Quotulatiousness

April 26, 2017

French cleat follow-up

Filed under: Humour, Technology — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Published on 2 Mar 2013

Answering a few questions from yesterday’s video on my main channel:
[French cleat storage system for hand tools]

April 24, 2017

A new anti-censorship tool – Slitheen

Filed under: Cancon, Liberty, Technology — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 03:00

The Register‘s Thomas Claburn on a new tool being developed in Canada to aid internet users in countries with hard censorship access material their governments don’t want them to see:

Computer boffins in Canada are working on anti-censorship software called Slitheen that disguises disallowed web content as government-sanctioned pablum. They intend for it to be used in countries where network connections get scrutinized for forbidden thought.

Slitheen – named after Doctor Who aliens capable of mimicking humans to avoid detection – could thus make reading the Universal Declaration of Human Rights look like a lengthy refresher course in North Korean juche ideology or a politically acceptable celebration of cats.

In a presentation last October, Cecylia Bocovich, a University of Waterloo PhD student developing the technology in conjunction with computer science professor Ian Goldberg, said that governments in countries such as China, Iran, and Pakistan have used a variety of techniques to censor internet access, including filtering by IP address, filtering by hostname, protocol-specific throttling, URL keyword filtering, active probing, and application layer deep packet inspection.

In an email to The Register, Goldberg said the software is based on the concept of decoy routing.

“The basic idea behind decoy routing is that the (censored) user’s computer makes an Internet connection to some non-censored (‘overt’) site, such as a site with cute cat videos,” said Goldberg. “However, it embeds a hidden cryptographic tag in its connection, which only a particular Internet router somewhere on the path between the user and the cute cat site can see. That router, seeing the tag, then redirects the traffic to a censored (‘covert’) site, say Wikipedia.”

As Bocovich and Goldberg explain in a paper [PDF] they co-authored, these tags make the web session’s master TLS secret available to a cooperating ISP. This allows the ISP to conduct what amounts to a friendly man-in-the-middle attack by having a network relay it controls open a proxy connection to the censored website.

April 23, 2017

Just how many calories are you burning during your exercise program?

Filed under: Health, Humour, Technology — Tags: — Nicholas @ 03:00

At The Register, Alistair Dabbs gets around to talking about the next flying car fantasy after first getting his knob squeezed (it’s not what you think) and then trying to do a bit of measurement:

A short while ago, at the end of another 45 minutes of relentless, sweaty knob-tweaking, one of my fellow gym members asked how many calories she could expect to burn at each class. Aha, I like a challenge, and so I decided to use my access to various wearable tech devices in order to find an answer to this question.

Well, I suppose it was a bright idea: the difficult bit was in implementing it.

Bound up by a host of bands and straps, I looked like a cross between a Running Man baddie and a punk reject hanging around Vivienne Westwood’s shop on the King’s Road in 1976. Yet I am tech gladiator incarnate, I told myself. I am Ali-Stor of Bromlar, son of Al-An, defiler of words, wearer of strap-ons, tweaker of knobs!

Maybe the developers of these fitness trackers thought it would be a good idea too. As it turns out, their implementation leaves a little to be desired. Every device measured and calculated my physical effort in a different way, producing wildly different results.

One heart-and-respiration monitor strapped across my chest reckoned I had burnt around 800 calories during the spin class. Another tracker reported a more modest 500 for the same session, with others suggesting various figures in between.

Best of all was my trusty Fitbit, which told me I’d been sitting down and doing nothing for those 45 minutes. No problem, I can simply use the app to log this period in my exercise record as a spin class and let its online database calculate a typical burn for the period.

172 calories.

Oh thanks a bunch, Fitbit. That’s the same as for a 20-minute stroll between my house and the local train station. Next time I consider attending a spin class, maybe I’ll go full-on and nip out to the newsagent instead. It’ll use up more calories and my tender knob can be left unsqueezed.

Top 5 Gun Myths That Hollywood Taught Us

Filed under: Technology — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Published on 5 Aug 2016

Top 5 Myths about Guns That Hollywood Taught Us

Forget what you see in the latest action movies or even video games, these gun myths shouldn’t be believed. We see it everywhere; James Bond, Westerns, Call of Duty, Fast and Furious, Terminator, Black Hawk Down, The Expendables, Goldeneye, Battlefield, Taken, Die Hard, Bon Cop Bad Cop, The Matrix, and so on – They’re all Bullshit, but we fall for them thanks to Hollywood. Here’s looking at you Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone.

Can Bullets shoot through cars? Will gas canisters explode if you shoot them? Am I safe from bullets underwater? Those questions and more will be answered in this edition of Watchmojo’s Top 5 Myths.

April 22, 2017

Tank Chats #7 British Mark II

Filed under: Britain, History, Military, Technology — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Published on 2 Jul 2015

The seventh in a series of short films about some of the vehicles in our collection presented by The Tank Museum’s historian David Fletcher MBE.

