The Apocalypticon ~ Surviving pandemic, hackers’ old doorway, Chumped, deaf, Norwegian doomsday vault, ancient cannibals


Let’s start with some advice — how to survive the next catastrophic pandemic. Experts say it’s not a matter of if, but when a global scale pandemic will wipe out millions of people. And we are grossly unprepared for the next major outbreak. But in the event of a devastating pandemic – whether it be triggered by a mutated strain of an existing virus or a bioengineered terror weapon – there are some practical things you can do, both before and during the outbreak, to increase your odds of survival.
~ Phew. But good luck finding space for all the supplies you’ll need. 

Russian hackers still using the same old route — About a year ago, the two-decade-old trail of a group of Russian hackers led Thomas Rid to a house in the quiet southern English village of Hartley Wintney. Rid, a cybersecurity-focused political science professor and historian, wrote a long-shot email to David Hedges, a 69-year-old retired IT consultant who lived there.
Rid wanted to know if Hedges might somehow still possess a very specific, very old chunk of data: the logs of a computer Hedges had used to run a website for one of his clients in 1998. He did, and researchers accordingly now say they’ve found a piece of vintage malicious code in that trove that survives today, as part of the arsenal of a modern-day team of Russian hackers, known as Turla, who are believed to have Kremlin ties.

Sorry, but we had to get to Chump sooner or later. Is he finally upsetting his alt-right bedrock? Despite plummeting approval ratings (recently down to 35%) and a GOP rapidly distancing itself from his unhinged policy proposals, Trump’s most ardent supporters remained steadfast buoyed by anonymous imageboards, Twitter eCelebrities, a healthy dose of faked fervour from botnets, and a dedicated subreddit which bans dissenting views. They spun positive narratives out of a cabinet which has habitually lied to the public, and a president who has followed through on none of his campaign promises.
But with the recent  airstrike on Assad’s forces in Syria, which some already speculate will lead to a full-scale war, even these zealots who believe they memed the man into the world’s most powerful office can’t find a speck of good news buried under the rubble.
~ It is bizarre – Trump cozied up to Russia while denying links, next minute he’s attacking the corrupt regime Russia has been propping up. Ouch, is this the end of the Putin/Trump bromance?

US 5-billion dollar agency can’t hire a deaf interpreter. That’s because despite being in charge of keeping an eye on the entire planet with the most advanced imaging technology in the world, and with an estimated annual budget of at least $5 billion, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency has a position for a sign language interpreter but they’re not allowed to fill it because Donald Trump imposed a federal hiring freeze, arbitrarily leaving thousands of job vacancies across the US government.
~ Ah, that genius the alt right voted for, again. Let’s hope none of them are deaf. OK, I’ll leave that up to you. 

Just in time for doomsday, Norway’s ‘Doomsday Vault’ is getting an expansion. Officially known as the World Arctic Archive, the new vault opened this week and has already taken submissions from two countries. This time, instead of storing seeds that will survive the apocalypse, the vault is archiving data using specially developed film.

Ancient people didn’t eat other people for the calories. I’m not sure if this is good news or not, but a new, slightly morbid study based on the calorie counts of average humans suggests that man-eating was mostly ritualistic, not dietary, in nature among hominins including Homo erectus, H. antecessor, Neandertals, and early modern humans. On average, an adult male human contains 125,822 calories of fat and protein. When compared with other animals widely available to ancient man like mammoths (3,600,000 calories), wooly rhinoceroses (1,260,000 calories), and aurochs (979,200 calories), it hardly seems worthwhile to hunt hominins that are just as wily and dangerous as the hunters, the researchers conclude.
~ So maybe it was more like an ancient form of Scrabble: Hard Scrabble.

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