• Dec, 2021
  • Dec 18, 2021
  • "Phone numbers suck" - Techlore guy

    "They're hard to get compared to something like email. They're expensive. Most people only get one. And these issues just make them a very unique datapoint. A phone number is one of the most invasive data points used against us by companies."

    A new thing is eSIMs. A real phone number, not a virtual number like VOIP.

    No outbound calls though.

     
  • Dec, 2021
  • Dec 09, 2021
  • CryptoMines/Eternal coin crash from $700 to $4 in a few days

    The devs issued a manifesto:

    "... the main problem is that NFTs have no additional cost or wear and tear causing an over-population of these assets and thus reaching a point where some investors do not have the need to continue re-investing.

    "This same re-investment effect is necessary in order to continue with a healthy and collaborative environment of a P2E game as there must be movement of investment, reinvestment, and new revenue to maintain a sustainable ecosystem over time or directly more longevity, CryptoMines at its peak managed to make refill its reward pool with more than 1.2million Mints per day, after the fall, we started to see numbers hovering around 50k and even less mints per day, accumulating a debt due to lack of trust and re-investment in the game."


     
  • Dec, 2021
  • Dec 07, 2021
  • Elon discusses the difficulties involved in building the new, larger reusable rocket


  • Dec, 2021
  • Dec 06, 2021

  •  
  • Nov, 2021
  • Nov 15, 2021
  • Throwing things into space

    ... Throwing (yeeting) rockets at about mach1 using electric motors to spin the propelling launcher's 100m rotating arm at 450rpm (that rotation speed is around 2km per second, about the same as a SpaceX Falcon 9 second stage when it performs stage separation). The chamber is evacuated, so they cover the top of it with a thin membrane which the projectile just breaks when it shoots through it. It launches at around 10g apparently.


    The disk with ejection barrel pictured below is about the length of the statue of liberty. They built and did a launch I think, but I don't think their full-scale version is built (which I think might be the image below).

    The company is Spinlaunch.

    Rockets use a lot of fuel just to get from earth to space.



     
  • Nov, 2021
  • Nov 08, 2021
  • Israeli Blue Wolf

    WP reported this.

    It's facial recog system trained on a huge database of images acquired by Israeli army soldiers on smartphones, to target people for detension.
  • Palestinian activists hacked with Pegasus

    "It's a strong feeling to have your privacy violated," said one man. "Even the simplest of things. My wife couldn't sleep for three days after finding out, being extremely worried. Our privacy was violated as a family. Our children, their pictures. Our conversations with family and friends."

    Pegasus is sold to govts around the world by NSO (Israeli company), under license from Israel's MOD.

    Pegasus is supposed to be blocked from use on Israeli and Palestinian phones.

    NSO commented "We cannot confirm or deny the identity of our government customers. ... NSO Group does not operate the products itself. The company licenses approved government agencies to do so."

    Last month, 3 days after the investigation into suspected phone hacking began, Israel designated all 6 organizations as terror groups, accusing them of funneling money to the PLF and other things.

    Then the Israeli army gave itself the power to shut down offices, confiscate money, and make arrests.

    Last week, the US blacklisted NSO.

     
  • Nov, 2021
  • Nov 02, 2021
  • SKorea govt provided 170m facial images of national and international travelers without consent

    We're talking about the face photos they take during the immigration process.

    They gave it to a private sector company to develop an AI screening tool.

     
  • Data collected on 50m Moscow drivers for sale for $800

    From a hacker.

    Full names, dates of birth, phone numbers, vehicle ID numbers, licence plate numbers, and car brand model and registration date.

    It's confirmed legit.
     
  • Oct, 2021
  • Oct 30, 2021
  • Lots of people are talking about autonomous warfare used in Nagorno-Karabakh war

    A war which lasted only a couple weeks (27 Sept – 10 Nov 2020) before Armenia, harassed by Azerbaijan's use of drones, surrendered. Azerbaijan then posted lots of high-res videos of their attacks and showed them in the town square.

    They autonomized their jets and when Armenia fired on them, they identified the Armenian forces and attacked them. Instead of firing weapons, the drones just flew into them.

