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Picking Cotton

Today's picture shows men picking cotton by hand. The picture was taken in 1902 in South Carolina. It looks like a fairly good crop of cotton.

Obama signs Executive Order to bolster federal credit card security

On Friday, at the headquarters of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, President Obama signed an Executive Order that will add chip-and-PIN protections (EMV) to federal credit cards starting in January. The President encouraged the financial and retail sectors to follow suit.

The signing of the Executive Order comes after a string of high profile breaches including those at Home Depot, Target, and JP Morgan Chase.

According to the White House, Wal-Mart, as well as Target and Home Depot, are just a few of the larger retail outlets that will be transitioning to chip-and-PIN in 2015. Furthermore, American Express is expected to launch a $10 million program geared towards helping small businesses upgrade their payment processing.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

China again blames US for disrupted cybersecurity talks

China claimed on Sunday the U.S. has derailed cybersecurity cooperation between the two countries and that it doesn't tolerate hacking.

The statement came a day after Yang Jiechi, a state councilor who deals with foreign affairs, held discussions on Saturday in Boston with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on topics that included cybersecurity.

"Dialogue and cooperation between China and the U.S. in the field of cybersecurity is faced with difficulty due to the wrong actions taken by the American side," according to a statement on China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Kim Dotcom Must Reveal Everything He Owns to Hollywood

dotcom-laptopKim Dotcom has been associated with many things over the years, but one enduring theme has been wealth – and lots of it.

Even in the wake of the now-infamous raid on his New Zealand mansion and the seizure of millions in assets, somehow Dotcom has managed to rake in millions. Or did he also have some stashed away?

It’s an important matter for Hollywood. The businessman’s continued lavish lifestyle diminishes the financial pot from where any payout will be made should they prevail in their copyright infringement battles against the Megaupload founder.

The studio’s concerns were previously addressed by Judge Courtney, who had already ordered Dotcom to disclose to the Court the details of his worldwide assets. The entrepreneur filed an appeal but that hearing would take place in October, a date beyond the already-ordered disclosure date.

Dotcom took his case to the Court of Appeal in the hope of staying the disclosure order, but in August that failed.

Dotcom complied with the ruling and subsequently produced an affidavit. However, he asked the Court of Appeal to overturn the decision of the High Court in order to keep the document a secret from the studios. That bid has now failed.

Following a ruling handed down this morning by the New Zealand Court of Appeal, Dotcom’s financial information will soon be in the hands of adversaries Twentieth Century Fox, Disney, Paramount, Universal and Warner Bros.

Court of Appeal Judges John Wild, Rhys Harrison and Christin French ordered the affidavit to be released to the studios on the basis that the information could only be used in legal proceedings concerning the restraining of Dotcom’s assets. And with a confidentiality clause attached to the affidavit, the public will not gain access to the information.

Another setback for Dotcom came in respect of who pays the bill for proceedings. The Megaupload founder’s attempt at avoiding costs was turned down after the judges found that having already supplied the affidavit as required, Dotcom’s appeal was not likely to succeed.

And there was more bad news for Dotcom in a separate High Court ruling handed down in New Zealand today. It concerns the extradition cases against not only him but also former Megaupload associates Finn Batato, Mathias Ortmann and Bram Van Der Kolk.

The theory put forward by Dotcom is that the United States and New Zealand governments had politically engineered his downfall in order to extradite him to the U.S. To gather evidence showing how that happened, Dotcom and the other respondents made a pair of applications to the extradition court (the District Court) requesting that it make discovery orders against various New Zealand government agencies, ministers and departments.

The District Court declined so the respondents sought a judicial review of that decision claiming that the Court acted unfairly and erred in law. In today’s ruling, Justice Simon France said there was no “air of reality” that political interference had been involved in Dotcom’s extradition case.

“It is, as the District Court held, all supposition and the drawing of links without a basis,” the Judge wrote.

“Nothing suggests involvement of the United States of America, and nothing suggests the New Zealand Government had turned its mind to extradition issues. These are the key matters and there is no support for either contention.”

