U.S. military claims to be dropping 'cyber bombs' on ISIS

America's military forces are dropping "cyber bombs" on Islamic State terrorist groups for the first time, Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work told reporters accompanying him on a military flight on Tuesday.

The ISIS internet attacks, whatever the particulars really may be, are part of a stepped-up coordinated effort to put increasing pressure on the militant organization. Read the rest

UC Davis paid $175,000 or more to scrub police pepper spray incident from web searches

Looks like the geniuses who run UC Davis never Googled the words “Streisand Effect.” Read the rest

Obama: 'Top Secret' could mean info that would endanger America, or random stuff you can Google

“There’s classified, and then there’s classified,” President Barack Obama recently told Fox News anchor Chris Wallace in response to a question about the now-classified material on Hillary Clinton’s private email server from when she was Secretary of State. Read the rest

Former Reuters journalist Matthew Keys sentenced to 2 years for a 40-minute web defacement

On Wednesday, former Reuters.com social media editor Matthew Keys received a two year prison sentence for computer hacking. That's a sentence of 24 months, for a website defacement that lasted only 40 minutes, which Keys himself didn't even execute.

Earlier today in an unrelated high-profile case, the "affluenza teen" who actually murdered people also got two years in jail. Read the rest

FBI paid 'gray hat' hackers to defeat iPhone security in San Bernardino terrorism case

The FBI accessed the contents of a San Bernardino terrorist’s phone after receiving help from professional hackers who “discovered and brought to the bureau at least one previously unknown software flaw,” the Washington Post was first to report today. Read the rest

Stone Age mummy has claimed seven lives since his discovery! and other tabloid stunners

[My friend Peter Sheridan is a Los Angeles-based correspondent for British national newspapers. He has covered revolutions, civil wars, riots, wildfires, and Hollywood celebrity misdeeds for longer than he cares to remember. As part of his job, he must read all the weekly tabloids. For the past couple of years, he's been posting terrific weekly tabloid recaps on Facebook and has graciously given us permission to run them on Boing Boing. Enjoy! - Mark]

You think it’s hard being a celebrity? Try being friends with a celebrity - it’s a life fraught with fear.

That’s evident from this week's tabloids, which repeatedly tell how “friends fear” for the well-being of stars.

“Portia de Rossi’s terrifying appearance has friends fearing she is on the verge of a life-threatening anorexia relapse” claims the National Enquirer.

“Pals fear” that Kelly Osbourne “can’t stop eating,” and “may be eating herself to death” according to the Enquirer, which evokes images of Monty Python’s spheroid Mr Creosote indulging one more wafer-thin mint, though Kelly seems slender by that comparison.

Michael Douglas is allegedly looking thin, and “friends fear his cancer has returned,” says the Globe. Because who needs oncologists to carry out scans and tests when we have friends to live in fear for our health?

When friends aren’t available, there are plenty of others around who can worry about the stars for them.

“Medical experts” are “fearful” that former Friends star Matthew Perry has suffered a stroke, reports the Enquirer, based on a recent TV appearance in which he appeared to be slurring words. Read the rest

Smart radiator covers let New Yorkers keep their windows closed

Becky Stern writes, "I recently investigated my building's new smart radiator cover installation and found a company bringing steam heat into the 21st century and allowing residents to keep their windows closed when the heat is on!" Read the rest

Texas: prisoners whose families maintain their social media presence face 45 days in solitary

According to a new offender manual from Texas Department of Criminal Justice, prisoners whose families maintain a social media presence to call attention to their incarceration will be liable to harsh punishment, including up to 45 days in solitary, loss of privileges, and extra work duty. Read the rest

Inexpensive chef's knife on sale for $10

Amazon's usual price for this highly rated 8-inch Winco chef's knife is $14, but it's on sale right now for $10. I just ordered one. Read the rest

How to: apologize

In An Exploration of the Structure of Effective Apologies

, written by business school academics from Ohio State and Eastern Kentucky U and published in Negotiation and Conflict Management Research, the authors report on two studies that trace the reactions of 755 subjects to apologies based and report on the six factors most likely to assuage a wounded party. Read the rest

The Divide: important new documentary about income inequality based on "The Spirit Level"

Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson's 2011 book The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger was an instant classic for the way it described the impact of wealth inequality on the lives of both poor and rich people, driving them both to completely unsustainable working lives that destroyed their families and made them deeply unhappy. Read the rest

"The world thinks I faked a drone crashing through my office window and into my head"

On April 7 David Perel posted a video to YouTube, writing: "Drone Smashes Through My 5th Floor Window and Into My Head! While sitting at my desk I heard what sounded like a missile followed by a huge bang and glass all over me. Turns out someone lost control of their drone. Lucky to be uninjured!"

