Quinn DuPont writes in with "A cracking challenge to cryptanalyse a William Gibson poem ('Agrippa', written in 1992). The winner will receive a copy of every William Gibson book published. Project is academic (non-commercial)."
Gibson's poem is a beautiful work, and it came on a floppy disk that erased itself after displaying the poem's text a single time. Of course, it was cracked almost immediately (..f. all DRM, ever) but that wasn't really the point. The challenge site includes a System 7 emulator, an image of the floppy, some of the sourcecode for the app (which was apparently written in Lisp?!), and more.
Based on the pioneering work of Alan Liu and his team at The Agrippa Files, working in collaboration with Matthew Kirschenbaum at the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities and the Digital Forensics Lab, a a bit-for-bit copy of this application has been recovered, along with numerous archival documents.
The first person to successfully crack the code will win a copy of every William Gibson book ever published (except Agrippa). Every runner-up will have their name (if provided) posted on this website. To win you must submit a technical description of your cryptanalysis below, under Creative Commons usage rights (the results of which will be used to further research on Agrippa). The technical description should explain what kind of encryption is used (if any), how it functions, and how it was reversed or cracked (and what the key is, if there is one). Should there be no encryption at all (a possibility), or should the application merely “scramble” or “destroy” the data, this must be technically demonstrated or proved. Since the plain text is known, the cryptanalysis is purely for fun and academic curiosity, and thus the description should provide technical details.
"English litigation is a long and costly process that could almost have been designed to bludgeon a defendant into submission." — Nature writer Quirin Schiermeier, who recently prevailed in a characteristically insane U.K. libel action. — Rob
Last year I replaced my old-looking but perfectly functional programmable thermostat with a better looking, WiFi-equipped model. The remote aspect of it was good. We could set “away” temps, and restore normal temps on our way back home. And the programmable part was always good – cool at night, not working so hard when we’re at work, etc.
But even though the thing was from a “major name”, it was a true PITA. While it worked most of the time, any time we wanted to tweak things, ugh. It was miserable. Then Nest came out with their Learning Thermostat.
I recently put one in and it’s well beyond what I was hoping the other might be. Superbly easy installation and activation, beautiful to look at, and as user-friendly as anything can be. It’s still in learning mode which basically means it is figuring out our daily schedules. But so far they’ve thought of everything, and this has given me complete confidence in its long term purpose.
Nest also provides apps that allow you to control your thermostat from your iOS or Android phone or tablet. You can also track energy usage history, etc. At $249 it’s a lot more than other thermostats, and so maybe not suited for everyone’s budget. But I’ll say it’s more than suitable for any home. It’s a beautifully designed and exceptionally functional thermostat that continues to do its job very well.
Upon reading Xeni's post about Herp Derp, a browser extension that turns all YouTube comments into "herp derp", I remembered that I have on-hand an image to express my own slackly-murmuring state of blissful detachment from the hell of other people, as required. There are many such images, but mine is epic. You're welcome.
This is @666burger’s Doucheburger. It is gold leafed Kobe beef formed around foie gras, and topped with cave aged gruyere, truffle butter, lobster, caviar, and kopi luwak bbq sauce. It is fucking delicious.
More photos by Kate here. And Glukakke is the one doing the gold leafing there.
Reggae legend Bob Marley has something in common with Barack Obama and Elvis Presley now: All three men are have biological species named after them. "In Marley's case, it's a small parasitic crustacean blood feeder that infests fish in Caribbean coral reefs, now known as Gnathia marleyi." Were he alive today, we have to imagine his reply: "Um, thanks?" — Xeni
At the NYT, Brian X. Chen reports that Uber, the nifty internet service that uses a "clever algorithm to summon a car quickly with a smartphone app" was nearly banned by politicians in the Washington, DC.
After six months, the company has finally won a battle with the city, which had been trying to deem its service illegal. The City Council of the District of Columbia on Tuesday afternoon passed a legislative amendment that formally legalized sedans like the ones that Uber’s car-service partners use. The bill will permit Uber to do business without regulation until the end of the year, when the legislation will need to be revisited.
That’s a sharp turn of events from Monday, when the City Council discussed a legislative amendment that would have fixed the prices of fares for sedans so that they would be five times the minimum cost of cabs.
What's the use of running a basket-case, tin-pot totalitarian dictatorship if you can't drill an elite honor guard to perform breathtaking feats of close-order drill? Case in point, the official honor guard of Belarus.
Via MyModernMet, the work of California-based multimedia artist Lauren DiCioccio, whose "Sewn News" series features hand-embroidered imagery seen in back issues of The New York Times. Above, Lady Gaga in the The Arts section. "I describe the beauty of the ritual experience of newspaper-reading by describing the paper as a tactile and fragile object in the language of craft," says DiCioccio.
Each piece includes a full issue of The New York Times wrapped in cotton muslin. One selected image is then hand-embroidered on the front of the fabric, where details are not exact and layers of colorful thread mix together and hang from the cotton in messy waves.
Workers at the Dutch offices of DSM, a chemical company, report finding USB sticks in the company parking lot, which appeared to have been lost. However, when the company's IT department examined the sticks, they discovered that they were loaded with malware set to autorun in company computers, which would harvest employee login credentials. It appears that criminal dropped the keys in the hopes of tricking a employees into getting them into the company network.