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How does money laundering actually work?

posted: 29 Jun 2017

Educator Delena D. Spann digs into the concept of money laundering a.k.a. “any process that ‘cleans’ illegally obtained funds of their ‘dirty’ criminal origins, allowing them to be used within the legal economy.”

The Roman Empire as a modern subway transit map

posted: 29 Jun 2017

Sasha Trubetskoy always makes great maps, like this cool imagining of the Roman Empire road system in the style of a public transit system. (more…)

Photos that look like the Monument Valley game in

posted: 29 Jun 2017

The mobile game Monument Valley is known for its clean and pleasing aesthetic. Jeanette Hägglund captures that timeless beauty in her photo series S e c r e t s. (more…)

An octopus wedding cake

posted: 29 Jun 2017

Watch Joshua John Russell of Man About Cake craft a truly impressive octopus wedding cake using copper wire and modeling chocolate.

Emojis are like modern-day gargoyles to this Dutch

posted: 29 Jun 2017

In what could be considered the modern-day equivalent of gargoyles, architect Changiz Tehrani of Dutch firm Attika Architekten has added ornamental emojis to the facade of a Vathorst apartment building.

According to Wired, he pulled all 22 emojis, all faces, straight from the WhatsApp messaging app:

He selected only faces emojis, for their expressiveness and consistency. “They are really strong, recognizable shapes,” he says. “You recognize them immediately.”

Some architects aren't happy with Tehrani's design choices though. New York Institute of Technology architectural history and theory professor Sean Khorsandi is one of them. He told Wired,

“We’re using copious materials, and we’re taking up land. There is a responsibility that goes along with that. If everything is a joke; reduced to this disposable ‘I like it in the moment’ fad, that’s a dangerous attitude to have.”

photos by Bart van HoekAttika Architekten

(Pee-wee Herman)

Disneyland: The first two kids to go through the g

posted: 29 Jun 2017

On July 18, 1955, Michael Schwartner convinced his family to go to the general public's opening day of Disneyland, instead of golfing in Mexico. He was just seven years old at the time and he remembers it was crowded and hot waiting to get into the brand new park. He and his 5-year old cousin Christine Vess (now Kristina Graef) wanted to get in the shade and see everything that was going on, so they nudged their way to the front.

While playing around at the turnstiles, a Disney rep plucked them out of the crowd and invited to them to "do a thing." The two children spent the next hour getting photos with Walt Disney himself.

The Orange County Register reports that:

Disney took the children by the hands, and they posed for pictures in front of the Mickey Mouse floral display. Then he invited the family aboard the Santa Fe & Disneyland Railroad for a tour of the new park. The family sat in front, listening to Disney describe his $17 million park in detail.

Both children received lifetime passes to the park.

Mortal Kombat promo reel shows off old-school roto

posted: 29 Jun 2017

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VG0x7f4BkQY This short promo piece for 1992 arcade game Mortal Kombat introduces the actors and the techniques used to digitize their moves, a precursor to contemporary performance-capture technology. MK, though always second-fiddle to Street Fighter in the gameplay stakes, was a splendid parody of the stock characters and scenarios from 70s and 80s martial arts movies. (via @UnburntWitch)

Turns out it's super-easy to commandeer wireless t

posted: 29 Jun 2017

With just a few keystrokes, you could be the proud owner of a few dozen wireless towers, thanks to a flaw in the FCC's Antenna Structure Registration (ASR) database. Aura Holdings of Wisconsin, Inc. is now being investigated for changing registrations for 40 towers without authorization. (more…)

We need a new type of STEM role model

posted: 29 Jun 2017

In this thoughtful TEDx talk, Mars rover engineer Abbie Hutty argues that rather than trying to entice young people to STEM fields with gregarious, genius role models like Elon Musk and Steve Jobs, we need hardworking, introverted role models who demonstrate what most STEM professionals are actually like.

Watch: The music video for Lin-Manuel Miranda's 'I

posted: 29 Jun 2017

Hamilton's Lin-Manuel Miranda has released a powerful music video for "Immigrants (We Get The Job Done)" from his late 2016 album, The Hamilton Mixtape. The track features a worldly mix of recording artists: Somali-Canadian K'naan, Mexican-American Snow Tha Product, British-Pakistani Riz MC and Puerto Rican Residente.

Snow Tha Product raps some of the song's most evocative lyrics:

You claim I’m stealing jobs though

Peter Piper claimed he picked them, he just underpaid Pablo

But there ain't a paper trail when you living in the shadows

We're America's ghost writers, the credit's only borrowed

It’s a matter of time before the checks all come

(NPR)

Previously: When Mike Pence came to Hamilton, the cast added a special afterword, just for him

Man imitates xylophone

posted: 29 Jun 2017

"About five years ago, I was in my back yard entertaining a friend with my hands."

iPhone killed tinkering, but only if you want to t

posted: 29 Jun 2017

Most tech-media takes on the iPhone's 10th anniversary are bland and self-congratulatory, but I like Tom Warren's at The Verge. He laments how Apple's pocket computer killed his inner nerd. As a youngster, he'd be constantly tearing down and building computers, even in the sweltering heat of summer. But now...

...All of that tinkering and hacking things ended for me shortly after the iPhone arrived ... When I look at modern PCs, tablets, and phones now I’m surprised at the simplicity of them. Not all of them are perfect, but technology is rapidly turning into something in the background that’s accessible to everyone and doesn’t require hours of configuration. I miss the thrill of hacking away and tinkering, but as I shout to Alexa to turn off my lights at night I can’t help but appreciate just how easy everything is now.