    Loitering munition (drones) has no single effective countermeasure. Things that are used together to thwart them are radio jammers, EMP, laser defense, acoustic detection, net traps and kinetic power (bullets). This is all limited, however, by ambient stuff like traffic.

    Drones were also used in 2019 to attack SA's oil refineries that flew below radar. SA couldn't do anything and had to shut down half their production.

    They were also used against a Russian base during the Syrian 'civil' war in 2018, and no one claimed responsibility. Russia said the US did it, but it could have been anyone. They used plywood drones.

    People have drawn lines of comparison with hackers, who also attack from a safe location, anonymously, and without identifying themselves.

    Miniature drones, Autopilot and image recognition software open source and developed by sellers.

    Are we even going to be able to have any drones allowed to exist in the air?

     
  • Oct, 2021
  • Oct 28, 2021
  • Musk reveals plans with Varda for first space factory

    $3.2b pricetag.

    Benefit: microgravity. For manufacturing 3d printed organs, special-purpose semiconductors.

    2023 plan: 3 months of Varda's spacecraft being up there, then a reentry capsule will return the finished product. 2024 two more factories to go up.

    Varda is also building it's own capsule to return up to 100kg from space. They're focusing of frequency of reentry because it shows how they can return value after sending raw materials to space.

    Varda hasn't said what it will produce up there (and might not yet know because they might not have a contract). Pharmaceuticals and fiberoptic were mentioned.

     
  • US gov says China did a hypersonic missile test into space

    They travel 5x the speed of sound and can't be tracked by radar.

    China responded saying US was basically lying.

    Russia and NKorea have said they've fired this type of weapon.

    US says it's working on the technology.
  • Oct, 2021
  • Oct 17, 2021
  • Moscow uses facial recognition for payments on the metro

    Ostensibly they are using it to give passengers the option to pay that way. Their face is tied to their credit card in this optional system, and they can pay for their trips that way.

    15k people volunteered to test the system before it was made public this week.

    To do facepay, you have to stop in front of the camera for a second before entering the train gates.

    Moscow has over 200k facial recognition cameras.They were used earlier this year in the arrests of demonstrators at opposition protests.

     
  • Oct, 2021
  • Oct 13, 2021
  • Pentagon's first chief software officer resigned last month saying China will dominate US in AI and bioengineering tech

    Nicholas Chaillan, age 37. He said he thought it was already a done deal and that the US would have no competitive chance in 15-20 years.

    He said many government departments in the US were run by people who weren't really experts in that field. He also criticized Google-like tech giants for not wanting to cooperate with the USgov over ethics issues.

    US SoD wants a $1.5b investment to develop AI faster.



  • Oct, 2021
  • Oct 12, 2021
  • Nickel-based cathode has higher energy density for longrange vehicles, for Tesla

    Standard-range vehicles and stationary storage will move to iron-based battery cathodes, Musk thinks. He thinks the majority of batteries in the future will be iron-based, so there won't be any shortage. It's just a question of making the equipment to process the iron into a cell and then into a pack.

    Nickel isn't rare, but there's about 10-100x as much iron as nickel.

    (Cobalt-based for phones and laptops.)

    Lithium makes up about 2% or so of a battery cell, but lithium is also not rare (basically its a salt, and there's a little bit everywhere).

     
  • "If Nicolai Tesla applied at Tesla today, would we even give him an interview?"

    Musk said this was something he thought about sometimes, when considering hiring engineers, or just good people to work at his company. He said he wasn't sure they would.

    "Just three bullet points. Like evidence of exceptional ability. And if you say 'Wow' if you read those three bullet points, that should be the approach." He said this about looking for people.

     
  • Sep, 2021
  • Sep 30, 2021
  • AI is second-biggest threat to civilization, said Elon Musk, arguably the world's biggest robot maker

    We should have a regulatory agency to oversee AI safety, he said, but there isn't anything like that right now and that type of thing takes governments years to do.

    He said he didn't really know what to do about it.

    (His biggest threat was population collapse.)

