Award-winning security research reveals a host of never-seen, currently unblockable web-tracking techniques

Who Left Open the Cookie Jar? A Comprehensive Evaluation of Third-Party Cookie Policies won the Distinguished Paper prize at this year's Usenix Security Conference; its authors, researchers at Belgium's Catholic University in Leuven, revealed a host of devastating, never-seen tracking techniques for identifying web-users who were using privacy tools supplied by browser-vendors and third-party tracking-blocking tools. (more…)

Sterling silver full finger ring

Brooklyn-based jewelry designer Matthew White, the creator of the sterling silver spork, has now fashioned this ladies' Full Finger Ring ($175). It's a sterling silver ring that is for, and looks like, an index finger (just don't call it a FingeRing).

The band of this ring is made to fit on the middle section of the finger to allow for full finger mobility. The band is also adjustable to fit most size fingers.


Game review plagiarist surprisingly prolific

Filip Miucin wrote many game reviews, but it took until last week for the rampant plagiarism in his work to be identified by a victim.

The gaming site IGN is working to remove all of the posts written by former editor Filip Miucin, who was fired last week for plagiarism, after internet sleuths found that dozens of his articles and videos copied or rephrased from other websites without attribution.

What's odd this time around? How hard it is to find words by him that aren't found elsewhere.

“We’ve seen enough now, both from the thread and our own searches, that we’re taking down pretty much everything he did,” IGN reviews editor Dan Stapleton wrote on Twitter last night, referring to a thread on the gaming forum ResetEra cataloging the allegations. For days, people had pointed out more similarities between Miucin’s work and various other articles and message board posts.

I don't think I've ever seen someone so dedicated to plagiarism as a daily grind, rather than as a shortcut around the content requirements of a speaking career, book deal or some other more illustrious publishing objective. Reheated is everything from forum posts at NeoGAF to blog comments, which might bolster Miucin's claim that the plagiarism was unconscious.

“The bottom line is that what happened with the Dead Cells review was not at all intentional,” he said. “So, with that said, I just want to apologize to everybody at IGN for all of the undeserved criticisms and doubt that may have been sparked in their credibility as a respected source for games media.”

On Tuesday night, a small YouTuber named Boomstick Gaming published a video with the title “IGN Copied my Dead Cells Review: What do I do?” In it, he laid out a compelling case that the official IGN review of Dead Cells, written by Miucin, was a rewritten version of his own review, which had been published several days earlier. On Wednesday, IGN investigated, and the outlet fired Miucin that evening.

Videos—with spoken material—is an interesting device for generating written content. Swiping YouTubers made it much less likely anyone would notice in the first place, but much more likely that justice would be swift and nasty once they did.

Mugshot from IGN via Michael Leri.

Activists teaching Australian Aboriginals to protect themselves by recording their interactions with law enforcement

Smartphone video footage of police brutality being exercised against black Americans and other ethnic minorities living their lives within the nation’s borders have become depressingly commonplace. While difficult to watch and, most likely for the videographer, difficult to stand by and film, such footage can be an important tool in bringing cops who abuse the power of their office to justice. The news, social media and water cooler talk here in North America often overflows with reports of abuses of power by law enforcement officials. It’s easy to forget that the very same brand of injustice and violence are served up in other parts of the world – a lot.

According to The New York Times, in Australia, a country that’s been marred by institutional racism since its inception, “...aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are incarcerated at 13 times the rate of non-Indigenous Australians. They make up 27 percent of Australia’s prisoners, compared with 3 percent of the overall population.” Given the disproportionate representation of Indigenous Australians in the clink, it’s safe to say that there’s some greasy shit going on Down Under, of a similar sort to the greasy shit we see going on up here in places like New York City and Ferguson, Missouri.

To help Australia aboriginals and Torres Strait Islander peoples to mitigate this prejudicial treatment at the hands of those meant to serve and protect them, human rights activists are teaching them how to respond to the threat of police violence and to record their interactions with law enforcement, just like we do up here:

From The New York Times:

The Copwatch workshops, activists said, are intended to teach people their legal rights and how to safely record interactions with police officers.

