The Panama Papers — a massive cache of 11.5 million records leaked from the law firm Mossack Fonseca — reveal that several heads of state have been sheltering their personal wealth in offshore accounts to evade taxes. This is not surprising, as dictators are known for draining public coffers and hoarding the ill-gotten funds in secret accounts. What’s more disturbing is learning that well-known global businesses and civic leaders have been doing the same thing for decades, and getting away with it.
Mossack Fonseca specializes in setting up untraceable shell companies. There’s nothing overtly illegal about them, but they’re often used by political and financial elites to hide assets, dodge taxes, and launder money. Creating shell companies is a big business, and Mossack Fonseca is just one of many firms that do it. FACT (Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency) Coalition says shell companies house up to $21 trillion globally. (By way of comparison, the US gross domestic product for 2015 was $18 trillion.)
Too Big to Jail The firms employing the services of Mossack Fonseca include a rogues’ gallery of brand name corporations with a track record of breaking financial regulations with virtual impunity. Remember back in 2013 when HSBC was slapped with a $1.9 billion fine by the U.S. Justice Department for laundering drug cartel money? Its fine amounted to less than one tenth of its annual profits. And remember when UBS was caught in 2012 spreading false information to manipulate banking exchange rates? It was fined $1.5 billion, which sounds like a lot, until you learn UBS’ revenues are almost $40 billion a year. Read the rest
My two favorite foods are sweet potatoes and butternut squash. I typically cut them up like french fries and put them in a roasting pan with a lot of coconut oil and salt, then bake them at 425 degrees for about 40 minutes. I wanted to actually deep fry them, so a few days ago I bought a FryDaddy deep fryer. It costs just $21 on Amazon, and is very highly rated by reviewers there. After making sweet potato fries and butternut squash fries, I agree with the reviewers. This is a terrific tool, especially for the price.
It couldn't be easier to use. You just add oil up the the fill line and plug it in. (I use Carrington Farms organic cold-pressed, unrefined coconut oil.) After the oil heats up, you add the chopped up potatoes or squash and fry them for about 10 minutes. Put them in a colander so the oil drips off (there's not a lot of oil) and shake a bunch of salt on it. The more salt the better.
I learned how to prep the sweet potatoes after listening to Adam Savage describe how he makes them. He skins and cuts the potatoes, then soaks them in water for an hour, which gets some of the starch out (the water becomes very cloudy). Then drain the water and pat the potato pieces with paper towels until they are damp. Next, put a tablespoon of corn starch in a paper bag, dump in the pieces and shake them in the bag. Read the rest
The 2016 Car Hacker's Handbook expands on the hugely successful 2014 edition, in which the Open Garages movement boiled down all they'd learned running makerspaces for people interested in understanding, improving, penetration testing and security-hardening modern cars, which are computers encrusted in tons of metal that you strap your body into.
No Starch Press has taken on the task of turning The Car Hacker's Handbook into a beautifully produced, professional book, in a new edition that builds on the original, vastly expanding the material while simultaneously improving the organization and updating it to encompass the otherwise-bewildering array of new developments in car automation and hacking.
Author Craig Smith founded Open Garages and now has years of experience with community development of tools and practices for investigating how manufacturers are adding computers to cars, the mistakes they're making, and the opportunities they're creating.
The Handbook is an excellent mix of general background on how to do threat-modelling, penetration testing, reverse engineering, etc, and highly specific code examples, model numbers, recipes and advice on how to put a car up on a bench, figure out how it works, figure out how to make it do cool things the manufacturer never intended, and figure out how to understand the risks you face from people doing the same thing without your best interests at heart.
A lot of the advice is theoretical, but there are a bunch of highly practical projects, from improving and customizing your in-car satnav and entertainment system to tuning your engine performance. Read the rest