The DHS has illegally stuffed America's airports full of $1B worth shitty, malfing facial-recognition tech

More than a dozen major US airports are now covered in facial-recognition cameras, installed by the DHS to scan people departing on international flights without the legally mandated federal review process. Read the rest

Snowden helped design an app that turns your old phone into a surveillance device to help solve the "evil maid" problem

In cryptographic and security circles, the "evil maid" problem describes a class of attacks in which a piece of unguarded hardware, is tampered with by someone who gains physical access to it: for example, a hotel chambermaid who can access your laptop while you're out of the room. Read the rest

I rode Amtrak's Coast Starlight the wrong direction. I still loved it.

"Toot toot!" I yelled, as my friends and I were delayed and waiting around at the San Francisco Bay Area's Emeryville Station, waiting for the Amtrak Coast Starlight train to arrive.

I was being paid $1 every time I yelled "toot toot!"

The train was probably my idea. I am not sure why I'm reluctant to take credit, but I've always wanted to ride Amtrak's Coast Starlight. Trip Advisor says the Coast Starlight is the 1050th most fun thing to do in California. Also, I like slow travel. I drive a goddamn VW Vanagon when I go on vacation, and that should tell you enough.

Some friends and I were heading to see Puddles Pity Party in Los Angeles that weekend. We'd all traveled from the Bay Area south to the City of Fallen Angeles so many times in 2017, we needed a break from driving and airports. Amtrak seemed like a great adventure. I like adventure.

I did not consider, however, that the coast part of the Coast Starlight, at least on the SF to LA leg of the trip, would be transited at night. As in, when it is dark. And you can't see. I did see some interesting California scenery, and experience what may be the very best Amtrak has to offer, but this isn't a review of the LA to SF trip, which is actually lets you see the coast.

Our train was two hours late. Surprised? Luckily, I had packed a bunch of edibles and some pre-rolled joints. Read the rest

Airbnb guests repeatedly discover hidden cameras in the homes they rent

As the new Wired Guide to Digital Security points out, finding hidden cameras is really, really hard, so the fact that several Airbnb guests have discovered them suggests that there are a bunch more that have never been spotted. Read the rest

A visit to a secret Nintendo bar in an undisclosed location in Japan

Tofugu's Kanae Nakamine and Koichi went to a secret bar in Japan (somewhere) called 84. Koichi told me, "Its main customers are musicians, celebrities, comedians, pro wrestlers, game creators, and Nintendo employees. And only vetted members know its location / can get in."

Read the rest

Adam Savage made a limited-edition "everyday carry" toolbag out of old sailcloth, with room for everything

Retired Mythbuster and maker extraordinaire Adam Savage (previously) gave up on finding a bag to carry everything he needed and designed his own, a white, Gladstone-style toolbag that costs $225 and ships in time for Christmas. Read the rest

A playable version of Oregon Trail to promote Oregon tourism

The semi-independent Oregon Tourism Commission has created a playable version of the classic Apple ][-era adventure game Oregon Trail to promote Oregon tourism. Read the rest

Someone dropped a USB stick containing a bunch of sensitive security data about Heathrow

A London man found a USB stick on a pavement in west London and (unwisely) plugged it into a computer, only to discover that it contained 76 folders with at least 174 documents full of sensitive information on the security arrangements at Heathrow airport, including "the types of ID needed to access restricted areas, a timetable of security patrols and maps pinpointing CCTV cameras" as well as the measures used to protect the Queen when she flies through LHR. Read the rest

NAACP warns black people they aren't safe on American Airlines

The NAACP issued a warning today advising black people not to travel on American Airlines due to a "pattern of disturbing incidents" reported by African-American passengers and unique to the carrier.

...booking and boarding flights on American Airlines could subject them disrespectful, discriminatory or unsafe conditions. This travel advisory is in effect beginning today, October 24, 2017, until further notice.

The series of recent incidents involve troublesome conduct by American Airlines and they suggest a corporate culture of racial insensitivity and possible racial bias on the part of American Airlines.

1. An African-American man was required to relinquish his purchased seats aboard a flight from Washington, D.C. to Raleigh-Durham, merely because he responded to disrespectful and discriminatory comments directed toward him by two unruly white passengers;

2. Despite having previously booked first-class tickets for herself and a traveling companion, an African-American woman’s seating assignment was switched to the coach section at the ticket counter, while her white companion remained assigned to a first-class seat;

3. On a flight bound for New York from Miami, the pilot directed that an African-American woman be removed from the flight when she complained to the gate agent about having her seating assignment changed without her consent; and

4. An African-American woman and her infant child were removed from a flight from Atlanta to New York City when the woman (incidentally a Harvard Law School student) asked that her stroller be retrieved from checked baggage before she would disembark.

In order to help American Airlines adapt to the reality of changing circumstances, I've made a slight change to their logo and name to better represent their preferred customer base. Read the rest

Watch this mesmerizing sequel to Vietnam from Above

Thắng Sói has released Vietnam From Above II. Unlike many similar drone films, this work mixes the mundane and urban with the country's more picturesque vistas. Read the rest

Watch a train roll through the desert for an hour

The fine folks at Super Deluxe mounted a camera on a train traveling through the desert, and it's as relaxing and scenic as it sounds. Read the rest

Enjoy the sights and sounds of sliding down a 12,800 foot mountain

The Sound Traveler is an alternate channel by the creator of Smarter Every Day. It focuses on memorable auditory experiences, like sliding down snowy Mount Adams, a large stratovolcano due east of Mount St. Helens in Washgington State. Read the rest

Otherworldly drone photos of the Dead Sea

For a hobbyist, photographer Tzvika Stein captures some remarkable images around the world. It's hard to top his cool drone photos of the Dead Sea, which look like another planet. Read the rest

Video about differences between visiting North Korea and South Korea

Sixty years ago, North Korea and South Korea were one country. Jacob Laukaitis recently spent a week in each country and made a video of the differences he saw. His guide in South Korea was a man who escaped from North Korea. He told Jacob that only the most privileged North Koreans get to live in the capital of Pyongon. He paid human smugglers $30,000 to take him out of the county. He spent three years working on a farm in China to pay off the debt. Read the rest

Calgary airport regrets converting disabled parking spaces into "Lexus only" parking spaces

The Calgary airport authority has apologised for a botched marketing campaign in which it sold Lexus on the idea of designating some of its parking places as "Lexus only" and then, unbeknownst to the car company, used disabled parking spots for the purpose (presumably, they were luxuriously spacious). Read the rest

Driving before, during, and after rush hour: city maps of how far you'd get

Location platform Here Technologies calculated how far one hour of driving can take drivers out of major American cities starting on Friday at 4, 7, and 10 pm. Read the rest

Why we don't commute with helicopters

Choppers are now associated mostly with militaries, hospitals, news reporting and other institutional uses. But they were once seriously touted as mass transit vehicles, the original flying car. It all came to an end in 1977, when four passengers were killed in the spectacularly nasty Panam rooftop disaster. Efforts to revive scheduled passenger helicopter service is periodically revived, but everyone's failed at it -- including future president Donald Trump. Read the rest

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