Only fifty tanks each of Marks II and III were produced. They were unarmoured, in the sense that the steel from which they were built was not heat treated to make it bullet proof. The reason being that these tanks were only intended for use as training machines.

The chief external differences from Mark I lay in the tail wheels, which were not used on Marks II and III and later heavy tanks, the narrower driver’s cab and the ‘trapezoid’ hatch cover on the roof.

April 21, 2017

How do spacesuits work? | James May Q&A | Head Squeeze

Filed under: History, Space, Technology — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Published on 8 Nov 2013

You’ve seen the videos of those astronauts on the International Space Station getting suited and booted in a spacesuit before a spacewalk, but how exactly does the space suit work?

A spacesuit has to protect you from the glaring radiation from the sun as well as keeping you warm from the extreme cold of outer space. As well as that is has to make sure you have enough oxygen and enough movement so you can actually do your job.

It also has to be pressurised to about 4.7PSI. Otherwise the empty vacuum of outer space will make your organs increase to twice their normal size and you will meet a very unpleasant untimely death.

Don’t fancy building your own spacesuit, why not build an elevator into space? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=annVRxRjj4c&feature=c4-overview-vl&list=PLMrtJn-MOYmeNkbYzXsEluioufGDxuqtO

Martin Archer has all the information you need on when humans will be able to go to Mars http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYthxj-bO0I&list=PLMrtJn-MOYme6klSjJXoZfWmNZ6ZthOSA&index=12

April 20, 2017

STEEL MILL RAILROAD RELICS Still found in Pittsburgh, Pa

Filed under: History, Railways, Technology — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Published on 27 Nov 2016

http://www.djstrains.com

Although it is 2016, and most mills closed in the 80’s, there are still many items still preserved in and around the Pittsburgh area. Here is just a small sampling.

April 19, 2017

How to Choose Lumber for Woodworking

Filed under: Technology — Tags: — Nicholas @ 02:00

Published on 15 Oct 2014

Learn how to choose & buy wood lumber for woodworking. See the complete article & photos here: http://woodandshop.com/how-to-choose-lumber-for-woodworking

♣ Subscribe to get my Videos & Articles in your email inbox: http://woodandshop.com/subscribe/

♣ 10 Steps to Getting Started in Traditional Woodworking with Hand Tools: http://woodandshop.com/learn-traditional-woodworking-with-hand-tools/

♣ My Amazing List of Hand Tools that you’ll need for traditional woodworking: http://woodandshop.com/which-hand-tools-do-you-need-for-traditional-woodworking/

April 13, 2017

Microsoft buries the (security) lede with this month’s patch

Filed under: Technology — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

In The Register, Shaun Nichols discusses the way Microsoft has effectively hidden the extent and severity of security changes in this month’s Windows 10 patch:

Microsoft today buried among minor bug fixes patches for critical security flaws that can be exploited by attackers to hijack vulnerable computers.

In a massive shakeup of its monthly Patch Tuesday updates, the Windows giant has done away with its easy-to-understand lists of security fixes published on TechNet – and instead scattered details of changes across a new portal: Microsoft’s Security Update Guide.

Billed by Redmond as “the authoritative source of information on our security updates,” the portal merely obfuscates discovered vulnerabilities and the fixes available for them. Rather than neatly split patches into bulletins as in previous months, Microsoft has dumped the lot into an unwieldy, buggy and confusing table that links out to a sprawl of advisories and patch installation instructions.

Punters and sysadmins unable to handle the overload of info are left with a fact-light summary of April’s patches – or a single bullet point buried at the end of a list of tweaks to, for instance, Windows 10.

Now, ordinary folk are probably happy with installing these changes as soon as possible, silently and automatically, without worrying about the nitty-gritty details of the fixed flaws. However, IT pros, and anyone else curious or who wants to test patches before deploying them, will have to fish through the portal’s table for details of individual updates.

[…]

Crucially, none of these programming blunders are mentioned in the PR-friendly summary put out today by Microsoft – a multibillion-dollar corporation that appears to care more about its image as a secure software vendor than coming clean on where its well-paid engineers cocked up. The summary lists “security updates” for “Microsoft Windows,” “Microsoft Office,” and “Internet Explorer” without version numbers or details.

The Future of Airliners? – Aurora D8

Filed under: Technology — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Published on 31 Mar 2017

Get 10% off Squarespace by following this link: http://squarespace.com/realengineering

Get your Real Engineering shirts at: https://store.dftba.com/collections/real-engineering

Why Are Plane Wings Angled Backwards?:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXFpLnPpDtY
Why Are The Dreamliner’s Windows So Big?:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-I20Ru9BwM

April 12, 2017

How to Buy Rough Lumber

Filed under: Technology — Tags: — Nicholas @ 02:00

Uploaded on 17 May 2011

Go to http://www.startwoodworking.com/getting-started for the complete series on how to build a nightstand. In episode one, learn how to buy rough lumber at a lumberyard or hardwood dealer. Visit http://www.FineWoodworking.com for more woodworking technique videos.

