jm +   0

Containers Patterns
"There are a thousand ways to use containers" -- broken down into Development, Distribution and Runtime Patterns (via Tony Finch)
docker  containers  design-patterns  coding  packaging  deployment  via:fanf 
yesterday by jm
Artificial intelligence is going to supercharge surveillance - The Verge
What happens when governments can track huge numbers of people using CCTV? When police can digitally tail you around a city just by uploading your mugshot into a database?


Or, indeed, when CCTV combined with AI and big data is routinely tracking everybody all the time?
ai  surveillance  privacy  cctv  big-data  government  big-brother  anpr 
yesterday by jm
First bit of Tubular Bells played three times with slight delays so it takes 40 mins to sync - YouTube
'The intro of Tubular Bells played three times with slight delays so it takes 40 minutes to sync AND... randomly generated visual loops from the Exorcist.

That's what I've made happen tonight. No video editor, no music editor - all code.

And it's a trip.'
tubular-bells  the-exorcist  video  art  delay  hacks  trippy 
2 days ago by jm
[Changelog] Republic of Ireland Patch notes for version 2.0.4.0 : ireland
Hello and welcome, I’m Leo Varadkar, lead developer of the MMO “Republic of Ireland”, which currently has 4,700,000+ players, and today we’ll be discussing changes coming eventually with the new 2.0.4.0 patch.


-- genius
changelog  funny  mmo  gaming  ireland  patches  comedy 
2 days ago by jm
New DNA nanorobots successfully target and kill off cancerous tumors
This is amazing.
“Using tumor-bearing mouse models, we demonstrate that intravenously injected DNA nanorobots deliver thrombin specifically to tumor-associated blood vessels and induce intravascular thrombosis, resulting in tumor necrosis and inhibition of tumor growth,” the paper explains.

DNA nanorobots are a somewhat new concept for drug delivery. They work by getting programmed DNA to fold into itself like origami and then deploying it like a tiny machine, ready for action.
dna  nanorobots  origami  cancer  cures  medicine 
4 days ago by jm
He Predicted The 2016 Fake News Crisis. Now He's Worried About An Information Apocalypse.
“In the next two, three, four years we’re going to have to plan for hobbyist propagandists who can make a fortune by creating highly realistic, photo realistic simulations,” Justin Hendrix, the executive director of NYC Media Lab, told BuzzFeed News. “And should those attempts work, and people come to suspect that there's no underlying reality to media artifacts of any kind, then we're in a really difficult place. It'll only take a couple of big hoaxes to really convince the public that nothing’s real.”
fake-news  reality  news  ai  propaganda  future  black-mirror  media  hoaxes  dystopia 
4 days ago by jm
Single Trapped Atom Captures Science Photography Competition's top prize - EPSRC website
An image of a single positively-charged strontium atom, held near motionless by electric fields, has won the overall prize in a national science photography competition, organised by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

‘Single Atom in an Ion Trap’, by David Nadlinger, from the University of Oxford, shows the atom held by the fields emanating from the metal electrodes surrounding it. The distance between the small needle tips is about two millimetres.

When illuminated by a laser of the right blue-violet colour the atom absorbs and re-emits light particles sufficiently quickly for an ordinary camera to capture it in a long exposure photograph. The winning picture was taken through a window of the ultra-high vacuum chamber that houses the ion trap.
atom  photography  science  strontium  ion-traps  light 
6 days ago by jm
Thousands of websites hijacked by hidden crypto-mining code after Browsealoud hacked
The affected sites all use a fairly popular plugin called Browsealoud, made by Brit biz Texthelp, which reads out webpages for blind or partially sighted people.

This technology was compromised in some way – either by hackers or rogue insiders altering Browsealoud's source code – to silently inject Coinhive's Monero miner into every webpage offering Browsealoud.

For several hours today, anyone who visited a site that embedded Browsealoud inadvertently ran this hidden mining code on their computer, generating money for the miscreants behind the caper.

A list of 4,200-plus affected websites can be found here: they include The City University of New York (cuny.edu), Uncle Sam's court information portal (uscourts.gov), Lund University (lu.se), the UK's Student Loans Company (slc.co.uk), privacy watchdog The Information Commissioner's Office (ico.org.uk) and the Financial Ombudsman Service (financial-ombudsman.org.uk), plus a shedload of other .gov.uk and .gov.au sites, UK NHS services, and other organizations across the globe.

Manchester.gov.uk, NHSinform.scot, agriculture.gov.ie, Croydon.gov.uk, ouh.nhs.uk, legislation.qld.gov.au, the list goes on.
browsealoud  accessibility  http  sri  coinhive  monero  hacks  ico  nhs 
8 days ago by jm
Car Hacker's Handbook

Modern cars are more computerized than ever. Infotainment and navigation systems, Wi-Fi, automatic software updates, and other innovations aim to make driving more ­convenient. But vehicle technologies haven't kept pace with today's more hostile security environment, leaving ­millions vulnerable to attack.

The Car Hacker's Handbook will give you a deeper understanding of the computer systems and embedded software in modern ­vehicles. It begins by examining vulnerabilities and providing detailed explanations of communications over the CAN bus and ­between devices and systems.

Then, once you have an understanding of a vehicle's communication network, you'll learn how to intercept data and perform specific hacks to track vehicles, unlock doors, glitch engines, flood communication, and more.


Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike license.
cars  books  hacking  exploits  can-bus 
11 days ago by jm
Russia Did It, Y’all. And Nobody Fucking Cares.
That’s right, that’s CRAZY LIBERAL CONSPIRACY THEORIST George W. Bush [...] saying it’s still an open question whether Russia actually successfully rigged the 2016 election. What a Code Pink Occupy Democracy Now liberal George W. Bush is being, to even ask that question!
wonkette  elections  donald-trump  2016  us-politics  george-w-bush  hacking 
11 days ago by jm
Last orders: Ireland's vanishing 'quirky' shopfronts – in pictures | Cities | The Guardian
Graphic designer Trevor Finnegan spent seven years documenting traditional shopfronts throughout Ireland.


Lovely examples of a vanishing vernacular style.
architecture  ireland  rural  shopfronts  signs  history 
11 days ago by jm
How the Game Genie worked
"Sometimes it was really easy to find cheats, because the code was very straightforward, and sometimes it was a massive pain in the arse," recalls Jon. "In simple terms, if a game started you with three lives I'd set up the logic analyser to stop when it found the value three being written to RAM. Then I'd use the Game Genie to change that 3 to say a 5, reboot the game and see if I started with 5 lives. If not, then I'd let it find the next time it wrote 3 into RAM and try that.

"Infinite lives codes were always the best. Once I'd found where in RAM the lives value was stored I'd then monitor when it got decremented. What I was looking for was where the game's original coder used -most likely - the DEC A (&H3D) instruction after reading the lives value from RAM, and then storing it back into RAM. If I found this then all I had to do was swap out the DEC A (&H3D) decrement operation with a NOP (&H00), which performed no operation. So the lives value would be left as-is and voila the player had infinite lives."
games  gameboy  game-genie  via:its  logic-analysers  reverse-engineering  history  hacking 
11 days ago by jm
why Cheddar Man was dark skinned
'But why should that be surprising? He's over 10,000 years old, while mutations that led to white skin [the depigmentation gene SLC24A5] only began to spread widely [across Europe] 5,800 years old!'
europe  history  prehistory  skin-colour  cheddar-man  race  skin  slc24a5  genetics  david-grimes 
13 days ago by jm
Horslips respond angrily to xenophobic #irexit use of their hit "Dearg Doom"
Some of you may have spotted that the saddos in the Eirexit conference had the feckin' temerity to use Dearg Doom as a soundtrack and to show the image of the album cover on the big screen.
Needless to say, they didn't ask us.
If they had, we'd have pointed out that we wouldn't piss on them if they were on fire -which they're unlikely to be, anytime soon. Five hundred damp, self regarding eejits being patronised by the Crazy Frog lookalike Nigel Farage ... isn't going to set the heather blazing in the near future.
Horslips stood for a hopeful, outward looking, inclusive vision of Ireland with plenty of drink and a Blue Range Rover.
This lot stand for a diminished, fearful, xenophobic state. Little Irelanders.
Checking out whether we can do them for copyright infringement.
We'll keep you posted.Feel free to share.


legends.
horslips  music  1970s  irexit  facebook  copyright 
13 days ago by jm
Pubs reveal drinks firms' exclusive deals
'You could be offered €100,000 - it's big money': Pubs reveal drinks firms' exclusive deals; Heineken has already been accused of using its clout to squeeze out rivals.
heineken  beer  ireland  craft-beer  payola  scams  pubs 
13 days ago by jm
Generate Mozilla Security Recommended Web Server Configuration Files
this is quite cool -- generate web server configs to activate current best-practice TLS settings
web  openssl  nginx  lighttpd  apache  haproxy  hsts  security  ssl  tls  ops 
14 days ago by jm
'Fiction is outperforming reality': how YouTube's algorithm distorts truth
"no matter which political side the researcher started from, the platform pushed pro-Trump, anti-Clinton videos."
youtube  truth  fake-news  conspiracy-theories  google  algorithms  politics  brexit  trump 
15 days ago by jm
Amazon Aurora Parallel Query is Available for Preview
Looks very nifty (at least once it's GA)
Parallel Query improves the performance of large analytic queries by pushing processing down to the Aurora storage layer, spreading processing across hundreds of nodes.
With Parallel Query, you can run sophisticated analytic queries on Aurora tables with an order of magnitude performance improvement over serial query processing, in many cases. Parallel Query currently pushes down predicates used to filter tables and hash joins. 
parallel  aurora  amazon  mysql  sql  performance  joins  architecture  data-model 
18 days ago by jm
How $800k Evaporated from the PoWH Coin Ponzi Scheme Overnight
'In 282 lines of code, PoWH Coin managed to give away $800,000 in Etherium.'
etherium  blockchain  coding  powh  4chan  fail  fraud  cryptocurrency  javascript 
19 days ago by jm
Playboy is suing Boing Boing - but linking is not copyright infringement
Boing Boing linked to a an imgur archive of all Playboy centerfolds,
and Playboy is suing them:
Playboy’s lawsuit is based on an imaginary (and dangerous) version of US copyright law that bears no connection to any US statute or precedent. Playboy -- once legendary champions for the First Amendment -- now advances a fringe copyright theory: that it is illegal to link to things other people have posted on the web, on pain of millions in damages -- the kinds of sums that would put us (and every other small publisher in America) out of business.
intellectual-property  copyright  playboy  boing-boing  centerfolds  porn  history  linking  web 
20 days ago by jm
airlift/aircompressor: A port of Snappy, LZO and LZ4 to Java
This library contains implementations of LZ4, Snappy, and LZO written in pure Java. They are typically 10-40% faster than the JNI wrapper for the native libraries.
lz4  lzo  lzop  snappy  java  libraries  airlift  compression  performance 
21 days ago by jm
My £300 32Amp Charging Station Install
good writeup of a DIY EV car charger install
ev  cars  diy  car-chargers  home 
21 days ago by jm
Amazing thread from @gavinsblog on the Strava leak
'This often led to the same results you see with Strava. In low population countries, or countries with low smartphone penetration, it was often easy to detect Westerners (usually soldiers) in remote areas.

