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Picking apart the crashing iOS string

Posted on February 19th, 2018 at 10:29 by John Sinteur in category: News

Okay, I guess I learned a few new things today…

 

[Quote:]

Indic scripts are abugidas; which means that their “letters” are consonants, which you can attach diacritics to to change the vowel. By default, consonants have a base vowel. So, for example, क is “kuh” (kə, often transcribed as “ka”), but I can change the vowel to make it के (the “ka” in “okay”) का (“kaa”, like “car”).

Usually, the default vowel is the ə sound, though not always (in Bengali it’s more of an o sound).

Because of the “default” vowel, you need a way to combine consonants. For example, if you wished to write the word “ski”, you can’t write it as स + की (sa + ki = “saki”), you must write it as स्की. What’s happened here is that the स got its vowel “killed”, and got tacked on to the की to form a consonant cluster ligature.

You can also write this as स्‌की . That little tail you see on the स is known as a “virama”; it basically means “remove this vowel”. Explicit viramas are sometimes used when there’s no easy way to form a ligature, e.g. in ङ्‌ठ because there is no simple way to ligatureify ङ into ठ. Some scripts also prefer explicit viramas, e.g. “ski” in Malayalam is written as സ്കീ, where the little crescent is the explicit virama.

In unicode, the virama character is always used to form a consonant cluster. So स्की was written as <स,  ्, क,  ी>, or <sa, virama, ka, i>. If the font supports the cluster, it will show up as a ligature, otherwise it will use an explicit virama.

For Devanagari and Bengali, usually, in a consonant cluster the first consonant is munged a bit and the second consonant stays intact. There are exceptions – sometimes they’ll form an entirely new glyph (क + ष = क्ष), and sometimes both glyphs will change (ड + ड = ड्ड, द + म = द्म, द + ब = द्ब).


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Your moment of zen

Posted on February 18th, 2018 at 19:00 by John Sinteur in category: News

Bathtime bliss


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  1. If only my kids could be like this. I mean I would take an hour a day n be happy!

Every Member of Congress Who Took Money From the NRA and Tweeted ‘Thoughts and Prayers’ to Parkland

Posted on February 17th, 2018 at 23:30 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

Here are all the lawmakers who have tweeted “thoughts and prayers” with one hand while eagerly cashing NRA checks with the other. Keep in mind that the totals below, provided by the campaign contribution tracking site OpenSecrets.org, represent just the money given directly to that legislator in their most recent campaign.

103 Republicans, 1 Democrat.


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  1. Congress is addicted to Blood Money from the NRA.

Man sues Verizon when his intimate photos show up on stranger’s phone

Posted on February 16th, 2018 at 11:00 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

Crommie bought a Verizon LG V20 for $167 last week in Molalla for his grandmother and offered to download her photos and videos backed up on the Verizon cloud to the new phone.

But Crommie noticed as he scrolled through his grandma’s photos the next day that there were photos of a man and woman and their child mixed in. He realized that the woman in the photos was a former co-worker he hadn’t seen since the summer and the man was her boyfriend.

Crommie reached out to his former co-worker on Facebook and called her about the photos. She told him the photos had been on Smith’s phone.

Crommie said how they got on his grandma’s new phone remains a mystery. He went with Smith last week to the Molalla store and confirmed that a manager suggested suing Verizon.

“There’s no connection between them and my grandma, their phone numbers aren’t the same, we later cleared the phone completely and the same photos came back again,” he said.

Peters said she wonders and worries if their pictures have been downloaded onto other Verizon phones.

“The Cloud” (noun) – somebody else’s computer, that you share with strangers, at an unknown location, maintained by the lowest bidder.

 


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  1. Can’t sue clouds.

Trump Scolds Shooter’s Classmates for Failing to Report Him

Posted on February 16th, 2018 at 9:34 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

Again and again is my favorite. “The first couple times you tell the cops that this guy might be planning to murder 17 people, they’re going to ignore, you, obviously. Make sure you keep telling them. That’s your responsibility.”

Reporters, politicians, trained psychiatrists and others have issued countless warnings about this dude being an unreasonable, narcissistic, war-hungry, short-tempered and mentally damaged man-child who shouldn’t have been allowed anywhere near the White House. Unfortunately that all amounted to fuck-all a couple of Novembers ago.


