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Chrome, Firefox, and Opera users beware: This isn’t the apple.com you want

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Enlarge / This is how a Chrome 57 displays https://www.xn--80ak6aa92e.com/. Note the https://www.apple.com in the address bar.

If you're using Chrome, Firefox, or Opera to view websites, you should be aware of a weakness that can trick even savvy people into trusting malicious impostor sites that want you to download software or enter your password or credit card data.

The weakness involves the way these browsers display certain characters in the address bar. Until Google released version 58 in the past 24 hours, for instance, Chrome displayed https://www.xn--80ak6aa92e.com/ as https://www.apple.com. The latest versions of Firefox and Opera by default continue to present the same misleading address. As the screenshot above demonstrates, the corresponding website has nothing to do with Apple. Had a malicious attacker registered the underlying xn--80ak6aa92e.com domain, she could have used it to push backdoored software or to trick visitors into divulging passwords or other sensitive information.

Xudong Zheng, a Web application developer who developed the apple.com look-alike site to demonstrate the threat, explained here how the attack works.

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lelandpaul
7 days ago
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Homograph Attack! is the name of my next band. (also this is kinda scary, everyone be safe)
San Francisco, CA
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Dunes in a colorful hole

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ESP_049009_1520_1.0x
A Piece of Mars: Gray dunes have migrated over reddish rock, moving toward a narrowing cleft surrounded by tall tan cliffs. Bright lines on the dunes are exposed internal layers (bones of the dunes, really) that show you where the lee-side slopes once were (so you can tell they’ve moved to the left). The cliffs are made of layered rocks (extra points if you can find the fault), suggesting these are sedimentary layers, laid down long ago in Mars’ geologic past. The whole HiRISE image is worth a long look, it’s really amazing. (HiRISE ESP_049009_1520, NASA/JPL/Univ. of Arizona)

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lelandpaul
58 days ago
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whoa.
San Francisco, CA
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23.263807°S, 15.183959°E Namib-Naukluft National Park, Erongo,...

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23.263807°S, 15.183959°E
Namib-Naukluft National Park, Erongo, Namibia

photo by Edgar Dürholt

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lelandpaul
58 days ago
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Just a few months until I'm there!! (Or, nearby, anyway.)
San Francisco, CA
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Critiquing a New Typeface

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My friend Louie Mantia has recently taken to type design. He posted a preview to Twitter, and Jonathan Hoefler provided a detailed critique. (He marked it up using Notability on an iPad Pro.)

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lelandpaul
58 days ago
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Oh, this is really fun to read through!
San Francisco, CA
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Chelsea Manning’s 35-year sentence commuted by Obama

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Chelsea Manning, serving a 35-year term for leaking a cache of classified military documents to WikiLeaks, had her sentence commuted Tuesday by President Barack Obama. The president, with just days remaining in his presidency, said Manning can be freed on May 17 of this year instead of 2045.

The 29-year-old Army private was court-martialed in 2013 for forwarding a cache of classified documents to WikiLeaks. After being convicted of leaking more than 700,000 documents and video, Manning—then known as Bradley—announced that she is a transgender woman and would be going by the name Chelsea.

Manning has been both reviled and lauded for her 2010 document dump and has been in prison longer than any other convicted US leaker. In a military first, Manning was approved in 2015 for hormone therapy as part of transition-related care, nearly a year after she made demands for such treatment.

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lelandpaul
100 days ago
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oh thank God
San Francisco, CA
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Deaf people use their auditory cortex to process visual rhythms

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The image shows a 180-area multimodal human cortical parcellation on the left and right hemisphere surfaces. Colors indicate the extent to which the areas are associated in the resting state with auditory (red), sensation (green), visual (blue). (The brain, continuing to amaze us.) (credit: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature18933.html)

The brain can reorganize itself in the face of a traumatic injury or a sensory disability. For example, in deaf mammals, the auditory processing neurons of the brain may be rewired to handle other stimuli. But we haven’t been able to figure out if this reorganization is task-specific—will the circuits be recruited to do the same tasks?—or more general.

A recent study published in PNAS suggests that, in at least one case, these brain circuits are repurposed for a similar task. When deaf people were asked to interpret visual rhythms (represented by a flashing light), the same auditory processing regions used to listen to rhythms were activated.

This study used fMRI to look at the brain activation of both congenitally deaf subjects and those with normal hearing. While in the fMRI machine, all subjects were asked to discriminate between different rhythms of flashing lights. As a control, all subjects were also asked to look at a light that flashed with a regular, predictable pattern. Hearing subjects were then asked to discriminate between different auditory rhythms as well. As a control, these subjects were asked to listen to a similar noise occurring in a regular, consistent pattern.

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lelandpaul
101 days ago
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Wait, has it been established that this isn't also true of hearing-folk?
San Francisco, CA
lelandpaul
101 days ago
Ah, yes: This study did have hearing controls, and they didn't show that activation. Huh!
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