this usually led to being able to identify bases and other types of things based solely on social data. Iraq, Afghanistan = always easy to find US troops (Instagram being a common sharing tool). Same true of IDF troops in staging areas before invasion of Gaza in 2014.

and the same true in 2014 with Russian troops in Ukraine. All too easy. Of course the other thing you might be nosey about [is] known military facilities. Social geotagging can give you staff/visitor lists if you persist long enough.

the difference between this technique and Strava was you could usually quickly deduce first name/last name if you wanted, and infer other social profiles eg LinkedIn -> FB -> FB friends -> work colleagues. Not only that but it was possible to automate.'
strava  privacy  military  security  geotagging  geodata  gavin-sheridan 
22 days ago by jm
Strava app gives away location of secret US army bases
This is a privacy nightmare. Even with anonymized userids the data was far too user-specific.
The details were released by Strava in a data visualisation map that shows all the activity tracked by users of its app, which allows people to record their exercise and share it with others. The map, released in November 2017, shows every single activity ever uploaded to Strava – more than 3 trillion individual GPS data points, according to the company. The app can be used on various devices including smartphones and fitness trackers like Fitbit to see popular running routes in major cities, or spot individuals in more remote areas who have unusual exercise patterns.
strava  privacy  fail  army  us-army  data 
22 days ago by jm
'A Look into 30 Years of Malware Development from a Software Metrics Perspective'
'During the last decades, the problem of malicious and unwanted software (malware) has surged in numbers and sophistication. Malware plays a key role in most of today’s cyber attacks and has consolidated as a commodity in the underground economy. In this work, we analyze the evolution of malware since the early 1980s to date from a software engineering perspective. We analyze the source code of 151 malware samples and obtain measures of their size, code quality, and estimates of the development costs (effort, time, and number of people). Our results suggest an exponential increment of nearly one order of magnitude per decade in aspects such as size and estimated effort, with code quality metrics similar to those of regular software. Overall, this supports otherwise confirmed claims about the increasing complexity of malware and its production progressively becoming an industry.'
malware  coding  metrics  software  history  complexity  arms-race 
23 days ago by jm
'DolphinAttack: Inaudible Voice Commands' [pdf]
'Speech recognition (SR) systems such as Siri or Google Now have become an increasingly popular human-computer interaction method, and have turned various systems into voice controllable systems(VCS). Prior work on attacking VCS shows that the hidden voice commands that are incomprehensible to people can control the systems. Hidden voice commands, though hidden, are nonetheless audible. In this work, we design a completely inaudible attack, DolphinAttack, that modulates voice commands on ultrasonic carriers (e.g., f > 20 kHz) to achieve inaudibility. By leveraging the nonlinearity of the microphone circuits, the modulated low frequency audio commands can be successfully demodulated, recovered, and more importantly interpreted by the speech recognition systems. We validate DolphinAttack on popular speech recognition systems, including Siri, Google Now, Samsung S Voice, Huawei HiVoice, Cortana and Alexa. By injecting a sequence of inaudible voice commands, we show a few proof-of-concept attacks, which include activating Siri to initiate a FaceTime call on iPhone, activating Google Now to switch the phone to the airplane mode, and even manipulating the navigation system in an Audi automobile. We propose hardware and software defense solutions. We validate that it is feasible to detect DolphinAttack by classifying the audios using supported vector machine (SVM), and suggest to re-design voice controllable systems to be resilient to inaudible voice command attacks.'

via Zeynep (https://twitter.com/zeynep/status/956520320504123392)
alexa  siri  attacks  security  exploits  google-now  speech-recognition  speech  audio  acm  papers  cortana 
26 days ago by jm
Rocket Lab secretly launched a disco ball satellite on its latest test flight - The Verge
I'm quite conflicted about this -- I think I like it:
Shaped a bit like a disco ball, the Humanity Star is a 3-foot-wide carbon fiber sphere, made up of 65 panels that reflect the Sun’s light. The satellite is supposed to spin in space, too, so it’s constantly bouncing sunlight. In fact, the probe is so bright that people can see it with the naked eye. The Humanity Star’s orbit also takes it all over Earth, so the satellite will be visible from every location on the planet at different times. Rocket Lab has set up a website that gives real-time updates about the Humanity Star’s location. People can find out when the satellite will be closest to them, and then go outside to look for it. The goal of the project is to create “a shared experience for all of humanity,” according to Rocket Lab.
rocket-lab  disco-balls  satellites  humanity-star  orbit  space 
26 days ago by jm
Targeted Audio Adversarial Examples
This is phenomenal:
We have constructed targeted audio adversarial examples on speech-to-text transcription neural networks: given an arbitrary waveform, we can make a small perturbation that when added to the original waveform causes it to transcribe as any phrase we choose.

