Shared posts

30 Sep 11:42

You Are a Small Speck

by Jason Kottke

It is nearly inconceivable how small we are in comparison to the size of the universe, but this video may make it a little less inconceivable. Do you know that the Sun is tiny compared to some other stars?

Tags:space    video   
30 Sep 11:27

Google is shutting down Stadia

by Andy Baio
predicted by virtually everyone since it launched, it'll close in mid-January #
27 Sep 09:35

The best of Fesshole for July 2012. That's the funniest, most interesting confessions from you, the public. Do please follow @fesshole and share to encourage the fantastic stories to keep coming in.

by @fesshole

The best of Fesshole for July 2012. That's the funniest, most interesting confessions from you, the public. Do please follow @fesshole and share to encourage the fantastic stories to keep coming in.

27 Sep 09:31

My partner thinks I'm obsessed with trees because I'm always staring at them but as a kid I used to focus on a tree and ask a question in my head. The movement of left or right would be my answer. It's become such a habit I'm 55 and still do it like the trees are psychic.

by @fesshole

My partner thinks I'm obsessed with trees because I'm always staring at them but as a kid I used to focus on a tree and ask a question in my head. The movement of left or right would be my answer. It's become such a habit I'm 55 and still do it like the trees are psychic.

26 Sep 11:22

Making Minecraft in Minecraft

by Andy Baio
runs at 0.1 fps using MCHPRS, which runs redstone 10-20,000x faster #
26 Sep 11:18

A mysterious voice is haunting American Airlines’ in-flight announcements and nobody knows how

by Andy Baio

Here’s a little mystery for you: there are multiple reports of a mysterious voice grunting, moaning, and groaning on American Airlines’ in-flight announcement systems, sometimes lasting the duration of the flight — and nobody knows who’s responsible or how they did it.

Actor/producer Emerson Collins was the first to post video, from his Denver flight on September 6:

Here’s an MP3 of the audio with just the groans, moans, and grunts, with some of the background noise filtered out.

This is the only video evidence so far, but Emerson is one of several people who have experienced this on multiple different American Airlines flights. This thread from JonNYC collected several different reports from airline employees and insiders, on both Airbus A321 and Boeing 737-800 planes.

Other people have reported similar experiences, always on American Airlines, going as far back as July. Every known incident has gone through the greater Los Angeles area (including Santa Ana) or Dallas-Fort Worth. Here are all the incidents I’ve seen so far, in chronological order:

  • July – American Airlines, JFK to LAX. Bradley P. Allen wrote, “My wife and I experienced this during an AA flight in July. To be clear, it was just sounds like the moans and groans of someone in extreme pain. The crew said that it had happened before, and had no explanation. Occurred briefly 3 or 4 times early in the flight, then stopped.” (Additional flight details via the LA Times.)
  • August 5 – American Airlines 117. JFK to LAX. Wendy Wanderman wrote, “It happened on my flight August 5 from JFK to LAX and it was an older A321 that I was on. It was Flight 117. There was flight crew that was on the same plane a couple days earlier and the same thing happened. It was funny and unsettling.”
  • September 6 – American Airlines. Santa Ana, CA to Dallas-Fort Worth. Emerson Collins’ flight. “These sounds started over the intercom before takeoff and continued throughout the flight. They couldn’t stop it, and after landing still had no idea what it was… I filmed about fifteen minutes, then again during service. It was calmer for a while mid flight.”
  • Mid-September – American Airlines, Airbus A320. Orlando, FL to Dallas-Fort Worth. Doug Boehner wrote, “This happened to me last week. It wasn’t the whole flight, but periodically weird phrases and sounds. Then a huge ‘oh yeah’ when we landed. We thought the pilot left his mic open.”
  • September 18 – American Airlines 1631, Santa Ana, CA to Dallas-Fort Worth. Boeing 737-800. An anonymous report passed on by JonNYC, “Currently on AA1631 and someone keeps hacking into the PA and making moaning and screaming sounds 😨 the flight attendants are standing by their phones because it isn’t them and the captain just came on and told us they don’t think the flight systems are compromised so we will finish the flight to DFW. Sounded like a male voice and wouldn’t last more than 5-10 seconds before stopping. And has [intermittently] happened on and off all flight long.” (And here’s a second person on the same flight.)

