The Apocalypticon ~ Warming oceans, Eclipse disruption, surveillance in China, gunshot detectors, AI on income, Mozilla bar, Russian hack-school, ultra secure PC, WannaCry deleted speeding tickets


The oceans are warming — If you are going to measure the changing climate of the oceans, you need to have many sensors spread out across the globe that take measurements from the ocean surface to the very depths of the waters. Importantly, you need to have measurements that span decades so a long-term trend can be established. Scientists have found that regardless of whose data was used or where the data was gathered, the oceans are warming.
This is all part of our sickening cities. Flooding in Quebec this spring damaged nearly 1900 homes in 126 municipalities, causing widespread psychological distress. Summer heatwaves are predicted to become more frequent and severe each year, putting more people at risk of injury and death. Vancouver and Toronto are working to manage these risks. Most Canadian cities need to work harder to include climate change in public health planning.

Solar eclipse disruption — On August 21, 2017, the contiguous United States will experience its first total solar eclipse since 1979. As the eclipse approaches, articles are appearing predicting the possibility of automobile traffic jamming rural roads. There is also concern about the ability of rural cellular networks to handle such a large influx. AT&T is bringing in Cell On Wheel (COW) systems to rural locations in Kentucky, Idaho, and Oregon, while Verizon is building a temporary tower in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
The disruption could be frustrating to those trying to get p-laces to view the eclipse or share their photos via social networking. If cellular networks can’t handle the data, apps like Waze won’t be much help in avoiding the traffic. If communication is essential near the eclipse path, Astronomy Magazine recommends renting a satellite phone …
~ Which strikes me as ironic.

Facial-recognition technology, once a specter of dystopian science fiction, is becoming daily life in China — Authorities are using it on streets, in subway stations, at airports and at border crossings in a vast experiment in social engineering. Their goal: to influence behavior and identify lawbreakers. Ms Gan, 31 years old, had been caught on camera crossing illegally here once before, allowing the system to match her two images. Text displayed on the crosswalk screens identified her as a repeat offender. “I won’t ever run a red light again,” she said.
~ Gosh. You go, girl.

In more than 90 cities across the US, including New York, microphones placed strategically around high-crime areas pick up the sounds of gunfire and alert police to the shooting’s location via dots on a city map… ShotSpotter also sends alerts to apps on cops’ phones. “We’ve gone to the dot and found the casings 11 feet from where the dot was, according to the GPS coordinates,” Captain David Salazar of the Milwaukee Police Dept. told Business Insider. “So it’s incredibly helpful. We’ve saved a lot of people’s lives.”
~ Or how about issuing the mics to everyone who buys a gun? 

AI predicting neighbourhood wealth — According to Penny, an artificial intelligence that uses satellite imagery to predict income levels in the Big Apple and how they change as you tinker with the urban landscape, your income-area drops if you add a helipad. So it needs a bit of work.

Daniel Stenberg, an employee at Mozilla and the author of the command-line tool curl, was not allowed to board his flight to the meeting from Sweden despite the fact he’d previously obtained a visa waiver allowing him to travel to the US. Stenberg was unable to check in for his flight, and was notified at the airport ticket counter that his entry to the US had been denied. Although Mozilla doesn’t believe that the incident is related to Trump’s travel ban, the incident stirred fears among international tech workers, who fear they’ll miss out on work and research opportunities if they’re not allowed to travel to the US. The situation even caught the eye of Microsoft’s chief legal officer Brad Smith, who tweeted Stenberg to offer legal assistance.
~ Wait, aren’t Swedes evil Socialists who look after their citizens? Shudder!

Russian hackers are schooled — One reason so many talented hackers (malicious and benign) seem to come from Russia and the former Soviet States is the education. Krebs Security’s report compares how the US and Russia educate students from K-12 in subjects which lend themselves to a mastery in coding and computers – most notably computer science. It shows the Russians have for the past 30 years been teaching kids about computer science and then testing them on it starting in elementary school and through high school.

Super-secure self-destructing PC — The ORWL looks like the offspring of a Mac Mini and a flying saucer, and it’s nearly impervious to the probing eyes and code of data snoops, botnet admins, or the Thought Police. the 6-inch puck (above) rocks crafty encryption and for the paranoid, one of the software options is the security-first Qubes OS. But it’s physically guarded too: It can be accessed only with your password plus your NFC key fob. If you roam out of Bluetooth range, the ORWL locks itself. An accelerometer shuts down the machine if it’s moved while you’re gone and as a fail-safe, the motherboard is enclosed in a mesh sleeve that can’t be unscrewed, cracked, or even bored through, thanks to a circuit lining the interior that shatters at the touch of a drill bit.
The moment that barrier is breached, all your data is zapped—along with the hopes of your attacker. $1699 and up.
~ By George.

And finally, some good(-ish) news: roadside cameras infected with WannaCry virus invalidated 8000 traffic tickets in Victoria, Australia — Yahoo News reported Victoria Police officials announced on Saturday, June 24, they were withdrawing all speed camera infringement notices issued statewide from June 6 after a virus in the cameras turned out to be more widespread than first thought. But the infringement notices may be re-issued. At first it was discovered 55 cameras had been exposed to the ransomware virus, but they’ve now determined 280 cameras were exposed. The cameras are not connected to the internet, but a maintenance worker unwittingly connected a USB stick with the virus on it to the camera system on June 6.

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