Tor Project is working on a web-wide random number generator

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Random number generators are the foundation of cryptography -- that's why the NSA secretly sabotaged the RNG standard that the National Institute for Standards and Technology developed. Read the rest

Pastejacking: using malicious javascript to insert sneaky text into pasted terminal commands

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When a computer stops behaving, the solution often involves looking up an obscure command and pasting it into the terminal -- even experienced administrators and programmers aren't immune to this, because remembering the exact syntax for commands you use once every couple years is a choresome task. Read the rest

Programmers' stress levels can accurately predict the quality of their code

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In Using (bio)metrics to predict code quality online, presented at the ACM's 38th International Conference on Software Engineering, two Swiss researchers presented their work on monitoring programmers' biometrics to predict the quality of the code they were writing.

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A software developer's version of the CIA's bureaucratic sabotage manual

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The Simple Sabotage Field Manual was published in 1944 by the Office of Strategic Services, the agency that came to be the CIA: it outlined simple tactics for putting bureaucratic grit in the wheels of occupied countries, for example, by referring key decisions to committees and then obstructing the work of those committees. Read the rest

Algorithmic cruelty: when Gmail adds your harasser to your speed-dial

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Inbox by Gmail combs through your email looking for frequent correspondents and puts the people who email you the most in a "speed dial" sidebar (that you can't edit) that puts their names and pictures front-and-center for you every time you go to your email. Read the rest

Baby names generated by a neural network

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In 2015, Stanford computer science PhD candidate Andrej Karpathy decided to test out some neural network tools he'd been experimenting with, and set them to generating plausible baby names. Read the rest

Astounding, visionary video about hypertext from 1976

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Brett Bobley writes, "'Hypertext: an Educational Experiment in English and Computer Science at Brown University' is an amazing documentary film from 1976 made by Brown University computer scientist Andries 'Andy' van Dam." Read the rest

Why Internet voting is a terrible idea, explained in small words anyone can understand

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In this 20 minute video, Princeton computer science prof Andrew Appel lays out the problems with Internet-based voting in crisp, nontechnical language that anyone can understand. Read the rest

Bitcoin transactions could consume as much energy as Denmark by the year 2020

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The numbers in this study are very back-of-the-envelope and assume a worst case: widespread adoption of Bitcoin and not much improvement in Bitcoin mining activity, along with long replacement cycles for older, less efficient mining rigs. Even the best case scenario has Bitcoin consuming a shocking amount of electricity.

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Jerks were able to turn Microsoft's chatbot into a Nazi because it was a really crappy bot

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Microsoft Research deployed a tween-simulating chatbot this week, only to recall it a few hours later because it had turned into a neo-Nazi, and the next day, they published a bewildered apology that expressed shock that it had been so easy for trolls to corrupt their creation. Read the rest

The Third Electronic Literature Anthology: Unity, Javascript & Twitterbots

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Mark Marino writes, "Kick your Norton Anthology to the curb, and check out the latest collection of digitally born literature. Published by the Electronic Literature Organization, the collection contains 114 works from 26 countries in 12 languages. The Electronic Literature Collection, vol. 3 offers a glimpse at just how wide the world of digital literature has become, including a diverse array of works, from Twitter bots to poem generators to Twine tales to poetic apps. Read the rest

Hacking a phone's fingerprint sensor in 15 mins with $500 worth of inkjet printer and conductive ink

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MSU Computer Science researchers Kai Cao and Anil K Jain published a new paper describing a Read the rest

Markovbot creates eerily plausible Drumpf speeches

Churba writes, "Victor from Frostworks threw together a Markov Chain Bot that randomly generates and spits out eerily accurate Trump speeches at the push of a button." Read the rest

Watch: Claude Shannon, Jerome Wiesner and Oliver Selfridge in a 1960s AI documentary

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This short excerpt from a documentary on AI pulls together clips from a variety of 1960s interviews with some of AI's most storied pioneers, including Claude Shannon, Jerome Wiesner and Oliver Selfridge. Read the rest

Free Bitcoin textbook from Princeton

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The Princeton Bitcoin Book by Arvind Narayanan, Joseph Bonneau, Edward Felten, Andrew Miller and Steven Goldfeder is a free download -- it's over 300 pages and is intended for people "looking to truly understand how Bitcoin works at a technical level and have a basic familiarity with computer science and programming." Read the rest

Teaching an AI to play Mario -- sociably

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Last year's AI Video Competition featured Mario Lives! An Adaptive Learning AI Approach for Generating a Living and Conversing Mario Agent, in which researchers from Germany's University of Tübingen explained how they'd modified Super Marion Brothers to turn the characters into adaptive, machine-learning chatterbots that discovered how to play the game together. Read the rest

Videos of this year's Shmoocon talks, starting with Gershenfeld's talk on nonbinary computing

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Shmoocon is a security conference that ranks with other top-tier events like Defcon, CCC, HOPE, Black Hat, etc: this year's talks are all on the Internet Archive for streaming or download. Read the rest

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