If anything I've had the opposite experience. I hate having to fiddle with technology because I have to if I want it to do something interesting, or simply to work in the first place. But now tinkering is all creation. Experimentation, hacking--all of it is freed from whatever technical needs I have.

Perhaps what people miss is the feeling that tinkering with tech will put them on the cutting edge of performance, will move them into the unequally-distributed future. But the same thing is now diversion, mere art, and that's not what they care about.

It's true, though, that the iPhone made gadgets boring. It's striking, when you look at the products released around that time and for years thereafter, just how astronomically ahead of the game Apple was in 2007.

Man destroys Arkansas' Ten Commandments monument

posted: 28 Jun 2017

https://www.facebook.com/Crunkster430/videos/10213320261704638/

A 3-ton monument displaying the Ten Commandments was destroyed hours after being installed at Arkansas' State Capitol Wednesday, smashed by Michael T. Reed at the wheel of a 2016 Dodge Dart. Reed, 32, was arrested and charged with "defacing an object of public respect."

Reed, evidently a vigorous supporter of the first amendment of the U.S. Constitution's implicit prohibition of state religion, posted vertical video of his manuever to Facebook under the caption "Freedom".

Reed was arrested in 2014 for driving a car into the Ten Commandments monument at Oklahoma's state Capitol, Oklahoma County Sheriff's spokesman Mark Opgrande told The Associated Press. He was admitted to a hospital the next day for mental treatment and was not formally charged, the AP reports. In the 2014 incident, The Oklahoman reported that the U.S. Secret Service interviewed Reed and that he told agents that he has bipolar disorder and that Satan had directed him to destroy the monument.

The ACLU had planned to sue to get the monument removed. Arkansas's plainly sectarian government plans to rebuilt it, presumably surrounded by concrete pilings.

Gun safety ad appeals to your sexual shame

posted: 28 Jun 2017

This viral spectacular is presented as a gun safety ad with a difference. Perhaps you fail to understand the consequences of a child getting hold of your loaded firearm. But you certainly understand the consequences of them getting hold of your sex toy: personal embarrassment! The hope is that by watching this public service announcement, you will form a link between the innate shame of human sexuality and the inconceivable horror of your child blowing their or their friends' heads off.

God bless America!

Top Vatican official charged with mutiple child se

posted: 28 Jun 2017

Cardinal George Pell, former Archbishop of Sydney and Australia's most senior figure in the Catholic Church, was charged with child sex offenses Thursday by the state of Victoria.

Pell currently resides in the Vatican, according to The Guardian, where he is the third-highest ranking church official.

Last year, citing ill health, Pell declined to return to Australia to give evidence to the royal commission on child sexual abuse in person last year and instead gave evidence by videolink from Rome. He voluntarily participated in an interview with Victorian police officers in Rome last October over the alleged sexual assaults.

In February this year the Australian Senate called on the cardinal to return home “to assist the Victorian police and office of public prosecutions with their investigation into these matters”.

Pell dismissed the parliamentary resolution as “an interference on the part of the Senate in the due process of the Victoria police investigation.”

Pell is a former archbishop of Sydney and Melbourne. Since 2014 Pell has been prefect of the secretariat for the economy, the Vatican’s treasurer..

A keen test of Pope Francis's pretensions.

Piers Morgan owned

posted: 28 Jun 2017

Piers Morgan is a British journalist, pundit and Trumpkin who blew his big break in America and now presents breakfast television when not being nasty to women on Twitter. Here he is on Good Morning Britain getting savagely owned by copresenter Susanna Reid. https://twitter.com/GMB/status/879931939507105792

And here's a supercut of Reidian microexpressions, as she endures day after day of Morgan's vacuous, rambling bullshit:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fVExq6zHOXA

Michael Bond, creator of Paddington Bear, dies at

posted: 28 Jun 2017

Michael Bond, 91, died after a short illness at his home in Britain, reports his publisher Harper Collins. He was the creator of Peruvian immigrant Paddington Bear, beloved the world over in books, television and movies. Bond was described as "kindly, dignified and charming" by friend and fan Stephen Fry, traits to be found in abundance throughout an artistic life detailed in the BBC's obituary:

The seeds of the idea had taken root during the war when Bond saw newsreels of children being sent out from British cities to avoid German bombing. "I had memories of children being evacuated from London with a label around their necks and all their possessions in a suitcase, and this became part of Paddington as well," he said. "Paddington Bear was a refugee with a label - 'Please look after this bear. Thank you', and he had a little suitcase."

Man jailed for 90 days waiting for tests to prove

posted: 28 Jun 2017

When he was pulled over in Oviedo, Fla., professional handyman Karlos Cashe told cops that the white powder in the footwell was just drywall. As a probationer with a drug conviction, however, he got to wait 90 days until they bothered to complete the tests that would prove it.

It was drywall.

Grimly funny column from Fake Mitch McConnell

posted: 28 Jun 2017

Mitch McConnell is the Republican leader who drafted the so-called "Trumpcare" bill in secrecy and hopes to ram it into law in a few days of arm-twisting, media feints and threats. As American lives hang in the balance, McConnell—as voiced by McSweeney's' Bob Vulfov—makes his pitch to the public.

My name is Mitch McConnell and I am the Majority Leader of the United States Senate. As you may have heard, the health care bill I secretly drafted would result in 22 million Americans losing their health care coverage. I understand your frustration with the bill, but you also have to understand my side of things. I’m in a serious bind here. I owe Thanatos, the God of Death, exactly 22 million human souls and he’s come to collect.

