Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Peter Thiel , Tavis Ormandy Media Dragons of Note

Do philosophers actually think better?

Via Interrete – “Our world is a bizarre and awesome place – but some things are just hard to believe! Here are 10 world geographical facts that you might find surprising or interesting
Many scholars seek a solemn, serious life, like monks determined to eradicate frivolity. Benedict Anderson favored jokes, digressions, and sarcasm...  Hard Core Irony  

“I was nonplussed by this awful reaction. I had borrowed certain traits, gestures, tricks of speech and various mannerisms from members of the family, but had fixed them on to characters with very different careers and past lives.” LitHub 

Sorry, ladies and lads, but your good looks aren't protected by the legal system: The Secret Lives Of Right Wing Professors

THE SCIENCE IS SETTLED: ‘Dilbert’ Creator Scott Adams to Bill Maher: Donald Trump Will Win Election In A Landslide

Peter Thiel (Co-founder, PayPal), Commencement Address at Hamilton College (May 22, 2016)
Thank you so much for the kind introduction. It’s a tremendous honor to be here.
Like most graduation speakers my main qualification would seem to be that I am one of the few people who are even more clueless about what is going on in your lives than your parents and your professors.
Most of you are about 21 or 22 years old, you’re about to begin working. I haven’t worked for anybody for 21 years. But if I try to give a reason for why it makes sense for me to speak here today I would say it’s because thinking about the future is what I do for a living. And this is a commencement. It’s a new beginning. As a technology investor, I invest in new beginnings. I believe in what hasn’t yet been seen or been done.
This is not what I set out to do when I began my career. When I was sitting where you are, back in 1989, I would’ve told you that I wanted to be a lawyer. I didn’t really know what lawyers do all day, but I knew they first had to go to law school, and school was familiar to me.

Peter Thiel may not have liked being a lawyer, but he’s willing to pay for them — as long as they’re suing Gawker. [Law and More]

There has been much coverage of the revelation that Peter Thiel has funded Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit against Gawker behind the scenes, especially following the Silicon Valley figure’sacknowledgment that he views taking down the notoriously scurrilous publisher as a public service (“one of my greater philanthropic things that I’ve done”) and has sought out and funded other litigants besides Hogan in order to make that happen. As I said in my explainer the other day, the decay of age-old rules against outsider funding of litigation (“champerty and maintenance”) is a broader trend that has left many sectors of society more exposed to the dangers of litigation, with the press just the latest.

I’m quoted by Alison Frankel in her Reuters column on this (“Our ancestors were not complete fools,” I say) and byTimothy Lee at Vox (“‘Some people following the Thiel story appear to be surprised that these weapons can be used by rich and powerful people in order to get their way,’ Olson tells me.”;also see Ezra Klein’s piece). And Lee recounts a recent episode that passed with little notice at the time ... Gawking Fairness

Researcher Hacks Symantec's AV Via Email Gov Info Security
Anti-virus vendors must dread hearing from Tavis Ormandy. The Google Project Zero researcher has been hunting bug vulnerabilities in anti-virus products for at least a year, unearthing holes in the very software that is supposed to protect companies. Ormandy's target this time was Symantec. He found several remote code execution vulnerabilities, including one in the core scanning engine used in all Symantec and Norton-branded products. The problem is so severe that even a single email engineered to exploit the flaw could compromise a computer, depending on the platform. "Just receiving an email is enough, no need to open or read it (even webmail, so long as the tab is open)," Ormandy wrote on Twitter. Symantec said Monday in an advisory that it had issued a fix for the flaw - designated CVE-2016-2208 - through its LiveUpdate service. The up-to-date version of its anti-virus engine is "20151.1.1.4." 

"Who Knew Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Son Is Revolutionizing World Music?" Ronald Litke of The Forward has this report.

Islamic State supporters have published a series of manuals to help the militants and their followers use smartphone encryption and other technologies to hide from government spy agencies. Though the militant group has previously released guides for using encrypted mobile apps, the new documents suggest that the terrorist organization is becoming increasingly sophisticated when it comes to the use of digital security. The Horizon Electronic Foundation, a group claiming Islamic State links, began distributing five Arabic-language manuals via encrypted channels on the messaging service Telegram last month. Security analysts say the releases come with the group increasingly worried about the threat of surveillance from Western intelligence agencies.

ISPs around the world are being attacked by self-replicating malware that can take complete control of widely used wireless networking equipment, according to reports from customers and a security researcher who is following the ongoing campaign. San Jose, California-based Ubiquiti Networks confirmed on Friday that attackers are actively targeting a flaw in AirOS, the Linux-based firmware that runs the wireless routers, access points, and other gear sold by the company. The vulnerability, which allows attackers to gain access to the devices over HTTP and HTTPS connections without authenticating themselves, was patched last July, but the fix wasn't widely installed. Many customers claimed they never received notification of the threat.

Here in the middle of the Negev Desert, a cyber-city is rising to cement Israel’s place as a major digital power. The new development, an outcropping of glass and steel, will concentrate some of the country’s top talent from the military, academia and business in an area of just a few square miles. No other country is so purposefully integrating its private, scholarly, government and military ­cyber-expertise. Israel is a nation of 8 million people with little in the way of natural resources. But in global private investment into cyber­security firms, it is second only to the United States, with half a billion dollars flowing to the sector annually. Israel has not only vowed to repel the thousands of daily hack attacks against targets as diverse as the electric grid and ATMs, but it has also promised to build its commercial cybersector into an economic powerhouse.
CIA Interventions, Tariff Changes, and Trade During the Cold War: Bruno Ćorić tests the robustness of results of an American Economic Review article, using a different data set, and finds that increases in imports from the United States can be explained by changes in tariffs that are unrelated to CIA interventions. 

Yesterday, Justice Don R. Willett delivered the commencement address at the Texas Tech University School of Law: You can view the video on YouTube at this link.
  Washington Post, Republicans Detail Case Against IRS Chief in Hearing Democrats Call a Sham:
House Republicans on Tuesday reprised their probe into four-year-old missteps by the Internal Revenue Service, making a detailed case why Commissioner John Koskinen should be impeached in a colorful hearing that underscored conservatives’ suspicion of the agency.

Neanderthals built mysterious cave structures 175,000 years ago Guardian