Nest's "ease of use" imperative plus poor integration with Google security has turned it into a hacker's playground

40 years ago, antitrust law put strict limits on mergers and acquisitions, but since the Reagan era, these firewalls have been dismantled, and now the biggest companies grow primarily by snapping up nascent competitors and merging with rivals; Google is a poster-child for this, having only ever created two successful products in-house (search and Gmail), with all other growth coming from acquisitions and mergers. (more…)

These hi-fi earplugs cut the sound but keep sound quality

For musicians, clubgoers or anyone in the thick of a loud environment, earplugs aren't just an option. If you plan on keeping your hearing through sustained exposure to levels over 85 decibels (roughly the sound of a blender), they're a must.

The good news is, most earplugs will muffle the sound. The bad news is, that's exactly how it sounds: muffled. If you love music as much as you love your ears, Vibes Hi-Fidelity Earplugs are a high-tech alternative.

Thanks to specially designed tubes in the casing, Vibes can filter sound selectively, lowering the volume by 22 dB across frequencies while keeping (and in some cases enhancing) clarity. They're made to be discreet, with a nearly invisible profile and three interchangeable, washable tips to fit any ear size. And they've got staying power in any environment too, thanks to a detachable cord that clips onto each earplug.

Right now, you can pick up a pair of Vibes Hi-Fidelity Earplugs with Attachable Cord for $19.99 - a full 25% off the list price.

Los Angeles measles 'cluster' reported, officials say LAX and UCLA possible exposure sites

Los Angeles County public health officials are urging people who have not been fully immunized against measles to contact their healthcare provider to get the vaccine immediately. On Monday, they said they’re investigating a measles cluster, after receiving a number of reports of residents acquiring the virus, which is preventable by vaccine.


At first I thought this Ka-Bar Tactical Spork was an artisanal Spork

My friend sent me a photo of his uber tuff tactical Spork.

Perhaps it is the burlap couch upholstery, but my aged eyes missed the KABAR and thought this was a handcrafted Spork that some Seattle-area artist must have designed just for my pal. Because who doesn't want a super cool Spork?

I was told to wait for it. Then I was sent this photo and it became clear the Spork was made by famed US Military hardware enthusiast fan-favorite Ka-Bar, and not some artisanal Spork maker.

I am sort of disappointed the fleetingly imagined trend where Game of Thrones enthusaists are all eating with their own custom version of a Casterly Rock Spork, just like Tywin used, died so quickly. I am ordering a KaBar Spork for my camper van.

Ka-Bar Tactical Spork via Amazon

Japanese Taxicab uses face recognition software to decide what kind of garbage to play on its seatback display

Rosa Golijan is a privacy engineer at Google. She snapped this photo of a seatback video display in a Japanese taxicab. The text says:

This taxi tablet is using a face recognition system with an image received by the tablet's front camera. The image data is used to estimate gender in order to deliver the most optimized content.

The gender estimation runs once at the beginning of the advertisement program and the image data is discarded immediately after the estimation processing. Neither the tablet nor the server records the data.

Japanese chemistry professor busted for teaching students to make Molly

Tatsunori Iwamura, 61, professor of pharmaceutical sciences at Japan's Matsuyama University, was busted for teaching his students how to make MDMA (aka Molly/Ecstasy) and 5F-QUPIC, a cannabinoid agonist. At some point, Iwamura had a license to manufacture illegal drugs for academic purposes but it had expired. From The Guardian:

Local drug enforcement authorities believe 11 students produced the drug (MDMA) under Iwamura’s instruction. Four students, along with an assistant professor, have also been referred to prosecutors, Kyodo said.

The university said it would discipline Iwamura and the assistant professor once the investigation had ended.

“We sincerely apologise for causing serious concern to students and their parents,” said Tatsuya Mizogami, the university’s president, according to Kyodo.

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