(h/t @davidcarneycr67)

Reasons to switch to Firefox

posted: 28 Jun 2017

I'm keep saying I'm going to de-Google my digital life, quitting services such as Gmail and software such as Chrome. So Joel Lee's recent article, 9 Reasons to Switch From Chrome to Firefox, lights a bit of a fire under my feet. In précis: everything bad about Firefox from a few years back is fixed, and now it is Chrome that is bad.

1. Firefox Is Better for Battery Life
2. Firefox Is Better for Tab-Heavy Users
3. Firefox Knows It’s Just a Browser
4. Firefox Embraces the Open Source Mindset
5. Firefox Actually Cares About Privacy
6. Firefox Allows More Customization
7. Firefox Supports Chrome Extensions
8. Firefox Boasts Unique Extensions
9. Firefox Can Do What Chrome Can (Mostly)

To which I add 10: Fuck AMP.

The guide also points out where Chrome remains superior: the web inspector's better, it's more polished, complex web apps tend to work better in it because they're targeted at it, and of course it integrates well with Google's other services.

This 10mm battery terminal ratchet makes my eterna

posted: 28 Jun 2017

My cars and bikes have the batteries in hard to reach places. This 10mm battery terminal rachet helps out!

In prepping the Vanagon Westy for a long roadtrip, I found I've killed my house battery. I ordered up a replacement but dreaded getting into the battery box. In a Vanagon, Volkswagen hides the batteries underneath the passenger and drivers seats. Getting at these battery terminals is a comedy of errors and blood. I'd go so far as to say the blood was compulsatory until I got this handy rachet at Harbor Freight.

It is small. It fits where I need it to. It is a rachet, and as such I am not constantly trying to re-seat the fucker while zapping myself against a grounded battery box in a thoughtlessly engineered tight space. At least VW put a cover on the battery box, albiet a conductive metal one. My '78 Audi 5000, the model with occasional self-determination, had a passenger bench burnt with splashed battery acid from another VW/Audi underseat battery adventure.

10mm Side-Terminal Battery Reversible Ratchet Wrench Chrome-Plated via Amazon

Watch this large carp escape death by fisherman

posted: 28 Jun 2017

Not today, fisherman, not today.

(via DIGG)

Gentleman jumps from balcony with parachute he bou

posted: 28 Jun 2017

This fellow had the good sense to buy a parachute before inviting his family to watch him jump from the balcony.

Public road built on top of 5-story building in Ch

posted: 28 Jun 2017

What to do in a highly populated city when you've got too many cars and not enough streets? Build a two-lane public road on top of a 5-story building, of course.

(more…)

15 sorting algorithms visualized in 6 minutes

posted: 28 Jun 2017

Timo Bingman created a demo program for sorting algorithms called "The Sound of Sorting, which both visualizes the algorithms internals and their operations, and generates sound effects from the values being compared." It's a visual and aural treat!

Contraption to shoot mosquitos with laser beams

posted: 28 Jun 2017

In development for several years, the Photonic Fence is an anti-mosquito laser weapon that's apparently now being tested in a real world situation. I hope when it hits the market it still looks like a crazy contraption from a 1960s science fiction film! From the company site:

One potential use of the Photonic Fence is to create a virtual fence that detects insects as they cross its plane. When an invading insect is detected, our software is able to estimate the insect’s size and measure its wing beat frequency. Using this method, not only can the system distinguish between mosquitoes, butterflies, and bumblebees, but it can even determine whether a mosquito is male or female. This is important to know because only female mosquitos bite humans. Once the software establishes that the insect is a valid target, it tracks the mosquito in flight, runs a safety check to ensure no innocent bystanders are in view, and then activates a laser to zap the mosquito. The Photonic Fence could be set along the perimeter of clinics or other strategic areas to control mosquitoes without endangering humans or other animals.

From Wired UK:

When Intellectual Ventures co-founder and former Microsoft chief technology officer Nathan Myhrvold came up with the idea of a bug-killing fence in 2010, the intention was to use it to improve public health in Sub-Saharan Africa. Now, however, the Photonic Fence has become a commercial project with a particular target: the Asian citrus psyllid. This insect invader has reduced citrus production in Florida by at least 70 per cent over the last 15 years. The device has been installed on a US Department of Agriculture site in the state for its first real-world test. If all goes to plan, Intellectual Ventures aims to market the Photonic Fence to farmers protecting crops from a multitude of other pests.

That EPA push to ban a pesticide that harms babies

posted: 28 Jun 2017

Scott Pruitt, the Trump administration’s top environmental official, privately met with the CEO of Dow Chemical just before reversing the EPA's efforts to ban a widely used Dow pesticide. Multiple scientific studies showed chlorpyrifos can damage the brains of children.

Today's Associated Press story is a clear case for why the Environmental Protection Agency and its appointed leader matter to American lives.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt’s schedule shows he met with Dow CEO Andrew Liveris on March 9 for about a half hour at a Houston hotel. Both men were featured speakers at an energy industry conference. Twenty days later Pruitt announced his decision to deny a petition to ban Dow’s chlorpyrifos pesticide from being sprayed on food, despite a review by his agency’s scientists that concluded ingesting even minuscule amounts of the chemical can interfere with the brain development of fetuses and infants.

EPA spokeswoman Liz Bowman said Tuesday that Pruitt was “briefly introduced” to Liveris at the conference.

