SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Lolong is the largest crocodile in captivity no longer.
The 20.24-foot-long (6.17-meter-long) saltwater crocodile died recently at his home in the Bunawan Eco-Park and Research Centre in the Philippines' Bunawan township (map), according to news reports.
In July, Guinness World Records named the behemoth, which was captured alive in September 2011, the largest crocodile in captivity. (See pictures of Lolong's capture.)
The previous captive record-holder was a 17.97-foot-long (5.48-meter-long) Australian-caught saltwater crocodile.
The cause of death is unknown, although a post-mortem may reveal more details, CNN reported.
Biggest Crocodile Boosted Conservation
The giant reptile's death is a loss to crocodile conservation in the country, Philippines' Environment Secretary Ramon Pajeto told CNN affiliate ABS-CBN News.
Indeed, the 2,370-pound (1,075-kilogram) Lolong may have inspired people in the Philippines to "perhaps respect crocodiles a little bit more,"Adam Britton, senior partner of the Australia-based crocodilian research and consulting group Big Gecko, wrote on his blog in June 2012. (See pictures of alligators and crocodiles.)
For instance, in 2011 Philippine Senate introduced a resolution to strengthen laws protecting the saltwater crocodile and the Philippine crocodile, a species deemed critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Lolong will still loom large even after death, however—Paje told ABS-CNN that the reptile will be stuffed and mounted.-www.shfaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – For an industry that's based on math, science and engineering, technology sure spawns a surprising amount of myths.
Some of these myths are amusing or only mildly annoying. A relative might send you a chain email claiming that Microsoft will pay you cash to forward it on. Another rumor surfaces occasionally that Facebook is going to start charging users a subscription fee.
However, clinging to certain myths can cost you time and money. Let's take a closer look at these serial offenders.
1. Macs never get viruses
Last year's outbreak of the malicious Trojan called Flashback infected more than 600,000 Macs. The year before that, the fake anti-virus rogueware known as MacDefender also caused chaos for Mac users.
These high-profile security breaches were a wake-up call for Mac users who believed that Apple computers were immune to the viruses that plague PC users.
Apple once boasted in its ads that Mac users could relax and let the built-in defenses of OS X do all the heavy lifting to safeguard their data. The tech giant has since toned down that message.
Don’t let your purchase of a Mac lull you into a false sense of security. Like PC users, Mac users should make safe browsing and vigilant virus monitoring a top priority.
Download one of the excellent -- and free -- Mac security programs in my Security Center. And keep it up to date!
2. You get what you pay for with software
Even with budget systems available, computers are a sizeable investment. Fortunately, the software you install doesn't have to add to the bill.
Modern computer users are lucky to have a vast and growing library of free, open-source software available. Open-source free software can save you hundreds or thousands of dollars over commercial programs without sacrificing essential features.
LibreOffice and Thunderbird, for example, are free programs that can effectively replace Microsoft Office and Outlook. GIMP is a popular free alternative to Adobe Photoshop.
Free software isn't about all work and no play. VLC is one of the best media players available. It will handle nearly any video or movie format you throw at it, including DVD and Blu-ray.
Click here for a larger list of free software that you'll love.
3. The more megapixels, the better the camera
Many consumers focus too much on megapixel count when buying cameras. A 16MP camera has to be better than a 12MP camera, right?
Not necessarily. Camera sensor quality is as much about physical sensor size as pixel amount.
A large 12MP sensor in a DSLR will produce better photos than a tiny 16MP sensor in a point-and-shoot.
To cram that many pixels onto a small sensor, manufacturers shrink the size of the pixels. Smaller, crowded pixels don't capture light as well as bigger pixels spread across a large sensor. The small sensor struggles to capture the tonal range of bright scenes and generates unwanted noise when used in low light.
Don't get me wrong; megapixels are important. Generally, having more megapixels leads to greater detail in images and allows you to make larger prints.
But the quality of the camera's lens and its on-board image processor is also very important.
