What finds you within a foot of your dorm bed?

Who's looking at you now?

Who’s looking at you now?

Serious stalking danger from an extension to Facebook Messenger is revealed in a recent geek post. The extension locates you within one meter ie which dorm, where in dorm, etc.

“However, everyone I have shown this extension to has been anywhere from surprised to appalled that this much of their very personal data is online for their friends (and even complete strangers) to access. So it is seems that there is an issue.”

Stalking Your Friends with Facebook Messenger

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Superintelligent math beauty!

beauty and brains Fields-Medal-winner-Maryaam mirzakhan

PC readers don’t read this, please – but here we have beauty and brains! = the perfect woman.

Fields Medal mathematics prize won by woman for first time in its history
Maryam Mirzakhani, who was born and raised in Iran, has been awarded the highest honour a mathematician can attain

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Wonders from Aviation Technology: An IMAX Celebration

A Twin Otter seaplane landing on water over a shallow reef in the Maldives (Click twice to enlarge fully)

A Twin Otter seaplane landing on water over a shallow reef in the Maldives (Click twice to enlarge fully)

National Geographic Praises Flight Technology With Stunning Pictorial

Reminder of all that airplanes have brought, including world shopping and families back for Thanksgiving

But Isn’t This A Poignant Last Look at Earth at its Peak?

With its Smithsonian premiere tomorrow in Washington, New Yorkers will also now have a chance to catch probably the most resolutely positive documentary on air travel and its benefits ever made.

High technology:  A huge GE Jet engine suspended in a factory of the company which financed the film. (Click twice to enlarge fully)

High technology: A huge GE Jet engine suspended in a factory of the company which financed the film. (Click twice to enlarge fully)

Living in the Age of Airplanes’ is a 47 minute IMAX, HD 4K digital, Dolby extravaganza of superb shots of the major scenic spots of the world, together with other benefits of the invention of the airplane, such as the flowers and myriad other household goods from half way round the world in every living room, which cranky passengers squeezed into narrow, unforgiving seats in late arriving aircraft never think of anymore.

Hail to the Airplane: Tourists thrill to an approaching plane landing over their heads on St Maartens.

Actually, the gifts of the airplane in this National Geographic special have never looked so good even to those who have actually visited them in person, but no matter. The aim of this all-too-brief, 48 min documentary is to remind us just what a remarkable transformation of human existence has been wrought in a blink of time’s eye by aviation, and it succeeds triumphantly. If anything, it is far too short.

Tourists walking on the sight seeing bridge at Brazil’s extensive Iguazu Falls (click to expand to very large size)

Covering all seven continents, from Iguazu Falls, the gigantic Brazilian set of waterfalls 1.7 miles long stretching into Argentina, to the Maldive Islands, where some brilliant shots are taken amid fish under the clear water as the floats of a seaplane take off the surface overhead.

The filmmakers are undeterred by remoteness or time. They manage to get a rare visit to the South Pole with cinematographer Doug Allan, the Polar wildlife specialist who had spent 30 summers in Antarctica but never reached the Pole, which demands perfect weather to coincide in three airports.

The DC-3 can land on skids in Antartica, but weather has to be fine in three airports to get you to the South Pole itself.

The DC-3 can land on skids in Antartica, but weather has to be fine in three airports to get you to the South Pole itself.

What they find there, on top of the two mile thick ice sheet, is a decorative pole and other ceremonial trappings from 12 nations that signed the Antarctic Treaty, in force since 1961. The marker is a barber pole with a mirrored sphere on top, and it now lies several hundred feet from true 90° south, since the ice cap shifts 30 feet every year, and moving the pole and the ring of national flags would be too much trouble. (The US station with its record size neutrino hunting IceCube particle detector is discreetly in the background).

Now you’ve got there, you may reflect that the Pole is 300 feet farther south. (Click twice to fully enlarge)

But many of the visuals are stunning, new shots of familiar locations and lesser known ones by cinematographer Andrew Waruszewski using the very cinematic, new digital camera Alexa and often accompanied by the overwhelming music typical of IMAX presentations as if vast natural beauty doesn’t speak for itself. Even the platform stretching over the Grand Canyon lends itself to emphasizing the grandeur of the chasm below.

The platform at the Grand Canyon is called the Skywalk (click to enlarge)

But the point the movie makes best is its basic theme, just how immense an acceleration of human life aviation has brought so quickly.

The timeline is, if you think about it, astonishing. For almost 200,000 years we walked at three miles an hour and most humans traveled less than 20 miles from their birthplace. The wheel arrived 5000 years ago, but the steam engine powered the wheel only 175 years ago, when we were still as separated by time and distance as the ancient Egyptians. On screen the map of the USA is lit up by glowing rail connections which networked the entire country by the end of the 19th Century.

