Showing posts with label Skype. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Skype. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Geo-Engineering for a Tailor-Made Planet

Written by Michelle Bennett

Geo-Engineering is “the deliberate modification of Earth’s environment on a large scale “to suit human needs and promote habitability”‘ (via Wikipedia). Until recently it was the stuff of science fiction, a god-like power regulated to unseen aliens or super-futuristic societies. Occasionally planetary catastrophe also ensued.

Yet with climate change and global warming sparking alarm across the globe, some scientists have started to explore the possibility of altering the natural environment on a global scale. Several strategies are outlined below:

There are other proposed methods, of course, so consider these as an introduction only. It’s important to note that geo-engineering scientists do not propose this as solutions to global warming, but as emergency measures to avert large-scale human suffering. The only reason it has been suggested that we consider implementing these strategies in the near future is because, in the view of Dr. Paul Crutzen, “there is little reason to be optimistic.” He was referring to current international political efforts to reduce greenhouse gasses.

Of course there is controversy and plenty of people who disagree with implementing geo-engineering. Scientifically, there’s the problem of data; we simply don’t know enough about these huge natural systems to safely manipulate them. There’s also the consequences we are certain about: in most cases, the benefits and detrimental effects will be unevenly distributed across the planet. While one part of the world prospers under cooler climes, another would have their problems compounded.

Who can make that decision? What are the ethics? What would be the social, economic, and cultural implications of upheaval, conflict, and/or refugees in the areas that benefit? Even if we do manage to (partially) improve the weather, the social impact across the globe could negate the benefits. Geo-engineering (but not necessarily geo-engineers) assumes that humans being can and should manipulate the planet to improve their lot, but many people have pointed out that we must still change our habits and lifestyles regardless. Whether we attempt geo-engineering or not, we must still invest in renewable resources.

Geo-engineers propose this as an “emergency only” measure, but in my opinion, using it with even the best intentions could set a dangerous precedent. Global warming is an unintended form of geo-engineering; is it wise to fight fire with fire? Is it ethical to combat one “evil” with something slightly “less evil”? Could any nation, organization, or individual with enough money hijack the globe by using, or threatening to use, geo-engineering against the populous?

Technology will play a critical role in combating and adapting to climate change, but at some point we will have to limit ourselves. Where should we draw the line, and who will decide? Many critics of geo-engineering agree that we should spend our energy and resources on a solution to the problem, not just to treat the symptoms. There is no fast or simple fix; if we intend to live well for the long haul, we’ll just have to adapt to the limitation of our planet - or expand onto another.

What do you think? Take part in a discussion on our Green Options forum
(Tropical Storm Nargis courtesy of NASA)

Friday, May 23, 2008

Ban on Plastic Bags Broadened in San Francisco

by Ashley Schiller on May 22nd, 2008



Post a comment San Francisco’s unique plastic bag ban extended Tuesday to include pharmacies operating five or more locations in the city, according to NBC.

The ordinance went into effect in November, first banning grocery stores from giving customers non-biodegradable plastic bags. The stores must use recyclable paper bags, reusable bags, or bio-plastic bags made of corn or potato starch.

Now the ban also applies to multiple-location pharmacies such as Walgreens, Longs and Rite Aid.

According to the article, San Francisco’s ban is the first of its kind in the country.

To learn where you can recycle plastic bags in your area, use Earth 911’s recycling locator.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Searching for Videos on Skype?


Robert McMillan, IDG News Service Fri Jan 18, 9:10 AM ET

A programming error in eBay's Skype communications software could give cyber-criminals a new way to sneak their malicious software onto a victim's PC.

The flaw, which was reported Thursday by security researcher Aviv Raff, has to do with the way that Skype makes use of a Windows Internet Explorer component to render HTML. Because Skype does not apply strict security controls to the software, an attacker could run scripting code on the victim's system in a dangerous fashion and ultimately install malicious software.
The problem is that Skype runs the IE component with the less locked-down "Local Zone" security setting. Because of this attackers are able to do "all sorts of things... [such as] reading/writing files from the local disc and launching executables," wrote security researcher Petko Petkov, in a Thursday blog post about the issue.

For an attack to work, the bad guys would first need to find a trustworthy Web site that contained a common programming flaw called a cross-zone scripting error. This bug would give them a way to trick Skype into running their malicious script as if it came from a trusted Web site.

In a video posted to his blog, Raff showed how a cross-zone scripting flaw on the Dailymotion.com Web site could be exploited to launch the calculator program in Windows, using Skype's "Add video to chat" feature.

"The user simply needs to visit DailyMotion via Skype's 'Add video to chat' button and stumble upon a move which contains the cross-site scripting vector," Petkov wrote.
Worse, attackers could flood the site with maliciously encoded advertisements in order to boost their likelihood of infecting a victim, he said. "This type of attack is very easy to pull and it requires almost zero preparation."

The flaw affects the latest version of Skype-- version 3.6.0.244-- Raff said. Older versions of the software may also be at risk. "Until the Skype guys fix this vulnerability, I recommend that you stop searching for videos in Skype," he wrote.

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