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Cosmonaut Or Taikonot: Vote For The Most Outrageous Component

We have a new round of Astronaut or Astronot, the little community voting thing we’re doing for The Hackaday Prize. Why should you care? Because tomorrow (Friday, 10:00 AM Eastern) we’re doing a voters lottery. We’re selecting a random person on, and if that person has voted, they win a pretty awesome bench power supply.

Why are we telling you this now? Because voting in previous rounds doesn’t count for this round. If you want to nab a power supply, you need to vote. We previously gave away an awesome scope, and a very cool 3D printer to a random person on Judging from previous rounds, I’d guess the odds of us giving away the supply this week are pretty good, but I’m not doing those maths right now. I’ll post a video of the drawing tomorrow around 10:30 Eastern.

Filed under: The Hackaday Prize

Are you prepared to address the security impact of aging coders on key systems?

Can you program in COBOL?

Do you have any idea how many lines of COBOL code you have in production? What about Fortran?

Any clue how they impact your security program?

Considered cutting edge half a century ago, these languages are essential to systems in production, but no longer actively taught. That prompted BusinessWeek to ask “Who’ll keep your 50-year old software running?” 

A topic of discussion in the last DtR Security Newscast, stories like this are designed to capture attention (and page views). The hidden benefit of these articles is the opportunity to explore the premise through a security lens. A signal to consider the impact of actions, decisions, and events.

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

Second “Mysterious” Massive Hole Suddenly Appeares in Siberia


Siberian hole. Image via

Siberian hole. Image via Siberian Times

This massive hole recently appeared in Siberia (shown is the first hole). Upon its discovery, a number of news agencies began reporting about this “mysterious” beast that has the world baffled. Individuals started to blame aliens, massive geothermal explosions, and a host of other potential (but zany) culprits. Admittedly, the hole is a bit baffling… if you’re not an Earth Scientists.; however, it you’ve studied geology, it does not take too long to figure out the details surrounding the creation of this hole—which is precisely what happened.

But before we get into how these two holes were created, here are the basic facts about the first gaping maw in the Earth: The first hole (the one that has been extensively studied) is 50 to 70 meters (164 to 230 feet) deep. For comparison, Niagara Falls is 53.6 meters (176 feet) high. The diameter of the hole is difficult to measure precisely, due to its distorted shape, but it is approximately 30 meters (98 feet) in diameter, which is large enough to swallow a few school buses. About 80% of the hole is filled with ice that is slowly being melted by the sun, and the sides are running streams of water. Thus, the bottom is covered in water, and scientists estimate that the holes appeared within the last 2 years.

Shortly after reaching the first site, scientists announced that the holes seem to be  natural phenomena occurring in the region’s permafrost (technically, “permafrost” is any soil that has been frozen for at least two years; however, much of our planet’s permafrost has been at subzero temperatures for tens of thousands of years). The initial findings state that the “melting permafrost via climate change” hypothesis is all but confirmed. Indeed, the second hole that has been discovered in Siberia’s Yamal Peninsula is strikingly similar is composition to the original finding (it is “exactly” like the first hole, except that it is much smaller). Ultimately, this supports the “climate change” hypothesis surrounding the first hole. The second crater lies about 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) away from the original.

Currently, evidence indicates that these holes are caused by global warming (or climate change), which causes dramatic sifts in Earth’s permafrost. It is believed that the heating cycle causes pressure to mount, and a sudden release causes a collapse in the permafrost. University of New South Wales polar scientist Chris Fogwill agrees with the findings, which report that global warming is the cause. He asserts that what we see is likely a collapsed “pingo,” a natural geological phenomenon associated with the melting permafrost. “We’re seeing much more activity in permafrost areas than we’ve seen in the historical past. A lot of this relates to this high degree of warming around these high arctic areas which are experiencing some of the highest rates of warming on earth.” Unfortunately, scientists have yet to collect all the necessary evidence, as the crater is so fragile that researchers were unable to explore the quickly forming lake at the bottom. However, aliens and other such things have been thoroughly ruled out.

The Yamalo-Nenets Region is an area known for its permafrost and pingos. Via

The Yamalo-Nenets Region is an area known for its permafrost and pingos. Image via Siberian Times

Scientists predict that the crater could potentially form into a hearty lake, which would offer important insight into Siberia’s geographic and geological history. This is process is of paramount importance, as scientists assert that similar processes appeared to be taking place in the landscape’s ancient history, about 8,000 years ago. It is possibly that these patterns are repeating. If this theory is proved to be true, it will offer notable insights into the formation of the Yamal Peninsula.

You can read our initial reports on this development here.

Image via Siberian Times

Image via Siberian Times

University Sets Fines & Worse For Pirating Students

lsuAnyone providing an Internet-access infrastructure to third parties needs to be aware of the online piracy issue. For service providers, whether that’s a regular ISP, web host, or the operator of a free open WiFi in a local coffee shop, knowledge of how other people’s actions can affect them is a useful asset.

