Monday, February 12, 2018

Hijack a popular add-on, gain the access you couldn’t otherwise hack.
Thousands of US, UK government, academic websites hijacked
The Register: “Thousands of websites around the world – from the UK’s NHS and ICO to the US government’s court system – were today secretly mining crypto-coins on netizens’ web browsers for miscreants unknown. The affected sites all use a fairly popular plugin called Browsealoud, made by Brit biz Texthelp, which reads out webpages for blind or partially sighted people. This technology was compromised in some way – either by hackers or rogue insiders altering Browsealoud’s source code – to silently inject Coinhive’s Monero miner into every webpage offering Browsealoud. For several hours today, anyone who visited a site that embedded Browsealoud inadvertently ran this hidden mining code on their computer, generating money for the miscreants behind the caper. A list of 4,200-plus affected websites can be found here

Just a reminder…
NoMoreRansom: Free Decryption for Latest Cryakl Ransomware
Decryption keys for a current version of Cryakl ransomware have been obtained and uploaded to the NoMoreRansom website. Victims of Cryakl can potentially recover encrypted files with the Rakhni Decryptor available for free from Kaspersky Lab or NoMoreRansom.
NoMoreRansom is a collaborative public/private project launched by Europol, the Dutch National Police, Kaspersky Lab and McAfee in July 2016.

My answer: Nope!
The ethics of AI: Robots will rise, but will they rule us all?
David Danks thinks a lot about the implications of artificial intelligence. In fact, the Carnegie Mellon University philosophy and psychology professor presented his very first research paper at an artificial intelligence conference in Seattle in 2001.
Now, 17 years later, Danks sits at the center of one of the most fascinating (and some might say terrifying debates): How will artificial intelligence effect the human species?
Or, put another way, should we be scared of the robotic future?
… There’s a 50 percent chance that AI will be able to outperform humans in all jobs in the next 45 years, with full automation potentially occurring in 120 years, according to recent research. Some jobs — like retail sales — are projected to be fully automated in less than 20 years.
… Danks — whose research papers have titles such as Trust But Verify: The Difficulty of Trusting Autonomous Weapons Systems and Algorithmic Bias in Autonomous Systems— is in a perfect place to discuss weighty topics of AI and automation, in part because his counterparts at the nearby School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon are some of the best in the world at developing intelligent robots. In that regard, Danks has a front row seat to the coming revolution, one that Barack Obama even warned about in his last public interview as president.

(Related). Should Aetna use AI instead of people?
Former Aetna Medical Director Admits To Never Reviewing Medical Records Before Denying Care

Why the internet dooms the sneaker industry as much as it helps it
Take its effect of flattening the world, for instance. It doesn’t matter if two people are a thousand miles away or sitting in the same room, the internet allows them to send or receive money with the mere tap of a smartphone button. Of course, this also means hackers a world away can even wipe out someone’s life savings in a matter of seconds.
From an e-commerce perspective, the internet allows for the selling of literally anything to anyone. Regarding the sneaker industry, this fact turned a culture predicated on love into one based on business. Because of this, the internet is equally the best, and worst, innovation to happen to sneakers.
Today, hyper sneaker enthusiasts — colloquially referred to as “sneakerheads” — are normally the ones scouring the internet for hyped sneakers with high demand. People make tens of thousands of dollars per month simply reselling shoes, a central reason the sneaker resale market is estimated to be worth roughly $1 billion. An entrepreneurial spirit is well and good until you realize in order for those sneakerheads to make that much money, they have to use the internet to ensure the average person never has a chance at the most coveted of releases.

