Archive for the ‘Meddling’ Category

MicLoc – DIY acoustic triangulation

Friday, February 13th, 2015

On the the East CAC Facebook page, some neighbors recently asked if the police department was using acoustic triangulation systems for tracking gunfire. I responded that systems like ShotSpotter were interesting but that the police department couldn’t afford the $300k cost.

Ah, the joys of open source! It turns out one enterprising hacker has built his own Arduino-based triangulation system using easy-to-obtain parts. This has me thinking that if a few neighbors here and there were willing to station these near their homes, the fixes that could be plotted would be extremely accurate. Even a small network of these would do wonders. In this way, neighbors could be helping to fight crime in their area without actually having to do anything. It sounds like a great solution!

MicLoc is an effort to develop a device capable of passively identifying a sound based event position on a given map, therefor pinpointing its location. The whole idea is to achieve this goal with everyday electronics and reduced development costs.With the event of small, affordable, powerful microprocessors and electronics in general, this technology now seems accessible to potential commercial applications and general public use.The main goals of this project are:

  • Develop a low cost, compact device capable of identifying a source source location on a map with sub-meter precision.
  • Develop, detail and open-source the hardware and plans used so anyone can build this device.
  • Develop, detail and open-source the software needed to interface the device with a computer.

via rural hacker: MicLoc.

Street closing hints of Google Fiber disruption

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

Traffic backs up on Edmund St.

Traffic backs up on Edmund St.


Tuesday night, street crews began blocking off Glascock Street and side streets in preparation for a traffic calming and sewer line replacement project. Glascock’s traffic was detoured down the normally serene side street of Edmund, where traffic now roared down the 25MPH road. Understandably, the neighbors were livid with this gigantic disruption, especially in light of no notice being given to the community outside of the few neighbors who live on Glascock itself. Hopefully in the future, the city will choose to notify the neighbors on the detour street, too, as they get impacted just as strongly as those on the street getting the construction.

The whole mess got me thinking of what it might be like in the next few years when Google Fiber gets started here in earnest. Tuesday’s closure affected just one block whereas Google likely will be tearing things up everywhere. How will people react to this kind of disruption happening all over town?

Peter Eichenberger on 9/11

Friday, November 14th, 2014

I was thinking again today about a local writer whom I respected, Peter Eichenberger. It was about this time of year four years ago that Peter wrote this post on the 9/11 event on his blog. He died just three days later from the brain injuries he suffered in a bike crash several years prior. I figured I’d repost it here in case WordPress.com ever got around to deleting his blog.

Vowing to myself not to succumb to a knee-jerk reaction over the passing of the date of the most significant post-WW ll event I kept it buttoned back in September. Were it so until a November 17th piece by Kevin Ryan in Foreign Policy Journal, an expanded look at well reviewed (overseas) evidence of insider trading upstream of 9/11 that added some weighty bit of ballast to the mounting pile of evidence pointing toward a new, actual investigation. http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2010/11/18/evidence-for-informed-trading-on-the-attacks-of-september-11/%5D Ryan’s piece added to the fuel provided by W’s aka Whistledick’s claim to have ordered the launch of interceptors following the hit on the South Tower, a claim that the prudent analyst must entertain is based in truth. That fancy leaves 2 troubling possibilities; that both the Air Force and Air National Guard failed at their duty, or “someone” else lower in the chain of command chose to countermand a President’s executive orders. Either event in another dimension would have resulted in the military inquiry that never happened here. (more…)

Mystery cell tower has vanished!

Sunday, October 26th, 2014

Back at the end of July I became curious about a mysterious cell phone tower that sprouted behind the Adventure Landing business on Capital Boulevard. The fresh paint on the box, the fresh dirt around the bottom of the utility pole, and the new electrical meter box that still had the plastic cover on it led me to believe this site had just been installed. Instead, less than three months later the only sign it was there is a small patch of dirt where the pole once was. The site has vanished!

That patch has so much grass growing over it now that if you didn’t know where to look you could easily overlook it. That makes me think that the pole could have been removed perhaps a one month ago or longer.

I had convinced myself that the strange site was simply a micro-cell site but I was flabbergasted when I found the site has gone missing. I never expected to revisit the site and have it just be … gone. Why would a company dig up a cell tower site just a few months after installing it? Hell, maybe even before it had been fired up? I have to say that any company in the business of installing cell towers that would suddenly change its mind about a site after so much work had been done runs a piss-poor operation. At the very least.

I can only wonder again if the site was a Stingray site all along and either

  • served its purpose in an investigation, or
  • got its cover blown.

Real cell towers don’t disappear practically overnight. Not even micro sites. This is just weird.

Ebola research: Fever not a surefire sign of infection – LA Times

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

If we’re only looking for fever while screening Ebola victims, we may be missing 13% of cases. Yikes.

For public health workers screening more than 1,000 air travelers who arrive each week in the United States from Ebola-stricken West Africa, one symptom above all others is supposed to signal danger: fever.

So long as an individual’s temperature does not exceed 101.5 degrees and there are no visible symptoms of Ebola, health authorities say it should be assumed the person is not infectious.

