Gongol.com Archives: August 2010
Brian Gongol

August 18, 2010

Computers and the Internet Your password is too short
Passwords are supposed to protect our security by keeping unwanted intruders out of our online profiles. But here's the problem: As computers get faster, those passwords become less secure. The computers that incredible graphics (making possible animated films like Toy Story 3) are downscaled in order to produce smooth graphics on personal computers, too. And they produce those graphics by making lots of calculations swiftly. That also means that they can generate long lists of fake passwords swiftly, too -- making it possible for them to run brute-force attacks against password-protected websites and computer systems, relying only upon their ability to generate lots of possible passwords quickly, and nothing more sophisticated than that. Georgia Tech researchers say that anything shorter than 12 characters just isn't long enough.

Business and Finance GM files for an IPO
The company, which received a $50 billion bailout from the Treasury Department after declaring bankruptcy last year, will be selling itself to shareholders again. Shareholders in the previous edition of General Motors? Screwed. Bondholders from the previous version of GM? Also screwed.

Aviation News Stealth UAVs coming soon to a theater of war near you
The government is encouraging airplane and UAV manufacturers to look at including stealth technology in their next generation of unmanned aircraft. Great news for the theater of war. Terrible news if any evildoers get their hands on the technology and use it against a civilian population for terrorism.

Computers and the Internet Celebrity plastic surgeon killed by texting-while-driving
A friend says he was posting something on Twitter while driving -- just before he crashed off a cliff

Health Do yourself a favor: Take two minutes for a self-exam today
Take a minute or two and conduct some basic self-screenings for cancer. Early detection saves lives. There's lots of misinformation about cancer that finds its way around the Internet, largely because we've been trained to wait expectantly for some sort of magic-bullet solution to cancer. But cancer risks can be significantly reduced through a balanced diet, exercise, and early detection and treatment. Meanwhile, science is making great progress towards improving genetic detection, which holds great promise for some types of cancer. Instead of forwarding hoax-ridden e-mails about "cancer cures" and false threats, people should instead remind their friends and family to assess their health once a month.

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