Friday, September 25, 2015

Oh the horror! Yes, it really is a big deal. (and it is kinds funny)
Temporary Facebook Panic Causes Twitter To Erupt In Chaos: Here Are The Most Hilarious Reactions
When millions of users in some parts of the world lost access to Thursday, Sept. 24, users had to turn to other networks, particularly to Twitter, to vent. As expected, the Facebook outage ignited humorous jabs from Twitter users.
Instead of being greeted with the Facebook homepage, some users received an error message starting at approximately 12:30 p.m. Eastern Time.
… The outage affected Facebook users in Europe, North America, Australia and India, based on the Facebook outage map on
… During the most recent outage, tweets with the hashtag #FacebookDown swelled over Twitter.
Patriots being investigated for recent Facebook crash
I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror...

For my Computer Security and Ethical Hacking students.
Cookies can render secure websites vulnerable in all modern browsers
CERT have issued a new directive notifying that cookies can be used to allow remote attackers to bypass a secure protocol (HTTPS) and reveal private session information – and that modern browsers, including Apple’s Safari, Mozilla’s Firefox and Google’s Chrome, currently provide no protection against the attack vector. Research indicates that secure sites as important as Google and the Bank of America are vulnerable to the technique.
A ‘cookie injection attack’, as described by Xiaofeng Zheng in Cookies Lack Integrity: Real-World Implications [PDF], can be mounted by man-in-the-middle attackers who set cookies throughout their invasive session. Cookies set in this way can facilitate the disclosure of any private data being transmitted in the session.

Missed opportunity. We could have done this.
IoT Security Foundation Launches
The Internet of Things Security Foundation (IoTSF), a collaborative initiative aimed at addressing concerns regarding the security of IoT, launched publicly in London this week.
IoTSF’s creation is the result of an eight month investigative and consultative process, the foundation said, explaining that Its initial focus will be on “promoting excellence in IoT security”, in order to make devices safe to connect. The organization will also make a self-certification for product developers available.
The organization also announced plans for its inaugural conference, scheduled to take place on Dec. 1 at the recently refurbished Savoy Place in London.
The IoT market is still in its infancy and, as it grows, it opens all companies around the world to new security risks, as Agiliance’s Torsten George explains in a recent SecurityWeen column. According to an HP study, 70% of IoT devices are vulnerable to digital attacks.
Learn About IoT Security at the 2015 ICS Cyber Security Conference

It's not what you think. It's scarier.
BIOSURVEILLANCE: Challenges and Options for the National Biosurveillance Integration Center

Has some privacy issues but also might improve the mental health of some of my students.
Take Part In Medical Studies With Your iPhone & ResearchKit

Your tax dollars not quite at work.
Zombie Blimp Project Cost $2.7 Billion
It’s likely that not too many Americans have ever heard of JLENS – short for Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System. It’s the government’s giant radar-equipped blimp defense system that cost taxpayers approximately $2.7 billion over the past 17 years, according to a report Thursday in the Los Angeles Times.
The blimps are to serve as an early warning system if the United States were ever attacked by cruise missiles or weaponized drones. However, even with the high price tag, the system has failed to get off the ground (pun intended) and has now become what defense analysts label a ‘zombie’ project, i.e, one that is “costly, ineffectual and seemingly impossible to kill,” according to the LA Times.

Philosophizing for fun and profit?
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Sep 24, 2015
Via Quartz – This free online encyclopedia has achieved what Wikipedia can only dream of – “The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy may be the most interesting website on the internet. Not because of the content—which includes fascinating entries on everything from ambiguity to zombies—but because of the site itself Its creators have solved one of the internet’s fundamental problems: How to provide authoritative, rigorously accurate knowledge, at no cost to readers. It’s something the encyclopedia, or SEP, has managed to do for two decades. The internet is an information landfill. Somewhere in it—buried under piles of opinion, speculation, and misinformation—is virtually all of human knowledge. The story of the SEP shows that it is possible to create a less trashy internet. But sorting through the trash is difficult work. Even when you have something you think is valuable, it often turns out to be a cheap knock-off. The story of how the SEP is run, and how it came to be, shows that it is possible to create a less trashy internet—or at least a less trashy corner of it. A place where actual knowledge is sorted into a neat, separate pile instead of being thrown into the landfill. Where the world can go to learn everything that we know to be true. Something that would make humans a lot smarter than the internet we have today…”

Of course it does! I don't talk like those twits!
Twitter Language Use Reflects Psychological Differences between Political Parties
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on Sep 24, 2015
PLOS One: “Previous research has shown that political leanings correlate with various psychological factors. While surveys and experiments provide a rich source of information for political psychology, data from social networks can offer more naturalistic and robust material for analysis. This research investigates psychological differences between individuals of different political orientations on a social networking platform, Twitter. Based on previous findings, we hypothesized that the language used by liberals emphasizes their perception of uniqueness, contains more swear words, more anxiety-related words and more feeling-related words than conservatives’ language. Conversely, we predicted that the language of conservatives emphasizes group membership and contains more references to achievement and religion than liberals’ language. We analysed Twitter timelines of 5,373 followers of three Twitter accounts of the American Democratic and 5,386 followers of three accounts of the Republican parties’ Congressional Organizations. The results support most of the predictions and previous findings, confirming that Twitter behaviour offers valid insights to offline behaviour.

Just saying... (Watch the TED talk from the CU Medical Center)
Hate Handwriting? Me Too. Here’s Why We Should Teach It Anyway.
… 41 out of 50 states don’t require handwriting to be taught in schools as of 2014. Maybe you think this is no big deal, after all, why handwrite when we can type?

(Related) Or, if that's too much work...
How To Turn Your Handwriting Into A Font

Strange that the Great American Beer Festival website is down this morning. I wonder why?

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