     
  • WIll general purpose blockchains that have greater utility eclipse finished products like bitcoin?

    This question was posed by an Indian-looking fellow at Codecon (who didn't give his name), to Elon Musk.

     
  • Sep, 2021
  • Sep 28, 2021
  • Amazon introduces a spy device on wheels for people's homes

    ... called Astro. It's Alexa on wheels. It's designed to look small and cute.

    It can play movies, do video calls.

     
  • Turkey Technofest

    Main things: killer drones, fighter jets, EVs, guns, helicopters, biotech, AI.

    At the podium, the chief tech officer said they were holding the festival 'in order not to be condemned to a world constructed by brutal capitalist technology monopolies, we must fill our sails with our own wind of transformation, and the direction of our civilizational values." Turkey's shifting away from importing tech.

    The initiative should generate a lot of cash for Turkey. Last year, Turkey's defence tech got $2.3b. People suggested if Turkey continues along its current tech development path, it might become home to the largest aerospace festival, and maybe even a world leader in the sector.
     
  • Sep, 2021
  • Sep 26, 2021
  • Cloning camels

    ... in desert Middle East continues to be popular. Cloning biofactories can't keep up with demand. People are making exact copies of their favorite camels.

    Camels are used for races and beauty pageants there.

    The first one was cloned in 2009.

  • Sep, 2021
  • Sep 12, 2021
  • Protonmail logged IP of French activist upon order by Swiss authorities

    ... his alleged crime was truancy. He was a member of Youth for Climate Action in Paris, and they were using Protonmail to schedule and organize an event where they would skip school to go and protest, reported Mental Outlaw on YT. The youths were going to protest governments and corporations they believed were causing climate change.

    Have you ever skipped school?

    Protonmail does not have any userside/clientside encryption. Tor or mixnet would have put something between the user and Protonmail.

    Mental Outlaw pointed out that although Protonmail may not comply with a request from an outside state (France, US, whoever), they could just go through Switzerland.

    Protonmail updated it's privacy policy to more accurately reflect what they do.

     
  • Sep, 2021
  • Sep 11, 2021
  • Reportedly, US drone strike killed an aid worker and children

    According to NYT.

    DailymailUK: 'The drone strike that the Pentagon claimed killed an ISIS-K suicide bomber in Kabul actually targeted an aid worker who had filled his car with water jugs, rather than explosives, according to a shocking new report.'

    According to the family, 10 were killed in that car, although the Pentagon says 3 civilians.

    Congresswoman Ilhan Omar  wrote of a recent drone strike (I don't know if it was the same strike):

    "This is the lastest in 20 years of innocent lives taken and children orphaned in Afghanistan and covert drone warfare around the world. Impunity for these attacks continues to create a neverending cycle of violence and retribution. Where should these victims go to seek justice?"


    ‘Imminent Threat’ or Aid Worker: Did a U.S. Drone Strike in Afghanistan Kill the Wrong Person? - The New York Times  
  • Sep, 2021
  • Sep 03, 2021
  • US collected biometric records on 5m Afghanis

    ... and now those people are at risk due to this very thing, according to some like Margaret Hu, who calls it a lesson in the life-and-death consequences of data collection.

    The US left this data behind, along with iris scans and names.

    Consortium News commented that the US is going after Assange in part because (they allege) Assange endangered lives by revealing names of informants (when he was actually redacting them).


    The Taliban reportedly have control of US biometric devices – a lesson in life-and-death consequences of data privacy  
  • Aug, 2021
  • Aug 31, 2021
  • IUDs. Women are pulling them out themselves to not pay removal fee

    IUD insertion is free but removal can cost hundreds, so women are just removing them themselves and posting videos on social media.

  • Aug, 2021
  • Aug 23, 2021
  • Daniel Hale awarded Sam Adams for drone info

    Of 200 people killed in a 1-year period in 2012-2013 US special forces airstrikes (using drone) only 35 were the intended targets.

    The innocent civilians were routinely categorized as 'enemies killed in action.'