If it is truly replacing the Simpsons as the face of America, that’s great!
Podcasting Is the New Soft Diplomacy
My friend Lynne Haultain is one of the smartest Australians I know. A dark-haired former radio host, she can boil down just about any complicated subject to a single, delicious epigram. So not long ago, when she told me her theory of the media and globalism and Donald Trump, my ears shot up like Tom Friedman’s. “Podcasting,” Haultain said, “is the new soft diplomacy.”
The idea, she explained over lunch this week, is simple. Haultain always maintained a relationship with America. For decades, that relationship was forged through watching The Wire and reading books like The Art of Fielding and stacking up back issues of The New Yorker next to her bedside. Haultain’s husband and daughter can recite every line from the Australia episode of The Simpsons.
But around the time Donald Trump announced he was running for president, podcasts began to elbow their way into that relationship. These days, the person explaining the wonders and outrages of America is as likely to be New York Times podcast host Michael Barbaro as it is Homer Simpson.
“I listen to The Daily,” Haultain said. “I listen to Up First on NPR. I listen to Trumpcast. I listen to Ezra Klein on Vox. I listen to Mike Pesca on The Gist. Then I have a whole bunch of historical ones. I just listened to Slow Burn on Slate.”
… Whatever appeal American podcasts might have had in Australia is doubled if they offer an explanation for the Trump phenomenon. A lot of Australians wonder how Trump got elected, and how he maintains even sub-40-percent levels of support. Moreover, Trump generates so much news that Australian newspapers and TV shows often don’t get deeper than the outrageous headlines. A podcast — like it does for Americans — offers the “forensic detail,” Haultain said.
… American podcasting serves a final diplomatic function. It not only explains Trump but is an antidote to him. Where Trump is insular and anti-intellectual, podcasting is a reminder that a large swath of America isn’t. “I don’t want to sound trite about this,” Haultain said, “but it saves your reputation.”

Global Warming! Global Warming!
The sun to be cooler by 2050 – study
Based on the cooling spiral of recent solar cycles, scientists from University of California, San Diego believe the next “grand-minimum” is just decades away, during which the Sun will be seven per cent cooler.
… During the grand-minimum in the mid-17th century, named Maunder Minimum, the temperature dropped low enough to freeze the Thames River.
… The phenomenon appears to offer a natural solution to global warming, but scientists invalidated that idea.
They explained that the cooling effect of the grand minimum could merely slow down global warming, but cannot stop it.

Free is good!
Free to Use and Reuse: Making Public Domain and Rights-Clear Content Easier to Find
The Library of Congress: “One of our biggest challenges is letting you know about all of the content available at Another challenge we have is letting you know what you can do with it (in a nice way). We are working on several fronts to improve the visibility of public domain and rights-clear content. We moved one step in that direction today with the launch of our Free to Use and Reuse page…”

(Related) Free is good, but at what cost?
Verge: Science’s pirate queen Alexandra Elbakyan is plundering the academic publishing establishment
The Verge: “The publisher Elsevier owns over 2,500 journals covering every conceivable facet of scientific inquiry to its name, and it wasn’t happy about either of the sites. Elsevier charges readers an average of $31.50 per paper for access; Sci-Hub and LibGen offered them for free. But even after receiving the “YOU HAVE BEEN SUED” email, Elbakyan was surprisingly relaxed. She went back to work. She was in Kazakhstan. The lawsuit was in America. She had more pressing matters to attend to, like filing assignments for her religious studies program; writing acerbic blog-style posts on the Russian clone of Facebook, called vKontakte; participating in various feminist groups online; and attempting to launch a sciencey-print T-shirt business. That 2015 lawsuit would, however, place a spotlight on Elbakyan and her homegrown operation. The publicity made Sci-Hub bigger, transforming it into the largest Open Access academic resource in the world. In just six years of existence, Sci-Hub had become a juggernaut: the 64.5 million papers it hosted represented two-thirds of all published research, and it was available to anyone…”
See also previous BeSpacific postings on SciHub:
[From the Verge article:
If you’re looking to access an article behind a paywall, the only way to get it legally is to pay, says Peter Suber, director of Harvard’s Open Access Project. But there is a gray area: you can ask an author for a copy. (Most academics will oblige.) Aside from either that or finding articles published in free Open Access journals, the next best option is to find pre-publication copies of papers that authors have put in open-access repositories like Cornell’s

Are we subtly exploring the Trump Presidency?

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