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Veteran Congressman Can Still Remember When Inaction On Gun Violence Actually Presented A Moral Dilemma

Posted on February 16th, 2018 at 9:26 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

Thinking back to a far simpler time, veteran congressman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) told reporters Thursday that he could still remember when his inaction on gun violence actually presented a moral dilemma. “I can still recall how, years ago, deciding not to take any steps to address universal background checks or a broken mental healthcare system following a mass shooting felt like a real, concrete struggle,” said Grassley, a member of Congress since 1975, reminiscing on how he used to do a lot of mental gymnastics to justify his idleness on the epidemic and would frequently lie awake at night contemplating whether there was blood on his hands. “I have a lot of memories of going back and forth on whether accepting all this money from the NRA made me complicit in all of these deaths. I would sometimes get so troubled by it, I’d even ask my wife or my friends if they thought I was a good person, but nowadays, I just fire off my ‘thoughts and prayers’ tweet without thinking about it and just keep going about my day.” At press time, Grassley admitted that he was starting to get a bit bored after continuing to talk about the subject for so long.


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Trump: ‘I Am Totally Opposed to Domestic Violence’

Posted on February 15th, 2018 at 23:04 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

“I am totally opposed to domestic violence of any kind, everyone knows that,” President Trump said Wednesday during a brief press availability. “And it almost wouldn’t even have to be said. So now you hear it. But you all know it.”

“But there are good people on both sides of the domestic violence discussion”, right?


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Comments:

  1. On another very dark day after another school shooting, it his is use of
    “almost” that struck me so. I can’t get 5th ave out of my mind. Is this what he meant? He’s exempt from any shooting?
    He is a real Goliath. His illegal support system has to be removed one by one. Like he does his enemies. Twitter won’t let me post a thing or two. I don’t know why, I thought it was pretty tame but m n the extreme side of disgusted most days. I did get one off to flotus & the shithead asking what if this happened in Barron trump’s school?
    Mafia I tell ya. We have the mafia in the wh. And we will find that Donald was nearly overdrawn $$$ in his prepolitical world. And that he could see that Russia was intrigued with him. Intrigued enough to help. He accepted Russian assistance to advantage himself in a national election. He has offered Russia gifts in exchange. Trump is making 10s of millions of $$$. If he stays 4 yrs he could be in the $100s of millions.
    He has & will do anything to win. He mst be removed from office before even worse destruction happens. I think, we ain’t seen nothing yet!

  2. I do not know why my post is anonymous. Different device

  3. @Rainymyth: Until now, this kind of capture of the institutions of the state only happened in those weird places, like the ‘Stans, SE Asia, ME & Africa etc. Perhaps we were naive and there was always this vulnerability – belief in scandal and gossip, magnified by the media (for profit). This is what the “Reality TV” phenomenon has done to us. And we just can’t stop watching…

Nikolas Cruz, Florida Shooting Suspect, Was Expelled From School

Posted on February 15th, 2018 at 17:26 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

In the hours after the shooting, people who knew Mr. Cruz described him as a “troubled kid” who enjoyed showing off his firearms, bragging about killing animals and whose mother would resort to calling the police to have them come to their home to try to talk some sense into him. At a school with about 3,000 students, Mr. Cruz stayed to himself and had few friends but struck fear in some students with erratic behavior and an affinity for violence.

Well


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I’m Gonna Give You a Number

Posted on February 15th, 2018 at 9:53 by John Sinteur in category: News


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Someone Is Sending Amazon Sex Toys to Strangers. Amazon Has No Idea How to Stop It.

Posted on February 15th, 2018 at 9:22 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

Nikki’s story is part of a broiling internal mystery that is flummoxing Amazon, according to a source at the company: Someone is shipping out unsolicited products, frequently sex toys, to seemingly random customers, and the company does not yet know why they’re being purchased, and why they’re being shipped to people like Nikki.


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Comments:

  1. It’s the product recommendation AI gone rogue

FAQ: What happens when I choose to “Suppress Ads” on Salon?

