“What do you play?”
“The Clarinet, you?”
“I play the fucking HAMMER”
Last week, New York Times columnist Nick Bilton took to Twitter to let the world know that two kids broke into his car before his very eyes. What made the break-in a little more remarkable was the fact that, according to Bilton, the perps used an electronic device to simply unlock his Toyota Prius, rather than doing things the old-fashioned way with a slim jim, coat hanger, or brick.
Bilton has elaborated on the event in his column, where he postulates that the young miscreants gained entry to his car (and those of several of his neighbors) by amplifying the signal between his keyless entry fob and car. Keyless entry systems typically only communicate with their remote fobs over the distance of a few feet, but he thinks that the gadget is capable of extending this range, fooling the car into thinking that the remote is within range even though it was actually in Bilton's House, about 50 feet away. He arrived at this theory after he consulted with Boris Danev, a Swiss-based security expert:
"It's a bit like a loudspeaker, so when you say hello over it, people who are 100 meters away can hear the word, 'hello,'" Mr. Danev said. "You can buy these devices anywhere for under $100." He said some of the lower-range devices cost as little as $17 and can be bought online on sites like eBay, Amazon and Craigslist.
This isn't the first time that signal repeaters have been linked to car burglaries in California. In 2013, we reported on a similar spate of thefts in Long Beach, California, that left local police 'stumped.' And it’s not the only way of gaining entry to a supposedly secure car; The Register has previously covered devices that can eavesdrop on the signal between a BMW and its remote, allowing miscreants to program a blank remote for later use.
In the spring of 1990, David Lynch and Mark Frost’s ABC series Twin Peaks made the question of who killed Laura Palmer the talk of the water cooler every Friday morning—or, for those of us who were just 14, the talk of homeroom. (The query was soon joined by discussions of who shot Agent Cooper, what happened to Josie, and whether it was really plausible that Icelanders were so excited about vacation property in the Pacific Northwest.) While the show was set north of Spokane, much of it was filmed in the greater Seattle area, with the hills, woods, waterfalls, diners, and lumber offices around Snoqualmie and North Bend playing starring roles. Twenty-five years later, many of those spots still welcome fans old and new, enticing them with photo ops and cherry pie specials.
Used as the exterior for the fictional Great Northern Hotel*, the Salish Lodge seemed a little too classy to lure guests with its TV connection. But with interest growing in a Showtime reboot next summer (after the new episodes were announced last October, tickets for this summer’s weekend-long Twin Peaks Festival sold out almost immediately), the luxury spa perched over Snoqualmie Falls 30 minutes east of Seattle is embracing its role on the show. The price of its new Great Northern Escape package (starting at $279–459, depending on the night) reminds you that you’re at a luxe spa resort, not the mere “clean place, reasonably priced” sought by Agent Cooper on the show, but it does come with cherry pie and “damn fine coffee” for two in the Attic, a $15 Amazon gift card (which the hotel notes you could use to stream the show), a map of local shooting locations (see below), and two Dale Cooper gin cocktails. While you drink them, you might discuss Cooper portrayer Kyle MacLachlan’s Washington roots and Walla Walla–area wine label, or when, if ever, Agent Cooper ever took a drink on the show. (Did he have a sip of that traveling judge’s crazy punch?)
The gift shop also offers Twin Peaks souvenirs: a range of prints, a coffee mug, cherry pie filling, and other items. Not all of them nail the aesthetic or spirit of the show (Twin Peaks owls should be creepy like on the button set, not cutesy like on the art print), but they’d still make nice gifts for the zealot in your life.
The true test of any hotel, of course, according to Agent Cooper, is that morning cup of coffee. We’ll have to get back to you on that one.
*Alas, guests can’t stay in Agent Cooper’s room or tour Ben Horne’s office at the Salish Lodge. The interiors for the Great Northern were initially shot at Poulsbo, Washington’s Kiana Lodge (along with several outdoor scenes at the Packard house, including the beach where Laura Palmer’s body washed up, wrapped in plastic), and then filmed on soundstages in LA.
It still hasn't caught any terrorists, but it has managed to root out a conspiracy of gropers (maybe sub-conspiracy is a better term) within its own ranks, according to this report.
After another employee reported that a screener at Denver International Airport had told her that he groped passengers he found attractive, a TSA investigator found that in fact at least two screeners were working together to further this goal. The investigator witnessed the male screener signaling to a female colleague when a certain passenger approached, and she then manipulated the scanner to "detect an anomaly." (She apparently did this by deliberately selecting the wrong gender, something I'm sure they never do by mistake.) Result: thorough pat-down. She admitted she had steered travelers to him this way on at least ten other occasions.
The TSA described the alleged acts as "egregious," which as you know means "really bad," and because it fired both employees I assume it wasn't using the archaic meaning of that term, which I have just learned was the opposite.
The case was turned over to the district attorney's office for a possible charge of unlawful sexual contact, but the DA has apparently declined to prosecute because "none of the passengers believed to have been touched by the screener could be identified." Well, I don't think the admission to the tipster was hearsay, and the co-conspirator confessed. Do they not prosecute many people based on less evidence than that? I think they do.
