Deep Insert skimmers: undetectable, disposable short-lived ATM skimmers

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NCR reports in-the-wild sightings of "deep skimmers" (tiny, disposable card-skimmers that run on watch batteries and use crude radios to transmit to a nearby base-station) on ATMs around the world: "Greece, Ireland, Italy, Switzerland, Sweden, Bulgaria, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States." Read the rest

How to divide a cake fairly among a group of people

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Here's a puzzle from Martin Gardner's "Mathematical Games" column, which ran for many years in Scientific American. I found it in his anthology, My Best Mathematical and Logic Puzzles, which is only $3.42 on Amazon.

There is a simple procedure by which two people can divide a cake so that each is satisfied he has at least half: One cuts and the other chooses. Devise a general procedure so that n persons can cut a cake into n portions in such a way that everyone is satisfied he has at least 1/n of the cake.

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What a Google News Alert for "Satanic" can teach you

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Religion blogger Fred Clark is fascinated with the urban legends and panic surrounding "satanism," so years ago he set up a Google News Alert for the word "Satanic." Over at Pathos, he posted the funny, ridiculous, and fascinating things he's learned. Here's a sample:

• Every year, dozens of filmmakers try to recapture the magic that made The Exorcist so unsettling. Most fail.

• Pat Boone is still alive.

• The political performance art of the Satanic Temple is both hilarious and pointedly effective. They’re defending the First Amendment the way that we Baptists are supposed to.

• Adolescent legend tripping is happening all the time, every day, somewhere in the English-speaking world.

• Adults who should know better are freaking out and over-reacting to adolescent legend tripping all the time, every day, somewhere in the English-speaking world.

• Censorious adults worried about Kids Today listening to satanic heavy metal aren’t really keeping up with the satanic heavy metal acts trying hardest to gain their condemnation.

• Same goes for video games.

"Things I Have Learned Due to My Google News Alert for the Word ‘Satanic’" (via Daily Grail) Read the rest

Possession of this prime number is illegal in the United States, even if you write it on a piece of paper

This is a good short lesson in public key cryptography. We also learn why a particular prime number that starts with 85650789657397829 and has 1402 more digits is an illegal number. If you have a DVD player, you are in possession of the number.

Wikipedia: "One of the earliest illegal prime numbers was generated in March 2001 by Phil Carmody. Its binary representation corresponds to a compressed version of the C source code of a computer program implementing the DeCSS decryption algorithm, which can be used by a computer to circumvent a DVD's copy protection." Read the rest

Texas police tell little girl she is in "big trouble" for buying school meal with $2 bill

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Alert administrators at a Houston, Texas, public school called police when a 13-year-old student tried to use a $2 bill to buy chicken nuggets from the cafeteria. An officer went to the school office where the girl was being held, scaring the hell out of her and calling her grandmother with dire warnings about federal counterfeiting crimes being committed.

Bill in hand, the officer went to the store that gave the $2 bill to the girl's grandmother and questioned them, then went to a bank with the bill, where he was told that $2 bills are legal tender. The officer never apologized to the girl, who missed her lunch that day.

That's right: the 13-year-old didn't even receive an apology from the authority figures, even though she was ultimately denied lunch that day, according to her grandmother. Grandma also had this to say: "It was very outrageous for them to do it. There was no need for police involvement. They're charging kids like they're adults now."

Read the rest

Scientists wirelessly transmit high-speed data through, um, pork loin

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Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign used ultrasound to transmit high-speed data through pork loin and beef liver. Why? They're developing a system for controlling wireless medical implants and also stream high-definition video from inside the body.

"You can imagine a device that is swallowed for the purposes of imaging the digestive tract but with the capability for the HD video to be continuously streamed live to an external screen and the orientation of the device controlled wirelessly and externally by the physician," says engineering professor Andrew Singer.

Singer and his colleagues posted their results on arXiv in a paper titled "Mbps Experimental Acoustic Through-Tissue Communications: MEAT-COMMS."

“To our knowledge, this is the first time anyone has ever sent such high data rates through animal tissue,” Singer said. “These data rates are sufficient to allow real-time streaming of high definition video, enough to watch Netflix, for example, and to operate and control small devices within the body.”

That's a whole new spin on dinner and a movie.

