One could argue that 2013 has been the year of NSA revelations, which all began with leaking of classified documents by Edward Snowden. Snowden has leaked information that ranged from the NSA spying on citizens to leaders of foreign countries. One of the more recent leaks by Snowden was the fact that the NSA monitors the porn habits of some Muslim extremists. Even though 2013 is coming to a close, news regarding the NSA is not slowing down. However, this news is not from Snowden, but from the NSA itself. It seems that some top-ranking officials are jumping ship.
There is one thing that most people cannot refute, the world is full of mystery. As the centuries passed and humans became the ultimate thinkers on the planet, the world has become a little less mysterious. We know why the grass is green and the sky is blue. We have figured how to swim like a fish and fly like a bird. Even though our critical thinking skills and our ability to innovate has made the world a little smaller, a little less enigmatic, there are volumes that we do not understand. Especially when it comes to figuring out the customs and knowledge of our ancient forefathers. Much of this has been lost to time and we may never figure it out. A few weeks ago, TSW writer Gabrielle Pickard took a close look at intricate paintings in the Cave of Altamira. Below are five more unexplained mysteries that we may never solve.
It seems that the NSA is using new technology to utilize Cold War spying techniques in an effort to, as the NSA describes it, fight terrorism. The U.S., or any other government for that matter, has a long history of using the sex lives of their enemies against them. Apparently, this holds true in the “fight against terrorism”. Recently, the Huffington Post reported that the NSA is actively tracking the porn habits of individuals that they consider extremists. How does this information benefit the NSA? And, if they are tracking the porn habits of extremists, who else are they tracking?
Every country has its own customs and laws that, to foreigners looking in, may seem crazy and bizarre. This is even more the case regarding countries that are relatively closed to the outside world. With little influence from other countries, the customs and laws of closed countries seem to be more bizarre than the norm. A prime example of this is North Korea. Isolating itself from the world, North Korea has garnered a reputation for peculiarities. Below are five weird facts about North Korea that has some foreigners asking, “Is North Korea crazy? ”
To paraphrase an old public service announcement, do you know where your data is? With the popularity of cloud services such as iCloud, Google Drive, Amazon CloudDrive, and Dropbox on the rise, it is quite difficult to pinpoint where our data is located at any given time. Moreover, it seems that cloud services are common targets of hackers to attempt to gain personal information. These hackers could be individuals or government agencies, in particular, China. In a recent report, the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission warned congress that the Chinese government could target American citizens and businesses that utilize cloud services.
These days, Internet privacy and web security are some of the hottest topics being discussed. Even though many people have voiced, quite loudly I might add, that they are not okay with any government prying into their Internet lives, the experts contend that anything you do online is susceptible to the prying eyes of the government or anyone else with the know-how. It is possible that the NSA has basically exploited nearly all Internet encryption currently available. Some people have gone to great lengths to keep those prying eyes out of their web lives. Some use operating systems geared toward anonymity (such as TAILS) or they surf the web via the TOR network. Others get together and create their own private internets known as meshnets. Unfortunately, though effective, none of these methods are impervious to prying eyes. However, there is one method which is thought to be one of the most powerfully secure methods of Internet communication because it is based on quantum mechanics to obscure data. This method is known as the Quantum Internet and it may become a reality very soon if it is not already in use.
In this modern-day, it is sometimes easy to forget that the global community is still at odds with itself. An example of this is the fact that the history books state that the Cold War is over, but the U.S. and Russia are still quite weary of each other and for good reasons. It was not that long ago, 2010, when the FBI released that Operation Ghost Stories resulted in the arrests of 10 deep-cover Russian spies. Additionally, the Russian government has been fairly vocal about ramping up it surveillance technologies programs. It is these reasons, along with others, that the CIA became wary of the Russian proposal to the U.S. State Department to place dome antennas on American soil in an effort to improve the Russian GPS system.
The Vietnam War has gone down in history as one of the most controversial wars that the United States has ever participated in. The war took the lives of 58,220 Americans and more than 700,000 South Vietnamese (civilian and military) people. The Vietnam War became a war of attrition for the U.S. So much so, that the U.S turned to fringe science research, such as Project Popeye and the Psy-OP mission to give them an edge, or at the very least a fighting chance. However, neither of these missions, or many others, provided the help needed and the Americans were forced to withdraw their troops. This withdrawal ultimately led to the Communist rise to power in Vietnam and the annexation of South Vietnam into the country. As far as a win-loss record, the Vietnam War goes down as a loss for America and a win for North Vietnam. Yet, is the Vietnam War such a black and white subject? Once we take a step back and look a bit closer, you will be surprised at the answer.
Companies and governments spend billions of dollars a year on stealth technologies. From that research, technologies such as electronic stealth tanks and infrared invisibility cloaks are derived. However, South Korea is taking stealth technology to the next level by planning a tower that will be 1,476 feet tall (sixth tallest in the world) and invisible! However, many are wondering if the invisible skyscraper, known as the Infinity Tower, will even be possible to construct. Oddly enough, the answer is “yes” and the technique is surprisingly simple.
As the Sun nears the peak of its Solar Maximum, there is a heightened chance that the Earth will become the victim of increased solar flares. These predictions have been made and adjusted since April when scientists confirmed that the Sun was experiencing what is known as a double-humped solar maximum. However, we are well out of the quiet period of the double-hump and have been experiencing an increasing number of solar flares. So much so, that the NOAA/Space Weather Prediction Center has issued a Space Weather alert stating that these solar flares could impact some power grids on Earth.