Judge France said that as respondents in the case, the United States were entitled to costs.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

New releases of Tor Browser 4.0 and Tails 1.2 to preserve your privacy

New significant software updates Tor Browser 4.0 and Tails 1.2 are available for the popular Privacy Tools used to preserve online anonymity

The Tor project has released a new version of the popular free software for enabling online anonymity Tor, Tor Browser 4.0 is the release Tor Browser Bundle available for download.

The Tor Browser Bundle is based on an  Extended Support Release (ESR) version of the Mozilla Firefox project, in the new Tor version 4.0 the Firefox version has been updated from 24 ESR  to 31 ESR version which include several security fixes, including seven critical vulnerabilities.

The fix is also necessary to mitigate the recently disclosed POODLE attack on SSL which allows bad actors to decrypt traffic over secure channels, the experts at Tor project have disabled SSLv3 in the Tor Browser 4.0 release as explained in the official post:

 “This release features important security updates to Firefox. Additionally, due to the POODLE attack, we have also disabled SSLv3 in this release.”

The measure is necessary for an anonymizing tool like Tor to avoid that an attacker can spy on user’s internet activity, even if carried out over SSL which is still supported by the majority of Internet users.

“This vulnerability allows the plaintext of secure connections to be calculated by a network attacker,” said the researcher Bodo Möller at Google. “If a client and server both support a version of TLS, the security level offered by SSL 3.0 is still relevant since many clients implement a protocol downgrade dance to work around serve ­side interoperability bugs.”

Tor Browser 4.0

Another important update is related to the mechanisms implemented to circumvent censorship, as explained in the release not the new version features the addition of three versions of the meek pluggable transport. A meek is a pluggable transport that uses HTTP for carrying bytes and TLS for obfuscation, technically the traffic is routed through a third-party server to circumvent censorship.

“More importantly for censored users who were using 3.6, the 4.0 series also features the addition of three versions of the meek pluggable transport. In fact, we believe that both meek-amazon and meek-azure will work in China today, without the need to obtain bridge addresses. Note though that we still need to improve meek’s performance to match other transports, though. so adjust your expectations accordingly.” states the release note.

The new Tor Browser 4.0 also includes an in-browser updater and as announced by the developers of the project very soon the bundle will support both strong HTTPS site-specific certificate pinning (ticket #11955) and update package signatures (ticket #13379).

“This release also features an in-browser updater, and a completely reorganized bundle directory structure to make this updater possible. This means that simply extracting a 4.0 Tor Browser over a 3.6.6 Tor Browser will not work,” reads the blog post. “Please also be aware that the security of the updater depends on the specific CA that issued the HTTPS certificate (Digicert), and so it still must be activated manually through the Help (“?”) “about browser” menu option.”

don’t wast time Download Tor Browser 4.0.

Tor Browser 4.0 isn’t the unique privacy tool updated during this period, a new version of live anonymizing distribution TAILS (VERSION 1.2) has been released. Tails, also known as “Amnesiac Incognito Live System”, is a free Debian-based Linux distribution, specially tuned and optimized to preserve users’ anonymity and privacy.

Also in this case it is crucial to upgrade your privacy tool.

Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – Tor Browser 4.0, TAILS 1.2)

The post New releases of Tor Browser 4.0 and Tails 1.2 to preserve your privacy appeared first on Security Affairs.

Electric Bubblegum Board

Electric Bubblegum Boards

The Mini Maker Faire in Atlanta was packed with exciting builds and devices, but [Andrew's] Electric Bubblegum Boards stood out from the rest, winning the Editor’s Choice Award. His boards first emerged on Endless Sphere earlier this summer, with the goal of hitting all the usual e-skateboard offerings of speed, range, and weight while dramatically cutting the cost of materials.

At just over 12 pounds, the boards are lightweight and fairly compact, but have enough LiFePO4’s fitted to the bottom to carry a rider 10 miles on a single charge. A Wii Nunchuck controls throttle, cruise control, and a “boost” setting for bursts of speed. The best feature of this e-skateboard, however, is the use of 3D-printed parts. The ABS components not only help to keep the cost down, but also permit a range of customization options. Riders can reprint parts as necessary, or if they want to just change things up.

