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Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
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Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
unread news (Demo user)
FBI: Online theft, fraud, exploitation caused losses of $2.7B globally in 2018, up from $1.4B in 2017
It could happen to you. A new report from the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) says online theft, fraud, and exploitation caused losses of $2.7 billion dollars worldwide in 2018. This is up from $1.4 billion in 2017. [ Here's the full FBI report in PDF. ] “The 2018 report shows how prevalent these crimes are. It also shows that the financial toll is substantial and a victim can be anyone who uses a connected device.” said IC3 chief Donna Gregory in today's announcement. The FBI's advice to any unlucky person who realizes they have been scammed online? To improve the chances of a successful recovery, it is imperative that victims contact their bank immediately upon discovering a fraudulent transaction as well as report the crime to the IC3. From the FBI's report: In its annual Internet Crime Report, the FBI reports the IC3 received 351,936 complaints in 2018—an average of more than 900 every day. The most frequently reported complaints were for non-payment/non-delivery scams, extortion, and personal data breaches. The most financially costly complaints involved business email compromise, romance or confidence fraud, and investment scams, which can include Ponzi and pyramid schemes. Reports came in from every U.S. state and territory and involved victims of every age. There was a concentration of victims and financial losses, however, among individuals over the age of 50. “The 2018 report shows how prevalent these crimes are,” said Donna Gregory, chief of the IC3. “It also shows that the financial toll is substantial and a victim can be anyone who uses a connected device. Read the rest
7 h
Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
Twitter kills network of 5,000 pro-Trump bots linked to Saudi propaganda
The bot network repeatedly denounced the Mueller report as a 'RussiaGate hoax.'
7 h
Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
Curious manatee gets very friendly with human in canoe
“Big friendly potato boy thoroughly examining my canoe.” Another gem from the wonderful IMGURian SeeThroughCanoe, who sells these personal watercraft. “This overly friendly manatee spent a really long time thoroughly checking out the canoe and the camera attached to the bottom of it,” he says. Big friendly potato boy thoroughly examining my canoe Read the rest
7 h
Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
Clever 'Avengers: Endgame' flipbook
Are you ready for 'Avengers: Endgame' to hit movie theaters this weekend? TheFlippist created this amazing flipbook devoted to the superhero film's imminent release. It's “Ant Man doing his expanding thang in Thanos.” Says TheFlippist, “I’m no Avengers scholar so just assuming Thanos has purple insides.” And below, here's the official trailer for Marvel Studios' AVENGERS: ENDGAME. In theaters April 26. Read the rest
8 h
Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
Gallery of great old How and Why Wonder Books
I have a small collection of How and Why Wonder Books that were published in the 1960s and 1970s. The interior and cover art is great. According to Wikipedia, there were 74 titles in this series of illustrated kids science and nature books. Flickr user X Ray Delta One uploaded 10 covers from the series. Read the rest
8 h
Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
Inexpensive broadbeam LED headlamp
I have a few different LED headlamps, but this one is by far my favorite. It features a band of LEDs that throw light in a wide area in front of you. It lights up the entire area around you, as opposed to LED headlamps that illuminate just a spot. It uses 3 AAA batteries and has an easy on-off touch sensor switch. Read the rest
8 h
Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
Trump and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to hold closed-door meeting
Said Dorsey to staff: “Some of you will be very supportive of our meeting [with] the president, and some of you might feel we shouldn’t take this meeting at all." Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey plans to meet with noted Twitter user President Donald Trump. The meeting will last 30 minutes, according to an email Dorsey sent around today to Twitter staff, and the two will discuss "the health of the public conversation on Twitter." The internal Twitter email was obtained by Motherboard. From their report: Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, along with other Twitter executives, is having a closed-door meeting with President Donald Trump on Tuesday, according to an internal Twitter email obtained by Motherboard from two independent sources. The meeting comes after an invitation from the White House, the email adds. The email does not detail what the meeting will specifically be about, but says the company anticipates it to be about “the health of the public conversation on Twitter,” according to the email written by Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s global lead for legal, policy, and trust and safety. Dorsey himself chimed in on the thread, according to a second email obtained by Motherboard from two sources. “As you know, I believe that conversation, not silence, bridges gaps and drives towards solutions,” Dorsey wrote. “I have met with every world leader who has extended an invitation to me, and I believe the discussions have been productive, and the outcomes meaningful.” Some Twitter employees will likely take issue with their CEO meeting President Trump. Read the rest
8 h
Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
Los Angeles measles 'cluster' reported, officials say LAX and UCLA possible exposure sites
Health officials say potential sites include UCLA, LAX
9 h
Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
Composite image of all the low-polling white men running for president
Andrew Paul Joyce: "I made a composite image of all the white men running for president polling at 1% or below. Please be nice to him. He is my son." cf. Pedigree collapse. Read the rest
9 h
Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
'MAGA mail-bomber' Cesar Sayoc: Trump was 'my new found drug' and I was also on steroids
Cesar Sayoc, the man who pleaded guilty to mailing explosives to Trump critics and the press, says in a new letter that he "was on the front lines of war between right & left."
