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    Storm-9-Net News 10:00 AM on 2015.04.26 Permalink |

    How gaming can improve our cognitive abilities 

    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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    Storm-9-Net News 7:45 PM on 2015.04.25 Permalink |

    Russian Hackers Read Obama Emails: Report 

    Emails to and from President Barack Obama were read by Russian hackers last year in a breach of the White House’s unclassified computer system, The New York Times said Saturday.

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    Storm-9-Net News 2:51 PM on 2015.04.25 Permalink |

    Clinton on Global Domestic Violence Laws 

    Hillary Clinton repeatedly has said “more than half the nations in the world” have no laws on domestic violence. That’s wrong. The United Nations reports that 125 countries — two-thirds of all nations — had such laws on the books as of April 2011.

    Clinton, who has made women’s rights a central theme of her nascent presidential campaign, gave her first speech as a presidential candidate at the Women in the World Summit on April 23.

    She talked about the progress women have made in recent decades, citing improvements in Tanzania, Nepal and Rwanda. “There has never been a better time in history to be born female,” she said.

    Clinton, April 23: But the data leads to a second conclusion that despite all this progress we’re just not there yet. … Yes, we have increased the number of countries prohibiting domestic violence. But still more than half the nations in the world have no such laws on the books.

    Clinton made a similar statement at the U.N. Conference on Women last month — this time placing “the number of countries prohibiting domestic violence” at 76.

    Clinton, March 10: We’re not there yet when despite having increased the number of countries prohibiting domestic violence from just 13 in 1995 up to 76 today, more than half the nations in the world still have no laws on the books.

    That’s not accurate. UN Women, the United Nations entity that advocates for “gender equality and the empowerment of women,” produced a report titled “2011-2012 Progress of the World’s Women: In Pursuit of Justice” that says there has been “significant progress on legal reform in favour of women’s rights in the past 30 years.”

    Specifically, the UN report said 125 of 194 countries, or 64 percent, had domestic violence laws as of April 2011. (The State Department, which Clinton once headed, recognizes 195 countries.)

    UN Women, 2011: Even within one generation we have witnessed a transformation in women’s legal rights, which means that today, 125 countries have outlawed domestic violence, 115 guarantee equal property rights and women’s voice in decision-making is stronger than ever before.

    So nearly two thirds of all countries had domestic violence laws in place as of April 2011.

    We forwarded a copy of the U.N. report to the Clinton campaign and asked for data to support the candidate’s claim that “more than half” of all nations do not have laws prohibiting domestic violence.

    Nick Merrill, a Clinton spokesman, told us the candidate “may have been referring to marital rape or sexual assault.” Merrill said a World Bank study “says that 62 of 100 surveyed countries have not specifically criminalized rape and sexual assault within marriage.” That’s also inaccurate.

    A World Bank report called “Women, Business and the Law 2014” found that 76 of 100 economies that it studied had domestic violence laws – up from just three in 1989. (We note that the 76 figure in the report is the same number used by Clinton in her U.N. speech last month.) The World Bank report also found that 57 of 100 economies it studied had laws explicitly covering “sexual violence” within a marriage — which would include laws explicitly prohibiting marital rape or sexual assault.

    The World Bank report was not comprehensive, since it reviewed domestic violence laws in only 100 countries.

    The UN Women report, which covered 194 countries, also looked at the issue of marital rape. That report said “at least 52 States had explicitly outlawed marital rape in their criminal codes.” The report used the term “at least” because there was unreliable or conflicting information in 14 nations, including in Belgium, Austria, Finland, and Switzerland.

    That means at least 128 of the 194 countries — more than half — did not have laws that explicitly outlaw martial rape as of April 2011, according to the U.N. But the U.N. also noted that not having laws that explicitly prohibit marital rape does not necessarily mean that a husband cannot be prosecuted for raping a spouse.

    The UN Women report says “general rape laws (except where exemption of a spouse is explicitly stated) do not preclude a spouse from being prosecuted.” The report added, “Explicit criminalization of marital rape is recommended as best practice by, among others, the Council of Europe.”

    Clinton’s larger point — that there is still more work to be done on domestic violence — is well taken. But it’s simply inaccurate to say “the number of countries prohibiting domestic violence” is just 76 or that “more than half the nations in the world” have no domestic violence laws.

