2018-07-01 00:00:00 ..
2018-07-15 21:33:37 UTC
2018-07-18 12:36:56 UTC
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Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:
Alphabet's Loon project said Thursday that its balloons will bring internet to remote parts of Kenya next year.
This'll be the project's first deal in Africa, Reuters reports, and it'll see Loon working with Telkom Kenya to get high-speed internet to the East African country's rural and suburban populations.
Loon became its own company only last week -- having started in 2016 as a project at X, Google parent Alphabet's research-and-development facility. It uses high-flying balloons powered by on-board solar panels as Wi-Fi carriers to deliver signals from above.
The balloons float at 60,000 feet (20 km) above sea level -- high over air traffic, wildlife and weather events.
[...] Last year, Alphabet teamed with AT&T to bring limited internet access to storm-ravaged Puerto Rico.
-- submitted from IRC
[...] Coronet, which sells wireless network security products, recently published its list of best and worst airport WiFi offerings here in the United States when it comes to security. According to a study of 45 of the busiest U.S. airports, San Diego International Airport has the riskiest WiFi hotspots. The least vulnerable is Chicago Midway International Airport.
“Unfortunately, WiFi security is often sacrificed by airport operators in exchange for consumer convenience, leaving networks unencrypted, unsecured or improperly configured,” notes the study (PDF). “Even for those airports that do prioritize security, attack techniques such as the Key Reinstallation Attack (KRACK), which can break the WPA2 protocol to capture and/ or expose information shared over public and private WiFi, presents significant risk to passengers in transit.”
Network risk scores were based on the probability of an attacker on a network.
The most troublesome issues found at airports included a WiFi network named “SouthwestWiFi,” which performed an attack on SSL/HTTPS traffic at the Houston William Hobby International Airport.
Submitted via IRC for SoyCow1984
FBI Director Christopher Wray said Wednesday that unless the U.S. government and private industry are able to come to a compromise on the issue of default encryption on consumer devices, legislation may be how the debate is ultimately decided.
"I think there should be [room for compromise]," Wray said Wednesday night at a national security conference in Aspen, Colorado. "I don't want to characterize private conversations we're having with people in the industry. We're not there yet for sure. And if we can't get there, there may be other remedies, like legislation, that would have to come to bear."
Wray described the issue of “Going Dark” because of encryption as a "significant" and "growing" problem for federal, state and local law enforcement as well as foreign law enforcement and intelligence agencies. He claims strong encryption on mobile phones keeps law enforcement from gaining access to key evidence as it relates to active criminal investigations.
Google owns Duck.com, which has been driving rival search engine DuckDuckGo up the wall for over six years. Because when you type "duck.com" into a web browser, you get Google.com. Doesn't make a lot of sense, yes?
But after a new round of complaints this Friday, Google has relented. Google comms VP Rob Shilkin just
quackedtweeted that a new landing page will give people an opportunity to click from Duck.com straight through to DuckDuckGo. Or to the Wikipedia page for ducks, because that's only fair.
Please note that On2 was previously called the Duck Corporation. So if you typed Duck.com, you are redirected to On2.com:
The Daily Beast reports The Creator of Pepe is Winning his War on the Alt-Right:
Matt Furie had no idea a stoned frog he posted on Myspace would be co-opted by Nazis. Now he’s on a mission to reclaim his infamous work.
Matt Furie drew the alt-right’s favorite cartoon frog. Now he is leading one of the most successful legal campaigns against the racist right.
More than a decade has passed since Furie first drew a stoned-looking frog named “Pepe” and uploaded it to Myspace. The frog rose from MySpace in-joke to popular meme, before being taken up as an unofficial mascot of internet neo-Nazis during the 2016 presidential primaries. Since then, Furie has been leading a campaign to reclaim his creation, filing copyright infringement complaints against white nationalist Richard Spencer, conspiracy news site InfoWars,[sic]
This week he won another battle, pressuring neo-Nazi site The Daily Stormer into deleting most of their Pepes, as Motherboard reported.
