Blog Rolls

Idioms: the American heritage

Oxford University Press Blog: “Idioms, especially if we add proverbs and familiar quotations to them, are a shoreless ocean. Especially numerous are so-called gnomic sayings (aphorisms) like make hay while the sun shines, better safe than sorry, and a friend in need is a friend indeed. Their age is usually hard or even impossible to determine. Since most of them reflect people’s universal experience, they may be very old. In contrast, such undecipherable phrases as kick the bucket, put a spoke in someone’s wheel, or cut the mustard are fairly recent. At least they presuppose the existence of buckets, spokes, wheels, and the cultivation of mustard.  (This type of reasoning is called relative chronology and sometimes yields useful results.)…”

Categories: Law and Legal

DataSpii: The catastrophic data leak via browser extensions

DataSpii: The catastrophic data leak via browser extensions Sam Jadali SecurityWithSam.com – Abstract – “We present DataSpii (pronounced data-spy), the catastrophic data leak that occurs when any one of eight browser extensions collects browsing activity data — including personally identifiable information (PII) and corporate information (CI) — from unwitting Chrome and Firefox users. Our investigation uncovered an online service selling the collected browsing activity data to its subscription members in near real-time. In this report, we delineate the sensitive data source types relevant to the security of individuals and businesses across the globe. We observed two extensions employing dilatory tactics — an effective maneuver for eluding detection — to collect the data. We identified the collection of sensitive data from the internal network environments of Fortune 500 companies. Several Fortune 500 companies provided an additional measure of confirmation through a process of responsible disclosure. By deploying a honeypot to monitor web traffic, we discovered near-immediate visits to URLs collected by the extensions. To address the evolving threat to data security, we propose preemptive measures such as limiting access to shareable links, and removing PII and CI from metadata…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Of Wolves and Dragons – A Conversation with Anthony Ryan and Evan Winter

Thanks to my UK publisher Orbit for hosting the long chat I had with fellow fantasy author Evan Winter in which we discuss writing craft, world-building, influences and a lot more:

Of Wolves and Dragons: Anthony Ryan and Evan Winter in Conversation

Evan’s excellent first novel The Rage of Dragons is out now in the US and published in all formats in the UK today. You can read my review here.

Categories: Fiction for Fun

Kennedy Center Announces 2019 Honorees

Earth, Wind & Fire, Sally Field, Linda Ronstadt, Sesame Street and Michael Tilson Thomas will be recognized for their lifetime contributions to the performing arts at a gala in December.

(Image credit: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

Categories: Just News

FaceApp went viral with age-defying photos – users are encouraged to delete it asap

Washington Post :”…The app uploads people’s photos to the “cloud” of servers run by Amazon and Google, the company said, meaning deleting the app would likely make no difference on how the photos are used. In its privacy terms, the company said it can collect any of a user’s uploaded photos as well as data on the user’s visited websites and other information.

The app’s terms of service say users grant the company a “perpetual, irrevocable . . . [and] worldwide” license to use a user’s photos, name or likeness in practically any way it sees fit. If a user deletes content from the app, FaceApp can still store and use it, the terms say. FaceApp also says it can’t guarantee that users’ data or information is secure and that the company can share user information with other companies and third-party advertisers, which aren’t disclosed in the privacy terms…”

Categories: Law and Legal

How Long Would It Take to Bicycle to the Moon?

Wired Top Stories - Thu, 07/18/2019 - 11:40
To follow in Apollo 11’s footsteps, all you need is a space bike, 240,000 miles of cable, and a whole lot of sandwiches.
Categories: Just News

Growing share of Republicans say U.S. risks losing its identity if it is too open to foreigners

Pew – A majority of Americans (62%) continue to say the country’s openness to people from around the world is “essential to who we are as a nation. “But the share expressing this view is 6 percentage points lower than it was in September – a result of a shift in opinion among Republicans. Democrats continue to overwhelmingly take the view that openness is an essential characteristic of the nation. Currently, 57% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say that if the United States is too open to people from around the world, “we risk losing our identity as a nation.” Fewer (37%) say America’s openness to those from other countries is essential to who we are as a nation, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted July 10-15 among 1,502 adults.

Both last fall and in 2017, Republicans’ opinions on this question were divided. Since September, the share of Republicans who say America risks losing its identity if it is too open has increased 13 percentage points, while the share who view the nation’s openness to others as essential has declined 10 points. Over the past two years, there has been virtually no change in Democrats’ attitudes. Today, an overwhelming majority of Democrats and Democratic leaners (86%) say America’s openness is essential to who we are as a nation; 85% said this last September…”

See also – “A USA Today-Ipsos poll finds that 68 percent of Americans who were aware of Trump’s tweets about the four liberal minority lawmakers said they are offensive. But 57 percent of Republicans polled said they agreed with the president, and a third said they strongly agreed. Overall, 59 percent called the president’s tweets “un-American,” including independents by a 2-to-1 margin, and 65 percent of those surveyed said telling minority Americans to “go back where they came from” is a racist statement. Among Republicans, however, 45 percent agreed and 34 percent disagreed. Seven in 10 Republicans say that “people who call others ‘racist’ usually do so in bad faith,” compared with 17 percent of Democrats…”

Categories: Law and Legal

Brother Of Suicide Bomber In Manchester Concert Attack Faces Murder Charges

Hashem Abedi has denied involvement in the 2017 bombing at the end of an Ariana Grande concert that killed 22 people in Manchester, England. He was charged with murdering all of them.