Interestingly, JonNYC followed up with the person who reported the incident on September 18 and asked if it sounded like the same voice in the video. “Very very similar. Same voice! But ours was less aggressive. Although their volume might have been turned up more making it sound more aggressive. 100% positive same voice.

Official Response

View from the Wing’s Gary Leff asked American Airlines about the issue, and their official response is that it’s a mechanical issue with the PA amplifier. The LA Times followed up on Saturday, with slightly more information:

“Our maintenance team thoroughly inspected the aircraft and the PA system and determined the sounds were caused by a mechanical issue with the PA amplifier, which raises the volume of the PA system when the engines are running,” said Sarah Jantz, a spokesperson for American.

Jantz said the P.A. systems are hardwired with no external access and no Wi-Fi component. The airline’s maintenance team is reviewing the additional reports. Jantz did not respond to questions about how many reports it has received and whether the reports are from different aircrafts.

This explanation feels incomplete to me. How can an amplifier malfunction broadcast what sounds like a human voice without external access? On multiple flights and aircraft? They seem to be saying the source is artificial, but has anyone heard artificial noise that sounds this human?

Why This Is So Bizarre

By nature, passenger announcement systems on planes are hardwired, closed systems, making them incredibly difficult to hack. Professional reverse engineer/hardware hacker/security analyst Andrew Tierney (aka Cybergibbons) dug up the Airbus 321 documents in this thread.

“And on the A321 documents we have, the passenger announcement system and interphone even have their own handsets. Can’t see how IFE or WiFi would bridge,” Tierney wrote. “Also struggling to see how anyone could pull a prank like this.”

This report found by aviation watchdog JonNYC, posted by a flight attendant on an internal American Airlines message board, points to some sort of as-yet-undiscovered remote exploit.

We also know that, at least on Emerson Collins’ flight, there was no in-seat entertainment, eliminating that as a possible exploit vector.

Theories

So, how could this happen? There are a handful of theories, but they’re very speculative.

Medical Intercom

The first to emerge was this now-debunked theory came from “a former avionics guy” posting in r/aviation on Reddit:

The most likely culprit IMHO is the medical intercom. There are jacks mounted in the overhead bins at intervals down the full length of the airplane that have both receive, transmit and key controls. All somebody would need to do is plug a homemade dongle with a Bluetooth receiver into one of those, take a trip to the lav and start making noises into a paired mic.

The fact that the captain’s announcements are overriding (ducking) it but the flight attendants aren’t is also an indication it’s coming from that system.

If this was how it was done, there’s no reason the prankster would need to hide in the bathrooms: they could trigger a soundboard or prerecorded audio track from their seat.

However, this theory is likely a dead end. JonNYC reports that an anonymous insider confirmed they no longer exist on American Airlines flights. And even if they existed, the medical intercoms didn’t patch into the announcement system. They only allow flight crew to talk to medical staff on the ground.

Pre-Recorded Audio Message Bug

Another theory, also courtesy of JonNYC, is that there’s an issue with the pre-recorded audio messages (“PRAM”), which were replaced in the last 60 days, within the timeframe of all these incidents. Perhaps some test audio was added to the end of a message, maybe by an engineer who worked on it, and it’s accidentally playing that extra audio?

Artificial Noise

Finally, some firmly believe that it’s not a human voice at all, but artificial noise or audio feedback filtered through the announcement system.

Nick Anderegg, an engineer with a background in linguistics and phonology, says it’s the results of “random signal passed through a system that extracts human voices.”

