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28 Jul 16:00

Tetris Grandmaster Takes On The Weirdest Game Mode I’ve Ever Seen

by Evan Narcisse

Tetris Grandmaster Takes On The Weirdest Game Mode I’ve Ever Seen

In its most vanilla, near-ubiquitous form, Tetris is already a near perfect video game that challenges you to be smart and fast in increasingly hard fashion. The stuff that gets thrown at you in an ultra-hard arcade version is mind-blowing. Blocks that need to be cleared twice. A stack that flips around. Let’s watch one of the best Tetris players in the world take it on.

The video above is showing the Item Mode feature in Tetris: The Grand Master 2, taken on by Japanese grandmaster SQR as part of the Summer Games Done Quick charity speedrun marathon. In the ten-minute clip from last night’s stream, you’ll see him deal with a Death Block where the tetromino are twice as big, Roll Roll which changes into a different tetrominoes every time you rotate and 180 item that turns the whole stack upside down. SQR handles it all like the champion he is and the gasps of the crowd watching him play are a great indicator of just how crazy this playthrough is.

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28 Jul 11:30

Mormons Threaten To Leave Boy Scouts

by Joe Jervis
Last night the Mormon Church issued a press release in which they threaten to end their relationship with the Boy Scouts over the end of the ban on openly gay leaders.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is deeply troubled by today’s vote by the Boy Scouts of America National Executive Board. In spite of a request to delay the vote, it was scheduled at a time in July when members of the Church’s governing councils are out of their offices and do not meet. When the leadership of the Church resumes its regular schedule of meetings in August, the century-long association with Scouting will need to be examined. The Church has always welcomed all boys to its Scouting units regardless of sexual orientation. However, the admission of openly gay leaders is inconsistent with the doctrines of the Church and what have traditionally been the values of the Boy Scouts of America. As a global organization with members in 170 countries, the Church has long been evaluating the limitations that fully one-half of its youth face where Scouting is not available. Those worldwide needs combined with this vote by the BSA National Executive Board will be carefully reviewed by the leaders of the Church in the weeks ahead.
The Mormon Church is the nation's largest sponsor of the Boy Scouts with over 30,000 LDS chapters comprising about 15% of total membership.
28 Jul 14:59

Group that hacked Anthem shared weaponized 0-days with rival attackers

by Dan Goodin

An attack in early 2014 on Anthem, the No. 2 US health insurer, was by most measuring sticks a historic hack, leading to the biggest healthcare data breach ever. New evidence unearthed by researchers from security firm Symantec, however, shows it was business as usual for the hacking group, which over the past three years has carried out more than a dozen similar attacks.

Dubbed Black Vine, the group is well financed enough to have a reliable stream of weaponized exploits for zero-day vulnerabilities in Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser. Since 2012, the gang has brazenly infected websites frequented by executives in the aerospace, energy, military, and technology industries and then used the compromises to siphon blueprints, designs, and other intellectual property from the executives' organizations. The targeting of Anthem appears to reflect more of a secondary interest that was intended to further advance a primary interest in aerospace, energy, and other similar industries rather than to target healthcare information for its own sake.

"If someone just has Vikram's healthcare records, overall there's very little gain," Vikram Thakur, senior security researcher with Symantec, told Ars, as he described the motivations of the Black Vine group hacking Anthem. "But then you get healthcare information about a Vikram working for a government entity or a defense contractor, there is substantial value in that. This is the kind of data that's used in combination with something else to reach an entirely non-healthcare related goal."

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28 Jul 15:08

AT&T doesn’t want to pay $100M fine, says throttling didn’t harm customers

by Jon Brodkin

AT&T is trying to convince the Federal Communications Commission to backtrack from a $100 million fine issued to punish AT&T for its throttling of customers on unlimited data plans.

“The Commission’s findings that consumers and competition were harmed are devoid of factual support and wholly implausible,” AT&T wrote in a response to the FCC, according to The Hill. “Its 'moderate' forfeiture penalty of $100 million is plucked out of thin air, and the injunctive sanctions it proposes are beyond the Commission’s authority.”

AT&T claimed it made all the required disclosures to customers, and also that the statute of limitations on the alleged violations had passed. The company also claimed that the FCC is infringing its First Amendment rights by requiring AT&T to tell customers that it violated an FCC rule.

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28 Jul 02:01

Comfort Food

27 Jul 18:19

"The Furniture of Law Enforcement"

by Brad

The sequel that could never live up to the original.

27 Jul 17:11

Man Arrested After Making It Through Security, Boarding Plane Without Ticket

by Ashlee Kieler

Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 12.57.18 PMThe Transportation Security Administration is investigating a disruption – that included a visit from the local bomb squad – at Dallas Fort-Worth International Airport Sunday night after authorities say a man boarded a flight without a ticket.

The Dallas Morning News reports airport authorities are investigating how the 26-year-old man was able to make it through a security checkpoint and onto a flight without being noticed.

