Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Just the Facts?: March 8th Internet Doomsday -- Mexico UFO Base? -- 30K Year Old Plant Revived


The Truth About the March 8th Internet Doomsday

Heard the one about the FBI shutting down the Internet next month?

Like many memes before it, this dire warning is floating around blogs and sites. It even names a date: March 8 as the day the FBI might "shut down the Internet." But relax, that’s not really the case.

While yes, an untold number of people may lose their Internet connection in less than three weeks, if they do they have only nefarious Web criminals to blame and certainly not the FBI.

If people end up in the dark on March 8, it’s because they’re still infected with the malware the FBI started warning people about last November when it shut down a long-standing Estonian Web traffic hijacking operation that controlled people’s computers using a family of DNSChanger viruses. The malware works by replacing the DNS (Domain Name System) servers defined on a victim's computer with fraudulent servers operated by the criminals. As a result, visitors are unknowingly redirected to websites that distributed fraudulent software or displayed ads that put money into the bad guys’ pockets.

Here's the worst part: The malware also prevents security updates and disables installed security software.

To help protect victims, the FBI replaced the rogue servers with legitimate ones -- a measure the agency said would be in effect for 120 days. Had it not taken that step and simply shut down the bad servers back in November, infected computers would have been immediately blocked from Internet access.

So the current problem isn’t that the FBI will be shutting down the Internet when the 120 days runs out on March 8, it’s that many people and organizations haven’t removed the malware from their computers. In fact, as many as half of Fortune 500 companies and government agencies are delinquent in updating, according to some reports.

So how do you know if your computer or router is infected with DNSChanger?

The FBI says the best way to know is to have them checked out by a computer professional, which admittedly isn’t very helpful.

However, it does offer a resource paper [PDF] with guidance to make that determination yourself, although even if you find out your system is infected, the FBI says you still need a pro to scrub your machine.

As another alternative, you can use the free Avira DNS Repair Tool to figure out if a computer is using one of the temporary DNS servers. Unfortunately, the tool works only on Windows and doesn't actually remove the Trojan horse.

Indeed, removing the malware is a challenge, and many people will be cut off from Internet access on March 8, reports the security news site KrebsonSecurity. It also notes that the industry and law enforcement group DNSChanger Working Group (DCWG) has a site that can help people check whether their systems are infected.

To get help, network administrators can send a request to one of the members of the DCWG, and home users can use the step-by-step instructions at the DCWG website to see if they’re infected with the DNSChanger malware.

If you determine your system is infected, you can start from scratch and reinstall your operating system, or take the FBI’s advice and get help from a professional if you want to remain online after March 8. - pcworld

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UFO Base Under Volcano in Mexico?

The researchers at the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) are confident that contact with intelligent alien civilizations may soon be a reality.

A senior astronomer at the organisation, Seth Shostak, in a research paper published five years ago, pointed out humans would soon realise the existence of other life forms existing within our universe, inside a span of 20 years.

Following the reported sighting of an Unidentified Flying Object (UFO) above the Popocatepetl volcano in Mexico in February, a more recent report of a crash in South Carolina in the U.S. raises more doubts and questions over the possibility of alien life. In the same vein, this report quotes residents from a farming community in Stephenville, Texas, eager to share their experiences.

"I think there's a good chance that there's life in our galaxy. With so many habitable planets, it's hard to imagine that there wouldn't be. And I think that at some point we'll probably discover it," believes Bill Borucki, a planetary astronomer at NASA Ames Research Center.

Meanwhile, the National UFO Research Center has made available a list containing all UFO sightings in the U.S.A since 1930.

What is of interest to researchers working in this field is that there are rumors gathering strength that there may actually be an alien attack by the end of this year. These rumors seem to come from the fact that there has been a general increase in suspected UFO activity recently.

Most nations have apparently agreed that UFOs have been spotted over their territory at some point or the other. In addition, most researchers agree that while there may not be tons of information on the subject, much of it has been kept classified for fear of creating global hysteria.

The famous Roswell incident of 1947 was perhaps the moment when the idea of UFOs caught the public's attention. Since then, there has been little to either prove or discredit the theory. There is, for what it may be worth, this report from the U.S.'s Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that makes interesting reading.

