Daily Archives: January 15, 2013

Views from the Solar System (91)


Air Quality Suffering in China
NASA – Residents of Beijing and many other cities in China were warned to stay inside in mid-January 2013 as the nation faced one of the worst periods of air quality in recent history. The Chinese government ordered factories to scale back emissions, while hospitals saw spikes of more than 20 to 30 percent in patients complaining of respiratory issues, according to news reports.

At the time that this Jan. 14 image was taken by satellite, ground-based sensors at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing reported PM2.5 measurements of 291 micrograms per cubic meter of air. Fine, airborne particulate matter (PM) that is smaller than 2.5 microns (about one thirtieth the width of a human hair) is considered dangerous because it is small enough to enter the passages of the human lungs. Most PM2.5 aerosol particles come from the burning of fossil fuels and biomass (wood fires and agricultural burning). The World Health Organization considers PM2.5 to be safe when it is below 25.

Also at the time of the image, the air quality index (AQI) in Beijing was 341. An AQI above 300 is considered hazardous to all humans, not just those with heart or lung ailments. AQI below 50 is considered good. On January 12, the peak of the current air crisis, AQI was 775 the U.S Embassy Beijing Air Quality Monitor—off the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency scale—and PM2.5 was 886 micrograms per cubic meter.

› View image comparisons with annotations. Image Credit: NASA/Terra – MODIS

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In spending wars, Obama strikes at Republican leverage


By David Lawder – Congressional Republicans, frustrated by the failure of earlier efforts to get President Barack Obama to agree to spending cuts, suddenly find themselves in a fight to keep their grip on the one tool they thought would give them better leverage: Their threat to block an increase in the government’s ability to borrow money next month.

Rather than dwell on the impact of debt default on credit ratings that many people don’t fully understand, Obama spoke instead of troops, retirees and air traffic controllers all being without their paychecks should Republicans make good on their threat. more> http://tinyurl.com/avox9pg

ECB saves euro, lets economy hang


By James Saft – Mario Draghi has saved the euro, for the time being, but seems less inclined to help the economies in which it is used.

With central banks in the U.S. and Japan easing aggressively, that leaves the euro liable to continue its recent gains, making countries in the currency area less able to export their way out of their problems. more> http://tinyurl.com/ctlelwz

Best practices to mitigate DDoS attacks


Denial of Service (DoS) Attack Resource Page

Denial of Service (DoS) Attack Resource Page (Photo credit: gellenburg)

By Linda Musthaler – Numerous banks have been attacked in recent weeks, including PNC Bank, Fifth Third, HSBC, JPMorgan Chase, Citibank and others. For the financial institutions, it’s déjà vu all over again, as they were similarly attacked last September and October. The banks have all suffered daylong slowdowns and, at times, complete outages.

How can you protect your company’s Web presence? Here are a few tips on what you can do now to head off a potential problem later.

  • Don’t count on a firewall to prevent or stop a DDoS attack
  • Bake DDoS into your business continuity and disaster recovery plan
  • Know the signs of an active attack
  • Know your customers and lock out unexpected transactions
  • Measure the financial impact of being offline for a period of time
  • If you are the victim of a DDoS attack, look for fraud, data breaches or other criminal activity
  • Know who to call to stop an attack

more> http://tinyurl.com/acj2zly

Fed’s Rosengren gives textbook argument for more easing


By Svea Herbst-Bayliss – In a textbook argument that appeared to push back at some of his more hawkish peers, Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren brushed aside concerns over inflation and made it clear that he will support the central bank’s efforts to relieve U.S. joblessness, which was 7.8 percent last month.

“Continued monetary accommodation is absolutely appropriate and indeed needed as long as we are projected to miss on both elements of the Fed‘s dual mandate, inflation and employment,” he said in prepared remarks to the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce. more> http://tinyurl.com/cxv3wlg

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CONGRESS WATCH On Obama’s New National Security Team, Keep Your Eye on the Policy, Ron Paul

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CONGRESS WATCH Senator Mark Begich’s photostream, flickr 2013 Presidential Inauguration, US Senate