#Kakistocracy 374 Year Old word meaning “government by the worst” -broke the dictionary

President Trump with his daughter and adviser Ivanka. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

President Trump with his daughter and adviser Ivanka. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Today was a productive vocabulary day in the United States of America.

The learning began in the morning, when former CIA director John O. Brennan tweeted at President Trump: “Your kakistocracy is collapsing after its lamentable journey.”

The insult was part of a raging feud between Trump and various members of the intelligence community, some of whom suspect the president’s inner circle of committing federal crimes, and many of whom Trump says are out to destroy him.

Brennan’s tweet proved quite popular with Trump’s critics, even if not everyone totally understood it.

What, wondered the actor/director Zach Braff and the fake congressman Steven Smith, and many others, was a “kakistocracy”?

@zachbraff @RepStevenSmith

 

Kleptocracy means a government by thieves, and autocracy means government by one person. Both of those terms have been used liberally by Trump’s critics in the last year or so, but kakistocracy … was that like a government of cack, as in dung?

Actually, yeah, kind of.

Searches for the kakistocracy surged to the top of Merriam-Webster, arguably the hippest of the major dictionaries, which recently made “dumpster fire” an official English word.

So Merriam-Webster wrote a short explainer. Kakistos is Greek for “worst,” so kakistocracy means government by the worst people.

The plural is kakistocracies, the dictionary added, in case the world one day ends up with two of them.

@MerriamWebster

Merriam-Webster traced the word’s first known use to a 159-word sentence in a sermon by a supporter of King Charles I during the English Civil War in 1644.

It’s too amazing to excerpt, so buckle in:

“We need not make any scruple of praying against such,” the speaker Paul Gosnold said of the king’s enemies, “against those Sanctimonious Incendiaries, who have fetched fire from heaven to set their Country in combustion, have pretended Religion to raise and maintain a most wicked rebellion, against those Neros, who have ripped up the womb of the mother that bare them, and wounded the breasts that gave them suck, against those cannibals who feed upon the flesh and are drunk with the blood of their own brethren, against those Catilines who seek their private ends in the public disturbance, and have set the kingdom on fire to roast their own eggs, against those tempests of the State, those restless spirits who can no longer live, then be stickling and meddling, who are stung with a perpetual itch of changing and innovating, transforming our old hierarchy into a new Presbytery, and this again into a newer Independency; and our well-tempered Monarchy into a mad kind of Kakistocracy.

“Good Lord!” he continued (sorry, we don’t want to break up his rhythm). “What wild irregular courses have these men run, since the reins have lain loose upon them? I am afraid, they will never leave chopping and changing, plotting and practicing, till in conclusion they bring all to confusion, all to an Anarchy or savage Ataxie, Prayer, Peace, Jerusalem, and all.”

Gosnold’s side eventually lost the war. Anyway, Brennan wasn’t the first person to use the word after him. It appeared in the epigraph of a 1992 book about Dan Quayle, and then the name of a Tennessee punk band.

Paul Krugman rolled the word out in the New York Times near the beginning of Trump’s presidency: “An American kakistocracy — rule by the worst.”

This isn’t even the first time it’s surged on Merriam-Webster. The dictionary had to explain the word last summer, too, after MSNBC host Joy Reid used it, once again, to drag Trump.

This time, however, #kakistocracy blew up the charts, with dictionary searches spiking nearly 14,000 percent after Brennan’s tweet.

The second most popular word of the day was “slimeball,” which had been Trump’s verbiage in the tweet to which Brennan was replying.

@johnBrennan

#deletefacebook For Good, Facebook #goodbye people are registering for Mastodon at four times the rate that they normally do

Facebook #deletefacegook

Facebook’s most important innovation was its aggressive collection and use of customer data

 

It’s been a terrible week for Facebook, with policymakers and users alike demanding answers from the social network over its Cambridge Analytica fiasco, in which the data analysis firm improperly accessed the personal information of about 50 million Facebook users.

