Thoughts & Essays

5TtRT: Russia, election security, wildfires, Silent Sam, & Google Fit

I tried to get a photo of both the sun and the moon yesterday, but my smartphone camera wasn’t up to the task. I live in the currently extremely smokey PNW. Yesterday’s sun was a sullen red disk so obscured by smoke you could stare at it without hurting your eyes, and the moon was a bloody red crescent hanging ominously in a night sky devoid of stars, since they were hidden by the haze. It’s been very apocalyptic here the last couple of days. I think that’s supposed to clear out tomorrow, though. I’ll be glad – my sinuses are a mess and I sound like I’ve been smoking three packs a day. Bleh.

Today’s articles cover new Russian hacking attempts, how easy it is to hack an election, the air quality in the PNW, last night’s protest at the University of North Carolina, and Google Fit.

5 Things to Read Today

🇷🇺 New York Times: New Russian Hacking Targeted Republican Groups, Microsoft Says
The Russian government is aiming at anti-Trump conservative “think tanks.” Microsoft just discovered the beginnings on a op aimed at infiltrating think tanks like the Hudson Institute and the International Republican Institute and put a stop to it.

🗳️ Politico: I Just Hacked a State Election. I’m 17. And I’m Not Even a Very Good Hacker.
The state of our elections security should scare the shit out of you.

“…I was able to shut down the website that would tally the votes, bringing the election to a screeching halt. The data were lost completely. And just like that, tens of thousands of votes vanished into thin air, throwing an entire election, and potentially control of the House or Senate—not to mention our already shaky confidence in the democratic process itself—into even more confusion, doubt, and finger-pointing.”

🔥 Vox: Breathing Seattle’s air right now is like smoking 7 cigarettes. Blame wildfires.
It’s not this bad where I’m at, and we’ve only been dealing with it for a couple of days, and let me tell you, it sucks. A lot. I can’t imagine what Seattle is dealing with.

💢 AP via Snopes: Confederate Statue on UNC Campus Toppled by Protesters
“Silent Sam,” a statue commemorating Confederate soldiers at the University of North Carolina, was pulled down yesterday by angry protesters. Protesters distracted the cops protecting the statue with their march, while a second group of protesters sneaked in and pulled it down.

🏃 Ars Technica: Google Fit gets all-white redesign, new activity rings
I’m tossing this story in mostly because I’m test-driving Google Fit right now. I’ve tried FitBit. I didn’t hate it, but my activity wristband thingy broke after about a year, so I wasn’t exactly wowed by it, either. We’ll see how Google Fit does.