In prior work, we constructed hidden voice commands, audio that sounded like noise but transcribed to any phrases chosen by an adversary. With our new attack, we are able to improve this and make an arbitrary waveform transcribe as any target phrase.

The audio examples on this page are impressive -- a little bit of background noise, such as you might hear on a telephone call with high compression, hard to perceive if you aren't listening out for it.

Paper here: https://arxiv.org/abs/1801.01944

(Via Parker Higgins, https://twitter.com/xor )
papers  audio  adversarial-classification  neural-networks  speech-to-text  speech  recognition  voice  attacks  exploits  via:xor 
27 days ago by jm
The Gremlin Loader
Writeup of one of the classic tape loaders used on the ZX Spectrum, both for fast loading and piracy protection
piracy  reverse-engineering  history  zx-spectrum  tape  loaders  gremlin 
29 days ago by jm
Remote Code Execution on the Smiths Medical Medfusion 4000 Infusion Pump
'Between March and June of 2017 I spent around 400 hours of personal time analyzing the Smiths Medical Medfusion 4000 infusion pump for security vulnerabilities. The devices analyzed had software versions 1.1.2 and 1.5.0. The flaws discovered (the most critical of which was a DHCP buffer overflow in the MQX operating system used) were disclosed in a coordinated fashion and are detailed by ICS-CERT in ICSMA-250-02A and CERT in VU#590639.

The goal of this exercise was to help protect patients that rely on therapy provided by the pump, to raise awareness of the risk present in unpatched versions of the device, and, finally, to contribute to the corpus of embedded/IoT security research.'
medical  infusion-pumps  security  iot  safety  exploits  embedded-systems  reversing 
29 days ago by jm
The 29 Stages Of A Twitterstorm In 2018
'14. Then suddenly there are Nazis everywhere.'
twitter  twitterstorms  funny  2018  nazis  alt-right  memes 
4 weeks ago by jm
Securing Docker Containers on AWS | nearForm
'On most projects at nearForm we are deploying our solutions within Docker containers. There are tasks that are repeated on each project to secure and harden off those deployments and we built this packer template to produce a quick and easy way for you to spin up an AWS AMI that passes the Docker-Bench-Security script. The Docker-Bench-Security repo is a work product of the above mentioned consolidation efforts by the Docker team.'
docker  aws  security  nearform  containers  linux  packer 
4 weeks ago by jm
OpenCensus: A Stats Collection and Distributed Tracing Framework
Google open sourcing their internal Census lib for service metrics and distributed tracing
google  monitoring  service-metrics  metrics  census  opencensus  open-source  tracing  zipkin  prometheus 
4 weeks ago by jm
How To Measure the Working Set Size on Linux
A nifty metric:
The Working Set Size (WSS) is how much memory an application needs to keep working. Your app may have populated 100 Gbytes of main memory, but only uses 50 Mbytes each second to do its job. That's the working set size. It is used for capacity planning and scalability analysis.

You may never have seen WSS measured by any tool (I haven't either). OSes usually show you virtual memory and resident memory, shown as the "VIRT" and "RES" columns in top. Resident memory is real memory: main memory that has been allocated and page mapped. But we don't know how much of that is in heavy use, which is what WSS tells us.

In this post I'll introduce some new things I've developed for WSS estimation: two Linux tools, and WSS profile charts. The tools use either the referenced or the idle page flags to measure a page-based WSS, and were developed out of necessity for another performance problem.


(via Amy Tobey)
via:amytobey  memory  linux  rss  wss  proc  ps  processes  metrics  working-set-size  ram 
4 weeks ago by jm
Sarah Jeong's hilarious Twitter thread on Bitcoin
"People are sick of the Federal Reserve, sick of bailouts, sick of inflation. You know what we need? Internet money with the usability of PGP and the reliability of BART" and much, much more
bitcoin  funny  sarah-jeong  comedy  lols  pgp  twitter  threads 
4 weeks ago by jm
Boost your immunity: Cold and flu treatments suppress innate immune system
The next time you feel a cold coming on, maybe what you really want is just a little teensy bit of innate immune suppression, not an immunity boost. Over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen and antihistamines should help you feel better. Meanwhile, sit back while your acquired B and T cells do the rest. And if you aren't yet sick, stay up-to-date on your vaccines, including the yearly influenza vaccine. Most importantly, practice vigorous hand washing — after all, the skin is also a component of your natural defenses and one that actually can be enhanced by good hygiene. Take care of yourself by keeping a balanced diet, maintaining good sleep habits, and minimizing stress. These are interventions that have been shown to help keep your immune system at its best. These alone can "boost" your odds of staving off an infection this cold season.
immunity  health  immune-system  colds  b-cells  t-cells  flu 
4 weeks ago by jm
Actual screenshot of the broken UX of the Hawaii ballistic missile alert system
"This is the screen that set off the ballistic missile alert on Saturday. The operator clicked the PACOM (CDW) State Only link. The drill link is the one that was supposed to be clicked."