The man allegedly drove his car to the airport, and left it parked at the terminal curb before heading inside. Once in the airport, he made his way through the Transportation Security Administration checkpoint and to an airport gate without a ticket.

Authorities were alerted to the unticketed passenger via a courtesy call from an airline agent. He was then arrested for criminal trespassing by officers of the airport’s Department of Public Safety, the Dallas Morning News reports.

As for the man’s car, according to CBS DFW, a bomb squad was called in to inspect the vehicle. Traffic in the area was diverted for a short period before it was determined the car posed no threat.

So far, the airport says in a statement that the only flight affected by the incident was the one the man boarded. A full report from the airport and local law enforcement – including which airline was involved – is expected to be released this afternoon.

TSA is investigating how a man boarded a plane at D/FW Airport Sunday without a ticket [Dallas Morning News]
Bomb Squad Called For Suspicious Vehicle At DFW Airport [CBS DFW]

27 Jul 17:55

Critic Publicly Calls Out Movie Company For Editing His Negative Review Into A Rave

by Chris Morran

While the words "A comedic masterstroke" were indeed in Dowd's original review, the rest of the sentence makes it clear that he thought the film was anything but.

While the words “A comedic masterstroke” were indeed in Dowd’s original review, the rest of the sentence makes it clear that he thought the film was anything but.

Everyone knows that when a movie trailer or poster is peppered with single-word review quotes — “Wow,” “Thrilling,” “Meh” — there’s usually a good reason why the full sentence from the reviews aren’t being quoted. But when you see something resembling a complete thought on a DVD box, you might be misled into thinking it accurately represents the reviewer’s opinion.

Over at, reviewer A.A. Dowd has published an open letter to Mongrel Media, a company that picked up the DVD rights to a little-known (unless you’re a David O. Russell completist) film called Nailed and used a quote from Dowd’s review on the box.

“A comedic masterstroke,” reads the back of the packaging in bright, bold letters.

That would be great, if it even vaguely resembled what Dowd had written in his “C-” review of the film, which was released in the U.S. under the dreadful title, Accidental Love.

See, the movie was a long-in-progress project, directed by Russell and written by Al Gore’s daughter Kristin, that fell apart so many times before the director eventually washed his hands of it and had his name changed in the credits before its eventual, virtually unnoticed release earlier this year.

In Dowd’s review of the movie, he wrote [bolding for emphasis]:

To be fair to whoever refashioned Accidental Love from the abandoned scraps of Nailed, there’s little reason to believe that the ideal, untroubled version of the material would have been a comedic masterstroke.

So the review didn’t even give the glimmer of hope that there might have been a good movie in there before Russell abandoned it. And yet there’s the misappropriated quote right on the DVD box.

“Did you think I wouldn’t find out, Mongrel, just because you’re all the way up there in Canada?” asks Dowd, who accuses the company of playing “dirty pool.”

“You’re breaking the bond of trust between a critic and the public; if I lead anyone astray—and I’m sure you could find plenty of readers of this site who feel that I have—it’s by way of a difference in opinion, not malicious intent,” he explains. “Framing me as a big fan of Nailed isn’t just a lie, it’s an attack on my critical reputation. What if someone reads that and really thinks I see a ‘comedic masterwork’ in Nailed? They’ll never trust me on a comedy again!”

Dowd says he’s not demanding that the boxes be pulled from stores, just an apology, “and maybe a promise that you won’t pull this kind of stunt again. Because when you turn your allies in the critical community into unwitting shills, it’s the film-buying public that really gets nailed.”

27 Jul 17:57

Google Removing Google+ Requirement For YouTube, Other Product Interactions

by Ashlee Kieler

Just a week after Google said it would ship its Google+ Photo platform into the ether, the company announced more plans to distance its social network venture from its other products by ditching a requirement that tied user activities to their public profiles.

Google announced today that it will begin removing the connection between users’ Google+ profiles and other platforms like YouTube, where some people may prefer to remain anonymous.

“People have told us that accessing all of their Google stuff with one account makes life a whole lot easier,” Bradley Horowitz, vice president of streams, photos and sharing at Google wrote in a blog post. “But we’ve also heard that it doesn’t make sense for your Google+ profile to be your identity in all the other Google products you use.”

So, starting today with YouTube and rolling out to other products over the next several months, Google will allow people to use their unsearchable standard Google account to comment or post content.

Under the previous requirement to use a searchable public Google+ account, individuals comments, posts and other actions were plastered on their profile for all to see.

For now, the folks at YouTube say in a blog post that the disconnect between Google+ and the platform only applies to posting comments. However, in the next several weeks, it plans to rollout changes in which a Google+ profile is no longer needed to upload or create a channel.

The company also says it will make it easier for people who currently have a Google+ account but don’t want to actually use it, to manage and remove the public profile.

Everything in its right place [Google]

27 Jul 13:51

Bad News: Security Hole Can Let An Attacker Take Over Your Android Phone With A Single Text

by Kate Cox

It’s a bad news Monday for up to 950 million — yes, that’s almost 1 billion — Android device owners worldwide. A vulnerability that would let a hacker take over your phone remotely has been announced, and it’s a doozy.

