Internet Curiosities

Deadly Simple Exploit Bypasses Apple Gatekeeper Security to Install Malicious Apps

The Hacker News -

Apple Mac Computers are considered to be invulnerable to malware, but the new Exploit discovered by security researchers proves it indeed quite false. Patrick Wardle, director of research at security firm Synack, has found a deadly simple way that completely bypass one of the core security features in Mac OS X i.e. Gatekeeper. Introduced in July of 2012, Gatekeeper is Apple's

TrueCrypt Encryption Software Has Two Critical Flaws: It's time to Move On

The Hacker News -

If you are among thousands of privacy-conscious people who are still using ‘no longer available’ TrueCrypt Encryption Software, then you need to pay attention. Two critical security vulnerabilities have been discovered in the most famous encryption tool, TrueCrypt, that could expose the user’s data to hackers if exploited. Worse yet, TrueCrypt was audited earlier this by a team of

Megachurch televangelists lay hands on Donald Trump, ask Jesus to vote for him

Boing Boing -

GOP presidential candidate and noted scumbag Donald Trump met with a bunch of televangelists, Tea Party “teavangelicals,” and preacher profiteers at his Trump Tower office Monday afternoon.

The elite group, which included some megachurch chiefs who have previously been investigated by the federal government for misuse of donations, prayed while performing the “laying on of hands” to infuse him with the Holy Spirit. The goal: Jesus, get our man elected. (more…)

Create 12 different action-packed comic books with The Superhero Comic Kit

Boing Boing -

See sample pages from this book at Wink.

Calling this book a “kit” might be an exaggeration, but The Superhero Comic Kit does pack a lot of fun into its inviting, oversized pages. The front section has instructions on how to draw various superheroes and villains, as well as how to draw sound effects (yes, there’s a way to draw the sounds that bring superhero comics to life!). Then comes the exciting part where you get to make your own 8-page comic books out of the characters you just learned how to draw, with some prompts to help get your creative fuel pumping. Once you’ve completed one of your stories (there are 12 in total), you can pull it out of the book, fold the pages along the fold lines, and assemble your unique comic book before showing it to the world. The back of the book has two pages of stickers – sound effects and superheroes/villains – to embellish your work. This is a great gift for any creative kid who likes to draw and make up stories.

The Superhero Comic Kit
by Jason Ford
Laurence King Publishing
2015, 60 pages, 11.5 x 16.8 x 0.5 inches (paperback)
From $14 Buy one on Amazon

Strategies for nodding during meetings

Boing Boing -

You know those people who nod a lot in meetings, appearing interested even when they are either bored to death or have no idea what the hell is being said? Sarah Cooper has "9 Nodding Strategies for Your Next Meeting."

Above: The Slow Nod Followed by a Fast Nod
The slow nod followed by a fast nod is great to let the person talking know that you didn’t get it at first, but you totally get it now, even if you still don’t agree.

Below: Let Me Write That Down Nod
This is the nod you use when you’re pretending to write that down.

Wheels of Aurelia, a girls' road trip, may be my favorite game of 2015 so far

Boing Boing -

I don't think my mother ever expected to have such a wild daughter as me. She's an accountant, and we have nothing in common. Maybe because of that, I hang onto what little I know of her teen years in the 1970s like flowers pressed in a book: Her summers in a seaside town, hitchhiking along the road at night with her troublemaker friend. The time my grandfather came to pick her up from the rest stop where she'd gone to hang out with boys, and how he thundered with disapproval.

Those are really the only stories I know about her childhood, except for the one where my grandmother forced her to wear a wool dress she despised. I don't know what it would have been like to become a woman right when Summer of Love was ending, with the roulette wheel of the road and strangers' cars your only real way out. Even now our instinct is to think that cars are usually for men. Video games about driving? Always for men.

But there is so much more about cars than driving; maybe it's better to say there is so much more to driving than just the car. I do remember when I got a car of my very own for the first time, and printed out a Google map—how powerful I felt that I could drive down the eastern seaboard to go visit a boy. Because I was a girl, a car meant more than simply an ordinary stage on some common, anticipated ascent to social power, the same way the red eyes of a vehicle slowing on a seaside road at night were more than just lights for my mother. They were a beckoning flicker; they were a secret her daughter would come to know years later.