The trick to buying a camera is finding one that fits your shooting needs without overspending on technology that you may not need. My Essential Guide to Digital Cameras will help you find the camera that's right for you.
4. Password-protected public Wi-Fi is safe
I'm always urging my listeners to secure their home wireless networks to keep out hackers and criminals. Click here for detailed instructions.
Unfortunately, the same isn't true for public Wi-Fi, such as your neighborhood coffee shop or café, even if it is password-protected.
The point of a password at home is to keep hackers off the network entirely. With public Wi-Fi, hackers can access the network for the price of a cup of coffee.
Once a hacker is on the network, your laptop or mobile gadget is exposed. Any sensitive browsing you do, such as online banking, puts your information at risk of being intercepted.
Some hackers even like to set up their own network with the same name as the coffee shop network. You might think you're connecting to a legitimate business network, but it's really a hacker-controlled network. That makes it even easier for them to steal your information. Even security professionals fall for this tactic!
Be wary about where you go and log in when Web browsing in public. Wait until you get home to do any online banking or shopping, or at least use a cellular connection.
Want some other tips for staying safe on public Wi-Fi? Click here for my 5 simple rules.
5. Always buy new gear
Many shoppers will endure horrific lines to save 10 percent on the latest gadget, yet they shun 20- to 30-percent discounts on refurbished computers and other tech gear. The assumption is that a refurb will be faulty or buggy.
Customers do indeed return products because they didn't work correctly. But sometimes it's just buyer's remorse and the gear is fine. How do you know?
Go with a refurb from a major company. Tech giants like Apple and Dell fix, test and resell their products with the same support and warranty as new products. Apple even gives you a new battery on mobile products.
As long as you buy direct from the manufacturer (or a trusted reseller), and there's a good return policy and warranty in place, there isn't much of a downside to buying refurbished.
In Apple's case, you can even buy an extended warranty for a refurb. Click here to find out whether that's a smart buy.-www.shfaqna.com/English
Source: Fox News
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Talk about a whopper—astronomers have discovered a structure in the universe so large that modern cosmological theory says it should not exist, a new study says. (Also see "Giant 'Blob' Is Largest Thing in Universe .")
Using data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, an international team of researchers has discovered a record-breaking cluster of quasars—young active galaxies—stretching 4 billion light-years across.
"This discovery was very much a surprise, since it does break the cosmological record as the largest structure in the known universe," said study leader Roger Clowes, an astronomer at University of Central Lancashire in England.
For comparison, our own galaxy, the Milky Way, is just a hundred thousand light-years across, while the local supercluster of galaxies in which it's located, the Virgo Cluster, is only a hundred million light-years wide.
Giant Quasar a Head-Scratcher
Astronomers have known for years that quasars can form immense clusters that stretch to more than 700 million light-years across, said Clowes. But the epic size of this group of 73 quasars, sitting about 9 billion light-years away, has left them scratching their heads.
That's because current astrophysical models appear to show that the upper size limit for cosmic structures should be no more than 1.2 billion light years.
"So this represents a challenge to our current understanding and now creates a mystery—rather than solves one," Clowes said. (Also see "Dark Galaxies Discovered—May Be Cosmic 'Missing Links.'")
The titanic structure, known simply as the Large Quasar Group (LQG), also appears to break the rules of a widely accepted cosmological principle, which says that the universe would look pretty much uniform when observed at the largest scales.
"It could mean that our mathematical description of the universe has been oversimplified-and that would represent a serious difficulty and a serious increase in complexity," Clowes said.
Decoding Early-Galaxy Evolution
Significant not only for its record-breaking size, the massive structure could possibly shed light on the evolution of galaxies like our own Milky Way. Quasars, which pump out powerful jets of energy, are among the brightest and most energetic objects from when the universe was still young. They represent an early, but brief, stage in the evolution of most galaxies. (See "Earliest Known Galaxies Spied in Deep Hubble Picture.")
