The Apocalypticon ~ US science ‘unstaffed’, Russia jails hacker, Petya Plague, money apocalypse, North Korean missiles


White House now has zero science advisers — The science division of the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy was ‘unstaffed’ as of last week. The three remaining employees departed this week, sources tell CBS News… On Friday afternoon, Eleanor Celeste, the assistant director for biomedical and forensic sciences at the OSTP, tweeted, “Science division out. Mic drop” before leaving the office for the last time…
Under Obama, the science division was staffed with nine employees who led the charge on policy issues such as STEM education, biotechnology and crisis response. It’s possible that the White House will handle these issues through staff in other divisions within the OSTP.
[Pained LOL. In Trump’s Newspeak: ‘unstaffing’ replaces ‘firing’.]
But Trump wants all your voter data. Is that scientific? His newly formed Advisory Committee on Election Integrity [!] asked secretaries of state across the country for their complete voter rolls, including people’s political parties, voting history, the last four digits of their social security numbers, felony history and more. [Hey, those future concentration camps can’t fill themselves, you know.]

Russia jails hacker for spilling top government officials’ secrets —  A Russian court sentenced a prominent hacker to two years in jail on Thursday after a secret trial which heard how he had accessed and leaked the email accounts of top government officials, Russian news agencies reported. Vladimir Anikeyev was named as head of a famous hacking collective called Shaltai Boltai (Humpty Dumpty), guilty of illegally accessing computer data in collusion with a criminal group. The TASS news agency said he was accused of breaking into the email account of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s spokeswoman as well as the account of an official in the presidential administration among many others.
~ So they didn’t mind Snowden doing it, but now the foot has the other shoe!
The Petya Plague has exposed the threat of ‘evil software updates’ — Security researchers at ESET and Cisco’s Talos division have both published detailed analyses of how [Russian] hackers penetrated the network of the small Ukrainian software firm MeDoc, which sells a piece of accounting software used by roughly 80% of Ukrainian businesses.

Central bankers warned of economic ‘robocalypse’ — At an exclusive gathering at a golf resort near Lisbon [where else, this days?], the big minds of monetary policy were seriously discussing the risk that artificial intelligence could eliminate jobs on a scale that would dwarf previous waves of technological change. [Why not? ‘Natural’ intelligence has been busy at it for decades.] But two giants of AI have teamed up to head this off. Sorta.
Meanwhile, according to IBS Intelligence, websites of some of the largest banks in the US have scored the poorest in a new security and privacy analysis audit. “The non-profit Online Trust Alliance (OTA) anonymously audited more than 1000 websites, ranking their security and privacy practices,” reports IBS Intelligence. “None of the sites investigated knew about the test.” [Hurrah! And these are the idiots to whom we entrust our money.]

Analysing North Korea’s missiles — Using a video of Tuesday’s launch of what experts said is an ICBM capable of reaching Alaska, you can figure out the missile’s acceleration. And you can do this too.

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