Though a cartoon frog might seem an unlikely mascot for the racist right, a leaked version of The Daily Stormer’s style guide explains the strategy.
“The tone of the site should be light,” reads the style guide, which leaked to HuffPost last year. “Most people are not comfortable with material that comes across as vitriolic, raging, non-ironic hatred. The unindoctrinated should not be able to tell if we are joking or not … This is obviously a ploy and I actually do want to gas kikes.”
Recognizable memes like Pepe are an easy stand-in for humor.
“We basically mixed Pepe in with Nazi propaganda, etc. We built that association,” a white supremacist Twitter user told The Daily Beast in 2016 of the campaign to make Pepe a gateway meme to the alt-right.
Furie was initially casual about the frog’s incorporation into meme culture.
“I get emails pretty regularly, from kids, from high schools, who need my permission to use Pepe in their senior shirts, or their clarinet club, or their photography clubs,” Furie told The Atlantic in 2016. “I tell them to go ahead as long as they sell me a shirt.”
But soon Pepes proliferated across sites like The Daily Stormer, prompting the Anti-Defamation League to designate the cartoon as a hate symbol, and inspiring Furie to lawyer up.
The official history of Earth has a new chapter - and we are in it. Geologists have classified the last 4,200 years as being a distinct age in the story of our planet. They are calling it the Meghalayan Age, the onset of which was marked by a mega-drought that crushed a number of civilisations worldwide.
The International Chronostratigraphic Chart, the famous diagram depicting the timeline for Earth's history (seen on many classroom walls) will be updated. It should be said, however, there is disquiet in the scientific community at the way the change has been introduced. Some researchers feel there has been insufficient discussion on the matter since the Meghalayan was first raised as an idea in a scholarly paper [DOI: 10.1002/jqs.2565] [DX] six years ago.
[...] The Meghalayan, the youngest stage, runs from 4,200 years ago to the present. It began with a destructive drought, whose effects lasted two centuries, and severely disrupted civilisations in Egypt, Greece, Syria, Palestine, Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley, and the Yangtze River Valley. It was likely triggered by shifts in ocean and atmospheric circulation. The Meghalayan Age is unique among the many intervals of the geologic timescale in that its beginning coincides with a global cultural event produced by a global climatic event, says Stanley Finney, professor of geological sciences at Long Beach State University and Secretary-General of the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS), which ratified the ICS proposal.
The middle phase of the Holocene will be referred to as the Northgrippian, and runs from 8,300 years ago up to the start of the Meghalayan. The onset for this age was an abrupt cooling, attributed to vast volumes of freshwater from melting glaciers in Canada running into the North Atlantic and disrupting ocean currents. The oldest phase of the Holocene - the exit from the ice age - will be known as the Greenlandian.
Scientists are still working on defining the (ongoing) Athropocene and some have criticized this new definition.
Related: For the Second Time, We Are Witnessing a New Geological Epoch: The Anthropocene
Crystals Win in the Anthropocene: 208 Manmade Minerals Identified
Anthropocene News: Scientists Warn of "Sixth Mass Extinction", the Era of "Biological Annihilation"
Cancer patients who use alternative therapies may be more likely to shun conventional treatments and risk their chances of survival, research suggests.
A study of 1,290 patients in the US found people who received such therapies often refused life-saving care such as chemotherapy or surgery.
Fewer of them survived five years after starting treatment compared to those on standard care, researchers found.
Experts urged patients not to ditch proven cancer medicines.
Tell that to Steve Jobs.
Complementary Medicine, Refusal of Conventional Cancer Therapy, and Survival Among Patients With Curable Cancers (open, DOI: 10.1001/jamaoncol.2018.2487) (DX)
Adrian Cronauer, the real live DJ portrayed by Robin Williams in the movie "Good Morning Vietnam" just passed, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-44897634 (many other obits also available).
