Monthly Archives: July 2018

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Inmates hacked tablets to transfer over $200,000 into accounts Over 300 inmates in Idaho successfully hacked tablets in an effort to transfer thousands of dollars of credit into their accounts. The tablets — made by company JPay — are intended for accessing music, ebooks, games and emails. But because of a loophole, inmates were able to use them to transfer a collective $225,000 into various accounts.  ALSO: Hackers steal $23.5 million from cryptocurrency exchange Bancor As reported by the Spokesman-Review, 364 occupants of five different Idaho correctional facilities were able to access funds through a “vulnerability” that officials didn’t discover until early July. Idaho Department of Correction spokesman Jeff Ray issued a statement explaining how 50 inmates were able to transfer over $1,000, and one person managed to get away with nearly $10,000. None of the money stolen was taxpayer money. “This conduct was intentional, not accidental. It required a […]

‘WHAT’S THE DEFINITION OF A CULT?’ R. Kelly’s Delusional Response to Sex Cult Allegations in ‘I Admit’: I’m the Victim Here In a rambling, nearly 20 minute-long track, the R&B star responds to allegations of pedophilia and sex abuse by playing the victim himself—a staggering display of self-delusion. R. Kelly clearly wanted to get some things off of his chest. The 51-year old R&B star released a nearly 20-minute oddity called “I Admit” on Monday, which presents Kelly as more detached and delusional than even his erratic interviews and sporadic viral outbursts indicate. He fires back at allegations that he’s a pedophile who runs a sex cult, and takes aim at shady associates, his record label, and veteran reporter Jim DeRogatis, who has been unearthing allegations against Kelly from numerous women over the past 20 years. Kelly released the song via Facebook Live and, title notwithstanding, it’s mostly Kelly on […]

The real reason why Saturday morning cartoons disappeared Kids today don’t know the glorious experiences they’re missing. Back in the day, Saturday morning was the best time of the week. You’d get up early, and you’d be happy about it. You’d pour yourself a huge bowl of sugar disguised as cereal (and never disguised as nutrition). Then you’d turn the TV on, and let it assault you with a barrage of cartoons until noon … or whenever American Bandstand or Soul Train or golf came on. Then you’d go back to whatever children did before they had cell phones to stare at. But over the past couple decades, the big broadcast networks have slowly stopped offering a Saturday morning lineup. (Unless you count infomercials and multi-level marketing schemes, which, seriously, those things are fun, but only when you get in on the ground level.) What became of this American institution […]

How Does NASA Test For Spacecraft Safety? Brutalize a Replica NASA’s Orion structural test article (STA), in its “full stack” launch configuration, was lifted into a reverberance acoustic chamber at Lockheed Martin Space.   Inside an 80-foot-tall chamber on Lockheed Martin’s Denver-area campus, backgrounded by red-rock ridges, stands a hulking spacecraft. You have to crane your neck to see the top of the apparatus. At the bottom, wires spew from a porthole to snake up and down and away. The cylindrical structure flows into a duller, funnel-like cone, which tapers into a tower with rocket nozzles. Next to it, the blue scaffolds of an indoor crane resemble a launchpad gantry. But this spacecraft isn’t going anywhere. It’s a copy of Orion, the NASA vehicle that will someday ferry crew and cargo beyond Earth’s orbit—to the moon, to Mars, to deep space. This Orion twin, which we shall call PseudOrion, is […]

How the US Government Secretly Sold ‘Spy Phones’ to Suspects In 2010, a suspected cocaine smuggler named John Krokos bought encrypted BlackBerry devices from an undercover Drug Enforcement Administration agent. That sort of federal subterfuge is par for the course. But in this case, the DEA held onto the encryption keys—meaning that when the government moved on Krokos and his alleged collaborators a few years later, they could read the emails and messages that passed to and from the phone. That revelation is detailed in a new report from Human Rights Watch, along with a 2015 email that shows that the DEA had expressed interest in using smartphone malware from Italian company Hacking Team to spy on multiple suspects’ locations. Together, they illustrate a potentially chilling practice on the part of the US government to preemptively plant spy devices on suspects. They also shed light on actions by federal law […]

How to See Everything Your Apps Are Allowed to Do   You probably spend a lot of your day inside apps: catching up on the news, playing music and movies, keeping in touch with friends, racing cartoon characters around a track, and so on. Every once in a while though, it’s worth running an audit on these apps to make sure they’re not overreaching and going beyond their remit—collecting more data about you and controlling more of your devices than you’d like. Here’s how you can put controls on what your apps are allowed to do on Android, iOS, Windows, and macOS. Choosing App Permissions App permissions are the privileges an app has—like being able to access your phone’s camera or your laptop’s contact list—but deciding which ones to switch on or off isn’t an exact science. Granting those permissions isn’t in and of itself a mistake; generally, trusted developers […]

Radical As Ever, Boots Riley Takes On the Tech Boom Sorry to Bother You is in some ways a classic tale of warring allegiances, but the rapper/activist’s first feature is clearly a Boots Riley Production: a fast-paced, outré assault on both capitalism and polite society. When I meet Boots Riley at an art studio in Downtown Oakland, he’s wearing a little bit of everything. On top, a checkered blazer over a cardigan and a white dress shirt open to the fourth button; below, salmon pants and bright white sneakers. His outfit is accented by a pocket square, and by his unruly signature mutton chops and mustache. Trying too hard is frowned upon in Oakland, and Riley was brought up in The Town, so while the first-time filmmaker may be making Hollywood inroads, his mismatched mise-en-scene is pure Bay Area: an overburdened key ring, a wallet straining with business cards and […]

This Giant Invasive Flower Can Give You Third-Degree Burns The giant hogweed is hard to miss. The monstrous plant towers up to 15 feet tall, with a crown of white flowers the size of an umbrella. They burst into bloom between the last week of June and the first week of July—just in time to be the perfect dramatic backdrop to red-white-and-blue-themed parties. But whatever you do, don’t touch it. The giant hogweed’s toxic sap could give you third-degree burns if you don’t get out of the sun and wash it off immediately. Like an anti-sunblock, chemicals in its juices disrupt your skin’s ability to filter out harmful UV rays. Get it in your eyes and you could go blind. In places where hogweed has been around for decades, residents know its risks well. But while the majestic flower of the hogweed adds a courtly presence to any landscape, it […]