20 July 2018

Northstar

All the circles are the same color


Zoom your screen to 200% and mouse around to compare if you don't believe.  Via.

Bedroom for siblings in a small house


Clever design to allow privacy in a small space.  Discussion thread includes comments by architect.

Life - and death - on the ocean floor


Narration by ocean scientists monitoring the video feed.  At various places where this video has been posted online I've seen incorrect comments about the burst of "squid ink."  No squids were involved in the making of this video.  The victim is a barracudina; the black ejecta from the pit must be subsurface mud stirred up by the actions of the toadfish.

Unfortunate product name

"Schelde Sports is a Dutch manufacturer of basketballs and volleyballs. Europe is their main market. Outside of the US, mass shootings at schools are not an issue, few people would make the connection with those instead of ‘shooting hoops’... Schelde Sports has since stopped printing ‘shooter’ on their basketballs. Now the label on the balls simply reads ‘School’, ‘Pro’, ‘Club’, etc."

Word for the day: kerf

Like so many simple, short words, kerf is unchanged from the Middle English (the Old English predecessor was cyrf (an act of cutting, a cutting off; a cutting instrument).
  1. The groove or slit created by cutting a workpiece; an incision.
  2. The width of the groove made while cutting with a saw or laser.
  3. The distance between diverging saw teeth.
  4. The portion of hay, turf, wool, etc. yielded by a single cut or shearing stroke.
Posted because I encountered this interesting gif of plywood being kerfed.
"This only shows part of the process. The kerfs will be filled with glue, and the perpendicular notches that run along the kerfs will get a spline similar to a little biscuit joint. Then you trim off the excess and sand the whole thing smooth. They're pretty tough once all the glue is set."
More words to look up (some other day).

A map of crow attacks in Vancouver

 
Crowtrax is an online tool where users can map thousands of crow attacks in the Vancouver area.  More info at The Guardian.

Decorating a Hungarian gingerbread cookie

17 July 2018

How to keep hotel curtains closed


Via the Lifehacks subreddit.

The world's oldest known wild bird - 67 years old

Wisdom, the albatross supermom, has done it again. At 67, the world's oldest known wild bird has laid an egg at her home on the Midway Atoll.  Wisdom and her mate, Akeakamai, return each year to the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument to nest and raise a single chick. On December 13, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) confirmed the pair were incubating a new egg.
In her long life, Wisdom has outlived several mates and raised anywhere from 30 to 35 chicks.

She's also remarkable for having logged an estimated two to three million miles [migrating] since 1956.
Photo via

Arizona lawmaker thinks he's above the law

As reported by Fox News:
Mosley was pulled over on March 27 for driving 97 mph in a 55 mph zone in La Paz County, according to Parker Live. In a video obtained by the website, Mosley was caught telling a deputy that “legislative immunity” prevented him from receiving a ticket for his speeding.

The lawmaker admitted to the deputy he was going 120 mph and sometimes hits speeds of 140 mph.
“Yeah, this thing goes 140. That's what I like about it,” Mosley said.

Mosley was not given a ticket, according to The Arizona Republic. Driving over 85 mph on Arizona highways is a Class 3 misdemeanor, however, which usually results in a fine.

Please don't climb Uluru


Last fall a reader in Tasmania sent me a link to a Guardian article about changes coming to Uluru:
Climbing Uluru in Australia’s red centre will end, traditional owners and national park managers have announced.

They asked visitors to understand the new rule, a long-held request of traditional owners who said they had previously felt “intimidated” into allowing the culturally inappropriate practice to continue...

Anangu have long requested that visitors do not climb the rock, both because it is a deeply sacred men’s site and because of the cultural responsibility they feel over the high number of injuries and deaths... There have been at least 36 known fatalities since the 1950s, and 74 rescues which required medical attention between 2002 and 2009 alone...

Climbing will cease on October 26, 2019, exactly 34 years after the government officially returned the site to its traditional owners.
The photo embedded at the top was posted in the Australia subreddit today, where the top comment is by a former tourguide.

Bohemian Rhapsody trailer


Discussed at the movies subreddit.

Voting-machine vendor admits some machines have remote-access software

Excerpts from a stunning article at Vice's Motherboard:
The nation's top voting machine maker has admitted in a letter to a federal lawmaker that the company installed remote-access software on election-management systems it sold over a period of six years, raising questions about the security of those systems and the integrity of elections that were conducted with them.

In a letter sent to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) in April and obtained recently by Motherboard, Election Systems and Software acknowledged that it had "provided pcAnywhere remote connection software … to a small number of customers between 2000 and 2006," which was installed on the election-management system ES&S sold them.

The statement contradicts what the company told me and fact checkers for a story I wrote for the New York Times in February. At that time, a spokesperson said ES&S had never installed pcAnywhere on any election system it sold. "None of the employees, … including long-tenured employees, has any knowledge that our voting systems have ever been sold with remote-access software," the spokesperson said.

ES&S did not respond on Monday to questions from Motherboard, and it’s not clear why the company changed its response between February and April. Lawmakers, however, have subpoena powers that can compel a company to hand over documents or provide sworn testimony on a matter lawmakers are investigating, and a statement made to lawmakers that is later proven false can have greater consequence for a company than one made to reporters...

ES&S is the top voting machine maker in the country, a position it held in the years 2000-2006 when it was installing pcAnywhere on its systems. The company's machines were used statewide in a number of states, and at least 60 percent of ballots cast in the US in 2006 were tabulated on ES&S election-management systems...

Election-management systems are not the voting terminals that voters use to cast their ballots, but are just as critical: they sit in county election offices and contain software that in some counties is used to program all the voting machines used in the county; the systems also tabulate final results aggregated from voting machines...

But election-management systems and voting machines are supposed to be air-gapped for security reasons—that is, disconnected from the internet and from any other systems that are connected to the internet. ES&S customers who had pcAnywhere installed also had modems on their election-management systems so ES&S technicians could dial into the systems and use the software to troubleshoot, thereby creating a potential port of entry for hackers as well...

Wyden told Motherboard that installing remote-access software and modems on election equipment “is the worst decision for security short of leaving ballot boxes on a Moscow street corner.”
In 2006, the same period when ES&S says it was still installing pcAnywhere on election systems, hackers stole the source code for the pcAnyhere software, though the public didn’t learn of this until years later in 2012 when a hacker posted some of the source code online, forcing Symantec, the distributor of pcAnywhere, to admit that it had been stolen years earlier...

He notes that election officials who purchased the systems likely were not aware of the potential risks they were taking in allowing this and didn’t understand the threat landscape to make intelligent decisions about installing such software.

All of this raises questions about how many counties across the US had remote-access software installed—in addition to ES&S customers—and whether intruders had ever leveraged it to subvert elections...

Wyden says he’s still waiting for ES&S to respond to the outstanding questions he sent the company in March. “ES&S needs to stop stonewalling and provide a full, honest accounting of equipment that could be vulnerable to remote attacks,” he told Motherboard. “When a corporation that makes half of America’s voting machines refuses to answer the most basic cyber security questions, you have to ask what it is hiding.”
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