“They did not discuss chlorpyrifos,” Bowman said. “During the same trip he also met with the Canadian minister of natural resources, and CEOs and executives from other companies attending the trade show.”

EPA released a copy of Pruitt’s March meeting schedule earlier this month following several Freedom of Information Act requests. Though his schedule for the intervening months has not yet been released, Bowman said Pruitt has had no other meetings with the Dow CEO. There was a larger group meeting that Pruitt attended which also included two other Dow executives, but she said that didn’t involve chlorpyrifos.

Dow, which spent more than $13.6 million on lobbying in 2016, has long wielded substantial political power in the nation’s capital.

When President Donald Trump signed an executive order in February mandating the creation of task forces at federal agencies to roll back government regulations, he handed the pen to Dow’s chief executive, who was standing at his side. Liveris heads a White House manufacturing working group. His company also wrote a $1 million check to help underwrite Trump’s inaugural festivities.

In December, before he was even inaugurated, then President-elect Trump appointed Dow CEO Liveris to his Presidential Manufacturing Council. The two have close ties, it would appear.

In a letter to Pruitt on Tuesday, The American Academy of Pediatrics urged the EPA chief to ban chlorpyrifos.

The group representing more than 66,000 pediatricians and pediatric surgeons said it is “deeply alarmed” by Pruitt’s decision to allow the pesticide’s continued use.

“There is a wealth of science demonstrating the detrimental effects of chlorpyrifos exposure to developing fetuses, infants, children, and pregnant women,” the academy said in a letter to Pruitt. “The risk to infant and children’s health and development is unambiguous.”

The AP reported in April that Dow is also lobbying the Trump administration to “set aside” the findings of federal scientists that organophosphate pesticides, including chlorpyrifos, are harmful to about 1,800 critically threatened or endangered species.

Read the full Associated Press report here.

https://twitter.com/GlobalEcoGuy/status/880080345982423040

PHOTO: U.S. President-elect Donald Trump greets Andrew Nicholas Liveris, Chairman and chief executive officer of The Dow Chemical Company to the stage at a ''Thank You USA'' tour rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S. December 9, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar

How to "fix" a Canon printer with a giant hand-mad

posted: 28 Jun 2017

I like John Heisz' way of getting things done:

The U052 Canon printer error can be fixed in the following way:

"To try and resolve the U052 error, please remove and then reseat all of the ink tanks and print head in the unit. Next, please turn off the printer, unplug the power cord from the back and leave it out for at least 10 minutes, then plug it back in and turn it back on."

Or, when that doesn't work, there's always the stake maul fix.

[via Core 77]

Disney World's Hall of Presidents Trumpbot will sp

posted: 28 Jun 2017

Disney has denied rumors that the Trumpbot in Disney World's Hall of the Presidents would not have a speaking role due to a combination of the president's toxic reputation, Disney employees' animus for him, and Trump's own unwillingness to schedule a recording session. (more…)

How to make a bottle that rolls in "slow motion"

posted: 28 Jun 2017

https://youtu.be/a-uKrsQLS0c

This guy poured a little honey into a bottle, added some marbles and set it on its side on an inclined ramp. The result is that it rolls very slowly. This would be fun to show and have people guess how it's done.

Dave Rosser, Afghan Whigs guitarist, RIP

posted: 28 Jun 2017

Dave Rosser, an incredibly talented musician, exemplary human being, and pillar of the New Orleans music community, died last night surrounded by love in New Orleans.

(more…)

Industrial robotics security is really, really ter

posted: 28 Jun 2017

Researchers from Politecnico di Milano and Trend Micro conducted an audit of the information security design of commonly used industrial robots and found that these devices are extremely insecure: robots could be easily reprogrammed to violate their safety parameters, both by distorting the robots' ability to move accurately and by changing the movements the robots attempt to perform; hacked robots can also be made to perform movements with more force than is safe; normal safety measures that limit speed and force can be disabled; robots can be made to falsify their own telemetry, fooling human operators; emergency manual override switches can be disabled or hidden; robots can be silently switched from manual to automatic operation, making them move suddenly and forcefully while dangerously close to oblivious, trusting humans; and of course, robots can be caused to manufacture faulty goods that have to be remanufactured or scrapped. (more…)

Travel tip: don't throw coins into your plane's en

posted: 28 Jun 2017

A China Southern Airlines Flight from Shanghai to Guangzhou was delayed for five hours while maintenance workers fished nine coins out of the engine, whence they had been flung "for blessings" by an "elderly passenger" from the boarding ramp, as she was brought onto the plane by her husband, daughter and son-in-law. (more…)

How ping pong balls are made

posted: 28 Jun 2017

A fine example of factory porn: The International Table Tennis Federation paid a visit to Double Happiness, manufacturers of balls and other ping pong products.

Texas Congresscritter wants to gag small investors

posted: 28 Jun 2017

Rep Jeb Hensarling [R-TX/+1 202 225-3484/@RepHensarling] is the sponsor of HR 10, the Financial CHOICE Act of 2017, which will ban investors from putting petitions to the shareholders and board of publicly traded companies, except when investors own more than 1% of the company for at least three years. (more…)

God is Disappointed in You

posted: 28 Jun 2017

I recently started to re-read God is Disappointed in You, which I read for the first time a couple of years ago. It's an amazing piece of work. Here's my original review:

I’m not religious, and I have not read the Old Testament or the New Testament (I did read R. Crumb’s graphic novel of the Book of Genesis and enjoyed it). I’ve tried to read the King James version a few times, but I got bored and stopped very early on. Recently, Top Shelf sent me a copy of God is Disappointed in You, a new version of the Bible written in contemporary, casual language. It’s bound in textured fake leather like a regular bible, with gold edged pages and a ribbon bookmark. It has illustrations by New Yorker and Too Much Coffee Man cartoonist Shannon Wheeler, which piqued my interest. As soon as I started reading it, I was hooked. The author, Mark Russell, was able to make the stories come alive by telling them as if they happened today, using language that a smart, funny, middle-school student might use to recount the story of an epic playground fight.