A lot of people didn't believe Perel. On Medium, he wrote about the angry deniers who posted mean comments on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram about the video:

It’s incredible how many glass experts, drone experts, head trauma experts, video experts, psychological experts and experts of any kind exist when the troll nation descends. Experts abound but they all missed a single key fact: I was actually hit in the head by a drone!

The pinnacle of these accusations was a very personal attack from a guy with a ponytail who clearly loves his drones, but not the facts.

It’s now been four days since the incident and I am still fielding calls from news websites, radio stations and Twitter commenters.

Read the rest

Piracy dooms motion picture industry to yet another record-breaking box-office year

Once again the MPAA has released its box-office numbers for the year, and once again, this year has smashed all records (as has been the case throughout our young century) (really!). As always, the astronomical rise-and-rise of their fortunes is somehow used to launch a call for more publicly subsidized enforcement against "piracy." Read the rest

Lottery security director accused of hacking random-number generator to rig prizes

Eddie Tipton, the 51-year-old former security director of the US Multi-State Lottery Association, was convicted last year of hacking a random number generator to fix a $16.5 million lottery prize in Iowa. Now it looks like he could have pulled the same trick Colorado, Wisconsin, Oklahoma and Kansas, too. Tipton is in Texas, free on bond pending an appeal, and fighting extradition charges.

Wikipedia's description of how Tipton hacked the random number generator reads like the script from a crime drama:

Hot Lotto draws are conducted using a random number generator running on a computer in MUSL's Des Moines facility. The computer is in a "locked glass-walled room accessible only by two people at a time and then only on camera", and is not connected to the internet or any other networks. Tipton was let into the room on November 20, 2010 to manually adjust the time on the draw computer to reflect daylight saving time; it was alleged that while Tipton was in the room, he used a USB flash drive to install self-destructing malware on the random number generator computer, presumably to rig a draw. Tipton's co-workers described him as having been "obsessed" with rootkits at the time. It was also noted that on that day, security cameras were configured to record only for "roughly one second per minute," a change the prosecutors believed was made to prevent anything suspicious from being recorded.

Read the rest

Here's the best and easiest way to maintain your cast iron cookware

I prefer to do my cooking on cast iron cookware. Cast iron is an astonishingly effective non-stick surface. It heats evenly and is super simple to clean. I can think of only two negatives: it is heavy, and maintenance is very different from my other pots and pans.

I have a set of more-common-today stainless/copper cookware. After using a pot or pan, I scrub it out in the sink with hot soapy water, dry and put away. Sometimes, when I'm lazy or just so inclined, I even put it in the dishwasher. It is what most people are used to now.

Because cast iron is seasoned to create its non-stick properties, and to keep it from rusting away, it needs different cleaning and maintenance. The coating of seasoning on your pan is a layer of polymerized oil. It's tough, and keeps air, water and food from ever coming in contact with the highly reactive iron surface. Most of the time cleaning it is super simple: while the pot or pan is hot, throw in a large handful of kosher salt, and using a wadded up paper towel, you scrub the sucker out.

You toss away the salt, wipe out the dusty remains, and let the cookware cool. If you want, and I do every 3 or 4 uses of an item, you can wipe it down lightly with your cooking oil of choice. I recommend wiping it off as much as you can, so the layer is just super thin, and heat the pan until it smokes. Read the rest

Virus trading cards, animated and 3D-printable

Eleanor Lutz used files from the Protein Data Bank to model the molecules comprising the viruses that are the scourge of our human race. Read the rest

Panama Papers: Mossack Fonseca law offices raided by Panama authorities

Officers acting on behalf of the attorney general of Panama raided Mossack Fonseca's office on Tuesday. Ramon Fonseca, the company's co-founder, insists that the firm had "broken no laws, destroyed no documents, and all its operations were legal." Read the rest

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