Prosecutors are considering filing a different charge, a spokeperson said, but she did not elaborate on what that might be.
I'd say more about this, but I have to catch a flight back to San Francisco (just finished a presentation in Memphis). I don't have to go through security when I connect in Denver, but after the firings that might now be the least gropey airport in the country (at least temporarily).
Update: TSA News makes a very good point that I missed—the culprits supposedly can't be prosecuted because the victim can't be identified, but a TSA investigator watched at least one of these crimes happen and yet let the victim leave without identifying him. That is, TSA—which is not a law-enforcement agency—didn't get the police involved when it received the original tip, instead choosing to do its own investigation, in which it failed to preserve information that we're told is necessary for prosecution. Interesting.
To expand upon the recent pioneering reports of catalyzed sp3 CH fluorination methods, the next rational step is to focus on directing “radical-based fluorination” more effectively. One potential solution entails selective CC bond activation as a prelude to selective fluorination. Herein, we report the tandem photocatalyzed ring-opening/fluorination reactions of cyclopropanols by 1,2,4,5-tetracyanobenzene (TCB) and Selectfluor to afford a process tantamount to site-selective β-fluorination of carbonyl-containing compounds. This new approach provides a synthetically mild and operationally simple route to otherwise difficult-to-prepare β-fluorinated products in good yields and with good-to-excellent regioselectivity. Remarkably, substrates that contain other usually reactive (e.g., benzylic) sites undergo ring-opening fluorination preferably. The versatility of this method to give cyclic β-fluorides from tertiary cyclopropanols and γ-fluoro alcohols is also highlighted.
The tandem photocatalyzed ring-opening/fluorination reactions of cyclopropanols by 1,2,4,5-tetracyanobenzene (TCB) and Selectfluor to afford a process tantamount to site-selective β-fluorination of carbonyl-containing compounds are reported (see scheme).
Fifteen years ago, Luciano Faggiano of Lecce, Italy sent his sons out digging for a broken sewer line. They didn’t find the pipe, but they did find “a Messapian tomb, a Roman granary, a Franciscan chapel and even etchings from the Knights Templar,” writes Jim Yardley in a story for the New York Times.
MakerBot, the company that became a leading voice in desktop 3D printing by taking desktop additive manufacturing from build-it-yourself kits to refined consumer devices, has just let go of 20% of its workforce and closed its brick-and-mortar stores.
According to reporting by Motherboard, the reduction represents about 100 employees of the Brooklyn-based company that launched in 2009 and was later purchased in 2013 by industrial 3D printing giant Stratasys for $403 million. During that time, the company has made changes of original and key personnel, most recently seeing founder and CEO Bre Pettis stepping down to take a new position with Stratasys, and his successor Jenny Lawton doing the same thing.
Still, this is by far the largest batch of layoffs for the company.
MakerBot co-founder Bre Pettis with Stratasys CEO David Reis at the announcement of the MakerBot acquisition in June 2013.
A new announcement on MakerBot’s website this afternoon explains, “Today, we at MakerBot are re-organizing our business in order to focus on what matters most to our customers. As part of this, we have implemented expense reductions, downsized our staff and closed our three MakerBot retail locations.”
Stratasys also announced a $100 million write-down on Makerbot’s valuation in February.
The now-shuttered brick-and-mortar stores, located in Manhattan, Boston, and Greenwich, Connecticut, followed an Apple Store model, with sales, demos, classes, and even providing in-store printing services. No news yet on their retail partnerships with outlets such as Home Depot.
As many bike riders will know, sustained cycling can end up being a pain in the neck – literally. Tilting your head down toward the ground can provide temporary relief from that pain, but then you're not able to see where you're going ... unless you're using a Pedi-Scope, that is. .. Continue Reading Pedi-Scope is a heads-down display for cyclists
Tim for FLOOF post baf
April 24 will mark a significant milestone in the life of one of mankind's greatest scientific instruments – the 25-year anniversary of the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope. This bus-sized piece of scientific equipment has become a household name, thanks to the incredible scientific insights and iconic images it has returned over the course of a quarter-century in low-Earth orbit. Join us as we celebrate the history and achievements of NASA's flagship space telescope. .. Continue Reading 25 years in orbit: A celebration of the Hubble Space Telescope
Colloidal crystals are interesting materials owing to their customizable photonic properties, high surface area, and analogy to chemical structures. The flexibility of these materials has been greatly enhanced through mixing particles with varying sizes, compositions, and surface charges. In this way, distinctive patterns or analogies to chemical stoichiometries are produced; however, to date, this body of research is limited to particles with nanoscale dimensions. A simple method is now presented for bottom-up assembly of non-Brownian particle mixtures to create a new class of hierarchically-ordered materials that mimic those found in nature (both in pore distribution as well as stoichiometry). Additionally, these crystals serve as a template to create particle-based inverted crystalline structures with customizable properties.
Non-Brownian microparticle mixtures are assembled into unique multicomponent colloidal crystals and their inverse structures. By mimicking the effects of Brownian motion through agitation and tuning of the particle sizes and volume ratios, unique stoichiometric patterns are created and can serve as an analogue to autonomously formed nanostructures.