ISPs and creepy ad company injecting traffic into secure Web sessions

A company called RT66 appears to be injecting code into secure Web-sessions, possibly with collusion from ISPs like CMA Communications. No one's sure how they're doing this, neither RT66 or CMA are answering questions, and it's bad news all around. Read the rest

Lessig's TED talk on fighting corruption in politics with campaign finance reform

Larry Lessig presented at TED his new project, an effort to curb the corrupting influence of money in American politics with a reform to campaign finance.

Great "do not disturb" status message

An unidentified person -- possibly an art student, based on the title -- has come up with a pretty seriously worded note to other people in the computer lab in order to remain uninterrupted while working on a deadline.

Art School gets busy sometimes (via Geeks Are Sexy) Read the rest

Wikileaks opens Public Library of US Diplomacy (PLUSD), searchable repository of 1970s US diplomatic and intel documents

"The illegal we do immediately; the unconstitutional takes a little longer." -- Henry A. Kissinger, US Secretary of State, March 10, 1975.

Julian Assange today announced the launch of the Public Library of US Diplomacy, or PLUSD, the publication of more than 1.7 million US diplomatic and intelligence documents from the 1970s. PLUSD includes diplomatic cables, intel reports, congressional correspondence, and other formerly restricted material, now all online in searchable text form.

The project was apparently orchestrated by Assange from his place of refuge, within the Ecuadorean embassy in London. He says the records highlighted the "vast range and scope" of the United States' global influence. He has been encamped in the Latin American country's embassy mission for nine months, seeking to avoid extradition to Sweden over allegations of rape and sexual assault, which he denies.

Read the rest

Mozilla announces agnostic, safe payment system for the Web

The Mozilla Foundation has previewed a new, experimental system for in-app payments that is intended to solve several major problems with existing payment systems available to developers, including the fact that other payment systems are strongly partisan, tilted to one or just a few payment processors. It's a good and useful thing, and an example of the sort of good that a well-funded nonprofit can do for the health of the Web:

Here’s what’s wrong:

* Users cannot choose how to pay; they have to select from one of the pre-defined options. * In most cases, the user has to type in an actual credit card number on each site. This is like giving someone the keys to your expensive car, letting them drive it around the block in a potentially dangerous neighborhood (the web) and saying please don’t get carjacked! * Merchants typically have to manage all this on their own: payment processor setup, costly processing fees, and possibly even PCI compliance.

There are services to mitigate a lot of these complications such as PayPal, Stripe, and others but they aren’t integrated into web devices very well. Mozilla wants to introduce a common web API to make payments easy and secure on web devices yet still as flexible as the checkout button for merchants.

Introducing navigator.mozPay() For Web Payments [ McMillan]

(via /.) Read the rest

What porn do they watch in the Vatican?

TorrentFreak's been looking at the BitTorrent video-downloading from the small pool of downloaders in Vatican City, and they've reported in with the Vatican's favorite pornography:

In the interests of science we researched each of the titles (including the curiously named RS77_Episode 01) and discovered that downloaders in the Vatican have one or two unusual ‘niche’ interests. We won’t link to our discoveries here, but feel free to do your own ‘research’ using the titles shown above. There isn’t a commandment that covers these films directly, but some might argue there should be.

TorrentFreak couldn’t find a priest prepared to make a comment and apparently the Pope is “busy” today. On a Sunday?

Priests Watch DVD Screeners While Pirates Download Filth in the Vatican Read the rest

Time: XKCD's slo-mo time-lapse comic

On March 25, Randall Munroe ran a strip called Time, an enigmatic, wordless image whose tool-tip was "Wait for it." Ever since, the strip has been updating with subsequent frames, all of them making up a time-lapse animation of a lovely story about a day of sand-castle building at the beach.

The XKCD Wikia entry for the post has animated GIFs and a slideshow showing the progress to date. It's really coming along nicely, and Randall's done some clever things with the back-end to stop people from previewing future frames. Read the rest

Walk 1.4 mi. in London, take photos of 140+ CCTVs

James Bridle photographed every CCTV between his home in east London and Dalston Junction, a 1.4mi walk with about 140 cameras. Welcome to London, where we have 11 CCTVs per red blood cells.

Every CCTV camera between my house and Dalston Junction (via Super Punch) Read the rest

Why men - and everyone - should speak out about misogyny in gaming

Rock Paper Shotgun's John Walker has published an excellent essay called "Misogyny, Sexism, And Why RPS Isn’t Shutting Up," making the case for games (and tech) writers of all sexes writing about sexism and misogyny in public, documenting the intimidation that writers experience when they do so, and offering some explanations for the violent, vicious response the work evokes. I particularly liked the section where he deals with accusations of "trying to get laid," and "white knighting."

Both phrases contain those truths. The accusation gets a grip because of them, causes me to hesitate, to pause as I write, to worry my motivations are wrong. And that’s their purpose. Generally the motivation for my writing any sort of polemic on RPS is because I’m angry about something – constructively angry about something a person should be angry about – and I want to see positive change. That’s what causes me to start typing, including this piece. But as I go along, those words creep in. “You’re just saying this to win the approval of others.” “You’re just trying to make girls like you.” “You think women need you to stand up for them.” And so on. They get to me. They’re getting to me right now. They’re evil spells, cast to insidiously infect.

