Friday, September 25, 2009

Water detected on the Moon

Water particles have been detected on the surface of the Moon by three missions, including an Indian probe.
WASHINGTON (AFP) - – Water particles have been detected on the surface of the Moon by three missions, including an Indian probe.
The evidence, disclosed in new scientific papers, overturns the long accepted view that lunar soil is dry and comes just two weeks before a NASA probe is to crash into the surface near the Moon's southern pole to see if water can be detected in the dust and debris released by the impact.
The new data was gathered by probes equipped with NASA instruments designed to map the Moon's mineral composition.
The so-called "Moon Mineralogy Mapper," or M3, uses the reflection of sunlight off the Moon's surface to determine soil composition.
In one of the three papers published in the latest edition of the journal Science, researchers said they analyzed light waves detected by an M3 instrument on board an Indian satellite, Chandrayyan-1.
The reflected light waves indicated a chemical bond between oxygen and hydrogen -- proof, the researchers said, of the existence of water on the Moon's surface.
Larry Taylor of the University of Tennessee, one of the study's co-authors, said the instrument is capable of detecting the composition of the thin upper layer of the Moon's surface only to a depth of two or three inches.
Until now, scientists had advanced the theory that there might be ice at the permamently dark bottom of craters at the Moon's poles but that the rest of the Moon was totally dry.
Lunar rocks and soil contain about 45 percent oxygen, but the source of the the hydrogen observed by the instruments on the three probes remains to be determined.
Taylor and his colleagues believe it may have come from an astronomical phenomenon called the solar wind, which consist mainly of streams of positively charged hydrogen atoms emitted as the sun undergoes nuclear fusion.
They estimate that each ton of lunar soil consists of 25 percent water.
Two other probes equipped with M3-type instruments also detected the chemical signature for the presence of water.
These include data gathered by the American spacecraft Cassini as it passed near the moon a decade agon on its way to Saturn.
The third probe, also American, was Deep Impact, which was launched toward the comet Tempel-1 in 2005 to pierce it with a projectile in order to analyze the dust cloud created by the impact.
Deep Impact passed near the Moon to gather data with an instrument similar to M3.
Samples of lunar rock and soil brought back to Earth by Apollo astronauts in the 1960s also contained traces of water.
But the containers in which they were transported were not hermetically sealed so researchers dismissed the presence of water as coming from the Earth.
"To some extent, we were fooled," said Taylor, who has studied the original Apollo missions. "Since the boxes leaked, we just assumed the water we found was from contamination with terrestrial air."
Indian scientists lost radio contact with the Chandrayaan-1 lunar satellite last month, but it had already collected enough data to provide the firmest evidence so far of water concentrated near the lunar poles.
"To find water on the moon was one of the main objectives," mission director Mylswamy Annadurai told AFP in Bangalore.
"The baby has done its job," a clearly delighted Annadurai said. "It's a major milestone, although we still have to quantify the findings."
"It was a combined team effort and of great significance for international space cooperation," he added. link....

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Private Companies Compete for the Best Lunar Module

A number of private firms take part in a competition for creating the best lunar module. The winner will receive $1 million prize. Currently the leader is considered to be the Texas-based firm called Armadillo Aerospace that carried out back-to-back flights of its Scorpius. The competition was launched by NASA and participants have time till October 31st.
All participants will be judged by the accuracy of their vehicles' landings on pads as well as by how long these vehicles will fly. It is worth mentioning that the pads are 60 meters apart and one of them is constructed on rocky, pitted landscape that was developed to resemble the terrain on the lunar surface. It is worth mentioning that Armadillo Aerospace was the 2008 winner of the $350,000 prize for presenting a demonstration flight of its vehicle. Thus $1.65 million remain for the contest's main leg and runners-up.

The $2 million Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge is just the starting point of a richer competition to create a spacecraft that would actually land of the lunar surface. Up till now 20 teams registered for the competition to win the $30 million Google Lunar X Prize.

"We feel it's absolutely within the capacity of private industry to land on the moon,"
said William Pomerantz, who manages the lunar space contests for the X Prize Foundation. The competition attracted both, aerospace veterans and talented beginners. One of the contest's goals is to prepare the base for commercial space travels, which would be less expensive and take advantage of more proficient ways of studying and exploiting space.

"Our teams are not wholly dependent on NASA, but certainly they're all viewing NASA as anchor tenant that can help them get to where they want to go more cheaply and more regularly,"
Pomerantz was quoted by Discovery News as saying. Bethesda, Md.-based Futron Corp., estimated that in ten years the commercial lunar services will represent an industry worth between $1 and $1.5 billion. According to the company's report of July 2009, in the next decade there will be 6 markets that would be involved in commercial lunar services, including: the sale of hardware to governments; services for government customers; products intended for commercial industries and entertainment.

Jeff Foust, Futron analyst, mentioned: "If one or more teams are able to win this prize competition, they will be able to serve markets potentially far larger than the prize purse". link....

Brits Voted Michael Faraday the Greatest British Inventor

Yesterday a survey revealed that Michael Faraday is considered to be the greatest British inventor. It is worth mentioning that the discoveries of the famous English chemist and physicist led to great developments in the fields of electromagnetism and electrochemistry. He can be called the father electric motor technology.
Around 1,200 people voted Faraday as the greatest British inventor, which is about quarter of all votes. Isambard Kingdom Brunel, British engineer who was the first to design propeller-driven steamship, was voted second, with 13 percents of all votes. The third in the list of greatest British inventors was William Caxton (9 percent) - he was the one who introduced the printing press into England. As a website with a great number of articles on latest inventions, team hopes you will enjoy our latest stories on new inventions from various fields. Feel free to check the links at the bottom of the story.

The top 20 list continued with the inventor of television John Logie Baird (8 percent) and the person who invented the first working telephone Alexander Graham Bell (7 percent). Two percent of votes received Sir Clive Sinclair, the inventor of the pocket calculator, reports The Telegraph. Among other names in the list there were Frank Whittle, who together with Germany's Dr. Hans von Ohain invented the jet engine, and Percy Shaw, English inventor and businessman who development the Catseye. link....

General Things to Know About Trojan Horse Viruses

In short, a Trojan horse virus represents a malware that infects a system to help its author illegally gain access to a computer for various reasons, including stealing personal information, obtaining passwords and detailed data of bank accounts. Trojan horses differ from common computer viruses and worms by the fact that they do not replicate themselves.
It is rather easy to get infected by the Trojan horse virus. There are several ways using which Trojan horse viruses manage to penetrate a computer. For example, a Trojan horse can be hidden in an e-mail attachment, freeware and shareware programs. Probably the most popular way of getting infecting is visiting websites that feature a Trojan horse, with the latter being downloaded without any notice. It is highly advised to regularly screen your computer and remove Trojan horse using automated anti-spyware or anti-Trojan software.

A Trojan horse virus could be included in a program that at first sight appears to be rather harmless. With just a small Trojan horse virus, the hacker can install other computer viruses on the infected computer or enter the system through the back door. Although there are several types of Trojan horse programs, all of them perform (more or less) two main functions: watching and monitoring, and stealing and hijacking.

Watching and Monitoring Trojan Horses

These Trojan horses try to gain as much information as possible about the user and his or her surfing habits. Hacker who monitors the Trojan horse will then attempt to use the gathered information for various purposes, like selling the data to parties that might be interested in it. Often such Trojan horse viruses are written carefully and cannot be easily spotted on the infected system, because the longer a Trojan horse resides in a computer the more information its developer receives.