For universities in the United States, awareness of how Internet piracy can affect their establishment is especially crucial. On top of the requirements of the DMCA, in July 2010, exactly four years ago, the U.S. put in place a new requirement for colleges and universities to curtail illegal file-sharing on their networks. Failure to do so can result in the loss of federal funding so needless to say, campuses view the issue seriously.

Yesterday the The Daily Reveille, the official news resource of the Louisiana State University, revealed that LSU’s IT Services receive between 15 and 20 complaints a month from copyright holders, an excellent result for around 30,000 students.

At the start of the last decade it was music companies doing most of the complaining, but Security and policy officer Craig Callender says that with the advent of services such as Spotify being made available, reports from TV companies are more common.

But no matter where they originate, LSU acts on these allegations of infringement. A first complaint sees a student kicked offline, with Internet access only restored after the completion of an educational course covering illegal file-sharing.

Those who breach the rules again have worse to look forward to, starting with a fine.

“LSU is effectively combating unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material by fining students implicated in a verified DMCA copyright violation,” the university’s official policy document reads.

“The $50 fine provides a mechanism for recovering costs incurred in reviewing and processing DMCA notifications, and funding programs for awareness (e.g., education and ad campaign costs).”

Educational campaigns include the promotion of legal services, such as those outlined on the university’s chosen official resource list. Interestingly, while the links for music and books work, the MPAA page for legal TV shows and movies (for which the university receives the most notices) no longer exists.

But while the $50 fine might be harsh enough for a student on a limited budget, LSU warns of even tougher sanctions. Allegations of illegal file-sharing are noted on the student’s academic record which can have implications for his or her career prospects.

In addition, complaints can result in a referral to the Dean of Students’ office for violation of the LSU Code of Student Conduct. According to official documentation, the Student Conduct Office keeps Student Conduct files for seven years after the date of the incident, or longer if deemed necessary.

It’s clear that the work of the RIAA and MPAA in the last decade seriously unnerved universities who have been forced to implement strict measures to curtail unauthorized sharing. LSU says it employs filtering technology to eliminate most P2P traffic but it’s clear that some users are getting through.

Almost certainly others will be using VPN-like solutions to evade not only the P2P ban, but also potential complaints. Still, universities will probably care much less about these users, since they don’t generate DMCA notices and have no impact on their ability to receive federal funding.

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

Adding GPIOs To The Raspberry Pi With The Camera Interface


The Raspberry Pi Model B+ was just released, and now everyone who picks one of those up has a few more GPIO pins to play around with. For the millions of people with the two-year-old version of the Pi, we’re still stuck with the same old, same old: 17 GPIOs on the big header, and that’s about it as far as toggling pins goes.

The Broadcom SoC on the Pi has far more GPIO pins than are broken out on the large header, and a few of those go to the CSI camera interface. These GPIOs can be broken out with a few flat cables (Portuguese, Google Translatrix), giving you four more GPIOs, and this technique can also be used with the new, expanded Model B+.

The CSI camera connector has two I²C lines that go directly to the camera, controllable in Linux as GPIO0 and GPIO1. There are two more GPIO connectors on the CSI connector controllable as GPIO5 and GPIO21. By carefully slicing and soldering wires to a flat cable, these GPIO lines can be broken out onto a breadboard.

There’s a video below demonstrating these GPIO lines being used to control a few LEDs. Of course, anything that is possible with a normal Raspi GPIO is possible with the CSI connector GPIO lines.

Filed under: Raspberry Pi

What Impact Does Gravity Have on Photons?

A gravitational lens mirage. Image via ESA/Hubble & NASA

A gravitational lens mirage. Image via ESA/Hubble & NASA

Although Gravity is the weakest of the four fundamental forces, it dominates the universe. It dictates the rotations of galaxies and galaxy clusters; it keeps the planets in motion around the sun; and it keeps us firmly planted on the ground. In this respect, it is a necessary part of life as we know it and a fundamental part of the physics that governs our universe. It’s relatively easy to see gravity at work; we’ve only to look up and see the sun passing overhead. But how does gravity work in relation to things that are very small, like photons (the tiny, massless particles that produce light).

In the presence of a Gravitational field, a photon will bend around the source of the field. For example, if we observe the stars that appear  in close proximity to the sun (from our perspective, they seem to be bordering the sun), they will appear marginally out of their “true positions,” as the sun’s gravity bends the photos that are being emitted by the distant stars as they travel past the sun to reach us on earth.

Since our sun is of modest size, the effects are tiny, but they are still measurable. If we look at something that is truly immense (read: a lot more massive than our sun, like a cluster of galaxies), and if they happens to be an excessively luminous body (like a quasar) on the opposing side, we can see  smears of light in a circular pattern. This is  a view of the photons from the quasar being bent around the cluster. In several instances, fully formed 360 degree rings have been photographed. These are called “Einstein rings,” and they are extremely rare.

If the body (star or galaxy cluster) between the observer and luminous object is heavy enough, we will start to see double and sometimes even triple copies of the object, which is why a lot of the photos of gravitational lensing in action appear to be packed to bursting! In several cases, teams of scientists were able to use this Gravitational lens effect as a magnifying glass, to peer deeper into the universe.