    Hale was a defense contractor in 2013 when his conscience caused him to release classified documents to the press. Hale was charged under the Espionage Act and received 45 months.

    In a hand-written letter to Judge Liam O’Grady Hale explained that the drone attacks and the war in Afghanistan had “little to do with preventing terror from coming into the United States and a lot more to do with protecting the profits of weapons manufacturers and so-called defense contractors.”

    Hale also cited a 1995 statement by former U.S. Navy Admiral Gene LaRocque: “We now kill people without ever seeing them. Now you push a button thousands of miles away … since it’s all done by remote control, there’s no remorse … and then we come home in triumph.”

    Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence  
  • Aug, 2021
  • Aug 19, 2021
  • China's sponge cities

    Instead of building barricades to water, they want to absorb and release the water when needed.

    How it's done usually is combining grey infrastructure like drainage and water treatment with green spaces.

    People also like to go to the green spaces to use them. Trees, elevated walkways, etc.

    They also use some bioswales, which are several KMs in length now. They're grooves water can seep into and go down into the earth rather than enter drainage systems.

    They also use permeable road surfaces. Polyurethane binders combined with gravel or stones let water through.

    These are all designed to deal with regular heavy rain, and aren't as useful for extreme weather events.

    The US and Russia have also done sponge city stuff, but not to the same level as China.

     
  • Aug, 2021
  • Aug 17, 2021
  • Indonesian 'rainwater communities'

    There isn't access to clean water in many places, and there are sometimes long droughts, and drinking rainwater isn't appealing due to cleanliness concerns, although people use it.

    Indonesians were (many still are, of course) buying their drinking water. Clean water sales long ago passed into the hands of private companies.The companies own the clean water springs.

    Many communities there now use electrolysis, passing a current through the water. It kills microbes and increases the PH value.

    Credit for this is attributed to a pastor of one of the communities, Romo Kirjito, who worked for years in his lab trying solutions to get everyone clean water for free (or close to free).



     
  • Aug, 2021
  • Aug 16, 2021
  • Daniel Hale, who leaked information on US drone warfare, sentenced to 45 months in prison for violating Espionage Act

    “I believe that it is wrong to kill, but it is especially wrong to kill the defenseless,” Hale told the court. He said he shared what “was necessary to dispel the lie that drone warfare keeps us safe, that our lives are worth more than theirs.”

    “Hale did not in any way contribute to the public debate about how we fight wars. All he did was endanger the people who are doing the fighting.” This was said by Assistant U.S. Attorney Gordon Kromberg.

    “You are not being prosecuted for speaking out about the drone program killing innocent people. You could have been a whistleblower ... without taking any of these documents." This was said by U.S. District Judge Liam O’Grady.

    The defense said it was a public service. WP reported: 'The documents included a report finding that reliance on deadly attacks was undermining intelligence gathering. During one five-month stretch of an operation in Afghanistan, the documents revealed, nearly 90 percent of the people killed were not the intended targets.'



    Intercept: Leaked military documents expose the inner workings of Obama’s drone wars  
  • Aug, 2021
  • Aug 13, 2021
  • Russia using cloud seeding to create rain

    ... it's a dry hot summer.

    Here's what the canisters look like. They're filled with silver iodide which provides a base for the formation of snow and rain inside clouds. Planes go on missions to seek out clouds and shoot them with the canisters.




     
  • Jul, 2021
  • Jul 31, 2021
  • Agroforestry

    ... such as 'alley cropping.' It means more effort and a reduced farming space (the trees take maybe 10%), but rows of fast-growing easy-to-manage poplars divide some German farms now.

    The trees 'sequester' co2 (and therefore mitigate climate change). Hens enjoy the forest floor, and eat the greenery there, which reduces co2 because most of the co2 associated with farming chickens comes from producing the feed (partially, because some of their feed is still bought). The hens trample fallen leaves and the soil regains nutrients. The roots of the tree also improve soil quality, and trees form a wind break so soil isn't blown away, and anchor moisture into the ground, and (with the shrubbery planted beside the strips of trees, like multiyear wildflower) provide a habitat for beneficial insects like hoverflies, dung beetles, and wild bees, and worms and fungi.

