5 futuristic home lighting solutions starting at just $15

Home Lighting Ideas

You don’t need to be a millionaire to step up your home decor, and creative lighting is one of the best ways to make a big impact on your guests without making a big impact on your wallet. It’s something most people don’t think about often enough, but “smart lighting” is still new enough that even simple solutions can feel futuristic to your guests — and to yourself! From something as simple as a Philips Hue bulb to a very cool solution that emits a soft glow from underneath your bed when you get up, you’ll find five cool and creative lighting solutions to check out in this post. Seriously, I can’t tell you how many “wows” I’ve gotten thanks to my $15 HDTV backlighting kit. You’ve got to check it out!

Under Bed Motion Activated Lighting

  • THE SMART LIGHTING FOR NIGHT-TIME: Now with our motion activated LED light, you can safely navigate across any room you install it, safely. No more bumping on furniture or searching for the light switches! As soon as you place your feet on the ground, the smart motion detector will light up, allowing you to see without being too bright or too dim
  • MOTION ACTIVATED: Built-in human body passive infrared (PIR) motion sensor light with automatic shut-off timer. Automatic Turn on and Shut off by human induction in the dark environment. Inductive range: 3.6m (11.8feet), 100°
  • ADJUSTABLE TIME: Motion sensor Auto shut-off timer can be set from 30 seconds to 6 minutes. Continue Triggerand System to keep the light on and automatic turn off within 30 secs- 6mins after leaving.
  • SUPER EASY SET UP: Our smart night light kit, might be advanced technology, but it will take you only several minutes to set the whole thing up! Easy to read and follow instructions and 3M adhesive tape are already included to make your life easy
  • MULTI PURPOSE — Safely guide you through the dark. Can be installed in anywhere you need extra light. Not only act as under bed light, but also covers a wide range of home applications like stairway, cabinet, cupboard, sofa, furniture etc.

    EveShine Neon Accent LED Strips For HDTV

    • Relieve Your Eye Strain – Quality Bias Lighting can help reduce the eye strain cuased by long exposures to TV screens and monitors in dark rooms. It can also help make the grays and blacks on your screen seem richer.
    • Easy Installation – 35.4” Strip + 46.45” USB cable + A Spare 3M Adhesive Tape , High brightness 30 quality LEDs, Cut the Led Strip with Scissors On the Cut Marks (White Lines), NOTE: Don’t cut the light too short, it should be long enough to be placed in the middle of the back of your tv, Please refer to the 4th image!; Remove the adhesive backing on the strips. Firmly Press the strips to the rear of your tv approx. in the center between top and bottom, then connect the USB TO USB port.
    • Super Sticky Adhesive -The 3M 300MP adhesive(it has better viscosity than 3M 200MP) provides secure and strong installation without worrying about falling off. Attention: Be careful when you remove the adhesive backing tape on the strips, only tear off the Yellow Tape. Don’t peel off the Adhesive Sticker with the Yellow Tape together.
    • Control the Light with Remote – Come with 17 key mini RF remote, has 20 colors for you to choose. You can use the remote control change the color, the brightness as well as different lighting modes. Wireless range: 50ft.
    • Fit your mood – Customized light kit for 32 to 46 inch HDTV. ( NOTE: This Led Light Strip is 35.4inch and Comes with a Spare 3M Adhesive Tape for your convenience). Use the LED Strip to light up or create festive lights on your monitor, TV, or furniture. Choose from solid colors, strobes, or cycling colors to fit your mood! You can easily swap between colors and lighting modes using the remote control.

      Philips 464487 Hue White and Color Ambiance A19 Single Smart LED Bulb

      • Choose between millions of colors and shades of white light to light your home, wirelessly control with your smartphone or tablet, and sync your light immersively to music, games, and movies.
      • Requiring the Hue Bridge (sold separately) for the full Hue experience, this bulb fits standard-size table and floor lamps. Enjoy richer shades of green, cyan, and blue with improved design.
      • Install the LED light as you would install ordinary bulbs, then pair them with the Hue Bridge, which allows you to control smart-bulb-equipped lamps and overhead lights via the Philips Hue App.
      • Easily expand your lighting system with accessories (sold separately), such as a Hue Dimmer Switch, Hue Tap, or Hue Motion Sensor. Pair it for automation with your existing Nest or SmartThings system.
      • This box includes one Philips Hue color A19 standard light bulb, manual, and three-year warranty.