Posted on February 14th, 2018 at 15:50 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

For our beta program, we’ll start by applying your processing power to mine cryptocurrencies to recoup lost ad revenue when you use an ad blocker.  We plan to further use any learnings from this to help support the evolution and growth of blockchain technology, digital currencies and other ways to better service the value exchange between content and user contribution.

Although this isn’t something ad blockers are unable to block (if they aren’t already) it is funny how they always present this as a binary choice: view adds, or do this other thing we want. They always forget option 3: never bother coming to the site again. So, with that in mind I’d just like to say: Salon and thanks for all the phish!


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Pastor was ‘counseling’ the young, naked man tied up in his car, he says

Posted on February 14th, 2018 at 9:39 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

 

In the front seat of the car, police said they found quite the sight.

A man was sitting in the passenger’s seat completely naked, according to a criminal complaint obtained by KDKA. The only thing he was “wearing” was the nylon rope tied around him.

In the back seat of the car was George Gregory, a 61-year-old pastor at a church in West Homestead, Penn., police said. When police walked up to the vehicle, they said they could see Gregory rearranging his clothing, WPXI reports.

Aaaah, counseling… is that what they call it these days?


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Facebook is suggesting mobile users ‘Protect’ themselves…by downloading a Facebook-owned app that tracks their mobile usage

Posted on February 13th, 2018 at 17:15 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

 

Facebook is now offering some mobile app users a wireless-networking app without first disclosing that it’s owned by Facebook, or that it collects information for the social networking company.

The app, Onavo Protect, provides users with a virtual private network, or VPN. Typically, a VPN cloaks the user’s identity and adds other security features, making it a more secure way to get online, particularly when using public Wi-Fi networks.

Yet the Onavo app also tracks data that it shares with Facebook and others, “including the applications installed on your device, your use of those applications, the websites you visit and the amount of data you use,” according to its own privacy policies.

Facebook can use that data to track what users do online even when they’re not on one of its websites. The company could also find out how apps made by its rivals, such as Snap and Twitter, are being used.

Facebook, which bought the Israeli security company in 2013, now points to its software in a tab in its mobile app marked “Protect.”

This is almost as funny as that time Facebook told people to upload their naked pics to make sure they wouldn’t appear online….


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Comments:

  1. What is really funny is the ‘smartphone’ is one the best pieces of spyware out there. It is also a great attack vector for malware. I was chatting about this with anti-malware company exec last night and he admitted the difficulty in securing phones. The ugly truth is there is no discernible line between malware and valid apts. And people bank on these devices!

German court rules Facebook use of personal data illegal

Posted on February 12th, 2018 at 22:14 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

A German consumer rights group said on Monday that a court had found Facebook’s use of personal data to be illegal because the U.S. social media platform did not adequately secure the informed consent of its users.

The verdict, from a Berlin regional court, comes as Big Tech faces increasing scrutiny in Germany over its handling of sensitive personal data that enables it to micro-target online advertising.

The Federation of German Consumer Organisations (vzvb) said that Facebook’s default settings and some of its terms of service were in breach of consumer law, and that the court had found parts of the consent to data usage to be invalid.

“Facebook hides default settings that are not privacy-friendly in its privacy center and does not provide sufficient information about it when users register,” said Heiko Duenkel, litigation policy officer at the vzvb.

“This does not meet the requirement for informed consent.” The vzvb posted a copy of the ruling on its website. A court spokesperson confirmed that a judgment had been handed down but declined further comment.


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A Reckoning with Women Awaits Trump

Posted on February 12th, 2018 at 19:23 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

Sooner or later, Trump’s satraps and lieutenants, present and former, come to betray a vivid sense of just how imperilled and imperilling this Presidency is. In their sotto-voce remarks to the White House press, these aides seem to compete in their synonyms for the President’s modesty of intelligence (“moron”, “idiot”, “fool”); his colossal narcissism; his lack of human empathy. They admit to reporters how little he studies the basics of domestic policy and national security; how partial he is to autocrats like himself; how indifferent he is to allies. They are shocked, they proclaim, absolutely shocked. In the past few days, it has been Trump’s misogyny, his heedless attitude toward women and issues of harassment and abuse, that has shocked them most. And those who know him best recognize the political consequences ahead.