Are you thinking of how overweight your neighbor is, or looking out of the window at more land than your ancestors saw in a lifetime? (Click twice for full size)

Then in only a century of aviation, and sixty years of the jet age, the entire globe is lit up with planes like fireflies – 100,000 takeoffs every day, 250,000 people in the sky at any one time. The cliches praising this transformation are all very true: Aviation is now “the lifeblood of the modern world”. The airport is “portal to the planet”. Now “it’s walking distance to almost anywhere”. “What once demanded migration is now a vacation.”

Somehow the pyramids don’t seem as evocative of the secrets of the past when Mum and kids are towed past on camels (Click twice to enlarge)

The film conveys the sense of wonderful mastery conveyed by this change, without delving into its other consequences. Some may privately feel that the Sphinx loses her mystery when a camel carrying Mum and children comes into view, and others worry about global warming and global disease, not to mention the original sin introduced by aviation, the civilian mass deaths of bombing. But this is a feel good trip to things we experience now without a second thought, but are really marvels of life in the age of the airplane.

“Since we were all born into a world with airplanes, it’s hard to imagine that jet travel itself is only 60 years old, just a tick on the timeline of human history,” says director Terwilliger. “Yet practically overnight, our perception of crossing continents and oceans at 500 mph has turned from fascination to frustration. I want to reignite people’s wonder for one of the most extraordinary aspects of the modern world.”

In this huge hangar in Amsterdam, flowers from Kenya will arrive and be sent to Alaska via another hub to reach an Alaska living room in a day, with ten days of fresh bloom left.

Plane passion

One reason may be that almost everyone important involved has access to what is now the best benefit of all, the freedom and adventure of flying small planes, for which they feel a personal passion. Funded by GE as the main sponsor, Terwilliger visited 18 countries over several years for this film, a dedication to the topic that arose first from his childhood awe at the performance of the Blue Angels. He made a 2008 film about this team of Navy jet pilots, Flying Full Circle, in which he himself flew in an F-18 Hornet. Filled with enthusiasm Terwilliger soloed at 19 and got his private pilot license a year later, and his first feature film in 2005 was One Six Right, which told of a day in the life of the local Van Nuys airport on Los Angeles.

The Maldives don’t have an airport but one of these pretty seaplanes can get you there directly.

Harrison Ford, also a keen pilot, narrates the film’s expertly written voice over, which compresses great historical trends as skilfully as Eugene Weber (the UCLA professor whose peerless history of Western society, Western Tradition, is still running on CUNY TV). The star keeps a small fleet of airplanes in a Santa Monica hanger, including a Bell 407 helicopter which he has flown to rescue Wyoming hikers. At 72 recently he had to crash land his vintage plane on a golf course, but survived with a gash to the head.

Not so wonderful: Harrison Ford’s engine failure after takeoff recently landed him on a golf course with a nasty gash in his forehead.

The composer, James Horner, who also pilots his own plane, contributes an appropriately stirring score which is only occasionally intrusive (he won two Oscars for Titanic, for the score and a song, ‘My Heart Will Go On’, and the album was the largest-selling instrumental score ever, at 10 million in the US and 27 million worldwide).

The airplane can take you to see the elephants in East Africa, but did anyone ask the elephants if we are welcome?

Living in the Age of Airplanes” will be showing at the Cradle of Aviation Museum, the National Geographic Leroy R. & Rose W. Grumman Dome Theater (Garden City, NY), and the New York Hall of Science in Queens. If busy New Yorkers can be persuaded to lift their eyes from their phones long enough to get their whole family there, it will give them a new appreciation of all that the airplane has brought to our lives, and perhaps inspire them to transcend the inconvenience of modern air travel and visit faraway places themselves before they all are submerged by the banality of mass tourism, or ultimately sink beneath the ocean rise of global warming.

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How Big a Photo Can a Blog Post take?

Tree-on-the-Island-of-Waqwaq  This is a 5000Kb pic which is displayed at 640 x 810.

Tree-on-the-Island-of-Waqwaq This is a 5000Kb pic which is displayed at 640 x 810.

This sublime work from the Met’s current exhibition on the Sultans of Deccan India, 1500-1700 Opulence and Fantasy, Tree on the Island of Waqwaq, is a 4.97 MB image (dimensions 3000 x 3795) supplied by the Public Communications department of what is now arguably the world’s greatest Museum.  Click it for it to expand to full size. Only at this size of display in this WordPress blog can the image be enlarged for the viewer to be able to see and appreciate the exquisitely painted figures and designs of the work.