    So three things--chicken farming, producing feed for them, and having trees to convert co2 to oxygen (and glucose) are now done in one location, so less land needed and less transportation costs.

    However, a lot of the trees are eventually chopped down to 20cm once they are fully grown, and burnt as firewood, rereleasing 70% of their co2, which mitigates their mitigation of co2.

    The first year after planting trees on a farm field takes more work, because you have to tend the area around the tree shoots so they can live.

    There are some farming areas where the ground is not thick enough to really have large trees, though, and watery rice fields and hilly regions also aren't always idea for trees.

    Familiar facts: 25% of greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture. Monoculture sucks nutrients out of soil. Farms take up a lot of land. Using lots of trees on farms was historically practiced everywhere but went out of fashion in the early 20th century, when it was seen as inefficient (tractors and machinery played a part).

    #tab-dashboard-02">EEA: Greenhouse gas emissions by aggregated sector

     
  • Jul, 2021
  • Jul 19, 2021
  • Pegasus spyware, capable of switching on cameras and mics, linked to list of 50,000 phone numbers

    ... and targeting journalists in 50 countries, targeted by 10 states.

    One Mexican journalist was on the list and 2 months later was killed, although journalists are frequently killed in Mexico.

    The spyware is reportedly from Israeli company NSO Group (although there are many other similar companies). The software is sold to governments (only those who have been 'approved by Israel') to deal with 'terrorism' and 'criminals,' but is used by governments against their own civil society (journalists, activists, dissidents, lawyers) and heads of state.

    The software is almost undetectable on your phone. It is not the kind of malware that you have to stupidly click something to have it install (spearfishing). It uses a zero-click exploit, using some app on your phone. It's not known which apps, but one is WhatsApp: it infected phones using a WhatsApp call and you don't even have to pick up the call. It has root access to the device (can do anything, including see all keystrokes, use camera, mic, contacts, archives, location). It might be stored in a temp file in RAM instead of on the hard drive.

    The only way to get rid of it currently is get a new phone and new SIM.

     
  • Jul, 2021
  • Jul 11, 2021
  • Audacity turns bad

    ... according to everyone in the privacy forums and bloggers, because it updated it's policies to tell users it would be collecting unknown data from them and using it in unknown ways.

    Audacity was bought by Muse Group (which owns Musescore and Ultimate Guitar). The new owners pledged to keep it 'free and opensource' but it seems they might have found another way to monetize their investment here).

    One of the things people were most excited to point out about the new policy for Audacity was they added a 'only use if over age 13' type line, because under GDPR 'The age threshold for obtaining parental consent is established by each EU Member State and can be between 13 and 16 years.'

    Many people just said they wouldn't use it anymore and deleted it from their machines. Other options offered by the community were to fork or use a previous version, or to limit port access.


     
  • Jul, 2021
  • Jul 06, 2021
  • Virtual influencers

    On social media, the use of these characters is a bit of a thing. They're CG attractive women (usually) used to promote and sell products.

    Some have lots of followers. Some are modelling agencies offering a roster of character options. They've been used by some big fashion brands.

    About 40% of people reportedly follow a virtual influencer without knowing it.

  • Jun, 2021
  • Jun 27, 2021
  • China sent a crew to its new space station

    China isn't a participant in the ISS, largely because of the US's objections to China's secrecy and military focus in space. They built their own space module, called Tianhe III (their first two space stations were more short term), or Heavenly Harmony, which launched last April.

    China used a Shenzhou-12 spaceship launched by a Long March-2F Y12 rocket from the Gobi Desert to transport a three-man crew of science-minded military pilots (2 vets, one new pilot) to Tianhe.

     
  • A fungus, Mycelium, is being talked about as an alternative to plastic to make things

    Basically, they make a mold and then fill it with hemp or woodchips (or some other agricultural waste). This is called the 'foam.' Mycelium is also placed in the molds. The molds are then placed on racks with temperature, humidity, co2 and airflow controlled.