Trump’s cruel and clueless remarks are of a piece with the tactics he has used to tamp down all his other scandals, miscues, and embarrassments. Just as he tries to divert attention from his, and his circle’s, errors and wrongdoing in the Russia scandal by shouting “fake news”, by casting blame on the F.B.I. and the Justice Department, and by deploying a congressional lackey like Devin Nunes, he diverts attention from his own encyclopedic record of miserable behavior toward women by casting doubt on the accusers. This is a neat trick, yet hardly original. It has come to the point when even Trump’s closest aides know that a reckoning is coming. It’s not going to be O.K.


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Comments:

  1. I heard that there are a record number of women running for all levels of government in the USA this year.

The House That Spied on Me

Posted on February 8th, 2018 at 10:00 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

Thanks to the Internet of Things, I could live in my very own tech-mediated Downton Abbey. That’s the appeal of smart homes for most people, and why they are supposed to be a $27 billion market by 2021. But that wasn’t my primary motivation. The reason I smartened up my house was to find out whether it would betray me.


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The Dash For Cash: Leaked Files Reveal RBS Systematically Crushed British Businesses For Profit

Posted on February 8th, 2018 at 9:42 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

The Royal Bank of Scotland killed or crippled thousands of businesses during the recession as a result of a deliberate plan to add billions of pounds to its balance sheet, according to a leaked cache of thousands of secret documents.

[..]

The documents – comprising internal emails, confidential memos, secret policy documents, minutes, and financial records leaked from inside the bank by an anonymous whistleblower – today show:

  • RBS managers encouraged employees to hunt for ways to boost their bonuses by forcing customers into loan restructuring in order to extract heavy fees as part of a profit drive nicknamed “Project Dash for Cash”.
  • Firms that had never missed a loan payment were pushed into GRG under the bank’s secret policies for reasons that had nothing to do with financial distress, including for telling RBS they wanted to leave the bank, falling out with managers, or threatening to sue over mistreatment.
  • Once in GRG, firms were hit with crippling fees, fines, and interest rate hikes that could run into seven figures, helping to net the restructuring unit a profit of more than a billion pounds in a single year.
  • Contrary to claims by the bank, there were no Chinese walls between GRG and West Register bosses, who sat together on both the controlling committee that held sway over which businesses were transferred into the restructuring unit and the property acquisition committee that signed off the bank’s bids for their distressed assets. Auditors repeatedly warned about perceived conflicts of interest in GRG.
  • The property division, which amassed assets worth £3.3 billion during the crisis, was passed information that was not available to other bidders when it wanted to acquire properties from businesses in GRG. In contrast to what RBS executives told parliament, properties could be sold to West Register without being advertised on the open market.
  • Staff were told to conceal conflicts of interest from customers when demanding cheap shares in their businesses or stakes in their properties.

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John Perry Barlow, Internet Pioneer, 1947-2018

Posted on February 8th, 2018 at 9:22 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

 

With a broken heart I have to announce that EFF’s founder, visionary, and our ongoing inspiration, John Perry Barlow, passed away quietly in his sleep this morning. We will miss Barlow and his wisdom for decades to come, and he will always be an integral part of EFF.

It is no exaggeration to say that major parts of the Internet we all know and love today exist and thrive because of Barlow’s vision and leadership. He always saw the Internet as a fundamental place of freedom, where voices long silenced can find an audience and people can connect with others regardless of physical distance.


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This Trump Adviser Has a Plan for Avoiding the Flu: Be Christian

Posted on February 7th, 2018 at 22:39 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

Texas minister Gloria Copeland, who explained, via Politico, why Christians are immune to the flu virus:

Texas minister Gloria Copeland, who sat on the Trump campaign’s evangelical executive advisory board, denied the country is in the midst of a severe flu outbreak in a Facebook video that went viral because, “Jesus himself is our flu shot. He redeemed us from the curse of the flu.”

“We have a duck season, a deer season, but we don’t have a flu season and don’t receive it when someone threatens you with ‘everybody is getting the flu,'” Copeland added. “We’ve already had our shot: He bore our sicknesses and carried our diseases. That’s what we stand on. And by his stripes we are healed.”

