Wednesday, August 30, 2017

"War is the continuation of politics by other means."  Well, so is state sponsored hacking. 
North Korea Accused of Stealing Bitcoin to Bolster Finances
   This basic premise that North Korea is targeting bitcoins is reiterated in a report from the United Press International news agency.  It says, "The CWIC Cyber Warfare Research Center in South Korea stated a domestic exchange for bitcoin, the worldwide cryptocurrency and digital payment system, has been the target of an attempted hacking...  CWIC's Simon Choi said it is 'not only one or two exchanges where attack attempts have been made'."

Use any advantage you can find (or create)?
Jamie Williams and Amul Kalia write:
Good news out of a court in San Francisco: a judge just issued an early ruling against LinkedIn’s abuse of the notorious Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) to block a competing service from perfectly legal uses of publicly available data on its website.  LinkedIn’s behavior is just the sort of bad development we expected after the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit delivered two dangerously expansive interpretations of the CFAA last year—despite our warnings that the decisions would be easily misused.
Read more on EFF.
[From the article: 
Within weeks after the decisions came out, LinkedIn started sending out cease and desist letters citing the bad case law—specifically Power Ventures—to companies it said were violating its prohibition on scraping.  One company LinkedIn targeted was hiQ Labs, which provides analysis of data on LinkedIn user’s publicly available profiles.  Linkedin had tolerated hiQ’s behavior for years, but after the Power Ventures decision, it apparently saw an opportunity to shut down a competing service.  LinkedIn sent hiQ letters warning that any future access of its website, even the public portions, were “without permission and without authorization” and thus violations of the CFAA. 

Interesting, but will customers be willing to walk to the curb (in rain, snow, dark of night, or from their 12th floor apartment) to retrieve their pizzas? 
Ford driverless cars to deliver Domino's pizzas
   Participants will receive text messages as the self-driving vehicle approaches with instructions on how to retrieve their pizza, which can be unlocked from a “heatwave compartment” inside the vehicle using a unique code.

Perspective.  Because one AI isn’t enough?  Note that they won’t share data. 
Alexa meets Cortana: Amazon and Microsoft to integrate their digital assistants
Amazon and Microsoft announced something of a curveball this morning as they released plans to integrate Alexa and Cortana, their respective voice-activated digital assistants.
Later this year, consumers will be able to request Cortana support through Alexa-powered devices, such as Amazon’s range of Echo smart speakers, while those using a Cortana-enabled device will be able to beckon Alexa.

Who could possibly be interested. 
FBI shuts down request for files on Hillary Clinton by citing lack of public interest
The FBI is declining to turn over files related to its investigation of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails by arguing a lack of public interest in the matter.
   in a letter sent this week and obtained by Fox News, the head of the FBI’s Records Management Division told Clevenger that the bureau has “determined you have not sufficiently demonstrated that the public’s interest in disclosure outweighs personal privacy interests of the subject.”

How could I pass up an article with a title like this?
Who Falls for Fake News? The Roles of Analytic Thinking, Motivated Reasoning, Political Ideology, and Bullshit Receptivity
by on
Pennycook, Gordon and Rand, David G., Who Falls for Fake News?  The Roles of Analytic Thinking, Motivated Reasoning, Political Ideology, and Bullshit Receptivity (August 21, 2017).  Available at SSRN:
“Inaccurate beliefs pose a threat to democracy and fake news represents a particularly egregious and direct avenue by which inaccurate beliefs have been propagated via social media.  Here we investigate the cognitive psychological profile of individuals who fall prey to fake news.  We find a consistent positive correlation between the propensity to think analytically – as measured by the Cognitive Reflection Test (CRT) – and the ability to differentiate fake news from real news (“media truth discernment”).  This was true regardless of whether the article’s source was indicated (which, surprisingly, also had no main effect on accuracy judgments).  Contrary to the motivated reasoning account, CRT was just as positively correlated with media truth discernment, if not more so, for headlines that aligned with individuals’ political ideology relative to those that were politically discordant.  The link between analytic thinking and media truth discernment was driven both by a negative correlation between CRT and perceptions of fake news accuracy (particularly among Hillary Clinton supporters), and a positive correlation between CRT and perceptions of real news accuracy (particularly among Donald Trump supporters).  This suggests that factors that undermine the legitimacy of traditional news media may exacerbate the problem of inaccurate political beliefs among Trump supporters, who engaged in less analytic thinking and were overall less able to discern fake from real news (regardless of the news’ political valence).  We also found consistent evidence that pseudo-profound bullshit receptivity negatively correlates with perceptions of fake news accuracy; a correlation that is mediated by analytic thinking.  Finally, analytic thinking was associated with an unwillingness to share both fake and real news on social media.  Our results indicate that the propensity to think analytically plays an important role in the recognition of misinformation, regardless of political valence – a finding that opens up potential avenues for fighting fake news.”  

Cute.  I haven’t seen a tool like this in years. 
Interactive web visualization of information about capabilities consequences of missile launches
by on
MISSILEMAP is an interactive web visualization meant to aid in the understanding of information about the capabilities and consequences of missile launches, in particular nuclear-armed ballistic missiles.  It allows for the graphical representation of ranges, great-circle paths, accuracy (Circular Error Probable), blast damage, and probabilities of kill (the chance that a given weapon will put a particular amount of blast damage on a target).  It was made to aid in discussions about missile development, since the technical nature of honest-to-god “rocket science” can make it rather impenetrable from the perspective of laymen, yet many of the fundamental questions are key to local understanding of geopolitical questions (e.g., “could North Korea hit my city with their latest missile?”).  It was created by Alex Wellerstein, a historian of science and technology at the College of Arts and Letters at the Stevens Institute of Technology, in Hoboken, New Jersey, USA.  The site’s hosting is paid for by the College of Arts and Letters.  It is programmed in Javascript, making extensive use of JQuery and the D3.js libraries, as well as the Google Maps Web API.  Professor Wellerstein is a historian of nuclear weapons, the creator of the NUKEMAP, the author of the Restricted Data Blog, and developed this application using Cold War-era algorithms that have long since been declassified…”

How to test online students? 
Skype’s new ‘Interviews’ feature lets you test candidates using a real-time code editor
Skype recently introduced a feature designed to cement its place among business users who aren’t as interested in things like emoji reactions or “Stories.”  It now supports conducting technical interviews via its service through a new Skype Interviews feature.  From a dedicated website, interviewers can test candidates in seven programing languages over Skype using a real-time code editor.
The feature was introduced a few days ago as a technical preview, and currently only works in the browser version of Skype, Microsoft tells us.
Of course, there are already a number of solutions for conducting interviews with remote technical talent on the market, like HackerRank, Codility, Interview Zen, CoderPad,, HireVue’s CodeVue (née CodeEval), and others.
But the benefit to using Skype is the platform’s ubiquity, which makes it a regular tool for doing remote video calls of any kind.  Bundling in an interview testing feature within Skype could speed up the interview process, as subjects won’t have to switch to a different tool to complete the technical screening.

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