The damage travels by text, Forbes reports, and takes advantage of a weakness in a piece of code called Stagefright.

Stagefright is a tool Android uses to play back media — any text you get that’s an MMS (as opposed to an SMS) is played back to you using Stagefright. Any app that can read your text messages sits on top of that code, from Google Hangouts to your pre-installed default “Messaging” program.

Joshua Drake, the security researcher who discovered the flaw, told Forbes that the only thing a hacker would need to send out exploitations would be phone numbers. Attackers could then send messages to those numbers with bad code packaged in that would allow them to access the receiving device and steal data.

The level of access attackers would gain would allow access to files stored on SD cards as well as on the phone memory. Attackers could also turn your phone into a bug, remotely recording audio and video without your knowledge. Bluetooth access is also hackable via Stagefright. All versions of Android from 2.2 and up are considered vulnerable.

If that sounds terrifying, well, it kind of is. And then it gets worse. The exploit isn’t like a virus-laden e-mail attachment; you don’t actually have to try to view the media in order to be affected. Merely looking at the message in some apps is enough.

And then there are the apps where you don’t even have to open the message: for folks who use Google Hangouts to read their texts, Hangouts would open and access the exploit code “immediately before you even look at your phone… before you even get the notification,” Drake told Forbes, adding that it’s possible then to delete the message before the user even receives an alert, making the attack completely silent.

The good news is, after Drake reported his findings, Google has verified and corrected seven security holes. But here’s the bad news: Google doesn’t update Android phones directly. Service providers do. So Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T, and other, smaller carriers all have to push patches to their own Android customers… and they are not known for doing so quickly.

Drake will be speaking about his process for discovering vulnerabilities in Android at the Black Hat InfoSec conference in Las Vegas next week.

Stagefright: It Only Takes One Text To Hack 950 Million Android Phones [Forbes]

26 Jul 16:39

Dunkin' CEO makes $10 million a year but $15 minimum wage is "absolutely outrageous"

by Mark Frauenfelder

Dunkin' Donuts CEO Nigel Travis says it's just not fair that he makes $4800 an hour while his store employees make $15 an hour. To correct the situation, he thinks they should earn $12 an hour.

It's curious that Travis would argue that paying low-income people money – and in this case, $15 per hour isn't a whole lot of money in an expensive state like New York, it amounts to around $30,000 per year, which is fairly modest – would have cataclysmic impacts on his company and others.

After all, Travis's own compensation is through the roof. His most recent annual salary was $990,385. If you add in stock options and other non-salary benefits, his total compensation is calculated at over $10.2 million.

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26 Jul 16:35

Watch The Weeklong Summer Games Done Quick Charity Speedrun Marathon 

by Mike Fahey

Watch The Weeklong Summer Games Done Quick Charity Speedrun Marathon 

Forget the sun. Forget the beach. Hang out with us and watch more than 140 video games being speedrun to benefit Doctors Without Borders during the 2015 Summer Games Done Quick Marathon.

Easily one of my most eagerly anticipated annual events, the summer companion to January’s Awesome Games Done Quick tournament is an excellent reason to stay inside glued to a monitor or television instead of going outside to be backed by our closest star.

Running non-stop through early Sunday morning, the 2015 Summer Games Done Quick event is all about cheering on players, community spirit and gaming for good. It’s also about rewarding donations to global emergency medical aid organization Doctors Without Borders with cool incentives.


Here’s the full Wednesday marathon schedule. Highlights include an ongoing Kirby marathon, Earthbound and The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask.

Wednesday July 29th
Time Game Runner Platform Target Time
12:05 AM Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow Dragondarch Gamecube (GBP) 0:15:42
12:38 AM Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow romscout DS 0:38:27
1:19 AM INCENTIVE! Portrait of Ruin glitched run romscout DS 0:17:28
1:49 AM Ori and the Blind Forest Vulajin PC 0:44:05
2:49 AM Shantae and the Pirate's Curse TheSoundDefense Wii U 1:06:26
4:05 AM Mighty Switch Force! 2 TonyOgbot Wii U 0:23:29
4:50 AM Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number Duke_Bilgewater PC 0:46:51
5:48 AM Bastion Vulajin PC 0:50:28
6:50 AM Half-Minute Hero Essentia PSP 0:28:45
7:51 AM Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep FM HD AdamTimothy0 PS3 1:12:41
9:12 AM Gargoyle's Quest unusualcook Gamecube (GBP) 0:33:09
9:52 AM Kirby's Dream Land 2 BBQSauz Gamecube (GBP) 0:40:18
10:37 AM Kirby: Tilt N Tumble danray2352 Gamecube (GBP) 0:18:00
11:02 AM Kirby Super Star usedpizza SNES 1:20:00
12:27 PM Kirby's Avalanche vs. Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine CosmykTheDolfyn SNES or Genesis 0:20:00
12:52 PM Earthworm Jim Athens_ Genesis 0:35:00
1:32 PM Ecco: The Tides of Time Dolfinh Genesis 0:45:00
2:22 PM Gunstar Heroes iongravirei, TonyOgbot Wii VC 0:50:00
3:17 PM Freedom Planet johannhowitzer, Mylexsi PC 1:05:00
4:37 PM Sonic the Hedgehog: Triple Trouble bertin Gamecube 0:25:00
5:07 PM Sonic Advance Combo_Blaze, kirbymastah Gamecube (GBP) 0:25:00
5:47 PM Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Aleck47, Jmatt Genesis 0:30:00
6:22 PM Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D NOUFozzy 3DS 2:15:00
8:42 PM BONUS! The Legend of Zelda, swordless jkoper NES 1:05:00
9:57 PM Earthbound Aurilliux SNES 1:55:00
11:57 PM Prince of Persia: Sands of Time Henneko_ PC 1:20:00