        WenTop Led Light Strip

        • This is a standard kit. The adaptor is UL listed.and they can only load 32.8ft. Please don’t increase the strip light. Come with RGB LED strips, remote controller,UL listed AC adaptor and control box. No more accessories are required.The ventilation must be ensured.These lights need an excessive amount of airflow for cooling.
        • The led will not dim if you connect them from each output of the ir receiver.(like main pic)44key controller contained a DIY fuction , Press “DIY” botton and then just long press one of the arrow button to set it.Also it have dimming and brightness control.
        • Cuttable and linkable. Color changing LED Strip Lights can be cut to every 3 leds, its 5M adhesive tape backing can be fit many dry flat surface.
        • It’s can be change the color via the controller.A lot of color option.Very suitable for indoor lighting and decor. Such as kitchen, under cabinet, dining room, bedroom, party, wedding…..All indoor use .
        • Remarks: Comes with a full 12 month warranty, 30 days money back guarantee.If the power adapter or other accessories do not work, please contact us for help. Connect the load and power lines, make sure all connection right before power switched on; Insure there is no obstacle between the IR controller and the receiver when operating; Take off the plastic sheet of remotes battery before using.

          WenTop Led Light Strip

          • This is a standard kit. The adaptor is UL listed.and they can only load 32.8ft. Please don’t increase the strip light. Come with RGB LED strips, remote controller,UL listed AC adaptor and control box. No more accessories are required.The ventilation must be ensured.These lights need an excessive amount of airflow for cooling.
          • The led will not dim if you connect them from each output of the ir receiver.(like main pic)44key controller contained a DIY fuction , Press “DIY” botton and then just long press one of the arrow button to set it.Also it have dimming and brightness control.
          • Cuttable and linkable. Color changing LED Strip Lights can be cut to every 3 leds, its 5M adhesive tape backing can be fit many dry flat surface.
          • It’s can be change the color via the controller.A lot of color option.Very suitable for indoor lighting and decor. Such as kitchen, under cabinet, dining room, bedroom, party, wedding…..All indoor use .
          • Remarks: Comes with a full 12 month warranty, 30 days money back guarantee.If the power adapter or other accessories do not work, please contact us for help. Connect the load and power lines, make sure all connection right before power switched on; Insure there is no obstacle between the IR controller and the receiver when operating; Take off the plastic sheet of remotes battery before using.


Laing O’Rourke sells precast flooring arm for £20m

Laing O’Rourke has sold its Bison hollowcore precast concrete flooring business to materials group Forterra for £20m.


The deal includes a five-year commercial agreement for Forterra to supply hollowcore and other precast products to Laing O’Rourke.

Bison Manufacturing is based around a highly-automated manufacturing facility located at Swadlincote, Derbyshire, which was opened in 2006.


But recently the Swadlincote plant (pictured above) has been operating at little more than 50% capacity utilisation, leaving it running at a £1m loss on revenue of £23m.

Laing O’Rourke’s net book value for the business assets stood at £10m.

Earlier this year, Laing O’Rourke sold its Bison pre-cast business in Scotland to FP McCann, which ranks among the UK’s largest manufacturers of precast concrete products, employing around 1,500 people.

Forterra said the deal created an immediate opportunity to take a leadership position in the UK precast concrete market, while also expanding its currently capacity-constrained business.

The Swadlincote plant is the largest and most technically advanced hollowcore manufacturing facility in the country with over £50m invested in advanced production in recent years.

The site includes a specialist precast facility capable of producing a wide range of bespoke precast concrete products.

Forterra chief Stephen Harrison said: “The acquisition is a unique opportunity to transform Forterra’s precast business in terms of scale and capability.

“We are acquiring well invested assets while at the same time solving the capacity constraints on growth within our own business. We gain a well-respected brand and will attain a market leading position as we look to grow the combined business.”

Forterra expects to generate a return on its investment in excess of its cost of capital by 2019 through efficiency improvements, proposed consolidation of production between sites.


Has Israel’s security apparatus failed?

The latest attacks against Israeli forces and settlers in Jerusalem and the West Bank have once again exposed the cracks in the Israeli security apparatuses, experts and analysts say.

