Monday, December 31, 2012

Obama says ‘fiscal cliff’ deal is within sight but some issues still unresolved





President Obama said Monday that an agreement to avoid the worst effects of the year-end fiscal cliff is “within sight,” but he stressed repeatedly that a deal being negotiated by Vice President Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is “not done” yet, and he called on lawmakers to remain focused on the needs of the American people rather than politics.
In what the White House billed as an event with middle-class Americans, Obama said there were “still issues left to resolve” in the talks. He said he was “hopeful that Congress can get it done. But it’s not done.”


Obama said the potential agreement would prevent federal income taxes from rising on middle-class families, extend tax credits for children and college tuition, provide tax breaks to clean-energy companies and extend unemployment insurance for 2 million Americans.
He would have preferred to “solve all these problems in the context of a larger agreement,” the so-called grand bargain, that would have dealt with spending in a “balanced way,” he said.
“But with this Congress, that was obviously a little too much to hope for at this time,” Obama said, adding that perhaps “we can do it in stages.”
Congressional Republicans immediately pushed back, objecting to comments that one GOP senator described as “heckling Congress.”
The president made the remarks as negotiators moved closer to a deal Monday to cancel historic tax hikes for most Americans. But they were still hung up on spending, with Democrats so far resisting Republican proposals for spending cuts that would come in exchange for delaying automatic spending cuts at federal agencies for just three months.
As Obama prepared to deliver remarks about the “fiscal cliff” at the White House, negotiators for the administration and McConnell (R-Ky.) appeared to have nailed down many of the most critical tax issues, including a plan to let taxes rise on income over $450,000 a year for couples and $400,000 a year for individuals, according to people in both parties familiar with the talks.
McConnell said after Obama’s speech that he and Biden spoke multiple times Monday morning since their first 6:30 a.m. call and managed to resolve their differences on taxes. But he echoed Obama’s contention that the two sides had not yet resolved a dispute about whether to delay automatic spending cuts. McConnell urged Congress to pass the tax agreement — and debate replacing the so-called “sequester,” as the automatic spending cuts are known, in coming months.
“We’ll continue to work on finding smarter ways to cut spending, but let’s not let that hold up protecting Americans from the tax hike that will take place” on New Year’s Day, he said. “We can do this. We must do this.”
Under the proposed accord being hammered out by Biden and McConnell, households earning less than $450,000 would largely escape higher income tax bills, though couples earning more than $300,000 a year and individuals earning more than $250,000 would lose part of the value of their exemptions and itemized deductions, under the terms of the emerging agreement.

Kim Kardashian Pregnant





Reality television star Kim Kardashian and rapper Kanye West are expecting their first child, it has been revealed.

The performer announced that his girlfriend is pregnant to fans at his concert on Sunday night.

He told the crowd of more than 5,000 at the Ovation Hall at the Revel Resort in Atlantic City by singing: "Now you having my baby."

West also told concert goers to congratulate his "baby moma" and that this was the "most amazing thing".

Kardashian's family have also been talking on Twitter about the news.

Her sister Kourtney Kardashian tweeted: "Been wanting to shout from the rooftops with joy and now I can! Another angel to welcome to our family. Overwhelmed with excitement!"

While her other sister Khloe wrote: "I'm excited for Kanye and my sister! There's nothing like bringing life into this world! Let's keep Gods blessings coming!"

Messages of congratulations also came from Kardashian's younger sisters Kendall and Kyle Jenner, who tweeted: "Whos excited about the KIMYE babbyyy?!", and "Congrats to this beautiful couple. I love you guys."

Her mother Kris Jenner also tweeted, writing: "Oh BABY BABY BABY!!"

Kim and her family star in the television reality show Keeping Up With The Kardashians, as well as a number of spin off series.

Representatives for the couple have not yet issued a statement about the pregnancy.

The rapper and reality TV star went public with their relationship in March.

Kardashian married NBA player Kris Humphries in August 2011 but separated just two months after their lavish wedding, which was aired on US television channel E! as a two-part special with magazines paying for exclusive pictures.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Barack Obama wins election for second term as president