One theory holds that this type of colossal collection of quasars may be precursors to galaxy superclusters in the modern universe—but the exact nature of their connection is still a mystery.
The discovery, a prime target for computer modeling, also needs to be mapped out more thoroughly with telescopes, said Gerard Williger, an astronomer at the University of Louisville in Kentucky not connected with the study.
"This structure is bigger than we expect based on the shockwaves formed in the universe after the big bang," said Williger.
"There is very likely some mechanism [that] is turning on quasars over a large scale like this—and in a short time—which could relate to some condition in the early universe."-www.shfaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Thousands of pot-banging, flag-waving, banner-hoisting demonstrators massed in Buenos Aires for Argentina’s largest anti-government protest in years. Common themes at the protest included the nation's high levels of crime, corruption and inflation.
The demonstration, which lasted nearly four hours, was aimed at the government of President Cristina Fernandez de Kircher. Police officials said at least 30,000 people participated, while local media reported that hundreds of thousands turned out.
Protesters angry at the nation’s current state banged pots and pans as Argentinians young and old rallied until almost midnight.
A column of demonstrators carried a 200-meter-long flag. As they marched through the city, they were greeted with noisy pans, tambourines, and honking car horns.
Protesters chanted, “We’re not afraiid!" as they swarmed into the Plaza de Mayo and surrounding area, right in front of the presidential palace.
They shouted, whistled, and held banners that read "Constitution is written with C, not K," referring to the ‘K dictatorship’ of Fernandez de Kircher’s government.
Another sign read, “Stop the wave of Argentines killed by crime, enough with corruption and say no to the constitutional reform.”
The sign referred to a widely held fear that President Fernandez will attempt to stay in office for a third term through a constitutional reform ending presidential term limits.
The protesters rattled off a long list of complaints about the current government: The country’s soaring inflation, violent crime rates and high-profile corruption.
"I came to protest everything that I don't like about this government and I don't like a single thing starting with [the president's] arrogance…they're killing policemen like dogs, and the president doesn't even open her mouth. This government is just a bunch of hooligans and corrupters,” 74-year-old retiree Marta Morosini told AP.
Protests took place in other cities throughout Argentina, including the major cities of Cordoba, Mendoza and La Plata.
In countries elsewhere around the world, demonstrators gathered in front of Argentinean embassies and consulates.
Around 50 angry demonstrators gathered in front of the consulate in Rome shouting,“Cristina, go away.”
In Madrid, another group of about 200 protesters braved the rain to bang pots outside the Argentinean consulate.
"In Argentina, there's no separation of power and it cannot be considered a democracy…Cristina is not respecting the constitution. The presidency is not a blank check and she must govern for those who are for her and against her,” Marcelo Gimenez, a 40-year-old Argentinean who currently resides in Spain said.
During a speech on Thursday, Fernandez did not directly address the protests, but instead defended her government’s policies and affirmed her dedication to the job.
"Never let go, not even in the worst moments," she said."Because it's in the worst moments when the true colors of a leader of a country comes out."
Fernandez won a second term last year with 54 percent of the vote.
Her administration has been accused of alienating large sections of the middle class, and has drawn criticism for limiting imports and imposing controls on foreign currency exchanges, making it difficult for Argentines to travel abroad.— www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) - While Microsoft is spending a small fortune promoting its next-generation Windows 8 operating system, it also has another new operating system called Windows RT, which actually powers the company's Surface tablet and a few other devices.
Superficially, the operating systems look and feel the same. But Windows RT is designed for devices running on ARM chips, which are used to power smartphones and tablets and are considered more power-efficient.
Windows RT is more like "Windows Lite" than a full-blown update to the operating system. It's Microsoft's attempt to make a controlled environment similar to Apple's iOS, and that means Windows RT has some big limitations compared with Windows 8.
If you're thinking of buying a Windows RT device, there are a few things you should consider. Here's CNET's rundown of Windows RT's top 10 drawbacks:
1. Flash only works on approved sites. Think you'll be able to watch all those Flash-based videos using your new RT computer? Well, think again. Flash will only run on sites approved by Microsoft. Lucky for you, CNET is one of them.
