Okian Warrior writes: Atran's war zone research over the last few years, and interviews during the last decade with members of various groups engaged in militant jihad (or holy war in the name of Islamic law), give him a gritty perspective on this issue. He rejects popular assumptions that people frequently join up, fight and die for terrorist groups due to mental problems, poverty, brainwashing or savvy recruitment efforts by jihadist organizations.
[Atran] argues, young people adrift in a globalized world find their own way to ISIS, looking to don a social identity that gives their lives significance. Groups of dissatisfied young adult friends around the world often with little knowledge of Islam but yearning for lives of profound meaning and glory typically choose to become volunteers in the Islamic State army in Syria and Iraq.
Okian Warrior writes: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange implied in an interview that a murdered Democratic National Committee staffer was the source of a trove of damaging emails the rogue website posted just days before the party's convention.
Speaking to Dutch television program Nieuswsuur Tuesday after earlier announcing a $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of Seth Rich's killer, Assange said the July 10 murder of Rich in Northwest Washington was an example of the risk leakers undertake.
Okian Warrior writes: The first wave of genetically modified mosquitoes were released Wednesday in the Cayman Islands as part of a new effort to control the insect that spreads Zika and other viruses, officials in the British Island territory said.
Genetically altered male mosquitoes, which don't bite but are expected to mate with females to produce offspring that die before reaching adulthood, were released in the West Bay area of Grand Cayman Island, according to a joint statement from the Cayman Islands Mosquito Research and Control Unit and British biotech firm Oxitec.
[Note from submitter: This November Florida will hold a referendum to decide whether to release genetically modified mosquitos to combat Zika]
Okian Warrior writes: Bruce Schneier notes that state actors are hacking our political system computers, intending to influence the results. For example, US intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia was behind the release of DNC E-mails before the party convention, and Wikileaks is promising more leaked dirt on Hillary Clinton.
He points out, quite rightly, that the US needs to secure its electronic voting machines, and we need to do it in a hurry lest outside interests hack the results. From the article:
Over the years, more and more states have moved to electronic voting machines and have flirted with Internet voting. These systems are insecure and vulnerable to attack.
But while computer security experts like me have sounded the alarm for many years, states have largely ignored the threat, and the machine manufacturers have thrown up enough obfuscating babble that election officials are largely mollified.
We no longer have time for that. We must ignore the machine manufacturers' spurious claims of security, create tiger teams to test the machines' and systems' resistance to attack, drastically increase their cyber-defenses and take them offline if we can't guarantee their security online.
Okian Warrior writes: Scott Adams (of Dilbert fame) has been blogging about Trump's persuasion for several months now. He has this to say about the experience: "I was getting a lot of direct and indirect death threats for writing about Trump’s powers of persuasion, and I made all of that go away by endorsing Clinton. People don’t care why I am on their side. They only care that I am. " "You might have found it funny that I endorsed Clinton for my personal safety. But it was only funny by coincidence. I did it for personal safety, and apparently it is working. Where I live, in California, it is not safe to be seen as supportive of anything Trump says or does. So I fixed that." "Again, I’m completely serious about the safety issue. Writing about Trump ended my speaking career, and has already reduced my income by about 40%, as far as I can tell. But I’m in less physical danger than I was."
Okian Warrior writes: he U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has handed down a very important decision on the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, Facebook v. Vachani which decision is quite troubling. Its reasoning appears to be very broad — it says that if you tell people not to visit your website, and they do it anyway knowing you disapprove, they’re committing a federal crime of accessing your computer without authorization.
Okian Warrior writes: Starship Technologies is building fleets of small delivery robots to manage the "last mile" for small deliveries.
“Our vision revolves around three zeroes – zero cost, zero waiting time and zero environmental impact. We want to do to local deliveries what Skype did to telecommunications.” said Ahti Heinla, a Skype co-founder and CEO at Starship Technologies.
Capable of carrying the equivalent of two grocery bags, the robots can complete local deliveries within 5-30 minutes from a local hub or retail outlet, for 10-15 times less than the cost of current last-mile delivery alternatives. Customers can choose from a selection of short, precise delivery slots – meaning goods arrive at a time that suits them. During delivery, shoppers can track the robot’s location in real time through a mobile app and on arrival only the app holder is able to unlock the cargo. Integrated navigation and obstacle avoidance software enables the robots to drive autonomously, but they are also overseen by human operators who can step in to ensure safety as needed.
Okian Warrior writes: WikiLeaks has exposed acting President Michel Temer as having been an intelligence informant for the United States. Temer, who has served as Brazil’s vice president since 2011, took power Thursday after Brazil’s parliament suspended [then president] Rousseff pending the results of impeachment proceedings. The cables — marked “sensitive but unclassified” — contained summaries of conversations Temer, a Brazilian federal lawmaker at the time, had with the U.S. intelligence officials.
Okian Warrior writes: Dstillery gets information from people's phones via ad networks. When you open an app or look at a browser page, there's a very fast auction that happens where different advertisers bid to get to show you an ad. Your phone sends them information about you, including, in many cases, an identifying code (that they've built a profile around) and your location information, down to your latitude and longitude.
On the night of the Iowa caucus, Dstillery flagged auctions on phones in latitudes and longitudes near caucus locations, some 16,000 devices. It then looked up the characteristics associated with those IDs to make observations about the kind of people that went to Republican caucus locations versus Democrat caucus locations. It drilled down farther by looking at which candidate won at a particular caucus location.
Okian Warrior writes: Donald Trump on Wednesday laid out for the first time how he will reform U.S. health care system after repeatedly pledging to "repeal and replace Obamacare with something much better."
The seven-point plan calls for repealing Obamacare, breaking down state barriers that prevent the sale of health insurance across state lines and making individuals' health insurance premium payments fully tax deductible.
Okian Warrior writes: An article from Hackaday describes a fascinating paper that’s a tour de force of getting a lot done with nothing. Common household items, like Post-It notes, kitchen sponges, tissue paper, and tin foil, are used to form the basis of what they call “paper skin”. Fabrication techniques – scissors and tape – are ridiculously simple and accessible to anyone who made it through kindergarten.
Okian Warrior writes: As a followup to our recent story, at 11AM Tuesday, Free State Project president Carla Gericke announced the FSP had reached its goal of recruiting 20,000 participants. The 20,000 mark is significant, because it ‘triggers the move’ – the mass migration of the Free State Project participants who have all agreed to move to New Hampshire within the next five years. So far, almost 2,000 have already relocated to the state.
Okian Warrior writes: I just got E-mailed this link, which documents PayPal's out-of-court settlement for putting a "hold" on peoples' accounts all those years and not giving back the money. Anyone with a Paypal account since 2006 who had a hold put on their account is eligible for up to $440 in compensatory damages (section 8). As part of the settlement, Paypal additionally agrees to a raft of transparency changes to their hold and account suspension notification procedure (section 7).
The project reached 90% of its 20,000 member goal last year with accelerated growth in recent months, and is on track to trigger the move to New Hampshire before year's end (and possibly by the end of next month).