Wheels of Aurelia is a driving game that is about that more. You are androgynous, mischief-lipped Lella, driving on the famous Via Aurelia from Rome to the French Riviera in 1978. Along with you is Olga, a femme you met recently at a disco. At the beginning of your trip she asks you why you invited her. You can ask her, if you want, why she accepted.

As the Via Aurelia curls and sprawls, Lella and Olga get to know each other, pick up hitchhikers, and get into road races. You as the player have two tasks: First, abstractly, to drive, which you can mostly do one-handed. It feels like being an adult woman, to drive one-handed, smoothly with the mouse. Most of your attention, the other hand, will be on the dialogue. Everyone, from Olga herself to the patchwork characters you may pick up along the way, wants to talk to Lella—they are drawn to her in the way people tend to seek out the queerest woman in the club—easy to speak to because she is "other", easy to experiment on, the receptacle for the car crash of anxiety and identity politics that come from being "a woman in the Pope's country", as Lella herself sometimes puts it.

Your choices for Lella's dialogue tend to be pleasingly subtle, mimicking the pall of delicate anxiety that can overhang people trapped in the same car for hours. You pick up a man who swears he's seen the Pope in a UFO. Your choices are not merely to "accept or reject" this person, but to make the elegant distinction between cheerfully affirming him and politely nodding along. As his behavior escalates, taking his side begins to feel genuinely radical, like a protest against a flawed mental healthare system, like shouting out the car window—who gets to decide whose strangeness is all right and whose isn't?

After all, you have yet to learn why Lella herself is on the road, what secrets her past contains. You can let this hitchhiker call you "Mamma". You can promise him, gently, that you will not take him back there.

All of Wheels of Aurelia asks you to consider your political attitude. Olga, the girl you like, says she can't be a feminist because she wears skirts. She might only be joking, and you can only joke back—either warmly, or with an unkind aftertaste. Eventually a sexist tough guy (Lella calls him only "prick") challenges your right to the road, and makes you race him. You and your straggling passengers, all of you trying to negotiate a complex, bittersweet and fundamentally unfair condition of life, talk as you press the accelerator. As you literally hurtle at breakneck speed for purchase against patriarchy.

Each session of Wheels of Aurelia is only about 15 or 20 minutes long, and will come to a natural end based on your decisions. There seem to be eight endings, but each session is different from the last, and you can have conversations in some games that feel suddenly new, no way to know how you unlocked them alongside the lawlessness of the road. Sometimes an encounter will interrupt what feels like a crucial dialogue point; you need to learn not to worry about the "flow" of the story, to embrace its risk of accident, of getting lost. Its jazz spontaneity liberates Wheels of Aurelia somewhat from the systematic feel that other choice-driven dialogue games have—last time I chose this, so this time I'll choose that instead—each trip is a brief flicker of curling road, of seawall and revving engine, a cigarette sometimes coming to Lella's lips, a rarely-seen flirtatious look. The wonderful original music—the insistent hiss of clanging drums, rock guitar, horns surging their punctuation—sounds out a life that almost feels like it could have been yours, in another time. If you had only been standing by the road in the right place.

In a nod to driving games of a different sort, you can even choose Lella's car every time you hit the Via Aurelia, and also add your three initials to a classic scoreboard with your completion times. But the driving hardly matters at all. I love Lella. If I'd known her I would have gone to France with her in a heartbeat.

Wheels of Aurelia is developed by Santa Ragione. You have just a few days left to buy it for pay-what-you-want as part of a remarkable Humble Weekly Bundle of indie games. If you do nothing else, vote for it on Steam Greenlight so it can be available there.

Soon you can buy Pokémon butts

Boing Boing -

Historically, the Pokemon franchise has focused its merchandising efforts on the parts of Pokemon characters that were not their butts. But that's about to change, thanks to a new wave of toys, charms and other assorted swag from Japan that will finally allow you to catch them all. All of the butts.

There are so many, many ways that you can purchase these Pokemon butts: as cushions, magnets, folders, bags, coasters, coffee cups, and even tape.

Nor are you restricted from merely admiring the butts of Pokemon; you can also turn your own butt into a Pokemon with the help of boxer briefs for men and women.

