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How the US (probably) spied on European allies’ encrypted faxes

How the US (probably) spied on European allies’ encrypted faxes | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Grainy image stokes speculation of old-school, Tempest-style attack.
Artur Alves's insight:

"US intelligence services implanted bugging tools into cryptographic facsimile devices to intercept secret communications sent or received by the European Union's Washington, DC outpost, according to the latest leak from former National Security Agency staffer Edward Snowden. Technical details are scarce, but security experts reading between the lines say the program probably relies on an old-school style of espionage that parses electric currents, acoustic vibrations, and other subtle types of energy to reveal the contents of encrypted communications."

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Garbage Island: An Ocean Full of Plastic (Part 1/3) - YouTube

Vice sails to the North Pacific Gyre, collecting point for all of the ocean's flotsam and home of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch: a mythical, Texas-sized is...
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Naomi Klein: ‘We tried it your way and we don’t have another decade to waste’

Naomi Klein: ‘We tried it your way and we don’t have another decade to waste’ | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Suzanne Goldenberg: The climate-change movement is making little headway against corporate vested interests, says the author of Shock Doctrine. But how does she think her new book, This Changes Everything, will help galvanise people?
Artur Alves's insight:
" With her new book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs The Climate, Klein hopes to set off the kind of powerful mass movement that could – finally – produce the radical changes needed to avoid a global warming catastrophe and fix capitalism at the same time. She argues that we have all been thinking about the climate crisis the wrong way around: it’s about capitalism – not carbon – the extreme anti-regulatory version that has seized global economies since the 1980s and has set us on a course of destruction and deepening inequality. “I think we are on a collision course,” she says. Twenty-five years ago, when the first climate scientist was called to testify to Congress and make global warming a policy challenge, there might have still been time for big industries to shrink their carbon footprints. But governments at the time were seized with the idea that there should be no restraints on industry. “During that time,” Klein writes, “we also expanded the road from a two lane, carbon-spewing highway to a six-lane superhighway.” "
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Inside DuckDuckGo, Google's Tiniest, Fiercest Competitor

Inside DuckDuckGo, Google's Tiniest, Fiercest Competitor | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
In 2008, launching a search engine seemed like a crazy idea. Here's how Gabriel Weinberg proved the critics wrong.
Artur Alves's insight:

Is  DDG the future of web search? More privacy, more user awareness and more openness. John Paul Titlow gives us an inside look at the most interesting web search engine of the moment.

 

«When Gabriel Weinberg launched a search engine in 2008, plenty of people thought he was insane. How could DuckDuckGo, a tiny, Philadelphia-based startup, go up against Google? One way, he wagered, was by respecting user privacy. Six years later, we're living in the post-Snowden era, and the idea doesn't seem so crazy.

In fact, DuckDuckGo is exploding.

Looking at a chart of DuckDuckGo's daily search queries, the milestones are obvious. A $3 million investment from Union Square Ventures in 2011. Just prior to that, a San Francisco billboard campaign. Inclusion in Time's 50 Best Websites of 2011. Each of these things moved the traffic needle for DuckDuckGo, but none of them came close to sparking anything like the massive spike in queries the company saw last July. That's when Edward Snowden first revealed the NSA's extensive digital surveillance program to the world. The little blue line on the chart hasn't stopped climbing north since.«

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Your Brain Is On the Brink of Chaos - Nautilus

Your Brain Is On the Brink of Chaos - Nautilus | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
In one important way, the recipient of a heart transplant ignores its new organ: Its nervous system usually doesn’t rewire to communicate…
Artur Alves's insight:

«Order and disorder enjoy a symbiotic relationship, and a neuron’s firing may wander chaotically until a memory or perception propels it into an attractor. Sensory input would then serve to “stabilize” chaos. Indeed, the presentation of a stimulus reduces variability in neuronal firing across a surprising number of different species and systems, as if a high-dimensional chaotic trajectory fell into an attractor. By “taming” chaos, attractors may represent a strategy for maintaining reliability in a sensitive system. Recent theoretical and experimental studies of large networks of independent oscillators have also shown that order and chaos can co-exist in surprising harmony, in so-called chimera states.

