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Posted by Annalee Newitz

Enlarge / Ash Tyler is so brave, so hunky, and so nice... but is he actually [redacted in the name of spoilers]? (credit: CBS)

Star Trek: Discovery has been getting tighter with each episode, but in last night's "Lethe," the show turned a corner into addictively good storytelling. There were a couple of standout moments, plus an evolving conspiracy theory involving Klingon spies. But the best part was that we finally saw one of the show's key arcs, which is how the Federation emerged out of planetary separatism.

Spoilers ahead! Go watch the episode and come back!

Logic extremism and hope

In previous episodes, we've already sensed that this Star Trek series would be more darkly psychological than its predecessors. Our main characters are complex and conflicted, much like the fledgling Federation itself. In "Lethe," we saw how this aspect of the story could take us to truly interesting places.

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Posted by Cyrus Farivar

Enlarge / Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Christopher Wray participates in a question-and-answer session while arguing for the renewal of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act at the Heritage Foundation October 13, 2017 in Washington, DC. (credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

FBI Director Christopher Wray told a conference of law enforcement officials on Sunday that he and his colleagues have been unable to open nearly 7,000 digital devices in the first 11 months of the 2017 fiscal year.

“To put it mildly, this is a huge, huge problem,” Wray said at the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in Philadelphia, according to the Associated Press. “It impacts investigations across the board—narcotics, human trafficking, counterterrorism, counterintelligence, gangs, organized crime, child exploitation.”

Wray’s remarks come less than two weeks after another top law enforcement official, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, called for “responsible encryption”—a seemingly magical method by which only law enforcement would be able to defeat the encryption on a digitally-locked device.

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Xalapa Tres

Oct. 23rd, 2017 07:23 pm
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[personal profile] al_zorra
    . . . . The artists for the jazz festival started coming in last night.  But too many had horrible journeys here, due to Houston shutting down the airport and canceling flights yesterday due to intense rain.  The guys coming from New Orleans began at 3:30 AM, and didn't get into their beds until 2 AM today.

I began learning all this at lunch, which began sometime after three PM.  And soon I'll have to get ready for tonight's inaugural dinner and party.  I have no appetite . . . .

Because of the theater performance of the translated Slave Coast text with Donald Harrison and his group doing the music, I am in with those classified by the festival as "artist."  So far it seems I am the only woman!  Anyway, I was the only woman sitting at lunch.  (In Xalapa I am not only taller than everyone else, I am the only blonde I've seen.)



As mentioned this part of Mexico feels more like Spain than some other places.  Yesterday, duh! ya, figured out why, duh!

Veracruz is where Hernán Cortés de Monroy y Pizarro Altamirano, Marquis of the Valley of Oaxaca, set up the first Spanish shop in New Spain - Mexico.  He'd already helped do so for Cuba back in 1519, but he and the Cuban governor didn't get along, so into the Gulf of Mexico and to the mainland he sailed, despite the Cuban governor telling him to stay put.

Rio Huitzilapan (Hummingbird River) down a bit from Cortés's compound.




Horses are honored here, at the spot where they were landed to conquer the Aztec Empire for Spain.



Ceiba trees and their roots are everywhere in Cortés's palace compound ruins.

Coral from the Gulf was used with the basalt and mortar to make the walls of Cortés's compound, as well as the walls of fortification at San Juan de Ulúa.
Perhaps this is the oldest church on the mainland, built originally almost 500 years ago, part of Cortés's compound.  Nothing original remains, but this church in Villa Rica de la Vera Cruz still has congregants (little girls in their Sunday dresses were everywhere around it yesterday) and holds services.




It was in la Villa Rica de la Vera Cruz where Hernán Cortés first landed his armaments and men via the small barcos from his ships anchored in the Veracruz bay, up the Rio Huitzilapan.  We saw it!  and the ruins of his personal palace compound.

The prison at San Juan de Ulúa, reached by a bridge called the Bridge of Sighs, just like the bridge in Venice that prisoners walked to their incarceration, from which very few ever emerged.  Note the contemporary port machinery and technology everywhere.


