SECURITY: Use unique passwords at every site

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Ars was briefly hacked yesterday; here’s what we know
Readers, please change your passwords.

by Ars Staff – Dec 16 2014, 4:52pm EST

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Log files show the hacker’s movements through our servers and suggest that he or she had the opportunity to copy the user database. This database contains no payment information on Ars subscribers, but it does contain user e-mail addresses and passwords. Those passwords, however, are stored in hashed form (using 2,048 iterations of the MD5 algorithm and salted with a random series of characters).

Out of an excess of caution, we strongly encourage all Ars readers—especially any who have reused their Ars passwords on other, more sensitive sites—to change their passwords today.

We are continuing with a full autopsy of the hack and will provide updates if anything new comes to light.

Thanks to everyone who offered their support!

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LASTPASS ensures a unique password every time.

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HARDWARE: Keurig machines have security and a design flaw

Thursday, December 18, 2014

by: Rick Osgood
December 10, 2014  

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Unfortunately newer versions of these machines have a sort of DRM, or lockout chip. In order to prevent unofficial k-cups from being manufactured and sold, the Keurig machines have a way to detect which cups are legitimate and which are counterfeit. It appears as though the machine identifies the lid specifically as being genuine.

It turns out this “lockout” technology is very simple to defeat. All one needs to do is cut the lid off of a legitimate Keurig k-cup and place it on top of your counterfeit cup. The system will read the real lid and allow you to brew to your heart’s content. A more convenient solution involves cutting off just the small portion of the lid that contains the Keurig logo. This then gets taped directly to the Keurig machine itself. This way you can still easily replace the cups without having to fuss with the extra lid every time.

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BUT, (and there is always a BIG butt), after the big “bio film” revelation that Keurigs are “un clean able”, why would anyone buy one?

Ewww, yucky!

And, who know what breeds in that bio film contaminated water reserve — the green meanies?

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MONEY: A grandparent’s obligation?

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Saving for college—trust Vanguard to help you reach your goal

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Keep your money for college—not taxes

When you invest in a 529 plan, your earnings grow tax-deferred, so more of your savings goes toward your main goal—financing a college education.

Why the Vanguard 529

  • Low costs
  • Our expenses and fees, among the lowest in the industry, allow more of your money to work for your child.
  • Easy investing
  • Choosing an age-based option and
  • an automatic investment plan (AIP) could mean almost no work for you.


  • We’re a leader in direct-sold 529 plans: Vanguard investment options are offered in 28 plans totaling more than $25 billion in assets.*

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Holiday gift giving season is upon us.

I’m not only a fat old white guy injineer, but a Bahhh Humbug type who’s hero is old Ebenezer (who I think was given a bad rap!).

Grandparents, assuming you want the best for this grandchildren, have an obligation to “fill in” for the parents. Parents have to do the day to day things, under pressure and time constraints. Us old <synonym for multiple instances of  flatulence> — and I include myself in that category — have the luxury of seeing the “whole road” since we are far closer to the end than the beginning.

What one thing do parents overlook or can’t afford — other than there own retirement?

Yup, saving for their kids education. 

Now in our day and age, I know I got a present and a savings bond. Sometimes the savings bond WAS the present. One uncle gave me a FIFTY DOLLAR bond and a big <synonym for donkey> navel orange! I remember that one. But the savings bond is a joke now days. It’ll never pay for tech school or college.

So, rather than throw money away on presents that will NEVER be remembered, I’m agitating for 529’s.

Specifically the Vanguard 529 Nevada plan because of the “age adjustment” option and the very low fees.

While YMMV, this gift would be wasted. Even if it’s forgotten.

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POLITICAL: Can we afford NASA?

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

NASA’s $349 million monument to its drift
Construction of a test tower in Miss. continued long after the rocket project was scrubbed

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You have to read this one!

Another example of the Gooferment being immoral, ineffective, and inefficient!

So here we have a multi-decade multi-billion boondoggle.


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POLITICAL: Read the Bills update

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

December 16, 2014
Mr. Ferdinand Reinke
1641 International Dr Unit 414
McLean, VA 22102-4831

Dear Mr. Reinke:

Thank you for contacting me about H.R. 1831, the Read the Bills Act. I appreciate hearing from you.

On May 6, 2013 Representative Kerry Bentivolio introduced H.R. 1831, legislation to require Congress to post potential bills online for a minimum of seven days before voting for passage of them. In addition, all legislation would have to be voted on by a roll call vote.

H.R. 1831 has been referred to the House Judiciary and Rules Committees. Please be assured that my staff and I closely review legislation that comes before the Senate. I will be sure to keep your views on this important issue in mind.

Again, thank you for contacting me.



Tim Kaine

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Notice that he doesn’t say hell support it!


If anything, it seems like he’ll oppose it.

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RANT: FDA has several negative effects

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Posted on December 9, 2014 by keywestlou

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I have to vent. Price of prescription drugs again. I had to pick up a 30 day supply of the blood thinner prescribed for me. $121. And I have one of the best AARP supplemental drug programs!

There is no generic. The blood thinner came out in 2009.

It is the donut again. You who are over 65 will especially understand. I have been in the donut since June. I telephoned the insurance company last month. They said I could get out of the donut if I paid $4,000 odd dollars.

The drug companies and insurance companies continue to rip us off. Neither Obamacare nor anything else helps. The drug companies have continued to receive basically a free ride under Obama.

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>The drug companies and insurance companies continue to rip us off. 

You’re pointing at the wrong villain. It’s the Gooferment that allows Crony Capitalists to be protected from a true free market. AND, its FDA has several negative effects: (1) it raises the cost of getting a drug “approved”; (2) it adds decades to getting a drug to market; (3) it regularly denies approvals because it’s politically safer; and (4) it ignores that there are natural remedies and lifestyle changes that are more effective than drugs — but no one makes a profit on those.

>Neither Obamacare nor anything else helps. 

Obamacare was written by the insurance companies. You expect that to change anything?
Medicare was camel’s nose of getting the Gooferment into healthcare. 
And, it’s been more and more intrusive ever since. 

We need Separation of Medicine and State!

>The drug companies have continued to receive basically a free ride under Obama.

Not just a free ride. They’ve actually INCREASED their political influence to Society’s detriment.

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FDA Advisers’ Financial Ties Not DisclosedThe Food and Drug Administration hasn’t disclosed numerous financial ties between medical-device makers and the doctors and other experts who review devices for the FDA, a Wall Street Journal analysis of corporate, state and federal data shows.

In panels evaluating devices involved in cardiology, orthopedics and gynecology from 2012 through 2014, a third of 122 members had received compensation–such as money, research grants or travel and food–from medical-device companies.

Nearly 10% of the FDA advisers received something of value from the specific company whose product they were evaluating.

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SECURITY: Government-grade malware is a problem for all

Monday, December 15, 2014

Corporate Abuse of Our Data
Bruce Schneier

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That is not a good enough excuse, though. As nation-state malware becomes more common, we will often lack the whole story. And as long as countries are battling it out in cyberspace, some of us will be targets and the rest of us might be unlucky enough to be sitting in the blast radius. Military-grade malware will continue to be elusive.

Right now, antivirus companies are probably sitting on incomplete stories about a dozen more varieties of government-grade malware. But they shouldn’t. We want, and need, our antivirus companies to tell us everything they can about these threats as soon as they know them, and not wait until the release of a political story makes it impossible for them to remain silent.

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Can’t do anything about it!

Don’t worry about it!


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