When creators of the state-sponsored Stuxnet worm used a USB stick to infect air-gapped computers inside Iran's heavily fortified Natanz nuclear facility, trust in the ubiquitous storage medium suffered a devastating blow. Now, white-hat hackers have devised a feat even more seminal—an exploit that transforms keyboards, Web cams, and other types of USB-connected devices into highly programmable attack platforms that can't be detected by today's defenses.
Dubbed BadUSB, the hack reprograms embedded firmware to give USB devices new, covert capabilities. In a demonstration scheduled at next week's Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas, a USB drive, for instance, will take on the ability to act as a keyboard that surreptitiously types malicious commands into attached computers. A different drive will similarly be reprogrammed to act as a network card that causes connected computers to connect to malicious sites impersonating Google, Facebook or other trusted destinations. The presenters will demonstrate similar hacks that work against Android phones when attached to targeted computers. They say their technique will work on Web cams, keyboards, and most other types of USB-enabled devices.
"If you put anything into your USB [slot], it extends a lot of trust," Karsten Nohl, chief scientist at Security Research Labs in Berlin, told Ars. "Whatever it is, there could always be some code running in that device that runs maliciously. Every time anybody connects a USB device to your computer, you fully trust them with your computer. It's the equivalent of [saying] 'here's my computer; I'm going to walk away for 10 minutes. Please don't do anything evil."
During the Soviet Union’s relatively brief and tumultuous history, the quest for national identity was one that consumed Russian culture. The decadence of Czarist society was shunned, and with it, the neoclassical architecture the Czars so loved. Communism brought with it an open frontier for artistic experimentation, particularly where public buildings were involved. It was on this frontier that Russian Constructivism was born, and some of Russia’s greatest buildings were built. This article on EnglishRussia.com compiles a list of some of the “best of the best” in Soviet architecture—and we liked it so much that we’ve compiled our own top ten list! See all of our favorite Soviet projects, after the break!
Amalir Sports and Concert Complex- Yerevan, Armenia
Railway Station- Dubulty, Latvia
Olympia Hotel- Tallinn, Estonia
Embassy of the USSR- Havana, Cuba
Tarelka Hotel- Dombai, Russia
Russian Academy of Sciences- Moscow, Russia
Regional Drama Centre- Grodno, Belarus
The House of the Soviets- Kaliningrad, Russia
The Palace of Ceremonial Rites- Tbilisi, Georgia
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Remember that 2006 movie Idiocracy? The one where Luke Wilson plays an average underachiever who wakes up 500 years in the future, only to realize that he's now the smartest person on Earth? And everyone else is dumb — like, really dumb? Well, that movie is cruel and terrible and you should be ashamed for liking it. Seriously.
We Bored Pandas are huge fans of perfectly timed photos that capture perfect (and usually funny or unexpected) moments that come and go with a blink of the eye. The internet is abound with images shared by people who have captured images at just the right moment or from just the right perspective, so we wanted to share some more of them with you.
Anyone with a smart phone, point-and-click camera, DSLR or any other sort of camera can potentially capture such a moment – whether it’s staged or spontaneous. If you’ve ever captured such a photo, share it with us below!
Image credits: Vladimir Levin
Image credits: Tom Baum
Image Credits: Adde Adesokan
Image credits: Nick Kelly
Image credits: Mrsnef1
Image credits: troyANDabed
Image credits: Arainya
this was an ’80s twilight zone episode based on a richard matheson short story
tune in tomorrow for more topical references
It's either Clarke Woodger, who reportedly fired an employee for blogging about them, or people for whom English is a second language. It is plausible to think many in the latter group might not know what "homophones" are, but to join Team Woodger you must also believe that those people (1) would know enough English to recognize "homo" and (2) are also stupid enough to think it is always associated with sexuality.
That's what Woodger believes, according to Tim Torkildson, who says he was fired from his job at Nomen Global Language Center after he wrote a blog post for the company site explaining what "homophones" are. The post itself is now gone, but Torkildson told the Salt Lake Tribune he was "careful to write a straightforward explanation of homophones" because he knew part of the word could be, as the Tribune put it, "politically charged."
According to Torkildson, this is what happened next:
"I'm letting you go because I can't trust you," said [Woodger]. "This blog about homophones was the last straw. Now our school is going to be associated with homosexuality."
I said nothing, stunned into silence.
"I had to look up the word," he continued, "because I didn't know what the hell you were talking about. We don't teach this kind of advanced stuff to our students, and it's extremely inappropriate. Can you have your desk cleaned out by eleven this morning? I’ll have your check ready."
I nodded, mute.
Again, that's Torkildson's account, and based on a quick look at his Facebook page he appears to be something of a wise guy. Always trying to be funny, you know? You can't trust people like that. So maybe this was just him goofing around again?
If so, the Tribune is in on the prank, because it says it reached Woodger for comment, and here are those comments:
Woodger says his reaction to Torkildson's blog has nothing to do with homosexuality but that Torkildson had caused him concern because he would "go off on tangents" in his blogs that would be confusing and sometimes could be considered offensive....
Woodger says his school has taught 6,500 students from 58 countries during the past 15 years. Most of them, he says, are at basic levels of English and are not ready for the more complicated concepts such as homophones.
Well, there you go. Apparently it had nothing to do with—
"People at this level of English," Woodger says, "... may see the 'homo' side and think it has something to do with gay sex."
Wait, what? You just said....
In the unlikely event that you, like Mr. Woodger, do not know what "homophones" are (assuming that part of the story is also true), they are words that sound alike but are otherwise different, such as rite, write, right, and wright.
