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Arkansas Has a Growing Population of "Climate Change Refugees" 129 writes: Located between Hawaii and Australia, the Marshall Islands are made up of 29 atolls and five islands with a population of about 70,000, all of whom live about six feet above sea level. Now Story Hinkley writes in the Christian Science Monitor that another 10,000 Marshallese have moved to Springdale, Arkansas because of climate change. Because this Pacific island nation is so small, the Marshallese population in Arkansas attribute their Springdale settlement to one man, John Moody, who moved to the US in 1979 after the first wave of flooding. Moody's family eventually moved to Springdale to live with him and work for Tyson and other poultry companies based in Arkansas, eventually causing a steady flow of extended friends and family migrating to Springdale. "Probably in 10 to 20 years from now, we're all going to move," says Roselinta Keimbar adding that she likes Arkansas because it is far away from the ocean, meaning it is safe.

For more than three decades, Marshallese have moved in the thousands to the landlocked Ozark Mountains for better education, jobs and health care, thanks to an agreement that lets them live and work in the US.. This historical connection makes it an obvious destination for those facing a new threat: global warming. Marshallese Foreign Minister Tony de Brum says even a small rise in global temperatures would spell the demise of his country. While many world leaders in Paris want to curb emissions enough to cap Earth's warming at 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius), de Brum is pushing for a target that's 25 percent lower. "The thought of evacuation is repulsive to us," says de Brum. "We think that the more reasonable thing to do is to seek to end this madness, this climate madness, where people think that smaller, vulnerable countries are expendable and therefore they can continue to do business as usual." Meanwhile residents jokingly call their new home "Springdale Atoll," and there's even a Marshallese consulate in Springdale, the only one on the mainland US. "Its not our fault that the tide is getting higher," says Carlon Zedkaia,. "Just somebody else in this world that wants to get rich."

Diamond Nanothreads Could Support Space Elevator ( 144

Taco Cowboy writes with news that Penn State researchers have discovered a way to produce ultra-thin diamond nanothreads that could be ideal for a space elevator. According to the report at, The team, led by chemistry professor John Badding, applied alternating cycles of pressure to isolated, liquid-state benzene molecules and were amazed to find that rings of carbon atoms assembled into neat and orderly chains. While they were expecting the benzene molecules to react in a disorganized way, they instead created a neat thread 20,000 times smaller than a strand of human hair but perhaps the strongest material ever made. ... Just recently, a team from the Queensland University of Technology in Australia modeled the diamond nanothreads using large-scale molecular dynamics simulations and concluded that the material is far more versatile than previously thought and has great promise for aerospace properties.

Australian State Bans Possession of Blueprints For 3D Printing Firearms ( 312

angry tapir writes: Possessing files that can be used to 3D print firearms will soon be illegal in the Australian state of New South Wales after new legislation, passed last week by state parliament, comes into effect. Possessing files for 3D printing guns will be punishable by up to 14 years in prison. The provisions "are targeted at criminals who think they can steal or modify firearms or manufacture firearms from 3D blueprints," NSW's justice minister, Troy Grant, said when introducing the bill in the state's lower house on 27 October. "Those who think they can skirt the law will find themselves facing some of the toughest penalties for firearms offences in this country," Grant said.
The Internet

New Anti-Piracy Law In Australia Already Being Abused ( 73

Gumbercules!! writes: A small Australian ISP has received a demand that it block access to an overseas website or face legal action in the Federal Court, in a case in which a building company is demanding the ISP block access to an overseas site with a similar name. This case is being seen as a test case, potentially opening the way for companies and aggregated customers to use the new anti-piracy laws to block access to companies or their competition. The ISP in question has obviously been selected because they're very small and have limited financial capacity to fight a legal case.

China, Russia Try To Hack Australia's Upcoming Submarine Plans 83

An anonymous reader writes: Chinese and Russian spies have attempted to hack into the top secret details of Australia's future submarines (paywalled), with both Beijing and Moscow believed to have mounted repeated cyber attacks in recent months. One of the companies working on a bid for Australia's new submarine project said it records between 30 and 40 cyberattacks per night.

Australian PLAID Crypto, ISO Conspiracies, and German Tanks 62

New submitter Gaglia writes: PLAID, the Australian 'unbreakable' smart card identification protocol has been recently analyzed in this scientific paper (disclaimer: I am one of the authors, and this is a personal statement.)

Technically, the protocol is a disaster. In addition to many questionable design choices, we found ways for tracing user identities and recover card access capabilities. The attacks are efficient (few seconds on 'home' hardware in some cases), and involve funny techniques such as RSA moduli fingerprinting and... German tanks. See this entry on Matt Green's crypto blog for a pleasant-to-read explanation.

But the story behind PLAID's standardization is possibly even more disturbing. PLAID was pushed into ISO with a so-called "fast track" procedure. Technical loopholes made it possible to cut off from any discussion the ISO groups responsible for crypto and security analysis. Concerns from tech-savvy experts in the other national panels were dismissed or ignored. We contacted ISO and CERT Australia before going public with our paper, but all we got was a questionable and somewhat irate response (PDF) by PLAID's project editor (our reply here). Despite every possible evidence of bad design, PLAID is now approved as ISO standard, and is coming to you very soon inside security products which will advertise non-existing privacy capabilities.

