The people of Yemen can hear destruction before it arrives. In cities, towns and villages across this country, which hangs off the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula, the air buzzes with the sound of American drones flying overhead. The sound is a constant and terrible reminder: a robot plane, acting on secret intelligence, may calculate that the man across from you at the coffee shop, or the acquaintance with whom you’ve shared a passing word on the street, is an Al Qaeda operative. This intelligence may be accurate or it may not, but it doesn’t matter. If you are in the wrong place at the wrong time, the chaotic buzzing above sharpens into the death-herald of an incoming missile.
We “see” surveillance through the instruments of seeing—the devices—though less by the humans that manipulate those instruments or the endpoint where the images captured by cameras are actually seen. Generally, when we see surveillance camera images, it’s in the aftermath of something terrible happening—catching someone in the act. For the most part, maybe, people don’t really want to see the process. Weirdos like me want to. When I was trying to explain this interest to someone, he winced and said, “I don’t really need to know how the sausage gets made.” Which, I’ll concede, is a popular and reasonable position. Unless you’ve read The Jungle. (And unless you’ve watched the emergence of ag-gag legislation throughout the United States.)
“In general, technology magnifies power, but adoption rates are indifferent,” Schneier said. “The nimble and relatively powerless make use of new technology faster. They’re not hindered by bureaucracy or laws or ethics. There was an enormous change when they discovered the Net. Now a decade later when the government figures out how to use the Net, it had more raw power to magnify. That’s how you get weird situations where Syrian dissidents use Facebook to organize, and the government uses Facebook to arrest its citizens.”
“Revenues that once flowed to many small accounting firms are flowing to one software package: TurboTax. That process will be repeated in many white-collar industries in the coming decades, Brynjolfsson argued. And technological change is so rapid that even if some accountants retrain, making their way into other industries, there’s nothing to say that the computers won’t annex those industries as well.”
"These are no longer a part of the distant future or a science fiction movie."
*It kills me when they say that. There has never, ever been any science fiction movie about an Industrial Internet-of-Things. Never. There aren’t even sci-fi novels, or short-stories, or comic books about the Internet-of-Things. Zero.
*My science fiction novel “The Caryatids” is sorta kind of about the Internet-of-Things, or about ubiquitous computing anyway, but it’s got next to nothing about what is really coming down the road right now — and coming like a billion-dollar steamroller. Fiction doesn’t stand between the population and technological change any more.
*It’s not that it’s impossible to write that sorta stuff any more, it’s just that very few people who are truly clued-in would bother to do it. Too much lag-time, wrong means of information, wrong demographic to talk at. If you want to speculate about the Internet-of-Things, you just fire up some broadband and go immerse yourself in the scene. Writing science fiction about it is like writing epic poetry about it.
*There must be some publishing platform that is directly connected to the Internet-of-Things. Something GitHub-like, where you just write something catchy and it gets virally spread around by, I dunno, Bluetooth or Zigbee or something. Somebody clue me in on that, and I’ll write something amusing for you. Hey, why not?
Cui Jianbin, a host for a Hubei Television online agricultural news show, went on an on-air rampage lambasting government officials in Hubei province for building a lavish office building on 20,000 square meters of former farmland. Mr. Cui attacked officials for their excessive spending in a county that is listed as poverty-stricken and receives federal assistance. It wasn’t clear how much the building cost, and local government officials weren’t immediately available to comment.
“Government officials think ordinary people are blind,” Mr. Cui said before he was cut off, noting that the officials had “ignored their superiors’ instructions and spent money extravagantly.”
The enraged broadcaster’s rant was finally curtailed when an off-screen colleague interjected. Mr. Cui’s final plea before the video cut to commercial (at the 1:50 mark above): “May I finish?”
Interactive map is a visualization of the top 1,000,000 websites represented by their favicons and their monthly reach (the bigger the favicon, the bigger the reach):
TheNmap Projectis pleased to release our new and improvedIcons of the Webproject! Since our free and open sourceNmap Security Scannersoftware is all about exploring networks at massive scale, we started by scanning the top million web sites for 2013 (as ranked by the analytics companyAlexa). We then downloaded each site’sfavicon—the small icon displayed next to a site title in browser bookmarks and tabs.
We scaled the icons in proportion to each site’s monthly reach (popularity) and placed them in a giant collage. The smallest icons—for sites visited by only 0.00004% of the Internet population each month—are 256 pixels square (16x16). The largest icon (Google) is 394 million pixels. The whole collage is 5 gigapixels.
This is an update to a similar project we performed in 2010.
PAJU, South Korea — At the base of a mountain almost two miles from the North Korean border, the giant helium balloons slowly float upward, borne by a stiff, cold wind. These are not balloons in the conventional sense—the transparent, cylindrical tubes covered in colorful Korean script are more than 20 feet in length and each carries three large bundles wrapped in plastic. The characters painted on one of the balloons reads, “The regime must fall.” (via We Hacked North Korea With Balloons and USB Drives - Thor Halvorssen and Alexander Lloyd - The Atlantic)
From where a drone operator’s sitting, one blurry blob of pixels looks almost exactly like the next blurry blob of pixels, which is how the term “bug splat” worked its way into modern military slang as a way of referring to a kill. Now, though, a giant art installation in Pakistan wants to show drone operators that its people are anything but anonymous white blobs—and that that “bug splat” belongs to an actual human being.