Make sure your affairs are in order before you press play—it’s impossible to stop watching this stream.

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24 Jul 22:15

Researchers claim they’ve developed a better, faster Tor

by Sean Gallagher

Tor, the world's largest and most well-known "onion router" network, offers a degree of anonymity that has made it a popular tool of journalists, dissidents, and everyday Internet users who are trying to avoid government or corporate censorship (as well as Internet drug lords and child pornographers). But one thing that it doesn't offer is speed—its complex encrypted "circuits" bring Web browsing and other tasks to a crawl. That means that users seeking to move larger amounts of data have had to rely on virtual private networks—which while they are anonymous, are much less protected than Tor (since VPN providers—and anyone who has access to their logs—can see who users are).

A group of researchers—Chen Chen, Daniele Enrico Asoni, David Barrera, and Adrian Perrig of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zürich and George Danezis of University College London—may have found a new balance between privacy and performance. In a paper published this week, the group described an anonymizing network called HORNET (High-speed Onion Routing at the NETwork layer), an onion-routing network that could become the next generation of Tor. According to the researchers, HORNET moves anonymized Internet traffic at speeds of up to 93 gigabits per second. And because it sheds parts of Tor's network routing management, it can be scaled to support large numbers of users with minimal overhead, they claim.

Like Tor, HORNET encrypts encapsulated network requests in "onions"—with each layer being decrypted by each node passing the traffic along to retrieve instructions on where to next send the data. But HORNET uses two different onion protocols for protecting anonymity of requests to the open internet and a modified version of Tor's "rendezvous point" negotiation for communication with a site concealed within the HORNET network.

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25 Jul 17:00


ANA,hilarious,lexus,license plate

Submitted by: Unknown

24 Jul 17:27

Apple Music Is Worse Because You Can’t Delete It From Your iDevice

by Laura Northrup

My friend Gretchen has a folder on her iPhone’s home screen called “Crapple.” It’s where she sticks all of the apps that Apple adds to her device that she doesn’t use. As Apple has forced apps for their smart watch, HealthKit, bookstore, a separate podcasts app, their own maps app, and now their streaming music store on users, all of these come with apps that you can’t get rid of.

There’s a problem with pushing too many apps on users: anything that they don’t actually use is just burdensome and takes up hard drive space. For the makers of hardware and software alike, “spotlighting your own apps only works as well as the apps themselves do,” points out Brian Barrett in Wired. Part of the reason why some people switched to the iPhone in the first place was the relative lack of bloatware.

We’ve written before about the challenges that come along with trying to disentangle yourself from Apple services that you do use, like when iPhone users switch to another phone platform and their text messages still get redirected to iMessage.

Here’s the problem, which is specific to the current generation of Apple devices: the apps that you can’t get rid of gobble up 3 GB of space, and they still sell a 16 GB phone. If they want their customers to use these apps, they should create something superior instead of making something that people are stuck with forever and ever.

Apple Music’s Worst Feature? You Can’t Delete It [Wired]

23 Jul 20:03

Universal's agents send Google a censorship demand for ""

by Cory Doctorow is the "loopback" address for your Internet stack, the address you tell your computer to visit when you want it to talk to itself.

Links to just go to your own computer -- it's like asking your computer to knock on its own door. Not understanding this is directly analogous to not being able to find your own ass with both hands.

The same division of Universal also went after the IMDB page for Furious 7, which is apparently a movie of some description.

And while we’re on the topic of self censorship, it’s worth noting that Universal Pictures also asked Google, in a separate notice, to remove from the search results.

The mistakes were made by the French branch of the movie studio, which only recently began sending takedown notices to Google. The company has reported less than 200 URLs thus far including the mistakes above.

While Universal is the rightsholder, it’s worth noting the notices are sent by Trident Media Guard (TMG), the private company which also carried out file-sharing network monitoring for the French Government’s Hadopi scheme.

Universal Asks Google to Censor “Furious 7″ IMDb Page, and More [Ernesto/Torrentfreak]

(via Techdirt)

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21 Jul 07:47

MeFi: Exponential Hangover

by CrystalDave
Web Design: The First 100 Years

So despite appearances, despite the feeling that things are accelerating and changing faster than ever, I want to make the shocking prediction that the Internet of 2060 is going to look recognizably the same as the Internet today.

