Khmer Rouge, Hughcards, Facebook, More: Tuesday Buzz, September 12, 2017


Khmer Times: New website aims to educate youth on Khmer Rouge regime. “The Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-Cam) launched its new multimedia website on Friday, specifically aimed at educating and informing Cambodia’s youth about the Khmer Rouge regime. The website is aimed at shedding light on Cambodia’s darkest period of history, drawing from DC-Cam’s extensive photographic, audiovisual and witness testimony archive to paint a vivid picture young Cambodians can explore on their smartphones.”

New to me: an archive of Hughcards. Now this is one person’s archive, put together by him, but I’m covering it here because a) it spans a long time period (20 years), b) there are lots and lots of entries and c) the guy’s a great cartoonist. “When I first got to Manhattan in December, 1997 I started to obsessively draw ‘Hughcards’ [cartoons drawn on the back of business cards], just to give me something to do while sitting at the bar. Two decades later, I’m still at it.”


The Next Web: Facebook is testing a private profile for your closest friends. “You can already hide certain parts of your profile and timeline so they are only visible to specific people, so it’s possible this new feature is simply streamlining the features already available on Facebook, but it sounds a little more thorough than that. It’s also not clear whether your close friends will know that they’re viewing a special, private version of your profile. I’d hope so; after all, you probably don’t want them blabbing about something you meant to share privately.”


The Next Web: A glossary of basic artificial intelligence terms and concepts. “Defining the nature of what AI is, and what it’s going to do for Joe Public, is difficult. Advances that will affect the entire world are often complex and take awhile before everyone understands what’s happening…. In the next few years everyone is going to want to understand some basic terms about AI, because you’ll be seeing it all over the place as every gadget made in the near-future is going to have some form of artificial intelligence baked in.”


The Atlantic: The Case for Sharing All of America’s Data on Mosquitoes. “For decades, agencies around the United States have been collecting data on mosquitoes. Biologists set traps, dissect captured insects, and identify which species they belong to. They’ve done this for millions of mosquitoes, creating an unprecedented trove of information—easily one of the biggest long-term attempts to monitor any group of animals, if not the very biggest. The problem, according to Micaela Elvira Martinez from Princeton University and Samuel Rund from the University of Notre Dame, is that this treasure trove of data isn’t all in the same place, and only a small fraction of it is public. The rest is inaccessible, hoarded by local mosquito-control agencies around the country.”

Smithsonian: The day I decided not to collect: A curator’s view of Ground Zero . “About a month after the terrorist attacks on 9/11, I received a phone call from a colleague asking if I wanted to take a trip up to New York City to collect objects from Ground Zero for the museum. Although now a curator with the sports collection, at the time I was the curator of the fire and rescue collections and he thought I would like to collect from the fire and rescue personnel on site. I hesitated for a minute, knowing this would not be an easy scene to witness, but accepted his invitation.”

Global Voices: Violence in Northwest Myanmar Sparks an Information War Online with Anti-Rohingya Hate Speech and Fake Photos. “Myanmar’s internet exploded with hate speech, fake news photos, and racist narratives after the Myanmar military clashed with Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) on August 25, 2017, near the Bangladesh border in the northwestern part of the country. The violence lasted for days with the Myanmar government immediately declaring ARSA a terrorist group while launching aggressive ‘clearance operations’ in the villages of Rakhine state. The government and ARSA blamed each other for civilian casualties caused by the conflict.”

Motherboard: Inside the Insane Plan to Build an Unofficial Archive of All of Instagram. “Redditors are no stranger to what may outwardly seem to be pointless collaborative projects. In fact, that’s kind of their specialty. Earlier this year, the Place project saw thousands of users come together to draw on a giant digital canvas, but at around the same time the folks over at r/DataHoarder, a community of self-described ‘digital librarians,’ were planting the seeds for something far larger—in principle anyway. The idea was to create a distributed archive of all of Instagram.” Wow! Wow? Wow…?!


eWeek: Equifax Breach Potentially Triggered by Apache Struts Vulnerability. “In recent months there have been multiple vulnerabilities that have been patched in the Apache Struts framework. On Sept. 5, the Struts project issued an update for three software vulnerabilities, only one of which was rated as being critical. The critical vulnerability was identified by the Struts project as CVE-2017-9805 and is a possible Remote Code Execution (RCE) attack vulnerability. By its’ own admission, Equifax was breached in mid-May, months before CVE-2017-9805 was publicly disclosed and patched, making it somewhat unlikely that was the vulnerability used by attacker. Another more likely possibility is that attackers made use of a flaw that the Struts project fixed in March identified as CVE-2017-5638, which is also a remote code execution vulnerability.” I’m concerned that if it was indeed a Struts vulnerability, we’re going to be seeing additional breach disclosures from other parties.

LA Times: DreamHost considers fighting order to cough up info on visitors of anti-Tump website. “Executives from a Los Angeles-based tech company said they are weighing whether to fight a judge’s order to provide prosecutors with email addresses and other information from people who visited an anti-Trump website in the months leading to Inauguration Day. The company, DreamHost, filed a motion with District of Columbia Superior Court Judge Robert E. Morin last week requesting that he put his order on hold while they consider whether to appeal.” I promise you, the headline at this writing says “anti-Tump.” I took a screenshot when I stopped laughing. The only safe email is text-only email. “Most people tend to think that it’s users’ fault when they fall for phishing scams: Someone just clicked on the wrong thing. To fix it, then, users should just stop clicking on the wrong thing. But as security experts who study malware techniques, we believe that thinking chases the wrong problem. The real issue is that today’s web-based email systems are electronic minefields filled with demands and enticements to click and engage in an increasingly responsive and interactive online experience. It’s not just Gmail, Yahoo mail and similar services: Desktop-computer-based email programs like Outlook display messages in the same unsafe way.”


TechCrunch: Facebook is full of bloatware. “I’m getting a dark techie feeling lately that I hoped I wouldn’t return to: it’s the sensation I had when I cracked open my new Dell Inspiron laptop in 2005 and was left grappling with all the bloatware already clogging my 60gb hard drive. This time that feeling comes when I open up the Facebook or Messenger apps.” Good morning, Internet…

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