Filed under: Apollo program, Art, Astronomy, BoingBoing, Carl Sagan, Jupiter, Mars, NASA, Saturn, Science, Space, YouTube | Tags: Alex Gorosh, Apollo, art, astronomy, blogging, BoingBoing, Carl Sagan, Earth, jim downey, Jupiter, Mars, Mercury, Moon, NASA, Neptune, Saturn, science, solar system, space, Sun, Uranus, Venus, video, www youtube, Wylie Overstreet, Xeni Jardin
That does a better job of getting the real sense of scale than just about anything else I’ve seen. Wonderful.
Filed under: BoingBoing, Brave New World, ISS, Man Conquers Space, NASA, Predictions, Science, Science Fiction, Space, tech, YouTube | Tags: 3-D printing, Air & Space Museum, blogging, BoingBoing, ISS, jim downey, NASA, predictions, science, Science Fiction, Smithsonian, space, technology, video, www youtube
Via BoingBoing, fun video from NASA of the unboxing of a shipment of the first printed tools and tests parts from the ISS:
Perhaps it’s just the conservator in me, but I loved the documentation process, and how they’re going through everything carefully. No doubt that some or all of those items will eventually wind up at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum.
Filed under: Augmented Reality, BoingBoing, Brave New World, Connections, Cory Doctorow, George Orwell, Philip K. Dick, Predictions, Preparedness, Privacy, RFID, Science Fiction, Society, tech | Tags: A Scanner Darkly, augmented reality, blogging, Boing Boing, BoingBoing, Cory Doctorow, Dave Lewis, Forbes, George Orwell, jim downey, John Dodge, Philip K. Dick, predictions, privacy, RFID, Science Fiction, security, smartphone, St. Cybi's Well, technology, writing
When you see news like this in the mainstream press…
It seems rather far fetched at first glance. There is news that came out last week that rogue cell phone towers around the US are forcing mobile devices to disable their encryption making it possible that someone might be able to listen in to your call. “That could never happen to me,” you think out loud. But, apparently it could.
In 2010 at the DEF CON in Las Vegas, security researcher Chris Paget did the unthinkable. He built a cell tower of his own so that he could spoof legitimate towers and intercept calls.The device would mimic the type used by law enforcement agencies to intercept phone calls. In this case, he was able to build it for roughly $1500 US. Paget’s device would only capture 2G GSM phone calls. Carriers such as AT&TT -0.06% and T-Mobile would be vulnerable as they use GSM, unlike Verizon which relies on CDMA technology.
… it’s easy to feel a little paranoid. But is this a real threat? Has anyone actually seen things like this ‘in the wild’?
So-called rogue cell phone towers, the type that can intercept your mobile calls and data, are cropping up all over the United States, including here in Chicago, according to a company that specializes in developing highly secure mobile phones.
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CBS 2 security analyst Ross Rice, a former FBI agent, said it’s likely being used illegally.
“I doubt that they are installed by law enforcement as they require a warrant to intercept conversations or data and since the cell providers are ordered by the court to cooperate with the intercept, there really would be no need for this,” Rice said.
“Most likely, they are installed and operated by hackers, trying to steal personal identification and passwords.”
Great. Just great.
Well, what can you do? There are some smart phones out there which are designed to thwart this kind of security threat. And I’ve mentioned another option previously. And now there’s a company with a whole line of clothing based on similar RF-blocking technology:
“The 1984 Collection” is a line of clothing for men and women with removable, snap-in pockets that act as radio-shields for slipping your devices and tokens (cards, phones, etc) into to stop them from being read when you’re not using them.
Hmm … let’s see, there’s a passage from Chapter One of St Cybi’s Well that comes to mind:
Darnell stepped close to her, said in a low voice, “Give me your hand-held.”
She looked at him, raised an eyebrow. “Why?”
“I don’t want to make it too easy for anyone to listen in.”
“Really, Dar, or is this some kind of joke?”
She looked him in the eye, pulled her phone out of her small purse, held it out to him. “Here.”
“Either turn it off or put it into offline mode.”
She fiddled with it a moment then handed it over. He took it and dropped it into the RF-blocking pocket in his satchel. “Thanks.”
“Couldn’t I just have turned it off?”
“Nope. They can still turn it on remotely and activate the mic. This pocket,” he patted the satchel where he had put the phone, “blocks the signal. It isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty good protection.”
I guess I need to get back into the habit of using my RF-shielding pocket.