    The Mycelium fibers grow so they fill the mold. Then the molds are heat treated to kill the Mycelium.

    Some people are also making other products such as bacon and other artificial meats, a leather alternative, insulation, and fabrics out of Mycelium.

     
  • Jun, 2021
  • Jun 14, 2021
  • Hackers don't want Bitcoin, some now like Monero

    ... which hides virtually all transaction details, and is considered a privacy token. With Monero, it's more difficult to see who the sender and recipient are, and transaction amount. 90-95% of ransoms are still paid in Bitcoin, but Monero is increasingly popular.

    Bitcoin is public ledger and stores all transaction history. It was headline news this month how the FBI recovered payments made with Bitcoin to the Colonial Pipeline hackers.

    Difficulties with using Monero include that many regulated exchanges have chosen not to list it to to regulatory concerns, meaning it's less liquid and can't be cashed out as easily as Bitcoin.

     
  • Jun, 2021
  • Jun 13, 2021
  • Chile starts thermosolar power plant in its superhot desert

    Atacama desert is very hot due to the sunlight it gets.

    The thermosolar plant has thousands of reflectors which move with the sun, reflecting its rays toward a column in the center, in which is water and salt that when heated creates steam.

    It makes 210mW, enough to power 380k homes.

    Chile is looking to close down some of its coal plants.




     
  • Jun, 2021
  • Jun 01, 2021
  • EU border wall, sound weapons, AI lie detection

    In order to keep out migrants several EU countries are building border walls (nevermind their negative response to the 2017 Trump proposal), employing sound cannons, and working on an AI lie detection tool.

    Analysts have commented that often these types of tools, implemented for such causes as migrants, are tested out before being turned on the citizens of the countries that built them.

    They also note that the steps will possibly result in more deaths, as the migrants will turn to smugglers and other more dangerous methods of entering Europe.

     
  • First AI drone attacks (without human oversight)

    Reports have it that last year a Turkish quad-copter which was a true set-and-forget weapon, identified targets and opened fire in Libya. The targets were renegades loyal to Khalifa Haftar, reportedly.

    Analysts note that Turkey and other countries perceive themselves to have a competitive advantage by using these tools.

     
  • Danish journalists come forward with US spying report

    Allegedly (so far these are only allegations), in 2013 during the days of Edward Snowden's revelations the Obama government was spying on German and other leaders of US-allied countries, Danish foreign intelligence agency FE signed a deal with the NSA so that the Americans could intercept communications (tap phones and messaging of German and other allied leaders) using their own software following the 911 attacks in 2001.

    Following Snowden's publishing the documents about this activity, a report was created but it was never made public, but now six of the very few people who ever saw it decided to come forward.

    It is expected there will now be pressure to publish it, especially considering Danish and other European individuals were targeted. It is being reported that current US pres Biden was significantly involved in the operation. He was VP from 09-17.

    German, France and other EU states are waiting for better, more certain information before responding publicly.

    Newscasters on several channels reported the story with smiles of bemusement or low-key glee.

    #InternationalRelations #Snowden #journalism
        
  • May, 2021
  • May 17, 2021
  • Marines boarding ships with personal jetpacks

    UK's Royal Marines, using the Gravity Jet Suit (1000bhp)


     
  • May, 2021
  • May 01, 2021
  • More mysterious 'Havana Syndrome' attacks

    More of these strange attacks have been reported, this time not in Cuba but near the White House.

    When they were first reported in 2017, the U.S. government referred to them as 'targeted attacks' but later started calling them 'health incidents.'

    But recently, two U.S. senators said they were definitely attacks. Canadian diplomats accused the Canadian government of withholding information about three new cases of brain injury among Canadian diplomats who served in Cuba, too.

    The U.S. puts Russia as the most likely perpetrator.

    Last year the National Academy of Science found the weapon to be one that uses 'pulsed microwave energy' to cause brain damage.

    The reported symptoms are vague, including memory loss, nausea, headaches, and loss of balance. The U.S. diplomats reported hearing a strange noise, which was recorded and is publicly available to listen to, in the embassy before the symptoms started.

     

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