Friday, January 19, 2018

Wastelands of Pustina - Cyberlands

It's not possible to search for God using the methods of a detective... There is no way. You can only wait till God's axe severs your roots: then you will understand that you are here only through a miracle, and you will remain fixed forever in wonderment and equilibrium.
— Beer loving writer, Karel Čapek, born in 1890

Vladimir former KGB Puppet now President in Cold River

The Epiphany Bath, as it is known, is celebrated on January 19, the day when the infant Jesus is believed to have been visited by the Three Wise Men, thus revealing Himself to humankind. The practice is said to relate to the symbolic baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan.

Putin does the best manly-man propaganda  of all global bad guys. It's a long-established internet truth.
Snip fro

 'After the euphoria of 1968, people had become depressed and beaten down. Palach wanted to shake them up,' says Zuzana Bluh, who as a student leader helped to organise his funeral.
Jan Palach - 19 Jan 1969. ...

Fifty years or so ago this week, Jan Palach united his nation by burning himself to death. Ultimate sacrifice | Global | The Guardian

EYE IN THE SKY: Six Chinese Ships Covertly Aided North Korea. The U.S. Was Watching

Home Office admits it sent asylum seeker’s personalinfo to the state he was fleeing pays £15,500 in damages after failed fact-check

YOUR DOG WON’T STAB YOU IN THE BACK, CHEAT ON YOU OR SUBJECT YOU TO THE SILENT TREATMENT:  Most dog owners would rather hang out with their pet than people

The Walrus –The   Case Against Eating Fish As a biologist, I know what can happen to seafood before it ends up on our plates. That’s why it’s not on mine
“…But eating mislabelled fish can make you ill. Seafood is delicate; each species has a specific temperature range at which it can be stored, and requires particular handling and preparation methods.

Data Drive Journalism: “What is the best way of reporting on data related to the environment? Where do you find the data in the first place? How do you make it relatable to the public and which challenges do you face along the way? Last October, seven experts got together on the Data Journalism Awards Slack team on to tackle these questions…”

Social Media, the “Dopamine Loop,” and the Role of the Software Engineer

Chinese doctor under investigation after asking patient for more money during operation South China Morning Post. From The Department of Logical Extensions….

In a talk about Taoism called Swimming Headless, Alan Watts shared with his audience the parable of the Chinese farmer.

Once upon a time, there was a Chinese farmer who lost a horse. Ran away. And all the neighbors came ‘round that evening and said, “that’s too bad.”
And he said, “maybe.” 
The next day, the horse came back and brought seven wild horses with it. And all the neighbors came around and said, “that’s great, isn’t it?”
And he said, “maybe.”

The point, according to Watts’ interpretation of Lao Tzu’s teachings, is “to try to live in such a way that nothing is either an advantage or a disadvantage”.

The whole process of nature is an integrated process of immense complexity, and it’s really impossible to tell whether anything that happens in it is good or bad, because you never know what will be the consequence of the misfortune. Or you never know what will be the consequences of good fortune.

I read the Tao Te Ching in an English class in college, and I remember not getting it. It was a small class, only six students, and none of us white midwestern kids had ever read any Eastern philosophy before and didn’t really understand it, to the professor’s frustration. I wish I could take that class again; I’d get so much more out of it now. (via @sausaw)

Playing Soviet is an online interactive database created by Princeton of children’s books from the Soviet Union.

In the selections featured here, the user can see first-hand the mediation of Russia’s accelerated violent political, social and cultural evolution from 1917 to 1953. These conditions saw the proliferation of new styles and techniques in all the graphic arts: the diverse productivity of the Russian avant-garde, photomontage, experimental typography, and socialist realism. As was clear both from the rhetoric of the arbiters of Soviet culture — its writers and government officials — the illustration and look of Soviet children’s books was of tantamount importance as a vehicle for practical and concrete information in the new Soviet regime. Directives for a new kind of children’s literature were founded on the assumption that the “language of images” was immediately comprehensible to the mass reader, far more so than the typed word. Illustrators were raised as equals to the revered Russian author, bringing artists such as Alexander Deineka, El Lissitzky, Vladimir Lebedev, and numerous other graphic designers to the pages of children’s books to create imaginative models for Soviet youth in the new languages of Soviet modernism.

The bottom image is from a book called For Children About Lenin, a 71-page illustrated book about Lenin and the Russian Revolution published 2 years after his death.

Tree Crown Shyness

From Robert Macfarlane’s fascinating Twitter account comes this new-to-me term: crown shyness, a phenomenon where the leaves and branches of individual trees don’t touch those of other trees, forming gaps in the canopy.

Isn’t film making and journalism the pursuit of truth? But what if the truth proves to be elusive, hard to get at? How far does one go? Where does one stop? Are there limits, emotional and otherwise, to the pursuit of truth? Can it be injurious to one’s health? Here we have the story of one man’s sixty-year quest to identify the circumstances of his father’s death. Did he jump from a hotel window? Or was he pushed? And if he was pushed, why? What for? A shadowy world of hidden and imagined intentions coupled with dark and horrifying revelations. In many ways, a personal family story, but in many other ways, a story of America’s decline in the period following World War II. It asks the question: To what extent can a democracy lie to its citizens and still, in the end, remain a democracy?

Lotte Geeven's Sand Machines capture the natural sound of sand, like the "groaning thrums of a didgeridoo group."