The official administrative and military center was at what became the port of Veracruz -- begun 498 years ago at San Juan de Ulúa, a small island in the Gulf there.  We toured that fortress as well, which compound is enormous -- and now entirely surrounded by the present day port facilities (petroleum and petroleum products from the fields here, as well as many many other goods manufactured in this state including automobiles) and contemporary Mexico's naval yards and other military facilities. It's so extensive and complex that it is impossible to show it in an entire spread with any kind of camera.  Keep in mind, it was from this fortress that the Spanish beat the butts of Hawkins and Drake in the 1568  Battle of San Juan de Ulúa -- much to their shock and surprise.

So this is why the state of Veracruz feels so intensely Spanish-Spanish -- there's even Arabic language elements in signage and naming of places and things and people here. This is where the conquistadores came first to the southern hemisphere mainland, which soon they'd claim all of for Spain.  This is part of the great colonial territory that made the Spanish Empire an empire.  So many of the men who did this had little prospect of advancement, riches and prestige back in Spain, particularly since the conclusion of the Reconquista -- so to the New World they came, searching for fame and particularly fortune.  And it is the Caribbean and Mexico where they first found both.  Cortés died happy and rich, at home, in Spain, with a Spanish wife and children -- while historians continue to debate what happened to Malinche, his Azteca translator-concubine and the son he had by her, in his palace compound by the Hummingbird River.

As the festival begins now, maybe the sightseeing is over.

That Time of Year

Oct. 23rd, 2017 05:32 pm
lydamorehouse: (Default)
[personal profile] lydamorehouse
My family and I went to Lakewood Cemetery on Sunday. It was a beautiful day, even if the wind was cold. We went to clean off Ella*'s grave and to enjoy the cemetery. It might seem a little weird, but when Shawn and I live in Uptown, Lakewood was a favorite place to stroll. This time when we were there, we saw two moms pushing their strollers through the cemetery. It really is like a park, especially since it has an actual lake in the center of it.

And there are geese:

geese among marble headstones

Shawn had brought along flowers to leave at Ella's grave. We had purchased a built-in vase, but it'd been quite a while since we'd last visited and it took some wedging and struggling to get it up out of the ground. It's hard to describe, but it's a self-contained thing, where there's a vase inside a metal sleeve that sits in upside down, until you twist it out and put it upright. The interior had gotten filled with quite a bit of dirt, but with the application of water I was able to loosen it enough to get it out. (There's a built in drainage hole, but that had also gotten a bit plugged with roots.) At any rate, that was quite the ordeal. We did get it working, though, so that's what's important.

We tend to think of Ella now, rather than on August 5, her death day, because she was conceived on Halloween. We know this for a fact, of course, because we did the artificial insemination at a clinic. (Not as much guess work that way!) We don't visit the grave annually, but every so often we get the urge.

Mason is never quite sure what to think about his sister that he never knew, I don't think, but we've always been upfront about who she was. Still, I know it's a bit weird for him to see his parents sad, and not have any sense of Ella. He mostly kept his distance, though he helped with the cleaning of the vase. Then, he and I wandered around looking at all the amazing graves. We played a little "game" of trying to find the earliest birth year on any of the headstones. We found someone born in 1773!

There's also just a ton of amazing stone work.

Celtic Cross gravestone bearing the name "Christian."

It was a lovely, contemplative time.

Of course, every time we go to Lakewood, we end up driving past our old duplex on Girard, and we have to remark on how much Uptown has changed in our absence. (A LOT!)

For any newcomers to my blog, Ella is my daughter. She was stillborn about 15 years ago (August 5, 2002). I have a bit of a memory page still up for her on my website, though it needs updating as, obviously, we did continue to try and now have Mason.

hey, look, a yuletide letter?