When a photon is in the presence of a black hole, the same bending occurs. Photons will continue bending around the gravity field all the way up to the Schwarzschild Radius (Event horizon), but after the Event horizon of the black hole the escape velocity (speed needed for anything to escape) becomes greater than the speed of light, so photons will drop in never to return (in that state anyway).

WATCH: Common Physics Misconceptions (Video)

Relativity plays a huge role in how we would observe this happening though, but that’s a story for another time.

THP Hacker Bio: Kenji Larsen


I met up with [Kenji Larsen] at HOPE X last weekend, and I’m fairly certain he was the coolest person at a conference full of really cool people. Talking to him for a little bit, you get a sense of what it would be like to speak with [Buckmister Fuller], [Tesla], or any of the other ‘underappreciated, but not by people in the know’ minds scattered about history. I’ll just let his answers to our hacker bio questions demonstrate that.

7033431402348237268[Kenji]‘s project for The Hackaday Prize is the Reactron Overdrive. It’s not just one board he’s building here, but an entire suite of sensors, interfaces, and nodes that form a complete human to machines – note the plural ‘machines’ – interface. When you consider that no one knows what the Internet of Things actually is, and that [Kenji] is working on IoT 3.0, you get a sense that there’s really something here. Also, his project log has a Tron Recognizer in it. That has to count for something, right?

Interview/Bio below.

Culinary arts, both sides of it. I love to make food, and love to consume it; I just really appreciate how diverse it can get.  Lots of schools of thought, from French and Italian standards, to Japanese nature harmony, to chem-technical, to Ayurvedic, and many other things in between, and outside those concepts. I’ve eaten a lot of weird things. Even when it’s awful, I am glad for the experience. I took some courses at the Culinary Institute of America, and I like to tell people “I learned my knife skills at the CIA.”
Other hobbies are hiking, flying airplanes, and sailing, but I find I don’t have a lot of time to do these that much anymore. Have to eat, though…

Data analysis and prototyping for product and process development. I would characterize it as hacking, actually. There is a fair amount of metrology, experimentation and testing, visualization, simulation, and a lot of coding.  There is a lot of time and workflow analysis.  I analyze what can be done asynchronously, and what things must be done in critical path; what can be left open-loop, what must be done with feedback. There is usually a “critical now” period in every process that is supported by several non-linear, asynchronous worker processes.  This got me thinking that really, human existence is the real “critical now” and we should use technology and just-in-time manufacturing methods, with the same non-linear optimization to augment that existence. Human experience is not just something we have by virtue of being alive – it is also something we are in charge of, can improve, optimize, and really is our most important product.  That thinking led me to trying to do this with my own life’s workflow, and later led to my entry in The Hackaday Prize.

Violins and antique violin restoration. Here is a machine (and work of art) that is old enough to have a real natural evolution.  Made of several different woods, animal substances, plant extracts, minerals, and insect secretions, this thing is the definition of hacking diverse stuff around you for optimum output. End result beauty. The older ones need some help to continue their beautiful existence. Restoration is not just repair – it’s harder in a lot of ways, because you must respect the flaws and exceptional excellences of what came before, remain true to the personality you found.  It’s not just about bringing the machine back to some standard. I mean, that is part of it, but there is more to it. Maybe this is my passion because there are things about this that I cannot yet quantify (despite a lot of efforts!)

Cable box.  So many reasons.  But in reality it’s not something I would ever do.  Poor defenseless components are better upcycled into awesome machines.

No operating system is the best operating system. Simple loop execution such as in the AVR allows you to optimize as you like.  I totally get the utility of OSs in the sense of drivers and so forth, but uCs do that well enough with libraries. I find that once a system has a name, and is itself a product looking for market share, it feature creeps to serve many varying needs, until there is stuff I don’t want or need.  Then it creeps further until that stuff is not removable. Wait, isn’t that the definition of cancer?
If you really press me, I will say Minix.

Well this is another tough question because I have several benches, all different. In my prototyping work, I have separate benches for electronics work, woodworking, inspection/measurement, microscopy, vacuum, high voltage, and sewing (yes, for wearables). There’s also a photography area but let’s not call that a “bench”.

I love my o-scopes but they are not the best ones out there, and I love my soldering irons but also, they aren’t anything too special. I love using my optical flat but don’t need to use it very often. I do use my granite surface plate all the time, but it’s just a flat rock.  And of course my Fluke 79 DMM, but as much as I love it, it is unremarkable.
The one tool I use at all my stations is something I make myself, out of necessity. It is the pointy stick. You know those fiberglass rods they sell for next to nothing for marking the end of your driveway, so that they stay visible after it snows a lot?  I cut them down to 10 inch lengths and sharpen the ends on the grinder at different angles, then hone them further with finer grits.
They are strong and durable, they are chemical resistant, heat-resistant, electrically non-conductive, great for high voltage. They can hold a fairly precise point, with which to


A fiberglass poking device

manipulate anything you need.  From pushing around carbon fiber cloth in resin, to holding something you are machining on the CNC, to moving something you are looking at under the microscope, or holding something tiny down when you are soldering, or pushing textiles through a sewing machine when you are working on something small, these are totally versatile.  I have several colors so that if I need several in a single job, I can keep them straight, if they need to touch different chemicals or whatever.  I also grade the point angle by color, so I know what I am reaching for (asynchronous process, sight and recognition) before I obtain it – keeps the workflow utilization up.