Barack Obama wins election for second term as president

President Barack Obama handily defeated Gov. Mitt Romney and won himself a second term on Tuesday after a bitter and historically expensive race that was primarily fought in just a handful of battleground states. Obama beat Romney after nabbing almost every one of the 12 crucial battleground states.
The Romney campaign's last-ditch attempt to put blue-leaning Midwestern swing states in play failed as Obama's Midwestern firewall sent the president back to the White House for four more years. Obama picked up the swing states of New Hampshire, Michigan, New Mexico, Iowa, Virginia, Wisconsin, Colorado, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Minnesota and Ohio. Of the swing states, Romney picked up only North Carolina. Florida is still too close to call, but even if Romney wins the state, Obama still beat him in the Electoral College vote. The popular vote will most likely be narrower than the president's decisive Electoral College victory.
In a sweeping victory speech early Wednesday morning, Obama thanked every American who voted, and vowed to work with leaders from both parties to tackle the country's challenges.
"Our economy is recovering, a decade of war is ending, a long campaign is now over," he told a crowd of cheering supporters in Chicago. "And whether I earned your vote or not, I have listened to you, I have learned from you and you have made me a better president." Obama added he has "never been more hopeful about America. ... We're not as divided as our politics suggest. We remain more than a collection of blue states and red states."
In his speech, he offered clues to the policy goals of his second term, which included a deficit reduction plan that combines tax increases with spending cuts, a comprehensive overhaul of the nation's federal immigration laws and tax reform. He called on Republicans to join him in achieving those goals.
The battle for the White House between Obama and Romney divided the nation, causing, at times, bitter disputes between the parties. Obama urged his supporters to look beyond the fight of the past several months and defended the process of choosing a president.
"I know that political campaigns can sometimes seem small, even  silly," Obama said. "And that provides plenty of fodder for the cynics who tell us  that politics is nothing more than a contest of evils or the domain of  special interests. If you ever get the chance to talk to folks who  turned out to our rallies and along the rope lines of high school gyms,  or saw folks working late at campaign office or some tiny county a long way from home, you'll discover something else."

Romney conceded in Boston in a speech around 1 a.m. ET. "Like so many of you, Paul [Ryan] and I have left everything on the field. We have given our all to this campaign," Romney said. "I so wish that I had been able to fulfill your hopes to lead your country in another direction. But the nation chose another leader." Romney congratulated the president and his campaign on their victory.
The Obama victory marks an end to a years-long campaign that saw historic advertisement spending levels, countless rallies and speeches, and three much-watched debates.
The Romney campaign cast the election as a referendum on Obama's economic policies, frequently comparing him to former President Jimmy Carter and asking voters the Reagan-esque question of whether they are better off than they were four years ago. But the Obama campaign pushed back, blanketing key states such as Ohio early on with ads painting him as a multimillionaire more concerned with profits than people. The Obama campaign also aggressively attacked Romney on reproductive rights issues, tying Romney to a handful of Republican candidates who made controversial comments about rape and abortion.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Julia Child Last years

Julia Child  Last years


After the death of her beloved friend Simone Beck, Child relinquished La Peetch after a month long stay in June 1992 with her niece, Phila, and her family. She turned the keys over to Jean Fischbacher's sister, just as she and Paul had promised nearly 30 years earlier. Also, in 1992, she spent a month touring Italy with American journalist Bob Spitz when they struck-up a close friendship. Spitz took notes and made many recordings of his conversations with Child and these later formed the basis of the book he published in 2012 on what would have been Child's 100th birthday.[25][26] Paul, who was ten years older, died in 1994 after living in a nursing home for five years following a series of strokes in 1989.[27]
In 2001, she moved to a retirement community in Santa Barbara, California, donating her house and office to Smith College, which later sold the house.[28] She donated her kitchen, which her husband designed with high counters to accommodate her formidable height, and which served as the set for three of her television series, to the National Museum of American History, where it is now on display.[29] Her iconic copper pots and pans were on display at COPIA in Napa, California, until August 2009 when they were reunited with her kitchen at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington, DC.
In 2000, Child received the French Legion of Honour[30][31] and was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2000.[32] She was awarded the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2003. Child also received honorary doctorates from Harvard University, Johnson & Wales University in 1995, her alma mater Smith College, Brown University in 2000,[33] and several other universities.
On August 13, 2004, Julia Child died of kidney failure at her retirement community home, Casa Dorinda, in Montecito, two days before her 92nd birthday.[34] Child ended her last book, My Life in France, with "... thinking back on it now reminds that the pleasures of the table, and of life, are infinite – toujours bon appétit!"[27]


Julia Child Later career



Julia Child Later career 

Julia Child's kitchen at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.
In the 1970s and 1980s, she was the star of numerous television programs, including Julia Child & Company, Julia Child & More Company and Dinner at Julia's. For the 1979 book Julia Child and More Company she won a National Book Award in category Current Interest.[19] In 1981 she founded The American Institute of Wine & Food,[20] with vintners Robert Mondavi and Richard Graff, and others, to "advance the understanding, appreciation and quality of wine and food," a pursuit she had already begun with her books and television appearances. In 1989, she published what she considered her magnum opus, a book and instructional video series collectively entitled The Way To Cook.
Child starred in four more series in the 1990s that featured guest chefs: Cooking with Master Chefs, In Julia's Kitchen with Master Chefs, Baking With Julia, and Julia Child & Jacques Pépin Cooking at Home. She collaborated with Jacques Pépin many times for television programs and cookbooks. All of Child's books during this time stemmed from the television series of the same names.
Child's use of ingredients like butter and cream has been questioned by food critics and modern-day nutritionists. She addressed these criticisms throughout her career, predicting that a "fanatical fear of food" would take over the country's dining habits, and that focusing too much on nutrition takes the pleasure from enjoying food.[21][22] In a 1990 interview, Child said, "Everybody is overreacting. If fear of food continues, it will be the death of gastronomy in the United States. Fortunately, the French don't suffer from the same hysteria we do. We should enjoy food and have fun. It is one of the simplest and nicest pleasures in life."[23]
Julia Child's kitchen
Julia Child's kitchen, designed by her husband, was the setting for three of her television shows. It is now on display at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. Beginning with In Julia's Kitchen with Master Chefs, the Childs' home kitchen in Cambridge was fully transformed into a functional set, with TV-quality lighting, three cameras positioned to catch all angles in the room, and a massive center island with a gas stovetop on one side and an electric stovetop on the other, but leaving the rest of the Childs' appliances alone, including "my wall oven with its squeaking door."[24] This kitchen backdrop hosted nearly all of Child's 1990s television series.

