In his quest to make a camera from scratch, this guy extracted silver from ore

Andy from How to Make Everything is on a mission to make a photograph from scratch. What that means is that he is going to make a camera and a photographic plate from raw materials (like wood, minerals, and ore) that he's gathered. In this video, Andy extracts five grams of silver from ore he collected, which can be used as the light-sensitive coating for a photographic plate.

English and Welsh local governments use "terrorism" as the excuse to block publication of commercial vacancies

Gavin Chait is an "economist, engineer, data scientist and author" who created a website called Pikhaya where UK entrepreneurs can get lists of vacant commercial properties, their advertised rents, and the history of the businesses that had previously been located in those spaces -- whether they thrived, grew and moved on, or went bust (maybe because they had a terrible location). (more…)

11-year-old hacks replica of Florida's state election website in less than ten minutes

Can we please have paper ballots nationwide?

Last week at DEFCON 26 in Las Vegas, eleven-year-old Emmett Brewer hacked into a replica of Florida's state election site and changed the voting results. That's scary enough. What's even scarier is that it took him less than ten minutes. An eleven-year-old girl was able to hack into the same site in about fifteen minutes. And more than THIRTY kids were able to hack into replicas of other states' sites in less than half an hour.

That is straight up alarming and you'd think the folks in charge of our state and federal elections would be concerned about this and want to take immediate action. That would be the normal reaction. But we're a long way from normal.

In a statement regarding the event, the National Association of Secretaries of State said it is “ready to work with civic-minded members of the DEFCON community wanting to become part of a proactive team effort to secure our elections.” But the organization expressed skepticism over the hackers’ abilities to access the actual state websites.

“It would be extremely difficult to replicate these systems since many states utilize unique networks and custom-built databases with new and updated security protocols,” it read. “While it is undeniable websites are vulnerable to hackers, election night reporting websites are only used to publish preliminary, unofficial results for the public and the media. The sites are not connected to vote counting equipment and could never change actual election results.”’

I'm sure we'll be fine, though. Congress is hard at work to protect the sanctity of our elections to ensure we don't have a repeat of 2016.

Oh, wait. No, they're not.

An 11-year-old changed election results on a replica Florida state website in under 10 minutes [Michael D. Regan/PBS][Image: Pixabay]

Tourist families feud over selfie spot at Rome's Trevi Fountain

An American woman (44) and a Dutch woman (19) started fighting over a prime selfie spot at Rome's Trevi Fountain. Their families sooned joined the melee, battering and screaming at one another in outraged indignation. Police intervened but as you can see in this video, were unable to control the louts.

From the KOOT NITI news channel:

Eight people were reportedly charged over violence that involved minor bruising. This came days after officials announced plans to make tourists walk past the monument on a designated pathway to address overcrowding.

The story of one man's obsessive search for the lost treasure of Cocos Island

Cocos Island, in the eastern Pacific, was rumored to hold buried treasure worth millions of dollars, but centuries of treasure seekers had failed to find it. That didn’t deter August Gissler, who arrived in 1889 with a borrowed map and an iron determination. In this week’s episode of the Futility Closet podcast we’ll follow Gissler’s obsessive hunt for the Treasure of Lima.

We’ll also marvel at the complexity of names and puzzle over an undead corpse.

Show notes

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United Nations: China is running forced re-education camps for Muslims and ethnic minorities

One million ethnic Uigurs are being held in a "massive internment camp that is shrouded in secrecy" by the Chinese government, says a United Nations Human Rights panel that has received multiple credible reports to back up their claim (this story has been percolating all summer long). According to Gay McDougall of the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, you can tack an additional million people on to that initial figure: it’s estimated that another one million Muslims living in China’s western Xinjiang autonomous region have also been sent to similar camps for political indoctrination. The reasoning for this, according to Reuters, is that China’s sovereignty in the western Xinjiang autonomous region is being threatened by separatists and Islamic militants. The Uigurs mostly identify as Muslim, so there you go.

At the meeting in Geneva, McDougall was quoted as saying:

“We are deeply concerned at the many numerous and credible reports that we have received that in the name of combating religious extremism and maintaining social stability (China) has changed the Uighur autonomous region into something that resembles a massive internment camp that is shrouded in secrecy, a sort of ‘no rights zone.”

The Chinese, for their part, have responded, "nuh-uh."

From The Globe & Mail:

The Chinese government has flatly denied rounding up large numbers of Muslims into internment centres for political indoctrination, telling a United Nations committee that such places do not exist.