[Andrew's] board is nearing the 11th hour over at his Kickstarter page, so swing by to see a production video made for potential backers, or stick around after the break for some quick progress and demo videos.

Filed under: 3d Printer hacks, transportation hacks

Top 10 Most Pirated Movies of The Week – 10/20/14

22jumpThis week we have four newcomers in our chart.

22 Jump Street is the most downloaded movie for the second week in a row.

The data for our weekly download chart is estimated by TorrentFreak, and is for informational and educational reference only. All the movies in the list are BD/DVDrips unless stated otherwise.

RSS feed for the weekly movie download chart.

Ranking (last week) Movie IMDb Rating / Trailer
1 (1) 22 Jump Street 7.6 / trailer
2 (…) How to Train Your Dragon 2 8.2 / trailer
3 (5) The Purge: Anarchy 6.6 / trailer
4 (3) Stretch 6.8 / trailer
5 (2) Transformers: Age of Extinction 6.1 / trailer
6 (…) Planes: Fire & Rescue 5.8 / trailer
7 (…) The Giver 6.7 / trailer
8 (…) Annabelle 5.9 / trailer
9 (4) Sex Tape 5.2 / trailer
10 (9) X-Men: Days of Future Past 8.4 / trailer

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

Ashampoo Magical Defrag 3 runs as a background service and defragments your hard drive only when computer is idle.

Over time, hard drives get fragmented due to half-hearted maintenance, resulting in a significantly measurable performance loss. This is where Ashampoo Magical Defrag 3 steps in. The program runs as a background service and defragments your hard drive only when computer is idle, hence enabling you to follow your everyday work routine without any distraction.

Next to a thoroughly revised defragmentation engine, Ashampoo Magical Defrag 3 offers numerous features and improvements that make defragmenting your hard drive even more comfortable. Ashampoo Magical Defrag 3 basically runs on the principle “install and forget”, and yet also offers an extensive set of options.

Phishing campaign via Dropbox exploits SSL of the popular cloud service

Experts at Symantec have detected a scam based on Dropbox accounts to serve phishing pages over secure communication channels.

Recently a massive data leakage has interested DropBox, a week ago a guest account post on Pastebin four different documents, all claiming to be part of “the massive hack of 7,000,000 accounts”. The author also anticipated that there are “More to come” inviting all the users interested in the data to make a Bitcoin payment to him.

Other sources report that the data leak apparently surfaced on this Reddit thread, where some Reddit users who have tested the credentials have confirmed that many of them still work.  Reading the comments it seems that Dropbox in response to the data leakage has reset all the accounts listed in the Pastebin, anyway the company denies it suffered a data breach.

But for DropBox users, there is no peace, according to the experts at Symantec they are targeted by phishing scam hosted on Dropbox. The security researchers at Symantec discovered a fake Dropbox login page used by threat actors to steal credentials for popular email services.

In reality cyber criminals are also targeting other services on the Internet, including web-based email service, deploying a fake log-in page on the file sharing website, taking advantage of its secure protocol.

The attack scheme implemented by cyber criminals is ingenious and take advantage of the recent incidents occurred to DropBox to maximize its efficiency.

According to a classic phishing schema, the victims receive an unsolicited email with a subject that inform them that are potential victims of the data breach. The Subject of the email includes the word “Important” to trick victims, the email informs the victims that a large file containing the credentials of victims can be viewed only over Dropbox. Once the victim clicks on the link in the email he is redirected to a fake Dropbox login page where he is asked for Dropbox credentials.

The attackers exploit the fact that the fake Dropbox page is that it is served over SSL and the page reproduces exactly the DropBox page, the victims have the perception to be on the legitimate Dropbox page.

Dropbox  phishing page

“The page looks like the real Dropbox login page, but with one crucial difference. The scammers are interested in phishing for more than just Dropbox credentials; they have also included logos of popular Web-based email services, suggesting that users can log in using these credentials as well.” states the blog post published by Symantec.

Anyway, some of the resources present on the page are not sent using the SSL protocol (e.g. Images) causing some browser to show warnings to the user. The warnings are displayed in different ways by web browsers, in some cases, they could go unnoticed by the victims, for example, some browsers continue to show the padlock symbol in the address bar but with a different icon. In the specific case the credentials were sent to a PHP script on a compromised server.

