| Friday May 27th 2016

Online hackers threaten to expose cartel’s secrets

The person reportedly kidnapped is not named, and the video does not share information about the kidnapping other than that it occurred in the Mexican state of Veracruz during a street protest.

An international group of online hackers is warning a Mexican drug cartel to release one of its members, kidnapped from a street protest, or it will publish the identities and addresses of the syndicate’s associates, from corrupt police to taxi drivers, as well as reveal the syndicates’ businesses.

The vow is a bizarre cyber twist to Mexico’s ongoing drug war, as a group that has no guns is squaring off against the Zetas, a cartel blamed for thousands of deaths as well as introducing beheadings and other frightening brutality.

“You made a huge mistake by taking one of us. Release him,” says a masked man in a video posted online on behalf of the group, Anonymous.

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Governments turn to hacking techniques for surveillance of citizens

Trojan source code

“It’s an open market. You cannot stop the flow of surveillance equipment.” — Jerry Lucas, head of the Intelligence Support Systems conference showcasing technology that corrupt regimes around the world use to spy on, and censor, their citizens.

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HOWTO: Upset your intelligent significant other without even trying

upset your girlfriend


Canadian Ned Flanders

They shake hands using their left hands!

Home thermostat that “learns” from iPod designer

The Nest thermostat was designed by Tom Fadell, aka the “father of the iPod.” It will cost $250 and will be available next month….

Nest learns from your temperature adjustments, programs itself to keep you comfortable, and guides you to energy savings. You can control the thermostat from anywhere using a smartphone, tablet or laptop, and Nest never stops learning, even as your life and the seasons change.

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The Homeland Directive: Taut technothriller for the paranoid era

The Homeland DirectiveRobert Venditti and Mike Huddleston’s stand-alone graphic novel The Homeland Directiveis a tight, suspenseful technothriller (in Bruce Sterling’s definition of the term: “a science fiction story with the president in it”). Mysterious government spooks are hunting a pair of CDC epidemiologists. One is murdered, the other, Dr Laura Regan, is framed for a variety of crimes and barely escapes in the company of rogue spooks who spirit her away to a safe house. The story that unfolds — a plot to terrorize America into accepting an otherwise unthinkable authoritarian rule in the name of fighting terrorism — is taut, filled with great spycraft and action sequences. A great, paranoid read for the modern age.

The Homeland Directive

Android Dreams: Time-lapse Tokyo Homage to Blade Runner

Samuel Cockedey created this lovely short, and explains…

This is a tribute to Ridley Scott and Vangelis, whose work on Blade Runner has been a huge source of inspiration in my shooting time lapses. Please watch in HD with sound on! Shot over a year in Tokyo with a Canon 5dmk2, mainly in the Shinjuku area. Music: “Main Titles” and “Blush Response” from the Blade Runner soundtrack. More information on the process here.? Selected sequences available for licensing here.

Internet pornography destroying men’s ability to perform with real women, finds study

Internet pornography is creating a generation of young men who are hopeless in the bedroom, according to research.

Exposure to lurid images and films in the new media is de-sensitizing so many young people that they are increasingly unable to become excited by ordinary sexual encounters, a report said.

The result is that impotence is no longer a problem associated with middle-aged men of poor health but is afflicting men in the prime of their lives.

According to a report in Psychology Today, a respected U.S. journal, the problem is now so common that men in their 20s consider their inability to perform to be ‘normal’.

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iPhone Siri vs Japanese Guy

Every time he tries to say “work” I burst into laughter.

The Biosphere 2 “starvation diet”

In 1992, eight individuals entered the “Biosphere 2” in the Arizona desert where they lived for two years. The point was to study interactions inside a closed ecological system. biosphere bionautsThe success of the “planet in a bottle” experiment was, er, debatable. But there are a slew of fascinating stories of what happened inside. Christopher Turner, author of Adventures in the Orgasmatron: How the Sexual Revolution Came to America, wrote a piece for Cabinet magazine all about what the Bionauts ate and the team medic Dr. Roy Walford’s “healthy starvation diet.” From Cabinet:

While his subjects pleaded with mission control for more supplies, Walford — who had been on the CRON-diet for years — maintained that their daily calorie intake was sufficient. “I think if there had been any other nutritionist or physician, they would have freaked out and said, ‘We’re starving,’” Walford said, “but I knew we were actually on a program of health enhancement.” Every two weeks he would give them all a full medical checkup. He discovered that their blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol counts did indeed drop to healthier levels—which he presumed would retard aging and extend maximal lifespan as it seemed to in mice—though an unanticipated side effect of this was that their blood was awash with the toxins that had been stored in their rapidly dissolving body fat.

In their 1993 book Life Under Glass: The Inside Story of Biosphere 2, crew members Abigail Alling and Mark Nelson note: “Each biospherian responded differently to the diet. Initially, over the first six months or so, we lost between eighteen and fifty-eight pounds each. … Roy continued to assure us not to worry when we commented on our baggy pants and loose shirts because our overall health was actually improved by the combination of our diet and the superb freshness and quality of the organically grown food.” They acknowledged that their natural diet was incredibly healthy: “The only problem was that there never seemed to be enough of it.”

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A Duet with Siri

Anonymous and Occupy Wall Street

4chan anon swarm of bees

The Real Role Of Anonymous In Occupy Wall Street: “Anonymous has caught the attention of the media–and even Homeland Security–with its biggest contribution to Occupy Wall Street: hype. But, so far, the amorphous, leaderless hacktivist movement has disappointed anyone expecting full-on revolution from a Guy Fawkes-masked army or a massive cyber attack.”

