What are your odds of winning rock-paper-scissors? Simple – one in three. At least, that’s what chance predicts.
But people do not play randomly – they follow hidden patterns that you can predict to win more games than you should, a study has revealed.
This shouldn’t come as a complete shock to anyone who’s been around the online block a time or two, but no web browser is 100 percent secure. That much was once again proven at the annual Pwn2Own hacking event held at the CanSecWest security conference. By the second day of the event, every major browser had fallen — Firefox (Mozilla), Chrome (Google), Internet Explorer (Microsoft), and Safari (Apple). Not all browsers are created equal, however, and out of the bunch, Firefox had the unwanted distinction of being the most exploited.
The World Wide Web is 25 years old today. It’s time, says its inventor, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, for the Internet to have an online “global constitution – a bill of rights.”
His memo to create the WWW was filed on this day in 1989. His boss at Cern wrote on the memo, “Vague, but exciting.” Now, Berners-Lee and others have launched a Web We Want campaign to protect the vision.
On its Web site, the Web We Want campaign notes that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights can’t be achieved “without an open, universal Web.” To battle laws that restrict the Web, the campaign is looking to draft an Internet Users Bill of Rights for citizens to propose to their governments.
If you ever find yourself scratching your head over the complicated articles in science and math journals, don’t feel too bad about yourself. Because there’s a chance that whatever you’re attempting to read is actually 100 percent, Grade A, peer-reviewed drivel.
Earlier this week, Nature revealed that scientific journal publishers Springer and IEEE are both removing over 120 published papers after discovering that every single one is nothing more than fancy-sounding gibberish. The fairly egregious oversight was discovered by French computer scientist Cyril Labbé, who’s spent the past two years cataloguing the collection of computer-generated drivel.
Tor has been making it easier and easier over the years to anonymously browse the web, and now it’s working to make it just as easy to chat anonymously too. Tor is currently working on a secure instant messaging app for the desktop that will automatically route encrypted messages through its anonymous network. The instant messenger may be available on its own or included as part of the Tor Browser Bundle — an app that allows users to easily enable Tor and begin browsing the web anonymously.
Recognize the distorted text to your left? That’s a knock-off of CAPTCHA, the ingenious online system for verifying that you are a human user of a website and not some crawling bot. (The punny acronym is short for “Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart.”) Developed more than a dozen years ago at Carnegie Mellon University, CAPTCHA has been a reliable firewall between sensitive databases and virus-like programs designed to pry into them.
In defending the NSA’s telephony metadata collection efforts, government officials have repeatedly resorted to one seemingly significant detail: This is just metadata—numbers dialed, lengths of calls. “There are no names, there’s no content in that database,” President Barack Obama told Charlie Rose in June.
No names; just metadata.
New research from Stanford demonstrates the silliness of that distinction. Armed with very sparse metadata, Jonathan Mayer and Patrick Mutchler found it easy—trivially so—to figure out the identity of a caller.
Mayer and Mutchler are running an experiment which works with volunteers who agree to use an Android app, MetaPhone, that allows the researchers access to their metadata. Now, using that data, Mayer and Mutchler say that it was hardly any trouble at all to figure out who the phone numbers belonged to, and they did it in just a few hours.
Booking a holiday is one thing, but figuring out what to do when you get there is another thing altogether. Unless your sole goal is to sit on a beach supping sangria and munching melon, you’ll need a plan of action. Otherwise, you could end up wandering around the same gin joints without a clue as to what to do.
Jauntful, however, is a new Web app currently in stealth, designed to make it easier to share top travel tips with those planning on visiting your favorite ‘hoods. We took a quick peek to see what it does.
Twitter has been field-testing a new native app feature that shows a map of tweets occurring near the user in real time. The feature appears as a separate column in the app and shows tweets from other users regardless of the follow relationship between the users. It’s called “Nearby”, and it could be Twitter’s next granular advertising targeting gambit.
A growing obsession with digitally archiving everyday life has given rise to countless apps facilitating your diaristic tendencies. Rising above the clutter is Bokeh, a new service that strips lifelogging to its essentials with a pared-down app that stresses less is more.