Julia Child

Julia Child


Julia Child (née McWilliams;[1] August 15, 1912 – August 13, 2004) was an American chef, author, and television personality. She is recognized for bringing French cuisine to the American public with her debut cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and her subsequent television programs, the most notable of which was The French Chef, which premiered in 1963.

Childhood and education

Child was born Julia Carolyn McWilliams in Pasadena, California, the daughter of John McWilliams, Jr., a Princeton University graduate and prominent land manager, and his wife, the former Julia Carolyn ("Caro") Weston, a paper-company heiress whose father, Byron Curtis Weston, served as lieutenant governor of Massachusetts. The eldest[2] of three children, she had a brother, John III (1914–2002), and a sister, Dorothy Dean (1917–2006).[3]
Child attended Westridge School, Polytechnic School from fourth grade to ninth grade, then The Katherine Branson School in Ross, California, which was at the time a boarding school. At six feet, two inches (1.88 m) tall, Child played tennis, golf, and basketball as a child and continued to play sports while attending Smith College, from which she graduated in 1934 with a major in English.[1] A press release issued by Smith in 2004 states that her major was history.[4]
Following her graduation from college, Child moved to New York City, where she worked as a copywriter for the advertising department of upscale home-furnishing firm W. & J. Sloane. Returning to California in 1937, she spent the next four years writing for local publications, working in advertising, and volunteering with the Junior League of Pasadena[5].


World War II

Child joined the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) after finding that she was too tall to enlist in the Women's Army Corps (WACs) or in the U.S. Navy's WAVES.[6] She began her OSS career as a typist at its headquarters in Washington, but because of her education and experience soon was given a more responsible position as a top secret researcher working directly for the head of OSS, General William J. Donovan.[7] As a research assistant in the Secret Intelligence division, she typed 10,000 names on white note cards to keep track of officers. For a year, she worked at the OSS Emergency Rescue Equipment Section (ERES) in Washington, D.C. as a file clerk and then as an assistant to developers of a shark repellent needed to ensure that sharks would not explode ordnance targeting German U-boats. In 1944 she was posted to Kandy, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), where her responsibilities included "registering, cataloging and channeling a great volume of highly classified communications" for the OSS's clandestine stations in Asia.[8] She was later posted to China, where she received the Emblem of Meritorious Civilian Service as head of the Registry of the OSS Secretariat.[9] For her service, Child received an award that cited her many virtues, including her "drive and inherent cheerfulness."[7] As with other OSS records, Child's file was declassified in 2008, and, unlike other files, her complete file is available online.[10]
While in Ceylon, she met Paul Cushing Child, also an OSS employee, and the two were married September 1, 1946 in Lumberville, Pennsylvania,[11] later moving to Washington, D.C. Child, a New Jersey native[12] who had lived in Paris as an artist and poet, was known for his sophisticated palate,[13] and introduced his wife to fine cuisine. He joined the United States Foreign Service and in 1948 the couple moved to Paris when the US State Department assigned Paul there as an exhibits officer with the United States Information Agency.[9] The couple had no children..


Post-war France

Child repeatedly recalled her first meal in Rouen as a culinary revelation; once, she described the meal of oysters, sole meunière, and fine wine to The New York Times as "an opening up of the soul and spirit for me." In Paris, she attended the famous Le Cordon Bleu cooking school and later studied privately with Max Bugnard and other master chefs.[14] She joined the women's cooking club Cercle des Gourmettes, through which she met Simone Beck, who was writing a French cookbook for Americans with her friend Louisette Bertholle. Beck proposed that Child work with them, to make the book appeal to Americans.
In 1951, Child, Beck, and Bertholle began to teach cooking to American women in Child's Paris kitchen, calling their informal school L'école des trois gourmandes (The School of the Three Food Lovers). For the next decade, as the Childs moved around Europe and finally to Cambridge, Massachusetts, the three researched and repeatedly tested recipes. Child translated the French into English, making the recipes detailed, interesting, and practical.
In 1963, the Childs built a home near the Provence town of Plascassier in the hills above Cannes on property belonging to co-author Simone Beck and her husband, Jean Fischbacher. The Childs named it "La Pitchoune", a Provençal word meaning "the little one" but over time the property was often affectionately referred to simply as "La Peetch".[15]