Finally, as an interesting aside, the Mutual UFO Network has reported as many as 200 sightings from the states of California, Colorado and Texas and a poll carried out in the U.S. showed a dramatic increase in UFO sightings. - ibtimes

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Swedish man survives for months in snowed-in car

A Swedish man was dug out alive after being snowed in to his car on a forest track for two months with no food, police and local media reported on Saturday.

The 45-year-old from southern Sweden was found on Friday, emaciated and too weak to utter more than a few words.

He was found not far from the city of Umea in the north of Sweden by snowmobilers who thought they had come across a car wreck until they dug their way to a window and saw movement inside.

The man, who was laying in the back seat in a sleeping bag, said he had been in the car since December 19.

"Just incredible that he's alive considering that he had no food, but also since it's been really cold for some time after Christmas," a rescue team member told regional daily Vasterbottens-Kuriren, which broke the news.

Ebbe Nyberg, duty officer at the Umea police, said police saw no reason to doubt that the man had been stuck in the car for a very long time.

"We would not make something like this up. The rescue services were on site too and saw the same as us," he told Vasterbottens-Kuriren.

Umea University Hospital, where the man is recovering after being rescued by police and a rescue team, said in a statement he was doing well considering the circumstances.

Doctors at the hospital said humans would normally be able to survive for about four weeks without food. Besides eating snow, the man probably survived by going into a dormant-like state, physician Stefan Branth told Vasterbottens-Kuriren.

"A bit like a bear that hibernates. Humans can do that," he said. "He probably had a body temperature of around 31 degrees (Celsius) which the body adjusted to. Due to the low temperature, not much energy was used up."

Why the man ended up under the snow in the forest remains unknown, police said. - yahoo

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Russian scientist revive plants from 30K year old frozen tissue

A team of Russian biophysicists has successfully grown ancient plants from tissue material that stayed frozen in the Siberian region for about 30,000 years.

This is the oldest plant material to have been brought to life so far.

The team from the Institute of Cell Biophysics, led by David Gilichinsky, studied squirrel hibernation burrows in the banks of the Kolyma river and found the remains of the Silene stenophylla family that remained almost intact over millennia.

According to a report published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the scientists extracted the so-called "placental tissue" from immature seeds and put it in a special nutrient solution, which imitated a growing plant.

After a while, the tissue in petri dishes germinated into mature seeds, which have been planted in soil and grew into fully-blossoming plants.

The scientists found only subtle differences in the shape of petals and the sex of flowers between the "resurrected" plants and the modern-day Silene stenophylla, which still grows in the Siberian tundra.

The research team suggested that tissue cells were a perfect material for their experiments because they contain high amounts of sugar, which helped the plants to survive in a hibernated state for so long.

The success of the scientists may open a door to a whole new area of experiments in reviving extinct plants buried under layers of soil, especially in the Arctic zone, for thousands of years. - phenomenica

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UDCC: Indigenous Humanoids OR Indigenous Phenomenology?

Our friend and colleague Rick Phillips delves into high strangeness - alien beings and other humanoid phenomena at Indigenous Humanoids OR Indigenous Phenomenology?

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Commonalities


Abraham Lincoln was elected to Congress in 1846.
John F. Kennedy was elected to Congress in 1946.

Abraham Lincoln was elected President in 1860.
John F. Kennedy was elected President in 1960.

The names Lincoln and Kennedy each contain seven letters.
Both were particularly concerned with civil rights.
Both wives lost a son while living in the White House.

Both Presidents were shot on a Friday.
Both were shot behind the head.

Here is an interesting one…
Lincoln’s secretary was named Kennedy.
Kennedy’s secretary was named Lincoln.

Both were assassinated by Southerners.
Both were succeeded by Southerners.

Both successors were named Johnson.
Andrew Johnson, who succeeded Lincoln, was born in 1808.
Lyndon Johnson, who succeeded Kennedy, was born in 1908.

John Wilkes Booth, who assassinated Lincoln was born in 1839.
Lee Harvey Oswald, who assassinated Kennedy was born in 1939.

Both assassins were known by their three names.
Both names are made of fifteen letters.

Mr. Booth shot Lincoln in a Theatre called “Ford”.
Lee Harvey Oswald, shot Kennedy in a car called “Ford” Lincoln.

Booth ran from a theater and was caught in a warehouse.
Oswald ran from a warehouse and was caught in a theater.

Booth and Oswald were assassinated before their trials.

And last but not least,
A month before Lincoln was shot he was in Monroe, Maryland.
A month before Kennedy was shot he was with Marilyn Monroe.