The “running cardboard,” the “plastic bomber” or the “Saxon Porsche” — those are just some of the many nicknames that have been given to the Trabant.

Facebook Still ‘Secretly’ Tracks Your iPhone—This Is How To Stop It

Coming from the words doro, meaning “mud” and dango, a type of Japanese flour cake, hikaru dorodango consists of forming a mud ball by hand. Layers of increasingly fine dirt are added to the surface over the space of days to a point at which the dorodango can be polished to a high sheen (hikaru means “shining”).

Building on Tradition — 1,400 Years of a Family Business

Why Some Old Computers are Interesting

Some of the stealth edits that Vox made to its article debunking “conspiracy theories” that Covid-19 originated in a lab leak between its original publication in March 2020 and now.

Why You Can’t Get an Uber or Lyft in Boston Right Now

Rare Vietnam War images from the winning side, 1965-1975

The revolutionary contradictions of Richard Wagner

But the high public cost of LA’s first sanctioned campground — more than $2,600 per tent, per month — has advocates worried it will come at the expense of more permanent housing.

Strong Towns Has Filed a Lawsuit Against the Minnesota Board of Engineering Licensure in Federal District Court

Favorite individual blogs.

I thought I would share how I, as someone who is visually impaired use my iPhone

Protasevich Street? Bucharest mulls changing address of Belarusian embassy

Healthcare privacy laws in the US allow hospitals to share information with contractors and allow researchers to analyze patient data without express permission from those patients. Healthcare companies can use that information in any way they see fit, including to boost profits.

SCOOP: @LockheedMartin, the nation’s largest defense contractor, sent key executives to a three-day white male reeducation camp in order to deconstruct their “white male culture” and atone for their “white male privilege.”

Time has proven Rand Paul had his thumb on the pulse of the science of the virus, and understood the unintended consequences of government interventions better than public health officials.

Travis Fox’s beautiful, haunting drone photographs document America’s scars

Industry stands together on safety

Can DARPA’s simulator decipher that “This person is a journalist” wasn’t meant as a statement of fact or high praise, but rather a slight, implying, “…and should not be”?

It is depressing it has taken so long for the world of science, supported by most journalists and politicians, to start accepting the basic truth that no theory should be discounted without evidence — especially given the seriousness of the issues at stake and history of leaks from laboratories. A spate of strong articles seems to have suddenly changed the media narrative, despite mostly reheating material familiar to those of us who have been tracking this story for months. The latest Wall Street Journal story, for example, about three Wuhan researchers allegedly falling suspiciously sick in November, builds on facts revealed by David Asher, former lead investigator for the State Department, in interviews two months ago with both the Australian journalist Sharri Markson and myself.

There was even a three-year ban in the United States under the Obama administration, although the work was simply outsourced to labs in other nations.

A freedom of information request later exposed this influential statement was secretly organised by Peter Daszak, a British charity chief who channelled funding from US health authorities to his friend and research colleague Shi Zhengli, the infamous “Batwoman” expert at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Other signatories included Jeremy Farrar, the highly regarded director of the Wellcome Trust.

Since then, Daszak has expended considerable efforts on denouncing the lab leak theory. Yet despite this clear conflict of interest, he was invited to join the WHO investigation in China into the virus’s cause and to head up a 12-strong group for the Lancet on the same subject alongside five of his fellow signatories.

Still Life: German Car Vibe

That SUV’s dominate our current auto era is an understatement.

Yet, every time I see a BMW i3, I ponder what might have been. I drove an early example in 2014 [1] and largely enjoyed a more recent road trip with a “conventional” ICE (internal combusion engine) BMW convertible [2].

My i3 experience included an unexpected lunch with a product manager.

It’s interesting to consider the conception, birth and death of the i3/i8 today, a time when many automakers are madly chasing EV’s (electric vehicles), including nearly unlimited girth, such as Ford’s recently announced electric F-150.

Eight years hence – in 2028, God willing, how will the i3 reflect that day’s market expectations?

Were I to hazard a guess, I suspect that it will be more familiar. Perhaps a recent Fiat 600 multipla [3] sighting foreshadows new thinking.

Docendo discimus.