But the backlash has had at least one major beneficiary. That’s Mastodon, a Twitter-like social network that’s had a massive spike in sign-ups this week. As the #deletefacebook movement has gained steam, people are registering for Mastodon at four times the rate that they normally do, according to Eugen Rochko, the service’s creator.

Between Monday and Tuesday alone, Mastodon gained about 5,800 new users, Rochko said in an interview. That’s more new registrations than what Mastodon typically sees over an entire week.

For a relatively new social network – Mastodon has 1.1 million users to Facebook’s 2.2 billion – that may not sound very impressive. But what makes Mastodon increasingly attractive, particularly in a post-#deletefacebook world, is its attitude toward data and control – two of the same issues that now bedevil Facebook as it seeks to justify its data-hungry business model to outraged users.

Mastodon’s code is open-source, meaning anybody can inspect its design. It’s distributed, meaning that it doesn’t run in some data center controlled by corporate executives but instead is run by its own users who set up independent servers. And its development costs are paid for by online donations, rather than through the marketing of users’ personal information.

Designers like Rochko are part of a wave of technological innovators who aimed to claw back some of the power that elites, such as Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, have spent the past decade amassing. Rooted in the idea that it doesn’t benefit consumers to depend on centralized commercial platforms sucking up users’ personal information, these entrepreneurs believe they can restore a bit of the magic from the Internet’s earlier days – back when everything was open and interoperable, not siloed and commercialized.

Facebook’s most important innovation, at least from a business perspective, was its aggressive collection and use of customer data for advertising purposes. Facebook not only gathers the information that we volunteer about ourselves, such as email addresses and birthdays, but also data that we generate simply by using the platform, such as likes, friend connections and more. This information, as we learned from Cambridge Analytica’s whistleblower, can be extremely powerful in the wrong hands.

Facebook pledged this week to crack down on apps on its platform that may be leaking user data to third parties. But, in the end, that promise simply highlights how much of a say Facebook has over our digital fate – in some cases, it may be allowing our information to spread to who-knows-where, without our explicit knowledge.

How to keep an eye on our data as it moves from one owner to another is a tricky problem that Ryan Shea and Muneeb Ali have been working on since 2013. When the pair founded Blockstack, a new kind of app marketplace, they flipped the model on its head. What if instead of trusting companies to hold all your data the information always stayed with you, on your computer or a cloud storage provider of your choice? And what if every time a new app wanted to access your data you simply gave it a key that could decrypt all that personal information that you controlled? If you later decided the app was no good, you could just take back the key.

While that may not sound very distinct from, say, deciding whether to let Airbnb access your friends list on Facebook, Shea and Ali say that it makes a world of difference.

“There’s no company in the middle that’s hosting all the data,” Ali explained. “We’re going back to the world where it’s like the old-school Microsoft Word – where your interactions are yours, they’re local and nobody’s tracking them.” Unlike Word, the apps on Blockstack come with all the powerful features of an Internet-native application. Two apps on the Blockstack marketplace already work this way – Graphite, a kind of decentralized version of Google Docs, and Stealthy, a decentralized messaging app.

What makes this model possible is the blockchain, the underlying technology that supports bitcoin. Many of us know bitcoin as a kind of digital cash, or a type of investment asset that’s subject to wild price swings. But the supporting blockchain technology is a powerful record-keeping and transaction system that opens the door to much more than exchanges of money.

At its most basic level, a blockchain is essentially a list of authentic records that’s publicly accessible to anybody. When it comes to matters of data and identity, you can think of it like an encrypted phone book: If you have the key that tells you the page where you can find a person and unlock his or her data, then you can see their phone number, email address, friends list and everything else that person wants to make available to you.