(Engineering at Illinois)

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The 10 most unsolvable unsolved disappearances

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As a true crime journalist who searches for the missing, I am keenly aware of the breadcrumbs I’m leaving behind throughout a typical day. If I were to suddenly disappear, these bits of information will mean everything to detectives. But I worry that these clues will be misleading, that my receipts and cell phone pings will only muddy the waters of the official investigation should I vanish without a trace, because the littlest detail can seem quite suspicious when taken out of context. James Renner is a novelist and journalist from Ohio. He’s new work of nonfiction, True Crime Addict, follows his investigation into the disappearance of Maura Murray. It’s available everywhere books are sold, May 24.

For instance, the police might find the credit card slip in my car that shows I was in the bad part of Akron, today, and think that has something to do with whatever happened. That’s where people go to buy crack, after all. But really, I only drove out to Exchange because I found a new place over there that serves authentic Pho. Yesterday, I paid for several mirrors at a craft-supply store I’d never visited in the past. If I disappeared, the detectives will wonder why I altered my routine that day. Maybe they’ll suspect I was using those mirrors to cut cocaine (my son needed them to build a periscope for Cub Scouts – honest!).

When someone goes missing, the clues they leave behind lack context. There’s no telling which detail is important and which isn’t. Read the rest

India trying out optical illusion speed bumps

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In India, 11,000 people die each year in automobile accidents tied to potholes or speed bumps, presumably because drivers fly over them, often on purpose. India's minister of road transport, Nitin Gadkari, hopes faux speed bumps will help by encouraging drivers to slow down while reducing the risk when they don't. "We are trying out 3D paintings used as virtual speed breakers to avoid unnecessary requirements of speed breakers," Gadkari tweeted along with the image above.

The optical illusions have been tried in other countries, including the US, as I posted back in 2008.

"Initially they were great," Phoenix, Arizona police traffic coordinator officer Terry Sills said at the time. "Until people found out what they were."

(Irish Examiner) Read the rest

Hex bit sockets make Allen keys irrelevant

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I hate Allen keys. This set of ⅜" drive hex bit sockets means I rarely have to fight one of those stupid tiny things again!

Ever tried getting an over tightened socket head screw out of a 40 year old motorcycle's drain pan with 2 ½" long Allen key? I gave up. I ordered this set of ⅜" drive sockets to make the job easy, and it was. They come in handy when building a Blahblahblah from Ikea, or pretty much anything that needs a hex bit wrench.

This Crafstman set comes with sockets sized 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 10. 3 and 4 seem typical for most build-it-yourself furnishing. 6, 7 and 8 seem to be useful all over German and English motorcycles. Getting the seat off a Triumph is now a lot easier.

Not that a lot of socket fasteners come with dictated torque settings, but it is notionally helpful to be able to put these on the torque wrench as well.

I should likely get a set of Torx bits as well, although I still like what I currently use.

CRAFTSMAN EVOLV 7-PC HEX BIT SOCKET SET *METRIC* via Amazon Read the rest

Where is Captain Cook's HMS Endeavor? Science can almost tell us!

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The once famed HMS Endeavor, Captain Cook's ship as he claimed Australia for the British, later renamed something boring and sunk as part of the Royal Navy's blockade of Newport, Rhode Island, has sort of been found! The British scuttled 13 ships to block the harbor, and research has shown a ship formerly known as Endeavor, was sank in a group of 5 recently identified wrecks. One of them is almost certainly Cook's ship.

Via Sky News:

Lead investigator Dr Kathy Abbass told Sky News: "We may have been looking right at her without even knowing it.

"The important thing now is to get the funding so that we can build the facilities to process and house all of the artefacts we must examine to prove which one of the wrecks is Endeavour".

Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission Charlotte Taylor said: "It really isn't easy to explore these sites.

A print from a painting showing Captain James Cook (1728 - 1779) taking possession of New South Wales Captain Cook takes possession of New South Wales

"It takes time, money and effort at each step.

"Divers battle very poor visibility and lots of silt, which is hard to remove and risky to do, because it has essentially been protecting the wood of these ships for hundreds of years."

The group from the Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project hopes to have found and explored the fifth site by this summer.

The Endeavour is one of the most famous ships in naval history.