"Revising 'The Waste Land': Black Antipastoral and the End of the World"
Joshua Bennett: "... this is a poetics of demolition. These are poems that kill. And set ablaze. And build." (Paris Rview Daily)

" 'after' Martin Kippenberger’s The Happy End of Franz Kafka’s 'Amerika' "The Happy End / All Welcome, by Mónica de la Torre, reviewed by Anselm Berrigan. (Hyperallergic)

Aharon Appelfeld, 85
An obituary for the Holocaust survivor, fiction writer, poet, and memoirist. (The New York Times)
 • In Memoriam (Paris Rview Daily

HBO Europe Unveils Mini 'Wasteland,' Docs at Karlovy Vary

Threatened Czech mining village focus of ambitious Wasteland series 

Submerged in love

One of the world's tallest men - who stood at 7ft 4.2 inches - dies ...

In her book The Sixth Extinction, Elizabeth Kolbert warns that we are in the midst of the Earth’s sixth mass extinction of life, this time caused by humans.

Over the last half a billion years, there have been five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists around the world are currently monitoring the sixth extinction, predicted to be the most devastating extinction event since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs. This time around, the cataclysm is us.

WWII spy Jeannie de Clarens died last week in western France at the age of 98. While working as an interpreter for a group of businessmen in occupied France during World War II, de Clarens passed information about German V1 & V2 rockets to the British government.

Getting wind of a secret weapons project, she made it her mission to be on hand when the topic was discussed by the Germans, coaxing information through charm and guile.
“I teased them, taunted them, looked at them wide-eyed, insisted that they must be mad when they spoke of the astounding new weapon that flew over vast distances, much faster than any airplane,” she told The Washington Post in 1998. “I kept saying, ‘What you are telling me cannot be true!’ I must have said that 100 times.”
One officer, eager to convince her, let her look at drawings of the rockets.
Most of what she heard was incomprehensible. But, blessed with a near-photographic memory, she repeated it in detail to her recruiter, Georges Lamarque, at a safe house on the Left Bank.
In London, intelligence analysts, led by Reginald V. Jones, marveled at the quality of the information they were receiving from Paris, notably a startling document called the Wachtel Report. Delivered in September 1943, it identified the German officer in charge of the rocket program, Col. Max Wachtel; gave precise details about operations at the testing plant in Peenemünde, on the Baltic coast in Pomerania; and showed planned launch locations along the coast from Brittany to the Netherlands.
Relying on this information, the British organized several bombing raids against the plant, which delayed development of the V-2 and spared untold thousands of lives in London.

As punishment for her resistance, de Clarens was held by the Germans in camps until near the end of the war. Total hero. 

Toronto Life

As a teenager, Karim Baratov made millions breaking into email accounts. When a Russian spy asked him for help with a massive Yahoo hack, he was flattered. He didn’t realize the FBI was watching his every move. As a kid, Karim Baratov spent too much time on his computer. He was bright but undisciplined, and he was hypnotized by that machine. Baratov believed school was a waste of his time, its educational benefits next to nil, and good for little more than socializing. His grades weren’t great, but not because he was stupid—far from it. He was just too busy with his online world to study, sometimes even to show up to class. When Baratov was 12, he taught himself to code—the hobby of a brilliant but lonely boy in a new country. A year later, he made his first dollar on the web. One day, someone he described online as a “random wealthy woman” reached out to him to do some work—he kept the exact nature of that work hidden from his friends and family. When he finished, she asked how much she owed him. At first he refused to take her money, but eventually, at her insistence, Baratov accepted $200, which seemed to him a fortune. He decided he’d never work for free again.

Russia-Based Kaspersky Labs Had Access To Stolen NSA Documents Leaked By Hackers

Ex-N.S.A. Worker Accused of Stealing Trove of Secrets Offers to Plead Guilty

Iranian Hackers: Sophisticated, Frustrated and a Rising Global Threat



On a cold Sunday early last month in the small Austrian city of Graz, three young researchers sat down in front of the computers in their homes and tried to break their most fundamental security protections. Two days earlier, in their lab at Graz's University of Technology, Moritz Lipp, Daniel Gruss, and Michael Schwarz had determined to tease out an idea that had nagged at them for weeks, a loose thread in the safeguards underpinning how processors defend the most sensitive memory of billions of computers. After a Saturday night drinking with friends, they got to work the next day, each independently writing code to test a theoretical attack on the suspected vulnerability, sharing their progress via instant message. That evening, Gruss informed the other two researchers that he'd succeeded. His code, designed to steal information from the deepest, most protected part of a computer's operating system, known as the kernel, no longer spat out random characters but what appeared to be real data siphoned from the sensitive guts of his machine: snippets from his web browsing history, text from private email conversations. More than a sense of achievement, he felt shock and dismay. "It was really, really scary," Gruss says. "You don’t expect your private conversations to come out of a program with no permissions at all to access that data."

Ars Technica
Early last year, a piece of Mac malware came to light that left researchers puzzled. They knew that malware dubbed Fruitfly captured screenshots and webcam images, and they knew it had been installed on hundreds of computers in the US and elsewhere, possibly for more than a decade. Still, the researchers didn't know who did it or why. An indictment filed Wednesday in federal court in Ohio may answer some of those questions. It alleges Fruitfly was the creation of an Ohio man who used it for more than 13 years to steal millions of images from infected computers as he took detailed notes of what he observed. Prosecutors also said defendant Phillip R. Durachinsky used the malware to surreptitiously turn on cameras and microphones, take and download screenshots, log keystrokes, and steal tax and medical records, photographs, Internet searches, and bank transactions. In some cases, Fruitfly alerted Durachinsky when victims typed words associated with porn. The suspect, in addition to allegedly targeting individuals, also allegedly infected computers belonging to police departments, schools, companies, and the federal government, including the US Department of Energy.