I don’t know if people who take the Bible seriously will be offended by this book, but I suspect many of them will not. It is not a sarcastic put down of the Bible, but a fresh interpretation. I compared some of the stories in God is Disappointed in You with the stories in other traditional Bibles and Russell is not exaggerating or misrepresenting the content of the earlier versions. I asked my friend, a pastor and author who is a serious Bible scholar, what he thought of God is Disappointed in You, and said it was fantastic.

The Bible is an incredibly weird book, and I thank Mark Russell for rewriting it in a way that made it understandable and interesting to me.

Celebrity cosmetic surgery, secret hookups, and a

posted: 28 Jun 2017

Did Tom Cruise buy babies on the black market? Did Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner have a secret Bahamas getaway? Has Queen Elizabeth refused to bless Prince Harry’s wedding?

When have the tabloids ever been wrong?

It's yet another week of fact-challenged stories in the dubious tabloids and celebrity magazines.

Barbra Streisand has allegedly undergone $360,000-worth of cosmetic surgery to rebuild her face and “save her crumbling marriage” so that she is now “totally unrecognizable,” reports the ‘Globe.’ The mag unhelpfully includes a photo of the new-look Streisand who is unmistakably recognizable as the famed diva.

Also allegedly rebuilding her face is “plastic surgery junkie” Melanie Griffith, who in a “desperate bid to live to 100” has returned to the ACQUA Klinik in Germany to receive stem cell treatments, reports the ’National Enquirer.' But even if the treatments succeed in making the actress look younger, they aren’t intended to prolong life - that’s pure tabloid fantasy - they’re supposed to make her appear younger.

‘Us’ magazine devotes its cover and four inside pages to Affleck and Garner’s “Secret Bahamas Reunion!” So secret was their rendezvous that it’s also pictured extensively in the ‘Enquirer’ (“Ben & Jen’s Hookup in Paradise!”), which touts the story as an ‘Enquirer Exclusive.’ From the photos it’s plain that they’re not hiding from the paparazzi. No secrets to hide here.

Did Tom Cruise, John Travolta and other celebrities adopt babies in “Scientology’s baby black market’ as the ‘Enquirer’ claims? Its breaking news about events 20 years ago claims that the stars adopted children through an unlicensed broker - but buried deep within the “ten-month investigation” report is an admission that the adoptions were ultimately handled by an attorney “to be done correctly” - completely undercutting the story. No black market, and nothing illegal.

Has the Queen refused to give her blessing to Prince Harry’s wedding to American actress Meghan Markle, as the ‘Globe’ claims? It seems unlikely, since the couple are not even engaged yet. The ‘Globe’ explains that "the divorced TV actress ‘isn’t a good fit’ with the royal family." But since Prince Charles divorced and remarried divorcée Camilla Parker Bowles, surely Markle’s status as a divorcée is hardly an impediment?

Fortunately we have the crack investigative team at ‘Us’ mag to tell us that Victoria Justice wore it best (do you really “wear” a clutch purse - and can one really be judged for carrying it best? Did Lauren Cohan really carry her clutch bag the worst? Sad), that La La Anthony totally hates mustard, former Bachelorette contestant Ashley Iaconetti (really scraping the bottom of the celebrity barrel here) carries almonds, mascara and a sewing kit in her Forever 21 tote, and that the stars are just like us: they ride bikes, make phone calls, and use umbrellas when it rains. Wow. I always thought celebrities walked everywhere, sent telegrams, and got wet when it rained.

Bringing us truly important news we can use, ‘Us’ mag also brings us “Hollywood’s Hottest Hunks!” while ‘People’ magazine offers “Gorgeous Celebrity Weddings” and devotes its cover to John F Kennedy’s Jr’s wife Carolyn Bessette Kennedy: “Her Untold Story.” It’s a tale that might have been more interesting when she died, rather than 18 years later when it just feels dated.

Proving that rap stars are people too, Sean Combs, at home with his six children, tells ‘People’: “I’m the luckiest man alive,” and the mag explains why Kim Kardashian and Kanye West have hired a surrogate to have their third child: “Kim was told she couldn’t carry another baby - that it would be too dangerous,” says an unnamed source. Maybe she keeps dropping them? Maybe she can’t even carry a clutch bag? Enquiring minds want to know.

In other up-to-the-minute news, the ‘National Examiner’ bring us the ‘Bizarre Secrets of ‘Men in Black,’” which will be great if they ever invent a time machine and take us back to 1997 when this article will appear more like breaking news. Failing to find any evidence of aliens, Bigfoot, Yeti or the Loch Ness Monster this week, the ‘Examiner’ tells us that the “mystical crane will bring you luck, love, prosperity and vitality.” But you don’t have to catch your own bird to have all that luck and the sort of long life that sends Melanie Griffith scurrying to mysterious German Kliniks - you simply have to “clip & save” the photo of an origami paper crane that the ‘Examiner’ has helpfully included in its article. “For a boost in prosperity, place the crane image just inside your front door,” advises the mag. Or put the image in your wallet to attract love, in a sunny window for healing energy, or in a bowl of fruit “to smooth family discord.” That’s news you can use.

