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A group of researchers from MIT and the University of Ireland has presented a paper (PDF) showing that one of the most important assumptions behind cryptographic security is wrong. As a result, certain encryption-breaking methods will work better than previously thought.
"The problem, Médard explains, is that information-theoretic analyses of secure systems have generally used the wrong notion of entropy. They relied on so-called Shannon entropy, named after the founder of information theory, Claude Shannon, who taught at MIT from 1956 to 1978. Shannon entropy is based on the average probability that a given string of bits will occur in a particular type of digital file. In a general-purpose communications system, that’s the right type of entropy to use, because the characteristics of the data traffic will quickly converge to the statistical averages. ... But in cryptography, the real concern isn't with the average case but with the worst case. A codebreaker needs only one reliable correlation between the encrypted and unencrypted versions of a file in order to begin to deduce further correlations. ... In the years since Shannon’s paper, information theorists have developed other notions of entropy, some of which give greater weight to improbable outcomes. Those, it turns out, offer a more accurate picture of the problem of codebreaking. When Médard, Duffy and their students used these alternate measures of entropy, they found that slight deviations from perfect uniformity in source files, which seemed trivial in the light of Shannon entropy, suddenly loomed much larger. The upshot is that a computer turned loose to simply guess correlations between the encrypted and unencrypted versions of a file would make headway much faster than previously expected. 'It’s still exponentially hard, but it’s exponentially easier than we thought,' Duffy says."

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CowboyRobot writes "Businesses should seed their password databases with fake passwords and then monitor all login attempts for use of those credentials to detect if hackers have stolen stored user information. That's the thinking behind the 'honeywords' concept first proposed this month in 'Honeywords: Making Password-Cracking Detectable (PDF),' a paper written by Ari Juels, chief scientist at security firm RSA, and MIT professor Ronald L. Rivest (the 'R' in 'RSA'). Honeywords aren't meant to serve as a replacement for good password security practices. But as numerous breaches continue to demonstrate, regardless of the security that businesses have put in place, they often fail to detect when users' passwords have been compromised."

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Nathan Yau

Dangerous travel

As summer rolls around here on this side of the planet, CBC News mapped countries to avoid in your travel plans, based on foreign travel advisories from the Canada Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

Naturally, Canada isn't colored on the map because the map was made for Canadians, but I think it's safe to assume that they'd be colored green too and most, if not all, of the advisories apply to those of us here in the United States. [Thanks, John]

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Digital Deceit: Jeff Hancock at TEDxWinnipeg

Digital Deceit: Jeff Hancock at TEDxWinnipeg 2012 Deception is one of the most significant and pervasive social phenomena of our age. On average, people tell one to two lies a day, and these lies range from the trivial to the more serious, including deception between friends and family, in the workplace, and in politics. At the same time, information and communication technologies have pervaded almost all aspects of human communication and interaction, from everyday technologies that support interpersonal interactions, such as email and instant messaging, to more sophisticated systems that support organizational interactions. Jeff Hancock is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Communication and Information Science, and co-Director of Cognitive Science at Cornell University. He is currently Chair of the Information Science Department. His work is concerned with understanding they psychological and linguistic aspects of social media, with a particular emphasis on deception, identity, social interaction, and the psychological effects of online interaction. His research is supported by funding from the National Science Foundation and the Department of Defense, and his work on lying online has been featured in the New York Times, CNN, CBC, NPR, BBC and the CBC documentary The Truth About Lying. Dr. Hancock earned his PhD in Psychology at Dalhousie University, Canada, and joined Cornell in 2002. In thespirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self <b>...</b>

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Wondering - by Bruce LaBruce

As promised (or threatened), for my column this week, to follow up on last week’s discussionof the scary potential new school of serial killer, I present an interview with Toronto-based artist Nina Arsenault, who about a decade ago dated Luka Magnotta, the Canadian psycho du jour that many people seem to be fixated on–some in the most disturbingly inappropriate, fanatical way. It should be noted that at this point Magnotta has been accused of one horrifying murder and has entered a plea of not guilty. There is also some conjecture that he may have committed other murders, but it has not been substantiated. This interview is based on speculation about his psychology and motivations if he is indeed guilty of these crimes, which the evidence seems overwhelmingly to indicate.

