Tuesday Morning: I Don’t Want It Good

I don’t want it good. I want it Tuesday.
— Jack Warner

Pretty sure Mr. Warner would get it just the way he wanted it today.

Surprise: Saudis and Russia agree mutual economic destruction = bad
Expect a rocky market today after a hush-hush agreement by Saudi Arabia and Russia to hold oil production levels to January levels. The FTSE and Brent crude have already taken a hit, though why Brent’s price dropped when supply firmed/tightened makes no sense to me. Good thing I’m not a commodities broker.

Predictable outcome: Dropbox account hacked, contents posted, then teacher fired
I feel awful for this poor teacher, whose privacy was violated and his job lost after someone hacked his Dropbox account, then posted a personal sex tape on his school’s website. Unfortunately, this is another painful real-life lesson: Do NOT store content in the cloud if the content hurt you if leaked.

Shaken by a quake? There’s an app for that
UC Berkeley Seismological Lab released an Android app called MyShake. The application detects vibration fitting earth tremor profiles and reports them to the lab for diagnostics. Enough data combined with other seismic monitoring can confirm an earthquake. The Seismological Lab hopes to build a global seismic detection network which can help detect earthquakes before they begin. With enough advance notice, humans may be able to reduce damage and injury. The Lab says the app runs silently in your phone’s background and doesn’t use up the battery, but this seems like an impossibility. Only one way to find out, though, and only one way for the lab to improve the app’s performance. An iOS version is expected in the near future.

Volkswagen fined by Mexico over emissions — but not the defeat device
Looks like VW imported more than 45,000 vehicles into Mexico without dotting all the Is and crossing all the Ts. The automaker has been fined nearly $9 million dollars (168 million pesos) for failing to obtain mandatory emission and noise certifications. Sounds like VW needs to overhaul its management culture.

Air-gapped computers may not be safe from hacking
A team of researchers from Tel Aviv University and Technion identified a means for hacking air-gapped computers in a completely separate room in order to snag data. Their method only required an antenna, amplifiers, a software-defined radio, and a laptop to measure electromagnetic waves created by a target computer as it deciphered a specific message.

There it is: it ain’t good, but you’ve got it on a Tuesday.

Blogger since 2002, political activist since 2003, geek since birth. Opinions informed by mixed-race, multi-ethnic, cis-female condition, further shaped by kind friends of all persuasions. Sci-tech frenemy, wannabe artist, decent cook, determined author, successful troublemaker. Mother of invention and two excessively smart-assed young adult kids. Attended School of Hard Knocks; Rather Unfortunate Smallish Private Business School in Midwest; Affordable Mid-State Community College w/evening classes. Self-employed at Tiny Consulting Business; previously at Large-ish Chemical Company with HQ in Midwest in multiple marginalizing corporate drone roles, and at Rather Big IT Service Provider as a project manager, preceded by a motley assortment of gigs before the gig economy was a thing. Blogging experience includes a personal blog at the original blogs.salon.com, managing editor for a state-based news site, and a stint at Firedoglake before landing here at emptywheel as technology’s less-virginal-but-still-accursed Cassandra.
18 replies
  1. lefty665 says:

    The Turks are massed on the border with Syria and shelling in Syria. The Saudis are hosting military exercises including forces from Egypt to Pakistan and in between while beating the drums for invading in Syria. Yet there’s not squat in the US media. It’s all Scalia replacement and conspiracy theories. Could we be any more short sighted and self absorbed?

  2. lefty665 says:

    Shielding unwanted emissions was what NSA’s Tempest technology was about long ago. I’d expect their stuff to be pretty quiet these days.
    .
    I’ve been a little surprised at electronic noise from recent computers. Seems the FCC has capitulated on RF. Back in the clone era they got pretty testy about granting certificates.

  3. Rayne says:

    lefty665 (9:37) — I don’t think it’s the FCC but the NIST in play. NIST likely compromised wrt encryption+backdoors on equipment; why not on specs for EM, too? I wonder why the uni research groups publicize their findings, but perhaps it’s a way of telling compromised standards entity, “We’re on to you.”