I'd link to some sites for you but I don't want to be accused of promoting the homophonic agenda. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
Employment in Utah is generally "at will," meaning one can be fired for any reason or no reason at all, subject to limited exceptions including "when termination violates clear and substantial Utah public policy." Given that Utah public policy apparently does not prohibit firing someone for being homosexual, it seems very unlikely that it would prohibit firing someone for using a term that you, if an idiot, wrongly believe has something to do with homosexuals.
That seems like a good question for the Utah Labor Commission, though. I'll let you know if they answer it.
"Some good advice I found in a bathroom." -raym0ndv2
An early birthday dedication to Spider-Man fan Gabriel, who is celebrating his birthday tomorrow!
Here’s more Spider-Man!
CREDIT: The Satanic Temple
The Supreme Court’s recent Hobby Lobby decision, which allowed some for-profit companies to claim a religious exemption to Obamacare’s contraception mandate, has sparked a heated debate over the definition of religious liberty and its role in modern society. At this point, even a Satantic cult has decided to weigh in.
The Satanic Temple — a faith community that describes itself as facilitating “the communication and mobilization of politically aware Satanists, secularists, and advocates for individual liberty” — has launched a new campaign seeking a religious exemption to certain anti-abortion laws that attempt to dissuade women from ending a pregnancy. The group says they have deeply held beliefs about bodily autonomy and scientific accuracy, and those beliefs are violated by state-level “informed consent” laws that rely on misleading information about abortion risks.
Now that the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby, the Satanists point out, it strengthens their own quest to opt out of laws related to women’s health care that go against their religious liberty. “Because of the respect the Court has given to religious beliefs, and the fact that our our beliefs are based on best available knowledge, we expect that our belief in the illegitimacy of state mandated ‘informational’ material is enough to exempt us, and those who hold our beliefs, from having to receive them,” a spokesperson for the organization said in a statement.
The Satanic Temple, sometimes referred to as “the nicest Satanic cult in the world,” falls somewhere between satire, performance art, and activism. The group says its central mission is to “encourage benevolence and empathy among all people, reject tyrannical authority, advocate practical common sense and justice, and be directed by the human conscience to undertake noble pursuits guided by the individual will.” It has a set of seven tenets that closely track with humanism. Typically, wherever issues of church and state are overlapping, the Satanic Temple isn’t far behind.
Members of the Satanic Temple first made national headlines when they rallied in support of Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) for approving a bill that allows prayer in public schools, saying they’re glad the new policy will allow children to pray to Satan. Since then, they’ve also held “a formal ceremony celebrating same-sex unions” on the grave of the mother of the leader of the Westboro Baptist Church, declaring that she has posthumously become a lesbian, and commissioned a seven-foot-tall Satanic statue near a monument to the Ten Commandments at the Oklahoma State Capitol.
And now, the Satanic Temple is turning its attention to “campaigns to assert our religious protection for women with health needs that are being complicated by unreasonable laws,” focusing on the abortion-related legislation that goes against science.
State-level abortion restrictions that aren’t actually based in medicine have swept the nation. “Informed consent” laws, which typically require women to receive biased counseling before being allowed to proceed with an abortion procedure, are now in place in 35 states. Many of those laws require doctors to tell their patients misleading information about abortion’s potential link to mental health issues and breast cancer. Some of them put words directly in doctors’ mouths, forcing them to refer to the fetus as an “whole, separate, unique, living human being.”
Members of the Temple of Satan are encouraging all women who share their belief in medical accuracy to seek their own exemption from these laws, even if they don’t personally identify as Satanists. They’ve drawn up a sample letter to help women talk to their doctors about the issue, as well as created “Right to Accurate Medical Information” t-shirts for purchase.
Satanists aren’t the only activists fighting back against the junk science used to justify anti-abortion laws. The secular humanist group Center for Inquiry recently launched a “Keep Health Care Safe and Secular” campaign to encourage more Americans to fight back against laws limiting women’s access to health services. Similarly, NARAL Pro-Choice America sometimes uses the slogan “Politicians Make Crappy Doctors.”
The post Satanists Demand Religious Exemption From Abortion Restrictions, Cite Hobby Lobby Ruling appeared first on ThinkProgress.
Apparently, I’m not the only one who finds the LEGO Simpsons Collectible Minifigures vaguely unsettling. Nooroyd has put the Krusty the Clown head to good use as rubber masks hiding the identities of a pair of bank robbers. Beyond the use of these minifig parts, the scene is wonderfully photographed, with overhead and ambient lighting.
Happy Batman Day!
Zeynep Tufekci's scathing response to the establishment consensus that tech will create new jobs to replace the ones we've automated away makes a lot of good points. Read the rest
Arjan Oudekotte (Konajra) does not post new models all that often, but given the size of most of them, that is understandable and they are always well worth the wait. His latest model is the largest ship he has built to date, with a length of 196 cm (or roughly 6’5 for those of you who prefer antiquated measurement systems) and built out of roughly 32000 elements.
The ship in question is a Dutch ocean-going tug called the Zwarte Zee (Black Sea). The ship was launched in 1962 and until 1984 served with the famous company Smit International, known around the world for large maritime salvage operations. As usual with Arjan’s ships, it is highly detailed and has a beautifully sculpted hull (in dark red, no less). I had the pleasure of seeing this behemoth with my own two eyes last Sunday, but if you want to take in all of it, I encourage you to take a look at Arjan’s album on flickr.