WikiLeaks “Cyberwar” Nonsense from “Security Experts” Who Don’t Understand 4chan or Anonymous

I find it funny how the mainstream security community takes Anonymous so seriously because it doesn’t understand it. See this recent CNN article, for instance.

Anonymous did not only “start” with 4chan, Anonymous still easily can be regarded as the cyber army of 4chan and its immediate network. Its not as shadowy, distributed, or effective as it’s always made out to be. It really is mostly a bunch of children, and though a bunch of children should not be underestimated, their greatest power is quantity, not quality. The group is easily distracted and needs plenty of morale to keep going. Ideologically, it is fragile. It is more dependent on the directions of central figures than commonly thought.

The security experts being asked for commentary (Bruce Schneier, again and again) do not understand the group. Because he is relatively clueless about it, he just makes general comments on cyberwar which are only tangentially relevant to the current …

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The More We Talk, the Less We Might Agree: Study Shows Discussion Can Hurt Consensus-Building on Science/Technology

From Nanowerk News:

When it comes to public issues pertaining to science and technology, “talking it out” doesn’t seem to work. A new study from North Carolina State University shows that the more people discuss the risks and benefits associated with scientific endeavors, the more entrenched they become in their viewpoint — and the less likely they are to see the merit of other viewpoints.

“This research highlights the difficulty facing state and federal policy leaders when it comes to high-profile science and technology issues, such as stem cell research or global warming,” says Dr. Andrew Binder, an assistant professor of communication at NC State and lead author of the study. “Government agencies view research on these issues as vital and necessary for the country’s future, but building public consensus for that research is becoming increasingly difficult.”

The researchers set out to see how people talk about risks associated with unfamiliar science and technology issues, Binder explains. “Most people, when faced with an issue related to science and technology, adopt an initial position …

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University of Michigan Researchers Use Capillary Action to Create Beautiful Shapes Out of Carbon Nanotubes

From Nanowerk News:

Twisting spires, concentric rings, and gracefully bending petals are a few of the new three-dimensional shapes that University of Michigan engineers can make from carbon nanotubes using a new manufacturing process.

The process is called “capillary forming,” and it takes advantage of capillary action, the phenomenon at work when liquids seem to defy gravity and travel up a drinking straw of their own accord.

The new miniature shapes, which are difficult if not impossible to build using any material, have the potential to harness the exceptional mechanical, thermal, electrical, and chemical properties of carbon nanotubes in a scalable fashion, said A. John Hart, an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and in the School of Art & Design.

They could lead to probes that can interface with individual cells and tissues, novel microfluidic devices, and new materials with a custom patchwork of surface textures and properties.

A paper on the research is published in the October edition of Advanced Materials, and is featured on the cover.

“It’s …

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Link Assortment 10/29/10

Raising giant insects of unravel ancient oxygen The electronics for smart implants SENS Foundation post on how resveratrol does not extend lifespan Brian Wang reports on Zyvex progress in nanotechnology How 3-D printing is transforming the toy industry “Skin printer” could help heal battlefield wounds Self-assembly revolutionizes metamaterial manufacture Transgenic worms make tough fibers Magnetic test reveals hyperactive brain network responsible for involuntary flashbacks

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Assorted Links 10/10/10

Anders Sandberg: What did you learn about the singularity today? BBC News — Smart specs unite world and data First-Ever Immersive Tech Summit to Convene in LA How to better understand and participate on Less Wrong Neurons cast votes to guide decision-making Salk Institute finds neural code used by the retina to relay color information to the brain Tiny generators turn waste heat into power Nanotechnology …

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Nanowerk Links Selection 9/10/10

Nanowerk always has interesting news items closely related to the subject matter of this blog. Here’s some recent ones.

Gene-silencing nanoparticles may put end to mosquito pest

iGEM team helps prevent rogue use of synthetic biology

Nanotechnology coatings produce 20 times more electricity from sewage

Team designs artificial cells that communicate and cooperate like biological cells

NanoRidge Materials Signs Contract for New Defense Armor

Wear-a-BAN – Unobtrusive wearable human to machine wireless interface

Toward a new generation of superplastics

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Martine Rothblatt in Forbes Magazine

There is a story on Martine Rothblatt, a prominent transhumanist, in the most recent issue of Forbes magazine. It tells the story of how Martine transitioned from being a satellite company executive to a pharmaceutical executive to save her daughter from a rare disease.

Some of you may recall my liveblogging coverage from the 3rd annual Terasem Colloquium on the Law of Transbeman Persons and the 4th annual Terasem Colloquium on the Law of Futuristic Persons, which were hosted in Satellite Beach, Florida, by Martine and her wife Bina. These intimate gatherings gave me the opportunity to speak one-on-one with memorable characters such as Wendell Wallach, Marvin Minsky, and many others.

H/t to Robert Freitas for the link.

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Shiny Robot Bodies, Sentient Devices, “Immortality Pills”, Immersive Holodecks, Desktop Nanofactories, Etc.

My recent post on how the popular zeitgeist has already embraced transhumanism provoked responses from transhumanist Giulio Prisco and anti-transhumanist Dale Carrico, a lecturer at UC Berkeley. Carrico writes:

In something of a surprise move, Singularitarian Transhumanist Robot Cultist Michael Anissimov has declared victory. Apparently, the superlative futurologists have “won.” The Robot Cult, it would seem, has prevailed over the ends of the earth.

Usually, when palpable losers declare victory in this manner, the declaration is followed by an exit, either graceful or grumbling, from the stage. But I suspect we will not be so lucky when it comes to Anissimov and his fellow victorious would-be techno-transcendentalizers.

Neither can we expect them “to take their toys and go home,” as is usual in such scenes. After all, none of their toys — none of their shiny robot bodies, none of their sentient devices, none of their immortality pills, none of their immersive holodecks, none of their desktop nanofactories, none of their utility fogs, none …

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Seasteading Institute Engineering Assessment (Part 1) Released

You can get it on their research page or download the pdf directly. From the preface:

This document is a high-level analysis of the engineering challenges involved in homesteading the high seas. The aim is not to provide a detailed design of a specific seastead, but rather to find answers to general questions, such as the cost per unit area of functional real estate.

H/t to the Seasteading Institute blog for the news.

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The Power of Self-Replication

How can a small group of people have a big impact on the world? Develop a machine or service that is self-replicating or self-amplifying.

In a mundane way, artifacts such as iPhones and even shovels engage in human-catalyzed self-replication. People see them, then want them, then offer their money for them (or build them themselves, in a few cases), which provides the economic juice necessary to increase production and maintain the infrastructure necessary for that self-replication, like the Apple Store.

Self-replication can be relatively easy as long as the substrate is designed to contain components not much less complex than the finished product. For instance, the self-replicating robot built at Cornell self-replicates not from scratch, but rather from a set of pre-engineered blocks not much simpler than the robot itself. Using a hierarchy of such self-replicators, where each step is relatively simple but results in the creation of more complex components used in the next stage of self-replication, could provide a bootstrappable pathway to self-replicating infrastructures. Such a scheme also makes recycling …

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