“Israel watches over the Palestinians in minute details; their lives and their movements. But this surveillance does not work all the time. There are loopholes. Such attacks are difficult to predict, and what happened at al-Aqsa is proof of that,” Elia Zureik, a writer and researcher on colonialism and surveillance, told Al Jazeera.

“The attacks are relatively infrequent, and still, they cannot be controlled, in one of the most advanced countries in the world. They have not managed to escape them,” Zureiksaid.

Over the past two years in what has been termed the Jerusalem Intifada (uprising), Palestinians – mostly acting on their own – have carried out routine attacks, largely against Israeli soldiers in the occupied territories. The attacks are widely seen by Palestinians as acts of armed resistance to oppression.

Since the uprising started, some 285 Palestinians have died in alleged attacks, protests and army raids. Simultaneously, Palestinians have killed 47 Israelis in car-ramming and knife attacks.

The majority of the attempted attacks have not resulted in Israeli casualties, and have ended with the killing of the Palestinian attackers. But recently, two Israeli guards were killed outside the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem in a shoot-out with three Palestinian citizens of Israel, who were shot dead. A few days later, three Israeli settlers were stabbed and killed by a Palestinian in the illegal settlement of Halamish in the occupied West Bank.

READ MORE: Israeli measures at al-Aqsa will ‘increase Palestinian resistance’

Despite the increased presence of Israeli forces in Palestinian neighbourhoods, and despite the state’s advanced security systems, Israel has not been able to control such sporadic attacks, raising questions about the effectiveness of the state’s security apparatus.

Hani al-Masri, director of the Palestinian Center for Policy Research and Strategic Studies, Masarat, said that while Israel uses all measures to “spy on Palestinians – including mobile phones, social media accounts and all technologies, as a superior intelligence agency”, there are “loopholes in the system” when Palestinians carry out successful armed resistance operations.

“Thousands of Palestinians enter Israel on a daily basis without permits. This means that there are thousands who manage to break through the Israeli security system. So when there is a will, there is a way,” Masri told Al Jazeera.

Since its controversial inception in 1948, the state of Israel has prioritised security above all else. Sixty-nine years into its existence, Israel markets itself as a model for hi-tech security and defence systems, exporting its products worldwide.

By framing itself as a vulnerable state facing an existential threat, the state uses the pretext of security to control the more than six million Palestinians living within its borders and under its occupation in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza.

Mainly through the Shin Bet, the state’s internal security service, and its army, Israel operates one of the most advanced security apparatuses in the region. The Shin Bet and the Mossad espionage agency have an annual budget of $2.4bn.

Some of the methods Israel uses to surveil and control its Palestinian population include the “Big Brother” law, which allows Israeli police access to communications data on citizens; CCTV cameras; wiretapping; mistaarivim, or undercover Israeli units trained to assimilate with Palestinians for intelligence gathering; collaborators; and biometric identification cards.

“In the old days it used to be just wiretapping the phone, but nowadays it’s more elaborate – they use things like drones today. They can also track down the signals from cellphones that Palestinians make and go after them, and they have an army of informers that spy on Palestinians in Israel itself and in the [occupied Palestinian territories],” said Zureik.

“In some Palestinian towns, this has become a joke; Palestinians know exactly who these spies are – they know them by name – and they would give them false information. So it doesn’t always work out the way Israel wants it to.”

In the 1970s and 1980s, Zureik added, Israel began using Palestinian women from Israel. “They could produce pictures to show the women in comprising positions and blackmail them for prostitution to turn them into collaborators. Also, for Palestinians to get a teaching position today, they must first get clearance from the Shin Bet. Almost all governmental institutions in Israel have an ‘Arab section’ purposed for monitoring the Palestinians in Israel and collecting information about them.”

READ MORE: Jerusalem cameras ‘more dangerous than metal detectors’

In the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, Israel uses both direct and indirect forms of control over the more than three million Palestinians who live under its military rule. This includes checkpoints, colour-coded license plates, nightly raids of Palestinian homes, and a heavy military presence.

Using social media, Israel also monitors Palestinians and arrests them for any material it considers “incitement”. Between 2015 and 2016, Israel arrested more than 400 Palestinians in the West Bank and Israel for online content, mainly on Facebook. One such case was that of Dareen Tatour, who was arrested after posting a poem on Facebook that called on Palestinians to resist Israeli oppression.

