China

Chinese Zoo Animals Monitored For Earthquake Prediction 29 29

An anonymous reader writes: Seismologists in Nanjing have set up seven observation centers at zoos and animal parks in the region to see if animals can predict when an earthquake may strike. At least three kinds of animals in the earthquake stations should corroborate each other when bizarre behavior occurs, said Zhao Bing, head of Nanjing earthquake monitoring. Discovery reports: "According to one English-language Chinese news outlet, 'At Banqiao ecological park the behavior of around 200 pigs, 2,000 chickens, and fish in a 15-hectare pond are closely monitored to detect signals of an earthquake. Breeders here create daily reports regarding animal behavior for Nanjing's seismological departments.' The news report noted that the park relies 'mainly on employees closely watching the animals' for seismological significance."
Software

Samsung Faces Lawsuit In China Over Smartphone Bloatware 79 79

An anonymous reader writes: Samsung is being sued in China for installing too many apps onto its smartphones. The Shanghai Consumer Rights Protection Commission is also suing Chinese vendor Oppo, demanding that the industry do more to rein in bloatware. The group said complaints are on the rise from smartphone users who are frustrated that these apps take up too much storage and download data without the user being aware. Out of a study of 20 smartphones, Samsung and Oppo were found to be the worst culprits. A model of Samsung's Galaxy Note 3 contained 44 pre-installed apps that could not be removed from the device, while Oppo's X9007 phone had 71.
China

Foxconn CEO Backpedals On Planned Robot Takeover 45 45

itwbennett writes: For years now, Foxconn has been talking up plans to replace pesky humans with robot workers in its factories. Back in February, CEO Terry Gou said he expected the automation to account for 70 percent of his company's assembly line work in three years. But in the company's shareholder meeting Thursday, Gou said he had been misquoted and that "it should be that in five years, the robots will take over 30 percent of the manpower."
Wireless Networking

Wi-Fi Router's 'Pregnant Women' Setting Sparks Vendor Rivalry In China 207 207

colinneagle writes: When one Chinese technology vendor, Qihoo, launched a new Wi-Fi router with a safety setting for "pregnant women," a rival vendor took offense to the implication that their routers might be dangerous. Xiamo, which also sells Wi-Fi routers, took to its page on Chinese social media site Weibo to denounce Qihoo's pregnant women mode as a "marketing tactic," and clarify that "Wi-Fi usage is safe."

Zhou Hongyi, chief executive and president of Qihoo, acknowledged in a statement to the South China Morning Post that there is no evidence supporting claims that Wi-Fi routers pose a risk for birth defects. But he said the company is appealing to consumers' beliefs, whether they are supported by science or not.

"We are targeting people who are afraid of radiation," Hongyi said. "We aren't scientists. We haven't done many experiments to prove how much damage the radiation from Wi-Fi can cause. We leave the right of choice to our customers."
Earth

Recycling Is Dying 371 371

HughPickens.com writes: Aaron C. Davis writes in the Washington Post that recycling, once a profitable business for cities and private employers alike, has become a money-sucking enterprise. Almost every recycling facility in the country is running in the red and recyclers say that more than 2,000 municipalities are paying to dispose of their recyclables instead of the other way around. "If people feel that recycling is important — and I think they do, increasingly — then we are talking about a nationwide crisis," says David Steiner, chief executive of Waste Management, the nation's largest recycler.

The problem with recylcing is that a storm of falling oil prices, a strong dollar and a weakened economy in China have sent prices for American recyclables plummeting worldwide. Trying to encourage conservation, progressive lawmakers and environmentalists have made matters worse. By pushing to increase recycling rates with bigger and bigger bins — while demanding almost no sorting by consumers — the recycling stream has become increasingly polluted and less valuable, imperiling the economics of the whole system. "We kind of got everyone thinking that recycling was free," says Bill Moore. "It's never really been free, and in fact, it's getting more expensive."

