Sci-Tech Briefs

Hackers target **

Last Friday, career website released the details of a recent attack on the site by hackers. The attack affected more than 1.3 million of the site’s users, most of whom were located in the U.S.

The hackers used hijacked personal computers in combination with servers in Ukraine to execute their attack. Monster became aware of the attack on Friday, August 17, and was able to shut down the servers in Ukraine four days later.

The attack targeted users’ personal information, and Monster reported that the hackers retrieved information including names, addresses, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses.

Source: BBC News

VR induces out-of-body experiences

Scientists are now able to induce out-of-body experiences through the use of virtual reality equipment, according to a new study published in the August 24 edition of Science.

The feeling of belonging to a body is linked to multiple sensory streams. Under normal circumstances, these streams function harmoniously.

Sometimes these sensory streams report conflicting information. In these situations, the brain is forced to make a decision, which may result in an out-of-body experience.

In one experiment, subjects viewed projections of their own bodies through virtual-reality goggles. The scientists stroked the subjects’ backs with sticks, so the subjects felt their own backs being stroked while also watching a stick stroke the projection before them. Subjects reported feeling as if they were drifting out of their bodies and into the projected bodies.

Source: The New York Times

Martian soil may have supported life

German scientist Joop Houtkooper found evidence of life on Mars through the analysis of soil brought back from the planet in 1976.

Signs in the soil indicate that the subfreezing Martian climate may have once supported microbial life (microorganisms) made of hydrogen peroxide and water. One experiment showed that 0.1 percent of Martian soil may be composed of former microorganisms.

Houtkooper said that 0.1 percent is “not a small amount,” and the percentage is similar to the biomass percentages in some Antarctic permafrost.

Houtkooper’s conclusions support the theory Earth may have “seeded” life on Mars, or vice versa, when an event such as a meteor crash transported life between the planets.

Source: CNN

New Jersey teen unlocks iPhone

George Hotz, a first-year at the Rochester Institute of Technology, successfully unlocked an iPhone by using a soldering iron and manipulating the software. He spent approximately 500 hours on the project — his entire summer vacation.

The iPhone is normally compatible with only AT&T, and unlocking the phone means lifting the AT&T carrier restriction. With Hotz’s method, the iPhone can work with T-Mobile.

Source: The Washington Post