“Stand back, don’t become part of it, de-escalate,” said George Newhouse, a lawyer for the National Justice Project, relating some of the advice his colleagues offer. When recording video, he added, “make sure your footage is saved to the cloud. In some situations, police try to delete videos.”

Participants were also instructed to disable the facial-recognition and thumbprint-scanning features used to unlock some smartphones because they can be used by the police to access a person’s device against his or her will.

Copwatch has also developed an app that can be used to record and store interactions with the police, as well as to alert a user’s contacts if that person is in a potentially dangerous situation and where.

Image via Kevin Walsh. (CC BY 2.0)

Learn your next language faster with Mondly's AI-powered lessons

From self-driving cars to Siri, we've already gotten a taste of what AI can do, and now this groundbreaking technology is making its way to education and revolutionizing the way we learn new languages. Mondly uses state-of-the-art speech recognition to help you speak foreign languages like a true local. Lifetime subscriptions are on sale for $69.99 today.

Leveraging the power of AI, Mondly knows how to listen to your words and phrases and only gives positive feedback if you speak clearly and correctly. That way, you'll sound much more convincing when you're ordering paella in Madrid or asking for directions to the Louvre. You can choose 5 of 33 languages to learn in your own native tongue and break down Mondly's curriculum into short, bite-sized lessons, so you can learn at your own pace.

A lifetime subscription to Mondly would normally retail for $1,199, but you can sign up in the Boing Boing store for $69.99, saving more than 90% off.

Behold, the pool float for pregnant women

All the pregnant ladies, this one is for you.

This pink inflatable floatie has a hole for your baby bump which means, for once, you can lie on your front (if you're in the water, that is). It's like a massage table but instead of putting your head in the hole, you put in your swelled belly.

The bad news? You can't buy it, not yet anyway. It's a promotional item you can win from the folks at the Peanut motherhood app.

WIN / / Have you joined @peanut yet? Peanut is a social network app for Mamas to ask questions, give support, and make new friends in your area with similar interests. . To celebrate the launch of Peanut we’re giving on emucky Mama the chance to WIN this awesome pool float with a hole for your belly! How awesome is that?! . . . To enter to win just tag a friend below and follow @Peanut and @stylish_bump. More tags = more entries! Read all about Peanut on the blog (link in bio) and download it for free at @peanut . . . UPDATE: Winners announced on Stories! ✔️ . 📷 @peanut via @megan_rose_lane

A post shared by Pregnancy + Parenting Blog (@stylish_bump) on

(Cool Mom Picks)

Patrick Stewart signs on to narrate upcoming video game My Memory of Us

Scheduled for release on October 9th, My Memory of Us is a game that tackles a game that tackles a difficult subject: the lives of Jewish children in Nazi-occupied Poland during the Second World War. Engadget recently spoke with Mikołaj Pawłowski, the CEO of Juggler Games, about how a video game with such a dark backdrop will be presented in a way that respects the grim period of human history in which it’s set, while still making it something that folks might actually want to play.

From Engadget:

The story tells of a friendship between and boy and a girl in a Jewish ghetto in Poland, made during some of history's darkest days. You venture outside, exploring what you can of your world now full of walls, decrees and exclusion, completing logic puzzles and looking for small pleasures along the way. The animation, reminiscent of old Disney cartoons, gives the gameplay even greater poignancy. "The story of My Memory of Us is a personal one to us, as our grandparents faced similar oppression World War 2. This game is our ode to them and the millions of others who lived and died during this time," says Pawłowski.

To add to the gravitas surrounding the project, Juggler’s recruited one of the best-known voice talents on the planet, Patrick Stewart, to narrate the game.

Given Stewart’s involvement in a number of worthwhile humanitarian causes, including Amnesty International, I can only assume that the game will treat the delicate subject of the horrors and humiliations that Jews were forced to live in Nazi Germany’s ghettos with the utmost care and respect.