One big problem is that China doesn't want to buy our garbage anymore. In the past China had sent so many consumer goods to the United States that all the shipping containers were coming back empty. So US companies began stuffing the return-trip containers with recycled cardboard boxes, waste paper and other scrap. China could, in turn, harvest the raw materials. Everyone won. But China has launched "Operation Green Fence" — a policy to prohibit the import of unwashed post-consumer plastics and other "contaminated" waste shipments. In China, containerboard, a common packaging product from recycled American paper, is trading at just over $400 a metric ton, down from nearly $1,000 in 2010. China also needs less recycled newsprint; the last paper mill in Shanghai closed this year. "If the materials we are exporting are so contaminated that they are being rejected by those we sell to," says Valerie Androutsopoulos, "maybe it's time to take another look at dual stream recycling."
Space

Mauna Kea Telescope Construction Slated To Resume 65 65

After an earlier halt to the work of constructing the "world's most advanced and powerful telescope" (and subsequent loss of support from an organization acting on behalf of native Hawaiians,) the Thirty Meter Telescope is again in "on again" mode. From the Associated Press article as carried by U.S. News & World Report: The Mauna Kea site provides a clear view of the sky for 300 days a year, with little air and light pollution. The telescope project was developed as a collaboration between U.S. and Canada universities and the national institutes of Japan, China and India. Gov. David Ige in April said the Thirty Meter Telescope board is legally entitled to "use its discretion to proceed with construction." He said he respected the rights of protesters to appeal in court.
Earth

3D Printing Might Save the Rhinoceros 163 163

GordonShure.com writes: San Francisco based biotech startup Pembient have released details of their 3D printing led method to derail the market for Rhinoceros horns. Presently the bulk of demand originates from China, where said horns — gathered in the wild by poachers who usually kill the rhinos — are revered for supposed medicinal qualities. The new firm intends to mix keratin with Rhino DNA, then machine the combination with a 3D printer in a way that their counterfeit horns are difficult to detect by customers and traffickers alike.

The company already mulls expanding its production principle to other, lucrative wild animal trades such as the claws of tigers and lions. Pembient is however a young company — for all their ingenuity, will their ambitions to take on such a colossal black market be realized?
Space

Plasma Resonance Could Overcome Radio Silence For Returning Spacecraft 62 62

Zothecula points out this article about a workaround for a long-standing problem with space-flight communications: some of the most cruicial time of a re-entry is also time when the craft cannot send data to or receive instructions from the ground controllers. From the article: Returning spacecraft hit the atmosphere at over five times the speed of sound, generating a sheath of superheated ionized plasma that blocks radio communications during the critical minutes of reentry. It's a problem that's vexed space agencies for decades, but researchers at China's Harbin Institute of Technology are developing a new method of piercing the plasma and maintaining communications. This means coupling the craft's antenna to that plasma sheath, "[causing] the sheath to act as an inductor. Together, they create a resonant circuit."
Education

Microsoft Funds First US-Based Chinese Research University Degree Program 27 27

theodp writes: Microsoft will give $40 million to help fund a graduate-school program with the Univ. of Washington and China's Tsinghua University. The Global Innovation Exchange, which will be located in the Seattle area, marks the first time a Chinese research university has established a physical presence in the U.S. The center will open in 2016 with the goal of attracting 3,000 students within a decade, according to Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith. UW Interim President Ana Mari Cauce and Tsinghua President Qiu Yong made the announcement Thursday afternoon in downtown Bellevue, accompanied by Gov. Jay Inslee and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. Both Cauce and Smith waved off concerns about the possibility that a partnership with a Chinese university could lead to corporate espionage or hacking. "The solution to mistrust is more contact, not less," said Cauce, whose UW currently hosts 3,500+ students from China.
China

Schneier: China and Russia Almost Definitely Have the Snowden Docs 157 157

cold fjord writes: Writing at Wired, Bruce Schneier states that he believes that China and Russia actually do have the Snowden documents, but that the path by which they got them may be different than what has been reported: "... The vulnerability is not Snowden; it's everyone who has access to the files. I've handled some of the Snowden documents myself, and even though I'm a paranoid cryptographer, I know how difficult it is to maintain perfect security. It's been open season on the computers of the journalists Snowden shared documents with since this story broke in July 2013. And while they have been taking extraordinary pains to secure those computers, it's almost certainly not enough to keep out the world's intelligence services. .... Which brings me to the second potential source of these documents to foreign intelligence agencies: the US and UK governments themselves. I believe that both China and Russia had access to all the files that Snowden took well before Snowden took them because they've penetrated the NSA networks where those files reside."
China