Unless we screw it up.

If you think the Web is a way to CONNECT KNOWLEDGE, PEOPLE, AND CATS, then your job is to get the people and cats online, put a decent font on the knowledge, and then stand back and watch the magic happen.

If you think your job is to FIX THE WORLD WITH SOFTWARE, then the web is just the very beginning. There's a lot of work left to do. Really you're going to need sensors in every house, and it will help if everyone looks through special goggles, and if every refrigerator can talk to the Internet and confess its contents.

And if you think that the purpose of the Internet is to BECOME AS GODS, IMMORTAL CREATURES OF PURE ENERGY LIVING IN A CRYSTALLINE PARADISE OF OUR OWN INVENTION, then your goal is total and complete revolution. Everything must go.
23 Jul 14:10

Fiat Chrysler Offers Software Patch For Some Internet-Connected Vehicles After Hackers Hijack Jeep

by Mary Beth Quirk

This seems relevant a conversation on a different post. Maybe it's ok if it's treated like a recall and dealers will just do the work for free if you bring it in?

After a journalist’s report of being inside a 2014 Jeep Cherokee while hackers miles away took over his car as part of an experiment, Fiat Chrysler has announced it’s offering a software patch for some of its internet-connected vehicles. That being said, the company didn’t directly acknowledge the hacking event itself.

The company released a statement saying that just like other technology like smartphones and tablets, sometimes vehicle software updates are required “for improved security protection to reduce the potential risk of unauthorized and unlawful access to vehicle systems.”

“The software security update, provided at no cost to customers, also includes Uconnect improvements introduced in the 2015 model year designed to enhance customer convenience and enjoyment of their vehicle,” Fiat Chrysler says, via Automotive News.

A story on by Andy Greenberg on Tuesday told how hackers Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek had remotely taken control of the Jeep he was driving, as part of a pre-arranged demonstration designed to call attention to the Uconnect Infotainment system’s vulnerability. It’s installed in 2013-14 Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram vehicles, and the 2015 Chrysler 200, with an 8.4-inch touch screen and Wi-Fi hot spot.

Fiat Chrysler doesn’t have the capability to push software to affected systems wirelessly, so the company is instead directing drivers to where they can download the security patch themselves, or take their vehicle to a dealer for the software to be upgraded for free.

The hackers had said they were planning on releasing part of the code they used to infiltrate the system at an upcoming Black Hat conference, to convince automakers that their products are vulnerable. Fiat Chrysler does not approve.

“Under no circumstances does FCA condone or believe it’s appropriate to disclose ‘how-to information’ that would potentially encourage, or help enable hackers to gain unauthorized and unlawful access to vehicle systems,” the company said in the statement.

Jeep hacking prompts FCA software update to enhance security [Automotive News]

23 Jul 09:19

When scientists hoard data, no one can tell what works

by Cory Doctorow

Peer review and replication are critical to the scientific method, but in medical trials, a combination of pharma company intransigence and scientists' fear of being pilloried for human error means that the raw data that we base life-or-death decisions upon is routinely withheld, meaning that the errors lurk undetected in the data for years -- and sometimes forever.

In an outstanding article for Buzzfeed, Ben "Bad Pharma" Goldacre tries to untangle the complex web of phenomena that results in trial-data secrecy, while conveying the urgency of independent auditing of that data.

Adversarial peer review is the process by which your friends point out your errors and your enemies call you an idiot for making them. It's bruising -- and it's become so uncommon that the press reports on human error in studies as though it was a scandal, rather than the routine phenomenon it really is. This creates a vicious cycle: researchers are fearful of publishing their data, making the detection of errors into a rarity. This rareness makes those errors into scandals. The scandals make researchers reluctant to publish.

The best way to assess the evidence of statins is to combine the raw data from all trials. This week the British Medical Journal published an editorial explaining that they have requested the original patient data from 32 major statins trials to do just that. Despite follow-up calls and emails, only seven teams have deigned to respond.

Conducting a trial, and then refusing to let anyone see the data, is like claiming you’ve flown a spaceship to Pluto, but refusing to let anyone see the photos.

That would be laughable. But the justifications for secrecy from drug companies and researchers are hardly any more plausible. Sometimes, they play on fear and authority. What about the idiots, they say? The anti-vaccination conspiracy theorists, and the journalists who love them: Won’t they use this information to create mischief, by picking endless holes in perfectly good data?

Well, this week, NASA flew a spaceship past Pluto, and the truthers appeared right on cue to say it was all a fake. Idiots gave them coverage. And then…the sky did not fall in. NASA was not defunded. The claims were debunked, by bloggers who enjoyed the sport. And everyone tweeted that clip of astronaut Buzz Aldrin punching a conspiracy theorist in the face.