Does the Earth’s crust count? (42.) If we are talking about a semiconductor design, it is very tough, there are so many. I have to say I do really appreciate the INA128/129 instrumentation amplifier.  I mean I love the ATMega328P but that’s a higher level thing, more complex, and doesn’t need me to get it more press and admiration.  The INA128/129 is simple, clean, and does for ADCs what the electron microscope does for the eye. Power in, high-resolution knowledge out, I like it.

C++. I think it is the best compromise of a lot of factors. Been that way for a lot of years.  I will accept a better compromise, but so far haven’t seen one. I don’t like languages that attempt to make things easy for you by doing things for you in undocumented ways under the hood.  It’s usually at the cost of performance, and loss of control over the process.  I like manipulating memory directly.

This is not an easy question, because I am constantly re-prioritizing and I figure, anything that falls off the bottom by the time I die was not important enough to get to.  That said, the top items right now are:
  • Extend the time from now until I die (and stabilize bio-age at a good spot).  Aubrey de Grey, hello! Help him, please – everyone help him if you can.  I am trying to figure out how I can help.  So I guess the top item is, the “How can I help Aubrey de Grey?” Project.  (If this one works, I will get to complete more projects.)  Maybe just writing this is helping by raising awareness.  Here is a TED talk. Look, I am working on this project already!
  • Build a practical anti-neutronic fusion reactor.  People seem to be focused on Boron 11 at this time, but I have some ideas about Lithium 7 which has a good cross-section and seems just as promising. Lots of people have built fusors for regular deuterium reactions, so it’s not fantasy – but they are not over-unity yet. It seems like it may just be a matter of time before the right balance of things is achieved. I think Polywell technology is cool and I would just love to have some time to investigate it further. Fusion@home. Open source. I am sure someone will get to this before me, and that will take it off the list (or at least move it way down) because then it just becomes a formula – for me the discovery and experimentation process is the fun part – you know, the hacking.
  • Engineered organs, like a seven-pump distributed heart (like RAID for blood flow).  But people are doing this sort of thing now, and will likely get to it before I will.  I’m cool with that, you go, people!  Take the whole liver situation.  We have to do better than transplants from corpses, or half-organ donations.  The liver is one organ we know can regenerate parts on its own!  3D printing, extracellular matrix + stem cells, it sounds like an there is an exploit, let’s hack it.  This would be #2 on my list if I felt I knew I could contribute enough – and really, it’s part of #1.  But from what I have read, this is well on its way without me. Which is good, because then I will be able to focus on biological robots of arbitrary form. Bishop to King 7. Checkmate, I think.

Request buffering.  That actually boils down to old-world etiquette, which, far from being an archaic system, simply defined rules of engagement, a standardized people interface.  The style may change, but the concept is valuable.  In modern speak, I try to be polite, and optimize my communication in harmony with the surrounding people and events. Human communication is like an RF mesh network. You need an organizing principle to maximize data transfer to all nodes. (Thanks for listening.)
Also, statistics.

It is the one I live and breathe.
Computers are tools.  They need to be useful, or step aside (or be upcycled into excellence). They are sophisticated enough now to know when they need extra time to prepare for a task, or when they are failing.  Those things need to be removed from the critical path of human activity, otherwise we are just going to spend our precious moments being maintainers of machines.  Forget that.  When I was younger, one statistic often cited was how many years of our lives the average person would spend in their car commuting.  Now many work from home, and the time taxes are smaller and distributed.  Waiting for machines to boot, to log in, web pages to refresh, “please wait while your updates are being installed”. Really?  Add them up, do the math.  It is worse than dying that much earlier, since you have to sit through it all.  I joke (sort of) that I am trying to make computers “go away” – that seems surprising to some people because I’ve been working with computers my whole life, and my solution to make them go away actually means having many, many more of them. But my project is about freedom of experience, and there are also aspects pertaining to personal data ownership.  It’s definitely in the spirit of the Hackaday Prize; when I read the bit about technology giving individuals the freedom to build the future, where once only large corporations could do something meaningful, I thought, yes, I will do this.
I am often really jammed for time, so I started to use my manufacturing process knowledge to optimize it.  It has worked in some ways so far, and I am looking to expand its scope. I’m still as busy as ever, so it is hard to get this stuff documented, but making this a formal entry has forced me to be a bit more rigorous. I think it could benefit a lot of people..

Right now the thing that I would like to have help on is how to get reasonable integration with multiple Kinects, native on Debian.  Short term-goal obviously, but seems like a great sensor and integrable into my paradigm.  I’m sure it will be superseded soon by something 10X cheaper and 100X more awesome, but for now, this is what we have.

Sure, see my list above, any of them, but for this Prize the fusor is probably the most appropriate. I wouldn’t tackle it for the Prize because of the timeframe.  But if anyone is bold enough to go for it, I will gladly contribute! Maybe engineered organs is closer to practical already though.  Again, I will help if I can!