Onwards and downwards . . .

Researchers demonstrate attack for pwning entire w

posted: 28 Jun 2017

University of Tulsa security researchers Jason Staggs and his colleagues will present Adventures in Attacking Wind Farm Control Networks at this year's Black Hat conference, detailing the work they did penetration-testing windfarms. (more…)

How one Lego reseller built an artificial intellig

posted: 28 Jun 2017

Jacques Mattheij hoped to make some cash buying cheap boxes of used, unsorted Lego that he'd organize into more valuable assortments for resale. After acquiring two metric tons of bricks, he was motivated to build a technological solution for sorting. He outfitted a conveyor belt with a cheap magnifying USB camera and employed air nozzles to blow the bricks into various bins. The bigger challenge though was how to get the PC to identify the bricks. From IEEE Spectrum:

After a few other failed approaches, and six months in, I decided to try out a neural network. I settled on using TensorFlow, an immense library produced by the Google Brain Team. TensorFlow can run on a CPU, but for a huge speed increase I tapped the parallel computing power of the graphics processing unit in my US $700 GTX1080 Ti Nvidia video card....

...I managed to label a starter set of about 500 assorted scanned pieces. Using those parts to train the net, the next day the machine sorted 2,000 more parts. About half of those were wrongly labeled, which I corrected. The resulting 2,500 parts were the basis for the next round of training. Another 4,000 parts went through the machine, 90 percent of which were labeled correctly! So, I had to correct only some 400 parts. By the end of two weeks I had a training data set of 20,000 correctly labeled images...

Once the software is able to reliably classify across the entire range of parts in my garage, I’ll be pushing through the remainder of those two tons of bricks. And then I can finally start selling off the results!

"How I Built an AI to Sort 2 Tons of Lego Pieces" (IEEE Spectrum)

EFF will defend McMansion Hell from Zillow's copyf

posted: 28 Jun 2017

McMansion Hell is a hilarious blog where Johns Hopkins Peabody Institute graduate student Kate Wagner posts scorching critiques of the architecture of McMansions -- but this week, Wagner announced that she had shut down her blog after spurious legal threats from Zillow, which admits that it doesn't even hold the copyrights to the images it wants Wagner to stop using. (more…)

Kickstarting a new Girl Genius collection

posted: 28 Jun 2017

Phil Foglio (previously) writes, "Studio Foglio is kickstarting a new Girl Genius Collection! The Incorruptible Library covers the adventures of Agatha Heterodyne and her friends as they journey beneath the streets of Paris. There they encounter hidden subterranean civilizations, forgotten labyrinths filled with secrets, and a healthy dollop of Adventure, Romance, and Mad Science!" (more…)

Poster for an Obi-Wan Kenobi movie

posted: 28 Jun 2017

Sir Jedi Panda gets it right in this mockup of a spaghetti western-styled poster for an Obi-Wan Kenobi movie. I think what I love about it is how completely un-western a character Kenobi is. [via]

David Cameron and Prince William condemned in leak

posted: 28 Jun 2017

FIFA is the scandal-haunted governing body for world soccer/football; their internal report on corruption has leaked and it reveals a widespread culture of bribery and other corrupt practices. (more…)

Ransomware crook's email provider shuts down accou

posted: 28 Jun 2017

Yesterday's massive ransomware outbreak of a mutant, NSA-supercharged strain of the Petya malware is still spreading, but the malware's author made a mere $10K off it and will likely not see a penny more, because Posteo, the German email provider the crook used for ransom payment negotiations, shut down their account. (more…)

How to build an igloo

posted: 28 Jun 2017

Shot on the first day of summer, this video shows northern Canadian Inuit Adami Sakiagak and Tiisi Qisiiq building an igloo. According to the video's accompanying article in the New York Times, Sakiagak grew up on the tundra and builds igloos to "teach younger generations the disappearing craft":

Mr. Sakiagak got to work, drawing a circle in the snow to mark the igloo’s perimeter. A friend, Tiisi Qisiiq, began cutting blocks of snow with a carpenter’s crosscut saw. Saws have replaced the walrus tusk knives that the Inuit favored for building igloos a generation ago.

Mr. Sakiagak laid a ring of blocks and trimmed the first few to form a ramp so that he would be building in a continuous spiral. This way, he had only one end block to worry about as the igloo rose around him. The blocks were as sturdy as Styrofoam, but heavier.

He beveled the top edge of the blocks inward so that by the third or fourth row he was laying them at a 45-degree angle to the ground. Now, with the capstone in place, Mr. Sakiagak was effectively entombed.

Be sure to move the video around while you're watching it. It's one of those 360 degree ones.