The detailed story of PLAID in the paper is worth a read, and casts many doubts on the efficacy of the most important standardizing body in the world. It is interesting to see how a "cryptography" product can be approved at ISO without undergoing any real security scrutiny.

On a related note, the enthusiastic comments to PLAID's design made by a few readers in the old Slashdot story reminds us as a cautionary tale that you need cryptographers to assess the security of cryptography. Quoting Bruce Schneier: amateurs produce amateur cryptography.

Australia Working On High-Tech Shark-Detection Systems ( 81

jfruh writes: Even if you're a frequent ocean swimmer, you're much more likely to die in a car accident than from a shark attack — and yet sharks strike fear into people's hearts in ways that directly affect the economies of surf paradises like Australia. That's why the Australian government is working on a host of techologies to detect shark incursions on popular beaches, including drones and smart buoys (PDF) that can identify potential predators (PDF).

Australians Set To Pay 50% More For Apps After Apple Price Spike ( 117

SlappingOysters writes: Within 36-hours the price of Apple apps is set to increase in Australia, Sweden and Indonesia. It will bring the price of buying an app out of alignment with the value of the Australian dollar, and leave the country's Apple fans paying 50% more for their iOS software than their American counterparts. It's unfortunate timing, with the recent launch of the iPhone 6s and the upcoming fourth generation of Apple TV.

Australian ISPs Not Ready For Mandatory Data Retention ( 85 writes: October 13 marks the day Australian ISPs are required by law to track all web site visits and emails of their users, but according to an article on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's news site the majority of ISPs are not ready to begin mandatory data retention. The article's author, Will Ockenden, had previously released his own metadata to readers in an experiment to see how effectively this kind of data reveals personal habits of online users. The majority of Australians appear unconcerned with this level of scrutiny of their lives, given the minimal reaction to this and proposed tougher legislation designed to deal with the threats of crime and terrorism.

Star Trek: New Voyages, The Fan-Based Star Trek Series ( 93

An anonymous reader writes: The New York Times has published an article on Star Trek: New Voyages, a fan production that's based on TOS. “People come from all over the world to take part in this — Germany, the United Kingdom, Australia and every state in the union,” said James Cawley, the show’s executive producer. “That’s the magic of Star Trek. It’s spawned this whole generation of fans who went on to professional careers — doctors, lawyers, engineers — who are now participating in that shared love here.” With TOS fans generally being less than enamored with the movie reboots, are fan produced web series the wave of the future?

First of 2 Australian NBN Satellites Launched Successfully 58

New submitter aduxorth writes: Sky Muster, the first of the two satellites that will comprise Australia's NBN's Long-Term Satellite Service, has been successfully launched from Guiana Space Centre in South America. The two geostationary satellites will offer a total capacity of 135 gigabits per second, with 25/5Mbps wholesale speeds available to end users. The second satellite is expected to launch next year. Testing of this satellite will start soon and will continue until services are launched early next year.

Reports: Telstra Customers Suffering Crippling Speeds To Any Apple Service 50

An anonymous reader writes: It appears a large number of customers of Telstra (one of Australia's largest telcos) have been suffering crippling speeds while attempting to connect to any Apple Service for the better part of four days. Reports indicate this is affecting Apple Music, Apple App Stores (on both iOS and OSX) and are stopping many Telstra customers from getting access to app updates and the much anticipated El Capitan release of OS X. Mobile phone customers as well as home broadband customers seem to be affected at this stage with a large number of posts both on Twitter and the Whirlpool Broadband Forum. It appears one Twitter user has also fully summarised all the issues in a single post including many of the Twitter posts as well.

Uber Raided By Dutch Authorities, Seen As 'Criminal Organization' 471

An anonymous reader writes: Uber offices in Amsterdam have been raided by Dutch authorities, as reported by several local media sources (Google translation of original in Dutch). This follows intimidatory deterrence practices earlier in The Netherlands, with Uber drivers being fined in the past months, and fresh allegations that the company would act as a "criminal organization" by offering a platform for taxi rides without license (read: without the authorities earning money from the practice). Time for tech companies to consider moving their European offices elsewhere? Uber's lawyers must be incredibly busy. Proposed regulations in London would effectively end the company's service there, while the mayor of Rio de Janeiro said he would ban Uber's operations outright. They're receiving mixed messages from Australia — just a day after running afoul of regulations in New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory is moving to legalize it.

UberX Runs Into Trouble In Australia With NSW Suspending Vehicle Registration 166

Harlequin80 writes: RMS (Roads & Maritime Service), the New South Wales' governing body for transport, has begun suspending the vehicle registration of UberX drivers. After failing to deter drivers through prosecutions, with Uber covering fines and legal costs of its drivers, RMS has begun suspending the registration of the vehicles as it forces the vehicle off the road for three months. Under the NSW Passenger Transport Act, paid ride sharing is illegal, and this will see UberX drivers losing the use of their vehicle for both Uber and personal use.

