Hackers Can Disable A Sniper Rifle – Or Change Its Target

tp750 rifle

TrackingPoint self-aiming rifle.

Hot off their success at forcing Jeep to recall 1.4 million vehicles due to their vulnerability to being taken over by hackers, the gang at Wired is focusing on sniper rifles that can be hacked. Yes you read that right…

Put a computer on a sniper rifle, and it can turn the most amateur shooter into a world-class marksman. But add a wireless connection to that computer-aided weapon, and you may find that your smart gun suddenly seems to have a mind of its own—and a very different idea of the target.

At the Black Hat hacker conference in two weeks, security researchers Runa Sandvik and Michael Auger plan to present the results of a year of work hacking a pair of $13,000 TrackingPoint self-aiming rifles. The married hacker couple have developed a set of techniques that could allow an attacker to compromise the rifle via its Wi-Fi connection and exploit vulnerabilities in its software.

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Gonzo Box

Gonzo

I was recently reading a fun UPROXX article about Hunter S. Thompson’s appearing in pop culture. Of course this didn’t include the good doctor’s own contributions to said pop culture. This article mostly talked about biopics like Where the Buffalo Roam, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and The Rum Diaries. But it was also smart enough to mention Spider Jerusalem in the mix and savvy commenters were quick to add Colonel Hunter Gathers from the Venture Bros. cartoon.

I really like all of these Hunter happenings, but nothing beats the man himself. Here’s a bit about the Gonzo Tapes which give us the clearest glimpse we’re likely to get of the mad one’s demons and angels…

…from early missives on the Hells Angels and classic selections from Thompson’s seminal Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas to trenchant 1972 presidential campaign coverage and reportage from the front lines of the Vietnam War.Read the rest

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The Oil Industry is Going Solar

solarprice

Zachary Shahan writes at Climate Crock of the Week:

There’s no way around it — the future of energy is solar energy. But here’s the fun part: the future starts now.

Solar panels have been on the market for decades, but saying solar panels of today are the same as solar panels of the 1990s is like saying phones of today are like phones of the 1990s. True, you can’t play Tetris on your solar panels or listen to music via them, but who wants to climb onto a record-hot roof to do that anyway? Getting back to the central point here, it’s that the cost of solar has fallen off a cliff, and solar power is increasingly the cheapest option around. (see graph above).

Solar power prices are falling so fast that it’s hard for just about anyone to keep up. Last year, many of us jumped for joy as a record-low solar PPA was signed in Austin, Texas (for 5 cents/kWh).

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The Grateful Dead were decades ahead of their time

Over the Fourth of July weekend, the Grateful Dead performed a farewell series of shows at Chicago’s Soldier Field, celebrating 50 years as a band.

Reading about these final sets brought me back to the 1970s, when I attended a New Hampshire summer camp as a boy.

During those summers, I’d noticed that my counselors were steeped in the culture of the band. It wasn’t just endless discussions of shows, songs, versions of songs and surprising set lists (Would they ever play Dark Star? Would Phil ever sing again?); it was also a dedication to the ethos of understated generosity, environmental stewardship and a nonjudgmental attitude to other people’s lifestyles.

That was the spirit of the band and their fans, known as Deadheads.

Even then, the band was an outlier in a music industry that has always enjoyed a fair dose of control over artists, imaging, marketing and ticket sales. And the almost stereotypical image of the money-grubbing music executive of the midcentury rock-and-roll era (exemplified by Tom Hanks’ character in the 1996 film That Thing You Do) seems, in retrospect, quite accurate.… Read the rest

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42 Years Later, Officers Charged for Murder of Defiant Chilean Folk Singer

"Víctor Jara" by Source. Licensed under Fair use of copyrighted material in the context of Víctor Jara">Fair use via Wikipedia.

Víctor Jara” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia.

This post originally appeared on Common Dreams. To see more of Sarah Lazare’s articles, go here.

More than four decades after the Chilean military tortured and killed beloved folk singer, playwright, and social activist Victor Jara during the coup of General Augusto Pinochet, former officers allegedly involved in the murder are finally facing charges.

Judge Miguel Vázquez Plaza on Wednesday announced homicide and kidnapping charges against 10 former military officers, including former lieutenant Pedro Barrientos Nuñez, a resident of Florida who is seeking to avoid extradition to Chile. Four of the people indicted have already turned themselves in, and arrests are expected to follow.

Charges were also levied Wednesday for the slaying of Littre Quiroga Carvajal, former military police chief.

Jara’s widow, Joan Turner Jara, told reporters that the development offers a “message of hope,” but she went further, saying “we’re pushing forward in demanding justice for Victor with the hope that justice will follow for everyone.”

Over 40,000 people were tortured, murdered, or held as political prisoners during Pinochet’s dictatorship, which lasted for decades and was backed by the United States.