Just need time to think!

I’d like to explain my avatar.
It’s a symbol related to the Schrödinger wave equation, applied to human and machine interfaces, instead of matter.  We expose our abilities and properties, what we are about, through our communication and cooperation. These interfaces can be harmonic, or vibrationally destructive, which consumes energy. That’s the same for matter, people, or computers. One curve represents machine interfaces, and the other human interfaces. The two together look like a double helix, a good metaphor for what I am trying to do with my THP entry.

Filed under: Hackaday Columns, Interviews, The Hackaday Prize

ESRI UC 2014: Notes from the floor [#esriuc2014]

Recap of the expo at the 2014 Esri User Conference.

2014/07/24 Beyond GPS: 5 Next-Generation Technologies for Positioning, Navigation & Timing (PNT)


It is difficult to imagine the modern world without the Global Positioning System (GPS), which provides real-time positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) data for countless military and civilian uses. Thanks in part to early investments that DARPA made to miniaturize GPS technology, GPS today is ubiquitous. It’s in cars, boats, planes, trains, smartphones and wristwatches, and has enabled advances as wide-ranging as driverless cars, precision munitions, and automated supply chain management.

Online Store Can Sell ‘Used’ Ebooks, Court Rules

tomskabinetPeople who buy an MP3, digital movie or an eBook assume that they have the right to do whatever they want with it, but copyright holders see things differently.

Platforms that allow people to resell digital goods are meeting fierce resistance from the entertainment industries, who view them as a threat to their online business models.

For example, the major record labels previously pointed out that MP3s are simply too good to resell, as they don’t deteriorate in quality. Similarly, movie studios complained that the ability to sell “used” videos would kill innovation.

The book industry is also concerned and in an attempt to counter this threat several publishers launched a lawsuit against Tom Kabinet, an online marketplace for used eBooks based in the Netherlands.

The publishers fear that the site will negatively impact their business, and that it can’t prevent people from reselling pirated copies. The companies asked the Amsterdam Court for a preliminary injunction against Tom Kabinet, but the request was denied this week.

The Amsterdam Court concluded that selling used eBooks is a legal grey area and not by definition illegal in Europe.

Previously the EU Court of Justice previously ruled that consumers are free to resell games and software, even when there’s no physical copy. That case applied to licensed content, which is different from the Tom Kabinet case, so further investigation is needed to arrive at a final verdict.

The court therefore dismissed the publishers’ claims and ordered them to pay €23.469,56 in legal fees. Tom Kabinet, meanwhile, is still allowed to facilitate the sale of used eBooks.

It’s clear that the publishers didn’t get the result they hoped for. In fact, things have gotten worse, as Tom Kabinet’s visitor numbers have exploded. Shortly after the verdict was announced the site went offline because it couldn’t handle the surge in traffic.

These connectivity issues have been fixed now, and the site’s owner is happy with the outcome thus far.

“There is still a long way to go before legislation is clear on eBooks, but we’ve made a pretty good start,” Tom Kabinet informed TorrentFreak.

The publishers on the other hand are considering further steps, and it’s likely that the case will head to a full trial in the future.

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

The Weeping capuchin- a Social Learner

Weeping capuchinWeeping capuchins (Cebus olivaceus) are also called wedge-capped monkeys because of the dark hair on the top of their head resembling a monk’s cap. They are native to the semi-deciduous, tropical forest of South America in Venezuela, Guyana, and the Amazon Basin. Coloration is tan or cream, with a white face and chest and a wedge of dark hair on the top of the head. Weeping capuchins weigh an average of 2.5 to 3 kg (5.5-6.6 lbs.), with the male weighing up to 800g (1.7 lbs.) more than the female. Average length is 500 mm (19.6 in) and tails are as long as the body making the over-all length 840 mm (33 in). Their tail is prehensile, which means it can support their entire hanging weight. This skill is handy as they can use both hands to pick and eat food. Fruit, nuts, flowers, buds, bark, bird eggs, small vertebrates, insects, spiders, and crabs make up their diet. Weeping capuchin monkeys live in bands or troops, consisting of 10 to 30 members. Most of the members are females with their young, a few males, and a dominant male. The dominant male is the only one that mates with the females. Mating season is from October to February, but may be year-round, and females have one offspring every 18-24 months. Gestation is 145-170 days. The infants are able to grasp onto their mother’s chest within minutes of birth and spend the first few months clinging to her. Females mature in four years, males in 7. Weeping capuchins may live 45 to 55 years in captivity, while life expectancy in the wild is 34-36 years.

These mischievous little monkeys are very intelligent and often used in laboratories, research, shows at zoos, and in the motion picture industry. One famous little capuchin is Marcel, who played the pet monkey in the American television series “Friends.” Capuchin monkeys are often sold as pets, but they can be very destructive. Many, like Marcel in the series, are eventually donated to a zoo.

The main predators of the weeping capuchin monkey in the wild are humans. Some native populations hunt them for food and others are captured for labs and pets. Natural predators are large snakes, falcons, cats, and rodents. They are currently listed as “Least concern” on the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species.

