Monthly Archives: June 2015

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3 Privacy Tradeoffs That Might Be Worth It #maketechhuman Consumers make Faustian bargains with technology every day, sharing private information in exchange for some personal (or occasionally social) benefit. Sometimes the tradeoff doesn’t require a second thought, like wearing a Fitbit to make good on those exercise resolutions. Other times, it raises thorny questions:  Do I really want to share that health data with my boss? Should I hand over my DNA to a startup? Here are a handful of cases where the surrender of intimate information—in tandem with new technologies—has the potential to produce significant payoffs for people on both sides. Assisted Living Through the IoT The concept of a fully equipped, remote-controlled “smart home” is an exciting one for most of us, but for a growing number of seniors, it means living under 24-hour surveillance. IoT-enabled sensors can now track their physical location at every moment, their heart rate […]

  The Dark Web as You Know It Is a Myth The ‘dark web’ may be close to becoming a household name. After the conviction of Ross Ulbricht, the owner of the drug marketplace Silk Road, and a stream of articles claiming that the Islamic State is using secret websites to plan out attacks, this hidden part of the Internet is being talked about more than ever. But for the most part, the story you’ve been sold about the dark web is a myth. I know this because I’ve been there. Since 2013, I’ve interviewed the staff of drug marketplaces about their paid DEA double-agents, tracked how technologically sophisticated pedophiles cover up their tracks, and also discovered that active Uber accounts were being sold on the dark web for as little as a dollar each. I’ve also learned that the real story is not at all the one you commonly […]

Silent and Deadly: Fatal Farts Immobilize Prey The adult form of a silent and deadly predator: a Beaded Lacewing. This species is from Udzungwa, Tanzania. The beautiful animal in the photo above is a Beaded Lacewing. While the adults are delicate and lovely, they begin life as ferocious tiny predators lurking in the nests of termites. These larvae live unmolested in their nest, silently striking down termites from behind—and for one species, with their behind.When a baby Lomamyia latipennis gets hungry, it stuns a termite with a “vapor-phase toxicant” released from its anus. That’s a fancy way of saying it farts on it. In fact, their farts are powerful enough to immobilize six termites with one blow.This is how you wield a Death Fart, if you are a small predatory neuropteran: “A larva repeatedly approached and retreated until the tip of its abdomen was directed at the termite’s head. The apex of the abdomen was lifted and waved past the termite’s face, […]

***The Gang Girl Series is here.*** Check it out. Click the link below. don’t for get to give us your opinion. Female Gang Participation According to many authorities including sociologists, the Department of Justice, and news organizations, like CNN and the Los Angeles Times, female gang participation is now on the rise. Not only is it on the rise, but female gang members are displaying more violent behavior. In order to protect female youth from this growing problem, it is important to find the underlying causes that attract youth to join gangs and to find solutions to prevent and intervene in the lives of active and potential female gang members. This paper will explore adolescent female participation in gangs. For the purpose of this paper, gangs are defined as “a band or group of persons” who participate in illegal or socially unacceptable activity (Webster’s Dictionary 74). This paper will […]

Using News Reports to Track Wildlife Black Markets The illegal global rhinoceros trade network before (top) and after (bottom) a hypothetical targeted disruption. courtesy of Nikkita Patel The international black market in wildlife—alive or dead—is notoriously difficult to track. Hunters and smugglers don’t report their take for the same reasons that drug dealers don’t report profits to the IRS. But if you could actually track those networks, maybe you could do something about them. That’s what sent Nikkita Patel, a veterinary epidemiologist at the University of Pennsylvania, to an unusual source of data on the illegal wildlife trade: the news.The news reports are typically gruesome: a frozen tiger carcass found in a truck in Vietnam, or a dead rhino lying in a wildlife sanctuary with its horn hacked off. But the overall news is even worse. Fueled by appetites for ivory jewelry and traditional medicine practices that use rhino horn […]

Apple Is Going to Kill the Home Screen Click to Open Overlay Gallery Bryan Derballa The home screen has always been at the center of the iPhone experience. At WWDC, Apple signaled that we’re moving on.With iOS 9, the bulk of interaction will happen elsewhere, dispersed among intelligent notification panels, powerful search tools, and context-specific suggestions that put relevant apps a flick away. The dependable home screen will still exist, but for the first time, it feels secondary. These days, the smartphone experience is just too fast and fluid to be pinned to a grid.From birth, the home screen was the iPhone’s face to the world. It was the first thing that popped up when Steve Jobs swiped his finger across the first iPhone’s lock screen on stage in 2007. Looking back at that event, it’s remarkable how little has changed. Today’s home screen has more real estate and less gloss, […]

What Apple Music’s Family Plan Means for the Web (And You) Bryan Derballa for WIRED In all the talk about Apple’s spate of announcements at WWDC, the company’s offer of a “family pricing” deal for its Apple Music streaming service has received a surprisingly modest amount of attention. Under the new plan, for $14.99 a month, you’ll be able to share an Apple Music account among as many as six people via the company’s preexisting iCloud Family Sharing program. (The other, more conventional option is to pay $9.99 a month for an individual subscription—the same price you’d pay for an individual subscription to Spotify Premium.) Granted, the family plan was also an option on Beats Music, which Apple acquired when the company purchased Beats Electronics for $3 billion last year. However, Apple gave the streaming service enough of an overhaul while turning it into Apple Music that the tier was […]

I Made an Untraceable AR-15 ‘Ghost Gun’ in My Office—And It Was Easy This is my ghost gun. To quote the rifleman’s creed, there are many like it, but this one is mine. It’s called a “ghost gun”—a term popularized by gun control advocates but increasingly adopted by gun lovers too—because it’s an untraceable semiautomatic rifle with no serial number, existing beyond law enforcement’s knowledge and control. And if I feel a strangely personal connection to this lethal, libertarian weapon, it’s because I made it myself, in a back room of WIRED’s downtown San Francisco office on a cloudy afternoon.I did this mostly alone. I have virtually no technical understanding of firearms and a Cro-Magnon man’s mastery of power tools. Still, I made a fully metal, functional, and accurate AR-15. To be specific, I made the rifle’s lower receiver; that’s the body of the gun, the only part that US law […]