This week’s tabloids: They’re not lies. They’re just Trumpian thinking

This week’s tabloids offer a fascinating glimpse inside the mind of their greatest fan: Donald Trump. The president, who has gone on the record saying that the National Enquirer deserves a Pulitzer Prize, and who is bffs with tabloid publisher David Pecker, can politely be said to view events in a different way than the rest of the world perceives them. So it’s instructive to see this week’s tabloids offer a view of events that offer a unique perspective that some might say, in the manner of Donald Trump, bears little relation to reality as the rest of us understand it.

“Tom Gets Suri!” screams the cover of the National Enquirer, suggesting that Tom Cruise has won a battle with ex-wife Katie Holmes for custody of their daughter. But nothing has changed in their custody agreement. Cruise was long ago awarded ten days a month with his daughter. He simply hasn’t taken advantage of using all ten days monthly in the past. Now he’s seeking to have his daughter for the agreed ten days monthly, it’s no shock to anyone (except perhaps to Suri), and Cruise no more “Gets Suri” than before.

Hollywood legend Robert Wagner “Loots Natalie’s Grave!” claims another Enquirer cover headline about the actor’s late wife Natalie Wood. “Wagner Vandalizes Natalie’s Grave” yells the headline above the story. The story is true, if by “Vandalizes Natalie’s Grave” you mean Wagner has asked the cemetery to remove decomposing flowers left by fans after a day on her grave.

TV’s former Friends star Matthew Perry has only “six months to live,” claims the Enquirer, after his “intestines explode!" No, they didn’t. He suffered a “gastrointestinal perforation.” Painful, yes, and requiring surgery. But it’s not as if his gall bladder detonated, sending intestinal shrapnel throughout his abdomen.

Brad Pitt’s divorce from Angelina Jolie has left the actress with a "$50 million legal bill” that “could leave Angie broke!” reads another imaginative Enquirer headline. Yes, Beverly Hills attorneys are expensive, but Jolie would need to employ a team of high-powered lawyers for a decade to run up that sort of a bill. To put it in perspective, the state of New Jersey amassed a $50 million legal bill in its 12-year lawsuit against ExxonMobil in an anti-pollution lawsuit that concluded in 2015. What’s more, even a $50 million legal bill would not “leave Angie broke,” as her net worth is estimated at more than three times that sum. It’s just Trumpian thinking.

It gets worse in this week’s Globe, whose cover story about Royal newlyweds proclaims: “Meghan & Harry Adopt African Baby!” The “world exclusive” is capped by a photo of Prince Harry holding his new baby daughter, who the happy couple found in Botswana on their “secret honeymoon."

Would it be churlish to point out that this photo was taken when Harry visited the Queen Elizabeth II Hospital in Bridgetown, Barbados, on January 30, 2010 – six years before meeting Meghan? The hospital nurse who stood beside Harry has been replaced in the Globe by a smiling Photoshopped Meghan. Should I point out that their “baby girl from Africa” is actually a seven-week-old boy named Jordan in the photograph? Why let the facts ruin a good story?

Us magazine, which likes to think of itself as in a class above the supermarket tabloids, devotes its cover to Brad Pitt’s story: “Angie Is Putting Me Through HELL.” But nowhere in the story is there a single quote from Pitt about going through hell, or saying anything about how he is suffering in the divorce. Us throws in two quotes lifted from GQ magazine in May 2017, in which Pitt said he could outdrink a Russian, and had been reflecting on his “weakness and failures.” Not even an unnamed “friend” or “insider” or “source” says “Angie is putting Brad through hell.” It’s just more Trumpian thinking.

“Jen & Ben Divorce Called Off” claims an Us headline about the Garner-Affleck marriage. Are they getting back together three years after filing for divorce? Of course not. It’s just a judge reminding them that if they can’t agree to terms in the split, the court can decide to chuck out the divorce and make them refile. Not quite the same thing.

People magazine meanwhile devotes a mind-numbing 16 pages to its "Back to School" edition, featuring celebrity lunch box tips, the best backpack for your kids, advice from “mommy bloggers” on organizing your child’s room, kid fashions and foods, and celebrities you’ve never heard of with their children you care about even less.