Weeping capuchins are very social and groom each other. They make vocalizations that sound like someone weeping, which led to their common name. These monkeys are so smart that they have learned to crush a centipede and smear it on their bodies to repel mosquitoes.

20,000 Hackers


What a pleasant thing to wake up and realize that we now have more than 20,000 Hackers on It wasn’t even two months ago that we celebrated passing the 10k mark. While we’re talking numbers, how about 2,075 projects, and 148 hackerspaces?

But what’s in a number? It’s what this stands for that really gets us excited! You took the leap and decided to show off what you’re working on while you’re still working on it. This is the key to pollinating ideas. One concept can result in many awesome spin-off projects. So if you haven’t yet written about that killer idea bouncing around in your head, do it now and be the inspiration for the next iteration of amazing hacks.

Much more to come

Our crew has been refining an overhaul of how the feed works to make it easier to know when and how your favorite hackers are updating their builds. You should see that functionality live in August. We’re also working on improving interactivity so that you can better find others with similar interests whether it’s just for casual conversation or to undertake an epic build as a team.

We’re certainly not above pointing out our own weaknesses. The Stack never took off. The idea seemed like a good one, but we need your help figuring out how to make it shine. Leave a comment below telling us what you think The Stack should be and how you think it should work.

Filed under: Featured

EBay faces class action suit over data breach

EBay faces a class action suit in a U.S. federal court over a security breach earlier this year.

The consumer privacy class action lawsuit, filed Wednesday by Collin Green, a citizen of the state of Louisiana, alleged that the security breach was the result of eBay's inadequate security in regard to protecting identity information of its millions of customers.

[Raising awareness quickly: The eBay data breach]

The e-commerce site's failure to properly secure the information "has caused, and is continuing to cause, damage to its customers, the putative class members herein," according to the complaint by Green which asks for class action status.

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

Pirate Bay Launches Mobile Site, Teases More Expansions

pirate bayOne of The Pirate Bay’s strengths has been its resilience. No matter how hard the movie and music industries try, the site remains operational.

Over the years the Pirate Bay site has undergone many changes to make it harder to shut down. The tracker was put into retirement, torrents were traded in for magnet links, and the site moved its servers to the cloud.

What remained the same, however, was the site’s general appearance and its lack of support for mobile devices. That changes today.

The Pirate Bay has just debuted a new site for mobile devices. The Mobile Bay offers a much more usable interface to browse the torrent site on mobile devices.

Previously mobile users were simply presented with a smaller version of the regular Pirate Bay site, which was coded long before smartphones and tablets became popular. With banners on both sides it was rather hard to navigate on smaller devices.

The mobile version doesn’t change the overall appearance much, but it’s definitely more readable and easier to navigate.

The new vs. old mobile look


Users on mobile devices are now redirected to the new Mobile Bay domain, which will exist next to the regular site. People have the option to continue using the old layout if they prefer, but The Pirate Bay team doesn’t see any reason why people would.

“The normal version of the site renders like crap on mobile devices,” the TPB team told us.

The Mobile Bay is one of the largest visible updates to the site in years, but according to The Pirate Bay it’s only the beginning. Behind the scenes the TPB team is working on a series of new niche sites that will provide extra features and make it easier to find content.

The TV, movie and music sections on The Pirate Bay will each get their own dedicated sites. The TV site, for example, will allow users to see a complete overview of all episodes per show, download season packs, and more.

Another new project in the pipeline is the RSSbay which will support personalized RSS feeds enabling people to launch torrents remotely.

“We will add more features later on, such as personal RSS feeds so users can browse torrents at work or school, and start the downloads at home,” the TPB team tells us.

Aside from improving the user experience, the other advantage of these separate domain names is that TPB can’t be taken out as easily.

“We’re trying to separate the site into different domain names to make it more resilient. In the event one domain get taken down, there will be plenty others left,” the TPB team says.

As always with the Pirate Bay, it will be hard to predict how long it will take before these new sites will see the light of day, but the mobile edition is live now.

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

Director Wants His Film on The Pirate Bay, Pirates Deliver…

suzyDutch movie director Martin Koolhoven sent out an unusual request on Twitter a few days ago.

While many filmmakers fear The Pirate Bay, Koolhoven asked his followers to upload a copy of his 1999 film “Suzy Q” to the site.

“Can someone just upload Suzy Q to The Pirate Bay?” Koolhoven asked.

The director doesn’t own all copyrights to the movie himself, but grew frustrated by the fact that his film is not available through legal channels.

The TV-film, which also features the film debut of Game of Thrones actress Carice Van Houten, was paid for with public money but after the music rights expired nobody was able to see it anymore.

The main problem is with the film’s music, which includes tracks from popular artists such as The Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix. This prevented the film from being released in movie theaters and on DVD, and the TV-network also chose not to extend the licenses for the TV rights.

Since the music was no longer licensed it couldn’t be shown anymore, not even on the websites of the public broadcasters.

“To me, it felt like the movie had died,” Koolhoven tells TorrentFreak.

