A neural network invents diseases you don't want

Most of these would also make great drink specials.

Ear Poop
Orgly Disease
Occult Finger
Ankle Bladders
Fungle Pain
Cold Gloating
Loon Eye
Black Bote Headache
Excessive Woot Sweating
Defentious Disorders
Cell Conduction
Hammon Expressive Foot
Liver Bits
Metal Ringworm
Eye Stools
Hoot Injury
Hoin and Sponster
Teenager's Diarey
Eat Cancer
Cancer of the Cancer
Horse Stools
Cold Glock Allergy
Testicle Behavior
Spleen Sink
Eye Stots
Floot Assection
Wamble Submoration
Super Syndrome
Low Life
Fish Poisoning
Stumm Complication
Cat Heat
Ovarian Pancreas
8 Poop
Cancer Of Hydrogen
Stress Firgers
Hop D Treat Decease

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Terminating gerrymandering

What kind of kookoopants upsidedownland are we in where Schwarzenegger is a voice of reason?

Instead of dropping in on late-night talk shows to promote his new project, Schwarzenegger is drawing a mass audience to the issue by starring in a series of short, funny videos, heavily salted with quotations from his movies, that have gone viral. Each explains the issue in simple, easy-to-understand terms.

"Gerrymandering has created an absurd reality," Schwarzenegger says looking straight into the camera in one video, "where politicians now pick their voters instead of the voters picking their politicians."

He's raising money online to help fund a legal challenge to Wisconsin gerrymandering that will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 3. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg called the case "perhaps the most important" that the court will hear all year. Schwarzenegger will match what is raised online and likely kick in more support, as legal bills could approach $1 million.

He has spent much of the last week on the phone trying to arm-twist Republican members of Congress into signing onto an amicus brief in the Wisconsin case. It's been a tough recruiting effort. While politicians tell him privately that they support him, they're hesitant to publicly sign something that party leaders think could be their political death warrant.


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Vote-hacking shitshow roundup

Cash-strapped states brace for Russian hacking fight:

In fact, some in the Capitol are trying to defund the 15-year-old federal agency that helps states and counties administer elections. The National Institute of Standards and Technology, which has three full-time staffers examining elections, would also see budget cuts in the pending congressional spending bills.

Three! A whopping three!

The biggest financial need is replacing voting machines. Flush with Help America Vote Act money in the early 2000s, states purchased new machines, with many opting for electronic touchscreen devices for the first time. But by now, 43 states rely on at least some electronic machines that are more than 10 years old, according to the Brennan Center.

"That kind of gear you usually figure should have a lifespan of eight years, maybe 10," said Menzel, of the Illinois election board. "Most of it's been running 10 years, maybe 12."

Moreover, election security experts say these aging machines are riddled with flaws, and warn that electronic devices that leave no paper trail make it impossible to check the results against a physical vote count. At least four competitive states in the 2016 election still used paperless electronic voting machines. [...]

Election security experts and many Democrats fear that all this deliberation will be for naught unless security advocates can persuade President Donald Trump to act.

"Any other Republican president might be easier to communicate with," said Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), a House Intelligence Committee member backing an amendment to restore EAC funding. "This one now believes any discussion about how the election was operated is through the prism of questioning the validity of the election. I desperately want to get past that."

Cybersecurity experts were blocked in their push to patch voting systems in 2016:

Their five-page list of recommendations focused on two gaping holes in the U.S. election system. It warned that internet voting by at least some citizens in 32 states was not secure and should be avoided. And, critically, it advised how to guard voting and ballot-counting machines that the experts knew could be penetrated even when disconnected from the internet.

But the list was stopped in its tracks. A year later, even as U.S. intelligence agencies warn that Russian operatives have their eyes on 2018 and beyond, America's more than 7,000 election jurisdictions nationwide still do not have access to those guidelines for shielding the voting process. [...]

A decade ago, when Congress tried to enact the most obvious solution to that problem -- a law requiring all electronic voting machines to have a "verifiable paper trail" -- state and local officials largely opposed it.

Beyond the voting machines themselves, other dangers lurk: Scott, of the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology, said his group warned NASS last year that bad actors were likely to try to infect vote-tallying equipment through vendors.

"We told them and we told them," he said. "We showed them two schematics of exactly where the attacks would come from" months before the election.

Russian Election Hacking Efforts, Wider Than Previously Known, Draw Little Scrutiny:

The assaults on the vast back-end election apparatus -- voter-registration operations, state and local election databases, e-poll books and other equipment -- have received far less attention than other aspects of the Russian interference, such as the hacking of Democratic emails and spreading of false or damaging information about Mrs. Clinton. Yet the hacking of electoral systems was more extensive than previously disclosed, The New York Times found. [...]

Intelligence officials in January reassured Americans that there was no indication that Russian hackers had altered the vote count on Election Day, the bottom-line outcome. But the assurances stopped there. Government officials said that they intentionally did not address the security of the back-end election systems, whose disruption could prevent voters from even casting ballots. [...]

The Russians shied away from measures that might alter the "tallying" of votes, the report added, a conclusion drawn from American spying and intercepts of Russian officials' communications and an analysis by the Department of Homeland Security, according to the current and former government officials.

The most obvious way to rig an election -- controlling hundreds or thousands of decentralized voting machines -- is also the most difficult. [...] Beginning in 2015, the American officials said, Russian hackers focused instead on other internet-accessible targets: computers at the Democratic National Committee, state and local voter databases, election websites, e-poll book vendors and other back-end election services.

Apart from the Russian influence campaign intended to undermine Mrs. Clinton and other Democratic officials, the impact of the quieter Russian hacking efforts at the state and county level has not been widely studied. Federal officials have been so tight-lipped that not even many election officials in the 21 states the hackers assaulted know whether their systems were compromised, in part because they have not been granted security clearances to examine the classified evidence.

The January intelligence assessment implied that the Russian hackers had achieved broader access than has been assumed. Without elaborating, the report said the Russians had "obtained and maintained access to multiple U.S. state and local election boards."

I can't believe I've been posting about the pathetic state of voting security for fourteen years now.

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Firmware Update to Address Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities in Implantable Cardiac Pacemakers

"FDA approved a firmware update" is a headline from a particularly dystopian future.

The firmware update requires an in-person patient visit with a health care provider -- it cannot be done from home via Merlin.net. The update process will take approximately 3 minutes to complete.

During this time, the device will operate in backup mode (pacing at 67 beats per minute), and essential, life-sustaining features will remain available. At the completion of the update, the device will return to its pre-update settings.

As with any firmware update, there is a very low risk of an update malfunction. Based on St. Jude Medical's previous firmware update experience, installing the updated firmware could potentially result in the following malfunctions (including the rate of occurrence previously observed):

  • reloading of previous firmware version due to incomplete update (0.161 percent),
  • loss of currently programmed device settings (0.023 percent),
  • loss of diagnostic data (none reported), or
  • complete loss of device functionality (0.003 percent).

For pacing dependent patients, consider performing the cybersecurity firmware update in a facility where temporary pacing and pacemaker generator can be readily provided.

Also, today I learned that it's possible to boot pacemakers in Safe Mode.

Half a million vulnerable devices, out there in bodies, waiting for the Barron to pop their heart-plug.

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