Stealing and Hijacking Trojan Horses

These Trojan horses are somewhat more dangerous. Hackers use such viruses to carry out much more dangerous actions. Often these Trojan horses attempt to gain detailed data on banking passwords. In addition, a Trojan horse can be used to run other software programs and launch a Denial of Service Attack. Today DDOS attacks represent a big business with individuals or a group of people providing such services in return for a financial motivation. link....

Swimming Robot to Analyze Biodiversity in Shallow Water

Nature (and namely the Amazonian knifefish) served as inspiration for scientists at the University of Bath, who are working on their latest invention - a new swimming robotOcean Technologies LabGymnobot. that might revolutionize submersible technology. Researchers from in the University's Department of Mechanical Engineering dubbed their project
Their latest invention is powered by a fin that operates the length of the underside of the robot's body that undulates in order to produce a wave in the water, thus pushing the Gymnobot forward. Such design is considered to be more energy-saving compared to earlier propeller models, making it possible for the robot to swim in shallow water.

Researchers could use their latest invention to film, takes pictures and analyze the rich marine life that evolves near the seashore.

According to Keri Collins, a postgraduate student, who created the Gymnobot, the goal of using the robot is to observe the evolution of vortices around the fin. She mentioned that some fish make vortices when flipping their tails one way, but after that their tales flick back the other way, thus destroying the vortices.

"By destroying the vortex they are effectively re-using the energy in that swirling bit of water. The less energy left in the wake when the fish has passed, the less energy is wasted,"
said Collins. It is worth mentioning that the Ocean Technologies Lab was given a grant to collaborate with other 6 institutions from Europe in order to develop a robot similar to Gymnobot that could respond to water flow and swim against water currents, reports the official website of the University of Bath. Such machines could be used to study not only the biodiversity in the shallow water, but also identifying pollution or examining structures such as oil rings. link....

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

New Solar Panels Generate Energy from Indirect Sunlight

Commonly used solar cells require direct sunlight in order to be able to produce electricity. If these solar cells do not get enough sunlight, their efficiency considerably drops. Recently engineers from GreenSun Energy, a company based in Tel Aviv, presented their latest invention - a solar cell able to produce power from diffused light. The new solar cell features a specialized colored panel, resembling a colored plexi-glass.
According to GreenSun Energy, their latest invention has its glass made with fluorescent dyes and nanoparticle metals. Besides being more efficient, the new solar cells could also have a lower cost compared to traditional solar cells. Another advantage of the new solar cells is that they require 80 percent less silicon than the traditional ones (less silicon means a lower cost of production). When sunlight (be it direct or indirect) touches the panels, it disperses across and the metal nanoparticles bring the sunlight to the edges where the silicon is placed.

The company's latest invention costs $2.10/W and is 12 percent more efficient than the traditional solar cell, which costs around $4.54/W. In addition, the conventional solar cells have efficiency loss because of the heat that doesn't turn into energy, informs CleanTechnica. In the new solar panels, the sunlight is diffused across the entire panel, thus nanoparticles are able to bring light to the edges of the panel where the light is transformed into energy. You can read more about various green technologies and eco-friendly developments here at - please check the links at the bottom of the article. Currently the Tel Aviv-based company is working on making its latest invention even more efficient.

Engineers at GreenSun look forward towards increasing the efficiency of their new solar cell from 12 percent to 20 percent. They also hope to reduce the costs of producing the new panels to $0,94/W. link....

Rent-a-Friend Agencies Are a Hit in Japan

A new trend is rapidly developing in the land of the rising sun. Japan witnesses a great demand for rent-a-friend agencies that offer their service for people who are looking for a friend, husband, boss, uncle etc.
Hagemashi Tai (I Want to Cheer You Up)
is one of such agencies. It was opened three-and-a-half years ago by 44-year-old Ryuichi Ichinokawa, who decided to launch his agency after abandoning his goal of becoming a qualified counselor.

Mr. Ichinokawa says that he has had numerous requests since he successfully completed his mission as best man and was applauded for his speech at a wedding.

"People wanted women, old and young people, all sorts, but of course I couldn't play all those roles myself,"

Mr. Ichinokawa was quoted by the Guardian as saying. He decided to hire people to help him with the task and today his agency features 30 agents of both sexes. All of his agents work in different parts of the country, temporarily playing roles of people who are in the right time and at the right place.

For turning up a wedding party, the agents can charge only 15,000 yen ($162). However, in case agents are asked to do an additional task like singing or making a speech, they will charge extra money. The job requires knowing a lot of details, analyzing every possible situation, otherwise things could get worse and the agent could for example embarrass his client and affect his status. But Mr. Ichinokawa proudly says that since he opened his agency he has never been caught out.

Some of the first rent-a-friend agencies in Japan opened eight years ago and today there are ten agencies like Hagemashi Tai, one of the most popular being Office Agent, which can boast with 1,000 people on its books. link....

The History and Description of Trojan Horse Virus

First of all it would be useful to state that a Trojan horse virus represents an infectious program able to cause serious damage to a computer. The Trojan horse can infect a user's machine without being noticed. As soon as it penetrates a computer, the Trojan horse scans it with the goal of stealing personal data.
One of the earliest Trojan horse viruses was detected in the 1980s, when several computers were affected. As it was earlier mentioned Trojan horse viruses are created in order to steal useful information such as passwords. They are developed by hackers, who, after stealing data, can use the information for various purposes, including blackmailing. Some of the first Trojan horse viruses were able to infect Windows32 files, but since then these programs evolved, and today they can cause even more harm.
The name of the Trojan horse comes from a story from Greek mythology about the siege of Troy. Greeks were unable to conquer the city until they built a huge wooden Trojan horse and hid a number of warriors in it. The wooden horse was supposed to be a present from the Greeks, informing that they sailed away and no longer wanted to conquer the city. When the Trojan horse was pulled into the city, the small army of Greeks inside it waited till dark and then invaded the Troy, destroying it, thus leading to the end of the war. In contrast to the wooden Trojan horse, the Trojan horse virus spread worldwide and is still popular today.
According to some online sources the first Trojan horse virus was dubbed the pest trap, also known as Spy Sheriff. This Trojan horse managed to infect about one million PCs worldwide. It did not damage any files on a computer, instead it led to the appearance of a large number of pop-ups, most of them looking like warnings that warned users about the necessity to installs some kind of software application. As soon as the Trojan horse computer virus was installed on the machine, it was quite difficult to get rid of it. In case the user tried to erase it, the Trojan horse would simply reinstall itself from hidden affected data files on the computer.
Often Trojan horse viruses come in packages that at first sight seem to be rather harmless. However, this is exactly what a Trojan horse should do until it affects a computer so hackers could remotely control the programs of the infected machine. There was a popular case that involved a professor who was accused of downloading about 1,000 child porn images, but who was released after it was discovered that the professor's computer was affected by a Trojan horse virus that downloaded the pictures. Despite the false accusations, the outcome of the situation had a serious impact on the professor's reputation.
During the 1980s there was an increase of the Bulletin Board System, which was computer system running software that permitted users to penetrate the system through a phone line. The BBS contributed to a fast spread of Trojan horse viruses, because after users logged in, they carried out such functions as uploading and downloading software and data sharing (some of which was infected). At that time computer viruses were created to aim popular software traders.
A dangerous Trojan horse virus was the Vundo, which used a lot of memory of the operating system at different intervals and generated a lot of pop-ups that informed the user about a number of software programs that need to be installed on the computer. The installed software included one or more computer viruses. Unlike the Spy Sheriff, it was rather easy to get rid of Vundo. There is one important thing to remember: a Trojan horse virus cannot be turned on unless a user doesn't activate the program that features the virus. It is important that you do not download unknown programs, especially if someone or something persuades you to do so. link....

