Sunday, 10 December

10:00 EST

Margaret Thatcher sold off public housing to create "the dignity of ownership" and today 40% of that housing is owned by gouging landlords [Boing Boing]

The theory behind Margaret Thatcher's sell-off of publicly funded council housing under the "right to buy" scheme was that poor people would buy their houses and then the structural factors keeping them poor would vanish in a puff of smoke, and the poor people would stop being poor (also, and as a completely unintentional side-effect, owning a home is correlated with voting for Tories and renting is correlated with voting Labour, but again, that was totally not what old Maggie was thinking, honestly). (more…)

Eco-friendly bamboo toy cars and planes [Boing Boing]

Giant Grass Design recently did a successful crowdfunding round to create eco-friendly bamboo toy vehicles. These look like lots of fun! (more…)

09:00 EST

On The Hunt For The 'Love' In Granola: A Story About Loving Yourself [News : NPR]

The FDA infamously sanctioned the Nashoba Brook Bakery for listing "love" as an ingredient in its granola, but our writer went on a quest to get that recipe. What she found was a treasure of another sort, one of value for those with eating disorders.

The FDA infamously sanctioned a bakery for listing "love" as an ingredient, but our writer wanted that recipe. She found a treasure of another sort, one of value for those with eating disorders.

(Image credit: Courtesy of Nashoba Brook Bakery)

08:00 EST

Houston Ship Channel And Galveston Bay Digging Out After Harvey [News : NPR]

Francisco Vasquez at work on the Prestige Oysters boat The Diplomat.

The sediment and muddy freshwater that spilled into these Texas bodies of water are causing problems for the shipping and oyster industries.

(Image credit: Scott Dalton/for NPR)

A Visit To Houston's Himalaya: Pakistani And Indian Food With Deep Texas Roots [News : NPR]

Lashkari gives us a tour of his kitchen. He

Chef Kaiser Lashkari's Pakistani restaurant has become a Houston institution. It's also emblematic of the multi-ethnic city itself, with flavors that borrow happily from other culinary traditions.

(Image credit: Peter Breslow/NPR)

As Mueller's Russia Probe Forges Ahead, Potential Legal Endgames Begin to Take Shape [News : NPR]

Protesters outside the federal courthouse where Michael Flynn pleaded guilty early this month speculate what is coming next in the special counsel probe.

No one on the outside knows what cards Robert Mueller holds, but his actions offer some clues. Here's a look at some of the laws the special counsel might try to use in a potential prosecutions.

(Image credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Rows Of Hot Pink Paper, All Saying #MeToo [News : NPR]

Artist Monica Mayer is the creator of the El Tendedero/The Clothesline Project, now at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Mexican artist Monica Mayer brings her "Clothesline Project" to the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C.

(Image credit: Carolyn Rogers/NPR)

07:00 EST

Ask Slashdot: Are There Any Good Smartwatches Or Fitness Trackers? [Slashdot]

"What's your opinion on the current state of smartwatches?" asks long-time Slashdot reader rodrigoandrade. He's been researching both smartwatches and fitness trackers, and shares his own opinions: - Manufacturers have learnt from Moto 360 that people want round smartwatches that actually look like traditional watches, with a couple of glaring exceptions.... - Android Wear 2.0 is a thing, not vaporware. It's still pretty raw (think of early Android phones) but it works well. The LG Sport Watch is the highest-end device that supports it. - LTE-enabled smartwatches finally allow you to ditch your smartphone, if you wish. Just pop you nano SIM in it and party on. The availability is still limited to a few SKUs in some countries, and they're ludicrously expensive, but it's getting there. Keep reading for his assessment of four high-end choices -- and share your own opinions in the comments.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

06:00 EST

Biologists With Drones And Peanut Butter Pellets Are On A Mission To Help Ferrets [News : NPR]

Black-footed ferrets are the most endangered mammal in North America. Scientists in Montana are trying to save the ferrets by saving their main food source, prairie dogs.

To increase populations of the endangered black-footed ferret, scientists aim to save prairie dogs, a main food source. The biologists use drones and medicated peanut butter-flavored pellets to do it.

