Monday Links from the Fens vol. CCCLVI Monday Links from the Fens vol. CCCLVI
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  1. #1

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    Default Monday Links from the Fens vol. CCCLVI

    Getting towards the point in this project where there's only little dull bits left to do. Wish I hadn't already read this lot

    • Full(er) House: Exposing high-end poker cheating devices - Elie Bursztein on a quite ingenious device: ”I kinda expected, based on the screenshots I had seen early on, to get a dedicated piece of hardware that kinda looked like a fake phone. However, to my surprise, the device, showcased in the picture above, far exceeded my expectations by being a fully functional phone with extra hardware dedicated to cheating. Also to my surprise, the device not only allows to cheat at Poker but to cheat at almost any kind of card games you can think of… What makes the whole thing work is the use of a special deck in which the four edges of each card are marked with IR-absorbing ink. As a result, when this marked deck is illuminated by the IR LEDs, the spots of ink absorb the IR, creating a sequence of black spots.”

    • The Strange and Mysterious History of the Ouija Board - A look at the origins of the device in the Spiritualism craze of the nineteenth century, and its ongoing presence in the toyshops of the USA: ”Opening the gates of hell wasn’t on anyone’s mind when they started the Kennard Novelty Company, the first producers of the Ouija board; in fact, they were mostly looking to open Americans’ wallets.”

    • The ‘Higgs bison’ mystery is solved with the help of ancient cave paintings - "Paleontologists cheekily dubbed the species the "Higgs bison" — a play on the famously elusive subatomic particle — because it was so mysterious. Little did they realize that the creature had been documented tens of thousands of years ago by prehistoric humans painting on cave walls."

    • San Francisco's 58-story Millennium Tower is upscale, but literally sinking fast - ”Looking back, Pamela Buttery can recall an early clue that something could be amiss at the luxury high-rise where she’s lived for the past six years. A golfer, she sometimes practiced her putting indoors, tapping the ball toward a portable cup on the hardwood floor in her living room. If Buttery missed, the ball would carom off the wall and strangely change course, swerving right and gaining momentum as it rolled toward the northwest corner of her condo.” Somebody skimped on the foundations, and the people who spent a fortune buying luxury apartments that are now gradually tilting over aren’t very happy about it.

    • 3D printing hackers down drone with self-destructing propellers - A cunning plan: ”According to researchers at Ben-Gurion University (BGU)… saboteurs can fool 3D printers into creating self-destructing parts that are indistinguishable from the real thing.”

    • Digging Through the Archives of Scarfolk, the Internet's Creepiest Fake Town - I linked to Scarfolk around the time it first appeared online three years ago, but this piece does a good job of explaining its appeal: ”Scarfolk is perpetually stuck in the 1970s, and repeats the decade on loop. On his blog, "Scarfolk Council," Littler presents the town's story through materials from the council's "archive": posters, pamphlets and packaging that reveal aspects of everyday life. Carefully Photoshopped and inspired by real source material, Littler's creations pack a punch—with their pastel, large fonted bombast, they could easily be mistaken for actual '70s artifacts.”

    • FBI Facial Recognition Expert Helps Denver PD Arrest Wrong Man Twice For The Same Crime - A bizarre and shocking story of police brutality and an “expert” who was simply wrong: ”In the months that followed, a series of medical exams revealed that Talley had sustained several injuries on the night of his arrest, including a broken sternum, several broken teeth, four ruptured disks, blood clots in his right leg, nerve damage in his right ankle, and a possibly fractured penis. Talley was held for two months until recordings made by his employer showed he was at his desk on sales calls during the time the May robbery took place. He was released and charges were dropped.” And then it got worse…

    • Five Ways to Float Your Boat - "When launching such a massive multi-tonne vessel, shipbuilders consider many things, from the size of the ship to the site logistics, so they can use the best method to get the ship in the water. A successful launch can be a celebration, but the slightest miscalculation can spoil the party, even claiming lives or sinking the ship. Here are five ways to launch a ship, and five ways a launch can end terribly."

    • 101 Ways I Screwed Up Making a Fake Identity - Lesley Carhart, aka hacks4pancakes, on the difficulty of creating a realistic fake online persona: ”In the course of developing some training, there was a request for me to create some fake online personas that would hold up against moderately security savvy users… So Pancakes went on an adventure into Backstop land. And made a lot of amusing mistakes and learned quite a few things on the way. I’ll share some of them here, so the social engineers can have a giggle and offer suggestions in the comments, and the other hobbyists can learn from my mistakes.”

    • See What It's Like to Be a Vulture's Lunch - "Charlie Hamilton James won the Wildlife Photojournalist Award: Photo Story for his work on vultures." Here he explains the lengths he had to go to to finally achieve the ultimate goal: taking a photograph looking out from inside a wildebeest carcase as vultures dine on it. Here’s a slightly less ambitious shot to give you a taste of the good stuff:



    Happy invoicing!

  2. #2

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    Good links, particularly the one about the boats. The vultures remind me I need to do some photo editing
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    Just waiting for someone to wind up the Britain First idiots with some of those Scarfolk posters. The badges would work particularly well I feel
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    Great links. I've head about the poker one before so was looking forward to reading that but the images are so small they are just tiny icons and I can't seem to click on them to expand them. Is it just me or have they just not done a very good job with them?

    I liked the ships one. Spent hours watching YouTube videos of failed and impressive ship launches.
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    Quote Originally Posted by northernladuk View Post
    Great links. I've head about the poker one before so was looking forward to reading that but the images are so small they are just tiny icons and I can't seem to click on them to expand them. Is it just me or have they just not done a very good job with them?
    They are small and not very clear, but as he says, "…taking a screenshot of the cheating app turned out to be more difficult than expected because the ROM is hardened against analysis. In particular, they removed the ADB server (Android debugging) and the ability to take a screenshot when the phone is operating in cheating mode" which presumably accounts for it

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