Anderegg points to a sound heard at the 1:20 mark in Emerson’s video, a “sweep across every frequency,” as evidence that American Airlines’ explanation is accurate.

Personally, I struggle with this explanation. The wide variation of utterances heard during Emerson’s three-hour flight are so wildly different, from groans and grunts to moans and shouts, that it’s difficult to imagine it as anything else but human. It’s far from impossible, but I’d love to see anyone try to recreate these sounds with random noise or feedback.

Any Other Ideas?

Any other theories how this might be possible? I’d love to hear them, and I’ll keep this post updated. My favorite theory so far:

Photoillustration of an American Airlines jet headed towards a scared cartoon cloud
26 Sep 06:44

I'm a chemistry teacher. Since the start of the year, somebody's been pilfering the snacks I keep in my desk. They're about to learn the most important chemistry lesson of all: phenolphthalein indicator is also a powerful laxative.

by @fesshole

I'm a chemistry teacher. Since the start of the year, somebody's been pilfering the snacks I keep in my desk. They're about to learn the most important chemistry lesson of all: phenolphthalein indicator is also a powerful laxative.

23 Sep 10:26

I love my son, but can't stand reading bedtime stories. As a result, I cut them down to reduce the time commitment. His current favourites are The Two Little Pigs and Snow White and the Dwarf.

by @fesshole

I love my son, but can't stand reading bedtime stories. As a result, I cut them down to reduce the time commitment.

His current favourites are The Two Little Pigs and Snow White and the Dwarf.

19 Sep 08:16

Where I live there's a huge problem of someone graffiting swastikas - poorly and the wrong way around. I carry a sharpie with me to make it into a little house, with a stick figure family and write 'All are welcome here' around it.

by @fesshole

Where I live there's a huge problem of someone graffiting swastikas - poorly and the wrong way around. I carry a sharpie with me to make it into a little house, with a stick figure family and write 'All are welcome here' around it.

16 Sep 10:16

Version Numbers

by Remy Porter

Initech was the big customer for Chops's company. And like a lot of big customers, they had requests and they had the weight to throw around to get their requests fulfilled. When they wanted a new feature, they got a new feature. When they found a bug, they got the patch ASAP.

No matter how special Initech thought they were, they were mostly requesting things that other customers wanted anyway, so it worked pretty well.

So, one day, they submitted a pile of feature requests, the dev team got to work, and cranked out the features. They tested it, they shipped betas out to the customer, the customer liked the changes, confirmed that it passed user-acceptance, and was ready to deploy. Well, almost ready. There was one tiny little problem.

"So, we can't do this upgrade," said Jerry, the lead from Initech. "It violates our IT policy."

"Um, how?" Chops asked.

"Well, the current approved version in our environment is 3.4.24. The version you're shipping us is 3.5.1. That's too big a version number change."

"Oh, uh… we shipped 3.5 a few months ago…"

"Right, but we haven't gotten that approved. Can you add these features to the 3.4 version?"

That request got escalated up to management, and since Initech was a big customer, management said, "Yes, absolutely, do it."

The result was a disaster. While 3.5 and 3.4 were basically the same from the end user's perspective, a lot of internals had changed. The new features used the new internals, and when trying to backport them it was a lot of work. They started from the codebase of 3.4.30 (the last release of 3.4.x), and ended up breaking everything. Tests which passed under 3.5 started failing, tests which had been passing under 3.4 also started failing. No one was exactly sure how to backport these features to the old internals and it was eating a lot of developer cycles.

Chops watched this slow motion disaster, and watched management getting increasingly upset. Initech wanted their new features, and they wanted them last week. So Chops decided to take matters into their own hands. They took the 3.5.1 build, and re-set the version numbers to be 3.4.31.

"Hey, Jerry," Chops said. "I've taken the latest version, 3.5.1, and I've renamed it 3.4.31. So the official version number is 3.4.31. Is that okay?"

"Uh, the version you're giving me is 3.4?"

"That's the version number on the file, yes. But the code is actually 3.5."