To be clear, under this model your data isn’t stored directly on the blockchain; the key you provide simply points to the place on your hard drive or server where you’ve stored your data. At scale, this has massive implications for security and privacy. Rather than billions of people trusting big companies to store their information, that same information is spread out across billions of separate machines, making any single breach – like the massive one that hit credit-reporting company Equifax last year – far less damaging. And it helps prevent companies such as Facebook from making unilateral decisions about how to handle your information.

“If that system is built and the technology is developed some of the issues we’ve seen related to data breaches, access to people’s personal info – that would potentially improve,” said Aaron Wright, founder of the Blockchain Project at Yeshiva University’s Cardozo School of Law.

The blockchain enables other uses, too. Because the security of the blockchain is maintained by lots of computers working in concert to prevent fraud, some developers have built apps that take advantage of these computers’ unused processing capacity to run entirely new, decentralized programs. That combined computing power can, well, power a Facebook without Facebook’s corporate machinery or private infrastructure. By the same token, the blockchain could lead to an Uber without Uber, or an Airbnb without Airbnb.

Despite the promise of these ideas, the developers face enormous challenges. Given how dominant platforms such as Facebook are, encouraging users to switch away from those networks could be a massive hurdle, particularly if their friends don’t follow.

Meanwhile, many of the newer services come with a steep learning curve or require some technical familiarity. Until developers can make the user experience as simple as handing over your data to Facebook with the click of a button, people are going to take the path of least resistance, experts say.

“The reality is that most people do not want to run their own Web servers or social network nodes,” Chelsea Barabas, Neha Nerula and Ethan Zuckerman, three researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab, wrote in a recent Wired essay.

Still, the rising interest in decentralized social networks such as Mastodon shows there’s growing appetite among Internet users for something – anything – besides the model laid out by Silicon Valley’s biggest companies.

COMMENTS

Unless Facebook wins those users back, disrupters like Zuckerberg could someday become the disrupted.

Facebook DOWN Social Media Giant NOT WORKING AGAIN

FACEBOOK is DOWN for a second time this week

FACEBOOK is down again with hundreds of users complaining they can’t access the popular service.

The popular social network is not working for a second time in week.

Hundreds of Facebook users appear unable to load the social network on desktop computers and smartphones.

The California-based site outage has also left users unable to share links or post articles.

Independent website Down Detector, which measures social mentions around a certain topic to track outages across the globe, shows some users reporting issues with the Facebook website throughout the UK and parts of mainland Europe and the USA.

Users are reporting problems with the social network website every minute, Down Detector data has revealed.

One Facebook fan posted a message online saying they’d been faced with a message that reads: “Facebook Will Be Back Soon”

“Thanks for your patience as we improve the site.”

Twitter is also packed with Facebook users who are struggling to get online with many receiving similar maintenance messages.

Earlier this week Facebook was hit by a major outage which left fans of the social site unable to access their personal pages.

It’s unclear what caused the issue although  a number of unsubstantiated reports suggested that Facebook suffered a “catastrophic” problem.

Others have claimed that this is the result of a DDoS, or Distributed Denial of Service attack.

What is clear is that it appeared to be one of the biggest outages at Facebook this year.

 outage.

Facebook AI Invents Language System Shut Down Before It Evolves Into Skynet

Facebook AI Invents Language That Humans Can’t Understand: System Shut Down Before It Evolves Into Skynet

 

Facebook was forced to shut down one of its artificial intelligence systems after researchers discovered that it had started communicating in a language that they could not understand.

The incident evokes images of the rise of Skynet in the iconic Terminator series. Perhaps Tesla CEO Elon Musk is right about AI being the “biggest risk we face.”

Facebook Pulls Plug On AI System With Own Language

Facebook had to pull the plug on an artificial intelligence system that its researchers were working on because things got out of hand. The AI did not start shutting down computers worldwide or something of the sort, but it stopped using English and started using a language that it created.

Bob: “I can can I I everything else.”

Alice: “Balls have zero to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to.”