Nina is a transgendered performance artist whose work posits herself as a kind of living sculpture, having transformed herself, through a variety of surgical procedures, from a biological male into an idealized version of her own ultimate female form. Her one-woman play, The Silicone Diaries, is a riveting, emotionally honest autobiographical monologue about her life and art that documents this transformation. A book about her work, TRANS(per)FORMING Nina Arsenault: An Unreasonable Body of Work, also features some of my photographs of her. (The above photo is from a series we did together—a visceral, expressionistic response to a bad breast job she once had which necessitated the traumatic removal of one of her silicon implants.)

What interests me with regard to Magnotta is the number of parallels between Nina’s productive, creative journey and his destructive, malignant path: the narcissism (Nina is one of the few people I know whose narcissism is entirely justified), the plastic surgery, the sex trade work, the transgendered issues, etc. But where one of them ended up becoming an empathetic, positive artist, the other became a psycho killer (allegedly). What gives?

VICE: Nina, you received over two hundred interview requests to talk about your former relationship with Luka Magnotta, but you turned them all down except for a few. How did journalists find out about it, and why did you decide to speak to the ones you spoke to?
Nina Arsenault: I was asked to comment on him because some journalists found TV footage of Magnotta when he was a contestant in a male modeling contest in Toronto–a reality TV show called Cover Guy on Out TV –and I was one of the judges. It was strange because this reality show happened well after I dated him, and he’d had so much plastic surgery since then that he had to come up and tell me who he was. He’d altered his cheeks, which is something that can radically change your appearance. The journalists at CTV and CBC both asked me to look at the footage right before interviewing me on camera to see if I remembered anything about him, so it was a bit disconcerting because it was only when I watched it that I discovered that this guy in the news had been my ex-lover! After that, I turned down interviews because I wasn’t interested in having low-level, salacious conversations about a human tragedy. I said yes to a few interviews, like Dr. Drew on CNN and the Today Show because they seemed to be reputable, and I was interested in offering a social commentary that was more analytical. I think I have something to offer in this way.

Narcissism obviously played a part in Magnotta’s demented psychology, and it’s a subject that also applies to your work and life. Can you talk a bit about your thoughts on narcissism and how it needn’t necessarily be a psychopathological impulse?
I think it’s important to differentiate between narcissism and Narcissistic Personality Disorder. To my understanding, having NDP means not being able to have empathy for others and to habitually manipulate others for your own gratification. People with this disorder lack an emotional understanding of the feelings of other people, that others have needs and an existence that continues after you leave the room.

Then I think there is a narcissism that is not necessarily pathological, but probably more and more prevalent in society, which is the tendency to understand our own lives and the lives of others based strictly on the value of our visual image. Our lives become like the movies we are watching or the video games that we are playing, having a certain emotional detachment. Cinema, video games, and social networking have taught us that we can imagine ourselves as an avatar of our being, as a (glamorous) moving image. This can be good or bad, depending on how you use it.

You and Magnotta have both altered your appearance through plastic surgery. How do you think this relates to narcissism?
Multiple cosmetic procedures allow you to sculpt a new image of yourself into your very own body. As an artist who uses video images, online media, and plastic surgery,

I wanted to explore this phenomenon.  I’ve used autobiographical material from my life, and I’ve never tried to deny my narcissism. Instead I’ve tried to investigate my tendency to understand myself as an image, wanting to be a pure image, and the impossible desire to have no thoughts or feelings, to be just an object in some sense.  I needed to get into this part of my psychological landscape, not to escape or deny it, and to search again for an authentic self.  Because I am an artist, I do this by expressing it publicly, by making work.