Oct. 23rd, 2017 05:59 pm
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
[personal profile] melannen
Dear Yuletide Writer,

I have had this letter at the top of my to-do list for weeks, but when I finally sat down to write it, I couldn't really think of any reason to do it. You have years and years of this tag and so many previous letters if you're the sort of person who wants to dig really deep, and if you're not, you can stop reading now and go back to just my sign-up.

I could go into great detail about where to find the fandoms I requested and so on, but let's be honest, that would be almost entirely for people who might want to write me treats, not for you.

(Although super-quick: all the links you need for Mr. Trash Wheel are in this entry downtag; Njal's Saga is a medieval Icelandic saga which you could probably get a doctorate in but didn't so all I can suggest is gutenberg or a good modern annotated edition of which there are several in many languages, or if you're really ambitious, you can listen to all 12 Njal's Saga episodes of the SagaThing podcast, which is what motivated me to request it. But also I think of stories as old as Njal's saga as living stories rather than a fixed canon so if you want to just find a good summary and work from that, that would be a-ok with me; Murderbot Diaries is so far just one novella, All Systems Red by Martha Wells that came out this year and is probably available at your local library; Girl With The Silver Eyes is a kids' novel from the '80s that is probably not still at your local library but is definitely on Amazon for cheap, at least in the US; and the Barbara Hambly are both many-volume historical mystery series that are still being published, although I would be ok with side-character fic based on characters that only appear in the first volume of either.)

I could also go into great detail about why I like these canons, but you don't actually need thousands of words of rambling about the fundamental essence of Baltimore and urban solarpunk; or about the parallel roles of Hannibal and Simon in re: the construction of Whiteness and classical monsters as racial metaphors; or the performance of gender and honor in medieval Scandinavia; or about the portrayal of neurodivergence mediated through otherness in SF/F stories; and anyway if I did all that it would be totally misleading because really my reaction to these stories is more GIANT GOOGLY EYES and CHEESE CSI and TALKING CATS and SANCTUARY MOON and I read all the Hambly in a month straight while ill last year so really mostly I just LOVE IT ALL on a very shallow and inarticulate level.

I could go into more about my DNWs but honestly my DNWs are usually more about the spirit of the story than the details so it would be just as likely to make you worry about things you don't need to worry about.

(but real quick: please no environmentalism doomy doom for Trash Wheel- post-apocalyptic would be fine but make it hopeful and optimistic no matter how unrealistic that seems sometimes these days; please no doomy doom for Njal either, like, we all know how it ends, it's in the damn title, but he lived to old age which is pretty much a happy ending given the odds for a saga hero and a lot of other stuff happened before that; for Murderbot I think I covered it pretty well in the letter; Silver Eyes and Hambly I'm pretty much good with whatever as long as it's in the spirit of canon more or less and you're careful with the more sensitive bits of the history in Hambly.)

I could give you more prompts but you read my sign-up; do you actually need more prompts? I mean, let me know, I have plenty, but I kind of suspect you are begging me for fewer prompts at this point.

(Crossovers always good, setting-swap AUs also good, the weirder the better, outsider POVs and background characters always good, worldbuilding and setting always good, basically anything in these canons is fine?)

Anyway here is a link to my previous post of my sign-up just for convenience, it is slightly cleaned up with a few more prompts at this point: Yuletide signup

Most importantly, have fun! I promise nothing you write can ruin yuletide for me.*


*That's not a dare. But you would have to try pretty hard to manage it. Truly.

today hasn't been terrible #ptsd

Oct. 23rd, 2017 05:03 pm
celli: two bears hugging, captioned "wuv" (hugs)
[personal profile] celli
I had a highly distracting morning and some friends made sure I wasn't stuck in my head all afternoon. I've also been doing that "1 like = 1 thing I love" meme, which is very positive. :) Except like 37 people have liked it. AHHH. I should have listed my entire family individually or something!

Going home in a few minutes and I have one call planned and a couple more I can make if I need to. I'm also going to try and write my indulgence fic for Yuletide and watch my Coursera class videos so I can continue to get these assignments done - NaNo is coming, I need these out of the way.

