Back in the day when the British had a penchant for conquering the world, they ran into a little problem on the subcontinent; cobras. Turns out there were a hell of a lot of the buggers wandering around India and it also turned out that they were rather venomous which didn’t sit well with the colonials. Ingenious as the British were, they decided to offer the citizens a bounty – you hand in dead cobras that would otherwise have bitten some poor imperialist and you get some cash. Problem solved.
Unfortunately, the enterprising locals saw things differently and interpreted the “cash for cobras” scheme as a damn good reason to start breeding serpents and raking in the dollars. Having now seen the flaw in their original logical, the poms quickly scrapped the scheme meaning no more snake bounty. Naturally the only thing for the locals to do with their now worthless cobras was to set them free so that they may seek out a nice cosy British settlement somewhere.
This became known as the Cobra Effect or in other words, a solution to a problem that actually makes the whole thing a lot worse. Here’s a modern day implementation of the Cobra Effect as it relates to the ability to paste your password into a login field
If you’ve been out on the streets of Silicon Valley or New York City in the past nine months, there’s a good chance that your bad driving habits have already been profiled by Nexar. This U.S.-Israeli startup is aiming to build what it calls “an air traffic control system” for driving, and has just raised an extra $10.5 million in venture capital financing.
Since Nexar launched its dashcam app last year, smartphones running it have captured, analyzed, and recorded over 5 million miles of driving in San Francisco, New York, and Tel Aviv. The company’s algorithms have now automatically profiled the driving behavior of over 7 million cars, including more than 45 percent of all registered vehicles in the Bay Area, and over 30 percent of those in Manhattan.
Using the smartphone’s camera, machine vision, and AI algorithms, Nexar recognizes the license plates of the vehicles around it, and tracks their location, velocity, and trajectory. If a car speeds past or performs an illegal maneuver like running a red light, that information is added to a profile in Nexar’s online database. When another Nexar user’s phone later detects the same vehicle, it can flash up a warning to give it a wide berth. (This feature will go live later this year.)
Nexar estimates that if 1 percent of drivers use the app daily, it would take just one month to profile 99 percent of a city’s vehicles. “We think that it’s a service to the community to know if you’re a crazy driver or not,” says Shir.
Nevertheless, Nexar will face some ethical dilemmas. For example, should the app inform users when it spots a license plate that’s the subject of an Amber Alert? Or contact law enforcement directly if the algorithms suggest that an erratically moving car is being operated by an intoxicated driver?
Although Shir says that Nexar is “not interested in generating more traffic ticket revenue for cities… or becoming the long arm of the FBI,” he admits that law enforcement could subpoena its raw footage and sensor data.
In the wake of Prime Minister David Cameron’s announcement that he would leave office following the United Kingdom’s vote to exit the European Union, tens of millions of Americans expressed their confusion to reporters Friday about a system of government in which a leader would resign after making a terrible decision. “Wait, so he made a really awful choice with far-reaching negative consequences and now he’s just stepping down to let someone else take over? What?” said Colorado Springs, CO resident Evan Austin, echoing the sentiments of citizens across the United States who were left struggling to understand why a democratically elected head of government would relinquish control simply because they had been shown to have made a spectacularly bad judgment call. “So he jeopardized the future of his country, and instead of spending the next several years remaining in power while trying to paper over his mistakes, he’s just gone? Where’s the part where he denies any wrongdoing or tries to blame somebody else? This is absolutely crazy.” The American public noted, however, that they completely understood the part where voters who had made a demonstrably terrible decision continued to double down on it.
The business end of a 310-ton Soyuz rocket sports five main engines with four combustion chambers each, complemented by 12 smaller thrusters to steer the vehicle in flight. It means that at liftoff, a total of 32 nozzles exhaust fire in concert. Ensuring the perfect simultaneous ignition of such a multitude of chambers is no trivial task. Even a single unlit chamber spewing kerosene and liquid oxygen would cause a catastrophic explosion when that fuel hit the waterfall of fire from the nearby nozzles.
To resolve the problem, 1950s Soviet engineers working on the world’s first intercontinental ballistic missile—the R-7, which is an ancestor of the Soyuz rocket—invented a contraption called PZU, a Russian abbreviation for “pyrotechnic ignition device.” I found an extremely rare training manual in my archive that offers a rare glimpse into the ingenious design and operation of this contraption.
After the Soyuz is installed onto the launch pad, technicians working from an access bridge under the pad manually insert wooden sticks in a shape of a T-bar into each combustion chamber. Twenty big sticks go into the main chambers and 12 smaller ones go into the steering engines. At the top of each stick you’ll find a pair of pyro-charges, and between pyro-charges there is a spring-loaded brass wire that acts as an ignition sensor. Wires from pyrotechnics and from the sensor run down the stick to an outlet where they are plugged into the launch control network.
