1) It's malware which is based on something NSA came up with. The exploit is code-named ETERNALBLUE, and it's a Windows exploit. NSA got hacked and this was one of the software tools that was leaked in the process.
2) It's ransomware. It encrypts your data and if you want to get it back, you must pay bitcoins to get the encryption key to unscramble your stuff. The key is sufficiently long--and different for each instance--that conventional computers would take until the universe entered heat death to crack it. I'm not sure quantum computers could do it, either. Basically, if you get hit with this, you have two choices: wipe your machine and restore from backup, or pay the cumshaw. If you don't pay it before the deadline, everything gets deleted.
3) It's a software vulnerability that Microsoft patched a couple weeks ago. People who have done their software updates shouldn't be vulnerable to it.
4) It's bad enough that Microsoft has released patches to XP and Vista and other obsolete operating systems.
That said, let's look at the links.
Wait, what's that? A golf joke? We don't like sports here. Especially golf. WTF, don't try to get a laugh with lame puns! What's wrong with you?
This post has a non-exhaustive list of agencies affected by the virus. England's National Health Service was the first big target, but Asia in general has been hit pretty hard by it as well.
I have to laugh:
A map of the attacks shows that in addition to China, South Korea and Japan have also been seriously impacted. North Korea, however, has managed to squeeze through the cracks so far, perhaps due to the lack of local internet connectivity."Lack of local internet connectivity"? I bet they don't even have computers there, let alone Internet. There's a tweet after that quote saying North Korea is "fortunate" not have been attacked--well, you can't install ransomware on a nonexistent computer. That's fortunate? Maybe the same way people in 1960s China were fortunate they didn't have cars--they all got so much exercise riding their bicycles!
57,000 people worldwide affected with malware.
As usual, Vox Day makes the salient point:
The idea that a government can adequately safeguard anything should have been exploded when the USA was unable to preserve its monopoly on nuclear weapons.That's about right.
What I have not seen discussed yet is what vector this malware used to infect machines. There was mention that the ETERNALBLUE vulnerability was via the OS component which shared resources (printers etcetera) but not how the exploit was delivered to infected computers. Was it an e-mail attachment? A worm? A web link?
This is the problem, as Vox Day alluded, to governments actively trying to crack systems. Their tools aren't secure, and they can't control what happens to those tools once they get into the wild. And--worse--NSA and CIA, once agencies dedicated to protecting America from foreign threats, now use all this technology to help our government maintain an iron grip on us. Back when they did the former, the left was against them, but now the left loves them to pieces. It's not coincidence.
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This is an excellent article which quite unintentionally makes the point that NASA should not be in the rocket-building business. Consider this quote:
"...[W]e were pushing a lot of new manufacturing, and I think that new manufacturing has caused some of the delays we've seen. No one welds the way that we're welding material at the thicknesses we’re welding."That last sentence--"No one welds the way that we're welding"--is emblematic of NASA's greatest problem. They get so enamored of building rockets as high-tech as possible, they end up with a lot of gee-whiz gimcrackery that adds billions to the cost of a flight system but doesn't add any performance at all.
Why develop a new welding technique--or improve an older one--if current state-of-the-art is adequate for your needs? That's probably why no one else is welding that way: the added cost of developing the new technique isn't worth the return you get on the investment. It doesn't save you weight, and it clearly doesn't cost less or take less time. Given its charter, NASA can't patent the new process and license it to anyone, thus recouping some of the development cost for it. It's wasted money.
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I am not at all alarmed by this, but I think it's pretty damned funny. You see it all over the place, people specifying SEA SALT!!! in their recipes, french fries and potato chips seasoned with SEA SALT!!!, ice cream with caramel and SEA SALT!!!, OMG you have to use SEA SALT!!! because it's so HEALTHY and NATURAL--
First off, pure sea salt is nothing but sodium and chlorine ions in a crystalline lattice. That's all salt is. Maybe it has some iodine in there, too, but there is no effective difference between salt and sea salt. In fact, all salt comes from the sea; our oceans contain a lot of it and there are some pretty sizable salt mines around the world, which is where most of our salt comes from--salt deposits left behind tens of millions of years ago.