Scientists Are Hoarding Data And It’s Ruining Medical Research [Ben Goldacre/Buzzfeed]

(via Dan Hon)

(Image: Drupal Modules as of 11/9/07, Kent Bye, CC-BY)

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22 Jul 18:30

Universal Studios Copyright Bot Stupidly Asks Google To Delist IMDb Page For “Furious 7″

by Chris Morran

Universal either has the stupidest copyright bot on the planet or it genuinely doesn't want people going to the one website on Earth everyone goes to for basic information about movies.

Universal either has the stupidest copyright bot on the planet or it genuinely doesn’t want people going to the one website on Earth everyone goes to for basic information about movies.

Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, it’s against the law to knowingly misrepresent a copyright infringement claim, and yet copyright holders and the automated bots they use to spit out these takedown and delist demands continue to make sweeping, obviously inaccurate claims without penalty. The latest example comes to us courtesy of Comcast-owned Universal Studios. noticed that Universal (through a third party) was sending out DMCA takedown notices for a number of the films it controls, and that some legitimate — and sometimes unrelated — sites were being caught up in these wide nets.

For example, this recently filed DMCA request with Google demanded that the company remove search results for a number of sites that allegedly infringed on the copyright for Furious 7 the latest film in the Fast & Furious franchise.

While many of the links included in the delist request were for sites with possibly infringing footage or links to illegal torrents of the film, one stood out: A link to the Internet Movie Database for this same film.

It’s an obvious error, and one that Google will undoubtedly catch because it cares more about the accuracy of these requests than the copyright automatons that file them. But it shows just how little these bots know of the actual Internet landscape if they can’t identify one of the world’s most popular websites as not being a source for pirated content.

And this isn’t the only error in this particular DMCA delist request. In France, Universal released the Michael Mann film Blackhat as Hacker, and among the various demands to delist sites allegedly infringing on the film’s copyright, the moronic copyright bot also sought to remove search results for this completely unrelated TechDirt article on hacking.

Again, Google will probably not oblige this delist request, but copyright holders need to be held accountable for making frivolous DMCA claims.

A Pennsylvania woman is still in the middle of an 8-year battle with Universal Music over that company’s overzealous use of the DMCA to have YouTube remove her 29-second clip of her baby dancing to a barely discernible Prince song.

“Unfounded and abusive takedown notices inflict real harms on [online service providers], Internet users, and copyright holders,” reads an amicus brief filed in that case by Google, Twitter, Tumblr, and Automattic. “Every time an unfounded takedown notice results in the removal of legitimate, non-infringing content posted by a user, it constitutes unjustified censorship of the user’s right to share speech with others and interferes with the OSP’s business of hosting and disseminating that user’s speech.”

22 Jul 14:16

Lewis' Law

by Ari Spool

A writer named Helen Lewis defined this Internet axiom on Twitter in 2012, declaring “The comments on any article about feminism justify feminism.”

22 Jul 13:00

3D-Printed Destiny Gun That Actually Works

by Gergo Vas

3D-Printed Destiny Gun That Actually Works

We’ve seen a lot of Destiny weapon replicas over the past few months, created by various methods, but the Thorn hand cannon Kirby Downey made has a small twist: There’s an airsoft gun hidden inside.

Might be against the rules of an airsoft field to run around with a replica like this, but it certainly looks great.

This is a Converted airsoft version of my thorn which I designed. It is made to be a simple shroud which encases an electric CYMA Glock 18C AEP airsoft pistol.

The model has space for 3x 5.3 mm Metal dowels. This improves the strength of the model and decreases the risk of it breaking if it gets knocked or dropped.

In order to access the batter the thorn has to be dismantled but the rest of the necessary components have ease of access.

3D-Printed Destiny Gun That Actually Works


3D-Printed Destiny Gun That Actually Works

3D-Printed Destiny Gun That Actually Works

3D-Printed Destiny Gun That Actually Works

Here’s a video of a WIP version of the gun being tested:

To contact the author of this post, write to:

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22 Jul 00:12

Why "All Lives Matter" instead of "Black Lives Matter" is such a stupid thing to say

by Xeni Jardin

I'm a white guy, I don't have to go out and prove that my life matters. Is it fair for me to point out that the lives of the LGBTQ community matter too? I suppose that "non-white and non-socioconforming life matters" doesn't quite have the same ring to it.

Image: Wikipedia.

Image: Wikipedia.

Reddit has been in the news of late for hateful, harrassing content--mobs of trolls piling on people and ruining their lives, under cover of anonymity. That happened, yes, but so do threads of greatness. Here's one: in the very interesting “Explain it Like I'm Five” subreddit, a thread titled “Why is it so controversial when someone says "All Lives Matter" instead of "Black Lives Matter"?.” A wonderful and useful response.

Reposted here to preserve it for all eternity.

ELI5: Why is it so controversial when someone says "All Lives Matter" instead of "Black Lives Matter"?