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Artist Builds Biggest Fairytale Sandcastle

this post is quite old but interesting.
When he was a kid, Paul Hoggard did not get the chance to build a sandcastle, but when he grew up he decided to make his dream come true, and now that he is older, and more experienced, the sandcastle of his dreams should be more than just a small heap of sand.Despite the fact that Mr. Hoggard has been a sand master for over a decade, only recently he managed to finish his most impressive sand creation - a huge fortress that is bigger than three double-decker buses, being 8 meters (26 feet) high and almost 24 meters (80 feet) wide.
To make his magical fortress, the artist used 300 tons of sand. The whole project was completed in a week with the help of ten sculptors, who were guided by Mr. Hoggard. The team worked near Scheveningen, Holland, which is considered to be the home of sand art.
"This was certainly one of the biggest sandcastles I've made and it was really fun to see everyone's faces when it was built. I don't think there is any other art form where you can build something this big so quickly,"
said the sand artist.

Artist Tricks Viewers with Stunning 3D Images

this post is not quite old but interesting.
Artist John Pugh fooled a lot of people by creating stunning lifelike scenes on walls of absolutely intact buildings.
If you take a look at the picture below, you might see a hole in the wall and a woman looking inside the room. Neither the damaged wall nor the woman are real, both are 3D images of Pugh. The scene was painted on a building found on Main Street in the town of Los Gatos. Inside you can see jaguar gods, which the Mayans see as the ones who produce earthquakes.

The talented artist is expert in trompe l'oeil, which means "trick of the eye" art. According to Pugh, people enjoy being visually tricked. The works of the California-born artist can be observed in different countries from New Zealand to Hawaii.

The work below illustrates a huge wave that is about to crash on to a pavement. It can be seen in Honolulu, Hawaii. The entire work was made in about 8 months. Pugh did not work alone, however, with 11 artists helping to accomplish the scene, which includes Queen Lili'uokalani with Duke Kahanamoku. The former was the last monarch of the Hawaiian Islands and the only queen who ruled the Kingdom of Hawai'i while Kahanamoku is the first person included in the Surfing Hall of Fame.

Pugh's work is so realistic that once, when it was almost finished, a fire brigade stopped nearby and its members jumped out to save the children in the painting. "They got about 15 feet away and then doubled over laughing when they realized what it was," said the artist.

Pugh says that his lifelike scenes help him communicate with a large number of people.

Artist Recreated Mona Lisa Using Burger Grease

this post is not quite old but interesting
Phil Hansen is an artist who succeeded in recreating the famous Leonardo Da Vinci painting of Mona Lisa with the help of 14 grease-laden burgers.
The idea was brought by a fast food company that had the goal of showing the amount of fat that featured in the food of its competitors.
Over the internet the company posted a one-minute video in which the 29-year-old Hansen illustrates his work on an 11-foot canvas, created from butcher paper.
The advertising video was created for the US restaurant chain Arby's. It is worth mentioning that in 2008 the artist, who is from Minneapolis, made a similar painting using chips.
"People said it was a nice recreation and there were lots of comments on the nastiness of how it was made. Many of the people who saw it had just eaten a hamburger that day - they were a bit grossed out by the idea,"
said Hansen.

Artist Helps Create a Hotel From 200,000 Plastic Cards

In case you don't know what to do with unwanted hotel key cards that this story might just interest you. Recently Holiday Inn's Key Card Hotel was presented in Manhattan, New York. The hotel features a guest bedroom, bathroom and lobby, but what is really impressive it that everything in the hotel is made of plastic hotel key cards, including life-sized furniture.

The building weights 2 tons and occupies an area of 400 square feet. Holiday Inn's Key Card Hotel will be opened for business on September 21st. It was created with the help of the famous "card-stacker" Bryan Berg. "This is my largest card-stacking challenge to date and the only card creation I have ever made at full human scale," said the artist and world-record holder.

Using Holiday Inn playing cards, Mr. Berg looks forward to create a 9ft copy of the Empire State Building, which will be located in the lobby of the hotel. According to Kevin Kowalski, senior vice president of global brand management at Holiday Inn, the Key Card Hotel is the only hotel on the planet to be made of plastic cards, reports Daily Mail.

Previously at we wrote about the talented artist, who at the age of 17 managed to break the world record by creating the World's Tallest House of Freestanding Playing Cards that was 14ft 6in high.

System That Allows Robots to Ask Humans for HelpSystem That Allows Robots to Ask Humans for Help

Researchers from Willow Garage, a robotics company from Palo Alto, California, are currently working on their latest invention - a system that would train a robot to ask for help. Asking for help might be easy for humans, but it is one of the most difficult tasks in artificial intelligence.
Scientists look forward to make it possible for a robot to ask humans to help it identify some objects that the machine cannot recognize. If the project proves to be successful, it might be a great step towards developing robots that could operate autonomously and navigate safely across different types of buildings, interacting with various objects. Although computers are able to recognize certain objects, the task gets difficult when there's not enough illumination or the angle is not appropriate.
The problem with recognizing objects occurred at Willow Garage when researchers were developing the Personal Robot 2 (PR2). Together with the team from Willow Garage, Alex Sorokin from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign came up with an idea of creating a system that could allow PR2 to ask for help from humans when it cannot identify certain objects. His latest invention takes advantage of Amazon's Mechanical Turk, an online marketplace that connects workers and employers that have to accomplish simple tasks.
Here's how the system works in PR2: the robot takes a picture of the objects it is unable to recognize and conveys it to Mechanical Turk. Then workers use the software developed by Sorokin to draw an outline around the object in the photo and give it a name. Each processed image is charged between 3 and 15 cents, reports NewScientist. During the first tests, researchers analyzed the abilities of PR2 to move around the company's offices, taking pictures of unidentified objects and sending them every few seconds to be processed and several minutes later the robot received the pictures.
According to Sorokin, his latest invention will allow robots to gain knowledge of new surroundings. New types of robots will be able to perform a variety of tasks, for example a cleaning robot could analyze a building first, taking images and asking people to process them to help the machine build up a model of the environment and its objects. Practically this means that robots will soon be able to operate for long periods of time without human intervention. link....

Planck Telescope Sends First Pictures that Offer Clues About the Evolution of the Universe

The first images of Planck observatory, which was sent into outer space to collect data about the origins of the universe, have been finally received, providing some clues about the past.

It is worth mentioning that earlier this year the European Space Agency launched the telescope 0.9 million miles (about 1.5 million km) into space. Its goal was to analyze the age, contents as well as the evolution of the universe. The first images that were received from Planck illustrate the pieces of ancient light across the sky.Scientists will require two years to study the images and try to find some information about the beginning of the universe. Planck studies the heat left by the Big Bang millions of years ago. Researchers dubbed this heat Cosmic Microwave Background radiation (CMB), reports
Analyzing the heat left by the Big Bang is like trying to measure the heat of a rabbit that sits on the moon's surface from Earth. According to Dr David Clements, of Imperial College London, the space observatory is showing promising results, doing better than earlier generations of Cosmic Microwave Background radiation experiments.
"We've a while to wait before we finish the all sky survey, but these first results show we'll get spectacular results and new insights into the birth of the universe once it's done,"
he said.
The operational life of the observatory is 15 months and during this time Planck is expected to collect information for two whole sky maps. Researchers believe that when its returns, the observatory will provide huge amount of data that will keep scientists busy for the next few decades. link....