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TEDxVancouver - Jer Thorp - The Weight of Data

Jer Thorp is an artist and educator from Vancouver, Canada, currently living in New York. Coming from a background in genetics, his digital art practice explores the many-folded boundaries between science and art. Recently, his work has been featured by The New York Times, The Guardian, Scientific American, The New Yorker, and the CBC. Thorp's award-winning software-based work has been exhibited in Europe, Asia, North America, South America, and Australia and all over the web. Most recently, he has presented at Carnegie Mellon's School of Art, at Eyebeam in New York City, and at IBM's Center for Social Software in Cambridge. He is currently Data Artist in Residence at the New York Times, and is an adjunct Professor in New York University's ITP program. In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

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Nonprofits & Activism

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Exile Without End

There are nearly 4.7 million refugees that have been displaced from Palestine after the creation of Israel more than 60 years ago. Many fled to neighboring countries in hopes of returning after the violence in Palestine had ended.  CBC News correspondent Nahlah Ayed and Radio Canada’s Ahmed Kouaou and Danny Braün spend two weeks in Shatila, a Palestinian refugee camp in Beirut.  Shatilla is one of the poorest and most densely populated refugee camps in the Middle East.  Interactive graphics map out the historical events that affected millions of people.  Still photographs and videos paint a picture of everyday life for the inhabitants of Shatila.  It is a life where displacement has torn the identities away from these people, where their opportunities are stifled.  Children play in the streets with makeshift guns, many resigned to living in encampments.

Hotel Poverty

San Francisco has the third-highest median income in the United States.  Hidden in the shadows of San Francisco’s Financial District are 30,000 people living in single-room occupancy hotels.  Shane Bauer’s project Hotel Poverty reveals masses of people dealing with their daily struggles of turning their lives around, feeding themselves and surviving in the midst of rampant drug use, cutthroat hustlers and substandard living conditions where private showers or toilets are rare.  Various circumstances have  have brought them here, but they share a life in the shadows of society.

Under One Roof

Meet the Lee family; they are three generations of Chinese Americans who share living in their family’s Chinatown building in New York.   According to the Census Bureau, 10% of households in New York City span three or more generations.  The New York Times explores the multi-generational dynamics through innovative use of video that “simulcasts” the three generations at the same time.

Made by Hand
“Distillery” is the first film in the Made by Hand project, a series that celebrates the artisan handmade movement.  The premise is that  the things we use, consume, collect and share are part of who we are as individuals.  Each film in the  series aims to tell the stories behind locally made, sustainable crafts and the spirit of artisans.

Brad Estabrooke is a modern-day entrepreneur who was disgruntled after being laid off from his “lousy job.”  Inspired by local artists in his neighboring borough of Brooklyn, Estabrooke works to realize his dream of learning the craft of distilling to open the first gin distillery in Brooklyn since Prohibition.

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I saw certain someone post a link to this on Facebook last week… The subject matter is pretty terrific as are a lot of the frames…Had never heard of the photographer before…

Features and Essays – Jörg Brüggemann: Same Same But Different (Photographer’s website) “Within the last decade backpacking has literally become a global youth movement. Every year millions of young people from first world countries travel the planet taking with them nothing more then their backpacks. They are hoping to find freedom, cultural exchanges and a lot of fun. It has become a tourist industry on its own that has developed its very own touristic infrastructure” | slideshow on Food For Your Eyes Vimeo

I’ve since been told that Jörg Brüggemann was one of the finalists of Magnum Expression Award.

Features and Essays – Massimo Berruti: Floods in Pakistan (Agence Vu: August 2010)

Why this… well… It’s Sunday…

Features and Essays – Jason Bell: An Englishman in New York (Guardian: August 2010)

Related… InterviewsJason Bell (Guardian: August 2010)

“The website of international New York and London based celebrity photographer Jason Bell.”

I don’t know about you… But the tagline celebrity photographer sounds silly to me….I mean the idea of being one… Although, the way the PJ industry is going, I guess a lot of so called PJs are going to have to do celebrity photography too… now… or soon… Just have to read the quote from Mary Ellen Mark in yesterday’s post…Don’t get me wrong though… I think Bell’s work is great… it’s just thinking about this celebrity obsessed culture of ours  can get a bit depressing at times..

This is also for Sunday…

Tutorials – Gizmodo: Here’s A Way To Make Your iPhone 4 Really Look Like A Leica Camera (Gizmodo: August 2010)

Features and Essays – Francesco Zizola: Sarino Damiano (NOOR: August 2010)

Features and Essays - Kadir van Lohuizen: Gaza Water Scarcity (NOOR: August 2010)

Powerful piece of multimedia…

Features and Essays – MediaStorm (Laurentiu Diaconu-Colintineanu, Natasha Elkington, Leah Thompson): Exodus (MediaStorm: August 2010) Exodus tells the story of Diana Ortiz, 45, who spent over half her life in prison.