9 h
Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
At first I thought this Ka-Bar Tactical Spork was an artisanal Spork
My friend sent me a photo of his uber tuff tactical Spork. Perhaps it is the burlap couch upholstery, but my aged eyes missed the KABAR and thought this was a handcrafted Spork that some Seattle-area artist must have designed just for my pal. Because who doesn't want a super cool Spork? I was told to wait for it. Then I was sent this photo and it became clear the Spork was made by famed US Military hardware enthusiast fan-favorite Ka-Bar, and not some artisanal Spork maker. I am sort of disappointed the fleetingly imagined trend where Game of Thrones enthusaists are all eating with their own custom version of a Casterly Rock Spork, just like Tywin used, died so quickly. I am ordering a KaBar Spork for my camper van. Ka-Bar Tactical Spork via Amazon Read the rest
9 h
Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
Japanese Taxicab uses face recognition software to decide what kind of garbage to play on its seatback display
Rosa Golijan is a privacy engineer at Google. She snapped this photo of a seatback video display in a Japanese taxicab. The text says: This taxi tablet is using a face recognition system with an image received by the tablet's front camera. The image data is used to estimate gender in order to deliver the most optimized content. The gender estimation runs once at the beginning of the advertisement program and the image data is discarded immediately after the estimation processing. Neither the tablet nor the server records the data.
Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
Fellow catches big fish that is then caught by something much bigger
"Run, Daniel, run!" (via /u/TheNatureLover) Read the rest
Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
GB Studio is a free OS X app to make Gameboy style games
GB Studio' looks like a cool way to quickly build retro-games using visual scripting. You can play the games on a mobile phone, a Raspberry Pi, Itch.io, the web, or even a Gameboy. It's free and runs on OS X. Read the rest
Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
Japanese chemistry professor busted for teaching students to make Molly
Tatsunori Iwamura, 61, professor of pharmaceutical sciences at Japan's Matsuyama University, was busted for teaching his students how to make MDMA (aka Molly/Ecstasy) and 5F-QUPIC, a cannabinoid agonist. At some point, Iwamura had a license to manufacture illegal drugs for academic purposes but it had expired. From The Guardian: Local drug enforcement authorities believe 11 students produced the drug (MDMA) under Iwamura’s instruction. Four students, along with an assistant professor, have also been referred to prosecutors, Kyodo said. The university said it would discipline Iwamura and the assistant professor once the investigation had ended. “We sincerely apologise for causing serious concern to students and their parents,” said Tatsuya Mizogami, the university’s president, according to Kyodo. Read the rest
Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
How to easily identify your dominant eye
"Ocular dominance" is defined as "the priority of one eye over the other as regards preference of use or acuity of vision." Awareness of your dominant eye is important for photography, golf, baseball, and archery. The above video explains how to conduct the Miles test to determine your dominant eye. (via Weird Universe) Read the rest
Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
How to build a house out of shipping containers
Architecture hacker/maker Ben Uyeda of HomeMadeModern designed and built his house out of shipping containers in the high desert of Joshua Tree, California. And he documented the process in fascinating detail. How to Build A Shipping Container House (YouTube) Read the rest
Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
In this Twitter exchange, jetBlue explains to a passenger how it got a photo of her face -- from the DHS
"Your Face is Your Boarding Pass" is the headline from a jetBlue press release from November 15, 2018. "JetBlue continues to lead the industry as the first domestic airline to launch a fully-integrated biometric self-boarding gate for international flights..." Journalist MacKenzie Fegan had first-hand (first-face?) experience with the new procedure, and when she asked jetBlue about it on Twitter, the extraordinary correspondence resulted: I just boarded an international @JetBlue flight. Instead of scanning my boarding pass or handing over my passport, I looked into a camera before being allowed down the jet bridge. Did facial recognition replace boarding passes, unbeknownst to me? Did I consent to this? — MacKenzie