[1] The i3 Long Bet

[2] Stuttgart/Munich: Gazing west to Cupertino

[3] Fiat 600 Multipla

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We are now living the intentional deconstruction of the aquifers and the groundwater. We are watching our home-grown food supply, and the most fertile farmland on the planet being destroyed. We are drinking water from the bottom of the barrel where contaminants are in concentrated form without the freshwater dilution for wells. Our infrastructure—-canals, roads, and bridges, are sinking because without water to plump it up, land drops.

Why introverts make great leaders

SeaGlass is a system designed by security researchers at the University of Washington to measure IMSI-catcher use across a city.

In other words, when push comes to shove and the system is pushed to its limits, policymakers invariably print.

How I Learned to Stop Worrying And Love the Lab-Leak Theory*

As it happens, Amish communities are home to plenty of tinkerers, hackers and technophiles. Just like early adopters who read the news online when ‘the internet’ was still a strange term, they rigged up light bulbs, bought telephones and surfed the web before their peers or church leaders knew much about them. Due to the decentralised nature of Amish religious life (there’s no Amish pope), no one set a policy for addressing these novelties. Contrary to what outsiders might expect, early adopters often aren’t censored, nor necessarily discouraged.

For Bittman, the central drama of this story begins in the course of the last century, as agriculture and food processing became mass industries, and as we moved from having two types of food (plants and animals) to being overwhelmed by a new third type—one that was “more akin to poison.” These “engineered edible substances, barely recognizable as products of the earth, are commonly called ‘junk.’?”

U.S. small towns take on energy-guzzling bitcoin miners

The Greensill Capital’s rise and fall has everything: investment banks, opaque finance, private jets, trophy mansions and the biggest…

In 2011, Chinese spies stole the crown jewels of cybersecurity—stripping protections from firms and government agencies worldwide. Here’s how it happened.

Microsoft co-founder’s philanthropic legacy is threatened by new revelations about his behavior

Now Your Car is a Cybersecurity Risk, Too

Are Angel Investors More Likely than Venture Capitalists to Drive Entrepreneurial Experimentation?

Report: USPS ‘Internet Covert Operations Program’ Is ‘Much Broader in Scope Than Previously Known’. The program ‘includes analysts who assume fake identities online, use sophisticated intelligence tools, and employ facial recognition software.”

Crime App Citizen is Driving a Security Car Around L.A. and Won’t Say Why

Status Trumps Argument

Are Angel Investors More Likely than Venture Capitalists to Drive Entrepreneurial Experimentation?

Amir Sariri:

Although angel investors and venture capitalists (VCs) both participate in the supply side of the same market providing capital and advice to early-stage companies, they are distinct in several ways. The differences in when they choose to deploy capital are well studied. The differences in when they choose to provide advice are not. Using a sample of 7,980 mentoring decisions by seed-stage investors from which I construct a novel typology of four types of startup activities, I report among the first empirical findings on systematic differences in angel versus VC advice. Angels are more likely than VCs to choose to provide advice on the design and execution of experiments (e.g., will customers buy this product at this price?), whereas angels are less likely than VCs to choose to provide advice on analysis (e.g., what is the size of the total addressable market?). While analysis is a skill that can be learned from studying, hypothesis testing is a skill developed via learning-by-doing. I report evidence consistent with the hypothesis that angels are more likely to choose to provide advice on the design and execution of experiments because they have a skill advantage in that domain due to operational experience. I also provide evidence that is inconsistent with alternative explanations, including financial incentives and selection.


It’s not hard to imagine this system being expanded to adjudicate a merged ToS that spans most corporate online platforms.

A parallel ‘legal system’ that’s beyond the reach of democratic governance that dictates what 4-5 billion people can or can’t do online.

So keep this in mind when I say that, from my perspective, the potential of the blockchain SOCI is easily equal to the whole of the current $200 Trillion global economy. Consider this, if you were sitting in the 1500 with a global GDP around $500 Billion and someone told you about the joint stock company, representative democracy and empirical science, you might have been skeptical that this new world would not only come to completely absorb the old but would ultimately grow five hundred times beyond it over the coming centuries. Yet that is precisely what happened.

