Updated: 5/16/2006; 11:33:20 AM.

Ken Novak's Weblog
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daily link  Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Phishing attacks up 50% in January: "Attempted email fraud and phishing attacks went up 50% in January compared to the month before. There were an average of 5.7 new and unique phishing attacks each day in January, according to research by the Anti-Phishing Working Group. There were 176 unique attacks in January, of which only 13.6% were 'repeats'. eBay was the most targeted company with 51 different emails purporting to come from the online auction house. Citibank and AOL were next with 35 and 34 attacks each. Financial services account for 40% of attacks; 34% appear to come from retailers; and 24% from ISPs"  9:30:58 PM  permalink  

Ecard-hijack spam: Anatomy of an e-scam.  A spam sent widely invites users to visit a supposed greeting card site. Once there, security holes in IE are exploited to cause many strange things to happen as a smokescreen.  Then, "this program attempts to hijack the user's personal login information as they log in to various popular Internet banking services."  Great detective work -- by a high school student.  9:27:18 PM  permalink  

Konarka gets DARPA contract: "DARPA contract in excess of $6 million for basic research in developing new materials for hybrid photovoltaic cells. Konarka will lead a consortium of academic and national laboratories to develop new materials for hybrid photovoltaics. Konarka will manage the contract and will share the award over five years with research and development partners including: Arizona State University; National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL); University of Delaware; University of Massachusetts, Lowell; and U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center in Natick, MA.

Hybrid cells are at the intersection of dye-sensitized cells developed by Dr. Michael Graetzel, and polymer cells developed by Dr. Alan Heeger. .. The hybrid cells will incorporate unique forms of polymers and semiconductors in the cellsí active layers."

  9:13:39 AM  permalink  

More details on the ethanol-hydrogen converter:  Ethanol feedstocks like corn "would yield three times as much power if its energy were channeled into hydrogen fuel cells rather than burned along with gasoline.. [This] is due in large part to the need to remove all the water from ethanol before it can be put in an automobile gas tank-and the last drops of water are the hardest to remove. But the new process doesn't require pure ethanol; in fact, it strips hydrogen from both ethanol and water, yielding a hydrogen bonus.

The invention rests on two innovations: a catalyst based on the metals rhodium and ceria, and an automotive fuel injector that vaporizes and mixes the ethanol-water fuel. The vaporized fuel mixture is injected into a tube that contains a porous plug made from rhodium and ceria. The fuel mixture passes through the plug and emerges as a mixture of hydrogen, carbon dioxide and minor products. The reaction takes only 50 milliseconds and eliminates the flames and soot that commonly accompany ethanol combustion.

In a typical ethanol-water fuel mixture, one could ideally get five molecules of hydrogen for each molecule of ethanol. Reacting ethanol alone would yield three hydrogen molecules. So far, the Schmidt team has harvested four hydrogen molecules per ethanol molecule. "

  9:09:03 AM  permalink  

Seeing how plants split water: "Reporting online in the journal Science today Imperial researchers reveal the fine detail of the protein complex that drives photosynthesis..

Photosynthesis occurs in plants, some bacteria and algae and involves two protein complexes, photosystem I, and photosystem II - which contains the water-splitting center. While previous models of PSII function have sketched out a picture of how the water splitting center might be organized, the Imperial team were able to reveal the structure of the centre at a resolution of 3.5 angstroms (or one hundred millionth of a centimetre) in the cyanobacterium, Thermosynechococcus elongatus by combining the expertise of Professor So Iwata in solving protein structures and Professor Jim Barber in the photosynthetic process.

"Results by other groups, including those obtained using lower resolution X-ray crystallography at 3.7 angstroms have shown that the splitting of water occurs at a catalytic center that consists of four manganese atoms (Mn)," explains Professor So Iwata of Imperial's Department of Biological Sciences. "We've taken this further by showing that three of the manganese atoms, a calcium atom and four oxygen atoms form a cube like structure, which brings stability to the catalytic center. The forth and most reactive manganese atom is attached to one of the oxygen atoms of the cube. Together this arrangement gives strong hints about the water-splitting chemistry.

"Our structure also reveals the position of key amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, which provide a details of how cofactors are recruited into the reaction centre," Barber said. "PSII is truly the 'engine of life' and it has been a major challenge of modern science to understand how it works. Manufacturing hydrogen from water using the photosynthetic method would be far more efficient than using electrolysis"

  9:01:44 AM  permalink  

Russian missiles in bad shape: "A Russian ballistic missile has failed to fire for the second time in as many days during military exercises attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin.  In the latest incident the missile, fired from submarine Karelia, was blown up by its automatic safety system, after veering from its flight path. Two test launches were scrapped [before launch] on Tuesday because of "malfunctions".  [There had been an] announcement at the start of exercises last week that the high point would be the launch of intercontinental ballistic missiles to hit targets on the Kamchatka peninsula, 5,000 kms away. "  8:44:14 AM  permalink  


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Copyright 2006 © Ken Novak.
Last update: 5/16/2006; 11:33:20 AM.