  4. lefty665 says:

    Here’s what I was referring to: https://transition.fcc.gov/Bureaus/Engineering_Technology/Documents/bulletins/oet62/oet62rev.pdf It’s from the early ’90s, but apparently still current.
    .
    Here’s wikipedia on Federal regulation of emissions. Looks like the FCC is still in the driver’s seat, although NIST is logical: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Title_47_CFR_Part_15
    .
    Makes me wonder how long the Israelis have been using the hack if it has leaked into open literature. Maybe it’s university students lobbying for positions with Unit 8200.

  5. Les says:

    Will we ever know the identity of the UK teen who was arrested for breaking into the CIA and FBI computers? It’s been awhile now.

    • bloopie2 says:

      Sir, I believe the person about whom you have inquired has been renditioned. Please call back later, if you will. Thank you, and have a nice day.

      • orionATL says:

        “renditioned”

        sir, you have used the wrong word.

        this being the cia, said individual was “rendered”,

        as in “we shipped the kid to mexico, put him in a institutional cookpot and rendered him. he can be found in boxes labeled ‘manteca’ in mexican groceries.”

  6. AZcaclakr says:

    Re: The story about the HS teacher. There is a line in an old movie about Huey Long where his treasurer is concerned about all the cash from gambling interest that is funding the campaign. Huey allays the concerns the fed will find out by stating: “Never put in writing what you can say on the phone; Never say on the phone what you can say in person; never say in person what you can say by implication and never say by implication what you can say with a nod and wink.

  7. earlofhuntingdon says:

    VW’s fine of US$200/car in Mexico is a start, but it’s a pittance to a firm the size of VW Mexico, let alone the parent company. It’s a start. A better one would target systemic violations, including the forced resignations of players at the top of VW, not just its middling ranks. That there is a global pattern here seems well-established (though much more should be documented). As you say, that’s a function of management culture, which means the boys at the top. And let’s not assume that VW is the only culprit here; automakers, like airlines and banks, tend to run in packs.

      • lefty665 says:

        It’s in some of them, but by no means all. That is consistent with coincidence. However, WHO emphasizes that causality has not been determined, or ruled out, for either Zika or the larvicide.
        .
        It is clear that Brazil’s health system is chaotic and initial reporting is not reliable. Reported cases of microcephaly do not hold up under national health scrutiny, as in less than half the cases examined actually turned out to be microcephalic.
        .
        I’ve got no opinion beyond being pretty sure we don’t know yet and that I’m not enthusiastic about putting insecticide in the water. What could go wrong?

    • orionATL says:

      who knows, yet.

      but science, free of corporate influence, will figure the problem out.

      we (the h-race) have been here before:

      see wikipedia, thalidomide.

      [… Thalidomide was first marketed in 1957 in West Germany under the trade-name Contergan. The German drug companyChemie Grünenthal developed and sold the drug. Primarily prescribed as a sedative or hypnotic, thalidomide also claimed to cure “anxiety, insomnia, gastritis, and tension”.[3]Afterwards, it was used against nausea and to alleviatemorning sickness in pregnant women….

      … Thalidomide became an over-the-counter drug in West Germany on October 1, 1957. Shortly after the drug was sold in West Germany, between 5,000 and 7,000 infants were born with phocomelia(malformation of the limbs). Only 40% of these children survived.[4] Throughout the world, about 10,000 cases were reported of infants with phocomelia due to thalidomide; only 50% of the 10,000 survived. Those subjected to thalidomide while in the womb experienced limb deficiencies in a way that the long limbs either were not developed or presented themselves as stumps. Other effects included deformed eyes and hearts, deformed alimentary and urinary tracts, blindness and deafness.[5] The negative effects of thalidomide led to the development of more structured drug regulations and control over drug use and development.[6]…]

      if monsanto knows it’s product is the culprit (and there is a good chance they have at least some in-house scientific data, it will slowly unveil the now standard corporate evasion and misdirection p. r. campaign.

      tell-tale sign: look for the presence of an experienced “crisis management” firm.