2. So-called legacy apps -- the traditional programs for older versions of Windows -- won't run on Windows RT. That includes some pretty popular offerings like iTunes and Adobe Photoshop, and Web browsers like Google Chrome. And forget about playing some of the top games. World of Warcraft and Call of Duty, among others, aren't currently offered.
Of course, this could all change tomorrow, but for now, these apps aren't available.
3. Apps can only be purchased through the Windows Store. If you think you can buy software at Wal-Mart or another retailer, think again. Windows 8 software won't work on Windows RT devices, and neither will software purchased from places other than the Windows Store. That's similar to how Apple limits iPhone and iPad purchases to its iTunes Store. Android, however, can be enabled to install apps not purchased in Google's Play store.
Another confusing factor is that Microsoft will offer games in the Windows Store, as well as the Xbox Games app.
4. The apps that are available are pretty limited. Microsoft has said it expects more than 100,000 apps in its Windows Store by the end of January, but it's a long, long way from that level right now. Microsoft declined to provide CNET with an updated number but said earlier this month that it had "thousands" of apps available.
Wes Miller, vice president of research at Directions on Microsoft, said earlier this month that there were about 4,300 Windows Store apps at that time. Miller, who monitors the Store total using publicly available information, expects there to be "well over" 5,000 apps on launch day.
5. Even some traditional Microsoft programs won't work with Windows RT. Outlook is one of those, and Windows Media Player is another.
6. You can only get Windows RT already bundled on a device. And that product has to use a processor from Qualcomm, Nvidia, or Texas Instruments. No more "Intel Inside" for these devices. And you won't be able to upgrade your old PC to Windows RT. You'll have to choose Windows 8 instead or buy an entirely new device.
Full coverage: Windows 8/RT
7. Windows RT will have a desktop mode, but it will be restricted to pre-installed, Microsoft-produced software. That includes Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. You won't see other desktop applications when you visit the Windows Store. Also, if you don't want Office, for some reason, you're out of luck. It comes pre-installed.
8. For business users, Windows RT is less than ideal. All those traditional applications you use won't work, and Windows RT licensing is for home and student use only. That means you have to buy a commercial license to use Windows RT's Office apps for work. And while Office is pre-installed, it doesn't include Outlook.
9. The number of Windows RT devices is pretty limited. Currently, only four companies have plans to launch Windows RT products, and they're all limited to one product each. That has a lot to do with Microsoft's strategy and close supervision over the devices. You'll see PCs and tablets from Lenovo and Asus that run on Nvidia chips, and devices from Dell and Samsung that use Qualcomm processors. Hewlett-Packard and Toshiba, two other companies in the initial program, dropped their plans for Windows RT devices.
10. Overall, Windows RT vs. Windows 8 is pretty darn confusing. Microsoft hasn't done the best job explaining the differences, and many consumers are likely to buy RT only to find out they don't have the full functionality of Windows 8.
Yes, there are some issues with Windows RT that are annoying. But that doesn't mean we hate the operating system. Check back here tomorrow to see why Windows RT might be the right pick for you.— www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the City Montessori School in Lucknow, India, has 39,437 pupils and 2,500 teachers.
Lucknow, the capital city of India’s most populous state Uttar Pradesh, is now home to the world’s biggest school, according to the new edition of the Guinness Book of World Records. The last academic year, 2,500 teachers taught a mind-boggling 39,437 students in 1,000 classrooms at Lucknow’s City Montessori School. According to the school’s website, it now boasts over 44,000 pupils.
The school was founded in 1959 by Bharti and Jagdish Gandhi with just 300 borrowed rupees ($5.70 at current exchange rates) and a total of five students. More than half a century later, the school, which spreads over several campuses, can’t gather for assembly as there is no venue in town that is big enough. Students ages between three and 17 are divided into classrooms of 45 children each; every pupil wears identical school uniforms, AFP reports. Younger students pay about $18, older students $47 in fees per month. The school held the record once before, in 2005, when it had 29,212 pupils — beating a school in the Philippines with roughly 20,000 pupils.