I like it when people like me. I like it when people come up and compliment me. I like the approval of others. Because that’s normal. And I write this both to exorcise the infection those words cause, and to make it known to everyone else who feels the same that these are not words that should stop you from speaking up for what you know is right.

Read the rest

ExxonMobil, FAA, Arkansas cops establish flight restriction zone, threaten reporters who try to document Mayflower, AR spill

Expect to see a lot fewer images of toxic sludge creeping through small communities, thanks to the hard work of ExxonMobil. The company could have used its prodigious resources to make its oil pipelines more secure, preventing town-destroying leaks like the one that hit Mayflower, Arkansas. But they figured out that it would be cheaper to just corrupt the local law to chase reporters out and get the FAA to establish a Temporary Flight Restriction zone over the spill. Problem solved!

Michael Hibblen, who reports for the radio station KUAR, went to the spill site on Wednesday with state Attorney General Dustin McDaniel. McDaniel was in the area to inspect the site and hold a news conference, and Hibblen and a small group of reporters were following him to report on the visit. Upon arrival, representatives from the county sheriff's office, which is running security at the site, directed the reporters to a boundary point 10 feet away that they should not pass. The reporters agreed to comply. But the tone shifted abruptly, Hibblen told Mother Jones on Friday:

It was less than 90 seconds before suddenly the sheriff's deputies started yelling that all the media people had to leave, that ExxonMobil had decided they don't want you here, you have to leave. They even referred to it as "Exxon Media"…Some reporters were like, "Who made this decision? Who can we talk to?" The sheriff's deputies started saying, "You have to leave. You have 10 seconds to leave or you will be arrested."

Hibblen says he didn't really have time to deal with getting arrested, since he needed to file his report on the visit for both the local affiliate and national NPR.

Read the rest

"Free Pussy Riot" lingerie commercial

A German lingerie company, created a campaign that either co-opts or honors (or both) Pussy Riot.

Lethal weapons from duty-free stores

Here's a writeup of Evan Booth's Hack the Box conference presentation on making lethal weapons out of items bought in airport duty-free shops.

French spies demand removal of a Wikipedia entry, threaten random Wikipedia admin in France when they don't get their way

The French spy agency Direction Centrale du Renseignement Intérieur inexplicably flipped out about a longstanding Wikipedia entry on a military base (station hertzienne militaire de Pierre sur Haute) filled with public domain, widely known information. They tried to get the Wikimedia Foundation to delete it, but wouldn't explain what, exactly, they objected to in the entry. When the Wikimedia Foundation rebuffed them, they picked out a random volunteer Wikipedia admin living in France -- a person who had never had anything to do with the post in question -- and threatened him with jail unless he used his admin privileges to delete the post.

The Foundation is trying to support the their volunteer as best as they can. Meantime, the post about station hertzienne militaire de Pierre sur Haute's pageviews have shot from a couple per day to 9000+.

The Foundation takes allegations of national security threats seriously and investigated the matter accordingly. However, it was not readily apparent what specific information the DCRI could consider classified or otherwise high-risk. Without further information, we could not understand why the DCRI believes information in the article is classified. Almost all of the information in the article is cited to publicly-available sources. In fact, the article’s contents are largely consistent with a publicly available video in which Major Jeansac, the chief of the military station in question, gives a detailed interview and tour of the station to a reporter. This video is now cited in the article. Furthermore, the page was originally created on July 24, 2009 and has been continually available and edited since.

Read the rest

Government Attic: repository of noteworthy declassified/FOIA'd/public records access government docs

A reader writes,, a noncommercial independent website, announces the publication of thousands of important government documents obtained through proper channels using public records access laws such as the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Government Attic includes fascinating historical documents, oddities and fun stuff about government programs, and government "bloopers". Browsing the site is like rummaging through the Government's Attic -- hence the name.

Among the notable holdings: - Tens of thousands of pages of FBI files on important events and famous people; - Weird items seized by customs inspectors at airports; - A listing of movies, books and TV shows available on the International Space Station; - Air Defense System audio recordings of the events on 9/11; - Lists of investigations performed by dozens of agency Inspectors General; - Internal newsletters from the National Security Agency; - Complaints to the FCC about various television series, including The Simpsons, Saturday Night Live, and Law & Order; and - Documents from most federal agencies, including those with responsibilities in law enforcement, intelligence, and national defense.

Welcome to Read the rest

Mid-Century Modern housing designs vs children

Projectophile's Clare has a funny post about the hazards presented by beautiful mid-century modern home designs to children. My grandparents had a proper split-level MCM when I was a kid, and it's a wonder we survived. As Clare says, "I love open, flowing space as much as the next modern girl. But I know it would only be a matter of minutes before my kid flings himself off one of these deadly ledges..."

15 Mid-Century Modern Dream Homes that will Kill Your Children (via MeFi) Read the rest

Some Rollins

JWZ, who has seen Henry Rollins "do his spoken word thing once a year since around 1912," has rounded up about an hour's worth of YouTube clips of some truly great Rollins rants for your Sunday viewing pleasure. Read the rest

Crossed bedside lamps turn each other off and on

Today's maker project was a pair of bedside lamps that switch one another.