jwz mixtape 180

Please enjoy jwz mixtape 180.

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Current Music: as noted

DNA Lounge update

DNA Lounge update, wherein it's time to vote again.
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Unicode supports Blackulas now

U+1F9DB U+1F3FF

This version of the 🧛 Vampire emoji has the 🏿 Dark Skin Tone applied, which is displayed as a Black Skin Tone on supported platforms.

The Vampire emoji supports skin tone modifiers. A yellow (or other non-human) skin tone should be shown by default, unless an emoji modifier is applied.

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Series of Tubes, Chinatown Edition

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Today in CV-Dazzle: Universal Adversarial Perturbations

Universal Adversarial Perturbations

Given a state-of-the-art deep neural network classifier, we show the existence of a universal (image-agnostic) and very small perturbation vector that causes natural images to be misclassified with high probability. We propose a systematic algorithm for computing universal perturbations, and show that state-of-the-art deep neural networks are highly vulnerable to such perturbations, albeit being quasi-imperceptible to the human eye. [...]

Can we find a single small image perturbation that fools a state-of-the-art deep neural network classifier on all natural images? We show in this paper the existence of such quasi-imperceptible universal perturbation vectors that lead to misclassified natural images with high probability. Specifically, by adding such a quasi-imperceptible perturbation to natural images, the label estimated by the deep neural network is changed with high probability.

Such perturbations are dubbed universal, as they are image-agnostic. The existence of these perturbations is problematic when the classifier is deployed in real-world (and possibly hostile) environments, as such a single perturbation can be exploited by adversaries to break the classifier. Indeed, the perturbation process involves the mere addition of one very small perturbation to all natural images, and can be relatively straightforward to implement by adversaries in real-world environments, while being relatively difficult to detect as such perturbations are very small and thus do not significantly affect data distributions. The surprising existence of universal perturbations further reveals new insights on the topology of the decision boundaries of deep neural networks.

This technology could dramatically impact the SCORPION STARE program. But I know how I'm convolving my selfies from now on!

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Penis Wall

81 erectable penises that respond to a viewer's movements:

The Penis Wall is made up of 3D printed penises that each have six segments driven by servo motors. Equipped with an ultrasonic distance sensor, each unit can respond to a viewer's movements. Moreover, the Penis Wall can also be used as a display to represent data, for instance, fluctuations in the stock market.

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Joker arrested for "wearing a mask in public"

Jeremy Putnam, 31, was arrested in Winchester, Virginia, and charged with "wearing a mask in public," a felony in that state.

He was armed with a "sword" in public, which apparently alarmed residents. But they haven't charged him with that; they've charged him with this, a fascinatingly terrible law:

§ 18.2-422. Prohibition of wearing of masks in certain places; exceptions.

It shall be unlawful for any person over 16 years of age to, with the intent to conceal his identity, wear any mask, hood or other device whereby a substantial portion of the face is hidden or covered so as to conceal the identity of the wearer...

...with specific exceptions for "traditional holiday costumes," protective or medical masks, or ones for a "bona fide theatrical production or masquerade ball."

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Uber still literally trying to murder you

Nobody else on the road agreed to be a participant in the alpha-test of this software.

Uber to Suspend Autonomous Tests After Arizona Accident

Uber is suspending its self-driving car program after one of its autonomous vehicles was involved in a high-impact crash in Tempe, Arizona, the latest incident for a company reeling from multiple crises.

In a photo posted on Twitter, one of Uber's Volvo self-driving SUVs is pictured on its side next to another car with dents and smashed windows. [...]

Uber began testing self-driving cars in Pittsburgh last year and soon expanded to Arizona, after its self-driving cars were banned from San Francisco's streets in December by the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

Previously, previously, previously.

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Signal

When you install Signal, it asks for access to your contacts, and says very proudly, "we don't upload your contacts, it all stays on your phone."

And then it spams all of your contacts who have Signal installed, without asking your first.

And it shares your phone number with everyone in your contacts who has Signal installed.

And then when you scream ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME and delete your account and purge the app, guess what? All those people running Signal still have your phone number displayed for them right there in plain text. Deleting your account does not delete the information that the app shared without your permission.

So yeah. Real nice "privacy" app you've got there.

I'm going back to Facebook Messenger, where at least the privacy failings are obvious.

PS: If you suddenly find yourself in possession of my phone number, please don't share it, with anyone, ever. SIGH.


Update:

As you see in the comments below, the developers vehemently deny they are sharing your phone number with people who didn't already have it. I'm willing to accept that they're not lying about this, but let me clarify what I saw with my lying eyes:

  1. I installed Signal. I allowed it to access my contacts.
  2. I started getting "Hello" messages from people in my Contacts. This is the point when I learned that (however you want to spin it) they had been notified that I joined this network.

    I was not informed beforehand that this was going to happen. That's fucked up.

    To be clear: when an app says "we don't share your contacts with anyone" and then 30 seconds later, people from your contacts start messaging you because they got a notification -- it's pretty reasonable to assume that something fishy is going on.

    I installed this app because I wanted to communicate with one or two particular people. I did not want to wave a big flag saying HEY EVERYBODY HERE I AM. If the flag-waving is non-optional, then that should be made abundantly clear before one activates the account.

    This kind of behavior reeks of the sort of spammy boosterism that is endemic on every social network these days: the priority is on building the network. Self-promotion comes first. Get the users, invite invite invite, work that network effect, user experience comes second.

  3. One of those people who sent me a "hello" message said, "Hey, I seem to have your phone number now, and I'm pretty sure I didn't have it before."

    So maybe they were wrong, and they did have my number previously.

  4. That's why I asked another friend who has been using Signal for a while if this was for real:

    Is there anyone in your Signal address book with a number who has never messaged you or given your their phone number?

    Yes. There are a few people I've never messaged, and at least one whose phone number I didn't know I had.

    So maybe they were wrong too.

  5. Then I saw this:

    @autolycos: I can verify. I joined Signal and got the number of an army buddy I only had email addresses for.
  6. And then I saw this:

    @uplevel_payload: I greeted a colleague via Signal w/o warning and really freaked them out. I only had their professional email prior to.

    So maybe those people, and various others on Twitter reporting the same unsettling discovery, are all wrong, too.

    There seem to be an unsettling number of people suffering this same delusion, though, huh?

  7. Then I deleted my account and deleted the app. I asked a friend if that had made me disappear from their list.

    No. No it did not. So that's fucked up, too.

  8. Then I made this irritated blog post. It's true that I did not take a month to do a full audit of their source code first. I made an inference from what I saw with my lying eyes, plus confirming anecdotes from several other Signal users.

    Because they say so, I can accept that Signal isn't leaking your phone number to people who don't already have it, but it sure seems like it is, and these perceptions matter, especially for a purported privacy app.

    It's seems especially hinky when this phone number (mis-?)discovery immediately follows that bit where they say "we don't share your contacts", which hinges on a precise reading of the word "share", because your contacts sure do get a notification anyway.

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Bozena Riot

It's like a chicken vacuum, but for democracy!

BOZENA RIOT is a remotely operated, armored vehicle designed to handle riots and mobs in the streets and urbanized areas. The system offers a solution for both protecting the law-enforcement units in action and controlling the situation whenever peace maintenance is required.

High pressure tear gas guns guarantee control of crowds in extreme situations. And the high-tech video system means every moment is captured from all angles.

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

Scene missing! A video that used to be embedded in this post has disappeared. If you know of a copy of this video that is still accessible, please mail me so that I can update the link.
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