(Image credit: Force for Deterrence in Libya/AP)

Categories: Just News

Overlooked No More: Florence Merriam Bailey, Who Defined Modern Bird-Watching

The New York Times – “Her pioneering approach involved quietly examining birds in their natural habitat, rather than shooting them, as people had previously done…A student at Smith College at the time, Bailey decided to start a grassroots effort, with a simple step: She took her fellow classmates outdoors. “We won’t say too much about the hats,” she wrote in Bird-Lore. “We’ll take the girls afield, and let them get acquainted with the birds. Then of inborn necessity, they will wear feathers never more.”

It was the beginning of an animal rights campaign that evolved into a lifelong crusade of ecological conservationism and promotion of what would become modern day bird-watching. Bailey eventually traveled around the country to write about the pursuit. Back then ornithology was generally practiced by examining “skins,” or dead birds preserved in universities or museums. Ornithologists typically trapped or shot birds and then decamped indoors to identify the bodies. Bailey, on the other hand, urged that birds be observed quietly in their natural habitat.

“Florence was one of the first bird-watchers to actually watch birds instead of shoot them,” Marcia Bonta, a naturalist and author of “Women in the Field: America’s Pioneering Women Naturalists” (1991), said in a phone interview. In 1889, at the age of 26, Bailey published “Birds Through an Opera-Glass,” considered the first field guide to American birds. The book, one of many travelogues and field guides she would publish, suggested that the best way to view birds was through the lenses of opera glasses, not a shotgun sight. Her approach, now commonly practiced with binoculars, helped form the basis of modern bird-watching…”

Categories: Law and Legal

'Thor 4' Is Coming—and Taika Waititi Is Directing

Wired Top Stories - Thu, 07/18/2019 - 11:04
Chris Hemsworth will reportedly return for the new movie.
Categories: Just News

China’s Goal? To Become the World’s Dominant Superpower, FBI Boss Warns

Fortune – “Amy Hess, boss of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s cyber division, warned a room of business executives about the various threats China poses to American interests on stage at Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen, Colo., on Wednesday. Her team is responsible for pursuing criminals and nation state actors who are targeting—and pilfering—American companies and citizens.

“China’s goal is, clearly, to become the world’s dominant superpower,” Hess said. “To do that they’re willing to steal information, to steal intellectual property, to steal PII [personally identifiable information], to steal military secrets, government secrets, academic secrets, and R&D.” Hess described China’s siphoning of American trade secrets as unfair and imbalanced. China “can get information that American companies and American ingenuity has taken years to develop,” she said. “They get it for free, they get it quickly, and it positions them to achieve their goal” of international supremacy….”

Categories: Law and Legal

Iran Says Its Revolutionary Guard Seized Foreign Oil Tanker In Strait Of Hormuz

Iran alleges that the small Panama-flagged tanker was smuggling some 264,000 gallons of fuel.

(Image credit: Jon Gambrell/AP)

Categories: Just News

Miranda Lambert Shares Two (Really Fun) New Songs

Miranda Lambert shares a cute-as-hell country bop and a total barnburner. "It All Comes Out In The Wash" and "Locomotive" are Lambert's first solo offerings in three years.

(Image credit: Rich Fury/Getty Images for ACM)

Categories: Just News

High-Stakes AI Decisions Need to Be Automatically Audited

Wired Top Stories - Thu, 07/18/2019 - 09:00
Opinion: The current standard for evaluating AI is insufficient. AI systems should be instantly interrogated for bias by a third party.
Categories: Just News

Soyuz Heads to the Launch Pad in Black and White

NASA Image of the Day - Thu, 07/18/2019 - 08:48
In this black and white infrared image, the Soyuz rocket is seen as it transported to the launch pad by train, Thursday, July 18, 2019 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
Categories: Just News

Meet John Houbolt: He Figured Out How To Go To The Moon, But Few Were Listening

In the early 1960s, NASA was considering three different ideas for landing a man on the lunar surface. Houbolt's plan ultimately won out despite concerns within NASA that it was too risky.

(Image credit: NASA/LARC/Bob Nye/PhotoQuest/Getty Images)

Categories: Just News

Computer Models, Epic Floods, and the Fate of Coastal Cities

Wired Top Stories - Thu, 07/18/2019 - 08:00
By 2050, coastal cities like Charleston may experience flooding more than 300 days a year. Now scientists can better predict—and plan for—the effects.
Categories: Just News

5 Best Portable Espresso Makers You Can Buy (2019)

Wired Top Stories - Thu, 07/18/2019 - 08:00
Make awesome espresso on the road, hiking, car camping, or anywhere else, with these handheld machines.
Categories: Just News

Japanese Anime Studio Hit With Suspected Arson, Killing At Least 16

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the apparently deliberate act in Kyoto is "too appalling for words." The death toll is likely to rise, and a suspect has been taken into custody.

(Image credit: Jiji Press/AFP/Getty Images)

Categories: Just News

The Water Crisis In Chennai: Who's To Blame, How Do You Fix It?

Reservoirs are dry in India's sixth biggest city. Municipal taps work only a few hours a day. Trains are delivering emergency water supplies.

(Image credit: Arun Sankar/AFP/Getty Images)

Categories: Just News

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