Fortunately we have the crack investigative team at Us magazine to tell us that Gwyneth Paltrow wore it best, that actress Jana Kramer loves “chips and dip,” that WWE wrestler Ronda Rousey carries Midol, Listerine, and Cortizone cream in her Henri Bendel leather backpack, and that the stars are just like us: they pick up dry cleaning, walk their dogs, feed parking meters, and eat food. Enlightening, as ever.

The biggest mystery in this week’s tabloids comes in the shape of an advertisement for a limited-edition figurine of Maya Angelou, which “stands an impressive 11-inches tall!” The ad appears in both the Globe and the National Examiner, hidden amid ads for a musical Elvis Presley Christmas Tree statuette, a Toy Story cuckoo clock, and ads for Botox substitutes, erectile dysfunction pills and powered wheelchairs.

Do these magazines, which have previously offered life-like figurines of President Trump and Elvis, hope to reach an entirely new demographic with the sale of Maya Angelou statuettes for only three installments of $33.33 (plus shipping and handling)? Are today’s tabloid readers secretly our unsung champions of freedom? Or perhaps Donald Trump might say there is poetry in every page of the tabloids?

Onwards and downwards . . .

How a civic hacker used open data to halve tickets at Chicago's most confusing parking spot

Matt Chapman used the Freedom of Information Act to get the City of Chicago's very mess parking ticket data; after enormous and heroic data normalization, Chapman was able to pinpoint one of the city's most confusing parking spots, between 1100-1166 N State St, which cycled between duty as a taxi-stand and a parking spot with a confusingly placed and semi-busted parking meter. (more…)

This nose hair ripper-outer I bought in Tokyo works great

I just returned home from a 5-week stay in Japan with my family. We spent the first 10 days in Kyoto and Koya-san, and the rest of the time we stayed in an apartment in Tokyo, where I worked on Boing Boing, Cool Tools, and Institute for the Future. Despite the high temperatures and humidity, we had a great time. I'll be writing about the trip here in the days to come.

To start things off, here is something I bought at a chain store called Vanguard Village. There is nothing like Vanguard Village in the US as far as I know. It has CDs (Japanese still prefer CDs over MP3s), clothes, makeup, masturbatory aids, manga, books, and tons of other stuff. One shelf was devoted entirely to weird body cleaning products. I bought a few different products to try out. One of them was this nose hair removal kit called Gosso. It cost about $8 and contains enough materials to rip the hair out of six nostrils. (Amazon sells an identical looking kit that can clean out 20 nostrils for $12).

To use it, you heat up waxy pellets in a microwave oven, apply the molten wax to a plastic stick, shove it into your nostril (twisting as you do so), waiting 90 seconds, then yanking the stick out and screaming "SHIT! THAT HURT!"

I have heard removing nostril hairs is a bad idea because they act as filters. But I have 10 times more nostril hair than I did when I was young, and after I used this, I still had hairs farther in the back of my nose. I'm glad to have a nose that doesn't have hairs sprouting from the nostrils.

Open-air urinal facing tourist boats in Paris not welcome by all

A supposedly odorless, open-air urinal has been set up in the middle of Paris, and some folks are irked. The bright red no-flush urinal – set up so that pissers face tourist boats cruising the Seine river – could pass as a planter, trash can, or some sort of utility box at first. But a sign above it reads "uritrottoir" (pavement urinal).

Three other similar urinals were set up in Paris months ago, but this one, on the Ile Saint-Louis, "has met with a more robust response," according to CBS.

But some residents have complained that the bright red boxes are a blight on the picturesque streets of the city.

Others say there is something more than a little distasteful about encouraging men to urinate right on the street, even if it's into a box...

"It's a little bit in the open, some people might be uncomfortable," he said as several boats packed with tourists floated past along the Seine...

Local resident Francoise said she was "outraged" by its presence, describing it as "really not very attractive".

Others like the idea of it, but think the location isn't appropriate, while the biggest complaint is that it discriminates against women, because it caters only to men.

Here's a video showing the urinal with some action. A fun bonus attraction for those cruisers.

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