Uttar Pradesh is in dire need of schools. The Northern state has a literacy rate below India’s national average of 74% and ranks 29th among India’s 35 administrative divisions, according to the 2011 census. Lucknow’s City Montessori School not only excels in size, it has over the years been showered in awards and recognition. In 2002, it received the UNESCO Prize for Peace Education. Two years ago, the Dalai Lama conferred his Hope for Humanity award to the school founder.
The size of the Gandhis school, which does not receive government funding, is however dwarfed by the world’s largest university, also in India. The Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) in Delhi has no less than four million students — ten times larger than its U.S. equivalent, the online University of Phoenix.
India, a country of extremes, boasts some other, more obscure, records: nowhere have there been more people standing on one moving motorcycle (54), has a larger foreign object been left in a patient (a pair of 13 inch-long artery forceps) or a higher number of green coconuts been smashed in one minute by elbows (92, 7 of which were disqualified).— www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — An international lawyer says while the US Intelligence Community (IC) considers “Israel” the greatest threat to America’s national interests, there are about 7,500 US officials “who do “Israel’s” bidding,” serving Tel Aviv’s interests with no reservation.
In an article published on Press TV website, Franklin Lamb noted that a study commissioned by the US Intelligence Community earlier this year, has reached the conclusion that the American national interest in fundamentally at odds with that of Zionist “Israel”.
“It’s … an 82-page analysis [entitled: Preparing For A Post “Israel” Middle East] that concludes that … “Israel” is currently the greatest threat to US national interests because its nature and actions prevent normal US relations with Arab and Muslim countries and, to a growing degree, the wider international community,” Lamb added.
The IC-commissioned study clearly stated that “Israel” is grossly interfering in the internal affairs of the United States through spying and illegal US arms transfers.
“This includes supporting more than 60 ‘front organizations’ and approximately 7,500 US officials who do “Israel’s” bidding and seek to dominate and intimidate the media and agencies of the US government which should no longer be condoned.”
According to the report, the analyst added, IC believes that “Israel” leadership, with its increasing support of the 700,000 illegal settlers on the occupied West Bank “is increasing out of touch with the political, military and economic realities of the Middle East.”
The IC report also argued that as a result of Tel Aviv’s current brutal occupationist and belligerent policy, it “cannot be salvaged any more than apartheid South Africa could be.”
“…as American power and influence recedes, the US commitment to belligerent oppressive “Israel” is becoming impossible to defend or execute given paramount US national interests which include normalizing relations with the 57 Islamic countries.”
Advising the US government to avoid “entangling alliances that alienate much of the world,” the IC noted that instead of getting militarily involved in the Middle East on behalf of “Israel”, the US should undertake “the repairing relations with Arab and Muslim countries including the drastically curtained use of drone aircraft.”
“US public opinion no longer supports funding and executing widely perceived illegal US wars on “Israel’s” behalf. This view is increasingly being shared by Europe, Asia and the International public.”— www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — A senior Iranian oil industry official says the country is planning to launch the biggest oil desalting plant in the Middle East during next Iranian calendar year (starts March 21, 2013).
Managing Director of Karoun Oil and Gas Production Company Mohsen Dahanzadeh said on Sunday that the centralized desalting plan which will be established near Asmari oil field in Ahvaz will be able to process 220,000 barrels per day of crude oil.
So far, 40 percent of the construction operations have progressed, he added.
The official noted that in addition to ensuring continued production of high-quality oil, the plant will prevent possible reduction in the production of existing desalting plants in Ahvaz region when they undergo basic repairs.
Dahanzadeh stated that the technical know-how for manufacturing over 700 necessary parts for the Iranian oil industry has been indigenized by his company.