Filed under: Art, Augmented Reality, BoingBoing, Brave New World, Connections, Cory Doctorow, Music, Predictions, Science Fiction, Synesthesia, tech | Tags: art, augmented reality, blogging, Boing Boing, Communion of Dreams, Imogen Heap, jim downey, Kickstarter, Kindle, music, predictions, Science Fiction, synesthesia, technology, video, Vimeo
One of my favorite characters in Communion of Dreams is the artist Duc Ng. Here’s the description of him when he is introduced in Chapter 2:
Duc Ng was an artist. A holo sculptor, whose specialty was slow-progression transformations. The works were beautiful, inspired, and appreciated by almost anyone who saw them. Ng had jacked-up cyberware to heighten his sensitivity, and used psychotropic drugs tailored to cause neurotransmitter activity to increase dramatically. This created an artificial synesthesia for a short period of time, during which the usual senses became blurredand intermingled, adding layer upon layer of perception.
Note the phrase “jacked-up cyberware”. While it plays a role in the plot, I put this in there because I’ve always admired the way that artists are constantly pushing to adapt new technologies in the creation of their art. Here’s a passage from the beginning of Chapter6 when we first get a look at Ng using his skills:
There was just one other person in the room, standing at the side of the holo platform, hands dancing over a control board only he could see. It was Ng, dressed fittingly in a jumpsuit of the same black material from which the drapes and carpet were made.
“Isn’t that stuff hot?” asked Jon, nodding toward Ng’s clothing.
“Nah, I’ve got a coolpack plugged into it. Not as efficient as a real military stealth suit, but it works. Reduces the problems I have with creating my sculptures.”
Jon looked to the dance Ng’s hands played in the air. “About ready?”
Ng said nothing, but his fingers tapped a command in the air. Instantly, there appeared an image above the holo projector.
“These beautiful gloves help me gesturally interact with my computer,” says Heap, explaining how the wearable technology allows her to perform without having to interact with keyboards or control panels.
Pushing buttons and twiddling dials “is not very exciting for me or the audience,” she says. “[Now] I can make music on the move, in the flow and more humanly, [and] more naturally engage with my computer software and technology.”
There’s a brilliant video which demonstrates the potential of her gloves:[vimeo 90252137 w=500 h=281]
And she has started a Kickstarter to help develop the technology to share with other performance artists:
Wonderful. I’m in to support it. And yeah, I think that’s another prediction from CoD coming true.
Filed under: ACLU, Augmented Reality, BoingBoing, Book Conservation, Brave New World, Civil Rights, Connections, Constitution, General Musings, Government, movies, Privacy, Society | Tags: ACLU, blogging, BoingBoing, book conservation, bookbinding, civil liberties, Constitution, crickets, Erik Kwakkel, jim downey, Legacy Bookbindery, movies, privacy, Shakespeare
Some more ‘quick hits’ …
Here’s a very good article about the nuance of what you can/should call a book, and the sort of question I have had to dance around countless times when people have asked me what was the “oldest book” I’ve ever worked on:
The past few days I have been preoccupied with a deceptively simple question: “What is the oldest book in the world?” Having done some looking around I can now report that while somewhere on this planet, in a vault or a cupboard, lies the oldest surviving book, it is actually impossible to say which one may be branded as such. Bear with me.
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A light bulb in our kitchen blew out, and needed to be replaced. Routine, except that this bulb was in a fixture on the ceiling in the part of the kitchen where the ceiling is 12′ (I live in an old house). Still, no big deal — we have a tall enough step ladder so it’s just a minor hassle.
So I set up the ladder, climbed to the fixture, new CFC bulb in hand. The fixture is one of those old kind that have been used for 50+ years, with a glass sphere hanging from a metal ring, more or less enclosing the whole thing. You back out three set-screws, drop the sphere, clean out the various small flying bugs which have gotten into it over the years, replace the bulb and then put the sphere back.
And there were some small dead flying bugs. But there were also several large crickets. Dead. And one small live one.
How the hell did they get into that fixture?
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Anyone who thinks we’re not living in a partial police state just hasn’t been paying attention. To apply William Gibson’s classic phrase in a rather darker way: “The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed.”
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Federal agents wrongfully strip-searched a New Mexico woman at the El Paso border crossing, then took her to a hospital where she was forced to undergo illegal body cavity probes in an attempt to find drugs, according to a federal lawsuit filed Wednesday.
The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in El Paso said the unnamed 54-year-old U.S. citizen was “brutally” searched by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents in December 2012 after being selected for additional random screening at the Cordova Bridge in El Paso when a drug sniffing dog jumped on her. The woman was returning from a visit to a recently deported family friend in Cuidad Juarez, Mexico, the lawsuit said.
Agents quickly stripped searched her and did cavity searches but found no evidence of drugs, court documents said. But the woman was transported in handcuffs to the University Medical Center of El Paso, the lawsuit said, where doctors subjected her to an observed bowel movement, a CT scan and other exams without a warrant.
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Enough for now, except to note that this is blog post #1,600 and we’re rapidly closing on 100,000 hits to this blog! Yay!
Have a good weekend!