Impressive animation projected onto a hockey rink

posted: 28 Jun 2017

A hockey rink is the perfect surface for contemporary projection mapping imagery, which was not lost on Raduga Design. Their design for the Chicago Blackhawks' game-opening sequence gives an impressive 3D effect from the booth. (more…)

UK government won't promise help to remove highly

posted: 28 Jun 2017

Theresa May's national government -- Conservative party MPs who are also landlords, who scuttled housing safety rules as part of their declared war on "Safety Culture" -- found £1B to bribe the terrorist-affiliated Young Earth Creationists at the DUP to join them in coalition, but will not guarantee a single penny in funding to local British councils who are racing to remove the extremely flammable high-rise cladding that made the Grenfell Tower blaze into an unstoppable monster whose death toll may never be fully counted. (more…)

Man takes the "cheapest" survival tool kit into th

posted: 28 Jun 2017

Wranglerstar found the cheapest survival toolkit on Amazon, then took it into the wilds of the Pacific Northwest. There's a shovel, a saw, a magnetic LED flashlight with a tactical hitty thing and a USB outlet for charging gadgets, a pocket chainsaw, and a bag— all for $30. It's not awful, but the price didn't last.

Reviewing "cheapest" gear, I've noticed that the sellers are watching and sometimes jack the prices when a site or YouTuber with any audience posts something, as appears to be the case with this particular viral video. This will probably force reviewers to post roundups of cheap gear, so readers can easily figure out the "cheapest decent thing" from a fair selection.

Previously: The $7 Verical Ergonomic mouse is not awful.

The Registry

French general accused of nicking fast jet for wee

posted: 29 Jun 2017

Defence ministry announces full inquiry

A French general stands accused of using military fast jets for weekend commutes to his country pile in Provence on the country’s sunny south coast.…

UK regulator probes PwC over BT's Italian accounta

posted: 29 Jun 2017

Audit giant failed to spot frauds

The UK's Financial Reporting Council (FRC) is to investigate PwC's audits of BT, following an accountancy scandal at the telecom firm's Italian unit.…

US army spin-off GPU database bags $50m Series A f

posted: 29 Jun 2017

Kinetica CEO dreams of being the database Apple of the enterprise's eye

Kinetica, the in-memory GPU-accelerated database, has pulled in $50m in its first major venture capital financing round.…

Capital suffers from 'sub-standard' connectivity -

posted: 29 Jun 2017

Worse than York, which is 'frankly embarrassing'

The capital has "sub-standard" broadband and 4G speeds, causing it to lag behind smaller UK cities such as York, Coventry and Edinburgh - according to a report (PDF) today by the London Assembly.…

Newly Google-emboldened Nutanix aims for data cent

posted: 29 Jun 2017

Data centre control plane platform play by mad hyperconverger

Nutanix is making a play to be a data centre control plane platform with a hybrid cloud game plan, buttressed by buddying up with the Google Cloud Platform.…

Murdoch's ᅡᆪ11.7bn Sky takeover referred to compet

posted: 29 Jun 2017

Blow to Rupe as deal will be subject to further investigation

The proposed £11.7bn takeover of Sky by Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox has been referred to the Competition and Markets Authority regulator today.…

One month left to save big on our ML and AI extrav

posted: 29 Jun 2017

Thinking ahead to save on artificial intelligence

Events  You’ve got a month to grab early bird tickets for MCubed London, our three-day exploration of all things Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence and Predictive Analytical this October, and save £100s in the process.…

NHS WannaCrypt postmortem: Outbreak blamed on lack

posted: 29 Jun 2017

Plus systemic underspending in IT. Imagine that

A lack of accountability and investment in cyber-security has been blamed for the recent WannaCrypt virus that hobbled multiple hospital NHS IT systems last month, a report by The Chartered Institute for IT concludes.…

Western Digital bares fangs in $1bn Toshiba lawsui

posted: 29 Jun 2017

Hey Tosh, you're so frivolous and without merit

Western Digital has hit back at Toshiba, its flash memory joint venture partner, which this week sued it in Japan for $1bn damages, alleging unfair competition and theft of trade secrets.…

Nations 'ethically obliged' to ensure public healt

posted: 29 Jun 2017

High-income countries told to help those that can’t afford to collect data

The World Health Organisation has issued what it says is the first international framework for ethical public health data collection and use.…

How to avoid getting hoodwinked by a DevOps hustle

posted: 29 Jun 2017

If they’re a 'DevOps Expert', they probably aren’t

Comment  We’re almost halfway through this year, and how’s progress on those Digital Transformation Initiative slides doing? Maybe you need a quick jump in improvement to buy some time for August vacations, and then ensure you can get enough actual change and a few successful projects in place by the holidays.…

NetApp HCI: More converged than hyperconverged?

posted: 29 Jun 2017

Separate compute and storage environments inside

Analysis  I have come to the conclusion that NetApp's new HCI system is more converged than hyperconverged: in essence the boxes just add compute nodes and networking to SolidFire (storage) nodes.…

The bloke behind Star Fox is building a blockchain

posted: 29 Jun 2017

Jez 'Argonaut' San puts on his poker face for El Reg grilling

One of the brains behind classic Nintendo game Star Fox is launching a blockchain-based online gambling service that could leave regulators stumped – and says he has raised $200,000 from the public to launch it.…

NATO: 'Cyber' is a military domain

posted: 29 Jun 2017

Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has told a press conference ahead of a ministerial meeting tomorrow Brussels time that “cyber” is a “military domain” – and that a cyber-attack on one member can trigger NATO's Article 5.…

Robots will enable a sustainable grey economy

posted: 29 Jun 2017

Oldies will retain mobility and independence when Teslas can self-drive them to work or be sent out to do the shopping

My uncle Amadeo turns 79 this week and bought himself a luxe Model S Tesla as a present.…

Astroboffins dig into the weird backwards orbit of

posted: 29 Jun 2017

Tiny body moves similar to Jupiter – but travels in the opposite direction

Asteroid 2015 BZ509 – also known as Bee-Zed – is the only asteroid in our solar system with a confirmed retrograde orbit lasting 12 years; the same orbital period as Jupiter.…