The current research paradigm in neuroscience, which considers neurons in a snapshot of time as stationary computational units, and not as members of a shifting dynamical entity, might be missing the mark entirely. If chaos plays an important role in the brain, then neural computations do not operate as a static read-out, a lockstep march from the transduction of photons to the experience of light, but a high-dimensional dynamic trajectory as spikes dance across the brain in self-choreographed cadence.«

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NASA Completes Key Review of World’s Most Powerful Rocket in Support of Journey to Mars

NASA Completes Key Review of World’s Most Powerful Rocket in Support of Journey to Mars | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
NASA officials Wednesday announced they have completed a rigorous review of the Space Launch System (SLS) -- the heavy-lift, exploration class rocket under development to take humans beyond Earth orbit and to Mars -- and approved the program's progression from formulation to development, something no other exploration class vehicle has achieved since the agency built the space shuttle.
Artur Alves's insight:

«NASA officials Wednesday announced they have completed a rigorous review of the Space Launch System (SLS) -- the heavy-lift, exploration class rocket under development to take humans beyond Earth orbit and to Mars -- and approved the program's progression from formulation to development, something no other exploration class vehicle has achieved since the agency built the space shuttle.

"We are on a journey of scientific and human exploration that leads to Mars," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. "And we’re firmly committed to building the launch vehicle and other supporting systems that will take us on that journey."

For its first flight test, SLS will be configured for a 70-metric-ton (77-ton) lift capacity and carry an uncrewed Orion spacecraft beyond low-Earth orbit. In its most powerful configuration, SLS will provide an unprecedented lift capability of 130 metric tons (143 tons), which will enable missions even farther into our solar system, including such destinations as an asteroid and Mars.«

 

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I Quit Liking Things On Facebook for Two Weeks. Here’s How It Changed My View of Humanity

I Quit Liking Things On Facebook for Two Weeks. Here’s How It Changed My View of Humanity | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
a hopeful look at what happens when you quit the Like
Artur Alves's insight:
Resisting the ""like" button demands us to actually pay a bit of attention, not with the kind of quick reaction to content that clicking a button entails, but in a deeper engagement through conversation. Liking is about shallow content acknowledgement, whereas commenting demands at least a bit of involvement. " Since I stopped liking altogether, though, my Facebook stream is more akin to an eclectic dinner party. There is conversation, there is disagreement (mostly) without hostility, and there is connection. It seems as though I am getting more of what I actually want rather than just being served more extreme versions of what I Like. I have longstanding and outspoken issues — terrible social algorithm aside — with Facebook’s Terms of Service, its privacy issues, and its micro-nudging of a large portion of the planet’s population into less and less desirable behaviours, but once I removed the Like function from my own behaviour, I almost started to like using Facebook. It turns out that your friends might actually be more likeable than Facebook’s Like disruption makes them appear, and the growing sense of disconnection that many of us experience might just be due to a tone-deaf algorithm. When we drop the Like, we might actually like each other. We might actually connect."
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I Liked Everything I Saw on Facebook for Two Days. Here’s What It Did to Me | Gadget Lab | WIRED

I Liked Everything I Saw on Facebook for Two Days. Here’s What It Did to Me | Gadget Lab | WIRED | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
I like everything. Or at least I did, for 48 hours. Literally everything Facebook sent my way, I liked---even if I hated it.
Artur Alves's insight:

"I’d added more than a thousand things to my Likes page—most of which were loathsome or at best banal. By liking everything, I turned Facebook into a place where there was nothing I liked. To be honest, I really didn’t like it. I didn’t like what I had done."

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Evgeny Morozov -The rise of data and the death of politics

Evgeny Morozov -The rise of data and the death of politics | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Tech pioneers in the US are advocating a new data-based approach to governance – 'algorithmic regulation'. But where does this leave governments, asks Evgeny Morozov
Artur Alves's insight:

«In this context, Google's latest plan to push its Android operating system on to smart watches, smart cars, smart thermostats and, one suspects, smart everything, looks rather ominous. In the near future, Google will be the middleman standing between you and your fridge, you and your car, you and your rubbish bin, allowing the National Security Agency to satisfy its data addiction in bulk and via a single window.

