A look at a North Korean tablet. Based off an android tablet with all communication hardware removed. Apart from the expected constant surveillance and anti-jailbreaking measures, it also includes a whitelist for approved apps and media files. Additionally, it watermarks opened files, so you can track the history of ownership of shared files. Fairly impressive, but I guess they don't have the infrastructure to phone home all the time.

The largest collection of sarcasm in one place. Train your computer to be a resentful teenager!

Why IOT devices are so abuseable. Bad design results in bad security.

Datasaurus! Also an interesting paper on coercing data points to different shapes with the same statistical properties. A fairly simple genetic algorithm, but I don't see them all that often.

HIV shoehorns itself into cell pathways. The viral promoter is similar to the human CXCR4 promoter, resulting in HIV activation upon cell migration, which aids in viral dissemination.

Christian edicts drove chicken evolution. Selection pressure on chickens increased around 920AD, which corresponds to increased urbanisation and chicken consumption in response to Christian edicts prohibiting meat during fasts.

Laboratory mice have worse immune systems compared to wild mice. The most surprising part of this study is that nobody does research on wild mice.

Risk factors for Tourette's have been identified. With the advent of personal genomics, the annotation of the human genome will give personalised information about risk factors. See also: ClinVar, a database of genomic variations and its relationship to human health.

A computer model looking at innovation and cultural memory in early humans. In short, more people means less chance of losing cultural traits, and increases the chance of discovering new traits. Also, traits can increase carrying capacity, a well as contact with other populations.

Apparently, we only just learned that alligators don't grow forever. Apparently indeterminate growth isn't uncommon in reptiles (and also, oddly enough, kangaroos), but I thought we new better.

Statins and the nocebo effect. Rate of muscle pain and weakness was no different between atorvastatin treatment and control group, when blinded. Criticisms: the study uses the minimal statin dosage (10mg/day), and is funded by Pfizer, which held the original patent for atorvastatin. Also seemingly old data (2005), but they have a huge sample size (10180), so I guess that makes up for it?

Apparently zinc is a treatment for the common cold? The evidence looks fine, but there's still no mechanism of action.

As always, nothing is as secure as you thought. In this case? Hotel keys. And anything else with a magnetic stripe.

Nixie tube chess set. The pieces are powered though induction, so they should still light up in your hand. Unfortunately, the symbols aren't chess-specific.

How exactly do machine learning algorithms work? Answer: Nobody knows. One major problem with these systems is the potential for bias off the training set data, or "garbage in garbage out".

Impressively, advertisers are using ultrasound to track your device. I always have a soft spot for air gapping, so the fact that advertisers are using this technology is pretty impressive, although it doesn't work that well. Commercial speakers weren't designed to emit ultrasound.

A good article by Doctorow about the relationship between laws and morality. Although it does raise the question: if everyone is writing about Lord of the Flies, when the disaster finally happens, will that be the new narrative?

Want to intercept anyone's phone messages? 1000 Euros. And criminals have been using this to break two-factor authentication.

A card game to help you freestyle rap. What I really like is that the card game basically gives you a shade and groove, and you have to rap along to that.

A collection of sci fi interfaces. The best name of an interface that I've ever read was an AR interface from Ragamuffin called lamina. Another layer to reality.

Apparently the FDA approved an outdoor trial of genetically modified algae. The study itself isn't really interesting, but the fact that they're allowing outdoor trials is news. First steps towards a modified biosphere.

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Posted on 2017-05-07 06:36:33

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