Monday, July 30, 2012

Top 100 University in world 2012

Top 100 University in world 2012

1 California Institute of Technology United States 
94.8
2 Harvard University United States 
93.9
2 Stanford University United States 
93.9
4 University of Oxford United Kingdom 
93.6
5 Princeton University United States 
92.9
6 University of Cambridge United Kingdom 
92.4
7 Massachusetts Institute of Technology United States 
92.3
8 Imperial College London United Kingdom 
90.7
9 University of Chicago United States 
90.2
10 University of California Berkeley United States 
89.8
11 Yale University United States 
89.1
12 Columbia University United States 
87.5
13 University of California Los Angeles United States 
87.3
14 Johns Hopkins University United States 
85.8
15 ETH Zürich - Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zürich Switzerland 
85
16 University of Pennsylvania United States 
84.9
17 University College London United Kingdom 
83.2
18 University of Michigan United States 
82.8
19 University of Toronto Canada 
81.6
20 Cornell University United States 
80.5
21 Carnegie Mellon University United States 
78.4
22 University of British Columbia Canada 
77.4
22 Duke University United States 
77.4
24 Georgia Institute of Technology United States 
77
25 University of Washington United States 
76.5
26 Northwestern University United States 
76.2
27 University of Wisconsin-Madison United States 
75.8
28 McGill University Canada 
75.5
29 University of Texas at Austin United States 
74.9
30 University of Tokyo Japan 
74.3
31 University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign United States 
74.2
32 Karolinska Institute Sweden 
73.1
33 University of California San Diego United States 
73
34 University of Hong Kong Hong Kong 
72.3
35 University of California Santa Barbara United States 
72.1
36 University of Edinburgh United Kingdom 
72
37 University of Melbourne Australia 
71.9
38 Australian National University Australia 
71.2
38 University of California Davis United States 
71.2
40 National University of Singapore Singapore 
70.9
41 Washington University in St Louis United States 
70.5
42 University of Minnesota United States 
70
43 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill United States 
69.3
44 New York University United States 
69
45 Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München Germany 
67.6
46 École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne Switzerland 
66.3
47 London School of Economics and Political Science United Kingdom 
66
48 University of Manchester United Kingdom 
65.7
49 Brown University United States 
65.6
49 Peking University China 
65.6
51 Pennsylvania State University United States 
64.9
52 Kyoto University Japan 
64.8
53 Pohang University of Science and Technology Republic of Korea 
64.6
54 Boston University United States 
64.2
55 University of Southern California United States 
64
56 King's College London United Kingdom 
63.2
57 Ohio State University United States 
63
58 University of Sydney Australia 
62.4
59 École Normale Supérieure France 
62
59 University of Pittsburgh United States 
62
61 University of Zürich Switzerland
61.9
62 Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Hong Kong
61.7
63 École Polytechnique France
61.5
64 University of Massachusetts United States
61.1
65 McMaster University Canada
61
66 University of Bristol United Kingdom
60.9
67 Katholieke Universiteit Leuven Belgium
60.8
68 Utrecht University Netherlands
60.4
69 Georg-August-Universität Göttingen Germany
60.3
70 Vanderbilt University United States
59.6
71 Tsinghua University China
59.5
72 Rice University United States
59
73 Universität Heidelberg Germany
58.7
74 University of Queensland Australia Australia
58.6
75 Emory University United States
57.4
75 Wageningen University and Research Center Netherlands
57.4
77 University of Colorado Boulder United States
57.3
77 Tufts University United States
57.3
79 Leiden University Netherlands
57
80 Lund University Sweden
56.9
81 University of Rochester United States
56.8
81 Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey United States
56.8
83 Durham University United Kingdom
56.4
84 Université Pierre et Marie Curie France
56
85 University of St Andrews United Kingdom
55.7
86 University of California Irvine United States
55.4
87 Uppsala University Sweden
55.2
88 Technische Universität München Germany
55.1
89 University of Notre Dame United States
55
90 Dartmouth College United States
54.9
91 University of Helsinki Finland
54.8
92 University of Amsterdam Netherlands
54.7
93 Case Western Reserve University United States
54.6
94 Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology Republic of Korea
54.5
94 University of Maryland, College Park United States
54.5
96 Michigan State University United States
54.4
97 University of Arizona United States
54.2
98 Purdue University United States
54
99 University of Sussex United Kingdom
53.9
100 University of Alberta Canada
53.7