World's Biggest Burger Weights Almost 83Kg

In the picture you can see the biggest burger in the world. Weighting over 13 stones, which is about 82.5 kilograms, the burger was recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records.
The burger is available for $499 and anyone, who is not worried about extra weight, can purchase the burger at Mallie's Sports Grill and Bar located in Southgate, Michigan, USA.
Steve Mallie, who owns the restaurant, mentioned that in order to bake the bread roll that would hold the burger the restaurant workers required 8 hours, reports
"I've worked my entire life to build this restaurant and being able to have the notoriety of Guinness makes it just that bit more rewarding,"
said Maillie.
It is worth mentioning that before the burger was topped with such ingredients as cheese, lettuce and tomato, and then brought into the restaurant on a trolley, it was baked for 15 hours. link....

E-nose That Detects a Smoker

A research team at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, recently presented their latest invention - an e-nose that is able to detect whether a person is a smoker or not. The e-nose features 32 sensors that help it spot the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in an individual's breath in case the person had smoked a cigarette.
The electrical resistance of the sensor alters when different VOCs are identified. Researchers tested their latest invention and the results were promising - the device managed to detect 37 out of 39 people who either smoke or those who don't.
Led by Paul Thomas, the team of researchers concluded that the e-nose could prove to be very useful due to the fact that it easily identifies smokers without the need of blood or urine test. A high level of interest towards this latest invention was shown by insurers that might use the e-nose to test people who apply for health or life insurance.
The device could also prove to be helpful for transplant clinics, due to the fact that it is strictly prohibited for a patient to smoke after a heart transplant. Though it is obvious that smoking after such operation is extremely dangerous, in 2001 about 15 percent of Australians, who received a new heart, continued smoking shortly after the surgery
Still, scientists say that their latest invention should pass a number of additional tests before being officially declared commercially available. A spokesman for the UK Department of Health mentioned that tests on a larger scale are required to prove the e-nose's clinical effectiveness. In addition, the device has to be accepted by patients. link....

Precision Urban Hopper that Springs Vertically Over High Objects

Meet the Precision Urban Hopper, the latest military invention that is able to easily pass through a bumpy terrain and spring vertically over various obstacles as high as 25 feet.
The hopper was built by Boston Dynamics, a company that specializes in developing advanced dynamic robots. Their previous projects include BigDog and PETMAN. Boston Dynamics managed to sign a contract with Sandia National Laboratories, the developer of science-based technologies for national security, to create the next gen Precision Urban Hopper.
The company's latest invention represents a shoebox-sized unmanned robot that features GPS and most importantly its hopping is 5 times more fuel-efficient compared to hovering in case the object that is to be conquered is shorter than 30 feet tall. link....

Top 7 Most Dangerous Computer Viruses of the 20th Century

The 20th century was a period when computer viruses saw light and managed to cause serious damages to unprepared users and their machines. Millions of users downloaded computer viruses without even knowing about it. To download a computer virus one simply needed to click on a certain link or open an email attachment. Hackers used various ways of penetrating the systems of universities from around the world, NASA, armed forces and governments. In this article you will find the most dangerous computer viruses of the 20th century. Note that the list includes computer viruses selected by the InfoNIAC team, which means that it represents our subjective opinion. If you have any additional information on the topic you are free to leave your comments at the bottom of the story. Here we go:
7. Jerusalem - 1987

For the first time it was discovered in 1987 on October 1. The virus was dubbed Jerusalem because it was identified in a Hebrew university, but in 1991 antivirus experts found that Italy is the country were the first traces of the computer virus were noticed. Jerusalem is believed to be one of the oldest computer viruses in history, being able to infect both .EXE and .COM files. Initially the Jerusalem virus included a bug that led to a repeat infection of the files that continued until the size of the files overcome computer resources. In addition, each Friday 13 it deleted all programs in the infected system as a result of a malicious payload that set off on the respective day. Jerusalem considerably slowed down the machine. A person could identify the virus but noticing two lines on the monitor.

6. Morris (a.k.a. Internet Worm) - 1988

Previously at we wrote about this computer worm, which is believed to be one of the first worms that spread over the Internet. The name of the virus comes from its developer Robert Tappan Morris, who was a student at Cornell University. The computer worm was set off on November 2, 1988 and after some time it managed to infect 6,000 to 9,000 machines. It overloaded the whole Internet, leading to the failure of a large number of servers. According to its developer, the goal was to discover just how far and fast a computer worm can spread all over the network. Robert Tappan Morris was found guilty and sentenced to 3 years of probation along with 400 hours of community service. In addition, he had to pay a $10,000 fine.

5. Barrotes - 1993

This is believed to be the first popular computer virus developed in Spain. As soon as it infected the system, it would remain there until January the 5th, when it would set off showing a series of bars on the screen. It infected .COM, .EXE and overlay files. The Barrotes computer virus represents a resident virus - it becomes a resident of the computer memory each time the machine starts up. Due to a series of vertical lines that appear on the monitor, it was easy to identify the virus. It could also overwrite the Master Boot Record of the HDD, thus making it impossible for the uses to access the hard disk.

4. Solar Sunrise - 1998

This is not the name of the computer virus, it is the name of the situation that occurred in 1998 when a team of hackers managed to take control of more than 500 computer system of the army, government as well as private sector of the United States. The name Solar Sunrise comes after the well-known vulnerabilities in machines that run on the Sun Solaris OS. At first the attack was believed to have been organized by hackers from Iraq, but later it was discovered that the ones to blame were two American youngsters from California.

3. CIH (a.k.a. Chernobyl) - 1998

Our list of the most dangerous computer viruses on the 20th century continues with CIH virus that caused an estimated damage of $20 to $80 million around the globe. After its launch, the computer virus managed to affect huge amounts of data stored on computers. Later it was discovered that the computer virus was launched in Taiwan. It has been recognized to be one of the most dangerous computer viruses in history. It infected Windows 95, 98, and ME executable files. In addition, CIH remained resident in the memory of the machine, being able to carry on infecting other executables. After being activated, the virus overwrote data on the HDD of the infected PC, making the latter inoperable. CIH could also overwrite the BIOS of the infected computer, thus preventing boot-up. The second name of the virus - Chernobyl - was given because some of the biggest damages occurred on the day when the nuclear reactor exploded.

2. Melissa - 1999

This computer virus managed to cause a damaged estimated between $300 and $600 million. The famous computer virus gained huge fame on March 26, 1999. Experts claimed that this computer virus managed to infect between 15 and 20 percent of all business PCs on the planet. Melissa virus spread so fast that a number of big companies, including Intel and Microsoft, that used Outlook, had to shut down their email systems to hold up the damage. The computer virus took advantage of Microsoft outlook to send email messages of itself to 50 names on the contact list of a user. The message in the email read: "Here is that document you asked for don’t show anyone else." It featured an attached Word document, which, when opened, unleashed the virus that infected the computer and then repeated the replication. When the virus was activated it changed Word documents by leaving quotes from the popular animated show "The Simpsons".

1. ILOVEYOU - 2000

Considered to be one of the most dangerous computer worms in history, ILOVEYOU was for the first time detected in Philippines on May 4. In just one day it spread worldwide, with about 10 percent of all Internet users being affected by the worm. ILOVEYOU also caused $5.5 billion damage. Its name comes from the subject of the email that a user received. The email included an attachment that said "LOVE-LETTER-FOR-YOU.TXT.vbs". When activated, the computer worm overwrote all files on the host, attacking a copy of itself to each file. In addition, the worm sent a copy of itself to everyone in a user's contact list. link....