The line will go on sale at the Pokemon store on October 10. But be ready: Rocketnews24 (which also has an item-by-item breakdown in English) suggests that the line is "probably going to sell out pretty fast."

Right to Encrypt is under fire in America. is fighting for your crypto rights.

Boing Boing -

The Intercept just published an amazing article by Jim Bamford yesterday talking about how the NSA exploited a backdoor in Vodafone to spy on Greek politicians and journalists during the 2004 Olympics.

Bamford is an American author and journalist best known for his writing about United States intelligence agencies, and in particular the National Security Agency.

In a meticulous investigation, Bamford reports at the Intercept that the NSA was behind the notorious, legendary “Athens Affair”. After the 2004 Olympics, the Greek government discovered that an unknown attacker had hacked into Vodafone’s “lawful intercept” system, the phone company’s method of wiretapping voice calls. The attacker spied on phone calls of the president and other Greek politicians and journalists before the hack was found out.

Freedom of the Press Foundation director Trevor Timm wrote for the Guardian about why this is exactly why encryption backdoors are so dangerous.

What are encryption backdoors? For non-techie readers, basically these are ways the government can unencrypt your "locked" communications if they decide they want to see your private material for any secret reason.

And in related news, rumor has it the White House is nearing a decision on whether to embrace the right to encryption for American citizens, or join the FBI in calling for backdoors.

Dozens of civil liberties groups, including Freedom of the Press Foundation, launched this site and petition today that feeds into the White House petition system:

If you care about this issue, right now is the time to take action.

World's largest collection of coffee cup lids

Boing Boing -

Architects Louise Harpman and Scott Specht own the world's largest collection of disposable plastic coffee cup lids, a seemingly simple product that raises myriad design questions and challenges.

From their 2005 Cabinet magazine essay:

Although the earliest examples of drink-through lids were designed for cold beverages, the true efflorescence in drink-through lid design and production can be traced to the 1980s, when we, as a culture, decided that it was important, even necessary, to be able to walk, or drive, or commute while drinking hot liquids. A quick survey of the US patent registry reveals nine patents for specialty drink lids in the 1970s, jumping to twenty-six individual patents in the 1980s. 

We began our collection during college in 1984 when the purpose-built cup lids began to appear with some frequency. Up until that time, coffee drinkers who wanted a drink-through lid had to go DIY: beginning from two points along the outer edge of any flat plastic cup lid, the drinker would peel back the plastic rim along two radial axes toward the centerpoint of the lid, creating a jagged wedge of an opening. This operation yielded a reliable aperture, but also a triangular bit of garbage which design writer Phil Patton (RIP - ed.) calls the “guitar pick.” The strategy was serviceable, but inelegant. Some degree of improvement was surely mandated, though not the “dizzying array” of lid designs that we now see. “There is no coffee lid that occupies the same status as the paper clip,” agrees Patton. There is no model that is “the winner.” 

"Peel, Pucker, Pinch, Puncture" (Cabinet)

Rocketship salt or peppermill

Boing Boing -

This peppermill is really great. Not something I replace more than once a decade, I wanted a grinder that stood out and was fun. I've had a set of Shaker style ones, purchased in my late 20s, that just needed to go.

This Rocket is looks great. Standing at 14" tall this grinder is certainly part of the conversation. The Rocket feels well made, has adjustable coarseness and grinds pepper.

Potential buyers will be happy to know the fins appear slotted in, and unlikely to break off. They appear to be the weak link in the design. If a tip breaks, you can easily re-level the rocket with a few cuts.

Suck UK Salt and Pepper Rocket Mill, Brown via Amazon

In online censorship arms race, Thailand vows a China-style “Great Firewall”

Boing Boing -

“Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content,” reports Voice Of America Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok.

The plan is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall," after the colloquial term used to describe the Chinese government's extensive and effective internet censorship system. (more…)

The Genii Forums, where magicians keep magic secret in public

Boing Boing -

There is a fantastic thread running on Genii about Boing Boing's enthusiasm for magic!

Internet forums are the source of all truth! Genii is an awesome resource for magicians, new and old, and the participants in their forums are incredibly well versed. The conversation they've had, minus the obligatory mention of German National-Socialist leadership, is fantastic and we are paying attention!