"But the file says 3.4?"

"It does," Chops said. "And the 'about' information will also say 3.4.31."

"Perfect, that'll do."

Chops sent the file over. Jerry ran it through all their tests and confirmed it was still satisfactory. Initech's management confirmed that the version number only incremented a small amount, and it was still "officially" a 3.4 version.

Everyone was happy with this outcome.

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15 Sep 13:26

Read in a Jack Reacher book that you shouldn't turn on the light that comes on in your car when you open the door as it's a sniper's dream. Not had it on for years and never been sniped. Winner.

by @fesshole

Read in a Jack Reacher book that you shouldn't turn on the light that comes on in your car when you open the door as it's a sniper's dream. Not had it on for years and never been sniped. Winner.

15 Sep 10:05

Discord voice chat now available on Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One

You can now use Discord voice chat on Xbox consoles
14 Sep 10:27

Discord Voice Is Now Available for Everyone on Xbox Consoles

by Eric Voreis, Principal Product Manager, Player Experience and Platforms

In July we announced that we were working with Discord to streamline your audio experience so that you can play with friends from all your gaming communities right from your Xbox. Starting today, Discord Voice is available on all Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One consoles.

Discord Roster Final Image

With this update, you can now chat with anyone on Discord via voice channels or group calls directly from your console, making it easy to connect with friends across mobile, Xbox, and PC. This means that you will be able to see who is in the call and speaking while you are playing on your console. You’ll also be able to adjust the sound and switch between Discord Voice and Xbox game chat while you play all your favorite games.

To get started, head to the Discord mobile app and link your Discord account to your Xbox. You’ll need to do this step even if you’ve linked accounts before. After that, you can join any Discord voice channel or call and transfer it to your Xbox.

Thank you to all our Xbox Insiders who gave feedback to help shape the experience. Stay tuned – we’re excited to bring more Discord experiences to Xbox in the future!

Related:
Connect Your Worlds – Discord Voice Chat Comes to Xbox Consoles for Xbox Insiders
Coming Soon to Xbox Game Pass: Control, Doom Eternal, Holiday Offer, and More
Xbox Game Pass at gamescom 2020
14 Sep 08:24

I once converted code from Pascal to C by simply running it through a compiler then fixing the errors that occurred. I didn't understand either language.

by @fesshole

I once converted code from Pascal to C by simply running it through a compiler then fixing the errors that occurred. I didn't understand either language.

12 Sep 10:13

Sometimes digestive biscuits make so many crumbs I just stick the whole thing in my mouth and eat it like a snake

by @fesshole

Sometimes digestive biscuits make so many crumbs I just stick the whole thing in my mouth and eat it like a snake

07 Sep 10:34

Lunar Lander playable in Windows file copy dialogs

by Andy Baio
never be bored again while waiting for huge files to copy #
07 Sep 10:30

Kiwi Farms is effectively offline

by Andy Baio
good riddance #
07 Sep 08:44

A van cut me up and stopped at the lights. I texted the number on the side, "I know what you have done; the game is up.' Two days later he replied, "I'm going to tell her everything, just give me a couple of days."

by @fesshole

A van cut me up and stopped at the lights. I texted the number on the side, "I know what you have done; the game is up.'
Two days later he replied, "I'm going to tell her everything, just give me a couple of days."

06 Sep 08:17

RT by @molly0xFFF: "If in 13 years you haven't been able to demonstrate a use case other than fraud, you need to prove yourself before hiding behind the argument of innovation" #CryptoTechPolicy

by @sgrif

"If in 13 years you haven't been able to demonstrate a use case other than fraud, you need to prove yourself before hiding behind the argument of innovation" #CryptoTechPolicy

05 Sep 07:56

After many years of misuse I recently discovered that Head and Shoulders is actually only for the head.

by @fesshole

After many years of misuse I recently discovered that Head and Shoulders is actually only for the head.

