A catalog of ingenious cheats developed by machine-learning systems

When you train a machine learning system, you give it a bunch of data -- a simulation, a dataset, etc -- and it uses statistical methods to find a way to solve some task: land a virtual airplane, recognize a face, match a block of text with a known author, etc. Read the rest

Youtube CEO: it will be impossible to comply with the EU's new Copyright Directive (adios, Despacito!)

Under Article 13 of the new EU Copyright Directive, it will no longer be enough for online platforms to remove materials if someone claims they infringe copyright; instead, the platforms will have to prevent the display of any copyrighted material that has not been explicitly licensed for distribution. Read the rest

Italian prosecutors have given up on catching the person who hacked and destroyed Hacking Team

Hacking Team (previously) was an Italian company that developed cyberweapons that it sold to oppressive government around the world, to be used against their own citizens to monitor and suppress political oppositions; in 2015, a hacker calling themselves "Phineas Fisher" hacked and dumped hundreds of gigabytes' worth of internal Hacking Team data, effectively killing the company. Read the rest

Wells Fargo: We can't be sued for lying to shareholders because it was obvious we were lying

Wells Fargo has asked a court to block a shareholder lawsuit that seeks to punish the company for lying when it promised to promptly and completely disclose any new scandals; Wells Fargo claims that the promise was obvious "puffery," a legal concept the FTC has allowed to develop in which companies can be excused for making false claims if it should be obvious that they are lying (as when a company promises that they make "the best-tasting juice in America). Read the rest

Global antiquarian bookseller strike brings Amazon to its knees

When Amazon division Abebooks -- the largest platform for antiquarian booksellers in the world -- announced it would blacklist stores in the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, South Korea and Russia, citing nebulous transaction-processing difficulties -- 600 antiquarian booksellers in 27 countries went on strike, withdrawing their 4,000,000 titles from Abebooks. Read the rest

New, "unbreakable" Denuvo DRM cracked two days before its first commercial deployment

Denuvo bills itself as the best-of-breed in games DRM, the most uncrackable, tamper-proof wrapper for games companies; but its reputation tells a different story: the company's products are infamous for falling quickly to DRM crackers and for interfering with game-play until you crack the DRM off the products you buy. Read the rest

An illustrated tour of Unix history

Unix pioneer Rob Pike was there from the start, physically transporting key elements of the "Toronto distribution" of Unix to Berkeley when he started grad school, and then to Bell Labs, working alongside Dennis Ritchie and other key Unix programmers to develop and refine everything from modern editors to compilers to windowing systems. Read the rest

How many computers are in your computer?

Gwern Branwen asks the deceptively simple question "How many computers are in your computer?" Read the rest

The market failed rural kids: poor rural broadband has created a "homework gap"

America's commitment to market-based broadband -- fueled by telcom millions pumped into campaigns against public broadband provision -- has left rural Americans without access to the broadband they need to fully participate in twenty-first century life, with students among the hardest-hit victims of broadband deprivation. Read the rest

Britons! Tell the UK government that the compulsory porn-viewing logs need compulsory privacy standards

The British government has decreed that adult sites must collect age-verification data on everyone who looks at material rated for 18-and-over viewing; this amounts to a database of the porn-viewing habits of every adult in the UK. Read the rest

Yves St Laurent sells a $800 "golden brass" penis pendant

This takes some golden brass balls. (via Crazy Abalone) Read the rest

Security chips have not reduced US credit-card fraud

The US credit card industry was a very late adopter of security chips, lagging the EU by a decade or so; when they did roll out chips, it was a shambolic affair, with many payment terminals still not using the chips, and almost no terminals requiring a PIN (and some require a PIN and a signature, giving rise to the curiously American security protocol of chip-and-PIN-and-swipe-and-sign). Read the rest

Apple's new bootloader won't let you install GNU/Linux -- Updated

Locking bootloaders with trusted computing is an important step towards protecting users from some of the most devastating malware attacks: by allowing the user to verify their computing environment, trusted computing can prevent compromises to operating systems and other low-level parts of their computer's operating environment. Read the rest

Oracle's bad faith with security researchers led to publication of a Virtualbox 0-day

In the debate over "responsible disclosure," advocates for corporate power say that companies have to be able to decide who can reveal defects in their products and under which circumstances, lest bad actors reveal their bugs without giving them time to create and promulgate a patch. Read the rest

Reminder: ousted California Republican Dana Rohrabacher is a filthy tenant from hell

Dana Rohrabacher was an oddity: a Republican lawmaker sent from Democratic stronghold to the California legislature he's now out of a job). Read the rest

Kickstarting a Da Vinci-inspired, programmable, mechanical drawing robot-arm

https://drawmaton.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/45118351_358662618238424_3396031426926215168_n.mp4

Robert Sabuda (previously) writes, "It has long been a dream of the Leonardo da Vinci Robot Society to bring one of the Renaissance Master’s creations back to life. 2019 is the 500th anniversary of da Vinci’s death and the Society has chosen to honor his memory and celebrate his life through one of his best known inventions - the Robot Knight. This robot is an early proto-computer android whose read-only programmable memory allowed it to perform many actions. And it was also rumored that the robot’s arm could also perform an extremely complex task…draw a picture!" Read the rest

Winners Take All: Modern philanthropy means that giving some away is more important than how you got it

Anand Giridharadas was a former McKinsey consultant turned "thought leader," invited to the stages of the best "ideas festivals" and to TED (twice), the author of some very good and successful books, and as a kind of capstone to this career, he was named a fellow to the Aspen Institute, an elite corps of entrepreneurs who are given institutional support and advice as they formulate "win-win" solutions to the world's greatest problems, harnessing the power of markets to lift people out of poverty and oppression. Read the rest

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