This "smartification" of everyday life follows a familiar pattern: there's primary data – a list of what's in your smart fridge and your bin – and metadata – a log of how often you open either of these things or when they communicate with one another. Both produce interesting insights: cue smart mattresses – one recent model promises to track respiration and heart rates and how much you move during the night – and smart utensils that provide nutritional advice.

In addition to making our lives more efficient, this smart world also presents us with an exciting political choice. If so much of our everyday behaviour is already captured, analysed and nudged, why stick with unempirical approaches to regulation? Why rely on laws when one has sensors and feedback mechanisms? If policy interventions are to be – to use the buzzwords of the day – "evidence-based" and "results-oriented," technology is here to help.«

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William Gibson: the man who saw tomorrow

William Gibson: the man who saw tomorrow | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
William Gibson's science-fiction novel, 30 years old this month, leapt into cyberspace almost before it existed, writes Ed Cumming
Artur Alves's insight:

"As the world has caught up with Gibson's vision, the author, now 66, has turned his gaze closer to the present. (His next novel, The Peripheral, will be the first he has set in the far future.) Neuromancer is Gibson's most famous novel but not his most accomplished. Pattern Recognition was written in the wake of 9/11 and published in 2003. If Neuromancer looks at the future through a high-powered telescope, Pattern Recognition has its face pressed right up to the glass. Set partly in Camden Town, London, the book has as its protagonist Cayce Pollard, a marketing consultant who has a literal allergy to brands and logos. This makes her valuable to companies keen to seem cooler and less corporate.

 

(...)

 

Gibson has written many times of his belief that all cultural change is essentially technologically driven. As the progress of technology speeds up, it becomes more incumbent on authors to examine its effects. It is unthinkable that you could write a novel set in the UK today that did not in some address way the spread of computers into every crevice of the world."

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Leviathan Gas Field, Levantine Basin, Mediterranean Sea - Offshore Technology

Leviathan Gas Field, Levantine Basin, Mediterranean Sea - Offshore Technology | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Leviathan Natural Gas Field, located in the eastern Mediterranean Sea area, off the coast of Israel, was discovered in December 2010. The discovery is situated in 1,645m of water in the Levantine Basin, located approximately 130km west of Haifa,...
Artur Alves's insight:

"At the time of discovery, the Leviathan gas field was the most prominent field ever found in the sub-explored area of the Levantine Basin, which covers about 83,000 square kilometres of the eastern Mediterranean region.

The Leviathan field falls within the precinct of the Rachel and Amit licenses. Production is expected to commence in 2017.

(...)

Lebanon considered the Leviathan and Tamar gas fields to extend into Lebanese territory and claimed Israel was ignoring this fact. Israel retaliated by threatening to use force to protect its gas discoveries.

The rights dispute was resolved in August 2010 when the Lebanese Government presented its official view to the United Nations, where it stated that the two disputed gas fields, Tamar and Leviathan, do not fall within its territory.

"

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Defending the digital frontier

Defending the digital frontier | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
THE TERM “CYBERSPACE” was coined by William Gibson, a science-fiction writer. He first used it in a short story in 1982, and expanded on it a couple of years...
Artur Alves's insight:
"Securing cyberspace is hard because the architecture of the internet was designed to promote connectivity, not security. Its founders focused on getting it to work and did not worry much about threats because the network was affiliated with America’s military. As hackers turned up, layers of security, from antivirus programs to firewalls, were added to try to keep them at bay. Gartner, a research firm, reckons that last year organisations around the globe spent $67 billion on information security. On the whole, these defences have worked reasonably well. For all the talk about the risk of a “cyber 9/11” or a “cybergeddon”, the internet has proved remarkably resilient. Hundreds of millions of people turn on their computers every day and bank online, shop at virtual stores, swap gossip and photos with their friends on social networks and send all kinds of sensitive data over the web without ill effect. Companies and governments are shifting ever more services online."
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Edward Snowden urges professionals to encrypt client communications

Edward Snowden urges professionals to encrypt client communications | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Exclusive: Whistleblower says NSA revelations mean those with duty to protect confidentiality must urgently upgrade security Watch Snowden's interview with the Guardian in Moscow Read the full interview with Snowden by Alan Rusbridger and Ewen...
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The rise of the surveillance state - Peter Vlemmix - PANOPTICON (documentary)

A free documentary about the rise of the surveillance state by Peter Vlemmix.

