The complex web of software and hardware components and their licensing schemes makes it difficult for healthcare organizations to upgrade or patch systems that prove to be vulnerable.
Enlarge / The complex web of software and hardware components and their licensing schemes makes it difficult for healthcare organizations to upgrade or patch systems that prove to be vulnerable.

Universal Images Group / Getty Images

When your family opened up that brand-new computer when you were a kid, you didn’t think of all of the third-party work that made typing in that first BASIC program possible. There once was a time when we didn’t have to worry about which companies produced all the bits of licensed software or hardware that underpinned our computing experience. But recent malware attacks and other security events have shown just how much we need to care about the supply chain behind the technology we use every day.

The URGENT/11 vulnerability, the subject of a Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency advisory issued last July, is one of those events. It forces us to care because it affects multiple medical devices. And it serves as a demonstration of how the software component supply chain and availability of support can affect the ability of organizations to update devices to fix security bugs—especially in the embedded computing space.

URGENT/11 is a vulnerability in the Interpeak Networks TCP/IP stack

Anatomy of a dumb spear-phish: Hitting librarians up for Zelle, CashApp cash

Here’s a clue for would-be Internet financial scammers: do not target librarians. They will catch on fast, and you will have wasted your time.

Yesterday, the outgoing chair of the Young Adult Library Services Association’s Alex Awards Committee (and my wife) Paula Gallagher got a very odd email that purported to be from a colleague within her library system who is a member of YALSA’s board. The email asked, “Are you available to complete an assignment on behalf of the Board, And get reimbursed? Kindly advise.”

There were a few things off about the email. First of all, while the first half of the email address that the message came from matched the email address of her colleague, the domain name was very phishy: Reagan.com, a site that offers “secure private email” to users who want to “keep President Ronald Reagan’s legacy alive.” The purported sender of the message was, to put it mildly, not a big fan of President Reagan’s legacy. (Ars attempted to reach the operators of the Reagan.com site for comment, but they are very privacy-minded.)

Want a trusted domain name to send your spear-phish emails from for just $33 a year? Look no further.
Enlarge / Want a trusted domain name to send your spear-phish emails from for just $33 a year? Look no
Passengers use mobile stairs to exit and jet plane at night.
Enlarge / SAN ANTONIO, TX – FEBRUARY 17: American evacuees from the Diamond Princess cruise ship arrive at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland on February 17, 2020, in San Antonio, Texas. The Diamond Princess cruise ship where the passengers were evacuated from, docked at the Japanese city of Yokohama, is believed to be the highest concentration of novel coronavirus cases outside of China, where the outbreak began.

Fourteen Americans tested positive for carrying the new coronavirus just as they began their return to the United States from Yokohama, Japan, where they had been trapped aboard the luxury cruise ship Diamond Princess in a quarantine that began February 3.

As of today, February 17, Japanese health officials have confirmed 454 cases of COVID-19 on the ship, including 99 cases reported since yesterday. The cluster is, by far, the largest of any COVID-19 flare ups outside of China, where the outbreak began and has caused the vast majority of infections and deaths.

The new cases in the returning Americans will nearly double the current number of COVID-19 cases in the US, bringing the total from the current 15 to 29.

Originally, no American cruise ship passengers infected with the new coronavirus were meant

Cartoon of the Sun, Earth, and Jupiter, with a diffuse collection of asteroids.

Despite its distance from the Sun, the asteroid belt will disintegrate as it expands.

We tend to view the bodies of the Solar System as creations of gravity, which pulled their parts together and holds them in place as they orbit. But as we saw with ideas about the formation of Arrokoth, there are lots of situations where gravity is essentially a constant for long periods of time. And given enough of that time, relatively small forces like friction from sparse gas clouds or pressure from the light of the Sun can add up and create dramatic changes. In fact, a remarkable number of these potential influences have been identified and simulated.

One of these has been named the YORP effect, for its developers, Yarkovsky, O’Keefe, Radzievskii, and Paddack. It describes how light can alter the rotational properties of orbiting bodies. In a recent edition of the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Dimitri Veras and Daniel Scheeres decided to calculate what happens as the Sun ages, the intensity of its light increases dramatically, and the entire asteroid belt gets YORPed.

A (perhaps too) bright future

It’s pretty widely understood that, as the Sun ages, it will

Migrating geese fly in a V shape.

Even though it was, in most ways, identical to the present planet, the Earth still looked very different at the bottom of the last ice age 20,000 years ago. The globe was around 4°C cooler on average, and ice sheets covered large portions of the Northern Hemisphere, including Canada and Scandinavia. One thing you might wonder, given how much of the planet was barely habitable, is what migratory species did.

Given the loss of all that habitat to mile-thick glacial ice and a reduced winter-summer contrast courtesy of Earth’s orbital cycles, some researchers have hypothesized that bird migration wasn’t much of a thing then. Is it possible that bird species turned this behavior on and off through the ice ages?

A team led by Yale’s Marius Somveille tested this idea with a model of the factors controlling migratory behavior—and it predicts patterns surprisingly similar to the present day.

Migration on ice

Migration is essentially an annual investment, a bet that the incredible exertion of the journey will pay off with superior food resources and habitat. It’s what’s often called an “energetic optimization.” The model used in this study simulates everything as an energy cost-benefit calculation, taking into account the

Studying how ants organize division of labor within a colony can lend insight into how political polarization occurs in human society.
Enlarge / Studying how ants organize division of labor within a colony can lend insight into how political polarization occurs in human society.

Ants may be tiny critters with tiny brains, but these social insects are capable of collectively organizing themselves into a highly efficient community to ensure the colony survives. And it seems that the social dynamics of how division of labor emerges in an ant colony is similar to how political polarization develops in human social networks, according to a recent paper in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface.

“Our findings suggest that division of labor and political polarization—two social phenomena not typically considered together—may actually be driven by the same process,” said co-author Chris Tokita, a graduate student in ecology and evolutionary biology at Princeton University. “Division of labor is seen as a benefit to societies, while political polarization usually isn’t, but we found that the same dynamics could theoretically give rise to them both.”

Tokita and his adviser/co-author, Corina Tarnita, were collaborating with a group at Rockefeller University that was using camera tracking to study ants—specifically, how division of labor emerges in very small groups (between 12-16 ants). Their job was to devise a