Features and Essays - James Whitlow Delano: The Changing Face of Sumo Wrestling (TIME: August 2010)

Photographers - James Whitlow Delano

Features and Essays – Ben Lowy: The Fish Are Flying — Literally — at the Redneck Fishing Tournament (TIME: August 2010)

Editorial Photographers UK are now on Twitter and they are mad: “Outrageous copyright grab by photographic body who should know better” .. Feeding off the Corpse of Photojournalism…. Naughty naughty LPA

About Aisha portrait still…Do have a read of this…

Articles – The Vigilante Journalist: The Face That Launched a Thousand Drones? (The Vigilante Journalist: August 2010)

….And then listen to Jodi Bieber talk on CBC…

Interviews - Jodi Bieber (CBC: August 2010) audio

TwitterICP Store

TwitterICP Museum

TwitterAndy Levin

Photographers - Siddharth Jain

Tammy.. how the hell do you find these???? The Bismarck Tribune ?!?!?!?  Articles - The Bismarck Tribune: The last roll: Photos of DeNiro, Brooklyn, India send off Kodachrome (The Bismarck Tribune: August 2010)

Did you know that: “Established in 1873, the Bismarck Tribune is the official newspaper of the state of North Dakota, county of Burleigh and city of Bismarck. It is published daily.” ?  No. I didn’t know it either.

No links on Monday… I’m gonna sort out the archive instead..

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I’m in awe for this work. Not only for the photos, which are amazing, but also for the story behind making them…

Features and Essays – Tomas van Houtryve: North Korea: Secrets and Lies (VII Network: July 2010)

Features and Essays – Marco Di Lauro: Niger Food Crisis (Reportage by Getty Images: July 2010) To donate to UNICEF, visit

Features and Essays – Philip Blenkinsop: The Ark (NOOR: 2010) Philip Blenkinsop went to Bangladesh for the quarterly ‘Dispatches’ in February and March of 2009.

Features and Essays – Damon Winter: Park vs. Park (NYT: July 2010) Which is better: Central Park or Prospect Park?

Features and Essays – Kuni Takahashi: Training Soldiers in Pakistan (NYT: July 2010)

Features and Essays – Matt Lutton: Unending Divisions of the Bosnian War (NYT Lens: July 2010)

Videos – Ed Kashi: Three (VII: July 2010) An adaption from his book Three

Videos - Ed Kashi: Curse of the Black Gold (VII: July 2010)

Interviews - Ed Kashi (ABC News: 2010)

InterviewsDoug Pensinger : “We want to capture every moment of the game” (BJP: July 2010) “Doug Pensinger is one of the 39 photographers Getty Images sent to South Africa to cover the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Ahead of the Spain-Holland final, he answered our questions about being on the side of the pitch for the world’s most watched sporting event”

TwitterCanon Camera

TwitterLeica Rumours

Photographers - Bob Sacha

PhotographersAndrew L Moore

Interviews - Andrew L Moore : Detroit Disassembled (Western Reserve Public Media)

Interviews and Talks – CBC: The Aftermath Project (CBC: July 2010) “Hour One: The Aftermath Project – Have you ever wondered what happens when the war has ended, the crisis has passed and the story disappears from your newspaper, radio or TV? Prying reporters may have taken their notebooks and microphones and cameras and moved on – but the story doesn’t just end. This week you’ll hear from two photojournalists who have taken on a challenging assignment – to cover the forgotten stories, the stories major news organizations no longer have time and space or money for. It’s called ‘The Aftermath Project’ – dedicated to telling the other half of the story”

Not really much of an article this Vogue piece, but a good excuse to put a tiny Salgado photo here…

Exhibitions – Vogue Italy: Engaged Observers at the Getty Museum (Vogue Italy: 2010)

Articles - Robert Benson: Why Video Won’t Replace Stills (Robert Benson blog: July 2010)

Articles - Reuters blog: SA Photographer Siphiwe Sibeko looks back at World Cup (Reuters: July 2010) (via @corinne_perkins )

I have to admit something…. I kinda dislike this feature:

Features and Essays – Jocelyn Bain Hogg: World Cup in a Small Room (VII Magazine: 2010)

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