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Aurich Lawson

Researchers have uncovered a never-before-seen version of Stuxnet. The discovery sheds new light on the evolution of the powerful cyberweapon that made history when it successfully sabotaged an Iranian uranium-enrichment facility in 2009.

Stuxnet 0.5 is the oldest known version of the computer worm and was in development no later than November of 2005, almost two years earlier than previously known, according to researchers from security firm Symantec. The earlier iteration, which was in the wild no later than November 2007, wielded an alternate attack strategy that disrupted Iran's nuclear program by surreptitiously closing valves in that country's Natanz uranium enrichment facility. Later versions scrapped that attack in favor of one that caused centrifuges to spin erratically. The timing and additional attack method are a testament to the technical sophistication and dedication of its developers, who reportedly developed Stuxnet under a covert operation sponsored by the US and Israeli governments. It was reportedly personally authorized by Presidents Bush and Obama.

Also significant, version 0.5 shows that its creators were some of the same developers who built Flame, the highly advanced espionage malware also known as Flamer that targeted sensitive Iranian computers. Although researchers from competing antivirus provider Kaspersky Lab previously discovered a small chunk of the Flame code in a later version of Stuxnet, the release unearthed by Symantec shows that the code sharing was once so broad that the two covert projects were inextricably linked.

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The centuries-old scientific and engineering idea of progress through observing, modeling, testing and modifying is under attack. Now it is better to collect and examine lots of data, looking for patterns, and follow up on the most promising. The latest example: Autodesk says designers should generate a thousand product versions.

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The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, or Rio+20, begins today in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. An outgrowth of the Earth Summit held in Rio in 1992, the conference is designed to bring together 50,000 delegates from state governments, institutions, and non-governmental organizations to create measures to reduce poverty while promoting clean energy, decent jobs, and sustainable use of resources. The conference has attracted many protests and parallel events, as diverse groups struggle to share the world stage and make their voices heard. Collected here are just a few of the scenes from Rio+20. [37 photos]

An indigenous child from Kayapo tribe attends first indigenous assembly for the Rio+20 Conference at Kari-Oca village in Rio de Janeiro, on June 14, 2012. Indigenous people from around the world are visiting the village for the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. (Reuters/Ricardo Moraes)

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TEDxTeen - Angela Zhang: Breaking Down the Unknown

Angela Zhang is currently a senior at Monta Vista High School, Cupertino, California. She is the top individual winner of a $100000 scholarship awarded by the 2011 Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology, and the winner of more than 20 awards in regional, state, national and international science fairs. Angela has been featured on CNN and CBS for her research. She has also planned and executed fundraisers that have raised over $5000 each year for the Monta Vista Interact Club and has participated in the Stanford Jade Ribbon Youth Council to raise awareness about Hepatitis B. In thespirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)
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According to the latest jobs numbers, issued by the Labor Department on January 6, the U.S. unemployment rate has dropped to 8.5 percent, down from 10 percent in 2009. The Great Recession has claimed more than 8.5 million jobs since 2007, and even though the current trajectory of the U.S. appears to be toward recovery, Americans are still struggling to find work. Nine of the photographs below appear in The Atlantic's January/February 2012 print issue, and I've added 25 more here to round out a collection of images from these years of uncertainty -- of men and women both at work and out of work in the United States. [34 photos]

A workman steams a U.S. flag in preparation for a planned visit by President Barack Obama, on April 6, 2011, at wind turbine manufacture Gamesa Technology Corporation in Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

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An anonymous reader writes "17-year-old Angeloa Zhang was recently awarded the $100,000 Grand Prize in the Individual category of the Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology. Her project was entitled 'Design of Image-guided, Photo-thermal Controlled Drug Releasing Multifunctional Nanosystem for the Treatment of Cancer Stem Cells.' The creation is the so-called 'Swiss army knife of cancer treatment,' which allows a nanoparticle to be delivered to a tumor where it proceeds to kills cancer stem cells."

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OILED UP
OILED UP: Boys covered themselves in grease to attend the Cascamorras festival in Baza, Spain, Tuesday. (Jorge Guerrero/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

WALL OF WASHING
WALL OF WASHING: A woman did laundry at a wall of washing machines and dryers at a city beach in Berlin Wednesday. Siemens offered free use of the appliances to tourists and locals as part of a promotional event for the IFA consumer-electronics fair. (Odd Andersen/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

BLOOD-STAINED
BLOOD-STAINED: A man mourned his relative at a morgue in Quetta, Pakistan, Wednesday. A pair of suicide bombers killed 22 people while targeting a top army officer, officials said. The officer survived, but his wife and others were killed. (Naseer Ahmed/Reuters)

STITCHED UP
STITCHED UP: Inmates sewed clothes at a prison in Nassiriya, Iraq, Tuesday. (Atef Hassan/Reuters)

HOURS LATER
HOURS LATER: A police officer drank a soda at a vendor’s stand near the scene where a briefcase bomb detonated at New Delhi’s High Court, killing at least 11 people Wednesday. (Kevin Frayer/Associated Press)

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