The above passages, which mean no sense to humans, is a conversation that happened between two AI agent developed by Facebook. The AI agents, created to negotiate with humans, first talked to each other using plain English, but eventually created a new language that only the AI systems understood.

The AI agents were not confined to a limitation of only using the English language, and so they deviated from it and created one that made it easier and faster for them to communicate. Facebook researchers, however, decided to shut down the AI systems and then force them to speak to each other only in English.

 

Why This Is A Scary Development For AI

What is the harm in allowing AI agents to communicate with each other in a language that they invented?

First and foremost, with AI systems using their own language, humans will not be able to follow just what exactly the AI agents are talking about. Humans are not able to understand how complex AI systems think due to their hidden thought processes, so the secrecy of AI agents will be made even worse when their conversations are made in an unknown language.

If AI agents are allowed to speak in a language that they created, they might no longer even need human intervention.

AI As ‘The Biggest Risk’

Musk believes that people should fear AI and has asked America’s governors to implement regulations on the technology.

“I have exposure to the very most cutting-edge AI, and I think people should be really concerned about it,” the Tesla CEO said earlier this month at the National Governors Association Summer Meeting in Rhode Island.

AI systems can do a variety of things better than humans and, if not kept in check, could grow into something that can replace us entirely.

First USA company to install rice-sized microchips in employees

Three Square Market

Published on Jul 24, 2017

Three Square Market, a vending machine business, says the microchip would be implanted in the skin between a person’s thumb and forefinger. The chips are roughly the same size as a single grain of rice.

Welcome to the future?

A Wisconsin technology company is offering its employees microchip implants that can be used to scan into the building and purchase food at work. Whether or not to get a chip is up to the employee to decide. This is the first US company to offer this service to their employees.

Three Square Market, a company that provides technology for break-room or micro markets, has over 50 employees who plan to have the devices implanted. The tiny chip, which uses RFID technology or Radio-Frequency Identification, can be implanted between the thumb and forefinger “within seconds,” according to a statement from the company.

The Circle movie posterIt sounds like something from the movie, The Circle starring Tom Hanks and Emma Watson . Being part machine does not hurt much, Tony Danna, vice president of international development at the company assured us.

“It stings you when it goes in. It takes about two seconds to go in,” Danna said. You may think it is weird, but according to Danna, it’s not weird, it’s “advanced.”

Bio-hackers have been inserting radio-frequency identification chips into their hands for a few years now, but this is the first time a company has offered it as a perk to employees. The $300 chips are inserted, and importantly, if an employee wants, removed, for free at the Wisconsin-based high tech vending machine company. Just like any credit card or ID card chip, the implant allows employees to pay for their lunch or open the door to their office. The only difference is that they can now do it with a wave of their hand. Out of 85 employees at the company, 50 have agreed to have the chip implanted, including, of course, Danna. Three Square Market has a particular interest in RFID technology because its vending machines can be operated using it.

“I don’t want to carry a wallet with me anymore. Actually, I forgot my wallet today. I didn’t even bring it to work. It’d be nice to be able to get some lunch. But you got your wallet, you got your key, your company badge. Now forget about all of that. That’s all in that implant in your hand,” Danna said.

Another perk of the RFID chip? No need to remember your computer passwords.

“Forget about all the passwords that you try and remember. Now your RFID chips are going to be able to do that work for you,” Danna said.

In case you are worried that companies will start to use the RFID chips to track the whereabouts of employees, the chip used by Three Square Market has no GPS component. Instead, it is a progression from the credit card chips and iPhone pay functions we already use, simply carried under your skin instead of in your wallet or pocket.

But that does not mean that future versions of RFID chips at companies can’t have a tracking component. Speaking with NBC News, Duke computer science professor Vincent Conitzer took a more cautious approach to the technology and its future utilization.