Imagine that you're sitting down to dinner with your family, and while everyone else gets a serving of the meal, you don't get any. So you say "I should get my fair share." And as a direct response to this, your dad corrects you, saying, "everyone should get their fair share." Now, that's a wonderful sentiment -- indeed, everyone should, and that was kinda your point in the first place: that you should be a part of everyone, and you should get your fair share also. However, dad's smart-ass comment just dismissed you and didn't solve the problem that you still haven't gotten any!

The problem is that the statement "I should get my fair share" had an implicit "too" at the end: "I should get my fair share, too, just like everyone else." But your dad's response treated your statement as though you meant "only I should get my fair share", which clearly was not your intention. As a result, his statement that "everyone should get their fair share," while true, only served to ignore the problem you were trying to point out.

That's the situation of the "black lives matter" movement. Culture, laws, the arts, religion, and everyone else repeatedly suggest that all lives should matter. Clearly, that message already abounds in our society. The problem is that, in practice, the world doesn't work the way. You see the film Nightcrawler? You know the part where Renee Russo tells Jake Gyllenhal that she doesn't want footage of a black or latino person dying, she wants news stories about affluent white people being killed? That's not made up out of whole cloth -- there is a news bias toward stories that the majority of the audience (who are white) can identify with. So when a young black man gets killed (prior to the recent police shootings), it's generally not considered "news", while a middle-aged white woman being killed is treated as news. And to a large degree, that is accurate -- young black men are killed in significantly disproportionate numbers, which is why we don't treat it as anything new. But the result is that, societally, we don't pay as much attention to certain people's deaths as we do to others. So, currently, we don't treat all lives as though they matter equally.

Just like asking dad for your fair share, the phrase "black lives matter" also has an implicit "too" at the end: it's saying that black lives should also matter. But responding to this by saying "all lives matter" is willfully going back to ignoring the problem. It's a way of dismissing the statement by falsely suggesting that it means "only black lives matter," when that is obviously not the case. And so saying "all lives matter" as a direct response to "black lives matter" is essentially saying that we should just go back to ignoring the problem.

TL;DR: The phrase "Black lives matter" carries an implicit "too" at the end; it's saying that black lives should also matter. Saying "all lives matter" is dismissing the very problems that the phrase is trying to draw attention to.

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21 Jul 23:00

Star Wars VR Pitch Looks Like The Perfect Star Wars Game

by Luke Plunkett

Star Wars VR Pitch Looks Like The Perfect Star Wars Game

Director Rob McLellan, who is turning his robot serial killer short ABE into a feature film with MGM, has also been working on something else: a Star Wars VR game.

Along with his VFX guy Craig Stiff, and with a little help from games studio HammerheadVR, they’ve put together this demo of what they’re toying with, built and running entirely in Unreal Engine 4.

It’s...well, on looks alone it’s everything you want from a Star Wars VR game, really. Rebel Assault, but not sucky.


Note this is a fan project, not a commercial title. Rob and Craig are hoping to have a playable demo/build available by the time Oculus Rift is released next year.

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22 Jul 01:00

Man Wins French Scrabble Champs, Doesn't Speak French

by Luke Plunkett

Man Wins French Scrabble Champs, Doesn't Speak French

Nigel Richards, a God amongst mortals on the Scrabble tournament scene, has outdone himself this time: he’s won the French version of the Scrabble world champs without speaking a word of French.

Richards, who dominates Scrabble tournaments in the US and UK, won the French tournament the same way he’s able to exert his dominance in other languages: he has a terrifying memory.

“He doesn’t speak French at all, he just learnt the words” Liz Fagerlund, a close friend of Richards, told the New Zealand Herald, saying it’s been only eight weeks since he began studying the French dictionary. “He won’t know what they mean, wouldn’t be able to carry out a conversation in French I wouldn’t think.”


“He does have a reputation for being the best Scrabble player ever and they know about him already”, she adds, “but they probably didn’t necessarily expect him to go in for the first time and beat them at their own game.”

The French are apparently, for what it’s worth, “gobsmacked”.

Image: Getty

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21 Jul 17:42

Chicago’s police review agency fires investigator for not exonerating cops

by Mark Frauenfelder

Chicago's Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) was formed in 2007 to review police brutality. Since that time, IPRA has investigated nearly 400 civilian shootings by cops. It has found only one shooting to be unjustified. But then Lorenzo Davis, 65, a former Chicago police commander who became an investigator for the IPRA, found "a few cases in which he believed police had inappropriately fired their weapons." Suddenly Davis, who had previously been getting stellar reviews for his work on the IPRA, was fired.

Through most of his IPRA tenure, Davis’s performance evaluations showered him with praise. They called him an “effective leader” and “excellent team player.”

The final evaluation, issued June 26, said he “is clearly not a team player.”

Radley Balko of the Washington Post writes, "'Team player' of course meaning 'willing to side with cops who shoot people.'"

And of course this is the city where police were found to have tortured suspects for decades. Conveniently, the city managed to cover up the mess long enough for the statute of limitations to prevent all but one of the officers from facing any criminal charges. In 2008, the city’s most elite police unit was disbanded after officers were accused of a host of crimes from assault to theft to burglaries to conspiracy to commit murder. And just earlier this year, the Guardian reported new allegations of torture, beatings, and other physical abuse at an abandoned warehouse.