Sami Shehadeh, an activist in Jaffa, said he used to be called in on a yearly basis for questioning.

“There is complete control over our lives – over our expression of national identity, economic control, education system and our curriculums,” Shehadeh told Al Jazeera. “People are checked whenever they enter public buildings such as malls, schools, municipality buildings, and Palestinians get searched more extensively than Israelis.

“Israel is a militarised society and its security is implemented in every aspect of our lives,” he added. “We’re not treated as a people with a national identity – we’re treated as a religious minority. Therefore, we do not study the history of Palestine in schools, and all subjects are taught in Hebrew. They strip us of our identity to try and control our minds.”

Israel also coordinates with the Palestinian Authority, a Ramallah-based semi-governmental body that governs parts of the West Bank, to foil attacks.

Still, loopholes remain. Despite the presence of dozens of military checkpoints between Israel, East Jerusalem and the West Bank, some can only be crossed by car. Soldiers do not always stop each car to search it and check the IDs of the passengers, as some of the roads are used by settlers as well. This means that Palestinians can bypass the system and get into Israel, although they face imprisonment if caught.

And while the separation wall splits East Jerusalem and Israel from the West Bank, Palestinians have found ways, albeit dangerous, to climb over the wall – mainly to find work and a better chance at living.

Additionally, though it is generally difficult to obtain weapons in the West Bank, Palestinians have resorted to smuggling and manufacturing their own. In Israel as well, a black market for weapons is thought to be where the Palestinian citizens of Israel found their guns.

But Ofer Zalzberg, a senior analyst for Israel/Palestine at the International Crisis Group, says the fact that most of the Palestinians who carried out attacks over the past two years were unaffiliated to any particular movement makes it “much harder to collect intelligence about them”.

“Security measures cannot be 100 percent foolproof, especially when attackers are willing to sacrifice their lives,” he told Al Jazeera.

OPINION: Palestinians have a legal right to armed struggle

Though Israel denies that the occupation and violence Palestinians face on a daily basis in the occupied territories is the main driver of attacks against its forces and settlers, analysts and locals say the attacks will continue as long as the oppression of Palestinians lives on.

“Security measures, no matter what they are, cannot prevent resistance, and this has been proven over the course of the years; it is not mere speculation,” Masri said. “We’re talking about anger on a national level – these sentiments of injustice do not stem from certain political/religious ideologies, they exist on a national level. Those who resist demonstrate the will of the majority of the Palestinian people”.

Shehadeh agreed: “These attacks are sporadic and there cannot be a security solution to them. If there is a solution, it will have to be a political one – one that needs to provide us with justice and equality.”


Light it up

If your home seems to lack character and personality, perhaps it’s time you tapped into different types of lighting to create different moods.

The right lighting is essential to create the right feel in every room. If the light is too bright, a room looks stark and uninviting. If it’s too dim, a room appears dreary and depressing. But apart from the look, a good lighting plan must be variable enough to create atmospheres conducive to diverse functions — lounging with a book, enjoying a candlelit dinner, or working on an Excel sheet.

The living room. This room sets the tone for the rest of the home by showcasing the owner’s personality, taste and style.

Aim at creating a warm and cozy environment that helps guests relax. Pockets of light and shadow help create a variety of moods. If there’s a TV in the room, make sure there’s no glare on the screen from any of the lights.

In case the living room also double up as family lounge, ensure the mood lighting is supplemented by task lighting. Children will want to do their homework, you may want to read or do embroidery.

Don’t forget to install dimmers for the task lighting; they’ll help control the brightness and create a mellow ambience.

The bedroom. A bedroom needs to combine the right kind of lighting for a series of functions—dim lights for an intimate atmosphere, a strong light over the dresser for your make-up, and a bright, glare-free light over the table for those evenings when you work.

If you have a huge closet (like Carrie in Sex and the City), you will need proper illumination to differentiate between the blacks and the browns.

Last but not the least, don’t forget a master switch that allows you to turn off all lights without getting out of bed.

Children’s room. Homework, projects, crafts, hobbies, video games, social networking on the Internet — children these days often burn the midnight oil for a variety of reasons.

The wrong kind of lighting can affect a child’s health, leading to headaches and sleepless nights. As the children grow up, they need to spend longer hours at their desks and you must ensure they work under ample light and not in shadows.