Now let’s try and display the same image of the same size published at the biggest size available on the blog.  That is to say, by choosing in the edit list its original size of 3000 x 3795, which presumably will take a long time to unreel.  

Wait. See nothing?  Maybe it doesn’t display at all!  We tried, but it won’t display in the editor, where in the preview, it only displays a big shadowed space and under it, the image at the same size as the above display.

Display at smaller sizes in a post will still allow a view (when clicked) at the huge original size.

So it seems that any attempt to display such a large image directly, on this blog with this WordPress theme at least, won’t work.  But this doesn’t matter. for at the lower size it will if posted expand to the full size if clicked to enlarge.

Here is the same image displayed at the third largest size available.

OK lets try it at 237 x 300.

OK lets try it at 237 x 300.

Well, that is a smaller image when initially displayed, but double clicking will allow it to be immediately expanded to the whole huge size of 3000 x 3795, for full inspection.


Presumably it will allow the page to be loaded faster, though we are not sure.


OK now let’s insert the same picture at much smaller size to begin with – 72 instead of 300.

Tree on the Island of Waqwaq-72 OK let’s try this at 720 x 911 full bore first. Does it expand or not?

OK see it is large as the other one in the post but clicking will not enlarge it any more.

If posted at smaller size it will display at smaller size and then enlarge to the intermediate size but wont enlarge to the huge size.

Tree on the Island of Waqwaq-72 OK this is 237x300 initial size.

Tree on the Island of Waqwaq-72 OK this is 237×300 initial size.

OK so posting the 72 version achieves nothing; the larger size can be posted straight away to achieve the same thing. The result expanded is not enough to allow full examination of the qualities of the original.

Example of a post to demonstrate need for a larger size to examine detail profitably (taken from TalkInNewYork):


Tree-on-the-Island-of-Waqwaq. Golconda, early 17th century Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper Museum für Islamische Kunst, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin The talking tree from the Alexander legend in Persian literature told the hero of his impending fate. While conventional imagery depicts a tree with branches terminating in animal heads, this Deccan version shows greater imagination. The tree trunk is composed of snakes, its branches bear a large variety of animal and fantastical heads, and its fruit takes the form of nude women. Animate rocks sprout fish, and magical flowers are made up of masks with moth and butterfly leaves. This painting was once in the collection of the Frenchman Colonel Antoine-Louis Henri de Polier (1741–1795) in Lucknow, where it was mounted in an album with Europeanized Rococo borders

In Sultans of Deccan India 1500-1700: Opulence and Fantasy next week (Mon April 20 through Sun July 26) the Met will unfurl one of its most magnificent displays of unique, exquisite and sometimes unexpectedly flamboyant rarities.

Like the highest art of every realm, this selection of jewelry, paintings, textiles, armor, carved stone sculpture, fabled gems, marbelized art, carved weapons and decorative items from India’s pre-colonial peak of maharajah display can provide a spiritual experience.

This exquisite assembly will refresh and feed any spirit starved of grace in the tumult of modern urban materialism with manna from above. Yet, as is typical of Indian art, it celebrates nature rather than rises above it.

A prime example is the ink, watercolor and gold painting on paper above, from Golconda. Click twice to enlarge it to mammoth proportions (3000×3795) and allow your eye and sensibilities to luxuriate in its lively perfection.

Visitors should allow plenty of time to let serendipity work, for all the generalizations about its excellence which will fill the media and the brief descriptions offered in advance by the Met and the critics won’t be complete enough to spoil the many surprising discoveries awaiting the slow moving, attentive art lover.

The $65 catalogue deserves a special mention. More than most shows at the Met, which are almost always the cream of the museum world, the well written and illustrated volume will be entirely worth the price as both guide and reference.

Huge variety of very fine works

From the heart of the fabled central India mineral kingdom, whose diamonds and other precious stones were the prime source of jewelry till recent times, come wonderful works, in which the artistry and craft often exceed the value of the most valuable gems on show here, which themselves are worth a maharajah’s ransom.

(To be cont.)

16. Royal Elephant and Rider redone as 2.1mb here displayed at  600x815 - but apparently not available at larger more detailed size 300 dpi

16. Royal Elephant and Rider redone as 2.1mb here displayed at 600×815 – but apparently not available at larger more detailed size 300 dpi

Check to see how this displays on this site.

Yes, you see, the last image will not expand to the size needed to reveal that the brushwork is in fact pointillism, a point the curator drew attention to when introducing the exhibition to the press.

Unfortunately repeated application to the Met Communications Department was unable to obtain the larger size, which the original source had not provided to them.