Fegan (@mackenzief) April 17, 2019 You're able to opt out of this procedure, MacKenzie. Sorry if this made you feel uncomfortable. — JetBlue Airways (@JetBlue) April 17, 2019 Follow up question. Presumably these facial recognition scanners are matching my image to something in order to verify my identity. How does @JetBlue know what I look like? — MacKenzie Fegan (@mackenzief) April 17, 2019 The information is provided by the United States Department of Homeland Security from existing holdings. — JetBlue Airways (@JetBlue) April 17, 2019 So to be clear, the government provided my biometric data to a privately held company? Did I consent to this? How long is my data held by @JetBlue? And even if I opt out at the scanners...you already have my information, correct? — MacKenzie Fegan (@mackenzief) April 17, 2019 We should clarify, these photos aren't provided to us, but are securely transmitted to the Customs and Border Protection database. Read the rest
Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
Political candidate's kids use his election flyers to fool his laptop's facial recognition lock
Matt Carthy is a Sinn Fein MEP from Eire; he's standing for re-election in the upcoming EU elections and has had fliers prepared with his headshot. Carthy says that he noticed that his laptop battery seemed to be draining of its own accord. He solved the mystery when he realized "the kids have been using my election leaflets to get through the facial recognition lock..." So, I was wondering why the battery on my laptop was running down every time I left it at home.Turns out the kids have been using my election leaflets to get through the facial recognition lock...I’m not sure whether to be proud by the wit or concerned by the sneakiness? pic.twitter.com/rtDsuNRB8B— Matt Carthy MEP (@mattcarthy) April 23, 2019 Read the rest
Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
Library loans taxidermy animals for science, education, and Harry Potter parties
In Anchorage, Alaska anyone with a public library card can visit the Alaska Resources Library and Information Services library and check out a taxidermy ring-necked pheasant, black rockfish, or hundreds of other mounted animals, skulls, and furs. From Smithsonian: While the majority of users are local teachers, who incorporate the pieces into their lectures and lesson plans, and biologists and researchers using items for studying, non-educators are also known to check out pieces too. “We have a snowy owl that has been used on several occasions as a decoration for a Harry Potter-themed party,” Rozen says. And filmmakers reportedly used a number of items during the making of the 2013 movie The Frozen Ground to design the basement lair where the film’s villain would keep hostages captive. Just like with library books, ARLIS expects that lendees take good care of any items checked out. Interestingly, ARLIS’s existence is largely known by word of mouth, both for patrons and locals who want to donate a piece of realia to the collection. The vast majority came from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game with a lesser amount from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, however the library does also take donations from the public. “Earlier today someone called me and offered us a raven that he found in the wild that had been killed,” she says. “Ravens are frequently requested, even by English students doing presentations on Edgar Allan Poe. "This Library in Anchorage Lends Out Taxidermic Specimens" by Jennifer Nalewicki (Smithsonian) Learn more in my post from 2015: "Library where you can check out dead animals" Read the rest
Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
Stackable desktop microterrariums
Level Scapes' desktop microterrariums are matchbox-sized, stackable sealed boxes with miniature ferns and mosses that only require water and sunshine; they're $39 for a set of six (25% of with the coupon code yankodesign). (via Yanko Design) Read the rest
Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
Tire chalking by parking enforcement is unconstitutional, rules federal court
Parking enforcement officers who mark car tires with chalk are guilty of violating the 4th Amendment, according to a new ruling by a federal appeals court. The three-judge panel likened the practice to that of police attaching a GPS device to a car without the driver's consent. Orin Kerr, a law professor at the University of Southern California, offered his thoughts about the ruling on Twitter: Thread by @OrinKerr: "Fascinating CA6 opinion today holding that chalking a tire for parking enforcement -- to see if the car had been there a while in violation […]" #N Image: Shutterstock/Alex Millauer Read the rest
Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
Fool me twice: New York State commutes Charter's death sentence after Charter promises to stop breaking its promises
Back in September 2018, the state of New York ordered Charter to leave: the company had made a bunch of promises about investing in high-speed broadband for New Yorkers as a condition of approval for its acquisition of Time Warner Cable, and then it lied like crazy, defrauding the state and attracting a $172.4M penalty (the largest penalty ever paid by a US ISP); since then, the company has been begging New York state to commute its death sentence and give it another chance. Even as it was promising that it would do better, Charter spent all of 2018 systematically underinvesting in its network while raising prices and returning massive windfalls to its investors -- all tax-free, thanks to Trump's tax plan, and all permitted, thanks to the FCC's commitment to "self-policing" by the telcoms industry. Now, for some fucking reason, the state of New York has given Charter a reprieve. The company will continue to operate in New York State, will not have to divest itself of Time-Warner Cable, and will have to cough up an additional $12m, half of which can be distributed in grants to Charter's rivals to help them build out competing services. Charter is eligible to bid for the other $6m, to defray the cost of additional broadband rollouts. Charter also promises, for realsies this time, that it will bring high-speed broadband to 145,000 households in New York. The settlement does not include any admission of wrongdoing by Charter. New York's Public Service Commission will open a 60 day notice-and-comment proceeding soon, after which it will have the option to approve or strike down the deal. Read the rest
Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
Incredible clip of Shaolin Kung Fu seen from above
From the BBC's "Earth from Space" series. Read the rest
Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
Trump approval rating drops 5 points after redacted Mueller Report released
A significant drop, but no worse than he's been before, reports Politico's Steven Shepherd. “President Trump’s approval rating has dipped to its lowest point of his term in the immediate aftermath of the redacted Mueller report release,” said Tyler Sinclair, Morning Consult’s vice president. “This week, 57 percent of voters disapprove, and 39 percent approve of the president’s performance — a net approval rating of –18 percentage points, compared with 55 percent who disapproved and 42 percent who approved — a net approval rating of –13 percentage points — one month ago in the aftermath of Attorney General [William] Barr’s summary of the Mueller report to Congress.” I'm amazed it dropped under 40%, to be honest. Accepting that four in ten American voters are unequivocally, non-negotiably, unarguably with Trump is the basic political challenge for everyone else. Read the rest
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Lasagne PC case
Behold The Pasta PC, a computer that has a nutrition label in addition to a spec sheet, because he used sheets of pasta as the case. It works, but between the build (consider the thermals) and the antiquity of the Atom-based computer he sacrificed to make it, it's pretty hinky. [via MeFi] My wife said something one day joking about making a PC out of Pasta... Never joke with me on such things because I may just do it... and do it I have. Behold... The LASAGNA PC V.1 Clickbait you say?! NAY! This is the real deal. The first ever crazy PC build on this Channel, and the first ever Pasta PC in the world. You're welcome. Beautiful as it is, I'll admit that I'm slightly disappointed he didn't actually bake a PC into a lasagne. You could get away with what, about 160° without melting stuff on the board? Tasty. Read the rest
Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
Greta Thunberg attributes her ability to focus on climate change to her Asperger's
Greta Thunberg is the Swedish teenager whose climate change school-strike spread around the world, leading to her addressing the COP24 conference, the World Economic Forum, and many other forums where she has distinguished herself with her brilliant oratory and leadership. In an interview with Great Big Planet, Thunberg attributes her ability to focus on climate change despite the crushing terror and the enormous forces arrayed against her on her autism, saying, "I think if I wouldn’t have had Asperger's I don’t think I would have started the school strike, I don’t think I would’ve cared about the climate at all… That allowed me to focus on one thing for a very long time." (Image: Anders Hellberg, CC-BY) (via Kottke) Read the rest
Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
A Sanders candidacy would make 2020 a referendum on the future, not a referendum on Trump
One thing that immediately struck me in Lauren Gambino's excellent analysis of the Democratic nomination campaigns in The Guardian: a quote from GOP never-Trump political consultant Rick Wilson, who counseled Democrats not to select Bernie Sanders and make the election about actual policies, "Democrats have two choices: make this a referendum on Donald Trump or lose. That’s it. There are no other options." I think every Democrat and Democratic voter loves it when lifelong Republican grandees offer advice on how to win elections, but this is especially rich given that this is exactly the strategy that Republicans used to get their base to vote against Trump during the 2016 primaries and it failed spectacularly. There is plenty to dislike about Trump, to be sure, but if there's one thing we've learned from the 2018 midterms -- the incredible outpouring of grassroots support, votes and small-money donations for progressive candidates (including longshots like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who unseated an establishment Democrat who thought running against Trump, rather than for a better future, would be enough), it's that the American people actually care about policies. They want reform. The much-vaunted polarization is a fiction of the political classes, while there is national, bipartisan consensus on issues of substance, from universal health-care to free tuition to Net Neutrality. These are all policies that progressive candidates support, and policies that Trump will lose debates on. Candidates like Bernie Sanders (and Elizabeth Warren) want to make the 2020 election a referendum on broadly popular progressive policies that will deliver shared prosperity and a better quality of life to hundreds of millions of Americans -- who are smart enough to understand that and vote for it. Read the rest
Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
Don't look up childhood friends, unless you're sure you want to know
Douglas Preston's search for a boyhood friend led to a dark discovery. He fled from any hint of conflict, usually with a wiseass comment flung over his shoulder, and he could outrun any goofus who took up the chase. I couldn't begin to fathom the trajectory that brought him from an upper-upper-middle-class home in Wellesley to a cramped boarding house in New Jersey. Details of his life came flickering back into my memory: Petey singing songs to his hamster Gertrude; Petey cradling his dying dog after she'd been hit by a car, even though she was bleeding and peeing all over him; Petey writing silly stories about a magical valley where the animals talked like people; Petey and I burying a treasure. It's better to know, because you never know who might not. Read the rest
Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things
EU to create 350m person biometric database for borders, migration and law enforcement
An overwhelming vote in the European Parliament last week means that the EU will merge a grab bag of existing biometric databases to create the Common Identity Repository (CIR), with biometric data on 350,000,000 people (both EU- and non-EU persons) that will be available for use by all EU police and border authorities. The database contains identity information (passports, biographical info like name and date of birth) linked to biometric identifiers (face scans, fingerprints). This will be the third largest identity repository in the world, behind the Chinese state's internal surveillance system and India's Aadhar system. The EU claims that the safeguards on CIR will be sufficient to protect its subjects' privacy. The vote passed just weeks before an EU election that is expected to deliver new powers to authoritarian, xenophobic ultra-nationalist parties, who have also been surging at the national level, and whose officials will be able to use the database to track and target migrants, people accused of crimes, etc. Its primary role will be to simplify the jobs of EU border and law enforcement officers who will be able to search a unified system much faster, rather than search through separate databases individually. "The systems covered by the new rules would include the Schengen Information System, Eurodac, the Visa Information System (VIS) and three new systems: the European Criminal Records System for Third Country Nationals (ECRIS-TCN), the Entry/Exit System (EES) and the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS)," EU officials said last week. EU votes to create gigantic biometrics database[Catalin Cimpanu/Zdnet] (via /. Read the rest
Boing Boing - A Directory of Mostly Wonderful Things