Archive for November 2013

only a part of the personal data provided to foreign intelligence agencies, from the submarine cables, can be sorted

November 30, 2013

extremely close ties exists between the French secret information service – the General Directorate of external services (DGSE), the NSA and its British counterpart, the GCHQ

in the name of combating terrorism, the DGSE has built and structured a sharing process with the United States and Great Britain

The decision was then made ​​to transfer the NSA and GCHQ massive stocks data transiting on French soil.

The decision was taken in large part by secret services technical director of these countries

French DGSE analysts have learned that NSA analysts had a lot to offer and offered lot.

France has a strategic position in the transport of electronic data by submarine cables

This information flow is subject to large-scale interception by a DGSE.

the level of cooperation today is so much high that personal data transiting from Africa or the Middle East through France, and belonging to individuals of French nationality – businessmen, diplomats, or DGSE agents in Mission – or even to African heads of state, may fall into the hands of the NSA in the name of anti-terrorism.

material provided to the NSA, largely taken from the cables but not only, is not uniform.
The data collected have varied and complex specifications.
They belong to the French people as well as to foreigners. DGSE can sort some of them and preserve secrets about France, but it can not identify all of the data.

Source:
http://www.lemonde.fr/technologies/article/2013/11/29/la-france-precieux-partenaire-de-l-espionnage-de-la-nsa_3522653_651865.html

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give the employee six to eight weeks off, with weekly half-hour counseling sessions

November 30, 2013

Burnout is not just when you need a vacation to recharge.

It’s when you feel overwhelming exhaustion, frustration, cynicism and a sense of ineffectiveness and failure.

Initially it referred to those employed in the human services — health care, social work, therapy and police work

Symptoms:

Emotional exhaustion — emotionally overextended, drained and used up without any source of replenishment. It’s the chronic feeling that you just can’t face another day.

Cynicism or depersonalization — a loss of idealism. Particularly in the health professions, it can manifest itself as having a negative, callous or excessively detached response to other people.

Reduced personal efficacy — a decline in feelings of competence and productivity at work.

burnout was certainly growing among nurses, and younger nurses were experiencing it more than older nurses

Burn out could be attributed that to the push to work harder with fewer resources, less pay and greater job insecurity. Also, as technology allows the lines between work and home to blur, many feel on-call all the time, with no opportunity for respite.

In Europe: In the mid-’90s, when it first began to be measured, 10 percent of the Dutch working population reported feeling burned out, compared with 13 percent now

That increase can largely be attributed to more women ages 30 to 40 entering the work force and struggling to balance work and home life

In Nederlands:
medical diagnosis: if a doctor determines a worker suffers the symptoms of burnout for more than six months the worker must receive paid time off and help

A typical response to the problem (burnout) would be to give the employee six to eight weeks off, with weekly half-hour counseling sessions to help figure out what went wrong and how it might change

While most people think job burnout is just a matter of working too hard, that’s not necessarily true.

six areas that can result in burnout:
– work overload;
– lack of control over the work;
– insufficient rewards;
– workplace community problems, such as incivility and a lack of support among co-workers;
– a lack of fairness, such as inequality of pay, promotions or workload;
– a conflict between one’s personal values and the requirements of a job

While people need to figure out what they can do on an individual level to prevent burnout, change will be limited without a shift in organizational thinking

source:
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/30/your-money/a-solution-to-burnout-that-doesnt-mean-less-work.html

how Bitcoin donor’s identity no longer needs to be verified by an outside signature-granting authority

November 22, 2013

Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer computer network made up of its users’ machines

New Bitcoins are minted, or “mined”, as the computers in this network execute hard number-crunching tasks

The entire network is then used to monitor and verify both the creation of new Bitcoins through mining and the transfer of Bitcoins between users

Every new transaction is broadcast across the Bitcoin network and appended to a collective log, called a block chain, of all previous transactions in the system

The machines in the Bitcoin network communicate to create and agree on updates to the block chain

Roughly every 10 minutes a user whose updates to the log have been accepted by the network is awarded a fixed number (currently 25) of new Bitcoins.

The system makes it computationally difficult to create a doctored block—one containing illicit transactions such as sending the same Bitcoins twice to two people, say, or reversing a Bitcoin transfer to a vendor after he had dispatched the purchased product

That is because having such forged transactions validated and attached to the globally accepted block chain would require outpacing the network’s combined computing power.

Only a fraudster who controls more than half of the network’s total number-crunching capacity—a tall order—could achieve such a feat, and only for transactions less than about an hour old

secure-ID scheme similarly relies on a block chain and on rewarding miners who keep it up to date

An identity would be established by performing a transaction in which no Bitcoins are transfered from the owner to another named party. Instead, the owner would donate a sum—say, $200 worth of Bitcoins—that the first miner to approve a block with this transaction in it would get as his mining fee

Since the winning miner is always revealed at random, the owner cannot simply redirect the virtual cash back into his account

The donor thus possesses a receipt of the transaction that can always be verified against the public Bitcoin ledger

Stealing someone’s identity would require swiping his private key

It comes in the form of a unique private cryptographic key mathematically matched to a public key embedded in the donation record

the holder’s digital signatures uses a combination of private and public keys to verify his identity.