    — Eugene Kiely

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    Storm-9-Net News 12:00 PM on 2015.04.25 Permalink |

    64-year-old engineer sues Google for age discrimination 

    A Florida man named Robert Heath has filed an age-discrimination lawsuit against Google in federal court, seeking to form a class action of workers who allege they were denied a chance to work at the search giant because of their age.

    Heath was rejected by Google in 2011, despite the fact that he had “highly-pertinent qualifications and experience,” with a Google recruiter calling him a “great candidate,” according to the complaint (PDF). At the time, Heath was 60 years old.

    The lawsuit claims that the median age of Google employees is 29 years old, well below the median age of all US workers, which US Department of Labor reports as 42.4 years. The median ages for US workers in computer-related fields are similar: for “computer and mathematical occupations” the median age is 41.1 years, for “computer programmers” it’s 42.8 years, and for software developers the median is 40.6 years.

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    Storm-9-Net News 11:20 AM on 2015.04.25 Permalink |

    CIA couldn’t fully use NSA spy program as most analysts didn’t know about it 

    A newly-released document from the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) own internal watchdog found that the government’s controversial warrantless surveillance and bulk data collection program was so secretive that the agency was unable to make “full use” of its capabilities even several years after the September 11 attacks. Initially, only top-level CIA officials were cleared on its use, rather than rank-and-file “CIA analysts and targeting officers.”

    The document, a June 2009 report from the CIA Inspector General (IG) was released as part of a trove of 747 pages entitled the “Report on the President’s Surveillance Program” and was published on Friday by The New York Times as the result of victory in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed against the Department of Justice.

    The CIA IG report, like the others, is redacted in many places, but provides some new material as to the specific history, play-by-play and internal evaluations of the program. In 2009, the government had previously published a far shorter unclassified version.

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    Storm-9-Net News 10:37 AM on 2015.04.25 Permalink |

    Man lands drone carrying radioactive sand on Japanese prime minister’s office 

    A 40-year-old Japanese man admitted he landed an unmanned drone in central Tokyo carrying radioactive sand atop Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s office to protest nuclear power, police said Saturday.

    The drone, which had a sign on it saying it was radioactive, was carrying a camera and plastic container with sand contaminated with radioactive cesium, Japanese media said. The police said the radiation was low and did not pose a threat. The stunt initially brought fears of a terrorist attack.

    Yasuo Yamamoto, who is unemployed, faces a maximum three years in prison if convicted on charges of obstruction of official business. Local media reported that the police said the landing was a protest against nuclear power.

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    Storm-9-Net News 9:45 AM on 2015.04.25 Permalink |

    Feds: 6 died as a result of overdosing from Silk Road-purchased drugs 

    The head attorney for Silk Road founder and convicted felon Ross Ulbricht has asked the judge that his upcoming sentencing hearing be postponed, according to a Friday court filing.

    Why does this lawyer, Joshua Dratel, want the date to be pushed back? Because, he argues, the defense needs adequate time to review the government’s latest revelation that six people died as a result of overdosing on drugs they purchased on Silk Road.

    What’s more, the government intends to present two of the parents of the deceased who will testify at the sentencing hearing, currently scheduled for May 15 in New York federal court. The alleged evidence of overdoses suggests the government is seeking perhaps the fullest possible sentence—life in prison—for Ulbricht.

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    Storm-9-Net News 5:25 AM on 2015.04.25 Permalink |

    Google Analytics by Yoast Security Patch Fixes Stored XSS 

    Along with fixing the insecure use of two WordPress functions popular with plugin developers, Yoast also eliminated in its Google Analytics a stored cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability that benefited from much less publicity.

    On Monday, Yoast and Sucuri announced a coordinated security release for doz… (read more)

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    Storm-9-Net News 3:26 AM on 2015.04.25 Permalink |

    Over 25,000 iOS Apps Affected by Bug Breaking HTTPS 

    Attackers with a server certificate can cripple the security of 25,000 iOS apps via man-in-the-middle (MitM) attacks and access in plain text the encrypted information sent from the client device.

    The vulnerability is present in AFNetworking, a popular networking library for iOS and OS X products, and consists in failure to check the domain name the SSL certificate was issued for.

    Any SSL certificate can be used to decrypt data

    The feature exists in t… (read more)

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    Storm-9-Net News 6:30 PM on 2015.04.24 Permalink |

    How Microsoft Should Improve Windows 10 Security (Op Ed) 

    Microsoft announced some strong security improvements for Windows 10, but it could do much better by upgrading the User Access Control system, keeping its antivirus competitive with the rest of the industry, adding EMET protections and default encryption.

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