Makes one long for the days of fanatic isolationism by Apple users …
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an apple halloweenHackers are reportedly sticking virtual razor blades into Apple computers this Halloween, as a Mac security vendor reports Wednesday that a Mac-focussed Trojan is reportedly loose on the internet costumed as an innocent video decoding file.

Mac OS X users visiting malicious porn sites are told to download a special codec that will let Apple’s Quicktime player to play the porn flicks, but instead of adult treats, users get a malicious trick, according to anti-virus vendor Intego.

By hijacking the DNS, the Trojan is able to redirect visits to sites such as banks, eBay and PayPal to fake websites that attempt to harvest user’s logins and passwords to commit financial fraud.

Update: Sunbelt Software’s Alex Eckelberry (who has posted screenshots) and botnet expert Gadi Evron say this is the work of professional cyber-criminals and that Mac users are now on notice that they are targets, too.

I can sum it up in one sentence: OS X is the new Windows 98.

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I had a joke about bb-guns and eyes being shot out, but this was a devastating and tragic event.
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People watch a fire close to Highway 5 near Oceanside, California.
People watch a fire close to Highway 5 near Oceanside, California.
A boy playing with matches caused one of the fires that swept through California last week, according to officials.

The boy accidentally lit a fire near the city of Agua Dulce, north-east of Los Angeles. The blaze became known as the Buckweed fire, burning 38,000 acres and destroying 21 homes.

The boy, whose name and age have not been released, was handed over to his parents after being questioned by LA County sheriffs. The case will be handed over to the district attorney’s office. It was unclear whether the boy had been arrested.

“He admitted to playing with matches and accidentally starting the fire,” sheriff’s department sergeant Diane Hecht said in a statement.

A total of half a million acres were burned in the fires, with 1600 homes levelled and 14 deaths attributed to the fires. Eighteen of the fires are now fully contained, with the remainder at 70% containment by this morning.

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Txt of the Living Dead

October 26, 2007

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Txt of the Living Dead is projected on a screen in France, complete with text-messaged speech balloons.
An American mashup artist let passers-by put words in giant zombies’ mouths last week.

The show, called Txt of the Living Dead, projected 15-foot-wide, black-and-white stills from George A. Romero’s classic 1968 horror flick Night of the Living Dead onto buildings. Text messages from random people on the street then filled comics-style speech balloons that were added to the images in what New York artist Paul Notzold called an “SMS-enabled interactive street performance.”

“It’s all uncensored, and that’s the beauty of it,” said Notzold, a 33-year-old art director who also teaches about cell phones at Parsons The New School for Design.
It’s a transient, high-tech form of graffiti.

Notzold’s work is one of several public art projects, like Smoke Signals and the Helloworld Project, that encourage viewers to become participants.

Check his website for details.
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High Density Last Supper

October 26, 2007

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The Last Supper - Credit: Photo HAL 9000 Artist: Leonardo Da Vinci
The Last Supper

HAL 9000 will send The Last Supper by Leonardo Da Vinci soaring through the Internet on October 27, 2007 with a high density view of 16 billion pixels. The time given for the launch is 9:30 A.M. Central European Summer Time. In the U.S.,3:30 A.M.EST.

HAL 9000 Haltadefinizone known for its high density art work will send a 16 billion pixel graphic display of Leonardo Da Vinci´s The Last Supper on October 27, 2007 at 9:30 AM Central European Summer Time. For people living in the United States the display will be shown at 3:30 A.M. EST and 12:30 A.M. PST.
The Last Supper event is sponsored in part by AMD, CLAUSS, DeAgostino, I.Net, and Nikkon. As with other high density graphics previously published by HAL 9000, downloads of the pictures are done at the users own risk. The Haltadefinizone graphic displays are finitely detailed and should be interesting for art and technology officianados. .
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Six Asiatic wild elephants were electrocuted as they went berserk after drinking rice beer in India’s remote northeast, a wildlife official said Tuesday.

Nearly 40 elephants came to a village on Friday looking for food. Some found beer, which farmers ferment and keep in plastic and tin drums in their huts, said Sunil Kumar, a state wildlife official.

They got drunk, uprooted a utility pole carrying power lines and were electrocuted in Chandan Nukat, a village nearly 150 miles west of Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya state, Kumar said.

The elephants are known to have a taste for rice beer brewed by tribal communities in India’s northeast. Four wild elephants died in similar circumstances in the region three years ago.

“It’s great to have such a huge number of elephants, but the increasing man-elephant conflict following the shrinkage in their habitat due to the growing human population is giving us nightmares,” said Pradyut Bordoloi, a former forest and environment minister for Assam.

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Just one look, that’s all it took …
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A split-second glance at two candidates’ faces is often enough to determine which one will win an election, according to a Princeton University study.

Princeton psychologist Alexander Todorov has demonstrated that quick facial judgments can accurately predict real-world election returns. Todorov has taken some of his previous research that showed that people unconsciously judge the competence of an unfamiliar face within a tenth of a second, and he has moved it to the political arena. His lab tests show that a rapid appraisal of the relative competence of two candidates’ faces was sufficient to predict the winner in about 70 percent of the races for U.S. senator and state governor in the 2006 elections.

“We never told our test subjects they were looking at candidates for political office — we only asked them to make a gut reaction response as to which unfamiliar face appeared more competent,” said Todorov
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Map of the Internet

October 22, 2007

This is an interesting project to watch, as they plan to incorporate IP searches and the ability to layer different data sets on top of the interactive map.
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What is this?

It’s a map of the entire Internet. At the moment we’re displaying the owner of each IP address (grey boxes), and which IP addresses are listed on the Spamhaus XBL blacklist (red dots), but we should be able to show other things in the future.

How is this done?

We’ve taken snapshots of the internet routing table (from CAIDA for this demo, but we’d probably use a local BGP feed out of preference) to work out who owns each IP address, and a snapshot of the Spamhaus XBL as some interesting data to overlay on the map.

Obvious missing features are “search by IP address” and “overlay multiple data sets”.

Then we use a Hilbert curve to map those addresses onto a two-dimensional map, as inspired by xkcd, so that nearby IP addresses are nearby on the map and so that CIDR ranges (the usual way blocks of IP addresses are broken down) map onto squares or rectangles.

Click and drag on the image to move it around. Double-click to centre on a point.
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