Bedside lamps are a must if you wish to inculcate the reading habit — nothing does that better than bedtime story sessions.

Young children like a night light — it helps them feel safe when alone in the dark.

The bathroom. The ability to control lighting levels is of paramount importance in the bathroom. For electrical safety reasons, bathrooms are divided into zones: zone zero (the bath or shower), zone one (area close to the shower), and zone two (the rest of the dry area).

Choose light fixtures — be it spotlights, wall lights and sconces — suited to particular zones. The mirror needs an intense light with integrated shaver/dryer sockets. But nothing works as well as natural lighting and ventilation in a damp space like the bathroom.


It’s the 30th anniversary of Billy Joel’s glorious “quit lighting the audience” freakout

Billy Joel’s a notoriously prickly figure, the kind of guy who’s burned enough lovers and interviewers to forever cement his legacy as a “difficult person.” Regardless, the man’s a star, even today. Since 2014, lest we forget, he’s sold out Madison Square Garden 40 times. He was even bigger in the ’80s, too, an era when he had the clout to make an animated dog a bona fide rock star. Just a year before Joel voiced the lead in Oliver & Company, however, his fame suffered some scary palpitations, the likes of which Noisey explores in a new piece on Joel’s fateful 1987 sojourn to the Soviet Union.

As writer Dan Ozzi outlines, the shows were important as they essentially served as a gesture of goodwill that would hopefully help thaw the notoriously icy relationship between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. Joel would be one of the first major American artists to play there since the construction of the Berlin Wall. Furthermore, Joel ended up putting roughly $2.5 million of his own money to help cover the costs.

As one might imagine, the pressure on Joel was off the charts. It also didn’t help that he’d been on the road for roughly 11 months, and once he arrived in the USSR, he was more or less hoodwinked into an early, unofficial performance that served to blow out his vocal cords that much more. Despite this, his first show was a modest success; his second one, however, resulted in Joel’s most public meltdown.

Ozzi’s description of the straw that broke the camel’s back is especially compelling. Knowing that the Russian crowd was a huge fan of his son, “Sometimes A Fantasy,” he pulled it out early and saw a vibrant, dancing crowd. An HBO documentary crew making a film about the concert also took notice.

They were having so much fun, in fact, that his documentary crew wanted to get better shots of them and shone the house lights on the first few rows. But that caused a huge problem.

The Soviet crowd, raised by decades of Iron Curtain austerity, stopped dancing and froze like deer in headlights when they were lit up, petrified that the security guards would crack down on them. Then the lights would go out again and they’d resume dancing. Lights off, dancing. Lights on, frozen stiff. This went on and on like a game of red light, green light, one-two-three. With each flick of the lights, the perfectionist Joel saw his hard earned connection fading away. Mid-song, he started screaming at his crew to cut it out and, like a consummate professional, didn’t even miss a beat as he barked orders between lyrics.


“I hear Billy singing and he’s saying something, but I can’t hear what he’s saying,” lighting director Steven Cohen recalled in A Matter Of Trust. But even though Cohen couldn’t make out Joel’s words, he would definitely recognize what came next—the sound of a piano crashing onto the ground. The five-foot-five-inch Joel had gotten a sturdy grip under the keys, put his back into it, and, with red fury in his face, flipped the whole thing over. Band and crew members recall stray chunks of Yamaha whizzing past them as the piano landed completely upside-down with a loud crash.

As you can see in the above video, Joel went on to kick the downed piano and break his mic stand with the kind of fervor that would’ve no doubt riled up a young Kurt Cobain.

Had the incident happened today, with the clip immediately available for proliferation and dissection, Joel certainly would’ve been encouraged to cancel the shows and check into a psychiatric facility. Instead, it appears to have been a means of catharsis, and he returned for the next concert energized. Every remaining show on his six-date tour was a huge success—one even saw him crowd-surfing while being draped in American and Soviet flags. Presumably, no one lit the damn audience.


I Have Anxiety, and This Household Activity Has Helped Me SO Much

“Clean house, clear head” rings so very true with me. As someone who is at a constant war with their anxiety, I’m always seeking healthy, straightforward ways to face my mental health head-on. My whole life, I’ve been what people jokingly called a “neat freak,” a trait that I got honestly from my mom. I’m the person people roll their eyes at when I genuinely say that I like to clean. Still, I never realized the value of cleaning beyond a spotless home until I skipped my Saturday morning ritual after a long week and discovered how off-balance I felt.

