In the popular TV show Breaking Bad, a high school chemistry teacher who used to be a research scientist and a former student turned drug dealer to produce and sell crystallized methamphetamine (meth), an illegal stimulant often “cooked” in home laboratories. Initially, they use chemical equipment taken from the school. Now, Breaking Bad emulators are suspected of having been operating a secret meth lab at the prestigious National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
Unfortunately for them, their lab exploded, Chemical and Engineering News reports.
Meth, one of the most common street drugs, is a strong central nervous system stimulant that is used as a recreational drug to increase sexual desire, lift the mood, and increase energy. However, it has a high potential for abuse and addiction. According to a National Geographic TV documentary, “an entire subculture known as party and play is based around methamphetamine use.”
Dangerous and Illicit Activity at a Federal Research Facility
The NIST is a high profile non-regulatory agency of the United States Department of Commerce, whose official mission is to promote innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life.
The explosion injured a NIST security officer, according to local police investigating the incident along with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration. The security officer was treated for injuries and released from a local trauma center. He then resigned from NIST effective July 19, police say. They add that evidence recovered from the explosion is consistent with production of the illicit synthetic drug methamphetamine.
“The fact that this explosion took place at a taxpayer-funded NIST facility, potentially endangering NIST employees, is of great concern,” said Rep. Lamar S. Smith (R-Texas), chairman of the Science, Space & Technology Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives.
I am troubled by the allegations that such dangerous and illicit activity went undetected at a federal research facility. It is essential that we determine exactly where the breakdown in protocol occurred and whether similar activities could be ongoing at other federal facilities.
“We’re interviewing possible witnesses and letting the evidence take us just where it should,” said Montgomery County Police Department spokesman Captain Paul Starks, Science Insider reports. Starks added that no charges have been filed and no suspects publicly identified. The explosion happened Saturday, 18 July, around 6:45pm at “special projects” building 236, a smaller facility with laboratories reserved for particularly hazardous research.
Images from AMC TV and Wikimedia Commons.
Viral Disinformation Warning: Fake News Are Taking over Facebook
Today’s news: Brad Pitt and Harrison Ford voted for Donald Trump, the Republican President-elect of the US, because the liberals want to take away their money; Melania Trump filed to divorce her husband, Donald Trump; Donald Trump himself said to People Magazine that Republicans are the dumbest group of voters; All the news above are fake, but trending on the social networks.
FBI and Carnegie Mellon Possibly Colluded in Tor Uncloaking Scheme
Reports have come out recently that paint an interesting picture of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Carnegie Mellon University. For starters, a court document acquired by Vice showed that the FBI was crediting an unnamed academic institution with helping it in locating a child pornography suspect as well as the people behind Silk Road 2.
Researchers from the school canceled a talk they were scheduled to give at July’s Black Hat conference on exactly the subject of unmasking a Tor IP address. The talk promised to show the conference of hackers how this could be done with a mere $3,000 equipment investment cost. The attack that was successful last year cost around $50,000, sources say. Considering the time and money put into the Tor project over the years, the relative low cost and low research debt which Carnegie Mellon researchers appear to have leveraged should be, well, scary.
But things get more interesting as the reporting goes deeper. While there remains no current evidence that CMU is in fact working in league with the FBI on a regular and active basis, the Tor project itself claims to have received word that CMU received $1 million for its help in breaking Tor.
The Tor Project has learned more about last year’s attack by Carnegie Mellon researchers on the hidden service subsystem. Apparently these researchers were paid by the FBI to attack hidden services users in a broad sweep, and then sift through their data to find people whom they could accuse of crimes. […] We have been told that the payment to CMU was at least $1 million.
When contacted about the co-operation with the government, Motherboard received a telling boilerplate from Richard Lynch, public relations at Carnegie’s Software Engineering Institute:
Thanks for your inquiry, but it is our practice not to comment on law enforcement investigations or court proceedings.
This is telling in that the inquiry was more related to the claims made by the researchers regarding what they were able to do in their attacks on Tor. After all, the group had claimed to be able to do something that was very similar to what the Tor project had previously described.
Also read: Tor Network May Face Disabling Attack
At present, there is no overwhelming evidence that a payment was ever exchanged. There is no evidence that the academic institution wasn’t some other institution. But we have here more building blocks than a typical conspiracy theorist would need to construct a story here: Carnegie Mellon outsourced some of its research to the FBI, was helpful, and the FBI compensated Carnegie Mellon. The civil libertarian element of the research is what is troubling. For while they may have uncloaked some bad guys, they also certainly uncloaked a lot of innocent traffic – people in repressed countries trying to communicate with loved ones in the West, for instance.
Tor is compromised, and these aren’t the kinds of things you can easily trust again later. The government occasionally makes grandiose claims regarding its computer science capabilities, that’s for sure, but believing that you can browse anywhere anymore without being tracked may be a more grandiose thought indeed.
Featured image from Shutterstock.
Are SJWs Trying to Frame Linux Creator Linus Torvalds With Fake Sexual Assault Charges?
Last week open-source software developer and Libertarian activist Eric Raymond published a disturbing post that went viral on the Internet. The post, titled “From kafkatrap to honeytrap,” reports that militant feminist groups and “Social Justice Warriors” (SJWs) are trying to frame Linux kernel creator Linus Torvalds and other high-profile male developers with fake sexual assault charges.
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