“If most employees agree, it may become a workplace expectation. Then, the next iteration of the technology allows some additional tracking functionality. And so it goes until employees are expected to implant something that allows them to be constantly monitored, even outside of work,” Conitzer said. “And unlike with a card, phone or ring, the employee cannot easily and selectively remove the device. Now is the right time to have a robust societal conversation about what we would like to see happen, rather than just seeing where things go and then realizing we can’t go back.”

How those societal conversations play out remains to be seen. But if having a RFID chip inserted under your skin still brings to mind paranoid science fiction or your dog’s microchip, you may have to get over your fears soon. According to Danna, “The amount of phone calls we’ve received from companies that are interested in also offering it to their employees has been, it’s been overwhelming, it’s been really cool.”

The company, which is based in River Falls, Wisc., envisions the rice-sized micro chip allowing employees to easily pay for items, access the building and their computers all with a scan of their hand.

“We foresee the use of RFID technology to drive everything from making purchases in our office break room market, opening doors, use of copy machines, logging into our office computers, unlocking phones, sharing business cards, storing medical/health information, and used as payment at other RFID terminals,” CEO Todd Westby said in a company statement. “Eventually, this technology will become standardized allowing you to use this as your passport, public transit, all purchasing opportunities, etc.”

And while microchipping employees may sound like something out of a horror film, the company is partnering with Swedish company BioHax International, which already has many “chipped” employees.

Employees are not required to get the microchips, and Westby told the station there is no GPS tracking.

Ataribox – Two Retro Versions will be avaialble

Atari’s new console looks retro and nostalgic.

Just over a month since its announcement at E3, Atari is offering a proper look at its first new console in 20-plus years. In an email to fans, the company revealed that the Ataribox will come in two editions, both of which combine a recognizably retro aesthetic with contemporary design flourishes.

Gallery: Ataribox console | 4 Photos

 

As revealed in this teaser video, one version of the Ataribox draws its design cues from the brown wood found on the original Atari 2600. The other edition comes in red and black with a glass front panel. Both will feature ribbed lines that flow around the console’s body and a raised back. A front-facing logo and four indicator lights complete the design. On the back you’ll find an HDMI port, four USB sockets, and an SD card reader.

Although the company is keeping tight-lipped about the console’s specs, it sounds like it will be more than just a NES Classic for the Atari set. The latest info has it that the Ataribox will boast a mix of classic and contemporary titles. Then again, it could do a lot worse than aping Nintendo’s money-raking nostalgia cash-ins.

There’s still no word on pricing, release dates or games — things that might help drum up hype for the new hardware. Atari has a decent library of titles, too, stretching from arcade classic Centipede to this year’s Rollercoaster Tycoon Touch. The company has also been tight-lipped on who, if anyone, it will work with in the wider development community.

Atari believes that keeping quiet is the best policy for now, however, saying that it wants to nail its first console in two decades. “We know you are hungry for more,” the company sent in an email sent to customers. “We’re not teasing you intentionally; we want to get this right, so we’ve opted to share things step by step.” Atari fans are definitely a patient bunch, that’s for sure.

Zip Bomb Education 101

Zip Bomb

Chrome Crash

Webmasters can use so-called ZIP bombs to crash a hacker’s vulnerability and port scanner and prevent him from gaining access to their website.

The term “ZIP bomb” refers to nested ZIP archives that when unzipped are decompressed to huge files that the victim’s computer cannot process in its memory or cannot store on disk.

For example, a 4.5 petabyte file containing only zeroes can be easily compressed to 42 kilobytes because the ZIP compression system can handle repetitive data extremely well.

ZIP bombs used in the past to crash antiviruses.

ZIP bombs have been used in the past decades as a way to crash antivirus software, which is configured to scan ZIP files by decompressing the file and looking at its content.

While antivirus clients have gained protection against ZIP bombs, other software has not, such as web browsers or vulnerability scanners like Nikto, SQLMap, or others.

Austrian tech expert Christian Haschek has put together two PHP scripts that will scan for particular user-agent strings and deliver ZIP bombs to vulnerability scanners or web browsers trying to access secure or private web pages (such as admin panels, backends, or pages with login forms).

