This is the fourth year running for software security firm McAfee's "Most Dangerous Celebrity" listing of the most likely search terms to generate malware-ridden results. A couple of trends are clear: You have a higher chance of encountering an infecting website or file searching for actors and models than for politicians. That reflects the calculation by virus writers that people are more likely to search for videos and pictures of entertainment celebrities on the Internet than their favorite Harry Reid YouTube appearance.
"This year, the search results for celebrities are safer than they've been in previous years, but there are still dangers when searching online," said Dave Marcus, security researcher for McAfee Labs. He added that while consumers are getting smarter about searching online, "cybercriminals are getting sneakier in their techniques. Now they're hiding malicious content in 'tiny' places like shortened URLs that can spread virally in social networking sites and Twitter, instead of on websites and downloads."
This year's Numero Uno: Actress Cameron Diaz. As coincidence would have it, Diaz, formerly romantically linked with Justin Timberlake, knocked her ex's current gal pal, Jessica Biel, to number 3. Last year, Biel was number 1. (This can get confusing.)
You'll find a gallery of the top ten in the image gallery here. Happy searching.
On Tuesday, U.S. Energy Secretary Steve Chu made it official with a ceremony for the cameras. But work at Stanford University's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in Menlo Park has been underway for several months already. The university calls the SLAC the world's most powerful X-ray laser and the only one of its kind in the world.
As the Associated Press noted in its dispatch, the device can view "matter on a scale of individual atoms and enables scientists to take stop-motion pictures of moving atoms and molecules. Researchers plan to use the X-ray laser for experiments that they say may lead to new discoveries in drug development, energy production and computer science."
Geoscientists working in southern Australia say they have discovered the remains of primitive sponge-like creatures that lived in ocean reefs about 650 million years ago. If it holds up, the finding would mark the oldest animal fossils ever found. It also would be older than a couple of reef-dwelling organisms that date back 550 million years.
The findings by Adam Maloof and Catherine Rose were published in the August 17 issue of the journal Nature Geoscience. In a statement, Maloof said the pair came upon the discovery during the course of another project focused on the end of an ice age 635 million years ago.
"We were accustomed to finding rocks with embedded mud chips, and at first this is what we thought we were seeing," Maloof said. "But then we noticed these repeated shapes that we were finding everywhere--wishbones, rings, perforated slabs and anvils. We realized we had stumbled upon some sort of organism, and we decided to analyze the fossils. No one was expecting that we would find animals that lived before the ice age, and since animals probably did not evolve twice, we are suddenly confronted with the question of how a relative of these reef-dwelling animals survived the 'snowball Earth."
A new study finds that aggressive behavior often associated with Type A personalities may land them in an early grave.
Medical researchers found that these so-called antagonistic personalities tend to develop a progressive thickening of their neck arteries, a development that puts them at higher risk of heart attack and stroke.
The study focused on more than 5,600 men and women residing in four villages in Italy's Lanusei Valley were studied over a three-year period. Researchers used a 48-item agreeableness scale comprised of traits such as straightforwardness or modesty.
The paper, published in Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association, examined the long-held observation by clinicians that people given to displays of anger and hostility toward others often develop cardiovascular trouble. What the researchers discovered was that study participants who were judged to be more antagonistic and quicker to express their anger experienced greater thickening of the neck arteries than others found to be more socially agreeable.
Antagonistic individuals tend to have a more competitive and conflictual style of social interaction that undermines interpersonal relations. Even when social support systems are in place, they do not benefit physiologically from such support. Over time, deficits in social support may culminate in greater cardiovascular risk. In addition to social isolation, their attitudes may also increase risk. Antagonistic individuals tend to hold negative beliefs about groups other than their own and are thus more prone to stereotyping.The challenge for doctors will be to zero in on the personality traits which most contribute to arterial thickening and the help patients modify their lifestyles and find ways to better cope with daily stresses.
But that promises to be a full-time job by itself. In a statement accompanying the study, lead author Angelina Sutin noted that study participants who scored high on the antagonism meter were also found to be "distrustful, skeptical and at the extreme cynical, manipulative, self-centered, arrogant and quick to express anger."
Over 20 million Americans have more than a single social security number associated with their names.
How did that happen? Chalk it up to a combination of fraud and human errors.