Note to self: a) don't spend too much time on Twitter except in your mentions, you don't have the emotional strength for the world on fire right now. b) don't call your dad, he means well but has no idea how to help. c) NO RACHEL. sorry, boo.

I promise nothing

Oct. 23rd, 2017 07:19 pm
branchandroot: oak against sky (Default)
[personal profile] branchandroot
Okay, so… I’m not promising anything, here, but the bunnies for today, my day off, have been tugging me back to my Tenipuri Nationals re-write. And I think I know why I stalled so hard on this one. It was trying too hard to keep the relatively decent parts of Nationals canon. Which, to be honest, /don’t fit/ after you’ve fixed all the howling moments of WTF.  So, now I’m doing another editing sweep to refamiliarize myself which what I actually did, and contemplating the possibility of, um, Seigaku losing. I mean, everything else I could fit in reasonably well! But let’s face it, Konomi did not make a good narrative case for Seigaku being able to actually win against Rikkai, not with Yukimura at even half-strength. *frowns at the story* If they do win, the momentum to that point nearly demands that it be, essentially, by luck. Which is fine, but /that/ demands a follow-up, and oh god I don’t know if I’m up to re-writing the Invitational arc. 

Eh, for now, let’s just look at the next bit. Which is Atobe’s arc! And Atobe is /always/ fun to write, especially when he gets into it with Sanada. 

from Tumblr http://ift.tt/2yFtWuQ

Biblical archaeology review

Oct. 23rd, 2017 08:41 pm
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Posted by Fred Clark

"Every archaeology find ... has only proved the authenticity of the Bible" makes no sense to anyone who knows anything about archaeology. And it also makes no sense to anyone who has read the Bible with open eyes.
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Posted by Kyle Orland

This launch-day Xbox One could have supported Xbox 360 games from the get go, had a few things gone differently. (credit: Wired)

Anyone who followed Microsoft's gaming plans in 2013 knows how much the company's confusing policies and public reversals regarding "always on" Internet connection and used game restrictions on the Xbox One damaged the company's image.

Now it sounds like the turmoil surrounding that launch also delayed the rollout of Xbox 360 backward compatibility on the system. This resulted in pushing a planned launch-day feature to its actual late 2015 debut.

That nugget comes from a wide-ranging behind-the-scenes look at Microsoft's backward compatibility efforts posted on IGN this morning. Amid quotes from an array of Microsoft employees involved in the backward-compatibility development and rollout, writer Ryan McCaffrey includes this tidbit (emphasis added):

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Afrofuturism and Black Panther

Oct. 23rd, 2017 03:56 pm
tbonejenkins: (Just a housewife)
[personal profile] tbonejenkins

Last week, Twitter sort of exploded (because it's always exploding one way or another) thanks to Nnedi Okorafor's tweets regarding Afrofuturism. I'm...not...real...sure on how I feel about it. Confusion mostly, because I really don't know enough to add much to the conversation. What I can do is list some of the responses. 

Mikki Kendall's got a thread here.

K. Tempest Bradford's has another thread here.

Troy Wiggins got a blog post on it here.

One thing stood out in my mind: Nnedi kept saying we need to talk about this due to the Black Panther movie coming out. I didn't get it until I read Troy's previous post "Critical Conversations: Marvel's Black Panther" which began to put it into perspective for me. I wonder if this isn't so much who is gets to define Afrofuturism, but how can black american writers honor our roots in our creative work without it descending into cultural appropriation. Which, yeah, that's a way, way bigger cultural conversation that needs to happen between Black Americans, Africans, and Blacks of the Diaspora. 

I'll keep updating this, mostly for my own reading, but if anyone has anything to add, feel free to let me know in the comments.

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Posted by Dan Goodin

Enlarge (credit: Gemalto)

Millions of smartcards in use by banks and large corporations for more than a decade have been found to be vulnerable to a crippling cryptographic attack. That vulnerability allows hackers to bypass a wide range of protections, including data encryption and two-factor authentication.

