, top officials moved to what National Intelligence Director Dan Coats called “a dark side” to space policy. Coats, Vice President Mike Pence, other top officials and outside space experts said the United States has to counter and perhaps match potential enemies’ ability to target U.S. satellites.

Pence, several cabinet secretaries and White House advisers gathered in the shadow of the shuttle at the Smithsonian Institution’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center to chart a new path in space — government, commercial and military — for the country. It was the first meeting of the National Space Council, revived after it was disbanded in 1993.

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Oct 3, 2017

To Combat Radical Violence in America, We Need Radical Medicine

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, drones, government, neuroscience, security, terrorism

With yesterday’s terrible shooting tragedy, I’m hearing lots of calls for more gun control to reduce violence in the US. But that’s essentially impossible to accomplish. There are 300 million guns in America. Congress faces a statistical impossibility to make a real dent in gun control and possession (politicians saying otherwise are playing you for votes—the gov is not going to go house to house to collect guns). HOWEVER, better ways to combat terrorism and gun violence could be achieved through better medicine and figuring out better ways to keep wounded peope alive. We should focus our energy and science money on treating trauma victims (and also on prevention of mental disease and sociopaths). Also, drones can be designed to seek out shooters in public places in 30 seconds and stop what they’re doing (instead of letting them shoot for 10 minutes). Why don’t major public venues and events have them yet? Ask you government? Demand better responses so our society is safer. Also, entreprenuers, get out there and do something about this. Hotels would pay big money for see-through-wall technology that would alert staff that someone has 20 weapons in a room. Lots of this tech is already here. All these terrorism and gun violence issues can be best figured out by tech and science. Stop sending prayers, and instead send some engineers and technologists to solve the problems. This tragic ongoing violence will continue until tech and science solves it.

“If you make the human body virtually indestructible, being wounded loses some of its relevance.”

America is reeling in shock from multiple shooting tragedies. The national feeling is that the violence is increasing in frequency and there’s no end to the angst.

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Sep 30, 2017

Australia Is Establishing a National Space Agency After Years of Pressure

Posted by in categories: government, space

The nation’s space industry has been active for decades, yet a government space agency is only now taking form.

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Sep 30, 2017

China’s New Electric Car Rules Are Amazingly Aggressive

Posted by in categories: government, sustainability, transportation

This is how you really get an industry to change its ways. Bloomberg reports that China’s government has announced that any automaker producing or importing more than 30,000 cars in China must ensure 10 percent of them are all-electric, plug-in hybrid, or hydrogen-powered by 2019. That number will rise to 12 percent in 2020.

In fact, the new regulations are actually more lenient than drafts of the rules had suggested: they scrap a 2018 introduction to give manufacturers more time to prepare, and will also excuse failure to meet the quota in the first year. So, really, the 12 percent target in 2020 is the first enforceable number.

That still doesn’t make it very easy, as the Wall Street Journal notes (paywall). Domestic automakers already make plenty of electric cars (largely at the government’s behest), which means that they should be able to meet the numbers, but Western firms will find it harder. In preparation, some have actually set up partnerships with Chinese companies to help them build electric vehicles in time.

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Sep 30, 2017

Investment: GomSpace to establish space company in Luxembourg

Posted by in categories: economics, government, satellites

GomSpace Group, a company listed on the Nasdaq First North Premier exchange, and the Luxembourg Economy Ministry agreed in principle to establish in the country a company focused on satellite operations and data processing and distribution.

By 2021 the company could employ up to 50 full-time staff, GomSpace said in a statement. The ministry will provide funding through its Luxembourg space programme as well as grants for research and development that will happen in the country, it said.

“By choosing the Grand-Duchy for their international expansion, GomSpace acknowledges the substantial efforts of the government over the last years to put in place the necessary measures to support the continued strengthening and diversification of its space sector,” Economy Minister Etienne Schneider said.

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Sep 29, 2017

Russian operatives used Facebook ads to exploit divisions over Black Lives Matter, Muslims

Posted by in category: government

The batch of more than 3,000 Russian-bought ads that Facebook is preparing to turn over to Congress shows a deep understanding of social divides in American society, with some ads promoting African-American rights groups including Black Lives Matter and others suggesting that these same groups pose a rising political threat, say people familiar with the covert influence campaign.

The Russian campaign — taking advantage of Facebook’s ability to simultaneously send contrary messages to different groups of users based on their political and demographic characteristics — also sought to sow discord among religious groups. Other ads highlighted support for Democrat Hillary Clinton among Muslim women.

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