November 2007

Cassidy Deline, The Stanford Daily, reports:

Ever since BIC pens worth pennies have proved capable of defeating expensive, steel bike locks, campus cyclists have worried about the safety of their bikes. [Ed: What about the bomb?]

Google Maps image of downtown chi town; Nov. 2007.
If this were an actual picture of Chicago, at least one of these buildings would really have to be leaning.

British nukes were protected by bike locks
How to arm a atomic bomb

Meirion Jones, Newsnight producer, reports:

Newsnight has discovered that until the early days of the Blair government the RAF’s nuclear bombs were armed by turning a bicycle lock key.

There was no other security on the Bomb itself.

While American and Russian weapons were protected by tamper-proof combination locks which could only be released if the correct code was transmitted, Britain relied on a simpler technology.


Cool apps that surprise and delight mobile users, built by developers like you, will be a huge part of the Android vision. To support you in your efforts, Google has launched the , which will provide $10 million in awards — no strings attached — for great mobile apps built on the Android platform.

In CRYPTO-GRAM, Bruce Schneier, reports:

We’ve opened up a new front on the war on terror. It’s an attack on the
unique, the unorthodox, the unexpected; it’s a war on different. If you
act different, you might find yourself investigated, questioned, and
even arrested — even if you did nothing wrong, and had no intention of
doing anything wrong. The problem is a combination of citizen informants
and a CYA attitude among police that results in a knee-jerk escalation
of reported threats.

This isn’t the way counterterrorism is supposed to work, but it’s
happening everywhere. It’s a result of our relentless campaign to
convince ordinary citizens that they’re the front line of terrorism
defense. “If you see something, say something” is how the ads read in
the New York City subways. “If you suspect something, report it” urges
another ad campaign in Manchester, UK. The Michigan State Police have a
seven-minute video. Administration officials from then-attorney general
John Ashcroft to DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff to President Bush have
asked us all to report any suspicious activity.

The problem is that ordinary citizens don’t know what a real terrorist
threat looks like. They can’t tell the difference between a bomb and a
tape dispenser, electronic name badge, CD player, bat detector, or trash
sculpture; or the difference between terrorist plotters and imams,
musicians, or architects. All they know is that something makes them
uneasy, usually based on fear, media hype, or just something being

Plasma Antenna
This prototype plasma antenna is stealthy, versatile, and jam-resistant. Credit: T. R. Anderson and I. Alexeff

Scientific blogging, via /., reports:

A new antenna made of plasma (a gas heated to the point that the electrons are ripped free of atoms and molecules) works just like conventional metal antennas, except that it vanishes when you turn it off.

That’s important on the battlefield and in other applications where antennas need to be kept out of sight. In addition, unlike metal antennas, the electrical characteristics of a plasma antenna can be rapidly adjusted to counteract signal jamming attempts.