The critical vulnerability, which researchers disclosed last week, allows attackers to derive the private portion of any vulnerable key using nothing more than the corresponding public portion. The so-called factorization attack can be completed in minutes or days, and the price can range from nothing, depending on the key size and type of computer an attacker uses, to $20,000. The vulnerability stems from a widely deployed library developed by German chipmaker Infineon, which in turn sells its hardware and software to third-party smartcard and device manufacturers.

The defect has now been confirmed to affect the first line of Gemalto IDPrime.NET smartcards. The cards have been on the market since 2004 at the latest, when Gemalto predecessor Axalto announced Microsoft employees were using the card to secure access to the software maker's network, by, among other things, providing two-factor authentication to company employees worldwide. During the 12 years the cards are known to have been in use, Netherlands-based Gemalto has shipped cards numbering in the millions or even the tens or hundreds of millions.

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The Transitive Property of Marjoram

Oct. 23rd, 2017 01:19 pm
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[personal profile] swan_tower
I’ve been cooking a lot more since moving into a house with a kitchen big enough to be pleasant to work in, but I’m still not much of a chef. This is, in part, because I don’t yet have a good handle on whether things I like separately will combine well — especially when it comes to herbs and spices. Their flavor profiles, and how they meld with the different foods they might be used to flavor, are still terra fairly incognita for me.

But the other day I tried out a new recipe for a side dish of onions and bell peppers with marjoram, and had some left over. When I went to put it in the fridge, I saw I also had some leftover kielbasa. And I know that one of the recipes I’ve made several times, a kielbasa stew, includes marjoram.

So, by the transitive property of marjoram: I can combine these things, right?

And lo, I have Invented a Dish. Fried the kielbasa for a couple of minutes, tossed the onions and bell peppers in to warm them up, dumped the result over rice, hey presto, it worked. In the future I can make this on purpose, as its own thing, rather than just as a way to use up leftovers (though it can be that, too). I’m still not knowledgeable enough to go tossing marjoram into things without precedent to guide me . . . but I can pay attention to which recipes use which flavorings, and start absorbing the underlying principles there.

Baby steps, yo.
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Posted by Jeff Dunn

Enlarge / Amazon's Echo Show may have a Google-made rival in the near future. (credit: Amazon)

Sections of code within a recent update to the Google app seem to bolster reports that Google is working on a competitor to Amazon’s Echo Show smart speaker.

An Android Police teardown of the Google app’s v7.14.15 beta update uncovered several references to functions and commands that can be performed by a device or feature codenamed “Quartz.”

The code suggests that Quartz is activated through voice commands and can perform typical smart speaker tasks like setting a timer or checking the weather. However, it also points to several functions that would likely involve a screen, such as Web browsing, showing Google Maps data, and displaying recipes and other cooking info. The update also seems to contain different layouts for watching videos on YouTube, which Google pulled from Amazon’s touchscreen speaker last month with little explanation.

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"proud" can also mean "infected"

Oct. 23rd, 2017 03:57 pm
the_siobhan: (on fire)
[personal profile] the_siobhan
A lot of people who live in Toronto don't remember the days when we suffered from a bad Nazi infestation. They hear about these assholes on the news and they think these people are a small vocal minority that nobody takes seriously and yeah sure, they start out that way. They started out that way in the 80s. Probably in the 30s too.

So what with the rise in neo-nazis and alt-right all over the western world, we've had another local outbreak and they've been holding rallys at City Hall. In the interest of keeping them a small vocal minority and not something worse, some of the local folks have been holding counter-rallys. I finally managed to drag myself out of the house and attend one this weekend.

There were maybe 30 of them? It was kind of hard to get a head-count because they were boxed inside a wall of bicycle cops the whole time[1]. It was a weird mix. Mostly they looked to be Soldiers of Odin (most of whom showed up late, apparently they took the bus in from Peterborough) and some Proud Boys. There were also a cluster of evangelical Christians who were there because gays. And a couple of middle-aged suburban housewives of the type who get the vapours when they see a hijab.

