Charles Stross's "Dark State": transdimensional, nuclear-tipped mutually assured destruction by way of a first-rate spy novel

Dark State is the sequel to Empire Games, a reboot/latter phase of Charles Stross's longrunning, excellent economic science fiction/high fantasy Merchant Princes series.

How Hong Kong's vulnerable, reviled refugee community saved Edward Snowden

When Edward Snowden flew to Hong Kong with thumb-drives full of damning US government documents, he assumed his freedom was forfeit: he didn't even make an escape plan. Read the rest

Leatherbound Nicola Tesla hollow book/safe

The Hollow Book Company (previously) has expanded its line of hollow book-safes (some with matching whisky flasks!), including this fabulous leatherbound Nicola Tesla book-safe. (via Geeky Merch) Read the rest

Glitter nail-polish is the best tamper-evident seal

At a talk at the 30C3 in Hamburg, Ryan Lackey proposed an ingenious solution to detecting tampering with your computer, phone or tablet: paint the seams and screw-tops with glitter nail-polish and snap a photo of the random pattern formed by the glitter after it dries.

Security-conscious travelers have long used tamper-evident seals over their devices' screws and seams, but as Lackey points out, those seals are easy for spies, customs officials and other snoops to reproduce, especially if they can work in private (as happens when your laptop is taken away for a border inspection). But reproducing the random pattern of glitter polish is substantially more expensive that replicating a security seal -- it also takes longer, and there are no set procedures for doing so.

Lackey also recommends using stickers as an alternative seal; it's unlikely that a spy agency or a customs official has access to your favorite vintage Wacky Package sticker. Read the rest

Spycraft, Bumblef*ck-style

Hot on the heels of the news that Toronto cops have video of Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack, the Toronto Star reports on the spycraft deployed by the wily mayor in his contact with his fixer Sandro Lisi, including the old gas-station Gatorade caper: Read the rest