This is terrible, terrible UX.
ux  ui  hawaii  alerting  alerts  testing  safety  fail 
5 weeks ago by jm
Don Norman on "Human Error", RISKS Digest Volume 23 Issue 07 2003
It is far too easy to blame people when systems fail. The result is that
over 75% of all accidents are blamed on human error. Wake up people! When
the percentage is that high, it is a signal that something else is at fault
-- namely, the systems are poorly designed from a human point of view. As I
have said many times before (even within these RISKS mailings), if a valve
failed 75% of the time, would you get angry with the valve and simply
continual to replace it? No, you might reconsider the design specs. You would
try to figure out why the valve failed and solve the root cause of the
problem. Maybe it is underspecified, maybe there shouldn't be a valve there,
maybe some change needs to be made in the systems that feed into the valve.
Whatever the cause, you would find it and fix it. The same philosophy must
apply to people.
don-norman  ux  ui  human-interface  human-error  errors  risks  comp.risks  failures 
5 weeks ago by jm
Shanzhai 山寨 China & its Contents
As he drinks Sino-coffee for around RMB 10, Comrade X might well be wearing the latest ‘ZARE’ couture while watching the TV news streaming on his HiPhone.[2] Back in Guangdong, his girlfriend — a sales consultant at a small stall in one of Shenzhen’s many wholesale electronics markets — sports a ‘high-end replica’ 高仿 Louis Vuitton bag and makes a living selling ‘domestically produced’ 国产 and ‘smuggled’ 水货 smartphones. The imitation products that festoon the couple’s lives are part of ‘shanzhai 山寨 China’.

Shanzhai, the word means roughly ‘mass-produced imitation goods’, has created a Chinese landscape that is littered with products derided by the media, Chinese and international, as ‘copycat’, ‘guerrilla counterfeits’ and ‘knockoffs’, all the work of thieves.[3] Those who feel that their intellectual property and copyright has been infringed by shanzhai producers describe the products as ‘rubbish’, ‘piracy in disguise’ and ‘hooligan’.[4] Regardless of such righteous outrage, shanzhai — the producers, the products and the mentality — continues to flourish as an essential, quasi-legitimate shadow dimension of the Chinese economy. And, in practical terms, shanzhai products give disenfranchised ‘non-consumers’ of the orthodox economy — that is, people who would like to own but can’t afford the ‘original’ products — cut-price access to high-end technologies, as well as offering aspirational shoppers consumer satisfaction.
shanzai  china  fakes  consumerism  hiphone  smartphones  copycat  knockoffs  imitation  consumption 
5 weeks ago by jm
Do algorithms reveal sexual orientation or just expose our stereotypes?
'A study claiming that artificial intelligence can infer sexual orientation from facial images caused a media uproar in the Fall of 2017. [...] Michal Kosinski, who co-authored the study with fellow researcher Yilun Wang, initially expressed surprise, calling the critiques “knee-jerk” reactions. However, he then proceeded to make even bolder claims: that such AI algorithms will soon be able to measure the intelligence, political orientation, and criminal inclinations of people from their facial images alone.'

'In [this paper], we have shown how the obvious differences between lesbian or gay and straight faces in selfies relate to grooming, presentation, and lifestyle  —  that is, differences in culture, not in facial structure. [...] We’ve demonstrated that just a handful of yes/no questions about these variables can do nearly as good a job at guessing orientation as supposedly sophisticated facial recognition AI. Therefore — at least at this point — it’s hard to credit the notion that this AI is in some way superhuman at “outing” us based on subtle but unalterable details of our facial structure.'
culture  facial-recognition  ai  papers  facial-structure  sexual-orientation  lgbt  computer-vision 
5 weeks ago by jm
The Death of Microservice Madness in 2018
Quite a good set of potential gotchas, which I've run into myself, including:

'Real world systems often have poorly defined boundaries'
'The complexities of state are often ignored'
'The complexitities of communication are often ignored'
'Versioning can be hard'
'Microservices can be monoliths in disguise'
architecture  devops  microservices  services  soa  coding  monoliths  state  systems 
5 weeks ago by jm
The likely user interface which led to Hawaii's false-alarm incoming-ballistic-missile alert on Saturday 2018-01-13
@supersat on Twitter:

"In case you're curious what Hawaii's EAS/WEA interface looks like, I believe it's similar to this. Hypothesis: they test their EAS authorization codes at the beginning of each shift and selected the wrong option."

This is absolutely classic enterprisey, government-standard web UX -- a dropdown template selection and an easily-misclicked pair of tickboxes to choose test or live mode.
testing  ux  user-interfaces  fail  eas  hawaii  false-alarms  alerts  nuclear  early-warning  human-error 
5 weeks ago by jm
‘It Can’t Be True.’ Inside the Semiconductor Industry’s Meltdown
“Our first priority has been to have a complete mitigation in place,” said Intel’s Parker. “We’ve delivered a solution.” Some in the cybersecurity community aren’t so sure. Kocher, who helped discover Spectre, thinks this is just the beginning of the industry’s woes. Now that new ways to exploit chips have been exposed, there’ll be more variations and more flaws that will require more patches and mitigation.
"This is just like peeling the lid off the can of worms," he said.
meltdown  spectre  speculative-execution  security  exploits  intel  amd  cpus 
5 weeks ago by jm
Brain Cells Share Information With Virus-Like Capsules - The Atlantic
...a gene called Arc which is active in neurons, and plays a vital role in the brain. A mouse that’s born without Arc can’t learn or form new long-term memories. If it finds some cheese in a maze, it will have completely forgotten the right route the next day. “They can’t seem to respond or adapt to changes in their environment,” says Shepherd, who works at the University of Utah, and has been studying Arc for years. “Arc is really key to transducing the information from those experiences into changes in the brain.”