The cops pretty much kept the two groups seperated but didn't stop people from arguing across the barrier. Mostly it was an effort to drown them out, although as the day dragged on that got harder. I now fully appreciate the value of of the air horns and vuvuzelas that some people brought, they are a lot easier on the throat. On the plus side they didn't get to march unless you count crossing the square inside a wall of police.

Of course the press was there and of course they interviewed both sides and of course they printed the Nazi's explanation they they were just there to protest Trudeau's economic policies without any caveats. At least the photo on the CBC website actually showed some of the white supremacist flags.

Favourite moment: One of the bicycle cops had a Punisher water bottle. I pointed it out to Axe and he in turn tried to point it out to one of the press cameras. She saw him though, and hid it.

Second favourite moment: The Japanese tourists taking selfies in front of the line of mounted riot cops.

[1] There were easily more cops than protesters.
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Posted by Joe Mullin

Enlarge / People hold their iPhone during the Apple iPhone 3G launch ceremony in Seoul, South Korea, in 2009. (credit: Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

The Apple v. Samsung lawsuit is getting a big "reset," thanks to last year's Supreme Court ruling on design patents.

The long-running litigation rollercoaster has included so many turns it's hard to keep track. The case was filed in 2011 and went to a 2012 jury trial, which resulted in a blockbuster verdict of more than $1 billion. Post-trial damage motions whittled that down, and then there was a 2013 damages re-trial in front of a separate jury. An appeals court kicked out trademark-related damages altogether.

Meanwhile, a whole separate case moved forward in which Apple sued over a new generation of Samsung products. That lawsuit went to a jury trial in 2014 and resulted in a $120 million verdict, far less than the $2 billion Apple was seeking. That verdict was thrown out on appeal, then reinstated on a subsequent appeal. So that one appears to stand.

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Posted by Cyrus Farivar

Enlarge / Captain Gabriel Lorca (Jason Isaacs) and Lieutenant Ash Tyler (Shazad Latif). (credit: CBS)

On Monday, the day after Star Trek: Discovery’s sixth episode aired, CBS announced that the show would be brought back for a second season.

The show—which is only available in the United States on CBS All Access, the network’s online streaming platform—has been met with generally positive reviews, including here at Ars.

"This series has a remarkable creative team and cast who have demonstrated their ability to carry on the Star Trek legacy," said Marc DeBevoise, president and chief operating officer of CBS Interactive in a statement. "We are extremely proud of what they've accomplished and are thrilled to be bringing fans a second season of this tremendous series."

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vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine
Previously unread.

This is a book. This is definitely a book. And I am in two mnds about it, depending on if I am subscribing to the idea that ideas expressed in a book irrevocably give a view into the author's, or the character's, mind. If the latter, it is well-executed, if the former, it's still well-executed, but leaves me with a "um, sure, but no more by Lukyanenko".

Which, in a way, would be a shame, because on the whole I liked the various Watch novels I read (three? four? something like that) and up until I managed to get about a quarter through this book, I was actually considering re-buying and re-reading them. Now, perhaps not. Until, at least< i have settled the dichotomy above.

That aside, this is an exploration of a possible route extensive gene-meddling can take. And if it wasn't for an undertone I am not 100% happy with, I would not hesitate to recommend it.
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Posted by David Kravets

Enlarge (credit: Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)

Police body cams worn by 2,600 officers in the nation's capital did not affect citizen complaints or the use of force by the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), according to a new study.

"We found essentially that we could not detect any statistically significant effect of the body-worn cameras," according to Anita Ravishankar, an MPD researcher at a city government group named Lab @ DC.

To conduct the study, researchers identified officers across the seven metro police districts that fit a specific criteria: the officer had to have active, full duty administrative status without a scheduled leave of absence during the study; the officer had to hold a rank of sergeant or below; and the officer had to be assigned to patrol duties in a patrol district or to a non-administrative role at a police station. From there, officers were split into control (no body cams) and treatment groups. "Our sample consisted of 2,224 MPD members, with 1,035 members assigned to the control group, and 1,189 members assigned to the treatment group," the study notes.