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HP Scores 100 With Instant Ink Plan

Yes, but how much does she cost to print out?

Have you felt the sharp irritation of having to pay through the nose for a five cartridge refill on a printer just because you didn’t use it enough and the inks dried out? Not to mention that they seem to evaporate as you use them. Ink costs on our HP 305a, for example, used to run at $120 or more a year in this office, for minimal use.

HP’s service called HP Connect has solved this problem with a bonus. For $36 a year as many as fifty pages can be printed a month, including 10 x 8 photos – which each count as one page only!! Line the walls at virtually no extra cost!

If you don’t print fifty, the remaining page credit can be carried over to the next month – so any one month can provide 100 pages without additional cost.

HP has been overwhelmed with sign ups for the service according to their support staff in Ontario, and no winder. We have it supplying a HP 4054, which is supplied initially with huge two cartridges that could run for well over a year before being replaced. When ink runs low, HP detects it and sends new ink if needed.

Best thing to happen to printers since HP’s Laserjet 5MP a quarter century ago.

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Times Goes More Digital, Page One No Longer Priority

Old Lady of print strips off for the Mobile sea

Page One takes second place to workday screens

Emphasizing enterprise stories

The Times as sees a new role as a bathing beauty entering the new sea of Internet ignorance and flash news

Sorry to say, but the Times is leaving its focus on Page One behind in a desperate attempt to feed all its important stories to the gaping maw of the Web during the working day (7am to 7pm).

The afternoon meeting will still worry about Page One, which as far as we are concerned has already started to fall apart, a media Rock of Gibraltar crumbling into the sea of Internet panic.

But anything which gooses the Grey Lady out of her rocking chair complacency is probably a good thing. Placing major features on the front page top left – as happened the other day with the survey of how women graduating from Stanford in the 90s missed the dot com boat, hardly ever grasping the baton of start up entrepreneurship with the enthusiasm of men – may be novel but we do find ourselves reading more of the front page continuations than in the turgid past.


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We Own Your Machine: Global Penetration on Every Level

Kaspersky Reveals NSA has implemented “bare metal” penetration for two decades

Russia, China, Iran, Pakistan under sword of Damocles

Meanwhile, RATs are peering at you from your camera

Eugene Kaspersky: Hey don’t shoot the messenger! I am just telling you what is going on!

The Russian virus hunter Kaspersky has told a Mexico conference that the US NSA and US Cybercommand have been placing Stuxnet type computer worms developed in the Olympic Games program partnering Israel and the US in Russia, Iran, China, Afghanistan and Pakistan computers and networks. The implants are capable of penetrating through to the firmware which starts up before the OS, thus placing them beyond any hope of removal by virus hunting software. In fact detection is impossible and even if the hard drive is wiped it will reinfect the machine and if activated can permanently disable the computer. It can also crack any encryption of the computer’s contents.

Reporting the presentation of the Kaspersky report in the Times Nicole Perlroth and David Sanger say that it also indicated that the Olympic Games group had intercepted air gapped machines and loaded them with the spyware using a USB stick or added hardware to receive low frequency radio signals from a suitcase the NSA has deployed globally.

Spyware embedded very deep by NSA in foreign nuclear networks

Expand for the NYT report

Your laptop is looking at you

Meanwhile a report in ArsTechnica explained last year that RAT – Remote Administration Tool – software freely available on the internet has hordes of Peeping Toms looking at young girls and other owners through the cameras of their laptops. There seems no way of stopping them either.



Expand for the story text

Comments on the story

Expand for the comments text

Run your PCs in user account folks, not admin.

Why use a standard user account instead of an administrator account?

The standard account can help protect your computer by preventing users from making changes that affect everyone who uses the computer, such as deleting files that are required for the computer to work. We recommend creating a standard account for each user.

When you are logged on to Windows with a standard account, you can do almost anything that you can do with an administrator account, but if you want to do something that affects other users of the computer, such as installing software or changing security settings, Windows might ask you to provide a password for an administrator account.

So says Windows 7 Help. Not much, but something.

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Smartphone App 1000x Cheaper to Test for STDs

Extraordinary cut in costs from Columbia University

Breakthrough smartphone std tester from Columbia reduces cost 1000 times

Testing for STDs will soon drop in cost by a thousandfold with a new app from Columbia University now in prototype, according to Science Friday on NPR.


currently sciencefriday.com/bloodtest

Samuel K. Sia started working on how to miniaturize tools for diagnostic tests 10 years ago. When smartphones hit the scene, Sia—a biomedical engineering professor at Columbia University—decided to incorporate them into his research. He and a team of scientists have developed a new device that plugs directly into a smartphone and can simultaneously test for HIV and syphilis with just the prick of the finger. The results of their research were published in Science Translational Medicine this week. Sia discusses how this type of technology can make medical care more accessible in developing countries and what it might mean for consumer-driven healthcare in the United States.