Keen to travel, Cronauer says he actually volunteered for a transfer to Vietnam, where he was hired initially as a news director for Armed Forces Radio there.
After his morning presenter left, he took up the 06:00 Dawn Buster show mantle, greeting troops with an enthusiastic yell of: "GOOOOOOOOD morning, Vietnam!"
Cronauer soon found out while interviewing troops that his ironic salute was often met with "the GI equivalent of: Get stuffed Cronauer" on bad days, he recounted at a veterans event in 2008.
"On one occasion, a guy picked up his M16 and blew away his radio," he told the Americans Veterans Centre conference.
Did any Soylentils hear him — live — in Vietnam?
The idea sprang from research that found people are typically engaged at work for fewer than three hours a day, said Perpetual Guardian founder Andrew Barnes. He said he started to think about the pressures that employees are under -- sick kids or waiting for the plumber -- and how those stresses affect productivity and cut back on hours spent in the office.
For some of us, less stress results in better sleep, resulting in fewer mistakes and more productivity.
This is something we’ve been waiting a very long time for. The Church of Scientology uses devices called E-Meters to measure Thetans in the body. We’re not going to discuss this further, because we don’t want to be murdered. In reality, the E-Meter is simply a device that costs five thousand dollars and only measures the resistance of the human body. It does this by having the subject hold two copper cylinders and a simple Wheatstone bridge. Why does the E-Meter cost five thousand dollars? As [Play With Junk] found out, it’s an exquisitely engineered piece of hardware.
[...] What’s most impressive is the quality of the components that go into a machine that effectively only measures the resistance of the human body. The ‘trim’ pot is a Vishay wire-wound precision potentiometer that costs somewhere between $20 and $60. The power switch is an over-specced switch that probably costs $5. The control pots look and feel great, and the wiring is wrapped around chokes.
Is it powered by Thetans? Because that would be awesome.
Amazon workers from Spain, Germany and Poland have walked out on strike over demands for better working conditions, choosing to do so on the same date as the retail giant's big promotional push.
Workers demand a fairer conditions[sic] and an increase in salary of 1.5% from Amazon, whose founder and CEO Jeff Bezos' net worth was calculated this week to top $150bn after the company's market valuation hit $888bn.
"The message is clear - while the online giant gets rich, it is saving money on the health of its workers," Germany's Verdi services union said in a statement, following five years in which Amazon has refused to enter into collective wage negotiations over the 16,000 workers employed in the country.
The project Protect Democracy is suing the state of South Carolina because its insecure, unreliable voting systems are effectively denying people the right to vote. The project has filed a 45-page lawsuit pointing out the inherent lack of security and inauditability of these systems and concludes that "by failing to provide S.C. voters with a system that can record their votes reliably," South Carolinians have been deprived of their constitutional right to vote. Late last year, Def Con 25's Voting Village reported on the ongoing, egregious, and fraudulent state of electronic voting in the US, a situation which has been getting steadily worse since at least 2000. The elephant in the room is that these machines are built from the ground up on Microsoft products, which is protected with a cult-like vigor standing in the way of rolling back to the only known secure method, hand counted paper ballots.
Bruce Schneier is an advisor to Protect Democracy
Earlier on SN:
Top Voting Machine Vendor Admits It Installed Remote-Access Software on Systems Sold to States (2018)
Want to Hack a Voting Machine? Hack the Voting Machine Vendor First (2018)
Georgia Election Server Wiped after Lawsuit Filed (2017)
It Took DEF CON Hackers Minutes to Pwn These US Voting Machines (2017)
Russian Hackers [sic] Penetrated US Electoral Systems and Tried to Delete Voter Registration Data (2017)
5 Ways to Improve Voting Security in the U.S. (2016)
FBI Says Foreign Hackers Penetrated State Election Systems (2016)
and so on ...
One of the only traits left to distinguish us from other mammals is a tolerance—and in many cases deep, passionate love—for spicy foods. Richie Hertzberg at National Geographic reports that even that is under assault. A new study reveals that a species of Chinese tree shrew also seeks out hot peppers, and it's probably got a higher tolerance than you.