Despite its importance, Arc has been a very difficult gene to study. Scientists often work out what unusual genes do by comparing them to familiar ones with similar features—but Arc is one-of-a-kind. Other mammals have their own versions of Arc, as do birds, reptiles, and amphibians. But in each animal, Arc seems utterly unique—there’s no other gene quite like it. And Shepherd learned why when his team isolated the proteins that are made by Arc, and looked at them under a powerful microscope.

He saw that these Arc proteins assemble into hollow, spherical shells that look uncannily like viruses. “When we looked at them, we thought: What are these things?” says Shepherd. They reminded him of textbook pictures of HIV, and when he showed the images to HIV experts, they confirmed his suspicions. That, to put it bluntly, was a huge surprise. “Here was a brain gene that makes something that looks like a virus,” Shepherd says.

That’s not a coincidence. The team showed that Arc descends from an ancient group of genes called gypsy retrotransposons, which exist in the genomes of various animals, but can behave like their own independent entities.* They can make new copies of themselves, and paste those duplicates elsewhere in their host genomes. At some point, some of these genes gained the ability to enclose themselves in a shell of proteins and leave their host cells entirely. That was the origin of retroviruses—the virus family that includes HIV.
brain  evolution  retroviruses  viruses  genes  arc  gag  proteins  memory  biology 
5 weeks ago by jm
google/highwayhash: Fast strong hash functions: SipHash/HighwayHash
HighwayHash: 'We have devised a new way of mixing inputs with AVX2 multiply and permute instructions. The multiplications are 32x32 -> 64 bits and therefore infeasible to reverse. Permuting equalizes the distribution of the resulting bytes. The internal state occupies four 256-bit AVX2 registers. Due to limitations of the instruction set, the registers are partitioned into two 512-bit halves that remain independent until the reduce phase. The algorithm outputs 64 bit digests or up to 256 bits at no extra cost. In addition to high throughput, the algorithm is designed for low finalization cost. The result is more than twice as fast as SipTreeHash.

We also provide an SSE4.1 version (80% as fast for large inputs and 95% as fast for short inputs), an implementation for VSX on POWER and a portable version (10% as fast). A third-party ARM implementation is referenced below.

Statistical analyses and preliminary cryptanalysis are given in https://arxiv.org/abs/1612.06257.'

(via Tony Finch)
siphash  highwayhash  via:fanf  hashing  hashes  algorithms  mac  google  hash 
5 weeks ago by jm
The Stress of Remote Working – Martin De Wulf – Medium
There is a lot of good to say about remote working, and I see a lot of rabid defence of the practice. That said, I have been working remotely for a little more than 5 years now, and I now must acknowledge that it does not come without stress. This might come as a surprise for some, but in the end, I think that remote working has taken some toll on me over the last two years, especially when I went almost fully remote for a year.


I have to say, I agree with this 100% -- I spent a few years remote working full time, and by the end of it I was absolutely delighted to return to a mainly office-based job.
business  work  life  coding  teleworking  remote-work  stress  anxiety  mental-health 
5 weeks ago by jm
[1801.02780] Rogue Signs: Deceiving Traffic Sign Recognition with Malicious Ads and Logos
Well, so much for that idea.
We propose a new real-world attack against the computer vision based systems of autonomous vehicles (AVs). Our novel Sign Embedding attack exploits the concept of adversarial examples to modify innocuous signs and advertisements in the environment such that they are classified as the adversary's desired traffic sign with high confidence. Our attack greatly expands the scope of the threat posed to AVs since adversaries are no longer restricted to just modifying existing traffic signs as in previous work. Our attack pipeline generates adversarial samples which are robust to the environmental conditions and noisy image transformations present in the physical world. We ensure this by including a variety of possible image transformations in the optimization problem used to generate adversarial samples. We verify the robustness of the adversarial samples by printing them out and carrying out drive-by tests simulating the conditions under which image capture would occur in a real-world scenario. We experimented with physical attack samples for different distances, lighting conditions, and camera angles. In addition, extensive evaluations were carried out in the virtual setting for a variety of image transformations. The adversarial samples generated using our method have adversarial success rates in excess of 95% in the physical as well as virtual settings.
signs  road-safety  roads  traffic  self-driving-cars  cars  avs  security  machine-learning  computer-vision  ai 
5 weeks ago by jm
Collision Course: Why This Type Of Road Junction Will Keep Killing Cyclists
This aspect of road design had never occurred to me, but once explained it makes sense. Great article on the design of an oblique crossroads junction and how it's unexpectedly dangerous due to human factors and car design.
“Human error” may be real, but so are techniques to mitigate or eliminate its effects — and driver training is poor when it comes to equipping people with those techniques, let alone habituating them. (And let alone reviewing knowledge of those techniques every few years.)
cars  cycling  road-safety  safety  accidents  traffic  junctions  road-design  design  human-error  human-factors 
5 weeks ago by jm
Post-apocalyptic life in American health care
My god, this is so dysfunctional.