"The majority of these cases are likely due to data entry errors which occur somewhere along the food chain of these credit applications and then they propagate in the system," according to Stephen Coggeshall, chief technology officer, ID Analytics, the consumer risk management company, which published a recent study disclosing its findings. Among other things, ID Analytics found the following:
- 6.1 percent of Americans have at least two SSNs
- More than 100,000 Americans have five or more SSNs
- More than 15 percent of SSNs are associated with two or more people
- More than 140,000 SSNs are associated with five or more people
- More than 27,000 SSNs are associated with 10 or more people
Update: A spokesman for the Social Security Administration emailed a prepared statement to CBSNews.com, noting that "as other entities use the SSN for purposes beyond what it was created for, problems like those indicated in the report are going to happen.??"
A study in a British medical journal reporting the existence of a drug-resistant "superbug" has ignited a controversy within Indian medical circles.
The Lancet Infectious Diseases reported that antibiotics have proved so far ineffective against a bacterial gene, which was found in patients traveling to South Asia for medical treatment. NDM-1 has been linked to the overuse of antibiotics. Lancet found that 37 Britons receiving medical treatment in South Asia carried NDM-1 back with them to the United Kingdom.
"The potential of NDM-1 to be a worldwide public health problem is great, and co-ordinated international surveillance is needed," Lancet wrote on its website.
The Indian health establishment has since downplayed the report. Karthikeyan Kumarasamy, lead author of a March report in the Journal of the Association of Physicians in India outlining the risks posed by NDM-1, now says the warnings have been overblown.
"It's all hype and not as bad as it sounds," Kumarasamy was quoted by India's Hindustan Times. "The threat of the NDM-1 is not that big as, say, H1NI (swine flu),the popular press has since deemed it."
"The conclusion that the bacteria was transmitted from India is hypothetical. Unless we analyze samples from across the globe to trace its origin, we can only speculate," he continued.
If you were procrastinating, the clock is running down. Tonight pffers your last, best chance - at least until next year - to see the annual Perseid meteor shower. And tonight's sky show is expected to be that much more intense because the crescent moon is expected to disappear before the meteor showers begin. What's more, NASA astronomers say at least 80 meteors per hour will be visible during the peak display.
In the days since it co-authored a Net Neutrality proposalwith Verizon Communications, Google has been on the receiving line of a torrent of criticism. Some former allies have even suggested that Google's plan was a sell-out which would inadvertently create an Internet toll booth. But the company has had enough and on Thursday it sought to disarm critics with a post on its public policy blog.
"On balance, we believe this proposal represents real progress on what has become a very contentious issue, and we think it could help move the network neutrality debate forward constructively," Richard Whitt, Google's Washington telecom and media counsel wrote in the blog post. "We don't expect everyone to agree with every aspect of our proposal, but there has been a number of inaccuracies about it, and we do want to separate fact from fiction."Whitt presented the company's position as a pragmatic one taken after years of dealing with powerful constituencies in Washington, D.C. to try and protect the Internet from carrier discrimination against Internet traffic.
He also dismissed suggestions that the policy framework had anything to do with Verizon Wireless's support for Google's Android mobile operating system.
"This is a policy proposal - not a business deal," he said. "Of course, Google has a close business relationship with Verizon, but ultimately this proposal has nothing to do with Android."
Oracle CEO Larry Ellison must be in an epistolary mood these days. Only days after blasting Hewlett-Packard's board of directors in an e-mail to the New York Times, Ellison was at it again. This time he shot off a heat-seeker to Fortune taking exception - strong exception - to a depiction in a recent article by writer, Philip Elmer-DeWitt. In a Tuesday piece comparing the ethical standards at Oracle and HP, Elmer-DeWitt wrote that Ellison had "a long history of office dalliances and at least one sexual harassment lawsuit (decided in his favor)." (He also republished excerpts from a 1998 Washington Post piece titled, "Executives' Privilege? In Boardroom, Sex Seldom Leads to Censure" which, among other things, recounted a legal spat between Ellison and a former Oracle employee who sued for wrongful termination. As DeWitt noted, that suit got decided in Oracle's favor, but something about the narrative of the article set Ellison off.
In an update to his original post, DeWitt wrote: "Although the original article made it clear that the sexual harassment suit against Ellison was decided in his favor and included more detail in the Washington Post excerpt, he complained that it was negligent because it didn't say higher up what happened to his accuser." He reposted the text of Ellison's message as follows:
From: Larry Ellison
Subject: Hey Jerk
Date: August 11, 2010 1:00:55 PM EDT
To: PHILIP ELMER-DEWITT
Adelyn Lee went to jail for a year for falsely accusing me of sexual harassment. Why did you leave that out of your story you scum bag? Let me guess...your job is telling half-truths. Fortune Magazine must be very proud of you.