Karoun Oil and Gas Production Company is a subsidiary of the National Iranian South Oil Company which is in charge of producing and processing oil from Ahvaz, Mansouri, Ramin, and Ab-Teimur oil fields.
Iran holds the world's third-largest proven oil reserves and the second-largest natural gas reserves.
The country's total in-place oil reserves have been estimated at more than 560 billion barrels, with about 140 billion barrels of recoverable oil. Moreover, heavy and extra heavy varieties of crude oil account for roughly 70-100 billion barrels of the total reserves.—www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg took the stage at TechCrunch Disrupt for his first media appearance since his company's initial public offering and his first big interview since last year.
In the interview, Mark emphasized and emphasized how crucial mobile is to Facebook. On that front, he also revealed what he considers to be the biggest mistake Facebook has made as a company.
“The biggest mistake we made as a company was betting too much on HTML5 as opposed to native,” Zuckerberg, donned in a plain grey tee, confessed to Michael Arrington. “It just wasn’t ready."
Facebook is certain that mobile is big. So big, in fact, that it expects to eventually generate more revenue from mobile devices than desktops.
Currently, however, Facebook has barely monetized mobile at all—largely due to the aforementioned mistake. This is despite having more than 500 million active mobile users. Which is why it's easy to believe Zuck when he claims it was his company's biggest error ever.
He did point out that he's remains very bullish on HTML5 long-term. But in the short-term, it isn't right for Facebook. "Good enough is not good enough," he said of his social network's HTML5-based mobile web.
Discussing the IPO—Facebook's stock has been halved since it debuted on the public stock market in May—Mark suggested that investors simply don't understand his social network's mobile strategy well enough. Well, here he tried to explain it. And it seems that investors responded positively to his 30-minute appearance: after Zuck explained his company for the first time post-IPO, Facebook shares rallied nearly 8%.—www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — Insiders are thought to have facilitated the cyber-attack on the world’s largest oil company, says a probe. The group behind the hack on state-run Saudi Aramco claim the attack is revenge for “crimes and atrocities” by the Saudi government.
"It was someone who had inside knowledge and inside privileges within the company," a source familiar with investigation told Reuters.
The Shamoon virus spread through the company’s computer network last month, wiping the data from at least 30,000 computers, in one of the most destructive cyber-attacks on a single business in history.
Reports say to prevent any drastic consequences Aramco prohibited its employees from sending or receiving emails outside of the company and had to switch to paper transactions while it was dealing with the virus.
Hackivist group The Cutting Sword of Justice claimed responsibility for the attack on the company. They issued a statement saying that the attack was politically motivated and revenge for the “crimes and atrocities” committed by the Saudi Arabian government.
The previously unknown hacker organization also said that they had obtained classified documents from the hack and threatened to release them, although thus far nothing has been published.
Saudi Aramco has not made any comments regarding its ongoing investigation into the mass hack, refraining from speculating on what it called
“rumors and conjecture.”
“This was not the first nor will it be the last illegal attempt to intrude into our systems, and we will ensure that we will further reinforce our systems with all available means to protect against a recurrence of this type of cyber-attack,” said the company’s chief executive Mr. al-Falih. He went on to say “not a single drop of oil was lost and no critical systems were harmed.
Meanwhile, Qatari gas producer RasGas announced that it had been affected by a similar virus at the end of August.
The virus in question, known as Shamoon, is not a sophisticated cyber weapon designed for high-level insurgency. It is used to attack ordinary business computers.
“Based on initial reporting and analysis of the malware, no evidence exists that Shamoon specifically targets industrial control systems components or US government agencies,” the Department of Homeland Security’s United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team said in an August 29 advisory.
Once the Shamoon virus has infiltrated a computer network it attempts to infect every computer. The virus is capable of stealing information and erasing all data on the devices, experts say.
“We don’t normally see threats that are so destructive, it’s probably been 10 years since we saw something so destructive,” said Liam O Murchu from computer security firm Symantec.—www.shafaqna.com/English