When those charges fire inside the combustion chamber, their flame cuts the brass wire and the spring pulls the lose end away, breaking the electric circuit. That’s what generates the ignition signal at launch control. Because the firing nozzles of the pyro-charges face each other, the ignition of only one of them ensures that the second one would light up as well (imagine two matches right next to each other). Only after the launch control has confirmed ignition inside of each and every one of the 32 chambers will they open the valves on propellant supply lines, initiating the full combustion. The flimsy wooden rig and a few wires are instantly and harmlessly incinerated in the ensuing inferno.
Behold the principle of “don’t fuck with things that are working.”
Danuta Hübner, the head of the European Parliament’s Constitutional Affairs Committee (AFCO), warned Monday that English will not be one of the European Union’s official languages after Britain leaves the EU.
English is one of the EU’s 24 official languages because the U.K. identified it as its own official language, Hübner said. But as soon as Britain completes the process to leave the EU, English could lose its status.
“We have a regulation … where every EU country has the right to notify one official language,” Hübner said. “The Irish have notified Gaelic, and the Maltese have notified Maltese, so you have only the U.K. notifying English.”
“If we don’t have the U.K., we don’t have English,” Hübner said.
English is one of the working languages in the European institutions, Hübner said, adding: “It’s actually the dominating language,” the one most frequently used by EU civil servants.
The regulation listing official languages of the EU would have to be changed unanimously by remaining countries if they want to keep English as an official language, Hübner said.
The decision by U.K. voters to leave the EU is such a glaring repudiation of the wisdom and relevance of elite political and media institutions that — for once — their failures have become a prominent part of the storyline. Media reaction to the Brexit vote falls into two general categories: (1) earnest, candid attempts to understand what motivated voters to make this choice, even if that means indicting their own establishment circles, and (2) petulant, self-serving, simple-minded attacks on disobedient pro-Leave voters for being primitive, xenophobic bigots (and stupid to boot), all to evade any reckoning with their own responsibility. Virtually every reaction that falls into the former category emphasizes the profound failures of Western establishment factions; these institutions have spawned pervasive misery and inequality, only to spew condescending scorn at their victims when they object.
The Los Angeles Times’s Vincent Bevins, in an outstanding and concise analysis, wrote that “both Brexit and Trumpism are the very, very wrong answers to legitimate questions that urban elites have refused to ask for 30 years”; in particular, “since the 1980s the elites in rich countries have overplayed their hand, taking all the gains for themselves and just covering their ears when anyone else talks, and now they are watching in horror as voters revolt.” The British journalist Tom Ewing, in a comprehensive Brexit explanation, said the same dynamic driving the U.K. vote prevails in Europe and North America as well: “the arrogance of neoliberal elites in constructing a politics designed to sideline and work around democracy while leaving democracy formally intact.”
Even more important, the mechanism that Western citizens are expected to use to express and rectify dissatisfaction — elections — has largely ceased to serve any corrective function. As Hayes, in a widely cited tweet, put it this week about Brexit:
I don't want a future in which politics is primarily a battle between cosmopolitan finance capitalism and ethno-nationalist backlash.
— Christopher Hayes (@chrislhayes) June 24, 2016
But that is exactly the choice presented not only by Brexit but also Western elections generally, including the 2016 Clinton v. Trump general election (just look at the powerful array of Wall Street tycoons and war-loving neocons that — long before Trump — viewed the former Democratic New York senator and secretary of state as their best hope for having their agenda and interests served). When democracy is preserved only in form, structured to change little to nothing about power distribution, people naturally seek alternatives for the redress of their grievances, particularly when they suffer.
Cannabis prohibitionists have long cautioned that legalizing the plant will inevitably lead to increased use among teens, couching their restrictive beliefs in concern for the youth. While some of these concerns may be genuine, a recent survey from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment demonstrates — for the second year in a row — that youth in Colorado do not use cannabis any more than teens in other parts of the country. In fact, by at least one measure, they use less.
The Welsh, incidentally, voted to leave the EU after decades of being ungently screwed by government after conniving Tory government; cackling and tearing the heart out of towns which were once famous for something other than teen suicide. Finally, someone gave them the opportunity to vote for change, for any change at all. When all you have is a hammer, every problem starts to look like David Cameron’s face.
A few days after Microsoft released Windows 10 to the public last year, Teri Goldstein’s computer started trying to download and install the new operating system.
The update, which she says she didn’t authorize, failed. Instead, the computer she uses to run her Sausalito, Calif., travel-agency business slowed to a crawl. It would crash, she says, and be unusable for days at a time.
“I had never heard of Windows 10,” Goldstein said. “Nobody ever asked me if I wanted to update.”