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Blackberry announces new BBX operating system

Live from BlackBerry DevCon 2011 in San Francisco, where RIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis has the stage, and he’s just revealed the company’s latest operating system: BBX.

Blackberry BBX“It’ll be for phones, it’ll be for tablets, and it’ll be for embedded devices,” says QNX founder Dan Dodge. The “whole company is aligning behind a single platform and a single vision.” The company is showing off the Marmalade game engine, as well as talking up security (the PlayBook is apparently the first tablet certified for government use).

The BBX platform uses the same browser source code as on BB6 and BB7, meaning that HTML5 and WebWorks apps on either of those will work on BBX. The Cascades UI framework, designed by The Astonishing Tribe, has been demonstrated with a photo gallery app and with message visualization, a compressed visual stream of showing email, calls, BBM, SMS, Facebook, and Skype, with a dynamic tag cloud and multiple ways to graph. And since this is RIM, Enterprise is being emphasized here, with a “Work” tab being added to App World, letting your CIO add apps specific to your company.

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Tampa Bay Lightning using Tesla coil for goal celebrations

Adventures in self-publishing: Why I took a year’s work and tried my hardest to give it away

When John F. Kennedy was asked how he became a war hero, he’s supposed to have replied: “It was involuntary. They sank my boat.” That’s how I became a self-published novelist: A large number of New York publishers rejected Thanks for Killing Me, my spiky little crime novel about the aftermath of a con gone wrong. Thanks For Killing MeThey did so for an exquisitely heterogeneous variety of reasons. One liked the plot but not the characters; another liked the characters but not the plot. A couple thought it moved too fast, and a couple found it too leisurely. About the only consensus was that none of them felt optimistic about their chances of selling a caper novel, and a first novel at that, in a declining publishing market. Being the self-starter that I am, I took these rejections in stride and leapt into action, throwing the manuscript into a drawer and sulking for eighteen months.

Sometime around the start of this period I had lunch with an old friend who’d done some time as a publishing executive. I told him that I was beginning to kick around the idea of self-publishing. His advice was short and sweet. “Don’t,” he said. “It’s all the stuff you hate: Marketing, self-promotion, asking people for favors.” This was enough to discourage me for a while. A couple of months back we had lunch again and I told him, again, that I was giving the idea some thought. He asked me what I hoped to accomplish. My thinking had clarified some since our last lunch, and I was honest with him: I told him that I still wanted to attract the attention of a traditional publisher (the Grail of self-published novelists) and/or the movie business. This time, maybe sensing that he could no longer talk me out of it, his advice was a little more expansive. “Okay,” he said. “First, forget everything you know about traditional media; all your experience is worthless. Take all that time you spend screwing around on Twitter and put it into marketing your book. And, at least in the beginning, sell it as cheap as you can. In fact, you know what? Give it away.”

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Steve Jobs, the movie

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

The publication of Walter Isaacson’s highly-anticipated, authorized bio of Steve Jobs, formerly titled iSteve (like iWoz?) and now titled, er, Steve Jobs, has been moved up to October 24 and Sony Pictures is reportedly buying the movie rights.

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RIP Dennis Ritchie, 1941-2011: Computer scientist, Unix co-creator, C programming language designer

Dennis RitchieComputer scientist Dennis Ritchie is reported to have died at his home this past weekend, after a long battle against an unspecified illness. No further details are available at the time of this blog post.

Wikipedia biography here.

He was the designer and original developer of the C programming language, and a central figure in the development of Unix. He spent much of his career at Bell Labs. He was awarded the Turing Award in 1983, and the National Medal of Technology in 1999.

“Ritchie’s influence rivals Jobs’s; it’s just less visible,” James Grimmelman observed on Twitter. “His pointer has been cast to void *; his process has terminated with exit code 0.”

Asus Preparing Second “Transformer” Tablet

ASUS eee-pad TransformerAsus’ dock-able Transformer tablet, which has found success in a market dominated by Apple’s iPad, will spawn a follow-on device in coming months, according to Asus Chairman Jonney Shih.

Since the beginning of the year, Asus has announced four tablets, three running Google’s Android platform and one that uses Microsoft’s Windows software. The Transformer is the most popular one due to its unique design, which fits into a physical keyboard dock, affordable price (around $395) and quality specs, such as a dual-core processor (Nvidia’s Tegra 2) and a high-resolution IPS display. It has been the top-selling tablet on Amazon.com for the past two weeks, edging out Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, Motorola’s Xoom, Apple’s iPad 2, and HP’s TouchPad.

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Photoshop “unblur” leaves MAX audience gasping for air

Now that’s damn impressive. I’m with the audience at 1:18 and again later when Kevin Lynch’s picture is unblurred. I just hope I kept all of those amazing but flawed pictures that I can now unblur.

What reward does your brain actually seek?

Dopamine does a lot of things, but you’re probably most familiar with it as the chemical your brain uses as a sort-of system of in-game gold coins. You earn the reward for certain behaviors, usually “lizard-brain” type stuff… eating a bowl of pudding, for instance, or finally making out with that cute person you’ve had your eye on. And, as you’ve probably heard, there’s some evidence that we can get addicted to that burst of dopamine, and that’s how a nice dessert or an enjoyable crush turns into something like compulsive eating or sex addiction.

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