“The fake login page is hosted on Dropbox’s user content domain (like shared photos and other files are) and is served over SSL, making the attack more dangerous and convincing,” states the report.

The case is not new, late in August I have already written about the abuse of Dropbox service for phishing activity. In July, experts at Micro analyzed a targeted attack against a Taiwanese government entity which used a variant of the PlugX RAT that abuses the Dropbox service.

Symantec has already reported the phishing activity to Dropbox that immediately took page the account used by the bad actors down.

Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – Dropbox, Phishing)

The post Phishing campaign via Dropbox exploits SSL of the popular cloud service appeared first on Security Affairs.

High Altitude Balloon Keeps Going


Here’s a post from the AMSAT-UK high altitude balloon blog. It’s a great story about a balloon cruising at about 12km above the Earth completing its sixth circumnavigation of the planet. That post is from October 4th, and two weeks later the balloon is still going strong. Right now it’s over the Baltic heading into Russia with no sign of stopping or popping any time soon.

globeThe balloon was launched July 12, 2014 from Silverstone, UK. In the 100 days since then, this balloon has covered 144168 kilometers and has crossed its launching longitude six times. Even if this balloon weren’t trapped at high latitudes (including coming within 9 km of the pole), this balloon has still travelled more than three times the equatorial circumference of the Earth.

The balloon was built by [Leo Bodnar] a.k.a. [M0XER] with a self-made plastic foil envelope. The solar-powered payload weighs only 11 grams. It’s an exceptional accomplishment and one that has smashed all the amateur high altitude balloon distance records we can find.

Filed under: misc hacks

How Does Sugar Affect Your Brain?

When you eat something loaded with sugar, your taste buds, your gut and your brain all take notice. This activation of your reward system is not unlike how bodies process addictive substances such as alcohol or nicotine — an overload of sugar spikes dopamine levels and leaves you craving more. Nicole Avena explains why sweets and treats should be enjoyed in moderation.

The post How Does Sugar Affect Your Brain? appeared first on From Quarks to Quasars.

Shocking Idea: Prank Stun Baton

Stun Baton

[Christopher] has put together a Prank Stun Baton to annoy his friends. It delivers a slight shock to the person on the business end of the device. Oddly, it’s powered solely by static electricity, there is no battery here and the resulting injury is no worse than touching a door knob after scooting your socks around on some shag carpet.

The design is super simple and is effectively just a rudimentary capacitor. The main housing is a PVC pipe that acts as a dielectric in the ‘cap’ system. Two separate pieces of tin foil are wrapped around the inside and outside of the PVC pipe. These layers of tin foil provide a conductive path up to the a couple of screws stuck in the end of the baton. A ping-pong ball and some foam act as an insulator between the PVC and the screws.

To charge the baton it only has to be brought close to a source of static electricity, a tube TV will do the trick. Rubbing it with a piece of wool will also work. When this is done an electrostatic field is stored in the PVC between the two pieces of tin foil, one side takes on a positive charge and the other a negative charge creating an electric potential between the two screws at the end of the baton. When something (with a low-enough resistance) shorts the screws, the stored energy on the positive screw tries to go to the negative screw, shocking the unsuspecting victim.

Need something a little more powerful? You may want to check out this other stun baton.

Filed under: weapons hacks

How Tiny Nanoflares Might Be Responsible For the Sun’s Unexpectedly Hot Corona

on has baffled astronomers for decades. Today, a team led by Paola Testa of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) is presenting new clues to the mystery of coronal heating using observations from the recently launched Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS). The team finds that miniature solar flares called “nanoflares” – and the speedy electrons they produce – might partly be the source of that heat, at least in some of the hottest parts of the Sun’s corona.