If you suffer from extreme anxiety, you know the feeling of panic that comes over you when things just don’t feel right and you don’t know how to fix them. It’s easy for your whole world to feel off-kilter if just one element of it is disrupted, but cleaning your home can actually help your mental state right itself and restore balance. When I clean my house from top to bottom, I go into a quiet (and private) zone where I let all of my anxieties take the back seat to the task at hand. It’s restorative for me, and best of all, I’m left with a sparkling house when all is said and done. Here’s how cleaning can help your anxiety.

Cleaning is like meditation.

Nothing helps clear my head of all my frantic thoughts more than putting on music to block everything out and allowing myself to get into the complete cleaning zone. By concentrating on a simple task, I’m able to drown out anxiety by doing something productive and basic. If you’re able to focus on your task and force all other negative thoughts out, cleaning can truly have a similar effect for some that meditation does.

It sets you up for a better day or week.

Coming home from a stressful day of work to house full of clutter, dirty dishes, and cat hair forming Texas-sized tumbleweeds of hair can cause me to feel like I may unravel completely. My home is my sanctuary and safe zone, so when I return to find it clean and clutter-free, my mind is more at peace. Spending time over the weekend to give your home a deep-clean can have a major effect on your anxiety, because it takes away a potential element of stress that may be the final straw on a particularly anxiety-ridden day.

It keeps you active.

Although exercise can help anxiety, it’s not always for everyone. Unfortunately for me, the more anxious I am, the less prone I’ll be to exercise, which can be a vicious cycle. However, cleaning your home is a way to do light exercise, keep your heart rate up, and allow your body to release endorphins, all without having to step foot in a gym.

It yields tangible results.

Anxiety can cause you to be completely overwhelmed. There are times when I feel like there is so much to do, I end up getting stuck on how to start, and I get even less done because of my inability to get past feeling like I’m drowning in unfinished tasks. Cleaning is a simple to solution to this problem. In scrubbing down the bathroom sink or vacuuming the floor, you’re able to see tangible results. The manifestation of your hard work is right before your eyes, and this physical evidence of your efforts can be an extreme comfort for an anxious mind.


BOG OFFER How you can get two FREE Vue cinema tickets for cleaning your toilet

THE INCREASING cost of a cinema ticket has been putting off movie goers from seeing films on the big screen in recent years.

According to data released by the British Film Institute (BFI), the average price of cinema admission in the UK has risen from £4.87 in 2006 to £7.17 in 2015 – an increase of 48.25 per cent over a ten-year period.

Customers who want to bag the deal just need to spend £3 on any Finish, Vanish, Dettol or Airwick cleaning products

Customers who want to bag the deal just need to spend £3 on any Finish, Vanish, Dettol or Airwick cleaning products

And prices vary hugely between locations. For example, in London, to watch the summer movie Driver, a standard adult tickets at a Vue cinema in Westfield will cost you £13.99, while cinema goers watching the same movie in North Finchley will pay up to £12.79.

In Manchester, the same tickets will cost £9.99 per person.

As a consolation to hard done by cinema movie fans, MoneySavingExpert has now found a trick to get two free cinema tickets by simply “cleaning your loo”.

Customers who want to bag the deal just need to spend £3 on any Finish, Vanish, Dettol or Airwick cleaning products in one transaction at Tesco.

To benefit from the offer, customers will have to spend the money either in store before Wednesday August 2 or online on Tesco.com before Wednesday August 23.

According to MSE, the cheapest product currently includes a Dettol Neutraair Fresh Morn Dew.

The air freshener usually costs £1.50 but it is now  on offer at £1 until Tue August [Source”GSmerena”]

Ukraine points finger at Russian security services in recent cyber attack leftright 2/2leftright

Ukraine said on Saturday that Russian security services were involved in a recent cyber attack on the country, with the aim of destroying important data and spreading panic.

The SBU, Ukraine’s state security service, said the attack, which started in Ukraine and spread around the world on Tuesday, was by the same hackers who attacked the Ukrainian power grid in December 2016. Ukrainian politicians were quick to blame Russia for Tuesday’s attack, but a Kremlin spokesman dismissed “unfounded blanket accusations”.