The idea that “Xinjiang is a ‘no-rights zone’ is completely against the facts,” Hu Lianhe, deputy director-general of the Communist Party’s United Front Work Department, told members of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in Geneva Monday. He acknowledged that some criminals were given what he called “vocational education and employment training.”

But, he said, “there are no such things as re-education centres.” He added: “the argument that one million Uyghurs are detained in re-education centres is completely untrue.”

Well, that’d be great, were it not for the fact that as the Globe & Mail points out, an instructor who formerly worked at one of these imaginary re-education centers, along with a number of former detainees have stated that, yep, the camps are totally a thing. Satellite imagery of the camps? There’s some of that out there, too.

Those sent for re-education are said to be forced to take classes on Chinese communist ideology and Mandarin language classes.

Whether anything will become of the allegations put forth at the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, or if additional evidence of re-education camps will be uncovered, remains to be seen.

Image by Daderot - Own work, Public Domain, Link

Tweaks made to Android OS are causing massive security holes

Last month, I used up a good chunk of text talking about how much I’ve come to enjoy using Android-powered smartphones. Unfortunately, a story I ran across over at Wired has convinced me that, at least for the time being, spending significantly more time with my iPhone 6 Plus might be a good idea.

According to the report, for many Android users, it’s not necessary to download an altered .APK file from a shady torrenting website or click an email link that’ll fill your handset up with malware in order to compromise your smartphone’s security. Twenty-five different Android smartphone models, made by well-known manufacturers and available across North America, have been found to be full of security flaws and other exploitable nightmares baked into them. The most frustrating part of it all: none of the exploits detailed in the story would be there if the manufacturers had their shit together

From Wired:

The potential outcomes of the vulnerabilities range in severity, from being able to lock someone out of their device to gaining surreptitious access to its microphone and other functions. They all share one common trait, though: They didn’t have to be there.

Instead, they’re a byproduct of an open Android operating system that lets third-party companies modify code to their own liking. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that; it allows for differentiation, which gives people more choice. Google will release a vanilla version of Android Pie this fall, but it’ll eventually come in all kinds of flavors.

Those modifications lead to headaches, though, including the well-established problem of delays in shipping security updates. They can also, as Stavrou and his team have uncovered, result in firmware bugs that put users at risk.

To be clear, according to the security researchers at Kryptowire who went hunting for the vulnerabilities, none of the security issues found were the result of shitty coding on the part of Android’s development team. If you’re looking for a place to point an accusing finger, aim it toward the crackerjack software devs working for Android smartphone manufacturers like Asus, LG and ZTE. Their meddling with Google’s code to give their company’s handsets their own special flavor are where the security headaches begin and end.

Image via Pixabay

These noise-cancelling headphones are perfect for travel

Traveling isn't always the most comfortable experience, but at least you have your music to keep you company on those long flights. That is, until your chatty neighbor and that crying baby three seats over drown out your playlist. These Paww WaveSound 3 Noise-Cancelling Bluetooth Headphones block up to 20 decibels of audio, so you can listen to your favorite songs free from outside distractions. They're on sale today for 50% off.

These headphones combine two 40mm Neodymium drivers to create a balanced, punchy sound while they dampen exterior audio. They're specifically designed for greater comfort over your ears, so you can listen for hours on end; and they easily fold into the included case for increased durability and simple transport. Plus, with the built-in microphone, you can make calls without having to fumble with your phone.

The Paww WaveSound 3 Noise-Cancelling Bluetooth Headphones normally retail for $149.99, but they're on sale in the Boing Boing store for $74.99.

 

Popular midcentury CorningWare pattern is back

Is there anyone who isn't familiar with this pattern? I ran estate sales for a while and came across it a lot in the homes I was prepping.

Now, an updated version of CorningWare's Cornflower Blue pattern is back for a limited time.

The Daily Meal:

The dishes are white, with a neat blue floral pattern decorating the center of each container. They were available for 30 years, from the 1950s through the 1980s, and have now returned in an updated pattern that still looks a lot like the look many Americans grew up with.

“First produced in 1958, the iconic blue Cornflower pattern quickly became a staple in American households and for many, the pattern is synonymous with CorningWare and some of their fondest family food memories,” CorningWare said in a statement. “The collection features various-sized baking dishes, generously sized mugs, measuring bowls, a ramekin set, and mixing bowls — all featuring the charming blue flowers that have warmed hearts and homes for generations.”

If you're feeling nostalgic, you can buy this limited-edition retro pattern until 2019 through its parent brand Corelle.

photo by goblinbox_(queen_of_ad_hoc_bento)

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