Yet the largest study of the current outbreak found that in nearly 13% of “confirmed and probable” cases in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and elsewhere, those infected did not have fevers.

via Ebola research: Fever not a surefire sign of infection – LA Times.

Canadian Public Health Agency scrubs Ebola website

Monday, October 13th, 2014

As I touched on in the previous post, I recently came across some websites that reported that the Canadian Public Health Agency had recently changed the description on their website of research that suggests that Ebola can be spread through the air. The changes soften what was once an alarming statement about the spread. Here’s the August 2014 version:

In the laboratory, infection through small-particle aerosols has been demonstrated in primates, and airborne spread among humans is strongly suspected, although it has not yet been conclusively demonstrated

Ebola airborne transmission is strongly suspected

“In he laboratory, infection through small-particle aerosols has been demonstrated in primates, and airborne spread among humans is strongly suspected, although it has not been conclusively demonstrated.”

Now here’s the September 2014 version:

In laboratory settings, non-human primates exposed to aerosolized ebolavirus from pigs have become infected, however, airborne transmission has not been demonstrated between non-human primates

Ebola airborne transmission is not demonstrated.

“In laboratory settings, non-human primates exposed to aerosolized ebolavirus from pigs have become infected, however, airborne transmission has not been demonstrated between non-human primates.”

No explanation was provided for the change in the wording, which removed “strongly suspected” and changed “not been conclusively demonstrated” into “not been demonstrated.”
(more…)

AP News : Dallas health worker tests positive for Ebola

Monday, October 13th, 2014

The head of the CDC insists the nurse who became infected with Ebola Saturday made a “breach of protocol,” though the nurse is said to be at a loss to identify what the breach might have been.

In 2012, Canadian researchers produced evidence (published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature) that suggests Ebola can be spread through the air. Some websites claimed the government of Canada’s Public Health Agency recently watered-down the description of this research on its website. The Internet Archive’s Wayback machine appears to confirm reports of alteration. Compare the snapshot from August 7th:

In the laboratory, infection through small-particle aerosols has been demonstrated in primates, and airborne spread among humans is strongly suspected, although it has not yet been conclusively demonstrated

Ebola airborne transmission is strongly suspected


… with the one on September 16th:

In laboratory settings, non-human primates exposed to aerosolized ebolavirus from pigs have become infected, however, airborne transmission has not been demonstrated between non-human primates

Ebola airborne transmission is not demonstrated.


What if what some of the experts are saying is true, that Ebola may have become airborne? Why would the Canada Public Health Agency change the website description of peer-reviewed research? What if we are only slightly less unprepared for Ebola than these African countries? Are we being told the truth about Ebola?

DALLAS AP – A “breach of protocol” at the hospital where Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan was treated before his death led to the infection of a health care worker with the deadly virus, and other caregivers could potentially be exposed, federal health officials said Sunday.

The hospital worker, a woman who was not identified by officials, wore protective gear while treating the Liberian patient, and she has been unable to point to how the breach might have occurred, said Dr. Tom Frieden, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Duncan was the first person in the U.S. diagnosed with Ebola.

via AP News : Dallas health worker tests positive for Ebola.

Facebook took my fake-account-spotting ability away

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

I was disappointed tonight when I discovered that Facebook has taken away my ability to spot fake Facebook accounts. Occasionally, the Facebook groups I administer get requests from suspicious-looking accounts. Often the spammers have recently joined Facebook and have appropriated the photo of another person for their profile photo. Usually the photo is for a hot-looking girl but not always.

When a request to join a group comes in from one of these questionable accounts, the first thing I do it to cut and paste the URL of their profile photo into Google Image Search (GIS). If the account’s fake, GIS will almost always pop up the name of the real person pictured in the photograph. Or there will be multiple hits, showing the same photograph is associated with multiple names. Either way, a Google Image Search has proven a quick way to sniff out fakes.
(more…)

This New Card Skimmer Is Almost As Thin As A Credit Card | TechCrunch

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

Credit card fraudsters are winning.

Good old Brian Krebs has the scoop on a new card skimmer found in Europe. How is it different? It literally fits right into the card slot of any ATM, essentially allowing unfettered access to cards as they slide through. Add in a tiny camera and you’ve got a complete card cloning system.

via This New Card Skimmer Is Almost As Thin As A Credit Card | TechCrunch.

Dis-credit-ed

Sunday, September 14th, 2014

This afternoon, Kelly showed me what she thought was a realistic looking phishing email she received. Upon further examination, however, we realized it was a legitimate fraud alert sent from our credit card company.

I quickly called the customer service number on the back of my card and learned of a fraudulent charge put in today to Xoom Corporation, a wire transfer company of some sort based in San Francisco. Within minutes, a new credit card was being sent out and the fraud charges declined. This was the card we were sent only in February as a replacement for the Target credit card breach, so it lasted all of 7 months before being compromised. Nice.

With all the news about Home Depot’s recent, massive credit card breach, I first wondered if the company was to blame for my fraud instance. In actuality, I almost never shop at Home Depot. The last time I did was February 1st and that was using my previous credit card. (more…)