ReHacked #106: Cartel of Influential Datasets Is Dominating Machine Learning Research, Family Safety App Life360 Is Selling Precise Location Data, exploiting ad blockers with CSS and more

A group would rather keep living in the mythology of “we were repressed” than ever admit failure.

ReHacked #106: Cartel of Influential Datasets Is Dominating Machine Learning Research, Family Safety App Life360 Is Selling Precise Location Data, exploiting ad blockers with CSS and more
A black hole collision should forever scar space-time. Alfred Pasieka / Science Source

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A Cartel of Influential Datasets Is Dominating Machine Learning Research, New Study Suggests - Unite.AI #datascience

A new paper from the University of California and Google Research has found that a small number of ‘benchmark’ machine learning datasets, largely from influential western institutions, and frequently from government organizations, are increasingly dominating the AI research sector.

The researchers conclude that this tendency to ‘default’ to highly popular open source datasets, such as ImageNet, brings up a number of practical, ethical and even political causes for concern.

Among their findings – based on core data from the Facebook-led community project Papers With Code (PWC) –  the authors contend that ‘widely-used datasets are introduced by only a handful of elite institutions’, and that this ‘consolidation’ has increased to 80% in recent years.

The Popular Family Safety App Life360 Is Selling Precise Location Data on Its Tens of Millions of Users – The Markup #privacy

Life360, a popular family safety app used by 33 million people worldwide, has been marketed as a great way for parents to track their children’s movements using their cellphones. The Markup has learned, however, that the app is selling data on kids’ and families’ whereabouts to approximately a dozen data brokers who have sold data to virtually anyone who wants to buy it.

uBlock, I exfiltrate: exploiting ad blockers with CSS | PortSwigger Research #security

Ad blockers like uBlock Origin are extremely popular, and typically have access to every page a user visits. Behind the scenes, they're powered by community-provided filter lists - CSS selectors that dictate which elements to block. These lists are not entirely trusted, so they're constrained to prevent malicious rules from stealing user data.

In this post, we'll show you how we were able to bypass these restrictions in uBlock Origin, use a novel CSS-based exploitation technique to extract data from scripts and attributes, and even steal passwords from Microsoft Edge.  All vulnerabilities discussed in this post have been reported to uBlock Origin and patched.

Safety-It's Your Turn : Vision Zero SF #urbanization #society #safety

40% of SF traffic fatalities in 2019 involved drivers making left turns who didn’t see the person in the crosswalk until it was too late.

No easter eggs in curl | #software  #security

Boring is good

curl is not meant to be “fun” (on that fun scale). curl is here to perform its job, exactly as documented and expected and it is not meant to be fun. Boring is good and completely predictable. Boring is to deliver nothing else than the expected.

Modern for Wikipedia #software #internet

A new look for Wikipedia - Free Firefox Add-on

Enhance your Wikipedia experience with a beautiful, clean, modern design that's fully customizable.

Once installed, Modern will simply apply the new look and features to existing Wikipedia article pages, without you having to do anything.

All current features on Wikipedia are supported, this extension simply builds upon the existing interface to offer many improvements.

The Amazon Empire Strikes Back – Stratechery by Ben Thompson #economy

Amazon has been on a spending spree to control as much of the shipping process as possible. It spent more than $61 billion on shipping in 2020, up from just under $38 billion in 2019. Now, Amazon is shipping 72% of its own packages, up from less than 47% in 2019 according to SJ Consulting Group. It’s even taking control at the first step of the shipping journey by making its own 53-foot cargo containers in China. Containers are in short supply, with long wait times and prices surging from less than $2,000 before the pandemic to $20,000 today.

Highlights of the Web Almanac 2021 | Stefan Judis Web Development #internet

The Web Almanac is a comprehensive report on the state of the web, backed by real data and trusted web experts. The 2021 edition is comprised of 24 chapters spanning aspects of page content, user experience, publishing, and distribution.

NASA Returns Hubble to Full Science Operations | NASA #space #engineering #science

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope team recovered the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph on Monday, Dec. 6, and is now operating with all four active instruments collecting science. The team has still not detected any further synchronization message issues since monitoring began Nov. 1.

The team will continue work on developing and testing changes to instrument software that would allow them to conduct science operations even if they encounter several lost synchronization messages in the future. The first of these changes is scheduled to be installed on the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph in mid-December. The other instruments will receive similar updates in the coming months.

