Wednesday Morning: Place Your Bets

About 11:00 a.m. EST today President Obama will announce his nominee to the Supreme Court to fill Antonin Scalia’s seat on the bench.

Apart from Sri Srinivasan, widely mentioned as the likely nominee, who is a possible candidate? Share your guess and then place your bets on Most-Likely Nominee and offer odds on a recess appointment.

Heads up: Your browsing could put you at risk of ransomware
I suppose the news that really big and popular sites were afflicted by ransomware within the last week explains why I had yet another Adobe-brand update pushed at me. Sites affected included The New York Times, the BBC, MSN, and AOL, along with others running a compromised ad network serving ransomware.

PSA: Make sure all your data files are backed up off your PC, and have access to software to rebuild your machine, in case your device is held for ransom.

#AppleVsFBI: Apple filing in California yesterday
Funny how different the characterizations of the 26-page filing. Here’s two:

  • The Guardian (emphasis mine):

    Apple’s lawyers tried to lower the temperature in the company’s fight with the US government on Tuesday, telling a federal judge that America’s Justice Department is well-meaning but wrong in its privacy standoff with the iPhone maker.

  • Forensic scientist Jonathan Ździarski: “Here, Apple is saying, ‘If it pleases the court, tell the FBI to go fuck themselves.'”

Zika virus: even uglier than expected

Stray cats, rounded up…

  • DARPA appeals to Maker/DIY/geek-nerd types, asks them to weaponize everyday devices (IEEE Spectrum) — I find this incredibly creepy; why is DARPA doing this, if the point is to prevent harm to the public from consumer products? Why not FTC/FCC/DOE instead of the military? And what happens to the feckless DIYer who accidentally hurts someone in the course of trying this stuff at home? Will DARPA indemnify them? Or are these informal adjuncts supposed to assume liability though they are doing military and law enforcement research? And what about the participants — will their identities be “harvested” for unspecified use in the future? So much stupid.
  • US transport secretary Anthony Foxx says, “It’s not a surprise that at some point there would be a crash of any technology that’s on the road,” (The Guardian) — in regards to the recent crash of a Google self-driving car with a bus. If it’s not a surprise, why are these on the road so soon? Don’t argue humans crash; these driverless vehicles are supposed to be BETTER than humans, and the public’s roadways shouldn’t be corporate laboratories.
  • PA man charged with phishing celeb women to gain access to their personal photos and videos (The Guardian) — Oddly, he’s not charged with distribution of the celebs’ pics in what became known as ‘The Fappening.’ A perfect example of the kind of crime which would be made easier and more widespread if Apple’s security was weakened — and law enforcement struggles with tackling it now.

That’s a wrap, for now, furballs all cleaned out of the holding bins. See you tomorrow morning!

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.
13 replies
  1. harpie says:

    Speaking of tiny critters, this may not be as scary as Zika, but IS disquieting:
    ***
    ‘Here And Now’: Tracing The Wisconsin Elizabethkingia Outbreak
    http://www.wpr.org/here-and-now-tracing-wisconsin-elizabethkingia-outbreak

    [quote] Elizabethkingia continues to challenge epidemiologists as it afflicts people scattered throughout southern and eastern Wisconsin. It’s a type of gram-negative bacteria found commonly in the environment, but only rarely causes disease in humans. […] [end quote]
    ***
    At least the authorities seem to be responding more quickly than with the Legionnaire’s in Flint.

  2. orionATL says:

    zika virus, i have read, is akin to rubella, always a concern for pregnancy. both i think are often mild and go unnoticed by the motber.

  3. bloopie2 says:

    Some good electoral news: In October 2014, Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke allegedly shot 17-year-old Laquan McDonald in the back 16 times. Neither Van Dyke nor any other officer on the scene was charged for the incident until a police video of the incident was made public last November. Cook County state’s attorney Anita Alvarez came under fire for waiting 400 days before filing charges against Van Dyke, and on Tuesday, Cook County voters made their displeasure known by denying Alvarez a third term in office.

  4. Rayne says:

    harpie (9:49) — Wonder if drug resistance explains localized outbreak — suggesting doctors’ practices in a particular region may set up ‘hot spots’? Thanks for that.

    orionATL (10:13) — Zika looks far worse than rubella, effects on fetus appear more pronounced; this NPR piece on Zika babies’ cries reveals a lot about continuing discovery of neurological problems. Though the numbers in the 1960s US outbreak look large, consider how many of those folks exposed in utero are still with us (would be in their early 50s — same cohort as a couple of my siblings). Wonder if the miscarriage rate is higher with rubella than with Zika, and in the case of Zika, wonder if infant mortality is higher? Thanks for popping in.

    • orionATL says:

      yes, those were the rubella days. that worried us, of course.

      if i were writing in the guardian style, i would have written something like:

      “when my wife and i were breeding in the ’70’s, rubella …” :)

    • bloopie2 says:

      I heard that NPR piece on the radio, and it was just about the saddest thing you could ever want to hear. Babies were coming in to the clinic with all kinds of defects – hearing, sight, seizures, etc. — and the reactions of the doctor and the mothers was something to behold. You really ought to listen to the audio (it’s only a few minutes); link is in the article that Rayne has linked to.

  5. bloopie2 says:

    I’ll respectfully dissent as to the driverless cars issue. Saying that they are supposed to be better than humans is not the same as saying that they will never crash (i.e., are perfect). I believe that we have good statistics on “number of crashes per vehicle mile driven” for human cars. I assume that Google and DOT are developing similar statistics for driverless cars. When we compare, won’t that be the real test? And by the way, there is a TON of crash-avoidance technology on the public’s roadways, right now, that is new and unproven –all those things you find on higher end cars. Doesn’t that already make the public roadways into corporate laboratories? I assume that they are developed and tested in house then, when found to be good enough, put on the road – with the manufacturer being liable if it fails. Why isn’t that an acceptable business model? So there.

  6. orionATL says:

    now, quite sensibly but probably highly contentiously, zika raises the issue of abortion in a not-quite-yet-developed catholic country.

  7. RUKidding says:

    I heard the NPR “article” re Zika and also recommend. It is sad and horrible and horribly informative. It makes the increasingly insane and inhumane practices around birth control, sex education and abortion in the USA look even more terrible. These poor women with Zika babies! And they are poor economically and often otherwise. Many of the younger women have been abandoned by the babies’ fathers, who seek to “blame” the condition on the mother and then walk away… leaving a young poor mother with a badly disabled child to care for. It is heart-rending.
    **
    On a related note, I went for some innoculations for an upcoming Asian trip. Large signs all around the office warning pregnant women or women hoping to get pregnant not to travel at all to central and south America or the Caribbean right now.

  8. John Murphy says:

    Obama’s move places pressure squarely on the obstructionist Republicans who previously voted in the 90’s to confirm Garland to the D.C. court. Senator McConnell confirmed again today his stand against granting a hearing to any Obama candidate even while blue/purple-state Republicans up for election in the fall feel the burn: heartburn.

    And it doesn’t help when they see previous comments about Garland like this from Republican-appointed Chief Justice Roberts: “Any time Judge Garland disagrees, you know you’re in a difficult area.”

    Does this sound like a lightweight justice that the Republicans can easily dismiss? Grab the popcorn, Obama’s taking this one straight at the obstructionists.

    http://www.nytimes.com/…/garland-supreme-court…

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