An Oracle spokeswoman did not return to phone and email requests for comment.
Grab a blanket and settle down in a good spot outdoors Thursday evening. A three-day meteor shower is going to start around 10 pm, east coast time - and it's going to be a good one. Here's how NASA's Tony Phillips describes the annual "Perseid" meteor shower:
The Perseid meteor shower is caused by debris from Comet Swift-Tuttle. Every 133 years the huge comet swings through the inner solar system and leaves behind a trail of dust and gravel. When Earth passes through the debris, specks of comet-stuff hit the atmosphere at 140,000 mph and disintegrate in flashes of light. These meteors are called Perseids because they fly out of the constellation Perseus.The viewing will be clearer this year because lunar glare isn't expected to be visible during the midnight-to-dawn period. Last week, astronomers got a peek of coming attractions when an asteroid turned into a fireball in the skies visible in the southeastern United States. Friday night stargazing may be the best time to take it all in as the crescent moon is expected to set before the finish of twilight, offering up a very dark sky to behold. And if you do get out and about to watch the big show, the sky map (below) might be helpful to print out and bring along.
On Wednesday, astronauts Douglas Wheelock and Tracy Caldwell Dyson will spend six hours floating outside of the International Space Station in the first of two planned spacewalks to replace a faulty coolant pump. Just another day at the office for the various crews who have called the ISS home since the year 2000.
By now, the quotidian goings-on at the ISS rarely make news, so accustomed have we become to the idea of an orbiting laboratory operating more than a couple of hundred miles from Earth. It was not always so. In fact, the idea for a space station goes back as far as the 19th century. It was a Romanian-German physicist who gave the idea its modern expression when Hermann Oberth wrote in 1923 about a wheel-like structure that would act as a kind of weigh-station for humans traveling to the moon and Mars. A few decades later, that vision became a reality.
In 1971, the Soviet Union launched the Salyut 1, the world's first space station. A couple of years later, the United States sent its first space station, the Skylab, into space. But for a variety of reasons, not the least of them budgetary, the Americans later abandoned a project to build a modular space station. With the end of the Cold War, these one-time rivals - joined by the Europeans, Canada and Japan - decided to pool their resources and pursue a joint program. The planning moved apace and in 1998, the first couple of modules of the International Space Station were joined together in orbit. Other modules later followed with the first crew arriving on board in 2000.
Archeologists working in northern Yorkshire have uncovered a Stone Age dwelling they believe dates back to an epoch when Britain's land mass was still part of continental Europe.
Teams from the Universities of Manchester and York estimate that the circular structure near the town of Scarborough, dates to at least 8,500 BC. They say the finding is comparable in archaeological importance to the ancient Druid site of Stonehenge. Following the Ice Age, hunter gatherers lived at the site for somewhere between 200 and 500 years.
So far, the excavations near an ancient lake have also turned up what was described as a large wooden platform, offering evidence of carpentry skills which existed within the population of Europe at that time.
The team also retrieved an 11,000 year-old tree trunk with its bark still intact.
"This is a sensational discovery and tells us so much about the people who lived at this time," University of York archeologist Nicky Milner said in a statement. "From this excavation, we gain a vivid picture of how these people lived. For example, it looks like the house may have been rebuilt at various stages."
Milner added that it was likely there were other houses and many other people living in the vicinity of the site.
At the same time, fortune smiled upon the archeologists excavating at the ancient lake. The peat-rich region helped preserved many artifacts that otherwise might have disintegrated over the centuries. Among the findings so far recovered: e paddle of a boat, the tips of arrows and red deer skull tops used by the ancients as masks.
"And the artifacts of antler, particularly the antler head-dresses, are intriguing as they suggest ritual activities," Milner noted.
The house is about 500 years older than another structure in Howick, Northumberland, which had been considered to be Britain's oldest-known dwelling.
On April 28, 1947 Thor Heyerdahl and his crew of five set sail from Peru on a balsa-wood raft on a remarkable 4,100 mile journey across the Pacific Ocean. The Swedish explorer and researcher was trying to prove his theory that ancient South American seafarers could have used the ocean's currents to drift west and reach - and later populate - the islands of the South Pacific.
During his first visit to Polynesia in 1937, Heyerdahl had noticed a connection between the local flora and fauna and the prevailing western winds and ocean currents. That later led him to question the conventional theories about how Polynesia had been settled. A decade later, he would test whether ancient Incas, using the technology of their era, could have successfully navigated their way to the islands of the Pacific.