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Short of a conspiracy theory? You can always blame the Jews

British comedian David Baddiel believes that Jews are the biggest victims of conspiracy theories, writing at the Guardian:

Conspiracy theory, I said in my last standup show, is how idiots get to feel like intellectuals. I still believe this: conspiracy theory is primarily a way for people, mainly men, to appear in the know, to use their collection of assumptions, generalisations, straw men and false inferences to say, effectively: ah, the wool may have been pulled over your eyes, my friend, but not mine.

National Park Service 9-11 Statue of Liberty and WTC fire.jpg

Beliefs such as the idea that 4,000 notified-by-Israel Jews didn’t turn up for work in the World Trade Center on 9/11 are, for many people, facts. Photo: National Park Service.

But there are other reasons why it’s so popular these days. It provides lonely men with an online community of like-minded lonely men. It’s comforting; it’s reassuring. It provides order in a disordered universe to imagine that shadowy forces organise horrific events, rather than to have to confront the terrible truth that death and destruction happen, all the time, apparently at random.

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Bloodline of the Gods

For the Human Race, there are four, primary, types of blood. They are A, B, AB, and O. The classifications are derived from the antigens of a person’s blood cells – antigens being proteins that are found on the surface of the cells and which are designed to combat bacteria and viruses.

Blood Drive...

Most of the human population have such proteins on their cells. They are the Rh positive percentage of the Earth’s people. Within the United States, current estimates suggest that around 85 percent of all Caucasians, roughly 90 percent of African Americans, and approximately 98 percent of Asian Americans are Rh positive.

The small percentage of the U.S. population (and that of the rest of the world, too, it should be noted) which does not exhibit the relevant proteins falls into a very different category, that of the Rh negatives.

Why one particular group of people should have blood that is so incredibly different to that of just about everyone else, is a matter of deep controversy.… Read the rest

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Archeologists discover 400-year-old remains of Jamestown, Virginia colonial leaders

Loney Abrams writes at Hopes&Fears:

Archeologists have unearthed the human remains of four colonial leaders in Jamestown, Virginia. The bodies were buried more than 400 years ago near what had been the US’ first Protestant church, and are believed to belong to some of the earliest English settlers in America. It is the same church where Pocahontas married John Rolfe, which marked the beginning of a peace treaty between the Powhatan Indians and colonists. Archeologists had discovered the remains in November 2013 but they wanted to trace and confirm the findings before making an announcement.

The most interesting aspect of the discovery, however, was not of the bones themselves, but of the relics that were buried with the bodies. For example, on top of the coffin belonging to Capt. Gabriel Archer, a nemesis of the one-time colony leader John Smith, archeologists found a Catholic reliquary that contained bone fragments and a container for holy water, raising questions of whether Archer was part of a secret cell within the Protestant community, or even a Catholic spy on behalf of the Spanish.… Read the rest

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The Psychology of Revenge: Biology, Evolution and Culture

Murder of Agamemnon

“Revenge is a dish best served cold…”
(Ancient Klingon Proverb)

This post originally appeared on Philosophical Disquisitions

When I was younger I longed for revenge. I remember school-companions doing unspeakably cruel things to me — stealing my lunch, laughing at my misfortune and so forth (hey, it all seemed cruel at the time). I would carefully plot my revenge. The revenge almost always consisted of performing some similarly unspeakably cruel act towards them. Occasionally, my thoughts turned to violence. Sometimes I even lashed out in response.

I’m less inclined towards revenge these days. Indeed, I am almost comically non-confrontational in all aspects of my life. But I still feel the pangs. When wronged, I’ll briefly get a bit hot under the collar and my thoughts will turn to violence once more. I’ll also empathise with the characters in the innumerable revenge narratives that permeate popular culture, willing them on and feeling a faint twinge of pleasure when they succeed.… Read the rest

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White House Rejects Petition to Pardon Snowden

A petition calling for clemency for NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was denied on Tuesday. (Photo: August Kelm/flickr/cc)

A petition calling for clemency for NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was denied on Tuesday. (Photo: August Kelm/flickr/cc)

This article originally appeared on Common Dreams. See more of Nadia Prupis’ articles here.

The White House on Tuesday formally rejected a ‘We the People’ petition to pardon Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower who has been living in exile since exposing the U.S. government’s invasive spying operation in 2013.

More than 167,000 people signed the petition urging the government to grant him clemency, stating in their petition that Snowden is “a national hero … [who] should be immediately issued a full, free, and absolute pardon for any crimes he has committed or may have committed related to blowing the whistle on secret NSA surveillance programs.”

Not only will Snowden not be pardoned, the Obama administration said, he should face criminal charges for his actions.

“Mr. Snowden’s dangerous decision to steal and disclose classified information had severe consequences for the security of our country and the people who work day in and day out to protect it,” Lisa Monaco, adviser to President Barack Obama on homeland security and counter-terrorism, said in a statement on Tuesday.

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