(Image credit: Kathryn Scott Osler/Denver Post via Getty Images)

04:00 EST

'Cards Against Humanity' Gives Out $1000 Checks [Slashdot]

An anonymous reader writes: In November "Cards Against Humanity" announced "a complicated holiday promotion" where people paid $15 for six surprises in December. (For the first surprise in the Cards Against Humanity Saves America promotion, "we purchased a plot of vacant land on the border and retained a law firm specializing in eminent domain to make it as time-consuming and expensive as possible for Trump to build his wall.") The second surprise was the launch of a new podcast filled with positive news, and for the third surprise, they're redistributing the money people paid to join the event. "Most of our subscribers (about 140,000 people) got nothing today — they could have it worse. The next 10,000 subscribers received a full $15 refund of their Cards Against Humanity Saves America purchase. Finally, the poorest 100 people received a check for $1,000, paid for by everyone else." A new web page shares stories from the grateful participants, and explains the site's careful methodology for determining who needed the $1,000 checks the most. ("We excluded all Canadians. They already have universal healthcare. They'll be fine.") It argues that wealth inequality is the biggest issue in the world, but "Our lawyers advised against our first choice — a campaign to eat all the rich people and live in their houses — so we settled for something more achievable."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

01:00 EST

Intel's ME May Be Massively Infringing on Minix3's Free Software License [Slashdot]

Software engineer (and IP Watchdog contributor) Fredrik Ohrstrom (a.k.a. Slashdot reader anjara) writes: Almost all Free Software licenses (BSD, MIT, GPL...) require some sort of legal notice (legal attribution) given to the recipient of the software, both when the software is distributed in source and in binary forms. The legal notice usually contains the copyright holder's name and the license text. This means that it's not possible to hide and keep secret the existence of Free Software that you have stuck into your product that you distribute. If you do so, then you are not complying with the Free Software license and you are committing a copyright infringement! This is exactly what Intel seems to have done with the Intel ME. The Minix3 operating system license requires a legal notice, but so far it seems like Intel has not given the necessary legal notices. (Probably because they want to keep the inside of the ME secret.) Thus not only is Minix3 the most installed OS on our recent x86 CPUs -- but it might also the most pirated OS on our recent x86 CPUs!

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Saturday, 09 December

23:00 EST

Bros go to LA city council to speak for house parties [Boing Boing]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=tFUKsthR-Ts&app=desktop

Chad Kroeger, a Youtuber whose persona is a kind of stoner party-bro, attended a City Council hearing to discuss a plan to prohibit house parties and gave a passionate speech in defense of these parties as a way of helping lost young men realize their full potential; once gaveled out of the speaker's box, his confederate took the stand and continued. This is genius, Andy Kaufman-grade performance art. We howled with laughter in my house. (Thanks, Alistair!)

22:00 EST

San Diego Comic-Con Wins Trademark Suit Against 'Salt Lake Comic Con' [Slashdot]

The Deseret News reports: A jury has found that Salt Lake Comic Con founders Dan Farr and Bryan Brandenburg, along with their company, violated a trademark when they named their fan convention a "comic con." However, the jury decided that the trademark was not willfully violated, and only awarded $20,000 of the $12 million that San Diego Comic-Con had asked for in damages. The decision came at the end of an eight-day jury trial and three years of legal maneuvering... And with an estimated 140 other fan conventions across the country calling themselves comic cons, the impact of the decision could be felt nationwide... The Salt Lake group also has an ongoing action with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office seeking to invalidate San Diego's "comic-con" trademark... San Diego Comic-Con, which has been holding events since 1970, has a trademark on "comic-con" with a hyphen, but was unsuccessful in its 1995 bid to trademark "comic con," with a space. The unhyphenated name "Comic Con International," as well as the event's iconic "eye logo," are also protected by trademark. The event maintains that its trademarks cover the term "comic con" in all its forms... San Diego Comic-Con wanted more than $12 million in damages from Salt Lake, including over $9 million for a three-month "corrective advertising campaign" to dispel confusion... In his closing arguments, Michael Katz, an attorney for Salt Lake Comic Con, questioned the amount San Diego was seeking, noting that San Diego authorities said during trial the organization generally spends between $20,000 and $30,000 for a month of advertising. Slashdot reader AlanBDee writes: When I attended the Salt Lake City Comic Con I did assume it was the same organization that put on San Diego Comic-Con... But now I have to wonder how that will affect other Comic Cons around the nation? What should these comic based fan conventions be called if not Comic Con?

