Friday, December 30, 2022

LastPass Breach

Wired: "Yes, It's Time to Ditch LastPass"

WIRED recommends 1Password and the free service Bitwarden, along with some alternatives. We haven't recommended LastPass since the company scaled back its free offerings a couple of years ago, given that LastPass had suffered an array of past security incidents before this latest, most dire breach was even revealed.

“One hundred percent, yes, people should switch to other password managers,” says one senior security engineer, who asked not to be named because of professional relationships with people on the LastPass security team. “They failed to do the one thing they are supposed to provide—cloud-based secure credential storage.”

Thursday, December 29, 2022

AI Photographs

"The Royal Meteorological Society, which runs the Weather Photographer of the Year competition, has posed an intriguing question: Can artificial intelligence (AI) win a photography competition?" 

"To answer this, the Society drew up a Turing test in which the viewer is invited to guess which is an AI image and which is an actual award-winning photo....

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Facial Recognition Update

"Face Recognition Tech Gets Girl Scout Mom Booted From Rockettes Show — Due to Where She Works". (Via D.L.)

I respect that Madison Square Garden is private property, and the owners have the legal right to exclude customers for the reasons stated in the article. But I'm not sure I'm looking forward to a world where this becomes a normal operating procedure.

Monday, December 26, 2022

Light Posting Notice

Admin note: Posting may be light this week because of the holiday season.

Friday, December 23, 2022

Time Cells

"For 'time cells' in the brain, what matters is what happens in the moment"

Yellowstone Update

"No, Yellowstone isn't about to erupt, even after more magma was found"

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

More Fusion Analysis

"The Energy Department's fusion breakthrough: It's not really about generating electricity"

MIT And "Wakanda Forever"

"Wakanda Forever, Starring MIT":

If you’ve seen Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, you already know that MIT is featured in the film. Spoiler alert: Don’t continue reading if you haven’t seen the film, as details are covered below...

The movie, released November 11, features scenes from around campus and Cambridge, including outside the Stratton Student Center near the Kresge Oval, a dorm room in Simmons Hall, and a fight/chase scene on the Massachusetts Avenue bridge...

Why film at MIT? Not to give away too many details, but Stark isn’t the only superhero to attend the Institute. In this latest box office hit, 19-year-old MIT student Riri Williams finds herself and one of her inventions (a school project on steroids) at the center of an international crisis. In an effort to avert disaster, two people from Wakanda (a fictional East African country) travel to Cambridge to find her...  


Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Die Hard Is A Hanukkah Movie

"You’re All Wrong, Die Hard Is A Hanukkah Movie":

But not only is the film anti-Christmas, the whole plot is Hanukkah. Do you guys even know the story of Hanukkah, or have you been too busy polishing Santa’s candy cane to learn it? Hanukkah is all about reclaiming the Temple in Jerusalem from invaders. What does John McClane, AKA J.M., AKA Jewish Man, do in Die Hard? He reclaims the skyscraper, Nakatomi Plaza, from invaders: Hans Gruber (short for Hanukkahs Gruber, aka “The Hanukkah Grabber,” aka “The Man Who Wants to Steal Hanukkah”) and his evil elves...


"Meet MARVEL, the quadrupedal robot that can climb walls and ceilings". (Via H.R.)

Monday, December 19, 2022

Apple Encryption

Wirecutter: "Why You Should Enable Apple's New Security Feature in iOS 16.2 Right Now"

Humorous Wildlife Photos

"The 2022 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards are a good laugh".

I especially liked this one, which reminds me of a few Airbnbs I've slept in.  

Friday, December 16, 2022

AI Art And Copyright

"This Copyright Lawsuit Could Shape the Future of Generative AI"

Related: "The scary truth about AI copyright is nobody knows what will happen next".

Pseudo-Manual Transmission

"Lexus in development of a manual transmission for electric cars":

Rather than physically fitting a mechanical manual transmission to the back-end of an electric motor, this technology uses an unconnected gear stick and clutch pedal that use haptic drivers to generate ‘feel’. This is then combined with clever software and sound generators within the cabin to create a complete experience. Both elements are physically connected to, well nothing, but utilise technology already available on today’s cars to create virtual feedback...

(Via P.B.)

Radiology Orders

Hah! Another classic video from "Dr. Glaucomflecken": "Faculty Meeting -- Radiology Orders"

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Fusion Explainer

"Nuclear-fusion lab achieves 'ignition': What does it mean?"

How Many People Are Actually Leaving Twitter?

"Liberals struggle to find viable Twitter alternative after Musk takeover": 

A more telling study, published in the journal New Scientist, examined 140,000 Twitter users who threatened to decamp to Mastodon and found that only 1.6 percent actually left.

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

AI And Homework

Zero Trust Homework:

It is an open question as to what jobs will be the first to be disrupted by AI; what became obvious to a bunch of folks this weekend, though, is that there is one universal activity that is under serious threat: homework.

Worst. Workplace. Holiday. Party. Ever.

"a truly hilarious company holiday party story, told in bullet points"

Monday, December 12, 2022

Nonstandard Ages In South Korea

"How Old Are You? South Korea Tries to Simplify What Should Be a Simple Question": 

South Koreans have counted their ages in three different ways for decades. In everyday life, they are a year old at birth and count up every New Year’s Day. In some contexts -- when determining one’s eligibility to drink, smoke or serve in the military, for example -- they simply subtract their birth year from the current year. And for most legal and official purposes, they follow the rest of the world: People start from 0 and add a year on every birthday. 

Once the bill is signed into law, the government would follow the international approach. Babies under a year old will have their age counted in months...

Self-Driving Vehicles In SF

"Self-Driving Taxis Are Causing All Kinds of Trouble in San Francisco"

Friday, December 09, 2022

Apple Encryption Update

"Apple announces plans to encrypt iCloud backups":
The move will please security advocates, many of whom previously pointed to unencrypted iCloud backups as a weak link in Apple’s privacy policy. It also means that user data content would not be exposed if Apple’s servers were ever breached. 

It could upset law enforcement, which has used Apple’s policy of not encrypting backups as a way to obtain materials in investigations even though Apple’s iMessage and devices are encrypted.

Thursday, December 08, 2022

Logarithmic View Of Universe

"This logarithmic view of the Universe will blow your mind"

Wednesday, December 07, 2022

Light Posting Notice

Admin note: Posting may be lighter than usual for the next several days due to external obligations.

Tuesday, December 06, 2022

Friday, December 02, 2022

Old Code

"It took nearly 500 years for researchers to crack Charles V's secret code"

Glass Klein Bottle

Video: "Making a Glass Klein Bottle"

Thursday, December 01, 2022

Universal Constructor In Conway's Game Of Life

It is possible to build any arbitrary pattern in Conway's "Game Of Life" with only 15 gliders.

Urinal Design

"What's the best design for splash-free urinal? Physics now has the answer":

Scientists at the University of Waterloo have determined the optimal design for a splash-free urinal: a tall, slender porcelain structure with curves reminiscent of a nautilus shell, playfully dubbed the "Nauti-loo." That's good news for men tired of having urine splash onto their pants and shoes—and for the poor souls who have to regularly clean up all the splatter. Bonus: It's quite an aesthetically appealing design, giving this workhorse of the public restroom a touch of class.