Glen Greenwald: Don't Trust Anonymous Anti-Snowden Claims 222 222

Glen Greenwald casts a scathing look at the claims (such as by the Sunday Times) that Edward Snowden's leaked information had been cracked by Russian and Chinese spy agencies. Greenwald compares Snowden to some other public figures against whom underhanded tactics were employed by the U.S. government. A slice: There’s an anonymously made claim that Russia and China “cracked the top-secret cache of files” from Snowden’s, but there is literally zero evidence for that claim. These hidden officials also claim that American and British agents were unmasked and had to be rescued, but not a single one is identified. There is speculation that Russia and China learned things from obtaining the Snowden files, but how could these officials possibly know that, particularly since other government officials are constantly accusing both countries of successfully hacking sensitive government databases?
China

Report: Russia and China Crack Encrypted Snowden Files 546 546

New submitter garyisabusyguy writes with word that, according to London's Sunday Times, "Russia and China have cracked the top-secret cache of files stolen by the fugitive US whistleblower Edward Snowden, forcing MI6 to pull agents out of live operations in hostile countries, according to senior officials in Downing Street, the Home Office and the security services," and suggests this non-paywalled Reuters version, too. "MI6 has decided that it is too dangerous to operate in Russia or China," writes the submitter. "This removes intelligence capabilities that have existed throughout the Cold War, and which may have helped to prevent a 'hot' nuclear war. Have the actions of Snowden, and, apparently, the use of weak encryption, made the world less safe?"
China

SF86 Data Captured In OPM Hack 173 173

Etherwalk writes: The security clearance process in the United States includes filling out the 127-page SF86 form, which includes things like the citizenships of all your relatives and housemates, foreign contacts and financial interests, foreign travel, psychological and emotional health, illegal drug use, and many other matters. The recent breach by the Chinese Government apparently included that information for all executive employees up to cabinet level. It's pretty much a gold mine for intelligence work and social engineering of any kind.
China

Uber's Rise In China May Be Counterfeit 86 86

retroworks writes: Josh Horwitz' story in Quartz reports both the apparent rapid success of Uber adaptation in China, and a queasy footnote for shareholders applauding the rapid growth. While China is a natural ride-sharing haven, it also has a tradition of gaming the western system. From the story: "Accomplices can sit in their apartments, disable location settings, and specify a pickup not far from the actual location of driver's vehicle, the report said. The driver then accepts the hail, and goes on a trip without a passenger. After the accomplice approves payment, the driver will – hopefully – pay back the fee and share a cut of the bonus. It's not the most clever get-rich scheme on the planet. But for drivers, it's better than waiting for a hail in a parking lot." Uber's spokeswoman told the Quartz writer that the company has an on-the-ground team who investigate into these various type of fraud, then uses "deep analytics, and new tools developed by our Chinese engineers in our dedicated fraud team to combat against such fraud." The Uber spokeswoman declined to elaborate on the nature of these tools.
Government

Inspectors Warn Faulty Valves In New-Generation EPR Nuclear Reactor Pose Meltdown Risk 126 126

Bruce66423 writes: Valves for the new generation of French reactors being built now have raised substantial safety concerns on top of the existing issues about the quality of the steel used for the containment vessel. Similar to the Three Mile Island nuclear accident, France’s nuclear safety watchdog found “multiple” malfunctioning valves in the Flamanville EPR that could cause its meltdown. The Telegraph reports: "The watchdog reportedly cited 'multiple failure modes' that could have 'grave consequences' on the safety relief valves, which play a key role in regulating pressure in the reactor. Owned by state-controlled French utilities giant EDF, Flamanville lies close to the British Channel Islands and about 150 miles from the southern English coast. Designed to be the safest reactors in the world and among the most energy-efficient, the €9 billion (£6.5 billion) EPR has suffered huge delays in models under construction in France, Finland and China. It is now due to enter service in 2017, five years later than originally planned."
Security