These scripts will replace the normal page hackers would expect to find with a ZIP bomb. Once their clients receive the ZIP bomb, they’ll try to process the data and crash the attacker’s software.

Most browsers and scanners will crash
Here’s a list put together by Haschek that details how some clients will behave when encountering a ZIP bomb.

Client Results

  • IE 11 Memory rises, IE crashes
  • Chrome Memory rises, error shown
  • Edge Memory rises, then dips and
  • loads forever
  • Nikto Seems to scan fine but no output is reported
  • SQLmap High memory usage until crash
  • Safari Hight memory usage then crashes and reloads, then memory rises again, etc..
  • Chrome (Android) Memory rises, error shown

 


 

The two sample PHP files needed to set up a ZIP bomb for vulnerability scanners are available on Haschek’s blog. FL Computer Tech’s Copy of a 4.5 Petabyte file can be downloaded here. The password is:42. A word of caution, this file is for testing and lab purposes only. You assume the risk if it locks up your computer. Here is an Infographic on what a Petabyte is in terms of data storage size. It is quite impressive.

 

What is even more impressive is that a file 4.5 Petabytes in size (see Infographic to the left) can be stored or “compressed” into a zip file on 41.8 KB in size. Using this principle it is likely that by placing Zip Bombs in a “Honey Pot” on corporate servers and web servers would yield favorable results. On the opposite side of the spectrum is a Zip Bomb were to be included or added to a compressed file in either .zip or .rar format from a popular torrent website or P2P file sharing website, it could theoretically cause some serious issues. This would only wreak possible havoc and perhaps frustration but since it would not be profitable it probably wouldn’t occur unless this applied theory was magnified greatly in which it could be used in some form of a Cyber Attack although these as only speculations.

 

So, there you have it! In comparison, I would say it’s like taking New York City and fitting it into your carry-on luggage. If you got to the hotel and decided to unpack your luggage and New York City came spilling out into your room, you see how that might pose an issue right? Think micro-miny into monstrous monstrosity!

Don’t forget to follow-us @FLComputertech!

 

8 Ways Technology Is Improving Your Health

8 Ways Technology Is Improving Your Health
Click here for the full article on Positive Health Wellness’s Website 

BY

 

We hear all the time about how technology is bad for us. Since the introduction of computers. Even people working on App Development have the same issues, we spend more time sitting at a desk than moving around at work. We have created this sedentary lifestyle that is causing havoc in our overall life.

What if I were to tell you that technology has produced benefits? Would you believe me if I said that technology is good for your health?

Most of you wouldn’t look at first. Well, you may be able to think of a couple of ways that the computer has helped, but you are still stuck on all the negatives that ‘experts’ have shared in the past. The problem with the ‘experts’ is that they are only focused on the negatives. They haven’t looked at so many of the benefits.

So, that’s what we’ll do today. We’ll consider all the ways that technology improves our health. We’ll discuss just how it has boosted results in certain areas of healthcare and what it does for us daily.

Technology Is Everywhere in Medicine

Before we do move onto all the benefits, it’s worth discussing just how technology is used. It is found everywhere in medicine. Think about the x-ray machines, MRI scanners, and even the research equipment used daily.

There are people using it every day of the week to find cures to ailments, discover why diseases spread and creating ways to prevent the diseases. There are individuals performing tasks far more accurately than they ever did before, with keyhole surgery now a popular option for some of the most routine medical needs.

And the technology isn’t just in the hospital. It’s used in your own doctor’s office and even at home. It’s used to prolong life and create a better quality of life for those on around the clock care.

The improvements don’t just lead to better physical health. They support better mental health, which in turn improves the physical health. Technology improves connections and relationships, offering support to everyone.

We can’t get rid of technology. If we did, we would suffer greatly. Here are just eight ways that technology is improving our health and our lives.

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