91 posts categorized "Humor" Feed

Climate Change Denier Feels the Burn

Below is a recent exchange of tweets on Twitter. The blog post continues after the image:

Twitter conversation between astrophysicist and climate change denier

You can read more about the incident here and here. Follow Dr. Katherine J. Mack (@AstroKatie) on Twitter. Can a troll be so stupid as to not know who he is insulting? Like it or not, the realities and consequences of climate change are already happening. Yet, some people seem to insist upon denial... learning the hard way.

I've met climate-change skeptics who, in an attempt to appear informed and reasonable, claimed, "I believe in climate change, but I'm not convinced it is caused by humans." The Union of Concerned Scientists explained how and why we know that today's climate change is primarily caused by humans. That explanation should be mandatory reading by everyone.


Also this month, a conservative radio talk-show host criticized Neil deGrasse Tyson, the Frederick P. Rose Director at the Hayden Planetarium in New York City. Dr. Tyson thoroughly debunked the fact-free criticism. Is it insult-an-astrophysicist month?


Valuable Items You Can't Change

For more convenient access to devices and websites, many device manufacturers and online publishers encourage consumers to use items other than passwords for logins. Is this a good deal? To answer that question, one must consider what happens after a data breach when login credentials are stolen by hackers. Typically after a data breach where login credentials are stolen, websites and businesses have advised consumers to change their passwords. However, many of the newer items cannot be changed:

Observation number 49. Click to view larger version

John Oliver's Awesome Fake Apple Ad About Encryption, Privacy And iPhones

With the ongoing legal battle about encryption between Apple and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), John Oliver, the host of the "Last Week Tonight" show, presented a satirical advertisement for Apple to help consumers understand encryption. The segment is worth watching.

First, some background. The FBI used a 227-year-old law to force Apple to build a "back door" into an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino attackers, who killed 14 persons. The FBI believes that there may be information on that phone that could lead to other persons involved. Apple has appealed the court decision, citing several security and privacy issues. The back doors, really software, can be stolen and/or modified to make all iPhones vulnerable.

Legal experts warned that the 227-year-old All Writs Act is too broad, and Congress should act to clarify the law. Since then, we've learned that the FBI made access to the phone more difficult after a failed attempt to hack the attacker's iCloud account. Experts also warned that if Apple is forced to build a back there may be unintended consequences, including tech companies moving their operations and jobs offshore to avoid heavy-handed government surveillance and intrusions. And, if the government weakens encryption and security in products made by U.S. tech companies, then users (both good guys and bad guys) will simply shop elsewhere since many security products are already made abroad.

This week, we learned that Apple said the government is lying when it claimed that the company produced advertisements stating that encryption keeps out law enforcement. No doubt, there will be more disclosures and revelations. This latest claim makes the fake ad even more timely. No doubt, the final outcome of the Apple versus FBI court case will affect everyone.

The entire 18-minute segment is a good, funny, entertaining primer about encryption. The about-face by technophobe and U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) is priceless. The fake ad appears in the last two minutes:

Those Quizzes On Facebook. How Accurate Are They?

If you use Facebook, then you've probably seen the quizzes. There are dozens of them, and they are popular. You can easily spot them because they have similar titles: "What [blank] are you?" or "Analyze Your [blank]." Invariably, the quizzes collect your personal information, and often that of people you are connected with.

How accurate are these quizzes? Below is a clue, including the results after a user submitted their (unique) profile photo for analysis:

Click to view larger image

Recording Ourselves To Death

Deaths from sharks versus selfies

This is not a joke. Related reading:

Video: Squirrel Steals A Mobile Camera. Here's What You Don't Know

Maybe you've seen the video of a squirrel with a GoPro camera. Besides Youtube, several websites are showing it. If you haven't seen it, watch below (article continues below the video):

What You Don't Know

Accordingly to recently released government documents, the N.S.A. spent $3 million last year evaluating the use of squirrels as spies. The surveillance program was titled, "Nutty About Surveillance."

Not to be outdone, the F.B.I. started a similar, domestic-U.S. program as part of its wired forests initiative. The new program, "Countering Violent Animals," seeks to protect humans from violent, extremist animals. Reportedly, the F.B.I. is also installing GPS-enabled spy cameras on bears, raccoons, and groundhogs.

14 Things No Internet User Ever Said

  1. I don't like net neutrality. Get rid of it so I can use the "slow-lane" Internet connection with websites my Internet service provider (ISP) chooses.
  2. It's okay for retail stores to use point-of-sale cash registers infected with malware that share my sensitive financial payment information with criminals.
  3. I like it when mobile apps developers build apps that steal all of my address book contents. It's even better when they don't warn me.
  4. I want the monthly bill from my ISP to be as complicated as my monthly cable TV bill.
  5. I love websites with video ads that play automatically and don't provide a mechanism to stop or pause the video.
  6. Facebook and Instagram: please take all of my photos and videos. You can have them. They are yours
  7. It's fine for websites to waste screen space by displaying the exact same page contents and navigation to laptop/desktop users that they show to smart phone users with smaller screens.
  8. I like it when the NSA ignores the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Even better, lie to me about what you're doing.
  9. It's okay for the FCC to allow ISPs and phone companies to merge back into a single, giant company. The loss of freedoms and loss of of competition is a good thing.
  10. I like that Google scans all e-mails of Google Mail users, including the messages non-Gmail users send to Gmail users. Even better: don't warn me nor provide a way to avoid the scanning.
  11. I like it when advertisers track all of my online habits and movements without providing a way to avoid the tracking
  12. It's fine for corporations and governments to take and store all of my personal information. It's valuable property I'm not interested in controlling.
  13. I like it when the NSA tracks and stores everyone's e-mails and phone calls, even people who don't know terrorists, don't communicate with terroris, and don't break any laws. Even better, lie to me about doing this.
  14. It's okay for the FCC to allow ISPs to provide broadband speeds  to USA subscribers that are slower and more costly than other countries. Less value and higher prices are good. That's American exceptionalism!