Azure blues: Active Directory Connect has password

posted: 29 Jun 2017

Attackers can dive out of the cloud to pwn admin passwords

Microsoft is warning sysadmins to check their Azure Active Directory Connect configurations and implement a patch against a credential-handling vulnerability.…

O Rly? O'Reilly exits direct book sales

posted: 29 Jun 2017

End of an epoch, but dead trees live on

O'Reilly Media, the preeminent publisher of tech titles for non-dummies, is exiting print distribution.…

Five-eyes nations want comms providers to bust cry

posted: 28 Jun 2017

Outsourcing the unicorn hunt

This week's five-eyes meeting has issued its communique, promising to get the tech sector to solve the problems of online terrorism and encrypted communications.…

Australian regulator will decide if Uber drivers a

posted: 28 Jun 2017

Drivers' 'not-a-union' takes on 'not-a-taxi' company

Scandal-ridden, leaderless not-a-taxi dudebro poster-child Uber is under investigation in Australia about whether its “independent contractor” drivers are actually employees.…

Don't panic, but Linux's Systemd can be pwned via

posted: 28 Jun 2017

PS, Alpine users, you need to get patching, too – for other reasons

Systemd, the Linux world's favorite init monolith, can be potentially crashed or hijacked by malicious DNS servers. Patches are available to address the security flaw, and should be installed ASAP if you're affected.…

Murderous Uber driver 'attacked passenger and the

posted: 28 Jun 2017

Toxic upstart accused of inaction amid assault claims

Uber is accused of ignoring warning signs about an attempted murderer who signed up as a driver and then allegedly attacked a passenger before raping another.…

America throws down gauntlet: Accept extra securit

posted: 28 Jun 2017

Peeps flying into US face 'enhanced screening'

Folks flying into America must endure extra security checks if they want to bring their laptops into airplane cabins. In a press conference on Wednesday, US Homeland Security boss John Kelly announced the introduction of:…

Kaspersky Lab US staff grilled by Feds in nighttim

posted: 28 Jun 2017

Also, update your Kaspersky Anti-Virus File Server – before you get hacked

Several employees of Russian security vendor Kaspersky Lab got an unpleasant surprise on Tuesday night when FBI agents popped round to their residences for a chat.…

Modern Micron maestro Mehrotra marches merrily, ma

posted: 28 Jun 2017

Senior execs hired and flagging retail business canned

Sanjay Mehrotra, Micron’s new CEO, is setting a whirlwind pace to make changes at the relatively staid old chipper.…

US trade watchdog boss goes all Kendrick Lamar on

posted: 28 Jun 2017

Sit down Kitt, be humble

The head of US trade watchdog the FTC has pushed for companies to loosen their ties over self-driving cars.…

Search results suddenly missing from Google? Well,

posted: 28 Jun 2017

It seems that everything's gone wrong since Canada came along

Canada's Supreme Court says America's Hat has authority over Google results worldwide – at least in cases when someone's copyright has been stomped on.…

Virus (cough, cough, Petya) goes postal at FedEx,

posted: 28 Jun 2017

TNT Express systems blown up by, er, yeah, you get the idea

FedEx has suspended trading of its shares on the New York stock exchange after admitting that its subsidiary TNT Express has been hit by "an information system virus."…

Toshiba, Western Digital put away lawyers long eno

posted: 28 Jun 2017

Tosh talks 4-level cell tech, too

Just as we are getting used to 64‑layer 3D NAND chips, along come the warring flash joint-venture couple Toshiba and Western Digital. The pair say their JV has produced a 96‑layer prototype die, with Toshiba also introducing four-level cell tech.…

Four Brits cuffed in multimillion-quid Windows tec

posted: 28 Jun 2017

Malicious chats mostly came from India, say police

Four Britons have been arrested on suspicion of helping organise fraudulent telephone support scam calls that caused “hundreds of millions of pounds” of losses worldwide.…

Blunder down under: self-driving Aussie cars still

posted: 28 Jun 2017

Hopping critters gave our sensors fits, says Volvo

Kangaroos continue to the bane of self-driving cars in Australia, as automakers say they still can't figure out how to accurately detect the presence of the pouched marsupials.…

What is the enterprise cloud?

posted: 28 Jun 2017

Integrated IT infrastructure is a good place to start

Sysadmin blog  The private clouds are coming. A few of them are already in place, lurking in the shadows, but in 2017 the Infrastructure Endgame Machines (IEMs) land and everyone starts being able to buy cloud-in-a-can. With private clouds moving along the hype cycle towards Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) solutions, the race to rebrand the concept for marketing purposes begins. Behold: the enterprise cloud!…

Atlantis Computing in urgent refinancing talks

posted: 28 Jun 2017

VDI and HCIA software supplier

Atlantis Computing is in middle of "delicate ongoing negotiations" seeking funding from investors.…

Rackspace shoves Splunk in its data trunk

posted: 28 Jun 2017

Managed cloud biz’s next move? Machine learning, obviously

Managed cloud provider Rackspace has announced it is using Splunk to power its decision analytics engine - and plans to use the software provider’s machine learning tool next.…

Toshiba sues WDC for a cool billion bucks

posted: 28 Jun 2017

You could say the flash JV partners' relationship is at rock bottom

Toshiba is suing WDC in a Tokyo court for ¥120bn ($1bn, £830m), alleging unfair competition.…