Description: "NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured this image of a solar flare on Oct. 2, 2014. The solar flare is the bright flash of light on the right limb of the sun. A burst of solar material erupting out into space can be seen just below it." (Credit: NASA/SDO)

A view of a solar flare (the flash of light on the right “limb of the sun”) taken on October 2nd.    (Image Credit: NASA/SDO)

A solar flare occurs when a patch of the Sun brightens dramatically at all wavelengths of light. During flares, solar plasma is heated to tens of millions of degrees in a matter of seconds or minutes. Flares also can accelerate electrons (and protons) from the solar plasma to a large fraction of the speed of light. These high-energy electrons can have a significant impact when they reach Earth, causing spectacular aurorae but also disrupting communications, affecting GPS signals, and damaging power grids.

Those speedy electrons also can be generated by scaled-down versions of flares called nanoflares, which are about a billion times less energetic than regular solar flares. “These nanoflares, as well as the energetic particles possibly associated with them, are difficult to study because we can’t observe them directly,” says Testa.

Testa and her colleagues have found that IRIS provides a new way to observe the telltale signs of nanoflares by looking at the footpoints of coronal loops. As the name suggests, coronal loops are loops of hot plasma that extend from the Sun’s surface out into the corona and glow brightly in ultraviolet and X-rays.

IRIS does not observe the hottest coronal plasma in these loops, which can reach temperatures of several million degrees. Instead, it detects the ultraviolet emission from the cooler plasma (~18,000 to 180,000 degrees Fahrenheit) at their footpoints. Even if IRIS can’t observe the coronal heating events directly, it reveals the traces of those events when they show up as short-lived, small-scale brightenings at the footpoints of the loops.

The team inferred the presence of high-energy electrons using IRIS high-resolution ultraviolet imaging and spectroscopic observations of those footpoint brightenings. Using computer simulations, they modeled the response of the plasma confined in loops to the energy transported by energetic electrons. The simulations revealed that energy likely was deposited by electrons traveling at about 20 percent of the speed of light.

The high spatial, temporal, and spectral resolution of IRIS was crucial to the discovery. IRIS can resolve solar features only 150 miles in size, has a temporal resolution of a few seconds, and has a spectral resolution capable of measuring plasma flows of a few miles per second.

A phenomenon called plasma bombs (Image Credit:  IRIS/LMSAL/NASA)

A phenomenon called plasma bombs (Image Credit: IRIS/LMSAL/NASA)

Finding high-energy electrons that aren’t associated with large flares suggests that the solar corona is, at least partly, heated by nanoflares. The new observations, combined with computer modeling, also help astronomers to understand how electrons are accelerated to such high speeds and energies – a process that plays a major role in a wide range of astrophysical phenomena from cosmic rays to supernova remnants. These findings also indicate that nanoflares are powerful, natural particle accelerators despite having energies about a billion times lower than large solar flares.

“As usual for science, this work opens up an entirely new set of questions. For example, how frequent are nanoflares? How common are energetic particles in the non-flaring corona? How different are the physical processes at work in these nanoflares compared to larger flares?” says Testa.

The paper reporting this research is part of a special issue of the journal Science focusing on IRIS discoveries.

Headquartered in Cambridge, Mass., the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) is a joint collaboration between the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and the Harvard College Observatory. CfA scientists, organized into six research divisions, study the origin, evolution and ultimate fate of the universe.

The article above is a press release issued yesterday by Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. See the original here.

The post How Tiny Nanoflares Might Be Responsible For the Sun’s Unexpectedly Hot Corona appeared first on From Quarks to Quasars.

Hackaday Links: October 19, 2014


Introducing the Hayes Smartmodem 1200. The era of the single station microcomputer…. is over. The Hayes Smartmodem offers advanced features like auto answer and auto dial. Now if we could only find an ‘RS-232 Computer.’

Have a 3D printer and an old router? How about controlling your printer with Octoprint? For some cases, it might be better than using a Raspberry Pi and OctoPi, but you won’t get a camera for streaming pics of your builds to the web.

Last year, [CNLohr] built a microscope slide Minecraft thing and in the process created the smallest Minecraft server ever. The record has now been bested with the Intel Edison. There’s a bit of work to install Java, but the performance is pretty good for one player. Bonus: Minecraft is a single threaded app, so you have another core for garbage collection.