Light Batteries Created from Salt and Paper

Scientists are currently testing a new type of battery made of paper and salt. If their latest invention proves to be efficient, the eco-friendly battery could be widely used in smart cards, RFID tags and a number of other portable gadgets.
The new battery has a number of advantages and disadvantages over the currently popular lithium batteries. Researchers from Uppsala University in Sweden say that their latest invention is composed of pressed mats of tangled cellulose fibers and salt solution. The former is for electrodes while the latter acts for the electrolyte. Scientists believe that the new type of battery could replace the lithium battery in the near future, mainly due to the fact that such batteries are cheaper and easier to make.
Currently the team is looking forward to make their battery more comparable to the lithium one in terms of capabilities, reports Technology Review. It is worth mentioning that lithium batteries can bring 4 volt and boast energy density of 200 to 300 milliwatt-hours per gram, while one paper battery cell brings just 1 volt and is able to store up to 25 milliwatt-hours per gram.
The cellulose features paper layers and is created using polluting algae that grows in seas and lakes. The cellulose also allows the extremely light battery to be charged 100 times faster that lithium battery. However, scientists say that more research is required to improve the new battery's capabilities. Still the team believes that their latest invention might hit the market in the next 3 years. link....

Technology That Turns a Myriad of Digital Photos into 3D Maps

Everyone knows that Rome wasn't built in a day. In fact, it took about ten years to construct the Coliseum and about a hundred years to build St. Peter's Basilica. But using latest technology it is possible now to digitize the whole city in just hours.
Engineers from the University of Washington managed to come up with an algorithm that uses hundreds of thousands of photographs taken by tourists to recreate the whole Rome automatically in one day. On the right you can see the digital reconstruction of the Coliseum, where each triangle represents the position from which a person took a photo. The shape of the building is established by analyzing images taken from different perspectives.
The latest invention developed at UW allows using huge collections of pictures from photo-sharing websites. The digital Rome was built from 150,000 tourist pictures stored at Flickr and tagged with the words "Rome" or "Roma". Each photo was analyzed by the computer, which in 21 hours managed to build a 3D digital model of the Italian city. Using this latest invention, one can take a virtual tour around the city and visit its landmarks.
It is worth mentioning that previous version of this technology were called Photo Tourism and was licensed to Microsoft in 2006, later being available as a free tool known as Photosynth.
trying to reconstruct entire cities,"
mentioned co-author Noah Snavely, assistant professor at Cornell University and the one who created Photo Tourism as his UW doctoral work, reports Physorg. Mr. Snavely, Rick Szeliski of Microsoft Research, Steve Seitz, UW computer science professor and Ian Simon, UW graduate student, represent the team that besides Rome developed 3D models of the Croatian coastal city of Dubrovnik, where they used 350 computers to process 60,000 photos in almost 23 hours, and Venice, Italy, where 500 computers processed 250,000 photos in 65 hours.
The new technology takes advantage of parallel processing techniques, which makes it possible to run at the same time on many machines or on remote servers that are connected via the Internet. The code works a hundred times faster than previous versions. With the help of their latest invention, the team will be able to create online maps that would provide a virtual tour experience. The technology could also be used in video games and in architecture for digital preservation. link....

Huge Green Volcano Construction Built Near Mt. Vesuvius

The Italian city of Nola witnessed the creation of a huge construction designed by Renzo Piano and called Vulcano Buono. The building is located just near the famous Mt. Vesuvius
The design of the construction was inspired by the surrounding scenery. The vegetative layer of the building's roof has more than 2,500 plants that cover the interior and make Vulcano Buono almost invisible from space.
There's a 150 meter-wide space that will be
used for outdoor theatre, market and a sloping forest of pine trees. The main commercial areas are seen as a concentric series of circles. Special structures, resembling trees, hold the slopes of the building.
It is also worth mentioning that the construction's roof is connected with a series of skylights that feature solar-control double pane glass. The latter makes it possible for daylight to pass through the mall, cutting the amount energy spent for illumination. Inside the building, visitors can visit various shops, a supermarket, a number of restaurants, a hotel and even a 2,000 seat cinema.
The designer describes his creation as "a contemporary take on a green marketplace, a void as a place for events, meetings, dialogue and the gathering of people."
and represents a cone-shaped commercial center that features a beautiful sloping green roof. link....

All-electric Futuristic Taxi for Off Road Terrain

Eco-friendly vehicles aren't something new today, but Taxius Animalus is a completely different story. This concept car represents an all-electric taxi that has six wheels and was designed to be able to pass through off road terrain. The design is credited to Francis Gomes from Turin, Italy.
The vehicle might be far from being produced for the masses, but its design is definitely worth highlighting. It is worth mentioning that the taxis used today emit a lot of gases everyday and a large portion of those gasses are wasted when taxis wait for passengers or are stuck in traffic jams. Taxius Animalus is not just eco-friendly, it is also capable of transporting people to areas where normal taxis would never pass using its six wheel track resembling that of a tank, informs Tuvie.
The vehicle is made using tough fabric and welded hollow tubes. It features transparent exterior skin (which allows seeing the whole surrounding scenery) and composite panels. Still there is no information regarding the type of battery that the taxi uses and its location, the way the vehicle charges and the time required for a full charge. link....

Researchers Find Electricity Generated by Tree

Recently it was unveiled that maple trees can be used to produce electricity to power small gadgets. A report published in the journal IEEE Transactions on Nanotechnology says that maple trees produce a rather small but still measurable quantity of electricity.
Those of you who have heard about potato battery probably are aware that the plant material can produce current. However, the electricity produced but a tree is something completely different. When creating a potato battery, there is a need of electrodes of two different metals in order to create a charge difference, which would make local electrodes flow. In the new study, scientists used electrodes created of the same material, reports Karen Hopkin for Scientific American. When researchers stuck one electrode into a tree while the other one was stuck into the soil, they noticed that big leaf maples produced a steady voltage of a few hundred millivolts.
In case scientists will continue exploring their finding, in the near future people could use maple trees to power various devices. This is due to the fact that scientist from the University of Washington in Seattle discovered that there's quite enough electricity flowing in maple trees in order to run an electronic circuit. More inventions and discoveries are available here at - please check the links at the bottom of the story.
Because several hundred millivolts is much less than a volt and a half, generated by a AA battery, researchers decided to design a 130-nanometer device that runs just on tree power. link....

Brain Implants to Ease Serious Neurological Conditions

Recently a team of researchers from Medtronic of Minneapolis, Minnesota, announced about the development of a neurostimulator. Their latest invention represents a device that is implanted in the brain to help people, who suffer from Parkinson's disease, depression and obsessive compulsive disorder
Researchers reported about their latest invention at the Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society meeting that took place in Minneapolis. Their device takes advantage of electrodes to bring deep stimulation to certain brain areas.
It is worth mentioning that neurostimulators are already used to help people suffering to earlier mentioned conditions, but in contrast to the latest invention these devices bring stimulation on a set schedule. According to researchers, their neurostimulator is much more effective because it is able to respond to brain signals. In addition, the battery in the device last longer, which is important for implantable gadgets.
Although researchers from Medtronic are far from testing their latest invention on humans, in NeuroPace, a new firm based in Mountain View, California, scientists are finishing clinical tests of their RNS smart implant device, which was used by 240 people who suffer from epilepsy, reports New Scientist. According to Martha Morrell, chief medical officer at NeuroPace, the results of the trials will be announced in December.
The devices developed by NeuroPace are implanted in the human skull where they track electrical activity using electrodes implanted deep in the brain. In case they identify the sign of a seizure, they will bring short and mild electrical stimulation in order to restrain it. link....

