Shoring up Tor: Researchers mount successful attacks against popular anonymity network — and show how to prevent them

With 2.5 million daily users, the Tor network is the world’s most popular system for protecting Internet users’ anonymity. Researchers have now demonstrated a vulnerability in Tor’s design. They show that an adversary could infer a hidden server’s location, or the source of the information reaching a given Tor user, by analyzing the traffic patterns of encrypted data passing through a single computer in the all-volunteer Tor network. —> Read More

Dense star clusters shown to be binary black hole factories

The merger of two black holes is one of the most sought-after observations of modern astronomy. The first observatories capable of directly detecting gravitational waves — ripples in the fabric of spacetime predicted by Albert Einstein — will begin observing the universe later this year. When these waves rolling in from space are detected on Earth for the first time, astrophysicists predict astronomers will ‘hear,’ through these waves, five times more colliding black holes than previously expected. —> Read More

Legionnaires’ Disease Kills Two, Sickens 29 In New York City

Two people are dead and 29 others have been sickened after an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in the Bronx, a borough of New York City.

Since July 10, there have been 31 cases in total, according to a statement from the New York City health department, and public health officials encourage all New Yorkers with fever, cough, chills and muscle aches to seek prompt medical attention.

“We are concerned about this unusual increase in Legionnaires’ disease cases in the South Bronx,” Dr. Mary Bassett, Health Commissioner, said in a press release. “We are conducting a swift investigation to determine the source of the outbreak and prevent future cases. I urge anyone with symptoms to seek medical attention right away.”

The health department is testing water from cooling towers in the area to see if that could be the source of the infection. Legionnaires’ disease, a severe form of pneumonia, is caused by the bacterium legionella. It spreads mostly by inhaling the bacteria, according to the Mayo Clinic. Common sources of the bug include spas, hot tubs, hot water tanks, large air-conditioning systems and cooling towers because their plumbing systems are good environments for the bacteria to grow.

Middle aged-people, smokers and those with weakened immune systems are most at risk of developing the disease. Thankfully, the disease does not spread from person to person.

This is the Bronx’s second Legonnaires’ disease outbreak in less than 12 months, notes NBC New York. The disease sickened 12 people between December and January, but no one died.

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American Public Roars After It Gets a Glimpse of International Trophy Hunting of Lions

By Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States

Cecil the lion is dead because Walter Palmer the dentist is a morally deadened human being.

The man traveled clear across the world – from the suburbs of Minneapolis into the pay-to-slay world of Zimbabwe, where dictator Robert Mugabe sells off hunting rights and other natural resources to the highest bidders – for the chance to kill the king of beasts. In this case, the victim was a lion who has been widely photographed and somewhat habituated to a non-threatening human presence in Hwange National Park. The hunt was a “guaranteed kill” arrangement, where Palmer paid about $50,000 to hire professional guides to help him complete the task. The local guides knew exactly what they were doing. In the dark of night, they lure a famed, black-maned lion from an otherwise protected area, with a dead carcass as bait. Palmer then stuck Cecil with an arrow.

Even though he’s used that weapon to kill countless other rare animals all over the globe – from leopards to black bears to Argali sheep – Palmer didn’t deliver a killing shot. He wounded the animal, and because he did it at night, I bet he didn’t have the courage to track the animal at that time. So he waited, while the lion tried to live minute to minute and hour to hour after receiving the stab wound from the arrow. At some point, Walter and the professional guides resumed the chase. It took them nearly two days to find him, and then they apparently shot him with a firearm. The killers then removed a radio collar nestled around his neck – because Cecil was also the object of a study by Oxford researchers. Some reports say they tried to —> Read More

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