Remember the Scribble pen, that showed just how gullible people are and how crappy tech journalism is? They’re back with a beta program. A mere $15 guarantees you a scribble pen for their beta program. I wouldn’t give these guys $15 of someone else’s money, but lucky for us [ch00f] bit the bullet. He’ll be updating everyone on the status of his fifteen dollars, I’m sure.

Hey, guess what will eventually be in the Hackaday store? Keycaps for your mechanical keyboard. Yes, we actually figured out a way to do this that makes sense and won’t lose money. Pick your favorite, or suggest new ones in the comments:


Filed under: Hackaday links

21 People Who Have Some Explaining To Do

We aren’t mad. We just have some questions.

This curious diner.

This curious diner.

Were you trying to open a secret portal?

This traveling businessman.

This traveling businessman.

What about them??

The person who turned 50 Cent's tweet into a framed poster.

The person who turned 50 Cent's tweet into a framed poster.

So is this part of a collection, or…?

This artist.

This artist.

Where do you get your ideas???

View Entire List ›

Geologists To Determine If Next Epoch Will Be Known As “The Age of Humans”

Image credit: Shutterstock

Image credit: Shutterstock

Scientists have referred to the past 12,000 years as the Holocene epoch, which is Greek for “entirely recent.” Its beginning was marked by a geochemical signal in Greenland’s ice cores showing the beginning of warmer and wetter conditions at the end of the last ice age. However, people are changing the planet so much that we may be entering a new epoch—The Anthropocene (or “The Age of Humans”).

Many scientists are turning to a new way to describe the time we live in because of the extreme impact that humanity’s domination of the globe has had on our biosphere. This may seem extreme, but it sounds rather justified once one considers how much we have changed the planet.

7 billion people create a massive amount of waste. And much of this waste seems like it may end up in surprising places (namely, the geological record). Some of it has formed into a new kind of rock, called “plastiglomerate.” It’s an amalgamation of plastic, volcanic rock, beach sand, seashells, and corals. And it is washing up on our beaches. Specifically, it has been found on every sandy sprawl across Hawaii (this is the only place that has, to date, had a comprehensive study).

Researchers from Western University in London, Canada recently discussed this material in a publication found in GSA Today.

Notably, some scientists think that this will be our geological legacy to the future. Paleontologist Jan Zalasiewicz of the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom, who was not involved in the study, states that this new discovery adds some credence to the idea that humanity has caused a new geological epoch—the Anthropocene. This era is a period characterized by humanity’s domination of other species and the globe at large: Mass deforestation, mass extinction, soaring levels of green house gasses, etc. If we combine plastic’s abundance with its persistence in the environment, Zalasiewicz asserts that there’s a good chance it’ll get into the fossil record. “Plastics, including plastiglomerates, would be one of the key markers by which people could recognize the beginning of the Anthropocene.”

Zalasiewicz is far from the first to make this claim. Because of the way that humans (along with all of our pollution, industry, and deforestation) are altering the planet (especially its climate), an increasing number of  are using the word “Anthropocene.” Paul Crutzen, a Nobel Prize-winning Dutch chemist, is credited with popularizing the term in 2000 when he used it in the Global Change Newsletter. More than 500 scientific studies have been published this year referring to the current time period as the Anthropocene.

The International Commission on Stratigraphy is the body that has the power to officially change the name of the epoch. In order for the name change to be approved, the committee will need to reach a consensus on the definition of Anthropocene and then determine how it should be classified in the international geological time scale. The Anthropocene Working Group hopes to have its proposal ready in time for the International Geological Congress in 2016.

Some scientists believe that “Holocene” is still an accurate name for the time period we’re living in. Others are still on the fence, asserting that there needs to be more evidence from what is in rocks before a name change can take place. What do you think? Have humans altered the planet enough to warrant a name change?

READ NEXT: 5 Kinds of Pollution (Illustrated with Images and Video)


The post Geologists To Determine If Next Epoch Will Be Known As “The Age of Humans” appeared first on From Quarks to Quasars.

Illegal Copying Has Always Created Jobs, Growth, And Prosperity

copyright-brandedIt often helps to understand present time by looking at history, and seeing how history keeps repeating itself over and over.