Saturday, July 28, 2012

VPN software is not created equal

                    VPN software is not created equal 

With IP Security VPNs established as a preferred method of remote access, businesses now must weigh an array of options that can make deploying and managing these VPNs less daunting.
Optional features range from automatic installation of VPN client software to policy checkers that deny VPN access if personal firewalls aren't turned on and configured properly. The features differ among VPN client software, so customers have to shop carefully.
Remote-access VPNs call for single PCs and laptops to connect to the Internet and establish a VPN tunnel with centrally located VPN concentrators, an architecture that presents two main challenges: first, how to distribute and manage software on a large numbers of remote machines with minimal manpower; second, how to ensure that these machines don't threaten the security of the corporate network.
In the early days of VPNs, these clients weren't deployed in large enough numbers to make distributing and updating them a problem. But today, for large, remote-access VPN deployments, automated distribution and configuration tools are a must, says Larry Bolick, CIO of Aquent, a Boston IT consulting firm that uses Nortel Contivity VPN equipment. Otherwise, updates and policy changes would become too unwieldy to handle, he says.
Most vendors have solved the problem with downloadable software that installs itself so end users can handle it without IT assistance. "The help desk gives them the password to install, and after that, it's all silent and automated," says Gary Gatten, senior network engineer for LabOne, a medical testing firm in Lenexa, Kan., that uses Avaya VPN products.
Once remote-access VPN clients are up and running, policies control the use of their IPSec tunnels. The policies also dictate a variety of parameters such as the VPN concentrators to which they can connect and what level of encryption to use. The clients also must be informed of the removal or addition of new devices to the network.
To handle this task efficiently, Check Point, Cisco, NetScreen Technologies and others offer policy servers that update clients with new policies that have been added since the last time the client machine logged on. These servers can store multiple policies for different groups or individuals. In addition to keeping policies current, this arrangement means no policy remains on the client machine when the VPN connection is severed. This eliminates the security risk that the information would pose if the machine were stolen, Gatten says.
This type of auto-update feature is important because it keeps end users out of the equation when it comes to updating policies, says Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with The Yankee Group. Users might put off retrieving updates, especially if they tie into the VPN over slow connections. "No matter how simple you make a client, if it interfaces with an end user, you are going to have problems," Kerravala says.

Dents in the armor

Even with current policies in place, remote PCs can become chinks in the armor of a corporate network, so many VPN vendors are bundling personal firewalls with their client software to block hackers from using a remote machine as a backdoor to the corporate network, says Dave Kosiur, an analyst with Burton Group. But installing the firewall is no guarantee they are being used, so automatic scanning of remote machines for properly configured firewalls is also important, he says. The same is true for virus-scanning software that also is becoming part of VPN client bundles.
The VPN client should support the policy server's verification that this additional security software is turned on and that the correct version is running before allowing a VPN session. This compliance check is important not only within a business, but also in dealings with clients and partners, Aquent's Bolick says.
In addition to firewalls and virus scanning, vendors are including security elements such as intrusion detection and content filtering. "You want to embed as many of these security features as possible in the client," Kerravala says. Having them all integrated - something no vendor has done yet - would make enforcement of corporate policies easier, Gatten says. LabOne keeps strict tabs on what Internet sites employees visit, so content filtering in conjunction with the VPN client would simplify monitoring. "That would be ideal," Gatten says.
Another way to secure remote machines is via a feature called split tunneling. Split-tunneling technology lets a remote machine connect to a VPN at the same time it connects to other sites on the Internet without compromising the secure tunnel.
That way general Internet traffic does not have to be shuttled through the VPN then onto the Internet via the Internet connection at the central site. This is attractive because it reduces the amount of traffic flowing through the central site, but at the same time, it isolates the VPN traffic from general Internet traffic, Gatten says.
"It lets you protect your endpoint," says Lawrence Pingree, global network security architect for PeopleSoft.
Turning off split tunneling can simplify enforcement of corporate restrictions on Internet use, Gatten says. If all Internet traffic is forced through the central site, it is easier to log, he says. But he also can appreciate Pingree's argument. "It's great to have the option either way," he says.

Crossing firewalls

In addition, Kosiur says users should look for clients to encapsulate VPN traffic inside protocols that can cross firewalls easily. "This is important to roaming users who might want to create a connection from behind a hotel firewall or different company's firewall," Pingree says.
If VPN traffic passes through a device - typically a firewall - that changes its header source address, the device that is supposed to receive it will reject it because of the alterations. To get around this, vendors wrap IPSec packets in some other protocol that easily passes through the device that translated the address. When it arrives at the destination the outer packet is stripped off and the IPSec payload can be decrypted.
Without this capability, firewalls effectively can block tunnels from being established. Check Point uses User Datagram Protocol (UDP) encapsulation and can adopt it on the fly when it encounters a device that would disrupt a VPN tunnel, Kosiur says. Major VPN vendors such as Cisco, Nortel, Enterasys Networks and NetScreen do this in one form or another as well.
In addition to working from behind firewalls, it is desirable for clients to work with gateways made by other vendors, according to Kerravala. "If you have to deliver results to a business partner, it's really handy to make a VPN connection with whatever they have at the other end," Gatten says.

And when companies merge, such interoperability can remove some of the pain and expense of merging networks. "If you're in that world where you're acquiring companies with installed infrastructure, you're not going to want to take out a $50,000 gateway because it was made by somebody else," Gatten says.
Because most vendors follow the IPSec set of standards, their VPN gear can be configured to interoperate at some level with other vendors' equipment, Kerravala says. This is good because it lets businesses create heterogeneous networks that don't rely on a single vendor, he says.
While all vendors don't have all features, they constantly add more to stay competitive. "They're all playing catch-up with each other," Kosiur says.
They also face a threat from outside the IPSec arena from Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) remote-access vendors that use standard browsers as remote clients, a simpler and satisfactory means of meeting many remote access needs, Kerravala says. And, he notes, the SSL option costs half as much.
Read more about security in Network World's Security section.
     