According to a press release, chili peppers do not grow naturally in the range of Chinese tree shrews, Tupaia belangeri chinensis, but they do feed heavily on Piper boehmeriaefolium, another species of plant that produces copious amounts of capsaicinoids, the compounds that give peppers their kick. Cara Giaimo at Atlas Obscura reports that researchers at the Kunming Institute of Zoology stumbled upon the shrew's tolerance while trying to figure out what the animals like to eat. The shrews, not true shrews at all but relatives of primates, are more genetically similar to humans than other lab animals like mice. So the institute houses about 2,000 of the 10-inch-long mammals for research. As they presented foods to the shrews, they were stunned to find the animals preferred hot peppers, something a self-respecting rabbit or macaque would never eat. (Some other animals, like birds, don't have capsaicinoid receptors, so they can munch peppers all they want.)
To understand the phenomenon, Chinese researchers collected five wild tree shrews and six wild mice to serve as controls. They fed the animals corn pellets spiked with capsaicin. Predictably, the shrews loved the spicy noms while the mice turned away. The researchers also collected bunches of Piper boehmeriaefolium from a local botanical garden. After synthesizing the capsaicin produced by the plant, they injected it into the animals. They then watched how often the animals licked the site, since licking is a response to pain, finding that mice licked the spot more often, a sign that they were irritated by the capsaicin. The shrews hardly licked the spots at all. After that they euthanized the animals to analyze their brains.
Unlike human pepper-heads, who enjoy the tingling on their lips, the slowly building heat and a rush of endorphins that comes from eating hot food, the shrews simply don't feel the burn much, if at all. That's because, the study in the journal PLoS Biology [open, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.2004921] [DX] reveals, they have a mutation of the TRPV1 ion channel, also known as the capsaicin receptor. In other mammals, including the control mice, the receptor activates in the presence of capsaicin, causing pain and burning sensations.
Scientists have produced a 3D image of a fruit fly's brain that's so detailed, researchers can trace connections between neurons across the entire organ.
Fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) display a suite of complex behaviours, including courtship dances and learning. But understanding the neural networks that drive these behaviours remains a challenge. The data from this image, published on 19 July in Cell, resolved the insect's brain down to individual cells — revealing some neurons that have never been seen before. This offers scientists a new tool with which to study fruit-fly behaviour and allows them to compare the insects' neural networks with that of other species.
Researchers cut a fly's brain — roughly the size of a poppy seed — into more than 7,000 slices and shot a beam of electrons through the sample. A high-speed camera captured high-resolution pictures of each slice — a process never used before — generating roughly 21 million images that the team stitched together using custom computer software.
A Complete Electron Microscopy Volume of the Brain of Adult Drosophila melanogaster (open, DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2018.06.019) (DX)
A malware author has built a huge botnet comprised of over 18,000 routers in the span of only one day.
This new botnet has been spotted yesterday by security researchers from NewSky Security, and their findings have been confirmed today by Qihoo 360 Netlab, Rapid7, and Greynoise.
[...] The botnet has been built by exploiting a vulnerability in Huawei HG532 routers, tracked as CVE-2017-17215.
Scans for this vulnerability, which can be exploited via port 37215, started yesterday morning, July 18, according to data collected by Netlab's NetScan system.
[...] Wicked/Anarchy is a well-known malware author who, in the past, has created variations of the Mirai IoT malware. These variations and their respective botnets were known as Wicked, Omni, and Owari (Sora), and had been previously used for DDoS attacks.
[...] But Anarchy is not done yet. The botnet author told Anubhav that he also plans to target CVE-2014-8361, a vulnerability in Realtek routers exploitable via port 52869.
One day in the bright future, everything connected to the internet will be magically supported forever by updates from the manufacturer. No more malware. The intarweb tubes will be one giant safe space with rainbows and unicorns for all.