Lawmakers' support for bank bailouts was correlated with their individual investment in banks

In The Personal Wealth Interests of Politicians and the Stabilization of Financial Markets, researchers from the London Business School and Tillburg University demonstrate the likelihood of US members of Congress voting in favor of bank bailouts was correlated with those politicians' individual investments in banking stocks. Read the rest

Malware delivered by bad ads takes over your home router to serve more bad ads (for now)

Proofpoint has identified a new version of DNSChanger EK, a strain of malware that changes your DNS settings so that the ads on the websites you browse are replaced with other ads that benefit the attackers -- and which can also be used for more nefarious ends, because controlling your DNS means controlling things like where your computer gets software updates. Read the rest

How Lloyds of London solved the precarious market for kidnapping ransoms

Kidnapping ransom markets are really tough: it's hard to convey the demand, hard to arrange the payoff, hard to get the kidnapping victim back in one piece -- but Lloyds of London has largely solved this problem by monopolizing the market for kidnapping insurance, then setting standards for the amounts of ransom to be paid and the conditions for payment. Kidnappers know that if they kill their prey, Lloyds will never pay them again. Read the rest

Insiders: America's largest chain of psych hospitals kidnaps people seeking care, drugs and holds them until they're out of insurance

Universal Health Services (UHS) is the largest chain of psychiatric facilities in the USA, with 2.5x more beds than its closest competitor, and dozens of whistleblowers from inside the company told a Buzzfeed reporter that they were pressured to find pretenses to lock up people who voluntarily presented for assessments, holding them against their will until their insurance ran out, with massive bonuses for executives who increased profits (and much smaller bonuses for execs who improved health outcomes for patients). Read the rest

Toxic Avenger creator on why we need net neutrality

Robbo writes, "Lloyd Kaufman is best known as the uber super epic producer/director who runs Troma Films, creators of such cinema icons as 'The Toxic Avenger' and 'Surf Nazis Must Die.' Lloyd is also a die-hard advocate for Net Neutrality and he has posted an article to the Huffington Post entitled: Innovation And Our Better Future Depend On Preserving Net Neutrality - and it's a good read by a passionate and intelligent individual - who also happens to make movies like 'Poultrygeist: Night Of The Chicken Dead.'" Read the rest

The Mirai worm is gnawing its way through the Internet of Things and will not stop

The Mirai worm made its way into information security lore in September, when it was identified as the source of the punishing flood of junk traffic launched against Brian Krebs in retaliation for his investigative reporting about a couple of petty Israeli criminals; subsequent analysis showed Mirai to be amateurish and clumsy, and despite this, it went on to infect devices all over the world, gaining virulence as it hybridized with other Internet of Things worms, endangering entire countries, growing by leaps and bounds, helped along by negligent engineering practices at major companies like Sony. Read the rest

Upstate New York Elvis impersonator uses original blueprints to build stunning, 13,000 sqft Star Trek Enterprise replica

James Cawley is a 50 year old Elvis impersonator from Ticonderoga, NY; his friend William Ware Theiss was costume-designer for the original Star Trek series, and left Cawley the blueprints for the original Star Trek Enterprise sets in his will -- so Cawley rented out a 13,000 sqft shuttered supermarket and built an exquisite replica of the original there to use in elaborate fan-films, and now he gives one-hour tours. Read the rest

Excellent, deep series on Uber's Ponzi-scheme economics

For the past week, Naked Capitalism has run a series of articles by transportation industry expert Hubert Horan on the economic shenanigans of Uber, which cooks the numbers it shows investors, drivers and the press to make it seem like something other than a black box that uses arrogance and lawlessness to make a bet on establishing a monopoly on transport in the world's major cities. Read the rest

The kickstarted Pebble smartwatch is now a division of Fitbit, so they may "reduce functionality" on all the watches they ever sold

If you're one of the 60% of Pebble employees who didn't get a job offer from Fitbit, the company's new owner, you're probably not having a great Christmas season -- but that trepedation is shared by 100% of Pebble customers, who've just learned (via the fine print on an update on the Pebble Kickstarter page) that the company may soon "reduce functionality" on their watches. Read the rest

2016 sucked so much, it made "Anger Rooms" where you pay to smash things go viral

The first formal modern anger room was Donna Alexander's 2008 experiment on Chicago's south side, where customers paid $5 to smash things she'd found set out on neighborhood curbs on garbage days -- now Alexander runs a 1,000 square foot business called "Anger Room" in Dallas, and she's got competition. Read the rest

Whiplash: Joi Ito's nine principles of the Media Lab in book form

I first started writing about the remarkable Joi Ito in 2002, and over the decade and a half since, I've marvelled at his polymath abilities -- running international Creative Commons, starting and investing in remarkable tech businesses, getting Timothy Leary's ashes shot into space, backing Mondo 2000, using a sprawling Warcraft raiding guild to experiment with leadership and team structures, and now, running MIT's storied Media Lab -- and I've watched with excitement as he's distilled his seemingly impossible-to-characterize approach to life in a set of 9 compact principles, which he and Jeff Howe have turned into Whiplash, a voraciously readable, extremely exciting, and eminently sensible book.

Crooks can guess Visa card details in six seconds by querying lots of websites at once

In Does The Online Card Payment Landscape Unwittingly Facilitate Fraud?, a new paper in IEEE Security & Privacy, researchers from the University of Newcastle demonstrate a technique for guessing secruity details for credit-card numbers in six seconds -- attackers spread their guesses out across many websites at once, so no website gets enough bad guesses to lock the card or trigger a fraud detection system. Read the rest

Canada's music lobby admits WIPO Internet Treaty drafters were "just guessing"

Michael Geist writes, "The global music industry has spent two decades lobbying for restrictive DMCA-style restrictions on digital locks. These so-called "anti-circumvention rules" have been actively opposed by many groups, but the copyright lobby claims that they are needed to comply with the World Intellectual Property Organization's Internet treaties. Now the head of the RIAA in Canada admits that the treaty drafters were just guessing and that they guessed wrong." Read the rest

Children synthesize $2 version of Martin Shkreli's $750 malaria drug

The smirking, villainous pharma-hedge-douche-bro Martin Shkreli (previously) bought the rights to the anti-parasitic drug Daraprim -- used to treat malaria, a disease that disproportionately affects the poorest people in the world -- and jacked the price from $13.50/dose to $750/dose. Read the rest

Ransomware creep accidentally hijacks San Francisco Muni, won't give it back

A ransomware criminal's self-reproducing malicious software spread through a critical network used by the San Francisco light rail system, AKA the Muni, and shut it down; the anonymous criminal -- cryptom27@yandex.com -- says they won't give it back until they get paid. Read the rest

NYT publishes damning, deep look at Trump's commercial/presidential conflicts of interests, so Trump tweets crazy fake-vote conspiracy

As George W Bush taught us: "fool me twice, we don't get fooled again." Read the rest

Malcolm McLaren's son torched his punk collection to protest the 40th anniversary of punk "celebrations"

Joe Corre -- founder of the Agent Provocateur lingerie stores; son of Sex Pistols impressario Malcolm McLaren and fashion designer Vivienne Westwood-- torched £5m worth of punk tat in the middle of the Thames, topped with effigies of Tories including Boris Johnson, George Osborne and David Cameron. Read the rest

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