What is VPN

What Makes a Virtual Private Network Private?

VPN

Using a public network — usually the Internet — to connect securely to a private network, such as a company's network is the basis of a VPN or virtual private network.

Companies and organizations will use a VPN to communicate confidentially over a public network and to send voice, video or data. It is also an excellent option for remote workers and organizations with global offices and partners to share data in a private manner.
One of the most common types of VPNs is a virtual private dial-up network (VPDN). A VPDN is a user-to-LAN connection, where remote users need to connect to the company LAN. Here the company will have a service provider set-up a NAS (network access server) and provide the remote users with the software needed to reach the NAS from their desktop computer or laptop. For a VPDN, the secure and encrypted connection between the company's network and remote users is provided by the third-party service provider.

Another type of VPN is commonly called a site-to-site VPN. Here the company would invest in dedicated hardware to connect multiple sites to their LAN though a public network, usually the Internet. Site-to-site VPNs are either intranet or extranet-based.


intranet

extranet

An extranet refers to an intranet that is partially accessible to authorized outsiders. Whereas an intranet resides behind a firewall and is accessible only to people who are members of the same company or organization, an extranet provides various levels of accessibility to outsiders. You can access an extranet only if you have a valid username and password, and your identity determines which parts of the extranet you can view. Extranets are becoming a popular means for business partners to exchange information.

Other options for using a VPN include such things as using dedicated private leased lines. Due to the high cost of dedicated lines, however, VPNs have become an attractive cost-effective solution.

Securing a VPN

If you're using a public line to connect to a private network, then you might wonder what makes a virtual private network private? The answer is the manner in which the VPN is designed. A VPN is designed to provides a secure, encrypted tunnel in which to transmit the data between the remote user and the company network. The information transmitted between the two locations via the encrypted tunnel cannot be read by anyone else.
VPN security contains several elements to secure both the company's private network and the outside network, usually the Internet, through which the remote user connects through. The first step to security is usually a firewall. You will have a firewall site between the client (which is the remote users workstation) and the host server, which is the connection point to the private network. The remote user will establish an authenticated connection with the firewall.

VPN Encryption

Encryption is also an important component of a secure VPN. Encryption works by having all data sent from one computer encrypted in such a way that only the computer it is sending to can decrypt the data. Types of encryption commonly used include public-key encryption which is a system that uses two keys — a public key known to everyone and a private or secret key known only to the recipient of the message. The other commonly used encryption system is a Symmetric-key encryption system in which the sender and receiver of a message share a single, common key that is used to encrypt and decrypt the message.

VPN Tunneling

With a VPN you'll need to establish a network connection that is based on the idea of tunneling. There are two main types of tunneling used in virtual private networks. Voluntary tunneling is where the client makes a connection to the service provider then the VPN client creates the tunnel to the VPN server once the connection has been made. In compulsory tunneling the service provider manages the VPN connection and brokers the connection between that client and a VPN server.
There are three main network protocols for use with VPN tunnels, which are generally incompatible with each other. They include the following

IPSec

A set of protocols developed by the IETF to support secure exchange of packets at the IP layer. IPsec has been deployed widely to implement VPNs. IPsec supports two encryption modes: Transport and Tunnel. Transport mode encrypts only the data portion (payload) of each packet, but leaves the header untouched. The more secure Tunnel mode encrypts both the header and the payload. On the receiving side, an IPSec-compliant device decrypts each packet. For IPsec to work, the sending and receiving devices must share a public key. This is accomplished through a protocol known as Internet Security Association and Key Management Protocol/Oakley (ISAKMP/Oakley), which allows the receiver to obtain a public key and authenticate the sender using digital certificates.

PPTP

Short for Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol, a new technology for creating VPNs, developed jointly by Microsoft, U.S. Robotics and several remote access vendor companies, known collectively as the PPTP Forum. A VPN is a private network of computers that uses the public Internet to connect some nodes. Because the Internet is essentially an open network, PPTP is used to ensure that messages transmitted from one VPN node to another are secure. With PPTP, users can dial in to their corporate network via the Internet.

L2TP

Short for Layer Two (2) Tunneling Protocol, an extension to the PPP protocol that enables ISPs to operate Virtual Private Networks (VPNs). L2TP merges the best features of two other tunneling protocols: PPTP from Microsoft and L2F from Cisco Systems. Like PPTP, L2TP requires that the ISP's routers support the protocol.

VPN Equipment

Depending on the type of VPN you decide to implement, either remote-access or site-to-site, you will need specific components to build your VPN. These standard components include a software client for each remote workstation, dedicated hardware, such as a firewall  or a product like the Cisco VPN Concentrator, a VPN server, and a  Network Access Server (NAS).
Key Terms To Understanding  virtual private networks: VPN
A network that is constructed by using public wires to connect nodes. For example, there are a number of systems that enable you to create networks using the Internet as the medium for transporting data.