'I observe that American health care organizations can no longer operate systematically, so participants are forced to act in the communal mode, as if in the pre-modern world.
Health care is one leading edge of a general breakdown in systematicity — while, at the same time, employing sophisticated systematic technologies.
For complex health care problems, I recommend hiring a consultant to provide administrative (not medical!) guidance.'

via Craig.
bureaucracy  healthcare  health  systems  us-politics  insurance  medicine  dysfunctional  fail  fiasco  via:craig 
6 weeks ago by jm
Random with care
Some tips about RNGs and their usage

(via Tony Finch)
coding  random  math  rngs  prngs  statistics  distributions 
6 weeks ago by jm
Aadhaar’s Dirty Secret Is Out, Anyone Can Be Added as a Data Admin
If you think your Aadhaar data is only in the hands of those authorised to access the official [Indian national] Aadhaar database, think again. Following up on an investigation by The Tribune, The Quint found that completely random people like you and me, with no official credentials, can access and become admins of the official Aadhaar database (with names, mobile numbers, addresses of every Indian linked to the UIDAI scheme). But that’s not even the worst part. Once you are an admin, you can make ANYONE YOU CHOOSE an admin of the portal. You could be an Indian, you could be a foreign national, none of it matters – the Aadhaar database won’t ask. A person of your choosing would then have access to the data of all 119,22,59,062 Aadhaar cardholders.
aadhaar  security  fail  vulnerabilities  privacy 
6 weeks ago by jm
Notes from the Intelpocalypse [LWN.net]
What emerges is a picture of unintended processor functionality that can be exploited to leak arbitrary information from the kernel, and perhaps from other guests in a virtualized setting. If these vulnerabilities are already known to some attackers, they could have been using them to attack cloud providers for some time now. It seems fair to say that this is one of the most severe vulnerabilities to surface in some time.

The fact that it is based in hardware makes things significantly worse. We will all be paying the performance penalties associated with working around these problems for the indefinite future. For the owners of vast numbers of systems that cannot be updated, the consequences will be worse: they will remain vulnerable to a set of vulnerabilities with known exploits. This is not a happy time for the computing industry.
hardware  cpus  intel  amd  spectre  meltdown  security 
6 weeks ago by jm
These stickers make AI hallucinate things that aren’t there - The Verge
The sticker “allows attackers to create a physical-world attack without prior knowledge of the lighting conditions, camera angle, type of classifier being attacked, or even the other items within the scene.” So, after such an image is generated, it could be “distributed across the Internet for other attackers to print out and use.”

This is why many AI researchers are worried about how these methods might be used to attack systems like self-driving cars. Imagine a little patch you can stick onto the side of the motorway that makes your sedan think it sees a stop sign, or a sticker that stops you from being identified up by AI surveillance systems. “Even if humans are able to notice these patches, they may not understand the intent [and] instead view it as a form of art,” the researchers write.
self-driving  cars  ai  adversarial-classification  security  stickers  hacks  vision  surveillance  classification 
6 weeks ago by jm
Nicole Perlroth's roundup on the Spectre and Meltdown security holes
Excellent roundup -- this really is amazingly bad news for CPU performance and fixability
meltdown  spectre  nicole-perlroth  security  cpu  performance  speculative-execution  intel  amd  arm 
6 weeks ago by jm
SE Asia travel pro-tip from Naomi Wu
Naomi Wu on Twitter: "Honestly Saccharomyces boulardii solves the problem [of dodgy tummy] for most people, it's what I take when I travel to SE Asia"
food  diarrhoea  s-boulardii  bacterica  digestion  health  travel  se-asia  tips 
6 weeks ago by jm
These experts figured out why so many bogus patents get approved | Ars Technica
A recent paper published by the Brookings Institution offers fascinating insights into this question. Written by legal scholars Michael Frakes and Melissa Wasserman, the paper identifies three ways the patent process encourages approval of low-quality patents:

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is funded by fees—and the agency gets more fees if it approves an application.

Unlimited opportunities to refile rejected applications means sometimes granting a patent is the only way to get rid of a persistent applicant.

Patent examiners are given less time to review patent applications as they gain seniority, leading to less thorough reviews.

None of these observations is entirely new. For example, we have covered the problems created by unlimited re-applications in the past. But what sets Frakes and Wasserman's work apart is that they have convincing empirical evidence for all three theories.

patents  uspto  swpats  brookings-institution  patenting  law 
6 weeks ago by jm
The mysterious case of the Linux Page Table Isolation patches | Hacker News
good HN comments on the horrible security bug du jour -- Intel CPUs potentially allowing privileged data leaks cross-VM and cross-process
lpt  linux  vm  intel  cpus  security 
6 weeks ago by jm
Webdoctor.ie
An online doctor appointment -- you fill out a questionnaire, are interviewed via VC, and receive any prescription you need. Recommended by devxda on the ITC slack
doctor  medicine  ireland  services  health 
6 weeks ago by jm
Steven Bellovin on Bitcoin
When you engineer a system for deployment you build it to meet certain real-world goals. You may find that there are tradeoffs, and that you can't achieve all of your goals, but that's normal; as I've remarked, "engineering is the art of picking the right trade-off in an overconstrained environment". For any computer-based financial system, one crucial parameter is the transaction rate. For a system like Bitcoin, another goal had to be avoiding concentrations of power. And of course, there's transaction privacy.

There are less obvious factors, too. These days, "mining" for Bitcoins requires a lot of computations, which translates directly into electrical power consumption. One estimate is that the Bitcoin network uses up more electricity than many countries. There's also the question of governance: who makes decisions about how the network should operate? It's not a question that naturally occurs to most scientists and engineers, but production systems need some path for change.

