Venom, WordPress, Google, More: Friday Afternoon Buzz, November 27th, 2015


Now available: a therapeutic venom database. “VenomKB, short for Venom Knowledge Base, summarizes the results of 5,117 studies in the medical literature describing the use of venom toxins as painkillers and as treatments for diseases like cancer, diabetes, obesity, and heart failure. Drawn from an automated analysis of the literature, VenomKB documents nearly 42,723 effects on the body.”


WordPress 4.4 now has a release candidate.

Google has provided some additional details on the new Google+ Local pages. “Mamta [B] said the following features are no longer supported for Local pages; reviews, categories, directions, stars, photo uploads, interior photos, maps, hours, opentable/apps integration. That is a lot to remove, but Google+ is now about collections.” This is so irritating. Google business pages were 1000x easier to manage when they weren’t part of Google+, so now they’re more difficult to manage and less useful.

Fimfiction has updated its downloadable archive, which currently has over 124,000 stories. It’s available as a 3.7 GB Torrent. FimFiction is a site devoted to fan fiction about My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.


Oh, ew. Apparently Google donated a great deal of money to an academic center, and that same center happened to write a bunch of pro-Google academia. “From the beginning of the FTC investigation through the end of 2013, Google gave George Mason University’s Law and Economics Center (LEC) $762,000 in donations, confirmed by cancelled checks obtained in a public records request. In exchange, the LEC issued numerous studies supporting Google’s position that they committed no legal violations, and hosted conferences on the same issues where Google representatives suggested speakers and invitees.”


Use VPNs? Think your real IP address is secure? Maybe think twice. “The problem, uncovered by VPN provider Perfect Privacy (PP), is a simple port forwarding trick. If an attacker uses the same VPN as the victim the true IP-address can be exposed by forwarding traffic on a specific port.” Looks like there’s a pretty easy fix, though.

Ruh-roh. Dell apparently has yet another security issue. “Dell’s newest vulnerability, much like the previous one, involves the company installing a self-signed security certificate (a digital credential that authenticates websites) alongside a private key (which sort of serves as a password) on its customers’ computers. The combination, when met with a little reverse engineering, allows any technically savvy attacker to snoop on users’ encrypted Internet traffic, or to steal their sensitive information.”

Interesting: a recent attempt to spear-phish US government employees was first detected by… Facebook? “The first warning of the attacks came from Facebook, which alerted some of the affected users that their accounts had been compromised by a state-sponsored attack, The New York Times reports. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard hackers used the access to identify the victims’ contacts and build ‘spear-phishing’ attacks that gave them access to targeted individuals’ e-mail accounts. The attack ‘was very carefully designed and showed the degree to which they understood which of our staff was working on Iran issues now that the nuclear deal is done,’ an unnamed senior US official told the Times.”


Theoretically Google did some research and came up for the most “searched-for” Thanksgiving recipe for each state (Leaving out obvious stuff like turkey and looking for recipes unique to each state.) I say “theoretically” because North Carolina’s is “pig-pickin’ cake,” which just seems out there. My guess for NC would have been something like Japanese fruit pie (which I had for dessert last night, and it was so rich I couldn’t finish one piece!) You can read more about Japanese fruit pie here. Good afternoon, Internet…

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Categories: afternoonbuzz

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