This is, in fact, the thing which has consistently bothered me about sea salt. Okay, the table salt you buy in the round box for $1 a pound, that stuff is mined and processed. It's about as natural as you can get, even if they iodize it (to prevent thyroid problems). This is salt which was deposited long before humans existed, so there's nothing else in it.
As the linked article mentions, sea salt can have plastic in it. Microparticles of plastic, emitted into the environment by human activity. It's less pure than the cheap stuff.
Now, the article also mentions that the concentrations are harmlessly low, and I agree with that because "total human plastic emissions" divided by "total volume of oceans" is a vanishingly small fraction. But even if they weren't all that low, it would still be harmless: if the plastic in question wasn't inert, it would not be there; it would have biodegraded. It's plastic you could safely eat (as long as there were no sharp corners or edges) and have it pass out the other end without doing a damned thing to you.
I find it hilarious because I get so fed up with the SEA SALT!!! hullabaloo. Because salt is salt is salt.
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This is a step in the right direction. We have a case where freedom of association, an constitutional right, has won: a Christian t-shirt shop cannot be forced into making gay pride festival shirts.
As Vox Day points out, the case will be appealed, because the gaystapo loves forcing Christians to do their bidding:
That's not an exaggeration.
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If Trump did indeed replace Sean Spicer with Kimberly Guilfoyle I would like to see SNL find someone to mock her.
I'm not kidding; most SNL actresses these days are kinda okay-looking but none of them are hawt. They could have that sitcom actress, what's-her-face, the funny one ("Guess what? BRICK!") do Sean Spicer and almost make it funny, but if that picture of Guilfoyle is any guide, I don't think there's any way SNL could get anyone even close.
Tina Fey could get the accent right, but she wasn't nearly as pretty as Sarah Palin.
...regardless, SNL will do something, and of course the joke would approximate, "Hey, that Kimberly Guilfoyle! Isn't she stupid?" proving once again that it's not misogyny if a leftist does it.
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I would see Alien Covenant if it were Rick and Morty. Wednesday night I needed something light, and Mrs. Fungus dialed up a couple eps of Rick and Morty, and I just about laughed my balls off. Given that the first ep of season 3 was streamed and YouTubed, and someone in my blogroll (probably Unwanted Blog, the source of this link) embedded it, I went to watch a few minutes of it...and ended up watching all of it, and not being sorry I had. The couple eps we saw last night convinced me that one ep wasn't a fluke, and that the show is reasonably entertaining.
Not quite, yet, enough to make me seek the program out. It's inexplicably pay-per-view for older eps, though a few are available for free. We'll see what happens when I have a little more time for it.
My first exposure to Rick and Morty was this:
...which is not the show, it's just Rick and Morty doing the transcript of an exchange between a judge and a defendent at a trial. The transcript was from a real trial; all they did was change the names.
Anyway, Rick and Morty is actually funny, at least as far as I've seen, which is rare from television.
(3:47: "I hold myself in contempt!" and I LMAO.)
* * *
So it's a gorgeous May day, and I need to cut the grass. I let the motorcycle battery charge overnight, and it should be nice and full of electrons, but once I'm done with the grass, I need to do some laundry, and this, and that, and the other thing.
The only thing I can think to try now is to put more than 15V through the rectifier/regulator and see if what the voltage is regulated to. I've got a variable power supply which can do (I think) 30V, but I'm not sure where it is. Since the generator puts out 75V, that should be well within the regulator's capacity and I shouldn't ruin anything.
I'm betting it'll regulate to 14v, and I'll be right back where I am now: stuck.
And gorgeous May weather and I can't risk riding my motorcycle long distances due to this problem. Man, what a pisser.