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

20:00 EST

Autocratic Governments Can Now 'Buy Their Own NSA' [Slashdot]

Citizen Lab has been studying information controls since 2001, and this week their director -- a Toronto political science professor -- revealed how governments (including Ethiopia's) are using powerful commercial spyware. Slashdot reader mspohr shared their report: We monitored the command and control servers used in the campaign and in doing so discovered a public log file that the operators mistakenly left open... We were also able to identify the IP addresses of those who were targeted and successfully infected: a group that includes journalists, a lawyer, activists, and academics... Many of the countries in which the targets live -- the United States, Canada, and Germany, among others -- have strict wiretapping laws that make it illegal to eavesdrop without a warrant... Our team reverse-engineered the malware used in this instance, and over time this allowed us to positively identify the company whose spyware was being employed by Ethiopia: Cyberbit Solutions, a subsidiary of the Israel-based homeland security company Elbit Systems. Notably, Cyberbit is the fourth company we have identified, alongside Hacking Team, Finfisher, and NSO Group, whose products and services have been abused by autocratic regimes to target dissidents, journalists, and others... Remarkably, by analyzing the command and control servers of the cyber espionage campaign, we were also able to monitor Cyberbit employees as they traveled the world with infected laptops that checked in to those servers, apparently demonstrating Cyberbit's products to prospective clients. Those clients include the Royal Thai Army, Uzbekistan's National Security Service, Zambia's Financial Intelligence Centre, and the Philippine president's Malacañang Palace. Outlining the human rights abuses associated with those government entities would fill volumes.... Governments like Ethiopia no longer depend on their own in-country advanced computer science, engineering, and mathematical capacity in order to build a globe-spanning cyber espionage operation. They can simply buy it off the shelf from a company like Cyberbit. Thanks to companies like these, an autocrat whose country has poor national infrastructure but whose regime has billions of dollars, can order up their own NSA. To wit: Elbit Systems, the parent company of Cyberbit, says it has a backlog of orders valuing $7 billion. Reached for comment, Cyberbit said they were not responsible with what others do with their software, arguing that "governmental authorities and law enforcement agencies are responsible to ensure that they are legally authorized to use the products in their jurisdictions."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

19:00 EST

China Has Launched the World's First All-Electric Cargo Ship [Slashdot]

slash.jit writes: China has launched the world's first all-electric cargo ship. It can travel 80 kilometers (approximately 50 miles) after being charged for 2 hours. As noted by Clean Technica, 2 hours is roughly the amount of time it would take to unload the ship's cargo while docked. Oh...and Ironically, the world's first all-electric cargo ship is being used to move coal. China Daily reports that the 230 foot long vessel is equipped with a 2,400 kWh lithium-ion battery, a cheaper and cleaner power supply. And Clean Technica notes that that battery is comprised of 1,000 individual lithium-ion packs, while "Adding enough power to carry more cargo is simply a matter of adding more battery packs."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

'Millennials': Be Careful How We Use This Label [News : NPR]

According to a new note on The Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal announced that it would consider how it uses the term "millennial." Linguist Ben Zimmer weighs in on whether this term has painted a whole generation with too broad a brush.

(Image credit: Optician Training/Flickr)

DNC Group Calls For Drastic Cut In 'Superdelegates' As Part Of Nomination Process [News : NPR]

DNC Chairman Tom Perez has called for the party to reform the way it uses superdelegates in its presidential nominating process.

The Unity Reform Commission is calling for a 60 percent reduction in superdelegates and wants the party to offer same-day party affiliation switching. It calls its recommendations "historic."

(Image credit: George Frey/Getty Images)

Despite Maduro's Unpopularity, Venezuela's Opposition Isn't A Shoo-In For Election [News : NPR]

Venezuelans are suffering under increasing shortages of food, medicine, and other basics. But growing anger from this has not translated into greater success at the ballot box for the opposition.

Reaction To Trump's Appearance At Mississippi Civil Rights Museum [News : NPR]

President Trump appears at the grand opening of the Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum even as the NAACP and civil rights activists say his presence is an insult.

SoCal Wildfire Victim Tells Her Story [News : NPR]

The ongoing SoCal wildfires have burned more than 100,000 acres, forced thousands of people to evacuate, and destroyed hundreds of structures. Cal Fire says there is no end in sight.

18:00 EST

Top-selling handgun safe can be remotely opened in seconds—no PIN needed [Ars Technica]

Enlarge (credit: Two Sixes Labs)

One of Amazon's top-selling electronic gun safes contains a critical vulnerability that allows it to be opened by virtually anyone, even when they don't know the password.

The Vaultek VT20i handgun safe, ranked fourth in Amazon's gun safes and cabinets category, allows owners to electronically open the door using a Bluetooth-enabled smartphone app. The remote unlock feature is supposed to work only when someone knows the four- to eight-digit personal identification number used to lock the device. But it turns out that this PIN safeguard can be bypassed using a standard computer and a small amount of programming know-how.