30 Aug 13:42

John Deere tractors jailbroken at DefCon, allowing farmers to repair their own equipment

by Andy Baio
and yes, this means you can play Doom on them #
30 Aug 09:16

I'm a 24m. In my spare time, i run an OF account of me, but only my feet. I do it under the guise that I'm female, but nowhere does it say that i am, so i don't feel bad. I made £2300 in a span of 2 months. I don't even like feet. The internet is wild

by @fesshole

I'm a 24m. In my spare time, i run an OF account of me, but only my feet. I do it under the guise that I'm female, but nowhere does it say that i am, so i don't feel bad. I made £2300 in a span of 2 months. I don't even like feet. The internet is wild

24 Aug 14:06

After choosing to keep the crypto, divorcee wants a do-over

A letter-writer seeking advice from the Financial Times wrote, "I got divorced last year and as part of the financial agreement, my ex-wife and I agreed that I would keep my cryptocurrency assets while she got the lion’s share of my pension and other investments, and we split the family home. When we negotiated last autumn, the crypto market was riding high and I was convinced it would go higher still, but following the recent crash my digital assets have more than halved in value. I’m now considerably worse off than my ex and worried about my financial future. She says I only have myself to blame and won’t discuss the matter further. Can I go to court to renegotiate our financial order?"

As expected, the lawyer consulted by the FT informed them that their chances of a do-over were pretty slim, and suggested that individuals negotiating a split with a partner don't take on all the high-risk assets like this person did.

As of August 20, Bitcoin was trading at around $21,200—70% lower than at its all-time-high of $69,000 in November 2021. Other major cryptocurrencies are faring similarly poorly, with ETH down 67% to $1,630 from its all-time-high of $4,890.

24 Aug 11:02

For years I thought the term "Checkhov's gun" was somehow related to Star Trek.

by @fesshole
Merijn

It's not???

For years I thought the term "Checkhov's gun" was somehow related to Star Trek.

24 Aug 11:00

Wife and kid went to London for weekend. Said they were going to M&Ms shop. Great I thought, I love M&Ms. They bought me a pair of socks. Fucking livid is an understatement.

by @fesshole

Wife and kid went to London for weekend. Said they were going to M&Ms shop. Great I thought, I love M&Ms. They bought me a pair of socks. Fucking livid is an understatement.

24 Aug 10:08

I have one of the highest rated cat accounts on Twitter. I hate cats

by @fesshole

I have one of the highest rated cat accounts on Twitter. I hate cats

27 Jul 10:35

Molly White on victim-blaming in the crypto crash

by Andy Baio
related: her excerpts from letters to the judges of the Celsius Network and Voyager Digital bankruptcy cases #
26 Jul 08:54

Spotify buys Heardle daily music game

by Andy Baio
Merijn

Yeah.. Spotify immediately geolocked it to US/UK/Australia, so bye bye Heardle. :(

they already switched from SoundCloud to Spotify in several countries #
26 Jul 08:54

Absurd AI-generated food photography with DALL-E 2

by Andy Baio
Max Woolf serves up Rubik's Cube PB&Js and five-dimensional burgers #
25 Jul 12:41

GameStop's new NFT platform features an NFT mimicking a victim of 9/11

A rendering resembling the famous "The Falling Man" photo. A man in an astronaut suit falls headfirst, with a striped background resembling a tall office tower.

GameStop's brand new NFT platform, which launched on July 12, is off to a less than promising start. Unlike some other NFT platforms like OpenSea, Gamestop does not allow just anyone to create and list NFTs—creators have to apply and be approved individually.

One of their artists, "Jules", created an NFT clearly modeled after The Falling Man, a well-known photograph of a man falling from the upper floors of the World Trade Center during the September 11 attacks in New York City. The NFT is also titled Falling Man, and pictures a model in the same position, but wearing an astronaut suit.

Not only is GameStop selling an NFT of the victim of a tragedy, it's a featured image when Googling "GameStop".