Prominent figures voice support for hacktivist Jeremy Hammond

While the feds consider Jeremy Hammond a criminal hacker, thousands of others think of him as an altruistic political activist.

Hammond, 28, is accused of leading the massive Stratfor hack, which resulted in the alleged theft of 200GB worth of data from companies and government agencies like the US Army, the Department of Defense, Lockheed Martin, Dow Chemical, Coca Cola, and Bank of America.

Though Hammond pleaded guilty to conspiracy, he also claims that this hack was fueled by his need to protest and expose the secret actions of the government and private corporations.

"People have a right to … Read more

The 404 1,351: Where we find our way to the future (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- The strange story of a man posting on the Web who claims to be from the future.

- YouTube gets the yuck out in comments cleanup.

- Watch Jeff get "CrReam-ed" in a game of NHL 14.… Read more

CIA declassifies covert details on the secretive Area 51

When U-2 spy planes first soared over Nevada in 1955, they flew higher than any other plane ever: 60,000 feet. The development and construction of the vessels were part of a top-secret CIA operative in the remote desert of Nevada known as Area 51.

When people who lived nearby saw the sleek planes -- far above, glinting in the sun -- they had no idea what they were. And naturally, it became widely believed they were UFOs carrying aliens.

Many of the details and history around Area 51 and U-2 planes were recently declassified by the CIA and revealed … Read more

The 404 1,251: Where we find the cipher in the sound (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- Did 4chan just find the Boston Marathon bomber?.

- 4chan's Boston bombing Google Doc culls photos, speculation, and accusations.

- Internet tough guys and girls already pointing fingers at the Middle East. Response: "Please don't let it be a Muslim."

- Beating conspiracy theorists at their own game.

- Using Microsoft Photosynth to recreate a panoramic photo of the bombsite.

- Encode hidden messages in your Facebook pics with "Secretbook" extension.

- Demonic portraits and other evils lurking beneath waves of musical spectrograms.… Read more

Russian meteorite: The conspiracy theories

A good hearty conspiracy theory can shine a sharp light on two of humanity's most enduring traits.

One, of course, is humanity's boundless imagination. The other is humanity's essential suspicion of humanity.

So while you might be deeply immersed in Bill Nye's explanation of the Russian meteorite, those with darker sensibilities have filled the Web with their fears and hauntings about the phenomenon.

There are few nations with greater awareness of dark sensibilities than Russia. The fact that there seems to be little evidence of meteorite fragments on the ground has encouraged some Russians to offer their own suspicions.… Read more

Secrets of Area 51: History, technology, and controversy

Area 51 is one of the most enduring mysteries and sources of speculation in American history.

Located inside the Nevada Test and Training Range, the flat, dry lake bed known as Groom Lake has been the home to some of the nation's most advanced espionage and weapons technology, hair-raising tales of Cold War brinksmanship, and possibly much worse, according to a new book about the top-secret military base.

In writing "Area 51: An Uncensored History of America's Top Secret Military Base," Annie Jacobsen combed through thousands of pages of declassified material on American spy plane development, nuclear testing at Area 51, and the history of the CIA and Air Force's control of the base.

In the course of her research, she interviewed dozens of men who worked or lived at Area 51 and are only now talking to one another and the public about their time there. She also interviewed one anonymous source who suggested a deeply dark side of the research conducted at Area 51: human experimentation and psychological warfare (and, of course, a high-level cover-up).

I interviewed Jacobsen, along with Jim Friedman, who was a senior field administrator at Area 51 for 13 years, and TD Barnes, a radar specialist who lived and worked at Area 51, in Nevada near the edge of the enormous testing range and base. We drove up to the gate at Area 51, talked at length about the planes and other technologies developed there and dug into the controversy surrounding the most shocking parts of Jacobsen's book.

The interviews and footage originally aired on CBS' "The Early Show," and these three videos are extra footage and longer interviews about the topics covered in the book. First, a journey down the long Nevada highway and desolate dirt road that leads to the back gate at Area 51: the most intimidating gate you've ever seen. When we got there, there was broken glass on the ground, an ominous camera gazing down at us, and absolutely no one in sight. But I could feel the weight of eyes on me with every moment we were there (and I expected a blow-dart in the back at any second!). … Read more

More details about sale of Apple, Dell secrets

CNET has obtained a copy of the FBI's complaint against four men who had access to vital trade secrets belonging to such tech companies as Apple, Dell, and AMD, and are accused of repeatedly violating securities laws by selling this information to hedge funds, according to the FBI.

As a result of a sophisticated sting operation that involved wiretaps and recorded phone conversations, FBI agents have arrested the four men on a score of charges that include securities fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy.

The government's complaint, filed this week with U.S. District Court for the Southern District … Read more

Loch Ness Monster surfaces on Google Earth?

Stop the presses: According to the U.K.'s Daily Mail, a security guard was hunting around on Google Earth and spotted a mysterious object that he believes is the storied Loch Ness Monster.

The most shocking part of the report: The fact that it took this long for anyone to claim that Google Earth has found something funny swimming around in Loch Ness. I mean, hello, people. Google Earth has been feeding us tasty satellite maps for over four years now. If Google Street View can surface multiple puking drunks and streakers, you'd think that a massive sea … Read more

iLike changes Facebook tune to 'Music'

iLike, a social music service that has created one of the more popular applications for Facebook's platform, has changed the app's name to the more straightforward "Music."

"Over 40 million music fans like you have used iLike to share music and discover concerts, and we're grateful to you for being one of them," an e-mail sent to members who have installed the app said. "To maintain consistency with other Facebook applications, we're renaming the 'iLike' application to simply 'Music.'"

The company name hasn't changed, and it hasn't yet … Read more

Google clears up Atlantis debris

Guess this is the kind of tech news people really want to read. There was an overwhelming response to our post about Google denying that its Google Earth ocean-floor mapping software had unearthed the mythical sunken island of Atlantis.

I'm talking dozens of comments, 6,000+ Diggs, and an in-box full of fun messages containing everything from alternate theories to moral support from fellow Lost fans who want to see the show's array of wacky maps explained (blast door, please!). It was great to hear from you all, and thanks for chiming in.

Without a doubt, Google was … Read more