Control on our daily lives increases and privacy is disappearing. How is this exactly happening and in which way will it effect all our lives?

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Stop Calling Tor ‘The Web Browser For Criminals’

Stop Calling Tor ‘The Web Browser For Criminals’ | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Yesterday, a rumor surfaced on deep web blog DeepDotWeb that Comcast was going to start blocking users of Tor, an anonymous web browser.
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In case of cyber attack: NATO members ready to pledge mutual defense

In case of cyber attack: NATO members ready to pledge mutual defense | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
More cooperation on cyber defense among members of North Atlantic alliance.
Artur Alves's insight:

«The United States and the other 27 members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization plan to aid the defense of any other NATO country in the event of a major cyber attack, according to an agreement that will be ratified this week at a major alliance meeting.

On Thursday, NATO members will meet with 40 partner countries at a major summit in Wales, United Kingdom, to discuss the future security of the region. While the conflict in eastern Ukraine will dominate the meeting, the alliance will also agree to work together to defend its communications network and aid each other against major cyber attacks.

The policy, endorsed by NATO ministers in June, will task NATO countries with sharing information on cyber threats, lending expertise to harden member nations' communications and information systems (CIS), and working with industry partners to improve NATO's ability to respond to cyber attacks«

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How 'Last Blockbuster Syndrome' dooms empires like Nintendo

How 'Last Blockbuster Syndrome' dooms empires like Nintendo | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it

Often at the start of a massive trend shift in consumer electronics, dominant dinosaurs get one massive hit built on a nearly obsolete paradigm, and that allows them to be lulled into a comfy trip to the grave.

Artur Alves's insight:

The electronics giants' swan song is their last big hit.

 

«The worst enemy of major consumer electronics companies is not suddenly weakening sales, which sometimes shake firms out of their stupor. It’s that last, big, almost obsolete blockbuster that gives executives a reason to avoid change.

That last big hit delays change by several years, channels resources into dead-end projects and kills the careers of executives advocating radical departures from the norm. It was the RAZR that ultimately felled Motorola, the N95 that was Nokia’s bane — and we will likely find out that it was the huge success of the 3DS in 2010 and 2011 that paralyzed Nintendo when it most needed to switch gears.«

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Evidence Grows That Online Social Networks Have Insidious Negative Effects | MIT Technology Review

Evidence Grows That Online Social Networks Have Insidious Negative Effects | MIT Technology Review | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
A study of 50,000 people in Italy concludes that online social networks have a significant negative impact on individual welfare.
Artur Alves's insight:

«They found for example that face-to-face interactions and the trust people place in one another are strongly correlated with well-being in a positive way. In other words, if you tend to trust people and have lots of face-to-face interactions, you will probably assess your well-being more highly.

But of course interactions on online social networks are not face-to-face and this may impact the trust you have in people online. It is this loss of trust that can then affect subjective well-being rather than the online interaction itself.

Sabatini and Sarracino tease this apart statistically. “We find that online networking plays a positive role in subjective well-being through its impact on physical interactions, whereas [the use of] social network sites is associated with lower social trust,” they say. “The overall effect of networking on individual welfare is significantly negative,” they conclude.

That’s an important result because it is the first time that the role of online networks has been addressed in such a large and nationally representative sample.

Sabatini and Sarracino particularly highlight the role of discrimination and hate speech on social media which they say play a significant role in trust and well-being. Better moderation could significantly improve the well-being of the people who use social networks, they conclude.«

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Cop-Tech: The Inevitable Future of Policing

Cop-Tech: The Inevitable Future of Policing | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Forget the batons - think drones, throwable cameras and something called a Puke Ray. Police are going high tech.
Artur Alves's insight:

«And though cops can be quick to adopt new gadgets, they tend to be sluggish to change tactics. Drone technology might sound fancy, but it just enables strategies (like nabbing crooks before they commit a crime, whatever the cost to civil liberties). Put another way: Drones don’t violate civil liberties; government officials violate civil liberties. So while technology is transforming almost every facet of police work, from intelligence gathering to routine paperwork, policing remains the same at its core: “law enforcement isn’t different than it was 30 years ago,” claims O’Donnell.