In the late 1700s, the United Kingdom was the empire that established laws on the globe. The United States was still largely a colony – even if not formally so, it was referred to as such in the civilized world, meaning France and the United Kingdom.

The UK had a strictly protectionist view of trade: all raw materials must come to England, and all luxury goods must be made from those materials while in the UK, to be exported to the rest of the world. Long story short, the UK was where the value was to be created.

Laws were written to lock in this effect. Bringing the ability to refine materials somewhere else, the mere knowledge, was illegal. “Illegal copying”, more precisely.

Let’s look at a particularly horrible criminal from that time, Samuel Slater. In the UK, he was even known as “Slater the Traitor”. His crime was to memorize the drawings of a British textile mill, move to New York, and copy the whole of the British textile mill from memory – something very illegal. For this criminal act, building the so-called Slater Mill, he was hailed as “the father of the American Industrial Revolution” by those who would later displace the dominance of the UK – namely the United States. This copy-criminal also has a whole town named after him.

Copying brings jobs and prosperity. Copying has always brought jobs and prosperity. It is those who don’t want to compete who try to legislate a right to rest on their laurels and outlaw copying. It never works.

We can take a look at the early film industry as well. That industry was bogged down with patent monopolies from one of the worst monopolists through industrial history, Thomas Edison and his Western Electric. He essentially killed off any film company that started in or at New York, where the film industry was based at the time. A few of the nascent film companies – Warner Brothers, Universal Pictures, MGM – therefore chose to settle as far from this monopolist as possible, and went across the entire country, to a small unexploited suburb outside of Los Angeles, California, which was known as “Hollywoodland” and had a huge sign to that effect. There, they would be safe from Edison’s patent enforcement, merely through taking out enough distance between themselves and him.

Yes, you read that right – the entire modern film industry was founded on piracy. Which, again, lead to jobs and prosperity.

The heart of the problem is this: those who decide what is “illegal” to copy do so from a basis of not wanting to get outcompeted, and never from any kind of moral high ground. It’s just pure industrial protectionism. Neo-mercantilism, if you prefer. Copying always brings jobs and prosperity. Therefore, voluntarily agreeing to the terms of the incumbent industries, terms which are specifically written to keep everybody else unprosperous, is astoundingly bad business and policy.

I’d happily go as far as to say there is a moral imperative to disobey any laws against copying. History will always put you in the right, as was the case with Samuel Slater, for example.

For a more modern example, you have Japan. When I grew up in the 1980s, Japanese industry was known for cheap knock-off goods. They copied everything shamelessly, and never got quality right. But they knew something that the West didn’t: copying brings prosperity. When you copy well enough, you learn at a staggering pace, and you eventually come out as the R&D leader, the innovation leader, building on that incremental innovation you initially copied. Today, Japan builds the best quality stuff available in any category.

The Japanese knew and understand that it takes three generations of copying and an enormous work discipline to become the best in the world in any industry. Recently, to my huge astonishment, they even overtook the Scottish as masters of whisky. (As I am a very avid fan of Scottish whisky, this was a personal source of confusion for me, even though I know things work this way on a rational level.)

At the personal level, pretty much every good software developer I know learned their craft by copying other people’s code. Copying brings prosperity at the national and the individual levels. Those who would seek to outlaw it, or obey such unjust bans against copying, have no moral high ground whatsoever – and frankly, I think people who voluntarily choose to obey such unjust laws deserve to stay unprosperous, and fall with their incumbent master when that time comes.

Nobody ever took the lead by voluntarily walking behind somebody else, after all. The rest of us copy, share, and innovate, and we wait for nobody who tries to legislate their way to competitiveness.

About The Author

Rick Falkvinge is a regular columnist on TorrentFreak, sharing his thoughts every other week. He is the founder of the Swedish and first Pirate Party, a whisky aficionado, and a low-altitude motorcycle pilot. His blog at focuses on information policy.

Book Falkvinge as speaker?

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and anonymous VPN services.

A Photo Of A Woman In A Homemade Hazmat Suit At The Airport Has Gone Viral

The passenger in the viral picture was seen at Dulles Airport, where U.S. Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan had a layover.