Hoping to bring it back to life, Koolhoven tweeted his upload request, and it didn’t take long before the pirates delivered. Within a few hours the first copy of the film was uploaded, and several more were added in the days that followed.

“I had no idea the media would pick it up the way they did. That generated more media attention. At first I hesitated because I didn’t want to become the poster boy for the download-movement. All I wanted was for people to be able to see my film,” Koolhoven says.

Unfortunately the first upload of the movie that appeared on The Pirate Bay was in very bad quality. So the director decided to go all the way and upload a better version to YouTube himself.

“I figured it would probably be thrown off after a few days, due to the music rights issue, but at least people could see a half decent version instead of watching the horrible copy that was available on The Pirate Bay,” Koolhoven tells us.

Interestingly, YouTube didn’t remove the film but asked the director whether he had the right to use the songs. Since this is not the case the money made through the advertisements on YouTube will go to the proper rightsholders.

“We’re a few days later now and the movie is still on YouTube. And people have started to put higher quality torrents of Suzy Q on Pirate Bay. Even 720p can be found, I’ve heard,” Koolhoven notes.

While the director is not the exclusive rightsholder, he does see himself as the moral owner of the title. Also, he isn’t shying away from encouraging others to download and share the film.

In essence, he believes that all movies should be available online, as long as it’s commercially viable. It shouldn’t hurt movie theater attendance either, as that remains the main source of income for most films and the best viewing experience.

“I know not everybody cares about that, but I do. The cinema is the best place to see movies. If you haven’t seen ‘Once Upon a Time in the West’ on the big screen, you just haven’t seen it,” Koolhoven says.

In the case of Suzy Q, however, people are free to grab a pirated copy.

“Everyone can go to The Pirate Bay and grab a copy. People are actually not supposed to, but they have my permission to download Susy Q,” Koolhoven said in an interview with Geenstijl.

“If other people download the movie and help with seeding then the download time will be even more reasonable,” Koolhoven adds.

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

A Lesson in Blind Reverse Engineering – Signals Intelligence

spread sheet of binary data

In a fit of desperation, I turned to data mining tools and algorithms, but stepped back from the horror of that unspeakable knowledge before my mind was shattered. That way madness lies.

–[Rory O'hare]

Wise words. Wise words, indeed. Who among us hasn’t sat staring into the abyss of seemingly endless data without the slightest clue to what it means or even how to go about figuring out what it means? To literally feel the brain damage seeping in as you start to see ‘ones’ and ‘zeros’ reach out to you from every day electronic devices…like some ghost in the wires. But do not fear, wise hacker! For we have good news to report! [Rory O'hare] has dived into this very abyss, and has emerged successful.

While others were out and about playing games and doing whatever non-hackers do to entertain themselves, [Rory O'hare] decided to reach out and grab some random wireless signals for a little fun and excitement. And what he found was not just a strong, repeating signal at 433Mhz. Not just a signal that oozed with evidence of ASK. What he found was a challenge…a mystery that was begging to be solved. A way to test his skill set. Could he reverse engineer a signal by just looking at the signal alone? Read on, and find out.




Filed under: wireless hacks

How Long Do We Have Until We Exhaust All Of Our Resources?

Question: With the current human population, and its rate of expansion, together with the rate of consumption of natural resources, how long until the human race reaches a point of no return, and we simply have nothing left?

Asked by: Chris Palmer

Click to see a larger image

Image via shutterstock

Answer: The act of simply existing requires three main ingredients; Water, oxygen, and energy. In a perfect world, we would have a period equivalent to the Sun’s life to live, which is about 10 billion years in total. However, there are so many external factors: things that could go wrong, ways in which the universe can kill us, or even ways in which we can kill ourselves. Things like asteroid collisions with earth, a nuclear war, or even an ice age can get the job done quite easily.

Although innovations such as nuclear fusion or the colonization of Mars can give us more time, the second law of thermodynamics states that every time a change in energy occurs, the universe becomes more disordered, unorganized, and chaotic. This means that as you use up energy to read this answer, somewhere else in the universe is becoming more unstable. Every time you move a muscle, you are hastening the universe towards disorder. Furthermore, the universe is rapidly expanding, so there will inevitably be a time where the night sky is completely dark as there are no visible stars close to us, and the temperature is so cold that life cannot possibly exist.

As for the finite amount of natural resources on Earth, there are first four realizations one must take into consideration: 

1) We cannot continue to think we have an unlimited amount of natural resources.

2) We will not be able find a technological fix that will allow us to consume unlimited resources

3)  The term “renewable” resource does not imply that it is unlimited.

4) When we use a natural resource, we may turn it into something useless through entropy (For example, if we burn wood for heat, it turns to ashes which are useless to us). The natural resources are diminishing while our population is exponentially increasing. We cannot assure future generations of an adequate supply of clean air, safe water, or a healthy food supply.

The truth is, it is very hard to predict when we will completely run out of usable resources given the large number of things that need to be taken into account — things like natural disasters (and the like), how much the population will grow in the coming decades and how the economy will turn — along with a few things we can’t anticipate.