Google faces $5 billion lawsuit in U.S. for tracking ‘private’ internet use

How China turned a prize-winning iPhone hack against the Uyghurs

The internals of App Review’s testing — quite fascinating!

The First Rule of Bite Club? Talk About It.

Reporters fume at White House ‘quote approval’ rules

This is a notable milestone because in 2018, SpaceX founder Elon Musk said the goal for its Falcon 9 rocket would be to fly each first stage booster 10 times before requiring significant maintenance.

Boeing 787s must be turned off and on every 51 days to prevent ‘misleading data’ being shown to pilots

By as early as the fall of 2016, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos had already started to worry deeply about the progress—or lack thereof—being made by his rocket company, Blue Origin

These leaders, alongside Smith, built a culture of caution rather than deliberate risk-taking in order to move more quickly.

Lady Ranelagh: The Incomparable Life of Robert Boyle’s Sister

This article examines the effect of church-state relations on rates of Christian population growth or decline worldwide. It makes the paradoxical argument that contexts of both pluralism and persecution do not impede Christian growth rates.

“This would be consistent with DarkSide’s earlier activities, which included several ‘big game hunting’ attacks, whereby attackers target an organization that likely possesses the financial means to pay the ransom demanded by the attackers,” Flashpoint observed.

The Oncoming Ransomware Storm

As I outline in my Content Fortresses thesis, when only first-party data is permissible for use in advertising targeting, then the largest consumer tech companies will simply grow their first-party datasets. Apple is claiming that the entirety of the App Store exists in its first-party data environment and so every interaction that takes place in any app is fodder for its ads optimization algorithm.

The news highlights the interest in payroll data, with various companies launching products centered around the novel dataset. Last week, Motherboard reported on how a company called Argyle was linked to a series of suspicious websites that offered to pay people for their workplace login details.

This screencap shows Ferguson’s “unmitigated” model scenario predicting 84,777 deaths in Sweden. It comes straight from Ferguson’s own website.

No-Fly Zone in the Loan Office: How Chief Executive Officers’ Risky Hobbies Affect Credit Stakeholders’ Evaluation of Firms

Limited functionality instead of account deactivation

Fact-checking Modi’s India
As the pandemic rages across the country, one team of fact-checkers contends with a post-truth dystopia.

Another Group of Scientists Calls for Further Inquiry Into Origins of the Coronavirus

Putin seems to have revived the 16th-century “letter of marque” that England used against the Spanish Empire.

Klamath Basin water allocation cut to zero


A major lesson of Covid-19 is that there is no distinction between natural and man-made catastrophes.

The Texanist: Why Do I Get So Many Robocalls From Small Texas Towns?

Publish books on Amazon. I’ve published 4 and make about $3k in profit per month, after paying for ads on amazon. Don’t write them yourself, that’s a lot of work. Instead, do key word research about what books sell in non-fiction categories (fiction is a whole different ballgame). Look for keywords that 1) auto complete in the amazon search bar, and 2) have less than 4,000 matching books, and 3) have an average Amazon BSR of less than 150k.

While I was examining the private intelligence business, it became clear that I needed to look at another profession, the one where my career had been spent — journalism. Reporters and private investigators long have had a symbiotic relationship that is hidden from the public. Hired spies feed journalists story tips or documents and use reporters to plant stories benefiting a client without leaving their fingerprints behind.

Commentary on the US Mortgage market

Mark Calabrese:

Yet while banks must operate with leverage around 10 to 1, the Enterprises have only recently reduced their leverage to 140 to 1. That is not enough capital for them to survive a housing downturn.

When I came into office, the Enterprises were allowed to hold only $6 billion in loss-absorbing capital to back their $6 trillion balance sheets. In September 2019, Treasury and FHFA raised their combined capital caps to $45 billion.

That change saved Fannie and Freddie from failing last year when the COVID shock hit. But it does not mean they are safe. In their current condition, Fannie and Freddie will fail in a downturn in house prices.

But the cyclical history of the housing market teaches that strong house price growth is not a guarantee of future stability.
In fact, FHFA’s data shows that high prices gave Enterprise borrowers a slightly greater share of home equity in December 2005, on the cusp of the last crash, than they had as of December 2020.
We know that just as prices go up, they also go down. It is prudent to prepare for the downturns during the boom times. That is what FHFA’s resolution planning rule helps accomplish.