Report: Evidence of Healthcare Breaches Lurks On Infected Medical Devices 42 42

chicksdaddy writes: Evidence that serious and widespread breaches of hospital- and healthcare networks is likely to be hiding on compromised and infect medical devices in clinical settings, including medical imaging machines, blood gas analyzers and more, according to a report by the firm TrapX. In the report, which will be released this week, the company details incidents of medical devices and management stations infected with malicious software at three, separate customer engagements. According to the report, medical devices – in particular so-called picture archive and communications systems (PACS) radiologic imaging systems – are all but invisible to security monitoring systems and provide a ready platform for malware infections to lurk on hospital networks, and for malicious actors to launch attacks on other, high value IT assets.

Malware at a TrapX customer site spread from a unmonitored PACS system to a key nurse's workstation. The result: confidential hospital data was secreted off the network to a server hosted in Guiyang, China. Communications went out encrypted using port 443 (SSL), resulting in the leak of an unknown number of patient records. "The medical devices themselves create far broader exposure to the healthcare institutions than standard information technology assets," the report concludes. One contributing factor to the breaches: Windows 2000 is the OS of choice for "many medical devices." The version that TrapX obtained "did not seem to have been updated or patched in a long time," the company writes.
China

Chinese Doctor Performs Head Transplants On Mice 203 203

An anonymous reader writes: Xiaoping Ren, a Chinese surgeon, has performed roughly 1,000 head transplants on mice since 2013 and says that monkeys are next. Some of the mice have lived as long as a day after the operations according to Ren and he hopes to have similar success with primates. With $1.6 million of funding so far, he says, "We want to do this clinically, but we have to make an animal model with long-term survival first. Currently, I am not confident to say that I can do a human transplant."
United States

China Denies Responsibility For US Government Data Breach 144 144

schwit1 writes: On Friday, Beijing responded to allegations from Washington that China was responsible for a cyberattack on the U.S. Office of Personnel Management that compromised the personal data of some 4 million government employees. The accusations, China's foreign ministry said, are "irresponsible" and "groundless." The OPM breach is the latest in a string of cyber 'incidents' that have coincidentally occurred in the wake of the Pentagon's new cyber strategy.

ZeroHedge argues, "Whether or not the most recent virtual attack on the U.S. did indeed emanate from China or one of Washington's other so-called "cyberadversaries" (the list includes Iran, Russia, and North Korea) will likely never be known the public, but rest assured the blame will be placed with a state actor so as to ensure the DoD has some precedent to refer to when, for whatever reason, the Pentagon decides it's time to deploy an "offensive" cyberattack later on down the road."

Irrespective of where the attack originated, it appears obsolete technology was ultimately to blame, because as Bloomberg reports, "Einstein" wasn't much help in preventing the intrusion: "It's behind schedule, the result of inter-agency fights over privacy, control and other matters, and only about half of the government was protected when the hackers raided OPM's databases last December. It's also, by the government's own admission, already obsolete. Over the last several months, U.S. officials have said that perimeter-based defenses such as Einstein, even backed by the National Security Agency's own corps of hackers, can never prevent break-ins."
Networking

How Ready Is IPv6 To Succeed IPv4? 595 595

New submitter unixisc writes: Over the last 2 years, June 6th had been observed as IPv6 day. The first time, IPv6 connections were turned on by participants just for a day, and last year, it was turned on for good. A year later, how successful is the global transition to IPv6? According to Cisco 6labs, adoption rates vary from 50% in Belgium to 6% in China, with the U.S. coming somewhere in the middle at 37%. A lot of issues around IPv6, such as the absence of NAT, have apparently been resolved (NAPT is now available and recognized by the IETF). So what are the remaining issues holding people up — be it ISPs, businesses, consumers or anybody else? When could we be near a year when we could turn off all IPv4 connectivity worldwide on an IPv6 only day and nobody would notice?