The Estimate:

You wouldn’t be here if you didn’t want a decent estimate, so I’ll give you one. The most recent data, which was released earlier this year, suggests that the world might be heading toward an “irreversible collapse” as a result of unsustainable resource exploitation and “increasingly unequal wealth distribution.” When will the switch flip? Well, they assert that it’ll happen within a few decades.

Don’t read too much into it though, as the report also states that “the process of rise-and-collapse is actually a recurrent cycle found throughout history.”

My hypothesis is that if something happened and we lost access to water, food, or clean air right this instant, the population would dramatically decrease in merely a decade or two, with only the wealthiest people having access to an above standard quality of life.

When this happens, obviously resources would be consumed at a slower rate. We can only hope in such an instance, people would be conscience of how and what they consume, but given the current state of affairs, it seems unlikely. People are nothing if not stuck in their own ways. What are your thoughts?

How Long Will it Last (INFOGRAPHIC):

A great infographic oulininghow mch longer mst of or resorces have (BBC)

A great infographic outlining how much longer most of or resources have (via:  BBC)

See a larger infographic here.

European Central Bank confirms data breach and extortion attempt

The European Central Bank has confirmed a data breach, after attackers compromised an application on the Frankfurt-based bank's website.

In a statement issued on Thursday, the ECB said that the incident came to light after an anonymous email was sent earlier this week requesting that a ransom be paid for the compromised records.

The attack focused on a database that stored information on journalists and other professionals who registered for ECB conferences, press briefings, and other events.

"No internal systems or market sensitive data were compromised. The database serves parts of the ECB website that gather registrations for events such as ECB conferences and visits. It is physically separate from any internal ECB systems," the bank's statement explained.

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

Thousands of WordPress Sites hacker through MailPoet flaw

Security experts at Sucuri form have observed a surge of cyber attacks against WordPress website which are using not updated version of MailPoet plugin.

A large scale attack has hit more than 50,000 websites, the attacker exploited a recently patched vulnerability in a popular plugin for the WordPress CMS. Early July, experts at security firm Sucuri discovered that websites running WordPress and MailPoet plugin were vulnerable to cyber attacks which allow bad actors to gain total control over targeted WorldPress instances.

MailPoet is a very popular plugin with more than 1.7 million downloads, as explained by experts at Secury, the exploitation of the flaw allows attackers to upload any file of their choice to vulnerable servers.

“An attacker can exploit this vulnerability without having any privileges/accounts on the target site. This is a major threat, it means every single website using it is vulnerable.” reported blog at Sucuri.

In the three weeks since the disclosure of the flaw, the attackers have exploited the flaw to install a backdoor on a huge quantity of systems, ranging from 30,000 to 50,000 websites, despite some of them don’t run WordPress CMS or don’t have MailPoet enabled.


Sucuri MailPoet Infections


“To be clear, the MailPoet vulnerability is the entry point,” “It doesn’t mean your website has to have it enabled or that you have it on the website; if it resides on the server, in a neighboring website, it can still affect your website.”  wrote Daniel Cid, CTO & Founder of Sucuri, in blog post.

As explained in the blog,  the experts have identified a specific pattern related to the attacks, the attackers start trying to upload a custom and malicious theme to the targeted site: - - [05/Jul/2014:01:41:30 -0700] "POST /wp-admin/admin-post.php?page=wysija_campaigns&action=themes HTTP/1.0" 302 - "" "Mozilla/5.0"

At this point the attacker has the full control of the site accessing the backdoor located in /wp-content/uploads/wysija/themes/mailp/: - - [05/Jul/2014:01:41:31 -0700] "GET /wp-content/uploads/wysija/themes/mailp/index.php HTTP/1.1" 200 12 "Mozilla/5.0" - - [05/Jul/2014:04:08:16 -0700] "GET /wp-content/uploads/wysija/themes/mailp/index.php?cookie=1 HTTP/1.0" 200 12 "-" "Mozilla/5.0 (Windows)"

“The Backdoor is very nasty and creates an admin user called 1001001. It also injects a backdoor code to all theme/core files. The biggest issue with this injection is that it often overwrites good files, making very hard to recover without a good backup in place.” said the blog post.

As explained by expert at Sucuri, the malware injection tries to compromise all PHP files on the targeted server, this means that compromising a single website hosted on the machine using MailPoet it is possible to extend the infection to any other websites on the system. This means that shared hosting are particularly exposed to such kind of attacks, with serious consequences.

“We had a client that all his 20+ sites got injected, because one site inside the same shared account had MailPoet on it. That’s why we were seeing Joomla and Magento sites with the same malware as well. Took us a bit of time to connect all the dots and find the entry point on them.” explained Sucuri representative to Art Technica.

If you have installed MailPoet on your WordPress don’t waste time hurry up and update it!

Pierluigi Paganini

Security Affairs –  (WordPress, privacy)

The post Thousands of WordPress Sites hacker through MailPoet flaw appeared first on Security Affairs.

TomTom to Offer Faster Updates of Map Database

TomTom's Multinet-R platform promises to deliver faster updates to clients using a more narrowly constrained quality assurace process. The QA process will utilize faster validation leveraging crowd-sourced data. The objective is to get new data into the hands of clients with updates... Continue reading