Australian Workplace Tribunal Rules Facebook Unfriending Constitutes "Bullying" 208

An anonymous reader writes: Unfriending employees on Facebook and not saying good morning could constitute workplace bullying, an Australian workplace tribunal has ruled. Australia's Fair Work Commission decided that administrator Lisa Bird had bullied real estate agent Rachael Roberts after unfriending her from Facebook. The commission's deputy president Nicole Wells said the act showed a "lack of emotional maturity" and was "indicative of unreasonable behavior."

Status Problems Break Skype For Many Users; Quick Fix Promised 64

Many Skype users have been affected this morning by a glitch which has rendered the service unusable or only semi-usable. The BBC says that problems have been reported in Japan, the UK, and Australia, and that Skype support staff have promised a "quick fix." A message on the Skype page says "f you're signed in to Skype, you will not be able to change your status and your contacts will all show as offline even if they are online. As a result, you won't be able to start Skype calls to them.. A small number of messages to group chats are not being delivered, but in most cases you can still instant message your contacts.. If you aren't signed in to Skype, you may be experiencing difficulty when attempting to sign in. Any changes to your Skype account such as your Credit balance or your profile details might take a little while to be displayed."
The Internet

The Economics of Drug Sales On the Dark Web 53 writes: Allison Schrager has an interesting article about how marketplaces for contraband drugs have only existed for about four years on the dark web, but they've made inroads fast. About 10%-15% of drug users in the U.K., U.S., and Australia [are believed to have] bought drugs off the net. According to Schrager, these marketplaces look remarkably similar to normal online marketplaces. Users leave detailed reviews on the quality of a vendor's product, speed of delivery, and how secure the shipping method was. There's information on where vendors are located and where they'll ship to. Some even post their refund and exchange policies. Purchasing meth from a dealer in the Netherlands feels as familiar and mundane as buying sheets from Macy's. The dark web makes transactions safer.

All the same, there are risks that Macy's customers don't run. Because there's no legal protection for illegal purchases, the bitcoin payments sit in escrow until the goods have been delivered and both parties are satisfied. That exposes the seller to exchange-rate risk, because bitcoin is an extremely volatile currency. And there is one other big source of risk: the point where the virtual world of the dark web and the world of physical reality intersect. In other words, getting drugs delivered. Certain drugs like MDMA and LSD may move mostly online. And the web may become the preferred source for affluent users and small-time pot dealers.

Vodafone Australia Employee Searched Journalist's Phone Records To Find Source 65

An anonymous reader writes: In 2011, a journalist named Natalie O'Brien published a series of stories on security problems in Vodafone's Siebel data system. "Customers' home addresses, driver's licenses and credit card details were all available online, O'Brien wrote, and criminal groups were paying for customers' private information." Now, Vodafone Australia has admitted that an employee went through her phone and text records to try and figure out who her sources were within the company. O'Brien wrote, "The invasion of privacy is devastating. It plays with your mind. What was in those texts? Who were they to? What did they see? What did they do with the information?" Despite the admission, Vodafone has denied that it engaged in improper behavior (PDF). The company says it found no evidence the employee was directed to do so by management. That said, leaked emails show management became aware of the privacy breach and its potential repercussions as early as 2012.

Australian Police Get McLaren and Aston Martin Supercars 122

An anonymous reader writes: Australia's New South Wales police department has added a pair of new cars to their fleet that are going to be very hard to outrun, a McLaren 650S and an Aston Martin Vanquish Volante. The vehicles aren't going to be used on the job, but as a promotional tool to help raise money for the families of fallen police. "These sponsorship arrangements are designed to promote community engagement with NSW Police. This agreement is designed to promote tomorrow's Police Legacy Wall to Wall ride and celebrate 100 years of Women in Policing," a police spokesperson said in a statement.

Plunging Battery Prices Expected To Spur Renewable Energy Adoption 130

Lucas123 writes: Lithium-ion (Li-on) and flow battery prices are expected to drop by as much as 60% by 2020, making them far more affordable for storing power from distributed renewable energy systems, such as wind and solar, according to a recent report by Australia's Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA). The 130-page report (PDF) shows that Li-on batteries will drop from $550 per kilowatt hour (kWh) in 2014 to $200 per kWh by 2020; and flow battery prices will drop from $680 per kWh to $350 per kWh during the same time. Flow batteries and Li-ion batteries work well with intermittent energy sources such as solar panels and wind turbines because of their ability to be idle for long periods without losing a charge. Both battery technologies offer unique advantages in that they can easily be scaled to suit many applications and have high cycle efficiency, the ARENA report noted. Li-ion batteries more easily suit consumer market. Flow batteries, which are less adaptable for consumer use because they're typically too large, scale more easily because all that's needed to grow storage capacity is more electrolyte liquid; the hardware remains the same.