The photo of the woman at the Washington, D.C. airport was first sent to The Daily Caller and was covered by multiple news outlets and tweeted like crazy.

But health officials said Duncan was not symptomatic during the flight, so passengers were not at risk for catching the virus.

Dulles, plus airports in Chicago, Atlanta, and Newark, New Jersey, have begun screening passengers for Ebola.

LINK: Live Updates: Ebola In The U.S.

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Using the Wrong Screw: A Painful Lesson in iPhone Repair

iPhone trace repair

If you’ve ever had to repair an iPhone for a friend, you’ll know they have a ridiculous number of screws. Most companies standardize screws in their products, but since Apple doesn’t expect you to fix a phone yourself… they may have let this one slide.

You see, each of these screws is different.iPhone screws The red ones are 1.7mm long, the yellow one, 1.3mm, and the orange one, 1.2mm.

Guess what happens if you install either red or yellow screws into the orange spot, since your eyesight isn’t good enough to notice a 0.1mm difference? The screw will cut into the PCB and break several 50 micron traces, as shown in the picture above, causing a blue screen error on the phone.

Fun stuff.

[Sam Schmidt] is the owner of a repair outfit called iRepairNational, and he and his team spent a day trying to figure out the problem – it’s not exactly easy to spot. They’ve managed to repair it by cutting thin strips  of copper foil (the width of a human hair) and floating it into place using the surface tension of the flux they were using for soldering. On average it takes them around 2 hours to do the repair, though they’ve done a few in just under an hour.

Since discovering and sharing the problem, they’ve had customers around the world sending in phones for repair – often at the fault of someone else trying to repair something completely different in the phone, and then using the wrong screw as they put it all back together.

Filed under: Cellphone Hacks, iphone hacks

Researchers Make First Observation of Atoms Moving Inside Bulk Material

Selected frames from a sequence of scanning transmission electron microscope images showing the diffusion pathway of a Ce dopant. Image credit:  ORNL

Selected frames from a sequence of scanning transmission electron microscope images showing the diffusion pathway of a Ce dopant. Image credit: ORNL

Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have obtained the first direct observations of atomic diffusion inside a bulk material. The research, which could be used to give unprecedented insight into the lifespan and properties of new materials, is published in the journal Physical Review Letters.

“This is the first time that anyone has directly imaged single dopant atoms moving around inside a material,” said Rohan Mishra of Vanderbilt University who is also a visiting scientist in ORNL’s Materials Science and Technology Division. Semiconductors, which form the basis of modern electronics, are “doped” by adding a small number of impure atoms to tune their properties for specific applications. The study of the dopant atoms and how they move or “diffuse” inside a host lattice is a fundamental issue in materials research.

Traditionally, diffusion of atoms has been studied through indirect macroscopic methods or through theoretical calculations. Diffusion of single atoms has previously been directly observed only on the surface of materials. The experiment also allowed the researchers to test a surprising prediction: Theory-based calculations for dopant motion in aluminum nitride predicted faster diffusion for cerium atoms than for manganese atoms. This prediction is surprising as cerium atoms are larger than manganese atoms.

“It’s completely counterintuitive that a bigger, heavier atom would move faster than a smaller, lighter atom,” said the Material Science and Technology Division’s Andrew Lupini, a coauthor of the paper. In the study, the researchers used a scanning transmission electron microscope to observe the diffusion processes of cerium and manganese dopant atoms. The images they captured showed that the larger cerium atoms readily diffused through the material, while the smaller manganese atoms remained fixed in place. The team’s work could be directly applied in basic material design and technologies such as energy-saving LED lights where dopants can affect color and atom movement can determine the failure modes.

“Diffusion governs how dopants get inside a material and how they move,” said Lupini. “Our study gives a strategy for choosing which dopants will lead to a longer device lifetime.”

See videos of manganese and cerium atom dopant jumps.

This research was conducted in part at ORNL and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center, a DOE Office of Science User Facility. The study was funded by the DOE Office of Science, the Australian Research Council, Vanderbilt University and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Postdoctoral Fellowship for research abroad.

Provided by Oak Ridge National Laboratory.


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