VPDN
A network that extends remote access to a private network using a shared infrastructure.

tunneling
A technology that enables one network to send its data via another network's connections. Tunneling works by encapsulating a network protocol within packets carried by the second network.

split tunneling
The process of allowing a remote VPN user to access a public network, most commonly the Internet, at the same time that the user is allowed to access resources on the VPN.
encryption
The translation of data into a secret code. Encryption is the most effective way to achieve data security. To read an encrypted file, you must have access to a secret key or password that enables you to decrypt it. There are two main types of encryption: asymmetric encryption (also called public-key encryption) and symmetric encryption.

Based in Nova Scotia, Vangie Beal is has been writing about technology for more than a decade. She is a frequent contributor to EcommerceGuide and managing editor at Webopedia. You can tweet her online @AuroraGG.       

Monday, July 23, 2012

Genes Influence Whether Psych Drugs Lead to Weight Gain

FRIDAY, July 20 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers have discovered two genetic variants associated with substantial, rapid weight gain in people taking antipsychotic medications.
The researchers said the findings could eventually be used by doctors to identify which patients have the variations so they can be treated without the risk of weight gain, which can lead to obesity and health problems including diabetes and heart disease.
"Weight gain occurs in up to 40 percent of patients taking medications called second-generation or atypical antipsychotics, which are used because they're effective in controlling the major symptoms of schizophrenia," Dr. James Kennedy, of the Center for Addiction and Mental Health, in Toronto, said in a center news release.
Kennedy, senior author of a study published online recently in the journal Archives of General Psychiatry, pinpointed a variation near the melanocortin-4 receptor gene, which is known to be linked to obesity.
The study of patients in Europe and the United States being treated with atypical antipsychotics found that those with two copies of the variant gained about three times as much weight as those with one or no copies -- about 13 pounds vs. 4 pounds.
"The weight gain was associated with this genetic variation in all these groups, which included pediatric patients with severe behavior or mood problems, and patients with schizophrenia experiencing a first episode or who did not respond to other antipsychotic treatments," Dr. Daniel Muller, study co-author and Center for Addiction and Mental Health scientist, said in the news release.
"The results from our genetic analysis combined with this diverse set of patients provide compelling evidence for the role of this [melanocortin-4 receptor] variant," Muller said. "Our research group has discovered other gene variants associated with antipsychotic-induced weight gain in the past, but this one appears to be the most compelling finding thus far."
Kennedy and Muller also were involved in another study that identified a different variation near the melanocortin-4 receptor gene that was associated with weight gain in patients taking antipsychotic drugs. The study was published earlier this year in The Pharmacogenomics Journal.
Although the researchers found that the melanocortin-4 receptor gene variant was associated with rapid weight gain, the study did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.
More information
The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health has more about mental-health medications.

Malaysia star Lee recovers on diet of porridge




Malaysia badminton star Lee Chong Wei, whose Olympic dream was threatened by a serious ankle injury, targetted a medal on Saturday in a campaign fuelled by porridge and hot soup.
Lee, the world number two, who has been receiving stem cell treatment on torn ankle ligaments sustained at the Thomas Cup in China in May, said the injury helped take some of the gold medal pressure off his shoulders.
"I have just come back from injury and there is less pressure. But it is my last Olympics so I want to medal for my country," said Lee, who also lost the world number one ranking to arch-rival Lin Dan of China during his recovery period.
"I don't feel the pressure but there is still a week. Maybe when I get to London I will start to feel the Olympic feeling and maybe then I will feel the pressure."
Lee became world number one in 2008 after the Beijing Olympics, but that achievement was overshadowed by having lost the gold medal match to Lin.
"A gold medal will validate my career. I don't have an Olympic gold medal, my country doesn't have an Olympic gold medal, this gold is important for me and for my country," said the 29-year-old.
Malaysian team physio Sandra Fielder said Lee had made impressive progress from his injury.
"An injury like this would usually take six weeks to heal. Lee started earlier because we are so close to the Olympic Games," she said.
"He stayed off it for three-and-a-half weeks and started training again, which is fast for that kind of injury. It was quite a severe ankle sprain."
Meanwhile, the Malaysians are struggling to come to terms with the wet, chilly weather in Britain although temperatures are expected to reach the high 20s by Friday when the Olympics get underway.
"We bring our own chefs. This is cold weather for Malaysia. So we need hot herb soup, porridge and rice," said team nutritionist Chai Wen Jin.

National Weather Service Issues Rip Current Warning For Shore Towns





PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The National Weather Service says a “high rip current risk” is in effect until 9 p.m. Saturday night for shore towns in New Jersey.
Sea Isle City Beach Patrol Captain Renny Steele says such days at the shore are actually more frequent in August.
“It’s a little early to get this kind of surf in this kind of weather in July. Typically, the tropical storms and hurricanes out at sea create bigger surf for us.”