Notice Copeland’s quick signal to the faithful that she does believe in hunting—just like Jesus taught. It’s all part of the worldview. Politico helpfully adds that public health professionals disagree with Copeland’s assessment, as will any of her followers who end up getting influenza. Every day there is new evidence this administration and its allies have (way) more than their fair share of outright cranks and dangerous anti-science zealots. After all, the president once outed himself as an anti-vaxxer and said global warming was a hoax manufactured by the Chinese. In that rich vein lies Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, whose views on drug policy are best summarized as “1980s school principal caught in a time warp.”


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  1. Well, I suppose they make a useful control group.

  2. Not really a useful control group. As the comedian said, “there’s no cure for stupid”.

  3. It’s always amazing to me that such ‘devout’ Christians manage to break their own religion’s tenets. Matthew 4:7 “You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.”
    “I have faith, therefore God will not allow me to (INSERT CONDITION HERE – get the flu, in this case).” is pretty much the textbook definition of putting God to the test.
    That rich Christians take the view that THEY, being rich, are right with God and the poor, being poor, are, by definition of their being poor, are not right with God, doesn’t surprise me but why do so many Americans so notably fail to call them on their very UNchristian views? The bible talks on many occasions about helping the poor to be… not-poor.

To know Donald Trump’s faith is to understand his politics

Posted on February 7th, 2018 at 19:15 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

Start with his inauguration ceremony. Pastor Paula White was one of the clergy nominated to pray for Trump on the day. A televangelist and exponent of the”health, wealth and prosperity” movement, she preaches the “prosperity gospel”, an unorthodox approach to Christianity that says God wants people to be rich, and that he makes them wealthy as a sign of his blessing. So the richer you are, the more obvious it is that God loves you, and the stronger your faith is.

White teaches that God rewards “faithful” people who invest in His promised providence. You invest by making deposits – faith, prayers and gifts of money – to God (the church, naturally, is the “steward” of your financial gifts). So if you want to be healthy and wealthy, all you need to do is give, and then believe, and all your heart’s desires will be realised. The more you invest, the greater the likely rewards.

We need our leaders to be social visionaries, political realists and exemplars of virtue and integrity. Trump, as we know, is wanting in each and every one of these departments. Over the next few years of Trump’s presidency, ennui and disenchantment will set in among hardcore supporters. They will eventually become the faithless followers. Too many investors will want a return. And when there are no new gullible recruits, Ponzi schemes, even political ones, unravel.


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Comments:

  1. The New Testament, King Trump version.

The Internet

Posted on February 7th, 2018 at 11:45 by John Sinteur in category: News


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Comments:

  1. What we have here is a failure to Think, not Communicate.

  2. C’mon, they are just playing with her. She is messaging them from within one of the Applebee’s locations. For *sure* they know exactly where she is, what table she occupies, how big her party is, what she ordered, what her home address is, how often she comes there and whether little Jason is inside or not. They just cannot admit to it even though Donna has already accepted she has not privacy.

The Median Young Family Has Nearly Zero Wealth

Posted on February 7th, 2018 at 0:18 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

Using the Survey of Consumer Finances, I calculated various wealth series for young families with heads below the age of 35.

Here is median net worth for young families. I include both the net worth concept used by the Federal Reserve and a modified net worth concept that excludes vehicles. Insofar as vehicles are rapidly depreciating consumer durables, many argue that they should not be counted as assets for these purposes. Without these vehicles, the median young family had a net worth of $1,250 in 2016. This was down from the $7,846 peak in 1995.


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Comments:

  1. Oh, when they mentioned vehicles, I thought they were talking about launching a fancy sportscar into space…

  2. I guess NASA’s payloads were too valuable to risk failure. You would have though some High School students could come up with something useful to put on Mars. I guess it answers the question,”Is there intelligent life on Earth?”

“The pound took another beating today…”

Posted on February 5th, 2018 at 22:57 by John Sinteur in category: News

I mourn the days that the Onion was funny. Fox News interrupted a live broadcast of a speech Trump delivered in Ohio on Monday. During the speech, Trump said that the tax cut bill “set off a tidal wave of good news that continues to grow every single day.” Fox cut over to cover a historic drop in the Dow Jones industrial average. That’s JUST the sort of thing the Onion would have done and we would all have loved. For those of us who remember the brilliant “Yes minister” BBC series, there was this running gag that whenever the lead characters were watching some news coverage of themselves on TV, they’d always turned off the TV after the news item about them, and always mid-sentence in “the pound took another beating today…”

 


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Dear LinkedIn…. ehm…. no.

