It’s a weird world where we market kevlar shoelaces for their ability to cut through flexcuffs/zipties, pay people pennies to game search engines to promote your business AND de-prioritize your domestic violence and malpractice history, and tech CEOs blame software problems on alternate universes.
I should be back to regular blogging shortly. For the moment, this will be a bit of a linkdump as it’s been a while since I blogged, and times have been interesting lately. Quotes in quotation marks, commentary by me in italics. A few highlights before I break the rest of everything into categories.
Ex-Hassan aide sentenced to 4 years for doxing senators – When senators started getting doxxed around the Kavanaugh hearings, a lot of us on the hill groaned and figured it was some jackass intern. Turns out much more serious: it was an ex-staffer that broke into a senate office, installed keyloggers, and exfiltrated a bunch of data.
How information is like snacks, money, and drugs—to your brain – “A new study by researchers at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business has found that information acts on the brain’s dopamine-producing reward system in the same way as money or food.”
This is Your President Speaking: Spoofing Alerts in 4G LTE Networks – Scary attack and ensuing scenario about spoofing Presidential Emergency Alerts that go to your cellphone and can’t be blocked. The scenario they present, delivering a false alert to a stadium of 50,000 people, is creative and terrifying.
Police given secret access to hospital database – “The police were able to find and arrest people injured in last Wednesday’s extradition bill protests because officers have been given secret backdoor access to the Hospital Authority’s patient database, medical sector lawmaker Pierre Chan said on Monday.” – Related: lots of images on twitter at the time of the Hong Kong protests of protestors buying metro/subway tickets with cash so their commuter cards couldn’t be connected to the rides.
San Francisco says it will use AI to reduce bias when charging people with crimes – This is almost certainly a terrible idea, as AI inherently increases bias with its application, but in a black-box manner that’s harder to quantify and remedy.
Going to Court Over Losses When Robot Is to Blame – “It’s the first-known instance of humans going to court over investment losses triggered by autonomous machines and throws the spotlight on the “black box” problem: If people don’t know how the computer is making decisions, who’s responsible when things go wrong?”
What I saw before the darkness – This is darkly genius. After being taught how, a Generative Adversarial Neural Network imagines a person. Then one by one the GANN’s neurons are turned off. Gave me shivers.
The Pentagon is battling the clock to fix serious, unreported F-35 problems – Flabbergasting that the F-35 is still this problematic.
Incredibly human, humble twitter thread of professionals admitting to having moments of sheer “are you kidding me” boneheadedness. I know I have them… maybe more than I’d like.
A Sino-Tibetan folded book printed in Beijing in 1410, with dhāranīs in Sanskrit written in Tibeto-Nepali characters and woodcuts of protective mantra-diagrams and deities, block printed on heavy white paper. Breathtakingly detailed printing in red ink, 40 years before Gutenberg.
Fungal Hallucinogens Send Cicadas on Sex Binges After Their Genitals Fall Off – “As if that’s not enough, the fungus turns them into rampant sex-bots of destruction. Even as the cicada bodies turn mouldy and start losing parts – including bits of their abdomen and their genitals – they don’t slow down.”
Some fantastic fashion: Melody Yoko for ACRONYM.