Samuel K. Sia Professor of Biomedical Engineering Columbia University New York, New York

Apparently the testing is for HIV and syphilis, so far at least.

Samuel was asked if there wouldn’t be push back from companies making money with the old equipment which costs about $38,000, and seemed to agree that hospitals would probably move to his $38 version.

Here is a video:

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Transfer 2 GB Free on We Transfer

Sucking the world’s data in a second – IBM A to D advance Feb 2014 runs at 400 Gbit per sec prototype can generate 128 billion A to D conversions a second consuming 2.1 watts

A useful consumer/small business option to transfer a handful of huge photos is WeTransfer, who will do 2GB for free, 10 GB if you subscribe to We Transfer Plus


Minbox is better for Mac users according to this page: https://minbox.com/blog/wetransfer-alternative/)

WeTransfer Review

WeTransfer is a simple file-sharing app that is often used to send large audio and video files from A to B. Founder Bas Beerens and co-founder Ronald Hans created the service (2009) to enable the creative community to easily share large files. You can send files up to 2Gs for free, and store them for two weeks. Unfortunately, WeTransfer does not enable you to manage your files online for free. You have to pay to edit, move, and delete files.

Minbox Review

Minbox is the fastest and most feature-rich WeTransfer alternative for sending and receiving large files. They cut the stress out of uploading big files by offering unlimited file size transfers. And users don’t even have to wait for the files to upload before they can move on to their next task! When the file upload is complete, your recipients simply receive a link to your files in a clean, responsive web gallery. Files can be viewed from any device and you can communicate with your recipients in real-time.

Minbox’s free Mac app makes the sharing process even more seamless and fast. From screenshots and screen recording to using keyboard shortcuts to grab links to files, it’s the perfect tool for power-users.

Minbox works very simply:


Minbox strips the process of sending files to others down to — literally — 3 steps that you can complete in under half a minute, no how many files or how large of files you’re sending. You’ll just drag-and-drop your files to the Minbox icon in your menubar, enter your colleague’s email address and optionally add a quick message, then hit the send button. And with that, your files are sent, and you’re done with the task, ready to forget about needing to send files.

DropCanvas may be even better, since it doesn’t compress files. http://dropcanvas.com/

A movie in two seconds

Of course, this is a grain of sand on the beach compared with transfer rates achieved by the big boys. Last February, for example, IBM announced a prototype A to D converter which can transfer 400 gigabits per second, ie transfer 40,000 songs in a few seconds, or a 4k 2 hr movie. “The full dual-channel 2×64 GS/s ADC core generates 128 billion analog-to-digital conversions per second, with a total power consumption of 2.1 Watts., IBM stated”, according to the Cloudwiser blog.



Summary of consumer options
3 Ways to Share Supersized Files by Sara Angeles, BusinessNewsDaily Staff Writer | January 28, 2014 09:35am ET

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Time Excels On Sharing Economy, Courtesy Stein

Best analysis of topic in print

Joel Stein shows Time how to win – in print

Swinging in-person report clarifies how and why

Share, after buying = share, before buying

Share, after buying = share, before buying

Don’t understand the tumult of sharing as it turns the acquisitive economy upside down? You will after reading Joel Stein in the latest Time.

Finally the wafer thin magazine is learning how to justify its continuing in print.


Baby, You Can Drive My Car, and Do My Errands, and Rent My Stuff…
Joel Stein @thejoelstein Jan. 29, 2015

My wild ride through the new on-demand economy


He seemed nice enough–a little sweaty from walking up the hill to my house, but I’ve got faux-leather seats that are easy to wipe clean. I’m renting it to him for $27 a day through RelayRides, a company that facilitated my transition from “dude with a car” to “competitor with Hertz.” The French guy visited me a day early on a practice walk to make sure he could find my place, which is tucked away up a bunch of steep, winding roads. When I saw his sweaty face, I just gave him the keys to my yellow Mini Cooper convertible instead of having him hike back the next day. He returned the car with a full tank and left $27 in cash in an envelope to pay me for the extra day, even though I told him not to. Afterward, the French guy and I rated each other five out of five on the RelayRides app. It was the most successful American-French exchange since the Louisiana Purchase.

Expand for the rest

See also The Economist

Expand for the rest

See also New Report Maps Size, Scope, Disruptive Potential of Sharing Economy
March 3, 2014
by Jennifer Elks


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