Posted on February 5th, 2018 at 19:54 by John Sinteur in category: News


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How Donald Trump Is Playing a Dangerous Game of Nuclear Poker

Posted on February 3rd, 2018 at 17:59 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

The Trump Administration, by contrast, is convinced that the best way to limit the spreading nuclear danger is to expand and advertise its ability to annihilate its enemies. In addition to putting the Nevada testing ground on notice, he has signed off on a $1.2 trillion plan to overhaul the entire nuclear-weapons complex. Trump has authorized a new nuclear warhead, the first in 34 years. He is funding research and development on a mobile medium-range missile. The new weapon, if tested or deployed, would be prohibited by a 30-year-old Cold War nuclear-forces agreement with Russia (which has already violated the agreement). And for the first time, the U.S. is expanding the scenarios under which the President would consider going nuclear to “significant non-nuclear strategic attacks”, including major cyberattacks.

Trump’s new plan also expands the President’s “first use” of nuclear weapons to circumstances that include “non-nuclear strategic attacks” against the U.S. or its allies. That could mean cyberattacks on nuclear command and control systems or civilian infrastructure, like the electricity grid or air-traffic-control system, arms-control experts have concluded. Previous Administrations limited the threat of a nuclear response to mass-casualty events, like chemical- and biological-weapon attacks. Stephen Schwartz, a nuclear weapons policy expert, said the key concern is the expansion of the nuclear umbrella to “include these new and not extreme possibilities, thus dramatically lowering the threshold for nuclear use.”.


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  1. Always wondered where “Resident Evil” got the Umbrella corporate name from.

How to Be a Responsible Music Fan in the Age of Streaming

Posted on February 3rd, 2018 at 17:58 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

For years, disruptive digital businesses have countered complaints like mine with assurances that everything will be different in the future, once millions and millions of people around the world adopt their application. Well, here we are. Spotify now claims 140 million active users, 70 million of whom are paid subscribers, and the total consumption of audio streams in the U.S. jumped by an estimated 50 percent last year. But while it’s clear that some are earning significant paychecks from streaming as a result—“Happy days are here again,” Billboard gushed last March, reporting the fastest growth for the industry in decades—most musicians are not.

The basic reason is simple: According to the data trackers at BuzzAngle Music, more than 99 percent of audio streaming is of the top 10 percent most-streamed tracks. Which means less than 1 percent of streams account for all other music.

[..]

Consider the dominant streaming video service, Netflix, which now has more subscribers than all cable providers combined. While Netflix has grown more popular, it has diminished its content to the point where it recently hosted only 25 movies made before 1950, as Zach Schonfeld pointed out in Newsweek. “It’s the sort of classics selection you’d expect to find in a decrepit video store in 1993,” Schonfeld wrote, “not on a leading entertainment platform that serves some 100 million global subscribers.”

The streaming music catalog is currently in a much better state. But it could only be a matter of time until these companies lose interest in the 90 percent of music that doesn’t return even 1 percent of their gross. It seems likely that they will eventually jettison these less-played tracks for different content—just look at Netflix.

Or look now at how badly their applications already serve entire genres of less popular music. Spotify lists recordings by song title, album title, or featured artist name. But that information is so limited it leaves out even the other performers on a recording, a crucial aspect to classical and jazz. For that matter, performers are kind of important to rock, too! Not to mention songwriters, producers, engineers, publishers, record labels—almost all the labor that goes into making recordings is erased from the databases used by the major streaming services.

Why hide all that information, all that context to each recording? Digital services are so good at handling massive amounts of data—just think how much Spotify knows about each of us. And yet they can’t bring themselves to specify which of the radically different Miles Davis Quintets played on which album—is it the one with John Coltrane and Philly Joe Jones, or the one with Wayne Shorter and Tony Williams?


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An Ancient Virus May Be Responsible for Human Consciousness

Posted on February 3rd, 2018 at 17:38 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

You’ve got an ancient virus in your brain. In fact, you’ve got an ancient virus at the very root of your conscious thought.