The study (PDF) then measured four outcome factors: reported uses of force, civilian complaints, policing activities (which includes tickets, warnings, arrests, etc.), and judicial outcomes, specifically whether MPD arrest charges led to prosecutions.

DC Police Chief Peter Newsham told NPR that everybody was expecting a different conclusion about the agency's $5.1 million program. "I think we're surprised by the result. I think a lot of people were suggesting that the body-worn cameras would change behavior. There was no indication that the cameras changed behavior at all."

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Posted by Sean Gallagher

Enlarge / Kaspersky Lab CEO and Chairman Eugene Kaspersky speaks at a conference in Russia on July 10, 2017. (credit: Anton NovoderezhkinTASS via Getty Images)

After reports that data collected by the company's anti-malware client was used to target an NSA contractor and various accusations of connections to Russian intelligence, today Kaspersky Lab announced the launch of what company executives call a "Global Transparency Initiative." As part of the effort aimed at regaining the trust of corporate and government customers among others, a Kaspersky spokesperson said that the company would open product code and the company's secure coding practices to independent review by the first quarter of 2018.

In a statement released by the company, founder Eugene Kaspersky said, "We want to show how we’re completely open and transparent. We’ve nothing to hide. And I believe that with these actions we’ll be able to overcome mistrust and support our commitment to protecting people in any country on our planet."

As part of the initiative, Kaspersky Lab will open three "Transparency Centers" for code review—one in the US, one in Asia, and one in Europe. This is similar to the practices of Microsoft and other large major software companies that allow code reviews by major government customers in a controlled environment. Kaspersky isn't the first vendor accused of providing espionage backdoors to follow this route—a similar practice was launched by Chinese networking hardware vendor Huawei in 2012 in the United Kingdom. At the time, Huawei offered to do the same for Australia and the US, but the offer was rejected and the company was banned from sensitive network work in the US by Congress.

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conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
Until the 30th. (That site was easier to navigate than Amazon's, which is all flashy flashy, of course.) There are also book giveaways this week, though you probably won't win.
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Posted by Peter Bright

Enlarge / Cray XC50 supercomputer. (credit: Cray)

Microsoft will add Cray supercomputers to its Azure cloud computing service to handle the needs of those with high performance computing (HPC) workloads.

Cloud computing systems like Azure can be used to build large cluster-like machines for high performance distributed workloads. Combined with FPGAs and GPUs, this makes them competitive, some of the time, with traditional supercomputers.

But sometimes, a workload really does need the high performance, low-latency interconnects and storage that are the hallmark of "real" supercomputers. That's why Microsoft is adding Cray XC and Cray CS supercomputer clusters along with ClusterStor storage to its Azure lineup. The machines are intended for tasks such as analytics, climate modeling, engineering simulations, and scientific and medical research. The companies envisage customers combining Cray HPC with Azure workloads to offer better performance and greater scaling than either Cray or Azure can offer alone.

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Returning to Second Life

Oct. 23rd, 2017 04:30 pm
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Posted by Samuel Axon

Seriously, this once happened.

A decade ago, dozens of media outlets and technologists discovered "The Next Internet." An original cyberspace science fiction fantasy had finally come to fruition as the world gained a second digitized reality. In a short period of time, countries established embassies, media companies opened bureaus, one of Earth’s biggest rock bands played a concert, political campaigns took to its streets, and people became real-world millionaires plying their skills in this new arena.

That much hyped "Next Internet?" You may remember it better by its official name—Second Life. For many modern Internet users, the platform has likely faded far, far from memory. But there’s no denying the cultural impact Second Life had during the brief height of its popularity.

Explaining Second Life today as a MMORG or a social media platform undersells things for the unfamiliar; Second Life became an entirely alternative online world for its users. And it wasn’t just the likes of Reuters and U2 and Sweden embracing this platform. Second Life boasted 1.1 million active users at its peak roughly a decade ago. Even cultural behemoth Facebook only boasted 20 million at the time.

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October 2011

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