10 residents live in isolation at Hawaii’s last leprosy community

How I Became a Libertarian

Brookline Will Keep Outdoor Mask Mandate In Place

We Mailed 100 Letters to Test The Postal Service. We Did Not Get Speedy Delivery

Amazon knew seller data was used to boost company sales

How much time and money do commuters save working from home?

Facebook and Instagram threaten to charge for access on iOS 14.5 unless you give them your data

The Washington Post gave its readers a clear-eyed view this weekend of how American intel agencies work with sympathetic reporters to smear and discredit political opponents, ignoring a specific explanation from one of the article’s targets of how reporters were being used, and leading to embarrassing corrections in multiple articles (as well as in The New York Times and at NBC News).

Origin of Covid — Following the Clues

But the COVID-19 debacle is not yet over. Fauci refuses to give up the influence he has held for over a year. Requiring or recommending the public wear masks—even at outdoor events and even after being fully-vaccinated—has moved beyond any semblance of “science,” and is now purely an instrument of social control. As of this writing, vaccines are universally available throughout the U.S. Almost 40 percent of American adults have been fully vaccinated, more than half of Americans have received at least a first dose, and about 2.7 million additional shots are being administered daily.

How photography rose from the margins of the art world to occupy its vital center

I worry that pandemic-era reimbursement practices have taken traditionally free screening calls and rebranded them as billed visits, with no value added.

The NHS is being forced to revise its digital booking system for Covid-19 vaccinations after the shocking discovery that it leaks people’s vaccination details.

“Structures have stories,” writes Roma Agrawal in her book Built. They tell the stories of the people who lived in them and the world they were made for. The same goes for the remains of Shanghai Tower, even after such so much time has passed. Any future explorers, whether an evolved form of life on this planet or from another world, would be able to recreate a picture of 21st Century life in astonishing detail, provided they can use the same techniques that geologists use today.

But from what I can see, none of this fixing would have been aided by waiving the patent rights to the vaccines themselves at some earlier date. The supply of vaccines has been increasing, and would continue to increase without the patent waiver idea. The constraints are physical ones, supply chains and engineering ones, not legal.

These declarations look dopier than ever after a new article was published this week by the journalist Nicholas Wade, who for many years was a science correspondent for the New York Times. At the very least, Wade demonstrates that the “lab-leak” theory ought not to be discounted. But he also goes much further, showing that the theory is in fact highly plausible. The article was first self-published on Medium, then later reproduced by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. While long, it’s worth reading in full even if (like me) you are effectively illiterate in the technical scientific details.

But the most noticeable missteps stem not from the news pages but from the editorial column. For it is here that readers find out what the paper thinks about the great issues of the day. And it is here that mistakes are inked most indelibly into history, whether they relate to suffrage, reform or, most notably in recent years, the debate over Brexit.

To err is human. But making the wrong call is both inevitable and painful. To see why the Guardian thinks the way it does, it is useful to start with the interests it originally sought to advance. The Manchester Guardian was born of moderate radicalism, and began life in 1821 as a mouthpiece for male middle-class political reform.

The social media giant, through its power to target users based on their interests, is especially attractive to pharmaceutical companies looking to sell drugs to potential patients. The Washington Post reported last year that health and pharmaceutical companies spent almost $1 billion on just Facebook mobile ads in 2019. The draw? Unlike a traditional TV or radio ad, Facebook’s ad categories help those companies target their drug ads at users who likely suffer from a specific illness the drug treats.

The dog ate our disclosure

Researchers: Medical errors now third leading cause of death in United States

Google: “Unsubscribe from GavinNewsom.com?”

Google/Gmail displayed this screen recently:

Curiously, despite Google’s “big data”, “machine learning” and “artificial intelligence” skills, I:

a. Don’t recall subscribing to any Gavin Newsom related email, and

b. don’t live in California, at the moment.

That being said, I have suggested that a few California friends might be well suited to the Governor’s office amidst a 2021 recall effort.

After all, a 2003 Gubernatorial recall election (ousting then Governor Gray Davis) gave us Governor Schwarzenegger.

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