Monday, November 5, 2012

Public service announcements about cybercriminals and Sandy plus bonus coverage

Purdue University: You can avoid being scammed in donating to Hurricane Sandy victims
October 31, 2012
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The many pictures and news reports of massive destruction and loss of life and property from Hurricane Sandy is triggering an urge for people to help. But it's important that donors know where their money is actually going, says a Purdue University cybersecurity expert.

"We've seen it time and again, and con artists and scammers are continually coming up with advanced methods to take people's money through contributions - often online," says Eugene H. Spafford, professor and executive director of CERIAS - Purdue's Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security.

Researchers at CERIAS know that criminals will take advantage of the most tragic of circumstances, counting on people's sense of urgency to "do something" to overcome their normal caution, Spafford says.

"Be alert to fraudulent but sincere-sounding appeals for aid from hurricane victims or from what appear to be charities," he says. "These solicitations may be sent as email to you or a group to which you belong, as postings or messages on a social newsgroup such as Facebook or Twitter, as a phone call from someone soliciting donations, or as a website to which you are directed or that pops up when visiting a site."
I used to give out a "Gene Spafford 'Usenet Samaritan' Award" to recognize the good guys online, so I found it a pleasant surprise to run across his name while looking for articles to include in Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday (Sandy's aftermath edition).

Spafford was delivering the bad news. For the good news, I found this diary on Daily Kos: AMAZING: Occupy Wall Street Leading Massive, Volunteer-Powered Recovery Efforts in New York. Here are two videos from that diary documenting Occupy's work.

Sam Corbin, an Occupy Sandy organizer, guides us through the volunteer hub emerging at 5406 4th Ave in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.
Occupy is doing more than just protesting inequality. Good for them!

Follow over the jump for more on Sandy from last night's Science Saturday.

NASA Television on YouTube: Satellite Sees Global View of Sandy's Life to Landfall

An animation of satellite observations from Oct. 21-30, 2012, shows the birth of Tropical Storm Sandy in the Caribbean Sea, the intensification and movement of Sandy in the Atlantic Ocean along the U.S. East Coast, and the landfall of Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey on Oct. 29. This visualization was created by the NASA GOES Project at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., using observations from NOAA's GOES-13 and GOES-15 satellites.
University of Wisconsin: UW scientists track Sandy's fury
by Chris Barncard
October 30, 2012
Hurricane Sandy has earned it[s] reputation as a perfect storm, even among meteorologists.

But while Louis Uccellini, environmental prediction chief for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said, “This is the worst-case scenario,” the storm researchers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison weren’t so sure.

“The worst case would be a bad prediction,” said Chris Velden, senior researcher with the Madison-based Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS).

Without an accurate idea of when and where the storm system will dump rain, push ocean water and bend trees, emergency planning would be little more than guesswork.

“The models pegged this,” Velden said. “We know who is in the way of the storm and what should happen when it arrives.”
DarkSyde on Daily Kos has more in This week in science: Sandy.

Finally, xaxnar on Daily Kos was inspired by Sandy to write a diary that points out the role the U.S. Military has in preparing for and defending against climate change: Going Green Olive Drab Style - Department of Defense to the Rescue. As Al Gore said in An Inconvenient Truth, "Shouldn't we prepare for other threats besides terrorists?"

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