All Sound Recordings Prior to 1923 Will Enter the US Public Domain in 2022 – The Public Domain Review #copyrights #art #music

It’s a rare treat for copyright legislation to bring welcome news for those of us keen to see the preservation of the public domain. From the US’s Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 to the EU’s Copyright Duration Directive of 1993, law-makers and lobbyists seem to ever succeed in attempts to increase (and complicate) copyright terms, long past the death of creators. However, the Music Modernization Act ("MMA"), passed by US Congress in 2018, happily bucks this trend. According to the act, all sound recordings prior to 1923 will have their copyrights expire in the US on January 1, 2022 — a huge and enriching addition to the public domain.

Over 200 newspapers now involved in quiet lawsuits v. Google, Facebook - Axios #copyrights #media #internet

As a part of the first lawsuit, Reynolds worked with a coalition of lawyers that has agreed to represent newspapers all over the country looking to file similar lawsuits.
  • The lawyers include experts in antitrust litigation and lawyers with a personal interest in newspapers from Farrell and Fuller, Fitzsimmons Law Firm, Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP and Herman Jones LLP.
  • The lawsuits are being funded via contingencies, which means the lawyers involved only get paid if and when the newspapers win settlements.

Giant Study Finds Viagra Is Linked to Almost 70% Lower Risk of Alzheimer's #health

Usage of the medication sildenafil – better known to most as the brand-name drug Viagra – is associated with dramatically reduced incidence of Alzheimer's disease, new research suggests.

According to a study led by researchers at the Cleveland Clinic, taking sildenafil is tied to a nearly 70 percent lower risk of developing Alzheimer's compared to non-users.

That's based on an analysis of health insurance claim data from over 7.2 million people, in which records showed that claimants who took the medication were much less likely to develop Alzheimer's over the next six years of follow up, compared to matched control patients who didn't use sildenafil.

Windows 10 RCE: The exploit is in the link | Positive Security #security #software

Code execution is triggered by a malicious website which performs a Javascript redirect to a crafted ms-officecmd: URI (a scheme used by the Microsoft Office UWP app to launch other Office desktop applications). We exploit an argument injection vulnerability in the URI handler and bypass a security measure in Electron to inject an arbitrary OS command via the --gpu-launcher parameter of the Microsoft Teams Electron app.

Twitter Suspension - The Free Press Report #socialnetworks #censorship

I woke up this morning and the @TrackerTrial account on Twitter was suspended. All the other accounts that I have made in the past were also suspended. This was the only note that I received.
Twitter Suspension
I woke up this morning and the @TrackerTrial account on Twitter was suspended. All the other accounts that I have made in the past were also suspended. This was the only note that I received. The @TrackerTrial account was the largest account on Twitter that specifically tracked the Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein trial.

The $11-billion Webb telescope aims to probe the early Universe #space #engineering #nature

Lisa Dang wasn’t even born when astronomers started planning the most ambitious and complex space observatory ever built. Now, three decades later, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is finally about to launch, and Dang has scored some of its first observing time — in a research area that didn’t even exist when it was being designed.

Dang, an astrophysicist and graduate student at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, will be using the telescope, known as Webb for short, to stare at a planet beyond the Solar System. Called K2-141b, it is a world so hot that its surface is partly molten rock. She is one of dozens of astronomers who learnt in March that they had won observing time on the telescope. The long-awaited Webb — a partnership involving NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) — is slated to lift off from a launch pad in Kourou, French Guiana, no earlier than 22 December.

Groups Never Admit Failure #society #psychology

Groups never admit failure. A group would rather keep living in the mythology of “we were repressed” than ever admit failure. Individuals are the only ones who admit failure. Even individuals don’t like to admit failure, but eventually, they can be forced to.

A group will never admit they were wrong. A group will never admit, “We made a mistake,” because a group that tries to change its mind falls apart. I’m hard pressed to find examples in history of large groups that said, “We thought A, but the answer’s actually B.”

Usually what happens in that case is a schism, where you go from the Catholic Church to Protestant and so on. There’s a divergence and usually a lot of infighting. This happens in crypto land, too, where the coins fork. Bitcoin doesn’t suddenly say, “We should have smart contracts.” ETH doesn’t suddenly say, “We should have been immutable.”

Gravitational Waves Should Permanently Distort Space-Time | Quanta Magazine #nature #physics #longread

Why would a gravitational wave permanently change space-time’s structure? It comes down to general relativity’s intimate linking of space-time and energy.

First consider what happens when a gravitational wave passes by a gravitational wave detector. The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) has two arms positioned in an L shape. If you imagine a circle circumscribing the arms, with the center of the circle at the arms’ intersection, a gravitational wave will periodically distort the circle, squeezing it vertically, then horizontally, alternating until the wave has passed. The difference in length between the two arms will oscillate — behavior that reveals the distortion of the circle, and the passing of the gravitational wave.

According to the memory effect, after the passing of the wave, the circle should remain permanently deformed by a tiny amount. The reason why has to do with the particularities of gravity as described by general relativity.

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