Just a thought: Maybe the Chicago PD needs fewer “team players.”

Image: Shutterstock

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21 Jul 16:40

Why PPTQs Are Hurting Magic, by Mark Nestico

Now that the PPTQ system is well-established and has fully replaced the former PTQ system, Mark Nestico asks a provocative question: is this helping or hurting the achievement of the PPTQ system's stated goals?
21 Jul 15:44

A Good Reason To Celebrate The Virtual Boy's 20th Anniversary

by Mike Fahey

A Good Reason To Celebrate The Virtual Boy's 20th Anniversary

Nintendo’s first foray into 3D gaming was released in Japan on July 21, 1995. On this, the Virtual Boy’s 20th birthday, let’s take a moment to appreciate all the joy it has brought gamers over the years. No really, I’m serious.

One of Nintendo’s biggest missteps, the red-and-black 3D gaming machine that is the Virtual Boy also stands as a testament to the company’s dogged dedication of hardware innovation.

A Good Reason To Celebrate The Virtual Boy's 20th Anniversary


Had most other companies released a major product that was met with a response as abysmal as the one the Virtual Boy received, they’d not only stop attempting to think outside of the box, they’d set up a defensive perimeter around it complete with attack dogs and sniper towers.

But Nintendo has gone on to bring us motion control, balance boards, controllers with built-in screens and—most apropos to this occasion—a 3D handheld that actually works, followed shortly by an updated version that actually works well.

So while the Virtual Boy may not have generated much in the way of direct joy, it was instrumental in establishing a Nintendo standard that would eventually make millions of gamers around the world incredibly happy.

A Good Reason To Celebrate The Virtual Boy's 20th Anniversary

Now back to the headache jokes.

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21 Jul 16:13

Study: Online gaming “losers” are more likely to harass women

by Kyle Orland

Talk to women who play games online, especially first-person shooters, and you'll quickly hear tales of them being bombarded with gender-focused harassment if and when they decide to speak up on a groupchat channel. Now, a new study suggests that the players most likely to engage in this kind of harassment are the ones who are actually worst at the game itself.

In the study, published last week by the Public Library of Science, two researchers from the University of New South Wales and Miami University of Ohio looked at player reactions during 126 recorded matches of Halo 3 team deathmatch. Matches were divided into a control group—where the player was silent throughout—and two experimental groups where the researchers played the same set of inoffensive prerecorded statements (e.g., "Alright team let’s do this" or "That was a good game everyone") in either a male or female voice.

For each experimental match, the researchers transcribed any responses to these prerecorded snippets from their teammates (all the responses came from male-identified voices—if there were any other women playing in these matches, they stayed silent). Those responses were then hand-coded into positive (e.g., "Do ya thing, girl"), negative (e.g. "Should've made me a sandwich, bitch"), and neutral (e.g., "You wanna jump in the jeep?") groups. The researchers also kept track of the responding players' overall Halo 3 skill ranking (as determined by Xbox Live) and game-specific metrics like kill/death ratio and whether the team won the game. These performance metrics were also compared against the experimental player to create a relative skill ranking.

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21 Jul 15:49

Ashley Madison Says It’s Secured All Customer Data After Hack Attack

by Mary Beth Quirk

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that either a ransom was paid, or we'll be seeing the leak hit the torrent networks shortly. Based on the statement, I'm guessing the former.

ashleymadison-580x370After a group of hackers posted a sampling of user data stolen from, the parent company of the dating site for cheaters says it’s secured all customer information that was allegedly leaked.

Avid Life Media told Business Insider that it’s working to delete the leaked data and had already “successfully removed all posts related to this incident as well as all Personally Identifiable Information (PII) about our users published online.”

The leaked data included users’ real names and addresses, as well as information about ALM’s internal servers, and sensitive company data like bank accounts and salaries. ALM didn’t confirm how much of that exposed information was legitimate, but hackers claimed they had accessed the full database of around 40 million accounts from Ashley Madison, along with other ALM sites like Cougar Life and Established Men.

ALM says it used the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and various other unspecified techniques to remove the data, but wouldn’t give BI more details as to how it removed the content. It added that it’s continuing to work with law enforcement and “forensics security experts” to find the root of the breach.

Hackers reportedly blamed the breach on the company’s failed promise to permanently delete users’ information when they opted for a $19 “full delete” service. The hackers called that feature a “complete lie,” saying it doesn’t actually delete paying customers’ information.

ALM denied that allegation in a statement to Business Insider.

Contrary to current media reports, and based on accusations posted online by a cyber criminal, the ‘paid delete’ option offered by does in fact remove all information related to a member’s profile and communications activity.

The process involves a hard-delete of a requesting user’s profile, including the removal of posted pictures and all messages sent to other system users’ email boxes. This option was developed due to specific member requests for just such a service, and designed based on their feedback.

Ashley Madison says it has removed its customers’ leaked data from the internet [Business Insider]