  8. Rayne says:

    lefty665 (6:20) — Yeah, I’ve seen a few articles on the pesticide angle. The primary problem with the theory is that pyridine-based pesticides have been used for decades, and sloppily in many locations. What made Brazil different from other places where pyridine has been used AND Zika or other similar viruses occurred? Are there genetic factors as well, not under evaluation because scientists are looking for the virus? Are there climate factors, too, given the difference between Zika cases in other parts of the world? Have Aedes aegypti mosquitoes developed a sub-species in some places not found in others?

    My primary concern has been and is the inadequate investment in research as well as crappy preemptive practices — and it doesn’t matter whether it’s Zika or West Nile or Ebola, these are systemic challenges our society has failed to address appropriately, biological agent after biological agent. We consistently whip out corporate answers to shared societal problems, and it’s just plain wrong.

    One caveat about that article: You’ll note the original link calls out Monsanto, but in the last graf TechTimes makes a correction and the hed has also been changed to call out Sumitomo. This is a perfect example of how easy it is to get stuff wrong about the science around Zika — not confined to Brazil.

    P J Evans (6:39) — Thanks for the link; finding active virus in a small number fetus/infant brains is a step in the right direction on research, but it’s inconclusive without more data.

    orionATL (8:28) — (1) Thalidomide: the drug was intended primarily to relieve morning sickness, which scientists still do not fully understand. one theory about morning sickness is that it is intended to prevent women from ingesting mutagenic/teratogenic substances. If that mechanism is defeated, what happens to fetuses? But scientists never bothered to look at the intersection of morning sickness and thalidomide. Science is NOT perfect on either thalidomide OR morning sickness after all these years.

    (2) Monsanto: NO. The manufacturer of the chemical in that story is SUMITOMO. Read the article lefty665 linked. TechTimes had to correct its piece. They’ll be lucky if they don’t get a take-down because of their use of Monsanto’s name in the URL.

    (3) I invite you to run your own blog, open for comments and figure out at what point you’ll block commenters who insist on abusing your welcome. Distorting or misattributing a contributor’s work repeatedly, in spite of being cautioned against doing so, is a hard limit here. Spamming threads is another risky move.

    • orionATL says:

      i don’t spam anyone. if haarmeyer does i didnvt know that.

      i went entirely by the content of the piece ew wrote, haarmeyer’s comment, and ew’s banishment. there was nothing i could read of or into haarmeyer’s statement that warranted her reaction. was there some background i missed?

      have you carefully read the dialogue i am talking about? i suggest you do.

      i know ew very well by now. after i cautioned “time for a break”, she stopped, which was the sensible thing to do.

      i have never before known ew to write in the intellectually trashy way she is writing about clinton. i am baffled by her animus. one can be a partisan and still be analytical.

      i contribute a hell of a lot to this weblog. i have always stated things as directly as possible. i intend to keep doing exactly that.

      it’s emptywheel’s football. she makes the rules. if she wants me gone, fine.
      but you damn well aren’t going to shut me up.

      as for haarmeyer, i spent a lot of time trying to turn him into a useful contributor (yeah, and you and the rest thought i just liked to fight). i sensed he could be a troll, that was a distinct possibility, but i wasn’t sure. he (or a group of hes) could have been useful. there may well have been more than i knew going on in the wider world. in that regard i am a naif and fully intend to stay that way. au courrant, up on everything, is not my style.

  9. orionATL says:

    what does “spamming threads” mean?

    are you suggesting my sometime large nos of comments are deliberatey designed to harm a post? that would be a really stupid assumption about my motives.

    my comment about haarmeyer here was reasonable and intended to give him credit for raising a flag that i thought needed raising zika. it was a good example of what the guy can do that’s useful.

    i suggest rayne that you step back and not take your newly delegated powers quite so seriously. otherwise, this weblog will be full of good citizens and circular commentary.

  10. orionATL says:

    rayne –

    on reflection i have another suggestion. it clear to me that you have been assigned to monitor and correct my uncollegial behavior.

    that’s just not going to work with me. what you’ve seen here is what you’re going to get.

    rather than emptywheel assigning you to dog me and your wasting your time harrassing me about my comments, why doesn’t emptywheel, or if she can’t, then you, just send me an email asking that i not comment at emptywheel website anymore.

    that’s simple enough. you have my email address. i’ll honor your request.

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