Which may be why the scenes from Ferguson unnerved so many. Antiquated, war-hardened mindsets and norms are meeting new 21st -century technologies.«

 

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The Domestic Cat Genome Has Been Fully Sequenced

The Domestic Cat Genome Has Been Fully Sequenced | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
The Felis catus genome has been fully sequenced and annotated, which means your pet kitty is about to give up its genetic secrets to science.
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Are Siberia’s methane blow-holes the first warning sign of unstoppable climate change?

Are Siberia’s methane blow-holes the first warning sign of unstoppable climate change? | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
WHAT do three enormous craters in the Siberian wastelands have to do with a terrified American climate scientist? Methane. And that’s something to scare us all.
Artur Alves's insight:

We still need confirmation, but climate experts are extremely worried with this phenomenon. If indeed the methane trapped below arctic permafrost escapes, it will transform the atmosphere much faster than CO2, leading to a much faster climate crash.

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Is Facebook moving away from "social"? - GeekWire

Is Facebook moving away from "social"? - GeekWire | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
I'm giving up on Facebook, because it no longer delivers on its core value proposition: to let me quickly and easily see status updates from my friends.
Artur Alves's insight:

The drive for profitability and mobile advertising is edging away the social features that captivated users. What does that mean for the future of social networking?

 

«Facebook has deliberately moved away from that original value for its consumers by automatically presenting its News Feed in a “top stories” order and, if one remembers to select “most recent stories” (which will automatically default back to “top stories” at some mysterious Facebook-specified point), displays them in not the promised “most recent stories” sequence, but in a bizarre and unstated most-recent-activity-on-stories order. Meaning comments on friends’ status updates by people I don’t know override more recent status updates by people I do know.«

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Merchants of Culture: A Meditation on the Future of Publishing

Merchants of Culture: A Meditation on the Future of Publishing | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
What Gogol, Seth Godin and TED have to do with the fate of the written word.

The year has barely begun and already it's been a tremendous
Artur Alves's insight:

Maria Popova points to a few signposts of the future of publishing, including Amazon's drive to dominate the sector.

 

«The year has barely begun and already it’s been a tremendously disruptive month for the publishing industry, with a number of noteworthy developments that bespeak a collective blend of optimism, fear and utter confusion about what the future holds for the written word as its purveyors try to make sense — and use — of digital platforms. Here are just a handful of important, potentially game-changing, events in the publishing world that took place in the past month alone«

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The history of Android

The history of Android | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Follow the endless iterations from Android 0.5 to Android 4.4.
Artur Alves's insight:

«Android has been with us in one form or another for more than six years. During that time, we've seen an absolutely breathtaking rate of change unlike any other development cycle that has ever existed. When it came time for Google to dive in to the smartphone wars, the company took its rapid-iteration, Web-style update cycle and applied it to an operating system, and the result has been an onslaught of continual improvement. Lately, Android has even been running on a previously unheard of six-month development cycle, and that's slower than it used to be.«

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A Threat to Internet Freedom - short documentary with Tim Wu and Lawrence Lessig

A Threat to Internet Freedom - short documentary with Tim Wu and Lawrence Lessig | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
New rules proposed by the F.C.C. could divide the Internet into fast lanes and slow lanes, violating the central concept of "net neutrality." Produced by: Br...
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A short video on net neutrality with Tim Wu and Lawrence Lessig.

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Is Social Media Keeping Science Trustworthy?

Is Social Media Keeping Science Trustworthy? | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Online discussions and post-publication analyses are catching mistakes that sneak past editorial review.
Artur Alves's insight:

Who is afraid of wide-open public visibility for science?

 

"Evaluating research after it’s been published has, of course, always been a crucial element of science. Scientists will challenge published results in letters to journals and arguments at conferences. But those are typically solo efforts by established scientists. Social media and online discussion forums are changing that: they make it easier for junior scientists to participate, let readers compare notes, and, most importantly, provide a public space that is not under the control of journal editors and conference organizers.

 

(...)

 

Peer-review is based on trust, but as the international scientific community grows, scientists won’t spend their careers in the small, trusted networks of known colleagues that earlier generations of researchers were used to. Journals and reviewers need to step up their efforts to check for misconduct, but inevitably, papers with major problems will get through. Crowd-sourced, post-publication review through social media is an effective, publicly open way for science to stay trustworthy"

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