Read the rest

Burbank airport changes name, ditches "Bob Hope"

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My favorite airport in America is changing its name to "Hollywood Burbank Airport," removing the name of racist, reactionary old-timey boob Bob Hope, whose name has been judged not to resonate with the modern traveller. Read the rest

White woman wants minority internship, sues Getty Foundation

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The Getty Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the J. Paul Getty Trust, established a program to create opportunities for college under grads, from cultures typically under represented in the arts, to get paid while gaining experience at real, interesting jobs. The Multicultural Undergraduate Internship program is so good that white woman Samantha Niemann is suing them for discrimination, as she feels she should be a recipient.

Via CBS LA:

Niemann — who is of German, Irish and Italian descent — was told by a Getty Foundation representative that she was disqualified from applying because of her race and national origin, the suit states.

A student at Southern Utah University with a 3.7 grade-point average, the lawsuit argues Neimann was “well-qualified” for the internship.

According to the Getty Foundation’s website, the Multicultural Undergraduate Internship program is aimed at encouraging “greater diversity in the professions related to museums and the visual arts.”

The program supports “substantive, full-time summer work opportunities for college undergraduates from cultural backgrounds that have traditionally been underrepresented in the arts,” the website states.

Ron Hartwig, vice president of communications for the J. Paul Getty Trust, issued a statement in response to the lawsuit, which read in part: “Over the past 23 years Getty grants have supported over 3,000 internships at 152 organizations throughout the county. We review and revise all of our grant categories from time to time and over the years have made a number of policy and procedural changes to the internship program.”

Several months ago – due to inquiries from potential applicants as well as internal and external discussions – the Getty modified the eligibility criteria for 2016 to state that applicants must be members of an underrepresented group, including but not limited to, those of black, Asian, Latino, Native-American or Pacific-Islander descent, according to Hartwig.

Read the rest

The beautiful grotesques of Megahex are back with more tales of depravity and friendship

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See sample pages from this book at Wink.

Megg and Mogg in Amsterdam (and Other Stories) by Simon Hanselmann Fantagraphics 2016, 164 pages, 6.6 x 9.1 x 0.8 inches $14 Buy a copy on Amazon

The entire loveably dysfunctional freak family that stole our hearts in Megahex (and sold them on the black market for hookers and blow) are back in Megg and Mogg in Amsterdam (and Other Stories). Once again we enter the bizarre funhouse world of Megg the witch, her cat familiar/lover Mogg, and their coterie of hangers on: Owl, Werewolf Jones, Mike the Gnome, Booger (a boogey woman), Dracula, Jr., and others.

On the surface, little has changed. The revolving door of Megg and Mogg’s house still spins to let their drug-addled crew enter, hatch a series of ridiculous schemes, inhale all of the drugs and fast food, and then we get to watch as one nightmarish scenario after another plays out like a slow-motion train wreck. But there are deeper relationship themes that run through Megg and Mogg in Amsterdam. Over the course of the book, strips begin to introduce trouble in Megg and Mogg’s relationship, and Megg’s growing attraction to Booger. Werewolf Jones also is having trouble in his marriage and is fighting to retain custody of his two sons (while doing every boneheaded thing in the world to ensure that doesn’t happen). The title of the book refers to a trip that Megg and Mogg take to Amsterdam to try and patch up their failing relationship. Read the rest

Writer's block supercut

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Writer's Block - A Supercut from Ben Watts on Vimeo.

Ben Watts and Ivan Kander edited a supercut of scenes depicting writer's block from 53 movies. You can see the list of movies here. Read the rest

These are the new Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers' suits

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No spandex in the Power Rangers reboot coming to theaters next March.

“It’s tricky finding a new language for a superhero costume,” production designer Andrew Menzies (G.I. Joe: Retaliation) told Entertainment Weekly. “Ours is an alien costume that grows on them, that’s not man-made. You can’t win everyone over, but we are trying to appeal to a more mature audience and gain new fans.”

Below, the title sequence from the 1993 television show:

Read the rest

Who is the Lord of Synth?

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Three legendary synth musicians -- Morgio Zoroger, Xangelix and Carla Wendos -- competed in 1986 for the right to be anointed Lord of Synth. Read the rest

How to wake up without coffee

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Fascinating, now gimme a double latte. (AsapSCIENCE)

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