Drug to Help Wipe Bad Memories

Together with his team, Andreas Luthi, of the Friedrich Miescher Institute in Switzerland, is close to developing a drug able to clean one's head from unpleasant memories. After successful test performed on animals, scientists look forward to try their latest invention on humans and if everything goes well, the pill they created could selectively wipe bad memories in humans.
In their latest study, the team of researchers tested on animals a drug that has the ability to dissolve a barrier around the amygdala, which is the almond-shaped organ found in the brain that has the main role of storing memory of emotional reactions. After the treatment, animals stopped being afraid of sounds that were associated with electric shock, which, according to scientists, means that their memories had been erased.

Researchers consider that their latest invention could work on humans, due to the fact that just like animals people have amygdala in the brain. The idea of erasing bad memories sounds attractive, but the latest invention also raised a number of medical concerns as well as several ethical questions. Some claims that there is a potential danger of the drug misuse, others are concerned about the drug wiping some good memories.

According to Joseph LeDoux, professor of neuroscience at New York University, our brain had similar sheaths and the new drug could help people 'overwrite' bad memories with happier ones, reports Daily Mail. In addition, the drug treatment could also prove to be effective in helping soldiers who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder or those who have severe phobias associated with unpleasant memories.

Public mockery is the main memory that the majority of people would like to erase, says Ashok Hegde, a neurologist at Wake Forest University in North Carolina. "Public humiliation is a constant source of lingering memories," she mentioned. However, Dr Hegde considers that a lot of bad memories are forgotten naturally after a while. link....

Life on Earth Existed 200 Million Years Before Oxygen Filled the Atmosphere

Recently researchers announced that plant-like bacteria existed in the oceans of our planet 200 million years ago, when the air on Earth was not yet suitable to breathe. In their study, scientists demonstrated that life developed on our planet even before oxygen started to build-up in the Earth's atmosphere.
It is worth mentioning that throughout this period, called Archaean, our planet was covered by toxic smog that consisted of a mix of dangerous gases including methane and ammonia. Such conditions can be spotted today on Titan, one of the natural satellites of Saturn.
The new research carried out by American scientists from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, involved the analysis of ancient seabed rocks found on South Africa. Researchers believe that these rocks could date back to 3 billion years. They managed to discover chemical proof of nitrogen cycles, reports The Telegraph. Nitrogen represents the most abundant element in the Earth's atmosphere, constituting about 78-80 percent of it and is very important for any life on our planet. The nitrogen cycle represents the biogeochemical cycle that expresses the transformations of nitrogen in nature.
According to Dr Linda Godfrey and Dr Paul Falkowski, organisms that generated oxygen as a by-product photosynthesis most likely evolved about 2.5 billion years ago, but the Earth's atmosphere started filling up with oxygen 200 million years later. link....

Technology that Turns Lasers Into Sound

Scientists managed to turn light into sound using their latest invention - a brand new laser technology. A team of researchers at the Naval Research Laboratory developed a technology able to increase and improve underwater acoustic applications.
The technology allows compressing laser pulses. It is worth mentioning that different colors of a laser pass through air and water at different speeds. However, in the water the concentration effects prove to be stronger. It is possible for a well-tuned laser to pass several hundreds of meters through the air and then rapidly compress after entering the water, which would help a jet to send messages underwater, reports LiveScience.

If the colors of a laser are arranged in a particular way, the laser pulse would compress in time while passing through the water, which focuses the light. To be able to transform light into sound, researchers compress a laser pulse so it would ionize a small quantity of water. After giving charge to the molecules of water, the ionized water soaks up the laser energy and then heats up. Finally scientists witness a small explosion of steam that produces a pulse of sound having 220 decibels.

It is worth mentioning that this latest invention could be used to improve the use of underwater acoustics for both Naval and commercial purposes such as undersea communications, navigation and acoustic imaging. link....

A Beautiful Partner Makes You More Attractive, Scientists Say

One of the latest studies of American scientists claims that having a good-looking partner on your arm makes you look even more eye-catching for the opposite sex. At the same time, researchers say that going out with an attractive partner of the same sex could have a reverse effect.
The team of American researchers, led by Dr Anthony Little at the University of Stirling, believes that we are often seen more attractive with a beautiful partner because most people assume that behind our look we have some hidden talents.
In their study scientists showed women two images of a man and asked them to rate his attractiveness. It was found that women rated the man higher if he was with a woman more beautiful than him, and considered him less attractive in the picture where the man was alone. Being with a beautiful woman smiling at him was quite enough to considerably increase a man's appeal.
The current study backs an earlier research that showed that women were more attracted to married men than bachelors, because being good-looking for someone else makes a person more attractive for others.
According to Dr Little such phenomenon is also noticed in the animal world, where male creatures are considered to be superior than others if they have more mates, reports The Telegraph.
At the same time researchers mentioned that having an attractive friend of the same sex is not a good idea, leading to a so-called "contrast effect", which means that a person would look ugly if he or she has a good-looking partner of the same sex and vice verse. link....

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Researchers Found Fairy Tales to Have Ancient Roots

Recently biologists discovered that the popular fairy tales as well as folk stories are much older than scientists previously thought. Anthropologists carried out a study in which they analyzed the roots of folk tales and draw the relationships between different variants of tales narrated by cultures from around the world.
For their research scientists decided to use the techniques that are usually applied by biologists to make the taxonomic tree of life that illustrates how each species derives from one common ancestor. The cultural anthropologist from the Durham University, Dr. Jamie Tehrani, analyzed 35 variants of the Little Red Riding Hood, told in different parts of the world.

It was discovered that the European version of the tale tells about a girl, who is deceived by a wolf dressed as her granny, while in the Chinese variant a tiger plays the role of the wolf. The Iranian variant features a little boy, because it would be considered odd if the little girl travels alone.

Although it is believed that the tale was written by Charles Perrault in the 17th century in France, the researcher traced the roots of the tale back more than 2,600 years. According to Dr. Tehrani these folk tales registered some changes over time, showing an evolution just like biological organisms. He explains that due to the fact that the tales were not written down for centuries, different generation interpreted stories in their own way, changing the information or adding something new.

"By looking at how these folk tales have spread and changed it tells us something about human psychology and what sort of things we find memorable,"
says the researcher. Dr. Tehrani mentioned that up till now the oldest tales they found is an Aesopic fable that dates back to the 6th century BC. He managed to find 70 variables in plot and characters among various versions of Little Red Riding Hood. It is believed that the original precursor of the tale is similar to the tale The Wolf and the Kids. In the story a wolf tries to trick young goats by pretending to be a nanny goat to be able to enter their house. You can find more interesting facts here at - please check the links at the bottom of the story.

The closest variants to the European version of the tale are those told in Iran and Nigeria. Professor Jack Zipes, a former professor of German at the University of Minnesota who is also a specialist in fairy tales and their origins, considers that folk tales might have helped people convey tips for survival to other generations, reports The Telegraph.

"Little Red Riding Hood is about violation or rape, and I suspect that humans were just as violent in 600BC as they are today, so they will have exchanged tales about all types of violent acts,"
he said. Professor Zipes also mentioned that he attempted to show that stories appropriate to our adaptation to the environment are persist in our brains and that time after time people use these tales for all sorts of reference points. link.....