Cyber security firms are trying to piece together who was behind the computer worm, dubbed NotPetya by some experts, which conked out computers, hit banks, disrupted shipping and shut down a chocolate factory in Australia.

The attack also hit major Russian firms, leading some cyber security researchers to suggest that Moscow was not behind it.

The malicious code in the virus encrypted data on computers, and demanded victims pay a $300 ransom, similar to the extortion tactic used in a global WannaCry ransomware attack in May. But Ukrainian officials and some security experts say the ransomware feature was likely a smokescreen.

Relations between Ukraine and Russia went into freefall after Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the subsequent outbreak of a Kremlin-backed separatist insurgency in eastern Ukraine that has killed more than 10,000 people.

Hacking Ukrainian state institutions is part of what Ukraine says is a “hybrid war” by Russia on Kiev. Russia denies sending troops or military equipment to eastern Ukraine.

“The available data, including those obtained in cooperation with international antivirus companies, give us reason to believe that the same hacking groups are involved in the attacks, which in December 2016 attacked the financial system, transport and energy facilities of Ukraine using TeleBots and BlackEnergy,” the SBU said.

“This testifies to the involvement of the special services of Russian Federation in this attack.”

The SBU in an earlier statement on Friday said it had seized equipment it said belonged to Russian agents in May and June to launch cyber attacks against Ukraine and other countries.

Referencing the $300 ransomware demand, the SBU said “the virus is cover for a large-scale attack on Ukraine. This is evidenced by a lack of a real mechanism for taking possession of the funds … enrichment was not the aim of the attack.”

“The main purpose of the virus was the destruction of important data, disrupting the work of public and private institutions in Ukraine and spreading panic among the people.”

A cyber attack in December on a Ukrainian state energy computer caused a power cut in the northern part of the capital Kiev.

The Russian foreign ministry and Federal Security Service did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the latest allegations.

Russian oil major Rosneft (ROSN.MM) was one of the first companies to reveal it had been compromised by the virus and sources told Reuters on Thursday computers at state gas giant Gazprom (GAZP.MM) had also been infected.

The SBU’s accusations chime with some of the findings of the cyber security firm ESET in Slovakia, which said in research published online on Friday that the Telebots group — which has links to BlackEnergy — was behind the attack.

“Collecting ransom money was never the top priority for the TeleBots group,” it said, suggesting Ukraine was the target but the virus spread globally as “affected companies in other countries had VPN connections to their branches, or to business partners, in Ukraine.”

“The TeleBots group continues to evolve in order to conduct disruptive attacks against Ukraine,” it said.

“Prior to the outbreak, the Telebots group targeted mainly the financial sector. The latest outbreak was directed against businesses in Ukraine, but they apparently underestimated the malware’ spreading capabilities. That’s why the malware went out of control.”

(Additional reporting by Alexander Winning in Moscow and Jim Finkle in Toronto; writing by Matthias Williams; Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)


Foundry seeks to replace carpet, flooring

Replacing the carpet

REYNOLDSVILLE — The carpet and flooring in The Foundry in Reynoldsville is experiencing some wear and tear.

Judy Dickerson, center director of The Foundry, is seeking to do something about it.

According to Dickerson, the carpet is worn and soiled, and the laminate floor is chipping and coming up in places.

She noted that an effort is underway to raise money for new carpeting and a new floor.

The fundraising includes a lasagna benefit dinner that will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. on Friday, June 23.

The cost is $7 for adults and $5 for children six years old and under. There will be a carry-out, which is a dollar more.

According to Dickerson, a well-known Italian cook, Judi Anderson of Brookville, will make the meal.


The beauty and ecological benefits of a garden in decay


Spring is not a moment in the garden but a sequence, a gentle unfurling of plant life that grows fuller by the day at a tempo that is almost out of sync with human perception.

One minute perennials are peeping out of the earth, and the next the soil is covered by fully grown greenery. The fall is the same way, except the movement is in reverse. With each passing week between early October and Thanksgiving, more perennials, grasses, groundcovers and the stuff of the lower layers of the garden will shrink, darken and start to lie down. Because our gaze is fixed on the changing leaf colors of the trees and shrubs, this other show occurs at a more subconscious level, but the two are related and deserve to be enjoyed together.