Bitcoin’s anonymity ensures that the donor’s identity would no longer need to be verified by an outside, signature-granting authority

It could, in other words, be confirmed without ever being revealed to anyone

Serious Bitcoin users anyway keep their private keys in “cold” storage on unpowered hard drives that are never linked up directly to internet-connected computers

source: http://www.economist.com/blogs/babbage/2013/11/internet-security?fsrc=scn/tw/te/bl/buyinganewidentity

governments do have the necessary technology and personnel that can effectively fight cybercrime

November 22, 2013

spies are regularly using tools more usually associated with cybercriminals

UK spy agency GCHQ operatives created fake web pages that injected malware into the computers of engineers running one of Belgium’s largest telecommunications companies in order to be able to access its systems.

a number of GCHQ staff are indeed hackers, but licensed by the state and protected by the Intelligence Services Act 1994 and ministerial warrant

When the criminals start to look like law enforcement, that is a very dangerous practice

So if they target someone specifically, they send an email with a booby trap -but they will only be sending it to the target and the malware wouldn’t have any self-replicating properties

You can limit the risk of accidental infection of uninvolved persons, but you can’t eliminate that risk entirely.

“Collateral damage and inadvertent surveillance of non-targeted individuals is almost certain.”

is it ethical to put malware on the computer of an innocent employee who just happens to have access to a computer system you may want to look at?

Likewise, violating the civil liberties of an individual crosses the ethical line. You can rationalise damage to engineers by lumping them into a collective as part of ‘their organisation’, but this is very subjective

The only way to be sure you too do not become a “target” is to “consider all networks untrustworthy”

Unfortunately, there isn’t much hope for the individual because most of the things that would otherwise secure the user have historically been controlled by groups* that have close ties to the government

(* the companies that register websites and encryption certificates)

The fact is that intelligence agencies are using advanced techniques actually more advanced than those used by criminals

We have enough proof now that governments do have the necessary technology and personnel that can effectively fight cybercrime

Source:
http://m.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-24931374

When the “Bande noire” was selling off historic building materials

November 21, 2013

The invention of heritage dates from the beginning of the July Monarchy (a liberal constitutional monarchy in France under Louis Philippe I, 1830-1848).

1830 : French historic buildings and heritage was very threatened, with the time passing, but also with the Revolution:
the castles became public goods and were sold and often destroyed.
In the 1820s, the famous “Bande noire” (speculative, asset-stripping syndicates) bought ancient castles and abbeys at knockdown prices, only to demolish them and sell off the building materials.

in 1830, the post of General Inspector of National Monuments was created by Guizot (Minister of Education then prime Minister of Louis-Philippe).

in 1834, Prosper Merimee was hired for this post. He will go anywhere, categorize and save the heritage.

Today, among these monuments a hundred of them are state-owned. The “Centre des monuments nationaux” is affiliated to the Ministry of Culture and Communication. Its role is to “conserve, restore, manage, lead and open to visitors” , abbeys , castles, prehistoric caves and archaeological sites “.
The others monuments are the property of local governments or private property.

Source: http://www.franceculture.fr/emission-les-idees-claires-de-daniele-sallenave-le-panda-de-chenonceau-2013-09-20

stress resistance by fasting

November 20, 2013

Since 1980, the practice of fasting has been a part of public health policy in Russia, and it is highly praised and practiced in Germany. U.S. researchers have undertaken research in this field of science and do not hesitate to talk about the benefits of fasting in cases of cancer, especially in reducing the side effects of chemotherapy.

doctors, from the late 19th century, tested this principle of starvation to fight against disease.

Today, documented medical results reveal incredible data about this practice to heal debilitating or serious illnesses. However, the practice of fasting as an effective therapy is not yet officially recognized in many countries.

According to the US National Academy of Sciences, other health benefits include stress resistance, increased insulin sensitivity, reduced morbidity, and increased life span

short-term human trials showed benefits in weight loss

The side effect was that the participants felt cranky during the three-week trial

alternate fasting: one day fasting, one day feeding or fasting two days per week (the 5:2 diet)

Alternate-day fasting may be an alternative to prolonged diet restriction for increasing the life span.

people observing Ramadan, the Islamic fast, enjoy a positive effect on their lipid profile, which means there is a reduction of cholesterol in the blood

 

Source:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fasting

http://www.franceculture.fr/emission-la-marche-des-sciences-le-jeune-l-histoire-d-une-therapie-medicale-insoupconnee-2013-09-19

Renewable energy won’t be enough

November 3, 2013

Some of the world’s top climate scientists say wind and solar energy won’t be enough to head off extreme global warming,and they’re asking environmentalists to support the development of safer nuclear power as one way to cut fossil fuel pollution.

Renewable energy sources cannot scale up fast enough” to deliver the amount of cheap and reliable power the world needs, and “with the planet warming and carbon dioxide emissions rising faster than ever, we cannot afford to turn away from any technology” that has the potential to reduce greenhouse gases.

The vast majority of climate scientists say they’re now virtually certain that pollution from fossil fuels has increased global temperatures over the last 60 years. They say emissions need to be sharply reduced to prevent more extreme damage in the future.

The U.S. is No. 2 in carbon emissions (China is No. 1)

Risk of catastrophe is only one drawback of nuclear power. Waste storage and security of nuclear material are also important issues.

The better path is to clean up our power plants and invest in efficiency and renewable energy

Source:
http://m.phys.org/_news302712218.html