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Schmeritage

In truth, it is not so much a banner for rebellious spirits as it is a symbol of unthinking submission to exploitation. Few flags in modern history so clearly represent what the French call “the logic of war,” when people are aroused to the point of hysteria, and the real and obvious costs of a conflagration are not calculated, while the imagined benefits are fabricated. And few people saw that sort of madness taking hold more clearly than Robert Bunch, the central figure in Our Man in Charleston: Britain’s Secret Agent in the Civil War South, to be published next week.
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Un-safe at any speed

« When it comes to security, a safe—the physical device in which money is deposited for safekeeping—is quite literally supposed to be safe.

Yet, according to new research set to be demonstrated at the DefCon 23 conference in Las Vegas on Aug. 8, certain models of Brink’s CompuSafe digital safes can be exploited to enable an attacker to crack a safe within 60 seconds and steal whatever cash may be stored inside. The model in question is Brink’s CompuSafe Galileo, which is intended for use in retail stores as a cash management system. […]

It might raise eyebrows that the operating system that powers CompuSafe Galileo is Windows XP, which Microsoft no longer supports. »

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Freedom of the press

Ian Cobain, a reporter with The Guardian, is one of very few people who know why a student arrested by armed British police officers in 2013 was finally acquitted this year of terrorism charges.

Problem is, he cannot report what he knows. He was allowed to observe much of the trial, but only under strict conditions intended to keep classified material secret. His notebooks are being held by Britain’s domestic intelligence agency. And if he writes — or even talks — about the reason that the student, Erol Incedal, 27, was acquitted, Mr. Cobain faces prosecution and possibly jail.

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Al Seckel, master of illusion

Seckel was never enrolled at Caltech, but he hung out in the labs and had lunch with professors and students, and some people around campus assumed he was a graduate student or a post-doctoral researcher. The myths of his Cornell and Caltech credentials has been persistent; they have trailed him, like toilet paper on a shoe. People I spoke with, former friends and business partners, cited them as one of the reasons they trusted him. The Los Angeles Times referred to Seckel’s Cornell degree at least twice, first in 1985 and again in a 1987 article about the local skeptic community. […]

As far as I can tell, Al Seckel has never had a steady employer. Instead, he has made money peddling rare books and papers, often through his social and academic connections. A number of these transactions resulted in accusations and lawsuits. […]

It is remarkably easy to find people who believe Seckel took their money.

h/t Jim Lippard