Geek stuff

For two years I have been working on an art project. I’m not sure whether the concept predated when I first heard James Allard’s lecture on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, but the lecture is a great demonstration of how labeling does interpretive work when it comes to art. Presented with a digital file, we may struggle […]

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For the first time, we may have just detected the a large object that has entered our solar system from interplanetary space: C/2017 U1 PanSTARRS. It’s a shame we don’t have a spacecraft ready to go get a closer look, or maybe even get a sample.

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It seems the WPA2 encryption system used by most WiFi networks is badly broken: New KRACK Attack Against Wi-Fi Encryption KRACK! Wifi’s go-to security, WPA2, is fatally flawed, and will probably never be patched in many places WPA2: Broken with KRACK. What now? ‘All wifi networks’ are vulnerable to hacking, security expert discovers This follows […]

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There’s an engaging talk on YouTube from former SR-71 pilot Brian Shul, telling the story of his career as a military pilot and showing some of his photos of and from the world’s fastest plane. Next time I go to Washington D.C., Myshka and I will go check out the SR-71 on display at the […]

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The often-excellent NPR Planet Money podcast (which ran an earlier episode about “Freeway” Rick) had two notably engaging recent segments. One included an interesting account of the data-analysis-decision-action cycle in intelligence work, specifically when deciding if an assailant is an enemy counterintelligence agent or drug-addled mugger. The other discussed policy and incentive problems in the […]

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A somewhat obvious rule of internet security to add to the first three: Against a sophisticated attacker, nothing connected to the internet is secure. Everything is internet now. You should probably worry more about being attacked online by your own government than by any other organization. Sensitive data about you is largely on the computers […]

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It’s crazy how demanding web browsers have become. Both my main computers are somewhat old, but they can run modern 3D games at low graphics settings and perform computationally-intensive tasks like converting RAW files to JPG. Nonetheless, I find both my iMac and my MacBook Pro routinely struggling to run GMail in Safari, Firefox, or […]

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Columbus could not have foreseen the results of his search for piperine, Magellan was unaware of the long-term effects of his quest for isoeugenol, and Schönbein would surely have been astonished that the nitrocellulose he made from his wife’s apron was the start of great industries as diverse as explosives and textiles. Perkin could not […]

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I have been collecting knives for years, including superb folders like Benchmade’s 940 Osborne and the Wüsthof chef, santoku, and paring knives I have been using to cook since I bought then during one of my first few weeks in Ottawa. A few weeks ago, I visited a shop beside Trinity-Bellwoods park which exclusively sells […]

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