When outreach to Microsoft’s customer support didn’t fix the issue, Goldstein took the software giant to court, seeking compensation for lost wages and the cost of a new computer.
She won. Last month, Microsoft dropped an appeal and Goldstein collected a $10,000 judgment from the company.
The company denies wrongdoing, and a spokeswoman said Microsoft halted its appeal to avoid the expense of further litigation.
In the card game of bridge, the teams bid to have one suit rank higher than the others. This is called the trump suit. However, a contract of, say, one no trump means that the bidders will aim to win seven tricks (rounds) if there is no trump suit. Statisticians Andrew Gelman and Jonathan Falk undertook a study to see if professional bridge players were now consciously or unconsciously bidding “no trump” more often as a result of Donald Trump’s campaign. To draw their conclusions, they studied a major American tournament, whose players are presumably keenly aware of The Donald, and a major Dutch tournament, where the players are presumably much less aware of him. The conclusion of their paper is that the Americans bid “no trump” 29% of the time, vs. 26% for the Dutch.
Actually, the paper was a satire on how people lie using statistics, although the data are real. (V)
A family argument over whether the Earth is flat or round became so heated that one of the participants threw a propane cylinder onto a campfire, prompting an intervention by firefighters.
The dispute over a question most considered resolved centuries ago boiled over around 10:30 p.m. Monday at St. Lawrence Park in Brockville, Ont.
Police said a 56-year-old Brockville man was at a campsite with his son and his son’s girlfriend when the woman began insisting that the Earth is flat.
The older man insisted the Earth is round.
It’s not clear if anyone at the campfire put forth the argument that the Earth’s equatorial bulge makes it not perfectly round, but instead a shape known as an oblate spheroid.
I love it when a journalists takes the opportunity to troll.
Pope Francis said on Sunday that Christians and the Roman Catholic Church should seek forgiveness from homosexuals for the way they had treated them.
Speaking to reporters aboard the plane taking him back to Rome from Armenia, he also said the Church should ask forgiveness for the way it has treated women, for turning a blind eye to child labor and for “blessing so many weapons” in the past.
In the hour-long freewheeling conversation that has become a trademark of his international travels, Francis was asked if he agreed with recent comments by a German Roman Catholic cardinal that the Church should apologize to gays.
Francis looked sad when the reporter asked if an apology was made more urgent by the killing of 49 people at a gay club in Orlando, Florida this month.
He recalled Church teachings that homosexuals “should not be discriminated against. They should be respected, accompanied pastorally.”
In early 2015 the Pope personally supported a referendum against marriage equality in Slovakia. The government had previously removed legal protections for same-sex married couples, and the church attempted to double down by banning same-sex marriages and adoptions entirely, but lost the vote. Same-sex couples can only be quasi-married in Slovakia thanks to the Pope.
In late 2015 Slovenia legalized same-sex marriage and the Pope personally supported a referendum to strike down that law, which succeeded. Same-sex couples cannot get married in Slovenia thanks to the Pope.
And yet I don’t see him asking forgiveness for those actions. Hypocrite.
Nicola Sturgeon has suggested that the Scottish parliament could block the passage of legislation necessary for the UK to leave the EU.
In an interview with the Sunday Politics Scotland, she said that “of course” she would consider asking the Scottish parliament to vote down the legislative consent motions required for the legislation.
In her fifth major political interview of the morning, Scotland’s first minister told the show’s host, Gordon Brewer: “If the Scottish parliament is judging this on the basis of what’s right for Scotland, then the option of saying we’re not going to vote for something that’s against Scotland’s interests, that’s got to be on the table. You’re not going to vote for something that is not in Scotland’s interests.”
The proposal focuses on arrival / departure forms commonly collected from non-citizens at the US border, as well as the electronic form used for anyone entering the country under a visa waiver. Under the proposed changes, those forms would include a new optional data field prompting visitors to “please enter information associated with your online presence,” followed by open fields for specific platforms and screen names.
Okay, here it is:
‘Robert’); DROP DATABASE;–‘
Until now, automotive content has often been dictated or hampered by car availability, model revisions, limited access to locations and footage that can quickly become irrelevant. In collaboration with JemFX, Performance Filmworks and Keslow, The Mill has created The Mill BLACKBIRD® which sets out to transform the way automotive advertising is made – it’s a car rig that can be shot at any time, in any location, without the need to rely on a physical car.
The Mill BLACKBIRD® is able to quickly transform its chassis to match the exact length and width of almost any car. Powered by an electric motor, it can be programmed to imitate acceleration curves and gearing shifts and the adjustable suspension alters ride height, rigidity and dampening to replicate typical driving characteristics.
I’m glad that the car industry is well known for NEVER exaggerating the capabilities of their cars, so I guess this will never work… oh wait..
