Monthly Archives: June 2014

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What’s on your HDTV this week: World Cup, Drunk History, Under the Dome

The USA has survived Group Play and now it’s knockout time at the World Cup in Brazil. A record number of people were streaming during the USMNT’s last game, and we’ll be watching to see if that number is broken tomorrow afternoon as the squad takes…

Millions of dynamic DNS users suffer after Microsoft seizes No-IP domains

Millions of legitimate servers that rely on dynamic domain name services from suffered outages on Monday after Microsoft seized 22 domain names it said were being abused in malware-related crimes against Windows users.

Microsoft enforced a federal court order making the company the domain IP resolver for the No-IP domains. Microsoft said the objective of the seizure was to identify and reroute traffic associated with two malware families that abused No-IP services. Almost immediately, end-users, some of which were actively involved in Internet security, castigated the move as heavy handed, since there was no evidence No-IP officially sanctioned or actively facilitated the malware campaign, which went by the names Bladabindi (aka NJrat) and Jenxcus (aka NJw0rm).

“By becoming the DNS authority for those free dynamic DNS domains, Microsoft is now effectively in a position of complete control and is now able to dictate their configuration,” Claudio Guarnieri, co-founder of Radically Open Security, wrote in an e-mail to Ars Technica. “Microsoft fundamentally swept away No-IP, which has seen parts of its own DNS infrastructure legally taken away.”

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Yahoo secures streaming rights to sixth season of Community

In better news, Yahoo’s news of streaming the sixth season of Community didn’t mention Chevy Chase’s name even once.

NBC’s decision to cancel its cult-hit comedy series Community a couple of months ago didn’t enrage or depress legions of fans, mostly because they assumed the show was far from dead. Unlike the TV landscape of even a few years ago, streaming services—and their rabid competition for unique, quality content—have amped up negotiations for beloved, canceled series (evidenced by Netflix’s deal to air new episodes of Arrested Development in 2013).

Since then, platforms like Hulu, Xbox Live, and Amazon have begun jostling for series of their own, but none of them managed to make the phrase “six seasons and a movie” come closer to reality. That honor instead belongs to Yahoo, who signed a deal with Sony Pictures Television on Monday to produce Community‘s next (and possibly final) 13-episode season. Fans, breathe easy: off-kilter series creator Dan Harmon will serve as its showrunner.

“I look forward to bringing our beloved NBC sitcom to a larger audience by moving it online,” Harmon said in a statement (assumedly joking, since over-the-air and cable viewership numbers still soundly beat streaming views on average). “I vow to dominate our new competition. Rest easy, Big Bang Theory. Look out, Bang Bus!”

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Spying malware leaves countries’ energy grids open to attack

Cyberwarfare campaigns against Western energy grids aren’t just the stuff of action movies these days — they’re very, very real. Symantec has discovered a likely state-sponsored hacking group, nicknamed Dragonfly, that has been using phishing sites…

Make Homemade Fabric Softener Crystals with Salt

Make Homemade Fabric Softener Crystals with Salt

Store bought fabric softener can be expensive and contains a bunch of different chemicals. Lindsey Johnson at weblog Henry Happened shows you how to make a cheap, natural alternative with standard salt and essential oils.

All you need to do is add five drops of whatever your favorite essential oil is per cup of kosher salt. It’s that easy! Johnson suggests one to two tablespoons for a small load, and a quarter to half a cup for really large loads (or if you have really hard water). To read more hit the link below.

DIY: 2-Ingredient Fabric Softener Crystals | Henry Happened via Make

Photo by Lindsey Johnson.

Go Canyon Flying In An F-15E Strike Eagle!

Go Canyon Flying In An F-15E Strike Eagle!

Low-level cockpit videos shot from inside F-15E Strike Eagles are surprisingly rare considering that the "Mud Hen" was designed to fly low-level interdiction missions, but the two featured below are quite exhilarating.

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Jilted ex-boyfriend avoids jail for Facebook post on woman’s account

An Irish man received a fine for posting a Facebook status update to his former girlfriend’s wall under her name. The Central Criminal Court judge found that the status update was a “reprehensible offense” that “damaged  the woman’s good name” according to the Irish Times, though the man managed to avoid a criminal charge over the post.

The posting was created in April 2011 from the woman’s phone after the man found out through her text messages that she had started a new relationship. The man, who also faced and was acquitted of charges for allegedly raping and imprisoning the same woman, logged in and posted as her stating that she was “a whore” would take “any offers.”

The criminal charges over the post meant the man faced up to ten years in prison and a €10,000 fine under the Criminal Damage Act of 1991. As the Times writes, “The judge noted there was no relevant precedence to guide him in sentencing.” The Criminal Damage Act specifically covers property, and the counsel for the Director of Public Prosecutions noted that the incident was more like harassment that caused damage to a reputation.

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These Soviet Concept Vehicles Are Clearly From An Alternate Universe

These vehicle designs look like they were made for a Batman movie, or maybe a space adventure. They’re the direct result of the futurist bent in Soviet design. And some of them are just insane. We’ve got a gallery.

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Good News! 10-Year-Old Girl’s Stolen Beetle Has Been Recovered!

Good News! 10-Year-Old Girl's Stolen Beetle Has Been Recovered!

Remember last week when I told you the sad tale of the ten-year old girl who saved up two grand to buy a ’67 Beetle, and then the Beetle was stolen ? Well, if nothing else good happens this week, at least we have this: her Beetle has been recovered.

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Facebook’s emotional experiments on users aren’t all bad

A graph of Facebook’s findings: an overall more positive news feed results in more positive generated content, and the same for a negative news feed and negative content.

Facebook scared some of its privacy-conscious users over the weekend by revealing that it performed a scientific study on manipulating the emotional content of users’ News Feeds. Since the study came to light, the company has been accused of acting unethically—even illegally—by subjecting its users to an experiment without notice or consent. While the implications of the study are a little frightening, Facebook’s study might actually have been a responsible thing to do.

The study in question monitored “emotional words” to see how the overall mood of a user’s News Feeds affected that user’s status updates. It turned out that users who saw fewer positive sentiments in their feeds produced fewer positive status updates, and users who saw fewer negative sentiments in feeds produced fewer negative updates. The effect was small, to the tune of one less positive or negative word generated per 1,000 emotional words in News Feeds, but it did exist.

Facebook’s defense of the study hasn’t been exactly deft, with its authors saying that the effects of the study have been overstated and that the experiment was short and no one was permanently scarred. A few reporters have claimed that since Facebook appeared to receive federal funding from the James S. McDonnell Foundation and the Army Research Office for the study, it violated ethical laws by conducting experiments on its users without their consent. Facebook has since announced that the study did not receive federal funding, so it wasn’t subject to those ethical regulations.

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