List of Computer Viruses from 2000 Onward

In the 21st century the number of computer viruses considerably increased. Our computer virus list features descriptions of a large number of dangerous computer viruses, worms and Trojans that appeared starting with 2000 and till this day.
Inta - 2000

This computer virus was released by the members of an underground group called 29 A. As soon as the virus was released, it attacked Windows 2000 files even before the software giant, Microsoft, managed to announce the commercial version of its OS. Inta was the first computer virus to infect Windows 2000.

LoveLetter - 2000

This script virus caused a real pandemic on May 5, 2000. Most users were unaware of the fact that VBS and TXT files could cause harm, but they did, being infected with this dangerous virus. As soon as the virus is uploaded, it destroys numerous files and then sends itself to everyone in the MS Outlook contact list.

Timofonica - first cellular virus - 2000

For the first time the Timofonica virus was spotted on June 6, 2000. It was the first mobile phone virus. Besides being able to spread through email, the virus also sent messages to different mobile phones that were in the MoviStar cellular network, owned by Telefonica, global telecommunications giant.

Liberty virus - 2000

This computer virus was identified in August. It is considered to be the first Trojan to be able to affect PalmOS of Palm Pilot, which is why it was included in our computer virus list. When the virus was installed on the machine, it deleted files. However, the good news is that the virus could not replicate itself.

Mandragore - 2001

The year 2001 was the one in which instant messaging services registered a significant increase in popularity. Some of them were ICQ and MS Instant Messenger, thus they served as guinea pigs for spreading malicious code. The Internet worm Mandragore used these services to install into the system and copy itself to Windows CurrentUser startup directory as "Gspot.exe" file. Because it was placed in the Startup folder, the worm was automatically run by the operating system on the next Windows startup. Then it ran two background processes, while remaining in Windows memory. The threads displayed two messages:

"I'm Gnutella node, and here is file you are looking for." and "the filename you are looking for" with ".exe" extension, and with worm code in it."

Ramen - 2001

This computer virus managed to affect numerous corporate networks in just a few days. It penetrated NASA, A&M University as well as the Taiwanese hardware vendor Supermicro. Shortly after the launch of the virus, a lot of clones appeared along with a large number of new Linux worms. Ramen was a 300K multi-component worm that included 26 files and is the first known computer virus to infect RedHat Linux systems. You can find more information about

Klez - 2002

The Klez worm-virus managed to cause serious trouble in 2002. Initially detected on October 26 it continued to be considered one the most dangerous malware for the next two years. By the end of 2002, about 60 percent of all infections were the result of the Klez virus. Written in Microsoft Visual C++, it spread through the Internet, being attached to emails.

Slapper – 2002

This Internet worm was able to infect computers that run on Linux. The virus' source was about 68.4KB in size. Not only did it infect computer, it also managed to spread further, being able to act as a backdoor on the infected machine. Thus it made possible for the attacker to run different commands and start Denial-of-Service attacks by taking advantage of a distributed network maintained between the infected computers.

Lentin (aka Yaha) - 2002

Just like Klez this computer virus spread over the Internet being attacked to infected emails. It represents a mass-mailing worm that initially looks for emails in Windows Address Book, MSN, .NET messenger cache folders as well as HTM(L) files. It was able to spread with the help of a 'VALENTIN.SCR' file attached to a message that read:
  • Subject 1:
  • Melt the Heart of your Valentine with this beautiful Screen saver
  • Body 1:
  • This e-mail is never sent unsolicited. If you need to unsubscribe, follow the instructions at the bottom of the message.
Slammer - 2003
This Internet worm features in our computer virus list because it is the first fileless worm. Slammer was able to spread by taking advantage of the vulnerability found in the SQL Server. It fully showed the abilities of a flash-worm. The worm caused a denial of service on several Internet hosts and considerably slowed down the overall Internet traffic. The computer virus managed to infect about 75,000 computers in just 10 minutes.

Lovesan – 2003

This computer worm for the first time appeared in August 2003, showing the vulnerability of Windows. Lovesan took advantage of the vulnerability of the operating system in order to replicate itself - a technique similar that used by the Slammer. The virus downloads and the tries to run a file called msblast.exe. In addition, the user receives the following message:
  • "I just want to say LOVE YOU SAN!!
  • billy gates why do you make this possible? Stop making money and fix your software!!"
Mimail - 2003
This computer worm used the newest vulnerability in Internet Explorer in order to activate itself. It is worth mentioning that the vulnerability made it possible for the worm to extract the binary code from HTML files and the execute it. For the first time Minmail was used in Russia.

Zotob - 2005

This computer virus was launched on August 14, 2005. It used the Plug and Play (PnP) vulnerabilities, thus making big problems on the system. When Zotob infects a machine, it slows it down, causing the computer to repeatedly crash and reboot. Infected computers running Windows 2000 were left exposed to additional attacks, while those that run Windows XP only spread the worms.

Strorm - 2007

This computer virus holds a special place in our computer virus list. For the first time Storm was spotted at the beginning of 2007. It hid in email attachments that had the following title line: "230 dead as storm batters Europe." Users that opened the attachment let the virus in and their machines joined an ever-growing botnet. Security experts spread in opinions regarding the number of computers that were infected with this computer virus: some say that the number reached 10 million, while others claim that between a few thousand and about 1 million computers were infected. Computers infected with Storm virus could be used to launch millions of spam emails that would advertise Web links, and if someone clicked those links, they would download the computer virus on their machine. The Storm botnet was able to attack the online operations carried out by security vendors and analysts who tried to investigate the computer virus. The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation believes that Storm represents a major treat to increased bank fraud, identity theft, and a number of other cybercrimes.

The Conficker - 2008

This is a computer worm that for the first time was spotted in November 2008. Besides infecting the user's computer, the worm spreads to other machines throughout the network automatically. It managed to affects the computers of the French Navy, UK Ministry of Defense, Sheffield Hospital, German Bundeswehr as well as Norwegian Police. Microsoft decided to give away $250,000 for valuable information that could help capture the developer of Conficker.

W32.Dozer - 2009

Detected this year, the computer worm can load malicious files onto the infected machine. It was developed to delete information on infected computers and prevent them from being rebooted.

Other viruses that appeared during this period of time include:

Dilber,CIH, SK, Bolzano, Jer, Stream, Fable, Pirus, Hybris;

CodeRed, Nimda, Aliz, BadtransII, Magistr, SirCam, California.IBM, Girl Thing;

LFM, Donut, Tanatos (aka Bugbear), Thus, TheSecond, Marker, Flop, Elkern, CIH, FunLove, Spaces;

Ganda, Avron, Sobig, Tanatos.b, I-Worm.Swen, Backdoor.Agobot, Afcore;

Witty worm, Nuclear RAT, Vundo, Bitfrost, Santy, Stratio-Zip, Netsky-D and MyDoom-O;

Samy XSS, Zlob Trojan, Bandook;

OSX/Leap-A, Stration (a.k.a. Warezov);

MacSweeper, Sinowal (a.k.a. Mebroot), The Koobface. link.....

Titanic Themed Boutique Hotel to Be Built in Belfast

Recently it has been revealed that there are plans to build a Titanic-themed 5-star boutique hotel in Belfast. The 90-bedroom hotel will replace the old Harland and Wolff HQ of Belfast shipyard, the place where the famous and unfortunate giant ship was created.

Those, who look forward to visit the hotel, will have the possibility to enjoy the same luxury atmosphere that featured on Titanic before the accident.

"Given the enormous global interest in the Titanic and the building's close association with the ship, such a hotel will add to the Northern Ireland tourist experience," stated a spokesman for Titanic Quarter developers.