In all of these, Bitcoin has failed. The failures weren't inevitable; there are solutions to these problems in the acdemic literature. But Bitcoin was deployed by enthusiasts who in essence let experimental code escape from a lab to the world, without thinking about the engineering issues—and now they're stuck with it. Perhaps another, better cryptocurrency can displace it, but it's always much harder to displace something that exists than to fill a vacuum.
steven-bellovin  bitcoin  tech  software  systems  engineering  deployment  cryptocurrency  cypherpunks 
7 weeks ago by jm
RFC 2322: Management of IP numbers by peg-dhcp
This RFC describes a protocol to dynamically hand out ip-numbers on field networks and small events that don't necessarily have a clear organisational body.


ie. using clothes pegs!
pegs  dhcp  hacks  rfcs  hip97  hip  protocols  clothespegs 
8 weeks ago by jm
Electric Vehicle Home Charger Grant
new SEAI grant for EV charger points; allows second-hand cars as well, from 2018 onwards
cars  driving  seai  grants  ireland  evs 
8 weeks ago by jm
Google Maps’s Moat
pretty cool stuff from Google, has to be said
google  maps  apple  tom-tom  data  big-data  ml  mapping 
8 weeks ago by jm
Learning to operate Kubernetes reliably
A very solid writeup from Julia "b0rk" Evans at Stripe
stripe  kubernetes  cron  distributed-cron  jobs  docker  containers  ops  julia-evans 
8 weeks ago by jm
What Gamergate should have taught us about the 'alt-right'
Spot on, from a year ago:

Prominent critics of the Trump administration need to learn from Gamergate. They need to be prepared for abuse, for falsified concerns, invented grassroots campaigns designed specifically to break, belittle, or disgrace. Words and concepts will be twisted, repackaged and shared across forums, stripping them of meaning. Gamergate painted critics as censors, the far-right movement claims critics are the real racists.

Perhaps the true lesson of Gamergate was that the media is culturally unequipped to deal with the forces actively driving these online movements. The situation was horrifying enough two years ago, it is many times more dangerous now.
politics  fascism  gamergate  history  alt-right  milo  fake-news  propaganda  nazis  racism  misogyny 
9 weeks ago by jm
High Volume Ingest
some design principles behind Circonus' time series data store
circonus  time-series  irondb  databases  storage  architecture  coding 
9 weeks ago by jm
How Syria's White Helmets became victims of an online propaganda machine | World news | The Guardian
The way the Russian propaganda machine has targeted the White Helmets is a neat case study in the prevailing information wars. It exposes just how rumours, conspiracy theories and half-truths bubble to the top of YouTube, Google and Twitter search algorithms.

“This is the heart of Russian propaganda. In the old days they would try and portray the Soviet Union as a model society. Now it’s about confusing every issue with so many narratives that people can’t recognise the truth when they see it,” said David Patrikarakos, author of War in 140 Characters: How Social Media is Reshaping Conflict in the 21st Century.
propaganda  white-helmets  russia  disinfo  syria  facebook  assad  google  youtube  fud  algorithms 
9 weeks ago by jm
The Real Danger To Civilization Isn’t AI. It’s Runaway Capitalism
The idea of superintelligence is such a poorly defined notion that one could envision it taking almost any form with equal justification: a benevolent genie that solves all the world’s problems, or a mathematician that spends all its time proving theorems so abstract that humans can’t even understand them. But when Silicon Valley tries to imagine superintelligence, what it comes up with is no-holds-barred capitalism.

[....] I realized that we are already surrounded by machines that demonstrate a complete lack of insight, we just call them corporations. Corporations don’t operate autonomously, of course, and the humans in charge of them are presumably capable of insight, but capitalism doesn’t reward them for using it. On the contrary, capitalism actively erodes this capacity in people by demanding that they replace their own judgment of what “good” means with “whatever the market decides.”
capitalism  silicon-valley  ai  superintelligence  future  ted-chiang  sf 
9 weeks ago by jm
Checkup
'Simple uptime monitoring: distributed, self-hosted health checks and status pages' -- stores in S3
go  ops  monitoring  uptime  health-checks  status-pages  status  golang  s3 
9 weeks ago by jm
extremely detailed writeup on a secondhand Nissan LEAF
'2015 Nissan LEAF, 24kWh Acenta model' -- with specifics of cost, usage in Ireland, charging times, etc. Super-detailed!
nissan  leaf  secondhand  driving  cars  evs 
9 weeks ago by jm
It's official, ADSL works over wet string
So, there you go, ADSL over 2m of literal "wet string". Well done all for testing this. It shows the importance of handling faults that seem to just be "low speed".
adsl  faults  hacks  funny  networking  dsl  telecoms 
9 weeks ago by jm
The Mirai Botnet Was Part of a College Student Minecraft Scheme
The truth, as made clear in that Alaskan courtroom Friday — and unsealed by the Justice Department on Wednesday—was even stranger: The brains behind Mirai were a 21-year-old Rutgers college student from suburban New Jersey and his two college-age friends from outside Pittsburgh and New Orleans. All three—Paras Jha, Josiah White, and Dalton Norman, respectively—admitted their role in creating and launching Mirai into the world.

Originally, prosecutors say, the defendants hadn’t intended to bring down the internet—they had been trying to gain an advantage in the computer game Minecraft. “They didn’t realize the power they were unleashing,” says FBI supervisory special agent Bill Walton. "This was the Manhattan Project."


(via Nelson)
minecraft  botnets  mirai  security  rutgers  ddos 
9 weeks ago by jm
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