Where once the odd coneflower looked dried in the flower beds, other plants follow the same course, until there is a wholesale shift in the character of the garden from repletion to decline and seediness.

We are wired to see decay as rot, and rot as a threat to our well-being. So when we take stock of the autumn landscape, especially after a killing frost, our instinct is to clean it all up. This is a mistake on a number of levels.

The withering of the top growth of perennials and grasses is not a pernicious thing, but a natural part of their life cycle. They will re-sprout afresh in the spring from their crown buds. This year’s declining growth, meanwhile, is likely to be full of the very stuff of life, ripening seed.

I think – I hope – that our gardens are becoming more lavishly and dynamically planted with perennials and grasses, and with an ecological bent. If so, this fall conundrum will only become more pressing.

I see this decay as something beautiful, the way a steel panel becomes patinated with surface rust. So my approach to garden grooming in the fall is to remove obvious blight – shriveled hosta leaves, for example, along with diseased foliage – but to let anything else stand through the fall and winter as long as it isn’t an eyesore.

I particularly like the effect of the black stalks and seed heads of rudbeckias, from the knee-high black-eyed Susans to the taller giant coneflower. Composites as a rule make for handsome zombies, especially the purple coneflowers. The tall, wiry cup plant is lovely in its deterioration. Asters, too, are attractive in the dead months, especially when the fluffy, downy seeds make a break for it. Other effective perennials include amsonias, calamintha, perovskia and swamp milkweed. Need it be said, this is the time of year when all the ornamental grasses come into their own, green or brown, including the native bluestems, panicums and prairie drop seed.

If you want icing on this cake, nature provides it in the dewdrops of October and the ice crystals of November and December. The latter is a phenomenon called riming, and although the mid-Atlantic isn’t perhaps the best climatic region for this, when it happens you should take a moment to savor it. The most dramatic display of riming I saw was about four years ago in England, where a whole woodland beyond a field was frosted. It was like observing a finely crafted black-and-white art photo, but in negative. Such morning scenes, in miniature, await the untidy gardener.

There is an equally compelling argument for not weed-whacking and clearing the ornamental beds at this time of year, or the leaf litter that is obsessively blown, gathered and bagged in November. This detritus provides vital shelter and nourishment for wildlife. Doug Tallamy, author of a landmark book about ecological gardening, “Bringing Nature Home,” sees a direct link between the decline of fireflies and the modern-day fixation with leaf blowing. “Fireflies spend their entire larval life in the litter,” he said. “They are only adults for a short period.” Tallamy, a professor of entomology at the University of Delaware, is also co-author of “The Living Landscape.”

When we cut back the seed heads and stalks, we deprive birds and small mammals of seeds. “I always encourage people, if they have seed-producing plants such as black-eyed Susans, purple coneflowers or goldenrods, to leave them up because the overwintering birds really rely on them,” said Deborah Landau, an ecologist with the Maryland/D.C. chapter of the Nature Conservancy.

Neatniks also harm countless species of beneficial insects. Landau said other casualties include the egg masses of such creatures as praying mantises and spiders. The former resembles a hardened foam mass enveloping a stem; the latter looks like a string of pearls.

Many native bee species spend the winter as pupae within the pithy stems of perennials and the canes of hydrangeas, Tallamy said. “Much of the insect community is spending winter in that debris we get rid of all the time,” he said. One option for appearance’s sake is to cut back material in the front yard but leave dead top growth standing in less-visible parts of the garden, he said. Stalks and leaves that must be cut can be stored elsewhere outside, but don’t lay them down. The snow will flatten a pile and it will rot, he said.

Landau said these undisturbed beds also provide shelter for frogs and salamanders (and presumably a third amphibian, the toad).

Also, this debris is home to butterflies. I was in the Smithsonian’s Ripley Garden the other day, and it was Grand Central for monarch butterflies – adults, caterpillars and even pupae. If it stays warm, the chrysalises will hatch soon and the butterflies will head south. But other butterflies spend the winter here in their cocoons, and the pipevine plants were loaded with pipevine swallowtail caterpillars eating their way into a pupal stage, to emerge as adults next year.

“The less disturbance the better,” Landau said. “All these animals have adapted to depend on these plants in the winter.” Maybe we can be smart enough to copy them.



[Source:- homesandproperty]