ISC StormCast for Monday, April 27th 2015 http://isc.sans.edu/podcastdetail.html?id=4457, (Mon, Apr 27th)
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In all of last month's drama surrounding Hideo Kojima's troubled relationship with Konami and the Metal Gear Solid franchise, there was little information on the fate of Silent Hills, the survival horror sequel collaboration between Kojima, film director Gullermo del Toro, and actor Norman Reedus. While the Kojima Productions logo was removed from the game's home page late in March, there was no official word from Konami regarding the project's fate. This weekend, though, a number of strong signs point to the game's outright cancellation.
The bad news started when a member of the Metal Gear Solid subreddit noticed a troubling message on Konami's Japanese site: "The distribution period of 'P.T. (Playable Teaser)' on PlayStation Store will expire on Wednesday, April 29, 2015." That cryptic "teaser" was the same interactive demo that hid the original Silent Hills announcement last August. It's possible Sony or Konami simply decided that P.T. had run its promotional course, but it seems odd to remove such a well-received free download with little warning... unless the game it's promoting no longer exists, that is.
The bad signs continued today, with del Toro reportedly telling a San Francisco International Film Festival audience that his collaboration on the project is "not gonna happen," according to tweets from multiple sources in attendance. Norman Reedus responded to reports of del Toro's statements, tweeting that he was "super bummed" about the apparent cancellation and "hopefully it'll come back around."
A new study published in PNAS by a Cornell-based research team examined the gender bias in faculty hiring for STEM fields, and discovered a surprising preference for female faculty members among both genders in certain STEM fields. The researchers found that, when presented with applications for an assistant professorship, both male and female faculty overwhelmingly preferred female applicants over male applicants with identical qualifications and family situations. These findings are striking in their contradiction to the large body of existing literature on gender bias in STEM fields, and should be approached with caution; in examination of this paper, some concerns arise regarding study design, and the causal pathways suggested in the authors’ conclusions.
To conduct this study, researchers surveyed a total of 873 tenure-track faculty members from 371 colleges and universities. Surveys were distributed via e-mail, with a response rate of approximately 34 percent. Participants were current faculty members in the fields of biology, engineering, economics, and psychology.
Participants were asked to make selections between identically qualified male and female applicants with matching lifestyles. Six lifestyles conditions were studied: being single without children, married without children, married with children and a stay-at-home spouse, married with children and spouse working outside the home, married with children and the spouse working inside the home, and divorced with children. The children in each situation were described as two preschoolers.
On Saturday the New York Times reported that “senior American officials briefed on the investigation” confirmed a hack of the White House’s unclassified network last year. The breach "was far more intrusive and worrisome than has been publicly acknowledged,” officials said, telling the Times that the perpetrators were likely Russians with ties to the government, if not with direct backing from Russia.
The White House’s classified network, on which message traffic from President Obama’s Blackberry is kept, was not breached, but e-mails he sent to the unclassified network from that device (as well as e-mails sent from that network to him) were obtained.
The Times noted that many senior staffers have two computers in their offices: "one operating on a highly secure classified network and another connected to the outside world for unclassified communications.” The most highly secure material shared between "the White House, the State Department, the Pentagon, and intelligence communities" is kept on a system called Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System (JWICS), which was not breached. JWICS also gives access to the front-end for XKeyscore, a system that collects, manages, and processes the massive amounts of data collected by the NSA.
In 2013, a small asteroid exploded in the atmosphere over Chelyabinsk, Russia. The sonic boom from the event sent more than a thousand people to the hospital, mostly from flying glass from shattered windows. The Chelyabinsk meteor was a relatively small chunk of space rock—asteroid researchers think it was probably about 20 meters (66 feet) across—but exploding over a city made it a noteworthy event. It's probable many similar asteroids hit Earth on a regular basis, but most don't happen to fly over metropolitan areas; they fall into the ocean or over lightly populated regions.
However, Earth has played target in the cosmic darts tournament before. Meteor Crater in Arizona, the Tunguska impact in Siberia in 1908, and most famously the Chicxulub asteroid in Mexico (which played a part in the extinction of the dinosaurs) are just three of many known examples. That's why many people are looking at viable options for planetary defense: destroying or turning asteroids aside before they can hit Earth. And planetary defense is one reason the United States' National Nuclear Safety Administration (NNSA) has given for not destroying some of its surplus nuclear warheads.
It's easy to be cynical about American nuclear weapons policy, especially now that we're decades since the end of the Cold War. Debates over nuclear winter, mutually assured destruction, and the like feel very distant. So reports that the US wasn't following the stated schedule for decommissioning nukes in the name of planetary defense triggered skeptical radar, not least since The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal, and other sources made it sound like the plan was to blow asteroids to smithereens.
The Dutch company Fox-IT has revealed a detailed information about Quantum Insert Attack. HTML Re ...(more)...
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"The reels have rolled your way! Bonus Award - $41797550.16."
That's what the Miss Kitty penny slot machine told 87-year-old Illinois grandmother Pauline McKee who was in Iowa during a family reunion in 2011. McKee and daughter thought they hit the big time—a $41.8 million payday. The two quickly demanded the mega payout from the Isle Hotel Casino in Waterloo.
But the casino refused to pay, concluding it was a computer glitch and that a sign on the game says "MALFUNCTION VOIDS ALL PAYS AND PLAYS." She sued, and took her case all the way to the Iowa Supreme Court. The state's high court sided with the casino Friday, ruling that the woman's heart-pounding payout was worth just $1.85.
Adam Gazzaley is building a repertoire of games that could one day help us reduce or even reverse the impact on our cognitive faculties of disorders such as Alzheimer's, or deficits caused by brain trauma. At his neuroscience lab within the University of California San Francisco and his gaming company Akili, Gazzaley is attempting to discover whether "we can use this approach to really make a difference."
"Humans have been consumed with high-level performance throughout history," Gazzaley told the audience at WIRED Health 2015. We have, however, historically proven far better at applying a proven structure to achieving this when physical fitness is involved, not mental. "What can we do to improve cognition, emotional regulation and all these other processing areas? In this regard we are tragically lacking," he said. "Traditional education has been about transferring educational content, not optimising these fundamental underlying information processing systems. And with people with deficits, we see these same problems."
Gazzaley emphasised that although he is not against using medication for these types of deficits, 50 years of drug research later "and not one case has resulted in a high-level success story." On top of this, high drug doses needed to target the underlying neural network inevitably have side effects, and treatment is not personalized—doses are often based on anecdotal evidence provided by the patient. It's clear we need to look elsewhere for answers, at least until drug research finds a better solution or a complementary one.
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