He says on these high risk days for rip currents, danger can come at any time.
“Things happen quickly on days like today. In other words, you can be standing waist deep and all of a sudden you’re over your head and it happens very, very quickly. So you want to be very cautious.”
He says certain beaches could restrict flotation devices like boogie boards or rafts for example so he stresses listening to any instruction from lifeguards.

Bacteria outbreak in Northern Europe due to ocean warming, study says

LONDON (Reuters) - Manmade climate change is the main driver behind the unexpected emergence of a group of bacteria in northern Europe which can cause gastroenteritis, new research by a group of international experts shows.
The paper, published in the journal Nature Climate Change on Sunday, provided some of the first firm evidence that the warming patterns of the Baltic Sea have coincided with the emergence of Vibrio infections in northern Europe.
Vibrios is a group of bacteria which usually grow in warm and tropical marine environments. The bacteria can cause various infections in humans, ranging from cholera to gastroenteritis-like symptoms from eating raw or undercooked shellfish or from exposure to seawater.
A team of scientists from institutions in Britain, Finland, Spain and the United States examined sea surface temperature records and satellite data, as well as statistics on Vibrio cases in the Baltic.
They found the number and distribution of cases in the Baltic Sea area was strongly linked to peaks in sea surface temperatures. Each year the temperature rose one degree, the number of vibrio cases rose almost 200 percent.
"The big apparent increases that we've seen in cases during heat wave years (..) tend to indicate that climate change is indeed driving infections," Craig Baker-Austin at the UK-based Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, one of the authors of the study, told Reuters.
OCEAN WARMING
Climate studies show that rising greenhouse gas emissions made global average surface temperatures increase by about 0.17 degrees Celsius a decade from 1980 to 2010.
The Vibrio study focused on the Baltic Sea in particular because it warmed at an unprecedented rate of 0.063 to 0.078 degrees Celsius a year from 1982 to 2010, or 6.3 to 7.8 degrees a century.
"(It) represents, to our knowledge, the fastest warming marine ecosystem examined so far anywhere on Earth," the paper said.
Many marine bacteria thrive in warm, low-saline sea water. In addition to warming, climate change has caused more frequent and heavier rainfall, which has reduced the salt content of estuaries and coastal wetlands.
As ocean temperatures continue to rise and coastal regions in northern regions become less saline, Vibrio bacteria strains will appear in new areas, the scientists said.
Vibrio outbreaks have also appeared in temperate and cold regions in Chile, Peru, Israel, the northwest U.S. Pacific and northwest Spain, and these can be linked to warming patterns, the scientists said.
"Very few studies have looked at the risk of these infections at high latitudes," Baker-Austin said.
"Certainly the chances of getting a vibrio infection are considered to be relatively low, and more research is focused on areas where these diseases are endemic or at least more common," he added.
Previous Vibrio outbreaks in colder regions have often been put down to a sporadic event or special conditions rather than a response to long-term climate change.
This is because the effects of global warming can be more pronounced at higher latitudes and in areas which lack detailed historical climate data, the study said.
Baker-Austin said there was a growing realization that climate and the emergence of some infectious diseases were closely linked but there are some "huge data gaps in that area which need addressing."
(Editing by Tim Pearce)

U.S. Students Struggling to Pay Back $150 Billion in Private Loans

Americans have racked up a whopping $150 billion in private student loan debt, a sum many are struggling to repay, according to a recent report released by the U.S. Department of Education and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
"Too many student loan borrowers are struggling to pay off private student loans that they did not understand and cannot afford,” Richard Cordray, director of CFPB, said in a statement.
The $150 billion is just a small chunk of the $1 trillion total student debt in the U.S. — but there are hefty risks and consequences associated with these private loans. Private loans are different from federal ones in that they do not have fixed interest rates and often have fewer protections for borrowers who are struggling to pay.
MORE: These 10 Colleges Leave New Graduates With the Most Debt
The report explains that during the last decade, private loans grew significantly during the boom and then dropped dramatically in the financial crisis. During the growth period, restrictions were looser, meaning that lower minimum credit scores were needed to acquire a loan and lenders could circumvent schools to sign up needy students. Many students ended up borrowing more than they needed to, despite the fact that they couldn’t afford it. This lead to more defaults on loans over the last four years.
The confusion over differences between federal versus private loans did not help either, as many students didn’t realize they still had federal loan options before they turned to private loans. Federal loans are more popular, accounting for $864 billion of the $1 trillion debt mountain. One difference is federal loans have a fixed interest rate, while private loans are often variable. This can sometimes cause debt payments to balloon unexpectedly.
“We still have some work to do to ensure that students who take out private student loans have the same kinds of protections offered by federal loans,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a statement. “In the meantime, if you have to take out a loan to pay for college, federal student aid should be your first option.”
Lending practices for private loans have tightened since 2008, including requiring a co-signer and school approval for the loan in most cases. However, many recent grads are still saddled with debt that is difficult to repay.
“Moving forward, we must do our best to leave the next generation in a better place than we are today, rather than buried under a mountain of debt," Cordray said.
Are you saddled with student loan debt? Share your story in the comments below.
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