Mit dieser Meldung sicherte sich Google in der Nacht zum Freitag reichlich Aufmerksamkeit: Morgens um 2:28 Uhr twitterte der Statistikdienst Google-Trends, dass es in Großbritannien am Donnerstagabend einen starken Anstieg von Suchanfragen nach den Folgen eines EU-Austritts gebe. Wussten die Briten zuvor womöglich nicht, worüber sie abstimmen?
A massive, 40-year-old relic left over from NASA’s Apollo moon program has landed a new mission as a roadside attraction on one of the United States’ most traveled highways.
Drivers taking Interstate 10 to enter Mississippi from Louisiana on Tuesday (June 21) were the first to catch sight of the newly-delivered Saturn V first stage parked outside the Infinity Science Center, the visitor center for the nearby NASA Stennis Space Center in Pearlington, Mississippi.
Every few months a little device in my pocket, still called a “phone” for some reason, using a network of satellites to pinpoint the exact time and my location on Earth, alerts me that if I step outside in a few minutes, I can witness a freaking Space Station flying overhead, a station that has been continuously occupied by humans over fifteen years.
We keep this station occupied via a series of rocket launches, both crewed and uncrewed. Some of these uncrewed rockets are launched by commercial enterprises. Those same companies will soon be launching crewed rockets to the station and beyond.
Work is being done on the next generation of space craft that will hopefully send us back to the moon, to asteroids, and on to Mars. Those things are still a long way off, but they’re being worked on.
Up until a year or so ago Pluto was a blurry dot in even the best photographs. Now we have high resolution closeups.
We have a bunch of robots on Mars and will soon be sending more.
There is a spaceship still orbiting Saturn. Saturn.
We have craft currently orbiting Mercury, Venus (I think?), Mars, The Moon, Ceres.
We have sent spacecraft beyond the solar system. One of them has a dick drawn on it.
Spacecraft have landed, or sort-of-crash-landed on, and taken photographs of the surface of, The Moon, Mars, Venus, Titan, a freakin’ comet, and couple of asteroids.
Astronauts tweet and post photos from space. One of them recorded a music video.
Some dude who, among other things, makes amazing electric cars has a good chance of sending humans to Mars in the near future. Some of his billionaire buddies are doing similar things.
Space is still super exciting to me.
In remarkably large numbers, our respondents claimed that they would indeed cancel Netflix over ads. Nearly three quarters of respondents – 74%, to be exact – said they’d be done with Netflix if ads debuted on the service.
Our survey offered a comment section, and those that took advantage of it overwhelmingly used it to voice their disapproval for ads. A noticeable minority resorted to profanity to voice their displeasure. Clearly, ads on Netflix would upset a lot of users, and plenty of them were happy to have the chance to say just how quickly they’d ditch the streaming leader.
Whether all of these users would follow through on their threats to cancel the service if Netflix did indeed get ads is an open question, but if even a fraction of them did, the company would lose a lot of revenue in their quest to do the opposite. Netflix’s users are sending the service a pretty clear message: if the service starts selling ads, customers would consider leaving.
Or, as one respondent put it: “WTF, I would cancel immediately.”
An online gun store based in the United States sold more than 30,000 AR-15 assault rifles in one seven-day period.
Hunter’s Warehouse, based in Bellevue, Pennsylvania, claims that since the killing of 49 people in the Orlando nightclub shooting, the AR-15 has proved popular with buyers.
A semi automatic relation of the military M-16 assault rifle, the AR-15 was used in the mass shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, San Bernadino Inland Regional Centre and Pulse nightclub in Orlando.
A studio in India, founded by British photographers Charles Shepherd, Samuel Bourne and William Howard in 1840 will close its doors after 176 years in operation. Considered the oldest continuously operating photographic studio, Kolkata-based Bourne & Shepherd’s current owner cites the recent major changes in photographic technology as a reason for the closure.
The studio was known for its portraiture, producing images of religious figures and government officials, from the British Raj era onward. Speaking to Indian publication The Hindu, a former employee explains that the shift to digital made it difficult for the studio to survive, saying ‘How can you expect that a studio can operate in this generation where everyone is clicking photos from their mobiles and digital cameras?’
Though the studio will no longer be in operation, the current owner says that he’ll continue to maintain the shop’s collection of historic photos and equipment.
Bleeping Computer malware man Lawrence Abrams described the ransomware noting it is shipped as a JS file and uses the CryptoJS library for AES encryption.
“RAA is currently being distributed via emails as attachments that pretend to be doc files and have names like mgJaXnwanxlS_doc_.js,” Abrams says.
“When the JS file is opened it will encrypt the computer and then demand a ransom of about US$250 USD to get the files back.