As the video demonstration below shows, researchers with security firm Two Six Labs were able to open a VT20i safe in a matter of seconds by using their MacBook Pro to send specially designed Bluetooth data while it was in range. The feat required no knowledge of the unlock PIN or any advanced scanning of the vulnerable safe. The hack works reliably even when the PIN is changed. All that's required to make it work is that the safe have Bluetooth connectivity turned on.

Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

How to Live an Aligned Life [Tynan | Life Outside the Box]

Have you ever noticed that amongst people who seem to be doing "the right thing", results vary wildly? Throughout my life I've met a ton of hard workers with great habits. You'd expect that they would all do similarly well, but they don't. Some are very happy, fulfilled, and successful, while others seem to always be struggling.

Some of this, of course, is luck. One one hand it would be sort of neat if your results always matched your input exactly, but at the same time that would probably make life less exciting. No one would play a slot machine that just took three cents every single time they pulled the handle.

It's not all luck, though. And while we will all be subject to luck, those who count on it tend to not do well.

One thing I've noticed is that people who have everything aligned in their lives tend to do better. I know that personally when I've had stuff aligned, my results have been a lot better.

Of the millions of habits and routines and influences we each have, some will always be in conflict with each other. For example, my traveling constantly to spend time with friends all over the world is certainly not aligned with building a bigger business.

But most of my life is pretty well aligned, and that's a deliberate choice.

When I coach people I often start them off with habits that will trickle down and help other ones. For example, getting down good time management is aligned with just about everything in life. If you have bad time management, that habit is in direct conflict with everything else you do.

Other big ones are diet and sleep. If you don't have those aligned with your life, every single thing you do will be harder to some degree.

A good way to think of it is to imagine that you are swimming in a river. If the tide is raging against you, no amount of swimming is going to get you upstream. But in life you can control the river AND the swimming. And, in fact, if you just get the river flowing fast enough in the right direction, you don't have to swim very hard all the time.

So how do you align things in your life?

Think of your life as a tree. Not a literal one, but a drawing of a tree. There are thousands of leaves, and you want them all to be alive and green. Most people go around looking at each leaf and trying to nuture it individually, but there are so many leaves that it requires constant work. But instead of working on a leaf, you can just work on the branch it's on, which will affect all of the leaves. Or you can work even further upstream on a big branch that contains a lot of branches attached to it.

In other words, instead of working on things you want to change, think about what aspects in your life affect those things. Then work on those things, or figure out which things affect them. The further towards the trunk of the tree you go, the more you'll get from your input, even though the results will be diffused over a lot of leaves. If you make a habit of working on these, gradually all of the leaves begin to flip and stay that way.

You'll be doing a lot of work, both productive work and work on yourself. May as well make sure that it's all aligned and that most of what you're working on helps the other parts.

###

Photo is me sailing on a boat in the SF Bay!

Thanks for all of the people who want to sign up for the Superhuman #1 event. I will get back to everyone soon. Still have 2-3 spots open.

My RV is back for sale. A note from the seller:

I had been looking for a 1996 Rialta for over two years, so I was pretty excited upon learning that Tynan's RV—which I had read about in his book The Tiniest Mansion and seen in a video he posted on YouTube—was on sale. I flew all the way from England to pick up the vehicle, which I planned to drive to the East Coast and then ship to Europe. In the meantime, however, I got involved in a serious relationship and decided to put an end to my nomadic lifestyle. Ideally, I would still want to keep the RV for occasional trips, but I need the money to buy a new house, so I decided to sell it. The Rialta is in a slightly better condition than it was when Tynan sold it a year ago: the guy to whom Tynan sold it made various improvements, and I haven't myself used it other than to drive it from LA to San Francisco, where it's currenty parked. You can read the details in Tynan's post. I'm selling it for the same price Tynan sold it, which is also the price I paid for it ($30k), though I'm happy to consider reasonable offers. If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch at pablo@stafforini.com.

>> Comment on this Post · Like this Post

Emotion Recognition Systems Could Be Used In Job Interviews [Slashdot]

dcblogs writes: Emotion recognition software identifies micro-expressions through video analysis. These are expressions that may be as fast as 1/25 of a second and invisible to the human eye, but a close analysis of video can detect them. These systems are being used in marketing research, but some employers may be interested in using them to assess job candidates. Vendors claim these systems can be used to develop a personality profile and discover a good cultural fit. The technology raises concerns, illustrated earlier this year who showed that face-reading technology could use photographs to determine sexual orientation with a high degree of accuracy. One company has already added face recognition into their iPad-based time clock, which the company's CEO thinks could be adapted to also detect an employee's mood when they're clocking out. Yet even he has his reservations. While he thinks it could provide more accurate feedback from employees, he also admits that "There's something very Big Brother about it."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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