It was an audacious attempt. The 40-foot raft was built from nine 2-foot-thick balsa wood logs. The design was borrowed from models of Indian rafts and Heyerdahl's team only used materials that existed during pre-Colombian times. Once it set sail, the Kon-Tik found itself propelled by the Humboldt current, and the explorers were able to live off the abundant food supply offered by the ocean's waters. This was a daring and dangerous trip and the crew struggled with strong winds and at least a couple of storms that threatened to capsize the raft. But on August 7, 1947, the Kon-Tiki finished its journey just off the coast of Tahiti.
Heyerdahl had proved his point: It could be done. But that still did not convince most scientists. It is - and remains - a controversial theory. However, there was nothing unambiguous about the public's reaction to Kon-Tiki's crossing: The film recounting the journey won two Oscars in 1951 while Heyerdahl's book recounting his adventure became a best-seller and was translated into 70 languages. (For more about Heyerdahl's life, see Oslo's Kon-Tiki Museum)
It's the Lazarus-like rumor that never stays dead for long: Verizon to sell Apple's iPhone - sometime. For sure... um, maybe.
The latest round of speculation was triggered by ambiguous wording in AT&T's recent quarterly filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission where the company said for the first time that it would not suffer "material negative impact" it if lost its Apple exclusive to carry the iPhone.
"We do not expect any such terminations to have a material negative impact on our wireless segment income, consolidated operating margin or our cash from operations," AT&T said in the filing.
But the decision to even mention that has excited no small amount of textual hyperventilation by cyber-sleuths attempting to read between the lines. They were also intrigued by another section of the document where AT&T explained its decision to carry as many as 18 smartphones as something of a preemptive move to avoid "dependence on any single handset." That may not suggest anything other than prudent business sense. Or it may be a subtle acknowledgement that there's more than smoke to the rumors that Verizon is going to receive Apple's permission to start shipping the iPhone come January 2011. Separately, TechCrunch quoted "sources with knowledge of this entire situation" to the effect that Apple has ordered "millions of units of Qualcomm CDMA chipsets for a Verizon iPhone run due in December." In an unrelated matter, a leaked Verizon product roadmap suggests that another Droid branded phone, the Motorola Droid Pro, may make its debut in November. The upcoming unit is said to feature a 1.3GHz CPU, 4? screen as well as "global roaming capabilities."
Craigslist said today it has not been able to verify the veracity of accusations made by two women who claimed in newspapers advertisements that they had been sold for sex through the site.
Last week, the women identifying themselves as former child prostitutes took out a half-page advertisement in the Washington Post urging Craigslist founder Craig Newmark to shut down the site's adult services section. But Craigslist disputed the "Dear Craig" allegations made by "MC and AK," as they were identified in the ad, and in a response published on Monday asked them to come forward with more details.
"Hearing your accounts of being victimized by criminals who you mention also misused our site, we are anxious to know that the perpetrators are behind bars," Jim Buckmaster, Craigslist CEO, wrote in an open letter earlier today.
"Would you or the advocacy groups who placed the ads please let us know where the police reports were filed? We have been unable thus far to identify police reports matching the crimes you describe. If Craigslist was misused, we want to learn more so we can improve our preventative measures. If anyone committing such crimes has not yet been apprehended and prosecuted, we want to do everything in our power to assist the police in making that happen."
You can send the information to firstname.lastname@example.org. We work with law enforcement to bring to justice any criminals foolish enough to incriminate themselves by misusing our site, and want to make sure everything possible has been done in your cases."
Buckmaster called Craigslist "one of the few bright spots and success stories in the critical fight against trafficking and child exploitation" adding that "even politicians looking to advance their careers by publicly criticizing us grudgingly admit (when pressed) that we have made giant strides" in fighting trafficking and child exploitation.
But critics say Craigslist still has not done enough to prevent sex traffickers from using the site. They are likely to seize on accounts like the one the 17-year-old "MC" wrote about in the advertisement.
"I was first forced into prostitution when I was 11 years old by a 28-year-old man," she wrote. "All day, other girls and I sat with our laptops, posting pictures and answering ads on Craigslist," the letter continued. "I am 17 now, and my childhood memories aren't of my family, going to middle school, or dancing at the prom. They are of making my own arrangements on Craigslist to be sold for sex, and answering as many ads as possible for fear of beatings and ice water baths."