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Search Tags: Scott Carr
A new online cybersecurity degree program - being offered by the University of Maryland this fall - saw the enrollment of over 200 students on just the first day it was offered. Graduates will be trained to defend against cyberattacks, from both technical and policy-setting standpoints. University officials anticipate thousands will enroll. Because the course work is completely online, most of the students enrolled are expected to be working professionals looking to change careers.
A new list of the most vulnerable programs from the first half of 2010 hardly leaves anyone out. The report from M-86 Security Labs shows computers using Internet Explorer or Adobe Reader might be especially at risk, and that more Java-based vulnerabilities are also being actively exploited. The report also finds that attackers are finding new ways to bypass malware detection mechanisms.
A free service from the company Research In Motion now offers data and device protection for users of Blackberrys. It's called Protect, and for now is invite-only, and through a limited beta version, though the company plans to offer a more general, open beta later this year. It allows users to lock down their devices, and locate lost devices on a map. Reviewers with Information Week call it a credible option for smaller businesses and consumers.
Warnings have been posted about phony updates to the Abobe Flash program. Barracuda Networks says it found a number of compromised websites that take visitors to an official looking Flash update page. But, I-T experts say downloading the updates could infect a computer with malware. They offer a way to spot the fake pages; they only allows users to click on the "Continue" button. They warn, any updates must be taken directly from Adobe.
NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, called WISE, has just completed its first survey of the entire sky. The globe-trotting satellite has generated more than one million images so far, of everything from asteroids to distant galaxies. The mission scanned strips of the sky as it orbited around the Earth's poles since it launched last December. One pictured region shows the Pleiades cluster of stars, also known as the Seven Sisters, resting in a tangled bed of wispy dust, highlighting the telescope's ability to take wide shots of vast regions of space. So far, WISE has observed more than 100,000 asteroids, both known and previously unseen, most lying in a belt between Mars and Jupiter. 90 of them are new near-Earth objects.
Officials with USAID - the U.S. Agency for International Development - recently gathered many of the world's leading scientists and development thinkers, along with leaders of key federal science agencies, to help map out a new Science, Technology and Innovation strategy. More than 60 experts from around the world spent two days discussing issues and how technology might provide solutions. One of the specific goals will be bridging the divide between the interests of the public and private sectors. The conference was the first step in helping USAID to identify what agency leaders call "grand challenges" and explore how science, technology, and innovation can be used to solve them. USAID officials have now appointed the first science advisor the Agency has had in 19 years as well as established a new dedicated Science and Technology office.
New battery materials developed by the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Lab and a Maryland company could enable electric vehicles, power tools and even cell phones to recharge in minutes rather than hours. In collaboration with a Princeton University researcher, the Lab has demonstrated that small quantities of graphene - an ultra-thin sheet of carbon atoms - can dramatically improve the power and stability of lithium-ion batteries, while maintaining high energy storage capacity. The pioneering work could lead to the development of batteries that store larger amounts of energy and recharge quickly. Today, a typical cell phone battery takes between two and five hours to fully recharge. Researchers think using new battery materials with graphene could cut recharge time to less than 10 minutes.
The University of California San Diego along with General Atomics are about to begin work on developing a new kind of flow battery technology that pumps chemicals through a battery cell when electricity is needed. The development of the battery would revolutionize current century-old lead-acid battery technology - creating low cost, high efficiency and reliability needed for use on the smart electrical power grid. This project is receiving $2 million dollars in funding through the U.S. Department of Energy and APRA-E, the Advanced Project Research Agency devoted to Energy research. The goal is the production of a battery that can be scaled for grid-scale energy storage but which costs less and performs far longer than current technologies.
A Milwaukee-based company is about to begin research on an alternative form of refrigeration for cooling buildings, under a $2-point-nine million dollar energy research grant funded through the federal stimulus package. Using a solid state cooling technology, the privately held Astronautics Corporation of America will research a type of magnetic refrigeration that does not rely on a liquid-based refrigerant. Energy Department officials say, if successful, the breakthrough system could achieve significant energy efficiency, greatly reducing system operating costs compared to conventional compression systems, in addition to producing zero greenhouse gases. In all, $30 million dollars in grant money is being given to 17 different projects around the country that focus on a variety of novel approaches to air-conditioning.
Scientists led by the National Institutes of Health have discovered antibodies that will prevent most HIV strains from infecting human cells. Two potent human antibodies have been found to stop more than 90 percent of known global HIV strains from infecting human cells in the lab. Scientists have even demonstrated how one of the disease-fighting proteins is able to do it. They found the antibodies using a novel molecular device that homes in on the specific cells that make antibodies that fight HIV. According to the scientists, the antibodies could be used to design improved HIV vaccines, or could be further developed to prevent or treat HIV infection. Moreover, the method used to find the antibodies could be used to find therapeutic antibodies for other infectious diseases.