According to two papers published in the journal Cell in January, long ago, a virus bound its genetic code to the genome of four-limbed animals. That snippet of code is still very much alive in humans’ brains today, where it does the very viral task of packaging up genetic information and sending it from nerve cells to their neighbors in little capsules that look a whole lot like viruses themselves. And these little packages of information might be critical elements of how nerves communicate and reorganize over time — tasks thought to be necessary for higher-order thinking, the researchers said.

Though it may sound surprising that bits of human genetic code come from viruses, it’s actually more common than you might think: A review published in Cell in 2016 found that between 40 and 80 percent of the human genome arrived from some archaic viral invasion.

That’s because viruses aren’t just critters that try to make a home in a body, the way bacteria do. Instead, as Live Science has previously reported, a virus is a genetic parasite. It injects its genetic code into its host’s cells and hijacks them, turning them to its own purposes — typically, that means as factories for making more viruses. This process is usually either useless or harmful to the host, but every once in a while, the injected viral genes are benign or even useful enough to hang around. The 2016 review found that viral genes seem to play important roles in the immune system, as well as in the early days of embryo development.

But the new papers take things a step further. Not only is an ancient virus still very much active in the cells of human and animal brains, but it seems to be so important to how they function that processes of thought as we know them likely never would have arisen without it, the researchers said.


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The Amazing Dinosaur Found (Accidentally) by Miners in Canada

Posted on February 3rd, 2018 at 12:43 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

Some 110 million years ago, this armored plant-eater lumbered through what is now western Canada, until a flooded river swept it into open sea. The dinosaur’s undersea burial preserved its armor in exquisite detail. Its skull still bears tile-like plates and a gray patina of fossilized skins.


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Comments:

  1. Amazing. Poor beast.

‘Fiction is outperforming reality’: how YouTube’s algorithm distorts truth

Posted on February 3rd, 2018 at 12:41 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

There are 1.5 billion YouTube users in the world, which is more than the number of households that own televisions. What they watch is shaped by this algorithm, which skims and ranks billions of videos to identify 20 “up next” clips that are both relevant to a previous video and most likely, statistically speaking, to keep a person hooked on their screen.

Company insiders tell me the algorithm is the single most important engine of YouTube’s growth. In one of the few public explanations of how the formula works – an academic paper that sketches the algorithm’s deep neural networks, crunching a vast pool of data about videos and the people who watch them – YouTube engineers describe it as one of the “largest scale and most sophisticated industrial recommendation systems in existence”.

Lately, it has also become one of the most controversial. The algorithm has been found to be promoting conspiracy theories about the Las Vegas mass shooting and incentivising, through recommendations, a thriving subculture that targets children with disturbing content such as cartoons in which the British children’s character Peppa Pig eats her father or drinks bleach.

Lewd and violent videos have been algorithmically served up to toddlers watching YouTube Kids, a dedicated app for children. One YouTube creator who was banned from making advertising revenues from his strange videos – which featured his children receiving flu shots, removing earwax, and crying over dead pets – told a reporter he had only been responding to the demands of Google’s algorithm. “That’s what got us out there and popular,” he said. “We learned to fuel it and do whatever it took to please the algorithm.”


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FBI Warns Republican Memo Could Undermine Faith In Massive, Unaccountable Government Secret Agencies

Posted on February 2nd, 2018 at 18:57 by John Sinteur in category: News

[Quote:]

WASHINGTON—Stressing that such an action would be highly reckless, FBI Director Christopher Wray warned Thursday that releasing the “Nunes Memo” could potentially undermine faith in the massive, unaccountable government secret agencies of the United States. “Making this memo public will almost certainly impede our ability to conduct clandestine activities operating outside any legal or judicial system on an international scale,” said Wray, noting that it was essential that mutual trust exist between the American people and the vast, mysterious cabal given free rein to use any tactics necessary to conduct surveillance on U.S. citizens or subvert religious and political groups. “If we take away the people’s faith in this shadowy monolith exempt from any consequences, all that’s left is an extensive network of rogue, unelected intelligence officers carrying out extrajudicial missions for a variety of subjective, and occasionally personal, reasons.” At press time, Wray confirmed the massive, unaccountable government secret agencies were unaware of any wrongdoing for violating constitutional rights.


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