April 11, 2017

Vantablack – the discovery that fits everybody’s preferred story line

Filed under: Technology — Tags: — Nicholas @ 03:00

At Samizdata, Brian Micklethwait attempts to look at the newly announced blackest black ever, Vantablack:

In the event that you have somehow managed to miss this story, you can get some idea of how very black Vantablack is by pondering this image, of a mask, together with the same mask covered in the liquid version of Vantablack. The Vantablacked version of the mask might as well be a flat piece of cardboard for all the 3-D shape detail you are able to discern by looking at it. You’d need to be a bat to make sense of it:

That image is to be found at a British Museum posting entitled Vantablack is the new black. I googled that gag, confident that someone would already have used it as a heading, and so it proved.

[…]

If you are the kind that blames capitalism for causing poverty (instead of praising capitalism for getting rid of poverty, the way I do and you should) then perhaps you will say that Vantablack proves how frivolous capitalism is, making black even blacker when there is still so much misery in the world. If you believe that universities should get more government money (Vantablack emerged from the University of Surrey), well then, you’ll say that Vantablack proves that universities should get more government money. If you are an anti-Trumpist or an anti-Brexiteer, you will regard the Vantablack story as proof that we really are living in uniquely dark times. If you are the kind of commenter here whose reaction to any new-tech fuss we report is that it is a fuss about nothing, or perhaps if you are the sort who wants to make fun of such grumpiness, you will perhaps even now be contriving a comment that includes the words: nothing to see here.

April 10, 2017

Small Arms of WWI Primer 022: German T-Gewehr Anti-Tank Rifle

Filed under: Germany, History, Military, Technology — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

Published on Mar 29, 2016

Othais and Mae delve into the story of this WWI classic. Complete with history, function, and live fire demonstration.

C&Rsenal presents its WWI Primer series; covering the firearms of this historic conflict one at a time in honor of the centennial anniversary. Join us every other Tuesday!

Cartridge: 13.2x92mmR
Capacity: 1 rnd
Length: 5.5′
weight: 37.7 lbs

Additional reading:

Das Tankgewehr Mauser M 1918
Wolfgang Kern

DWJ – 1972 – Volume 4
Die Panzerbuchse 18

K. D. Meyer

April 9, 2017

The Internet-of-Things wants to invade your kitchen

Filed under: Business, Technology — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 04:00

Megan McArdle on the good and bad (mostly bad, IMO) of adding extra layers of technological sophistication to your kitchen appliances. If someone hasn’t already offered a hand-blender, can-opener, or soup tureen with Wi-Fi and/or Bluetooth built-in, just wait a bit … it’s bound to happen.

I don’t think of myself as having Luddite tendencies, but I confess that when I see refrigerators with screens set into their doors, my first thought is: “Why?”

No, don’t tell me that you can stream music or look inside the refrigerator. I already have technology for that — respectively, my Amazon Echo and this app called “opening the door.” Neither costs the thousands of extra dollars I would have to pay to get my hands on a Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator. And if my music streamer breaks, I can replace it without calling an appliance repair company and spending a fortune on parts.

I have similar sensations about many of the technologies on offer in today’s appliances. Every major appliance manufacturer seems to be looking for a way to stick wi-fi into their products, for example. And I confess, I have occasionally fantasized about starting a pie cooking in my oven, sauntering to the other side of my 5,400-square-foot home for a dip in the pool, and being able to use my phone to turn down the heat on the pie after 10 minutes. Alas, in the trim 1,700-square-foot rowhouse I actually live in, I am never far enough from my kitchen to actually justify resorting to my smartphone rather than my feet.

We are at a curious moment in cooking technology. The last decade or so has probably introduced more technology potential into the kitchen than any previous decade except the 1930s. Sous vide, electric pressure cookers, fuzzy logic rice machines, induction cooktops, food processors that also cook, wi-fi controls, web connections … these things are now common enough for ordinary cooking enthusiasts to have at least heard of them, if not tried them. It is an era of enormous potential. And yet, that potential is frequently not realized, because we can’t actually figure out what to do with all our new toys.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying that all of this new technology is useless. Far from it! I am an enthusiast for many of them. And yet, almost all these whiz-bang technologies fall prey, to some extent, to one of two problems. Either they are not actually very useful, or they are so spectacularly revolutionary that the average home cook can’t figure out what to do with them.

And this doesn’t even dip in to the awesomely terrible security issues of so many Internet-of-Things devices, creating new, wide vistas for Ransomware scumbags…

April 6, 2017

Words & Numbers: Taxing Robots Does Not Compute

Filed under: Business, Economics, Technology — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

Published on 5 Apr 2017

This week, Antony and James break down Bill Gates’ recent suggestion that companies that use robots instead of human workers should pay employment taxes in order to fund new welfare programs.

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