happy mutants

IoT Inspector is a new tool from Princeton’s computer science department; it snoops on the traffic from home IoT devices and performs analysis to determine who they phone home to, whether they use encryption, and what kinds of data they may be leaking. The researchers have analyzed 50…

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Unicode pioneer Michael Suignard has submitted a “Revised draft for the encoding of an extended Egyptian Hieroglyphs repertoire” in Unicode, trying to replicate the expressivity of the 7,000 hieroglyphs used in Greco/Roman times. His taxonomy includes over 2,000 awesome, well-sorted glyphs, including the all-important “phallus” and “liquid issuing…

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ToS;dr is a crowdsourced database of website terms of service; install the associate plugin and your browser will display a letter grade (from A to F) for every site you visit, with subcategories for things like data-retention and the rights the site asserts to your contributions. It emerged…

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Wolf Richter’s dental insurer sent his family a free “smart” toothbrush that records how often and how well you brush, using a set of proprietary consumables to clean your teeth. Richter discovered that not only did his toothbrush rat on him, his insurer was paying attention: when he…

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If you’ve been paying attention, you might already know that Molly Ringwald is a brilliant writer with smart things to say about the movies that made her famous. But her essay on John Hughes movies, the Breakfast Club, #metoo, and the useful and versatile concept of “problematic” art…

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The Hoberman Switch Pitch Throwing Ball is a $12 toy that instantiates a dual polyhedron: every time you throw it, it turns inside-out; there’s a wealth of scientific literature that explains how this works, including this open-access paper from the Journal of the International Association for Shell and Spatial…

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By Cory Doctorow Steven Brust is a literary treasure and his longrunning Vlad Taltos series, now nearing its final volume, is a good example of where his strengths lie: hardboiled plotting, snappy dialog, weirdly realistic and plausible depictions of magic, and a sensitive eye for power relationships and their depiction,…

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