To build the shipyard's Titanic Quarter for commercial, residential and educational purposes, hundreds of millions of dollars will be required, reports Daily Mail. It is worth mentioning that the hotel would represent a part of the centerpiece Titanic Signature Project that aims towards bringing to life the history of the area. Find more interesting information here at - please consider checking the links at the bottom of the story.

During the construction, the Thompson Dock will be restored. In addition, there are plans to restore the slipways where the historical ship and sister ship Olympic were constructed. The main attraction for tourists will be the GBP90 million Titanic Signature building, which will stand at the head of the Titanic slipway. It is expected that the Titanic Signature Project will attract around 400,000 visitors a year. link....

Spacecraft That Would Divert Asteroids from Earth

The latest invention of British engineers is a "gravity tractor" spacecraft that would redirect any asteroid that possesses threat for our planet. Currently the engineers are working on the design of their latest invention for a space company based in Stevenage in England. The plan to create the "gravity tractor" spacecraft was announced weeks after astronomers identified a scar on Jupiter that is believed to have appeared as a result of an Earth-size asteroid collision.
Although the chances that Earth will be hit by a huge asteroid are rather small, researchers consider the collision is inevitable. Dr Ralph Cordey, who leads a team of scientists and is the head of exploration and business at EADS Astrium, a British space company, together with his colleagues managed to design a 10-ton spacecraft that is 100 feet long.

It is expected that the spacecraft will be launched as soon as astronomers identify an asteroid that heads towards Earth. The device would fly alongside the asteroid at about 160 feet away. The "gravity tractor" spacecraft will be able to divert an asteroid of up to 430 yards (393 meters) in diameter. Scientists consider that if the asteroid of such size hits the planet, the impact would discharge 100,000 times the energy of the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima at the end of the Second World War.

Researchers' latest invention is designed with the goal of attracting asteroids towards itself using a small gravitation force on the cosmic object. Then the spacecraft would guide the asteroid away from the planet. Four low-energy ion thrusters would be used to help the spacecraft adjust its arrangement relative to the asteroid. The latter's gravitational pull would be quite enough to move the cosmic object into a less dangerous orbit. You can find more information about space and space projects here at - check the links at the bottom of the story.

It would take several years to move the asteroid away from Earth. The spacecraft will be able to change the trajectory of the asteroid by just a fraction of an inch in 15 years. However, researchers say this would be enough to divert the rock. Engineers would have to launch their latest invention 20 years prior to the expected collision, reports With the technologies available today it would be possible to create the gravity tractor rather quickly, says the design team. Up till now the team has been working out details of the mission. Before creating the spacecraft a number of international agreements would need to be signed. link....

List of Computer Viruses Developed in 1990s

The 1990s marked a great evolution of computer viruses, especially those that were created to infect Windows OS files. Below you will find a computer virus list that includes viruses created during the 1990s.
Chameleon polymorphic computer virus - 1991

First in the computer virus list are the first polymorphic viruses that appeared at the beginning of the last decade of the 20th century. The world faced a true problem associated with these viruses in April 1991. A real epidemic around the globe was caused in particular by the Tequila virus. Another popular polymorphic virus was the Chameleon. This computer virus was also known as V2P1, V2P2, and V2P6. After its appearance the developers of anti-virus programs
were forced to search for other methods of virus detection. Here are some of the polymorphic viruses that appeared in this period: Bootache, CivilWar, Crusher, Dudley, Fly, Freddy, Ginger, Grog, Haifa, Moctezuma, MVF, Necros, Nukehard, PcFly, Predator, Satanbug, Sandra, Shoker, Todor, Tremor, Trigger and Uruguay.
Dedicated computer virus - 1992

The Dedicated virus appeared in 1992 and represented an encrypted computer virus that takes advantage of stealth techniques in order to avoid being spotted. It infected .COM files and that includes command. Com. As soon as the computer virus is loaded into memory (whenever an infected program is executed) it causes damage to the machine's runtime operation and affects program files.

Shifter, SrcVir and OneHalf - 1994

These three computer viruses appeared in 1994. The first one was the Shifter, computer virus that was able to infect object modules (OBJ files). In April the world witnessed the appearance of SrcVir that infected program source code (C and Pascal). June 1994 saw the introduction of OneHalf, considered to be one of the most dangerous computer viruses in Russia.

The Concept Virus - 1995

For the first time Concept was identified in August 1995, when Microsoft launched its popular operating system Windows 95. The computer virus was able to infect Word files and as long as the user used Microsoft Office application, the virus would work on an IBM PC or a Macintosh. The appearance of the Concept virus marked a turning point in the history of computer viruses and anti-viruses since it was the first "alive" virus for MS Word. In just a few month the computer virus infected a high number of machines around the globe that had MS Word installed.

Laroux computer virus - 1996

This virus was spotted in August 1996. It infected Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and just like in the case of the Concept, described previously in our computer virus list, the Laroux virus was identified almost simultaneously by a number of companies. The Laroux computer virus affected the files of Excel 5 and Excel for Microsoft's Windows 95.

Win.Tentacle - 1996

This computer virus caused the first Windows 3.x virus epidemic. It managed to infect a computer network in a hospital and in a number of other institutions located in France. The virus infected Windows 16 bit executable files. After staying in memory for some time it infected other Windows files. It was also noticed that the virus infected files with GIF extension.

W32.HLLP.DeTroie - 1998

Just like most of viruses described in our computer virus list, this one led to a real epidemic. Besides being able to infect Windows32 executed files, W32.HLLP.DeTroie could also convey to its "owner" the data stored on the infected machine. Due to the fact that the virus and some of its variants employed particular libraries that were attached only to the French version of Windows, only computers of the French speaking nations were affected. The virus was written in Delphi and it also had a backdoor capability, allowing the "owner" to access the infected system.

Happy99 computer virus - 1999

January of 1999 marked the beginning of the global epidemic of the Happy99 computer virus. As a matter of fact, Happy99 represented the first worm as we know it today, thus leading to a new chapter in the history of malware evolution. The virus used MS Outlook, which by that time had already been widely used by both European and American users. Although the virus appeared ten years ago, till nowadays it is considered to be one of the most widespread dangerous programs. You can find more information on computer viruses here at, please consider checking the links at the bottom of the story.

New computer viruses with highly unusual methods of infection

During the 1990s, a lot of new computer viruses started using highly unusual methods of infecting various files, loading into the computer system and more. Some of them include: PMBS, Strange (aka Hmm), Shadowgard, Carbunkle, Emmie, Metallica, Bomber, Uruguay and Cruncher.

Our computer virus list ends with several other viruses developed during the 1990s, these are: link....
  • 1990: Murphy, Nomenclatura, Beast;
  • 1991: Dir_II, Tequila;
  • 1992: Win.Vir_1_4, Michelangelo (a.k.a. March6);
  • 1994: SMEG.Pathogen, SMEG.Queeg;
  • 1995: NightFall, Nostardamus, Nutcracker, ByWay, DieHard2;
  • 1996: Win95.Punch, Laroux, OS2.AEP, Zhengxi, Win95.Boza;
  • 1997: Esperanto, Homer, ShareFun, Linux.Bliss;
  • 1998: Win95.CIH, RedTeam, Cross, AccessiV, Win95.HPS, Win95.Marburg, Excel4.Paix;
  • 1999: GaLaDRieL, ExploreZip, Toadie (a.k.a. Termite), Bubbleboy, KakWorm, FunLove, Vecna.