They also have a ton of amazing tricks and secrets revealed in the forums. I don't think you need to log in. I like my dancing cane post.

15 things I love about Tokyo DisneySea

Boing Boing -

Yeah, you’ve heard of Disneyland (that’s the one in California) and you were probably dragged to Walt Disney World (that’s the one in Florida) when you were a kid. And, possibly, if you give a rat’s patootie about Disney theme parks, you might have heard they have them in other countries, but you’ve probably never heard of Tokyo DisneySea.

“TDS,” as the Japanese call it, is what is known as a Disney resort’s “second gate.” If you’re a WDW person, then Epcot is the second gate; if you’re a DL person, then Disney California Adventure is the second gate.

In 2001, when The Walt Disney Company built Disney California Adventure, it spent one billion bucks for the park, the Grand Californian Hotel, and Downtown Disney. The same year, when The Oriental Land Company (who owns the Tokyo Disney Resort—The Walt Disney Company receives a royalty and percentage) built Tokyo DineySea, it spent three billion dollars just for the park. The Imagineers who conceive all this amazing stuff for Disney, most of which rarely gets built, got the chance to see their best creations realized. I could write a book about Tokyo DisneySea, but here are just 15 really cool things.

1. Drinking a Kirin Frozen Draft while standing beside the Nautilus. Yes, they serve Japanese beer with a frozen “head” right next to Captain Nemo’s killer sub. Nice when it’s 85 degrees and 90% humidity.

2. A quiet street in a small Italian town … except it’s really in a theme park near Tokyo.

3. Toy? No: real, and called Mermaid Lagoon.

While it seems pretty small above ground (with only two rides on the outside), it’s really an entire amusement park—King Triton’s Kingdom—built “under the sea,” so to speak.

You descend and discover three more rides, an amazing playground, a splash fountain, a huge theater, a restaurant, and several shops.

4. They have six different flavors of popcorn including milk chocolate, soda, and curry. The line to purchase is often 20 minutes long. The Japanese really love popcorn and the limited edition seasonal plastic buckets in which it’s sold.

5. You can wear really stupid things and nobody cares.

6. The belly-dancing robots in Sinbad’s Storybook Voyage.

7. Jose Carioca is there. Saludos Amigos!

8. Get into one of these iron thingies designed by Captain Nemo…

Descend 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and piss off a giant squid…

Zap him with an electric charge…

Lose energy and go where no non-themepark person has gone before…

Meet a really strange deep-sea being whose buddies push you back up to the surface (8E)

9. Amazingly, these futuristic boats were designed and built from scratch just to provide decoration and atmosphere—that’s all.

10. People eat all sorts of weird shit. This is a Halloween-themed Cruella deVille giant gyoza dog. Ten points if you know what that means.

11. At the foot of Mount Prometheus, which blows its top every hour and shoots huge balls of flame into the sky, is Fortress Exploration. Dedicated to the Society of Explorers and Adventurers (DisneySEA, for you fans of acronyms), this enormous area contains recreations of famous scientific experiments including a huge Foucault’s Pendulum, Camera Obscura, Anamorphic Painted Room, and a full-size recreation of Leonardo DaVinci’s famous Flying Machine. And they give out maps (in multiple languages) for free so you can find your way between the turrets.

12. They sell pumpkin churros at Halloween. Double yum.

13. The majestic Hightower Hotel, aka The Tower of Terror, known to cause adults to soil themselves.

Built by the bastard robber baron Harrison Hightower, whose collecting of antiquities from around the world included stealing an idol from an African tribe.

This is Shiriki Utundu, who killed Harrison Hightower 100 years ago by throwing him down an elevator shaft … and now he’s going to do the same thing to you.

14. You want strange frozen confections, you’ve got your choice.

15. There’s a goddam ocean liner moored in the park! The S.S. Columbia looks full size, but is scaled slightly down and is actually not a ship but a building. It contains a lounge, fancy restaurant, an attraction (with room for a second in the future), and a show with dancing desserts is performed dockside four times daily.

You really need to visit Tokyo for many wonderful reasons: Tokyo DisneySea and Tokyo Disneyland are merely two. The official website, conveniently in English.


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