Category: Uncategorized

Keeping Secrets

BY HENRY CORRIGAN-GIBBS
MDF

Four decades ago, university researchers figured out the key to computer privacy, sparking a battle with the National Security Agency that continues today.

What if your research could help solve a looming national problem, but government officials thought publishing it would be tantamount to treason? A Stanford professor and his graduate students found themselves in that situation 37 years ago, when their visionary work on computer privacy issues ran afoul of the National Security Agency. Read It!


How PAPER Magazine’s web engineers scaled their back-end for Kim Kardashian

paper

On November 11th 2014, the art-and-nightlife magazine PAPER “broke the Internet” when it put a Jean-Paul Goude photograph of a well-oiled, mostly-nude Kim Kardashian on its cover and posted the same nude photos of Kim Kardashian to its website.

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The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck

kitten

by Mark Manson
January 8, 2015

In my life, I have given a fuck about many people and many things. I have also not given a fuck about many people and many things. And those fucks I have not given have made all the difference.

People often say the key to confidence and success in life is to simply “not give a fuck.” Indeed, we often refer to the strongest, most admirable people we know in terms of their lack of fucks given. Like “Oh, look at Susie working weekends again, she doesn’t give a fuck.” Or “Did you hear that Tom called the company president an asshole and still got a raise anyway? Holy shit, that dude does not give a fuck.” Or “Jason got up and ended his date with Cindy after 20 minutes. He said he wasn’t going to listen to her bullshit anymore. Man, that guy does not give a fuck.”

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Why the U.S. Has Fallen Behind in Internet Speed and Affordability – NYTimes.com

America’s slow and expensive Internet is more than just an annoyance for people trying to watch “Happy Gilmore” on Netflix. Largely a consequence of monopoly providers, the sluggish service could have long-term economic consequences for American competitiveness.

Downloading a high-definition movie takes about seven seconds in Seoul, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Zurich, Bucharest and Paris, and people pay as little as $30 a month for that connection. In Los Angeles, New York and Washington, downloading the same movie takes 1.4 minutes for people with the fastest Internet available, and they pay $300 a month for the privilege, according to The Cost of Connectivity, a report published Thursday by the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute.

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Everything Is Broken

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Once upon a time, a friend of mine accidentally took over thousands of computers. He had found a vulnerability in a piece of software and started playing with it. In the process, he figured out how to get total administration access over a network. He put it in a script, and ran it to see what would happen, then went to bed for about four hours. Next morning on the way to work he checked on it, and discovered he was now lord and master of about 50,000 computers. After nearly vomiting in fear he killed the whole thing and deleted all the files associated with it. In the end he said he threw the hard drive into a bonfire. I can’t tell you who he is because he doesn’t want to go to Federal prison, which is what could have happened if he’d told anyone that could do anything about the bug he’d found. Did that bug get fixed? Probably eventually, but not by my friend. This story isn’t extraordinary at all. Spend much time in the hacker and security scene, you’ll hear stories like this and worse.
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The Architecture of Evil

(Photo: Albert Speer with Adolf Hitler, from the German Federal Archive, via Wikimedia Commons)

The New Atlantis
Roger Forsgren

For the commission to do a great building, I would have sold my soul like Faust. Now I had found my Mephistopheles. He seemed no less engaging than Goethe’s.
—Albert Speer

Someone designed the furnaces of the Nazi death camps. Someone measured the size and weight of a human corpse to determine how many could be stacked and efficiently incinerated within a crematorium. Someone sketched out on a drafting table the decontamination showers, complete with the fake hot-water spigots used to lull and deceive doomed prisoners. Someone, very well educated, designed the rooftop openings and considered their optimum placement for the cyanide pellets to be dropped among the naked, helpless men, women, and children below. This person was an engineer, an architect, or a technician. This person went home at night, perhaps laughed and played with his children, went to church on Sunday, and kissed his wife goodbye each morning.
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Shyam Sankar: The rise of human-computer cooperation


The Empathy Machine

Maria Konnikova
Aeon Magazine

Sherlock was right – new research shows that seeing through another’s eyes takes a detached mind not just a warm heart.

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The NSA Is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center

The NSA Is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center (Watch What You Say)
By James Bamford
wired.com


Under construction by contractors with top-secret clearances, the blandly named Utah Data Center is being built for the National Security Agency. A project of immense secrecy, it is the final piece in a complex puzzle assembled over the past decade. Its purpose: to intercept, decipher, analyze, and store vast swaths of the world’s communications as they zap down from satellites and zip through the underground and undersea cables of international, foreign, and domestic networks. The heavily fortified $2 billion center should be up and running in September 2013. Flowing through its servers and routers and stored in near-bottomless databases will be all forms of communication, including the complete contents of private emails, cell phone calls, and Google searches, as well as all sorts of personal data trails—parking receipts, travel itineraries, bookstore purchases, and other digital “pocket litter.” It is, in some measure, the realization of the “total information awareness” program created during the first term of the Bush administration—an effort that was killed by Congress in 2003 after it caused an outcry over its potential for invading Americans’ privacy. Read It!


First Online Service for Consumers Debuts

Sept. 24, 1979: First Online Service for Consumers Debuts
By Dylan Tweney
wired.com This Day In Tech

1979: CompuServe begins offering a dial-up online information service to consumers.
The company known as Compu-Serve, and later CompuServe, opened its doors in 1969, providing dial-up computer timesharing to businesses. Over the next decade, it grew into a solid business providing corporations with online data.
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