- Columnist Dan Savage asks the entirely reasonable question, “Why are people horrified at Gawker for outing one cheating dude, yet gleeful over hackers outing 37 million of them?”
- After Hieu Minh Ngo was convicted of a massive series of identity thefts, a class-action suit has been instituted against credit bureau Experian, which is accused of violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act, among a variety of other things. The plaintiffs want to force Experian to contact anyone who may have been affected by Ngo’s activities, to offer them a full year of free credit monitoring, to disgorge any profits Experian may have realized from Ngo’s scheme and to establish a fund to reimburse people affected by Ngo’s activities.
- AshleyMadison CEO Noel Biderman made an effort to pitch Robert Scoble on how incredibly serious they were about security. You’d think they might’ve considered encrypting their databases.
- A possible breach at PNI Digital Media, providers of a widely-used online photo management platform, has had the effect of causing CVS, Rite-Aid, CostCo and a number of others to shut down their photo-processing services.
- The Federal Trade Commission is taking action against putative identity-protection firm Lifelock, for lying about its services, a charge it has faced in the past. Additionally, the FTC has charged that LifeLock failed to implement a meaningful security program (STOP ME IF YOU’VE HEARD THIS ONE BEFORE!), falsely claimed that it offered consumers protection comparable with that of major financial institutions with regard to their own data, and had failed to meet the record-keeping requirements of the company’s $12 million, 2010 settlement with the Commission and 35 states’ attorneys general.
Drones, Drones, Drones
Society & Culture
- If you talk with your co-workers about your salaries at Google — discovering all sorts of untoward things in the process, evidently — your manager will give you a hard time about it, in spite of the fact that doing so is completely illegal in California.
- Breitbart chucklehead and Donald Trump impersonator Milo Yiannopoulos doesn’t believe women should be involved in tech. No one’s got time for that kind of stupid, especially not Margaret Hamilton, who led software development for the moon landing and coined the term “software engineering”.
- Speaking of “Breitbart chuckleheads”, editor Ben Shapiro has filed assault charges against transgender reporter Zoey Tur after she put her hand on his neck and called him a “little man”. Why so serious, Ben? Feeling…inadequate…?
- A young iOS developer hurls herself to her death from a 20th-floor rooftop bar in Manhattan’s Flatiron district. Other patrons, attending a “corporate event”, are unperturbed and just keep on drinking.
- A study by researchers at the University of New South Wales and the University of Florida has found that the worse a guy is at games the more likely he is to make negative comments toward women gamers. U JELLY BRO?
- Remember how people used to “run away to the Big City” to make their fortune? Got a median income? Here are all the big cities you can’t afford to live in, and when they became unaffordable. San Francisco crossed that line in 1982.
- A 6-foot 4-inch 260 pound South Carolina construction worker has been arrested for slapping a waitress (on whom he had 120 pounds and 13 inches) when she took issue with his racially harassing a black family while they were trying to have dinner. Reportedly, he was under the impression that the family “didn’t mind” being abused.
- Been bitten by a rattlesnake? Expect an enormous hospital bill. ObamaCare has improved things, but the American health care system is very broken.
Other Stuff (and #CannibalismInTheNews!)
A burglar manages to take a selfie by accident while stealing an iPhone from the apartment he’s broken into. Venice, California police are requesting help in identifying this dolt. Guys like this are the reason “crime doesn’t pay” — they bring down the average.
“Pot polish” — the rounding of broken bone edges when they’ve been cooking in a pot — as well as cut marks on the bones show pretty conclusively that the doomed Franklin Expedition of 1845 did, indeed, resort to cannibalism.
Relatedly, Dan Simmons’ book The Terror is a terrific fantasy novelization of the privations and demise of John Franklin and his two ships full of hapless, doomed explorers.
Missed yesterday’s Festival of Links? Check it out here.
What I’m hearing from people is that they’re going to miss the raft of links I typically would post on Facebook about the news and other stories that had caught my interest. Here’s a first stab at providing something as a replacement.
Discussion in the comments. (Comments are moderated, get over it.)
- AshleyMadison.com, a site which purports to enable one to have a “discreet affair”, got hacked and badly. As many as 37 million users are at risk of having their personal data—including ther “kinky sexual fantasies” posted online. A group calling itself “Impact Team” is taking responsibility, and it all seems to be over an issue of not scrubbing data after hitting up customers for $19 to do so.
What astounds me here is the moralizing in the comments. A site with your medical or financial records, or lists of purchases you’ve made that you might not want your boss to know about, can be hacked just as easily as a cheating-on-your-wife site you despise. The blue-nosed “YOU DESERVE THIS!” tone of the attackers’ taunts suggests to me that Chansters are behind this somewhere. They’re all about ethics, you know.
- From the “Stop Me If You’ve Hurt This One Before” desk, Android is again being called out as a security risk owing to the tremendous amount of fragmentation in the platform. This time, security researchers have written a paper on it (link in the article).
- After discovering that one of the zero-day exploits they sold to hacking team had in turn been sold to human-rights-violating regimes, Netagard has shut down its controversial Exploit Acquisition Program. Again.
- Completely aside from the potential impact on jobs and the economy, there’s a side of those “self-driving cars” that’s not getting discussed in all the excitement. Here’s a story relating a demonstration of hacking a Jeep on the highway, and taking it over. We’ve already seen drones spoofed with fake GPS; while robot cars may well reduce accidental traffic fatalities, I’d bet any amount of money we’ll see some deliberate ones. You know: for the “lulz”.
- 1stWebDesigner has a nice list of fifty books every web designer should read. I was pretty impressed with how much their list overlaps with my bookshelf.
- One of the first science-fiction books I read, and enjoyed a lot, was Eando Binder’s “Adam Link, Robot”. In the story, Adam, the first sentient robot is put on trial for the death of his creator. This story ask the question, “When a robot kills someone”—as recently happened at a Volkswagen plant in Germany—”who’s responsible?”
- Kids are wild about Minecraft, and that’s a good thing.
- Web designers, here’s a great tutorial on using SASS and Susy to set up a grid-based web page with ease.
- Speaking of Android, if you’re looking for podcasting support, you don’t want Android.
Society & Culture
- Yesterday was the 46th anniversary of the first landing on the moon. I remember sitting in my dad’s apartment, watching it on a tiny black-and-white TV. Here’s a story of someone the same age as I, who was watching it while I was, and how it affected his life.
- According to this story in Salon, instant rāmen noodles are an environmental disaster. Instant rāmen noodles are fried to creates “holes” in the noodles that let them cook in three minutes; the frying is done with palm oil. Lots of palm oil. So much palm oil that it’s destroying entire habitats and endangering orangutan populations in Borneo and Sumatra.
- Astoundingly, it’s being reported that Google’s targeted advertisement algorithms are doing things like showing higher-paying jobs to men than they do to women. Further detail at the MIT Technology Review.
- Robert W. Gibson, who wrote a number of issues of “Captain Harlock”, has passed away at age 55.
Other Stuff (and #WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot!?)
- Ever wondered how you’d portray a mute on stage, or write a blind character in a story, or any number of things? This wonderful reference site is an objet trouvé from the wonderful Mordant Carnival.
- And from the “Tech Geniuses of Silicon Valley” desk, a “wiccan witch” (?) has apparently gotten a business going protecting company’s computers and networks through sorcery.